a decade of brittain & david
on may 24, 2018, david and i will celebrate a decade of marriage together. we met during our years at central bible college in springfield, missouri. so lets take a trip back down memory lane, shall we? in the form of a photo journal love letter.
my dearest david,
remember when the "eye in the sky" in chapel at central bible college (cbc) caught you red handed with your arm around the back of my chair (not me, my chair, unlike in the photo below) when we were dating and you got in trouble? those were the days. so young and wrinkle free. we had just broken into our 20s. sweet little babes.
remember when you got me detroit red wings vs. saint louis blues tickets for christmas? and how we drove out to saint louis for the game. we realized as we climbed higher and higher through the stadium seating that we were in the very. back. row. you ran to the bathroom towards the end of the game and missed the winning goal (that the blues scored). i love you and your thoughtful gifts.
remember when you would make fun of me for taking pictures and only caring about how cute i looked? i always cut your head off and made sure mine was all good. well. here's evidence that not EVERY picture i took was like that... but, to be fair, most were.
remember the library at cbc and the many hours we spent in here reading, studying, writing papers? this library is where we first met, you and i. i was studying greek in the basement by myself, which caught your eye. you approached me and i was having none of it. who could have imagined then that we would share a decade of marriage and so many adventures together, with so many more to come.
remember cbc's junior/senior formal? your senior year, my junior year. you rocked that mask. i delegated mask making to my sweet grandma who delivered beautifully. you stayed put in springfield for a year after, working away and waiting for me to graduate. good things come to those who wait, amiright?
remember piles of your nieces and nephews? i was completely uncomfortable with small children at this point in our relationship. i did not know what to do with them. but you, being number five of six children, were basically a giant kid yourself. i still am not at your level of reckless abandon and goofiness 10 years later. and i still admire this quality in you.
remember the night you proposed at my most favorite spot in the world? the lighthouse pier in petoskey, michigan at sunset. you completely surprised me. i did not know that was even possible, to completely surprise me. you made me a scrapbook that i cherish to this day. at the end when you brought out the ring and popped the question, i was in shock. all i could say was "shut up! SHUT UP!" over and over again. a woman came up to us after and offered to document this momentous occasion for us. she saw it coming even when i did not. thank you, random lady on the beach.
remember when i graduated, went home to michigan for two weeks before our wedding, and then we got married in dearborn, michigan? yeah. that was nuts.
remember when we had our engagement photos taken the day before our wedding? and later we recalled this memory when we got our maternity photos taken the night before bina was born. young and in love, our whole lives ahead of us. just happy to be together and ready to start this journey of marriage.
remember that day? you never know what the weather will be like in michigan during the month of may. but our day was beautiful. perfect. unfortunately i had been struggling with insomnia for a year and the night before our wedding i hardly slept. that and nerves had me nauseous the entire day. but i made it through without barfing all over my gorgeous dress. and at the end of it all, we were married. and that was all i really cared about. these photos make me remember nothing but our joy.
remember our honeymoon? precious little 22 and 23 year olds at sandals antigua. i think we were the youngest ones there. what a week.
remember the sunset cruise when everyone was sharing their occupations? at the time you were a "sanitation engineer" and i was an unemployed recent college graduate. we felt so out of place and we laughed about dodging the conversation later.
remember when you went wind surfing and i was convinced i was going to become one of those honeymoon widows? you kept getting farther and farther out into the ocean and eventually someone came by where i was sitting watching you and was like "hey! does anyone see that guy out there? he needs help!" or something of that nature. praise be to god, you were rescued by that kayak to the right and you're still alive today. cause it really would have sucked if you had been lost at sea at that point.
remember when we moved to massachusetts after spending a year paying off school debt? we packed up our belongings in a uhaul trailer and lugged it across the country on a new adventure north of boston at gordon conwell theological seminary (gcts). we spent three years there as you completed your master's degree, and i decided i might as well pick up one too. this round we graduated in the same year, i from boston university and you from gcts. both masters of our fields (or something).
remember when we left our little gcts community to embark on our next adventure in the great nation of texas? i remember telling you that even if you got in, i didn't want to go there. never say never. when the acceptance letter came, we were both thrilled and immediately started making plans for the move. our lives were in flux that last year at gcts and it took a toll on both of us, you most acutely. the university of texas at austin offered us a concrete plan to chase a dream. and we grabbed it by the horns (pun intended).
