A long time ago, I heard about this boy who was really good at soccer....
He was kind of a trouble-maker (not my type)
But, we went to the same high school, and I thought he was cute.....
My friend Cory and I would run by his house sometimes, hoping to see him.....
I would have never believed anyone if they had told me that we would one day get married.....
That kid with the shaggy hair, and lame tattoo (top row, second from the left)
has been the love of my life for 11 years now.
We have grown up so much in the last 11 years, and I am so proud of the man he is today.
He still loves Jimmy Buffet music....always will......
He has taken me halfway across the world and back twice, and I didn't die.....
He sacrifices for his country, and his honorable service makes me so proud.
He is setting such a great example for our children of hard work, dedication and service.
Yes, we have spent some time apart from one another, sometimes months at a time....
and it hurts.
It hurts when people complain their spouse is gone for a weekend, or a week,
when I have had to be alone, without family, for months on end.....
raising our sweet children, and trying my best to explain why Daddy is gone.....
But this has made us so strong, and forced us to grow in ways I never dreamed of.
We have so much fun together, and he always makes me laugh.
He is my best friend, and is always there to give advice or just listen.
He is a good person to have in your corner.....
He has always taken such good care of our family and has given me the opportunity to stay home with our children during these precious years.
This has been the most incredible gift.
He is an amazing Father.
Man, did I pick a good one!
He loves our children so fiercely, and is so protective over them.
I have no doubt that Paige will marry a super hero, because nobody will come close to her Daddy!
River has the best example of how to be strong, kind, and courageous.
He loves to have fun with them.
He knows how to be silly, and goof around......
And how to make them feel special.
He is their hero.
He came home from a month-long work trip with this photograph tattooed on his arm because he missed them so much.
They think that is pretty special.
He took off as much work as possible when I had both of the kids.
He loved being there for every moment.
He loves life, and being outdoors.
He is a kid at heart.
And every year I am reminded at how much fun I have to look forward to.
I love this man, and I feel incredibly blessed to have him in my life.
My Mom's Father, my Grandpa Allphin, passed away years before I met Justin,
but I can't help feel like falling in love with Justin was his gift to me.
After he passed away, my parents divorced, and I felt very alone.
I always felt safe, loved, and entertained with my Grandpa.
He knew I would be safe, loved, and entertained by this man......
He would have approved.
Here's to the last 7 years as Mr. and Mrs. and to the next 70.
"Love is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion. That is just being in love which any of us can convince ourselves we are. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Your mother and I had it, we had roots that grew towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossom had fallen from our branches we found that we were one tree and not two."
-- Captain Corelli's Mandolin