Dan and I had just finished our junior year of college and had been dating one year. I knew we were going to get married and I was hoping(and wishing, thinking, and praying)  we would get married right after we graduated, but I was sort of leaving it in his hands. I didn’t know when we would get engaged, I was thinking maybe the fall. I definitely was not expecting early June.

I was living in Steubenville for the summer, taking a class and babysitting. Dan was also in Steubenville, working the same landscaping job he had all throughout college. My friend and housemate for the summer, Janell, and I decided to drive down to my parents lake house in NC one weekend for a fun getaway. We had a great time relaxing, eating, talking, getting some sun, etc.  I remember my mom was just extremely giddy and happy we were there visiting. My dad was so excited we came down, he baked a chocolate cake. Saturday night my dad offered to take us on the boat for a sunset cruise. But first he said he had to change out all of the light bulbs along the outdoor walking path. Ok. (He was actually on the phone with Dan finalizing plans.) Once the lights were changed, we joined my mom and brother for the ride. DJ Alex had fun changing the music on the radio. At the end of the ride, Kelly Clarkson’s “A moment like this” came on and my parents started to dance and got really goofy and sentimental.  Meanwhile, Dan and his best man Jarad, had arrived and were hiding in the bushes, waiting for us to return and head back inside.

We went in and had some cake. We talked about all sorts of things and I was also patiently waiting for Dan to call. He had told me earlier that day that he wanted to have a phone date with me. (The problem with the lake house was that there was only one main phone in the kitchen and the cell phone service was awful, so I had to wait for him to call the house phone, then I would walk outside down to the wharf and call him back. I know this seems like a random  detail…but it is needed. Stick with me.) So finally he called around 10:15, and I said good night to Janell, who was going to bed and I grabbed my phone and a blanket and walked down the pathway to the wharf.

When I got to the beginning of the walkway, I suddenly stopped because there were candles lit along the walkway on every post and there was a curtain hanging at the entrance of the wharf. I was a little creeped out. And by a little, I mean I thought that some strange people were out there using our dock. Earlier that day my parents were telling me that they thought that people had been using our canoe and wharf when we were not around. And I thought it had to be them. What would they have been doing? I don’t know, but my thoughts make no sense sometimes. Any normal person would have thought- oh it must be Dan and I am getting engaged tonight. Not me. I slowly kept walking to the curtain and I was scared to look through and finally I said, “hello…hello…”. No one answered. I peeped through and there was no one. Then I thought, maybe my parents thought it would be funny to do that because I was on my phone date. So I turned around to leave.  As I was turning around, I heard Dan call out, “Lauren, come here.” I turned back around and I saw Dan and he looked amazing.  I walked through the curtain and he took my hand. And then I actually looked at the beautiful set up:



I was in shock. I just wasn’t expecting it at all (obvi) and couldn’t believe that Dan was there. The thought just didn’t cross my mind- that he would come and surprise me. He led me to the table and picked up the ring. He held my hands and got down on one knee and said some beautiful things and then proposed.  I kissed him and said yes and just started to giggle. No tears from this girl, I was too surprised and excited. Even before he could put the ring on my finger, I heard fireworks go off and I ran to the side of the wharf to see, leaving Dan still on one knee. And when I looked out toward the water, there was Jarad. In the canoe. Trying to stay afloat and set off the fireworks (despite the fact the canoe kept drifting and right when Dan got on one knee, a post blocked his view and he had to guess when to shoot them off). And I am sure it was completely safe.  This sight made me giggle again, I loved it all. Dan walked over and put the ring on my finger and Jarad began to row back in…

A few seconds  later, a man walked out, casually dressed, and with a gun in a holster. It was just the sheriff. And he kind of reminded me of this guy: (seriously mustache and all)


(pic from here)

He came out and said. “Excuse me, but what is going on out here? He walked through the curtains, he saw Dan and I were standing there holding each other’s hands and the candles lit everywhere. But he acted like he didn’t notice any of it. First he asked us if we were the ones shooting off the fireworks and Dan replied saying we did shoot off one.

Then the sheriff asked, “Well is  that your car parked on the hill on the street.?” Dan said it was and then the sheriff asked, “Well why the heck did you leave the door open, and the windows down, with your wallet and phone in the front seat? It scared the neighbor whose house you’re parked in front of and that is why I am here!”  Dan was very apologetic and explained that he was so nervous because, well, he had just proposed. And then the officer looked at us and looked at the set up and said, “Oh. Well… what did she say?”  He also asked us how old we were and after we said 21, he was curious why we were getting married at such a young age, he said that “statistically marriages don’t last unless you get married over the age of 26 or something like that”. I surprisingly spoke up and said, “well this one is going to last.” And then the sheriff said, “Well, please move your car, but take your time, and no more fireworks, and (with a little smirk) have a good night!”

