Today marks Randy's and my second anniversary! I'm not going to lie and say it hasn't felt like two years or that the time has flown by; it hasn't. I've loved every crazy, busy, fun-filled second of it!
I realize that a lot of my friends have entered my life during one of its different stages, so I thought I'd give a quick run-down of the Jill and Randy saga. Enjoy. :-)
Randy and I sort of knew each other in high school; we grew up about 15 miles apart and had tons of mutual friends (many of whom are still are close friends). To say that Randy and I were anything more than acquaintances is a stretch; we weren't friends and there was definitely no romantic interest. We have friends that dated and have all kinds of interesting connections. I guess that's what happens when you grow up in Western Iowa.
Anyway, we "reconnected" the summer after our freshman year of college. I had gone to Drake and was home, working at Hy-Vee, while Randy had gone to Briar Cliff and was home working with his dad. I had had a crazy first year at college. However, at the ripe old age of 19, I was developing this "always a bridesmaid, woe is me" attitude toward dating, as all my relationships had ended in [what I perceived as] heartbreak and tragedy. I had begun dating someone from close to home at the end of my freshman year and continued into the summer. However, as per usual, things ended badly and I was pretty blue. My good friend Kristin, who had just graduated from high school, tried to cheer me up by taking me out on the town. We were having a blast partying at a friend's house when our friend Craig stopped by with a few of his friends. Can you guess who one of those friends was? We really hit it off and were inseparable for the rest of the night. I'm not sure whether it was the fact that I'd just been dumped that afternoon or a real, genuine, attraction, but I just could not and would not leave his side. He didn't look my type or act like my type at all. For some reason, though, I was hooked. We had to leave early but exchanged numbers and made plans to meet at Manilla's 4th of July party the next evening.
Well, the next evening came. Kristin and I got all dolled up and made the trek from Vail to Manilla. I called and called Randy, and he didn't answer. I was beginning to get very upset and frustrated, because I felt like we'd made a real connection. I started to feel very foolish and chalked him up to be just another one of "those guys," even though he'd exhibited no characteristics of the typical "bad boy" for whom I'd fallen for dozens of times. Finally, sometime after midnight, I managed to get a hold of him on his cell. Through a crackly connection, I began to understand that he wasn't coming that night and that he probably wouldn't ever.
I pined and mourned for a few days, then picked myself up and moved on. I dated lots of other people that summer (as per usual) and pretty much forgot all about him. I was so disenchanted with the dating process that my heart really wasn't in it and I wouldn't put forth any real effort toward anyone I was dating that summer. Needless to say, none of those relationships worked out.
Later that summer (2004) my friend Cole and I were cruising around. This was a weeknight, pretty casual. I got a call on my cell from Randy! It took me a moment to remember who that was. Admittedly, I was the kind of girl who met lots of boys and got lots of numbers, so more than a few tended to get lost within my mind or blend together somehow. After a quick reminder, the suppressed memories of our fun night in July came back to me! As were talking, I remember trying to be cool and aloof but managing only to pull off excited and happy. We made plans to hang out the next night. This was just a week before we had to go back to college.
My sister had just had her second daughter, Ava, and my family and I had been back and forth to Ames, so times were crazy. Randy and I managed to meet at the Westside C-Store (no way was he meeting my parents this early!) in the middle of a thunderstorm. We saw the movie The Village and laughed and talked for the rest of the night. I remember marveling to myself that I'd been alive for 19 years and hadn't had this boy in my life before. The next day, I raved about Randy to my mom. She'd heard it all before, of course, and knew that I'd been treated badly by people I'd dated in the past. She reminded me to be cautious, but at that point, I'd fallen hard. We hung out every night that week. I couldn't help but feel like I was taking whatever semblance of a relationship we had at that point more seriously than Randy was, but it didn't matter; I was hooked. Randy agreed to help me move into my dorm at Drake and meet my parents! They loved him right away. :-) We avoided "the talk" about where our relationship was going. I tried to focus on just having fun, but my neurotic self didn't allow that. When we finally sat down and talked about where our relationship was going, by initial fears had been confirmed. Randy really wasn't looking for anything serious; I was. He'd transferred to ISU at that point and had made tons of friends and was excited to party. I, of course, pouted and gave him an ultimatum: relationship or else. He sided with me, and so our journey continued.
