Well, to start out, I figured I should give you some background on my family and our life.
My husband and I started dating as tiny 16 year olds. However, we have known each other since kindergarten. We absolutely grew up together in the same small town in Illinois. I didn’t really notice much about Kevin until we started playing soccer together in the 4th grade. Everyone noticed immediately how fast he was and how incredibly talented. If you did anything to get the ball away from Kevin Price, you felt a million feet tall.
However, we didn’t talk much until high school. Growing up, alphabetically we always had a locker near each other. O & P meant that all that separated us was my triplet sister and brother. Since Kevin and I were in a lot of the same classes, every day at the end of the day I would ask him what homework he had so that I could double check if I was forgetting something. Plus, he’s cute so it was always fun to flirt.
We started to work together in the summer of 2008 at Clinton Lake Marina. Along with one of our mutual best friends (and my neighbor) Mark, who was also on the soccer team with us. That was when we really started to “hang out”. Twelve hour days in the sunshine on a lake, and a best friend playing matchmaker was a catalyst for our romance. Along with work on the weekends, we would also have soccer practices to spend together too. Kevin was still easily the best one on the team, I ranged in mediocre, but it was still fun.
Months went by and we spent more and more time together. We were basically inseparable. Our senior year of high school, we got engaged. Was it early? Maybe. But, here we are twelve years later, so apparently it’s worked out.
We both were at separate colleges. He was at Millikin University, and I started at junior college at Parkland, and then went on to Illinois State University. Kevin played soccer and I bounced around various majors. We stayed together through it all and I graduated in December 2013, and him in May 2014.
We were married on June 9th 2014, we got married in a small destination wedding in Charleston, South Carolina. It was the perfect day, small and intimate with our best friends and family surrounding us. We lived in Charleston for 6 months after our wedding. It was one of my biggest regrets to move back to Illinois. But, if we hadn’t, we wouldn’t be where we are today.
We bought and renovated Kevin’s grandparents’ house. It was a test in our marriage, and while we survived, it was NOT the best time of my life. I am definitely not a fan of houses full of termite damage, foundation problems, settling, and the normal issues of 110 year old homes. While my husband may be Chip Gaines, I am no Joanna. We finished it in about six months and moved in. About two months after we moved in, Kevin asked me about what I thought about him enlisting.
My dad is a veteran, and he got out when I was younger, so I don’t remember much about it. But, I have always been proud that my dad served. Kevin went and talked to my dad for his honest opinion, and then we went to see a recruiter. Kevin chose to test into Military Intelligence. He was sworn into the military on July 31st 2015. I was now officially an “Army wife”. Kevin didn’t report to basic training until September 15 2015.
While he was there, we wrote countless letters to each other. I stalked the mailman every day hoping he would bring me a batch of letters. Our dogs and I stayed in our house in Farmer City while he was at Basic. My parents accompanied me to his graduation in November 2015. It was an overwhelming feeling of love and pride when I saw him again.
We moved to Texas in January 2016 for his AIT. Which is where he obtained the training for his specialty. It was a 8 month timeframe for him, he had been there since November, but I didn’t move down until January. We lived in San Angelo until July 2016. Unfortunately we didn’t receive orders two days before his graduation from AIT to Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora, Colorado.
The big move to Colorado was on July 5th 2016. It was a 16 hour drive, but we made it in one day! Kevin booked us temporary lodging at the hotel on base for awhile until we moved into our house on July 19th. It has been nearly five years since we moved. We had a lot of adventures in this house and in Colorado.
In August 2016, we found out we were pregnant with our oldest, Allie. I was very nervous about this pregnancy, as I had suffered a miscarriage in June 2016 while we were in Texas. Allie was healthy, even while I was absolutely miserable during pregnancy. In April 2017, Allie was born. In May, disaster struck.
On May 24th, Allie was six weeks old. I took Kevin and Allie to take some photos. We got some (what I thought at the time were cute) photos of the two of them. Afterward, we went home and did dinner as a family. Then Kevin went to play at an intermural soccer game with his command team and other men in his squad. Around 9:30 I got a phone call from Kevin. “Hey babe, I just wanted to let you know I got hurt at the game, I think I broke my leg. I’m in an ambulance and they’re going to drive me to the hospital.” It was the first game I didn’t go to because it wasn’t supposed to even start until nine pm, and I had to have Allie in bed sooner than that.
