Hey friends! Tomorrow [July 23rd] marks three years of being married to my best friend. It’s kind of crazy to think about where we started, what we’ve been though, and where we are today. Quite possibly there is no such thing as a “normal” relationship, but if there is, we are no prototype.
Ryan and I met in August 2007 on a high school ministry houseboat trip. I had just graduated high school and this trip was my final hurrah with my church’s youth group, Fusion—a group I hadn’t really been attending the last couple of years. This is important to note because during this time Ryan, who is seven years my senior, was volunteering as a leader at Fusion. Had I met him any earlier (awkward) I probably wouldn’t be writing this story to you all. Intervention by God? Perhaps…
|Ryan played the bass in the worship band. What a cutie ;)|
|Me and my BFF Taylor won an award for Best Musical Performance!|
Though we never officially met until this trip, I knew who Ryan was because our moms had been friends for a couple of years. On the trip we had this moment of “Oh hey! Our moms are friends… cool…” We didn’t talk much until the last day when we went out on the same wakeboarding boat. Ryan asked me what grade I was going into and I told him I was going to be a freshmen. One strange look and a pause later I added “in college…” Thinking he looked a bit too old to be in college I awkwardly asked him how old he was and when he responded “25” I immediately thought “welp, he’s nice but ain’t nothing gonna happen here.” Because, of course, when you’re eighteen and you meet a cute guy you immediately assess the future possibilities [shallow]. It wasn’t that I was opposed to dating someone older than me, I just felt I was too young and dorky to appeal to his level of maturity (which, looking back, 25 year-old boys don’t have much of maturity). But we had a nice conversation and after the trip I added him on myspace :P
|Our first official picture together/where it all began!|
We began chatting online and hanging out and yada yada yada. After a couple months of unofficial dates and our moms trying, unsuccessfully, not to get involved, I asked Ryan what his intentions were in this relationship. In true Ryan fashion he said something like “Well, I think you’re super rad” and that he had a crush on me but he wanted to take it slow because of the age difference and yada yada yada. For the next of couple weeks he called me “girl I have a crush on” and on October 12th, 2007, upon taking me home from a dinner date, he stopped me on my front porch to give me a hug as rain poured down around us. He said he would like it if I would be his girlfriend. And I said I would like that too.
So we dated for the next 3 ½ years. During that time Ryan started his first EMT job, worked graveyard shifts, went to paramedic school in the Sacramento area, became a paramedic, worked in Lancaster and other far off places… and so forth (frequent time apart has become an unfortunate staple in our relationship). Meanwhile I went to community college and then CSUN to study accounting and worked various bookkeeping and babysitting jobs.
Dating looked something like this:
|Splash Mountain in the Rain|
|Our first duo birthday party (January babies) - 2008!|
|An awkward fashion phase - 2010|
|Pajama dance party at winter camp 2011|
Then on February 19th, 2011, Ryan took me on a date to Solvang. On the way up we stopped by an abandoned barn where we explored and had a picnic in his truck (because it was raining) and he told me all these wonderful things that I can’t remember because I was too stunned realizing he was proposing. And I kid you not, when I said yes and we hugged and kissed and celebrated, the sun broke through the clouds and celebrated with us.
|Life is like a box of chocolates!|
Five months later, and with the love, support, and generosity of many many people, we had a beautiful wedding. Seriously, so many people helped put our wedding together and I will forever be so thankful for that. It was really a beautiful picture of the body of Christ working together.
Here’s an awesome video that my BFF’s brother, Zachary Cote, put together for us.
The last three years have been challenging but full of growth and goodness. During this time I graduated and got a full time accounting job at an awesome company in Goleta. Ryan got into a physician assistant program at Stanford and we spent 7 months long-distance during the didactic portion. He is doing clinical rotations now and I am starting my second year as sole breadwinner. Though we lived in a converted garage in the valley for our first six months of marriage, the next two years were spent at my parent’s house. While we are so grateful for that time of not going into more unnecessary debt, it has been good to be on our own these last five months. I was blessed with a promotion that makes making ends meet possible and still leaves room for a date night here and there. Ryan will officially be done with the PA program this coming March and I’m so excited for what possibilities may come. For the first time in our relationship neither one of us will be in school. Woohoo! And hopefully there will be no more stints of long-distance!
|Honeymooning - our little bungalow by the river in Gasquet, CA|
|Celebrating our one year anniversary in Santa Barbara|
|A little goofy|
|On our own again! March 2014|
Happy Anniversary my darling!!