- I was waiting tables at a small town restaurant and had just started my last semester of college at Winthrop University. It was supposed to be my day off, but a co-worker begged me to come in to work for her one evening. Robert was still in the Marine Corps and was in town on leave to visit his family. His sister and brother-in-law convinced him, after lots of arm-pulling, to grab a bite to eat with them and a few friends (he was ready to call it a day after a long workout at the gym). Do you see where this is going yet? Then, ta-da! The “meet-cute” as the old Hollywood romantic film directors would call it. As if the stars aligned just for us, there was Robert scrubbed out in his ratty workout sweats (and somehow still lookin’ good), and he was sitting in my assigned section. The only thing I can recall that went through my mind at the moment I first saw him was “daaaaaang.” According to Robert, he thought the same thing when he saw me (*blush*). After taking his table’s order and I stuttered through my spiel on the specials of the day, Robert eventually mosied over to the booth where I was rolling silverware. I’m not normally a talker, but considering Robert has never really met a stranger in his life, 3 hours later, he had heard my life story. I had never met someone who was so easy to talk to. He asked for my number, but since he was in the Marines and wouldn’t be in town much longer, we didn’t see it working out. And at the time I remember being so mad at the thought that I had met this awesome guy but couldn’t have him. C’est la vie. We told each other we could still keep in touch on Facebook, and that was that.
- Robert and I talked occassionally through messages on Facebook as friends, and his four year service in the Marines was finally up. He decided to move to Texas to be closer to some of his family there while he started college on the G.I. Bill and worked a part-time job. I graduated from Winthrop and since teaching jobs were scarce particularly for new grads, I had no big career prospects at the time and decided to move back in with my parents to save money while I vied for interviews and worked as a high school colorguard squad coach and choreographer.
- I got a job! And Robert decided Texas wasn’t the place for him and moved back to his hometown where I lived. He asked me out on a date while he was still in Texas, and had just driven back to South Carolina the very day that we had scheduled our official first date. He had exactly $35 to his name (which at the time I had no idea about). Much later he told me that when the dinner tab after 15% tip came to be $34.50, he knew it was fate. And he immediately got a part-time job here and enrolled to continue his undergrad. After that first date, we were inseparable and spent every opportunity we had together. After only two dates, we had both met each others’ families. Everyone approved. 🙂
- Somewhere amidst trying out lots of restaurants together (we discover we’re both adventurous food fanatics), going out in Charlotte a few times, and spending countless evenings talking about everything under the sun, we started dating. I’m not even sure when we were officially boyfriend and girlfriend. The weekend before Thanksgiving, we said the magical three little words to each other. For the record, I said “I love you” first but Robert claims it’s only because I beat him to it by a few seconds.
- Christmas was a blast since we both got along with each others’ families so well. To this day, spending time with our parents, siblings, and nieces is our idea of a perfect weekend. For New Year’s, we took our first trip together to visit one of my best friends in Charleston, South Carolina.
- It was unquestionable at this point that we knew we wanted to be with each other for the rest of our lives (eek!). We had the big marriage talk and decided that we were ready to take the next step. Robert started brainstorming all sorts of ways to propose and I, giddy with excitement, jumped head-first into looking at engagement rings.
- Robert and I went together to pick out an engagement ring. Even though I trust he would have picked out something gorgeous, he said since I would be the one wearing it forever, it was important that I had a say. I picked my top three, and he later bought the winner from my three selections. (Although, it was pretty obvious which one I really wanted.) He started planning the proposal with my mom, who was the librarian and broadcasting teacher at the same high school where I taught English. He planned on popping the question on the school morning announcements and catch my reaction on film, but when I suspected that he would show up at school to surprise me, he changed his course.
