Dusty and I met in July 2010 at a mutual friends’ wedding after being placed at the exact same table. Although we had similar friends, we had never met and immediately clicked. By the end of the night, we snapped a photograph which became our first picture as a couple and our first recording of our adventures.
Several months passed, and we began working together, spending more time at the same outings, restaurants, and work parties, and becoming best friends. As the weeks went by, we laughed, told each other our deepest fears, and spent many late nights exploring with our friends. After night of dodging the rain and singing karaoke in following spring, we had our first kiss. Another month went by, side-by-side, and my husband declared that we should become an item. Scared of losing my favorite friendship, I denied our first proposed adventure, a New Orleans music festival to see Mumford and Sons for my birthday.
As the weeks went by, I quickly realized that I wanted my best friend around forever. I missed hanging out with him everyday, and apologized with a cupcake that I smuggled into his car. Days after the grand apology, my husband and I had our first date at Forest Park in downtown Saint Louis. We had such a good time that we quickly began to adventure more and more. We traveled from Chicago to Kansas City to Orlando all within the first five months of our relationship.
We started visiting baseball stadiums and are still well on our way to seeing all 30 teams! After Chicago, Kansas City, Orlando, Atlanta, Dallas, Fort Worth, San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles, and many adventures around Southern Illinois and St. Louis, we knew we were adventurers for life.
God completely took us by surprise, neither of us was looking to fall in love, but we did. From coworkers to best friends, we were inseparably. Words cannot express how much I love him. We were absolutely made for each other. No one could love me like he does. All his strengths are my weaknesses and all my strengths are his weaknesses. He knows exactly how to make me smile and our house is filled with constant laughter and fun.
After many unconventional adventures, several Disney trips, and multiple baseball stadiums, Duston proposed on July 16, 2012 at Forest Park where we had their first date (and many dates since then) with a cupcake box, asking if we could be best friends forever.
Wedding planning was so much fun and a crazy time in our lives. We were both back in school, working full time, and living in the smallest loft in the city. It was so much change for both of us. We ensure through that time that we valued and loved on each other with our best with God being the center of it all. Although neither one of us thought that we would live with our future spouse prior to marriage, the living situation just worked and although with that came struggles of course. Keeping our date nights steady and focused on Christ helped through our living situation.
We were so blessed through our engaged. We won a dream honeymoon to Mexico at a bridal shower and was able to make our first purchase as a couple, Disney Vacation Club. We made the most wonderful friends with our vendors, photographer, Abby Rudolph, and caterer, Pappy’s Smokehouse.
Our wedding day was the most exact image of perfection. On May 11, 2013, Dusty and I were married in my hometown, West Frankfort, Illinois, in a small renovated firehouse. The weather was perfect. The food was delicious. And nothing went array. After months of planning and years of dreaming, we would change absolutely nothing about the day.
We were so grateful to have many of our friends and family able to travel hours, if not days, to celebrate with us during our special day. It was such a blessing.
Our honeymoon was unconventional… like many of our adventures before. After winning a four-day trip to Mexico, we flew to El Dorado Resort and Spa in Riviera Maya. We explore ruins, drank fancy fruity drinks, and played in the sun and sand. It was an adventure that we would have never booked ourselves, and we had such a blast!
After a day of flying, we rounded out our honeymoon at Walt Disney World, staying at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa with a golf course right outside our room. We knew before marriage that Disney would be a big part of our lives throughout the years and wanted to enjoy the parks, pools, and golf courses as part of our honeymoon. It was the perfect wrap-up to the most enjoyable time in our lives.
A couple of years later, we have graduated with higher degrees, gracious received new jobs, and have moved back to Illinois in the suburbs of St. Louis where we purchased our first house! Our house was purchased as a short sale, needing lots of love and care. Through the renovations, we are learning a lot.
Dusty works as a branch manager at a local bank, and I work as a learning manager developing training and development for a consulting firm. We spend most of our time in our community and are highly involved in our church, which is only about three years old. Dusty loves to golf and listens to country music and Jack Johnson. I can usually be caught reading, writing, or crafting.
We excitedly welcomed baby Ollie Hayes into the world in June 2016 after a rough couple of years of a miscarriage and infertility. We also almost equally adore our kitty, Lucy. We could not be more excited and blessed.