I said, "OF COURSE!"

I wanted to start out writing you a thank you note for my Christmas present, but honestly had no idea where to start! Because really, how does a thank you note for the most beautiful engagement ring even look like!? Instead I think I will add to our love story here and just thank you for being you. Because you are you... you planned the most perfect Christmas "Adam" a girl could ever ask for... you asked my parents and sister months ago for my hand... you planned to have your (and my soon to be!) family there at the proposal... you went out of your way to get my ring made to something more beautiful than I could have ever dreamed of. And because you are you, you practiced getting down on one knee all morning at PT just so you can do it one more time for me. Babe I am still in awe of it all and I am humbled that you thought of every detail that you did. You truly couldn't have planned a more perfect day. 

I could not be more excited to be your bride-to-be and even though I am getting demoted in the alphabet, *wink wink, Chrissy Mulholland sure does have a nice ring to it, doesn't it!? I look forward to this next season for us. The wedding will be amazing and I can't wait for it, but moreso I just can't wait to do life with you. To get our first home together, to make dinner together, to laugh together, cry together, to love Jesus more together... and learn together what marriage truly looks like. I'm just so humbled and excited I get to marry YOU. Thank you for the most amazing Christmas. Getting to be your wife is a present that no thank-you note will ever do justice. 

I love you, Brian Christopher. Thank you for choosing me. I choose you right back. 

~Chrissy

The reveal

It is the eve of Thanksgiving, a holiday that serves as a reminder of all we have to be thankful for, and as I sit here writing my first blog post (literally, I think this is the first one I have ever written!) I cannot begin to list all of the things I am grateful for this year. But since this incredible website is created specially for Brian and my journey I will focus on that particular part of my "thankfulness" right now. Let's start by sharing how Brian revealed this site to me... 

_____________________________

Little did I know that Brian was creating this website for the last 6 months! He had dropped little hints along the way about "needing to get home to work on something" or responding to me in midst of conversations saying, "just wait until your birthday..." You could have presented me with a slew of options and I still would NEVER have guessed that a guy would ever do something like this. Especially for me! Anyone that knows me knows how much I love Hallmarks; the cheesier the better in my opinion :) But I always knew that Hallmarks lived on the television screen and were not carried into real life. But this, Brian, is very Hallmark-like and since my birthday I haven't stopped pinching myself.  

The reveal of this site couldn't have been more perfect. At first it was absolutely dreadful to wait for... (It's a long story, but Brian was supposed to get his ACL surgery just before my birthday so we were going to celebrate early, hence me getting this present early! But a mishap in the front office, surgery rescheduled, and I now had to wait until my actual birthday! Sounds silly I know, but the reason I was so anxious to see this "mysterious" present was because Brian had been holding it over my head for weeks now. The fact that he was in the know and I wasn't made him more giddy than you would believe!) But like I said before, the reveal of this site couldn't have been more perfect. We are sitting at dinner (Rok Bistro - one of our favorite special occasion spots) and he asks when I would like to see the present. Mind you, I had teasingly reminded him back at his place to "not forget the present!" and then again when we got out of the car. Both times I see him grab for... nothing! But, I bite my tongue and remind myself to enjoy every moment of this evening. So of course when he asks when I would like to see the gift I jump on it and say, casually of course, "oh now seems like a good time." He pulls out a small ticket from his shirt pocket and hands it across the table. It is a printed/laminated ticket that has this site address on it. As I look up in pure confusion he begins to explain the site... I do think this may be the first time Brian had ever seen me speechless! And the worst part, now I had to wait all through dinner before we go back to his place and view it! 

_____________________________

Needless to say, Brian Christopher Mulholland, I couldn't be more thankful for you. For the way you treat me, the way you love me, the way you push me to be better. The way you look at me, respond to me and make me feel so safe. I knew I liked you from that first date, but daily you continually show me why I have fallen in love with you (and now everyone who sees this knows just a little snipet of why that is too!). Thank you for making me feel like I am the only girl in the room no matter where we are. Thank you for strengthening my faith in ways you may never know. Thank you for bearing with me on both the good and bad days, and leaning-in even when I push you away. I thank the Lord for creating you and molding you into the man of my dreams. You are better than a Hallmark -- you are the real deal. I love that I have the privilege of being loved by you and for that, I couldn't be more humbled. 

And most of all, thank you for this website - the fact that you have been working on it for the last six months and kept it a secret is truly the sweetest most kindest thing anyone has ever done for me. I love you right back, Brian. Truly I do. 

