Buying Their First House

He and she had been renting their entire relationship. Why wouldn’t they? They were only 24 years old by the end of January 2016. Now that she was almost half way through her second pregnancy, and baby was crawling everywhere at a ripe 9 months of age, it was time to get serious about finding a house again. (This time one they would actually follow through with.)

They had looked at a few houses that were either falling apart or in bad areas of town, sometimes it was both. After a few weeks, they grew frustrated by what little their budget could get them. Where they lived was a great area for rental properties, so big companies and investors would buy up all the houses in the nicer areas and rent them out, which didn’t bode well for the Anonymous family and their house hunt.

Finally one morning, she received an email from Zillow with a saved search update. There was a house that was just put on the market in an okay area and had some work done on it recently. It still looked as though it needed some work, but she knew if they didn’t get into see it that day, it would be gone in a flash.

Their realtor was on it. They saw it that night and made an offer on the place, and with some back and forth, there was an accepted offer. From the house being so new to the market, there was an open house set for that weekend that the seller’s realtor decided to go forward with. “Babe, we should go, but give fake names, so their realtor doesn’t know we are the people buying it.” He suggested super enthused.

“Yes! I like this!” She exclaimed, already working on name variations that sounded real. Upon getting to the open house that weekend, the woman never asked their “names,” which was fine since he and she never landed in agreement about what their alter names should be.

What people don’t explain on HGTV is that closing on a house isn’t as simple as an accepted offer (unless you are somehow able to pay for a house in cash). It’s a month or more of emails, credit checks, bank statements, signatures, inspections, earnest money, insurance, closing costs (which he and she had to pay for), and making sure you don’t open any new lines of credit, along with packing and whatever else the bank and realtors require, all so that signing on the dotted lines (which there are many) results in the new ownership of the home. On January 21, 2016, checks were handed over and papers were signed, all within a matter of 20 minutes somehow.

They had done a final walkthrough before closing, but realized that their dog was a tad more odorous than they had thought. Their renovations had definitely been DIY, but he was gung-ho about doing all renovations himself. They weren’t able to sleep there until that weekend, since their bed was still at the apartment, but they decided to order some food and eat it at the new place on the floor. All of their stuff had been packed, meaning no more cooking meals anywhere until they were settled in the new house. She craved spaghetti, so they ordered from a chain Italian restaurant. “Look! Our first takeout menu for the house!” She said, already feeling at peace with the largest purchase in her life. Baby played in his walkabout as they ate on the living room floor, looking around.

“We are going to make this house our own sweetie. We can take out some walls, put up drywall over the foundation in the basement to finish it off, rip up the carpet and match the bamboo in the bedroom. It is going to be a great starter home.” And he meant it. That day he ripped out the carpet, which quickly removed a fraction of the dog odor.

IMG_1491Within the first week of moving in, she came home from work to find one of the first walls he wanted to take out, missing.

By the next weekend, there were several down.IMG_1494

His stepdad and her dad had been a huge help in getting them this far. In a few weeks her dad would help getting plumbing in the new bathroom that would go in the master bedroom they created. His stepdad was helping move electric and remove some of the studs from the old framing of the walls.

After the walls had come down, she received a follow-up email from HGTV’s House Hunters. They wanted he and she to begin the application process of being on the show. The only issue was that they wanted them to hold off on renovations and on moving in. Whoops! She had inquired right after they had put in an offer, thinking they would never be contacted. For a while, they thought they could pull it off. They would speed up renovation and move their stuff back into their apartment (that they still have yet to sublet or else they will pay for it until May 2016). Easy. They even did the phone interview. It was when it came down to really thinking about how long and strenuous moving had been for him and their families (since she wasn’t really allowed to pick anything up, being pregnant).

They finally decided that it wouldn’t be in their best interest to move again, speed up renovations, and take off five days of work just to be on TV and get $500. It was an awesome feeling to get that far though, since they felt it would have been a strong chance that they got on the show. “This is going to be our five year house.” He had once expressed to her. When the kids were older and needed their own room or when they all just felt they needed a bigger better place, maybe they would have another chance.

None of that really mattered to he and she. They were just happy to have a place to raise their growing family, and a place to finally call home.

