Our Love Story

How It All Began

We met online in January 2019 (Craig’s Navy birthday) and after Krista (finally) started to talk to Craig in more than one word answers, we transitioned to text messaging for another couple weeks, including throughout the Superbowl. Then, when we went on our first date on February 8, 2019, the Friday after Superbowl weekend. Craig was half asleep and Krista ate a whole Porterhouse steak at Outback! Surprisingly, we still hung out after that. LOL

Our second date wasn’t a date at all. The day after our first date, we hung out playing poker with Navy friends while they were drinking Uzo and Dragon'a Milk beer. He was not batting a thousand on conservative Krista’s boyfriend meter, but Craig kept booking up Kristen’s time in advance, so he managed to create a relationship anyway. Lucky for both of us...

How We Fell In Love

March 2–3, 2019, we went to Kittery, Maine for a weekend mini–vacation at a place we call "The Breakers" (because it reminds us of a movie script Krista wrote about a place called “The Breakfront for Every Day Superheroes” that’s at The Breakers). During that trip, the first night, we walked around the resort enjoying reading the history, smiling at ladies participating in a scrapbooking convention. That night felt like we were two best friends truly enjoying time together. It just felt like coming home after long hard times away. We settled into a deeper connection relationship that night.

The next morning, Krista got really ill, having gotten cross contamination from gluten, lobster, and/or milk protein (arsenic) in her system. Worried about checking out late, with our first vacation being ruined, and worried that Craig would be disappointed and upset missing out on our fun vacation, as Kristen spent all Saturday morning and afternoon sick, Craig was so wonderful, loving, patient, helpful, and understanding, that he softened Krista’s guarded heart. She KNEW our future that day during prayer meditation, as she felt and said, "Craig is going to be my husband."

After Kristen was feeling better, we went to Smuttynose Brewery for a tour and had more of a wonderful time together.

Weekend Driving Trips

The trips we took helped us to get to know each other on a deep basis because hours isolated in a car means no alone time, no meditating, and every little thing each person does is very close to the other person. After the Kittery, Maine trip, which is about 7 hours total driving time, every weekend we went on a road trip those first months dating.

Driving to Virginia Beach from eastern Connecticut is a ten–hour drive each way meaning 20 hours in a car over a weekend with only 1 full day in Virginia! It is tough to make that drive while it drags out and both people are stir crazy and uncomfortable crammed into a vehicle. Craig also quit smoking and dipping and e–cigarettes that first month, so he was especially irritable. Somehow we made it through each trip and the trips got easier as we got closer.

March 23, 2019 was the first trip to Virginia Beach, so Craig could show Kristen around, because he loves Virginia Beach and wanted to be stationed there again, so he wanted Kristen to love it too.

The next weekend was Craig’s birthday on March 28, 2019, which coincided with Smith’s reenlistment, so we spent the long weekend in Boston. Craig’s birthday was Thursday. Smith had his ceremony on the USS Constitution on Friday. Everyone enjoyed a delicious lunch afterward at Wahlburgers, then we celebrated in downtown Boston. That’s about a 3 hour drive each eay.

We made the trip back and forth CT–VA–CT 5 times between March–Octbober!!!

Deep Relationship

We spent every weekend together, having dinner together every night that Craig wasn’t on duty, and spending pretty much all of our free time getting to know each other. There were some rough patches that needed to be worked out through the first few months, but we did indeed work through them. Then things also drastically changed in our dynamics when Craig started going out to sea.

We started communicating through love letters. The depth of our closeness expanded as exponentially as the oceanic distance between us. Now, Kristen often comments that Craig is a better writer than Nicholas Sparks!

One of the things Craig came to appreciate most about Krista was the care packages she gave him. Care is the best word to define them since she put so much love and time into developing those care packages! Craig gets emotional when talking about them because it shows how much Krista loves him and the lengths she goes to show him that he is appreciated.

It’s beautiful to talk about each other because our appreciation for each other is epic! The attentiveness, acceptance, and motivation we give each other is wonderful. Together, we are complete because we have complementary qualities and each bring to the relationship what the other is lacking alone. We are more creative together. We achieve more goals together. We expand each other’s dreams because together we can see more possibilities than we ever saw before we met.

Settling into our committed relationship came naturally with the ability to feel so spiritually connected while Craig was out to sea most of the summer.

Our letters helped immensely, to build trust, strengthen our commitments to each other, and developing an even stronger friendship. We have both said several times that we are best friends and how awesome it is to finally have a best friend as a life mate.

How We Got Engaged

Between one underway and the biggest longest underway of the year, Craig proposed to Kristen. We had discussed getting married before Craig moved to wherever, not knowing if that would be Japan, Washington state, Virginia Beach, or possibly any boat in the Navy anywhere in the world, for as long as a year at sea! With this as a real possibility, the whole summer we didn’t know our fate! We couldn’t make any solid plans because there was no way to know where Craig would get stationed

Craig was driving around with the ring in his pocket and took Kristen to her favorite town, Niantic, behind our favorite diner, Gumdrops and Lollipops, and we walked around, sat on a bench, talked and snuggled looking at the clouds and the ocean together for a while.

When we saw a labyrinth maze that a local church had created near the small outdoor park ampitheatre, we started walking through it. It was an incredible spiritually energetic experience walking through the maze.

When we got to the center, Craig got on one knee, ring in hand, and said some of the most beautiful and loving, supportive things Kristen has ever heard, and we got engaged.

