Part 1: Fall Sing.

 For the next little while, I’m going to be documenting the story of how Tanner and I met, because who doesn’t love a good love story? Those are my favorite things to read, and now I have my OWN to tell! It’s still so crazy to me, but I’m more than ready to start my life with him.

So without further ado, let’s get this party started.
My first semester at EAC was pretty much perfect. I liked my classes, I liked my roommates, and life was just… So good. I was happy, but lonely sometimes. The impatient, future-obsessed part of me was relatively happy with where she was at, but wanted to move on to the Next Big Thing. I mean, I had graduated high school, gotten a job, moved out, and began college. The next step was to meet The One. I wasn’t too worried about it, because I had a feeling I would find him here in Thatcherland, but I was curious. 
As it turns out, I ended dating around quite a bit that first semester, which was wild amounts of fun. I’ve always liked going on dates, and the added bonus of not having to organize a group date every time I wanted to do so was refreshing, to say the least. 
Eventually, I found a boy I liked well enough, and developed quite the crush on him, and that’s where my attentions remained. I mean, we never went on an actual date and I continued dating around, patiently waiting for him to make a move, but I was happy. I just knew that if I stuck around long enough and pulled all the stops, he would like me back and we could go from there. I was confident that things would turn in my favor. 
Then came Fall Sing, where our story REALLY begins. 
You see, in the choir room there is a drinking fountain. And above the fountain, there are plaques. Tons and tons of plaques, dedicated to those who “drank the water” and ended up getting married. I loved that idea and thought it was hilarious, but never once did I expect choir water to be as influential in my own story as it was in the others before me.
It was October 24th, and we were in the middle of the second performance of our Fall Sing. I was sitting off by myself playing around on my phone when a boy tripped over my feet on his way out of the row. He apologized and I laughed it off, as he made his way down the aisle to get a drink of water. I returned to my phone, and thought nothing of it. He passed my way a few other times, and each time I would tease him a little bit, applauding each time he successfully passed me without tripping over me, and rewarding him with a high five and a “go team!”
The next night, I was lucky enough to sit next to my crush, and we shared a companionable silence,  which I was totally cool with. I mean, come on! HE sat by ME. We were practically dating, I felt. The boy who tripped over me the previous night sat in front of us, to which I paid no mind. The boy started talking to my crush, and after a few minutes, he turned to me and said,
“Sorry, I don’t believe I caught your name.” He stuck out his hand, and I shook it as I introduced myself. He told me his name, which I promptly forgot, so I mentally called him Travis.
After telling each other our majors and talking a bit about where we were from, I expected the conversation to awkwardly fizzle out, which made me a bit sad. I hate small talk for that reason- it always fizzles out. But this time, for some reason, it didn’t happen. Immediately, we were talking and carrying on like old friends, and my stomach hurt from laughing so hard. Not only was this kid smart (engineering major!), he was HILARIOUS. And so easy to talk to, I didn’t want to stop. We talked about everything from his brother in law melting his shoes on a date, to smoke grenades, to our crazy families. We had SO much fun that night, and only stopped talking when I ran off backstage to listen to my favorite choral piece. 
I didn’t see him again that evening, but I thought about our conversation and how funny he was, and especially how gorgeous his eyes were. 
Life moved on, and I didn’t think too much about the hilarious Travis with the perfect eyes; that is, until I got a friend request from a guy named Tanner Rhineheart. After some brief Facebook stalking, I determined that Travis wasn’t actually named Travis- his name was Tanner. I accepted his friend request immediately, and a few days later, he messaged me.
Soon afterwards, we had a date set for that Friday at 7:00.
~Haeley
(click here for part 2 of our story)

Letting myself be loved.

Wow, blogging friends, it’s been forever! Sorry I fell off the radar for a bit. Of course, as soon as I decide to take a brief hiatus from blogging, EVERYTHING seems to change. The most noteworthy change in my life being Tanner, who is the boy I am completely, hopelessly in love with.

Ain’t we just fancy?

Being with him has been the most wonderful decision I’ve made in my life, and I can’t begin to tell you how happy I am to have finally found someone who seems to like me as much as I like them. We’re preeeetty much the cutest couple ever. No offense, but it’s true.

Suuuuuh cute

Falling in love with him was easy; one of the easiest things I’ve ever done. But loving him and letting him love me is a different story. Letting another person into your life isn’t easy. It takes work to stay together, and you have to make sure it’s what you truly want. But most of all, you need to learn how to be loved.
That’s what Tanner and I are learning, and lemme tell ya… It hasn’t been an easy ride.

You see, the two of us are both very independent human beings, and up until now we didn’t really NEED anyone. But then we found each other and decided that we needed someone after all. And that, friends, has been an adjustment. Going from taking care of just myself to trying my best to care for my sweet boy has been a bit of a wake-up call: do I know how to love someone and care for them? Am I doing all I can to make sure he knows how I feel about him? Am I helping him where he needs help, whether he asks for it or not?
Caring for him has been easy enough. I love taking care of and loving other people, and that part has come so naturally. The tough part, however, is when it comes to him fully receiving my love, in addition to me fully receiving his love.

I’ve always been a very independent person. I like to take care of things myself, and I don’t enjoy asking for help. It’s not that it makes me feel weak, I just hate to feel like I’m inconveniencing them somehow. And so I try to avoid asking for help wherever and whenever possible. Because I can take care of myself, and until now, I haven’t realized just how wonderful it is to have someone take care of you. Whether it be getting me some bottled water because he knows how much I hate the tap, or buying me lunch when I get home from work almost an hour late, to staying around to make sure I feel better when my stomach starts acting up, my Tanner has been there. I appreciate those little things more than he’ll ever know, and I can only hope to reciprocate them somehow. But here’s where it gets difficult:
I don’t know how to react to or ask for help. So, more often than not, I react with “you did NOT need to do that for me!” “Oh, I didn’t need this,” or “I’m fine. I don’t need anything right now. I can handle it.” But he’s stubborn and usually helps me anyway, bless him.
I find myself saying “need” way too often for it to be effective. Do I really NEED a water bottle when I have tap water at home? No, I don’t. But do I NEED Tanner to know he’s appreciated, and that I love it when he does those things for me? Yes, yes, a thousand times yes.

I adore this sweet boy of mine.

Likewise, I need to be able to help him and serve him in any way I possibly can. He is so important to me, and helping him out when he needs-or doesn’t need- it makes me happy.
However, he has much of the same problem I do. He’s an independent person, and doesn’t always want to accept the help I try to offer. But we’re both stubborn, so I usually end up helping him out anyway. ;^)

The hardest lesson for both of us to learn so far has been to swallow our pride and let ourselves be loved. It’s certainly not a walk in the park, but I wouldn’t want anyone else working through it all with me. I’m SO lucky to have found him, and I can’t wait to love him forever.

Oh yeah…. Did I mention we’re engaged??

I’ll tell you that story soon! ;^)

~Haeley