Ok so I realize that I am writing this at 9 pm on this day and that many of you will be reading this after the 27th of February and our anniversary will have passed. We’ve had a busy couple of days and this is when I can do it. Maybe when you sit down to read this, pretend it is the day prior or at least still in February. Sound like a plan?
A friend of mine posted yearly highlights every day up to the anniversary day and I think that is a good idea. I am also going to give you some background as well because I think it is important.
The Before: I met A. in the fall of 2009, right before Thanksgiving (our actual first time meeting I have no recollection of though…) while I was visiting my parents/siblings one weekend. See, I was living with my maternal grandparents at the time, working a full time fluff job and attending more-than-full-time graduate school a few hours away. I had driven up to my mom’s house to spend the weekend there and went to the young adult/college group through a local church on that Friday evening. From what I can remember, we didn’t have any more contact after that until one day in January (on another visit to my parent’s) when I sent out a Facebook invite to all my ‘friends’ about snowshoeing. A. was the only one who replied back and we set out. Unfortunately the weather did not cooperate and our snowshoe was more of a hike instead. we spent the whole weekend hanging out with other acquaintances – we went to the same birthday celebration, church service, lunch out… Monday morning came around and I drove back to my grandparents. Sitting in their driveway, at about 10 am, A. called me up and asked me out for lunch. He ended up driving three hours to where I was to hang out and have lunch. Talk about someone special, right?
A. had already committed to joining the Air Force and set to leave March 1st. We mutually decided to see if we could ‘make it through basic training’ and still like each other at the end. We did. He officially asked me to date at the end of May 2010. I visited him twice in technical school – once in June and once in August – before he graduated and came home for a two week visit. Three days after arriving home, he proposed. Two weeks later, he left for his first base assignment in Anchorage Alaska. I was left planning a wedding.
Year One: We got married on a Sunday afternoon on February 27th 2011. We had a small wedding – I think a total of 85 people to include the wedding party. It was a cold, snowy day and I remember I made us all go outside for pictures. We had had a limited budget to work with so almost everything was homemade or done by people as ‘gifts’ – the invitations, the favors, hair and makeup, the cake, the music etc. Everyone worked together and made our day special. After, we spend two nights on Martha’s Vineyard. I had one day to pack whatever was most precious to me in suitcases and on the fourth day I got on the plane with A. and flew to Alaska.
Despite not being able to do a lot of exploring the first year – I worked a retail job and I usually worked every.single.weekend – we were very busy. After moving to Anchorage, each of us flew back to the East Coast at least twice for other weddings we had committed to previously. We were both in two separate weddings that year (outside of our own, for a total of four) and were able to fly back for my younger sister’s as well. It wasn’t until the fall when I secured a Monday-Friday workweek and more weekends were freed up for exploration. My mom was able to visit us during the summer. We also adopted our first fur baby: Chip.
Year Two: I continued to work in childcare. We started to explore the area a little bit more. A. was running marathons and I was a wannabe runner – I had a mostly hate relationship with it. While out hiking one day (Mt. Baldy will forever be in my memory), I got injured really bad in my left foot/lower leg. I just thought I had pulled a muscle. After sitting on a plane for a few hours, walking around Seattle, helping out in a friend’s wedding and using crutches for two weeks, I started physical therapy (which lasted six months) and found out I had severe tendinitis, plantar fasciitis in my foot and compartment syndrome in my calf. We also adopted our second fur baby, Zoey. Her start in our family is a story for another day. My dad and his g/f were able to visit, as well as a mentor I had growing up.
Year Three: This year we went crazy. We knew we were moving to our next base so we took the six or eight months we had left and did everything we should have done in the two years prior. We spent a weekend in Fairbanks, saw the Ice Museum, soaked in Chena Hot Springs. I got surprised with a half hour sled dog ride, and we rode the train back to Anchorage. We visited Denali National Park. We camped in Homer. We went on a wildlife cruise. We hiked in so many places. We did an overnight backpacking hut trip. We ran races. We did so many things in such a short amount of time. My Grammie also got to visit us, as well as my MIL/FIL. A. also re-enlisted this year.
October 1st 2013 we drove away from Anchorage and began our move to Colorado. It took us 11 days. We drove through Cananda and came out in Montana. The original plan was to stay in Glacier National Park and Yellowstone National Park but the government decided to shut down temporarily and all Federal lands were closed. Instead we headed from Montana to Idaho and Utah and stayed in Salt Lake City for a few extra days. Overall we still had a good trip.
Year Four: We spent every long weekend we got this year camping and exploring in Rocky Mountain National Park. We hosted many game nights. We searched and searched and finally got an offer accepted on our first home in September 2014. My mom also had the opportunity to visit us in the summer. In November we adopted our third fur baby, our Border Collie/Australian Shepard mix named Po. A. tested for Staff Sargent and passed with flying colors. I believe he got second over all in his career field and highest score on the written test (it could be the other way around though, I can’t remember). I began training for my first half marathon.
Year Five: I injured myself while training and subsequently had to take the year off to rest and heal (which has been very hard to do). A. completed Airman Leadership School, a required six week leadership course before sewing on his next rank. He also did well here – and walked out with the highest award possible. Shortly after graduation, A. underwent major surgery that resulted in two hospital stays – the first seven days was standard after surgery and the second set of seven days was a few days after discharge for a staff infection. We were supported and encouraged by so many people during this time – my sister came out for the first week and my MIL/FIL came out for the second week. His final surgery came in October.
We weren’t able to camp/overnight and explore as much as we had in the past few years of our marriage and it definitely started to take its toll. Between both our medical issues, travel and exploration was almost non-existent. I had to learn new ways to expend energy and exercise for stress management/feelings of inadequacy etc. A. had to build his cardio endurance back up after having so many restrictions for most of the year. We each figured out what works for us and have been practicing those things. In early January, as the end of our fifth year drew to a close, I underwent a procedure called Platelet-Rich Plasma in an effort to remedy my injury from the prior year. So far so good! I hope to maybe post more on it later.
We did however take our first vacation together. Okay so we’ve been taking a lot of family-oriented vacations up until this point but to plan a trip to go wherever we wanted and visiting friends instead of family was liberating (so much so that we are doing it again this year – twice). We drove from Colorado to Seattle, Washington and were able to visit all the places we wanted to when we first moved to Colorado.
And that’s where we are so far. I’m sure other things have happened that I can’t really think of right now; maybe I’ll edit this on another time. Other road trip stories and explorations can be found here. Here’s to another (and many more) five years! Enjoy!