Happy Anniversary

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We would have thought that 17 years ago, at the age of 17, that I would meet the man who I was going to marry.  A simple blind date at McDonald’s turned into something amazing.  I realize some of you may not know the story, so I’ll start at the beginning.

I was working at McDonald’s and one of my friends that worked there went to school with Ricky.  She took my senior picture to show him and said she wanted to set us up.  A couple weeks went by and nothing happened.  He finally agreed and so we met at McDonald’s over chicken sandwiches and fries.  I had on my finest two sizes too big colorblock sweatshirt, pegged jeans that were so high they probably touched my bra strap, and the biggest curly hair you have E V E R seen.  I’ll have to dig the pics out so you can see them.  My words do NOT do it justice.  Ricky had on a striped button down shirt tucked into his navy blue guess jeans.  OH YEAH BABY!  He had on a braided belt to hold those bad boys up too!  We were quite the striking couple that night.

Our first official date was on November 20, 1992.  That means that next Saturday will be our 17th anniversary of dating.  That also means that we have been officially together for half of our lives.  Crazy!

After our blind date, we continued to date nonexclusively for a while.  After a few months we made it official and were only dating each other.  I was a senior and he was a junior, so he still had another year of high school.  I went to school at Miami University but lived at home.  We still got to see each other quite a bit.  Then, he signed with the LA Dodgers in June of 1994.  My heart was crushed.  He was going to Montana to play rookie ball for the summer.  I truly had NO IDEA what I was in for when I decided to date a ball player.  He did give me my first promise ring that summer.  It was a gold ring with an opal heart.  It had two teeny tiny diamonds on both sides of the opal.  Awww…..

After we dated for 3 years, I gave him the ultimatum.  With all of the traveling he was doing, I wanted a committment.  I was busting my tail in school and at work and he was out having fun playing ball!  I wanted a real ring…a diamond ring =)  He proposed when we were 20 years old, but we didn’t set a date.  I wanted to finish school first and get a house.  We certainly get a house on his income.  He was making around $750 a month for 5 months out of the year.  Yikes!  He continued on with ball and I was pleased to have a ring and call him my fiancée!

Then I graduated in December of 1997 and got my first teaching job in the fall of 1998.  I pinned him down and made him set a date! LOL  We decided to get married in November of 1999.  We closed on our first house in January of 1999 right before he headed off for another ball season.  I was teaching first grade so I couldn’t go with him.  I planned the wedding and he played ball!  On November 13, 1999, we finally tied the knot!  After 7 years of being together, we were finally official.  However, we weren’t going to get to be together like we hoped.  We needed my job to be able to pay the bills.  So, we spent the offseason and parts of the summers together.  We would go months without seeing each other.  That just stunk, but it was the way it had to be.

Then he got the call he had waited his whole life to get!  In September of 2001, he came home at the end of the season.  He had been home a couple of weeks and was watching the Astros game on TV.  His buddy Roy got hurt.  That night he got a call and they asked him to fly to meet the team.  He got his first shot at the big leagues!  I was still teaching and in school for my Master’s, so I was only able to go visit him on the weekends.  Once again, we realized how tough it was to be apart.

He had an amazing month and I loved my weekend trips to meet him wherever he was.  In December, we sat down and made a decision. I was going to take a leave of absence and put my Master’s on hold.  We were going to take a leap of faith and I was going to join him for spring training in February of 2002.  It worked out great as he made the team out of spring training.  We had a wonderful summer and truly enjoyed getting be a family.  We sold our tiny house and bought one a little bigger in October of 2002.  We also had a surprise…I was pregnant!

Lily joined our family in May of 2003.  She was born 5 weeks early in Houston, Texas.  She was such a blessing and I can’t even begin to tell you the joy that she brought into our lives.   She was my little travel buddy as we moved quite a bit when she was little.  Before she was two, we had lived in Florida, Texas,  Louisiana, Ohio, and California.  She even lived in Portland, Oregon for a few hours, but that is a story for another time =)

Riley joined our family in September of 2005.  Another blessing from the Lord that just fit into our family seamlessly.  He was a great baby who didn’t live the baseball life for a full year.  Ricky retired in  2006 so Riley got to enjoy being at home.  It was such a great experience for us all to be home…for a whole summer!  That didn’t last long when Ricky decided he wanted to play ball again.

So, in February of 2007 we headed to Florida.  We had such a great time.  The kids loved Sarasota and so did I.  6 weeks at the beach and in the sun.  Riley loved getting to see Daddy play ball.  It was a first for him!  Ricky had a great spring and we spent that year between Louisville and Cincinnati.  It was an amazing summer filled with lots of wonderful family memories!

Ricky decided to give it a shot in 2008 again, so we had another fun trip to spring training.  This time was even more fun!  Riley was two and Lily was 4, so we had tons of fun at the beach.  Every day was a new adventure and we just loved every minute down there.  Unfortunately, baseball in the US ended two weeks into the season and the rest….well you all know what happened after that!

So, that is the journey of how we got started and where we are now!  We are a blessed family that does not take one single moment together for granted.  It amazes me that the Lord knew 17 years ago what a testimony he was building in our relationship.  That one day these two awkward teenagers would share an amazing testimony about God’s love and faithfulness.  It gives me chills to think of how he weaved it ever so perfectly.  I won’t go into detail, but the fact that Ricky played with the Astros for 3 years and the relationships we formed when we were there.  Relationships that years later have become a second family for us.  The fact that He knew we would need those people in our lives to help us get through these rough years of treatments and visits to MD Anderson.  That is just one of many ways that the Lord has shown Himself through our 17 year story!

I am so honored to be your wife!  I admire your strength and courage every day.  I admire your passion for the Lord and the strong spiritual leader that you have become in our household.  I love you with all my heart and I am so thankful that the Lord placed me in your life.

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