remember our beautiful little 650 square foot apartment in south austin? i was beyond excited to finally have a hip living space with an in-unit washer and dryer. not to mention that view of the pool. our first night there reminded me of florida vacations as a kid. balmy night air. the sound of the pool fountains. i thought "i could get used to this."
remember when we rescued jake? a month after we moved to austin i decided you needed a play buddy. you had a campus full of bible nerds back at gcts and an ultimate frisbee game anytime the sun was out. now that we were living off campus, i knew you needed something to keep you active. enter: jake the eternal puppy. the dog that made me fall in love with dogs. also, i totally wanted to return him for two weeks after we got him. but you wouldn't let me and we made it through and he became our baby.
remember when we bought our first house way up in north austin after six months of living in texas? a cross county move, new home, new jobs, and a new dog weren't enough for us. let's just throw in another highly stressful event: buying in a hot market. this was the year (2013) we sent out our first christmas card. in front of our new house. with our dog. we finally made a more permanent home.
remember when we tackled whole house renovations a couple months after moving in? that wasn't our original plan, but that's how it turned out. i still have ptsd from painting the cabinets. four coats of paint, two coats of primer, and a sealer coat later -- they were mostly white. i wanted to quit after the first three coats. you picked up my slack and finished the job. our cabinets would have looked like poop without you.
remember when we planted flowers in the backyard and they exploded in size? guess we should've read those tags about how far apart to space them. but we were proud of our little (GIANT) plants.
remember when we said we weren't going to try for any children until after you finished your phd and decided to get a second dog while we waited? enter: bella the moody teenager. i thought i wanted to return jake. jake had nothing on bella. that dog broke me. i cried and cried and asked you to take her back while i was at work. but you didn't. we paid an arm and a leg for dog training and got our lives back. our family wouldn't be what it is today without your resolve. also, eight months later we were pregnant with bina (intentionally). so much for that plan.
remember when i decided i wanted to paint an accent wall? and as usual you were the muscle behind my idea. when the textured walls meant the dark gray paint bled through the corner, you researched how to prevent that and got it perfect for me. i come up with the design ideas, and you help me make it happen.
remember when we invested in a new camera for our impending trip to the uk and took a million pictures of everything? everything being us and our dogs. they were our whole world back then. goofy pups. goofy us.
remember when we explored the british museum together? and i took that picture of you by the rosetta stone with your crazy eyes. i hadn't found much interest in museums prior to going to them with you. your kid-in-a-candy-shop routine had me smirking and enjoying myself. my favorite was when you gawked at the lady touching one of the pieces like she had just murdered it.
remember when we visited edinburgh and it was absolutely breathtaking? we stayed with friends from seminary in the uk and in scotland. both had small children. we adored seeing a glimpse of their lives and enjoyed time with their families as we explored the sites. it stirred in us a desire to see if we could produce some littles of our own.
remember when we last minute decided to book a one night trip to paris? we flew from edinburgh to paris and then took the chunnel back to london the following night. it was a whirlwind of an excursion off our main itinerary. and it was so worth it.
remember when we had family photos taken with our pups in 2014? i needed another photo for our now annual christmas card. and on this one we were to find out that we could sign it from the sobeys, including the little one who would soon be growing inside me.
remember when you painted the entire exterior of our house? the faded blue was looking real bad. we decided to liven it up with a rich blue and cream trim. you took on most of the manual labor, and i was your self-appointed quality control. whom you love so much, right? we make a good team when we do projects together.
remember when i found this bugaboo stroller on craigslist? i think this was three months before we even got pregnant. but, you know me. always planning ahead. and you humored me. embrace the insanity that is your brittain.
remember this photo from my cousin's wedding in petoskey, michigan? i think we figured this was around when we must have conceived. because a few weeks later i took a pregnancy test. and for the first time it wasn't negative!
remember this positive test? i was so eager to test each month that we attempted to get pregnant. i wasted so many of those stupid things. and the month i tested positive, i had a negative test several days prior. when i still hadn't gotten my period full on, i decided to test one more time. i remember when i saw those two pink lines and couldn't believe it. i was afraid to test again for fear that it would show a negative! i ran outside around the house to where you were working along the fence. i skipped up with the test behind my back, big smile on my face. i pulled out the positive test and... your face did not reflect my big smile. because you are not good at being surprised. my brow furrowed and i dejectedly went back into the house to share the news with immediate family. you may not have known how to react at first, but you embraced this journey in such a beautiful and supportive way. i couldn't have made it through without you.
remember when we took a million photos to get this one? we were so excited to share our news. and of course we had to do it with our pups.
