Well I took the plunge and learned a somewhat new technique in preparation for this post. After reading my griping about the inability to take good photos of my layouts, Erin texted me with "you know you can photomerge those". Honestly I'd been avoiding it because my scanner is quite frankly in a very awkward location on my desk that makes anything larger than an 8 1/2 x 11" document a complete PITA. (For those of you not familiar, that means Pain In The Ass. And of course I would never use that term to describe a patient...I plead the fifth.)
But, honestly I couldn't bear to curse out my camera and my really crummy lighting for another session of layout photography. So I bit the bullet. And...thank you, Erin. (I'm thinking that in my best Miss Hannigan voice FYI.) I'm still getting the hang of it and learning the quirks of my scanner/program so they aren't perfect, but it's definitely an improvement over the photos from prior posts.
I'm finally getting close to the end of my little "meet my family" miniseries. Honestly, did you think it would take this long? I have to say, it's been nice to break them up with posts about books and other fun stuff. Keeps things interesting. Plus, it keeps you guys on your toes...you never know what I'll be writing about next time.
And tonight I'm going to spend my time talking about Collin. I'm somewhat going to use layouts to tell his story, but most of my pages about him are either little snippets of stuff we've done or basically letters from me to him so it will be a little different. And just a warning, it's a little sappier than I usually get.
Just as a little bit of background, Collin and I met almost five years ago. For those of you who don't know how we met...sorry, I'm not sharing yet. I have a post planned in the future to tell you the story of us. But...when Collin and I met we were both in the middle of divorces. Yup, we both have been married once before. We clicked pretty quickly and now he's my best friend. I can't imagine my life without him - I wouldn't want to.
For those of you who don't know Collin, he's a very goofy kind of guy. Not in a bad way. He just keeps me very entertained. We are very different. I'm a perfectionist and obsessed with order and planning. He flies by the seat of his pants. I'm very analytical and practical, he keeps me grounded and adds perspective on the things that are really important.
"Poor Collin! I always seem to catch him off guard with the camera. I must have at least eight photographs with this same expression. Thank goodness he's a good sport!"
Collin has always been very supportive of my creative habits and he lets me take as many pictures as I want whenever I want. He's awesome that way.
The picture for that layout was taken at the IMSARU Trout Pond - a fundraising project for the Search & Rescue team he served on when we met. He was their medical director for a few years, but then more or less resigned to take on other challenges like more schooling and his own business. He is very happy to volunteer when he can and spends some of his time as a member of a local volunteer ambulance service. He really enjoys helping others.
Right now he owns his own training school, teaching CPR and courses for EMT training. He's an excellent instructor and he really cares about his students. Because my schedule has me working days and his has him working nights, we don't see each other much during the week. That's about to get even more challenging as he starts and additional job that will take away most of our weekend nights. It's difficult, but he's always willing to sacrifice his time to help keep us afloat.
"After 2 1/2 years and over $10,000 dollars worth of dental work, Collin FINALLY was able to make it through an exam without any cavities. he was so proud to finally be able to be a member of the "No Cavity Club" at my office and have his picture hang on the wall. Ah, the little things in life."
Ok...so I'm a dentist. You may already know that about me. As a result of us being a couple, I of course became Collin's dentist. He's a pretty good patient and thank goodness. (For those of you who are wondering, the No Cavity Club at my office is typically for patients 12 and under...but we have special exceptions to the rule. Collin's been on the board as has my brother and the employees at the office. It keeps things fun.) Collin probably spent a good 15-20 hours in the dental chair during the first year we were together. But this is just like him. he's a good sport about things as they come along and he can make even the most mundane thing fun.
"Happiness. He looks forward to this trip every year. Snow + Collin + "Mo-Mo-Biling". It's good to see him so in his element. Collin in his happy place."
Collin is an avid snowmobiler. He used to race in snowcross until an injury in his teen years changed that plan. But he still likes to ride for fun. We made an annual snowmobile trip for the first three years we were together and had an absolute blast. Friends who came along can attest to the fact that Island Park trips are a good time. He's always happy when he gets to play in the snow.
"Really I love you in spite of this...You are such a random goof. (Ok...I admit that it keeps me rather entertained, but don't let that go to your head). I must have a million pictures of you. And out of those million, I think I have less than ten where you are actually smiling like a normal person. I guess it keeps things interesting for scrapbooking. But explaining all of these weirdo looks makes me really have to get creative. So maybe you do it to make me a better scrapbooker...ya, I don't think so. You might think that this is the way to keep me from taking pictures of you, but that's not going to happen either. So good luck with that theory. :) So I guess I'll just have to suck it up and keep looking at these ridiculous pictures of you and put myself to the task of coming up with some way to scrap them. Just remember...I love you in SPITE of it. :)"
I'm being completely honest in this. I have very few pictures of Collin where he isn't making some sort of ridiculous gesture. It makes looking at our photos a lot of fun. Even better is the fact that Darian has started to pick up a few of these little tricks. We will never have a normal family photo...
