We’re Going To Homeschool?!?!

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Seeing as yesterday was David’s last day of preschool, I thought it would be fitting to make our big announcement. After much thought, prayer, and deliberation we have decided to take on a new challenge in the Fall: homeschool. That’s right, folks–HOMESCHOOL.  As in, me having my own little classroom of two darling pupils located halfway between our kitchen and the boys’ bedroom. Every day. All year. By myself.

This is a relatively recent decision for us, and we’re still piecing together what “homeschool” will look like for our family. As I’ve started to share our news with people, however, I  have discovered that our somewhat unconventional decision has the potential to spark a lot of debate/dismay/panic. So, in order to answer some of your burning questions, I thought I’d put together a little Q and A session for us:

Q) Are you crazy?!
A) Yes, but I think we established that fact long before the topic of homeschooling came up.

Q) I could never homeschool my kids. They’d drive me nuts.
A) That’s not really a question but yes you could, and yes they would.

I believe that homeschooling is a calling–it is not something that you simply fall into or decide on a whim. One lesson I have learned (repeatedly) is that God equips the called, not that He calls the equipped. To be quite honest, I don’t have a clue how I’m going to do this. I do know, however, that God has called our family to take this on for this “season”, and I trust that He will lead us every step of the way.

I’m fairly certain my kids will still drive me nuts, though.

Q) Have you always wanted to homeschool?
A) I’m going to answer this one with an emphatic NO. No no no nooooo no. Because I used to be a teacher, a lot of people assume that I’ve always wanted to teach my own children–not the case. Not at all. My response to the “Would you ever homeschool…” question has always been, “Only if it’s the only best choice for my kids.” I know that homeschool is night-and-day-different from traditional school, and I never really thought I was cut out for the job. Plus, I REALLY like my free time (which just so happens to only occur during the hours my children are away at school).

Which leads me to the next question:

Q) Why on earth would you decide to homeschool?
A) The short answer is: because it’s the best choice for our kids and our family right now.

The long answer is…well, longer. I could write a whole post on this one question, but I’ll try to summarize some of our thoughts here. The main factors that went into our decision include: the privilege of building our childrens’ character and teaching from a Biblical worldview; the ability to address the specific learning needs and learning styles of our children (our boys are c-r-a-z-y); flexibility in the daily schedule to allow more “wiggle time” and play time (which research shows is more beneficial than strictly academic instruction for young children); more time for pursuing outside interests and extra-curricular activities; proximity to home (as in, roll out of bed and you’re already at school); the absolute absence of the term “high-stakes testing” (and for those homeschooled students who choose to participate in state-mandated testing, consistently scoring 30% above their “typically schooled” peers);  allowing our children to get enough sleep, at the times that naturally work for them; having more time together as a family mid-week (like, we can actually be awake during some of the hours when Daddy is home); and financial considerations (one local private school that I visited had an annual tuition of $24,000. For KINDERGARTEN. For the love…).

Plus, I genuinely enjoy teaching and being home with my children (they’re actually really cool people), so it’s kind of a perfect fit.

That, and I also think I enjoy torturing myself a bit.

Q) Are you trying to shelter your kids from the world?
A) Yes, and no. The world shelter is defined as “a place giving temporary protection”. There are several matters in The World to which I would like to offer temporary protection to my children while I build a strong foundation for them so they will be able to weather storms on their own. I am not naïve enough to assume that I will shield my children from every potential Bad Thing that is out there, but I’m happy that I will have more time in these early ears to equip them for the challenges that lay ahead.

Q) What will you DO all day?
A) Here’s the thing: I can’t STOP my kids from learning. All day, every day, they are learning. When my boys work together to build the world’s tallest Lego tower, they are learning. When we go to a new park and spend 3 hours exploring nature trails observing the flight pattern of a butterfly or which objects sink or float when they throw them in a creek, they are learning. When we bake cookies and they measure and count each ingredient, they are learning. For children, the world is a classroom.

While my children are little, I want them to…well…stay little. To explore. To play. To be bored for awhile and sort their own selves out. To sit in a cozy lap and read books all afternoon. Next year we will do a lot of that: exploring, playing, reading, learning as their interests lead us (plus some hardcore academics thrown in for good measure).

