Posts Tagged ‘Anniversary’

Friday, August 5, 2011

So, all good things must come to an end and our second honeymoon is no exception.  Wait!  Did I call it good?  Sorry.  Make that great!

It was so amazing to share this time with someone who I’ve known and loved for years, and yet in the context of a “new” relationship.  It was truly some of the most blessed days imaginable.

Our room was terrific, as always.  All the rooms have kitchens and we always bring a lot of groceries and do a lot of cooking and relaxing while we’re there.  They also have several great restaurants on site, so we took advantage of that as well.

It was extremely hot all week, so when we weren’t indoors, we were usually either in the lazy river or in one of the several swimming pools.  We also went canoeing in the early morning on the lake and took walks in the evening around the resort.

Tonight we drive home and tomorrow morning, we get up early for our 62 mile Tour De Cox.  Today is 365 days – exactly one year from the day we woke up after our separation and started over on the day we had planned to ride our first Tour in 2010.

Tomorrow, after the Tour, we will welcome family and friends from near and far who will come to share our vow renewal ceremony.  After that?  Well, it will officially be the end of the Restoration Tour, but it will only be the beginning of the rest of our lives.


Monday, October 25, 2010

I had to ride my bike while Ceecee ran 12 miles this morning. I can’t run on my knee, but she’s still training for her marathon. It seems crazy now that when this all started, she was saying she was going to run a marathon to prove she isn’t old.

The game was fun yesterday. My team lost and hers won. We both cheered for our teams, but we almost wanted the other to win so that each other wouldn’t feel bad. What we have now is so good. I’ll take it over any football win anytime, anywhere.

We drove home through rain for most of the way, while listening to Jack Johnson on the CD player. The scenery was beautiful and we enjoyed every bit of it. Nine days of celebration surrounding an anniversary that almost wasn’t and now we’re back home.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

It’s amazing to be this blessed. Ceecee loved the ring and the flowers and posted that it was the best anniversary ever. Not bad for a casual, low-key day. I asked her if she had any idea that she was getting the ring and she said that she hoped that she was and she hadn’t forgotten about it, but didn’t want to get her hopes up in case she wasn’t. It made me feel good to be the hero who came through and did the right thing and made her hopes come true.

Tonight is date night, and we leave for Tennessee tomorrow after work. I’m kind of shocked that Macy’s actually allowed me to take all this time off. Maybe they knew that I probably would have quit and taken the time anyway if they’d said no. they know I don’t really need this job, but it has been nice to have the extra money to be able to do all these things.

Wednesday, October 20

So today is our 14th anniversary and for most people, that’s not a significant one. For us, there has never been one more significant, nor will there probably ever be. Just three months ago, there was very little hope that this day would ever come. I had spent months desperately trying to repair the damage and win back the woman I loved, but who I had not known how to connect with in a meaningful way for at least a couple of years.

I’m at work and we don’t have any big plans for tonight. I ordered a pretty nice bouquet of flowers and a box of chocolates to be delivered to Ceecee at work today. We’ll go out to eat tonight, but it will be pretty low-key. We went out Monday night, and last night Ceecee cooked me some of her lasagna which she only makes from scratch. We had a big time last weekend and we’re leaving for Tennessee Friday night and today just feels comfortable. There’s no pressure to make this one day any huge deal because we’ve been intentionally celebrating our love since last Friday evening.

Really, we’re just having fun. We are enjoying each other’s company and the simple joys of being in love. We each feel a deep sense of gratitude and appreciation for the fact that we’re together and we’re just kind of floating through these days. It’s like we’re under a spell and I’m sure not going to do anything to break it.

I did pull off a potentially huge surprise, though. My wife has been looking for a certain style of black onyx ring for at least two or three years now. She has talked about it and shown me different ones, but always said she hadn’t found the one she really wanted yet. Very soon after we got back together, she did find it. She came to see me at Macy’s in August and told me that they had the ring she’d been looking for downstairs in the jewelry department and that she had seen it on her way in to see me.

