our story

I know you're probably asking yourself "So who the heck are the Whittens?" Actually, I take that back. Because I'm pretty sure that everybody (if anybody) who reads this blog knows us. If you don't know us then WELCOME! - and stop stalking me. Just kidding.

Our Story (the nutshell version)

Brandon and I (Ashley) met in September of 2009. Actually, we met a long time before that. We were in the same ward (that's right... we're Mo-moes - aka Mormons) from about 2001 until probably 2003 or so. Of course, as far as I was concerned, this "Brandon Whitten" character was just my big brother's dumb friend. As far as Brandon was concerned, this "Ashley Wallentine" character was just his friend's annoying little sister. (And oh boy, was I annoying or what? I 'm embarrassed to say that I was kind of an obnoxious kid. Though I like to think I've matured some. You all probably can't even tell that I was once obnoxious since I'm so calm and quiet now... ahem). Obviously, it was love at first sight... NOT! Well, a few years passed and the ward split. Brandon and his family were moved into the newly-formed Sherbrooke Ward and my family stayed in the Meridian 16th Ward. A few more years passed and I soon forgot all about Mr. Brandon Whitten. (He obviously didn't make much of an impression on me... nor did I on him.) 

This brings me to September of 2007. While my family and I were preparing for an international move to the small country of Belgium (I've done posts about the move in the past... if your interested in that very long story, email me and I'd be happy to tell you.) Brandon was in the same city preparing to leave for his mission to Brazil. We moved on September 22nd (I think Brandon left at the beginning of September). Fast-forward a couple years to September of 2009. My family and I had moved back to Meridian from Belgium only about 6 months before. I was just about to start my senior year in high school.

One morning, I got a call from a man in our ward asking me if I could babysit his grandsons while he and his wife went to the temple with their adult children. I agreed and he picked me up the next day. While I was being told all of the necessities (the children's names, where the food was, when they should eat, what circumstances would require me to call 911 - okay, so I'm joking about that last part) a handsome boy wearing a suit-and-tie came downstairs. "Ooooh!" I thought, "Who is this hunky guy?" Well, I found out his name was Brandon Whitten (though the name didn't ring a bell right off the bat) and about died when I found out he was a returned missionary. Seeing as though I was only (almost) 18 and a senior in high school, I knew my chances with him were shot. Oh well. No big deal. Who dates an RM their senior year anyway? And as soon as he asked "Are you Jason's sister?" I remembered who he was. That made me even less interested. Because, once again, who dates their older brother's friend? Besides, I was sure that he remembered me and all of my obnoxiousness (it's a word, trust me) and wouldn't want anything to do with me either.

Well, I babysat Brandon's nephews and then thought that would be the end of it. Obviously it wasn't. When my oldest brother came home from college for Christmas, he got the bright idea (which Brandon had put into his mind, I must add) to set Brandon and I up on a date. We had our first date on December 24th, 2009 and it was weird. Awkward, rushed, boring... you name it. I left the date thinking  "Well, that's the last time I'll be dating a returned missionary for a while!" However, about a week later, Brandon and I became friends on Facebook. Another week later, we started talking... every night for two weeks straight. We stayed up until 4am just talking to each other.

After two weeks of this "online dating" (for lack of a better term) Brandon finally worked up the guts to ask me out again. The second date was better... much better. We went to Kuna caves and then went to Brandon's sisters house for pizza and a movie. I think Brandon intentionally chose "I Am Legend" because he knew I would be jumpy the whole time and he could hold my hand. Baha! After that first date, we spent every possible minute together. He met me at my house after he got home from work and I got home from school. When my parents would finally kick him out (lovingly - because they really did like him from the beginning) for the night, we would stay up talking to each other on the phone or Facebook. It was pretty much the most amazing time of my life up to that point. (Yeah... living in Europe for a year-and-a-half didn't even come close to matching the excitement I felt while dating this boy... gosh I was such a teenage girl!) Our first kiss was February 12th, 2010 (Brandon never remembers that date, but that's okay) and we began "officially and exclusively dating" on February 20th, 2010. He was my first real boyfriend (and my first kiss, I might add). 

We got engaged on June 19th, 2010 - only about two weeks after my high school graduation! It was awesome and surreal and totally and completely crazy! (But the good kind of crazy!) 

We were married on September 3rd, 2010 in the Boise Idaho LDS Temple.

18 months (almost to the day!) later, our little Collette Branley (her middle name is a mix of Brandon and Ashley - because we're cool and weird like that) Whitten came into our lives. (To read her long birth story, click here.) We could not have been happier or prouder parents!

2.5 years after Collette was born (almost to the day AGAIN!), our sweet little Emmett Hal (Hal is after my grandfather who performed our sealing and who shares a birthday with our sweet Emmett) Whitten joined our little family. He spent the first week of his life in the NICU due to an infection that I caught during labor, but soon came home - healthy as can be! To read Emmett's not-so-long birth story, click here. To see the follow-up post with pictures, click here.

Then, 2 years and one month after Emmett was born, our sweet Lilianna Carol joined our family! To read her labor story click here. To view pictures and the cute video my friend made for me click herehere, and here. Being a mother of three has been incredibly overwhelming, but we feel so blessed to have three beautiful, healthy children!

Brandon was just graduated from BSU with a Bachelor's of Social Work. I am pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Marriage and Family Studies online from BYU-Idaho. Brandon is working as a patient transporter at Saint Alphonsus, but is searching for new job opportunities until he starts his Master's Degree. Brandon is currently serving as a Youth Sunday School Teacher in our ward and I am the Second Counselor in the Relief Society Presidency.

Well, there's enough about our story! Did you like how that's the "nutshell version" and it's still uber long? ...yeah. I have a hard time writing short stories...

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