Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Love & Marriage Blog Series: About Us

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It's part one of our Love & Marriage Blog Series.  I am so, so, so proud and humbled to be a part of this series of posts by such an amazing group of women bloggers.  It's truly my honor.

Part one of the series is an introduction about each of us and our marriages.  At first, I was like, "am I qualified to write about marriage?".  But then I realized, I've been married 9 years...my marriage has experienced many highs and many lows...I do know a thing or two about being married.

It's just odd because in my family...we're still newlyweds.  My dad's parents have been married almost 66 years, my mom's parents were married 45 years before my grandfather passed away and now, my grandmother has been married to Ken (a.k.a. Papaw) for 12 years...both mine and Andrew's parents have been married over 36 years...what I'm saying is that I know a few things about marriage...but really and truly, my family knows a whole lot more.

I would show you a bunch of pictures of me and Andrew dating and as newlyweds...but I'm renting remember?  All of my old photos are in storage...so, I'll show you some that are a bit more recent.



Andrew and I met on July 4, 2002.  Sean had met Andrew that summer at Kansas State (where they both played football...Sean was a freshman and Andrew a junior) and had invited him to Texas for the holiday weekend (Andrew was a Missouri boy).  I stopped by my parents' house that July 4th day and as I was walking into the house from the garage, Andrew was walking out of a bathroom in just shorts...no shirt.  He was really tall, had longer hair and stubble...I met up with him in the kitchen (after he put a shirt on) and we chatted a bit.  (A few days before, I had just told the guy I had been dating for three years that I couldn't marry him...so, I was a complete wreck.)  We chatted a bit and I left.  The next day, Sean called and wanted to know if my cousin Brooke and I wanted to meet him and his friend at the movies...I was still deep in mourning, so I pulled myself away from Ben and Jerry and met them at the movies.  After the movie, we said our goodbyes and that was that.

Over the next two months, I got my act together (and stopped mourning the loss of my last relationship), went to Italy with a girlfriend and was excited about my junior year of college.  Sean was going to have his first college football game at K-State and so I told my parents I would make the 8 hour drive up with them for it.  About five hours into the car trip, I told my parents that I would not be going to any of Sean's other football games that season...it was a looooong way to Manhattan, Kansas!

After the first game, we went to the Field House area to wait for Sean to come out of the locker room...when...this 6'5", clean-shaven, short-haired hottie came out of the locker room...I remember my mom saying, "that was the boy you weren't interested in?!".   He came over to talk to me and I knew right then, that we were going to have a special relationship.  I could just tell.


Well, well, well...after reconnecting with Mr. Shull, I decided that 8 hour car trip wasn't so bad after all!  The next week, I loaded up with my parents and drove to K-State again.  This time, after the game, I hung out with Andrew...and I specifically remember thinking, "I'm going to marry him".

We started dating immediately and I would travel with my parents to each game to see him...after football season, I would drive to K-State by myself to see him (and Sean...I stayed at Sean's apartment, so technically  I was seeing him too).  Even in off-season, football players have to stay close to campus and workout, so I made that trek almost every weekend to see him.  Then on May 2, 2003...less than a year after meeting him...Andrew proposed and I said yes.

That next fall, he finished school and his last season of college football while I crammed my entire senior year into one semester and we both graduated college on December 13, 2003.  Exactly 3 months later, on March 13, 2004, we were married.

Now...if you've been following along...you'll notice that so far, we've never lived in the same state or spent more than a weekend together.  Why should we let marriage change that?!

As soon as we got back from our honeymoon (finally, a week together!), Andrew was drafted by the Detroit Lions and he left to play football in Michigan.  I stayed in Dallas and kept my job and our apartment and flew up to see him for one week every other week (so for two weeks out of the month) until August.


Then in August, I packed up and moved to Detroit permanently...we were newlyweds that hadn't spent that much time together, living in a state we really didn't know with absolutely no friends or family.  It was just us. And we had the best time :).

Yes, I missed my family terribly...but, that year of living in Detroit was one of the best I've ever had.  Andrew and I had so much fun getting to know a new state (a state we love by the way!), meeting new friends and really figuring out who we were and what our marriage was going to be about.

