A love story…Chapter 3

Chapter One
Chapter Two

Pictures from our first engagement shoot in California taken right after we got engaged!

Chapter Three: In which Brett runs off to CA, but still manages to fall in love with Christina because she is wonderful.
So, for those of you who might have forgotten, we left off during the fall of my senior year of college and Brett’s junior year. At this point there had been 1 dinner out (along with my roommate of course!) and some small Facebook wall posting flirting. Things were getting serious I tell you!!!  So there we were, friends? Kind of I guess. But then, Brett up and decided that he was bored with Gordon (okay, so it happens) and he would rather head on across the country to California for the spring semester and summer. Can you really blame him? So off he goes.

The spring semester passed by uneventfully for me. During this time, while Brett busied himself playing beach volleyball and getting tan, I was thinking about my future in child life and applying for grad schools in different areas of the country. After long deliberations, (basically with myself. Because I was single) I decided on Bank Street College in NYC. Around the time of my decision, Brett sent out one of those I’m-too-lazy-to-email-everyone mass emails (kidding sweetie!!) talking all about his awesome life in awesome California, with his awesome new job and his awesome living situation…blah, blah, blah we get it, California’s the best.  Let’s just say it wasn’t hard to tell by Brett’s email just how much he was lovin’ life over there. Which kind of made me think he wasn’t planning on coming back east anytime soon….Still, I emailed him back (to this day, I’m honestly not sure why) and just gave a brief update on what was going on, kind of like “Hope you’re having so much fun surfing! I’m just over here in cold, rainy MA getting ready to graduate and continue on to grad school…” I also sneakily asked about his ex-girlfriend and how things currently stood with her (were they talking? Getting back together?) Yes, I was nosy, but I also think I was wondering IF there was any chance what-so-ever of anything ever developing between us. And low-and-behold, he wrote back! And not only did he tell me about his super awesome life in CA, but he also told me what I was hoping to hear about his ex situation. He wrote, and I quote, “…So I have been living my life, trying to figure out what God’s will for me is…and it has led me to California and to an awesome church where I am interning for the summer so far…so I think God has been doing everything for a reason and I am grateful for that.” Love that. And yes I kept every single email we ever sent each other. Not only that, but they are printed and bound in a very thick, well over 300 pages, book that I gave Brett on our first anniversary. We wrote a LOT of emails.

So…fast forwarding a bit to the good parts. I graduated college, went home to PA for a few months, and then left in the fall to NYC to start my masters program at Bank Street. I moved to NYC alone and it was scary, but awesome. I found a job as a live-in nanny for a wealthy family that allowed me to live rent free in the cutest little one bedroom apartment with built in book-shelves that went floor to ceiling, right on Central Park on the Upper West Side. In return for this super sweet living situation, I basically became a nanny slave. But it worked for me because let’s just say housing isn’t cheap in Manhattan. And the kids were sweet (most of the time) and I LOVED where I lived. Through it all, Brett and I were still emailing back and forth. Never talking on the phone, but texting from time to time. Funny, random, make-you-smile texts like, “Hey, do you prefer forks with 3 prongs or 4?” It may sound so silly, but these are the best texts. These are those silly little, I want to know every little thing about you, type of texts that make you grin from ear to ear when you get them. And aren’t those not the very best type of texts?!

But the emails. The emails were insane! Like I said, we have a MASSIVE book of emails from the year we went back and forth. I’m talking each email was 23 pages long. They took a full week to write. Full of questions, and funny stories and daily events. These emails are our love story. These emails will be the letters our great-grandchildren will read after we die. At the end of each email we would ask each other 10 questions, funny and serious questions like, “Do you squeeze the toothpaste tube from the top of bottom?” and “Tell me something embarrassing from your childhood?” I learned more about Brett in those emails than I probably would have in a hundred face-to-face conversations.

