Saturday, February 14, 2015

Mike + Alex

Earlier this morning I stumbled across my favorite blogger Grace over at Camp Patton and this gem of a blog post about how her and her hubs first met.

Since I started this blog well after Mike and I started dating, I never really laid out the finer details of our relationship.  I mean, I've documented our engagement, some of our wedding prep (before my, gasp, 2 year blogging hiatus, which I'm still mad at myself about), and our actual wedding, but never really how it all started.

So, I thought I'd take a stroll down memory lane this morning and rehatch all of those fun details for you.  Try not to get too excited.

2008

I was living/working just outside of London, England.  It was amazing -- an experience I'll cherish forever.  I met so many awesome people, had a blast in my first real teaching job teaching in a British school, and traveling to some amazing places.






I was 23 years old and a happy singleton.  I got to spend my weekends touring Europe, and my weekdays teaching British kids.  It was awesome.

2009

It turns out that my England adventure was going to come to a close; my visa wasn't being renewed, thanks to some super-strict laws that went into effect after I had already gotten there, and I would be heading home after half-term in February of 2009.  I was a little upset; I had really loved my year in England and everything I got to do, but I did miss my family and Scooter oh-so-dearly.  So home I went...which turned out to be the best thing that could have happened.

As soon as I got back, my good buddy Lauren -- who we go way back; her family grew up across the street from us -- and I had been chatting a ton while I was in England (because she has a passion for all things British like I do) and she asked me to come to "Dinner club" with her.  This was a Thursday night ritual with her group of friends -- many of them I knew (not necessarily well though) and went to high school with.  Being back in the US with no job (I was just substitute teaching and interviewing for jobs that would begin the next school year) and no real tight-knit friends around, I leapt at the chance to go.

Dinner Club, I soon learned, was kinda exclusive and a big deal (very similar to The Finer Things Club from The Office) -- and each Club had a theme, and usually concluded with watching the new episode of The Office that premiered that night.  The first one I went to was at Lauren's sister Courtney (and her hubby Andy)'s house.  I remember wearing my Dunder Mifflin Fun Run shirt I had gotten in NYC that past spring, thinking it'd be the perfect attire for this Dinner Club.

When I got there, I spent a few minutes catching up with some friends from high school that showed up, but mostly hanging around Courtney and Lauren because I knew them.  This guy {Mike} walked in shortly after I got there and he was wearing the same shirt I had on!  WHAT?!!  REALLY?!!  Oh well.  It's a funny shirt, and it is The Office night, so whatever.  A little later on, this same guy walked up to me and said, "Nice shirt.  But one of us is going to have to change, and it's not going to be me." (In my head) GASP!  What.the.hell.  First off, that wasn't nice to say, and secondly, what guy says that to someone they've just met?!!  A jerk, that's who.  I think I even told Lauren later that night what an asshole I thought he was.  She kept telling me, "Oh no, no, he's not at all!  He was probably just joking, he's got a funny sense of humor."  Whatever.  I wasn't buying it.  I was not a fan.

I had been back a couple months and decided to host my own Dinner Club -- St. Louis themed: IMOS and t-ravs and other St. Louis staples.  Since Mike was part of our group, he got an invite too -- even though I still wasn't crazy about him.  Here's some pics from that event in May of 2009, to continue this walk down memory lane.



In the meantime, my friend Lauren kept telling me how much Mike "liked" me (were we back in middle school?!!) and wanted my phone number.  I think I audibly laughed out loud every time she told me this.  I was like, "You've got to be joking.  There is NO WAY."  And other times I'd respond, "Well you can give him my number, or he can just ask me for it."  Which didn't ever happen.  I didn't believe her at all when she told me these things, because our first encounter was so 'not fireworks' and every one after that was just an encounter, nothing more.

Summer 2009

Later on in the summer of 2009, Mike friended me on Facebook.  Wow.  But I mean, I guess I shouldn't be surprised; I've friended a'many'a'people before just so I can cyber-stalk look at their pictures and such, so I figured he was doing the same thing.  But then he began messaging me on Facebook -- asking how my day was going, if anything fun was going on this weekend, and so on.  I started around this point to maybe thing Lauren was telling me the truth; maybe this guy actually did like me.  So naturally I responded and we would frequently message back and forth.  Eventually messaging turned to emailing...but Mike never once asked for my phone number -- we just resorted to messages back and forth...and then conversing at Dinner Club and other parties we happened to both attend.

4th of July

Our friends Courtney and Andy hosted a big 4th of July party in 2009 that I was super excited about. Not really sure why, other than it was an excuse to do something on a weekend night other than hang with my parents and watch movies.  



Mike and I had a great time at the party -- we totally hit it off (may have been thanks to some bebidas for myself) and we chatted all night long.  Anyways, sparing you the nitty gritty details, I thoroughly enjoyed myself that evening, so much so that I decided I would needed to call my pops to come pick me up and take me home -- nice one.  Well, Mike said that he had to work in the morning and was getting ready to leave (early party departer here, circa pre-11pm), and would just drive me home.  Perfect.  I hoped up in the passenger seat of his truck and he drove me home.  Andddddd, just as I was getting out of the car, he asked me for my phone number (!!!!) to make sure I 1. got in okay 2. was feeling okay tomorrow morning.  Swoon.  Wow.  This was not the same asshat who made that comment to me the first time we met.  Maybe he was just joking around then...

