20 years… that’s almost half of our lives. It’s been a roller coaster of a ride with it’s traditional ups and downs but I wouldn’t trade any of it. From happy times, to sad times, to babies, to business, to struggles and triumphs. On this journey we call life, I wouldn’t want to share it with anyone else.
Jeff and I met at Walmart, which is funny because I won’t step foot in a Walmart today. But I was working in the McDonalds and Jeff was a store rollerblader… always skating by, flirting with me for free food.. at that time we were both dating someone else so it’d be a year or so before our first date.
February 28, 1997… 1st date. Jeff and I were trying to remember where we even went for our first date, and sadly neither of us could remember! Ha.
Somewhere around April or May of 1997, we moved in together, much to the dismay of most of our parents. But we did it anyway.
2+ years of dating, living together and learning about each others quirks, pet peeves and annoying habits, we started planning the biggest vacation of my life. I was so excited to go to Disneyland for the very first time, I made this huge countdown calendar (which I still have today) where I diligently crossed off the days every day. I was a huge Disney and Mickey Mouse fan and surprisingly enough had never been to either Disneyland or Disney World (still haven’t been to Disney World!) And while at Disneyland on our first day there……
July 5, 1999… Jeff proposed… on his knee on the drawbridge of the castle at Disneyland. One of the questions everyone asked me was, “Did people stop and watch?” How the heck should I know.. I wasn’t looking around! I was so excited to be at Disneyland, and then after Jeff proposed… I really don’t remember much about being at Disneyland other than that!
July 1, 2000… Wedding Day!!! I’d like to say it was all flawless, but in the end Jeff and I were married and that’s all that really mattered. And the things that didn’t go as planned or the things I look back and would have planned differently, are all trivial. As long as we were both smiling for the pictures that will hang the wall for the rest of our lives.. I think we did just fine.
Thanksgiving week 2000… moved into our brand new home. (It was our 5-year plan.. but we’re still here.) For some reason I thought it would be fun to host Thanksgiving that year. Word of advice.. don’t ever move into a brand new home and expect to entertain guests. Talk about your plate being full. yikes!
Thanksgiving week 2002… found out we were pregnant. I immediately had to pee… A LOT. And for those who know me.. I can’t live without coffee. Pregnancy and just the aroma of coffee did not go together well for me. Made me nauseous just thinking about coffee.
July 13, 2003… Kid #1 was born. 12+ hours of labor. An epidural. And 2 1/2 hours of pushing… Ryan was finally here. And coffee was amazing again.
September/October 2003.. Jeff and I made the trek with Ryan in a car seat to the nearest homebrew shop in the Denver area where Jeff purchased equipment, supplies, ingredients and everything needed to become a homewbrewer. At that moment it is safe to say that beer became our life.. in every aspect! Jeff used brewing concepts and business ideas in all of his classes. His entrepreneurial spirit bloomed even more and then he came to me and said……
June 2004… “Honey… I want to open a brewery.”
A brewpub in town was closing its doors, and even after going to auction all of the equipment was still there. We hit a screaming deal, but had to remove all the equipment ourselves and of course store the stuff until we were ready to find a place and open! Therefore.. it went to our garage and our cars were permanently parked outside. We always joke that for Ryan’s 1st birthday he didn’t get a traditional birthday, but he did get a full size brewery in his garage.
Christmas 2004… Something about Disneyland, but we took Ryan there along with other family.. only to find out a month later that I was pregnant again. lol. Which also cues the awful smell of coffee again!
September 17, 2005… Kid #2 was born. 3 hours of labor, epidural didn’t even kick in, less than 30 minutes of pushing… Tyler was here. All I wanted afterwards was a Big Mac and a chocolate shake. Which Jeff and my dad obligingly got for me. Followed the next morning by a large coffee.
December 10, 2005… Jeff graduated from UNC. But no rest for the weary… in February 2006, we located our first brewery site and started moving all the stuff from our garage to the facility. Shortly after the garage was empty, Ryan opened the door from the kitchen to the garage and with a very confused look, he asked me, “Car in there?!” He had no idea what a garage was really used for.
May 5, 2006… we opened a brewery. (I feel like that’s all that needs to be said there!)
August 2009… our oldest started kindergarten
I can’t recall the exact date but sometime in mid-2009, we took the leap and Jeff quit his full time, benefit-paying corporate job to work at the brewery full time. With two young kids it was a scary decision, but for anyone who knows Jeff he was pretty miserable being stuck in a cubicle all day. And the brewery needed him, really bad! And so far..it’s all working out just fine.
August 2011… our youngest started kindergarten
2006-2016 were completely consumed by our business. We learned the ups, downs and sidewinds of owning your own business. We learned the stress it adds to a relationship, what it’s like to raise a family while trying to run a business, how the TV was sometimes a great babysitter when I had to work the bar, and that even tho I sometimes feel like an awful parent… it looks like our kids are going to turn out just fine too.
Both Jeff and I were doing something for the brewery full time. And as much as we love one another, being together 24/7 gets taxing on a relationship.
In August 2015, Ryan started middle school which was clear on the other side of town. I was in the car all of the time. We were in a position that I no longer needed to be at the brewery so I could literally be a stay-at-home mom.. or better yet a student-chauffeur! As of right now, I officially do not work at the brewery but maybe 5 hours a week to help with a few office things. And even tho the kids get to do more extracurricular activities and get to spend more time at home, I still enjoy just coming down to the brewery, hanging with Jeff and other adults, visiting over a few beers. It has worked wonders on our relationship by not being together 24/7. We learned how to (mostly) leave work stuff at work. Even tho we are basically on-call all the time, our family seems much happier.
Starting in August 2017, both boys will be at the same school. Which will be much more convenient! I will still be in the car a lot but at least they’ll both be dropped off and picked up at the same time and place.
Before we know it the boys will be driving, graduating high school and moving on with their own lives. Jeff and I have had a wonderful 20 years together and look forward to another 50. The adventures we’ve had already.. I can’t even begin to imagine what the next chapters of life are going to bring. Thankfully we are still in love after all this time. I will have an extremely hard time when the boys leave our nest, but Jeff and I have been really good about keeping each other first. I don’t think we’ll have to worry too much about still liking and knowing each other after the boys are gone.
I can safely say that every day I love this man even more (I know, insert eye roll here), but I really do. He’s my rock as I know I’m his. Don’t get me wrong, just like any couple we have our ups and downs, but all of the good outweighs any tiny bit of bad. And what it comes to is…. Love Wins.
I apologize for being all over the place with our timeline.. but that’s our life, all over the place, never a dull moment and full of love, joy and happiness.
Much love to you my friends…
The Hobbyless Brewer’s Wife