Our Story

Tomorrow, William and I are getting married. My mom volunteered to make us a wedding album that will include photos from the last year, wedding photos (obviously to be added later), and the story of how we came to this point. I hand wrote our stories onto beautiful scrapbook paper, but decided to put them here, too.

My Story

William and I met online. I was fed up with the rude guys who asked inappropriate questions, then cussed me out when I didn’t respond. I hadn’t logged into the site for several weeks and was preparing to close the account when I saw the message from William. That first message from him was so different from any other guy that I was intrigued enough to reply. Before I knew it, we’d been chatting for hours. After a couple of days, we moved our conversation to Telegram and continued talking for over a month.
I’d been counting down to the release of Beauty and the Beast for months, so I told William all about it. As opening day drew near, I dropped some hints about needing someone to go with me. William eventually got up the courage to ask me out and we made plans to see the movie. Of course, we couldn’t really talk during a movie, so we decided to get lunch first. After much discussion and fruitless searching for a nice place to eat in Fremont, we settled on Arby’s.
The day of the big date finally arrived. My loving brother came out to visit, so he could remind me not to get killed by a serial killer (Gee, thanks). With some slightly more encouraging words from my mom and Carbyn (via text), I was off.
When I arrived at Arby’s, William was already there, waiting nervously. We got our food and settled in to talk. We got so lost in conversation that we nearly missed the movie! The movie was everything I’d hoped it would be and the conversation during the end credits was excellent. Sadly, William had to leave for work, so we went our separate ways, promising to arrange another date soon. Before he took off, though, William gave me a single, long stemmed rose, which I brought home and carefully dried to save.
After that first date, we settled into a pattern of regular communication. I’d start my day by sending a “good morning” text. We’d text off and on through the day, then William would call in the evening and we’d talk for hours. We talked about all sorts of things–our daily lives, our childhoods, and our interests and hobbies.
We started seeing each other every Saturday, as it was the only day that our work schedules allowed. Our second date was spent at the Durham and the Joslyn art museum. The Durham had a photo exhibit and William somehow managed to stay interested through my photography chatter. That certainly earned major points in my book.
By the third date, we’d decided it was time for Isaiah and William to meet. In an effort to make sure Isaiah was comfortable, we decided to meet at the zoo in the morning and have my mom join us with Isaiah later in the day. Since William was going to be meeting my mom, David asked if he and Shelby could come along and try to intimidate my new boyfriend. I reluctantly agreed, with a warning that they’d better not scare off my perfect guy.
Isaiah wasn’t too sure what to think about this new person who wanted to be his friend and William was insanely nervous. We headed to the new petting zoo in the African safari, so they’d have something to do. Isaiah immediately ran to the goats to play with them and William joined him, after a little nudge. Once they’d started petting goats, they found that it was easy to talk and interact. From that moment on, Isaiah had decided that William was the absolute coolest person in the entire world. When we got to the top of the hill, where there’s a dinosaur dig, Isaiah started acting like a dinosaur. William joined in right away and the two of them took off, roaring and chasing each other. They’ve been nearly inseparable ever since.
A couple of weeks after William and Isaiah met, we decided to have a kid-centered date. We took Isaiah to the children’s museum and the Joslyn. Isaiah had never been to the children’s museum, so he was super excited to check it out. There were all sorts of cool, interactive activities that Isaiah got to try. He had a lot of fun getting William to help him with things. William got a taste of parenting part way through our day, when he and Isaiah managed to drench Isaiah in water while playing at the water table. Isaiah was too wet to just keep playing, so I had to send them into the bathroom to attempt to dry him off. William was tasked with wringing out and attempting to dry Isaiah’s entire outfit, while Isaiah stood there being goofy and completely unhelpful. Somehow, they survived the experience and emerged from the bathroom, dry enough to seek more adventures.
When we’d finally exhausted the fun activities at the children’s museum, we went over to the Joslyn. We weren’t there very long, though, because Isaiah was suddenly very worn out. He started falling apart and couldn’t be consoled. In the end, he decided that he absolutely had to be carried to the car–by William.
William is shy, a bit awkward, and insanely cautious. This resulted in some interesting moments in the early days of our relationship. For the first few dates, he was terrified to hold my hand because he was sure he’d come across as “pushy”. After several conversations about boundaries and what we were and were not comfortable with, as well as a good deal of teasing, he finally worked up the courage to hold my hand on the third date, though he still acted as if he expected me to try to bite him when he tried. After a while, I was starting to wonder if he’d ever have the guts to kiss me. Carbyn and I joked about it off and on and, eventually, Carbyn took matters into her own hands and told him to “just kiss her already!” Except that William didn’t read his Facebook messages until after the date. In good news, he’d already been thinking about it and trying to muster the courage, anyway, so he managed to get around to it without her encouragement. He got a good laugh when he saw her message a couple of hours later.
Once school was out and we didn’t have to juggle two work schedules, we started seeing more of each other. William came up here to visit and slept on my parents’ hide-a-bed couch some weeks, so he’d be able to spend more time with me. We had a lot of fun together and Isaiah informed me that he was pretty sure that we loved each other and would get married. Smart kid.
William was gone for annual training for two weeks in June. That meant very little opportunity to talk at all, even over texts. To help pass the time on my end, Iris spent a few days here, just hanging out and helping fuel Isaiah’s interest in Legos.
When William finally got back from AT, we met up at the zoo with Isaiah. We walked through the African safari, so Isaiah could admire elephants and I could visit with the cheetahs. After we spent a while talking to the cheetahs and taking their picture, William pulled me off to a quieter spot (the zoo was crowded, thanks to the beautiful weather) and pulled out a ring. He got down on one knee and… Isaiah took off. Apparently, quiet meant boring and nothing to see, so he was off to find adventures. After we wrangled my son, William got down on one knee–again–and asked me to marry him. Of course, I said “yes!” When we told Isaiah why William had just given me a ring, he gave an exasperated sigh, threw up his arms, and announced, “finally!” Apparently, we took way too long to figure out what he’d known “forever”.
Then it was time for the chaos that is wedding planning to begin. Before we posted anything on social media, we made sure to tell our parents, siblings, grandmothers, and Carbyn that we were engaged. Everyone wished us well, asked about plans (because apparently you should know the wedding date before you consider getting engaged?), and celebrated with us.
A couple of weeks after we announced our engagement, Carbyn came to visit. I couldn’t choose bridesmaid dresses without the maid of honor! So, while she was here, we headed out in search of dresses, along with Rose (the brains and organization of our operation) and Iris (my other bridesmaid). We found the perfect dresses for the girls and, by some miracle, for me, too! Thanks to the wonders of technology, we kept both my mom and William’s in the loop during the dress shopping adventure, sharing pictures through a Telegram group chat.
Since then, the chaos has continued. We worked madly on various wedding related projects, from choosing and making decorations to attending premarital counseling. Ceremony invitations were handmade, carefully written out for each family who was being invited. We had engagement photos done, which included Isaiah, so that we could make photo invitations for the reception, which would include more of our friends.
In between all the wedding planning craziness, life went on. We settled into a routine of spending time together on William’s days off and having him participate in everyday tasks like attending Isaiah’s appointments and events. We still made time for dates whenever we could. We’ve started to settle into just living life together. It’s been an adventure so far and it’s only just beginning.