Of course, my mind went into “oh my gosh, what are we going to do?” mode. I asked him which hospital he was going to be taken to and he wasn’t sure, but assumed University of Colorado Hospital. That was where Allie was born, so I was familiar.
I loaded my child up in her carseat, and we drove to the hospital at 11pm. I got in the hospital room and saw Kevin sitting there with his knee propped at a 90 degree angle. At first I thought that was how he felt comfortable, until I realized it wasn’t sitting like that intentionally. We spoke to several different orthopedic doctors and medical students, all exclaiming over the severity of his knee. He had shattered the ligaments inside of the knee, along with a fractured patella and tibia.
He had his initial surgery in July 2017. On Allie’s third month birthday. It was a seven hour surgery and it meant a long day in the hospital with a three month old. Since then, he had an additional surgery in December 2017, July 2018, and two more in January 2019. It was a WILD ride during that time.
We got pregnant with Raegan in December 2017. Yes, while my “baby” was 8 months old. Here we go with another pregnancy I suffered with, along with a little girl growing so rapidly, and a daddy with never ending knee issues.
Raegan was born early September in 2018. Her first year of life was one of the hardest in my life. Looking back, I should’ve spoken up to my doctor about postpartum rage and depression. As many women, I just thought it was another thing I should deal with.
Finally in 2019, after his final surgery we were basically told “this is all we can do for now. You will most likely need a total knee reconstruction in ten-fifteen years.”
Since then, we have been working hard to be the best parents to our girls. Kevin was promoted to Sergeant in June 2019, which has come with longer work hours, 24/7 “on calls”, and a lot more responsibilities. He thrives in leadership.
My photography really took off the year Raegan was born, I have since had many clients who have grown to become friends, and fellow photographers and talented friends in the industry that I love.
Let’s fast forward a bit, February 2020 came (oh a country before COVID-19) and Kevin and I discussed re-enlistment. We knew if we were going to re-enlist, we wanted to choose a European duty station. I had no parameters for the choices as long as it was Europe. We were told we had officially gotten Germany as our duty station, reporting in February 2021. Well, the Army changed our posting to a different location in Germany with a report date of April 2021. We have since jumped from terrified, to excited, to overwhelmed and back through it all again.
Right around Christmas is when we really got things moving. Kevin received our official, revised orders, had submitted for our passports, booked our flight and started contacting movers to set up times. I was constantly asking “have we done this yet?” adding another task to his miles long to do list.
We requested our move out and housing inspection times, set up our official walk throughs and packing dates for the movers, and life was beginning to look a little more settled. All of us were anxious, but feeling as though we had it under control.
We found out on February 1st that the Army handed us another hiccup. Kevin discovered that he would be attending Advanced Leadership Course in Arizona with a report date in March. Well, that disrupted everything we had planned. I was a hot mess of anxiety and feeling overwhelmed. Luckily within a few days, we had discussed and found alternate plans for all of our scheduled times. Our report date has been pushed to June 2021, but at least we are still going!
I have so many “bucket list” travel places I would love to visit while we are in Europe for three years. It is without a doubt going to be amazing. When we arrive, we will have a four year old and an almost three year old. I can’t wait to immerse them in various cultures and experiences.
Right now I am thinking about no Chick-fil-A or Target (aside from online), leaving my sweetest Mom-friend, and pushing aside my career. But, there are so many benefits that I will be allowed to access.
Military life is not for everyone, and thats okay. But I am so thankful to be a part of it. The friendships forged in a ten minute chat in a driveway over Japanese diapers, the friendships kept while living across the country, or world. I love working with families that are in the same situation that I am in. You know what time it is when you hear reveille, retreat or taps. It amuses me that I have a spouse wear the same outfit every day, and knowing they will change into their “normal” clothes as soon as they get home.
I wouldn’t say the last six years have been easy, but there is no doubt that we would make all of the same decisions. Our marriage is strong, our kids are happy and healthy, and we love the adventures and memories that we are creating.