Monday, February 9, 2015

Our Sealing

My beautiful young family was sealed for Time and All Eternity in the Kansas City, Missouri Temple on February 7th, 2015. We had about 26 people come and celebrate this beautiful day with us. I am not sure how to describe our experience other then perfect. There are so many things that I will hold dear to my heart about this day. It was beautiful, it was perfect, it made our family Eternal. Our day was indescribable.
John & I have worked so hard to get our family to the Temple to be sealed. I am so proud of my husband for all of the changes that he has made in his life, and for the things that he has made me want to change in my life.
The Temple worker's said that Mikayla was one of the best behaved children in a sealing that they have ever seen. This made my heart swell with pride and love for my little two year old. I am so proud of her and so grateful for the chance to be sealed to her for forever. It makes me so incredibly happy. Here are some pictures from our big day! My brother was loving to take pictures and I am so excited to see the rest of the pictures that they took!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

An Ode To My Husband & Marriage

My husband is such an amazing man. I have been thinking all day today how blessed I am to have him as my husband and to have him as the father of my child. Yes, this is going to be one of those mushy feely post :) John works so hard. He goes to school full time in a pretty intense program and then goes to work [2nd shift] until 12:30 am, and has been working 50+ hours for quite some time. He never whines or complains. He goes to bed at 1am [sometimes later] and is up and out of the door every morning by 7:30am. I am so proud of all he is doing at work, and for having the ambition to give his family a better life. He had tried to go to school at one point when he got out of the Army, but it just didn't work out. So he never really thought about school again until I told him that he needs to figure out what he wants to do with his life; working at a car dealership just wasn't going to cut it. I have truly LOVED watching him find a program that he likes [and is good at- he's at the very top of his class his professors have told me] to touring schools for Aeronotics & Aerospace Engineering. He is so smart and so capable of doing anything he wants. I am so grateful that I have been able to help him see that he can do whatever he wants to do if he puts his mind to it, his very smart, smart mind. I am also so grateful for my family [especially my mom and stepdad] who encourage him so much and help us that he is able to go to school and finish his education. We have sacrificed a lot so that we can both finish our educations, and I am excited to reap the rewards of our hard work someday.

I met John at a mutual friend's wedding. I was a bridesmaid who decided to go solo to the wedding and he was the guy who showed up with friends, wearing tennis shoes and jeans [I still give him a hard time about that] Caitlin, another bridesmaid, linked us up. We danced the night away, exchanged numbers and went on a date a few days later to a movie. I thought that he was an okay guy, but wasn't really quite sure. Plus,  he wasn't a member of my church or religion. I knew that wouldn't make my family very happy. But there was something about him that I felt like I needed to see him again.

We continued to date, I broke up with him a few times, then we dated again. We seriously started dating in the summer/early fall and would frequently go walk around the Sunken Gardens. We would talk about anything and everything that came into our minds. I didn't want to love him, but I started to fall in love with him. I found myself wanting to call him and tell him everything every minute of every day. My texting numbers were outrageous every month :)  I wanted to spend all of my time with him when I was not in school or at work. He quickly became my best friend, but I still hadn't really thought of marrying him.

My older brother got married in October of 2011. John came to their wedding reception with me and we had so much fun together. I was pulled away quite a few times that night to be told that we looked good together, they hadn't ever seen me so happy before, that they could see me marrying him. That is when the idea of marriage came into my head.

 We belong to The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter-Day Saints. A.K.A Mormons, or LDS. Short engagements are quite common and people don't really blink an eye when they get engaged and then married 3 months or so later. Dating for a really long time isn't [usually] very common within the church either. I was on a trip to Denver to see a friend who was in the ICU fighting for her life when I got the impression that I should bring up marriage to John. I did not know why at the time that I should bring that up but I did; he was a little stunned to say the least. He was not a member of the church, and so I think he thought that we would date for quite awhile before getting that serious. We decided to go look at engagement rings one day. When they slipped a diamond on my left ring finger, it just felt right. I knew that my family wouldn't be the most thrilled that we were going to be getting engaged, but it felt right and we were excited and in love. [They eventually came around and accepted him into our family and have learned to love him :) ]  Right before Thanksgiving we went to the sunken gardens after a date, he got on one knee and asked and I said YES! He proposed in our spot. Anyone who has been to the Sunken Gardens knows that it is usually pretty busy. This particular evening there was no one else there; just John and I. The waterfall was lit up and it was perfect.