Andrew went into the NFL with a hurt back...and after much prayer and multiple opinions from sports physicians  he actually retired after his first year...he wasn't fired, wasn't traded...he was able to walk away on his own terms with peace of mind that he was doing the best thing for his health and our future.


We headed back to Dallas and that's where we are today...8 years later.

Ok...I'm not going to go on and on about the next 8 years...but in a nutshell, we've had so much joy and so many blessings...but there have been hard times too.  Just to recap...here is what we've been up to these last 8 years...

1. We opened our own business from scratch...no help, no customers, just the two of us working our tails off in an office space we couldn't really afford ;).

2. We spent two years trying to get pregnant, went through a tremendous amount of fertility treatments until finally...we were blessed with Kensington.

3. And then bam!  We got ourselves a boy too...just 16 months and 3 days later.

4. I've had some health issues (that thankfully are resolved now)...but I spent 3 years visiting multiple doctors a week, wearing braces, and having two surgeries...it was a trying time for me and therefore, Andrew as well.

These four chapters of our lives were unexpected, hard, time consuming, and emotionally draining...but I'm so glad I didn't do it alone.  Andrew is the best partner I could ask for...he is such a blessing to me.

Ok...so, that's us.  Over the next 3 weeks, I'm going to go a little bit deeper into some specific times of our marriage that were hard and brought us together, give you some insight into why I think my marriage is working, and share some more details about Mr. and Mrs. Shull.  I hope you stay tuned!  

And finally...a post about my marriage would not be complete without a few photos of our travels.  I'm not saying you need to travel with your spouse, I'm just saying that it's good to find a common bond, a hobby...and make sure you work at it.  Traveling is our very favorite thing to do.  We love planning trips together, talking about future trips, and of course, actually going on trips.  Traveling and the Shulls just go together.  


London

Paris



















Now...go visit the other bloggers participating in this series!  Each one has such a special story and a unique marriage...
Jenna
Mandy
Jenn
Lindsey
Megan

If you missed my 52 Shades of Shay post from yesterday...I talked about Spring Shopping for Kids...click here to get the scoop.

And as always, find out what's cookin' over in my kitchen here (today, frosted lemon cookies...be still my heart!).

And please link up your own Love and Marriage story too...



53 comments:

  1. I loved this post! It's so interesting to learn how you met. My husband and I did long distance for much of our early relationship, too. He was in Ohio and I was in Florida. But I think it actually brought us closer as a couple ... we had to actually talk, rather than just hang out and watch TV, like we would have done if we were in the same city! ;)

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  2. GREAT POST! Loved every single bit of it. I can't wait for the next installment of this series!

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  3. This was a sweet post to read, and I am looking forward to the others! My husband and I dated while he was in Anchorage and I was in Atlanta, and after a 5 month engagement, we were married and now have nearly 13 years together...God is so good!

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  4. Beautiful post. I always love a good love story!

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  5. Love it!! Can't wait to hear all you have to share throughout the series! =)

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  6. I love that you're part of the Wildcat Family! Go State!

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  7. Shay, I love this! And I can tell i'm already going to love this series!! God makes one perfect person for us, and im glad we both have founs ours! What a blessing!!
    Cant wait for more!!

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  8. What a fun love story! I love all of the places y'all have tracked to... sooooo fun! I'm especially jealous of Sicily. My great great Grandparents immigrated from Sicily in the early 1900s, and it's been my dream to follow my roots back there someday

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  9. I always love reading about how couples get together and seeing how they are "coupley" without the kids :) I love this post.

    When my kids go down for their nap I'm linking up with you! :)

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  10. Did you have TMJ?

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  11. Love learning how you and Andrew met! Such a sweet sweet story! And what a dedicated girlfriend you were during those football days. :) Extremely jealous of all the countries you have been too! So very cool Shay! Glad to be a part of this series with you and Andrew!

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  12. I just love this story and amazing all the traveling you both have been able to do together!!!! SO fun!!!! Can't wait to read more!!!

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  13. Loved your post. My husband and I dated long distance too thanks to the Marine Corps. Can't wait to read the rest of your posts on these!

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  14. So much fun to read about these stories! And its amazing to see how plans change once we've met that someone special. I've often said that God saved me from myself... Because the life I have now, is 100x better than anything I could have imagined for myself.

