Pieces from The Mighty

Friday, October 28, 2016

Welcome to the World Alice Ruth

On Monday, October 10, I went in to my doctor’s office to have what I imagined would be my last sonogram of Alice Ruth since I had a scheduled c-section date of October 19th set. Based on previous sonograms, Alice Ruth should have been measuring well over the 5 pound mark by now. The sonogram measured her at 4 pounds 4 ounces, but my doctor was not concerned, which took away any anxiety I was feeling about her measurement.

On Wednesday, October 12, I went back in for my last doctor appointment! All of the "lasts" were so very exciting to me since I have never made it to the "end" of a pregnancy before this pregnancy! At this appointment and much to our surprise, my blood pressure was elevated enough for concern, and there was protein in my urine. The doctor also had difficulty getting Alice Ruth’s heartbeat on the doppler (which was extremely scary for me), so they sent me in for a biophysical profile to check on Alice Ruth. She passed the 30 minute test within the first 10 minutes, so she was doing fine! They sent me home with a 24 hour collection to monitor the protein. At this point my doctor was still hopeful that I could make it through the weekend and hopefully to my scheduled date.

On Thursday, October 13, I went back to the doctor's office for my very last p17 shot and to drop off the 24 hour collection to be sent to the lab. I was feeling pretty good, even with the turn of events. On Friday late afternoon, October 14, I received a call from the doctor's office saying that my 24 hour collection came back and that I needed to go immediately to labor and delivery. The test results came back with elevated protein, so they wanted me to get checked out by the hospital and then we would decide what to do next. My dad came home to watch Ellie....on her birthday eve, and my mom drove me into the hospital where I met up with Tanner, who was already there waiting for me.

The week of October 9th had been an option for a scheduled c-section, but we chose to push it on out to the following week with the hope that I would be home for Ellie's 4th birthday on the 15th. So, this is not what we were hoping for, but at the same time, how could we not be thankful to have made it so far in the pregnancy! And....we had Ellie's actual birthday party back in August since my pregnancy was so full of unknowns: there was really no way to know how long I would be pregnant and "just in case" we were in the middle of a NICU or hospital  stay for her birthday.

They got me all checked in and hooked up to the monitors. After several hours of monitoring and a chat with the doctor on call for my doctor (my doctor was now out of town for the weekend), they decided to let me go home with the understanding that if I got a headache or had any change in vision, that I was to immediately come back. I was also told that if I was careful, there wasn't any reason why I couldn't take Ellie to Target to buy some toys for her birthday and then onto a restaurant for her birthday lunch. I was home just in time to tuck my 3 year old in for the last time before she turned 4 the next morning.

Saturday morning, October 15, and my precious Ellie's birthday was a happy morning! Ellie was excited to have a shopping trip planned as well as lunch at a restaurant! Mi Mi , my mom, had also suggested that after lunch she could take Ellie into the party store for a bouquet of balloons....which Ellie was thrilled about!  Our first stop was Target and we were there about 3 minutes when I had the overwhelming feeling that something was wrong. I was cramping and having back pain. We went and picked up a few toys for Ellie and checked out and we headed home. I took benadryl and tylenol and rested for a bit to see if the feeling would pass, but it did not. Off we went to the hospital for the second time in 2 days!

Once again, my dad took Ellie and assured us that she would have a big day and not to worry about her. I was checked into the hospital and hooked up to monitors...again! My blood pressure was not alarming at all but I was registering some minor contractions. Since I had surgery 2.5 years ago to have a permanent cerclage placed (transabdominal cerclage), it is very important that I not go into full blown labor as I run the risk of it ripping out and causing serious issues for me.

