I wanted to document this story and dedicate it to our children
Jaden, Drew and Lauren
This is how it all began, who doesn't like a baseball player? I met Rob at the shoe store where I worked, it was Finish Line if you are wondering. He came in with some of his buddies to try on shoes and basically harassed me trying on all kinds of shoes and making me work hard. Rob mentioned he was going to this dance club place in our hometown so I definitely made it an effort to go myself with a friend. I met him there and then he invited me to his summer college baseball game. I didn't realize it at the time but it was for the really great athletes from all over that were trying to be drafted in the MLB out of college. He was happy when I did not know what the word Groupie meant.. It did not take long for me to became Rob's #1 fan. I'll never forget I took my mom to the baseball game down the road from our house after I told her about this guy I met. My mom must love baseball players too because she talked me into going to the game. She saw Rob who was pitching and said he had a nice smile. Between innings we helped him with his lunch. I put ketchup and mustard on his hot dog, he said at that moment he knew (: Many late nights of talking and having dinner with us and spending every moment with this guy I knew I had something special. He was polite and treated me nice and my dad really liked him too. He went off to college and we still visited back and fourth. He ended up hurting his arm in college so his baseball career was over. It was a hard time for him but in total Rob fashion he handled it well. I was so drawn to him. He was such a confident yet humble person. He didn't have the easiest of life but somehow saw the best in life. He was so funny, seriously funny! Who else can you go on a walk around the block with and happens to fart but says it's his shoe with a straight face. I love his humor it's still one of my favorite things. He liked to take care of me and had such a sweet soul. We had absolutely no money but he would write me notes on my car while I was at work, bought me snacks I liked and we laughed a lot. After meeting him only 6 months prior he asked me to marry him, I was only 18 he just turned 22!!
Flash back to 1997 I can't believe that is us, we are kids!! For some people they wait their whole lives to meet someone for me it was so fast. I did love him but I was young! Looking back God really had a plan for my life and I am so thankful it turned out well. We got married a year and a half later.
My mom did a great job with our wedding. It was really nice and we all had fun. My mom was also my Maid Of Honor, I love my mom!
Here we are on our Honeymoon. We went on a 4 or 5 night cruise to Cozumel. It was so awesome I was not even 21. Looking back I still can't believe how young we were.
Rob worked two jobs at one time and was going through school it was truly amazing but he graduated! It was one of the best decisions he made to continue his education even when baseball ended. He always wanted to provide my dream to be a stay at home mom so he knew how important this was. We didn't have much at all when we first got married. I remember looking at the bills and not having enough to pay them all but some how God would help us and we made it. We never had much money to go out to eat or see movies but we still had fun together. Shortly after graduating he took his first job in Dayton, Ohio so we set off on our first move. Around this time Rob also became a Christian that is when our life truly changed. He would come home from work and tell me about how Saul became Paul and how this person who killed Christians was now a follower of Christ. It was nothing short of amazing to see a person who was a good person to be filled with a new light. By seeing Christ in him it spurred me to rededicate my life to Christ. After that point we both grew together in His love. We were married for a few years when we decided it was time to have a family. Not to long after we found out we were pregnant with a boy.
The perks of your mom working for a OBGYN we got to hear the babies heartbeat very early.
It was the best day of our lives we felt so blessed and like we had died and went to heaven!! Jaden was perfect and boy did he like to scream. Wow, parenthood was defiantly hard. I have many memories of Rob and I looking exhausted but loving ever minute. A few weeks after Jaden who by the way looks just like his dad was born we took him to see some of Rob's customers. To see a man love his child and be so proud of his family there is nothing like it. I think moments like this increase your love for your husband to a new level. Almost two years to the day and another move we welcomed baby Drew. We were on cloud nine. I was a stay at home mom and we had a very nice home for a young couple. I loved these boys with every once of breath. We found at at 4 months old that Drew's skull was fused by his forehead. This is very rare and there is no explanation but it was heartbreaking. I called Rob to tell him and we were sent over to the hospital next door for Drew to go through a CT scan. looking at my seemingly perfect baby and not knowing what was to come it was such a hard time, our hearts were broken. No one ever wants this news or is ever prepared to handle it. Thankfully it was taken care of and Drew did not miss a beat, it was fixable and he was my perfect baby scar and all. We leaned on each other and our faith.