She told me how much it was and I pretty much acted like I wasn’t really listening to make her think there was no way she was actually getting it. In fact, I bought it the very next day and have had it hidden in a drawer at home ever since. It’s never come up again, but she’s getting it today and, as far as I know, she has absolutely no idea.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Part of what we’re doing for our anniversary is going to Tennessee and attending an NFL game between the Eagles and the Titans, our two favorite teams. I’ve always loved the Philadelphia Eagles, and since most of Ceecee’s family lives in Tennessee, they’ve all become Titans fans.

Our actual anniversary is in the middle of the week, and the game is the weekend after. The weekend before, we’re going to run the Halloween 10K in St. Louis. It’s a race through downtown where a lot of people run in costumes and it sounds great. By sandwiching it between the two weekends, we are going to kind of make this year’s anniversary a week long celebration.

Six months ago today, Ceecee and I threw a Mad Hatter’s tea party to renew our vows.  It was a beautiful day of laughter and love.  There were silly costumes, in-town and out-of-town guests, pictures, and memories that we will treasure for the rest of our lives.

If you know the relatively new Alice In Wonderland (where Johnny Depp plays the Mad Hatter), you are familiar with the idea of believing in six impossible things before breakfast.  I wanted to incorporate that into our ceremony, so here was my list:

1.  I believe that two can become one

2.  I believe that we must die in order to truly live

3.  I believe that in loss we can find great gain

4.  I believe that we can forgive and forget

5.  I believe that love is stronger than death

6.  I believe that somehow, out of all the men on this planet, Ceecee chose to love me

We wrote our own vows, and I didn’t know what to write, so I borrowed extensively from the apostle Paul, who penned 1 Corinthians Chapter 13, commonly referred to as “The love chapter.”  In it, love is defined, not by man’s terms, but by the One who created love, and whose idea marriage was and is.

I have been asked to share my vows on this blog, and I previously thought they were too personal and meant only for my wife, but over time, I realize that far too few people are experiencing love the way it was meant to be.  It is my hope and prayer that all who read these words will find inspiration.  Here is my best rendition of what I said that day:

Love is patient – I will not pressure or rush you.  I will give you the time you need to be the person you want to be.

Love is kind – I will spend a lifetime showing you my love through acts of kindness.  I will never intentionally hurt you.

Love does not envy – I will gladly stand in the shadows while you stand in the spotlight.  I will build you up in everything.

Love is not prideful – I will admit when I am wrong and never treat you as though you are inferior.  I will not be stubborn with you, but I will truly listen to you with my ears and my heart.

Love is not rude – I will not stoop to talking harshly or being critical of you.  I will never disregard you or dismiss you and I will honor you in front of others.

Love is not self seeking – I will not put myself or my needs above yours.  I will give you the first and the best of all that I am.

Love keeps no record of wrongs – no matter what either of us has done or has happened in the past, we have started anew and our love will not contain any leftover guilt, resentment, hurt, or any negative part of our past.

Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails.

I will always protect you, always trust in you, always keep my hopes high, and never give up on us.  This love cannot fail.  It is forever.

The Friday of anniversary week, we left school and headed toward Tennessee.  Most of my wife’s family lives there in the Clarksville and Nashville area.  It was our destination for the conclusion of our nine day celebration.

I had known what I was getting for our anniversary for a couple of months, and there wasn’t any attempt at surprise involved. I had to wait until Sunday, though.  My gift wasn’t a thing to possess; it was an experience.

I have been a passionate Philadelphia Eagle fan my entire life and the Eagles were playing the Tennessee Titans that Sunday.  My gift was two tickets to the game.  Of course, my wife and all her family there are Titans fans, so that would normally have made her the enemy for those three hours, but remember, everything had changed.

