Happy 4th of July! As I write this, I am sitting in my parent’s house in sunny Orlando. I am back in the States! I flew home from Milan on Tuesday night to spend some extra time with my family. The 4th of July is always a special day for David and I because we started dating on this day in 2005. That’s right…. TEN years ago! It has been a DECADE of doing life with my handsome husband. David awkwardly (you know it’s true, boo) asked me to be his girlfriend on the sandy shore of Cocoa Beach and then we spent the evening enjoying the fireworks in Avalon Park. This was the summer before our junior year of high school and we have been together ever since! I have truly loved all of our experiences, adventures, and major life moments that I’ve spent with this man. David, I love you. Thank you for supporting me, pushing me, and always making me laugh. I can’t wait to do the rest of life with you. Here’s a look back at the past ten years…
2005 – We flirted like crazy for the first half of the year and then became official in July. I loved going on group dates with friends, trying on vintage clothes and dancing in Goodwill, and getting ice cream after school. We had so much fun together as teenagers!
2006 – July 4th, 2006. Our first anniversary! I loved going back to watch the Avalon Fireworks with you. We had a great summer together before we started our Senior year.
2007 – We graduated high school! Thank you for helping me study for the AP exams and filling out my college apps and for eating lunch with me in the courtyard and for picking me up for school. I could go on and on…
2008 – Our first year apart. You headed off to Gainesville to start school at UF and I stayed in Orlando to start at UCF. I will always remember that day dropping you off at your dorm at Beaty Towers and driving away with your parents. I was so sad to leave you but excited for your experience in Gainesville (and for my weekend visits!). Our date nights on video chat helped pass the time. Notice my username… I always knew I was going to be a Stoker.
2009 – We always tried to find fun, new things to do when we were together. We had so much fun creating chocolate for your birthday, going to see a U2 concert in Tampa, flying to Chicago to experience a real winter, and so much more.
2010 – Our senior year of college. We were getting older, preparing to graduate, ready to start our lives together. On July 24th, you took me on a surprise date and ended the night on one knee in front of the Disney Castle. You told me “I love you” for the first time and asked me to be your wife. In between my tears, exclamations, and kisses, I was so elated to say YES!
2011 – This is my favorite year. Our May 2011 consisted of your graduation, my graduation, our wedding, honeymoon, and a move to Colorado! You were such a handsome groom and you made me feel like the most beautiful bride. Our wedding was relaxed, full of love, and romantic. I still can’t believe we got married at ages 22 and 21. Young love!
2012 – After the wedding, we lived in Colorado for a few months, then I moved to Gainesville with you. I started my first teaching job and you continued your Masters degree. Somehow, we managed to save enough money to go on an amazing 5 week backpacking trek across Europe. I will always remember navigating the streets of Paris, Munich, Venice, Zermatt, and so many beautiful places with you. This trip truly helped me realize how great you are at leading and protecting me.
2013 – We lived in Gainesville for another wonderful year of school for both of us. You graduated on May 5th but instead of walking the stage, you selflessly helped me photograph Brittany and Ash’s wedding. That was such a fun day! We celebrated that summer by going on an Alaskan cruise. I loved wearing our matching shirts while exploring the quiet, gorgeous Alaskan wilderness. After our trip, we packed up our cozy Gainesville apartment and headed to Tampa for your new job with Nielsen. I was fortunate to find another teaching job in Kindergarten. We were so excited to start a new adventure in a new city, together.
2014 – We had a wonderful year of photographing gorgeous weddings for awesome new couples. You found out that your third rotation in the program would be sending us to NYC for the second half of 2014. That was SO fun. I loved exploring the Big Apple with you and walking along the Jersey Waterfront with the sparkling skyline in front of us. We were able to photograph gorgeous engagement sessions in the city and two weddings in New York. Thank you for showing me a new part of our country.
2015 – We said goodbye to NYC at the end of January, when it was way too freezing to even function and headed back to Florida for a few weeks before the start of your fourth rotation. Then, we packed our bags for our biggest adventure yet. Five months in Milan, Italy. Babe, you sure know how to make life exciting! I loved navigating life as an expat with you and learning all about our new city. My new job became our official travel planner for our trips all around Europe and to Morocco. We celebrated our fourth wedding anniversary with a nice dinner in Milan and a walk around the Duomo. I will always remember this time of life with you.
Now, here we are – July 4, 2015. Ten years after you asked me such a simple, but life changing question. Happy decade, David. Here’s to many more!!