Once upon a time a boy met a girl.  
They met through a friend (with quite a lot of funny details bundled up into that “meeting” which is their own story to tell).  Then the girl sent that boy a message, which happened to come in right as the boy happened to be looking for a date for that evening.  
So he asked her if she would come along.  
The girl acted all casual and said “sure!”…not letting on that she actually had other commitments that she then proceeded to scramble to rearrange to make that date work.  
And right from the start, the boy started smiling like he never had before.
After a while, the boy, liking the girl more than he could express, brought her home to meet his family.  She fit right in and the whole family loved her right from the start.  But as much as the boy’s mother loved this new girl her son had brought smack-dab into the middle of the little family kingdom she had worked so hard to create, this whole scenario put her on edge.  She could feel the seriousness of that relationship in her bones.  She knew that boy.  Her boy.  And she knew there was something different about this.  Something solid and beautiful and good but something that scared her spitless. First of all, the boy was young.  And the girl was even younger.  There was so much schooling ahead of them, so many life decisions, so much to get to know about each other.  And second, that boy was hers.  Not someone else’s.  And she didn’t think she could ever let him go.
At first that mother wouldn’t even talk to the boy when he brought marriage up.  She would just give him her very most professional best effort to change the topic, and talk to him about study abroad or his major or how much money he would need to save before he should even think about that.  But what do you know, that mom’s dad was right that last summer when he looked her right in the eyes and told her it wasn’t her decision.
All the while there was some interesting work going on behind the scenes.  Or perhaps it’s better to say work from “above” the scenes, because surely it was the work of angels.  Those angels blanketed peace over the parents of that boy.  
Over and over again.  
At random times and various occasions, at the grocery store and driving a carpool, in a work meeting or in an unrelated conversation.  Layer after layer of calm settled in.  And those parents gradually came to realize that the smile on their son’s face when he spoke of that girl was there for a reason.  That girl was golden.  She made their son’s heart shine.  He needed her.  And she needed him.  Those parents saw the synergy of that relationship and realized that sometimes it just works to find each other when you’re young, and you can grow together in beautiful it ways.  Those parents began to not only accept, but to bask in the the beauty of it all.

So, fast forward to last weekend when the boy took the girl of his dreams first to a session of conference:

Then went and changed clothes and headed up into the gorgeous Utah mountains for a picnic. 

That cute girl of his was a little surprised he was so set on heading up there.  Sure, the fall colors blanketing those mountains were calling to them, but 1) it was getting late, and 2) it was also cold.  And once they got there, blanket laid out in that gorgeous spot, she also thought it was quite peculiar that he wasn’t eating.  (The boy was never at a loss for eating :).  
At some point, (I’m sure not very long after they arrived with his nerves bouncing all over creation), the boy knelt on one knee and pulled a diamond ring from his sock and slipped it onto the girl’s finger.
(As a side-note, the diamond from the ring was from his mother’s ring that his dad had pulled out of his own sock long ago…his mother loved it but hadn’t worn it for years since she preferred wearing a simple band instead.  So when the boy asked the parents about that possibility, since he was their only boy, and they loved the girl he wanted to give it to, they decided they would be honored for him to give her to have that diamond.  He got it re-set and in a simply beautiful setting and somehow it makes those parents feel even more connected and a part of it all.)
The boy’s family was in California for Fall Break when this was all happening.  They had been talking through all the details of the surprise that boy was giddy to pull off, and were waiting anxiously for news.  
And then this popped up on their family group message:

And then all the jumping for joy broke out, right there on the bay with a beautiful sunset as a backdrop.  They FaceTimed that overjoyed couple and got all the over-the-moon-with-excitement details and everyone’s hearts were SO FULL!

They went back to the girl’s apartment where that boy had snuck in before and laid out all kinds of her favorite treats and some notes and pictures and flowers on her bed.

…I think we can safely say they were pretty thrilled.

They even went back to the mountains the next day since the boy’s sisters weren’t satisfied with the one picture they got 🙂

(sorry I have to put all those pictures in because I love every one.)
And there we have it:
The story of the joyous engagement of a boy and a girl who are madly in love.
When these guys decided that marriage was their next step Max knew it had to be December or June because of the upcoming volleyball season.  They both thought long and hard about it, fasted and prayed and went to the temple, and decided December is what they wanted.  I mean, if you know you are going to get married, you may as well just go for it, right?  
So here we are, along for the ride!  And oh boy, what a ride it’s going to be all wrapped up in the holidays!  Every day I feel a little surge of crazy and joy… and peace, all mixed up together.  Love you Abby, and SO happy and grateful that you’re joining our family!  I am in unchartered territory, and apologize in advance for how strong my heartstrings to that boy are, but I can’t think of a better girl in all the whole wide world to share him with…and neither can his sisters or his dad 🙂  
xoxo forever


  1. Beautifully written Shawni!
    My heart is happy for your family. Love grows and evolves over time and this is just the beginning of that growth for your family. Congratulations Max and Abby ~ follow your bliss!

