Three years ago….

This… Little did we know three years ago where this little conversation would lead… #hopingtoadopt #hopefuladoptiveparents #adoption

We met online in the summer of 2015. Dennis said that he messaged me because he liked my photo with the pink cake (our friend Allie takes credit, and rightly so, for our introduction because she made that cake for my birthday). I messaged back because he was an English teacher, and I found that fascinating.

We messaged about 5 or 6 times that day, and then again the day after, and again the day after. Our messages became deep and emotionally intimate quite quickly, and we knew that we had made a connection that we had to explore further. We graduated to phone calls on Day 5, when the messages got way too long and had to be split into 3 parts b/c too many characters!

Our phone calls lasted for hours and hours, and we could not wait for work to be over so we could talk. The same emotional intimacy we had in our messages continued in our phone calls. We talked about everything! And we found that we had very similar philosophies on life, and very similar emotional styles. We met in-person three weeks later, and knew immediately we loved each other. He proposed about 45 days after we met in person.

We waited so long and experienced so much heartache before we found each other, but we wouldn’t trade it for anything. Our past experiences are what make us the people we are today, and they are what we have used as a springboard to create a phenomenal marriage. We feel so grateful to have found each other. It feels wonderful to be married to a best friend. We approach our marriage as the most precious thing we have. We cherish each other, we uplift each other, and we make decisions every day to put the other first. We are so blessed to have had this wonderful beginning. <3

LAGOON!

I  (Valerie) love roller coasters. So as part of our Summer Tour 2018, Dennis took me to Lagoon in Salt Lake City. We had so much fun! We went on all the big rides: Cannibal, Wicked, Colossus, and all the other stuff. Dennis got to hear my blood curdling screams followed by delirious laughter. I am sure that Dennis had claw marks in his hands on the really scary ones. Dennis isn’t much of a screamer on these rides. He was pretty calm until the last couple of rides. I heard one or two little bursts of sound from him, but other than that, I was the noisy one of the pair. It was really fun to see that different side of our personalities.

 

 

If You’re Going to San Francisco…

Be sure to take a walking tour with TakeWalks.com (also, if you use the code MorrisSF10 you’ll get 10% off)!

But really, we loved San Francisco. It is a beautiful city with amazing history. Our first night in SF we took in a Giants game at AT&T Park. We haven’t been to too many MLB parks, but this is definitely a favorite. This park felt like there was something new around every corner, and being right on the water was so beautiful. The weather was perfect, and we just loved it.

Alcatraz was an amazing experience. Its such a solemn place, even with hundreds of people there. It was a self-guided audio tour, and the guides on the audio were former inmates and former guards. We had flashes of Shawshank Redemption, except that this place was very real.

After Alcatraz, we had lunch at Boudin Bread Company in Fisherman’s Wharf…. Man, that sourdough bread was the best ever. <3 The Haight-Ashbury Tour was incredible. It’s amazing how musical genres merged in the late 60s. We saw the house where the Grateful Dead lived, the house where Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix got stoned out of their minds, and of course, we visited Amoeba Music. Later that evening, we went on a Taco Tour with TakeWalks.com. We got to sample some fantastic empanadas, pork tacos, and pan dulce. That was arguably my favorite part of the trip. The tacos were from Cafe Vallarta. We loved them so much, we went back the next night for dinner.

Our last day in SF started out in Chinatown. We both loved that tour. We loved getting samples from the Original Fortune Cookie Company, and watching how fortune cookies are made. Our last official tour was North Shore. That was a highlight for Dennis, as it covered a lot of the poetry and film history of SF, including the Zoetrope Building owned by Francis Ford Coppola and the Caffe Trieste where he wrote most of The Godfather. We stopped at City Lights Bookstore where Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac and other beatniks shared their works.  We even got to see an original Banksy! Oh, and of course, brownie ice cream sandwiches.

One of our favorite stops was at Grace Cathedral. One of our favorite songs is The Decemberists’ “Grace Cathedral Hill,” so we made the hike up the very steep Nob Hill and spent some time in that gorgeous edifice.

We saved the most iconic for last and visited the famous Golden Gate Bridge. It is a marvel of engineering. It was cold and windy and beautiful and clear and perfect.

Seriously though. Walking tours are the way to go. We really felt like we got a great view of the city, lots of info about the history and cultures, and we logged in about 27,000 steps each day 🙂 San Francisco is absolutely wonderful. One of our favorite vacations so far.

Los Angeles, I’m Yours*

Dennis had never been to actual Los Angeles. He wanted to go to a game a Dodger’s Stadium, see the Hollywood sign, visit Amoeba Music, and pay homage to a favorite musician Elliott Smith at the famous wall he stood in front of on the Figure 8 album cover. So we did all those things on a quick overnight on our way to San Francisco.

First item of business when we arrived was to eat lunch. We opted for the famous Pink’s Hot Dogs on La Brea near Paramount Studios. We’ve had better dogs, but you go there because it’s an icon.

Next stop was Amoeba Music. It’s a beautiful store. I’d love to see a show there sometime. And yes, we went to Amoeba Music and all we got were two awesome Tees.

More sites around LA:

The Dodgers game was super fun, other than our obstructed view. We got Kiké Hernandez bobble heads, nachos in a Dodgers helmet, and enjoyed being in that beautiful stadium.

Before we went to the game, we had a moment at the Elliott Smith wall. To explain what it meant to Dennis is really difficult to do. Elliott is an artist that Dennis connects with. It would be like Valerie at Abbey Road.

LA, it’s been real. Thanks for the moments and the traffic. Peace out.

*We don’t actually want to belong to LA. But we love The Decemberists, so that song lyric comes to mind.

Dennis & Valerie Summer Tour 2018!