The hospital doctor didn't seem concerned and since my blood pressure was within a normal range, she was planning to send me on home. It became very apparent that she (the doctor) didn't have any understanding at all about the TAC that was placed inside of me. The hospital doctor decided to check me, and it turns out I was actually dilated, which concerned us because that puts me at risk for the permanent cerclage to rip my cervix. However, the hospital doctor was not concerned.  At this point, Tanner became concerned as my contractions were picking up and he had no intention of leaving the hospital with me. He suggested that she contact either the doctor on call for my doctor or the doctor who placed the TAC since they were both extremely aware of my history and the need to be extra cautious.

We were very concerned that they were going to send me home dilated and contracting. When I was pregnant with Robby, I was sent home from the hospital (dilated and contracting) by a hospital doctor and was told that I was fine. That night I went into full blown labor with Robby, and later found out that the doctor at the hospital knew that my water was bulging at the time she sent me home, but sent me home anyway.  We know that my labor progresses extremely quickly, and we were scared that if they dismissed me that the TAC would rip and put my life and Alice Ruth’s life in danger.

I was very disappointed in the lack of knowledge that there was surrounding my permanent cerclage. During both of my visits to labor and delivery, I was made to feel bad about the fact that in 4 days, I was going to have a scheduled c-section. I was repeatedly asked by nurses and doctors why I would not even try to have a vaginal birth, even though I had already explained my permanent cerclage. In addition to my TAC, there were two other reasons for my need to have a c-section which were that I had an accessory placenta, and because of the way that Ellie had to be delivered (emergency c-section with a vertical and horizontal cut to my uterus).

Luckily, at this point in the day, a shift change happened! Two new nurses came in to introduce themselves and their faces seemed alarmed as they looked at the monitor. They both came over and felt my belly and commented on how hard it was and asked me if I was feeling that. Uh...YES! Next thing we knew.....the new hospital doctor was in and letting us know that she had placed a call to my doctor (on call) and to an on call Maternal Fetal Medicine doctor as to how we should proceed from here. Within a few minutes the hospital doctor was back saying that we would be going into surgery soon....and from that minute on, everything became a whirlwind.

Immediately there were papers to sign, an iv was put in, and surgical clothes were brought in for me and my mom. Tanner decided early in the pregnancy, that just like with Ellie’s birth,everyone would be better off with him waiting with my dad and my mom would be in surgery with me.

My dad dropped Ellie off to be with my brother and his fiance, so my mind was at completely at ease as I went into surgery-without any worries about how Ellie was doing. Very quickly we were out of the labor and delivery room and wheeling down the hallway to the operating room. Everyone was very kind and friendly...and all seemed to know my story of premature births.

I was feeling happy, anxious, and excited. It was such a different feeling than when I delivered Robby and when I delivered Ellie. It was just such a nice feeling to have, knowing that Alice Ruth had been in utero long enough to be born without the struggles that Ellie had. This c-section was very different from my c-section with Ellie, as with Ellie, it was a true emergency c-section with not much time to spare. With Alice Ruth, it needed to be done quickly for me and my body, but Alice Ruth was not in any danger. They gave my mom “the layout of the land” so to speak, what to touch, what not to touch, where to sit, and when she could and could not take pictures.The anesthesiologist was very personable and talked to us through the entire surgery.

The actual surgery did not take long at all and before I knew it, out came Alice Ruth. My first thought when I saw her was: Oh my goodness! She is so big! I got just a brief look at her as they were taking her over to clean her off and check her breathing. This is the point, the exact point, where I began to panic and the panic overtook some of the excitement I was feeling. The panic I was feeling was about:

Lung development.


Premature lung development was the reason Robby could not be saved.

Premature lung development is the reason that Ellie was on a vent for weeks on end, and then a cpap, and then a nasal cannula for her first 4+ months.

It is also the reason that Ellie was diagnosed with Chronic Lung Disease at 18 days old.

There were two nurses working on Alice Ruth and they patted her back and patted her back and patted her back. They suctioned her nose and mouth, over and over. They put the mask on her to give her breaths. All the while I could hear the beeping. It was a very familiar sound as I heard it in the NICU and then I heard for many, many months after Ellie came home. It was the beeping on a monitor and it was signaling that her oxygen level was too low.

