Friday, June 22, 2012

10 years

10 years ago, surrounded by my family and friends, I married my best friend and the love of my life.  Cheesy maybe but it is true.  It was definitely one of the best days of my life and there has not been one second in the past 10 years that I have regretted saying "I do."  I know just how much God has blessed me with an amazing husband and a happy marriage and I am so thankful!

We were married in Reid Chapel at Samford University... the place we met 4 years earlier

I'm so thankful for my mom and all she did to make the day perfect

So many friends and family came to the wedding and it meant so much to me
My grandparents have passed away but I love having these pictures of them and knowing they got to be a part of my wedding

Josh with his brother and mom
I love the family I married into!

I love these girls and I'm so glad each one was there to stand with me at my wedding

This may be my favorite wedding picture.  I tried to make it down the aisle on my own but couldn't do it so Josh came to walk me the rest of the way.  I have tears in my eyes just thinking about it.  I love him!

so HAPPY saying "I DO!"

Mr. and Mrs. Josh Knierim

a picture of my grandparents that I will always treasure

cutting the cake
(the groom's cake was really my favorite.  I'm a chocolate kind of girl)

One very special moment during the reception was when my sorority sisters stood in a circle around me and sang two special songs to our sorority. These girls really were like sisters to me during my years at Samford (and beyond)

bubbles!! Hawaii here we come

We were married before all pictures were digital so all I had of my wedding pictures was the original book I was given.  This terrified me!  I finally had every picture scanned and put on a CD at Wolf Camera.  Easily the best $30 ever spent!

My 10 Favorite Days

In honor of the Tenth Anniversary of our Wedding, I have put together a list of ten of my favorite days with Jennifer Hrabovsky Knierim.

1.     The Day We Met.  Jenn and I met at Samford’s summer orientation in 1998.  She sat by me in the chapel while we waited for the orientation to begin.  We barely talked, but I could tell she was someone that I would want to know.  Over the weekend we would talk a little, but we didn’t really know each other well at that point.

2.     The Day We Ate at Chili’s.  Before we ever really got serious or were really even dating, Jenn and I had dinner at Chili’s in Homewood, AL.  At this dinner I realized that Jenn was the woman I was supposed to marry. Our dreams and life priorities were nearly identical.  On top of that, we had a good time at a Chili’s, and if you find someone who makes eating at Chili’s a good experience, marry them right away.

3.     The Day We Got Married.  On June 22nd, 2002, Jenn and I were married in the chapel where we met four years earlier.  It was an amazing day.  Our wedding day philosophy was that the wedding was a party we were throwing for ourselves, and it worked out amazingly.  We had a blast, and it was a perfect way to have all of our friends and family there, including many who have now passed away.  Jenn looked amazing as a bride, and I was never prouder that she would choose to bind her life with mine.  Also, we came away with about 250 chicken fingers, so there is that.

4.     The Day We Changed Our Entire Life Plan.  A day or two before graduating from college and then getting married, I called Jenn and told her that I no longer felt like we were supposed to move to New Orleans for seminary.  Despite the fact that everything was all set and we had a plan to move there a month later, she totally trusted me.  We ended up quickly finding an apartment and then I got a job and she began school at Alabama.  I would get into a Beeson a semester later and the story goes on from there.  Before we were even married Jenn and I were on the same page and had faith that God was calling us to something that didn’t make a great deal of sense but was the right thing to do.

5.     The Day with the Orphans.  As a part of Jenn’s job as an international adoption social worker, we had the opportunity to go to Guatemala and stay in an orphanage.  Having the opportunity to minister to and care for the orphans in Guatemala with Jenn was a powerful experience.  I was able to see just how loving Jenn was and how much love she was capable of.  Being able to experience the orphanage and the ministry together helped us grow in our faith and in our commitment to being a couple who saw serving God as our number one priority.