- April 20, 2010- The day he picked up the ring from the jewelry store, the anticipation was killing him. He came over to my parents’ house where I was currently living and asked me to help him with his essay for one of his college classes. After a couple of hours as it was getting late, I fell asleep. He woke me up with the ring in his hand and got down on one knee to ask, “Will you marry me?” I was so confused and disoriented from being asleep, that he had to ask the question again. After finally understanding what the heck was going on, I said yes. 🙂 And I just chuckled to myself when I realized how much he was like a kid on Christmas morning who couldn’t take the waiting anymore with a ring burning a hole in his pocket. We didn’t need the big audience or the proposal caught on film. It was a quiet moment with just me and him, and that was all that mattered to us.
- I had been in full-on wedding planning mode taking on every DIY project I could think of at this point. Robert and I took a trip out to Texas to meet the rest of his huge extended, Irish pride-filled family. They were some of the most fun bunch of people I had ever met. And no one was ever off-limits when it came to pranks.
- Some of my family from Sweden took a trip across the pond for a visit, and all of my extended family came into town. Robert met all of them and they gave us a big ol’ stamp of approval.
- Robert and I signed a lease on an apartment together exactly 1 month before our wedding so that we could start getting settled in before the big day. My mom and I had been up to our eyeballs in wedding planning for nearly and year and it was at this point when I was completely over it. I was ready to get the show on the road and be hitched already! It was amidst the planning that Robert and I discovered how much we like vintage, rustic decor.
- Our wedding day was everything we had ever dreamed and more. The weather was gorgeous. I somehow managed to make it through the ceremony without being a complete puddle of tears. And the dance floor that night was never empty. Everyone, including my 95 year-old great-grandmother in her wheelchair, danced the night away and it is, to this day, the most fun Robert and I have ever had. We ended the night by boarding an antique trolley with our friends to go to uptown Charlotte. Our happily ever after began!
- We left for our honeymoon! We visited Asheville, North Carolina and spent four days touring the Biltmore Estates, enjoying a wine tasting, getting pampered with a couples massage, exploring the Biltmore Village, and going horseback riding along the picturesque Blue Ridge Mountains. It was amazing!
- After many months of loving newlywed life and enjoying entertaining at our apartment, we found out we were expecting! We broke the good news to my parents in the form of a birthday present to my mother. The look on her face when she pulled a baby onesie out of her gift bag was priceless. When we told Robert’s parents, his mom was practically doing cartwheels. It was exciting and terrifying all at once, but we looked forward to parenthood.
- We hosted a gender reveal party and found out we were expecting a girl!!! (I was beyond ecstatic and couldn’t get enough pink from then on out.) At this point, my gracious parents allowed us to move in with them to save some money as Robert would be graduating with his Bachelors Degree in a year. Sometimes it was a challenge back-tracking and having two families living under one roof, but we really enjoyed the time we got to spend together. Being a couple who loves spending time with family helped a lot.
- We became a mommy and daddy! Olivia Annalee Shaver came into the world at 10:20 p.m. on September 29, 2012. Robert and I were absolutely smitten.
- Robert graduated from Winthrop University with a B.S. in Exercise Science. After living with my parents for a year (and it proved to be a huge blessing as my mom and dad helped us juggle working, studying, and surviving around a baby’s sporadic sleep schedule), we were ready to start a new phase in our lives.
August 2013 (the whirlwind month)
- I started a new teaching job in South Carolina. Even though I missed my old co-workers in NC, I was excited to have a new opportunity at such a renowned school in York County.
- Robert was hired to work in annuity sales in Charlotte for a Fortune 500 company.
- We began looking at houses and started planning our next step in life.
- Olivia turned one! And we began building our very first house! After looking at several options with older houses, we decided that building was our best option where we would get the most bang for our buck. We knew we wanted a house where we could grow as a family, and our cookie-cutter builder was able to provide just that. It was projected to be completed in February 2014.
- Surprise! The house was finished way earlier than scheduled, and we were able to move in right before the holidays. In hindsight, we realized that God had provided so much for us in 4 short years- a beautiful baby girl, two college degrees, two phenomenal careers, two supportive families, a brand new house, and a loving marriage. Because of life’s many blessings, it inspired me to title my blog Bless’er House where I hoped to continue documenting our new adventures in homeownership every step of the way. I haven’t looked back since. 🙂