Even though we were acquaintances and worked service jobs across the street from one another for a couple of years, we officially met through a mutual friend on Travis' 21st birthday. From there, we courted each other as good friends for another year––sending mail back and forth while Ashlee taught 3rd grade in another city. Ashlee eventually moved closer while Travis wrapped up his video and animation college degree. Friendship transitioned into a relationship and we were married four years later. Throughout this time, we began to create lifelong traditions and bonds within our families and friend groups. We have cultivated the beginning to our own family in a myriad of ways: biking through the city and out onto the bike trails, packing up the car to camp for a long weekend at one of the nearby state parks, finding vocal harmonies in the songs we write and play together and making sure to share homemade meals each evening. These things, coupled with our passions that led to our careers, have naturally revealed to us that we want to share all these joys and adventures with our own kids! Our families and friends are all ecstatic that we are navigating this adoption process path together!
A few years ago, we bought our home in a vibrant and diverse neighborhood near Lake Michigan. Our bungalow has close connections to Ashlee's family as it is near the neighborhood in which her mother grew up. Her aunt and uncle live close by, as does her brother and sister-in-law! Some of our close family friends and their young children live just a few blocks away as well.
Our neighborhood is full of young families. In the summertime, we play evening games of flashlight tag and such with the neighbor kids in our backyard. We even roast marshmallows over a little fire pit with the neighbor kids and friends. There are several nearby parks that offer lots of fun year round.
Since teaching is such a demanding profession, Ashlee plans to take a few years off to be home with our children. She is well-versed in the public school system here and has already been researching nearby schools offering bilingual programs as well as high quality academics.
About Travis (written by Ashlee)
The top five character traits that describe Travis are as follows: creative, empathetic, other-centered, engaging and so much fun!
One of the very first things that struck me about Travis was how incredibly FUN he is! He will be such an amazing dad! Every time I watch him run around the yard with our neighbor kiddos or transform himself into a jungle gym for our nieces and nephews, I am reminded of how he is simply meant to be a dad! He has a seemingly endless supply of creativity: from drawing, painting and animation to songwriting; he never seems to run out! This is evident when you see the sidewalk chalk drawings he does to the work he creates daily as a video editor. It is a joy to be around because this creativity, in a way, is contagious! I know he will instill this in our children and I can't wait to be a part of it. His empathy shows in how attentively he engages others in conversation through his active listening. He has a way of putting others at ease. I love watching him engage in conversation with our friends, family, and even strangers! He is extremely patient and selfless. His kindness is extended towards all those he meets.
About Ashlee (written by Travis)
The top five character traits that describe Ashlee are as follows: selflessness, perseverance, humility, patience and guidance.
From the first day I met Ashlee, I knew she was one in a million. I was quickly drawn to her quick wit and ability to navigate any room with her own style and grace. As our relationship has grown, I have seen these wonderful traits materialize and grow in a myriad of ways: from the tireless amount of effort she puts in to making sure her students excel inside and outside the classroom, to the evenings she spends writing handmade notes to friends and family in far away places. She sees and brings out the very best in people. She is an unofficial stand up comedian that always keeps us laughing. She is the goofiest dancer on the dance floor and can get even the most reluctant of dancers to get out there and dance. She is an incredible roller skater and amazing volleyball player/coach. She is also the most creative meal maker in the Midwest. She is an innate mama by nature. The day we get to start raising our first child together is the first in a life time of new days I get to champion her as my better half!