Dating Daze

These were taken 1 month after starting to date. We met up for Youth Retreat with newlife youth. Fort Warden was a romantic place to see each other again after a while apart. Ben had also surprised me and visited in Bellingham the week before. He just showed up with Roses in hand.

Our initial dates were often spent at our families homes since I was living in Bellingham and Ben was still with his folks. This was the fall of 2006 at my parents house. On Ben’s birthday, the first for Alex to be a part of, she baked this Dino cake and made Japanese Chicken Curry and Cabbage salad for Ben, Rich, and Janice. Ben received a Parallel Bible and dvd’s that were special to their relationship. “Proof” that they watched on their first date, and a season of “Fresh Prince” because during Fresh Prince we had our first kiss…
Thanksgiving tradition with the Jacobson’s – after Thanksgiving dinner they build gingerbread houses. This year Janice was in California visiting Emily and other family so the Jacobson men had dinner with the Duchemin’s and then we built the gingerbread houses at their house. It was Ben, Luke and me against Elliot and Rich!

Our gingerbread house!

This was taken during the BIG snowfall of 2006 that stranded me in Kitsap, much to our delight. Alex got to stay with the Jacobson’s and get to know them all before she headed back to school to finish up her last quarter.

Our first Christmas at the Jacobson house! Christmas Eve at the Jacobson’s was when Alex realized that she was “in-love” for the first time – yes with Ben! Rich had just finished reading the Christmas Story from Luke and then was praying for the family. Alex was in tears when everyone opened their eyes, but she was able to contain herself and enjoy the moment.

First Christmas at the Duchemin’s. Ben received things he needed like a belt and socks but also some romantic things like Alex – a leather wrist band with “He will give you a new song.” engraved on it and a metal fortune cookie box (that later the ring bearer carried at the wedding).

Alex received a beautiful coat and tickets to the Nutcracker.

Our first annual trip to the Nutcracker followed by dinner at the Cheesecake Factory.


We sat in the 9th row with incredible seats.

While at dinner Ben said his first “I love you” and Alex followed. It was so romantic!


First New Year as a couple.

The winter of 2006-2007 we saw Beauty and the Beast at CSTOCK over 9 times!


These were both taken in February of 2007. Ben gave Alex a “monkey” for Valentine’s Day because he knew she had always wanted one for a pet. “Uno” the monkey was wearing a “ONE” shirt because of Alex’s pageant platform – The Power of ONE. Ben is such a thoughtful gift giver.

March 2007 marked a HUGE milestone as Ben supported Alex in her pageant dreams, which came true in part when she became Miss Poulsbo 2007 and earned money to pay off school.

In April of 2007 Ben did the 12 days of birthday which was incredible! The song was something like this… “A card that tells how much he loves me, 2 yellow roses, 3 coconut crunch bars, a 4 storied novel, 5 song cd (of his songs), 6 inch frames (sun glasses), (9)7 Brandy movie, 8(?) , 9(0) minute trip (to Benihana and a Mariner’s game), 10 (?), 11 feet of height (a pass to the climbing gym), 12 inch monkey (cake).”

Each day of birthday I received a puzzle piece and on my birthday this is what I got! The best gift ever.


In June of 2007 we went to Alderbrook Resort with Jeremy and Erin and this was a momentous trip in our relationship. We defined so much of what was important to us and who we were as a couple.

July of 2007 Ben did a “farewell” date as I headed off to Miss WA. We went to Pho (Vietnamese Noodle Soup in Tacoma), then built bears “Ali” and “Jamin” for each other. The date concluded with a showing of “Rattatouille.”

Off to pursue her dreams at Miss Washington – Alex placed as 2nd runner up, won the preliminary swimsuit award, people’s choice and most importantly the Miss America Community Service Scholarship. She came home to life in Kitsap, and earned over 16,000 in the Miss America program to pay off her college education!

This was taken in August of 2007 at Tonie’s surprise birthday party at Ben and Alex’s house! She was thrilled.
Sept. 17, 2007 marked one year from our first date. Ben recreated the Mongolian grill dinner and gave Alex a fortune cookie charm necklace. Alex gave Ben a watch!

Ben’s birthday – 2007 – a trip to the Pumpkin Patch and Pho!


Halloween 2007 – Party with the family – meet Pumpkinstein.

Thanksgiving 2007 with the Raymaker family and Danny Fuller – Ben’s roommate at the time. And the gingerbread house tradition.

Christmas Eve – 2nd annual for Alex – with the Jacobson family. This year Emily was here. Ben gave Alex her favorite pageant dress that he had to purchase from the pageant director and tickets to the Nutcracker.
Christmas Morning with The Duchemins. Alex gave Ben and homemade blanket.

Ben’s other gift to Alex was a sweatshirt from the Cheesecake Factory – the place where they first said, “I love you.” Michael gave Wendy one as a souvenir from “The Boathouse” when they first said I love you in 1983!

Ben proposed, much to Alex’s surprise, on December 29th 2007 fulfilling the year’s new year’s resolution to be engaged before the year was out.
January 1st 2008 – newly engaged.
We registered the next day since Alex was going to have to go back to work soon and we’d be getting married the day after school let out!

Alex surprised Ben with a proposal of her own in mid May of 2008. She took him to The Melting Pot and it was presented in their silver fortune cookie box on their dessert platter. This too was a pivotal day for us! Next stop, the exchanging of rings, one month later!

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