If this homeschooling thing sits well with us, there are hundreds (if not thousands) of curriculum options available to us. We can use “official” curriculum provided by our local public school district, formal curriculum packages available for purchase, an assortment of unit studies pieced together from Pinterest/library books/my brain, or anything in between.

All I know is we’ll be doing it all (or most of it all) in our pajamas.

Q) Going against the stream, are you?
A) I guess so. Strange as homeschooling may sound, though, it’s not that strange. A growing number of my friends already homeschool–so it doesn’t seem that unusual to me. In fact, with nearly 2 million families choosing homeschool for their children this year, homeschooling is the single fastest growing form of schooling in the United States. 90% of Americans still choose traditional schooling for their children…but 10% (and growing each year) are choosing homeschool. I dunno…a part of me has always kind of enjoyed the challenge of an upstream battle.

Q) How long are you going to homeschool?
A) As long as it’s the best choice for our kids and our family.

We’re going to use next year as a trial year to work out the kinks and see how we like it. David will be in Pre-K next year and Jacob will be entering preschool, so we still have plenty of time to decide if this will be a good long-term choice. We’re just going to take each year as it comes, and go from there.

If I’m comatose or neurotic by this time next year, we may have to call it quits.

Q) So, are you against “normal schools” now?
A) Absolutely not! Jon and I both went to public schools (whoop!), and I’ve taught in both private schools and public charter schools. Each school setting has different strengths and challenges, as does each individual school. We plan on transitioning the boys to a traditional school some day–whether that’s in a year or two or ten, I don’t yet know. I love schools and I’m excited to try out one more type of school for myself.

Q) Won’t your kids become socially awkward now that they’re being homeschooled?
A) You’re wondering if Boy 1 who believes his toys are actually alive and Boy 2 who has full-blown conversations with my hair might possibly become socially awkward? Not a chance. There are actually plenty of opportunities for homeschool kids to interact with their peers: homeschool co-ops and support groups, church groups, sports, extra-curricular clubs or lessons, and playing with friends in the neighborhood. My boys will also have plenty of time to interact with their favorite life-long friend: their own brother/new-schoolmate.

Q) Now that you’re homeschooling, are you get an ugly haircut and frumpy clothes and move off the grid?
A) Now that you mention it, that doesn’t sound half-bad. I actually don’t even know what my hair looks like any more because I only ever wear it pulled back in a “messy bun”, my clothes are already about as frumpy as yoga pants and t-shirts can get, and I’m kind of over this whole overcrowded-too-much-traffic-people-everywhere thing. As long as we have internet access so I can binge watch Netflix after the boys go to bed, “off the grid” could work out just fine for us.

And so the ending to this school-choice saga is the same as the ending to any good story: unexpected, yet inevitable. It’s been a huge decision–but now that our choice has (finally) been made, we are excited and confident that it’s the right one!

I hope that this Q&A session has been helpful for you and that I’ve answered all of your questions. If you have any additional concerns, feel free to keep them to yourself for awhile so I don’t have a nervous breakdown before this whole homeschooling thang goes down.

Wish me luck!

Supporting a Mother Through Her Miscarriage: A Guide for Friends and Family

Hope-2-570x379 A couple of weeks ago we celebrated Mother’s Day and I was filled with emotion: love, contentment, delight, fulfillment. Being Mom to my two boys is one of my greatest joys in life, and I adore having a whole day each year when this blessing is called to mind.

Mixed in with those beautiful feelings, however, there was a twinge of heartache this year. This sorrow is because, unlike in years past, this year on Mother’s Day I was reminded of a recent loss. Nearly four months ago I had a miscarriage and we lost what would have been our third child. Although time has passed, the wound that experience left on my heart is still very fresh.

Difficult as this whole experience has been, it could have been worse. Thinking back on my own miscarriage, I realize that people around me said and did much to aid in my ability to heal and move forward. The topic of miscarriage is admittedly a very tricky subject to navigate–especially if you’ve never experienced one personally. The sad truth, however, is that most of you reading this right now will experience a miscarriage at some point-whether it is yourself or someone you know. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways you can help a mother through this difficult time.

