Anniversary Series Day 3: Then and Now

I was strangely emotional this weekend. I'm not really a crier. But I teared up on several occasions this past weekend.

I got teary eyed when my mom and I were buttoning up the back of my baby sister's wedding gown.

I cried when my daddy walked in and saw her in her dress for the first time. 

It was quite difficult not to ugly cry when Jayce saw his beautiful bride walking down the aisle. The tears and the love in his eyes said everything.

I teared up when Brandon, the minister, read the sweet words that Jayce had to say about my little sister. I know that he will take care of her and love her for the rest of their lives.

Of course I cried during the daddy-daughter dance. After the dances were over the photographer took the bride and groom out to take sunset pictures and the DJ asked for all fathers and daughters to head to the dance floor. Dancing with my Daddy in that moment and watching David dance with our girls made me realize that one day we are going to blink and David will be the one giving our daughters away.

Just looking back at how much has changed in the past 7 years since our wedding is evidence of this. Raley is almost 4! FOUR! Where did the time go?

So on Day 3, I wanted to share where we were then and what's changed through the years.

2010 - The first 6 months
The first six months were tough, but when I look back now I'm so thankful for the hard times because I know we came out stronger in the end.

I still had a semester left in nursing school at Alabama and David was an assistant manager at Game Stop in Tuscaloosa. I did not work during this last semester. We would go to Wal-Mart together to do our grocery shopping and we would literally get our calculator out on our phone and add up every single thing that we put in our cart. If we didn't, there was a high probability that we would overdraw our bank account. I look back now and realize it was the grace of God that got us through this time financially. 

Luckily, I got a job in Montgomery right out of nursing school and was able to start about a month after graduating. He was able to transfer within Game Stop to the store in Prattville. 

2011 - 1 Year
At our 1 year anniversary we were living in Wetumpka, a little town just outside of Montgomery. I was working on a Neuro floor in a hospital in Montgomery. I hated this floor, but I moved to their Neuro ICU shortly thereafter, which I loved! David was still working at Game Stop. He hated his job too. At this point he was just trying to make it through.

We knew no body there. All we had was each other. When I started working in the ICU I worked night shift - 7 on/8 off. There were times that we would go days without seeing each other because we worked opposite schedules. (Those 8 days off together were pretty awesome though!)

We celebrated our 1 year wedding anniversary at Gulf Shores. We went to the Gulf Shores zoo and played with the baby tigers. We decided to stay in a cheap little hotel instead of a condo on the beach and commute to a public beach (we were only there for a couple of nights). This hotel was so creepy and gross that I vowed then and there that I would never stay at a hotel that didn't have those soft, white down comforters again. To this day, when I'm hotel shopping I have to look at pictures of the rooms and make sure they have nice looking beds.
These little guys were so cute!
2012 - 2 Years
In January of 2012 I got a job offer at a new hospital opening up in Madison. We were so excited for the opportunity to move back home and be close to our families. We lived with my parents for a few months while we looked for a house and David looked for a job. 

David started working at the Verizon call center and we signed papers to build our house in March 2012. Building a house meant that we would be living with my parents for even longer. We are very thankful they let us live with them, rent free for as long as they did and gave us an opportunity to build our savings account. 

We were finally able to move into our house at the end of June. Looking back, it's hard to remember what we did when we lived in the house with no kids.

In September we adopted our Siberian Husky, Luka. 

2013 - 3 Years
In February of this year we found out some pretty exciting news - that we were expecting a baby! 

When we got married we said it would be at least five years before we even thought about having kids. I didn't particularly like kids. They annoyed me for some reason. Parents whose lives revolved around their kids and whose only identity was "so-and-so's mommy" really annoyed me. I didn't want to become those people

But something gave me baby fever. It may have been my cousin Kelsey's babies. It may have been babies at church. I really don't remember. But we decided to go ahead and try.

We spent our third anniversary/"babymoon" in Nashville. We stayed at a hotel next to Opryland. It was a great mix of taking it easy and shopping. This would be our last anniversary just to two of us. We did not know how much our lives would change (for the better) in just one year.
Our first sweet little princess, Raley, was born in September 2013. 