"We met at perhaps the most awkward and oddest point in my life, but I wouldn't change a thing. Collin is the most wonderful thing that has ever happened to me. He, as corny as it sounds, completes me. He balances me out, keeps me sane when I'm near losing my mind, and supports me in every way he can. He's always there to back me up and make me feel okay when I fear the world is coming to an end. We may not always be perfect, we may not always get along 100% and we may not always have all that we want in life, but we always have each other...and in the end, that's all we really need. We're learning as we go along, but we're getting closer and closer to the couple I see us growing old to be."
Collin and I have been through some pretty rough times in our five years together. He and I have both said many times that most people don't go through in a lifetime what we've gone through in half a decade. But the adversity has honestly made us stronger. We have learned how to support each other, communicate with one another and work together to make it all come out okay. He has more or less saved me from myself on more than one occasion. When I've thought nothing would ever get better and I have been ready to just give up, he's been there to support me, help me through it and tell me everything is alright.
"It's nice to look back at pictures like these once in a while and realize that we really do have fun times. Sometimes life gets a little overwhelming and crazy and it's easy to forget that we love each other as much as we do. This picture just makes me feel warm inside and reminds me how much I enjoy being with you. Even though life has its rough roads, deep down I know that we have the strength to make it through - even if my day to day actions don't always show it. Just know that I'll always be there...no matter what happens. I love you."
When we first started dating, both Collin and I had what I guess you could call "money to burn". That is SO not the case now. We are budgeted beyond budgeting. Ah, the joy of owning your own businesses. Having both of us be self-employed can be a challenge.
"He is...Charming. Funny. Creative. An EMT. A Good Friend. Smart. Spontaneous. A Daddy. Loving. Social. Special. A Snowmobiler. A Night Owl. Nice. Generous. Hard-Working. My Best Friend. The Man I Love."
I made this layout when I did a description page for each one of us. I have to clarify though, this was completed a couple of years ago and he is now a full fledged Paramedic instead of an EMT. I'm pretty proud of him for accomplishing that.
As far as the other traits go...I've already more or less explained most of them. He is without a doubt loving. He's very good about letting me know how he feels about me. Social...oh my goodness. This is where we are opposites. I am a total homebody and perfectly happy to have my little cocoon of family and friends. Collin is friends with EVERYONE and he's always wanting to go out and do things or have people over. He's forced me to come out of my shell a little bit.
Obviously he's special, both in the individualistic and amazing way as well as the "special" way...I frequently tell him that he's "pretty" (This is what we tell each other when the other person says something stupid. You know, "It's okay. You're pretty.")
Snomobiling is without a question one of his favorite hobbies. The other favorite falls into the night owl description. Collin likes to play his Playstation. He generally plays first person shooter games in our basement. I stay out of the basement when that's going on...the crap makes me nauseous as all get out. But he can play for all hours of the night. There has been more than one occasion where I've told him I was going to bed at 11 or 12 at night and he has said something along the lines of "Ok. I'll be up in just a little bit," only to stay up until three or four in the morning when he tries to sneak into bed.
"10 things I love about you : You can be serious when you need to be. You can always find the silver lining. You're a hard worker. You love me even when I'm being difficult. You spoil me rotten. You want good things for our future. You encourage me to try new things. You're never boring. You have a fantastic sense of humor. You always make everything more fun."
I went through a phase of "scrapbooking by the numbers". I just love lists. So I have quite a few pages with top ten lists and the like. In fact...you'll see another one here in a second...
"There are so many things that I love about you. So many things that I am thankful for. I am very proud of you for what you are making of yourself. It means the world to me that you do everything you do in preparation for our life together, for a family. Thank you for always being there for me, even when I am difficult to be around. Thank you for always encouraging me in everything I do. Thank you for always trying to look at the positive side of things when I get dragged down. Thank you for helping me to be stronger within myself, even when I struggle to see the future that there can be. Thank you for making me realize that there are compromises that I need to make and that life doesn't have to be about being perfect or being liked by everyone. Thank you for encouraging me to be stronger as a person and to learn to enjoy life the way I want to live it, not the way I think others think I should. There have been too many times that I have taken you for granted. For that I am truly sorry. You have been a wonderful gift to me and I am truly thankful for you every day. I don't know what I would do without you. I love you."
"10 Reasons I Love You. You help me with housework without complaining. You don't care that I rarely cook. You make me laugh and keep me happy. You run errands for me even when I could do it myself. You'll answer the phone when I don't want to. You keep me from being too serious. You feed the dogs every day so I don't have to. You're patient with me when I have a bad day. You let me pick what we watch on TV. You say "I Love You" every day."
Ok...so I have to say, in my defense...I now cook nearly every day. I still hate cleaning the kitchen though.
Collin is a pretty amazing guy. I probably haven't done him justice in this post. I'm very lucky to have someone who lets me be myself no matter what mood I'm in and who loves me despite my flaws. He has stuck with me through thick and thin and I am grateful every day that I have him in my life. Sorry for being so sappy, but every once in a while he needs to know how much I really do appreciate having him around.