Monday, November 7, 2016

Ten Years and Counting

I remember the day I laid eyes on Dustin for the first time. It was my very first college class, an 8am Calculus class, and he walked in wearing a Francis Sporting Goods shirt. My roommate worked for Francis and I was under the assumption that anyone with a shirt also worked there. Not so, but hey caught my attention. That was that for the time being. A couple months later, my pledge mom talked me into going to a Halloween party at a friend's. When a goofy "doctor" walked in, all my silly 80s girl self could think to say was "Hey! You're in my Calc class!" Little did I know my little comment would change my life.

After some light classroom chit chat, I got an old school phone call one night asking me out on a dream date - a KU Basketball Game. Plus he asked if I wanted to "get some, um, food before?" I made him clarify to make sure he wasn't taking me grocery shopping to ease his nerves a little bit. If you don't know me well, I have been obsessed with KU basketball for a very long time. Smart man. Probably impressed him with my obsession. Good thing he had/s one too! The date was great - 23rd Street Brewery, chatted about family, friends, life and dreams, and finished with a winning exhibition game. Later found out his dad was at 23rd Street Brewery that night, but didn't want to interrupt his son on the first date.

Second date, perfect and funny. He picked me up like a gentleman and gave me flowers - a first and I definitely called to tell my mom when he ran into a gas station. We then went to a typical, fancy date restaurant. Went inside and he was trying to figure out getting us a table with the reservation he had made, but it was a cluster. I could tell it was stressing him out because he wanted to impress me. I suggested switching to a simple dinner at Applebees across the street. I could tell he was amused and relived at the same time. We then followed our great dinner of talking with a party with his friends. From there we had study dates, dinner dates and he usually walked with me after class. I got the worst grade I've ever received in a math class and he got his best. Guess I was more distracted and he was more trying to impress!

First Valentine's Day - we look like babies!
I wasn't looking for my lifetime boy right away in college, but man I fell hard. Dustin made me laugh, built me up and believed in me. He made me a better person. We had fun going out and we gave each other space. It was a perfect combination for a new college girl.

Over the next few years, we honestly never wavered. We had fun, went on adventures around the world and I dragged him to a few good date parties. I knew he was the one I would spend my life with. I also knew we needed to enjoy our youth, college and having fun! I loved Dustin for having passions. Some we shared, like KU basketball, and some he had on his own, like soccer. We were able to celebrate some great times at KU. Some of my favorites: National Championship win, studying abroad and getting to show Dustin around Italy, making some amazing friends we still have, and walking down the hill together at graduation.

Haha sadly the only picture we have from that great night in 2008 rushing Mass St.

Such a great date to the disco!

Pretty good Clueless costumes - convinced him to join because Paul Rudd rocks a KU hat in the movie
21 and feelin' fine

After graduation, we headed into the real world. Dustin stayed in Lawrence to work at a doctor's office as their IT guru and I headed to Wichita to start my corporate career. After a few months, I received the exciting news that they were shipping me off to Singapore, and my extremely supportive and understanding boyfriend let me run off to another country again. Luckily, he was able to come visit for a few weeks and we could add a few places to our adventure list: Singapore, Thailand and Australia. Don't worry, we managed to get lost in both Bangkok and Perth. Good news is we found our way and he tried to keep me calm! Made jumping into adulthood a little more fun.

After a few months, it was back to the real world in Kansas. I had managed to get in my big city fix and Dustin managed to score a job in Wichita. It was nice to be in the same city again! He had his downtown apartment and I scored my dream girl house. It was a perfect opportunity for us to have our own spaces, with our own tastes and sharing them with each other. We added a furry friend to the mix, Teddy, and stayed busy with work. On weekends we went on dates, went out partying and kept busy attending friends' and family weddings. Oh and tried to hit up a KU game every now and then!

We then stumbled upon a house full of character in our dream neighborhood. After we made the biggest purchase of our lives, I made the risky decision of letting my boyfriend, brother and his friend move in. That's when I realized I really wanted that proposal! Not just because I was scared for our new home, but because I felt like we were ready for the next step. I definitely dressed up every time we went on a date! Couple months later it happened at our favorite restaurant, Luciano's, and I was the happiest girl in town.

Nothing like a 6 year relationship turning into an engagement to bring everyone together!
We planned a dream wedding that revolved around one of our favorite places, our family, friends and dancing the night away! I married my best friend and I smiled all weekend. Kept up the smiling as we ventured off to St. Thomas for a dreamy honeymoon!

We headed back home and geared up for adulthood. We have had three years of great times, happy times, sad times and hard times. We've each been the shoulder to cry on, cheerleader, and pusher. It's been a great three years because I've been able to face it all with him - the job stresses, loss of loved ones, broken family relationships, baby struggles and more. He keeps me on a good path and pulls me back when I go off course. He's also my silent business partner that has pushed me beyond anything I thought was ever imaginable with my daydreams. Not as worldly, but we have found times to travel and have adventures all over. We have large, wonderful families and have made and kept some amazing friends. We call Wichita home and honestly, truly love it, especially our little square (yes, we are totally guilty of going to the same delicious restaurants all the time). We are both currently working our dream jobs and making our passions a reality - such a great feeling individually and together. It's a good spot to be in, and hopefully in the near future we can figure out this kid thing and bring some into the world to share our crazy lives (and get our parents off our back! just kidding guys, we love you). It hasn't been a perfect ten years by any stretch, but they have been some pretty damn good years. I can't wait for the next ten!

Still have a love for KU Basketball and seriously jumped with excitement when we ran into one of our favs, Russell Robinson!

Happy dating anniversary Dustin Billings! You stole my heart ten years ago with the perfect date and I have loved every one since. Cheers to our future!

Lots of Love,

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