I cried when my husband told me he was not happy with the idea of our eleven month-old baby accompanying us on our annual Florida trip. I hadn't weaned her completely at that time, and she was our first child. He adored this new little love of our lives but he was missing us. It wouldn't be until after our fourth child was born that I truly realized the importance of our alone time. Mommies tend to wrap their entire lives up in their babies and daddies get put on the back burner. Thankfully, God's redemption of marriage is mighty and it's all part of His plan to show us how much He cares for us and that marriage is a picture of Jesus loving the church (or, His people).
A ten day trip to Florida that year and calling to hear how our little girl was doing every day caused those two married kids to draw closer. I survived and that daughter of ours thrived under Grandmas' and Auntie's loving care. Terry and I continue to date weekly and take a few trips without our children and this has been the strength of our oneness. But, since we love our kiddos so much and desire for them to be a part of our experiences, we include them in our adventures too! For our twentieth anniversary, we slipped away for a couple of nights on our own and then picked up our offspring and headed to a family location where we could all bond while enjoying fun activities.
1628. sharing Starbucks over a view of the lake
1629. dinner at the Old Mill on our anniversary night--same place we ate at for our six months of dating :)
1630. dealing with kids who call during dinner with minor catastrophes
1631. scrumptious desserts for special occasions, compliments of the restaurant for our anniversary
1632. for twenty of these (actually 21 since he jokingly added 1 more for fun) love poems and gifts for 20 years
1633. reading by the pool
1634. jumping in every half hour to stay cool
1635. how he loved his service berry pie I made him with the berries Meg and I secretly picked at the church--his fave ;)
1636. anniversary roses
1637. evening stroll with my love
1638. rock checkers
1639. looking back and seeing this scene
1640. spotting an otter in the pond near our condo and how he lifted his head to get a better look at me
1641. then noticing two other little heads pop up... babies!
1642. how every hill is meant for rolling down
1643. gliding quietly on the bay as a family
1644. switching from kayak to canoe and back again just for fun
1645. that they're big enough to do this but still little enough that I ended up paddling alone much of the time ;)
1646. a beautiful view of my family
1647. how we bond when we're active
1648. how these two, who sometimes battle, still end up in photos together most often
1649. how His creation is where I want to be more than anywhere else
1650. tiny paddlers and the ability to do it alone this year
1651. for jumping pleasure!
1652. for scary rides that turn out to be a blast (not really that steep-pic tilted)
1653. watching this one get into the action without prompting
1654. this shenanigan team
1655. for their consistency in posing for me
1656. how he's still a kid at heart
1657. that I can find my birds wherever we go
1658. true friends--still play together
1659. finding this life-sized Playmobil man
1660. hiking (and resting) in new places
1661. finding inukshuks
1662. finding her taking "selfies" wherever we go
1663. playing a street piano! it says, "play me, I'm yours"
1664. hugging life-sized bears--a little reprieve in "all these clothing stores"
1665. new golfers
1666. hanging out on the golf course with my kiddos
1667. kid-driver (oops, found out later this wasn't allowed, of course!)
1668. high-fives for a game well-played--juniors under 18 played free!
1669. switching kids at the 8th hole since 18 holes is too long
1670. a teachable spirit
1671. a new restaurant overlooking the water
1672. my beautiful boys on the other side of the table
1673. how she walked around speaking her stories into her ipod much of the time
And so, alone time turned into family time and the former made the latter so much richer!