Anniversary #9 … More Memories

October 10, 2016 1:29am
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I honestly didn’t realize until going to type this up that literally I did the exact same concept last year for my 8th wedding anniversarybut for the most part we came up with a list of memories that was a little different than last year’s … and not for nothing but life has kind of been more than a little crazy lately! … so let’s just enjoy this little stroll down memory lane for what it is and leave it at that… 😉

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October 2008 (St. Pete Beach) – This was one of the last photos we took out on the beach with the sunset to our backs before heading aside to join our wedding guests in song and dance and good eats, save for the Swedish meatballs that I’m still bitter about almost a decade later because I never actually got one at my own wedding and they were delicious at the tasting! Still, it was a pretty magical night … even if we had technically already been married for a year because we’d snuck off and eloped on the exact same day a year prior for the insurance benefits… 😉

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September 2016 (Tampa) – Barely three weeks ago, just before we welcomed our twin sons into the world! This was after Sara had spent nearly a month in the hospital, so tensions were at an all-time high to say the least, but a few hours later once the boys were all nestled snug in their incubators in the NICU and we all had a chance to catch our collective breath, it still ended up being a pretty swell day!

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May 2015 (Walt Disney World) – This is arguably one of my favorite family pictures that we have right now, taken the weekend we went over for 24 hours at the Magic Kingdom during a period when we, err, weren’t at the Magic Kingdom. We were actually just killing some time outside of Fantasia Gardens Mini-Golf waiting for our tee time here, and at one point we decided it would be fun to take a little family selfie … and here is the result!

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December 2014 (Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort) – Christopher’s very first Christmas!!! We celebrated with a trip over to Disney with Lori, James, and Madelyn for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, and of course we had to spend at least a couple of hours the next day taking in all of the fun decorations elsewhere around WDW, including a visit to the biggest gingerbread house you’ve ever seen! Little baby Christopher (~9 months?) seemed to have a pretty good time, and this was even before I slipped him a tiny bite of gingerbread… 😛

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October 2011 (Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge) – A quick, overnight celebration for anniversary #4 took us over to one of our favorite Disney resorts, which though it pretty much rained the entire time did end up featuring what was pretty much the best dinner we’ve ever had. And honestly I think that’s probably still true – Jiko: The Cooking Place at AKL is amazing – we got a nice, secluded table in the corner of the wine room that was nice and intimate, we got to splurge on a fancy bottle of wine from South Africa, and the food … so good!!!

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May 2011 (Home) – Can you imagine our crazy dog laying peacefully on a float in the pool these days?! Neither can I, but back when she was a sweet, although admittedly destructive puppy she was pretty easy to toss around like this and so one afternoon while I was at work Sara sent me this pic of the two of them lounging out in the pool just like any good dog and wife duo should be accustomed…

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May 2007 (Discovery Cove) – One of Sara’s dreams has always been to swim with the dolphins, so the day after I proposed to her, we went and did that, too! As if she couldn’t have gotten any giddier after I somehow managed to surprise her with the same ring that she had all but picked out herself something like a month or two earlier, waiting around to pet and pose and even swim alongside of one of these 800-lb beasts was pretty amazing and needless to say, she seemed to be in a pretty good mood for the rest of the vacation. 😉

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October 2006 (Epcot) – And here we are celebrating our six-month DATING anniversary, together at Epcot – which was coincidentally also the site of our second date! Believe it or not, by this point we had actually already moved in together and met each other’s parents, so you could say that things were moving pretty fast … but just look at those two happy kids!!! Skinny and surrounded by tropical drinks, with their entire lives ahead of them…

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June 2006 (Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort) – And finally for this particular trip down memory lane, here we see our first overnight trip to Disney World together, and in fact this was actually when I first met Sara’s younger sister … who five years later would end up living with us for a few years when she finally moved to Florida! In this picture we’d probably been dating for about a month and a half, not counting the weeks that we’d chatted online before working our way up to meeting in person. AND THEY DIDN’T SPEND ANOTHER VACATION NOT AT DISNEY WORLD SINCE… 😀