Here are some practical tips that I have found particularly useful as I find hope and healing after my own miscarriage:

Let her grieve
I used the word mother in the title of this post, as opposed to woman, because when you have a miscarriage you are losing your real-as-anything child. With my miscarriage, it was not just some cells that gathered in my womb before disappearing, it was my baby. The loss a mother feels from a miscarriage is very real, and it deserves a good amount of mourning. Don’t diminish this. The grieving will be strong at first, then eventually it will subside. At some point you will think that the time of grieving has passed, but then–maybe even months or years down the road–something will remind her of her loss and she will grieve all over again. When this happens, just tell her that it’s alright to be upset, give her a shoulder to cry on, and tell her that you love her.

Share your story
For some reason that I don’t completely understand, the topic of miscarriages is still widely seen as taboo in our culture, and many people are simply unwilling to talk about it. This is much to the detriment of the nearly one million mothers who face a miscarriage each year.

For some mothers, talking about their miscarriage will be the most difficult part of the whole ordeal–but it is necessary. Encourage the mother to talk about her experience and share her story with others. Even if she only confides in her husband and a few close friends, she needs to talk about this. Holding the devastation of a miscarriage inside is like dragging around a thousand pounds of dead weight–it will eventually break you.

On the flip side, if you have already gone through a miscarriage, be bold and share about your experience with another mother who is going through her own miscarriage–this simple act of letting her know that she’s not alone will alleviate so much pain. There is great healing in sharing your story with others, allowing them to help you, and learn from them. When you share your story you will be surprised to learn how many other people have also been through this, and they will help lift you up.

Acknowledge that the baby she lost “counts”
The most heartbreaking thing somebody said to me when I was going through my miscarriage was, “I’m sorry you weren’t pregnant”–as if I’d made up the morning sickness, the surge of maternal joy that came when I saw the positive pregnancy test, and the doctors confirming this joy at my first ultrasound. The reality is that I was pregnant, but I will never get to meet that child.

Through sharing the story of my miscarriage, I met a woman who had experienced a miscarriage over 30 years ago. She told me that after years of struggling to cope with her miscarriage she decided to name her lost baby, and that was what finally allowed her to move on.

We decided to follow suit, and we have named our lost baby Lily. Since the boys were with me at every one of those early ultrasound appointments, I don’t want to diminish the loss of our baby or act like all of this never happened. We will continue to talk about Lily, and the boys know that they have a sister waiting for them up in Heaven. In some small way, by keeping the memory of our baby girl alive we will help our family move forward more completely.

Reassure her that the miscarriage was not her fault
The first thought I had when my doctor told me that my pregnancy would end in a miscarriage was “What did I do wrong?”. My doctor assured me that I had done nothing to cause the miscarriage, and that there was nothing I could have possibly done differently to have a more favorable outcome. The truth is, 15-20% of all known pregnancies end in miscarriage, mostly due to chromosomal abnormalities in the embryo and other non-preventable medical issues. Reassure her that the miscarriage was not her fault, and that she is not to blame.

Do something kind 
Going through a miscarriage can make you feel pretty crummy, so do something that will help lift her up. Go above and beyond, and do something thoughtful for her.  Send her flowers. Get her a gift certificate for a pedicure or a massage. Buy her something pretty to wear. Make sure the house is well-stocked with her favorite chocolates. All of these little acts of kindness will let her know that she matters to you and that you love her.

Offer practical help
One of the hardest things for me while I was going through my miscarriage was taking care of others–some days it was hard enough to just take care of myself. Going through a miscarriage is exhausting and physically painful, and she’ll relish the idea of some help. She may not ask for help, so step out and offer it anyway. Babysit her kids so she can take a bubble bath or a nap in peace. Order takeout or pizza (or better yet, cook her favorite meal for her) so she doesn’t have to worry about dinner. Clean her house or do her laundry. Offer to take her somewhere fun so she can get out of the house for a bit. Anything you can do to help her day go smoothly will be appreciated more than you’ll ever know.

