Our story goes way back: literally. Both of our fathers grew up in the same area. Lora's grandfather, Dr. Marc, just happened to be my grandparents’ family doctor for many years, and as such they became good friends. It was an exciting connection to make when Lora moved to California decades later.
Lora moved to California the same month I came home from my mission. The first time I saw her was at church function and I was instantly smitten with her. Lora worked at the same elementary school as my older sister and I would find myself going over to the school a lot to “help my sister.” Lora and I soon became friends, and we would frequently hang out and go on trips together with a group of mutual friends.
One night after 9 months of being friends, I was at Lora’s classroom helping her with classroom projects and we talked until midnight. After that night, we saw each other almost everyday until we got married 6 months later. We have been happily married since November of 2005--eight years!!
I like to call our courtship "The Summer of Love." Here's my side of the story taken directly from my family newsletter.
This summer (summer 2005) I moved three times. I hate moving. This summer I worked three jobs (Pier 1, summer school, office work). I hate working. This summer I got engaged. I love John. The last move has landed me in a cottage. An older couple in the area have a granny cottage being their house, and I am their newest tenant. I feel a little bit like Miss Honey from Roald Dahl’s Matilda: the sweet tempered, single teacher who lives in a little cottage. It does sound quite romantic to tell people that I live in a cottage.
Ok, on to the good stuff. At my school the second grade teacher, Miss Maryann, became a good friend. A while later I met her younger brother at church. I thought he was a good looking fellow, but didn’t think much beyond that. He has since admitted that he noticed me from the first week. We saw each other at church activities and other goings-on and discovered a mutual fascination with pirates (coincidence? I think not.), but still nothing happened. Sometime in January, his friend Kenny asked me out for a Hick’s Night Out date, which took place at John’s ranch. We had a grand old time together and I think John was watching me out of the corner of his eye the entire night although paying attention to his own date like the gentleman that he is. After this, John tried to work up the courage to ask me out (perhaps intimidated by my popularity). Nothing happened until his indecision was pushed over the edge when Kenny sat next to me at church. The next day John asked me out for a Hick’s Night 2.
Things really started picking up the last week of school. John came to my classroom twice to help with portfolios and vacuum. His service really impressed me and piqued my interest. The second night we stood by my car and talked for at least an hour. The rest is basically history. We have spent almost every night together.
His whole family loves me, and have been plotting our demise, I mean marriage, from the very beginning. Everyone knew we were getting married before I did, everyone knew about the ring before I did, everyone knew I would say yes before I did. Certain family members have dropped hints for us all along the way. For example, John's grandpa told us that he wasn’t getting any younger and gave John a meaningful look. He also told John he knew a good thing when he saw it. Gary (John’s dad) also threatened John that if he didn't marry me, Gary would kick John out and adopt me. For five days of the summer I went to Girl's Camp as a counselor with John's sister, Maryann. While I was there I received mail from every member of the family, and at least two from John.
Here are some things that I have always loved about John—he honors his priesthood, is tall and handsome, is a perfect gentleman, has prepared his whole life to be a good husband and father, is smart, likes to be silly with me, makes me laugh, likes pirates and adventures, works hard, likes to make me happy, is going to take me to the temple, is sweet and understanding, and he loves me. The truth is he matched every point I had on “my list” (you know, the list where you bullet all the attributes you want your future spouse to have). He’s quite a catch!
So that’s the dating and courtship phase, now here’s the proposal story. The first time we talked about getting married I was quite taken off guard because we hadn’t been dating very long. He brought it up and asked me to think about it (he already had his answer). Well, I was still thinking about it a few weeks later, and had finally come to the conclusion that John is a wonderful, hard-working, smart man and I would I would be a fool if I passed up such an opportunity. The day I finally made my decision I took John on a little walk out to the bridge over their pond and told him that the answer was yes. And there was much rejoicing in the land! With that out of the way I suspected it would be a while until the actual proposal since he couldn't have a ring yet (or, so I thought).
Ho, ho, ho, not so. That very night he took me out on a drive on the ranch back to the place where we had our first date (but we weren't each other’s dates). Unbeknownst to me, he had snuck out after dinner and called my dad to ask for permission. [Said conversation went something like this: "I would like to marry your daughter, sir." "Well, she's a grown up girl and I will support whatever decision she makes. Do you want to talk to Shirley (my mom)?"] I was still blissfully unaware of any ulterior plans. We open up the back door of the car and sit in the back to look at the stars. Then John decided to stand up and told me to stand up too. He pointed out the moon reflecting on the hills and I was thinking “ok, whatever.” He started fidgeting and getting nervous and I thought his behavior was very odd. He reached over into a pocket in the back door and pulled out a box. He said, "now is as good a time as any." (for what, I wondered). He got down on one knee, opened the box, and spoke the fateful words "Lora Michelle, will you marry me?"
All this time I kept exclaiming profound things like "What?" and “Are you serious?” When the moment came for me to answer I replied in a small voice, "yes." John told me it wasn't very convincing, so I said with more oomph "Yes, I will marry you, John." I was still nervous so I asked him what was supposed to happen next, and he asked me if I wanted to see the ring. Of course! I put it on and told him it was perfect--it really is! And he picked it out himself (ok, his sister-in-law helped him). :)
Since being engaged we have had such adventures as registering...John and I went registering and I was plain pooped from the day so I hopped into the cart and had John push me around the store. It was highly entertaining when we passed a mom with a few kids, and the child in the cart looked at me with google eyes and said to his mom, "hey, she's in the cart too." Along the way we had to stop and ask a Target worker where a certain item was located. The employee was squatting in front of a freezer facing away from us, so we approached him, and I got his attention. (Little did I know that John had slipped behind one of the aisles) It must have looked really funny to the employee to turn around and see a girl in a cart with no driver. Questions like "where did she come from?" and "how did she get here in this unmanned shopping cart?" may have crossed his mind. Perhaps she pulled herself along like Tarzan swinging through the trees. However, if such questions struck him he showed no sign of it, so I continued on with my question. When I got a suitable answer I turned my head to tell John that he could proceed to push me to the next aisle. To my surprise, John was nowhere to be seen. I had to reach my arm back and attach it to a shelf to pull myself, and the cart back enough to find John. He came up laughing and I just gave him a dirty look (even though it was pretty funny).
August 2004: John and Lora met and became friends
May 2005: John and Lora started dating
August 2005: John and Lora got engaged
November 2005: John and Lora were sealed in the Provo Temple
November 2007: John and Lora started the adoption process with LDS Family Services
August 2009: Maya was placed in our home
February 2010: Maya was sealed to us in the Provo Temple