Cylburn Arboretum Fall Engagement Session – Tara & Dan

It was a session full of smiles and laughter. Koda had a blast watching the sky for things only he could hear and enjoyed showing off how regal he looked with mom and dad.

As Dan shared the story of how Koda became part of their lives, partially so Tara would have a tough looking running buddy, it was so sweet to hear how thoughtful he was in wanting to protect and care for his bride-to-be. That’s some strong love and it’s beautiful to see!

We can’t wait for your wedding next year!

Our First Date – Tara’s Side of the Story

Dan and I lived about an hour apart (he in Northern MD and myself in Southern MD) being the gentleman he is, he agreed to come my direction for dinner and a movie. Of course this came with a condition, I had to choose where we were going. Trying to be considerate, I asked Dan if he had any preference on food, complete dislike for a certain type of food, food allergies, or if he was pretty open. Dan cool and casually responds, “I’m up for anything and love all food.” Naturally, based on this response, I chose Thai food because I know there is a wonderful little Thai restaurant in Rockville Town Center and a movie theater right next door. I again follow up with Dan. “I’m thinking Thai. Have you ever had it before, and if not are you open to trying it?” To which Dan responds, “Never had it but sounds great!”

The day comes and Dan and I sit down for our Thai meal and I can start to tell something’s up but I’m thinking maybe it’s just nerves (aw how cute). Then when Dan’s meal arrives he’s merely picking at it, while I have managed to scarf down my entire plate. So now either I’m a total fatty at heart or something is definitely up. Long story short (sort of), a few dates later Dan fesses up that he hates Thai food and it made him sick. He is a straight up meat and potatoes, incredibly picky eater type with the most selective diet I’ve ever grown to know. So he had a good laugh with friends and family when the city girl decided to drag the country boy to the Thai place for dinner. Completely out of his comfort zone.

Dan’s Side of the First Date

The first date was easily the most nervous I have ever been in my life. It’s not everyday I had the chance to take out the most beautiful woman in the world. I thought about bailing at first out of pure fear but attempted to hold it together and go for it. She asked if I was cool with Thai food. Of course I was! I would of been down with eating dirt if she suggested it. As long as I got to see this girl again I couldn’t care less what we were going to eat. After I picked her up and we go into the little downtown area where the restaurant was we had to walk to the Thai restaurant. Walking with her by my side made me feel like the luckiest man in the world.

I was so excited to just be near her that I had a tough time concentrating on just walking in a straight line. It was almost like being drunk. Once at the Thai place, I realized I may be in over my head. My nerves were completely shot and I found out Thai food is absolutely horrible. I did my best to get down what I could but didn’t succeed. I played it off as just not being hungry because I didn’t want to hurt her feelings. Later on I came clean and told her I hated it and that I would never eat it again. Ever. The rest of the evening went great. After dropping her off at the end of the night, the entire drive home I was on cloud nine. It was everything in me to not turn around just because I already wanted to see her again. Even after just one date, a few hours together, any minute not with her was torture. That still holds true to this day.

The Real Them

Sometimes Tara will substitutes words that sound alike when she’s trying to make a point and has a brain fart. Instead of taking a minute to collect her thoughts she will just use words that sound similar, or make up words altogether and hope I don’t notice. I always notice. No matter what point she’s trying to make, or if she’s chewing me out for something, we always end up laughing when I call her out on it.

Dan always claims to be the ‘cool guy’ so I get extra excited when he does something dorky or quirky because it’s so rare and also now hard to remember a specific moment. I do thoroughly enjoy when Dan calls me out for being a super dork, especially when it comes to some of the things I say, then I suddenly catch him including those same phrases on the regular as a result of picking it up from me. For example, I will use “Good grief” or “Gee Golley” or “wowwa wuuey” quite a bit, partially to be goofy and partially to avoid curse words and Dan picks on me EVERY TIME in his super high pitched mocking tone. Buutttt, recently I’ve caught him saying almost all of those phrases everyday in his regular conversation and these are not exactly tough guy phrases. It makes me giggle inside.

One Thing They Love About Each Other

Dan: My favorite characteristic of Tara is her selflessness. She’s constantly thinking of me and things I need or something she can do for me. I don’t tell her as much as I probably should but I am constantly blown away by how well she treats me and the millions of things she does for me out of pure selflessness and kindness.

Tara: This is a tough one since there’s so many so I will narrow it down to two types… Physical – I LOVE that beard 🙂 and Personality wise- He’s tough on the outside but has the biggest heart of anyone I’ve ever known. Dan is the guy you call because he will always have your back.


Love Song

Tara: I’ve always disliked country. I find it to be too sappy and whiny. Dan is a huge country fan. And he sent me My Best Friend one day saying that it reminded him of us and boy did the lyrics hit home. Right on point. That was the moment I decided to give country a very slim chance. Compromise. 🙂

Dan: A good song for us has always been My Best Friend by Tim McGraw. It describes how we feel about each other perfectly. Plus it’s one of the first country songs I succeeded at getting her to like.

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