So that’s all for anniversary #9 – it’s kind of crazy to think that next year will be the big NUMBER 10 … hopefully we’ll be able to do something extra special for that, though with a three year-old and two one year-olds on the docket … I sincerely have no idea what to expect! But maybe one could argue that surprise can be part of the fun, too, because I certainly could’ve never expected how things played out thus far over the last nine years and that seemed to turn out quite well. 😉

Onward and upward, to bigger and even better anniversaries in the years and decades to come!

Anniversary #8 … Memories

October 10, 2015 11:04am
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Yesterday was my eighth wedding anniversary.

At one point during the day, Facebook prompted me with the question of “What is my favorite marriage memory?” to go along with sharing a gallery of photos of Sara and I together, and I didn’t end up posting anything because at the time I honestly just couldn’t narrow it down to simply one.

That said, we talked about it a bit when we went out to dinner together later on that night and both of us shared some of our favorites because after eight years of marriage, who can seriously pick just one lone memory to elect as their all-time favorite?!

So here are some of mine, and although no doubt there have been plenty of other noteworthy occasions along the way, here’s what I came up with at this particular juncture in our grand adventure through time and space together… 😉

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October 2006 – We celebrated our six-month dating anniversary together with a long weekend over at Disney where we stayed at Animal Kingdom Lodge for the very first time. We almost didn’t have any reason to leave the room because seeing the animals right outside our window was so cool.

In this picture you can see us enjoying a nice breakfast out on our balcony, which was amusing in its own right because Sara didn’t realize that room service automatically added a sizable gratuity when she added one herself, quite possibly making it one of the most well-tipped room service meals of all time!

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October 2007 – We eloped! Exactly one year prior to the date that we’d chosen for our actual wedding ceremony, Sara and I snuck over to St. Augustine in the middle of the week for a mini-vacation that started with us very unceremoniously getting hitched at the courthouse … mostly for insurance purposes before she was to start nursing school that fall. We spent the next two days exploring the area and even climbed to the top of the local lighthouse, which now has a very special message from us in their guestbook if they happen to still have the one containing 2007 around!

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October 2007 – Right around the same time, we moved into our first joint rental together – a three bedroom house where we would live for the next 3.5 years through nursing school, our real wedding, and the publishing of my first book.

Here you can see my beloved bride sizing up her new garden tub!

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June 2009 – This year we traveled up to Minnesota to attend Tim and Amy’s wedding, but of course, a trip to Minneapolis just wouldn’t be complete without also paying a visit to The Mall of America! We literally spent an entire day wandering around something like five floors of this place, and playing mini-golf, and nearly losing my lunch on the rollercoasters that Sara forced me to go on. It was fun … most of it!

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August 2010 – A year that will live down in vacation infamy, featuring Scott & Sara’s 2010 Awesome Summer Road Trip that put us traveling across the country for nearly a month, visiting all sorts of sights and enjoying a well-deserved rest before beginning to start trying for children in the upcoming future.

This particular photo is from our visit to Niagara Falls, which we actually ended up extending a day after not seeing nearly as much as we would’ve liked and admittedly having a pretty kick-ass hotel room to further enjoy the falls from to boot!

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October 2010 – The anniversary where my wife actually somehow managed to surprise me with a trip to Disneyland!!! Truth be told, I even found it in her browser history at one point and she was a good enough to bluff her way out of it – that’s how good my wife is. We were there for a full week and visited both theme parks multiple times, on top of getting to watch the brand new World of Color from this great view that was quite possibly the highlight of the entire trip…

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September 2012 – Our latest cruise was some three years ago, the same itinerary that we went on through the Western Caribbean for our honeymoon/2nd anniversary, though without all of the excursions and nothing but day after day of laying around the ship from port to port. I was so relaxed, in fact, that here on our very first day at sea Sara had actually persuaded me to get up and watch the sunrise with her … a feat that only five years of marriage, along with a pitifully small quantity of tequila, could dare to pull off!