One night, in October 2008, I convinced Brett over Gchat (do people still Gchat?) to drive 4 hours from Boston to NYC to visit me, on a whim, for a mere 24 hours, before he would need to drive back to Gordon in time for an important test (I think it was Calculus??) And he did. Of course he used the excuse, “Yeah, I’ve been meaning to come into the city to take some pictures…” but let’s be real here, he was coming to see me. And the whole, let’s drive a total of 8 hours in 24 hours, thing is the type of situation that makes your heart race with nerves and excitement all at once. Because, before that very moment, I had been in total denial about my feelings for Brett. Of course, looking back, it was so obvious, since I would never have written 25 page long emails to some guy I was “just friends” with, but I never could admit it. Everyone; my friends, my parents, my sisters, were all asking, “Why aren’t you dating him?” and my answer was always the same; “We are way too much alike to ever date.” You see, my last boyfriend and I were total opposites so I seemed to have created this delusional philosophy that I could never date someone who shared too many of the same similarities as me. (Obviously it made sense that I came up with this based on a relationship that failed based on our drastic differences. Totally makes sense, right??) And, the thing is, Brett and I are VERY similar. We like (and dislike) the same foods, we are both crazy on time, type A Germans, we share the same beliefs, the same faith, we have similar families and upbringings…the list goes on and on. So in my crazy mind I thought that 2 people THIS similar could never, ever work as a couple.

But then he came. And besides the fact that he was crazy adorable (and I mean crazy adorable) everything with him felt so right, so comfortable. We walked, we talked, we ate pizza (lots of pizza. Side note-I didn’t know if it was a compliment or a veiled insult when he said “Wow! I love how you can eat 3 big pieces of pizza!” Ummm…thanks?? Suddenly I feel like a heifer….) Basically it felt like we had been best friends for years. And in a way, we kind of had.

From then on the emails stopped (which was kind of sad!) and in their place came nightly phone calls, lots of texts and more and more bus trips between NYC and Boston (Thank God for the $10 Bolt Bus). As Brett neared college graduation, I felt my stomach seize up with nerves. I knew how much he loved his time in CA and I could still feel his itch to return. But obviously God had a plan for us and a perfect position was made available for him at a church right outside of DC. Still far from NYC, but just a perfect 4 hour rotation to the south (and still on the $10 Bolt bus line, so it was all good). Through my previous experience I had learned that long distance was the kiss of death for relationships (as had Brett) and yet, I’m not lying when I say that our relationship was pretty darn seamless. There were no huge fights, no “we need a break” no contemplating if this would work, it just continued to move onward, while growing stronger, for 2 full years of long distance dating. And in that time we learned to talk, and communicate, and we witnessed fear and grief and love (Brett getting stuck in Haiti after the earthquake? That’s when I knew I was going to marry the man). We not only survived, we flourished.

My grad school program ended and Brett surprised me with a graduation present; a 10 day trip to California to see and meet all the important people he had met during his time there. And during the tip, overlooking a cliff at Big Sur, Brett put his arms around me, pulled out a ring, and asked me to be his wife. And I said yes.

And we have lived happily ever after.

 

A love story…chapter 2

First off, let me just say that I have been overwhelmed (in a good way!) from all the responses I’ve received on my last post. I have loved reading every one of the comments and the MANY emails I have received from you all. I don’t consider myself to be a child life expert by any means, but I LOVE this field, I feel accomplished in this field, and I would love to help anyone succeed in this field in any way I possibly can. So keep the child life questions coming, but be patient and bare with my as I respond to all the emails. I want to give each one the time and attention it deserves, so it may take me a little bit! PS. Any Florida child lifers out there attending the Florida Child Life Conference this weekend?? If so, let me know!! I would love to meet you. And for all you other child lifers out there, I’ll post next week about the conference and any interesting tidbits I learn while there. 🙂

So let’s get back to our love story, shall we?
In case you missed chapter one, it can be found here

Chapter Two: In which Brett comes back to school as a hottie and I want to put him in my pocket. (And that’s not meant to sound sexual btw)

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How could you NOT see this face and think he was the cutest thing in the world?

So, where did we leave off? Oh yes, Brett left Gordon his freshman year as a short little fluff muffin and came back his sophomore year as a tall (still skinny) short haired stud. Oh summer vacations and the changes you bring. So there I was, about to go into chapel to spend some time with the Lord (and also because it might have been a requirement…) and suddenly this cute, dimpled blonde boy was hugging me. The same little boy I barely stole two glances at the year before. And yes, at this time we were both still dating our current significant others. I don’t remember what I said after the hug ended. I think I probably just smiled and said hello as we traded pleasantries about our summer. “Oh you spent your summer sitting at the front desk of your public library? Oh you read over 50 books in 2 months? You’re pretty much the coolest girl I’ve ever met!” (that was Brett, obviously).  And then we went on our merry way. (Brett was probs skipping chapel).