~Chrissy

A Post Worthy of the Jar

Up to this point these blog posts have been largely about events or times in our relationship, a very objective view if you will, but they haven't really delved deeper into our relationship. Therefore, this post will stand out from the others, it won't talk about events or activities we did together but instead will discuss how I fell in love with you, and why I continue too.


I reached over, grabbed my phone from the console and headed toward the restaurant. I was on my way for a second date with a girl I hardly knew. The first date had gone well but so had many others before it. My expectations were realistic, I mean what were the chances she would be something special?

I turned the corner and approached the restaurant and noticed a girl in heels and white trench coat. Something about her stopped me. It was the way she walked. Each step seemed purposeful, this wasn't a girl, but a confident woman. A woman who knew what she was doing, not distracted by her phone looking for a reason to be somewhere else, but someone who wanted to be there, in that moment, striding comfortably in heels on the uneven pavement, a clear destination in mind. I was instantly attracted to her, but it wasn't her outward appearance that got me, it was the aura she exuded, from the way she walked, how she carried herself, head held high, how she looked straight ahead, she was someone who knew who she was and what she stood for. Strong, intelligent and so much more. It is hard to describe the reaction I had to her. Something was different with her, but just as soon as I had seen her I felt guilty, if only my date could have been with her.

As I got closer it got harder and harder to take my eyes off of her. Seeing her just stand there outside of the same restaurant I was headed toward. Oh how lucky the man who has her. The closer I got the more I realized she looked familiar. Where I had seen her before? and then it clicked, she was MY date, I just hadn't noticed from so far off or presumed I could be so lucky. I knew I wasn't in love with her yet, but I knew at that point it was inevitable. This woman was different than any I had met previously.


"And yeah, love you too" - Chrissy Broom, April 19th, 2016

I read those words and almost instantly knew what she had meant and it wasn't about her feelings for me. I knew the full sentence should have read, "And yeah, I would love you to come over after kickball". But knowing didn't stop my brain from racing, because for a split second I had read that she loved me. I had never considered this new possibility, I was in uncharted waters and did not know what to do. Did I love her? How do you know you love someone? When do you say it if you do? 

I had always thought of love abstractly before, in a way a scientist runs experiments on unsuspecting subjects, but to actually be the subject. I needed to rotate my thinking. 

I pondered what love had always abstractly meant to me. Does she make me happy? Yes. Would I do anything for her? Yes. A list of cheesy questions trying to quantify an unquantifiable feeling. I put my questions aside and just really thought about her.

Yes, she makes me happy, but it's more than that, she brightens up the darkest day. I see her when I'm angry and leave her smiling and joyous. I wake up each day with a desire to be better. To be someone she can be proud of. To be someone that challenges her to be better. I would do anything for her, I would put her above anyone. Once I was able to get out of my own way and really think about how I felt, I knew that I loved her. I wasn't ready to say it then, I don't know when like turned to love but I knew that it had.

While Chrissy had innocently dropped the word 'love', it sparked something in me that caused me to really evaluate our relationship and what the future held. I knew the relationship was heading somewhere but until I admitted to myself that I loved her I couldn't fully grasp what that meant.


But why? A question long asked of Hollywood movie actors in any romantic comedy or drama. A question posed to them in order to prove their true feelings for their love. In spite of the obvious cliche that is the question, it is not a bad one. Being able to verbalize, at least in some small way, the feelings in your heart is both good for you and for target of your affection. And so, without delaying any further. Here is a little of why I love you!

You are ridiculous. You interrupt me to begin singing some random lyrics from a song I've never heard of. You then continue singing well past of the point of reason only to stop when you realize that I in fact, have no idea which song you're singing. Then you start singing it again!

You have unshakable convictions. You're faith in God lives through your every action. Whether it be leading a High School group, helping a stranger on the sidewalk, or just being there for all of your friends.

Your character. Who you are with me is the same person you are with everyone else. You don't change your spots with different groups. You know who and what you are. You come to the table not to please someone else, but to show them who you are, and that person is amazing and genuine. 

Your attitude. Your smile is infectious, your laugh music, your eyes warm and inviting. Everything about you is beautiful, both inside and out. You challenge me, you keep me humble, you laugh at my mistakes while making the same ones, you are everything I wanted, and so much more. Christine, you are amazing and I love everything about you. 

I could still continue writing, but I find it better to stop now so that I can talk to you in person. I love you Christine Jane Broom.

Love,

Brian

(Not) Wedding Crashers!

A wonderful 3 weekends and 2 weddings!

It would be our first weddings together and they were 2 weekends apart. Chrissy's long-time college friend and my childhood friend would be entering the next phase of their life together. It was going to be a great celebration with them and their spouses. 

