~33~Blogger Behind the Screen (Part 4)

In my previous "Blogger Behind the Screen" posts, I've brought you into the various aspects of my life-my family, where I grew up, my profession, and now in this last installment, I want to share with you my love story.

In March, 2004, I was in the spring semester of my freshman year at Augsburg College.  It was a typical weekend night-going to a party with some friends.  Little did I know, this night would forever leave a mark in my heart.  On this same night, a handsome man, was on a trip with his frat to their annual convention in Minneapolis.  Through a twist of fate, this handsome man and I ended up at the same party and crossing paths.  We caught each other eyes, and he walked up to me and we started chatting.  To my dismay, I discovered that this man, named Jake, was from Iowa and not from Minnesota.  Despite this, we exchanged information at the end of the night and parted ways.  I never expected to hear from him, but I was very pleasantly surprised when I did!

Our 1st New Years together, 2005 
We quickly formed a special connection-talking for hours every day about anything and everything.  This was not an ordinary relationship!  Although we knew that maintaining a relationship so far apart from each other would be hard, we also knew that our connection was too strong to ignore and they had to give it shot.  For the next 4 years, we maintained a long-distance relationship, taking turns driving to see one another every other weekend.  Over this time, I got to spend a lot of time not only with Jake, but with his friends as well and they soon became not just his friends, but OUR friends. 

After I graduated from college, I wanted to move to Iowa to be with Jake and started to apply for teaching jobs.  I had interviews with several Twin Cities districts and with the Ames school district in Iowa.  The only job offer that I got however, was from the St. Paul school district in MN.  I felt that I couldn't turn down a teaching job and signed a contract.  After another year of long distance, and us wanting to become more serious in our relationship, I knew that if we were ever going to be able to move forward, we needed to live in the same state.  At the end of the school year, I decided not to renew my contract and made the big move down to West Des Moines, IA where Jake and I got our first (and current) apartment together.  
Spending time together in Ames, IA
After almost 2 years of living together, and 6 years of dating, marriage had definitely been discussed several times. We had done some ring browsing together, but never settled on anything.  In the fall of 2010, we decided to participate in a local promotion held by one of the local jewelers, called a Diamond Dash.  In this contest, we raced around downtown Des Moines with many other couples in a huge scavenger hunt.  The grand prize was a $10,000 engagement ring.  While we didn't win the prize, we did find a jeweler that we love.  With the help of our amazing jeweler, Shelly, we found the perfect setting.   Jake purchased the ring, and I was left to sit on pins and needles, wondering when I'd be presented with it.

March 13, 2010 was just an average Saturday and I left for my shift at the Y.  Little did she know Jake had started orchestrating an amazing proposal the minute I walked out the door.   After getting off work, I walked in the door to find Jake down on one knee with the ring and our apartment glowing with candles.  Jake, who had kept keepsakes of our memories the past 6 years (cards, ticket stubs, pictures, gifts, etc), had them spread out all over the apartment!  

He also had picked up dinner from Macaroni Grill-the first meal I had made for him.  He even had the first movie we'd watched together, "Hardball", playing on the t.v. I of course started crying at the beautiful sight and Jake said the most beautiful words. I of course said,"YES!!!"  We ate dinner together, and then headed out to meet with our friends to celebrate.
15 months later, we were married in a beautiful ceremony, on June 25, 2011.  We will be celebrating our 1 year anniversary exactly one week from today.  In honor of that, I will be taking after a fellow June 2011 bride and blogger of Forever and a Day, to do a weeks worth of blog posts about the various aspects of our wedding day from getting ready-to our honeymoon. 
Photo taken by Imagen International

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