5 years ago today, Nick and I got married at the ages of 21 and 24.
Nothing about our story is traditional.
How we met: The year was 2011. We met while working at a car dealership when Nick was 19 and I was 22, he would come into the office to get keys to the cars for sale and occasionally flirt with me. It was cute. I'm not sure why at the age of 22 I felt decades older than him. We developed a friendship and it wasn't until that NYE when Nick agreed to be my designated driver that we actually started hanging out more.
(I will preface this part by saying, I'm a little rough around the edges, confident, and not at all shy) Nick was a gentlemen that NYE night, he picked my friend and I up from Power Plant (if you have never done the all you can drink at Power Plant on NYE, do it...we mostly stayed at Howl at the Moon because nothing compares to a piano bar, nothinggggg) and thus began the adventure of him finding us talking to random strangers on the corner of a busy street, me vomiting in the car, him somehow dropping my friend off after giving him very poor directions and then him staying the night at my home. He slept in my bed that night and since I was drunkity drunk drunk (and decades older then him) I stripped down out of my party clothes and heels, threw on a t-shirt only with no regard for his comfort and went to sleep. That whole night he never made a move on me, he never touched me. The room was spinning but he made me feel grounded and safe.
The next morning after showing him the tattoo on my butt (since I was in just a t-shirt) I offered him leftover sauerkraut and black eyed peas for breakfast before taking him home. Looking back I never realized that maybe he liked me then. (I just asked him if he liked me then and he said "ehhhh not really") We didn't talk much at all outside of work but one night we went to a Hibachi dinner with mutual friends, everyone had a date so we sat next to each other. We weren't close at that time but we were casual friends so it was comfortable.
In between that NYE and that dinner I had just moved to Hampden. I invited Nick over to see my new digs. I cooked dinner and we literally just hung out. We started texting more...I don't know why we did... I was at a time in my life where I was overly independent, living in a new neighborhood, going to 2 colleges, working 2 jobs and I had no desire for a relationship because I was...honestly...just finding myself. 23 was a good year for me when it comes to self love.
Then, on the night of February 5th 2012, after deciding to hang out my place since I just had LASIK eye surgery, we kissed. It wasn't planned or anticipated, I remember wearing a green clay mask on my face and eating snacks while we watched a movie, it was not a glorious romantic moment by any means but I can still feel those butterflies from that kiss. We still argue about who made the first move :)
February is our good luck month.
After months of on and off dating that year, I moved back to Baltimore County from the city. I got an apartment and Nick would visit often. Our relationship was not public, I guess because it was not official, but by that December 2012 we got a puppy, Lily, and officially Nick moved in. 3 months later, in March 2013, after a year of "dating" we got engaged.
Our engagement was not a big proposal. We were laying in bed talking one night: about our future, about life, about our dreams, about our love...we got engaged by asking if we wanted to marry each other. We skipped from single to engaged overnight and started planning a wedding.
After months of changing wedding plans due to us both being in school + working 2 jobs, we settled on a small park wedding with family and friends instead of a big wedding. At Oregon Ridge Park, a park we often went hiking with our puppy Lily, we rented the back pavilion closest to the forest and decided to keep our wedding intimate + simple.
Nothing about October 26th 2013 went as planned.
I had wasted hours getting my hair done and ended up having to re-do it myself. I did my makeup myself too.
We got ready together at our townhome with family cooking downstairs.
Nick zipped me into my dress.
We drove to our wedding together with the best man and maid of honor.
We were an hour late.
Then we got married under a tree next to the pavilion with no chairs for our guests.
We didn't get a chance to eat but most importantly, we did not prioritize taking photos. Our family formal portraits were random groupings we called out in the middle of the reception and all the plans we had for where we would do our photos together as husband and wife went out the window when the sun set quickly.
That night we went to Popeyes with our friends and played board games at home while eating fried chicken so we could hangout with Lily.
Honeymoon was one night in the Poconos, we felt so baller to have our very own pool in the room, a heart shaped jacuzzi and a mirror above the bed. Everything about that resort was the epitome of cheesy 1970's mountain vacay and we loved it. We ate the meals in the dining room that were questionable, we visited the gift shops, we played mini golf in the arcade and at one point I roller skated around an empty gym while Nick played basketball alone.
A few months after our wedding, in January 2014, we got our puppy, Luke.
Our Valentine's day gift to ourselves that February 2014 was new iPhones and conceiving Brooke!
Baby Brooke: After a long day at my old studio that March I sat on the couch, I ate an entire ice cream cake and then slept for 12 hours. The next morning I went to Panera for breakfast and stopped at the Walgreens on our corner for a pregnancy test because I felt...weird. So weird. Nick was eating his everything bagel in the dining room when I yelled down the stairs "ummmmm I'm pregnant!?!?" and then I hopped in the shower. We celebrated later the happy news later after the shock wore off!
We moved from that home we first became husband and wife, and after months of deathly morning sickness and 2 more moves we welcomed Brooke Anneliese Wiley on November 15th 2014, she was 9 pounds of perfection, our Queen. We had no idea at all what we were doing when they sent us home from that hospital. I mean we obviously knew how to care for a baby and how to keep her alive but navigating this new territory as both MARRIED and PARENTS was intense.
I love my husband.
Nick is an incredible father. He was a stay at home dad with Brooke for over a year and they have such a strong bond because of it. I have never been so proud or in love with this man of mine. To say Brooke has him wrapped around her finger is an understatement. He would move mountains for his children, he loves them fiercely, he protects them, he adores them, he supports them, he is patient with them, he is happy with them.
We moved again, if you are counting that is 5 moves for us.
We settled into our apartment in March 2015 when Brooke was a few months old :) and in a lot of ways I feel like that apartment is where we paved the way for the life we have now. We went through so many ups and downs in that apartment, and while they were all minor silly things compared to what some couples go through they definitely felt significant. The ups were glorious and the downs packed a punch. We changed, we weren't 19 and 22 anymore. We were parents to a toddler and 2 grown ass dogs. Nick switched jobs a few times, my business continued to grow. I quit my job, I pursued my business full-time and we switched spots being a stay at home parent.
We changed some more. We grew as individuals. We grew as partners. We fell more in love.
In February 2017 I found out I was pregnant.
It was an accident, not the baby, the finding out part. I have endometriosis and PCOS so getting pregnant is not only rare, it actually requires immense effort. I was cleaning the hall closet, found an old test, peed on it for shits and giggles and then I scream cried on the bathroom floor because that test was positive.
I went to the hospital because surely I was dying of something that causes positive pregnancy test hormones. Duh. But there baby was. 8 weeks old and strong despite my menstrual cycle never stopping. I came home, sat Nick on the edge of the bed and told him I was 2 month pregnant.
On October 20th 2017 we welcomed Blake Adeline Wiley. Another 9 pound Goddess.
We changed some more. We grew as individuals. We grew as partners. We communicated intently. We loved fiercely.
We moved again in 2018 (yes a 6th time!) into our current home.
In so many ways I feel like we have settled into ourselves. I know we will continue to change, I know we will grow and I know we will have to rediscover ourselves individually and as a couple over and over again but I'm okay with that. Forever. Our wedding day was not perfect, our life is not perfect and we are not perfect people...but together, I do feel perfect.
I love that our love story is a basic and weird.
I love you, babe.
We celebrated 5 years with anniversary portraits taken by my friend, Karen! We originally wanted the session to be just us but last minute we decided to include the girls in a few....but as you can see that was short lived because Brooke ditched us :)