Loved you then, love you still. Always have, always will.

I just posted on Facebook today that I was taking a little break from blogging for the next few weeks, but...then I got an email with the finished photos from our vow renewal ceremony. So of course I had to share, and also tell how I pulled off the ultimate surprise for my impossible-to-surprise hubby :)

On May 20 we celebrated our 10 year anniversary. What a ride it has been! So much is different from the life we had imagined in our heads as we said "I do", and quite honestly, it's better than we could have dreamed! We have 4 beautiful children, a warm and cozy home, wonderful friends and a lot of family who have supported us, cheered us on, helped us out and loved us from the start.

I enlisted the help of a few special people at our church, set a date, and made a few secret trips to Hobby Lobby for supplies. Because I have been doing presentations for the last few months, it wasn't a stretch when I told Ricky we had been asked to come in and speak to the congregation as a family. It was going to be on a Sunday, between masses, on Memorial Day weekend. We were having a neighborhood get-together that same afternoon and Ricky had promised to smoke a pork shoulder for the party. For those that know about smoking meat, it is an all-day process to perfect it, so he was not too happy that we had to interrupt said process to do a presentation but he asked a friend (who knew what the deal was) to come and babysit the smoker while we were gone. Oh, and because I wanted Ricky to dress up really nice (a suit, and not just pants and a polo), I also threw in there that there was a Bishop visiting our church this week who wanted to sit in on the presentation. It felt a little weird telling lies about a religious event but I figured God knew the reason and would forgive ;)

As we were heading out the door I got a text from my friend Audrey (my maid-of-honor from our wedding day), who made the trek from Owensboro to be there for this special occasion. "You need to stall. Mass not over yet!" The entire family was already in the car so I sent Ricky a text from inside saying I would be a few minutes because my stomach was hurting. I kept getting updates from church telling me to delay and simultaneous "hurry up" texts from Ricky, afraid we were going to be late for our "presentation".

I stalled as long as I could and we were on our way, heart pounding inside my chest, in shock that I was actually going to pull this off.

When we got into the narthex we were met by our friend Debbie who, as she and I had planned, pulled us into a little classroom. I had told the boys just prior to leaving what we were actually going to church for - careful to keep it a secret for as long as possible so as to not give them too much time to ruin it. So they knew to stay put (instead of follow me like they normally do...everywhere) when I excused myself to use the restroom. That was Debbie's cue to send Ricky into the church. Meanwhile I changed into a pretty white sundress and my headpiece from our wedding day.

As he entered he wondered why there were so few people there for this big important presentation. Then, as he got closer to the front, he realized that the people in the pews were our family. His parents, my parents and the maid and matron of honor (best man Tom Q was not able to make it). Audrey pinned a rose on Ricky's lapel and shortly after, Aiden and Hudson emerged carrying a handmade sign that read "Loved you then, Love you still". Behind them came Ethan and Nolan with "Always have, Always will."

Finally, the doors swung open and I walked down the aisle holding a small bundle of peonies, the same flower used in my wedding bouquet. The look on his face was priceless, although without the trumpet of music to coordinate things, Father Terry didn't realize I was making my way down the aisle. He continued to chat with Ricky, back to me, until Ricky interrupted him saying "I'm sorry, I'm a little distracted," as he gestured to me.

The rest was pretty much amazing. I was overcome with emotion - both from pulling off such a special surprise for Ricky, and from just thinking about the journey we have been on these past 10 years culminating in an opportunity to say I Do all over again with our four boys there to witness.

It really was such an amazing day!

Photo credit: Caroline Couture Photography