The anesthesiologist (again) was just amazing. He kept talking to us and he kept things very light. He mentioned several times that many, many babies go to the NICU for just a very short time while the fluid clears from their lungs and their breathing evens out. As he spoke these words, I knew that he was right, but I desperately wanted my little Alice Ruth to go with me….to my room!

The surgery was completed….the doctor was finished and the room was clearing out. They started to move my bed towards the door to take me to recovery. All the while, the 2 nurses continued to work on my little one. The anesthesiologist then stopped them from moving my bed and told them that there really wasn’t any reason to make me leave Alice Ruth right now….to please give me this time with her. I could have cried. That was just the nicest thing anyone could have done for me at that particular moment.  

After (I don’t have any idea how long) a very long time, it happened. Her breathing actually became “normal!” They left Alice Ruth hooked up to the monitor so we could watch her oxygen level, and then they handed me my baby. I can’t even put into words the feeling I had as they handed her over to me!

We rode out of the operating room together. It was just the most unbelievable feeling. During Ellie’s NICU stay I watched so many women being wheeled out with their brand new babies on their chest, and now here I was able to experience this. I was able to do this thing that is so normal for everyone else.

Tanner and my dad were waiting in my recovery room which was just basically across the hall. They couldn’t believe how long it all took. After I was settled, Alice Ruth and I enjoyed time together….skin to skin.

My dad left the hospital to go and pick up Ellie and even though it was late, she came up to meet her new sister. After a short visit, my parents took my 4 year old, birthday girl, Ellie,  home to put her to bed.

Alice Ruth’s  breathing remained great and within a couple of hours, they removed the monitor from her and we had our first night together….me, Tanner, and Alice Ruth.

Sunday was a good day for both of us. I was recovering and Alice Ruth was eating, sleeping, and going through diapers….just like she should! Late on Sunday night they did a car seat test with Alice Ruth to make sure she could sit in her car seat and continue breathing regularly. The test was an hour and a half and she hated it….but she passed!

Monday morning, my 4 pound, 11 ounce Alice Ruth (she was down from her birth weight) was cleared to leave the hospital and so the only thing we were waiting on was my release. My doctor was back in town now, but I was sure she was very busy from being gone. The nurses let me know that she would not round until late that night. The gem of a nurse, Margaret, who had been taking care of Alice Ruth and me on Sunday and then again on Monday told me that she would go and call my doctor and ask if she would sign off so I could leave! I laughed….thinking she was teasing...and I said: “Just tell her it is Amanda Smith and that I am sure she knows exactly why I am so anxious to leave here with my baby!” Well, she wasn’t teasing, she did actually call my doctor, and she did tell her what I said! My doctor laughed and said yes, she knew why I needed to leave and told her to give me the dismissal.

Alice Ruth and I left the hospital less than 48 hours after my c-section….together.

This is the first time, after the births of 3 children, that my baby and I have been able to leave the hospital together.

Our little family truly has been so very blessed.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

The Love of a Parent is Forever

Holidays are difficult when you have lost a loved one. Of course every single day is difficult, but holidays seem to really be a kick in the gut. It is a time of love, laughter, and family. However, when part of your family is missing, it makes things a little (okay, a lot) sad.

When we were Christmas shopping earlier in the month, Ellie told me that she needed to buy Robby a present, so she picked out a small matchbox car. Ellie is three, and is really into every aspect of Christmas this year, so she also insisted that we wrap it up for him.

On Christmas Eve we went out to the cemetery where Robby is buried.  Ellie unwrapped Robby’s present, and played with the little red car on his stone. She had received a package in the mail  from Santa the day before, which included snow from the North Pole and some Reindeer food to sprinkle in the yard before bed on Christmas Eve. Ellie pulled both containers out of her Minnie Mouse backpack that she had packed up and then she “showed” them to Robby. She very carefully took the lid off of the snow, put her little fingers in the container,  pulled out some “snow”and then sprinkled it on his stone. She told Robby that Santa sent her this snow from his house. Then she opened up the reindeer food and did the same thing, as she let Robby know that now Rudolph would know where to find him. It broke my heart yet made my heart full all at the same time knowing that she wanted to “share” with her big brother. Her brother whom she has never actually met.  

