Justin and I celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary this month. We were married on December 13th, 2009 in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Our wedding was held at the First Baptist Church in Eau Claire and was officiated by Pastor Wade Duroe. He was, and still is, the pastor of the church where I grew up in Chippewa Falls, WIsconsin (Crossroads Church, but it was named First Baptist when I attended while growing up). Our wedding was a snowy Wisconsin evening event. It was cold, but beautiful with the white snow.

We didn’t have a huge wedding. Around 80 guests in attendance. We invited immediate families, aunts, uncles, and a few friends. If you didn’t get an invite don’t feel bad, it was a smallish event in terms of a wedding. It was just small enough to feel intimate.

We rented out the quaint Mona Lisa restaurant just blocks from the First Baptist Church in Eau Claire. We chose the church because it was close to the restaurant and it had such a beautiful historical look. They allowed us to rent their church and use our own pastor. It was lovely.

I especially loved the string quartet we hired to play at the reception. They did a great job. The food was so good. Mona Lisa’s is known for their food and we had eaten there quite a few times in the months leading up to our wedding.

We were grateful to all the friends and family that traveled to come to our wedding. Justin had a large number of family members fly in for the wedding weekend. It meant a great deal to us and still does. We feel blessed that we had our loved ones there on our special day.

Below are photos from our wedding that were taken by Season’s Photography in Rice Lake, WI.

We waited to honeymoon until after the New Year. Justin had year end business to conduct. We headed to Thailand the beginning of January. It was a wonderful adventure! We stayed in Bangkok, Ko Samui, and Chiang Mai.

And our life has been a whirlwind since the Honeymoon. We got pregnant the first month we were married. Our son Barron was born on Sept. 10, 2010. Our lives forever changed. He only lived for 8 weeks. We didn’t know he was sick when he was born. However, several weeks after his birth he became weak. It was shortly thereafter that we learned he had a genetic disorder called SMA I that was fatal for infants. It was the toughest time of our lives. We hadn’t even celebrated our first year of marriage yet we had to say goodbye to our first born child.

After Barron passed life was not easy. Grieving the loss of a child is awful. It is difficult to even think about…so I will keep moving forward with our story.

We became licensed foster parents in 2011. Over the next few years we had 7 foster children come through our home. One baby girl stayed for 15 months. We hoped to adopt her, but that didn’t come to fruition. In the meantime, we had Brielle through IVF. We used IVF with genetic screening, because we had a 25% chance of our babies having SMA I, that awful fatal disease. We feel so grateful for the science that allowed us to have healthy babies. Praising God for making that science possible!

When Brielle was born, our foster daughter we nicknamed “Little Bit” was 8 months old. It was like having twins! ….until of course we actually had twins.

We moved from Florida to Texas in August of 2013. I was in my second trimester of pregnancy with the twins. We moved to the Dallas area. Specifically, we live in Southlake, a Dallas/ Fort Worth suburb and we love the community here. Our twins Alexander and Charles were born here so they are lucky enough to say they were born Texan!

Alex and Charlie were born just before Christmas. They were a precious blessing and they have completed our family.

Life over the past 10 years has involved a great deal of pregnancy, having babies, and raising kids. We wouldn’t want it any other way though. Both Justin and I wanted to start a family and raise children together. God blessed us greatly. It involved heartache and loss along the way, but we are thankful we had Barron even though he was with us only a short time. Someday he will get to meet his siblings in heaven and we will all be reunited.

Justin has worked for SAP the entirety of our marriage. He has now been with them for 15 years. It has been a great company and he enjoys what he does. He is a software exec.

I completed my doctorate in psychology way back in 2005. After we got married my professional pursuits were put to the side to pursue growing our family. Now that the twins are finally in Kindergarten this year, it is the first year I am really working. I work part time as a conference speaker, training early childhood development professionals. I write for LifeHack.org and I also wrote a book called “Let Them Play”, which was an Amazon best seller new release. I have two more books coming out soon through Whitaker Publishing. My focus is still on God first, family second, and everything thereafter. I enjoy writing and speaking though. God has blessed me with both of these opportunities at this point in my life. And it all started with the blog which began in July 2015. Living Joy Daily is still a motto for our family. We need to find the joy in our lives everyday, as God provides so much if we just take the time to be grateful and appreciate what he has given us. Especially the people. I am certainly grateful for my husband Justin. This past ten years have been the best years of my life. Having four children together within the first five years of our marriage still blows my mind. God is so good!

Below are some photos from our past ten years. Some of the best highlights have been holidays, trips, and our visits to the National Parks. We bought an RV because we enjoyed our road trips as a family so much. We have now visited 32 National Parks as a family! We hope to see all 60 before the kids are raised and off to college.

Below are photos from our 10 year anniversary getaway. My mom flew in from Florida to watch the kids. My brother Justin and sister-in-law Katsuree came from Houston with their two kids to help out and be with us for Christmas. Justin and I stayed at the Ritz for the weekend in Dallas. It was the first time in 7 years that we had gotten away together without kids. It was about time! The last time we had gone away alone was when Brielle was a baby and it was on a family cruise with Justin’s family. It was so difficult for me though. Especially because of the loss of Barron. I had a hard time being without my kids overnight for years. Now the twins are six and Brielle will turn 8 next month. It was time for Justin and I to getaway and celebrate our 10 years together. We had a wonderful time. We dined at Nick and Sam’s in Dallas the first evening. Top notch food, service, and atmosphere. The second evening we had tickets near the front of the stage at the Grand Prairie Theater to see Pentatonix, the Acapella singing group. They did a Christmas concert and it was amazing!! It was a great way to celebrate our first 10 years together. Praying for many more anniversaries and celebrations to come in the future.

God is so good. I thank him for my Husband Justin and all four of our children Barron, Brielle, Alexander, and Charles every day. Thank you God for blessing me with this man and our children. I am so grateful for each of them in my life!