  2. Your dad is right. When you were in college missionary ages were different. I think your own parents actually encouraged you and your sisters to attend schools with low numbers of church members and to go on study abroads so you would not realistically marry until after coming back from a mission at 22. Girls will now be marrying at 20 and boys at 21 with the new missionary ages. Instead of 22/23 and 21/22. Not a massive difference over a lifetime. Utah and Idaho and Arizona seem set up for college age marriage and parenthood. Lots of high schools actually give students more chances to get some college credit early. This is America where you can go to school at any age of adulthood. Kids in this generation are ahead of the game. He could have joined the military two years ago. Plenty old enough.

  3. I absolutely love the rawness & honesty of this post. It’s so refreshing in a world where we see everyone’s life as perfect, so thank you !!
    I’m so happy for them. As someone who had a whirlwind romance and from our first date to wedding date was 6 weeks, I can tell you it’s not always rainbows and butterflies but 18 years and 3 children later we are happy!
    Congratulations max & Abbie!!

  4. I found your blog via YHL when they featured Max's room in your old house what feels like eons ago (and absolutely was)! I can't believe he's getting married. Mazel Tov to him and Abby and to your family!

  5. This makes me cry happy and sad tears. My little guy is only 2… TWO and i cant even imagine! But i know you will be an amazing mother in law! ♡♡♡♡♡♡♡

  6. So very happy and so sad! On the one hand, seeing all that love and joy your son is experiencing must be deeply thrilling. On the other hand, a teenager (her) getting married just a few months after meeting a a guy deeply unsettling. No life or relationship is ever easy; and there’s no one path to happiness. I’m wishing you all the best as you navigate this transition. I’m wishing Max and Abby all the best (and hoping they’ll at least wait a little for babies!) as they live through this magical time.

  7. Congratulations to Max and Abby! My friends daughter is married, attends U of U, and is a college volleyball player! It can be done! Max has an awesome extended family and grandparents in Utah when he has questions about marriage. Plus Max has four sisters and a mom all with different temperaments, so I dont think he will be too shocked when everything isnt all hunky dory with the wife now and then! Hes probably learned a lot from his sisters! I do hope he AND Abbie can go to Jerusalem and study abroad together. What memories to have as a married couple! So ecstatic to see such happiness – and you are right – Max has the biggest smile ever!

  8. Oh I can’t even begin to imagine the feelings of letting your only boy go. I only have one boy and this brought all the feels!
    I think she looks similar to his girl friend in high school, and think they both look a little like you!

  9. The fact that you're young when you marry does not mean that you don't travel and evolve (or maybe have a semester abroad on your own). I've started dating my husband (even though we married almost ten years later, it was a committed relationship) when I was 21 and we did all that.
    Congratulations to the couple!

  10. Congratulations to Max! My husband and I started dating when I was 18 and he was 19 – although we did not get married until we were 26 (we're from the east coast – 26 was young here!!) – and I so loved growing up with him. I'm sure Max and Abby will feel the same, and be so grateful they met young; we definitely are – and we're so glad we met in college and missed out on the dating apps thing. Can't wait to read all about the wedding planning!

  11. oh, Shawni! I am so happy for your family!! Congratulations to Max and Abby! This is so exciting and I totally get why this would be a crazy huge thing to wrap your head around. Sending you all our love and best wishes for all of the wedding planning! xoxo

  12. I was only 20 when I married my husband. We met at BYU also. I got my bachelors and masters degree in Accounting (Tax), and my husband got his bachelors degree, studied for the LSAT, applied to law school and scolarships all while being married. He we to to law school and I took the CPA exam (passed on the 1st try), all while being married. He even went on a 6 week study abroad one summer and a 12 week internship another summer away from me. I kept plenty busy at work as a CPA and my YW calling with girls camp, youth conference, a business trip of my own, visiting girlfriends, etc. There were many weekends spent in cubicles side by side as we both studied ALL DAY LONG. It was nice to have a companion during your early 20's when you have so many difficult and mundane life to get through.

  13. I also have a boy that I was very close to as he was growing up. While in college he met a girl and they decided to get married. She is a treasure to our family. We can't imagine our family without her and I still have that special relationship with my son. This boy and girl happen to be Abby's Dad and Mom. We have not only fallen in love with her but her parents and her siblings and it just keeps growing. Nothing could be better. Our family is thrilled to have Max as apart of us. Life can't be better than this when the Lord is in charge. Blessings just keep coming.

