1995 – 1996

David and Lauren were getting older, and we beginning to outgrow the Avondale Court house. So, we began looking for a larger home. We couldn’t find anything that quite fit the bill for us, so we decided to build. We bought a lot in the Stone Lakes neighborhood in Jeffersontown just about a mile down Taylorsville Road from Avondale Court. We were very excited until the builders hit rock. The cost to break up the rock for the basement put us over our budget. While we still felt comfortable going forward with the build, we went out on a whim one Sunday afternoon to find open houses. The build was stressing us!

The house where I am sitting writing this was just put on the market that day as a “For Sale by Owner”. We went in and saw that this house was the exact plan that we were building. However, this was already built, complete with a finished basement. We knew we could get out of the building contract, because the removal of rock forced the cost above the top of the price range for the builders to enforce it. So, we put a bid in that day. And, as they say, the rest is history. We moved in on June 30, 1996.

Then, about a month later, we returned to Disney World for the 25th anniversary celebration. Every day with you was wonderful, but vacations were special. You were more relaxed and childlike.

In the midst of all of this, you completed your Bachelor Science in Business Administration with a minor in Mangement Information Systems in 1996.

1993 – 1994

These were the most difficult years of our marriage, yet they were blessed because they made us stronger and brought us closer together.

I had just graduated and was trying to obtain a teaching position with limited results, and you went back to a regular day schedule once the children went to school. These two major changes, along with the hectic schedule of elementary children, caused us to take out our frustrations on one another. Still, you fought for our marriage like no other. You remembered and reminded me to look back to the time when we fell in love. Those were such cherished memories! And, then we fondly remembered becoming parents together – with both bundles of joy. We simply didn’t want to give up on the love story and the memories we shared. So, we struggled through. I am so happy that we did, because you are truly my soulmate. I could love no other!

1992

I graduated in May of this year with my Bachelors in Middle School English and Math. Now, it was your turn. You began your undergraduate in Business at Spalding University.

David turned five, and began kindergarten. So, Lauren, although she was three and I had chosen to substitute this year in order to be home for her, decided that she should go to school as well. So, she went to half-day preschool at our church, Jeffersontown Christian Church.

Since both children were in school, I went back for my Masters as well. So, this year was the school year. You were in undergraduate, I was in graduate, and the kids were in kindergarten and preschool.

David began ball this year in T-ball. Of course, you were his coach. I was always so proud that you stepped up to coach him in every season of baseball and many seasons of basketball. In football, you were assistant coach, as it was a school league. You were leading him all the way.

1990 – 1991

1990 began yet another new adventure. I went back to school to complete my Bachelor’s degree in education. You went without sleep, almost, to support my dream of becoming a teacher. David was such a big helper with his little sister. She loved to swing, and he would crank the swing and/or push her in it. And, he was thrilled when she was able to walk. We realized that he had expected a playmate when he asked, “When’s this baby going to do anything” when she about a week old. She was now able to do “things”.

These years are a blur to me as far as memories. I’m sure it was because we were so busy. This biggest thing that I remember is that we were so excited that both kids were out of diapers. Still, these were fun years, because were were a family together. You enjoyed every minutes of being a Dad, and you worked so hard at making us all so happy.

1989: Rose, Party of 4

This is the year that our family was complete. Lauren’s due date was January 15, 1989, but we were told at Christmas not to travel as I was too close to delivery. We traveled anyway, thinking I went into early labor with David on Monday yet he wasn’t born until Thursday. We returned from Christmas fully expecting to have the fourth addition to our family soon after New Year’s eve. But, God planned for everything. (I’m embarrassed to admit that I was surprised by that.) The body is reluctant to go into natural labor if the mother is sick. I came down with walking pneumonia and was feverish in mid-January, so I went each week to ensure that the baby was alright. As long as she remained healthy, the Doctor thought it best to allow her to continue to develop. (But, remember, we thought it was a him at this time.) I was convinced she was going to stay in there forever once February arrived. The doctor set up an appointment to induce me the morning of February 8.

However, we were reminded that God also has a sense of humor. I went into natural labor a bit before midnight on February 7. We decided to go ahead and sleep and arrive at the hospital at the scheduled time of 6:00. Yet, Lauren had other plans. Contractions kept coming closer and closer together, so we crept downstairs at around 2:00 am careful not to wake David and whispered to Mom and Dad, who were sleeping on the pull-out couch in the family room, that we were going on to the hospital. We often talked that was probably a God thing as well. They were already there due to the scheduled induction and didn’t have to rush to arrive.