First Date

Well, immediately the next day I got an email from Mike, asking me if I wanted to go to the Muny with him to see his favorite musical, Meet Me in St. Louis on July 8th.  OH MY GOSH.  Is he asking me on a legit, real date?!  I think he was!  Was it weird that he was asking me via email?!  Not to me it wasn't; I'm a very techie person.  Email was fine by me.  Anyways, I responded that I definitely was available and would love to go.  He was living in Dogtown (near where the Muny is) at the time, so on July 8th I drove down to his house and met him.

We went to dinner at Pat's -- very near the Muny/Forest Park, and then, since it was a nice summer night (aka probably wasn't 100 degrees) we walked over to see the show.  I remember as we walked I verbalized my fear that we'd be walking back through Forest Park in the dark and was a little concerned about getting mugged.  He casually responded, "It's fine.  Don't worry.  I have a gun."  I was audibly stunned.  I mean, I knew he was a cop, I think, maybe I thought he was just a security guard (I can't really remember), but I was shocked that he actually had a gun with him right then, on his hip!  I'm pretty sure that stuck in my mind the rest of the night.

The show at the Muny was excellent, and afterwards we said our polite goodbyes and I headed back home, feeling really giddy at how much I liked this fella. 

*Spoiler: I have no idea when/where our first kiss was.  Whoops.  Guess that one didn't stick too well in my memory bank.  It may have been that first date??  Or shortly afterwards???!  I really can't remember.  My apologies.  Guess this post will be staying PG-rated now.

The Rest of 2009

So after our first date, we began talking a lot.  Mostly via email or on the phone.  Mike was living in the stone ages and, having just got a cell phone a couple years before (WHAT??!!! COME ON!), he still didn't have a texting plan and DID.NOT.TEXT.  Ugh.  This was definitely hard for me, who has always been an avid texter, but looking back maybe it was good that we actually conversed with voices instead of in messages.

Anyways, the rest of 2009 was great; I started a new job at a new school (which was not close to where I was living, so I got to spend a'many hours on the drive on the phone with Mike too), and Mike and I were spending a lot of time together -- really whenever his crazy schedule (that you all know so well by now how much I complain about) allowed.  I think it was at the end of September or early October when we finally decided to have that lovely relationship talk -- are we dating?  Are we boyfriend-girlfriend?!  Yup.  It was decided that we officially were.  I think I changed my FB status to "in a relationship" then too, around the same time I posted this first pic of us together (at one of Mike's friend's weddings).  I got a lot of messages and inquiries about this new guy.


I started feeling very settled and confident in our relationship and bringing Mike around my family, parents, brothers, and such more and more.  He did the same; I would join him at family dinner on Sunday nights at his parents house, and he would accompany me to various family parties and shindigs, like Halloween at my aunt's house below.


Things were going really well, and I really liked this fella, and I think he liked me too.

2010

This was a great year.  Both Mike and I loved to travel, and we spent a'many weekends (and weeks!) traveling all over together to visit friends, attend weddings, and see the sights.  We went skiing in Wisconsin, hit up the beach in South Carolina, visited Mt. Rainier in Washington state, and spent Thanksgiving in Hawaii.  We had a blast, and I definitely knew this was the fella I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.  I loved him more than anyone else in my entire life, and I think he felt the same way about me (tear. so sappy Alex!).  And did I mention he absolutely loved my dog Scooter?!  Win win.  












I should note that sometime towards the end of 2010 I bought Mike an iPhone and put him on my plan (we were 1+ years with NO texting between us...I couldn't take it anymore!!) so I felt like that was saying something too -- 2 year cell phone commitment may be leading to another type of commitment soon?!  I hoped!

2011

I thought maybe? Mike would propose in Hawaii over Thanksgiving, but didn't get my hopes up cause we were 1. staying with friends 2. never really "alone" 3. he'd probably do it when we were on a trip solo.

During our adventures in 2010, we booked my spring break (and Mike's week off) 2011 for a trip to London.  I was itching to get back ever since I came back in 2009, and I wanted to show Mike all around my favorite city.  I was super duper anxious for this trip, and to see some old friends again, but also because Mike was going to be there with me.





I had an inkling that Mike might propose sometime soon, but really didn't think he'd do it in London because no way is Caution Carl {Mike} bringing a ring to a foreign country with him.  Well, my idiot self was in disbelief the night he proposed right on the Thames across from Big Ben and Westminster (my FAVORITE locale in London).  I.WAS.SHOCKED.  Pic from right afterwards:


I super-cut-short that engagement story...GO HERE for the longer version I typed up right after the event back in 2011.  It's a good read, folks.

Engaged

Anyways, so we came back from London ENGAGED and I was the happiest gal ever.  We got engaged in my favorite city in my favorite spot and now I get to marry the greatest guy ever.  It truly was a fairy tale for me -- something I will cherish and hold dear forever and ever.  A few pics for you from our engagement shoot in the summer of 2011.






I have a gajillion other pics of just Mike and I that I'll spare you from posting, cause I'm sure I've already overloaded this post with far too many for your liking.  Maybe I'll do a follow-up post sometime with my favorite Mike and Alex pics...just maybe.  Stay tuned.

The rest of the story is history: wedding planning, a semi-long engagement (damn teacher schedules!) of 15 months, and a wonderful wedding (read all about it here) followed up with an adorable little boy 11 months later, and now #2 coming just before we celebrate our 3rd wedding anniversary.  Wow.  What a ride thus far.  I can't wait to see where it takes us in the future.

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