Leah and Tyler

How We Met

First, a little background on us. Tyler (now my fiancé) and I are both from the suburbs of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. We both grew up in very small, rural towns, which I believe aided in our shared love for the outdoors and enjoyment of exploring God’s beautiful creation.

Tyler and I started dating as sophomores in highschool. Yes, we are THOSE high school sweethearts. There’s no official way we met but I do remember having a small crush on him in middle school, 8th grade, in Mr. O’s geography class. He was the “cool and popular dude” who played all the sports and everyone loved him. The 2 things I remember that made me initially fall for Tyler was his smile and his laugh. Oh that laugh, you could distinguish who it was coming from at the other end of the hallway.

The official date our relationship began was October 28, 2012 & I remember it like it was yesterday. It was late and I was just about to leave Tyler’s house to go home so I started my way toward the door, put my shoes on, said a quick goodbye to Tyler (being my awkward highschool self I’m sure we can all relate to) and opened the door to leave. Tyler gently grabbed me and said “wait,” turned me around, and officially asked me to be his girlfriend that night, sealing it with a kiss. (He’s good, am I right?)

We made our way through highschool together and then came college, in which we decided on the same school, not based on each other, but based on the fact that the school we each chose had great programs for what we each wanted to go for! That school was Slippery Rock University where he majored in safety management and I in recreational therapy. College passed by with so many amazing memories that we will forever hold close to our hearts. Honestly, our relationship became SO much stronger through college. Through all the stressors, the tough times, having to spend 2 summers away from each other, and everything else college brings, he was still my person, and I his. In this “college” chapter of our lives, we also got a dog, our baby Kota bear. He was and still is one of the best things in our life (you dog people will completely understand this one) & I of course couldn’t leave him out of this love story.

So, Tyler graduated a semester earlier than me and immediately landed a job and started working in his field. I, on the other hand, had to finish up my last semester and then had to complete my summer internship in Ohio. This was a pretty tough time in our relationship, not gonna lie. The distance was hard and it took a toll on us at times. BUT we never ever doubted our love for each other and that’s what got us through those tough times.


Fast forward a bit to a few months later and I have now graduated, and am searching for a job. Tyler is working on a safety site in West Virginia during the week, traveling back home to Pennsylvania every weekend.

Each weekend, Tyler and I try to plan something fun to do as my adventurous soul cannot sit still for too long and he knows this very well by now. It was close to our 7 year anniversary date, October 28, and Tyler asked me what I wanted to do for it. For our anniversaries, we usually go for experiences together over presents. So I casually said, I want to go on a hot air balloon ride! So, Tyler booked us a hot air balloon ride in the mountains of Pennsylvania near State College. Something like this isn’t really out of the ordinary for us to do SO, a proposal wasn’t really on my mind at all. Anyway, Tyler’s best friend, Alex, attends Penn State University in State College, PA, so we planned to go to his place Friday night after Tyler drove home from work in WV, and then Saturday we would wake up super early and go on our sunrise hot air balloon ride!!!

Tyler had this WHOLE thing planned out as the proposal, but that Friday night I got a baaaad case of food poisoning and ended up in the ER receiving IV fluids. I won’t get into too many details here as this night was “messy” to say the least. But for starters, Tyler had JUST bought a brand new car and you better believe I couldn’t control getting sick in it. Though, I can proudly say that I kept his car very clean, making sure that when I did get sick, I made it into the several grocery bags given to us by Alex, or outside on the side of the road. Thank goodness it was 2 am at this point and it was pitch dark. Yupp. No shame here, you’re allowed to laugh, as I have fully recovered now. :-) As you can guess, after we drove to the ER and got some fluids in me finding out it was most likely food poisoning, we drove all the way back home, arriving around 5 am. I think this whole experience truly brought our relationship to the next level. Tyler was SUCH a trooper through the whole thing, holding my hair back while I threw up the 35+ times I did, driving 90 mph to get me to the ER not knowing yet what was wrong with me, and pulling over multiple times for me, right on cue. Once home to my place, we both passed out and slept probably half the the next day & he still stuck by my side that day and took care of sick me. What. a. trooper. My goodness, I give him SO much credit because that night, that night was NOT pretty.

Meanwhile that day, Saturday, was supposed to be the hot air balloon ride and the PROPOSAL I knew absolutely nothing about. While in the ER, Tyler had texted everyone who already knew about the proposal to inform them what had happened and to make sure everyone kept quiet. I even had my nails done up due to my mom taking my grandma and I out to get a manicure a few days before. She easily had me believing that this “girls day” was solely for my grandma to get out and have her nails done for the very first time.

Fast forward 1 week, and Tyler tries to surprise me with the hot air balloon ride again. Well, the weather wasn’t safe that weekend for us to go up.

Fast forward another week, Tyler tries AGAIN to surprise me with the hot air balloon ride proposal. Too strong of winds to go up. So the ride was canceled yet again.