Hold on to hope
Help her to realize that a miscarriage is the end of something, but it is not the end of everything. I have found great comfort during this time by counting my blessings and holding onto the hope of what is yet to come. My faith has been a huge factor in my perspective, as have the encouraging words of others. Just knowing that there is a light at the end of the tunnel makes getting through the dark days so much more bearable.

And, if all else fails, just be there for her. Because, really, with love all things are possible.


100 Reasons Why Kid-Free Vacations Suck

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Last week Jon and I embarked on what has been our most daring parenting adventure to date: our first ever kid-free vacation. With great anticipation we boarded our flight to Hawaii and set off for 8 days of egocentric indulgence. We couldn’t wait to discover this mystical world of solitude and lack of responsibility that people who travel without children have told us about (if memory serves me correctly, I think we used to be those people). And here it finally was: the moment of truth. How amazing would this vacation actually be?

The truth is, the reality of our vacation came as quite a surprise to us. Along the way I realized something: kid-free vacations kinda suck. Here’s why:

#1: You sleep too much.
Without our natural alarm clocks (named “David” and “Jacob”, respectfully) we were sleeping 9 or 10 hours a night. That’s like a whole week’s worth of sleep all in one single night. Who can cope with this madness?

#2: You eat too much.
I ate more un-interrupted hot meals in our one week of vacation that I managed to scarf down in my first two years post-partum. Motherhood: Best. Diet. Ever.


#3: Your inner daredevil will come out in full force.
This could be dangerous.  Ziplining through the trees? We all meet the height and weight requirement, no problem! Bouncy helicopter ride? The kid prone to motion sickness isn’t here, let’s do it! Precarious hike along cliffs? There’s no baby asleep in my backpack and no toddler to drag up the trails, let’s go! Swimming under raging waterfalls? I don’t see anybody with water wings, I’ll meet you there after I cliff dive into the river!


#4: You will get places way too quickly.
When you don’t need to change diapers, take children to the potty, pack a ginormous bag full of snacks/clothing/entertainment/sunscreen/the kitchen sink, drag children down to the car, fuss over car seats and seat belts, and return to the house 3 times to retrieve forgotten items each time you want to leave home, it frees up a lot of time. We found that when it’s just the two of us, it takes exactly 4 nanoseconds to leave the house (as opposed to our usual 4 hours with the children). We didn’t quite know what to do with all of this extra time.

#5: You will buy way too many “guilt souvenirs”.
About halfway through our vacation I had to force myself to quit going into stores because I was buying way too many guilt souvenirs. Every time I was in a store, I’d see some cute little Hawaiian shirt (“Jacob would look adorable in that!”) or puka shell necklace (“David would have so much fun tearing that to pieces!”) and I’d feel like I had to buy it for the children I’d abandoned on the mainland.

#6: You’ll forget your own rule: Don’t talk to strangers.
You may find yourself sitting in the hotel hot tub after what would normally be your kids’ bedtime and you’ll meet a couple from Alabama. You’ll start talking to them and you’ll realize that you have so much in common with these people that maybe you should just move across the country and move in next door so you can be besties. Stranger danger, pshaw!

#7: You don’t have an outlet for your motherly advice. 
Without your children around, who are you supposed to take care of and worry about and yell at? I had to stop myself from turning around in our rental car and chiding the empty back seat to “Keep your body to yourself”. I did my best not to admonish random sunbathers on the beach for not wearing beach hats or enough sunscreen, to no avail. At restaurants it was difficult not to approach patrons at their tables to make sure they’d eaten all of their vegetables.

#8: You’ll forget how to clean things. It’s amazing how the absence of children also equates to the near-absence of filth. Our laundry pile was minimal, there were almost no dishes to wash, the clutter was mostly contained to our own suitcases, and the rental car was relatively free of pulverized Cheerios. With no need to actually keep up with the cleaning, I went into a sort of cleaning amnesia. Cleaning? Come again? What’s that?