Well, not everything.  She still cheered for the Titans, but instead of a smack talking rivalry like it was in the past, we both almost wanted the other team to win so that the other person wouldn’t feel bad.  We each wore our team’s colors, but we couldn’t really be on opposite sides in any serious kind of way.

On Saturday, we had some down time and we were hungry, so we headed into Clarksville for something to eat.  We were only two beers away from the t-shirts, and we knew there was an Old Chicago near the mall, so in we went.  That made three times in one week, two in Springfield, and one there.

I did talk some smack to the waiter, who gave it right back.  Our last beer was the “manager’s brown bag” choice, where they bring you a beer of their choosing in a paper sack, so you don’t know what it’s going to be.  He brought me a beer that was awful, and we’re both pretty sure he knew that, but we laughed about it and took it as all part of the fun.

We stayed with my brother-in-law and his family that night.  He’s the one who taught us about beer, and I’ve spent the same number of years trying to teach him about wine.  He bought the ingredients and I cooked pasta puttanesca for everyone that night.  It’s been a favorite of ours ever since I got the recipe from a chef in Sonoma, California a few years ago.  Later that evening, we used his backyard fire pit to make smores.

The next morning, we headed to the stadium and watched the Eagles lose badly.  It wasn’t the outcome I hoped for, but I was there with the love of my life, and at that point, I knew what it was important.  It wasn’t the score in a football game.  It was the love we had rediscovered and now were living.

You won’t find a lot of significance in most people’s 14th anniversary.  It’s not one of the “big” years, but for us, there has never been one bigger, nor will there probably ever be.  A few months before, we had gone to the edge and looked down.  During that week, it was all about having made a complete 180, and never looking back.  The confusion and the mistakes of the past were behind us, and it really was an anniversary that was much too big for just one day.

When we left St. Louis on the Sunday before our anniversary, my knee was in so much pain, I could hardly walk.  After the 10K and the costume contest was over, I limped back to the car and we drove back to the hotel to check out.  Normally, we would have spent more time in town, but since I was hurting so much, there wasn’t really anything to do but go home.  Our hearts were full despite the pain, and it was only the beginning of an anniversary week to remember and treasure always.

It took two or three days for my knee to settle down, but school was in session during that time, so we still had to work all that week.  We planned to go out to eat on Wednesday evening, but we didn’t have any real specific plans for a huge date night.  We really wanted the whole week to carry a feeling of celebration, so we planned to try to do at least something each day.

Old Chicago is one of our guilty pleasures, and we ended up going to the one in our city twice that week.  It’s pretty unhealthy and very high calorie food, but it’s one of our favorite places anyway.  We pretty much love everything they have there, from the appetizers to the pizza to the pastas.  They also have a great beer list.

My wife’s brother is a beer connoisseur (yes, there is such a thing, and they don’t drink Coors or Budweiser), and because of him, we got into drinking imported beer and microbrews.  Old Chicago has a club called the World Beer Tour that you can join, and throughout the year, they have a series of mini tours.  At the time of our anniversary, they were having the Halloween mini tour, where, if you try eight different themed beers during the tour dates, you get a t-shirt.  We wanted the shirts, so we spent too much time and money that week on beer and food, but we sure enjoyed it.

On Wednesday evening, we went to a Japanese steakhouse and sushi bar that my wife had been to, but I hadn’t.  She has liked sushi for a long time, but it took me a while to develop a taste for it.  We had originally planned that I would order an entrée off the main menu and she would have sushi, but we ended up spending the whole evening at the sushi bar.  The people preparing it are inside an oval that is ringed by the seats, and in between is a moat where little boats circle that they put food items on for people to select.  It was a lot of fun, and we both got stuffed, although I’m not sure I know what some of the things were that I ate.

I also gave my wife her anniversary present that day. I had bought it nearly two months prior and kept it hidden.  She has never really liked surprises, and she usually tells me exactly what she wants for Christmas, Birthdays, and so on.  I have to get creative to surprise her anyway, and sometimes I can pull it off.

