This is the story of us.
Our story began way back in early 2002. The first time I met him, he picked me up for a YoungLife rally, with a few other friends. They were having a scavenger hunt for people, I fit the bill for a softball player, so along I went. Now any time I hear the song “Free Falling”, I’m instantly brought back to that moment, a bunch of high schoolers singing Free Falling at the top of their lungs. Who would have known that right there would be the start of something so good.
When we first met, we were babies, literally. At 15 years old, I didn’t know much about the real world, except that I was madly and deeply in love with Brian. Given the chance, we probably would have run away and eloped. We had life planned out, 4 girls, a Saint Bernard and a yard that had a white picket fence. As most relationships in high school go, we broke up. It was one of those great, ugly cry, break ups where you do stupid things, like leave every single thing he’s ever given you on his front porch in the middle of the night with your friends there for moral support, because you can’t stand to look at it any more. We both moved on with our lives, on to different relationships, but would occasionally check in on one another to make sure they were doing OK in life.
Fast forward a few years. We were both 22. I had just gotten out of a really crappy relationship, he had also just gotten out of a long term relationship as well. The day I decided to move back in with my parents, I sent him a text saying I was getting out of that relationship and that night he showed up at my parents house. We stood on the back porch not really saying much. It was the first time I had seen him in years, and he dropped everything he had going on that night to come hang out and make sure I was OK.
A few weeks later, we went out to have a beer and to just catch up on life. The night ended really great, and we made plans to hang out again. It started off as nothing serious, just hanging out every once in a while, but then, we started hanging out more often, talking constantly, falling back in love. I decided to move out of my parents house and move in to my own apartment. The day that I moved in to my apartment, was the same day I found out I was pregnant with our son Brady. To say I was terrified was an understatement. I had just moved in to an apartment, Brian was going to be signing a lease on a house with his friend soon, we were only 22. For a hot minute, I contemplated not telling Brian at all, he was already under so much stress from work, and life, that I didn’t know how it was going to go over, and I was flat out scared. After I told him, we told our parents together and he decided to move in with me in the apartment. We bought our first house together in July, got married in October and had our first son in November. Come to find out, as we were moving his stuff in, I came across a box, and that sweet boy had kept every single thing I had given back to him that night after we broke up. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Since then, we have added 3 more babies to our family. When Brady was almost 2 we decided we wanted to have another baby. We got pregnant quickly and found out we were having a boy. It was a great pregnancy, minus horrible morning sickness. I was really sick with Brady too, so I was expecting it. I went in to labor at 37 weeks, just like I did with Brady, and Wesley was born quickly. And by quickly, I mean, Brian almost missed the delivery when he stepped out of the room for a minute. He had just walked down the hall to eat a hamburger with my sister because I couldn’t stand the smell of burgers in the hospital room. The nurse came in to check on me and it was go time. He barely made it back in to the room on time to see Wesley’s birth. The night Wesley was born, the L&D floor was short handed so a NICU nurse was there assisting with our delivery. When she was cleaning up Wesley under the heater in our room, she noticed that something just wasn’t right and suggested he go to the NICU for observation (I’ll forever be grateful to Zara at Banner Thunderbird for saving our baby). That night, we almost lost our Wes 3 times. It was a few days before we could even touch him, he had to lay in a dark room hooked up to machines while his body learned to pump its blood correctly. He was born with PPHN, and had that nurse not been there when she was, he wouldn’t be here today. It was a scary time in our life, but only made our relationship stronger as we learned to lean on each other when we needed each other most.
After Wesley was born, and all the trauma around his birth, I was certain I was done having babies. Just the smell of the soap they use in the hospital would make me sick to my stomach, and put me in a bad mood. I didn’t want to feel that pain again, not knowing if my baby would make it to the next day was not something I wanted to chance going through again. Then we started talking about what would happen if we did lose one of our boys, and how they would be all alone. We made the decision to try for another baby when Wesley was almost 2 and got pregnant right away. That ended in a miscarriage. My heart was broken. We started trying again, and it took about 6 months to get pregnant again. At that point I thought something was wrong with me. We finally got pregnant again and found out we were having ANOTHER boy. When I was about 6 months pregnant with Blake, we were given the opportunity to move to Texas for Brian’s job. We had been talking a long time about going somewhere with a better school system before Brady started school and it was the perfect time to go since neither of the boys were in school yet.
In October of 2012 we packed up our life in Arizona and moved to McKinney, TX. Everything we had known, all of our family, everything had been in Arizona. Moving 1200 miles away from everything was hard, especially 7 months pregnant. That first Christmas, we got to see our first real snow, and it was so pretty. We had all been really missing home, and coming from AZ where there is only one season, it was a good reminder that change can be really beautiful. A month after Christmas, Blake was born. Adjusting to life with three boys, in a brand new state, was tough work. Brian and I had to rely heavily on each other since we didn’t have anyone else here, and it really made our relationship flourish. Being married to your best friend really helps when you go through tough times. We decided to buy a house here and plant some roots in Texas. The Lone Star state has quickly become home.
In August of 2015, we welcomed our daughter Scarlett into the world. Growing up with 3 kids in my family, I knew I wanted an even number of kids. After we decided to have a third, I knew some day I would want a 4th. Going to theme parks, going on rides, there’s always someone left out that has to sit alone or with a stranger. (Now we all have a riding partner for life!) God knew what he was doing giving us 3 boys before a girl. Little girls are a whole different ballgame! Having a little girl completely changed our family dynamic. We went from ninja turtles and super heroes to pink everything. Watching Brian become a dad to a girl made me fall in love with him even more. A whole new side of him emerged. I saw a whole new gentleness from him that I had never witnessed as we were running to keep up with 3 boys.
This past September, we sold our house and in October we celebrated our 11 year anniversary. To say that our life has been a whirlwind so far is an understatement. Eleven years has literally flown by, jam packed with life events that have seemed to make life charge on even faster. Now that we are done having children, we have really been focusing on living life more intentionally. Our youngest is now 3 years old and not having to carry around a diaper bag or gobs baby gear everywhere has been liberating.
We are kind of in this limbo right now. We have always talked about traveling, but our kids were always too little, and something else would always come up or take priority. There was always a reason NOT to go. And now, we really have no reasons preventing us from traveling and seeing the world with our kids. We started homeschooling 3 years ago with the intention of having more flexibility in our lives, to be able to travel when we wanted to, and to be able to give them real life experiences. But, for some reason, it’s really hard for me to pull the trigger. I have been talking about visiting my family in Ireland for years, and Brian approached me the other day asking if we wanted to go out there for an extended vacation. It’s exciting and daunting at the same time. This would be our first “big” trip with the kids. The only country I have been to other than America is Mexico, and that was a crazy experience. I need someone to just come push the purchase button for the airline tickets for me so I can stop making excuses.
Whatever we end up doing, at least I have this family that Brian and I have created by my side.