William’s Story

I first met Elisabeth online, while at work. It was a quiet evening guarding the call center, so I decided to see if I could find a beautiful woman who was kind hearted. I succeeded beyond my wildest dreams! We started chatting regularly about topics ranging from favorite TV shows, to theology, to our life stories. As the days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months, I found myself falling for her.
After a couple months, I finally worked up enough courage to ask her out to lunch and a movie. Lucky for me, the new Beauty and the Beast film had just been released. We decided to meet in Fremont and, after a couple of hours searching for a great lunch option, we settled on Arby’s. I was a nervous wreck driving up. The thought that I would mess up or that I had worked up my hopes falsely echoed again and again. However, my fears were laid to rest in the Arby’s lobby as we nervously talked.
We started meeting regularly on weekends after that day in March. After a few dates, Elisabeth decided I was real and trustworthy enough to meet her son, Isaiah. I met Elisabeth and her family at the zoo. I was both excited and nervous to meet Isaiah and the rest of Elisabeth’s family. After an awkward start, we stopped at the petting zoo and there the two of us hit it off. We walked to the new lion exhibit and played dinosaurs as we went. Isaiah had decided he approved of me.
As spring turned into summer, Elisabeth and I continued to spend our weekends together, except now Isaiah joined us occasionally. After I returned from annual guard training, I decided to ask Elisabeth the most important question of my life. On July first, I met Elisabeth and Isaiah at the zoo. As we walked around, I kept alert for the perfect moment and, near the lion exhibit, it arrived! As we stopped at an observation platform, I pulled a small box from my pocket and knelt before my lady Elisabeth. I presented her with my mother’s engagement ring and asked to spend the rest of my days with her. To my great joy, she agreed! Isaiah, though, simply threw his hands in the air, cried, “FINALLY!” and dragged us to the next exhibit.