6.     The Day We Saw the Coliseum.  Several years ago we had the opportunity to go to Paris and Rome.  It was a once in a lifetime trip, and we loved every minute of it.  We were like children who are discovering the world.  Each day we saw something fantastic and new.  One day we were exploring Rome (I refuse to use a tour guide as I consider myself an awesome traveler) and we turned a corner and there was the Coliseum standing in front of us.  It was breathtaking moment, and I loved sharing it with Jenn.  She was also very gracious to have walked with me into every church in Rome and Paris.

7.     The Day Isabel Was Born.  Like our wedding day, this day was a day that completely changed our lives.  We never could have imagined the joy and the meaning behind having a daughter.  It was an incredible day that ushered in a whole new phase for our lives.  There is no one who I would rather enter into the world of parenting more than Jenn.

8.     The Day We Moved to Tennessee.  Jenn had never lived outside of Birmingham, and moving to Hendersonville meant leaving all of her friends and family.  It was a big move, but Jenn never wavered as we saw it as God’s plan for us.  Even being eight months pregnant did not stop her enthusiasm for the move.  She was not, however, very helpful in carrying things upstairs.  Living in Hendersonville has been better than we could have ever dreamed as we lead students to become fully committed followers of Christ and as we watch our own children grow into the people we hope they become.

9.     The Day William Was Born.  Isabel and William are such blessings for us.  When William was born we had such a sense of family.  Watching Isabel meet him for the first time and being able to think about what it would be like to be a father to a boy was so humbling.  Knowing that William would have such an incredible mother set my mind at ease when I considered how nervous I was about raising a son and being a great example.

10.  Today.  Today is one of my favorite days because every day with Jenn is a day to grow in our relationship.  Every day brings new things and deeper understanding of what it means to become one person when it would seem that we are very much two people.  I thank God each day that God saw fit to have me sit next to Jenn at that orientation.  His hand has been on our relationship from the beginning, and I am excited to see what the next 10 years and the next 100 years brings (I am assuming people will live that long with advances in medicine).

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The beginning of the story....

For over 5 years now this blog has been our family scrapbook and I love having all of the big events and just fun memories of our life recorded.  I was thinking the other day how much I wish blogs were around when Josh and I first met or were first married.  Of course, there were not even digital pictures at that point (yes, we are old) so it wouldn't have worked but I still wish those events were recorded.  Well, why not go back and include some now?

How we met.....

Josh and I met in June 1998 while at the summer orientation weekend before starting Samford a few months later.  We were sitting together in Reid chapel, a place where we would be married almost exactly 4 years later.  To be honest, our moms were actually the ones sitting next to each other and talking.  I'm pretty sure Josh and I probably looked at each other and maybe waved. We did eventually have an actual conversation and became friends during that weekend. 

In order to make a long story short, I'll summarize a little here.  For the first year and a half of college, Josh and I were friends.  We hung out with the same group of friends, went to sorority/fraternity parties in the same group but not with each other, and I even dated his best friend.  I always thought he was the greatest guy and even my mom knew him and liked him but we really were just friends.
Things started to change a little right after our freshman year of college.  About a week after we got out of school my mom and I were in a bad wreck.  Most of my injuries were to my face and I looked pretty terrible.  Josh happened to be driving through Birmingham (after visiting a girl he was kind of dating-ha!) the day after I got home from the hospital and called me to see if he could stop by to see me.  I told him that he couldn't because I had been in an accident and looked terrible.  A few close friends and the guy I was dating at the time had come to see me but I didn't want to see a lot of people.  A little while later Josh showed up at the door with a dozen pink roses for me!  He was so nice to me and I can remember thinking at the time that he was being sweeter and more compassionate than the guy I was dating.  I think that was when I started to realize just how amazing he was but we remained friends for a few more months....
The second semester of our sophomore year Josh and I had an astronomy class together.  I think we used that class as a reason to call each other for months.  At that point neither of were dating anyone and everyone around us constantly made comments about our relationship but we assured them we were just friends.  We studied together and started spending more and more time together.  We had an astronomy lab once a week that was over about an hour or so before we usually ate dinner.  Instead of going to our rooms, Josh and I would sit on a bench in the quad and just talked.  We literally talked about anything and everything and I eventually realized that our"friendship" was not just a friendship anymore.
Our first official date was on March 18, 2000.  Josh invited me to his fraternity's St. Patrick's day party.  I can still remember seeing our friends faces when they realized that we had finally admitted what they had known for months.  We really liked each other and although I love that our relationship began with a strong friendship, it had moved well beyond just friends!