Once he walked away, Jarad came out from hiding in the shadows. He took some pictures for us, like any best man would:

And then we headed inside and were greeted with cheers and champagne from my parents and brother. All of the commotion woke up Janell and then we screamed and giggled some more:

And here is a fun little reenactment:

We were engaged on June 17, 2006. We got married the following year on June 2. And that’s another story, for another time.

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7 Quick Takes

Linking up with Conversion Diary for 7 quick takes about the first week of school and other things…

1.  First, I have to say, that I am thankful for my husband’s help in designing a new blog. He has so much else going on with his job, and it means a lot…and I am lost without his help. Over the past few weeks, I have texted and called him multiple times concerning the blog and how something went wrong. And he is always super patient and I appreciate it. Should I say it again? Thanks, sweetie.

2. Emma is enjoying Kindergarten. She said that she actually falls asleep at nap time, she likes to eat snack, and she would like to buy chocolate milk at lunchtime. During dinner we were talking about our days and Dan was telling a story. Emma started to interrupt and so he asked her to wait until he was done, just like she does when she is at school. She listened and waited her turn. A few minutes later she asked for some ketchup. I had already jumped up multiple times to get extra napkins, more rice, etc., so Dan asked Emma why she couldn’t get up and go get it. And she didn’t want to. When he asked why, she responded by saying, “Well at school I have to stay in my seat and you asked me to act like I am at school.”  She is quite the clever one…and just like her Daddy.

3. Kolbe is a very polite little guy. He is usually very good at saying please and thank you. He also doesn’t like to get in trouble. You could say he is more like me. Let’s back track for a sec…a few years ago when Emma was learning to talk, Dan thought it would be funny to teach her to say every time she passed gas, “excuse me, I pooted.”  She would say it every once in awhile, but it never really caught on. Well, Kolbe, on the other hand, thinks it is something that you have to say. He takes it so seriously that he will yell it out and let everyone know…like when we are in the car, at the store, or at Church. My favorite is when he is in the bathroom and I hear his little voice cry out, “Excuse me, I pooted!!” Thank you, Kolbe. And thanks a bunch, Dan.

4. One night this week, Emma brought out 4 colors of nail polish and asked me to paint her fingernails in a pattern. And then I had to go into an explanation about why she is not allowed to wear nail polish to school. She hasn’t wanted to paint her nails in weeks, why did she all of sudden want this during her first week of school? Later she explained that she wanted to look prettier than all of the other girls. Then we had to have the “we can’t break the rules” and “nail polish is not what makes one beautiful” and “every girl is beautiful” conversation all in one sitting.

5.  While we were having this in-depth conversation, Joshua walked over and was eating a cookie…that he found by rummaging in the trash can…great.

6. It’s moments like that when I want to go back to this: IMG_2666

7. The above picture is from a few weeks ago. Dan and I were able to go on a 2 day beach getaway. It was wonderful. That’s the longest we have gone away together since our honeymoon,  6 years ago. I was so excited, I packed like 10 different outfits because every meal and outing would be like going on a different date. And I had to have options!  Our favorite part of the trip was when I pulled out my old journal from when we first met and started dating. I had never showed it to him before and it was such a gift to read it together. I had written out the details of our first dates, conversations we had, and prayers for our relationship. Things we had both forgotten. We left our little vacation more in love with one another and couldn’t wait to get back to our children.

Now on that sentimental note, I am done. Happy Friday!

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5 Favorites


Linking up with Moxie Wife to share my 5 Favorites of the week. (And please pardon my huge pictures- I am new to wordpress and still figuring it all out…and I am lost without my husband’s help…)

Moving on to my favorites:

1. Emma in her uniform.

I mentioned this in my previous post, but I love how easy it is for Emma to get ready in the morning before school. No more battles about if her clothes match or if the skirt is too short because she wore it when she was 3, etc. And she loves the uniform! Of course we are only on day 2…12 more years to go…

IMG_2819 family portrait

2. Pork Tenderloin with Brown Sugar Garlic Glaze.

I stumbled upon this recipe a few weeks ago and it is now one of our favorite dishes. It is delicious and so easy to make. The combination of the spice rub and the glaze on top is delicious!


3. Dirty Rice.

I made this side dish with the pork last night for dinner. This recipe is my mom’s “go to dish” and now it is mine. It is probably my favorite side dish of all time. And here is the simple recipe! (so you college girls, you know who you are, who are now living in your own apartment, you should try this one!)

