Valentine's Day Lovefest... With a Prize!
***The winner is Rachel from "The Adventures of an American Mum!" Congratulations to Rachel! Thanks for all the awesome participation - you made Valentine's Day extra special! I hope everyone enjoyed the blogfest as much as I did.

** Today was crazy for me! I have had a chance to read ONE post! I am planning on reading through your wonderful stories tomorrow morning - early before my kids get up. It was killing me to not be able to read through today.
You all are awesome - thanks so much for making this great! I am going to leave the voting open until 12 noon Saturday, February 16th. That way it gives everyone, who wants to, a chance to read through the list. Happy reading!

Welcome to the Valentine's Day "Lovefest!" hosted by yours truly. I am
glad you joined me in this! Each story here today is incredibly special and truly one of a kind. And I, for one, am so excited to read them all! Please do take the time to leave a comment when you stop by other's blogs. We all love comments and the warm, fuzzy feeling they give us! Besides, you may just make a new friend in the process.
Mr. Linky is at the bottom of this post. Enter your information as directed, that will make it easy for everyone to find you. ***After you've read the love stories, come back over here and leave me a comment voting for your favorite one. I have a $25 gift card to Victoria's Secret for the person with the story that receives the most votes. Yay! for new unmentionables! ( make sure I have a way to contact you, otherwise the prize will go to the runner up.)
Okay, here we go....

It all began the summer of '96. I was hanging out with my best friend Kristi as well as working at an ice cream shop. And I was in love. But not with Daniel. I was in love with "the guy", he was working for my dad and all I thought about.

I remember the first time I met Daniel. It was a summer afternoon spent hanging with Kristi and our regular gang ... and then there he was. It was very much not love at first sight.
Fast forward a few months.... I couldn't stand this boy named Daniel. He was arrogant and cocky. And he was in love with me and didn't really hide it well. I was annoyed with his existence and not nice to him at all. Since Kristi was dating his best friend, the four of us were put in the same space somewhat frequently, and it really irked me. But, Daniel grew on me and I didn't even know it. I was still in love with "the guy." The guy who didn't even know I existed, but that was trivial to me. The idea of him was better than, well, him. I eventually apologized for my very immature behavior and we settled into an awkward friendship. We went through our junior and senior years in this manner.
But it all came to a head one hot summer day. Daniel told me he was leaving. He was joining the Air Force and he was leaving for good. My heart clenched. How could he be leaving?! I had become so use to his presence and his attentiveness to me. I couldn't imagine life without him around. Daniel took my address that evening and said he was going to write. I didn't believe him for a second. Now, I know better.
I went on vacation shortly after that night, a week in the Adirondack's with my grandparents. When my mom came to pick me and my brothers up she handed me a small bundle of letters. Daniel had written me three letters in one week. Written by flashlight during basic training. From that moment it all began. The letters flew through the mail with regular Sunday phone calls, made by pay phone, swiftly following. The funny thing is I was still in love with "the guy." But man, was Daniel persistent. He didn't let it bother him that I thought I was in love with another boy.
Daniel came home for a short visit with his parents between Basic training and Tech school. It was on a chilly April night that I remember standing in our driveway, leaning on his parents van and deciding with him to give this thing we had a try. I let "the guy" go and let my affections rest on this boy I had standing in front of me. His hands stuffed in the pockets of his too big leather jacket and forty pounds of cologne sprayed on his body. I still can remember that smell. We exchanged the most awkward hug known to man and he drove away.
The next time I saw Daniel was nearly two years later. There I was picking him up from the airport with the knowledge that he had a diamond ring somewhere in his luggage. A diamond ring meant for my finger. We had written an incredible amount of letters to each other, talked on the phone more than we should have, and come to the realization that we loved each other. We longed to be together more than I even knew was possible. Distance had become our enemy. But starting that night we had three weeks to be together. Breathing the same air.
Standing in that airport waiting... Oh, I thought I was going to puke. How was I going to merge the "phone and letters" Daniel with the "real life, standing in front of me, probably going to want to kiss me" Daniel. I was scared. And it showed. We lightly hugged and headed to my car. Our hands rested together as I drove, both of us feeling rather shy and clumsy with this in person thing.

But we figured it out. It took quite a few days, but we figured it out. Daniel proposed to me while kneeling in a mud puddle in front of the church we were planning to marry in. It was November 14th, 2000. He boarded an airplane back to Alaska two weeks later. I thought I was going to die. I couldn't even get out of bed. Nothing mattered but being with him. Miserable didn't even begin to describe how we felt. Our wedding wasn't planned to take place for another year... How we were going to survive? I remember waking up one early, early March morning to my mom sitting on the side of my bed saying, "I have a plan." Her plan instantly went into action. Our wedding was taking place in a short three months from that morning! June 10th couldn't arrive quickly enough for us.

Seven months after the miserable November morning that Daniel boarded the plane bound for Anchorage Alaska, he descended back into my arms. And we haven't looked back since.
Our marriage isn't perfect, but the love is great. We are incredibly suited for one another. I am still amazed that the fifteen year old boy who I couldn't stand is the man I am now completely crazy for. The one I have had three beautiful children with. The one who I love more deeply than I can even describe. Isn't funny how life ends up... Happy Valentine's Day to you all!

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