It "technically" started in 1997. I had attended a preview weekend at Emmaus Bible College with a bunch of my buddies in the fall. Laura (Schiltz) from Atlantic, IA, attended as well with her friends. All of us casually hung out over the weekend, not thinking much of it.
Fast forward two years...
Both Paul and Laura attend Emmaus Bible College as freshmen in August of 1999. The first day contained some icebreaker games in the student center. During a fast and furious game of ping pong/round-robin, two people are eliminated right away and stand in "the loser's corner".
"Hi, I'm Laura - nice to meet you", she said as she extended her hand to me. ("Wow, this pretty girl sure is being nice to me", I thought) ...and... ("I remember meeting her two years ago at the preview weekend!", I thought). After I mentioned that we had met back in 1997, she indicated she had no memory of meeting me, yet she did remember all of my friends. Ouch.
Undeterred, I pursued this lovely gal from Iowa, and we hit it off quickly. Our first date was October 2, 1999, where we had a lovely dinner with our one and only awkward silence moment and then enjoyed an evening walk at Eagle Point Park. From there, we fell in love... we had very similar upbringings and just really enjoyed each other's company! In fact, during those first few weeks, we openly discussed how much we loved each other and how we'd love to get married. Fast? Sure... but when you know, you know. You know?
We both decided that we wouldn't be going back to Emmaus for the second semester and that Laura would move to MN to start working and I would return back to the family business. My family and I were going on our annual Fort Myers Beach trip in January of 2000, so I figured... what better place to propose! On January 15th, I asked her to marry me on the white sand beaches of Fort Myers Beach. She said "YES"!
We had decided to get married in April of 2000, so we had just a few short months to plan. Thankfully, getting married in a small town (Atlantic, IA) lends itself to some fairly easy choices (or choice) of menu items, photographers (or photographer) and other planning items.
On April 29th, we were married in Atlantic Gospel Chapel and very quickly thereafter (hehe), departed to Des Moines for our wedding night.
Funny story: I have NEVER, EVER locked my keys in my car, and yet I found myself doing just that on my wedding night. It was definitely not funny at the time, though!
We went to Orlando for our honeymoon and enjoyed lots of theme parks, water parks, restaurants, and just enjoying each other's company. Following our honeymoon, we moved back to MN and moved into our first apartment in Brooklyn Park. After a year there, we purchased our first home in Columbia Heights and two years later, moved to our second home in Brooklyn Park. As our family grew, so did our housing needs so in 2008, we moved to our current home here in Rogers.
We have thoroughly enjoyed growing our family. We have realized that we absolutely love being parents and spending time raising these kiddos. It can be hard, it can be loud and it can be messy... but it is good!
We have had a roller coaster of a ride, with many ups and downs, but to this day we still remain the very best of friends!