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A Tiny Geck

For my birthday, William promised me a new gecko. We opted to wait for the state expo, which happened last weekend, instead of just getting one from a pet store. I had a lot of fun admiring all the critters at the expo. We found a table with tiny baby geckos pretty quickly. They had a gorgeous, tiny white gecko. I fell in love immediately. We went ahead and checked out all the other breeders before making a purchase, but I ended up coming right back to her.

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Who could resist that face?

The baby has been here a few days now and is mostly settled in. She seems so small in her 10 gallon tank! She’s spunky and will throw a fit if she doesn’t approve of something. When she’s out of her tank, she’s very curious and wants to go exploring. She’s still difficult enough to catch that I don’t feel comfortable letting her leave my lap, though, much to her frustration.

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All curled up to nap

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On a mission to see the world

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She's just so tiny!

We’re still going back and forth on names. We just can’t seem to find one that fits perfectly. Right now, she goes by “baby girl” and “baby geck”. Hopefully we’ll have a name to reveal soon.

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Nap time

2018 State Gymnastics Meet

Isaiah has been in gymnastics for the last three years. This year, he qualified to start competing in meets. After attending several meets, he qualified for the state meet and was super excited to attend. He, along with several others from his gym, participated in the meet. In his level, there were two other boys from his gym, both of whom he gets along with beautifully.

The meet started with all the competitors marching into the gym to line up with their groups. Some of the gyms were huge, while others only had one or two participants. All were equally excited to be in attendance–and very nervous. After they marched in, they were sent off to various parts of the gym to warm up for their first events. Isaiah’s group headed for the pommel horse and mushroom. Sadly, they were directly behind the uneven bars, which were also in use, so I wasn’t able to get any photos. However, I could see them. Isaiah gave one of his best performances ever and knew he’d done well.

Next up was the rings. This is one of my favorite events, but also one that has been difficult for Isaiah. It requires incredible strength and control, as well as enough courage to turn upside down, while several feet above the ground (the rings hang above the coaches’ heads). Isaiah was so excited when he arrived today because he’d spent time practicing on a set of rings at the local playground and had finally figured out how to pull himself up into position without assistance. He showed off his new skill beautifully for his coach and the judges.

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Pulling himself up

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Pulling his knees up to complete a required position

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The position he worked so hard to master

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Preparing for dismount, after being upside down

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Words of encouragement

After that was the floor routine, with more new skills to show off. After years of trying, Isaiah is finally able to properly do a cartwheel, which means he can actually complete the routine. He was so excited to finally do the routine correctly and we were all so proud.

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Part of the floor routine

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The tripod position

Parallel bars has always been one of Isaiah’s strengths. He loves them and has done well with them from the start, probably from all the practice he’d had before with swinging from literally any surface he could, ever since he figured out it was possible. He typically scores well on them, but has continued to improve with every practice and every meet.

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Parallel bars

Then Isaiah did his high bar routine. This is another that he struggled with, thanks to the need to turn upside down. He spent a long time too afraid to flip around the bar, worrying he’d fall on his head (I can’t say I blame him!). Now that he’s willing to do it, he’s learning and improving rapidly.

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On the high bar

The final event was the vault. Isaiah is still at the lowest competitive level, so his group doesn’t use the actual vault. They’re still learning to use the springboard to jump into the air and how to land on their hands and flip. His routine consisted of jumping off the springboard and sticking a landing on the mats, then going back to the board, going into a handstand and allowing himself to fall onto his back (can’t complete a full flip without getting into the air, so they’re supposed to land on their backs).

