Love Me Do

My parents have been, and still are, the shining example of what love should be.

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They make time for each other

They respect each other’s differences

They laugh

They support the other when life is not what they have expected

They are at their happiest when they are together

They make love look effortless.

My parents taught me about family and the unconditional love that must always be shared. They reminded me that family is the group of people who will always be there for you. I am lucky to have two younger sisters and as I grew up. I knew I loved them, even if they annoyed me or got in my way. As an adult they are two of my closest friends. Even though I am certain that I was not a perfect older sister, they found away to love me in spite of my shortcomings.

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When I met Doug, I thought that I had love all figured out. But this time, there was something different. I could feel it deep in my core.

There was something in how he made me feel.

He made me laugh.

He was genuine.

He made me feel at ease.

Of course, his deep blue eyes and warm smile helped, too 🙂

With any new love you get that tingling anxiety and prickly excitement every time they call or accidently graze your skin. You become so wrapped up in the newness and the thrill and you devour every moment together because they all pass by so quickly. You are learning about this new person and you have a million things to ask so you can feel that you really know them.

Eventually the rational side of your mind knocks on the door to remind you that all of these special feelings are just wonderful but we need to know if this guy really measures up. Is he really as good as he seems? And with that you begin to check off the items on the checklist that you have created over your dating history. You look for flaws and reasons to disqualify this new guy. This is where love comes in.

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Getting to know people takes time. It cannot be rushed. Love is what carries you to the next step and by that point, if you do find a flaw, doesn’t seem quite as important as before. Love smoothes out the wrinkles and allows you to accept people’s imperfections.  After all, we are all imperfect.

Loves grows. It changes with every season.

Dating

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Engaged

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Newlyweds

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Good times

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Hard times

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New beginning

Our first family photo :)

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With each stage love is there as the foundation.

Communication

Patience

Selflessness

Commitment

Honestly

Trust

These are what keep your relationship together and growing, but love is the backbone.

I thought I understood love.

I knew that when it was right, it would just work. Like it did for my parents and like it did when I met Doug. I knew that love took work and it would be there if you learned how to say “I’m sorry” and to work together. I knew that unconditional love is the easiest to take for granted. But the day that Donovan was born I learned about a new kind of love.

When you are planning to get pregnant you are thinking about a person that you don’t even know.

Hoping

Wishing

Praying

When you find out that you are pregnant, it becomes real. You watch your belly grown and you feel this life inside you move and turn. You might even name this little being. But…

You still don’t know this person.

The day your baby is born and you meet them for the first time, you are in love. The pain of labor and the frustration of pregnancy mean nothing because you are finally holding this special person. A tiny representation of you and your partner—a symbol of your love. And you are filled with more love than that you could ever imagine that your heart could hold. You never knew that your heart could feel so full.

As I held Donovan I could not believe that I loved him as much as I did, after all, I barely knew him. And at the same time, I was willing to do just about anything for him. I didn’t have to find his flaws or qualify whether or not he deserved my love. It was just there, overflowing unconditionally.

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As I watched Doug hold Donovan and share the same emotions, I couldn’t help but think that love is a funny thing. It is different in each relationship. It is hard to define. It makes people do incredible things.

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I reflect on love as Doug and I celebrate our fourth wedding anniversary. Love has many shades and forms. And in some ways, love is a culmination of a lifetime of love shared with you by others. I am so thankful for the examples of love that have taught me life-lessons that I didn’t even know that I was learning. I am honored by the unconditional love of my family. I am grateful for the love that didn’t allow me to disqualify imperfection. And I am in awe of love that has come into my life and changed me for the better.

If it wasn’t for love my life would be different. Love will still change and it will continue to grow in new ways. Tonight I am just so thankful for all of the love that fills my life.

I love you, Doug. Thank you for loving me each day in spite of my imperfection. For always working together to make our relationship work. And, for the love that grows with our family. I couldn’t love Donovan as much as I do if it wasn’t for you. Happy Anniversary!