And then there were four…

Things had fallen into a routine with he and she. They worked as a team raising baby, while simultaneously carrying on with full-time jobs. She had stopped breastfeeding baby when he was around five months, since her supply had slowly but surely evaporated into oblivion. The explanation she had in her mind was that she had just started working out and had possibly not been hydrating enough.

After finally giving up on breastfeeding at the end of September, she switched to a full version of the pill (previously having taken the mini pill). At the end of the first pack, she fully expected to restart her monthly cycle. It didn’t happen. By the beginning of November, when she was supposed to start a second pack of pills, she brought to his attention that she skipped yet another period. “I am confused because I have been on the pill since we had the negative test a month ago. I’ve taken it the same time everyday and haven’t missed one, so I have no idea what’s going on.”

“Well, let’s get another test, sweetie.”

On November 2nd, they brought home the second test since baby had been born. She slowly went through the motions of taking yet another test without hesitation. She figured, yet again, that there was another explanation and that she would again see a negative result.

Just as she had reacted a little over a year prior, she burst into tears and started hyperventilating. “Oh. My. God! Babe, it’s positive!” She shrieked, as tears rushed down her cheeks.

“No way.” He said in disbelief, but he didn’t react at all how he did before. A smile crept across his face as he grabbed her in a hug as she cried into his chest.

“I can’t do this again. I just can’t.” She cried, in a state of panic and guilt that she would be robbing baby of this important time in his life.

“Yes, you can. It is going to be okay, sweetie. I am excited. They are going to be so close, and I love being a parent.” This put her mind at ease, but remembering labor, breastfeeding, and sleepless nights, had her still a bit worried.

At this point in time, they had no idea how far along she could be. They were forced to wait three weeks before an ultrasound, but the day finally did come on November 20th. The technician, remained silent for an uncomfortable amount of time. “There is only one in there right?” She asked the woman.

The tech did a small laugh, “Yes. So, it looks like you are about 8 weeks and 3 days along, which puts the due date at approximately June 28, 2016.” She smiled and looked at him as he sat holding baby who was wiggling all over the place. Capture

A couple weeks later, they went to see the doctor that had delivered baby for their first appointment. The woman expressed how shocked she was that baby had been so big. “I was thinking that at the 6 week point post-baby, we do the IUD this time. This is definitely going to be the last one.” She found there was discrepancies with the mini pill, even when breastfeeding it turned out, which is how this had probably happened.

He and she were shocked by the news of baby #2, but had settled into the idea and begun getting excited. They had finally found a better house down the street from their apartment that they would be able to move into on January 27th. The timing was perfect, since their small two bedroom apartment was already too small for the three of them. Now, they look forward to a future of four, and much more space to grow.

Harvest Fest and Hands Foot Mouth

She had spent the last month or so planning a fundraising event for the school. It was the annual Harvest Fest, but she threw in a giving dartboard prize wall and a donation booth to the tradition to get more donations for the school’s annual fund. She still worked their part-time while also working her full-time job. For this event in particular, she went store to store gathering local community sponsors to donate items for the event along with designing and organizing the marketing campaign.

Her mom came to town to help watch baby the night before the fest. He was on his final few days at the job he hated, getting home right before her mom arrived at 6pm. Standing in the warm kitchen, she baked several Million $ cookies to donate to the event. He and she popped open a bottle of wine and shared a kiss. When her mom arrived, they ordered a pizza for dinner. Baby preoccupied her mom entirely as she kissed him and made up for lost time. It was hard to visit due to the 3 1/2 hour drive separating them.

“I am not going to work tomorrow. I decided today was my last day.” He announced over dinner. She practically clobbered him in a hug, excited that he’d be attending the event she worked so hard to put together.

The next morning she awoke early, putting together a slideshow for the lobby at the school. Her mom brought them coffee and croissants for breakfast. Coming from the wrong hotel, her mom explained that her husband had booked the wrong location and now instead of a five minute drive, she was stuck with a 20 minute journey to get to their apartment. Once her mom held baby, all of the hotel stress melted away.

