Nursery School Sweethearts

Matt Mittleman and Lauren Shapiro maintain busy professional lives, while their daughter, Lexi, and son, Dylan, (literally) keep their hands full. (Photo provided)

Lauren Shapiro & Matt Mittleman

First Connection: June 2008

Wedding Date: June 14, 2014

Venue: Woodholme Country Club

Residence: Pikesville

Favorite Activity: Traveling, with and without their kids

Some relationships are written in the stars, others are written in crayon at the JCC’s preschool in Owings Mills. Lauren Shapiro and Matthew Mittleman met there, at age 2. It was, Lauren says, “love at first nap.”

Matt and Lauren were both born and raised in Owings Mills and spent three preschool years at the JCC together. As they grew up, their paths never strayed far from one another.

“We’ve just always known each other,” said Lauren. They attended middle school together and spent summers at Camp Milldale. “We were friends, and had the same group of friends,” she said. “We hung out together.”

Years, then decades, passed. Lauren went to Towson University, while Matt attended the University of Maryland. Lauren would see Matt when he came home to Owings Mills for summer break. They graduated in 2008 and attended many of the same graduation parties.

Finally, about 20 years after they first met, Matt asked if he could drive Lauren home from a graduation party. Matt says the gesture wasn’t entirely spontaneous. “I was working up to it,” he said. From there, romance bloomed.

Matt proposed to Lauren in June 2012 on the last night of a trip to Greece and Turkey. He says he timed the proposal so the two “could enjoy the moment together and then go home to celebrate with their families” shortly afterwards.

The two wed on June 14, 2014, at the Woodholme Country Club.

The pair surprised their wedding guests with a choreographed first dance that incorporated the “full-on lift” from “Dirty Dancing.”

Today, Lauren said, “we are nonstop, on-the-go parents.” The pair have a 2-and-a-half-year-old daughter, Lexi, and a 3-month-old son, Dylan.

Two kids and full-time careers might suffice to fill some people’s days, but Lauren and Matt are even busier. Lauren works in real estate at Keller Williams Realty and Matt works for Booz Allen Hamilton, but the two also are working together on a project.

“We invented a baby product together: CollapseAndGo,” Lauren said. “It’s the first-of-its-kind collapsible baby bottle. It also turns into a sippy cup.”

The idea came to them, said Lauren, when they were “taking our child out of the country, to Prague and Croatia” and the empty bottles were taking up too much room in their luggage. Matt suggested they buy collapsible bottles, but they couldn’t find any online. When they arrived home, Matt and Lauren set out to fill this baby-product void. “It was the first thing we did,” Lauren said.

Does this project keep them busy? Sure. But that’s not all they’ve been doing. On Dec. 8 at 9 p.m. on the DIY network, Matt and Lauren will be featured on a show called “First Time Flippers,” which documents their experience buying and renovating a house over the course of three months last year.

With so many projects going on, their biggest challenge is, according to Lauren, “trying to find that balance.”

“I’m type A,” said Lauren, “so he makes me calm down and be comfortable and happy.”

Matt agreed. “I calm her down, while she pushes me to reach my potential and be the best we can be.”

Working from home, parenting together and starting and running a company together has strengthened their relationship. “We do it all together, which is incredible in and of itself,” said Lauren.

Matt said, “We’re building a foundation, trying to create a legacy for our kids and our family.”

And speaking of legacies, their daughter Lexi now attends preschool at Beth Tfiloh. The thought that Lexi might be learning her ABCs alongside her future husband has not escaped Lauren’s notice.

“I don’t just take pictures of her alone,” Lauren said of her daughter. “In every picture she’s surrounded with children.” Bec- ause, Lauren said, who knows? “One of them could be the person she marries one day.”

Erica Rimlinger is a local freelance writer.

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