Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Very Good Years

The phrase, "We plan, God laughs" is one that Eric and I know all too well. Our entire lives together have consisted of nothing but curveball after curveball thrown our way...test after test...challenge after challenge. Jobs, babies, homes, relationships - they're constantly changing and never according to our timetable. It isn't beyond me that everything happens in perfect synchrony in the exact way it's meant to be. And so we've learned very early on to just go with the flow. Pray hard when tough decisions are thrown our way. And never question when the answer that brings peace to both of our hearts isn't the one we first expected. Sometimes I get the feeling that we're being prepared for much bigger things that lie ahead, and I don't even want to think of what those things could possibly be. My brain can't handle it at the moment. :)

When Eric and I left for our honeymoon on September 14, 2008 the world was our oyster. We had spent several years dreaming together and carefully paving and preparing the life that we wanted to make for ourselves once we were married. Eric had just landed a fantastic job in the financial industry, promising a pretty decent paycheck and the job security we needed to get our lives started on the right foot. At the very last minute our plans to live in Columbia, IL had changed and instead we moved to St. Peters, MO to be closer to where Eric was working at the time. I was reluctant to make the move away from friends and family and all that was familiar, but I knew that Eric was now going to be the leader of our household, and this was a decision that he was adamant about. So I held my breath, closed my eyes, and said okay. Let's do this. Eric signed the lease of the very first apartment we would share before I even got to see it. We moved all of our new wedding gifts to the second story of our apartment complex, boarded a plane, and said "Sianara!" to the Midwest, and "Hello!" to the East Coast for a week of relaxation before starting our brand new lives in a brand new place.

 Folly Beach

 Taking the ferry to Fort Sumpter! The entire time we talked about how we wanted to take our kids there someday. :)

We had a fabulous honeymoon in Charleston, SC. It was the most absolutely perfect destination for the two of us: a little bit of the beach, a little bit of history, a little bit of shopping, all on a little bit of budget. :) But while we were having fun touring historic Charleston, our country's financial situation was completely crumbling. The week of our honeymoon was the very week that the financial crisis began. Eric, who can never completely remove himself from the news and current events, knew this was happening but wasn't saying much about it. In the back of his mind, he wasn't sure if the job he was so sure of and that we moved our whole lives for would even be waiting for him when we got home. I knew nothing of this the entire time. Instead, I was busy enjoying my new marriage with my new husband...a husband who was already trying to protect me from being afraid of the future.

About midway through our week I started feeling funny on our trip, and I could not for the life of me figure out what it was. It wasn't a sick feeling or a bad feeling...just a weird feeling. Something was different, and we joked, "Wouldn't it be hilarious if I were PREGNANT??" I didn't honestly think that's what it was, because I wasn't an idiot and I knew that no one could actually tell they were pregnant just days after conceiving. That's not how it works. But it must have been on the back of my brain, because on the last full day of our trip we stopped in a little gift shop and I told Eric that we should pick up a special gift for our future firstborn. A little memento to remind us of our lives when we were newlyweds and only dreaming of being parents someday. We chose a storybook that was written by a local author about a horse named "Rosebud" who traveled around to see the sites of Charleston. It was perfect. So I tucked it away in our suitcase as we packed our things to leave that evening. Little did I know that we were stowing away another little souvenir right that very moment. :)

The next few weeks would be a roller coaster ride for us. Eric went back to work right away, and the situation was just as bad as he had thought it was. His job was still there thankfully, but he knew that he'd have to work tirelessly to keep it there. Meanwhile, I began nannying my cousins during the day in St. Charles, MO. while trying to set up our first home together to be a cozy and welcoming space for us to come home to each evening. October 1st came and went, and my stomach did cartwheels. October 1st was a very important day on my girly calendar ifyouknowwhatImean. And I knew. On October 2, 2008 I discovered that I was pregnant. Eric and I were freaking out, but in a totally good way. We both wanted to be parents so badly, we just thought we had to wait the obligatory two years or so until our lives were more in order. God had other plans, apparently. :) We called our parents right away, and told them to keep it a secret until we were further along.

Snapshots of our first home:

One day while I was taking care of my cousins at their home, I made the mistake of swinging with them on their swing set, and it was right then that my "morning sickness" started, and it started in full force. From that very moment and for the next three months I would become completely and utterly useless. So sick I could barely get off of the couch most evenings without feeling like I would completely lose it. Eric was a champ, and aside from working extra hard at work, he began doing all of the cooking, cleaning, errands running...you name it, he did it. It was NOT the way I had pictured our first days as a married couple to go. Not even a month into our marriage and I couldn't be the wife I had always dreamed of being for my husband. It killed me. All the while I was keeping our pregnancy quiet, and every time we came home on the weekends to visit friends and family, attend weddings and reunions, I had to plaster a smile on my face and pretend like everything was perfectly normal. It sucked. :)

By the time the holidays rolled around I was beginning to feel like myself again. Life should have regained some shred of normalcy, except that by then things were looking even worse with the economy, and Eric was certain he would lose his job. He contemplated every available avenue to make sure we would be taken care of. He even considered joining the military - and he came thisclose to actually doing it. In the midst of the job crises, my Uncle was laid off from his position at work, which meant that I no longer had a job watching his children. Why was this happening? We had planned so carefully. And then Eric got some news that changed everything. He was going to be transferred to a new and even higher position at his company's home office in downtown St. Louis. Holy moly - hallelujah. We were saved! And this was a two-fold blessing. The commute to downtown from St. Peters was just about the same as the commute would be from our hometown of Red Bud, IL...and since we were expecting our first baby we wanted nothing more than to be closer to all of our family. So we began searching for places to move back home.