Fast forward yet another week and Tyler has now given up on the hot air balloon ride because the month is now December and the weather most likely will not cooperate in western PA, nor be reliable enough.

Tyler and I again planned to go to state college for the weekend so that we could spend time with Alex and his girlfriend since the last time we had to abruptly leave an hour after we arrived because I was puking my guts out. We planned a fun day Saturday to go out to brunch and then have a hiking day (one of our all time favorite activities to do

So, we drove the 2 and a half hours to state college again and got there Friday night (December 6th & 1 day after my birthday) in time for a double dinner date with Alex and his girlfriend, Cait. We went back to their place and had a nice movie night, watching Disney+. We then woke up the next morning and went out to eat a delicious brunch. Thereafter, we started the hike. The hike that would surpass all other many hikes I’ve done in my life, no matter the views.

It was a chilly 35 degrees, but with the sun shining bright and with us trekking our way up the trail, we all soon warmed up. It was a beautiful hike with the amount of snow increasing as we got higher. I am a snow lover, so this was perfect. The hike in itself was great. We chatted, giggled, and slipped a few times on ice as we made our climb, laughing our way to the top where there was a rock “tower” and a grand view. We all got some water from the backpack Alex was carrying and said that we should get some pictures because it was so pretty. (& if you know me, you know pictures are a must in pretty much everything I do, so I didn’t need much convincing for this) So Tyler and I go in the tower and being the goof that Alex is, he says “Leah, do the Titanic pose!” & me, well, being silly me, of course, climbs onto the rocks and faces out toward the view, full-on Titanic style. What I didn’t know was that during that moment, the love of my life was GETTING DOWN ON ONE KNEE.

After my clumsy self slipped on the ice I was standing on and almost fell, I turn around and there Tyler is: with the most beautiful and perfect ring I have ever seen.

“Oh, my gosh…. are you serious,” I say, “are you serious!?” I squeal. He’s got a smile going on from ear to ear and he laughs as he says “cmon, take your gloves off.” With gloves off, my absolute best friend looks up at me and asks “well, after 7 years…. will you marry me?” “YES!” I scream like a giddy little girl, with tears welled up in my eyes. He slips the ring on my finger and I can’t help but jump into his arms because I can’t contain my excitement. Best. Hike. Ever.

As neither of us can stop smiling, we soak up each moment, each feeling, each kiss, as we take some, okay not gonna lie, a lot of pictures. Huge shout out to Alex and Cait for capturing every second of this oh so special moment.

As we are taking the pictures, 2 hikers approach us at the tower and I can’t help myself but scream “WE JUST GOT ENGAGED!” The two guys laughed and congratulated us, and those two strangers are the first people I told, though literally everyone including my family & close friends knew about this happening, except for me of course.

They had all known for about a month, since the first failed attempt at the proposal, due to me getting sick. Tyler even met up with my dad about a month before this date, to ask for his blessing, which is so special to me. I guess Tyler caught my dad pretty off guard and actually made him cry (happy tears of course) while bringing his future son in law in for a bear hug. Tyler also secretly informed my mom of the big day and she totally knew what he was about to say before he even said it. She said that she was SO excited.

Turns out Tyler had EVERYTHING planned out for the proposal: with the help of Alex and Cait- From the hike to the exact trail and place the proposal would happen, to how Alex would slyly slip the ring from his backpack to Tyler without me seeing, to what would be said to get me to turn around with enough time to allow Tyler to get down on one knee, to who would be videoing and who would be taking pictures during the proposal. It was imperfectly perfect, just like us, and it was one of the happiest moments of my entire life.

Of course, I learned all about the first proposal idea, and second, and third AFTER the successful 4th attempt. I even learned that Tyler had a backup plan, a 5th attempt, just in case the hike did not work out with the luck he had been having. He bought a sign that he would have Kota wear saying “Mommy, will you marry Daddy?” But obviously, he did not have to use this backup plan & we are saving that sign for engagement pictures.

Tyler actually had the ring for almost 3 months and was for sure ready to make me his fiancé and ‘put a ring on it already.’ We are so beyond grateful that we get to spend the rest of our lives with one another and honestly, just like we say when we go camping or travel; what’s an adventure without a few setbacks, right?

Morals of the story:

•Things don’t always go as planned… and that is OKAY.

•Everything happens for a reason

•Food poisoning is NO JOKE Y’ALL

•Never ever give up on a love you truly believe in

•Absorb every second of special moments in life to their fullest

•And remember those feelings of butterflies in your stomach, those late-night kisses, and that “first feeling” of the ring going on your finger. That first realization that you get to spend the rest of your life with your absolute best friend by your side… for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness, and in health.

If you have read thus far, thanks for sharing our summed up love story with us. I can’t wait to marry the love of my life and be by his side forever. I thank God every single day for blessing me with such a wonderful & amazing guy.

We hope you enjoyed the moments and laughs shared & we wish each and every one of you the best in your own life’s adventures.