Jenny: We met while we were college students at the University of Michigan. We were both part of a Christian group on campus, but never really ran into each other since we were different ages, had different majors, and lived on different parts of campus. The first time we both remember talking was when the group was planning a relief trip to New Orleans over spring break. We had both done Hurricane Katrina relief work before and chatted about how much those experiences had meant to us. After this 5 minute conversation, we didn’t see each other again until our group trip to New Orleans in February 2008.
Craig: We were on different 8 person “teams” in New Orleans, but for a few days our two teams were assigned to work on the same house. Our first task? Scraping the exterior so it could be repainted. They needed two volunteers to go on the 3rd story scaffolding, so Jenny climbed up. I decided, “This girl is pretty cute–I’ll go up and work with her!” We chatted for 3 hours nearly 30 feet in the air while everyone else worked below us. Someone on our site happened to catch this photo:
Jenny: After this day, we spent the remainder of the trip staying up until 2 or 3 am talking and getting to know each other, then waking up at 6 am to begin the work day! Once we got back to Michigan, Craig invited me to use up one of his dining hall meal passes with him. I gladly accepted (this guy was smart, funny AND cute!), and there Craig asked if he could take me on our first date. Of course, I said yes.
Craig: A few days later, I took Jenny to Kiwanis, a huge thrift store on campus. We played my newly-invented game: The Four Dollar Challenge. I gave us each $4 and 15 minutes to find the most eclectic, yet useful, things for each other. The results? A digital clock powered by a potato, a kite-making kit for two, a penguin puzzle, an instructional photography book from the ’70s, and a “#1 Bubby” coffee mug I still use to this day. Click the link below to watch Jenny flying her 50 cent kite in 2008 (and remember, you get what you pay for).
Three and a half years later, after many adventures (remind us to tell you about the time we canoed across the Grand Traverse Bay!), I recreated the Four Dollar Challenge. Unbeknownst to Jenny, I planned it all out in advance and had little trinkets representative of our relationship (like a miniature canoe!) stored to make them “look” like thrift store finds.
Jenny: After getting home and exchanging our findings, I, thinking the trip to the thrift store was MY idea, was baffled that Craig found all these things so perfect for us for only $4. Lastly, he gave me a teddy bear in a tuxedo with the words “Will you…marry me?” embroidered on the paws. Still confused (how could Craig have known these items would be there?!), I looked up to see him on one knee. After about 10 seconds to get over the initial shock–I think my first response was “I’m so confused!”–I said yes.