This blog post has been a LONG time in coming. In fact… I meant to get it together for our ten year dating anniversary in August of 2018! 🙈But, nevertheless, today I’d like to take you back a decade to share some of my favorite photos from Nick and I’s relationship throughout the years!
For those of you who might not know our story, Nick and I started dating when he was 16, and when I was 15 (technically, just the day before I turned 16, when I was “officially” allowed to start dating 😂). We were each the first boyfriend/girlfriend that we ever had. After nearly 7 years of dating, in 2015 we tied the knot!
We are both so grateful that we were able to grow with each other mentally, emotionally, physically (i.e., out of bad haircuts and questionable style choices 😉), and spiritually throughout the years. And while I tend to cringe at some of these photos - looking back, I am beyond thankful to have them. And I would love to share a bit of our story - in photo form - with you! And hopefully, some of these photos will remind you (like they did me!) that it’s not about looking “perfect.” It’s about having those moments to hang onto in all of their reality - interesting style choices, weird faces, silly moments, and all.
So, to start, we’ll start at the very beginning. Or, in this case - before the beginning!
For this very first photo, we’re throwing it back to the first photo Nick and I EVER took together! This was actually before we started dating in the summer of 2008. My friends threw me the sweetest surprise birthday party for my 16th birthday, and little did I know (until I got there!) that they had invited Nick! Who, apparently, had gotten really sunburnt that week 😂
Also, note that this photo was taken on the small digital camera that I kept in my purse! Thank the good Lord for modern technology and not having to carry around ten different electronic devices!
On this day quite a few years ago, Nick and I decided to go for a walk in the woods near my neighborhood. Shortly after our adventure began, I tried to pull down a giant tree branch that was in our way and a one of it's tiny branches impaled my arm! While I was freaking out, Nick (like the gentleman he is), offered to carry me back to my parents' house (a two mile walk from there). I (not so kindly) informed him that it was not my FEET or my LEGS that had been impaled, but my arm!
I can safely say that this was one of my LEAST favorite things we've ever done together! Both of our families (who love to hang out together!) decided it would be a wonderful idea for us all to go water tubing - you know, where you hang onto a tube for your LIFE while a boat drags you through deep, churning waters. No big deal! Up until five minutes before this photo was taken, I was insisting that I would never EVER get on one of these tubes just to be thrown off into the depths of the sea. Nick assured me that we would be able to hang on for the whole time if we went together, so VERY reluctantly, I agreed. I should mention that one of my biggest fears in life is drowning, along with large bodies of water (how was I ever a lifeguard for six years?!). So we got on the tube, and literally JUST as the boat started to pull us, our tube submerged under water (I was hanging on too tightly towards the front, apparently) and we were thrown off, as the boat sped away. Meanwhile, I'm FREAKING OUT (screaming, crying, the works) imagining all of the scary darkness and marine life that was swirling below me. Nick (and both of our families) got a GREAT laugh out of that one! Me... not so much!
Yes, Nick was literally the Chick-fil-A cow on multiple occasions throughout the area where we live! So of course, I had to visit. Once, I was even the "Mrs" Chick-fil-A cow - only I had walking pneumonia (which I found out later) and could NOT control my coughing. Kids kept trying to hug me while I was in the costume (and coughing), then they would start screaming and crying "What's wrong with the cow! The cow is DYING!"
Nick's family was gracious enough to bring me along on a few trips to Florida while Nick and I were only dating! During THIS trip in particular, we decided to rent one of these little two person biking things (yes, that's the official name, in case you were wondering!), and after we initially spoke to the rental guy at one of the rental booths, the rental guy left and Nick says to me: "OH MY GOSH. Did you see it?!" Totally unaware as to what he was talking about, I said, "No - see what?" "THE SQUIRREL SITTING ON HIS SHOULDER!!! Look for it when he comes back!" So we waited, and ten minutes later, the rental guy comes back - without a squirrel on his shoulder. Nick was SO confused, and I BURST out laughing. To this day, Nick still believes there was a squirrel sitting on this man's shoulder. I still don't believe it!
One of the coolest things we've done together is go on a mission trip to Kenya! As you can see from our faces - jet lag is the real deal.
Ahhhhh, Halloween. We've gone through quite a few make shift Halloween costumes throughout the year, only to settle on finally investing in some Hogwarts robes (which I think we've worn for the last four years or so! ;) ). Other mentionables include: Bert Macklin & Janet Snakehole (any Parks & Rec fans out there?!), pirates, and Minnie & Mickey!
When this photo was taken, I had NO idea it would be so important to me so many years later. I was playing "Mrs. Mayor" in my high school's rendition of "Seussical," and Nick came to every single show. Later I found out that at one of the shows, Nick leaned over to his best friend and whispered "I'm going to marry that girl someday." I think it was the yellow suit 😂
Nick and I met through our youth group (read more about how we met here!) on a trip down to Florida to a camp called "Bigstuf." This photo was taken on our third trip together down there - those are some of my favorite memories!
I love everything that this photo represents: time together, uninterrupted, in one of our favorite places: Disney’s Boardwalk Resort! This photo was taken during a first year anniversary session by the incredibly talented KT Crabb Photography.
And here is us… just last year, attending my cousin’s wedding in Virginia! This photo reminds me of allllll of the boundaries we had to keep in place and adhere to - together - just to be able to attend this wedding and spend the weekend with my extended family. At the beginning of our marriage, one of the toughest things we had to work through was making time to align our schedules to be together.
When we were first married, Nick was working as a Youth Director at the church we attended, and I was working a part-time Graphic & Web Design job, while trying to build this business. We had no boundaries, and consequently, we never really saw each other or got to spend time with each other. I am SO thankful that we were both given a call out and were able to pursue a healthy work-life balance. 💛
Thanks for reading, friends!