Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Nine Years

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As a precursor, I will say this is a very wordy post, that is mostly for me to reminisce. If you are reading, I hope that you enjoy. You must at least check out the pictures to see Joe's hair circa 2005 :)

As corny as it sounds, nine years ago today I started dating my best friend. In ways it feels like it has been much longer, almost as if we have been together forever, but also I cannot believe we are only one year away from a decade!

Joe and I met on the school bus when we were freshman in high school, our parents houses less than two miles from each other. We had been in the same school building since Kindergarten, but had never crossed paths before high school that we remember. We did discover that our third grade classes were across the hall from one another and we had recess together, as Joe's best friend was in my class. 

It has been an incredible nine years, and it just gets better every day.

There are so many dates and moments I remember, leading us to what we have become today as a couple.

December 14, 2004 We had a choir (her) and orchestra (him) concert. We had known each other for over two years, but had recently began talking online instead of just on the bus. After the concert I was walking down the hallway with my dad, we walked by Joe and his mom and I blurted out "Oh my gosh, Joe, I love you!" My dad and I definitely talked about that in the car. 

December 16, 2004 Our first 'date' was at another music concert put on by our high school. My brother was in the concert and I mentioned to Joe I was going, saying that he should come to. Less than an hour later I was picking him up from his house. I still remember how nervous I was when I drove down his street and saw him walking down his driveway. Our next date was days later when he came to my house to watch a move. From then on, we have been near inseparable.

(I was feeling nostalgic and looked through the scrapbook I made for a year during high school!)

2004 - that hair!!
January 8, 2005 The day we decided that we were dating. It was nothing special or big, we were just at his house talking and it was already so obvious, might as well have the perk of saying "boyfriend." Even then, I knew I was going to marry Joe. I didn't ever talk about it with other people, or even him, because honestly how many 16 year old girls say that? But, I knew.

Senior year, 2005-2006: We shared a parking pass at our high school. My mom bought me the pass and his mom paid for half. I picked Joe up every morning for school. I think our parents were worried we would end up regretting that decision later on in the year when we would inevitably split up, but we didn't and those mornings talking on the way to school were the best. In the cold we would put both our hands in one glove, my right and his left, and many days we would go early and stop to get coffee before driving to school.

Prom, 2006
In 2006 we decided to go to the same college. It wasn't that we were set on attending the same college, but we both got in and decided separately that it was the college we would both have gone to. Again, I don't think all of our parents were thrilled by this idea. We lived on the same dorm floor our freshman and sophomore year. Making many of the same friends from our dorm, while having other friends based on our classes or activities was great (like I said before, near inseparable, we have always had our own interests and friends which I think is extremely important), and our relationship stayed as strong as ever. 

Junior year of college, 2008-2009: We moved into a four bedroom house with our two roommates from the dorms. Going from the dorms to a house with two of our best friends (with our own rooms, so much more space!) was so much fun, and yet another step in the right direction for our relationship. It only continued to flourish in close quarters, which is when I think a lot of relationships can fizzle.

Grand Marias, MN in 2009 the day after we got engaged on the beach

2009-2011: Joe and I moved into an apartment the following year for our senior year of college, and then I had a fifth year of college to complete a second minor and my student teaching. Moving into our apartment was great. It was our first time really living together (in a building that was only half a block from campus - score!) and the memories from that time were some of the best. While living in that apartment we got engaged (September 5, 2009 in Grand Marais, Minnesota, one of our very favorite places), got married (June 25, 2011), and found out I was pregnant with Skyler (November 4, 2011). Right after we moved there in 2009 we also got our first cat, Kina (that felt like a really big decision at the time!), and the very next day Joe joined the Army (Having him gone for over three months for basic training was incredibly hard after being together almost every day for years, but another huge part of our relationship. Going to his graduation and seeing him for the first time after those months of hardly talking was amazing!) We grew so much as a couple in those years. There are countless memories and I will always remember our tiny, cramped, homey, and thin-walled apartment very fondly.

March 2012: We decided to move back to Minnesota to be near our family once I graduated and Joe's transfer for his job went through. We had been looking for homes near our college town when we found out about Skyler, and suddenly our plans for the following year were very different. Being near all of Skyler's soon-to-be grandparents was now a big factor in our home search.

June 11, 2012: We became a family of three when Skyler was born. No single day has changed our life as a couple more. With the birth of our son, our life became better than we could have ever imagined. Seeing my husband as a father (an amazing one at that) is incredible.

 Grand Marais, MN on our honeymoon in 2011, and our first trip there as a family of three last summer.

December 4, 2012/January 23, 2013: We saw our home for the first time in November, put in and had our offer accepted December 4th, finally closing on January, 23rd. The past year in our first home has been wonderful. The location could not be any better - it is close to our family, the activities I do with Skyler, and Joe's job. The house is an overall perfect fit for us and we love raising our son in such a great place.

I look forward to what the year will bring us, even though with a very likely deployment for Joe it could be our most challenging year, and knowing that this time next year I will have been with the love of my life for a decade!

I love you, hubby.

(All professional photos - engagement, wedding, and newborn - were done by MJ Fotography, Inc.)

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