But still, this is our anniversary, so here are a few pictures of our first little while as a couple.
At Clover's 25 birthday party when we started actively liking each other. About 10 days after we met.
We started dating the following weekend. We went ice skating at Birchwood elementary school and Justin held my hand and helped me skate. Swoon! (My brothers and sisters always tell Justin that actually I am pretty much Olympic material on skates, but just wanted him to hold my hand. Ha! I remember going skating on the Rideau Canal in Ottawa as a teenager and feeling accomplished if I didn't fall down for two minutes running.) Then we went back to Clover and Evan's for games and Justin put his arm around me. Squeal!
The rest is history.
The other day, Sunday, when I was sitting outside on the swing, I realized that this meant that the swing was now 11 years old too.
I don't have many pictures of it in Alaska, but I have a few that involve Evan and Cheyenne in our Linlu Lane house.
And here it is, 4,600 miles away and 11 years later, still holding babies.
And now I will tell you a long, boring, story about our swing.
When we eloped/married, we seriously had nothing. Neither of us had lived on our own before, so we pretty much just owned our own clothes and Justin had an old Lincoln Continental. Some friends had given Justin a double bed when he got his apartment the week before, but other than that, it was pretty bare. When we got back from our one night honeymoon in Denali (we also did not have much money), Clover and Evan had come into our apartment and stacked a huge pile of household stuff--everything I would need to make a meal. Cookie sheets, spatulas, utensils, measuring cups, canisters, a broom, dustpan, paper towels, dish towels, dish clothes. Etc, etc, Seriously, it was an awesome, awesome wedding present. It was exactly what we needed.
Another couple got married the week after we did. They had both had their own houses, so all the extra things they had, they gave to us. It was all very welcome. Including some furniture, an armoire, and a somewhat odd two person foam couch that unfolded into a bed. Our apartment was filling up in the kitchen and we finally had somewhere to put clothes, but our living room was bare except for the unstructured and squishy couch. Then, Justin's sister was coming two weeks after we got married, and another very generous soul gave us a twin bed. Since it was only a one bedroom apartment, this twin bed landed in our living room. With enough pillows and colorful blankets, the bed, was a somewhat functioning, day/bed sofa thing.
In all our getting (people are amazingly generous) we got sevreal Fred Meyer gift cards. Looking around the apartment, we decided what we needed most was seating in the living room. We didn't have enough for any kind of real furniture or even a futon, but adding up the gift cards, we could manage a patio swing that seated three people. So we bought it. We swung gently in our Via Tranquilla apartment, then moved it to our Linlu Lane house. I remember my sister-in-law staying with us through morning sickness and laying on the swing, moving back and forth, saying it was the only thing that made her feel better. Then we abandoned it to our storage unit while we moved to Colorado. When we moved back to Alaska, it came out of retirement into our apartment in Birchwood. When we were moving east a year and a half later, we couldn't take the two hand-me-down sofas we had since acquired from kindly people (who were probably appalled by our living room), but we could manage one sofa and dismantle the swing enough to fit it in our horse trailer and Suburban. It had a cameo appearance at our apartment in Central Square (three months) before settling into our apartment in Wilmington, NY. When we moved to our little house here, it simply didn't fit. So we sent it to the farm where it has swung calmly for the past five years. It has been used and abused thoroughly, but it is still in decent shape. The kids pull the cushions on and off, building forts and using them as beds in their house under the green table. It is used in summer, spring, winter, and fall.
This swing has been through a lot these past 11 years.
And so have we. Good, bad, happy, sad, ups and downs. But mostly just normal. We are each others normal. Our everyday. And I couldn't do without him.
(I just went searching for a nice picture of Justin and I alone from the past few months and this is the only one I have. One Orianna took from the back of the van. I remember reading that it is very important for couples to make sure they take pictures of just them to maintain their identity as a couple, and not just parents. I guess our identity as a couple must be non-existent. Ha! I'll take it. I like us.)
Here is to the next 11. For us and the swing.