#9: You’ll have some awkward moments before you recollect what “privacy” is.
For the first few days of vacation, you’ll probably forget to close the door to the bathroom because you’re so used to having other (small) people barge in on you. You also may feel guilty for taking a shower all by yourself in the middle of the day. And then you’ll remember what this phenomenon actually is: privacy. Now that you know what it is, you may not want to relinquish it upon arrival back to reality after your vacation. This could be dangerous.

#10: You’ll way  under-exert yourself.
There is no limit to how much time you can waste when there is nobody vying for your attention. Maybe you want to do nothing but sleep in a hammock all day. Maybe you want to review all of your friends’ status updates from the last 6 months. Maybe you want to read a whole book (the kind without cartoonish pictures in it) from cover to cover.  Or maybe your poison is more along the lines of binge watching TLC and Food Network. Guess what? You don’t have any interruptions, so you can DO IT ALL (or do none of it or do nothing at all…that’s kind of the beauty of this kid-free thing). The possibilities are endless.


#11: You’ll miss your spouse like crazy…
…after you get back from your vacation! Jon and I hadn’t spent a solid week together since our child-free days nearly 5 years ago, and our vacation really reminded us how much we like each other. Without the interruptions of work and kids and life, we had a lot of time to just focus on Us–and what we found is that we really like Us (which shouldn’t be surprising since we actually chose each other out of all potential partners in the world, but it’s always nice to have your selection reaffirmed).

We spent our whole vacation feeling like two young lovebirds–it must have shown, because we had several strangers approach us to ask if we were enjoying our honeymoon. When our “honeymoon” week ended and real life resumed, however, we started missing each other with a new eagerness during the hours we are forced to spend apart.

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#12…to 100: You’ll miss your kids like crazy.
Of course I knew that I’d miss my kids while we were away, but I was naive enough to think that we’d be having so much fun on vacation that I’d hardly even notice. Well, folks, that’s just not how it works. Just like when you’re at home with your children, you will think of your kids every moment of every day. Their crazy antics and annoying habits will somehow appear endearing in your memory, and you will miss their absence. You’ll FaceTime and call them obsessively.


You’ll talk non-stop about those little rascals when you should be discussing more engaging topics. You’ll see other kids playing with their parents and you’ll think “Gee, our kids would sure have fun here…”. You’ll wake up at some early hour (because your kids have programmed you to do that) and you’ll think to yourself “I wish Jacob was here to snuggle”. There is no escaping it: you will miss your kids dearly.

With that said, I wouldn’t trade our kid-free vacation for anything. It was a time of relaxation and excitement and selfishness that simply could not, would not have happened if we’d had our kids with us. And sometimes, even parents need to relax and have excitement, and do things for themselves.

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So, parents of the world rejoice! A kid-free vacation is actually possible–even if it does suck a bit. XxX

How I Met Your Father

Our Wedding 0425In a few days Jon and I will be embarking on a monumental parenting adventure: our first vacation without our children. That’s right, folks. No. Kids. For 8 days. Pinch me now, because I still don’t believe it’s actually happening.

This is no small feat, and we wouldn’t even consider making this happen unless there was a darn good reason–and a good reason we have. In fact, we have 10 phenomenal reasons. You see, in a few short weeks Jon and I will be celebrating our tenth wedding anniversary. Ten YEARS. Holy moly, how did that happen?! That means that I’ve spent nearly a third of my life as Mrs. Peterson. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that there ever was a time before when I was known as someone else.

And yet there was a time before Mommy knew Daddy–and the story of how we met is actually kind of amazing in its own little way (at least, it is to me–and that’s the only person who really matters in this story). I don’t know if my boys will ever really care, but I’m going to tell you the story anyway. This is the story of…

How I Met Your Father

Dear boys,

You may not realize this, but there once was a time before Mommy and Daddy were “Mommy and Daddy”.  Not so long ago there was, in fact, a time when Mommy and Daddy didn’t even know each other. Before we ever met–from the beginning of time, in fact–God had a great plan for our family. A story of Us. He created Mommy and Daddy for each other, and He knew that some day we would meet and fall in love and start our family and live out the story He’d already planned. Here is the first chapter in that story.