At the school, she frantically put things together as he went across the street to pickup the tables needed for the event. She couldn’t have set everything up in time had it not been for him being there helping and lifting heavy items. The prize dartboard wall went up starting at $50 a dart that could win someone a prize ranging from $50-$500. The pricing later changed to $50 for 3 tries due to the dartboard’s difficulty.

Finally, the event began without a hitch. Baby slept in her mother’s arms for the majority of the event, which she found odd, but dismissed it. Towards the end, many people decided to give the dartboard a try after they had brought their kids around the event full of fall-themed games, face painting, apple cider slushies, and her cookies. By the end of the event, they were able to reach their goal of $3000 for the small private prek-6th grade school (her mom having contributed about $300 of it on the dartboard and donation booth). Baby acquired some new books as one of the prizes her mom won.

To celebrate the success of the event, he, she, baby, and her mom went out for a sushi dinner. All they had eaten all day was croissants and cookies, which though delicious, did not count as real food. Baby was still acting sleepy and felt warm, so to be safe, she took his temperature. He was 100°F. Immediately, she gave him a dose of Tylenol, hoping whatever this was would pass. Baby had been sick on and off ever since he started daycare at the beginning of September.

Once they ate, they stopped at the grocery store for more wine and for a bowl to feed baby from. The next day they were going to try feeding him rice cereal. At 5 months old, he was more than ready to start on solids.

They watched some Netflix once they got home and decided to call it a night. Her mom had received a call from a friend she had been feuding with. The friend was upset with her mom for having a close relationship with the woman’s adult twin daughters that her mom had known since they were born. Now both grown and with kids, her mom enjoyed their company. The conversation had gone on a while, but once her mom emerged from her car, she discussed the topic briefly and moved on. “I just am done with all of her negative energy. I don’t want that in my life.”

They were all in bed by 10pm. Baby was still warm, but slept soundly after a final dose of Tylenol. Her mother returned the next morning with more coffee. He slept in while she and her mother caught up. Baby still seemed a bit off and had grown a few sores around his mouth. “Mom do you know what this is?” She asked.

“No, they look like zits. They will go away.” Her mom assured, but they didn’t. They next day (Monday) they were worse. He still had fevers on and off, so she called off work and went to the doctor. It was hands, foot, mouth. A lovely virus kids can get at daycare where they get sores in and outside of their mouth, on their hands, and on their feet as well. To top it off, there is no immediate cure, it will go away on its own in a week or so. She gave him Tylenol for pain, but that was all he or she could do for baby.

He and she talked about the doctor visit, and gave baby extra love to get him through another milestone of fighting yet another illness that he contracted from daycare. They learned that with having a baby, the only way to handle things of this nature is to relax and work together. Otherwise, it would be a nightmare.

$60 Sushi Night & Family Planning

The day before they were going to close on their house, they found out there were some issues with their loan. They were going for a federal mortgage that required an income of $59,000 a year collaboratively or less. Since she got her new job, they were pushed over that mark. Working less hours at her previous job at the school, the loan officer thought they made less. The woman told them they would have to lower their student debt payment by $300 in the next two hours or they wouldn’t be closing the following morning.

At work, she frantically attempted speaking with him on the phone about what to do. Deciding the loan officer was asking for the impossible, he told the woman about her new job and salary. After a few hours once she was home with him, they received word that they no longer qualified for the loan and would no longer close on the 30th of September. “Babe, I think we should still go look at the house tomorrow like we planned. After all I worked a ton of hours last week to take Wednesday off for closing.” She explained, thinking a second look couldn’t hurt. He nodded in agreement. 

They still had a shot with another loan, so all morale was not entirely lost. They wanted to raise their son in a house of their own instead of a two bedroom apartment on the second floor. Maybe one day in the future they would have another. On this day, she thought to herself that right now wouldn’t be a prime time for another 9 months of pregnancy. 

Since giving up on breastfeeding a few weeks prior due to lack of supply, she had begun to feel sick throughout the day. The pill she had been taking was to take only while breastfeeding, since it had one hormone instead of the two normal pills have. Breastfeeding had provided the other hormone, but they worried that the lapse could have caused yet another unplanned pregnancy. 

