16 Years

Today marks our 16th wedding anniversary. I say it every year, how it doesn’t seem possible that so much time has passed since that remarkable spring day, but that’s a truth that will never change, even if we do over the years.

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TBT: 15 Years

Today’s Throwback Thursday photo is from exactly 15 years ago, from our wedding day on April 6, 2002 in Kraftshof, Germany. We were getting some portraits made just outside the church, and a gust of wind threatened to take my veil with it. Martin grabbed onto his bride, and our friend snapped one of my most favorite photos ever. It’s all gone by in a blink. Happy Anniversary, Martin!

Baby Test

Today’s appointment for FestBaby confirmed a few things. It is healthy, I am healthy, and we are both cleared to go camping.

Also? This one may be taking after Martin’s side of the family: it will probably be taller than my oldest daughter when it is born. (Ha, ha! Sorry, Miss C.) Continue reading

Visiting the Kaserne

Martin didn’t know that part of his old Bundeswehr installation was turned into a hotel/conference center, but I did, so I surprised him and booked us a weekend visit for our anniversary. This is him looking from our room onto the parade ground where he marched trainees as a drill instructor. Across the way are his old barracks, now abandoned.

There is a museum center dedicated to his former unit here. Lots of great memories and nostalgia.

TBT: Father Daughter Dance

My wedding anniversary is next week, so today’s #TBT photo is, of course, related to that. This candid pic shows my dad Larry and me dancing at my reception 14 years ago. You can see Martin and his mother dancing in the background. We were dancing to Celine Dion’s “Because You Loved Me.” Moment before, Martin and I kicked off the party by dancing to Sonny and Cher’s “I Got You Babe.”

Ninja

Some ladies get roses. Some ladies get champagne. In honor of our 15 years together, I got a Ninja Professional 1000.

Flashback Friday: The Wedding Candids

Smiling during a toast from Martin’s Bundeswehr commander (not seen) after our church ceremony.

[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #000000;”] M [/dropcap]artin and I celebrate 12 years of marriage this weekend as both our legal and church ceremony dates fall neatly over the weekend.

Even though we’ve observed more than a decade of anniversaries, I’m still not done talking about the best day ever. And I’m lucky that Martin still likes to talk about it, too, because it’s fun to think back to the day we were surrounded by our friends and family from both Germany and America, and pledge ourselves to a lifetime together.

Best of all, our girls are at ages now where they want to hear all about it, too. Lord knows I have plenty of photos to share with them. The smartest thing I did for my wedding was invite my friend and colleague Phillip, an aspiring photographer with his own digital camera equipment. In addition to my father who insisted on taking photos with his film camera equipment throughout the day (he literally walked me down the aisle with his camera tucked into his jacket), my friend Phillip was given free reign to take as many photos as he wanted, too.

And I got all of those high-quality, beautiful photos.

This year, I’ll be showing the girls all those photos and telling them everything I remember about that day. I’ll also be taking my wedding dress out of the trunk and let them step inside of it, too, if they want, pointing out to them that it wasn’t the dress that made me so gorgeous that day, but the love and happiness I felt — and still feel — for their father.

For this Flashback Friday, I’m posting this slidehow of photos that haven’t been posted yet here on the blog.

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This Is the Rest of Your Life

My thought as I took this photo in 2000?
“This is soooo going on my future web journal when I get this film developed.”

I forgot to point out a special anniversary/birthday earlier this week.

This blog turned 12 years old on July 28.

If it were my child, it would be going through puberty now. But I feel like blog years are sort of like dog years in that things grow and change rapidly, so in Internet/social media/technology years, my blog is really almost 200 years old.

I’m pretty proud of my archive over there.

For fun, I’m sharing with you some photos that were taken around the time I first started blogging/recording our history in 2000/2001, as well as the podcast Martin and I created a few years ago about that year.

You’ll see skinny Martin. Such a hunk.

Oh, and in recognition of my blog going through puberty (sort of), I’m also including one of the most delightful things I’ve seen on the Internet yet.

Enjoy. And happy belated blog birthday!

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Shut up. This was one of my clubbing outfits. Not even joking. There are no other photos of me in this shirt.
Grateful there were no cell phone cameras back in 2001. Thank you, Jesus.

His and her vehicles. Mine was a 1988 Ford Sierra and Martin had a 1992 Honda Civic.

Martin and his mother in fall of 2000, the day he left for Bundeswehr basic training. Love. That. Hair.

Martin wearing my BCGs — birth control glasses — from basic training while talking on the phone in my Kaiserslautern apartment to my family in the states in early 2001. I can assure you he did not put those glasses on himself.

I traveled a lot back then. This photo was taken in Berlin while I was visiting my friend Pam. I found the people in Berlin to be very friendly, although they had a thing for very strange hats.

Martin, his sister Carola, my dad, and my ol’ roommate, Stephanie, in Nuremberg in early 2001.

Dress shopping in the summer of 2001 while visiting Ohio.

That’s Martin on the far right during his Bundeswehr days. Look at those computer monitors.

Getting promoted to airman first class! Two stripes! YES! That was in the spring of 2001.
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On another note,  some habits die hard.

It’s gray and dreary today, and as I wrangled the kids out of the house this morning, I called over my shoulder, asking Martin to grab me an umbrella I could take to work with me.When I saw which one he brought me, I blurted out, “Oh, no! I can’t use that one!”

And he said, “Julie. It’s fine. It’s pink. And you are not in the military or in uniform anymore.”
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A Beginning

Martin and me cracking up as our photo was taken in 2010.

Martin called last night.

It was the first time we heard from him in almost two weeks.

Every time he’s called in the past, he always seemed a little disoriented about the dates. To him, the weeks have flown by; he’s been so busy. And with little access to the outside world and absolutely no access to the Internet, it’s been easy for him to lose track of the seasons and current events, and it wouldn’t have surprised me if he didn’t immediately recall that our wedding anniversary is later this week, but he did.

He remembered, and wished me a happy anniversary right away.

Such a good man.

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This is the first time in our marriage that we are apart on our anniversary.

Last year, we renewed our vows in a small ceremony with our family and friends in Cincinnati. At the time, we were feeling pretty settled and in a good place — in our 30s with three kids and a nice house and steady income, living the dream — and we wanted to celebrate the milestone of keeping it together for a whole decade.

At that moment one year ago, Martin joining the military again was not on our radar.

At all.

But there we were then, and here we are now.

Geographically separated.

Communicating through sporadic letters and phone calls.

Disconnected as we individually deal with stressful situations.

Despite all that, though, I feel like we’re experiencing a different type of renewal this year.

And it’s not a benchmark, but a beginning.

So I’m not disappointed at all with our circumstances this anniversary.

Because even on the days when I’m overwhelmed and feel like an unbearable clamp is on my heart from the frustration and loneliness, I feel so confident that we’re right where we’re supposed to be.