The first time I met your daddy, I didn’t actually meet your daddy. Long before we officially knew each other, our paths had crossed.

When we were about 10 years old, both of our families went on a winter vacation to the same hotel in the small central Washington town of Leavenworth. My family went to Leavenworth every year with a group of friends during the same week of February. We would go to a festival in town, and while we were there we would stay at the hotel that our friends owned.

Leavenworth, Washington during the annual Leavenworth's Town and Tree Lighting

Leavenworth, Washington–the setting for many parts of Our Story

Naturally, us kids took this to mean that we owned the hotel for that one week every winter. We would take over the hot tub (the correct way to hot tub in the snow, by the way, is to lay in the snow then jump into the hot tub and immerse your body in sharp tingles. Once your body thaws, repeat.). We would set up movies in the hotel conference rooms. We would help ourselves to endless cups of hot cocoa in the hotel lobby. We would play hide-and-go-seek in the halls of the hotel. We would do all of this while squealing at the tops of our lungs (so our parents would always know where to find us, of course).

Unfortunately some of the hotel guests did not find our incessant noise to be such a pleasant sound, and occasionally a call would come through to the front desk asking us to please quiet down and go back to our rooms. I remember very clearly one night when this happened at the hotel in Leavenworth, because shortly after we were sent back to our rooms to quiet down for the night a fire alarm went off. Everyone had to evacuate the building–we were in our pajamas and it was dark and cold and snowy outside. A night like that stays with you.

About 10 years later, your daddy and I would return to that same hotel. This time we were meeting in the hotel restaurant for dinner with both sets of our parents (It was actually Grammy and Grandpa Pete, and Nana and Papa–but we just called them “Mom and Dad” then)–it was the first time we were introducing each other to the families that we hoped to join together some day.

While we were sitting together in that hotel restaurant, the story of the fire alarm came up and we all realized the same thing: we had all been together that night. The phone call to the front desk that had sent me and my friends back to our rooms had come from Daddy’s mom (Grammy)–Daddy had heard us playing in the hallways and asked if he could join in, but instead Grammy decided to call us in and report our naughty behavior (some things never change) 🙂  And then when the fire alarm went off in the middle of that cold winter night, we had all huddled together outside in the snow. I didn’t know it then, but that was the first time I met your father.

I wouldn’t meet your father again until I was finishing up my second year of college.  In college I had gotten involved with a university ministry group called The INN. I was in a girls’ Bible study with The INN, and in the spring of my sophomore year my leader asked if I’d consider leading a group of my own. They were looking for students to lead a co-ed group called a CASA, so I’d be paired with a guy co-leader. I was working, busy with school, and in the process of getting ready to leave for a summer study abroad in Costa Rica and I didn’t know if leading was something I could add to my already-full plate. So, I did the only thing you can do in that situation: I prayed. The answer came back that I was supposed to lead the group, so I told them to sign me up!

During one of the last INN meetings of the year, one of our leaders came up to me and told me that they’d set up the CASA groups for the Fall. He told me who my co-leader would be, but I didn’t recognize the name.

“Oh, Jon Peterson? He’s the loud guy who’s always in the front.”
And right away, I knew exactly who my co-leader was.

After the meeting I went up to the front of the room and introduced myself to The Loud Guy. This will sound strange, but I knew at that moment that I was going to marry your father. I didn’t even know him yet, but something in me just knew that he was going to be important. It wasn’t a lovey-dovey feeling–again, I didn’t even know him–but more of a realization that something significant was about to happen.

A week or two after we met after the INN, Jon and I met up at a nearby park to discuss our plans for the upcoming year. While we were sitting there at Boulevard Park talking, the sun began to set over Bellingham Bay and we paused to take a photo together. I’m not sure why we did this–again, we didn’t even know each other!–but I’m so glad we did. To this day, your daddy still carries in his wallet the photo we took that day (If you ask him really nice, I’m sure he’ll show you. You have to be careful if you touch it, though–that photo is OLD):


The first photo of Mommy and Daddy together. Boulevard Park, circa 2002

Shortly after the spring term ended, I left for Costa Rica. I added your daddy to my email update list so he’d know what I’d been up to all summer and we’d have something to talk about when we saw each other again in the fall–it didn’t really matter, though, because he had another friend doing a similar trip that summer, and he got us confused with each other the whole time 🙂

When we did finally meet up again in the fall, it was time to get to work. We started meeting several times every week to plan for our group, to pray together, and to have our CASA meetings at daddy’s apartment. It didn’t take very long, though, before I was wishing we had more meetings–I couldn’t get enough of him! It was about this time that I realized I might want him to be more than just a friend–he, however, was still completely clueless about my feelings.

