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I remember the exact moment when we first “formally” met (we had crossed paths once before…and I’ll admit, I wasn’t very nice).  I was in the parking lot of Starbucks, getting something out of the trunk of my car with Brooke, when he came over and Brooke introduced him as a new hire.  Brooke and I were heading to South America for two weeks within a day or so.

After I got back, I was pulling my evening shift at Starbucks after working my 8 hour shift at a law firm (ahh, to be young).  I was scooping ice into a venti cup when he came around the corner onto the bar floor, and we were re-introduced.  Little did either of us know that that moment was the beginning of something truly amazing.

We had exactly two shifts together.  The Starbucks life wasn’t for him, so after two weeks (the two weeks I was out of town), he had already put in a two week notice.  Thankfully two work shifts and one night out with coworkers was all we needed.  And massive, massive, misinterpretation on both ends.  Jeff had mentioned to Abby that he thought it was cool that I spoke Spanish, it was conveyed to me that Jeff “liked” me.  I got the butterflies.  The jokes were on for the next and last shift (“should I thank you now or later?”), phone numbers were exchanged (he put my name in his phone as “Beautiful,” it was quite the power move, it worked), and that was that.

Since then, we’ve had sleep overs at homes and my Redhill apartment, we’ve had two apartments together, lived with his parents for an extended period of time (thank you Linda and Shelly!), we’ve travelled to Washington DC, GERMANY, Salt Lake City, Arizona (does that count? I’m counting it), Guatemala.  We’ve spent weekends in Big Bear, Solvang, and Santa Barbara (aaaaaages ago).  We bought and sold a business.  We’ve jumped into various creative endeavors to varying degrees of success.  We’ve supported each other in all of them.  We’ve both lost jobs and found others.  We’ve supported each other through all the emotional ups and downs of that as well.

We’ve watched fireworks erupt all over the city from my grandma’s rooftop.  We’ve watched the rain from a quant little German balcony.  We’ve tried to party with my cousins in Antigua.  We’ve painfully explored Neuschwanstein Castle and in bewilderment paddled through a mountain lake with swans.  We’ve camped, we’ve driven, we’ve walked. We used to bike.  A little. Maybe twice.  Oh there was that bike ride through Germany with Mike and Henry, with rain and music.  That was pretty epic.

We got married (still the best dance party I’ve EVER been to).  We’ve had kids.  We bought a home.  We’re raising a beautiful family.  We appreciate each other, we love each other, we respect each other.

10 years of birthdays.  Nosebleed Lakers tickets.  Coheed and Cambria tickets.  Weekend get away in Big Bear with friends.  Family dinners.  Beer.  Lots of beer.  And chocolate cake.  Always chocolate cake.

Jeff, you’re an amazing man, an awesome husband, and an admirable father.  I just can’t get enough of you.  Thank you for sharing your life with me and always putting in 110% when it comes to our family.  Or anything you do, for that matter.  Thank you for being my Vanilla Sky.