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August 2013 – And lastly, although he’s certainly produced plenty of adorable shots in the 18 months since his birth, I think this particular photo showing Christopher at nearly his earliest of all will always be my all-time favorite. It was roughly 10 days later when the doctor’s office confirmed from her hormone levels that Sara was officially pregnant … we were over at Disney to celebrate my birthday, and boy, was it one of the strangest, both exciting and nerve-racking weekends I think I’ve ever spent. Certainly a memory for the books, to say the very least!

The Good Stuff

August 12, 2014 8:32pm
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Here’s another great Robin Williams scene from Good Will Hunting – probably one of my favorites.

What a way to talk about love, and having loved, and real intimacy, and what regret actually means in the grand scheme of things… 😉

Something in the Way She Moves

June 6, 2014 11:38pm
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I’ve always loved this song as a great relationship song, albeit it’s actually meant different things to me based on the relationship that I happened to be in at the time.

It’s the third verse in particular that gets me with my wife, Sara…

It isn’t what she’s got to say, or how she thinks or where she’s been.
To me, the words are nice the way they sound.
I like to hear them best that way, it doesn’t much matter what they mean.
Well, she says them mostly just to calm me down…

We’ve been married going on  seven years now, so maybe it speaks to how the two of us communicate these days. There have been times when I feel a little frustrated because it feels like we don’t always have as much to talk about as we did years ago when we had just started dating, and god knows she’s had to listen to me repeat my stories I’m sure dozens of times! Yet in a way we’re kind of at this point where it doesn’t even matter what the words are anymore … sometimes, anyways … because just hearing them in the first place from each other is the comforting part.

Plus, I guess I just like the idea of the sound of a woman’s voice being powerful enough to bring peace to her partner, which I’ve witnessed with Sara firsthand as well…

Pretty song. 😉

Love Is…

July 26, 2012 8:56pm
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…letting your wife sign you up for the same stupid Facebook games that she plays so that she can gift herself stuff through your account, all the while knowing that they’re also going to spam the hell out of your wall as long as they have permission!

So this year for my annual anniversary of our first date post, I thought I’d talk about challenges because it seems like Sara and I have been going through an awful lot of them lately. I don’t really want to publicly go through the details of them, but they’ve definitely had a very profound affect on our lives in the last couple of years, to the point where we’ve found ourselves having to rethink some of our plans for the near future to accommodate these problems that we’re facing. In the last couple of weeks, in particular, all of the chaos has really been taking its toll on me and I’ve been trying to figure out how to deal with all of these issues without resorting to arguments and fights…

I was kind of surprised when I came across an old copy of our wedding ceremony from a few years back … because part of it even specifically made mention of the kinds of challenges that we find ourselves facing today:

[excerpt] Charge to the Bride and Groom
Know that you will be tested by the routines of daily life, by chance and circumstance, and by the full cycle of the seasons of life.

Know that together you must encounter life’s sorrow no less than its sweetness, its frustration along with its grace and ease, its disappointments along with its fulfillment.

Enter your marriage confident in the love and trust you have already created between you.  As you go forward in your journey together as husband and wife, devote yourselves to living according to the vows you share today.

Sometimes it’s easy to get so caught up in the challenges of life that you forget about the foundation that you have beneath you and you find yourselves fighting against each other instead of fighting against the problem that you’re supposed to be facing together. Life certainly isn’t always fair, and it’s easy to get frustrated about your own problems that so many other couples are fortunate to never have to face … many without ever even realizing it … but at the end of the day, it’s of the utmost importance to remember that last night – be confident in the love and trust you already have – to let that carry us through the hard times.

Right now it’s hard to tell if the problems that we’re currently facing will be solved a year from now, but I’m learning that it’s important to take a step back every now and then to remember that marriage is a team sport and the challenges that we face are ours to share, not a burden for one or the other to carry alone.