So junior year I was living in the married dorms. What?? You ask? Yes, weird, I know, but here’s the thing. Me, Stephanie (remember her from chapter 1?) and our good friend Lora applied for an apartment in the coveted apartment dorm that (mainly) went to seniors, and guess what, we didn’t get in. So just when we were giving up all hope of living together we got a call from the residence office saying “Hey, we’ve got a married apartment open, do you three girls want it??” Remember, being a Christian school and all, it wasn’t rare for students to get married during college years and would therefore need a place on campus to live (being broke college kids and all). Well that year there wasn’t a plethora of married people on campus so we graciously took one of the lovely basement apartments that were usually reserved for such lucky married couples. Being on a married floor and all was kind of a no-mans land because there was no official RA (resident adviser) on the floor and we technically lived next to a boy (with his wife) which meant that the floor was neither female nor male so then how could you have visitation hours for the opposite sex?? (oh the issues of Christian dorms…) All that to say, if we weren’t such goodie two shoes we could have had a LOT of male visitors and gotten away with it AND guess who was one of the RA’s on a male floor in the same dorm? That’s right; Brett.

Stephanie, still being the much friendlier one of us both, would make Brett cookies from time to time and he would come down and visit us (but really to eat the cookies-Brett LOVES cookies) and we would all chat and what not. Mainly because of the not really having any set visitation hours issue so he could basically come whenever he wanted. Later Steph and I would joke about how perfect Brett was. He was so polite, thanking us for the cookies and asking what was new with us. He would always talk so highly about his girlfriend, telling us about the surprise visit he was planning, and we jokingly called him “the perfect boyfriend.” And then the running joke kind of spiraled from there and he became the perfect boyfriend that we wanted to just carry around in our pocket. Creepy?? Perhaps, but what can I say it’s the truth. And then there was talk about cloning him so we could each have one of our own? So yeah, it might have just kept getting creepier.

At the same time my relationship with my then boyfriend was falling apart. Being long distance was not helping and we were starting to realize that we were two people who wanted two VERY different futures. He was a great guy, but we knew that it just wasn’t going to work out. Things ended for good in November and thus began many years of singleness. Kidding. Sort of. By the beginning of the next year (my senior, Brett’s junior-remember I’m married to a younger man ;-)) Brett had also ended his relationship with his girlfriend (oh the joys of long distance, although little did we know….that’s some foreshadowing for our story btw) and one night, before fall semester ended, me, Steph and Brett decided to all go out for dinner (We were sharing him at this point. Just kidding). I remember the night well because Brett and I got into a joking argument about where we were going to go to dinner. I was driving and I stubbornly sat at the exit of our campus being all, “Someone choose where we are going to go eat!” and Brett was all, “Just pick a place already!” and it might have been just a tad flirty. With Steph sitting in the car as well of course. And then dinner was full of Brett and I talking about our failed relationships as we compared and contrasted just how we were dumped. (only sort of kidding this time). Poor Steph was such a trooper sitting there with us, although to be honest all I remember was staring at Brett and thinking, “Who in their right mind would break up with this guy?” And then a few days after our dinner there might have been a pretty flirty Facebook wall post on my part being all like; “So next time we go out to dinner YOU need to pick the place!” Yeah, I know, I was pretty forward.

And then, just when you think something could have started between us…Brett decided to run off to CA for a year.

To be continued……..

2 years of lovin’ you.

buckle becker portraits8_37 buckle becker reception _20 DSC01990 DSC_0819 IMG_0178 IMG_4306 IMG_4435 photo photo1Today marks 2 years of being married to the man of my dreams. 2 years of marriage, 1 baby, 5 years of dating and 7 years of friendship later I can honestly say that I am more in love with this man than ever before.

This guy is everything I could have asked for in a husband; handsome, funny, smart, athletic, a solid Christian…should I go on?? Let’s just when I met him I knew he was a keeper. Plus I knew he would make me some seriously cute babies, which obviously has already proven to be true.

I’ll be forever thankful for this man and the day he asked me to become his wife. Thanks for a great 2 years, cutes, and here’s to many more! I love you!

(PS. If you want to hear more about how hubs and I met and our story to becoming husband and wife, check out our “love story” page!)

