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The Story of Us

How my husband and I met, became friends and got married:

In Short: I moved to Arizona and planned on only being there 6 months. I met my husband, Nathan shortly after I moved there and forced him to be my friend. Five months later we started dating. Suffice it to say, I did not go back to North Carolina. Six months after that, we got engaged and then 3 months later got married. That was 14 months after I moved to AZ. 8 months later we’re still alive and kickin it here in the East Valley.

Happily ever after

Nathan and I at our Arizona Reception

Overly Detailed, highly In-Depth Version:

On May 10th, 2010 I moved to Arizona. My uncle had offered me a job there and since I was currently at a dead end in life, I decided to take it. My plan was to work in Arizona for 6 months maximum and save up money so in 6 months I could go on my church mission trip. But I have to admit, I was a little excited about living in Mesa. There are just so many Mormons and I was Determined! to find some Nerdy Mormon Friends.

A few weeks after I moved, I went to a Young Single Adult Campout for Mormon YSAs all over the Valley. I was looking forward to making some friends-specifically I wanted to make some Nerdy Mormon Friends. I was even wearing my Nerds 2Squared Ever shirt to attract fellow nerds. I figured Nerdy Mormons would be all over the place in Mesa, since Mormons are quite prevalent here. Unfortunately, for some reason, nerdy ones aren’t. (More on that later.)

So I go to the Campout in Pine, AZ and after dinner and a spiritual message, there is dancing and board games. I go back and forth between dancing and playing games. I played a game of Scattegories with some people whom I later found out I went to the same church as me. Later that evening I discovered a group of guys playing Risk. They were definitely the nerdiest people there. After determining this fact, I sat down and introduced myself. They were close to finishing up a game. I pretty much bullied them into finishing the current game and starting a new one so I could play with them.

Risk at Camp Lo-Mia

Us re-enacting the event one year later.

During the course of the game, which took place from roughly 12am-4am, we got to know one another. I was disheartened to discover the group had limited Geek Cred. While fans of Star Wars and Star Trek, gamers and youtube stars, they had never heard of Firefly or played Dungeons & Dragons. And while they loved anime, they preferred English dub to subtitles. On the one hand, this was disheartening to me, because they weren’t as nerdy as I was. On the other hand, this was a fun situation because I got to indoctrinate these guys in the way of the nerd. (Still working on that whole Dungeons & Dragons thing.)

Anyway, so we played Risk and exchanged pertinent information to contact each other find each other on facebook. I didn’t win. From what I remember, I played a good game, but had bad luck with dice rolls, was pretty much ganged up on, and after a failed attempt to completely wipe out one o fmy opponents I was pretty much finished. I don’t really remember what I first thought of Nathan when I met him. I didn’t think anything along the lines of “OMG He is so h4wt and I want him!” I remember thinking that he and the others were very young, four years younger than me. Also, he reminded me A LOT of someone I knew from NC and that Nathan was a nicer, more attractive version of him.

I left the campout that weekend satisfied that I had made some friends and determined to throw a party to get to know them better. I believe I referred to the group as my Risk-Playing Friends. I planned the party for the next Saturday, Memorial Day Weekend 2010. But then I found out that they couldn’t come at that time because they were going to Phoenix Comicon. This was the first I’d heard of this event. I soon learned that Felicia Day and James Marsters were going to be there so I promptly switched my party to Monday (Memorial Day) and made plans to go to Phoenix Comicon 2010!

I also met Felicia Day that day.

Me and the Guys at Phoenix Comicon 2011

I attended Phoenix Comicon; it’s a lot smaller than Dragon*Con, the only other Sci-Fi/Fantasy convention I’ve been to. It was 100% awesome though. And I saw the guys here and there, but we mostly did our own thing. A grand time was had by all! They left before I did so we didn’t get to bond on riding the light-rail together. However, we made definite plans to hang out again. They told me they were planning on coming to my little party on Monday. Monday at my party we ate quesadillas and played some party games. Most notably, we played the drawing game, watched Dr. Horrible and got to know each other.

Why is the Mexican Naked?

Drawing game example.

When we talked to get to know each other, I asked my two typical getting to know you questions: What’s your middle name? and How many people have you kissed? I learned a lot about my new Risk-playing friends and we discussed things The party morphed into having weekly game nights.