When we arrived, I was already six centimeters dilated and the nurses wondered where we had been. I explained that I was waiting for the really painful contractions like David. They never came. Once admitted and epidural began (I had learned my lesson; I was doing this one natural.), labor went quickly. At around 6:00 am, the nurses began to scurry. You and I along with Mom laughed, because of the hours it took to push David out. Yet, they were right with asking me not to push. Once Dr. Watson arrived, we pushed twice and our little girl was here. We were so thrilled. We had what we had learned was a “King’s family”- a boy first, then a girl. And, you were definitely my king!

Mom (Nana) went to buy the frilliest dress she could find, and you exchanged the baby book so that we could get foot prints in it at the hospital.

The rest of the year was spent settling in with our precious bundles.

1988: Rose, Party of 3

This was the only full year when we were a party of three. You were still working nights, and David was an “easy” baby. So, I remember many nights when you would come home at 3:00 am, and we would go out to eat breakfast at Denny’s, IHOP, etc. You embraced being a father and loved it.

We planned David’s first birthday party in Ashland’s Central Park, so that grandparents and family wouldn’t have to travel. It was a festive occasion, but you made even the mundane festive. At the party, your mother asked if I was pregnant, and I was quite offended. Yet, she was right, I was very newly pregnant with Lauren, which we would discover in the next month. We had such a rough time getting pregnant with David, and we wanted to children to be close together in age. So, we allowed things to happen in God’s timing after David was born. We were thrilled that the children were going to be twenty months apart.

We moved David over into the room next door to the nursery to give him a “big boy” room, and kept the nursery as it was with David, because the Doctors told us that this baby was a boy as well. (We’ll learn they were wrong in 1989.)

The rest of the year was spent getting ready for the newest bundle, enjoying playing with David, working, and the normal goings on of life.

1987: We become Parents

This is the year that we became parents. We spent the first part of the year setting up the nursery and getting ready for our little one. We found out around Valentine’s Day that it was going to be a boy. We had already selected the name, David, because it was a strong Biblical name.

You were focused on getting the car ready to bring him home safely, while I was focused on getting the nursery ready. You got all new tires and the car completely tuned up. I made the crib bumpers and blankets from Precious Moments fabric and balloons with the alphabet out of matching colors for the wall. The sheets were coordinating fabric as well. (It was always so special to me that you were proud of how “crafty” I was. You were my biggest cheerleader in everything.) And, of course, we bought the crib and a matching dresser for the room.

We thought it was special that David was due on our dating anniversary, June 15. However, his actual arrival was even more special – our wedding anniversary, June 4. I had worked on a cross-stitch as we traveled to Ashland over these past four years, and you had it professionally stretched and framed for me for our fourth anniversary. It still hangs in the family room of our home. But the joke was that I gave you the best present.

The second half of the year was spent taking care of our little miracle. We had planned for me to take the traditional six weeks maternity leave and then David would go to daycare. It is one of my favorite memories that my big, strong husband just couldn’t leave our son at daycare. The day I returned to work, you were to take David to daycare as my workday started before yours. You did drop him off, but then cried as you were driving away and went back to get him. (I can count on on hand the times I saw you cry, so this was big.) You took the rest of the day off and called to tell me that we needed to work things out so we could care for David on our own. Your part was to switch to nights so you could watch him during the day. And, you went without much sleep for the next six years to be the best Dad ever.

Arthur Young sent me on a trip for training and auditing soon thereafter. Mom came down to help with David. I missed you all so much that we decided that I would quit to be home with David and help you get more sleep. And, about this same time, we learned that I could make money by going back to school as a scholarship for parents who had graduated in the top 20% of the class was more than tuition. So, I went back to school to earn my education degree that Fall.

The holidays were more exciting this year, because we had a little one. We dressed David up for Thanksgiving as well as Christmas (and most days, really), and had one of the best Christmas celebrations, because it was David’s first.

1986

This was the year of our first house and the beginnings of our becoming parents.

You had always said that you wouldn’t want to have children until we had a house. We had been in Louisville for six months and had time to research where we wanted to settle down for a bit. We selected Jeffersontown, because I liked the feel of the area with the nice neighborhoods and proximity to downtown and you felt it would be a good investment as you sensed the area would develop more.