Valentine’s Day Love

ImageImage3 IMG_1918 IMG_1922IMG_1929Happy Valentine’s Day to the cutest baby around, Leah Grace. This little beauty has stolen my heart and I cannot imagine my life without her sweet smiles. Mommy and daddy are crazy about you, sweet baby girl and we love you more than life itself.
182618_199866910025150_6908294_n 180990_199866793358495_7226411_n 180306_199866760025165_1056750_n 180158_199866866691821_3217919_nAnd to my Valentine, my handsome hubs, I love you more and more with every passing day. Thank you for being our family’s rock, my partner in marriage and in life, and the father of the world’s cutest kid. Both your girls love you like crazy.
Happy Valentine’s Day!!!
**Photos of me and hubs taken 2 years ago at our Valentine’s Day engagement shoot.

A 2012 Year in Review

2012 was an exciting year. It brought a LOT of changes (hello, baby) and a lot of love. Without further ado, I give you our Becker Family 2012 Year Review:
January

img_4559Hubs and I moved into our new home rental. This move was not planned and was totally a God send. We just happened to come across a cute home with a “for rent” sign out front, called, realized it was in our price range and was a 2 bed, 2 bath (a step up from our current 1 bed, 1 bath) and quickly snatched it up. The fact that we found out we were preggers about a week after we got the new house was just crazy.
img_4575My little sister Cakes moved to FL to be our (very short lived) neighbor. Sadly, her life in FL only lasted about 3 months before she applied and got accepted to a grad school program in elementary ed up in NH. But I sure did enjoy having a Bachelor watching buddy down here while it lasted…

Check out Brett's cousin's face in the front row. Priceless.

Check out Brett’s cousin’s face in the front row. Priceless.

Brett’s entire family came down to FL to celebrate his grandpa’s 80th birthday. We had a blast sharing “our” island with family and we shared our exciting baby news with them all, but told them to keep it on the DL (at that time we were only sharing the news with family).
February
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My parents came to FL to help me celebrate my 26th birthday.
dsc01949We announced our baby news to the “world” (via my blog and Facebook) with a fun sunscreen message at the beach.
DSC_0841Noodle made her debut (except at this time we didn’t know that she was a she!) and we had our second ultrasound.
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Hubs and I traveled to Disney World to spend a fun day in Magic Kingdom with friends and then watch my running club run the Disney Princess Half Marathon. Unfortunately my new pregnancy nausea kept me from running with them, but it didn’t stop me and Brett from being the world’s best cheering squad.
March
img_0052I had a mid-pregnancy crises and decided to chop off all my hair. This was highly encouraged from the “You look like a pregnant 18 year old” comments. Whether or not the shorter hair helped is still unknown since I now receive the “You look like an 18 year old mom” comments.
26529085275045998_b8es4ast_fWe found out that our precious baby noodle was a girl! I felt like baby became more “real” at this point, now that we knew what baby was going to be.
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We wear matching cat shirts