Bake at 350, uncovered, for an hour.

dirty rice

4. My striped hallway.

About a month ago, Dan was chaperoning at a Steubenville Conference and one afternoon I was motivated to do some sort of house project. The plain white hallway caught my eye and I decided to paint horizontal stripes. My sister had done it in her entry way and Sheena had painted stripes in her girls nursery and I thought I should be able to do a tiny little hallway…and about 6 hours later, with some  junk food and tv bribes for my kids, it was done!  And I LOVE it!


5. My new home binder.

Recently I broke down in tears because I felt so unorganized. I was late on some bills and I couldn’t keep up with the paperwork, I kept losing things and the mail would pile up on the counter. Dan was so sweet and brought home a new colorful binder and lots of inserts, folders, & pockets to hold everything from current bills, checkbook, stamps, a current calendar and all of Emma’s school info. It has been so helpful, a little thing, but definitely a favorite. I also got a few tips and some free printables from iheartorganizing.blogspot.com


So there you have it- my 5 favs for the week- no go check out the others! Happy cooking, painting, and organizing 😉 Now I am off to chase a bare bottom one year old…he is a favorite too.

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Growing Up


My Baby is all grown up and going to Kindergarten!! How did this happen?! When did I get to this moment?  Friday was Emma’s “move-in” day.  We brought her supplies, books, and nap mat up to her classroom and she got to meet her new teachers. I am sure I had “I am a NEW MOM and I am OVERWHELMED” written all over my face. And I only asked about 17 questions. Emma was quiet and then very upset when we had to leave her nap mat at school. She was anxious about her first day and I was too.

This morning she was so excited to put on her uniform and I was so excited to not have to battle with her about what she was wearing. Dan took her to school and she was happy to stay. And now here I am, sitting on the couch with just the boys. I have been a tad bit sentimental thinking about how time is going so by fast, so please bear with my ramblings…

Last night Emma ended her prayers saying, “Jesus and Guardian Angel, please be on my side. Amen.”  There are moments, like this, when I am blown away by what children say and think about. I love how honest they are and I love their simple faith. I guess that’s why Jesus said to let the children come to Him. I just finished reading the first chapter of Story of A Soul. It was so interesting to read because it was all about St Thérèse’s first 5 years of life and I couldn’t help but compare her stories to those of my kids. As a toddler, Thérèse was stubborn and quite a handful. She was the baby of the family and loved attention, especially from her older sisters. But then she wrote this about herself, “Having nothing but example around me, I naturally wanted to follow it.”  She continued to learn, grow and follow the example of her parents and siblings. Following those examples was the foundation of her path to sainthood. It was a huge reminder to me about how much our children learn from us as their parents. It is so humbling when they copy our faults and then so hopeful when they imitate our strengths.  This morning we hit a new milestone in our family with Emma starting Kindergarten. I hope and pray that our example to Emma over the past 5 years was and continues to be that strong foundation that, with God’s grace, will lead her to sainthood.

And now it is time to get off the couch and stop reflecting and take these wild boys to the grocery store…Jesus and Guardian Angel, please be on my side. Amen.


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Little Words: Volume 1



Lauren: “Almost time for bed- you can play for 15 more minutes.”
Emma: “Could we play for 100 more minutes?!?!”
Lauren: “No, just 15.”
Emma: (sad face) “How about 10?”
Lauren: “Ok.”

Lauren: “Kolbe, it’s time to go.”
Kolbe: “I don’t want to, babe.”

Dan: “Hey Kolbe, it’s time for a bath.”
Kolbe: “Not yet, babe.”

Kolbe to Joshua: “Oh hi there little sweetie.”
Kolbe to Emma: “You are a sweetheart.”
Kolbe to Joshua: “Oh you little goober.”
needless to say Kolbe is great at picking up nicknames.

Emma: “Is that a grilled cheese?”
Kolbe: “I don’t want a grill cheese, I want a boy cheese.”
Emma: “There is no boy cheese. Grilled cheese is for everyone.”
Dan and Lauren:……

Emma: “Why does Daddy have hair on his legs? Why do we have bones? And why do we get bug bites?”
That thought process makes perfect sense.

Dan (while fixing something on the computer): “Ugh, what the heck?!”
Kolbe: “What the heck? What is a heck?”
Dan: ….Oops.

Emma: “Last night I had a bad dream. I dreamed that Nana couldn’t talk anymore and instead she quacked like a duck.”
Sorry, Mom.

Emma was singing “It’s a hard knock life” from Annie:
“No one cares if your neck is really creepy. No one cares if you grow or if you shrink. It’s a hard knock life…”

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