We had been trying since soon after we both landed those good jobs to be pregnant, but nothing had happened. And, in Spring 1986, I had a stroke. I was only 23, so I was hospitalized for a battery of tests. They determined it was hormonal. With the stroke and the almost a year of trying to grow our family with little result, we were directed to the Doctor’s. We selected Dr. Watson as our OB/Gyn and went for what we thought was regular check-up and follow-up from the hospital tests. Yet, Dr. Watson told us that the NAVY doctor had put me on too strong a birth control for my body, and he wasn’t sure if that could be repaired. We were devastated and elected to try anything. I was put on Clomid and instructed to do the most interesting exercises as we attempted the process for a baby. In late Fall, we had the best news. We were expecting!

Thoughout this time, we were house hunting in Jeffersontown. We found a beautiful 3 bedroom 1 /12 bath split-level at 8710 Avondale Court. We purchased it and moving in during the Summer. It seemed that God was smiling all over us – beautiful marriage, a child on the way, and a nice house. Our love story was growing and deepening with each day.

1985

For Valentine’s Day this year, you sent flowers as you always did. But, you also took me to the Ice Capades in Capital Centre.

The biggest thing that happened this year is that you had decided not to re-enlist, so we were getting out of the NAVY. I gave my notice to Dowell and Dowell in February to allow time for them to hire and for me to help transition and train. They were very gracious even though I had been there less than two years. They took me out to eat and gave me a bracelet as a good-bye gift.

You had 30 days leave, so we were able to leave Arlington on June 1 even though your last day was officially June 30. This was good, because you would still be paid through June and neither of us had a job yet. Even though we had put out applications within 180 miles of Ashland for several months, no jobs had transpired yet. So, we decided to settle in Louisville as the largest city in Kentucky for two reasons: (1) More opportunity for jobs, especially in IT as it was a new field at the time, and (2) We’d have a better chance of our children staying close when they grew up. Now, remember that these children hadn’t been born yet, but we were planning.

The NAVY came and packed up our furniture and delivered it to our apartment on Brownsboro Road. We stayed with Charlie and Mary for a few days when we first arrived, and they helped us select an apartment. We felt like we were really moving up now, because the cost of living in Louisville was so much less than Arlington. For about the same cost of our one bedroom in Arlington, we could now get a two bedroom – with air conditioning. Woo-hoo!

And, within less than two weeks after our arrival in Louisville, I got a job with Arthur Young – one of the “Big 8” accounting firms at the time. At about this same time, you were hired with Dairymen. You went the first night for orientation, but no one showed up to orient you. This happened for the next two nights, and you decided this company was just too disorganized to be a good fit for you. We had trusted God this far and continued to follow his leading. We talked often about how that was such a good decision as LG&E came along soon. So, by the end of June, we were secure in Louisville with jobs. We were convinced that was God.

One funny thing that I remember from this Summer is that you decided to have a yard sale with the stuff we had from Arlington and no longer needed. Now, remember, we were living in an interior apartment with no yard. Yet, because of your out-going personality and interpersonal skills, we did pretty well. I had teased and razzed you about this little escapade the whole time and was quite surprised when you proved me wrong.

Fall brought the end to my Grandpa Rardon’s life on September 29, 1985. We went with the rest of the family to Ravenswood, West Virginia for the funeral. We were the first to arrive as the others had farther to drive. The Riggs were coming from New York; the Earl Rardons from South Carolina, and the Edlers from Ohio. As the Edlers were coming in, you said to Dad, “Carl, here comes your sister.” You had never met Lois but she looked just like me. I thought it was funny that you recognized her right away.

Fall also brought Thanksgiving. We were now about 2 1/2 hours from Ashland, so we went there to celebrate. And, we returned to Ashland for Christmas for the traditional festivities.

Winter 1984

Winter brought in Thanksgiving. We celebrated this year by inviting all our NAVY friends that couldn’t afford to go home either. I baked a turkey and the fixin’s (stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, green beans, rolls, etc.) and spread it out on the small table we bought for our eat in kitchen and the kitchen counter top.

About 20 people piled in our little one-bedroom apartment with each bringing a covered dish or alcohol. We laughed that more brought alcohol. We crowded in the living room and kitchen, but it was nice just to be together with friends.

This is yet again another example of your reaching out to others to provide some sense of belonging that we all need. You were always so generous and giving!

For Christmas, we were able to go back to Ashland and celebrate with family. And the rest was daily life in Arlington, Virginia.