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Images: Maggie Winters Photography

A million years ago I stumbled upon Maggie Winters Photography‘s website and I fell in love. I was particularly drawn to her images of family shoots and I thought to myself, some day I will have Maggie shoot my family/kids. Last weekend my wishes came true and man the pictures turned out even better than I ever imagined.

It was raining and Evie did NOT cooperate with her naps – but it didn’t matter. Maggie captured us perfectly. Our little family of 3 (ok 4 if you count Sadie), celebrating Evie’s recent 6-month milestone, and mine & Andy’s upcoming 5-year wedding anniversary (which is actually today). I decided today might be a good one to share the images and reflect a bit on 5 years of marriage and the indescribable amazingness that having a kid brings to our relationship. *WARNING* This post contains some MAJOR sap. #sorrynotsorry

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Sometimes I still can’t believe I have a kid. I ask my mom “when does the novelty wear off?”. I ask Andy “can you believe we have a CHILD?!” (almost daily). But after being together 12 years and married for 5, it just feels so right. And I can’t even begin to explain how having a kid has altered our marriage. The new challenges, the new concerns, the new roads we’ve never traveled – which is saying something when you’ve been together since High School. Having a child just impacts your marriage in a way nothing else can. You not only created something so beautiful together, you now have to take care of it, nurture it, and have it depend on you, together.

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I’ll never forget seeing Andy with Evie for the first time and literally melting. I said to my sister, “I feel like I’ve fallen in love with him all over again, watching him become a dad.” My sister smiled because she knew exactly what I meant, as she had just had her first child exactly 9 months earlier. It was like seeing my husband in a whole new way – watching him become a father.

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When I sit here and think about the past 5 years, it feels simultaneously like an instant and an epic, long journey. On one hand I cannot believe it was already 5 years ago that we were walking down the aisle to Hall & Oates, dancing our faces off to the Winn Brothers Band, and ending the night surrounded by our family and most dearest friends, singing our hearts out to Kelly Clarkson.

And on the other – it feels SO long ago that we were planning a wedding, living in Clarendon, playing kickball, completely baby free with little cares in the world other than possibly beginning a house search over in NE DC.

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But now here we are, 5 years later with the same dog, not one, but TWO houses in DC, an awesome little girl, and still working our butts off every day at our jobs AND at our lives. Because a solid marriage really is work. And while I have always considered myself fortunate to have found someone so perfect for me in Andy (really the peas to my carrots), it’s more than good luck. Andy and I WORK at our marriage to make it be the insanely wonderful & truly magical relationship that it is. We are lucky to have found each other, but we are not lucky to still be together, because it is not luck that keeps us there.

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It is the choices and decisions that we make every day, every week, that has kept our relationship going. We choose to help each other and offer to take more of the brunt of things when the other is tired or stressed. We choose to say “I love you” as often as we can and to follow up with “you know that right?”. We choose to compliment each other (even when I suck terribly at just accepting the compliment) and we choose to be honest with each other even when it might be really hard. We choose to communicate and we choose to compromise. We thank each other for things that probably don’t need a verbal “thanks” but we do it anyway to show our appreciation. We love each other, yes, but we also choose to find ways to express that love through words and actions.

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Now let me just end this (because otherwise I will probably continue to drone on forever) with saying that though we are happy and fortunate in our lives at this moment, our marriage is not perfect. We get angry at times with each other, we say things we don’t mean. We don’t do enough sometimes and other times we take things for granted. But at the end of the day we REALIZE this and I think that is what makes the difference for us. Having Evie join our family unit has also helped us both recognize just how much your words AND actions impact others. The things we do and say will mold and impact Evie in ways I can’t quite fully comprehend. But I think if we can take what we’ve learned from our 12 year relationship and 5 years of marriage, and apply the things that have worked, and work on the ones that haven’t, we’ll end up in a good place for our family, both for our marriage and for our greater family unit.

Thanks for letting me share all this today. It’s been a great 5 years, I am excited to see what the next 5 brings :)

12 comments

  1. Beautifully stated Bree. Bruce and I were fortunate to be at your wedding five years ago,. It was magical and one of the best we have ever been too!
    You and Andy are warm and loving people. How lucky is Evie to have such great parents! These pictures are terrific.
    Enjoy your Anniversary and these moments. They pass so quickly. Hugs to you all.
    JoAnn

  2. It makes me happy that you’re still so happy even after 5 years of marriage (and 12 years total together, wow!). After seeing so many relationships of my friends and family crumble around me, it’s easy to get pessimistic about the idea of a long-lasting relationship, but stories like yours help to restore a little bit of my hope.

    Thank you!

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