Happy Anniversary

Today my husband and I celebrate 29 years of marriage.

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WOW!

Where did the time go? We blended two families together-6 kids! We are now 11 grandchildren, 3 great-grand children, and a significant number of significant others (all whom I am  glad to say we love dearly).  It was a great deal of hard work and sacrifices along the way…

but let me go back 29 years…

After dating for almost 2 years, we decided to plan a vacation with the kids. After much research we chose a houseboat on Lake Mead in Nevada. It sounded like a great idea! By this time we knew we were going to get married and in fact had matching wedding bands made. It had come down to settling on the specifics of a wedding. Lake Mead, if you don’t know, it  just outside of Las Vegas, Nevada-and as you probably do know is a hot spot for weddings. It wasn’t much of a leap at this point to decide to elope and allow the houseboat, with all of the kids to be our honeymoon.

Without saying a word to anyone, we made a plan. We didn’t even tell the kids until we were enroute for fear they would not be able to keep such a big secret.  At the time we worked in real estate so the only person who knew was the printer who in advance of the wedding printed up my new business cards. It was how we would spread the word to our co-workers. We told the kids to be sure to pack one nice outfit but due to the rush of last minute preparations I did not follow up on their chosen wardrobe. As a result, we were a bit of a rag-tag looking group for the wedding which did not matter in the slightest.  I grabbed the newest dress I had which my sister had given me for my birthday the month before.

Needless to say, most of preparations for this trip were focused on the things we would need for 7 days on the houseboat. We purchased 56-6 packs of soda (okay, a bit of overkill and math isn’t my best subject anyway),  blow up tubing and toys for the lake, sunscreen, food, games, and all of the expected things one might need in the middle of a lake in the brutal desert in mid August.

As we made our way on the just under 4 hour drive to Las Vegas we announced to the kids of our pending nuptials.  At this early stage in our relationship we were in no way the idea of a blended family but they took the news rather well we thought.  Perhaps they were just anxious to get to the vacation on the lake.  Who knows. There were no cell phones in those days so no worry of them tipping anyone off.  We would make the appropriate calls to family after the ceremony.

When we arrived in Las Vegas,  I settled the kids into our two hotel rooms at the Landmark Hotel (we almost cried years later when this hotel was imploded). Thommmee made arrangements including a limo to pick us up and take us to a cute wedding chapel-the limo ride a real treat for the kids!  Our group somehow managed to pull ourselves together and before we knew it we were standing before a minister reciting our wedding vows . There was no Elvis look-a-like or any other corny theme (well, just my cheesy fake flower bouquet).

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It was just simply a beautiful moment.

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  We were soon off then to a buffet dinner in a hotel I cannot even remember.

With a whirl of activity and before we knew it, we were honeymooning on a lake in confined quarters with a group of kids. I couldn’t have asked for more perfect honeymoon!  The kids still talk about what a great trip it was.

29 years ago already and it has been a beautiful journey. Of course that is not to say it was always easy or even fun, but it was our journey . When people see us with our family now there is not usually a mention of a blended family. We don’t consider them your kids or my kids but our kids-our family.  We believe that God has blessed us and brought us to where we are today. We are grateful, we are thankful.

At 25 years we renewed our marriage vows.

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It only gets better!

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Happy Anniversary to the most amazing husband-my husband-my Thommmee. Here is to the next 29 years!

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Brothers and sisters

If you have brother or sisters you might find them  a blessing…or not…or maybe you always wished you had one…or some…or none! Regardless of your own situation, a sibling knows us in a way that no one else does. They remember the stories of our childhood, the time we got in trouble, or the time we should have gotten into trouble. They had their opinions of us then and they have certainly have their opinions of us now. Regardless if you were the oldest or the youngest or that middle child, a sibling is a unique person and someone who knows our secrets, our parents, our past.

Thommee and I are both from large families.  With us falling into the eldest categories, we have a great deal in common on this subject. One of the things we both agree on is that the parents that raised us are not the same parents that raised the younger brothers and sisters! How can that be? Same home, same parents, same history. Whoa! Not the same history (or at least not remembered in the same way). His family tells a story about a vacation  to the Fontana Dam in the Smokey Mountains but each sibling who tells the story puts their own spin on it. They love to tell this story when they get together. Depending on who is telling the story, however, determines how the adventure went. (Since I have heard it from each one at a different time I feel I know it best with an unbiased viewpoint-although they might disagree!). My siblings have our own stories. We laugh about five kids in a station wagon at a drive-in movie. After much ado getting settled in for the movie some child actually had the nerve to say the rearview mirror was in the way. My father reached up and yanked the mirror off the windshield  and calmly asked, “can everyone see now?” I was not there for that infamous trip but understand that not a peep was to heard for the duration of the movie.

I had the opportunity to reminisce this weekend with my brothers and sisters. We told our stories, laughed, and had a fantastic time.  We all have our own and very different lives but have remained close. Our parents are gone and we often comment on how pleased they would be to see that we have held on dearly to our relationships as siblings. Certainly we do not always agree with each other  but somehow we  overlook all of that to embrace the unique and specialness of brothers and sisters.

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Note:

Families today are much more complicated. We have raised our six kids in a blended family. It is not often easy-we can attest to that! As parents, we have tried to merge the values and beliefs our parents instilled in us.  We struggled, they struggled, there were tears, arguments, and  heartache. Hang in there. Our kids are grown and now have families of their own. Thankfully, they are continuing to build on their own adult sibling relationships with great success. For any of you struggling with this, please be encouraged. Patience, faith, and time can accomplish miracles!