Embracing Change: A Love Story

This post has been brewing for a long time. It all started with a question quite a few months ago; I’ll get to that. I was going to write it yesterday but the day came and went. But here it comes.

Yesterday, my husband and I celebrated 18 years of being “John and Chrissy.” 18 years as a couple. Our story began in 4th grade when we sat next to each other. I moved to a different community for middle school but then came back for high school. The rest is history. We started dating freshman year and have been “us” every since.

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Freshman Year, 1999

A few months ago I went to have a coffee date with a new friend. We were doing the usual “get to know each other” question and answer session. She asked me, referring to my husband and I being together so long, “Have you guys changed a lot?” My immediate response, with a laugh, “Pshhh, no!” I didn’t realize the impact of that question. I have thought of that question almost every day since then.

When I initially asked myself the question again, my reasoning for the NO answer was this: I am still the goof I was in high school. He’s still the muscle that can pick me up and swing me over his shoulder. We still listen to the same music. He still drives and I passenger. We are still together so of course we haven’t changed. But then I continued to ask myself the question over and over since then and I keep realizing, we are totally NOT the same people that we were when we first met, or got married, and we definitely aren’t the same couple after all these years.

The easiest change to see, we are now parents. And even that has changed in the 9 years since we had our daughter. But the other changes might not be as obvious, even to the people who know us best.

The first thing I think of is the way we eat. On our 1 year dating anniversary, John took me out to a super fancy seafood restaurant, not realizing I didn’t eat any sort of seafood. I filled up on bread and ordered a chicken meal. It took me a good 15 years to live that one down. “Remember the time I took you out for fish and you ordered the chicken?” When we were first married I don’t think I ever cooked a vegetable. We ate meat with rice or pasta. We ate out a lot. It wasn’t until about 5 years ago we decided to make changes in our diet. And it wasn’t until just last year that we really decided we were going to clean out our cabinets and start from scratch and start eating clean. Vegetables are now one of our favorite things to eat! And I LOVE seafood!! And I cook wayyyy more often than I ever did; we rarely eat out.

We grew up in southern California. I am not trying to say that there are only two types of people in SoCal, but for this blog there are two types of people; fancy people and hippies. Maybe instead of fancy I could call them lavish. In my opinion, lavish people want a perfect house, the perfect clothes, the perfect tan. Hippies are carefree, they differentiate between wants and needs, and they care more about other people than themselves. I would say we grew up being a healthy mix of those two. We lived in a pretty great neighborhood with all the things we wanted, could go to the beach to get our perfect tans, but were also pretty grounded with good heads on our shoulders and good morals.

When we were first married I think we wanted to be the lavish kids we thought we were. We bought all the things we wanted. We had a tv in each room. We HAD to have cable with HBO. When we could afford to, we spent money on new clothes and new things for the house because we wanted them. And when we had our daughter we wanted her to have all the latest and greatest gadgets because that would be the best for her. We aren’t those people anymore.

We’re the hippies now, 100%. We were slow and steady to make this change. Moving out to the country away from everyone was the first big step. Wanting to live off the land and not have to spend all our money on food when we could grow our own. We realized we wanted to spend more time with each other doing things outside rather than watching tv, so we kept extra tv’s in the moving boxes. We discontinued cable. We had very limited internet (this wasn’t a choice in the beginning but it was a blessing in disguise). We took away our daughter’s tablet (another thing that we didn’t realize was a blessing). We’re in the process of downsizing all of our stuff. We are heading in the minimalist direction, hoping to one day maybe be those weirdos who live in a tiny house with just a bed and a stove on a huge plot of land with chickens and a garden (I’m not kidding, it’s become our dream).

Growing up we weren’t raised religious. We had some church background but nothing that I would say was enough to form us into the people we are today. We still aren’t religious, like Bible religious, but we are both very spiritual. We are constantly learning and sharing ideas with each other that build on our spirituality. It’s something we have grown to share.

And then there’s our relationship. We have always loved each other, no question. And we’ve always been best friends; we GREW up together, how could we not be best friends? But when we were first married, and only 19, we still had growing up to do and things to experience. We did everything together but we still had those moments when we wanted to get away from each other. I was that annoying nagging wife at times. And he was the worker bee that I wanted more attention from. We fought over dumb things, like any new couple, we kept grudges, and would dwell on things we had no control over. Today, we not only love each other more, we LIKE each other more. There’s totally a difference. You can love someone but not enjoy being around them. We enjoy each other. We want to spend time together as much as possible. And we definitely don’t hold grudges. We agree on a lot but when we don’t, we figure it out without being assholes to each other. We laugh A LOT more, me especially when I think we’re fighting over something stupid. We work together. All while still maintaining our independence.

The point of all this is that the answer to the question, “Have you changed?” is most definitely a, “Hell yes, we’ve changed!” And the best part is, we’ve done it together. The second best part is, we are happy. Like, really happy. The happiest we’ve ever been. When talking about us and our lifestyle, hippie-ish, I always tell people that I think this was all in there deep down but it just took a while to really embrace it. Deep down we wanted all this but maybe just didn’t know how to make it happen. And all the roads we’ve taken together were all eventually going to lead us to this point. And now, this is the new starting point down our next road of adventure. Will a lot more change in another 18 years? Who knows. I would guess that we will just further embrace a lot of the things we are moving towards now. And the best part is, we’ll still be doing it together.

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April 13, 2017. 18 years

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It’s My Anniversary!

My husband and I are celebrating 13 years of marriage today! Well, we aren’t actually celebrating because he isn’t here, #militarylife. He’s on a trip and won’t be back until tomorrow. But that’s cool. We’ll see each other tomorrow and celebrate.

The last 2 days have been spent revamping the blog, yet again. I sat and went through every single post I’ve made since the beginning in 2012. It was time consuming but actually really awesome. I may not have blogged as often as I kept saying I wanted to, but I do have some pretty good ones in there and a lot of great projects I forgot about. It inspired me to get back into crafty blogging. Which is what this post is about.

Last year we celebrated 12 years of marriage and being the cheeseball that I am, I like to try to do traditional gifts. Let me rephrase… after our 10 year anniversary when I made a really super awesome gift encompassing 10 years worth of traditional gifts (that I really need to blog about because I never did), I decided to try to stick to traditional each year. 12 years is linens. I did not want to go out and buy new bedsheets or something, so I made my husband a quilt with old tshirts.

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The bottom right corner is a white tshirt where I wrote a special message (pictured on the corner). Fun right?

Because we are a 1-car family and I didn’t really think about this gift ahead of time, I had to work with whatever I had in the house. I didn’t have felt or batting for the inside and I didn’t have enough tshirts for a backside, so I found an old blanket that we weren’t using. I cut it to size and used that as the backing. It worked out well. I only broke 2 sewing needles in the process of trying to sew the super thick edges. I think I remember having to hand-sew one or two of the edges because I ended up not having more sewing needles. Good times!! But it’s an awesome, and warm, blanket!

This year the traditional gift is lace. I am not buying my husband lace so I went nontraditional and painted him a picture. You guys have seen the Pixar short called Lava right? Go ahead, click the link and watch it real quick…..Super adorable right? Well, again, we are cheeseballs and totally love it so I painted it. But shhhhh….don’t tell him. I’ll give him the canvas tomorrow. 😉

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