Fast forward to us getting married, then just 3 months into our wedded bliss we found out that we were expecting our sweet baby girl. Pregnancy was so very hard on me, I had complications that most women don't have [Hyperemesis Gravidarium and HELLP syndrome are both really rare to get- I got both] Seeing him step up into his role as a dad has been absolutely amazing. He went from this carefree, do whatever I want whenever I want, kind of guy to a man worrying over an ultrasound screen in the middle of the night when his pregnant wife is bleeding for the 3rd time that month.

John grew up with lots and lots of estrogen in his life; he was the oldest of 4 kids, the 3 other being girls. He was also one of only two boy cousins on this side of his family in Lincoln. And then he married me and we had our little girl. The man is a saint when it comes to girl things [most of the time] our treatments and testing and surgeries to get pregnant have not been the easiest on me, and in turn, haven't been the easiest on him. Between surgeries and shots and pills, things have been a little rough. Think PMS exemplified by about 1,000 when I get the hormones injected; it's brutal folks. He does nothing but his best, offering to rub my back, rub the injection sites, rub essential oils wherever I need them [I have turned him into a believer of essential oils!!] let me cry, yell at him, do whatever I need to get through this. He's amazing.

I lost my grandma 6 months ago on February 7th. She was an amazing woman who I hold a very, very, very dear spot in my heart for. I deeply miss her. My husband has been my rock throughout grieving her loss. He was given 3 days bereavement leave when she slipped away into eternal life, and he was there every step of the way. From the moment that I feel apart when we turned off the full life support, he was there to support me, let me cry and to love me. I did not have to take care of my daughter for almost a full week when she passed. He was and continues to be my rock.

John wasn't interested in the church for quite awhile, and I was okay with that. He came to things like Mikayla's baby blessing and when he wasn't working, he would come to church every once in a while with me. I wasn't going to push him coming to church or anything about the church onto him. I have seen too many people try and do that to their spouses and/or family members, and it never turned out the way that they had wanted it to.

I had asked John if it would be okay if the missionaries came over for dinner one night [members of the church in our ward rotate feeding them so that they get meals every day] and he said that was fine. The missionaries did a little lesson afterwards, were friendly and nice to John. They asked if it would be alright if they came back and he told them yes. They continued to come back and John continued to take the lessons and pray about if it was the right church for him to join or not. I dropped Mikayla off with my in-laws and surprised John with a trip to Kansas City. We went ice skating, ate at a nice fancy restaurant, stayed in an incredibly nice hotel and went and walked around the Kansas City Temple. Walking around the grounds that night was when he decided that he was serious about the church; that is why we are being sealed in Kansas City on Saturday :)

When Mikayla was born she spent quite a bit of time in the NICU because of her prematurity. Two days after she was born, two friends of ours came and gave her a priesthood blessing. One of the things that was said in the blessing was that Mikayla's birth would unite the faith's in the household. I believe that priesthood blessings come from Heavenly Father, but I thought that was a pretty tall order to fill. Looking back on our entire relationship, I can see that Heavenly Father was mindful of us the entire time. Things happened precisely when they should have and how they should have. How grateful I am for that, and for the blessing that was given to my critically ill daughter. It was pretty surreal to have the two men who gave Mikayla that blessing at John's baptism.

John and I have been through more together these last 4 years then most people ever go through in a lifetime. On March 2nd we will celebrate our third wedding anniversary. In these years that we have been together, we have experience deep and profound loss. We have had miscarriages; we have grieved the loss of grandparents; have had a critically ill child that could have left his earthly home at any moment for quite some time; the loss of a job; financial struggles; multiple surgeries and the unknown if we will ever be able to have any more children. Yet admist that loss and hardship, we had experienced the greatest and sweetest joy we have both ever known. These past three years have been the hardest yet most love filled and joyful years of my life. I would not change anything for a moment.

I love my husband and am so proud of everything he has done. It has been so incredible to watch him transform from a carefree guy into a husband, father, priesthood holder and wonderful man. I cannot wait to go to the Temple with him on Saturday, surrounded by friends and family to be sealed for Time and All Eternity. It is something that we have worked very hard to get to be able to do. I am so proud of the changes that he has made in his life to make this possible. He truly is a godly man who loves God, his wife and his daughter. I cannot wait to be sealed on Saturday and to see what the future has in store for us.