Our wedding anniversary fell upon the tail end of the week. Ryan and i were in need of some good quiet time alone to celebrate!
The day of our anniversary, Saturday, was like any old burkart family day. On Saturday nights, i have been typically going to the grocery store - after church and when the kids are settling down for bed. When i got home from the store, both kids were asleep, and Ryan helped me unload the groceries and he put them away for me. Then he called me into the office where he wanted me to sit down. He sat in front of me with his "trusty buddy" his guitar. He sang me a song that he had written for our 5 year anniversary. Of course, i teared up. It was so sweet! (i love his voice) I decided to give him his little gift too. 5 year anniversary is "wood." I found a wooden box and painted it and put our initials on top. (kind of cheesy yes.)
This box is our "vow" box. We decided when we were first married, that we wanted to renew our vows every 5 years. The past 5 years have been filled with celebrations, 2 kids, losses of family members, financial struggle, military, 2 apartments, one house, a dog, renewed faith, financial victories, and heavenly experiences and lessons. That is a lot for just 5 years! Needless to say, our marriage was stretched and refined in every way possible. After all of these things that we have gone through together since we were first married...we have changed and grown as a couple and as individuals. It just makes sense to renew our commitment to one another.
For our wedding we had written our own vows on paper. For every 5 year anniversary, we are going to write out our new vows and put them in the box.
Box of Vows
Sunday, my mom was able to watch the boys so we could go out on a date and renew our vows. Our plans kept changing the week before due to James being sick. But Sunday was perfect! The weather was gorgeous! My mom came over about 1130am, so we went out for some lunch. We had tried to make reservations at a restaurant on the Banks in Cincinnati, but since there was a Reds game that day, everything was crowded! We decided to take a little simpler route. We ate at one of my favorite restaurants Indigos. It is over in Fort Mitchell, KY - where we used to live. When we were first married, we had many date nights there. It was a yummy lunch!
We just had to eat outside - so pretty out!
After we were full from the delicious food, Ryan drove us to our very first apartment in Fort Mitchell. It was crazy seeing that place. A place where we had no heat and no air conditioning. It was a difficult place to live at, but some of our best memories were there. (you just have to have a sense of humor in those kind of situations) I remembered sometimes our front door would get stuck to where i could not open up the door when i got home from work - i would have to sit and wait for Ryan to get home from work or ask our neighbors to help me push the door open. haha! We did have an electric blanket (heated) that we had gotten as a gift for our wedding - what a blessing since we didn't have any heat! On those freezing cold mornings it was so hard to get out of bed because it would be freezing outside of the covers. Some mornings we could see our breath. We would usually run and use the bathroom and hurry back in bed where it was warm. Though that place was a real "challenge" it was where we had our first Christmas together and even our first fight....those two kind of came hand in hand. haha! (Ryan was never really into the whole Christmas thing - being away in the military...and well, he would always say i was the "Christmas spirit." haha!) We will never forget that place. It is an amazing place to really put into perspective how far we have come...how far God has brought us. Not just in a material sense but also a marriage sense.
Next we drove to Devout Park. We probably spent more time at that park than we did in our actual apartment when we were first married. We even had our engagement pictures taken there. We found our little date spot - a quiet place under the shade of some trees.
It was so peaceful...the only thing you could hear was the nice warm breeze. Once we settled on our picnic comforter, we exchanged our wedding vows. Renewing our marriage commitment and reassuring our love for one another. Such a beautiful thing. After we had our sweet kiss, we just laid there and stared up at the sky in silence. Silence is a rare thing once you have kids. It was so nice....relaxing...just what we needed. :)
Sadly our date had to end because we had two youngens waiting for us back at home. But it was such a perfect anniversary.
It is always so good to think back...and see how far you have come. You will be amazed at all that God has brought you through. Our marriage was tested and tried. So many days we wanted to run away from the responsibilities as a spouse and parent. I annoyed the crap out of Ryan and still can annoy the crap out of him just as he can get under my skin. But after 5 years of marriage, i can say that my wedding day was not the best day of my life....it lead up to the best days of life! Days filled with tears, laughter, poopy diapers, date nights, foot rubs, Parks and Rec, prayer, peanut butter, and kisses. The hard days can be the best...they make you a better person...a stronger person.
Being with Ryan has made me a better person. He challenges me and encourages me. I try to do the same for him. I know that i could not love another man as much as i love him. I am so thankful for all that we have been through! I know we will go through so much more, but just knowing that we are committed helps me walk forward willingly.
I love you Ryan Burkart, my best friend and lova! haha.