“We should get sushi, like a ton of it and pick up a test.” He said. “We have money that we now won’t need for closing.” They packed the baby in the car and headed out to do their errands. 

$60 of sushi and 1 pregnancy test later, they headed back home. “Are you going to wait until the morning to take the test?” He asked.

“I am just going to take it now. I took it at night the last time.” She replied in reference to the test that resulted in their son born in May. As he set up their sushi platters in the other room, she anxiously awaited the result, begging not to be pregnant again so soon. 

While waiting, her train of thought wandered asking the question, “Why are condoms in the family planning aisle and the pregnancy tests are by tampons? Logically, they should be switched.” Finally, the test revealed one line. 

A negative result. 

Running out into the other room she yelled, “Not pregnant!!!” They both looked at baby smiling that he wouldn’t be expecting a sibling anytime soon. 

He and she poured some wine, turned on their show, and enjoyed their delicious sushi.

He, She, & Baby Are Back!

Ever since the birth of their son, major life events began to fall into place. She was finally able to snag a full-time job. He was able to quit the mundane customer service position he held to support the family, for a more suitable position as an AutoCAD designer at a company he actually believed in.

Baby was already almost 5 months old, not yet crawling, but definitely on his way there. Once she had started her new job working as an administrative assistant for a company that offered fundraising and enrollment services for colleges and universities, Baby had to start daycare. Luckily for her, daycare was less than a minute down the street. Each day, she would head over there during her lunch break to give him kisses.

The reason he and she went on several month hiatus with no stories to be told, was due to their severely conflicting schedules. He worked Wednesday-Friday from 2pm-7pm and Saturday and Sunday from 7am-7pm, with a 40 minute commute, having his weekend be Monday and Tuesday. She, however, worked a normal work week. Monday-Thursday 8am-5pm and Friday from 8am-3pm. There weren’t many stories to be told when they hardly had any time together.

Come October 5th, he would begin his new job working a normal schedule like she did, which means more stories to be told and memories to be had. They would be able to spend time together as a family, after months of painful separation.

With the new jobs came higher income. He was able to trade his beat up truck for a nice FJ Cruiser, “Bumblebee,” as she called it. The most exciting purchase they were about to make was their first home. She would have a longer commute, but the place would be theirs. Built in 1928, the home had much character and luscious lawn. He and she already had plans on how to restore and renovate.

Though they wouldn’t move in until November 1st, 2015, the excitement to truly have their own place to raise their son and be a family grew by the day.

Thus begins the next chapter in the lives of he, she, and baby!

Late Labor

The nursery had been set-up and the room was ready for their baby son to move in. She kept thinking to herself that Baby would be early, but the weeks rolled on and on. Another woman at work who was pregnant and due May 17th, had her son three weeks early. A week before she would have baby.

It was May 3rd, 2015 when she awoke at 5am. The cats were making noises waking them both up, when suddenly she felt a gush of water rush onto her body pillow. “Babe? I think my water just broke!” She exclaimed. At 41 weeks and a day away from being induced, this was an excited moment. They were finally going to meet their son. Getting out of bed, she took time to bathe and eat (since she knew she wouldn’t be allowed to eat once admitted), before calling the hospital. The nurse sounded as though she didn’t believe her.

“Are you sure you didn’t just pee yourself?” The nurse questioned

“I am 100% sure.” She replied, frustrated.

“What’d they say babe?” He asked from the bedroom, still laying in bed.

“They want me to walk around and see if more water comes out. I mean it wasn’t a lot at all.”

“Well, I am going to try and sleep some more. It may be my last chance. Want to join me?” He asked, but she was trembling with excitement and couldn’t fall back to sleep. He was in the middle of finals for his last semester of college and had one final paper to complete before getting his degree. She had been off work the last week in preparation for baby, and had worked a bit on it for him by collecting information to back up his thesis. In her free time, she had packed her bag and his bag, cleaned the apartment several times, and even made “Thank you” gifts for nursing staff and visitors. They were tiny Chinese take-out boxes in baby blue filled with a Baby Ruth and a tiny notebook she created from cereal boxes and paper.