remember that first ultrasound? those early weeks i was exhausted and nauseous. i would be asleep in bed by eight in the evening. at our first appointment the nurse looked at you and told you "don't worry, you're going to get her back." you made me scrambled eggs every morning during my first trimester when it was all i could do to get to the table and take tiny tiny bites to start my day.
remember when i found this honest company crib i fell in love with on craigslist? i was a craigslist fiend. as with the bugaboo, you came with me to get it. you had painted the nursery, the room next to ours in our house, a soft mint i had picked out. you used your taping technique to get a straight line two thirds of the way up our textured walls and added white the rest of the way. just how i envisioned. again you made my vision a reality.
remember when we found out we were having a girl? i had convinced myself we were having a boy because i wanted a girl and didn't want to be disappointed if baby were a boy. we had decided on a boy's name but not a girl's name. not that that had to be decided before the anatomy scan. but planner me wanted it that way. we had settled on the name sabina marie shortly before the scan. and when the ultrasound tech said baby was being stubborn and not showing us the goods to determine the sex, i said "stubborn means girl?" and i was correct.
remember when you made this stone path beside our herb garden? the dogs made it impossible to grow grass there. it was their race track. you found these stones for free and ordered them, with a little guidance from me at work, into a perfect little path. and the grass finally grew in!
remember this 36 week scan when we found out sabina was breech and i would have to have a c-section? it threw me for a loop. i had never considered that i would only have the option to have a c-section. i was scared. i couldn't figure out why my baby would be breech. the internet had reasons that didn't apply to me so i defaulted to there must be a genetic defect. i agonized over this. you listened to me and comforted me. and together we came to grips with our new birth plan. a scheduled c-section on june 3, 2015.
remember when i decided last minute that i DID want maternity photos and we took them on may 31, 2015? i was so swollen. my feet only fit in my velcro clarks sandals. but i wanted these photos of us, laughing together as always. you, my rock. my protector. everything god designed a husband to be for a wife. about to experience a new adventure with new titles: mommy and daddy.
remember when my water broke around 11pm later that evening? who knew that the couple that had their engagement photos the day before their wedding would seven years later have their maternity photos the night before their baby was born. my scheduled c-section went out the window and sabina marie sobey was born around 2am on june 1, her maternal grandfather's birthday.
remember when we were discharged from the hospital? we couldn't believe they would let us leave with this tiny baby. all those classes we had taken. all those nieces and nephews we had played with. we had NO CLUE what we were doing. i was recovering from my c-section and struggling to move. i was about to fall into the depths of post partum depression and need you more than i had ever needed you before. and you were about to step up in a way for which i will be eternally grateful.
remember our newborn photo session? little bina was two weeks old. in the photos i was smiling, but i didn't feel well that morning. we pressed through and captured precious moments before the storm hit. and when it did, you were there for me and bina. you took care of both of us as best you could. and in time we came through the fog and into our new roles with greater confidence day by day. that confidence would be smashed periodically by the unpredictability of our tiny human. but she was ours, and we were hers. and we kept going.
remember when bina was nine weeks old and we flew to petoskey, michigan? there's nothing hotter than a daddy wearing his baby. and nothing funnier than a newborn giving the entire airport the middle finger from within the confines of the carrier.
remember when you were a part-time stay at home daddy? i'm so thankful you were able to be with our girl for part of the time while i was away at work. those months i felt you knew her better than i did! i always loved the pictures and videos you would send me of your daddy-daughter shenanigans. these are my favorites.
remember when you would wait outside in the driveway for me to pull up? i always loved coming home to you and our girl. and your adorable bald heads. twinning.
remember freezers full of pumped milk? and little fingers wrapped around your big ones as she chugged down the liquid gold. also, photo bombing puppies.
remember our first photo shoot as a family of five (including our dogs, of course)? our beloved friend and dog trainer took the photos for us as she had done the previous year. the "lake" at wells branch provided the perfect backdrop. how we loved our dear wells branch neighborhood! and this photo for our 2015 christmas card.
remember our serial tub pooper? oh that babe. holding her foam number two and grunting. little brown nuggets in the water. again and again. until she sorted herself through that stage that spanned weeks. so much disinfecting of the tub and toys!
remember when we decided to leave your program and move to michigan? one of the hardest decisions we've ever made. that little babe turned our lives upside down in ways we could not have foreseen. we didn't want to put her in full time daycare, we wanted one of us to be able to be home with her full time. so we made the sacrifices necessary to make that a possibility. and as we packed up our lives in austin to prepare for a new adventure in michigan, i hunted craigslist for key pieces for our new home. as we staged our little house in austin to prepare to sell, i was dreaming up new living spaces and functionality for michigan. and of course austin craigslist was the best i'd ever experienced, so i had to stock up before the move!