We wear matching cat shirts

My family came back down to FL to celebrate my mom’s and baby sister’s birthday on the island. My parents gift us with basically an entire wardrobe for baby girl.
April
IMG_0169My parents send us a new crib for noodle and we excitedly set it up in her new room (and when I say “we” you know I mean “hubs.” But I watched, so that counts).
IMG_0223 IMG_0227We celebrate our second Florida Easter and I take up maternity modeling. As you can see, I was quite good.
IMG_0287 IMG_03012012 must have been the year of island birthdays and in April we went BACK up to the island to celebrate hubs’ birthday with his family.
May
scn_0001We had our 4D scan of our precious noodle and I got crazy excited to kiss those chubby cheeks.
img_0262At 28 weeks pregnant hubs and I went and spent a weekend alone on the island as a last hurrah baby moon.
dsc02080 dsc02108I flew to New England to surprise my older sister at her wedding shower (which was also a surprise, so it was really a double surprise). That weekend was also mother’s day, which gave me the chance to celebrate with my mom.
June
www.christinabernales.com | www.facebook.com/christinabernalesphotography www.christinabernales.com | www.facebook.com/christinabernalesphotographyWe traveled up to gorgeous VT to celebrate with my sister and her husband at their amazing wedding. I BARELY squeezed into my bridesmaid’s dress.
dsc02200My sister and her new hubs made a quick surprise visit with me and hubs in FL on the way back from their honeymoon.
buckle-becker-portraits7_4Hubs and I celebrated our anniversary. Still so crazy in love and now a baby on the way!
July
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Hubs and I finally get to spend time with the cutest little man on the planet, Brett’s godson from Haiti, and his amazing parents.
img_0402 img_0404Two of my favorite girls on the planet threw me the most amazing baby shower with the theme “Cute as a Button.”
img_02972I reach full term in my pregnancy and I was more than ready for that baby to make her appearance.
August
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One week before noodle was due hubs took some beautiful maternity shots of me and the belly. My inner elite modeling skills made their appearance once again.
christina-maternity-901 christina-maternity-91I know, I know, the poses I come up with are just inspiring.
August
img_0058 img_0084FINALLY, a week over due and 19 hours of labor later, Leah Grace Becker made her appearance in the world. We were so in love.
September
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I quickly adjust to motherhood. We have family galore visit. Life at this point is a blur.
img_0272 img_0202 img_0194October
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I decided to start my Jillian Challenge, rotating through her DVD workouts 5 days a week. Jillian kicked my butt for 2 months, but it was worth it, helping me finally feel like I was getting back in pre-baby shape.
img_0765My parents decided that they missed Leah so much they needed to come back down for another visit (understandable). I was so happy they were there because my mom was able to come with me to Leah’s 2 month appointment and support me through her horrible shots!
picstitch11Brett’s family (including his brother and his wife) came down to the island to visit/meet Leah. Leah had her first “swim” and just LOVED the ocean. Just look at that big smile. Ha.
picstitch6My older sister came down to FL to visit/meet Leah. It was a blast having her around for the week and to say she was excited to meet Leah would be an understatement.
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Leah celebrated her first Halloween. We didn’t dress her up or take her trick or treating, but she sure did look adorable in her little Halloween outfit.
November
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We traveled to PA where we had a jammed pack visit, meeting Aunt Caitlin for the first time, celebrating Thanksgiving, picking out Leah’s first real Christmas tree, and celebrating my dad’s birthday.
December
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Hubs and I traveled to NY to see Brett’s family for Christmas. There, I got to hang out with my old roommate and good friend Stephanie and see her little Niko again! (I haven’t seen him since he was 2 months old at my wedding!) I still need to blog about this..
IMG_1467 IMG_1496 IMG_1626Had a blast hanging out with Brett’s family for over a week and, while there, we made a short over night road trip to see my family in PA so my baby sister Sarah (who is in the Air Force) could meet Leah before she heads up to Alaska! (still need to blog about this too….)

And there we have it. Our 2012 year in review. It was quite the eventful one, if I do say so myself. 2013 brings some new adventures, including (hopefully) finally buying a house, going back to work, and continuing to be amazed with how fast Leah is growing. Here’s to another great year!

 

Oh Christmas tree

When taking a picture in front of a Christmas tree, you must wear your winter garb.

Brett and I had a low-key weekend as I continue to recover from my oh-so-fun ER experience. But we did make a trip to the good ol’ Big Lots on Saturday in order to get our first ever married Christmas tree.

Although Brett and I are both adamantly  against fake trees (I mean, come on, 3/4 of the joy that comes from having a Christmas tree is the awesome spruce smell) we didn’t have much of a choice this year.
Since we have a little apartment and since we live in Florida, where real Christmas trees don’t exist (kidding. kind of) we decided to go with a fake one. Just for now. Until we have our house.
So don’t judge us, okay?

But I have to say, little Herbie looks so festive all lit up and decorated. He shines and shines in a little corner of our family room, making anyone whose gaze falls upon him happy and full of Christmas cheer.

And maybe he doesn’t smell delicious, but we fixed that problem by buying a balsam fir candle, also at The Big Lots. Thank you Big Lots for bringing the Becker family such holiday happiness.

Let’s look at more wedding photos, shall we?

But first…the running (slash yogurt) club met for our first run in the park after work today. And it was awesome. We’re going to kill that Disney Princess half marathon in February! And yes, I understand that we have like 20 weeks or something ridiculous like that to train. We are in pre training. You know, so the actual training (which we will start 12 weeks before the half marathon) won’t be so hard. Hopefully. We’ll just be such crazy runners that 13.1 miles is like a walk in the park. Oh yeah.

So back to the wedding photos. I’m in love with so many of them and I just need to do one more post to share a few more of my favs. And then I’ll move on, I promise.

Okay I’m done. Can you believe the week is almost half over already!? Happy almost Wednesday.