When we go to visit Robby, I like to walk around Babyland and look at the different things that are out for the other angel babies. I  talk with Ellie about the different decorations that are out, and we say some of the baby names out loud. I like to say and hear Robby’s name said out loud because it validates his existence to me, so it has become natural to do the same for other angel babies as well. This year, I noticed several different stones that were decorated for Christmas. They were stones of babies who were born many years ago. These babies were born in 1980, 1986, 1992 and 1993. The 1992  really hit home for me because I was born in 1992. These parents,23 years later, still come to their angel baby's grave and put out Christmas decorations.

As I sat at Robby’s grave, I’m going to be honest, I cried...a lot.

I did not cry because I am living in the past.
I did not cry because I don’t appreciate the beautiful living child that I have.
I did not cry because I can’t move on.

I cried because this Christmas and every Christmas for as long as I live, I won’t ever get to see my little boy’s eyes light up on Christmas morning while opening presents.

I cried because he won’t ever have a picture with Santa.

I cried because the love of a parent is forever.

I’m praying for all of the parents who have suffered a loss- whether it has been a recent loss, or it has been many years. A loss is difficult whether it is new or old because  the love of a parent is forever.

“I'll love you forever,

I'll like you for always,

As long as I'm living,

my baby you'll be.”

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Ellie Is Three

It is hard for me to believe that three years ago today our sweet little Ellie was born. When I think back to that day, I have different feelings than what a lot of mothers have. That was such a scary day for us. When I went into labor that morning, I wanted to hope that my doctors would be able to keep Ellie in longer, but I knew that with my history, the chances were not likely. I knew that Ellie would be born soon, and that we would not make it to Thanksgiving (32 weeks) like we had been praying that we would.

For 7 weeks, there wasn’t a doctor in the NICU who would look me in the eye and tell me that Ellie would survive. It wasn’t until she was 49 days old that we received the glorious news from her NICU doctor that she would survive. Born 14 weeks too soon, she had a brain bleed, ROP (Retinopathy of prematurity), pneumonia at only a week old, Chronic Lung Disease after the first several weeks, and she was on oxygen-intubated for most of her hospital stay. She had so many setbacks, and at times I thought that the roller coaster would not ever end. We spent so much time going up and down, and then we would have some smoother days, then we would be back up and down again. Then it happened, Ellie finally came home. She came home on monitors and oxygen but she finally came home. Since then, life has not been easy.  Ellie had chronic lung disease, and because of that  we kept her isolated for such a long time in order to keep her as well as possible and to keep her from having to go back to the hospital.  We are still extremely careful about germs and what she is exposed to because  after 3 years it has become a habit more than anything, but we do continue to ease up every single day. Ellie’s doctor said a couple months ago that he believes that any and all of the problems that Ellie had when she was born have been resolved. He went on to say that he does not have any concerns about her. We are truly blessed.

Ellie was born on October 15, which happens to be a significant date for two other reasons. The first reason being that on October 15 , 2011, I found out that I was pregnant with Robby. The second reason is that it is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. The past two years I have not mentioned Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day on October 15th  because it is on the same day as Ellie’s birthday, however, I have been thinking a lot about it over these past few months, and I have started to form a new outlook on it.

Ellie’s birthday falling on October 15 is a constant reminder of how incredibly blessed we are. When Ellie was born, the outlook for her was bleak. She was so tiny when she was born- 1 pound 12 ounces. She was so small  and she looked so fragile. Her head was black  due to bruising from being stuck. We are truly blessed that she is here with us today. We are so blessed that instead of spending Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day honoring her memory like we do Robby’s memory,we are able to celebrate her life and that she is still living. Ellie’s outcome could have been so different, but it wasn’t, and for that, we praise God.Ellie brings so much joy into our lives, and she is a constant reminder of how great God is and how prayer truly does change things.  

