The 10-Year Anniversary Of

Chris & Heather

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July 23, 2005

What a day! Our ceremony was conducted by a lifelong family friend David Lee. Our ceremony was brief to give us more time with our family and friends. You were dressed beautifully. I remember one of my close friends saying "Listen Chris, I don't have the hots for your soon-to-be wife but dang she's hot."

We played Chris Botti as our wedding music. I watched you come down the isle and I remember trying desperately not to cry as your grandpa led you down the isle to me.

Bro. Lee gave a wonderful ceremony where he taught us his 3 B's to a successful marriage. Do you remember them?

  1. Be Faithful
  2. Be Loyal
  3. Be Righteous

What a great reminder to have to take the time to refocus our efforts on each other.

After the wedding, we saw a ton of people. A few names that stick out are my Times Record coworkers who could make it like John, Terry, Leanna, and several more (I remember you all, I promise) as well as my old neighbor and your coworker, Carmella, whom we both talked about and never realized we were talking about the same person! The Hamiltons came up and I got to see Bob and Barbara. The Stovals, who were part of my childhood ward family. I remember the Christensen's sitting us down and giving us advice. I'd empty my bank account over and over again to have audio of that sweet exchange. I remember the gist. Support your spouse, always and forever. Make them your #1. Their long lives together always reflected that. "There is sunshine in my soul today".

The potluck was amazing. Ricky gave a brief, albeit funny speech where he basically said you better watch out for my friends. Tons of food. I remember several people saying it was the best wedding they ever attended because it was so communal and not a hour long ceremony and bride/groom out the door.

We opened our gifts. I can remember 2 gifts specifically. One from John, the weedeater. Lasted 5 years! And the engraved frame from Amy that still sits in our living room to this day.

And then, we left. Let me rephrase...we tried to leave. Jon and Mike drove back to Fort Smith with my car keys in their pocket. My car alarm was definitely working though. The shoe polish on the paint was baked on by this point. That car still had specks of shoe polish on it when I sold it before we moved to Tulsa.

Then, the honeymoon. I'll leave out the fun stuff but finally I'd like to give a voice to our ridiculous adventures. Our room wasn't ready by noon like they said. It wasn't ready by 1pm or 2pm. If I remember right, it was nearly 4pm before we checked in. Still in our wedding attire in 100 degree+ weather in downtown Fort Smith in my little black car. I never was good with confrontation until I needed to be. I was good and our room magically appeared with an upgrade. We decided to eat in the resturant before we went up to our room and that's when it happened. That freak thunderstorm! A bright, hot, miserably humid summer day turned violent and knocked out power all down Garrison Ave and surrounding areas, like our hotel. We couldn't leave because we hadn't paid and the registers were out. They decided to trust me that I'd come back to pay later.

So, we go to the elevators to go to our 9th floor room when they tell us they're keeping the elevators off until they're sure the power isn't going to go out and trap more people in them. Do you remember those 9 flights of stairs? Only the emergency lighting was on. We could hear kids playing and running up and down the dark staircase. That's about all I remembered because I was carrying all of our luggage so you could concentrate on not falling in your dress. When we finally got to the top, I didn't even carry you over the threshold. It never even crossed my mind. I was lucky to get in the room myself!

This was when we discovered the next worse thing that could happen. All A/C units were dead. That day we learned firsthand that heat rises.

We'll fast-forward a bit in the evening when we still had no A/C and no TV. So, we decide to shower and go out to dinner. We go to Walmart and buy a fan. I also bought a season of Home Improvement and King of Queens so we could watch something as we drifted off to sleep. About 4am, I awoke. The A/C was working. I had set it to the lowest possible temperature it would go and it had clearly been on and working for several hours because the icicles hanging from the curtains were growing quite large (slightly exaturated).

The next day we spent our time in Tulsa after declining another night at the hotel.

But seriously, what a day!


Early Years

Dating, early married life, and adoption

I assume our lives and our marriage have always been pretty unique. You had Nathan at a very young age so even before we were married, I was already having to adjust to being a father. That was incredibly frightening to me, just so you know. I was terrified that that little stinker was going to be my responsibility, too. I knew...I KNEW you were the one fairly early on in our relationship. That knowledge was solidified the fist time you met my parents. Sam pulled me aside and I asked him what he thought of you. His response echoes in my head to this very day.

"Chris, listen. That young woman deserves everything, everything you have to offer her."

That was it. Like a stake through the heart, I had confirmation that I needed to grab hold and not let go.

Of course, before we were married, we broke up that one time. I know you think you just punished yourself during this time but I had a lot of thinking I got done during that time, too...despite Jon trying to get me to get other girls phone numbers literally the night we broke up.

Then the big argument, *cough*makeout*cough*make-up in the pouring rain at our duplex in FS. That was pretty much the last blowup argument we ever had. How are we so good like that?

I also remember the candles I kept in my room formed a heart on the ceiling.