All of that busy work had led her to the moment her water broke. A few hours later at around 10am, the hospital called asking why she hadn’t come in yet. “I didn’t know I was supposed to, I don’t even feel contractions yet.” She explained to the nurse, the sound of his snoring carrying like a tune in the background. After getting off the phone, she waddled into the bedroom and touched his back. “Baby, it’s time to go.” He smiled and quickly got up and dressed. She had tried to eat as much as possible, while FaceTiming her mom to keep her posted. As he and she grabbed their bags to leave, she still felt the sharp pang of hunger and knew it would be a long day.

Upon arrival at the hospital, they brought he and she into a room to do a swab check. This was to make sure she really didn’t just pee herself after all. “Babe, are you sure you didn’t just pee yourself?” He said jokingly as they waited a half hour for the results. Her mom was champing at the bit to hop in her car to make the 3 1/2 hour drive from her home town.

“I am going to be so pissed if I did!” She answered back, smiling.

“Ha pisssssssed!” They both burst out laughing as the nurse walked in to confirm that labor was upon them.

They brought them to a large room where they admitted her and attached a million different things to her, which at 41 weeks was a pain to cart to the bathroom. He and she were binge watch Criminal Minds as she breathed through mild contractions. When the doctor came to check her, more water broke and it was awful. She was dilated at 1cm, which in labor terms means nowhere, as the doctor attached internal monitors that were painful to insert. Her mother was traveling at the speed of light to get to her mistaking a text she said saying the doctor would be back to check her again at 5pm for saying she was 5cm. Her mom arrived at 3pm, only two and a half hours after she’d left. “I went like 100mph all the way here.” He and she shook their heads smiling. She was happy to have her mom there as well.

The contractions grew stronger, but she was still able to breathe through them. “The anesthesiologist will take 40 minutes to get here once we call him.” The nurse explained.

“Let’s call him now then.” She said, already getting sick of having to pee so often and the increasing pain of contractions. Ice chips were her best friend, although she was starving and extremely thirsty. He would run down the hall to get her ice chips every hour or so. Once the epidural was in place, the rest of the labor process was a breeze. At 5pm, she had’t progressed much at all. She was able to get some rest while he stayed awake writing his paper. Her mom slept in the chair next to her, with the flickering of HGTV on the TV.

Finally around 3am, she had significantly progressed and was almost ready to push. Once her doctor came in to check on her an hour later, it was time. He and she shared smiles as he took her hand. Her legs were numb, so he and a nurse held them up. She was told to reach through the insides of her legs and do what they called “chicken arms” when she pushed. “Babe, I can see his head! He has hair!” He said excitedly, cheering her on as her mom, the nurses and doctor were. An hour of pushing later and there he was at 5:19am on May 4th, 2015. She was able to hold him momentarily before they whisked him away across the room. He followed the nurses and baby as the doctor tended to her. Her mom stayed next to her during the process, though the nurses seemed concerned.

At this point, they had already taken out the epidural, but what she didn’t know was that they push down hard on the stomach after birth to get everything out and start the uterus contracting. Her pitocin drop was supposed to help with that, but hadn’t enough since she was losing a lot of blood and clotting. The nurse pushed down on her stomach with all of her weight, leaving fingernail marks in her belly button every 15 minutes. The pain was excruciating as she screamed across the room. Her mother began to tear up, holding her hand while he sat across the room holding baby. She had only gotten to hold baby for a few minutes to try and breastfeed before they realized a problem and took him away again.

He passed baby over to her mom as he came to her side for comfort. The pain of everything was getting overwhelming, as he took her hand. Every 15 minutes when a nurse would enter the room, she would begin to tear up in anticipation, and eventually she just gave in to full on crying altogether.

Finally, she was able to move to the recovery room 5 hours later and attempt to feed baby. She had to supplement a bit, since his blood sugar was low from not eating right after birth, but she caught onto breastfeeding quickly.

He and she cuddled together on the hospital bed, amazed by all they had been through in the past two days and the past 9 months. Her mom stayed with them for a week as they took on parenting one day at a time, more in love than ever.


