Happy Anniversary Karen:13 years in 13 pictures

The wedding announcement in the local paper. We're kind of a big deal.

Dear Karen,

Happy 13th anniversary. I love you. Here’s a recap of the first 13.

We met on March 27th, 1998 in Murfreesboro, TN. 3 months later we were engaged and planned the wedding for March 27th, 1999. Here we are looking very young before heading off to have our engagement pictures made. You were 21, I was old…24.

Mercy. How’d a short smelly wrestler with perpetual mat burns on his face get such a hot chick? After the wedding we moved to Seabrook Island, SC near Charleston.

This picture was taken in our backyard. (Yes, that’s the ocean). I’m convinced living on our own far away helped us establish our marriage. It gave us the strength we’d need in the years to come. We loved Seabrook, but eventually grad school called us back to TN.

We got jobs and bought a new car. Apparently, I also wore khakis back then. We moved from Murfreesboro to Columbia and then to our current home in Spring Hill. We went to Key West and the Caribbean. We were planning to go back to Seabrook. 5 years in to our marriage Isabella Hope was born.

For a long time we thought it would just be the 3 of us. We did lots of fun stuff as a family; we even went to Hawai’i.

We wanted more children, but it didn’t seem like it was going to happen for us. Then this:

God gave us Max and Kate. But it wasn’t easy. They wanted to be born early, so you lived at Baptist Hospital for 10 weeks. Izzy and I had to learn to live without you, but we visited every day:

Then we learned how to live as a “NICU family” for months after Max and Kate were born 10 weeks early.

It was hard, but we made it…then they got sick and we went back to the NICU again. But we made it again.

Life has been wild and crazy ever since.

Izzy broke both of her arms falling off of the monkey bars, but has become an awesome gymnast anyway. Our house was destroyed by a hail storm. My mom got cancer and survived. Your parents each had major surgery. You had cancer removed from your leg. We went to Charleston alot, Florida a lot, Boulder, Austin, and Disney. I’m sure we did some other stuff too.

Now that 24 year old and 21 year old in that first picture are a “little older” and are responsible for raising these:

Sometimes its scary. Sometimes it hard. But its always beautiful and I wouldn’t trade my life for the world. It’s been an awesome journey with you, baby. We’re still dreaming of that first year on the island and I’ve always promised you we’d be back there eventually. I intend to keep that promise. I love you. Looking forward to living the rest of our wild and crazy life together. Someday we’ll sit on our porch, sip boat drinks, and watch the sun set over the island while our grand kids play on North Beach.

Happy Anniversary.

– Chad

Training:

Monday: Ran 5.5 miles including a climb up “the mountain” in Cool Springs

Tuesday: Swam 1800 yards with a main set of 3 x 400