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  15. ahhh... such a sweet story.

    I love all the pictures of the travel. You all have that pose down perfectly :)
    I'm a horrible traveler so every picture of my husband & myself would be of me holding a barf bag - that'd be for the memory books :)

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  16. I love this series! Proud to call you both my friends. You guys have such a unique story. I should dig through my albums and find pics for you!

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  17. I love hearing your side of this beautiful story! I always got to hear it from the northside Shulls (Andrew has a GIRLFRIEND...and he's SERIOUS about her...she's from TEXAS, she's great for Andrew, and she's sweet as can be!). And then you guys got engaged just a couple of weeks before Nick and I got married, and I specifically remember G telling me during wedding festivities that you were going to be a GREAT sister-in-law. (She's got a sixth sense, I tell ya.) The Shulls scored big when they got you, girl. Love from England!

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  18. New follower from TX here! I love your story and I love that y'all travel together so much. My husband and I travel a lot in the states and we are hoping to get overseas in May 2014.
    Both of our parents have been married over 30+ years and we hope to follow in their footsteps.
    Thanks for doing this kind of post. :)

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  19. Loved reading this Shay! As a single person, it gives me hope that God certainly does have a perfect person out there, just for me! You and Andrew make a great couple and are a wonderful example of happily, ever after!

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  20. Loved reading this. My husband was in the Army and was deployed while we were dating and during our 10 month engagement. We spent a total of 2 weeks in the same country before we got married. But when you know, you know! Looking forward to the rest of the series!

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  21. Oh, this is going to be fun!

    Thanks so much for sharing.

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  22. Every blog post I read makes me love you more. Lol. My husband and I didn't live in the same state until we got married either, but when we met... I knew he was the one. :) You two are adorable and inspiring! Love the post! Can't wait for more!

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  23. I loved reading your story Shay! I am so, so glad you are participating! =) I can't wait to read more. Oh, and I'm super jealous of all your fun travels! Next time I'm in Dallas, we will have to meet up!

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  24. Um - I loved this. Ya'll are the cutest couple ever. And ya'll are travelling FOOLS!!!! I wish we were more like that! :-)

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  25. Love this series! Such a great story. Can't wait to read what's up next week!

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  26. I am so excited about this series! I love this! May link up later! :)

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  27. Love the post...and love that you and Andrew almost always stand on the same side of each other in pictures (you to his right). My hubby and I do this instinctively, too. I think it is a sign of a good marriage :)

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  28. Hi shay,
    I love your blog and appreciate you opening up to the world. I was wondering if you will talk about the ups and downs of marriage (arguing, thing that annoy you both, etc) as well as the ups and downs of life (infertility, etc)? I would love to hear how you handle arguments and disagreements!
    Becky

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  29. LOVE THIS!! so sweet...you guys are adorable, and love all your travel pics. Is your Belgium pic taken in Gent? I think we have one in the same spot. :)

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  30. Maureen W. (Maryland)April 3, 2013 at 1:17 PM

    {{{{{SHAY}}}}}}
    Reading this first thing in the morning started my day with such a smile. Your story reads like a sweet romance novel and it reminded me of last summer when I read your blog from (virtual) cover to cover and first fell in love with the Lowe-Shulls. I'm curious, would Andrew tell this story the same way? What was his first impression? Did he put Sean up to that movie outing so he could see you again?

    I also love how you remember the moment when you realized you were going to marry him. My mom always used to tell me that when you meet the right person "you just know". I understood what this meant when I met my husband. You have no doubts and you don't have to convince yourself why the other person is right for you. It is one of those beautiful moments when God gives you just a glimpse of His perfect plan for you.

    Can't wait to read the rest of your series. I'm glad you have this outlet for your writing, too.

    Much love XOXO

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  31. loved this post! so fun to hear about how you and andrew fell in love! <3

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  32. Beautiful and inspirational! INSANE (in a good way) how many countries you've been to together. I know you are a travel agent as well. Is that what your business together with Andrew is - a travel agency?

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  33. I have TMJ...it's a symptom of my original problem. Unfortunately, there is nothing I can do about that.

    Andrew owns his own insurance agency. We each have our own businesses now.

