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(Image courtesy of Raechelle and Todd Downing).
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Documenting Love: Raechelle & Todd's Story

Welcome to our Documenting Love series where we capture people's love stories through photos and the written word. This may be one of our favorite weekly series! Check out the gallery and read the couples love story below. Keep in mind that we ask the couples to answer the questions separately so we can draw parallels between their experiences and, you know, say a collective, "Ahhhhhhh!" If you or someone you know wants to be featured in this series, please get in touch with us, hello@seattlerefined.com.

Todd
I opened the door and saw this petite woman looking up with these big, green eyes and a sweet, bright, adorable face. She had arrived to audition for a music project that was, ironically, in honor of my late wife. I ended up shelving the band and marrying the woman.

Raechelle
My first memory of Todd is him opening the front door of his house and me immediately staring at his chest. I had to crane my neck up to look at him. I’m 5’2”, he’s 6’4”.

Todd
At my front door. We tend to get looks when we tell folks we met on Craigslist, but it wasn't the personals (not that there's anything wrong with that). I had just released an album in tribute to my late wife, with whom I'd been together since high school. We'd been on a record label in college, and when she succumbed to a rare cancer at age 38, I decided to record some of our favorite songs with musicians who'd known her. I'd dated off and on in the three years between my wife's death and the release of the album, and was just sick of the meat market. I'd sworn off dating and just wanted to focus on my commercial and creative projects and my kids. The bassist and I wanted to continue playing out, but the vocalist from the recording already had plans to move to Chicago with her boyfriend, so to Craigslist we went, and after a couple of "meh" candidates, Raechelle arrived, and changed everything.

Raechelle
I was starting to get back on my feet after an ugly break up and I wanted to sing again. I hadn’t done much at all for a year, so I answered an ad on Craigslist looking for a vocalist for a band. I emailed him and we chatted via email and phone for a couple of weeks, then planned for me to go to his house during my lunch hour and sing for him. But I was smart! I told my friend where I was going and gave her his name and addresses, just in case I went missing.

Todd
Raechelle is supremely talented and vivacious, even if she often doesn't give herself credit for it. I'm proud of her for being the loving soul she is, and for being fearless enough to partner up with a single father who'd experienced a lot of trauma. She's truly amazing, and never stops surprising me.

Raechelle
I’m proud of Todd for braving the loss of his wife, then his father, then his house and coming out sane and loving afterward. He has every right to be broken and jaded but he’s so warm and optimistic. Those experiences also made him very secure. One of the first things he ever told me was, “You cannot scare me. You can tell me anything. I’m not going anywhere.”

Todd
After the audition, I knew something was going on. After a few phone calls and a date, it was cemented.

Raechelle
I knew I loved Todd when he rehung the towel rack in his bathroom because it wasn’t centered above the toilet and he knew it would drive me nuts. Seriously. I’m extremely type A and finding someone who understands that and works with me is amazing.

Todd
We accept each other, warts and all, we talk about everything, and when we argue, we always do it with respect for each other. There are no taboo topics. There are no secrets. Everything is always on the table in plain view, and we never go to bed angry. Also, we make each other laugh until our throats hurt.

Raechelle
I genuinely like and love Todd. I respect him as a person and as my partner. We’ve had fights, but they’re never mean spirited. We know how to communicate honestly without hurting each other. And if we do hurt each other, we’re quick to own it and apologize for it. It’s such a “safe” space that I know we can have our spats, but it doesn’t damage our relationship at all.

Todd
You can read about our proposal, which I documented on my blog, here.

Raechelle
We met in April, started officially dating in May and he bought me a Celtic promise ring in June. Then we started talking about rings and our wedding (not just a wedding, but our wedding). He giggled like a little kid when he purchased the diamond for the ring, and when it was almost finished, he told me to go get a manicure. We were close. I got the manicure, and then the ring had a flaw, so it was another two weeks. I think it was a Tuesday or a Wednesday, he said we were going to get coffee down on Alki Saturday morning. Code for: the ring is finally ready. We had to plan it, so the kids would know we would be gone for a bit. We went to Alki, he stood with his back against the water and wind (as Snowmegeddon 2008 rolled in) and asked me, “How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?” I laughed and smacked his chest and said, “Come on!”. He said, “Okay, okay...If a train leaves St. Louis, traveling 75 miles per hour...” Again, I smacked him and said, “Don’t make me do math!!” He laughed, and simply said, “Raechelle? Will you marry me?” I was so excited just to say the word “yes” that he had to remind me there was a ring that went with it. Also? Matching blog posts.

Todd
I love the gleam in her green eyes, her wicked and inappropriate sense of humor, and her ability to take on situations which would be daunting to others and not bat an eye. I love that she bears a resemblance to both Carrie Fisher and Linda Blair. And I love her love of music - and the ability to write sad ballads on the guitar. She's supremely giving and nurturing, while simultaneously being a competent drill instructor.

Raechelle
I love that he has the ability to make me laugh until I go into a coughing fit. He can be so raunchy and inappropriate and it’s especially funny because he’s such a nice guy. I love that he appreciates me and tells me every single day. I love that he thinks I’m smart and talented, even when I don’t feel like it most of the time.

Todd
I love her fastidious nature. She's a clean freak in the best way. As I've said previously, I love her sense of humor and musical talent. I love to hear her sing, and get that privilege almost every day.

Raechelle
I love that Todd always has a script or a story in his head. He’s always creating something – a game, a story, a script. His brain is always creating. I love that when he dreams, he dreams BIG. We talk about *when* things will happen, not *if*. And his hugs are the best ever. He just envelopes you. None of this lean in and pat on the back thing. He’s all in. Everyone should hug him at least once in their lives.

Todd
She's got a wicked smile, big green eyes (I could go on at length about her green eyes), and and embrace that makes the cares of the world melt away. Over and above that, she's also a Seahawks fan (and of football in general), so I kinda lucked out there.

Raechelle
His eyes. He looks at me like I’m the most beautiful thing in the world.

Todd
Sitting together on the sofa on a weekend morning with coffee and old Warner Bros cartoons. Of course, I love going to sleep next to her at night, and waking up next to her each morning. One or both of those rituals will usually include comedy and/or interpretive dance, and laughing 'til our throats are sore. I'm a colossally lucky man.

Raechelle
We have a habit of saying it’s going to be an early night, but we end up laying in bed for two hours talking about our day and sending each other into laughing fits. It’s the best way, or, one of the best ways, to fall asleep.


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