A few months before this picture was taken Rob got another promotion to Ft. Smith, AR. I had never lived in another state, it was all new and scary but we always had a desire and a dream for our family to do better then what we had growing up and for me to continue to stay at home. So we took the job and it was a transition but we got plugged in right away with a great church. It was the first time in our lives that we felt we were exactly where God wanted us and he was doing something big, real big. I came to Rob when Drew was 18months old and told him I felt the Lord lay on my heart about adopting a baby. I told him shortly after I had Drew that I thought about adoption when I was younger and thought it was awesome but didn't think I wanted anymore kids so this was all new to him. He was not ready and suggested we wait and maybe we would just have one more bio kid down the road. That's when I said I have had weird things happening like every bible verse I read relates to adoption, and every time I watch the Adoption Story on TLC I would cry. I was drawn to this and I didn't know why the desire was so strong but I felt our family was not complete. I also had a strong desire to adopt a ethnic child, I was not sure why? We had a few disagreements about it and I was mad because God made it so clear to me. I just prayed for him and during this season of our life God was using us in so many ways at the church that our hearts were open and ready. Rob came to me about 3 months later and said that he felt it was what God wanted and that he wanted to adopt as well and suggested we be open to all races, wow!! Okay...Guess what 9 months later from the time we started the adoption process we got the call. We were picked by a couple and it was a boy. We were thrilled we knew boys, a few weeks later that adoption never happened but in the same breath our social worker told us about a little girl that was born that was waiting for us. The next picture is us meeting Lauren Grace for the first time. Once again it was heaven. Life got real crazy shortly after this. Rob was offered another promotion after being in AR for not even two years. We took the job in Columbus and moved again. This time his job got to be very demanding and we had three needy kids and he would be traveling. I also grew and was challenged so much as a mother it was hard to keep my head above the water. Lauren was very strong willed there is no easy way to put this. We were prepared on how to take care of her hair and dealing with being a transracial family but wow she was dynamite. We had lots of great moments enjoying the kids but being so tired and worn out made it more difficult in many ways. We lived in Columbus,OH for almost 5 years we really liked it but our life was crazy. We decided to take yet another job in Pittsburgh with a completely different career path and company it was a huge decision but one that ended up making a world of difference in many ways. Rob would actually be home more which was a huge blessing.
Our first picture of being a family of 5!!
We bought a fixer upper in a great neighborhood, it felt like home. The kids liked school and I met friends really quickly. Lauren was doing so well, God did a work in her and in me I learned a lot. Life is good!! Shortly after moving the company that Rob was working for became very shady and things promised were not what we thought. We also got a call that Drew almost fainted at school. My God this is when life stands still and nothing in the world matters. We rushed him to the hospital and we knew something was up since his belly had hurt for over a year off and on this was a wake up call to us that it was not just constipation anymore as the Dr thought. We found out he had Crohns Disease, a disease with no cure it was forever. Over time and with some healing we have accepted this as our new normal and he is pretty healthy. It is heartbreaking and I have had many days of pain and grieving and worrying if I am honest. These things rock you to the core and can destroy a marriage. We found out a few months later Rob's great job that we moved for was over... they terminated his position. This is real marriage and real trials and in the thick of it I still saw a man with hope and a love for his family that everything was going to be okay. Rob had four jobs offered to him in a month. He went on three big interviews and we decided to go with a company that he had done business with because it felt right. It was not the highest paying but it would enable him to be home with us and for use to have wonderful insurance for Drew. Everything turned out very well, but we knew we would probably have to make one more move to TX, what a crazy few years.
We have been through so much but I think most couples have if they are honest. We all have trials and times when we don't like each other but those times are few in the big picture. People so often trade the 80% of their marriage for the 20%. We have gone through seasons when our marriage hasn't been everything God has wanted but we never stopped loving each other even when things got bad we couldn't stay mad at each other very long.
Going though medical stuff with your child is probably one of the worst things I can image but their are blessings to this path we have been on. For one God is powerful and I have learned through this that my children and our life is in His hands! Many things don't make sense but God sees the bigger picture. It has humbled us and made us depend on one another. It has made us know what is important in life and not let us loose our focus on worldly things. On the Mountain tops nothing grows but in these valleys we have come out stronger.
Hands down these kids are our greatest accomplishments!! We love each other and our kids and we love Our Lord!! Without Him I don't think we would have made it 2 yrs or 5yrs or 7 yrs.
I have seen our kids become Christians and I have seen miracles in each of their lives.
In these 15 yrs I have seen the hand of God in our lives and in our hearts. My husband is a leader he leads his family and he invests in our children. I have gained such wisdom with moving and starting over and parenting and getting married so young it's been a gift.
When I look to my side my husband has been there for me through all my crazy times good and bad. He makes me laugh, he provides for our family above and beyond. He is patient with the kids and truly I can thank him for helping me come into my own and being the woman I am today. He has taught me a few things about life and has given me confidence to be who I am. I hope that I have rubbed off on him a little too. He is calm and collected I am a bit of a spaz but I have great compassion and love for all people. We often say we are like bookends since we are so different. If we could meet in the middle then we would have the perfect person, ha ha. Thank you Rob for 15 yrs of marriage and friendship you mean more to me than I could even write or say. I'm so thankful we stuck with it through the thick and thin, rich and poor, sickness and health but most of all I am so thankful that the Lord found us and took two broken people and made us the family we are, I love you!!