Giordano Wedding

October 16th, 2016 the first showers of the season, it just also happened to be Steven and Mckenna's wedding weekend. Fortunately, backup plans were quickly assessed and adopted. A move of the wedding ceremony to the driveway, a quick call to the Jewish Community Center, and a trip to Target for a few dozen umbrellas and the wedding was set to go off without a hitch. 

I drove up with Brian and Andrew, 2 husbands of other bridesmaids, to one of the most extravagant estates I had ever been to. A quarter mile drive-way leading into the interior of the 11-acre grounds. The house, an 11,000 sq ft mansion, spreading out before us on the expertly manicured lawn.

The rain had held out to this point with only minor showers in the morning, however, I was glad to see a large tent set up with chairs crowded underneath. A quick scan of the crowd and I noticed John Broom with seats already saved for us, right near the center and away from the unsheltered sides. Thank you John!

We arrived shortly before the ceremony started and it didn't take me long to see the most beautiful sight of the day, blonde hair, blue eyes, flowing navy dress, cheeks I fell in love with and a smile that brightens anyone's day. I don't really remember anyone else walking down the aisle or when they started playing "Here Comes the Bride", but none of that seemed to matter in the moment. 

After the wedding we headed to the JCC and spent the rest of the evening dancing and conversing. A great cap to a beautiful wedding. Getting to know her friends better and being able to celebrate the newly minted Mr. and Mrs. Giordano!

Spooktacular

Halloween is always an interesting time of year. People dress up in costumes, kids ask strangers for candy and this year, people were getting married. In order to fit it all in we had to plan things out to the minute. We had a Halloween party Saturday night and the wedding the following day. If only we had a ship that made the Kessel run in under 12 parsecs...

Saturday night was quickly approaching and we still didn't have our costumes figured out. I had a lab coat and was leaning toward being a doctor but Chrissy didn't have anything to match. After going back and forth Chrissy threw out a suggestion from left field... Han and Leia. I initially thought this was a joke (I mean seriously, who would've believed it was serious), but she insisted she was serious and that she was ready to go.

That's one scruffy looking nerf herder!

That's one scruffy looking nerf herder!

Floyd Wedding

A late night drive later and we were opening the door to my parents house searching for the newest family member, Max, my parent's new Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy. After completely ruining his sleep schedule for our own selfish desires we headed to bed to be well rested for tomorrow's wedding.

We arrived to the vineyard laid out before us, Chrissy looking as stunning as always and the decorations truly shining. It was a beautiful ceremony celebrating the new married couple, even Trump and Hillary made an appearance. We laughed, we applauded and we danced throughout the night. The band was so good that even my father decided to hop up on the dance floor! The Floyd wedding brought lots of surprises to everyone!

Once we were all exhausted from the dance floor we still had to get home! Fortunately, I had some great company on the ride home who made sure I didn't fall asleep.

--Brian 

Utah!

12 Hour Car Ride to Utah!

This may be a little dramatic, but please enjoy nonetheless!

Hour 1: The sun is nowhere to be found, the Earth seems to have stopped, what ungodly journey have we set out upon?

Hour 3: Having finally seen the sun peak over the horizon hope begins to fill the car, a sense of purpose as we cross the Sierra's like so many so long ago. Enthusiasm begins to take hold.

Hour 5: Desert. Nothing but long stretches of desert, the cool remembrances of the Sierra's providing only a hint of hope. Our initial enthusiasm beings to dawdle.

Hour 7: We believe we have passed the midway point, however, time has begun to have no meaning, we now count time by the mirages we see in the distance.

Hour 10: We have begun to see signs of familiar places, Zion, Duck Creek, Cedar City, even Bryce. These names appear to bring smiles from our coachmen, but I have long since distrusted their sadistic ways. 

Hour 12: After hope had all but faded, we arrived, not with a bang but with a creaking, legs and elbows cracking under the fresh air, slowly uplifting our waning spirits. We had arrived, it was now time to take UTAH!


 

This was a major step for both of us. Not only was she spending time with my family, but she was spending time with my family on what had historically always been a family only affair, vacation. I was certainly nervous, not that she wouldn't get along with them, but by the mere fact of the 27 yr old tradition being changed in any way. I was worried for nothing.

Zion

Zion was definitely the larger of the two National Parks. A variety of trails leading up to the canyon rim to get unbelievable views of the valley floor below. We ended up doing one hike at the canyon end where it spread out before us. Later we trekked up to the mouth of the canyon where the walls closed in around us leading to spectacular overhead shots.

A shot of the 'Hanging Gardens' toward the mouth of the canyon.

A shot of the 'Hanging Gardens' toward the mouth of the canyon.

A view from near the mouth of the canyon, both sides of the canyon can be seen at the edges of the photo.