Setting Up The Nursery

April 28th was growing closer, though the spare bedroom in their apartment was nowhere near ready for baby. His art stuff cluttered the floors and the walls. They had stored basically everything in the closet, until one weekend she’d had enough. Her mother and her mother-in-law had been giving them items from their baby list as well as clothes and diapers. At this point, the room had a full corner space dedicated to all the baby stuff they’d acquired over the course of 7 months. They knew it was time to begin the long journey through the mountain of things they set aside and make way for the baby.

She began going through the bags of stuff given to them and taking inventory on the items and their sizes. After, she cleared out the closet of junk, throwing it all into the living room. He sat at the kitchenIMG_2767 counter working on his art homework as the nesting phase began. Her back in agony, she still pushed on, cleaning and hanging up clothes. They had ordered an 8-cube organizer to set his plants on, which looked great in the room and would match the crib they had chosen perfectly.

IMG_2766She was able to organize the closet, only then truly realizing just how much stuff they already had for baby. The shower wouldn’t be for another month! This wasn’t enough for him. It still wasn’t real, though he had felt the kicks and seen her belly grow, the connection that there would soon be a baby to follow hadn’t quite set in.

That was until they began setting up the crib in the nursery (there was still a little bit of clutter in there, and the carpet needed a good steam cleaning). They opened the box together, reading closely the given directions that turned out to be far more difficult than they should have been. At first, it was fun and silly. Parts were easily misplaced or looked over, though they laughed it off and cracked jokes. Two hours in, frustration took hold. The tiny details were failing them when it came down to screws that were only slightly different from each other. IMG_2794Once that was sorted out, it went smoothly from there. “We are really going to have a baby…” He’d said to her. “I am so excited to meet him, hold him, and love him.” She smiled in agreement, as they stood admiring their work.

The next two months were going to go by so fast, and although the thought terrified them standing in the nursery looking into the place their son would lay to sleep each night, they both took a deep breath, ready for what was to come.

Staying Put & a Trip to the ER

He and she had gone back to her home town to celebrate the news of their nuptials with her family. They were shocked though happy at their decision to tie the knot. He was still fretting about what kind of jobs he would find in her home town once they moved there in May after the baby was born, and she equally feared for their financial standing. Rent was more expensive, as was daycare, gas, and everything else, on top of the fact that she would only have around $3000 saved by the time their son was born in April.

The Monday following their visit, she and her mother had a long talk about doing what was best for he, she, and their baby, which ultimately led to the decision to stay where they were. Without realizing, she had been carrying the heavy weight that moving back home would be a financially threatening situation. Once the decision was made to stay, it felt as though the weight disappeared. She would ask to start full-time in a communication & marketing role at the school where she worked, and he would begin readying himself for his graduate degree at the college where they met. They began organizing the apartment and cleaning it up, knowing they would be there for more than just a couple months.

Everything after that seemed to be routine. The holidays were over, she was back at work, he was back at school, and the time until the birth of their son seemed to dwindle away by the day. At 28 weeks, she was showing heavily as they sat at his work together one night. Everything seemed normal until she felt as though her vision was getting spotty. She thought, at first, that it may just be from looking at the computer screen, but after a few moments, she realized something else was happening. The blurred flashing vision would not let up and quickly worsened as she looked up the number of her hospital. He sat patiently next to her, concerned for his wife and son’s well being. “The nurse said that I should get it looked at in the emergency room, since I am pregnant it could be something that needs to be treated.” He nodded, knowing he would need to leave work and take her.

“I will call my boss and let her know I am leaving.” He said, quickly packing his things. She was on the verge of crying out of fear. Her left eye was almost completely useless at this point, and the unknown made her tremble all the way to the hospital. Luckily, there weren’t many people there. She was called in after only a ten minute wait. The nurse and doctor were in and out doing blood pressure tests and other optical tests. She explained her symptoms as the doctor asked some questions. He and she were left to wait for a while until the doctor returned with a prognosis.

“Based on your symptoms, and a talk with the neurologist, it could only be an optic migraine.” This was relatively good news. At least it wasn’t anything serious that could hurt the baby or be a permanent issue. He and she left the hospital and returned to his work for the remainder of his shift. In the car, he grabbed her hand to let her know everything was going to be okay.