**One day I'll have to get Josh to write his version of the story.  It is a little different than my perspective! :)

Monday, June 18, 2012

Father's Day 2012

We had a fun day celebrating Josh this Father's Day.  It is hard to give him a relaxing day when Sunday is definitely not a "day off" for a minister but we still had a good day.  After church we had a great lunch and then spent the rest of the day at home playing outside.  He may have done some yard work but I promise I didn't tell him to! :)

My kids have no idea how lucky they are to have such a great dad but I know and I never want to take him for granted!  He has been such a hands-on dad from day one and I'm so thankful that he puts his family first and genuinely enjoys being with his kids.  He provides the best example of a Godly man for Will and shows Isabel how a man should treat his wife and children. 

I filled out a Father's day questionnaire with Isabel and Will and these were some of my favorite responses.....

Will said:
My daddy is really good
My favorite things to do with daddy are.... play in the gym, play basketball and play baseball.
I'm just like my dad because I .....have a cool hair cut (This made me laugh so hard. We got his hair cut earlier that day and he was very proud of it!!)

Isabel said:
My dad's job is... preaching at Sunday School
He's smart because he much I love him.
I'm happy when my here.

Will was so excited to wake up from his nap and see that daddy was home after being at camp for a few days.  He needed to snuggle and watch some soccer with daddy! :)

We love you, Josh!  Happy Father's Day!

painting and reading with Grams

Josh took the 3rd-5th graders at our church to camp for a few days last week so my mom came to stay with us.  We had so much fun.  We spent an entire day at the pool but I think my kids' favorite part was all of the things my mom brings with her.  You gotta love a grandma who is also a kindergarten teacher.  She came with a trunk full of blocks, magnets, books, arts and craft supplies and so much more. 

"finger painting" with zip lock bags...thank you pinterest!

Isabel loves when Grams brings books from her kindergarten class.  It makes her feel so old that she can read "real" kindergarten books.  Will likes to "read" them too! :)

Friday, June 15, 2012

pool day!

We spent most of the day at the pool yesterday and the kids loved every second of it.  Both kids have been taking swim lessons for the past 2 weeks and have come so far since last year.  Unlike the beginning of summer last year, Will loves the water and Isabel has gotten a lot braver.  According to her swim teacher, Isabel could tread water, float on her back, etc by herself if she would only let the teacher let go.  Instead she freaks out as soon as she feels that hand (of finger) leave her body and then goes under.  I'm hoping she will get a little braver over the summer and will realize that she can do it all on her own. 

I'm not sure if this really counts as floating on your back but she is really proud of it anyway!

I'm looking forward to many more days at the pool this summer.  While I know I am still years away from relaxing at the pool while the kids swim, I will say that it is much easier this year.  In fact while they played in the baby pool (only because it was break time in the big pool and they had to) my mom and I actually sat in a chair and just watched from there.  That is a big step in my book!

Monday, June 11, 2012

crazy boy

Like I explained here, Will has a new bedtime ritual that involves some playing before he falls asleep.  Usually we can tell when is about to go to sleep because the noise level increases significantly as he stacks the toys on the side of his bed so he can sleep.  Last night we thought he was putting his toys away but we were wrong.  This is what I found when I went to check on him before I went to sleep:

Yes, he is under his pillows and all of his toys are still all over the bed.  I guess he just fell asleep while he was playing.  This kid just makes me laugh.