15 years ago, on December 17th, 1995, Mark and I went on an amazing date. We had only been dating for around three months. It started with getting all dressed up, having Tiffany take a picture of us in front of our Christmas tree and away we went.
We had a great dinner inside the trolley at the Spaghetti Warehouse, watched our first showing ever of the Dayton Ballet's Nutcracker and ended the night (so I thought) with walk around Lincoln Park, a park in our town that goes crazy with Christmas Lights. They remove their water from the fountains and put lit trees throughout. As we were walking through the trees...holding hands and stopping for the occasional kiss...Mark started with "the talk"...the good talk...the I'm everything he has ever imagine in a partner talk...OH! I thought - this is it! He's going to ask me to marry him! He reaches in his pocket for what I thought could be that little box filled with a band of gold and maybe a diamond that says he wants to be with me forever. But WAIT! It's a long box! Oh crap...I think I'm just getting my early Christmas present...a necklace? a pen set? :-) What could it be? It's a Nutcracker. He wanted me to always remember this night and think about this moment each time I looked at this sweet little Nutcracker, holding a tool box, with a hammer and a beautiful diamond ring! He didn't go for the single diamond either. I was marrying him...but I was also marrying his daughters too and he gave me a beautiful ring with a larger diamond in the center and a smaller one on each side (this was before the past/present/future bands came around and he had to have my ring specially created for me). He got down on one knee and asked me the most wonderful question I've ever been asked (by the most wonderful man I've ever known)...and of course I answered YES!
Last night, we were able to recreate that date with a couple of tag-alongs. Tiff, Kait, Gage, Drake and Cora - all seven of us were able to have a great Spaghetti Warehouse dinner and watch the 7:30 showing of the Nutcracker (the kids all stayed awake, loved the mice and the sheep and toe shoes and truly enjoyed the ballet) and because it was tremendously cold we drove (rather than walk) through Lincoln Park to see the lights. It was incredible to experience that night again with all of our kids.
It has been a crazy 15 years, lots of ups and of course some downs, five kids, a handful of moves - we are working on our biggest venture yet. One of the kids asked me if I still would have said "yes" and as I looked around at all those faces, thinking about how I'm the luckiest woman ever my answer was "Absolutely" and then I was asked if I would have done anything different...looking at those same sweet faces and hearing all of our laughter my answer was "Never"...here's some pics for your enjoyment.
Sept. 1995 - We met
Oct. 1995 - We moved in together
Dec. 1995 - We got engaged
July 1996 - We got married in Lincoln Park, the same place we got engaged so the girls could be a part of our special day
Dec. 1996 - We had our wedding ceremony with the rest of the family (yes, we celebrate both anniversaries)
Nov. 1997 - We got pregnant with Gage!
Aug. 1998 - We had Gage...on August 8th, 1998...he was 10 pounds 1.2 ounces
Dec. 1998 - We got custody of Tiff
June 1999 - We got custody of Kait
Oct. 2000 - We moved to Fox Hunt Apartments
Nov. 2000 - We had Drake...on Nov. 10, 2000...he was born nearly 4 weeks early and was still 7 pounds 7 ounces
Fall 2001 - Shelby started back to college
Fall 2003 - Mark started back to college
Oct. 2003 - We had Cora...on Oct. 24th, 2003...born two weeks early and was 8 pounds 8 ounces 2005 - Moved back to our house on Culver
Early 2005 - Tiffany moved out
June 2006 - Shelby graduated from Wright State University
June 2006 - We moved to Florida, Shelby started working for Truefire.
Fall 2006 - Mark started University of South Florida
Oct. 2006 - Kait moved out
2007 - Mark worked at Great Explorations
Fall 2008 - Moved back to Ohio
Nov. 2008 - We moved into our current apartment
Dec. 2008 - Shelby started working for Ecos
Jan. 2009 - Mark started back at Wright State to finish his degree
June 2009 - Kait moved back in with us :-)
June 2010 - Mark graduated from college
Dec. 2010 - Tiff moved back in and the whole family is back together.
Dec. 18th 2010 - Recreated our engagement night with the whole family.
....and for the future...here's hoping that in June of 2011 we will be buying our farm and establishing our homestead.
Happy Sunday all...five more days until Christmas Eve!!!!!
Disney Sweet Sixteen Birthday Party
5 hours ago