    1. Love this! I have fallen in love with her too, and look forward to getting to be "related" to such a great woman 🙂 Hope I get to meet you at the wedding!

  14. I feel like this was my story about 10 years ago… we celebrate our 10th anniversary in December (I love and hate that it is so close to Christmas, but it’s life).

    Your dad’s advice sounds like my dad when I asked if he liked and approved of my now husband… “it’s not my eternity, It’s yours. Why would I make that decision for you?” It almost set me on edge, but I realized how right he was. He shouldn’t, and really can’t, take responsibility for that.

    I’m crying happy and sad tears for you. I have three girls… and a boy. And even though he’s two, I ache for the day he will get married. He’s had my heart from day one and I dread that day of him finding someone else. Thank you for your example and honest truth about going through that process. It gives me hope!!!

    Many congratulations and happiness to Max and Abbie, and your family!!! So many adventures and greatness headed your way!!

  15. What a wonderful story. I have three boys. My heart starts to hurt when I know that I won't be the number one gal anymore. However, it is a good hurt that will change into something stronger and that has more depth. Most things can't progress or grow without some struggle or challenge. How we face that change is where we are able to shine and have perspective. Tis but a small moment and you are able to add more to your heart with your Max's dear Abby. How amazing life is.

  16. Congratulations!! I have read your blog for years and where did the time go?? Someone please make it slow down for us moms, right:). The smile on theirs faces says it all. You have raised that boy right and he is going to be a great husband and father. They have a lot of wonderful examples to draw from on both sides I am sure. This is so exciting! Big HUGS!

  17. YAY for MAX and ABBY!!! I'm very happy for both of them and the loving families on both sides. This is such a joyous post and I am grateful you shared this exciting news with us–so sorry that anyone could say anything negative at such a wonderful announcement and celebratory time for the family. It is true there is a brighter smile 🙂 than ever before, when they find the one they want to spend eternity with. Abby looks like she will fit right in to the family beautifully. What a cute couple. I wish them all the best! How exciting!!!

  18. I’m the first daughter in law in my husbands family. My relationship with my mother in law is so, so sweet. I treasure her so much. I can just see in the months and years to come how that will ring true for you and your daughter in law too. ❤️

  19. Dear Dk, while I respect that everyone has their own opinion and like to leave them all here (especially the contrary ones to be honest…I have learned so much over the years from the perspectives shared here, those that agree and those that don't…so many points of view in the world!), I do like to keep this spot on the internet a positive place. Please keep comments respectful so that we can learn from each other in a way that builds.

    Thank you!

    1. When you put a blog out there expect to get both positive and mixed reviews! That is all I was indicating!

      Once again best wishes and happy wedding planning! I will say I wouldn’t have commented if you had wrote a more honest candid post vs a cutesy poem!

      Your kids are adults and it’s none of my business but don’t advertise parenting books written by your parents on entitlements and open communication if this is the sort of thing you think is ok!

      I wish them nothing but the best!

    1. I think I'll feel different with every one of my children since they are all so different and unique in their own ways, and will pick such unique spouses. I hope I'll be this happy with all their choices! 🙂

  20. Happy for you all. I got married fairly young, and I loved the fact that my husband and I grew towards each other. He mellowed me out a fair amount, and I have helped him grow more punctual.

    I loved this post.

  21. So beautifully written! I’ve followed your blog for years and have also known Abby’s parents for years…since before they were married. Love that family with all my heart. I’m telling you they are the best of the best! Congratulations to Abby and Max. She introduced him to me a couple of weeks ago and I could not be more happy for them!! Such an exciting time for you all.

  22. Congrats to Max and his sweetheart! They'll be great! I LOVED your feelings with this! Now I'm going to go and cherish the moments with my sweet children some more–because before long . . . I can't even think about that right now. 😀 You're wonderful! Thank you!

  23. Congratulations! My only son happens to be my youngest and while he is only 7 I know the years will fly by and I will be feeling all the feels when some other woman comes along and wants to share his heart. You wrote this post beautifully, and I'm excited to see all the wedding plans!

  24. Cheers to a new season of life for Max and for you! Time marches on even as we mommas sometimes try to dig our heels in at first and make it all stop for a moment! You all will transition beautifully, I’m sure. ❤️
    Enjoy this season of wedding/marriage anticipation. Thrilled for you all!

  25. She is adorable and they look so happy! My oldest comes home from his mission in July and this makes me NERVOUS as heck. I don't want to share him yet, but I love your attitude and encouragement. So many feels about the end of an era and embracing the start of a new one. Yikes and Yippee all at once.

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