Quality Time with the Mrs…

November 8, 2011 8:11pm
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The last couple of days have been a lot of fun…

Yesterday was my wife’s birthday, so I tried to carve a little more time than she’s usually been getting lately out of my schedule, and not to sound all mushy or anything, but it definitely reminded me of just what I was missing out on during all of those late nights spent hunched over a keyboard in search of words for this, that, and the other thing!  Saturday we celebrated part 1 of her birthday with a grand tour of Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival, whereas today we took things a little slower and did some shopping to pick out her birthday gift, then enjoyed a nice and quiet dinner at The Melting Pot, and despite being her birthday, the whole thing felt sort of extra special for me just because our personal time together has been really sporadic lately between pacifying the puppy and work changes and me trying to focus on writing.

It can be tough sometimes because as much as I want to really knuckle down and focus 150% on making my writing career become a reality, at the same time after days like this I can’t help but sit back and think that it’s all in vain if these are the kinds of days that I’m missing out on in the meantime.  Not to mention I’ve found that all work and no play tends to get kind of boring after a while and doesn’t really leave me much to write about anyways, hence I didn’t do nearly as much writing back in 2004/2005 when I was single and sat around the house all day playing video games!

It’s definitely a tough balancing act – obviously I want to spend as much time as I possibly can with Sara because, well, I did marry her and all, and yet at the same time it’s also important to focus on my career so that, well, so that I can actually have one someday!  In the meantime, I guess all that I can do is really try to make the most of my writing time so that I can be as productive as possible and thus leave more time for her by default.

A constant struggle, yes, but for what it’s worth, we’re talking two really good days and if anything, I guess that should serve as a source of inspiration to work harder and do better! 😉

anniversary afterthoughts…

October 11, 2011 8:11pm
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Over the weekend, my wife and I celebrated our 4th anniversary, as I had previously mentioned a couple of weeks ago.

Some of our time was spent over at Disney World, but instead of retelling all of those wet and delicious and fun stories all over again, I think it would be easier for me to just link over to another site where I’ve already written a nice post that I think does a great job at summarizing our festivities…

(Please note: That site still isn’t technically done yet … although it’s finally getting really close, so try not to kick the tires too hard if you decide to poke around a bit afterwards! I’ve managed to keep quiet about this thing for as long as I could, but I’m really starting to get antsy and can’t wait until I can finally pull off the cloth and start sharing everything that I’ve been focusing on for the last 10 months a bit more publicly!)

Some men out there get a lot of crap for not remembering key dates along their relationship, but I guess I’m one of the weird ones that actually remembers them … like today, which just so happens to be the 5th anniversary of the very first date that my wife and I shared together back in 2006. Over the years, I’ve tried to make a habit of writing something special to commemorate this day, so this year I thought it might be fun to take a look back at a few of my favorite moments with my love over the last five years…

