Our First Decade

Friday David and I celebrated 10 years of wedded bliss (plus all those other emotions that married couples experience). David is a fantastic partner in farming, parenting, and life in general, and this weekend we took a walk down memory lane to come up with the highlight from each year we’ve been married. Of course, we had to look through some photos to remember when things happened, and there were many more great memories, but these were the Top 10:

2010 – Our Wedding Reception and Honeymoon

We definitely started our marriage off on a high note. Our reception was absolutely the most fun party we’ve ever been to, which I suppose is the point. Then a few days later we headed out for a week on Maui. It’s the longest vacation we’ve been able to take, and it was glorious. We took a bus tour around Maui, went to a luau, swam, snorkled, day-tripped to Pearl Harbor, and ate and drank way too well the whole time. We said then that we’d try to make it back for our 30-year anniversary, and that still sounds like a fabulous plan (if not sooner!)

2011 – Adding Hondo to the Family

This was a tough call because we also purchased our first cows in 2011, but Hondo won out, if only because of this insanely adorable photo. We picked him up on December 23rd, and he immediately crawled under our Christmas tree when we got home. He’s known to be kind of a punk, but he’s a great companion, insanely loyal, and will protect our family and our home against anything and everything (including delivery persons, utility workers across the road, and thunderstorms).

Hondo settled in under the tree minutes after we got him home.

2012 – Taking over the Dairy

January 1, 2012 was the first day the milk was ours. Business dealings with family are hard, and the day that was finally over and this was finally real was a huge relief. It was also the fulfillment of David’s dream to operate his own farm.

This is actually the photo of our first load of milk leaving the bulk tank on 1/2/2012.

2013 – World Dairy Expo

In 2013 we made our first trip to World Dairy Expo. WDE is a huge cow show and trade show for the dairy industry. We saw some of the most pampered cows in the world, learned so much from the various trade show booths, and had an absolute blast with friends from all over the country, many of whom we had only previously met on Twitter.

2014 – Wedding at Memorial Stadium in Champaign

Like many young adults, we spent a lot of time in our late 20s/early 30s attending weddings. There were a few for David’s friends and family locally, but many of these were my college friends who were spread throughout the country, and we often got to plan long weekends/mini-vacations around those. One of the last ones was at Illinois’ Memorial Stadium. As with all the others, it was amazing being with friends who were more like family that we don’t often see, but it was extra special because we were back on campus where we all met, and we each had our spouses, most of whom were not part of that initial college experience, but who have all blended into the group seamlessly. One friend commented after this wedding how cool it was that we had each found someone who fit so well, and I couldn’t agree more. Now we just need some new excuses to get together because it’s been way too long!

From the balcony seating outside the reception while we waited for the bride and groom.

2015 – Colorado Vacation

We celebrated our 5th Anniversary with a trip to Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. We did a lot of hiking and a lot of dining out. It was really refreshing and great for our marriage. Our biggest hike was to Sky Pond which included a trek across a big snowfield and climbing some rocks next to a waterfall. It. was. worth it. It was perfectly peaceful. There were only 6 people (including us) at this lake, and the clouds moved out after the photo to reveal sunshine and blue skies while we snacked before the hike back to our car.

From Sky Pond at Rocky Mountain National Park, CO

2016 – Starting Our Family

We welcomed our first son Dominic in November 2016. We were completely unprepared for the demands of parenthood, but we’ve also been consistently overwhelmed by it’s joys.

2017 – Dominic’s Baptism and 1st Birthday

Dominic was never reliably content as an infant, so we drug our feet on getting him baptized (as he was sure to have a major screaming fit). We hosted both his birthday party and baptism on consecutive days, and because of sharing the two events, most of our family was able to make it. We always enjoy the few opportunities we’ve had to have both sides of our family together.

2018 – Expanding Our Family

We welcomed our second son James in August 2018. We were a bit more prepared the second go-round, but finding the balance with two was a fun new challenge. Welcoming this sweet, snuggly boy, and watching Dominic grow into his role of big brother, has easily been the overall highlight of our marriage to date.

Dominic meeting James for the first time at the hospital.

2019 – Hei-Bri Jerseys Dispersal

When our friends announced they would be dispersing their herd of registered Jerseys in April 2019, we booked a hotel room “on the way” within a few days. My parents joined us to help with the boys, and we spent our first night in a hotel as a family of 4 rather successfully. We had a good time with friends and family, and brought home some amazing Jersey cows and heifers that have really established the Jersey breed in our herd.

Dominic also got to meet his friend Silas in Iowa – a big part of why this was a highlight!

2020 (so far) – Working From Home

While the shift to working from home has come with some challenges, it’s given me the rare gift of time. When I go back to the office, I will lose almost 2 hours a day in commute time that has given me a little extra time to dedicate to the farm and my family. There are certainly things I miss about the office, and I don’t think working from home permanently would suit me, but I have definitely enjoyed the temporary change of pace and will be making the most of my remaining time.

Dominic “reading” to James while I worked last Thursday afternoon.

It’s been said by nearly every bride, but I truly feel blessed to have married my best friend. David is my rock. I know that I can always count on him to be there when I need him, to pick up the pieces I drop, and to milk and feed the cows twice a day every day. We find joy in the everyday things and can have fun doing literally anything, whether it’s hiking in far away places or feeding calves at home. I look forward to raising our family and seeing what God has in store for us in the next decade and beyond.

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