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The first part of the vault, jumping from the springboard

When all was said and done, Isaiah had done his absolute best in every event. Did he win? No. But it’s his very first year competing, so no one really expected him to win right now. For the time being, it’s all about learning and having fun with his friends. As long as he continues to love it, he’ll continue to compete, whether he comes in first or last place. The most important thing for him to know about this year, though, is how proud his family and coaches are of his achievements. When he started gymnastics, he was shy and lacked any kind of confidence in his own abilities. I had to beg him to stay for class, then stick around myself and watch. Now, he dashes out the front door and takes off to class without me (we live close to his gym). He was afraid to use any of the equipment and didn’t have a clue how to do anything that was being asked of him, in those early days. Now, each of his coaches has stopped me at various times to say it’s amazing how much he’s learning and that he has a new skill to show them every week! Gymnastics has been absolutely amazing for Isaiah in so many ways. He’s stronger, more confident, and so much more willing to take risks and try new things. He’s learned that he can be independent and do things himself, instead of clinging to an adult and hoping they’ll fix it. I look forward to many more years of gymnastics and watching my sweet little boy grow into a confident young man.

State Gym Meet 2018

Proudly wearing his medal

State Gym Meet 2018

He tied for 2nd on pommel horse with his buddy and couldn't be happier

State Gym Meet 2018

Isaiah and his teammates from his level, with all their medals

State Gym Meet 2018

Isaiah's team with their all-around trophy for their level. They weren't quite sure what to do with their giant trophy.

Isaiah turns 8

Today is Isaiah’s 8th birthday. He’s so excited. I’m just amazed at how quickly the time has gone by. It’s hard to believe my baby is eight!

We did a quick survey of sorts, so we can look back and see how much he’s changed (or hasn’t) over the years.

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My eight year old

Name: Isaiah
Age: 8
What are you going to be when you grow up? Vet and beatboxer
What is something that is hard for you? Getting a basketball hoop
What is something you’re good at? Gymnastics
What are you afraid of? The dark
What do you like to do with family?
What do you like to learn? How to read
Where would you go on vacation? Legoland
Who is your hero? Daddy
How old is Mama? 17
How old is Daddy? 20
What makes you happy? Toys
What makes you sad? No toys in the whole wide world
What’s the best thing about your birthday? My toys
Favorite food: Candy!!
Favorite subject at school: PE
Favorite thing to do: Play
Favorite book: Narnia
Favorite animal: Cheetah
Favorite color: Yellow
Favorite teacher: Mama
Favorite sport: Soccer
Favorite birthday gift this year: Superheroes and Jurassic World legos
Favorite show: Hogan’s Heroes
Favorite movie: Lilo and Stitch
Favorite holiday: Christmas
Favorite restaurant: Pizza Ranch

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Silly face

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My sweet boy

“Gingerbread” Houses

Isaiah wanted to build a gingerbread house, but the kit was an absolute disaster (pieces were warped and it had the wrong type of icing, so nothing would stick). Instead of giving up, we decided to improvise. So, we pulled out some graham crackers and made some buttercream icing. We spent the next while carefully decorating houses made of crackers with an assortment of candies. Isaiah thought it was a wonderful idea because he had permission to eat it when it was finished.

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Ready to start!

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Trying to taste it before it was even decorated

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Carefully decorating

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Isaiah's finished house, with him begging to eat it, in the background

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Time to eat it!

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My mom with her house

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Everyone's finished houses: Mine on top, Isaiah's on the bottom left, my mom's on the bottom right

Frozen Bubbles

It’s officially COLD outside! We were able to go outside this morning and blow some bubbles that froze in the air for us. I managed to catch a couple on my wand, so Isaiah could examine them more closely. It was pretty cool to watch the ice crystals spread over the entire bubble.

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Isaiah approves

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A closer shot of the bubble

2017 in Review

It’s been a while since I had time to write, so I guess I’ll try to get back into this by starting with a review. 2017 has been crazy, so here goes.

January
In January, we had some nice weather, so we decided to take a trip to the zoo. We brought a homeschooled friend along with us and she and Isaiah had a blast.