So, today on October 15, we are going to spend the day celebrating our little miracle, Ellie. But we will also be remembering Robby,who we lost in February of 2012. 
We will be remembering the babies that I miscarried last month, in September of 2015. 
And on this awareness day, we will also be remembering all of the babies who have been taken too soon.

As we embark on Ellie becoming a “three-nager” I want to remember each and every day how blessed we are. Ellie is strong, tough, funny, loving, loud, energetic, demanding, extremely inquisitive, and a very strong willed child. We love each and every quality and characteristic that she has.  Ellie has such a strong will that some days are a challenge, but each and every challenging day is a gift, a precious gift.

Happy Birthday sweet Princess <3 We love you more than you will ever know!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Build Up Rather Than Tear Down

Grief never ends… But it changes.
It’s a passage, not a place to stay.
Grief is not a sign of weakness, nor a lack of faith…
It is the price of love.
~Author Unknown

Let’s talk about grief. Grieving is something that is brought up a lot in my blog, but I usually try to keep it to my end of year recaps, or Robby’s birthday blog. However, due to some recent events, I feel like I need to talk about it some more.

One of the many things that I have learned since starting my blog, and then starting Project Robby, is that I have opened myself up to a lot of things.

*I have opened myself up to good things such as meeting people who have such wonderful, giving hearts.
* I have opened myself up on this blog, sharing my personal thoughts,  in hopes of helping others.
*I have been connected with other loss moms.
*Through  the help of everyone who has donated, we are able to touch so many lives through Project Robby.
*We are able to bless families with hats and blankets that fit their tiny child. They have something special, and they are reminded that their child, no matter how early or tiny is special too.  

And, for all of these things, I am truly thankful. I have been blessed beyond measure!

However, in the past couple of days I have realized that along with all of the good things, I have also opened myself up to something that does not feel very good and something I did not expect- judgement.

As many loss moms know, grief is something that people very openly have an opinion on.  I am sorry to say that in the past I have been judged by a few extended family members and friends before, and I have learned how to accept their opinions, forgive them, and move on. However, up until a few days ago I had never  felt or realized that people who don’t really know me and are not apart of my life were also judging me openly and publicly. Judging me in the way that I am dealing with my grief from losing Robby.  After experiencing it, I can say first hand that it is a terrible feeling.

So, I would like to try to turn a negative (people judging my grief journey publicly) into a positive ( that someone might take a little bit of what I am saying in my blog and apply it) .

I will not get into the details of what all happened because the details truly don’t matter. However, I do feel that maybe God put this event in my life for a reason, and maybe that reason is for me write this blog. Maybe there is someone else out there who needs to read this. So, if you are someone who has experienced a loss,  if you are a family member of someone who has experienced a loss, a friend of someone who has experienced a loss, or maybe even just  someone who is looking for some perspective on the subject- this blog is for you.

Grief is something that is so very personal, and we all grieve in our own ways. One of my biggest pieces of advice to other loss moms (and dads) is to grieve however you need to grieve and grieve however long you need to grieve. Even with my recent run in with others judging me, this is still some of my biggest advice. I stand by that statement with my whole heart. I feel that you are not truly working through your grief if you speed up the process just to make someone else happy, or to dodge some judgement.  I have learned that if I step back quietly during rough patches of my grief I get labeled “insensitive,” “living in the past,” and “lacking compassion,” however, if I try to explain why I am stepping back quietly I get labeled “ insensitive,” lacking compassion,” and “living in the past.”

Do what you feel in your heart to be right- for you'll be criticized anyway. You'll be damned if you do, and damned if you don't.
So, before you offer an opinion to someone for how they are grieving, I want you to stop, think, and then keep it to yourself.