Just before Raley was born David took a job at the company that he is still with today. He hated his job at Verizon - his schedule was crazy and talking to people on the phone all day was just draining for him. We were worried about how his unpredictable schedule would work out once we had a baby and I went back to work. We were very thankful for this new job opportunity and the level of stability and flexibility it brought.

2014 - 4 years
Our lives changed in the past year more than we could have ever dreamed. This precious baby brought so much joy into our lives that we would not have changed a thing. God's timing was perfect (as always.) I can't imagine a more beautiful and sweet little girl.
Raley's first trip to Disney World at 4 months old to cheer on Auntie at cheer nationals!

Something else changed for the better this brother, Brian found the girl he had been waiting for and I gained another sister.

They were married on June 21, 2014. The love that I saw between them on their wedding day is still evident to this day. Shannon is the perfect match for him and an amazing mother to my nieces. 
Sweet baby Payton was born November 2014
Me and "Brother Bear" with our babies
Precious little Adalynn, our second niece, was born April 2017
It's crazy to think that in under four years, our family has been blessed with four little princesses!

I also took a new job in 2014 in the CVICU (the unit I still work in) which has been a huge blessing as well. I never dreamed I'd learn as much as I have in the three years I've been working there.

2015 - 5 years
In April of 2015 we found out that we would be having another baby!

This year we spent our anniversary at Ft. Walton Beach with my entire family. We were celebrating 5 years, Brian and Shannon were celebrating 1 year, and my parents were celebrating 30 years! It was such a fun trip! Raley was just 18 months old and was running all over the beach. Payton (my niece) was 8 months old and crawling all over the condo trying to keep up with Raley. The beach with babies is exhausting but so much fun! It makes you think of how much had changed in just a few years - we went from relaxing on the beach to constantly chasing a toddler to keep them from running into the ocean.
I've always loved this sweet picture of these two
Fireworks at the Harbor on the 4th

2016 - 6 years

In January 2016 we welcomed our second baby girl, Audrey. Ever since day 1 she has been so laid back and sweet as can be.
One of my favorite first memories with Audrey. Read more about why this is so special in this post
Adjusting to life with two babies is so much harder than adjusting to life with one, especially when the first one is still a toddler. It wasn't easy. But we were lucky to have such a good baby and so much support. As tough and as tiring as it was, I know that others don't have it as easy.

We celebrated our anniversary this year by going golfing and out to dinner. Now-a-days we have to take advantage of baby-sitter (aka. grandparent) time just to be able to play a round of golf. 

Before kids we could head out whenever we wanted to without having to worry about who's going to watch the kids. I remember when we lived near Montgomery there was a 36-hole course called Tallapoosa Lakes that we would play at a lot. We would go whenever twilight started (either 2:00 or 3:00) and could usually get in 27-36 holes before dark if it wasn't crowded. This is when I began playing better. I wouldn't trade what we have now for anything but I do miss being able to just up and do things like that without thinking twice about it.
We found this turtle on the course one time.
2017 - 7 years
I think back to the days when we used to sleep in until noon. If we had to get up before 10 we were sleepy. Now we're lucky to sleep until 8:00. People ask "how do you do it with two kids? I'm barely making it and I don't have kids." I wonder that myself sometimes. But the answer is you just do it. You drink a lot of coffee, you do what you have to do and somehow your body adjusts.

Watching Audrey grow into a little walking, talking toddler and watching Raley care for her so much has been the biggest blessing over the past year. I love this little life that we have built together and I love all the people in it.

We spent this entire past weekend, including our anniversary surrounded by family and friends and I wouldn't have it any other way.

We will be celebrating our anniversary next week on the west coast.

I cannot wait to see what the next 7 years will bring! I'm sure that life will change in ways that I can't even imagine, but I know that God has some pretty great things in store!

Thanks for following this Anniversary Series! If you missed any posts, catch up here:
Day 1: Our Wedding Day
Day 2: 3 Years of Loving You brought to you by my sister-in-law Shannon at Messy Buns and Baby Bums
Day 4: How We Work On Our Marriage

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