remember when we came to michigan to close on our new house over easter weekend 2016? the first time i had ever set foot in it was during the final walk through before closing. what a whirlwind process. house hunting from afar, you traveling up solo for the inspection. preparing to list our house in austin by packing up half our home and renting a storage unit to make it look more spacious. an open house with nine offers in one weekend. we made a killing on that little home, our first. and that allowed us to make a sizeable down payment on our new home. how fortunate we were to have landed in austin when we did and to buy the house we bought. our first home together, the place where we began to build our family. so many projects. so many memories. so many more we were about to embark on together again.
remember receiving this email? we were buried in the tasks of buying and selling and working and living that we were just going through the motions of all the things without time to process what was happening. this decision we had made six months prior was finally upon us. we were doing it. we were moving across the country again.
remember our last sunday at our church in wells branch? an uncharacteristically cloudy day in austin. i think maybe the first time i cried about moving. we loved our wells branch community. we loved our church. we loved austin. but we wanted one of us to be home with our girl more.
remember our going away/bina's 11 month birthday party hosted by friends and the bounce house full of people and dogs? how blessed we were to have such amazing friends who sent us off with a fun gathering of all our favorite people, and furry friends too!
remember the day the moving truck pulled up? it was unreal. this was happening. we watched and directed as all of our belongings marched out of our home and into a truck that would take them from the great nation of texas to the mitten up north. numbered stickers counted all of our possessions, stickers that we still find on things from time to time even two years later. our home vacated, it was no longer ours. our new adventure began.
remember our last night in austin when bina decided to wake at midnight and not go back to sleep, and we decided to just get in the car and drive? 4:21 in the morning, we figured we could make it to dallas around rush hour. great plan. we were deliriously tired. i was an emotional wreck. i lost my mind completely when we crossed from texas into oklahoma and i hadn't realized until the border had passed. six months of holding it together cracked open all at once. i mourned austin hard for the next six months adjusting to life as a stay at home mom, you navigating a new career and a new place. what an adventure this was turning out to be!
remember when we stopped at a mcdonald's on the way up north, plopping with our crew on the grass? our whole family and essentials packed into our big green expedition. the faithful truck that brought us from missouri to massachusetts, massachusetts to texas, and now texas to michigan. we like those m states.
remember our first night in our new home in michigan? we arrived late in the evening, or maybe early in the morning the next day, mother's day. we had a king mattress on the floor thanks to my grandparents. bina in a pack 'n play. we were exhausted. but we were home.
remember when you painted our entire 2,500 sqaure foot home white (walls AND ceilings) in one week? you had one week before starting your new job at ternes packaging. and you spent ALL of it painting. like, 14 hours a day painting. i was blown away by your work ethic and resolve to finish the project. i was very thankful i had chosen the same white for walls and ceilings because quality control wasn't much of a concern when they're the same color. our big beige house transformed to white. and i was so pleased.
remember when our moving truck finally arrived? i can't remember exactly but i think we went 10 days without furniture. i was home with bina full time for the first time and we had nothing. each day i waited with eager anticipation for all of our things that would make this house feel like ours. and each day it was delayed. until that glorious day when the big white and green mayflower truck arrived. and all of our numbered things came pouring in, filling up the rooms with more work for us to do. and as hard as you worked to paint, i worked to unpack and fill the rooms and walls with us.
remember our little bug's first birthday party? we fell in love with our house's back deck and i dreamed of having get togethers out there. what a beautiful day it was to celebrate one year of bina.
remember our first family photo shoot in michigan? i didn't know how we were going to find someone who could photograph us and our pups the way that our friend and dog trainer in austin did. then i discovered our pastor's wife did photography on the side. we decided to do the shoot in a forest north of our house among the trails. and i adored the photos. this one was our christmas card for 2016.
remember when you found this play house on the next door app? i convinced you to bring it down to the basement for winter play. and then i started dreaming up an "outdoors-indoors" playroom. and we got to work again. some paint on the walls for sky, trees, green foam tile floors. and voila! my vision came to pass. we did it together, and you got it started with that play house.
remember when we laid interlocking faux wood vinyl tiles over our ugly one-inch square tiles? and it made us love our upstairs bathrooms. that might just be the greatest transformation ever. we're at our best when we are diy-ing together. we do good work.