A view from near the mouth of the canyon, both sides of the canyon can be seen at the edges of the photo.

Angel's Landing

The true test a person's will was the Angel's Landing hike. A grueling 5-mile hike including a 5-ft wide land passage with hundred foot shear cliffs on either side. Somehow, my Mom, my sister and Chrissy were all able to make it to the very top of the rest.

Mrs. Mulholland at the top of Angel's Landing. Hiked to by Chrissy, Laura and Kari.

Mrs. Mulholland at the top of Angel's Landing. Hiked to by Chrissy, Laura and Kari.

Even as I write this I continue to hear different stories from this trail. Especially, between how my Sister, Mom and Girlfriend all bonded. Each story I hear reminds me how truly lucky I am to have Chrissy in my life. She is truly one of a kind. For the next trip to Zion, I'll have to be sure I don't tear my ACL so that I too can do the Angel's Landing hike.

Bryce

Bryce National Park was unlike any other national park I had been to. It's strange rock formations and atmosphere gave it a very unique feeling. 

These Hoodoos, so named because the early settlers thought looking at them would put you under their spell, made up a large portion of the park. Carved in sandstone these Hoodoos provided a truly magnificent view.

These Hoodoos, so named because the early settlers thought looking at them would put you under their spell, made up a large portion of the park. Carved in sandstone these Hoodoos provided a truly magnificent view.

We were able to see much of the views Bryce had to offer thanks to the dutiful mules and horses that carried us on our way. 

  • Porky (Brian's Mule): As his name suggests, Porky spent most of his time with his head down picking at the grass along the trail, even occasionally stepping off the side to grab a bite.
  • Hammer (Steve's Horse): Despite his name, this horse had never heard of 'dropping the hammer'. Hammer happily brought up the rear, fortunately for Porky because whenever he got to close he would try to take a bite out of Porky's butt!
  • Yellowjacket (Kari's Horse): The stinkiest horse ever to ride through Bryce canyon!
  • Keystone (Laura's Mule): Seemed to have drank to much of his namesake the night before.
  • Miss Bonnie (Chrissy's Mule): The sweetest horse out of the bunch, much like its rider!

Summary

I began the week with trepidation, how would prolonged exposure to my family be? I don't know why I was worried, she got along splendidly, was just her honest and loving self. She made jokes, played games, failed to catch ping pong balls and even spent the day with my family while I was cooped up at the house. I have never met somehow like her, and each day she surprised me, I look forward to many future vacations. I begun the week with apprehension, but I ended wishing she could've stayed longer, her presence was missed the last few days.

--Brian

Trifecta

I looked on with unease as I signaled the 'All Set' sign. It was now or never. I felt the jerk of the boat as it pulled me up, I felt that elation of standing on water and just as soon i felt the pull of gravity as it pulled me face first over the wake board and back into the water.I knew at that point this wasn't going to be an easy lesson. 

It was the start of our 3 weekend marathon. Plans had come together where we'd be out of town for the next 3 weekends, two of them with my group of friends and one with her group. The first was a long weekend trip to Lake Shasta where we'd be spending our time on a houseboat, wake boarding and BBQ'ing. I was a little nervous since I'd never done any water sports and would have to show off my (lack of) skills in front of Chrissy, but it was a great start to what ended up being an exciting 3 weekends.

Memorial Day Weekend -- Lake Shasta

I wasn't sure what to expect when we parked the car, grabbed our stuff and headed down to the dock. As we loaded the ski boat with our gear and took off a sudden deluge of water started spraying the back of the boat, where Erica and myself were sitting, drenching us in seconds. We quickly realized the reason for this was because of the bumpers which were still hanging off the side of the boat. Everyone said it was an honest mistake, but I'm of the opinion that it was my initiation for being the new one in the group. 

The next morning we got together a guys boat and headed out to do some wake boarding; I figured it was better to practice first before having to do it in front of Chrissy. After 4-5 attempts I was able to stand up. Later that day Chrissy and I were able to head out on the boat together, it was finally time to showcase the skills I had learned that morning and to finally see how good she was. Leading up to the trip she had continually downplayed her ability, but when she stood up I immediately new she had been underselling her ability, I really shouldn't have let her go first, I had to follow up THAT performance. Uh-oh. Luckily for me I was able to stand up each time Chrissy was watching even if it was short lived.

She makes it look a lot easier than I do.

She makes it look a lot easier than I do.

Monterey -- Wine and Chowder Festival

Lots and lots of very good chowder, wine and even some moonshine made the appearance this weekend. I'm usually not a chowder person, but wow, there were some good choices there. This weekend also happened to fall on Jenn's Birthday, so in addition to Wine and Chowder she got to spend some quality time with her sister. It was a very relaxing weekend with some great views and better food!