Please do not ever tell a grieving parent that they are not “normal.” I will tell you what isn’t “normal,”- having to bury your child. Trust me, that is not normal. Please do not tell them that they are bad parents to their living children because they are walking the path of grief. Being a grieving parent does not make you a bad parent!  It also doesn’t make you a bad parent when you talk about your child that has passed away  with your living child. Please do not try to tell someone that you “understand” their grief because you have a friend who suffered a miscarriage. Unless you have actually walked in the same shoes  as the mother who has lost her child, please just tell them how sorry you are that they are having to walk this path.

Before I lost Robby, I had no idea what to say and what to not say to someone who had lost a child.. I had no idea that certain things were so hurtful to parents who had lost a child. As part of my grief journey, I have been able to realize that most people say things so innocently, without realizing they are hurting me, and certainly not thinking that their words could be hurtful. Now, at this point in my grief journey, I am able to look past those innocent things, and take them simply as words spoken in an effort to be helpful. Unfortunately, I have learned that there are still people out there who intentionally say things to hurt me because in their minds my grief journey is not justified.  Instead of telling someone how they should be grieving, please tell them that if they need anything you are there for them. Whether it has been 10 days since their loss or 10 years since their loss, just be there for them.

“Grief is like the ocean; it comes on waves ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn to swim.”

I love that quote because it is so accurate. There are days, weeks, and even months now that are not very hard at all, but then there are days that the pain of missing Robby hits me like a wave. Am I sad all of the time now? No, I can honestly say that I am not. Do I miss my little boy? Yes, I miss him fiercely.  However, unlike after he first died, I do not sit at home and cry all day. Did I when he first died? Yes, I did.  After Robby died I just stayed at home so that I did not have to be around anyone, especially young children! That was where I was in my grief journey then (nearly 3 ½ years ago), but thanks to supportive friends and family, I have come so far from that.

When I think of Robby or talk about him with Ellie, I have a smile on my face because Robby was a blessing. When I talk to Ellie about her big brother, Robby, it is not ever in a sad way because I do not want her to think that Robby’s memory brings me sadness. Robby’s memory brings me joy because he  is my child. I wish he were here with us, but that is not our reality. However, someday we will all be together again in Heaven, and what a glorious day that will be.

I am thankful for Project Robby, because it has helped me to heal. I talked about Robby in public for the very first time during my KWCH 12 interview. It was a hard step to make because it made me vulnerable, but it was a step forward in my grieving process. Unfortunately, I have recently learned that there are people who might think that Project Robby is just a way for me to continue to “live in the past.” Let me be very clear here with my response to that, “It is not!” Project Robby is a way for me to take the pain of losing Robby, and turn it into something positive- which is to help other families who have lost a child. It is our mission to make sure that parents who have lost babies know that their baby was special, and is important. Through Project Robby, we want to make sure that each family has something special for their baby, and something special for the parents to hold onto. Working through my grief will be a lifelong process, and I want to help other families who are beginning their process. I want them to know that there is someone out there who understands.

“Sometimes the people around you won't understand your journey. They don't need to, it's not for them.”

I actually have a list of “milestones” if you will, that I want to be able to achieve. Goals. Steps forward in my grief journey. So far, I have marked off many of these milestones, and I think that in the next couple of weeks I am going to be able to cross off a major one as a dear friend of mine is expecting a little boy and she is due anytime now. I am so excited for her and her husband, and I can not wait to meet my (honorary) nephew! That will be a blog for a different day though! I want to thank this friend for the grace that she has shown to me during her pregnancy. She has been so kind, thoughtful, and compassionate and for that I am truly thankful. She is a wonderful friend, and I can’t wait to watch her experience the joy of having a baby!

I want to thank my family and friends who have stuck by me in this ocean of grief. Waves come, but then they settle, and I am thankful for those who have stuck those waves out with me. I am thankful for those who held my hand during those waves. However,  there are some people who have not stuck with me during the waves, and that is okay. It really is okay! Some people can not handle the waves, and some people want me to just act as if the waves are not there.  The waves will always come, but with the help of supportive family and friends I can swim through those waves, and thankfully those waves are not very fierce anymore.