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With Love,

From me to you

Donovan: Month Eleven

February was all about visitors!  Grandma Kimmy arrived just in time to babysit so Doug and I could go to the Bob Seger concert with my family.  I know you are wondering why we would go to a Bob Seger concert.  Well, each summer the Schwartz family would drive to Illinois to visit family.  Looking back, the summer road trips are some of my favorite family memories.  Sure, it was a really long time in the car and there were some moments on each trip when one, or all, of us would wish we were there already, but the quality time was so unique and special.  To help pass the time, we listened to a lot of music.  The driver usually had final say and there ways really only so much N’Sync that my Dad could tolerate.  Bob Seger was a favorite and the greatest hits cd reminds me of those long hours on the road.  My Dad purchased tickets for my Mom’s birthday and he let the rest of the family tag along.  The concert was great!

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Adam and Kristin had spent their honeymoon in Costa Rica and on their return, they planed a stop in Florida to visit with family.  Kathy decided to come visit us before we traveled south.  The visit was perfect.  Ann and Frank were excellent hosts!  And, both Kathleen and Maggie, their two daughters, were able to come home.  It was so fun seeing Kristin’s growing bump!

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Ann and Kathy had planned a surprised baby shower for Kristin and Adam, so Doug and I were responsible for distracting them.  We took them to Buy Buy Baby to test-drive some strollers and so Kristin and Adam could check out all of the fun baby gear.  I’m pretty sure that every new parent that walks through those doors is overwhelmed by all the stuff lining the walls.  I remember wondering if I really needed any of it.  We did the best we could to not add to the baby stuff mania.   We showed them exactly what we used and what was just fluff.

When we got home, Kristin and Adam were so surprised by the Baby Shower.  We enjoyed a wonderful dinner and Ann had some fun games to plan.  My personal favorite was when Frank, Doug and Adam had to put a balloon under their shirts and accomplish a number of tasks while being “pregnant”.  I wish they could actually know how challenging it is to carry around that baby bump, but it was pretty entertaining to watch.  Unfortunately, Doug made me swear to not post any pictures from the relay.

Kristin and Adam are waiting to find out the sex of the baby, so we offered our favorite baby names.  Some of them were better than others.  We can’t wait to hear if any of our suggestions made it to the top of their lists.  We still don’t know what names they have decided on!

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The next morning Doug, Donovan and Kathy took a swim, even though it was still a little chilly.

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We left the next day, but not until we took a bunch of family pictures!!

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On the drive home...the car was parked :)

On the drive home…the car was parked 🙂

Valentine’s day was a busy one.  I had to work in the morning, so my Valentines met me for a walk at Flatwoods Park.  They brought food for a picnic.  The weather was still a little cool, but the sun was warm, which made for a beautiful walk!

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That evening we went with Phil and Amber to check out Top Golf.  Being a non-golfer, I did not expect that I would enjoy the outing.  But, in the end I was really impressed.  It felt really similar to bowling because there was a place to sit when it wasn’t your turn and their were different games that you could play.  I thought that you would just hit the ball as far as you could, like a driving range.  There were these different colored ball pits that indicated different points and you could play different games depending on what your group wanted to do.  Everything was super high-tech and the seating was really nice.  The beer was great, too!  However, I am not any better at golf, nor do I think that I will enjoy golf anytime soon!

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Aunt Joni and Uncle John came down for a two week visit.  It was so nice to see them! They came over to see our house and we enjoyed a nice dinner outside on our awesome new patio set that we found a yard sale.

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February is also the beginning of Strawberry season in Florida.  After an afternoon adventure hike, we found this amazing produce stand that sold the best strawberry shortcake.  After our discovery, we became addicted!  So delicious!

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We celebrated Italian night with the Mitchells and Sweeneys while Aunt Joni and Uncle John were in town.  Michael came down for the second half of their visit and it was so nice to have everyone together!

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Donovan reached a big milestone this month.  After a few steps here and there he started WALKING!

A few random moments:

Donovan loves spaghetti!

Donovan loves spaghetti!

Stella puts up with so much!

Stella puts up with so much!

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Still babywearing!

Still babywearing!

Eleven month Photos:

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With Love,

From Me to You