remember our first snow? we weren't sure how bina and the dogs were going to feel about it, and they all LOVED it. the dogs romped across the front yard like two gazelles and then collided into each other like rhinos. they were born for the snow. bina stood there laughing at them. you grabbed a laundry basket and a rope and made a sled, albeit a tipsy one. we laughed and played and enjoyed the frozen tundra.
remember our first trip back to austin as a family in march 2017? it was so surreal. visiting some place that had become our home for four years. driving around knowing where we were and where we were going (for the most part). realizing this could still be our lives, and yet it wasn't. we drove by our old house and the neighborhood. reminisced. played on the playground that we dreamed of taking our daughter to when she was big enough. and there we were. it was so good to visit with our friends and enjoy the city and time together. austin will always be in our hearts.
remember when we replaced our master bath shower door? this particular project was especially life changing for me. our bathroom felt like a spa. or something. combined with that faux wood interlocking vinyl -- we were living the dream.
remember when you found a swing set on the next door app? always thinking of our girl. the previous owner helped us move it from his house to ours with his pickup truck. we managed to assemble it together. and later we bought a baby swing for bina to enjoy. we were so proud of this find. and bina loves it.
remember when i started assembling a nursery anticipating that we would be approved for adoption and placed during the summer of 2017? of course things haven't panned out as i originally expected. but planner me was in full planner mode, just in case! i found another craigslist crib, and a bob double stroller. we got our first REAL piece of furniture from pottery barn kids, a glider for this room. you helped me hang the mobile and the picture ledges for books. you humored me in all my decorating even as that room has sat unused (except by bina and her babies) for almost a year now. this adoption process has been nothing like we expected, and i think that is the point. we've learned to surrender to the process, let it take us where it wills. that journey has fostered more growth in us as individuals and as a couple. and for that i am thankful.
remember when we took a trip to boston over labor day 2017? we hadn't been back to the northeast since our days in seminary at gcts. it was crazy and fun. we rode our beloved public transportation. i directed us to the wrong bus that took us in the opposite intended direction. bina tried her first cannoli from the famous mike's pastry in the north end. we ventured up to the north shore chauffeured by your kind-hearted cousin. we visited the statue of make way for ducklings with old seminary friends that had stayed on in the area. what a sweet time, just the three of us. venturing back to our old stomping grounds. a trip to remember.
remember when i waited and waited to schedule family photos for our christmas card because i had hoped to include our adopted babe in them? but it wasn't looking like we were going to be placed in time, and fall was coming to a close. so we did last minute pictures scheduled on a day's notice (that's just a thing we do, i guess). it was freezing cold. the sun was high and bright. but i'm so glad we did it. we couldn't miss out on our annual family photo shoot for our 2017 christmas card.
remember when our little explorer began climbing atop our living room sofa to snatch a book off the top shelf? she's not our little baby anymore! and she brings us more joy and laughter each day as she grows into the fullness of her own little personality. don't get me wrong, there are frustrating days (and nights!). but we cannot imagine life without our bina girl.
remember the first (and only!) time we saw the polar bear at the zoo? it was quite magical. and we shared the experience on one of our few family trips to the zoo. usually i'm going during the week with friends and their littles, and during the warmer months. i'm glad we got to share this together.
remember when i decided i didn't like the cobalt blue walls in our bathroom after all? and i had had it with our beige and dingy laundry room. so we got some more of that spring mint paint we used in the basement and went to town painting over blue and beige to create light and bright spaces that i love oh so much! we went around and around trying to decide how much to renovate the laundry room and decided to keep much of what we had and just modify it a bit to make it more functional. adding hooks for coats and removing the sliding door on the cabinet. it's amazing what some white paint will do to freshen up dark cabinets! again i had a dream and you helped me make it a reality. brittain and david, the diy dream team.
so here we are. 10 years into this adventure we call marriage. i remember when we had just gotten married and went to have dinner with friends who had been married three years. i thought -- three years! that's so long! now here we are at 10. a decade of brittain and david, david and brittain. i love you so much. i love our lives. our three cross-country moves chasing dreams and growing up together. our little bina the explorer, jake the eternal puppy, bella the moody teenager. our home that we've made our own. embarking on this adoption journey not knowing exactly where it will take us. but i'm glad you're the one i'm on it with. david lewis sobey, i am so thankful to have you as my teammate for life. i wouldn't want to do this with anyone else. here's to many more years of adventures with you.
all my love,