I'd like to say we dated happily and consistently for the next three years of college, but that isn't true at all. My neuroses and hang-ups played a large part in what I would deem a very rocky relationship. We broke up, took Ross and Rachel-style breaks, reconnected, laughed, fought, stopped talking, talked every day, etc., for years. Somehow, though, we always managed to find our way back to each other. We hit a really good stretch the summer before my senior year and stayed strong through Thanksgiving, when Randy proposed! I never thought for a second to say no. After that point, it's been [relatively] smooth sailing.
When Randy proposed, he was a senior at ISU and I was getting ready to do student teaching in West Des Moines for the spring of 2007. We decided to get married in the summer of 2008. The date 06/07/08 fell into our hands and we knew that was a perfect fit.
I had a great student teaching experience but really struggled finding a job close to Ames, where we wanted to live. I ended up accepting a position in Manning teaching 7th and 8th grade and living in Westside during the week and in Ames on the weekends. I immediately fell in love with my job, my kiddoes, and everyone with whom I worked. Randy had begun going to grad school in Ames, so it became clear that we were going to continue the long-distance relationship for a while.
We got married in June, and I lived with Randy for a little while after that. I wasn't willing to give up my job in Manning, and Randy was still in grad school, so we compromised by living in Jefferson. Anyone who knows their Western Iowa geography knows that Jefferson is at least 45 minutes from both Manning and Ames. Thus, we each drove an hour and a half daily to come back to this dilapidated upstairs apartment, which, unfortunately, was the best thing for rent in Jefferson! While our living quarters were less than ideal, married life was great. It was so nice to be in the same place, especially because we'd never lived close to each other except for the week we dated before going back to college!
The school year progressed and it was clear that a decision had to be made. I loved my job at Manning so much and did everything I could to try to stay, but unfortunately, an engineering job for Randy near home was nowhere to be found. Hence, I resigned from my job at Manning and moved with Randy to Johnston, where he had begun a position with John Deere. Again, I couldn't find a job near Johnston, so I'd planned on being a stay-at-home dog mom until something came up. A little time passed, and I was offered a position at Waukee. I'd interviewed there early in the spring but hadn't been offered the position. Luckily, things fell into place and I ended up being able to work there after all.
Meanwhile, other big things were happening in our lives. (Hello, babies!). I'd had an annual exam earlier that spring with what I perceived to be potentially life-changing implications. My doctor had predicted that I'd have an awfully hard time getting pregnant because of my medical history and that I needed to get some tests done to see what steps we'd have to take if I wanted to conceive soon. At that point (February or so) I knew I wanted to have kids, but hadn't planned on starting trying until we'd been married at least a year. I began undergoing ovulation tests, all of which I failed. Overnight, I went from having babies being a fleeting thought in the back of my mind to thinking that I'd never get pregnant. This, coupled with the fact that I couldn't get a job and that "all" of my friends were announcing their pregnancies (Hi, Fall and Winter 2009 babies!) gave me a serious case of the baby blues.
I went to a different Ob-gyn, who suggested I undergo thyroid testing and pack on a few extra pounds. I did both of those things and got pregnant with Quinn! All of my stressing, tears, and internet searches for interventions were for naught. I was entirely normal. Who knew?
Despite a rocky start, the rest of the pregnancy went great! I had no morning sickness, but I did have really bad heartburn and consequently got sick from that. I attended conferences in Iowa City all summer, started work at Waukee in the fall, and took two semesters of grad school classes to finish my masters. Randy had finished his masters before starting work at JD, so he was able to help me out a ton during my pregnancy and right after Quinn was born, while I was finishing up school. Other milestones during this year were building our house in Waukee. We are so blessed to be able to own two homes: one in Ames, which we now rent out, and one in Waukee, where we have started our growing family. Not sure how many more babies this home can hold! J
Anyway, I digress from our relationship. Randy and I are still going strong! We still do everything together and, in the words of my 8th graders, are “BFFs.” I couldn’t ask for a better partner or best friend; he’s someone I can count on for anything and everything and I know he would do anything for me. He’s level-headed, where I am neurotic; he’s absent-minded, where I am a planner; he has endless patience, where I am incredibly impatient. We both love to read and relax but are chronic workaholics. We have a million inside jokes and crack each other up constantly. I have loved every second of our relationship and can’t wait for the billions of seconds to come.
I love you.