Our celebrations were small and simple this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ve isolated at home to protect ourselves and others, so that meant we weren’t able to leave our kids with the grandparents. As disappointing as it was, we’ve had anniversaries in the past where we had to change plans last minute, and those experiences have taught us not to hold on too tight to expectations or else they become entitlements.
Something old. Something new. Lemons and lemonade.
For our fourteenth anniversary, the lead up to it wasn’t magical at all. Jenni and I had been miscommunicating and being frustrated with each other. She was also depressed that she was ill and not sure if she’ll be able to enjoy our anniversary. And Bruce and Violet both had colds, which meant that we couldn’t join Jenni’s family for the family Easter gathering. My grandma was in recovery from sickness, and my mom stressed out about how to take care of her. There was just a rainy cloud over our household.
Christmas always ends up hectic and busy. Between buying meaningful presents, coordinating family gatherings, and marching toward a major project deadline at work, I’m usually too tired to reflect on how much God has blessed us until all the festivities are over. 2018 was an amazing year as I compiled a list of highlights.
We stayed closer to home to celebrate our anniversary and played tourist in our hometown. It was slightly embarrassing to admit to visitors that we hadn’t experienced some of Portland’s main attractions. I researched a few locations from travel websites and off we went without kids.
Photo by Polly Hill
When we went to an informational session about baptism over a year ago for Kadie, Violet was disappointed that she wasn’t old enough to get baptized. She really wanted to get baptized. Now that she turned eight years old this summer, she seized her opportunity.
We’re so thrilled to have a new sister in the family. Travis and Jenna were married at the historic Deepwood Estate in Salem, Oregon. The weather was perfect and the lovely couple organized an intimate wedding for friends and family. We enjoyed their unique twists, such as a taco food cart, an area for field games, a piñata, and riding off on a tandem bicycle to their happily ever after.
We dropped the kids off with Jenni’s parents in Washington then drove to Sunriver through the Mt Hood route. The sun had set before we got to the mountain and made the entire drive dark. We arrived in four hours, only making two stops: once to try to stop a rattling sound in our gear and another, a bio-break at a casino.
During our drive, we reminisced about our marriage, told each other what we were grateful in each other, and explored conversations that are best uninterrupted by our children’s darling requests.
“If we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity.” – John F. Kennedy
I am believing America is still a safe place to share differing opinions. The following post is an exploration of my changing opinions. Read on if you wish to ponder with me.
For our eleventh anniversary, we enjoyed a date weekend together exploring Cathedral Park and the St. John’s bridge. Jenni and I were experimenting with video features of our new camera and sound equipment. Recording good quality video and audio with a SLR camera is much more complicated than I thought. But we enjoyed learning new things as we recorded ourselves answering trivia questions.
We walked across the St. John’s bridge and added it to the list of bridges we’ve crossed together. We hope to walk across all of Portland pedestrian bridges.
Hawthorne Bridge St. John’s Bridge Steel Bridge
- Tilikum Crossing
- Morrison Bridge
- Ross Island Bridge
- Sellwood Bridge
- Burnside Bridge
- Broadway Bridge
I remembered that the most important part of our wedding to Jenni was not her dress, not the venue, not the cake, and not the ring—it was the people. When she told me that, I found myself astonished by her heart.
I’m thankful that a decade later, our celebration included people at its center. Our anniversary would not be complete without spending time with those who have supported us for the past ten years. What a great gift to have nearly everyone in our original wedding party and our closest friends and family join us in a reunion.