Homemade sauce, ravioli noodles and ricotta cheese.

Nathan became well-known for his stirring skills. He stirred that Goat Milk for hours to get it to turn into ricotta cheese

 Over the course of those early game nights, we became good friends and developed some inside jokes. I was a kielbasa-lovin fiend and whenever our friend Jeremy disappeared he must have been at the gas station using the bathroom, because he couldn’t do so at other people’s houses. Game Nights were a lot of fun. We’d always have dinner then play games. Sometimes making dinner or dessert was a fun activity in and of itself.

Eventually just hanging out on Saturday Night Game Night turned into hanging out 1-2 times throughout the week. We had Movie Nights, including a Star Wars Rewatch. We went can-whacking (where we were caught by Mesa Public School Security. Luckily Jeremy used to be on Student Council so we got away with it.)

Yeah, we look awesome at 4am after playing video games for 10 hours straight

After about 12 hours at Howie's.

We went to Howie’s Game Shack, a 24-hour video gaming establishment. We waited in line more than 6 hours, playing Risk in line at the movie theater, for The Last Airbender (Biggest Let-Down of Expectations ever. Although with M Night Shyamalan at the helm, I should have expected it.)

 We went on a fun adventure for my birthday. We developed a real friendship outside of playing games. I really loved these guys, because they reminded me of my NC friends. After we’d been friends a while, I started hugging the guys because I missed human contact, and that might have been where it all started…

It was in the beginning of September, after we’d known each about 3-4 months that Nathan and I started what I like to call our Courting Dance. It was a series of events and interactions that led to us dating. It started the night before I got my wisdom teeth out.

All my friends got together and we decided to play Risk at Jeremy’s house to distract me from my impending surgery. (I was pretty certain I was going to die.) The Risk game was at Nathan’s house so Nathan and I walked back to Nathan’s house by ourselves to get the game. (Nathan’s house is like 5 houses down from Jeremy’s) While we were walking he said that this may be the first time we had hung out one on one. While at his house, he did the cutest thing. I had told my friends that I was nervous and that they could come visit me to take care of me/check up on me. Nathan said he wanted to give me something to take with me, since he couldn’t be there. And he didn’t know what. but he finally gave me a little One-armed Lego Qui-Gon Jinn. I love Qui-Gon JInn and so it was the cutest thing ever! He was all take this with you and he’ll be there for you, even though I can’t be.

Qui-Gon Jinn is the best Jedi ever.

Me, Nathan and Qui-Gon shortly afterwards.

Nathan giving me Qui-Gon made me look at him in a different light. I started to think that maybe we could be more than just friends. Then I had this dream where we were kissing and I started thinking, Oh, I’m attracted to him. Then there were the dream stories. We were talking about dreams and he gave me a bunch of these dreams he had typed up from like a while ago. They were really good. They were written really well and the stories were quite creative and most importantly, they inspired me to write and gave me all these story ideas. I was like *Daaaaang I didn’t know the kid could write. I’m such a geek to become more attracted to someone because of the way the write.

Shortly afterwards we had another weekend at Howie’s. Several times, Nathan and I had a little flirty, flirty times. We had a lot of fun hanging out and my favorite times were the times we got tired of sitting and went somewhere. We made a 3am WalMart run for ice cream and randomness. And then the next day at like 7 pm on 2 hours of sleep Jake, Nathan and I went and hung out at Bass Pro and just walked around and hung out by the fish tank/waterfall for a long time. I was really tired and my brain-to-mouth filter was not functioning very properly. I told them about my dream and was very huggy and affectionate.

We were starting to think about dating each other. I wrote a mini-journal entry saying: “…If Nathan and I ever get married we are going to put Lego figures on our cake- Qui-Gon, etc. Idk if we ever will, but I find myself drawn to Nathan for whatever reason. … do love talking to and spending time with him. … I really wouldn’t mind [making out]. I have been friend/’net flirting with him for months…. I would enjoy having a kissing memory of AZ. Also- there is something fascinating about being someone’s first kiss. …”

And Nathan wrote a LiveJournal entry about me: “When we very very first met I thought she was one of those really geeky outcast kinda people, which in a not mean way she kinda is lol … But she was (is) cute and thats a plus. …With every girl i meet i figure out if she could be a potential mate and I had deemed Kylara not on my watch list, since she was older than me. just cuz ive wanted a girl younger than me …so it was an easy decision. now that doesn’t seem to matter tho. the fact that shes older doesn’t bother me anymore. … Well i increasingly like game night. and kylara becomes a little more attractive to me. …
i guess this is about the same time she started giving us hugs when we leave. We were surprised and a little weirded out, but it’s now normal….

