Wednesday, June 10

Summer of Love: The Contestants!

Narrowing it down to the top 3 was a real challenge- we got some great entries! But, thankfully, I had some trusty friends and family give their 2 cents and I think we've come up with the best of the best here.

Now a quick refresher on how this works- out of all the entries I/we chose the top 3 finalists. Voting begins on June 13th, here, on the blog. So be thinking about who you'd like to choose and be sure to let your friends and family know to vote for you if you are one of the final 3 couples!

Without further ado... meet the finalists!

John & Anita
The Longest in Love

John & Anita were nominated by their daughter, Arly. She writes,
"They met in college at Eastern. Mom saw Dad across a hall playing his guitar and thought "he was so handsome". Later they ended up car pooling to and from La Grande every day. They started dating, and one day Mom turned to Dad and said: "So when are we getting married?" and his response was "What about Saturday?" Dad had already bought Mom's wedding dress and everything, he just never asked her. So that Saturday they got married. (This is the story I've always been told.)"
Now, is that true?!! I want to know!

Arly also writes,
"They do all they can for others, and little for themselves. If you need anything at anytime, my parents are always the first ones to jump in and help.

They've been married for over 30 years (35 I believe actually), and are still going strong. My mom just retired this year after 30 + years of teaching, and my dad will retire in December.

I feel they deserve this for several reasons- to celebrate their love, to celebrate the retirements, and to celebrate mom's cast coming off her ankle after 2 1/2 years! :) I don't think we have any professional pictures of my parents, as they are not the type of people to spend money on themselves. "
Good luck John & Anita! You are our couple that is not only the longest in love, but also great examples of paying it forward and spreading your love through out the community.

Arnie & Heather
In Sickness & Health

Prepare yourselves with a box of Kleenex for this one...
Straight from Heather, herself:

From the moment I met my husband, I knew I would love him. He was awkward and clumsy, and not at all my "type", but he was the most kind, gentle, loving and patient man I had ever met and I knew I would spend my life with him. After dating for several months, we decided to start a family. We tried for several years to no avail, but we knew in our hearts we would someday have the family we had always dreamed.

In the summer of 2003, it seemed the impossible had been achieved. We learned we were pregnant, and not only that, we were to have twins!!! We were elated...until I began to have complications in my twelfth week. I was put on strict bedrest and Arnie worked, took on all the household chores and waited on me hand and foot. At twenty weeks I was moved to the hospital and we were told that there was a great chance our twins would not make it. Arnie continued to work and take care of the house, but he spent every unoccupied minute with me at the hospital. For six weeks he slept at my side in an uncomfortable hospital chair until our twins were born fourteen weeks early.

Augustus and Olivia were born weighing just over a pound each. They spent three months in the NICU while we sat by their incubators watching them grow. They came home with oxygen, monitors, and required constant specialized care, twenty-four hours a day for the first year. We almost lost our son on three different occasions.

Both children had multiple surgeries. Arnie continued to work, we slept in shifts and somehow got through it all. As the kids have grown, their health problems have decreased and they have become happy, healthy, five year old, regular kids. Unfortunately, in that time, my health has deteriorated, and my husband has had to assume the role not only of husband, father, and breadwinner, but also one of caregiver. I know this is not the life he anticipated. I know that many people would not have made it through all the trauma we have had. But I also know that he profoundly loves us as we do him....and this profound love binds us together, in good or bad, in sickness or health, through this summer of love, and the next one, until forever.
Are you done bawling yet? Okay a few more sniffles... Awesome, huh?! I love love!

Matt & Emily
I Would Walk 500 Miles

How cute is this- Matt nominated he and his fiancé for the contest, and had to keep re-writing the essay to bring the word count down! You know you've got a keeper when he can't stop writing an ESSAY about how much he loves you! So though it ran a little long, here is the whole thing for you to read! Matt & Emily's story would make a really great movie... read...

Our first date was on May 13, 2004. It was a 48 hour train trip from Eugene, OR to Monterey, CA that we planned a month in advance after having spent an hour in each others company. We have celebrated our “monthiversary” 60 times since then.

I'm omitting a few early details for the sake of the word count, so lets just say I went to Eugene to visit a girl I thought I was interested in, and wound up getting knocked off my feet by a friend of hers who introduced herself to me by burning me a cd.

I spent the whole ride home in silence in the backseat of a friend's car, daydreaming about this girl. As soon as I got back to my dorm, I nervously emailed her and began working on a CD to send back. Somehow we began a marathon month-long session of IM chats, emails, and phone calls. The deeper we got, the later we stayed up. There were a couple of mornings where we stopped talking to watch the sunrise. Every night we would have four or five songs that we would pass to the other and listen to at the same time with our eyes closed. We wrote poetry, and translated it into different languages only for the other person to translate back. We sent handwritten letters. We told no one.

I don't remember how the conversation came up, but at some point we must have both agreed that we would like to take a train ride together. Monterey was the farthest we could get away on our budget. The rest was history. Neither of us were risk takers, and we aren't now. But something clicked when we met, and it turned on (or off) something in both of us for a large enough amount of time for something truly great to happen.

Every second of that trip is burned into my memory. Sitting in the observation car at night, watching the Oregon wilderness blur by with our headphones on, we kissed for the first time. We had no idea what we were doing, where we were going, why we were going there, and what we were supposed to do next. I remember walking for 3 or 4 hours across a freeway and a tough stretch of beach, holding hands and both being in awe at the situation we found ourselves in. Around midnight, we crept onto a public beach and set up our tent to sleep for the night. When we woke up the next day, there were families around us making sand castles.

We've been through a lot since then. But our trip still finds ways to shine through, sometimes when we least expect it. Every time we ride on a train (including 2.5 months traveling across Europe). Every time we hear certain songs. We walked across Cannon Beach for 45 minutes in the dark, listening to most of our songs again before I proposed last month. Sometimes its smaller and more spontaneous. Two nights ago we sat in the backyard of the house we bought together, eating salad from our garden, playing cards and listening to a new playlist, re-living the moments that brought us together and discussing everything we'd been through since.

Whenever I try and quantify what that trip meant to me, I am reminded of two days before we left. My car broke down randomly, and robbed me of my only means of transportation to Eugene. I remember lying in bed, trying to calculate at what time I should leave if I were to walk the 45 miles to her in Eugene in order to get there on time. If not for a few lucky breaks, I would have, and it would have absolutely been worth it.


So those are our couples! Going to be hard to choose who to vote for, huh?!! Feel free to discuss in the comments of this post :) To refresh your memory on what the winners win click HERE

**Voting starts on JUNE 13TH and will commence on June 15th- followed by the announcement of the winning couple!**


Rach June 12, 2009 at 9:41 AM  

im voting early cause i wont have internet.

i vote #1.

all of them were great, i just love the fact they dove in and got married that weekend!

Arly June 13, 2009 at 8:03 AM  

I dont know how to vote... but I vote for #1!!! :)

Caitlin June 15, 2009 at 10:17 AM  

I vote for #2! What a sweet story!

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