In trying to remember some fond memories of our early years of marriage, I realized that we've spent half of our marriage in Roland and half in Broken Arrow. I know you're going to punch me when I say this but we didn't do much to create memories the first half of our marriage, mostly due to us being broke, you going through Nursing School, etc. But one I would be completely remiss if I did not discuss was when I got the opportunity to adopt a little boy. A little boy who told me he was happy because he could tell his friends he finally had a daddy.

It happened fairly quick. Just a brief meeting with a lawyer to gather a few details about each other. The only hold-up was we had to run a couple ads in the local papers stating my intension to adopt Nathan with the full intension of removing visitation rights from "he who shall remain nameless".

From there, we got a court date to make it all official. We arrived that morning and our lawyer located us and asked us if we wanted to speak to Nathan alone for a few minutes, which I did, so he directed us to an empty courtroom. I asked Nathan if he really understood what today meant. He knew so little about "him". We told him his name and informed him that the lawyer would be shouting his name in a moment to see if he showed up to contest the adoption.

I still don't think Nathan really understood the significance of that day up until we were standing hand-in-hand in front of a judge who explicitly stated "I must ask the both of you individually if this is what you want. Mr. Greninger, is it your intension to adopt Nathan and to become his legal guardian and to care for him as your son?" Of course. "Nathan, would you like for Mr. Greninger here to adopt you? Do you understand what that means?" Nathan shook his head and said yes. The judge stated that the adoption was approved and he even hit his gavel I think. Maybe I'm making that up. It was quite a blur. I was officially a father. He had been calling me dad since we got married but it was now official.

I think that was the biggest thing that happened to us during our first couple years of marriage. But, one thing happened after that that completely changed all three of us both forever. Something to do with the Rose Bowl on January 1, 2007 between the Michigan Wolverines and that gosh-dang USC Trojan team...

And then there was


September 20, 2007

Blake Allen Greninger, born on September 20, 2007 weighed in at 8 lbs! Our doctor nailed his weight to the decimal. We listened to Chris Botti during your labor and through his birth. Once again, the fear of fatherhood loomed over me. I kept thinking how they're going to let me take this baby home and I've got no idea how to handle him, clean him, feed him, keep him alive, etc. This baby will literally only be able to crap in his diaper without my intervention.

You had already been through this before, granted I'm sure Blake was a breeze compared to your experiences at the hospital while having Nathan.

But I kept my head up. I watched up until Blakes head came out, and then it was time for daddy to sit down. The next memory I have was the doctor trying to get my attention to cut the cord, which felt like cutting through a piece of chicken fat or something. I remember his first cries. I remember walking over to him and feeling very strange, almost like I knew him but still very unfamiliar with him. All the while, I felt very prideful toward him. He gripped my finger with all the strength his little fingers could muster as he cried out. That is one of my favorite memories.

Your doctor said it was probably the most relaxing labor he had ever been a part of due to the music and serenity.

His birth was just the beginning because it was shortly after that when you started having another birth...your spiritual birth.

Literally, for the love of


Our spiritual awakenings

When a person has given up on faith, regardless of what that faith is, it's very difficult for that person to have a desire to regain it. Sometimes, it takes a little pushing and shoving, dragging and gnashing of teeth to refocus ourselves.

For you, it just took having a fresh perspective with a baby boy in your lap. After a few weeks, we found our church and after I quit drinking & smoking, I had the opportunity to baptize you and Nathan into our church. This chapter of our life can obviously get very wordy so I'm going to skip to the really important part, our trip to Dallas.

Going to the temple with my young family was an amazing thing. The beauty of the structure itself was enough to take my breath away but nothing like what it felt like once we were inside. I felt a physical change when I walked in. I realized it had been almost a decade since I had walked through those doors. More importantly and slightly satirically, I realized that the next time we would walk outside, you would be stuck with me for time and all eternity. I told you I took Sams advice. I held on tight and didn't let go.

I am confident I don't need to remind you of our experience.

I do recall one moment about as vividly as one could. I remember when we were in the sealing room and the door opened and our two boys, dressed in pure white, entered the room. I don't remember a single word of that blessing, only what it meant for us as a family.

I fear I will never be as spiritual as those stalwarts around me but I hope I am enough. I am so proud to say that God plays a huge role in our lives. I love hearing our children pray and hearing what they desire from the Lord. I love saying bedtime prayers with Blake.

Our testimonies have impacted many people. I know as long as we keep God first in our lives, he will continue to work on us and make us stronger and bless our family.



I love you.

When it all boils down, that is all I want you to know. We're the only couple I've ever known to not have big knock-down fights with each other. Even when we've hurt each other, it's been handled tenderly with care not to make any situation worse. This is a beautiful attribute of our companionship. I expected marriage to be a difficult challenge but it's been so easy to love you and to care for you. I really did hit the jackpot with you. All of your strengths far outweigh your weaknesses. Your beauty is somehow lost on you, but not on me. You are a great mother who has sacrificed a lot for your children.

I guess what I'm really trying to say is Mike is NOT getting our $50. I love you and I hope the next 10 years are just as wonderful and memorable.