I’ll just end it with a basic summery of kylara. She is a fun person. She likes to talk. I like to being with her/hanging out. I wouldnt mind just her and I hanging out, I actually kinda of want to … I like that she likes taking pictures, and i like that she likes Star Wars too, and I like that she gets a kick out of things we say and pictures we take, just that we can laugh with her and we make her laugh. its all fun. shes cute ^^.
–my North Carolinian-Kielbasa loving-cute-awesome-friend”

After I read that, I knew that there was definitely potential between us, but I didn’t know how or when something would happen between us. And then we had this incredibly Awesome Weekend! My family went out of town and so I was able to borrow their car, which was super nice of them. It was Thursday night and I was like–Have Car! Want to hang out. I picked up Nathan and Jake and we hung at Jeremy’s house until around midnight. Jeremy kicked us out but we weren’t done hanging out. It was so beautiful outside so we went back to the football field to hang out. We lay on the grass and watched the stars. We told secrets and generally all-around MCed. (MC=Meaningful Conversation) Then Jake decided to go home (It was really late.) but I was hungry so I was like Nathan are you hungry? So we went to McD’s for some burgers.

While we were eating and afterwards we had some really deep and meaningful MC. I asked all those questions you want to know before you start to date someone, like how they feel about marriage and kids and whatnot. At one point I was leaning in really close to his face; I don’t remember why. He got really nervous and kept backing away. He hinted that even if he wanted to kiss me, which he did, he was too nervous since he had never kissed a girl before. I took Nathan home and I got home around 6 ish. I woke up for work like 2 hours later and after work we all went over to Jeremy’s house and played Mission Risk.

Things went down rather like they had the night before. We watched Ocean’s 11. I fell asleep through most of it. Then Jeremy kicked us out around 1 then we hung out in the car for a bit, then Jake went home, then Nathan and I didn’t want to stop hanging out yet so we went back to the playground. We were at the park just talking and talking all night and it was awesome.

Then the sun started coming up and all we saw were the rays of light. Nathan said the sun would be all the way up in about 30 minutes and I said something like I know what we can do for 30 minutes. …*WINK. WINK. During the night, one of the things we had talked about was us kissing in a round about way. I basically said if you want to kiss me I would not mind that at all. But he was still nervous. Anyway, his reply to my 30 minutes statement was it would be better to do it just as the sun comes up. And so we are standing together on the jungle gym at the playground watching the sun come. Early morning lighting is beautiful. It wasn’t exactly like watching the best kind of sunrise, because all these buildings and trees were in the way, but it was pretty freaking awesome.

So the sun comes up and after some time, Nathan says we are not going to leave that section of the playground until he kissed me. He was very cute- nervous, but determined. The timing/setting was amazing. After sunrise, Nathan had to work up his nerve a little bit, but he did end up kissing me and it was so cute and sweet. It was definitely a magical moment. We were all happy and awake- and Hungry! We decided to go to IHOP. We woke Jake up to go with us. And we spent the whole day having fun and hanging out. Then Sunday I went to go pick up Nathan and he came to church with me. We hung out after church and played some Super Mario World. Then I had to give the car back, but instead of turning into a pumpkin, Jeremy helped us out and we watched The Amazing Race, starting a Sunday tradition.

After we had that one special moment and I thought that might be it. I thought, no matter what else happens, I will always treasure that moment. And I didn’t immediately dismiss the idea of taking it any further. I liked Nathan a lot. I saw a potential future with him. So I was immediately thinking maybe it would be nice to go on some dates to get to know each other. What I most didn’t (don’t) want is for someone to get hurt or for something to screw up our friendship, so I didn’t want to rush anything. I was torn between :D!Magic!Love!Romance! and Practical/Pragmatist/Cynic.

It was a long but fun car ride and one of the only entertaining things to do was to take pictures.

In the car on the way to Utah.