The people who have stuck with me have been able to see my progress. My progress might be slow, but the friends and family who have been there  with me through the waves have been able to witness how far I have come. I have found that the people who judge me the most are those who could not handle holding my hand through the waves, and therefore dropped out. Unfortunately, they still think that I am at the same place in my journey that I was when they couldn’t handle to hold on any longer.  I wish that they could see how far my journey has come. I do not blame these people for not holding on during the waves, this is a hard journey. I am so grateful to the people who have stuck it out with me, because I know it has not been easy!

I will say it one last time:

Before you  offer your opinion to  someone for how they are grieving, I want you to stop, think, and then just don’t say it.

Next time you are tempted to pass judgement on grieving parents, I want you to really think about your words. Try to find a way to build them up and make sure that your words won’t tear them down instead. Maybe instead of judging this person you could do something helpful. Maybe  you could donate to a cause that is in place to help grieving families.

If you are experiencing a fierce wave of grief, or if you have questions on what you can do to help someone who is dealing with the loss of a child, please feel free to email me at:
projectrobby24@gmail.com . I would be very happy to lend an ear, pray for you, or try to help in any way that I can.

I have compiled a list of places other than Project Robby that help grieving families, and I encourage you to, instead of judging someone, help make a difference. Instead of spewing judgment, spread love <3

  • Molly Bears
  • Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep
  • Compassionate Friends
  • The Tears Foundation

“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view... Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Anniversary Ramblings

Four years ago today,  Tanner and I had an absolutely perfect, fairy tale wedding. On one of the happiest days of our lives we stood up in front of our family and friends, and we promised to love each other for the rest of our lives.

We promised to love each other for better or worse

Through richer or poorer.

In sickness and in health.

In good times and in bad.

Aside from the “richer” part of the vows, we have so far experienced each and every one one of the other things that we vowed. Actually,  we hit all of those milestones before we even celebrated our first anniversary. Just as we promised, we have loved each other through poorer, sickness, health, good times, and bad times.

Disney has given us the phrase “Happily Ever After,” but we all know that in reality this doesn't happen! I have learned  that it is okay to not have the perfect or the fairy tale marriage all of the time. Honestly, there is no such a thing as a “perfect marriage.” We live in an age where social media is a portal into other people’s lives. It can be an amazing thing, but it can also be extremely misleading. I know that we have all felt the need and the pressure to make things seem better than they really are for the purpose of Facebook. We want the world to think that everything is going great all of the time.

Unfortunately, life is not perfect all of the time!

I feel that Tanner and I  have a very good marriage but in all honesty, our marriage has not always been easy. Actually, at times I can say that it has been downright frustrating!

We have had so many good times. We have shared so many wonderful memories together, from the birth of our daughter, to spending holidays together, to celebrating each others accomplishments,  to everyday fun times and memories.  These are all things that have enriched our lives and strengthened our marriage.

However, we have also had disagreements, and there are times that we do not see eye to eye on things. We have learned to respect each others opinions because we are not the same person and we each have our own thoughts, ideas, wishes, desires, and even dreams.  This is part of what keeps our marriage exciting!

This past week we filled out a questionnaire that was circulating on Facebook(you will be able to read it at the end of this), and one of the questions was “how are you alike.” We both very confidently answered that we are not at all alike. We are two very different people which is one of the things that attracted me to Tanner nearly 8 years ago. Although we are extremely different from each other, we are still so very in love with each other.  Since we are opposites in many ways,  of course we have disagreements. Sometimes it is difficult to find a way to meld our dreams together, and it does take sacrifice on both ends. In my opinion, that is a big part of having a happy marriage- learning to communicate thoughts and feelings and then being able to compromise. One of the hardest things for me and Tanner has been to find ways to communicate our feelings with each other. This is where the frustrating part really comes in! Communication can be hard!