Tahoe -- Tough Mudder

Even though neither myself nor Chrissy ran the Tough Mudder, it was still nice to spend the weekend in Tahoe. We went on a lovely hike, relaxed a lot and she spent some time at the beach, it was a very simple and calm weekend. 

--Brian

 

The Birthday Battle

It was a cool spring evening in Santa Cruz and our destination unknown to me. The only information I had was that Chrissy had a special surprise for my birthday. We had been dating a few months now, but weren't labeling ourselves as boyfriend and girlfriend yet. We pulled into the parking garage and quickly made our way up the street, still unsure as to where we were going I looked around inquisitively. 

Up ahead we saw a young mother standing outside her apartment, dirty child in hand and digging through her purse frantically. As we approached she looked up at us and asked to borrow our phone. I, as the cynical person I am, was trying to come up with possible scenarios how this could all be an elaborate scam. However, Chrissy, being the good person she is, didn't hesitate to offer a helping hand. Quickly handing over her phone and engaging in a quick conversation with the stranger on the street. I could only look on in wonder as she showed patience and understanding throughout the ordeal. Soon enough the mother was able to contact her husband to let her into the building. As we turned to go Chrissy picked up the conversation right where we had left it. It was as if helping a stranger on the street was a totally normal experience. Every day she found ways to make me crazier and crazier about her. She truly is a one of a kind woman.

We continued on to an uneventful dinner at a great Mexican place in downtown Santa Cruz before the main event, a Santa Cruz Warriors game. It was both of our first times at a game so neither of us knew what to expect. 

We were in for a surprise as we neared the stadium, it turned out that the Warriors opponent would be the Reno Bighorns, the Sacramento Kings affiliate team. So, instead of both of us rooting for the Warriors, it became a fun rivalry as we watched the game progress. While the Bighorns jumped out to an early lead, the Warriors, with the help of Klay Thompson's older brother, were able to fight back and close out the win.

It was an absolutely amazing night, I couldn't have asked for better company or a closer game, it was all I could do to keep from kissing her that night.

--Brian

The First Few

After the first few dates things really settled into a pleasant routine. We'd see each other multiple times a week and were always learning more about the other. Her probing questions always digging deeper and my response always the same, "That's a great question, now I'm asking you the same thing". It was clear who the introvert and who the extrovert was. I was amazed at how easy to talk to and friendly she was, it was hard to believe she continued to go on dates with me. However, the good times weren't to last, as disaster soon struck, The Colon Tour was upon us (it really wasn't disaster but a good story always needs some drama).

It was a whirlwind of suitcases, pig colons and late night airport pick-ups. However, through it all we still managed to see each other regularly partly because both of us enjoy staying up really, really late. And so with only a little less sleep than usual we were able to weather The Colon Tour hurricane, and no sooner had it ended before another relationship milestone popped up, meeting my parents!

My parents  occasionally come visit me in Campbell with my sister tagging along. I think it's because I don't call enough... sorry about that Mom and Dad! Unfortunately, this time my sister wasn't able to make it, so it was just the 4 of us for lunch.

As I expected Chrissy was sweet, charming and full of bubbling personality. The atmosphere at Pacific Catch was great, she was the first girl I had introduced to my parents since high school, and after meeting her I know they were as enamored as I was.

With a few months under our belt and the mounting pleas from her parents to meet me, she finally felt comfortable bringing us together. It was now my turn to sit in the hot seat and from what she'd told me the questions would be rapid fire.

--Brian

It all started 12/16/15...

I had been on Coffee Meets Bagel for [TIME REDACTED] and while I had been on a few dates none of them went past the second. So it was more out of habit than unbridled hope that I opened up CMB that day. Lucky for me, Chrissy was my bagel! And so, after taking the bagel I only had to wait for her response...

How could I not say yes?

How could I not say yes?

"Congratulations! Your Bagel from 12/16/15 likes you too"

After a few messages back and forth she agreed to meet me for coffee. Now, I only had to decide whether or not to trim my beard! Luckily, I decided the homeless-man-under-a-bridge-look wouldn't be too good for a first date. And so, on a crisp Monday evening with a trimmed beard I met her for the first time just outside Orchard Valley Coffee in Campbell. 

The date went splendid, we talked for a couple hours each getting to know one another, she with her coffee and me with my hot chocolate. Little did I know then, but this wouldn't be the last time we stayed somewhere until closing. 

As the date concluded, there was only one question left to be asked, "Would you like to go on a second date?"

--Brian