About a week later, after many emails and much hanging out, I still wasn’t sure what I wanted to do about Nathan. The group went on a roadtrip to Utah. It was a lot of fun and I got to spend a lot of time with Nathan. On the ride home, he told me in no uncertain terms that he wanted me to be his girlfriend. I was worried about it, because in my mind we had a lot of obstacles to overcome if we wanted things to last , most notably that I wanted to move back to NC soon and/or go on my church mission trip. After a lot of internal/external dialogue, I decided to start dating Nathan, mostly because I knew I would regret it if we didn’t.

This pic was pretty much only taken so we could have a couple pic on Facebook.

Our first pic as an official couple.

We had a lot of fun dating and getting to know each other. We just had fun together. Everything just felt right. We had fun dates and family trips to the zoo, to Golfland, to church, to Jeremy’s house. We went to the state fair for our one month anniversary and it didn’t seem like we’d only been dating a month. It seemed to us like we’d always been together. We loved each other and we were “falling IN LOVE” with each other. We had awesome communication skills and a full-disclosure zone and we each wanted to make our relationship the best ever.

I was dressed as an impromptu goth Girl and he had black paint on his face because he was wearing a mask.

Nathan and I at Boo at the Zoo.

Nathan came home to North Carolina with me for a week for Thanksgiving. It was a chance for him to meet my family and friends and see my past, where I’d come from.

I believe I was on the phone with my family when this pic was taken.

Nathan and I at the airport.

He met my friends, went to the HP 7.1 premiere with us; joined us in our crazy parties and sleepovers and Renfest trips.On Thanksgiving we played Ultimate Frisbee and at some point, he visited my college town with me (the place I want to settle down in.)

From Left to Right: Rachel, me, Nathan, Kate, Heather, James. Front Row(s): Levi, alia

Nathan and I with some of my NC friends at the NC Rennaissance Festival

While we were in NC, we had THE TALK. Basically we discussed the future of our relationship and where it was going and what obstacles stood in our way. I used this analogy: Falling in love with him was like filling a cup. When the cup was full, I would be totally head over heels ready to marry in love with him. But preventing the cup from being filled were these sticks or barely porous sheets blocking the top of the cup. These blockages were all my hesitations about our relationship, issues I knew we had. And in order to fill the cup we would have to deal with those issues. My biggest concern was that he wasn’t as active in our church. I told him if he ever proposed, he didn’t have to have a fancy ring, but he better have a Mormon Temple recommend.

After we had that conversation in November, Nathan did everything he could to become the best person he could for our marriage. He ditched his bad habits and focused on his good qualities. I was so happy about that and proud of him. My cup was pretty much full since January and by the end of February, all my reservations were gone.

The first and only time we've played pool in our relationship. It was fun. We should do it again.

NewYear's Eve 2010-11. (The New Year was 2011)

He didn’t officially propose until April, because he hadn’t been able to afford a ring. I told him in no uncertain terms that he was not to go into debt to buy me a ring. I would rather have money for our new lives together than a fancy-schmancy ring.He told me he had his grandmother’s ring, but he didn’t know if I would like it. And then he wanted to use it to propose, but maybe get me a new ring when he could afford it, but there were logistical issues about that, because I wanted to keep the ring he proposed with. So after thinking on it and discussing it we decided he would show me the ring (which he had stopped calling his grandmother’s ring and just a ring he had mysteriously acquired) and I would say whether or not I liked it. And if I liked it I would just wear it forever and someday in the future when we could afford it he could buy me a nice fancy schmancy ring but it didn’t have to be before the wedding. If I didn’t like it, he would wait to buy a decent ring to propose.

So that was where we were at on April 14th 2011. It was Thursday and we were planning on going to the Mesa Easter Pageant that night. I hadn’t looked at the ring yet and I hinted to Nathan I would like to see it sometime. He said he understood and maybe we could do it later that weekend, like on Friday or Saturday. So earlier that day I was freaking out about our relationship and my parents divorce. I was all like ‘ what if in 5 or 15 or 25 years we fizzle apart and realize we’re all wrong for each other and then our whole marriage/lives have been a big waste.’ And Nathan was just like Oh Kylara, in this exasperated tone of voice. Then later that night we went to the Easter Pageant. We drove separately and when I got there we talked on the phone and did that Where are You, I’m here. Oh I see You thing that people do. We walked towards each other and finally caught up with each other. Nothing dramatic. (I’m imagining just a big movie scene here, where it’s this slow-mo dramatic lovers meeting. It wasn’t like that. We just met up with each other.)