He and she had made several plans in various ways, shapes, and forms to get married. They were never sure when nor where they should hold such an occasion. It had begun two months into their relationship in January of 2011. She had just returned from an elongated stay with her family. He had planned a special evening away at a nice hotel to have one night where they weren’t worrying about when her roommate would return. At this point, he was practically living in her dorm with her ever since his roommate got upset by her staying with them so often. Being apart wasn’t something he and she were ever fond of.

This night, he had booked the Jacuzzi suite for one night. The bus ride had been long, but he was there waiting to pick her up from the station. They stopped back at the dorms so she could repack some new clothes for their stay. He seemed a bit nervous and anxious for a reason she did not understand, through her excitement to get away with him, she shrugged it off as mutual excitement.

They drove to the hotel that was no more than 15 minutes away from the dorms. Neither of them really cared as long as they were able to spend some quality time together away from roommates and floor monitors. He had already checked in earlier, claiming it was to avoid wasting time with checking-in.

They went up the elevator that was filled with tension over words. Unlocking the door, he led her through the threshold, but it wasn’t at all what she had expected to see when she walked in. The lights were off though the flicker of candles illuminated a magical scene that he had created for her. Rose petals danced across the floor and covered the bed that had been draped in a blanket he had created for her that said, “I Love You.” Never had she had anything like this done for her before nor did she realize at the time just how crafty he was. The hot tub was already full and bubbling and on a small table in the center of the room there was champagne and chocolate covered strawberries.

She knew what this was instantly, though never expected it would happen so soon in their relationship. After her quick once over of the room, her eyes landed back on him. He was already down on one knee with a small black box in his hand. The air in the room felt like it was palpitating along with the nervous rhythms of their hearts as he opened his mouth to speak. “You are the most amazing and beautiful girl I have ever met. You are cool and unique and I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Will you marry me?” He presented the ring, though her answer had already escaped her lips.


This was the first time he gave her the ring, though it was certainly not the last. After a two-month break-up, they decided that their second try would be one they would ease into with caution. Marriage was something she figured wouldn’t be set back on the table until they were much older. They were only 19 when he proposed, and after all they had been through, he wasn’t sure if he would ever be able to propose to her again.

Things had gone amazingly over the past two years, and had gotten even stronger with the pregnancy, withering their fights to almost none and never. This love was stronger, better than ever before. He and she had discussed saving about $5000 over the next year or so to hold a small wedding with only immediate family, but over Christmas break talk of eloping just the two of them seemed more like them. They had always been about being in each other’s company, loving each other, and avoiding large awkward social gatherings. Not only that, but they decided that $5000 would be much better spent on a home for them and their son, than on one day.

She returned on a Sunday, and that Monday they went in to the County Recorder’s office to apply for a marriage license. Getting the license had been the easy part, finding someone to officiate the actual ceremony was much more difficult. It took them until Wednesday to finally find someone that would do a simple, non-religious ceremony equipped with two witnesses that Friday. They had to wait until Friday, since it took 3 days to get a marriage license in their state, though this had given them time to prepare their outfits and their witnesses for the event.

For her, they had stopped at the local Dress Barn. Finding a white dress in the winter, she knew, would be difficult, though the woman working there had been very helpful in finding her options. Being 23 weeks into her pregnancy, fitting her stomach into a dress was a feat. Then she found it. It was an off-white dress with a matching floral pattern embroidered on it. It was a size 6, so it was large in the straps for her but fit the baby belly perfectly. It was knee length with a baby doll styled belt that attached in the front with a diamond-studded pendant shaped like a double-infinity. The only thing better than finding the perfect dress was the fact that from its original price of $60, it had been knocked down to $19.

He already had dress pants, a dress shirt, and dress shoes. He had bought a suit jacket from TJ Maxx with a gift card he received on Christmas, though he later found that it didn’t match his pants. The morning of their wedding day, he and she awoke early. He began to iron his outfit while she did her hair and makeup. They had several errands to run before their nuptials at noon. They had to meet his artist professor at her house along with R, his artist friend, who would be their witnesses, by 11am, since the wedding was going to be at their officiant’s apartment 20 minutes away. “I am going to marry you today.” She said smiling as she kissed him several times. He smiled wide and kissed her back with all the love in the world.