A Golden Dolphin at Animal Kingdom Lodge
Our 6-month dating anniversary that we spent over at Disney World had a lot of cool memories – our hotel room boasted views of animals out on the Savannah 24 hours a day, we enjoyed a great teppan meal at the Japanese Pavilion at Epcot, and also, it represented the first time that I ever bought real jewelry for a girlfriend … I think I was more nervous picking out this little golden charm than I was when I bought her engagement ring a few months later!
Swimming with Akai
It’s hard to top the evening when you propose to your bride to be, but we still managed to go even a notch higher when we spent the next day swimming with dolphins, among other sea creatures over at Discovery Cove. Getting to experience one of Sara’s life-long dreams with her was something unlike any other. Also, dolphins are really heavy
Meatballs and Spanakopita
Next up was the food tasting for our wedding, as enjoyed at Spinners at the top of the Grand Plaza Hotel over on St. Pete Beach where we would eventually have our wedding ceremony about a year later. Little did I know that I wouldn’t actually get the opportunity to enjoy any of those Swedish meatballs on my own day, so it was at least nice to try them here! It’s still a nice restaurant that we like to wander back to from time to time, with a rotating floor that offers panoramic views of both the coast and the mainland.
An Anniversary Fit for a Pirate!
Last fall my wife surprised me for our anniversary with a trip to Disneyland, which in itself was pretty sweet, but what truly knocked it out of the park was the dinner she planned for the actual night of our anniversary. Super fancy with coat and tie? Crappy food served in miniscule portions?? Nopepirate dinner, complete with romantic mood lighting, crab cakes, and pumpkin mousse for dessert! In a single word – awesome.
Bubbling Under the Stars
And my last memorable moment actually just happened a couple of days ago, however it’s mentionable more because a lot of it was spent looking forward into the future – our future together, growing our family, pursuing dreams, and generally just enjoying each other’s company along the way. It was a true calm and serene moment with the water bubbling around us and the stars twinkling above, and it just made me feel happy about all of the things next to come.

Here’s to the next five years and all of the new memories that we share together along the way!

Although The Wedding Anniversary seems to be the key date that most couples tend to focus on, for some reason I often feel that April 20th is the more significant of the two because this is day that I actually met Sara for the first time face-to-face. We’d e-mailed and chatted over the phone for a couple of weeks prior, but it was on this day in 2006 that we finally sucked it up and made plans to meet at a local Applebee’s down the street from Sara’s apartment – our first official date.

Of course, that was four years ago already – wow – and sometimes it’s amazing to think of just how far we’ve come together in our relationship. It certainly hasn’t been easy – most things worth doing aren’t – but on this day I thought I’d take just a moment to reflect back on a few key points that I’ve noticed about how we’ve gotten where we are now and “advice” that I might offer up to others, if you will…

Rarely will things ever be 100% equal.
Someone will always make more money, spend more money, do more than their fair share of the chores, or appear to have more free time to do the things that they want to do. It sounds like a great idea, but in practice complete and total equality just isn’t very realistic. The sooner you learn to accept that and embrace the ebbs and flows of responsibility, the less fights you’ll have over who’s turn it is to do the dishes.

Talk about the things that are awkward to talk about.
In fact, the more awkward they feel, the more important it probably is for you to explore those avenues and get those thoughts out in the open. I honestly believe that if your relationship is truly unconditional like marriage is supposed to be, there shouldn’t be anything that the two of you can’t talk about, and besides, often times you’ll come out of the experience even closer to each other than when you started. Talking is always a good thing.

Figure out your household’s finances … as quickly as possible!
It’s so easy to fight about money – not having enough, not being able to spend it as you wish or do the things you want, stressing to make ends meet. That’s why our #1 goal after Sara graduated was to really dig in and start focusing on getting our budget back in order because right now we’re simply not ready to take our next steps in life (house, baby, changes to my career). Of course, it’s a result of not being as fiscally responsible over the last several years a la wedding, vacations, and so forth, but eventually it comes time to pay the piper … and as a bonus, even only four months into our debt repayment, we’ve already made significant progress and are feeling great about it!

Take time to stop and enjoy your time together.
Especially when you’re focused and working really hard to achieve a major goal like paying your way out of debt, it’s easy to lose track of yourselves and grow farther apart as you each do your own thing. Don’t. Make the most of the time that you do have, plan extra time where you can be together and not be distracted – always keep in mind that the whole point of focusing on something important is ultimately to better your lives together, so don’t lose each other in the process.

Strive to make each other feel special.
It can be through little things like a random text message to say “I was thinking about you…” or a nice foot massage after a long day, or even more encompassing surprises like the mystery vacation that my wife is planning this year for our anniversary. Whatever you do, strive to always find new and interesting ways to show your partner that you genuinely care. In my case, sometimes that even means my wife willingly bringing peanut butter into our home – if that isn’t love, I don’t know what is!

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