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    1. I was just diagnosed with it and wondered if that was what you had. It seems there is not much you can do but I thought if you had any pointers. I love your positive outlook and how you have found the lords hand in all your earthly challenges.

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  34. Im new to your blog, but really enjoying it We have family who are BIG K-Staters! My husband and I LOVE to travel! Of course, as you add children it can get more expensive. I'd love to hear how you're able to make it happen so often (time and money), travel tips, etc.

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  35. This is so sweet! So parts make me wanna cry but I couldn't stop smiling while reading how y'all met and fell in love

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  36. I love reading stories about how couples met! It's so fun to see where it all began! You guys are adorable!

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  37. I loved reading this story! I know you've mentioned briefly how you and Andrew met on the blog before, but it was a lot of fun reading it all at one time.

    And I love all the travel pictures, although it does make me a little jealous!

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  38. I was wondering where you guys looves December 2003- march 2004? Did you both graduate in 3.5 years?! Also were you engaged before Andrew or just dating the guy from the other relationship? Thank you for sharing?
    Sarah R.

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  39. I was wondering how each of your views of faith played a role in dating?

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  40. Andrew played 5 seasons of college football, so he was in school 5.5 years, I graduated in 3.5 years (he's a year older than me). Between graduation and marriage, I worked and he preped for the NFL Combine and draft.

    My thoughts on faith and dating is that you should never, ever date someone outside of your faith. Relationships are hard enough without throwing that into the mix. Your faith should define you...I can't imagine dating someone who was defined differently than me.

    And the guy I dated before had asked me to marry him, there was a ring involved...it was all kinds of messy. It was a very sad time but now, 12 years later, I can see how it wasn't right for either of us.

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  41. I love reading stories about how people met and fell in love. I'm a hopeless romantic! I look forward to all your posts:) I also find it fascinating how you both have traveled to all those places. I dream to travel the world like that and I find it inspiring that having little ones still doesn't hold y'all back from doing that!
    Jaren

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  42. I love how almost every selfie of you guys is the exact same pose...

    You guys seem like a great couple! You are both beautiful!

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  43. I also would love to "hear" Andrew's side like another commenter mentioned...

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  44. Shay, I'm pretty new to your blog but soooo happy I found it! Can you or have you already done a post on traveling internationally w small babes?

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  45. My husband and I got married last Aug. He owns a business in PA and we live in Iowa. So we have spent alot of time apart. Gods grace has diffidently been there for us, but there are times where the distance is hard and also owning a business can be so stressful! I would love to hear some thoughts on owning your business and how you keep your marriage strong through all of that! Your story is beautiful!

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  46. Such a great story!! And WOW you guys have traveled all over the place, so awesome. Thanks for sharing!
    ~lisa
    Floating Along

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  47. Thank you for sharing your story! You have a beautiful family, and I love hearing about how you and your husband met :) My husband and I dated less than a year before we were engaged, too and we definitely still feel like newlyweds after our 4 years of marriage! Also, I've lived in Michigan my entire life, so I love that you have fond memories of living in my state!

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  48. Okay, I love this post! We have very similar stories. Kevin was dating a girl for 3.5 years & they broke up in May 2001. My college boyfriend & I broke up at the end of June 2001. Kevin and I re-connected at my parents 4th of July party in 2001. We had both just gotten out of relationsips so we were taking things "slow" and said we would just be friends. Yeah right, we started officially dating on 9-9-01, got engaged 5 months later on 2-15-02 and married 6 months after that on 8-24-02. Here we are almost 11 years later! Yay for love! When you know, you konw :)

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  49. It was really cool to read your story. I am jealous of all of your travels!

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  50. I've been reading for awhile and am getting caught up from my Easter travels, so sorry I'm late in commenting. I have a cousin who may have played for the Lions at the same time as Andrew. I'm not positive when he played but it was right around 2004 - maybe they were besties ;)

    Just thought I'd share the coincidence.
    Happy Monday!
    Dani

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Welcome to the Mama's Family blog! I'm so glad you've stopped by to say hi!! I love sweet and happy comments...because this blog is about my family and personal life. If you have something ugly to say, don't bother...I'm not going to read it (or publish it!). I moderate all comments, just enter it in one time and I'll get it. It won't appear immediately!

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