But, I digress. Back to the special events of the past month...
First, there was Mother's Day. We went to early service at church with Ronda and the boys, then to brunch at Acapulco's, a local Mexican restaurant. After that, at Ronda's request, we all visited the cemetery and placed some flowers on Mary's headstone. Rusty and Alex both gave me very sweet cards, along with gift cards to Bath and Body Works and Bed, Bath and Beyond.
Me and my precious boy!
Me and my one and only sissy-in-law!
May 19th, we celebrated Rusty's 34th birthday. Ronda kept Alex all afternoon so the two of us could go to lunch and then to see Spiderman 3. Later that evening, we had cheesecake and chai, two of Rusty's favorite things! It was a much more low-key celebration than the party I threw him last year, but it was still a special time.
Rusty, Ronda, and "the nephews"
Rusty blows out his candlesMay 25th, we celebrated Ronda's birthday. Officially, she is "29 and holding" for the 8th time. (I'll let you figure out how old she really is!) I baked her a German chocolate cake which we ate outside in the front yard since it was such a gorgeous day. Then, we got a baby-sitter for Alex so we could all go see "Pirates of the Carribean 3" (BIG disappointment, even bigger than the second one, but we will not speak of such things here).
The birthday girl
Alex and Daddy share a piece of cake
On Memorial Day, we visited Willamette National Cemetery, where Rusty's parents and my grandfather are all buried. It is truly an amazing and humbling sight to see the hillsides covered with tiny, fluttering flags, and to think that each one represents an individual (or a spouse) who has served our country in some capacity through the years. After that, we went to a barbeque at some friends' from church. They live out in the country, and Alex just had a ball! He got to see sheep for the first time, and play with several dogs. There were several kids there, all older than him, but he enjoyed trying to keep up with them and being pulled in the wagon.
Rusty's parents headstone
My grandfather's headstoneThat evening, we drove up to Seattle to spend a few days with Rusty's cousin Linda and her family. The next day, May 29th, was our 8th anniversary. Linda kept Alex for the night so the two of us could enjoy an overnight getaway. It feels like forever since we have gotten to do something like that! It was my first time to leave Alex for a whole night, but it wasn't as traumatic as I thought it might be. I knew Alex was in great hands and would have a great time. Linda's four kids just dote on Alex, so he certainly didn't lack for attention!
We went to a little bed and breakfast on Whidbey Island in the Puget Sound. It was a truly lovely spot, and we were the only guests that night, so we had the place all to ourselves. There was a hot tub and a great hammock big enough for both of us to read in! We enjoyed a walk through the little town and a delicious dinner at a restaurant called the Edgecliff with a gorgeous view of the sound.
8 years and counting!
I have been doing a lot of reflecting lately on where we were a year ago. May 29th, 2006 -- about one month before we found out Rusty's mom had a terminal brain tumor and our whole world turned upside down. The last year has been, without a doubt, THE most difficult and stressful one we have lived through in our 8 years together. There is a "stress scale" that Rusty remembers studying in one of his counseling classes that rates different life events according to how much stress they bring to your life. Almost every single one of those events has happened to our family in the last 15 months. Birth of a baby... loss of a home... loss of a job... moving (international moves are much more stressful than domestic moves, just for the record)... caring for a loved one through a debliltating illness... death of a parent... financial difficulties.
I say all this, not because I'm feeling sorry for myself or because I want anyone to pity us, but because I want to celebrate that through it all, our marriage has not only survived, but grown stronger. Oh, sure there have been some difficult moments, frustrations, angry words, hurt feelings, a multitude of tears. But I don't think either of us ever questioned our commitment to each other for a minute. I always felt secure, knowing that whatever the future held for us, we would be facing it together.
Rusty said it best the other day when he said, "If our marriage survived this year, I'm pretty sure it could survive anything." Here's to another eight years!