Then, Kristen followed Craig out of the maze and said that she will follow his leadership, snuggling up to him from his back, and that was another beautiful moment we cherish about that amazing day.

Planning The Wedding

The whole month of July, Krista planned our wedding from Connecticut while communicating with Craig via emails because he was at sea. We signed contracts and made plans via technology! When Craig came back from being out to sea, Krista didn’t want to overwhelm him with a bunch of things he’d have to take care of, so she took care of almost everything while he was away. During his 2–1/2 days not at sea during sea trials, we went to a tasting by our caterer who pulled off a miracle, we got a loan for the exact amount we needed for the wedding, and a bunch of other miracles all occured right in front of them while we were in awe of God’s magnificence!!! Krista’s Pastor who doesn’t do weddings anymore prayed on it and the news came back at that same time that he would perform our nuptuals! This is crucially important for Krista because her Pastor has been instrumental in Krista’s spiritual maturity and accountability. These series of miracles reassured us as a relatively new couple that this marriage is fully supported by God because only God could pull off such extraordinary miracles!

Everything about our wedding is significant to our relationship. While planning the wedding, it became a labor of love to show how we fell in love, what we each love separately and together, and the things that envelop us as a couple.

Many of the places we visited have had the breakers and there were scrapbooking conventions at every hotel! We loved our trip to see the Newport mansion named The Breakers, and in the description of the history of Branford House, the Newport mansions were our inspiration too. Another of our favorite vacations was to Virginia Beach where we stayed at a hotel called The Sand Castle. The name in Kristen’s story is "The Breakers." These are the reasons why there are breakers at our venue.

Wreaths are significant because, when Craig first started messaging Kristen, he asked her to the Sub Ball which he said is like the Navy Prom. Since Krista never went to her prom, this was a big deal for her. She made a wreath corsage. Craig bought her a real flowers wrist corsage that she added to the fake flowers corsage wreath. After dinner when the dancing was starting, the couple had planned a matching change. Kristen got a temporary tattoo of a dragon on her back to match Craig’s uniform wrist dragon and tiger he got in Japan. She put the wreath corsage in her hair so we could dance without her arm corsage in the way. This shows how creative and fun we are as a couple! The wedding flowers are wreaths tying in that memory.

One of our favorite places is called Gumdrops and Lollipops in Niantic, CT, which is a 1950’s diner and candy store. Craig proposed in the park overlooking the ocean behind G&L. Craig calls Krista Cherry Blossom, so these things are also part of the theme.

Craig and Kristen are both Irish and Norwegian having those two nationalities in common. We like pubs and Craig is a beer afficianado. One of our best nights together was relaxing at a campfire when Craig came back from his first time out to sea. That homecoming was epic and the campfires are a beautiful memory for us as a couple.

The flowers we selected are mostly Krista’s favorites, but Craig gave Kristen a really amazing care package gift of a huge bouquet of flowers delivered to her at work with chocolate covered strawberries as a really amazing surprise after he was already out to sea the second time! That bouquet had the huge pink Stargazer Lilies and some of Kristen’s favorite flowers. Those bouquets are a big deal and a huge reminder that even when Craig is away, Krista is always on his mind and even though he isn’t big on planning, sometimes he pulls magic out of his cap! LOL Incidentally, CAP is his pet name since it is a Marvel comic and movie character and Craig’s initials!

Kristen loves dark carved wood, castles, and decorative British and oriental gardens. We tried to find places that have all we want in one place.

These are the things we want to incorporate into the wedding.

Making Music Together

Craig is a Musician and has written, produced, and performed 4 songs for Kristen, as well as others with bands and shared online. They are beautiful and he is very talented. This is another way we deepen our connection.

Kristen collaborates with Craig co-producing his songs. Together we feel more complete, more capable of doing greater things.

Kristen wrote some Christian behavior modification teaching songs that Craig is helping her produce. We have lots of plans that bring us closer together through our hobbies and dreams.

Branford House Mansion Engagement Party

Branford House is on the ocean with a HUGE 180º view of the sunset and boats.

It was the first place Craig saw when his boat first opened the hatch back home after being out to sea!!!!!! (That was literally right after Krista had just booked it.)

Branford House is so gorgeous that the venue speaks for itself with no need for decorations. When Krista first walked in, she cried. Honestly, the ocean view alone is worth it! Being at this property is like dreaming in real life, with the most magnificent architecture inside and out.

We both cried our first time at Branford House together, standing at the alter spot on the veranda. It is a magical place, fully perfect.

Unfortunately, the venue books up very fast and is already booked for every weekend next year, so we can't get married at Branford House Mansion overlooking the ocean. We are still exploring other options. Most likely, the wedding will be in the Virginia Beach area.

Wedding Postponement

The wedding plans will be on the ocean because the ocean is important to both of us. The ocean has obvious connections with Craig being in the Navy and that being how we fell deeper in love, communicating through the sea. Plus, we plan to travel the Caribbean by boat and travel the world together, so the ocean is a big part of our lives.

Moving To Virginia Beach

In mid October, we put in an offer on a single level ranch–style house, and we are going through the processes of buying a house in Virginia Beach.

It is an old house from the fifties, and needs a lot of work to bring it into the modern age, but it is a good starter home with a good base.

Since Craig wants to stay in Virginia Beach, we are planning our life there.

Kristen will be renting a business space and Craig will be working shore duty while he is still in the Navy. There are civilian jobs for Craig to transition to after he is finished with his time in the Navy.

We plan to work on the house, pursue our goals while working on our careers, and build a good life with great Christian fellowship at a new church once we get there.