Seven Quick Takes: One for Each Year of Marriage

I married a really amazing guy seven years ago this month (believe it or not I began writing this before our anniversary almost two weeks ago). It is really hard to believe that it has been seven whole years, but I am not sure we could have done everything we have in less than seven years. And none of these things we could have accomplished without Grace and the mutual help we provide each other.

Seven years later, we have 4 children, a PhD (his, not mine), a great job with great colleagues (again, his, not mine), 14 peer reviewed publications (his), an awesome blog (mine), a house perfect for us, friends all over the country, a great parish, and hopefully a life of increasing grace, holiness, and love. And since we have made it seven years, I will take a peek at what each year brought us.

1. Year One: Our first year of marriage began a month after we both earned our Masters of Arts (theology for me, philosophy for him). We had a great wedding with lots of family and friends. We were married in St. Louis, honeymooned in MI, and moved to Buffalo, NY by July.

Our first year was the first of our thriftiness. Together we worked to live on a very small budget. The first summer was hard in many ways as M worked in a factory for six weeks (6:30am-3pm), I battled morning sickness and looked for work, and we worked on establishing friendships. M did everything possible to make way for a four year PhD track, working with his adviser on his Topical even then, excelling in coursework, working to publish papers from his coursework.

Nine months in we had our first little girl, and she has been our worst newborn sleeper by far. But we persevered through the first months of parenting, M supporting me all the way, doing work at home, changing diapers, spending hours awake at night with the baby. Our first anniversary we celebrated while visiting my sister and her family in Illinois.

A week before our 1 year anniversary.

2. Year Two: Our second year we continued to live in our one bedroom apartment, and having a baby brought me into the world of playdates with other awesome Catholic moms. We spent hours together at least one morning a week, fed each other, supported each other. M continued to excel in his work, and I worked part-time with G tagging along in a Religious Education office. By the time of our second anniversary, I was three months pregnant with our second and we had moved down the street to our two bedroom apartment.

In the Boston Commons in August after a day of sight seeing.

3. Year Three: It always seems like it takes a good two years to feel established in a city for me. At that point, you call it home without thinking any more. This year, we got more comfortable in Buffalo as our friendships were strong, our family was growing here, and we knew it would be our home for a couple of more years. M spent the summer doing dissertation research, and then decided to write something like two pages of his dissertation a day during that school year.

L came the First Sunday of Advent, and it was my favorite Advent. For some reason it is easier to sit around and rest when the rest of the world is rushing to buy gifts in the daily Buffalo snowfall. We did not travel that Christmas, but family came to us, and by the time Christmas was over, I was ready to be up and about.

Going to a wedding in Buffalo.

 4. Year Four: Here begins the most stressful time of our marriage. That summer M finished his dissertation drafts, and got ready to apply for jobs. Everything was up in the air about where we were going to be after this year. It was a very bittersweet year as well, as we have awesome friends in Buffalo, and while we wanted him to get a job, we knew we would have to leave.

Thanksgiving trip to visit (great) grandparents in Georgia.

M applied to 80 job openings, some more relevant to his expertise than others. Right after Christmas he went to the APA conference for interviews, and then spent all of February flying out to various on-campus interviews. February 17, he got the job offer in St. Paul, and life seemed a lot brighter. But then we had to find housing, pack up, say goodbye, and move. We had a lovely vacation weekend with friends about a month before we moved.

5. Year Five: Our fourth anniversary was our last in Buffalo, we then embarked on a five week interim, leaving our stuff in Michigan in my in-laws garage and basement. I was second trimester pregnant with F that summer. It was stressful and relaxing at the same time. By August we were moved into a colleague’s house in St. Paul (they had funding to do a year of research elsewhere).

During our five week tour of the midwest.

Once unpacked, I spent a lot of time getting ready for baby and trying to get oriented in our new city. It helped that the philosophy department is full of awesome Catholic families, and we got to know some people right away. But even so, nothing prepared me for having a newborn right at the beginning of my first Minnesota Winter.

That winter we decided to buy a house, I was treated for postpartum depression, I started writing for Truth and Charity, we house hunted, we bought a house, and we adjusted to having three kids. It was a lot. 

6. Year Six: Newly moved into our 1950s first ring suburban house, we thought things would finally settle down. We took an awesome vacation with our closest college friends and all the children resulting from marriages since college, only to come home to the great basement flood of 2013. Our finished basement was waterlogged. Fortunately, it was an interior leak, and insurance covered an entire renovation of our basement. I suppose it was worth the five months of waiting for insurance companies, contractors, and all of that home renovation hassle to have a brand-newly finished basement.

Summer of the flood.

Once the basement was complete, we tried to settle into normal life. But by March we learned we were expecting again and by early May we had buried our first child, JP (lost through miscarriage). I again faced PPD, and by our sixth anniversary we were ready to have a happy year. We had already been through so much. I believe that our little baby in Heaven blessed us in our marriage, and we have grown better and stronger since the.

7. Year Seven: This last year has been one of healing and peace for me (for the most part). We enjoyed our vegetable garden, canning, and house painting last summer. I finally got used to three little girls, and we learned about little T (born three weeks ago) in September. We have settled well into our house. M is still very happy in his work. And my hesitation about having another baby has been overcome.

We had a successful kindergarten homeschooling year, survived a not so bad winter which brought us up to over 20 degrees nearly once a week. M and I dabbled in movie reviewing (more still to come!). Things are going great! We have been so blessed in our marriage and in our life, and I would say something more profound but baby brain has gotten the best of me.

All the family that came out for T’s baptism last weekend. Four generations worth including great grandparents, grandparents, us (parents), and our children, plus cousins and great-aunt and uncle! And this is about 5% of the whole immediate extended family that M and I have.

And since these are supposed to be quick takes, I am linking up super late with Kelly at This Ain’t the Lyceum.

2 thoughts on “Seven Quick Takes: One for Each Year of Marriage”

  1. Beautiful! A really nice walk down memory lane, and what great pictures! …I would probably benefit from doing one of these for my own life post-college, will have to think about that.

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