That's how long Nate and I have been together as of today.
A mutual friend introduced us not once but twice. It didn't take when I was 15, but it sure did when I was 20! I was attending Ecola Bible School at the time, over in Cannon Beach, Oregon. It was March 2003 and I was facing the tail-end of my year at the beach.
This man came to meet me in Pioneer Square (downtown Portland). Our eyes connected and I had this deep, deep feeling that something remarkable was about to happen. Did I throw my hands up in exasperation at the "terrible" timing? Why, yes I did. Did I try to discourage him with every means known to woman? Yes. Yes I did. He laughed at my distasteful clothing and obvious side-stepping when he'd go in for a hug. He persisted. He pursued. All the way to Canada and back.
We were married in July 2005, on the twenty-second (his favorite number and exactly six months after his birthday, so he'd never ever have an excuse for forgetting our anniversary).
This is the first place we lived, located in Tigard. Our apartment was on the second level. It was a wonderful first home (although I'm still convinced that the guy who lived above us had an uncanny sense of my movements - when I'd move from the living room to our bedroom, he would too, and I knew this because I could hear him walking around).
We moved from the apartment to this huge house. It was so so big for the two of us, so we added a cat.
In July 2007 we found out that we were pregnant. And then we celebrated our two year anniversary with a trip to California!
In September this happened.
And then we began to heal. Nathaniel's loss brought a huge change in our relationship. We connected in a deep way, like never before.
The following St. Patrick's Day...pregnant again! On November 22nd (we have a date-theme) we added this little person to our family.
Shortly after having Hazel Elaine, we moved here.
Hazel blossomed and grew. At five months she was a chunky monkey.
Just after she turned one, we found out we were pregnant with another little girl.
Nate worked and worked and worked on the house while I nested. It ended up looking like this after he painted the outside. And boy was he committed to making that old house glow! It was beautiful by the time he pronounced it done.
Piper Sue joined our family in August 2010. Hazel was 20.5 months old at the time.
Each time we've had a baby, Nate has blown me away with his tenderness and ingrained, instinctual fatherhood. He's amazing with our girls. Hazel talks about him all throughout every day: Where is Daddy? He's at work? When's he coming home? Will he read a book with me?
As my husband...I don't even know where to begin. He walked into Starbucks today to exchange keys with me and, when I saw him coming, my heart skipped a beat. He takes my breath away. He is kind, thoughtful, selfless, dedicated, consistent, encouraging, steady, and so good looking. You can't have him. He's mine.
After Piper's birth, we moved here. (What is it with having a brand new baby and then deciding to move? I'm over it!) The two hidden windows on the bottom left of the house belong to our great room.
I still love this picture of Piper. She's seven and a half months old now, but she looks pretty much the same. The stinker is refusing to grow even a smidge, although she does have two teeth now!
I turned 28 this last December, and Nate turned 31 in January. I love him. I love him. I love him. I am the most blessed woman in the entire world. God blessed me with this incredible man, allowing me to share a life together with him.
Eight years together already. Where has the time gone? Nate, I love you. You are the right man for me, and I am so lucky to have you in my life!