Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Romance Spotlight: Ashton

Hello everyone and welcome to my weekly ROMANCE SPOTLIGHT! My blogging buddy and neighbor Ashton from Something Swanky is here to share the story of how she met and married her hubby. She's pretty much hilarious. Make sure to stop by her blog for some fantastic desserts on your way out!
Take it away Ashton!

Hello, hello!
My name is Ashton and I blog over at Something Swanky Desserts and Designs.

I've been blogging about desserts for over a year, and I started designing blogs just two months ago!
I love doing both, because I'm obsessed with all things blogging-- so imagine how happy I was to discover that my next door neighbor was a blogger too!
Yeah. Mackenzie and I are next door neighbors :) It's awesome.
And we've both got cutie-pa-tuties that are about the same age.
Which is just even more awesome.
As much as I love Mackenzie and Friday Night Date Night, 
I must admit that I was not overwhelmed with excitement when asked if I wanted to guest post.

Don't get me wrong-- it's an absolute honor to appear on FNDN!!
It's just.... all this mushy-gushy love stuff.
It's not me. I don't do that.

...anymore.

which is what makes this post so painful for me to write---
my husband and I have the cheesiest, mushiest, gushiest love story of them all.

Seriously.
It's gross.

But here I am anyway, and you're looking for a love story.
So we might as well get this over with... yuck.

You should really know-- this is gonna be lengthy. Lots of little details here.
I wish I could pare it down a little, but most of them are kind of important to the storyline.
You've been warned.

I met my now-husband, Chris, in January 2004. He was serving a full-time mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Pause.
I'm going to give a little background information for those of you who aren't LDS (members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints).
In our church, young men ages 19-25 spend two years teaching the gospel to people. 
They can be asked to serve anywhere in the world-- and they don't generally get to pick.

Once there, they are asked to completely dedicate themselves to the gospel and spreading our message.
This means-- they don't communicate with the folks back home except through snail mail and emails once a week, they don't watch TV, they don't participate in social activities (outside of church functions), and they certainly don't date!

And this is what makes our story so unusual. 
You don't meet your wife on your mission.
(most of the time ;)

Ok, back to the story.
From the moment I laid eyes on Chris, I had a heavens-opening-angels-singing-pit-in-my-stomach kind of crush on him.
Oh my gosh. He was so ca-UTE! 

But missionaries are off limits. 
(And besides that-- he didn't reciprocate. Apparently he had a girlfriend. Technicality.)

And despite my gigantic crush, and my 17-year-old-boy-crazy mind--
I kept it all to myself and nothing happened.
Well.. almost nothing.

There were brief conversations in the hallway, frequent smiles, and the occasional (gasp) eye contact across a crowded room at church.

Silly stuff, really. But enough to fuel my somewhat-successfully hidden crush.
(not that it takes much when you're 17)

Then came our last Sunday together in my hometown.
He was being transferred to a new town, and I was moving to Provo, UT for college.
He asked to take a picture with me (which is customary for missionaries to do when leaving an area-- to take a picture with people they've especially connected with).
(this is the picture-- Chris is in the middle. 
Uh... we grabbed that other kid to make the picture a little less awkward-- 
and instead made it the most awkward picture ever)

And then,
"I'm going to need your email address to send you this picture," he said.

And that's how it happened. We exchanged email addresses, and soon enough we began writing actual letters to each other every week.
The next 18 months passed pretty quickly.

We continued to live our lives 2,000 miles apart, each doing very different things during that time.

Chris was proselyting day in and day out (and at some point, letters from the afore mentioned girlfriend stopped coming), while I was living the life of a single gal out at college!
(this was my childhood home-- I thought it was pretty cool that he got a picture here!)

As the weeks passed, the letters continued to come.
Sometimes we even recorded cassette tapes for each other to listen too.
That felt more like we were having a conversation. And I loved hearing his voice.

We only ever talked about silly, mundane, day-to-day things. 
Nothing romantic, nothing that screamed you are my soulmate.
Sometimes I sent him silly packages and cards. This one was my favorite:

And, impossible as it may seem, we learned a lot about each other. 
I learned how he handled daily frustrations, how he liked to spend his time, who was important to him, why he decided to serve a mission, and what he was looking for in life after his mission.

We never said I love you-- we never even said I like you more than normal!
But that's what I read in every sentence he wrote, and it didn't take long for me to fall completely in love through these letters and cassette tapes.

A pivotal point for us came in December 2004. 

I was in a serious car accident with two of my brothers. It was pretty ugly.

And I remember distinctly, as my brothers and I lay on the side of the road, waiting for the ambulance to come, thinking, "I wish Chris was here." I knew he would be a comfort to me at such a difficult time. I emailed him as soon as I could to let him know about the accident and that were were all going to be ok.
(me with some of my siblings, Christmas 2004, just a couple of days before the accident happened)

I don't even remember what he wrote back. I'm sure it was kind and comforting. What really stuck with me was that I had thought of him at all in such a chaotic moment. When he should have been the last thing on my mind-- he was the first. And that's when I knew. And I think that's the experience that really made it stick for him too.
He came home a year after that accident.

