Our Blueprint: Eight Years

For the past six months, Justin (and basically everyone in our immediate family) have been asking me for prints of the photos I take of the kids. There’s a million and one excuses, but I just haven’t done it. I haven’t, until recently, found a service that I like well enough to order prints through and that’s been the largest deterrent, but it’s been nagging at me for years to just bite the bullet and print them already. Not too long ago, I lost an entire hard drive full of photos of the kids. It was a swift and painful punch in the gut, and while I’ve learned my lesson about backing up everything properly, it still should have been a lesson to also print these memories for the kids to look at. Our lives have been wild since forever, I don’t them to forget how amazing living in New York City was for all of us.

Today marks eight years since Justin and I promised our love to each other on the beach in Pajaro Dunes. We had been courting for less than a year at that point, just kids totally in love and ready to embark on the rest of forever together. I decided I wanted to finally print some of our favorite photos from the past several years as a surprise to him, and what ensued was an hours-long trip down the most magnificent rabbit hole of time and babies and life lived in precious, gorgeous moments (and some less than so, but I didn’t document those). Choosing to do this while being eleventy billion months pregnant was probably less than wise, but I am filled to the brim with gratitude and wonder, and completely surrounded by soggy tissues.


So much life happening in the past eight years, and as amazing and challenging as they were, we both woke up this morning and agreed that this has been the best year yet. We’ve found a groove together, even though our family dynamics keep changing, as well as where we are in our careers, and not to mention the twist that living on one side of the country or the other will bring. Four homes, two coasts, two pets, two careers, one dental degree and almost four children later, we have arrived.


Of course, marriage is not easy. It’s been incredibly difficult at times, and other times easier than it should have been. No matter what, we seem to keep learning from the experiences and growing with each other. I didn’t know if it was possible for me to understand how marriage is supposed to work, as my parents divorced early on. I don’t think there’s a common blueprint for a bond and a promise that one makes to another human being though. We’ve been though hundreds of drafts of our own over the years, and it appears the final copy bears a very simple foundation of respect and trust. Seems pretty obvious, but life has sent us back to that blueprint for reference on a regular basis.


He’s a nut, but he’s perfect for me and the best daddy on the planet.


We’re going to one of our favorite restaurants tonight to celebrate. We don’t usually exchange gifts other than flowers and cards, but I can’t wait to tell him that I finally ordered prints of our treasured family photos. It might take another year for us to find proper spots to hang them all, but we have plenty of time for that.

Happy anniversary, Justin. Thanks for keeping that blueprint in your back pocket, too.


Join the Conversation


  • Love all the pictures, but the one of Jack and Justin – holding Beau? – choked me up. Happy anniversary!

  • Although we’ve never met, we have a bunch of mutual friends, and you just emanate happiness and love. I love reading your posts and seeing your photos, and I’m following along with joy for you!

  • I’m curious, what is the service that you like well enough to order prints through?
    I also have 10 years of photos that need printing and I’d love a suggestion.

  • Thank you for sharing your family with us. It provides a much needed smile and reminder of all the blessings we have been given in this increasingly chaotic world.

  • Happy Anniversary!

  • You have found the blueprint… lean into each other even when times are rough and the natural thing is to push away. Your covenant and commitment to each other will hold you fast. Love your family and your transparency. Happy Annie and here’s to at least 50 more!!

    • Carol, I truly appreciate what you say about leaning into each other even when the natural thing is to push away. Thank you, and thank you Jessica for these beautiful, honest and simple reminders that love is always the answer. Be it through respect, trust, honesty or communication love is what guides us to places of clarity if we allow it to.

      My marriage is barely three years young, and our daughter barely eight months, but we are realizing the challenges daily and are working all the time to lean into one another.

      Happy Anniversary and all best wishes for many more years of love and a thriving family!

  • I love looking at your pictures each day on Instagram and you’ve inspired me to take the time to print my pics!

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