She likes black onyx jewelry, and had been looking for a certain style ring for a long time.  She knew what it would look like, and figured that it must exist, but we had never found a ring that was exactly it.  One day, soon after we got back together, she came to see me at Macy’s and passed by the jewelry counter on the way to my department.  When she found me, she told me about a ring they had there that was the one she wanted.

I pretended that the price was more than we could afford and acted like I wasn’t really listening to her, but I bought it the very next day and hoped she wouldn’t suspect.  I kept it hidden in a drawer for about two months and never talked about it again.  She didn’t forget about it, and hoped all along that she would get it, but at least she didn’t know for sure until I gave it to her.

To find out what I got, you’ll have to wait and read tomorrow’s post…

Our wedding anniversary is in October, and last year, we decided that one day wasn’t going to be nearly enough to celebrate not only reaching our 14th year, but all the love we had found in just the few months prior.  We began planning far in advance, and it just so happened that, while our actual date was on a Wednesday, there were events on both the weekends before and after that we wanted to do anyway.  The fact that they book-ended the week of our anniversary was just the excuse we needed to go all out.

Our anniversary week – which actually ended up lasting 9 days – began in St. Louis the Saturday before.  We were going to be in the Halloween 10K race that I wrote about yesterday, and it was on the Sunday morning before our anniversary.  Since it was to be early in the morning, and in St. Louis, we went up the day before and got a hotel room for the night.

We spend a lot of time in St. Louis, and try to go up there for at least a day trip once a month.  There is an Italian community there called “The Hill,” and it was what brought us to St. Louis the first time we ever visited.  We eat in the restaurants there and my wife, who is Italian, shops in the family owned grocery stores and bakeries.  It’s as close as you can get to being in the old country around here, and we both love it.

We also enjoy Forest Park, which is larger than New York’s Central Park.  It hosts the St. Louis Zoo, The Art Museum, The History Museum, miles of running and cycling trails, an outdoor skating rink in the winter, and much more.  Most of the attractions are free, and the scenery is very beautiful.

The day in St. Louis was purely for enjoying ourselves.  We picked up our race packets in the afternoon, but other than that, nothing was scheduled.  It was just a day for the two of us to spend in any way we wished. It was the kickoff day for the restoration tour’s week-long anniversary celebration, and we were spending it with the person we loved, in a place we loved.

The hotel we were staying in had a free hot food bar in the evening, so we took advantage of that even though it wasn’t the type of stuff we usually ate.  They also had an indoor/outdoor pool and the weather was actually nice enough to lay out in the sun for a while.  I had bought my wife a new bathing suit and was glad that she got to wear it.  She did get in a bit of trouble in the hot tub for calling other people’s kids “critters,” but no real harm was done.

In the morning, it was fun to put on our costumes and go down to breakfast at the hotel.  Naturally, it sparked a lot of conversation, seeing two people wearing huge quarters.  We got some pictures taken, shared a little bit of what was going on, and headed downtown for the race.  I knew that my knee might not hold up, but I hoped it would.

The race wound around downtown, went through the grounds of the Anheuser Busch plant, almost took us into Busch Stadium, and provided great views of the Arch and the Mississippi River.  Some of the costumes were fantastic.   There was a zombie, Two people dressed as peace and quiet (a hippie and a mime), when pigs fly (you’ll just have to imagine), Gumby, a praying mantis in a cage, and too many others to mention here.  We didn’t win any of the prizes, but we had a great time hanging around and seeing it all.

It was only the beginning of anniversary week, but it not only left us with a lot of great memories, it got us looking toward the future, as well.  For next year’s Halloween 10K, we’re thinking of either the tortoise and the hare (think a dorky looking turtle and a playboy bunny here) or Beauty and the Beast (my wife’s favorite Disney fairy tale).  Two days down, the rest of the week to go…