In the ensuing years, especially since the arrival of their children, life, they both said, has become a different kind of adventure.
“We’ve grown by working together, by merging two families, his and mine, into one, before we started building one family, which is ours,” said Ms. Moore, who was born in Charlotte and raised in Raleigh.
Mr. Matthews, who grew up in Tulsa, asked Ms. Moore, for her hand in marriage in a restaurant in St. Louis, a city they had lived in, albeit briefly, early in their marriage.
He needed a little help from his friends in order to get the job done.
He enlisted the aid of two buddies from Tulsa. to assist with logistics, and brought along two more characters — both of whom were stuffed long before the appetizers were served — to assist in the proposal.
Mr. Matthews excused himself from the dinner table and returned shortly after with a Build-a-Bear couple, one stuffed bear in a red dress and the other in a black suit, the same outfits worn by the couple that night, so that Mr. Matthews could introduce the bears to Ms. Moore when they arrived on the scene.
“I was stunned,” Ms. Moore said of the bears. “I had never seen anything like that.”
When Mr. Matthews squeezed the right paw of the bear in the black suit, a message he recorded said: “Jessica Moore, will you marry me?”
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