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Be warned – this is a very corny and picture-laden post. Though perhaps this post will show part of who I am. Through weight gain and loss, the graying of my hair, and the course of 8 years, these pictures show some of my happiest moments. I apologize for my pregnancy-induced hormonal sappiness. This is for you, Sweet Bear.

Sometime in early 2004, while sitting in my college freshman dorm room and chatting away on AOL instant messenger (the precursor to texting), I received a random chat room invitation from a complete stranger. Now, normally, I would hit decline and block whoever was trying to invite me. If y’all are at all familiar with AIM, you’ll know that there were quite a lot of *coughporncough* spam bots at the time.

But, for some reason, be it boredom or sheer curiosity, I hit accept. The screen name seemed normal enough, so why not? I entered the chat room and was relieved to see that it was full of seemingly normal people and that these people all seemed to know each other. “ASL?” someone asked.

Upon my reply, I was sent a private message from the same person who invited me to the chat room stating that he knew a regular who frequented that chat room who was also from Georgia and around my age. So he proceeded to introduce us. I began chatting with this new fellow and I found out he lived about 2 hours away from me. He was 17 and I was 19. We swapped webcam pics and I was definitely intrigued.

We chatted for months and got to know each other fairly well until one night I convinced him to talk on the phone. He was shy and hesitant at first but we ended up talking for hours that night and continued to talk every night until we finally decided to meet in person.

On July 10, 2004, I met the love of my life in person. I won’t say that our meeting was love at first sight, but I just knew in my gut the second I laid eyes on him that he was different. He was all gangly, nerdy, and awkward but I felt super comfortable with him and we hit it off. He asked me to be his girlfriend that very day.

We continued to date and, since I didn’t have a car at the time, he drove down to see me a few times each week in a car without AC. Oh, the mileage that boy put on his old beat-up Ford Taurus! We exchanged the L-word after a couple months.

One of our first dates. We went to the World of Coke in Atlanta.

Our first Christmas together. I’m wearing the pearl necklace he gave me.

Probably the only crafty-type present he’s given me – a handmade bedazzled Valentine’s Day candle. Gotta love it!

Fast forward a couple years and we decided to move in together. Yes, the dreaded shacking up!

Our first pet – the adorable orange-fluffed Sherbert as a kitten.

Halloween – Little Red Riding Hood with her Big Bad “I’m on the phone” Wolf

A rare snow day in Georgia.

Our 5 year anniversary trip to New Orleans.

Fast forward a couple more years and he gave me one of the biggest surprises of my life. On May 28, 2008, he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I can honestly say that I wasn’t expecting him to ask me any time soon. We were still so young. But, of course, I said yes! I had known for a long time that he was the one for me.

One of our engagement pictures.

On April 10, 2010, we were married. Though pollen thickly covered every outside surface, the spring day was beautiful.

Us standing next to the river which runs behind where we had our wedding.

A sweet kiss of revenge after I smashed his nose with cake.

We went on a week-long cruise to the Caribbean for our honeymoon and had the best vacation of our lives.

Enjoying a gorgeous evening from the balcony off our room.

Snorkeling on our honeymoon.

And, we’ve continued to have so many adventures since.

A pirate with her treasure!

An evening out for the annual company Christmas parties.

We bought a house in June of 2011 – the joy of yard work!

My penguin and I at the Dragon*Con 2011 Masked Ball.

My company Christmas party in 2011.

Sweet kisses for my hubby after my pin-up inspired makeover.

After we found out we were pregnant in February of 2012! Pay no attention to the green mask on my face…

And, finally, here we are at our baby shower.

I could go on and on about how lucky I am to have such a caring, affectionate, and stand-up guy for a husband but in just so many words, here goes…

My Sweet Bear,

We’ve come such a long, long way over these 8 years. We’ve grown so much and we’ve worked hard to get where we are today. We’ve had ups and downs and countless arguments, but here we are. We’re on the verge of welcoming our son into this world together. And, together, we will do our best to raise and care for him.

You’re my best friend, my confidant, my rock, my everything.  You keep me going. I’m so proud of you and I’m honored to stand by your side. Be it fate or through some unknowing AIM chatter, we were brought together for a reason. I will do my best to remember that for the rest of my life.

These next few weeks and months will probably be a mix of absolute joy at having our son with us to absolute exhaustion at the endless diaper changes and lack of sleep. But, we’ll have each other. And, I can’t express how much just that simple knowledge helps me get through each and every day even now.

I love you.


*End of sappiness*