What I can say about the rough times is that everything that we have been through,the good and the bad, has made us stronger as individuals, and definitely stronger as a couple. I feel that we have done a good job of working together and finding ways to work through the difficult times in our marriage.

As everyone knows, Tanner and I  married at what most consider to be a young age. When we got married, we knew that we would have challenges, but we also knew that getting married was what was best for us, and it was what we wanted. Although our marriage hasn't been rainbows and unicorns every single minute of the past four years, it truly has been a wonderful four years. We have had some trying times, but how could we appreciate the good times without the trying times? Tanner and I are blessed to have a wonderful family who has loved and supported us through our marriage. I would like to offer a big “thank you” to my parents. They are especially appreciated because they have been such a wonderful example to us.

We have changed a lot in the last four years, but our love has grown and changed with us. We have changed for the better and we have done it together.

For your enjoyment, Tanner and I both took the quiz about each other, and here are the results :

1. What is something your husband always says to you? How much did that cost?

2. What makes your husband happy? Family dinners

3. What makes your husband sad? When I eat his dessert.

4. How does your husband make you laugh? Tanner tends to speak before he thinks which results in some pretty funny things coming out of his mouth!

5. What was your husband like as a child? Hyper and not very good at minding.

6. How old is your husband? 23

7. How tall is your husband? Taller than me, but short enough that I have to be careful how tall my wedges are.

8. What is his favorite thing to do? Just sit down and relax

9. What does your husband do when you're not around? Smoke cigars, drink QT drinks, and eat QT roller food

10. If your husband becomes famous, what will it be for? Having such an amazing wife ;)

11. What is your husband really good at? He’s a really good people person

12. What is your husband not very good at? Paying attention to directions

13. What does your husband do for a job? Drives around and sells stuff

14.What is your husband’s  favorite food? My mom’s creamy taco and homemade, iced brownie

15.What makes you proud of your husband? His dedication to me and to Ellie.

16. If your husband  were a character, who would he be? Tigger

17. What do you and your husband  do together? We watch How I Met Your Mother

18. How are you and your husband the same? We aren’t the same- at all.

19. How are you and your husband different? I’m a perfectionist, and he is not.

20. How do you know your husband loves you? He has always been so supportive of all of my dreams. He has been supportive of my dreams for Project Robby, and my dreams for continuing my education.

21. What does your husband like most about you? My dedication to shopping at Target all of the time instead of Von Maur.

22. Where is your husband’s  favorite place to go?The Shop ( The building where my dad runs his business)


1. What is something your wife always says to you? That's got germs on it
( I of course corrected him:  I say that HAS germs on it!)

2. What makes your wife happy? Crafting

3. What makes your wife sad? We don’t have a pool

4. How does your wife make you laugh? Her witty banter

5. What was your wife like as a child? Perfect

6. How old is your wife? 23

7. How tall is your wife? 5’ 4 ½”

8. What is her favorite thing to do? Go shopping

9. What does your wife do when you're not around? She's a mom

10. If your wife becomes famous, what will it be for? Writing a book

11. What is your wife really good at? Correcting me

12. What is your wife not very good at? Navigating  and deciding where to eat

13. What does your wife do for a job? She's a mom

14.What is your wife's favorite food? Mexican

15.What makes you proud of your wife? She’s following what she wants to do and  making her dreams happen

16. If your wife were a character, who would she be?  What's the one from Sleeping Beauty? Belle?
( I would like to point out that this is a direct quote!  Yes, I think Tanner  needs to brush up on his Disney Princess knowledge! )

17. What do you and your wife do together? Do you really want me to say this one out loud?  

18. How are you and your wife the same? We're not

19. How are you and your wife different? She doesn't eat Sonic Ice Cream

20. How do you know your wife loves you? She makes me lunches

21. What does your wife like most about you? I work hard

22. Where is your wife's favorite place to go? Target