His family lived in California, so he made a special 3-day trip to Utah to see me.
By the end of those three days, we had established ourselves as dating each other exclusively, said "I love you," and planned on getting married by the end of the year.

Seriously.
Oh- and we got my first kiss out of the way.
Chris is the only guy I've ever kissed.
--which was totally not my plan (just if you were wondering), but that's how it worked out, and it's kind of special that way :)
(after our first date)

Chris moved to the east coast for a job offer, and I stayed in Utah for the rest of the semester.

In March I flew out to NC, where he was living, and got engaged.

I'm going to gloss over that bit of the story, if you don't mind.
None of you need to hear how I completely botched his proposal by impatiently demanding the ring once I knew he had it that story.
 (the day after we got engaged)
(our-- framed, sorry-- engagement photo)

We were married that summer (7 months after he got home from his mission), and it will be 6 years for us in July. We have a beautiful and active daughter-- she's fantastic!
(ugh- excuse the just-had-a-baby swollen face)

We're very happily married and love our little family to bits.

And I'm so glad this post is over. Whew!

Thanks so much for reading to the end!

And thanks to Mackenzie for hosting me on her wonderful blog!
Life is all about love and family, and that's what this blog is all about.

Thanks Mackenzie for putting that out in the blog world!
And when you're done reading all the ooey-gooey love stories and date ideas over here, swing by Something Swanky for dessert.

And I'll tell you all about my other great love-- chocolate :)

Thanks so much Ashton -loved it! Did I mention that she designed my blog and I get most of my blogging tips and inspiration from her blog? She's pretty much The Blogging Queen/Wonder Woman/Best Neighbor ever....you get it.
Anyways...


See you next Tuesday for another ROMANCE SPOTLIGHT!
Happy Dating!

16 comments:

  1. Awww, how sweet! It's so great to hear about all of the people I've "met" through the blogging world! Thank you for sharing, and I will definitely be back to this blog!!

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  2. I love your story!! You guys are seriously so cute!

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  3. Thanks Ashton for sharing your "gross" mushy story. Can't wait to check out your blog!

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  4. Aw, so sweet. I love that you wrote all those letters to each other. A great keepsake your great-great-great-grandkids will find in some attic and talk about you. And they'll wonder what in the heck a cassette tape is. :)

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  5. Hi,
    I am a new GFC follower. I found you on a grow your blog hop. I would love for you to stop by my site and return the favor and follow me back as well. If you are interested also check out our current giveaways. We have something for everyone right now.
    Thanks a lot!
    http://www.chunkyandmonkeymd.com

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  6. Ahhh, I love the story! (I also happen to have a soft spot in my heart for tall red-headed missionaries. Makes me miss my son even more!) Thanks for reconnecting with your mushy side and sharing your fun story. And, I agree, you are the Blogging Queen/Wonder Woman. (And an awesome neighbor, I'm sure!) Thanks for sharing!

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    Replies
    1. See! I told you that your son reminded me of my husband as soon as I saw his picture!

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  7. It probably confirms that I'm a total sap, but I love reading other people's stories. Haha

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  8. And, Mackenzie, I was so into Ashton's post I forgot to tell you: I love your blog, what a cute and fun idea. I'm now following and would love to have you stop by my brand new blog (designed by the talented Ashton) and follow back, if you'd like. Thanks! :)

    Grateful Belly

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  9. I loved your post Ashton! This is so funny. I totally stumbled across this blog post... and the reason it's funny is because I used to date Chris for a year in High School and then on again, off again after that. I wrote him a little bit on his mission (I wasn't the girlfriend you mentioned though) and Chris always told me to go find you and meet you since I was also at BYU! I'm sad that I never got around to it! He used to say such sweet things about you in his letters! Haha, what a small world. Tell Chris that I say hi! You have a beautiful little family!

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    Replies
    1. wow-- smallest world EVER! I cannot believe you found this post!! He actually told ME to look you up too. I almost did at one point-- a friend of mine was dating your brother (?) at the time-- but I chickened out :)

      You're welcome to follow our family blog if you'd like! Just email me at somethingswanky@gmail.com and I'll send you the link.

      So glad to finally connect with you!! :)

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  10. I loved reading your story, Ashton! I think that is so wonderfully sweet that your husband is the only guy that you have ever kissed:)

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  11. I think it's so awesome you saved all your love letters. They're (still!) so fun to read and reread even after you've fallen in love or even years after they've been written. I love rereading my boyfriend's love letters--so cute and capture everything beautifully. And seriously, how hasn't Hollywood picked this storyline up yet?
    Also, I love your husband's freckles.

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  12. AWWWWW! Ashton, L.O.V.E. Your Story! If I believed in Marriage anymore it would make me want to get married again. LOL! :)How wonderful. I wish you the best. Thanks for sharing your Amazing story with us all!

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  13. so sweet!!! i love it.
    super cute.
    {love} lauryn

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