Ryan and April: A Love Story

For my last stop (for now) on the nostalgia train, I'm taking it all the way back to the beginning. This is the story of how Ryan and I met, fell in love, and got married! I've told it before, but it's a story that I don't want to forget so I'll tell it again to keep it fresh in my memory.

It all started in January of 2010. Ryan and I met my first year at BYU-Idaho. My first month, really. I had no real plans in life at that point. It took me a year after high school to get up the courage to go off by myself to college, and I was taking things one semester at a time. Anyway, our apartments were across the street from each other and we were in the same ward (which means we went to church together). I remember noticing how cute he was at our first "get to know you" activity, but not thinking much of it. After a couple more activities, it became evident that another girl had set her sights on him, so I told myself he was probably a jerk anyway, and I put him out of my mind. Apparently he assumed I was probably a snob too. It's funny how we were set on NOT liking each other.

I remember when we first started to really pay attention to each other. He was at my apartment for some activity or other and he heard me listening to one of his favorite bands - Breaking Benjamin. Realizing that we had something in common, we started talking more and spending more time together.

Our first date was pretty spontaneous. I was on a date (sort of) with another boy and my roommate. We were watching a basketball game for one of our friends, and Ryan was there too with some of his roommates. After the game, we went over to say hi. We all chatted for a bit, and then Ryan and I decided that we would Skype once we got home because it was getting close to curfew. We went to our separate apartments and logged in to Skype. We ended up chatting for 3 or 4 hours! I can't remember everything we talked about (although I do remember discussing laundry at one point), but we must have impressed each other because we decided to go on a breakfast date to Denny's at 4 am. I had a Moons Over My Hammy and he had pancakes with not enough syrup.

That date was the first of many. We used to love going to the park near our apartments to walk, play, or just sit in the grass and talk. Some of my favorite memories of when we were dating are in that park! Our days were filled with classes, shenanigans with roommates, and church activities, but we always managed to find time for each other. Most of our dates were simple. We didn't have to be doing anything super exciting to have fun together. We just loved being near each other. But one time Ryan did plan an especially memorable and super romantic date. We got some ice cream and climbed up on a parked train near his sister's house to sit and eat it. When we were done, Ryan played some music on his phone and we danced in the twilight. If he hadn't already swept me off my feet, that moment would have done the trick. It was so special!

I remember the first time we kissed. We were on a date with my roommate. I guess I took my roommate on a lot of dates with me... We were playing a game of hide and seek on campus. We sent my roommate off to hide, and she would send us picture clues to help us find her. We were walking through one of the courtyards and we stopped for a hug and then I reached up and kissed him. I'm a little embarrassed when I think back on some of these moments now... I was pretty forward! But he didn't seem to mind 😊

I remember the first time we said "I love you." I could tell by the way he looked at me that he loved me, so I decided I was going to say it first. I was confident he would say it back too. We were sitting in his truck one night and I told him I loved him. He looked deeply into my eyes, and he HESITATED! I started panicking a little inside - I hadn't prepared myself for rejection! But then he said he loved me too. He just wanted to make sure he meant it. Then my heart exploded with joy.

Apparently I knew he loved me before he did. Or maybe I was just very bold and cocky? Either way, I got lucky and that was a magical night. We were both over the moon happy!

At this point in my life I had pretty severe anxiety, but I didn't know it. Feeling that way was normal for me. I ended up breaking up with Ryan not once but TWICE due to that terrible anxiety. The first time was a bit of a misunderstanding and we got back together within a couple of days, but the second time was really hard. We were really in love at that point, and I had so much anxiety and I had absolutely no idea how to communicate what I was feeling, or WHY I was feeling so crummy. I didn't understand it myself! I felt guilty for feeling anxious, and felt like I had done something wrong. I desperately wanted to marry Ryan, but he wasn't ready to get married at that point - so I broke up with him. In my terribly anxious mind, that was the only option.

This was the day we got back together - for good!

Obviously if I could go back in time, there are so many things that I would like to handle a little more gracefully. But at the time I just didn't have that capacity. There was so much I didn't know about mental health, and so much that I didn't understand about myself. Add that to the fact that I was a dumb inexperienced 19-20 year old who didn't know how to communicate... If only I knew then what I know now, right? It all worked out in the end though. Ryan and I were broken up for about two weeks, but it felt like an eternity. He was so sweet. I dumped him, but he would still send me text messages to make sure I was ok. That time was SO hard, but it ended up doing us good. We realized how much we really meant to each other. Being apart sucked, and we decided we should never do it again. That was when we decided to get married.

Ryan carved my future name on this stick while he was with his cousin on a camping trip and gave it to me when he got back.
Then one day he stole the stick without me noticing, carved this on the back of it, and gave it back to me! We had already gone ring shopping, and I was anxiously awaiting his "official" proposal. It was perfect ❤

We were married in the Seattle Temple on December 18, 2010. We've been married for 9 years this December! I didn't think it was possible to love him any more than I did on that day, but oh how love grows. Through all the ups and downs of this roller coaster we call life, our relationship keeps growing stronger. Life gets chaotic and hard, but we try to always show each other how much we appreciate one another, and we forgive each other when we fall short. I'm so grateful that he puts up with my crazy, and loves me even with all my many flaws. I feel like the luckiest girl in the world!

My favorite pictures are the candid ones. I'm terribly awkward when trying to pose!

PS - I'm just now realizing how wrinkled my wedding dress was. It drives me crazy now, but it obviously didn't bother me back then! Maybe one of these days I'll go through and Photoshop all the wrinkles out 🤣