Just after our move. Ready to pop!

There is no more unsettling feeling for a new mother than having no idea where you're going to bring your baby home to. I couldn't have a picture in my mind of a nursery or even a threshold to walk our new family through until we found a place to live. I was about two weeks from my due date when we were moving boxes into our new home. Nothing like waiting until the last minute! I spent those last weeks before meeting Evelyn glued to facebook, chatting with all of the other mamas expecting their first babies. It was so comforting to have friends to go through the experience with <--even before the days of blogging. :)

Evie's birth story was a little nutso, but we brought her home safe and sound (and ten days later than expected!) We spent a quiet summer with our firstborn, and by the time we were celebrating our first anniversary we had a kid old enough to sit up in a boppy seat. It felt like we had been married for five years already! We had both gotten new jobs, moved out of state, found out we were expecting, changed a job, lost a job, moved back in state, had our first baby, and began raising that baby all within our first year of marriage. And we survived. And NONE of it was planned. None.

Bringing Evie home.

I wish I could say that life slowed up from there, but you all know that it didn't. After the holidays that year God decided it was time for baby number two to show up in our lives. I cried for a week. (Long story.) We almost bought a house and didn't...which could be a blog post all unto itself. We moved (again). I started this here blog, and well...the rest is history. And was any of THAT planned? Nope. Nada. Which would be all fine and dandy if we didn't have plans of our own. Because when you have your own plans and they don't work out, it can be dissapointing. But hindsight is 20/20. And boy am I glad our plans never worked out.

If we had followed our original plan to wait two years to start trying for our first baby...we'd just now be having our first baby. Who knows if we would have ever moved back to the area without the prompting of a new little life tempting us back. Who knows if I ever would've started blogging - probably not. Everything would have been so different, and I'm so blissfully happy and blessed in the things we have right now...yikes, I can't imagine not having my two baby girls in our cozy little place on Country Club. God is good. And when it comes to the Robert family, He must spend a lot of time busting a gut, because believe it or not we STILL make big plans for the future. Even I'm catching the hilarity in that at this very moment. Seriously, I'm beginning to think that for most people the saying is more like "We plan, God giggles" and for us it's "We plan, God shoots milk out of his nose and rolls on the ground in explosive fits of laughter." I say that with the utmost respect and reverence, Lord. :D

It has been three years now since I walked down the aisle and became Mrs. Eric Robert. Three years from this very day. We've had enough excitement to last us a decade or more. And thankfully things have begun to slow down a bit for us. We just renewed the lease on our current home (which we've never ever done.) And we've now officially gone the longest we've ever gone without being pregnant (woot!) There is no one else I would have wanted to experience the last three years with than with Eric. I appreciate and respect his work ethic, his love for his children, his desire to make me happy and bless me whenever he can, and his purposeful determination to lead our family in the path that God has laid out for us. We do not have the perfect relationship, and we never will. But we try really, really hard. And as long as we land somewhere in the middle, I think we'll be okay. :) And heck - we've already tested the limits of our wedding vows.

In sickness and in health - check!
In good times and bad - check!
For richer or poorer - check!

We've covered it all, so hopefully we're never sick, poor, or have any bad times ever again. ;)

This is so NOT the post I originally sat down to share today. I meant to just show you all a few photos from our honeymoon and tell you what a great time we had. But you know, I should've known better, haha. Apparently I was supposed to share this today, because I tried not to and my mind just wouldn't go anywhere else. It's good to give credit where credit is due, and so I really just need to let out a genuine
"Praise the Lord!" for the last three years of my life and the blessing of a wonderful marriage.

So Happy Anniversary to my best friend and partner in crime. I love you so much it hurts my insides. But...let's slow down the next three years, shall we? Love you, Eric Joseph!


Jackie said...


Anonymous said...

Great job on the tree year history lesson!!! Happy Anniversary!!

Your Father-in-Law

Andrea said...

Happy Anniversary!! I hope you get to spend some quality time together today! :)

Adrien said...

Thank you, everyone!

Hehe...nope...no quality time today. It's work and school for Eric - story of our lives! Hopefully we'll be able to make up for it this weekend! :)

Anonymous said...

Super cute post! :) Happy Anniversary!

Cassie said...

Happy Anniversary!!

Joyce said...

Happy Anniversary, love you both, and those beautiful babies :) Praying God blesses you with MANY more happy years.

Sarah@everydayeasy said...

aww great post! happy anniversary!!!

Katie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Katie said...

Happy anniversary! I think one reason God may have intended you to post this was to encourage this girl. Jake and I are going through some of the "for poorer" times right now and the "plans" we envisioned are not happening quite the way we wanted them to. As I'm sure you know, when you're in these times it seems like they will never end and it gets so easy to just worry and blame God for not listening to what we want. Thankfully, God has a plan and His plans ALWAYS work out better than mine!

So thank you for posting this. It really is an encouragement to see another couple who has been there and gone through it (with a baby on top of it all!) to reassure me that we will be ok :)

sblind2 said...

Such a cute post!! =)


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