Now for those of you who have never been on the Mesa Temple Grounds, or any Mormon temple grounds, it is beautiful. It’s just this big place of peace and there’s green and nature with this big building towering and spiraling towards the sky. Even with the Pageant that night hundreds of people milling around, it was still just this awesome atmosphere. So we’re walking along the sidewalk holding hands. It was night. There was a small wind. In the back ground there was music playing, just some peaceful instrumental stuff. And Nathan started talking to me. He said ‘You’ll always try to work out our problems, right?” “Yeeees…” I say, hesitantly, not sure where he’s going with this. “ Well I’ll always try to fix our problems too. Our relationship won’t fizzle out, because we’ll always work to make our relationship the best ever.” I’m paraphrasing here. Then he tugged me to the side of the sidewalk next to a palm tree. It was the side closer to the road, not the big horde of pageant watchers. We were right near the sign out front that says Mesa Temple Visitor’s Center. I thought he was just pulling me to the side to give me a big hug or sneak a kiss. But all of the sudden BAM out of nowhere he pulls out the ring and says ‘I wanted to show you this.’ It was real silver and even though you could tell the stones aren’t diamonds, it was really beautiful. It had one stone in the middle sticking out and then others on either side, smooth though, set into the band.

Anyway, I am pretty sure I was in shock by that point. Some sort of surprise and putting the world on pause so I could just memorize this moment. I had the ring in my hand and I loved it. “Do I have to give it back?” I asked Nathan. He immediately got super nervous. He wasn’t ready for proposing and didn’t have a plan. He was worried, because he wanted me to have this grand story I could tell people. But I just wanted something sincere and from the heart. So this surprise proposal kind of forced him into sincerity and after a few moments of collecting his thoughts he started talking to me and proposing. But I’m afraid I really don’t remember anything he said. I totally spaced. I remember the music, or the fact that there was music. The wind was blowing gently on my face. Behind me Sirens as police cars or an ambulance or firetrucks (Some combination thereof) whizzed by. People were milling in anticipation of the pageant just across the sidewalk. In front of me Nathan is talking to me, professing his love or something. I’m pretty sure he repeated what he said before about us loving each other and always working out our problems. I start to get teary and the world starts to blur. Then Nathan is quiet and looking at me expectantly. “Aren’t you supposed to say something?” he says. “Aren’t you supposed to ask me something,” I reply. I’m pretty sure he said it already, I just missed it. But then he goes, “Kylara will you marry me?” And after a long pause where I consider the ramifications that I am actually about to get engaged and this is it, I say “Yes? I mean Yes!

Sadly, this is the best pic of us after we got engaged. We're like we need a good pic, we just got engaged...

Us right after we got engaged.

So then we got married on the morning of July 9th (7-9-11, Odd Numbers!) in the Columbia South Carolina Temple. We drove all the way to NC from AZ and back for that. It was a pretty awesome trip. The wedding was awesome and beautiful and now we’re just chilling her in Arizona, making life plans and just being married together. It’s pretty awesome. I love being married to one of my best friends.

The plan for now is that we will stay here in Mesa until finishes his Associates degree. Later, I’ll take some grad school classes at ASU. Then I’ll start my Master’s at the school I want to go to (Currently GMU). While there, Nathan will finish his Bachelor’s. (Possibly. He wants to go into Industrial Organizational Psychology, so we should do some research on some good schools for that.) Then we’ll eventually settle down in some NC mountain town. Or elsewhere in the Southern Appalachians. We will still visit AZ and all our friends everywhere and once a year we’ll host group gatherings where all our friends come visit us and that’s how we stay in touch.

4 Comments
  1. ~UCRyan permalink

    2011 renaissance festival? I went to that one, in Charlotte, or near it I believe.

    • ~UCRyan permalink

      Wait, might’ve been the fall of 2010, I can’t remember straight.

  2. Nerd cred established and verified. How can you claim nerd-hood and not play D&D? Excellent story, sweet, romantic, and includes legos :D. You guys look made for each other!

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