10 years. An entire decade is coming to a close tonight and it also marks the end of my twenties. When I was younger and my parents would start a sentence with, “10 years ago…” I couldn’t even wrap my mind around it because it sounded like a genuine lifetime. Well guess what? I find myself saying that all.the.time. Ten years ago I was in college. Ten years ago I was playing volleyball on scholarship. Ten years ago I had just met O and already knew I’d marry him one day. Here’s a very brief look back on the past ten years and a very proud close to a long, beautiful chapter.
2009: I met O in person for the first time at the start of the year and by May he asked me to be his girlfriend. He knew he was going to marry me before he pursued me–for me all it took was that one night on my aunt’s couch talking face to face for the first time. I had just left Art School in Chicago after accepting a scholarship to play volleyball back in California. 19 years old.
2010: He got down on one knee. I said yes. I worked my butt off in school and worked even harder on the court. O and I spent half the year navigating long distance engagement with him in football season and me in volleyball season all while planning a wedding. No joke, the day the invitations arrived we almost called off the wedding…then we learned to communicate, popped the invites in the mail a few days late and never looked back. 20 years old.
2011: My marketing teacher gave us an assignment that would span the whole semester, “Start a blog. Learn to market yourself.” My first blog was born and I’d continue writing there sporadically for the next seven years. He was the most difficult and disrespectful teachers I’ve ever had, but I’m forever grateful for him. In May, O and I said “I Do” right before O’s 30th birthday. We traveled to Bora Bora, Australia and Fiji to celebrate which kicked off a decade of traveling and bought our home in Virginia when O signed with the Redskins. 21 years old.
2012: We settled into our first year of marriage and soaked up every minute. Traveled all over the world that offseason including my first trip to O’s village in Nigeria which changed my life. O’s teammates and their wives became like family and for the first time in both our lives, our church felt like home. I developed a corn allergy and a stomach bacteria that would set the tone for the autoimmune disease I now know I have. O was injured and the year was hard professionally but man, we loved getting to do life together. 22 years old.
2013: O retired. This year was hard and beautiful and we clung to the Lord and each other and I don’t remember anything but traveling what felt like all the time and learning to be with each other 24/7. 23 years old.
2014: We spent the first half of the year planning an epic 2 month vacation in Europe. It was to be our “last big trip before we got pregnant.” We split our time between Rome, Florence, Milan, the Almafi Coast, Different cities in Switzerland and a couple cities in Ireland. We had the absolute time of our lives and even more so because we found out we were pregnant halfway through the trip. I spent the year growing and learning and preparing to be a mother. 24 years old.
2015: Oshiolema was born two weeks early two weeks into the new year. This year was spent settling into motherhood, dealing with the strictest food restrictions of my life for the first 8 months of breastfeeding and endlessly trying to sleep train a baby who wouldn’t sleep through the night til’ after his first birthday (spoiler alert: he’s a phenomenal sleeper now.) 25 years old.
2016: I found out I was pregnant with Keogena the week of Lema’s first birthday and she was born when he was 20 months old that September. She was born in Texas where we moved for 8 months to house sit for my parents-a sweet foreshadowing of what was to come. This year was a blur. 26 years old.
2017: When we moved back to our house in Virginia we realized it just didn’t feel like home anymore. O and I started buying and renovating houses together which we still do now and we took a 2 year old Oshiolema and 10 month old Keogena to Italy which was the best trip ever. I can’t wait to explore more of Europe with them. When we returned home, I officially launched Gold & Graphite. 27 years old.
2018: I started out the year finding out I had Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis which rocked my world. We got pregnant. We lost the baby. We moved to Texas and I started the long, hard journey of healing through supplements, an absolute diet overhaul and committing to eliminating stress. I had to learn how to juggle being a homemaker and content creator and the balance was difficult to find. I failed often. This year was hard on my body, hard on our marriage and hard on my walk with the Lord. 28 years old.
2019: O spent the first months of the year coaching for the AAF. He was gone for all of January and in February we made the temporary move to Memphis. This while experience was challenging beyond belief and ended in complete shock. We settled back into life in Texas just in time to get ready for my baby sister’s wedding and O and I traveled to L.A. on our own and also took the kids for a family vacation this summer which was my favorite trip yet. We spent August at our lakehouse and two days after returning home my niece baby Eden was stillborn at 37 weeks gestation. One week later, my niece Kennedy was born and days later I found out I was pregnant with baby number 3. This year was filled with the highest highs and lowest lows and I came to terms with the brokenness of our world, the sovereignty of my God and the gift of each day more than ever before. 29 years old.
5 Most Read Blog Posts of the Decade:
1. How my Morning Routine Changed My Life
2. Ultimate Hospital Bag Checklist
3. Family Photo Outfit Inspiration
4. Beet and Berry Smoothie (Vitamix shared this one, hence the view count)
5. Everyday Makeup Tutorial
5 Most Read Blog Posts of 2019:
This Year, I had the pleasure of being a part of these collaborations:
This Podcast episode with Wren of Friends of a Feather discussing marriage & motherhood
This Podcast episode with Emily and Laura of Risen Motherhood discussing postpartum body image
“Trading Greed for Glory” on Deeply Rooted
‘Hope Apart from Motherhood’ as a contribution to the Gentle Leading Advent Devotional
A Mamawell Takeover (search for my saved highlight) discussing motherhood, my daily routines and anger
Thank you so much for sharing this year with me. For those of you who have been following along for the decade and have watched me become a wife, a mother and the owner of Gold & Graphite I feel honored to have walked through the decade with you. Here’s to a beautiful New Year filled with more of Him.