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Fun times with our CASA (Mommy’s sitting on the left wearing a green shirt and Daddy is sitting…well…on top of everyone else).

A few months into the year I got up the nerve to tell your daddy how I felt about him. We’d spent some extra time together at a CASA retreat that winter–in Leavenworth, again–and I couldn’t hold back the floodgates any more. He admitted that he felt the same way about me. Ironically, we had signed a contract with the INN that we wouldn’t date anyone in our group (because, you know, it was a Bible study not a dating show) so now we didn’t even know what to do with all of these Big Feelings.

We decided to talk to our leader at the INN about our little predicament and see if he had any wisdom for us. He told us that he understood these things could happen (I can count at least a dozen weddings that came out of the INN the year we graduated), but could we maybe wait until the school year was over before making anything official? So, we resolved to carry on leading our group…and dating in secret (OK, that part wasn’t supposed to happen yet, but we were young and reckless and honestly just couldn’t help ourselves).

When the end of the school year came in June, your daddy and I made it official. We gathered together our CASA group and told them that we were dating. To which they all replied, “We already know. It’s about time you told us.”

That summer we spent a lot of time together–we both stayed up in Bellingham working and completing summer classes to prepare ourselves for our upcoming senior year. A few weeks before school was due to resume in September I went to Anacortes for a two-week Marine Biology course at the beach. While I was there, I talked to your daddy every day on the phone. I missed him a lot. Unfortunately, your daddy was going over to Leavenworth for the next few weeks to help his dad build a new house there, and he’d still be gone when I got back to Bellingham. As they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder–and I knew it would be an even happier reunion when I finally got to see him again.

When I got back to Bellingham I was greeted by my roommates, Kate and Diana.  It had been a few weeks since we’d all been together and they suggested that we go for a walk at Boulevard Park so we could all catch up. It was a drizzly day but, as hardened Northwesterners, we hardly even noticed.

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Boulevard Park the day we got engaged, September 15, 2004

As we were walking along the waterfront path we came to a bench. There was a canopy over the bench and some roses on the seat. Kate and Diana indicated that we should go sit on the bench. I refused. Someone had obviously gone to a lot of effort to cover this bench with a canopy and put flowers at it–I wasn’t about to go sit in there. Thankfully my friends are quick on their feet, and Kate noticed a remembrance plaque on the back of the bench. She said that maybe we should go sit on the bench and pray for the person that the bench was dedicated to. Since she was so adamant about sitting on the dang bench, I finally obliged.

We hadn’t been sitting down for a minute when we heard the gentle strums of a guitar approaching. “Oh no!” I thought, “They’re coming for us! The people who put up this canopy and laid out the roses are coming to sit on their bench AND WE’RE HERE SITTING ON IT.”

I looked up in a panic, but what I saw surprised me. There were familiar faces: our friend Brian was the one playing the guitar, and right in front of him, your daddy was walking toward us holding a single rose up to his mouth like a microphone. Your daddy started singing Grow Old With You from The Wedding Singer, and it hit me: This bench had been set up for me. And something significant was about to happen.

After your daddy finished singing the most beautiful song I’ve ever heard, he got down on one knee and proposed:

“Allison Marie Schroeder, Will you marry me?”

And that was the day our story really began. That was the day that I knew we would become a family and we would grow old together.

Jon's proposal 06

Just engaged! Check out the BLING on that finger!

That, my boys, is how I met your father.



P.S. If you are old enough to have a Facebook account, and you are Facebook friends with Daddy, you can watch a video of our proposal here. That dang video still makes me cry every time…