First thing they had to do was pick up their marriage papers to bring with, form there they raced back to TJ Maxx where they returned his suit jacket and found him a suit vest instead. She was able to acquire a cheap pair of matching flats and a nice cardigan to complete her look, and from there they raced back home to change. They were ready in ten minutes after returning home, since they had finished the bigger projects before running their errands. In the car, they listened to their song, “All I’ve Ever Needed” by Paul McDonald & Nikki Reed. The smiles couldn’t be taken from their faces and they interlocked their hands. “Do you want to know how I know this is right?” She asked.


“Because I don’t feel afraid. I feel so happy.”

“Me too, sweetie.” He replied and kissed the backside of her hand.

From his artist professor’s house, he and she rode in her car while R and his artist professor followed closely behind. The apartment was in a quaint town above a small pizza shop. They were around 25 minutes early, though the woman officiant was ready and waiting. The place was cozy with high ceilings that led up to the small space that the woman had decorated with white Christmas lights that gave off a gentle glow. “I require that the bride and groom hold hands.” The woman said as he and she grasped each other’s hands. Their eyes glued together as the woman read a sweet vow to them, R and the artist professor avidly videoing and snapping photos. It was wonderful, the words wrapped around them in celebration of everything they had gone through as a team and solidified their experiences in an unbreakable union. “If you agree, say, ‘yes, I do.” The woman stated after each vow. He and she both answered with smiles so big they felt their cheeks growing weary.

“Yes, I do.”

“I now pronounce you man and wife.” He reached forward with a hand that pulled her in from the back of her neck into a kiss that she’d never wanted to end.

His artist professor brought them to an amazing Italian restaurant, where they spent hours dining and talking. Later, that night they met up with another couple, E and A, to have conversation and some cheesy fries.

When they got home, they were both exhausted, climbing into bed, as man and wife, and falling asleep in each other’s arms, just like it had always been and just how it would forever be.

The Talk

With the impending arrival of their new baby, he and she decided this would be the last Christmas they spent with their own families. The baby would be reason to split up whose family they should see on the day of versus a random day. When he and she moved they would be close to her parents and 5 hours away from his, so they were already set to go stay with his family the first year. All the talk of domestication in their relationship brought on the talk of marriage. When they should do it, if they should do it, how much they would be willing to spend, who they would invite, and the list went on.

“I want something small. The less guests the less drama their could be. How much would you want to spend on a wedding total?” She asked him the week before Christmas, looking at elopement packages on her phone.

“I don’t know. Let’s say we save like $5000 and do a simple elopement package with like 10-15 guests.” He suggested. She liked the idea, though knowing that it would take them over a year to save that kind of money once she started working again after the baby. The money she was setting aside now was for her maternity leave.

Once separated by state borders, he and she began a string of texts revising the idea of marriage. “I would marry you now if I could.” He’d said. Saying so after expressing how much he missed her when they were apart.

“Then why don’t you?” She asked, thinking back on a conversation she’s had with her mother earlier that day about saving the $5000 for a house rather than one day. Why not elope? She began looking at state laws and how long it would take them to get a marriage license as well as how much it would cost. Three days and $35. Then an officiant would be near $100.

As they danced with the idea of eloping over the New Year, he spoke with his mother. He began texting ideas of taking his mother’s car to Vegas or going to Mall of America, though the thought of all the driving sounded exhausting at 6 months pregnant. Another stipulation was that his mother would be there, which incited the issue that there would be another set of jealous parents who weren’t invited to attend, creating a looming air of drama that they were trying to avoid.

“I want it to just be about us, sweetie. I don’t want to have to worry about hurting someone’s feelings or feeling awkward or uncomfortable. I want to marry you and be with you forever. That’s all I want the day to be about.” She explained.

“Then that’s what we should do.”

“Are you sure you want to marry me?”

“1000% Yes. Do You?”

“Of course I do. We’ll talk more about it when you get back on Sunday.” That was were they left it before falling fast asleep that night, five hours apart, with nothing but the future in front of them.