We LOVE road trips. Trips in general, yes, but road trips are so fun. We get to have great conversation in the car, play games, laugh, and have a good time. Also, blog 😂.

This summer, we decided to visit LA briefly so that Dennis could visit some places he’s wanted to see for some time, and San Francisco so that Valerie can visit some places she’s wanted to see for some time. Then, of course, over to Salt Lake to visit some family.

On the road, we do fun things like…

Puzzles

 

listen to songs we don’t actually love but fit well on a road trip to California…

Point to fun things along the way…

And of course… Silly Putty.

Which brings us to our first #PublicServiceAnnouncement:

He’s gonna be a great dad!

It is so fun for me to watch Dennis with kids. Last Saturday, we went to the baptism of our good friend’s niece. She had received a nice framed photo with some ribbon around it, and she wanted to take the ribbon off so she could take a photo with it. She was struggling for a few minutes, and without a word, Dennis just went over to help. Later that day, our 3-year old niece experienced some mild trauma with her cousin of the same age pouring water on her. I picked her up and brought her in the house and Dennis was coming around the corner with a towel in hand. I absolutely love that he steps in to help in such practical ways. <3

This is the Life… and the Love.

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Dennis and I love our life together. We have built a solid, loving relationship, and we laugh every day. Some of you may think that is impossible, but I assure you, there is laughter every single day. Dennis makes sure of it! He is always doing something to make me smile or laugh. He would say that one of his favorite things is that I laugh so easily. But really, he is so dang funny. He has a very dry sense of humor, and he is so quiet in public that when his wit does come out, you can’t help but laugh. He has such great timing! He is also not above goofiness. I think I’m one of the few lucky people in the world to witness his “Barton Bop” dance moves. Or his “old man” walk. Or how he talks to our dogs in a made up language. I could go on….

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But what is on my mind today is how we intentionally decide every day to love each other. We talk often about “what it takes” to make a great marriage. This was one of the things that attracted us to each other in the first place. We both had thought about what we really want in a relationship, and we talked about that in our first conversation. It was a great start and we are grateful to have that foundation.

There’s a poem by Hartley Coleridge that asks, “Is love a fancy or a feeling?” I say it is neither. Love is action. It is service, it is sacrifice, it is selflessness, it is forgiving, it is kind, and it is glorious.

And it takes work. Love does not happen by accident.

IMG_1957We firmly believe that no one “falls” in or out of love. That implies that will and choice are not involved. But love is a choice. We choose to give our heart to someone. We choose to be in love and we choose not to be in love.

When you are just too tired to move and your spouse asks you to let the dogs out and you do, you choose love. When you see that your spouse is too tired to move and you let the dogs out yourself, you choose love. When you choose to spend time with someone, learn about them, trust them with your secrets, hold their secrets, and speak kindly to and about them, you choose love. When you avoid conversation that is sarcastic and biting, when you bite your tongue and wait a minute before saying something that might be hurtful, when you see your whole spouse (warts and all) and focus on the good in them, you choose love. When your spouse lets an unkind word slip out and you forgive them, you choose love. When you take out the garbage or do the dishes or organize the garage or replace the toilet paper or do a load of laundry, you choose love. When you actively and consciously avoid even a hint of infidelity, you choose love. When you kiss at red lights because it is tradition even when you are having an argument, you choose love. When you tell your spouse what you admire and appreciate about them, you choose love.

The magical thing is that when you choose love in those moments when you may not feel love, your heart softens and the feelings of love come flooding back. Strong marriages are built on choosing love over and over and over again.

This is what Dennis and I have chosen. We choose to be madly in love. We choose to live happily, ridiculously, madly in love. <3 We choose it today and we will choose it tomorrow.

I think that may be a good start to being decent parents. What do you think?

<3 Valerie

Our faith.

We are active members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. We believe that God is our Father, and that He loves us like a Father loves His child.

We believe that Heavenly Father has given us this earth life to progress, to learn, to grow, and to become like Him. Because we are not perfect, and we cannot return to Him unless we become so, Heavenly Father sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to bridge the gap.

Because of Jesus Christ, we are blessed with mercy and forgiveness. His grace allows us to become better than we are, to overcome our weaknesses, and to be forgiven of our sins. 

There is hope and joy and light and laughter to be had in life. We try to live a life of happiness and love. 

If you want to know more about our faith, click the link below. 

_R3A9445Mormon.org

This is Valerie.

_R3A8705She is probably looking over at Dennis who is doing something silly to make her laugh. Valerie has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science that she does nothing with (she even occasionally ends sentences with a preposition). She often says that her degree helped her prove to herself that she secretly hated politics. She started out as a music major, focusing in vocal performance. Her lifelong goal has been to be a wife and mother, and she switched majors so that she could more fully focus on evening and weekend time with her family. 

Valerie works for a local OBGYN company as an Executive Assistant. She’s worked in that field for 13+ years. She loves the company where she works and will likely remain with them in some capacity as long as she remains in the job market. 

Valerie is generally a very happy person. She is outgoing and enjoys getting to know new people. She finds people to be fascinating. She loves to find out what motivates them and drives them, and will often point to a person walking down the street and wonder out loud what their life is like. Valerie is motivated by other people’s needs and wants. She loves to try to make other people, especially her family, comfortable and happy. 

In college, Valerie performed in a number of musical theatre productions in character roles. Her favorite role of all time was as Adelaide in Guys and Dolls. She loves to sing and dance, though these days it’s mostly around the house. Valerie has sung in many, many choirs over the years. She even made a CD that only her mom listens to. 

She likes to run in the early, early morning, but hates to run in the afternoon or evening. Valerie’s running playlist is exclusively Disney songs. She loves going to concerts with her hubby and really enjoys the vinyl collection they are building together. 

She’s a pretty okay gal, and her husband thinks she is all that.