The paquette family.

Like many families, our family began with a kiss. This kiss was no ordinary kiss. I [Denis] was able to be home for Christmas on leave for the first time in three years following 9/11. My family attended the 2004 annual Christmas caroling party that Jessie’s family also attended. It was fun to re-connect with many of our family friends I hadn’t seen in four or five years. The last time I saw Jessie was her high school graduation parting in the summer of 2000. I was on my way to pilot training and she was on her way to college. On this particular evening, I was sharing stories of traveling the globe, chasing girls, and drinking wine while Jessie shared stories of college parties, kissing boys and drinking “pink shit.” As our conversation progressed we found ourselves immersed in each other on our friends couch in the living room. I still saw Jessie as the little girl who grew up across the street from me, but Jessie had a different idea. “I’ve always wanted to kiss you!” she exclaimed. I uttered, “Really?” as she leaned in all the way and planted a kiss on my lips that changed my life forever. That kiss woke me up and the little girl across the street transformed into a woman right in front of my eyes. We kissed one more time on the couch, this time more passionately and with mutual understanding of our shared interest in each other. My head was in the clouds and I didn’t know what had happened.

We ended up leaving the caroling parting with my Mother who dropped Jessie off at her house. When I arrived home, I learned that my brothers wanted to go out to the local pub, Sharkies (aka, The Shark Tank). I called Jessie’s house and asked if she would be interested in going out there with us. She was all in. It was a fun night of socializing, playing pool and kissing.

After courting until 11 March 2006 when I asked Jessie to marry me in the middle of Central Park in New York City, our family began on 19 August 2006 when we married in Luverne, MN.

As a teenager, I [Jessie] remember sitting in my parents house praying for my future husband. Little did I know he was literally across the street. I knew Denis and knew his family – I actually used to walk home from school with his brother John. However, the night we connected again – something was different. We saw each other in a different light. At the Christmas Caroling Party, I had been drinking plenty of white zinfandel and Carol (the host) called it the pink shit. Denis, having been around the world, poured me a glass of red wine and told me it “rolls of your tongue like a rose petal”. I thought that was pretty sexy. We proceeded to sit and visit on the couch and tell stories of our travels and past relationships. I think the wine was talking when I told him “I had always wanted to kiss him” – because in all honesty I had never thought that before. I think it was God talking because that kiss changed my life. It was an amazing kiss and it changed how we saw each other. After that kiss, I didn’t want to leave the party, I never wanted to leave his side. I rode home with him in his parents car and said goodbye as I walked across the street to my parents house. I came home and told my mom – I had just had the best kiss of my life. Next thing I know, Denis calls my parents landline phone and asks my sister and me to go out to the bar. I was thrilled and we had so much fun talking and laughing. At the end of the night, I knew he lived in Texas and I lived in Minnesota so it was hard to say goodbye. After a few more kisses we parted and gave each other our email addresses. The next morning I woke up on a cloud – I had butterflies and couldn’t believe I could feel this way about someone so quickly. We emailed the next few days and when he got back to Texas he called me on the phone. We talked everyday for the next year and half. After a few trips across the country to each other’s homes, we both flew to New York City in March 2006 and got engaged.

We got married in August of that year and I moved to Texas to start my life as a Air Force Wife. We left Texas the following September 2007 with our next little family member growing inside of me – Mckinley joined our family in May 2008. Kyndle wanted to join our Alaskan adventure in March 2010. With our two little Eskimos we moved all the way to Florida in 2011. Our little sunshine, Cadynce, joined us in the Sunshine state in November 2014. That summer we moved to Oklahoma. We lived there for a couple of years and moved to Germany for a year. After many amazing European adventures, we found out we were bringing a kleines Madchen back to the USA with us. Skylar was born in Oklahoma in December 2017. After our time with the military was done, we moved back to the Midwest to be close to our amazing families. Our little man, Gage, was born in South Dakota in June 2019. What a ride it has been – love experiencing life with these amazing people.