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Zoo selfie

Isaiah turned 7 this month, but we had to wait until February for a party, since he really wanted all his friends to be able to attend. He was so excited to be 7!

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The birthday boy

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Proud boy with his brand new Nerf guns

February
This month started with Isaiah’s birthday party. We opted to do a party at the zoo, instead of trying to do one at home this year. It was a huge hit with Isaiah and all his friends.

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The kids had so much fun at the zoo! They loved running ahead of the adults and talking to the animals.

March
March brought Isaiah’s very first ever gymnastics meet. He was so excited to finally be old enough to participate. It was a fun meet where everyone got to participate and came home with an award of some sort, unlike most meets, which are highly competitive. It was a nice start to his gymnastics career.

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He loves the rings

DJ and Shiloh had a baby shower this month. We were all so excited to be waiting for a new baby boy.

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DJ and Shiloh with some of the gifts

I’d been counting down to March for almost a year because the live action Beauty and the Beast movie was going to be released. I couldn’t wait! Then, to add to the excitement, I met an awesome guy who offered to take me to see it.

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The first photo of me and William

April
In April, Isaiah got to meet William for the first time. We opted to meet up at the zoo, so Isaiah would have something to keep him busy, in case he felt shy. Turned out he didn’t need something to entertain him. He fell in love with William immediately!

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All of us at the zoo

Isaiah had never been to the Children’s museum nearest to us before, so we decided it was time to pay a visit. Isaiah loved every bit of it. He made new friends in each area and had a blast playing with all sorts of imaginative play centers. When he reached a point where he couldn’t function anymore, he insisted that William carry him to the car.

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Children's museum fun

May
Isaiah participated in field day at school again this year. He’s getting better at the skills and had a blast participating with all his friends.

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A couple of his events

June
June brought a great deal of excitement. DJ and Shiloh’s baby finally decided to make his appearance, adding one more family birthday to our busiest month. He’s a beautiful little boy, named Kendall.

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Introducing Kendall

July
William proposed to me this month. He brought me and Isaiah to the zoo for a fun day, then stopped to propose up on the hill, near some of my favorite animals. Of course, as soon as he tried to get down on one knee, Isaiah took off. Once we’d caught Isaiah again, William was able to propose and, of course, I said yes.

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My ring

The zoo in Sioux Falls had koala bears this summer. I adore koalas, so my mom, Isaiah, and I loaded up for a very long drive to go see them. We’d never been to that zoo before, so there was lots to see, besides the koalas. I will admit we spent the most time just sitting, watching the koalas, though. They were just so stinking cute!

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Some of our many zoo pictures

August
Before I had to go back to work for the school year, my mom, Isaiah, and I decided to take a little vacation. We thought it would be fun to try to see Nebraska in a few days. It was a challenge, but we pulled it off. We got to see lots of important landmarks, as well as visit a zoo we’d never been to before.

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Just a few shots from our adventures

September
Isaiah and I took William and his sister, Iris, to our favorite pumpkin patch. Isaiah had fun showing them all his favorite activities and playing with them.

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October
We welcomed a new, sweet kitty to our home this month. A family friend was being forced to rehome her babies, due to a severe allergy in her family. I was happy to offer T.J. a new home with us. He’s settled in and loves his new home.

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T.J.'s first portraits

Since Isaiah got to show off his favorite pumpkin patch, William’s family invited us to come and see theirs. Isaiah, of course, loved every second. I hardly saw him the whole day because he took off with Grace, William’s youngest sister.

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So much to do!

We all adore the zoo, so we decided to take Iris there for some adventures, too. She hadn’t been there since they’d done some major construction and added new exhibits, so it was fun to show her the new stuff.

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Zoo selfies

November
Isaiah always helps my dad with his magic shows at the local pumpkin patch. This year, the owners of the pumpkin patch gave them each a small gift for helping out. Isaiah was absolutely giddy at receiving his very first paycheck.

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Posing with his paycheck

December
Isaiah had two Christmas programs this month, one at school and one at church. Before the school program, my dad took some family pictures for us. Isaiah loved participating in his programs and having his family in the audience for them. He’s so proud of himself.

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The family pictures and some shots of his programs