Brandon moved into my ward in June, but for some reason or another, I didn't meet him until July 11th. It was a Monday. I noticed him at FHE, and decided to talk to him afterward since he was the only one there I didn't recognize. He was talking to my neighbor, so I drove up (Kimberly was in the car and was sure I was a weirdy for going out of my way to say hi...) and rolled down the window and said something to the effect of, "Hi! I don't know you. My name is Savannah. Who are you?" We realized we had the same last name, and agreed we'd have to do family history to figure out how we were related...
That weekend was the ward campout. We spent some time together, but not much, and I was calling him my cousin or my not-cousin the whole time (apparently it took some people a bit of time to realize we weren't really related). We did a bit of family history searching on my phone, but had no luck in finding any matches. Or, rather, we were lucky to have not found any matches. The following Monday, we had a ward FHE at the Brinkerhoff's house. We were able to sneak away and use their computer to play around on FamilySearch some more. Again, nothing. Brandon noted later that this was important for him - he said he was glad to know we weren't related.
This picture was taken that night, courtesy of Beth. Notice how
The next weekend, Kimberly and I invited him to hang out with us a few times. We watched Tangled one night, and we set off fireworks in honor of Pioneer Day. We would see each other every so often, mostly at church gatherings. I headed home to New York for a week and a half to celebrate my mom's birthday, to go through the Temple, and to go to one of my best friends' wedding. He was excited for me, and even remarked a few times that he wished he could come along. That's one of the first things that attracted me to him - he was always happy, always pleasant to be around, and he was just a good guy. He was thrilled to hear I was going through the Temple, and that made me all the more excited about getting to know him.
When I returned, he began coming along on our weekly Temple trips. We loved the time we got to spend in the Temple, and I loved spending time with him. The week I started teaching (August 22nd) was the week we started hanging out consistently. There was rarely a day that would pass that I wouldn't see him for at least a few minutes, and definitely not a day when we wouldn't communicate. I started dropping small hints that he should ask me on a date. He got the message, though it took him a little while (in my impatient opinion...). I had several other guys come out of the woodwork and ask me on dates the same week Brandon did. It helped me to realized how much I really did want him to ask me. Our first date was September 9th. It had been a long week and I was exhausted. He asked me out that afternoon over text message (yes, I still give him a little grief about that every now and again. I still love you, babe. And I'd go on a million more dates with you if you asked me over text again and again....). The date was short and relaxing, because we were both exhausted. We got ice cream and walked around talking. He got nervous because we were at the duck pond and I told him a story of an awkward DTR I'd experienced there. I just thought it made for a good story; he thought I was implying something. Anyway, I had fun time with him, but I still wasn't convinced he was interested. We spent the next week hanging out as usual. On Sunday, he jokingly said something to me about taking me out the next Friday, too, but I wasn't sure if he was serious. On Monday, after FHE, some girl called him and invited him to go hot-tubbing with her. He said he could probably go on Friday, which crushed all my hopes and dreams. Or something. Kimberly walked in the room, and I said something about it. She got upset at Brandon and said "But you're going out with Savannah on Friday!" It was a relief when he said, "I know! I don't really plan on going with this other girl." Thank heavens! Anyway, that Friday we went to the Bombay House here in Provo. It was super yummy, we had great conversation, and that's when he first called me his girlfriend. Up to that point, I was still not convinced he was interested in me as more than a friend. Apparently, he'd considered us dating for quite awhile though... Funny boy.
I loved Brandon's confidence as we started dating. We communicated easily, we had fun together, and we had good conversations. He was tender in the way he talked to and about me, which was a refreshing change from the guys I was used to being around. He never said (or says) anything cruel or sarcastic about me, even in jest. I love his kind words. I love his sensitivity. I love his respect for women, and for children of God in general.
As we continued dating, Brandon brought up marriage rather quickly. That terrified me, but I knew he was a wonderful man and I knew he was worth the leap of faith. I put the brakes on deciding anything for sure in terms of marriage, though I kept building our relationship. We had a lot of fun together, and I loved spending time with him. We quickly became best friends, and I quickly fell in love with him.
We did fun things like go to BYU football games. I love football, and I loved that Brandon sacrificed some of his evenings (and rearranged his work schedule) to come watch with me. :)
We took a few road trips in October. At the beginning of the month, we went to Idaho for my cousin's baptism. We also surprised Brandon's family when his brother Justin went through the Temple. They had no idea Brandon was coming. Nor did they know he was dating anyone. Surprise! It was a fun evening, to say the least. Especially because we were late getting to the Temple and didn't know if we'd make it in time... We all went to Shari's afterward, and his family welcomed me with smiles and open arms. I was definitely excited to get to know all of them better. :) Brandon was concerned I might be scared away, but he had nothing to worry about. I can do crazy....
We spent a lot of time with my cousins in Idaho, too, and I think Brandon enjoyed himself.
Anyway, this is getting longer than I expected.... Though, honestly, I could talk for hours about my man. Mostly just saying things like, "He's so great. I love him. He's so wonderful. Really, I'm so lucky. He's amazing." Since that's a little too much mush for one blog, I'll close quickly and leave you with some cute pictures of me with my man. :) The end of this story, and the beginning of a truly wonderful future, happened on January 27th, when Brandon dropped down on one knee and asked me to marry him. We'll be getting sealed in the Palmyra Temple on May 12th, and we couldn't be happier. Every day I get more and more excited to marry my handsome prince, the man of my dreams, my favorite Brandon Dean.
This is from when we went to Temple Square to see the lights right before Christmas. It was a COLD night, but we had a ton of fun.
And...the final few pictures are from a set of engagement pictures Kelli took for us down at Provo castle. The top is my favorite normal-ish looking one. The bottom is my favorite picture from the whole set. Our expressions are priceless!