Well, I’ve been asked by quite a few people for details on the engagement (SURPRISE!), and I think writing a blog post about it is probably the most appropriate way to spread the word (since I don’t have everyone’s email address). I feel bad enough that most people learned about this on Facebook…
First off, Hayley and I have been dating since her first weekend in Houston. I met her at Institute on a Thursday night (plug for Institute!) and thought, “Wow, she’s pretty great! Easy to talk to, easy on the eyes… That’s a good start, right?” I failed to get her number (because I’m lame) that night, but the next day I looked her up on Facebook and sent a quick message asking if she wanted to attend a friend’s graduation party (Alina is now Dr. Alina) and meet some other wardies. Hayley accepted and found my whit somewhat fun, so she shared her number and we made plans. Well, things were going too well, so I decided to be bold and expand the plans by inviting her to dinner before the party. Needless to say, things went so well she broke up with her boyfriend back in Utah! (Kidding – that was already happening, but it’s funny to me that there was a mini-overlap of maybe 48 hours from our first date to her actually finishing the breakup.)
Since that fateful eve, Hales and I have had a blast getting to know one another, going on trips to Austin, Utah, Dallas, The Happiest Place on Earth (Disneyland – shame on you if you didn’t know this), and throwing birthday parties for one another. She has very naturally become my best friend, and I can honestly say that she makes me a better man through encouragement and the occasional chastisement.
So – the engagement!
We’ve been talking about getting married for a little while, so it was something we both knew would happen. In fact, I picked out the diamond and ring about 3-4 weeks before actually proposing, then just waited for the jeweler to get everything squared away. By the beginning of October I had a small box burning a hole in my pocket (figuratively – don’t worry about the pants in my room with the burn marks, that’s from something else) and wanted to just make it official.
Well, on October 15th I made plans w/ my friends Jason and Erin (and their baby girl) to double by getting some dinner and then heading to Miller Outdoor Theatrefor a recreation of the Pink Floyd album “Dark Side of the Moon”. After picking up some food we headed to the park, got situated on some blankets, and began eating. After a little while, Jason’s little one (she’s about 18 or so months old) was getting fidgety, so I told her to come grab some toys out of my camera bag. She started digging through and found Gumby (thanks Gumby!), a slinky, and then this funny little mystery box. When she lifted the box out I told her, “Uh oh! That one is for Hayley! Do you want to go give it to her?” She looked around, turned towards Hayley, and dropped the box at her feet. (Yes, this was all kind of according to plan, though how much can you count on the acting abilities of an 18 mo/old?) Hayley looked confused, Erin ended her phone call realizing what was happening, Jason smirked, Aliya ignored me, and I leaned over to whisper things in Hayley’s ear which left her blushing and excited. I pulled out the ring, got a kiss, and then Erin caught this face with my camera:
Part of why this was fun for me was because I’ve been teasing Hayley that I would propose to her in front of a giant crowd, which I successfully accomplished since we were near the front of the lawn with a couple thousand people behind us. They may not have known what was going on, but that’s probably for the best so Hayley wasn’t so embarrassed. There was, however, a pet duck with the folks next to us that gave a celebratory *quack*. (Yes, I may have imagined the *quack*, but the duck really was real and on a leash…)
We got a few more pictures of Hayley being excited and surprised (I had to apologize to her since she didn’t feel like she looked all that cute, but I always think she’s crazy when she says that). Below is a decent shot of the ring – it’s the Tiffany Engagement ring (yellow gold band w/ a white gold crown). The rock isn’t huge, but boy howdy does that thing sparkle! (Note: SUCCESS! Trust me gents, if you’re looking for rings, sparkle > size… Multiple reasons: 1) carat size is biggest price booster. 2) lots of sparkle makes it look bigger anyway. 3) it’s honestly more noticeable. 4) non-sparkly huge rocks look like cz.)
After that, a few phone calls were made and I got a chance to play w/ my favorite neice. She looooves the iPhone!
And yes, in case you were wondering, I was very happy. It was kind of an odd moment… You prep for that kind of thing for a long while and then it’s over… Done. And then everything gets sappy and you have to just sit there and smile. Haha! Actually, it was a nice weight lifted off my shoulders – I was (and still am) a happy man.
This is either the official call to the ‘rents, or she might actually be talking with my Mom. I let her do most of the announcing.
And as a thank you to my little helper, I made sure the youngin’ got a chance to call some people herself. She used up the rest of my battery making phone calls, but since she helped me present the ring, I guess it’s only fair.. (BTW, isn’t she funny? She grabbed my phone, saw Hayley talking on hers, and decided to play along. According to Erin this little lady loves her phones and Jason is going to struggle once she’s a teenager!)
As for plans going forward, we’re tentatively (95%) shooting for March 26th as the wedding date here in Houston, TX at the LDS Temple. We’ll have a ring ceremony and a celebratory reception in the late afternoon/evening. For all the Utahns out there, we’ll also be doing a reception near Ogden (possibly at Weber State’s Alumni center) a couple of weeks later. For the Chicago folk, we will be doing an Open House at my parent’s place possibly the week after that (none of this is set in stone, btw). The reason for an Open House instead of a Chicago reception is simply that I don’t know that many folks back home any longer – so many of you have moved across the country!!
So that’s my story! We will have further adventures to share, I’m sure of it.. Just stick around and we’ll keep you posted! There may even be a new blog a brewin’ that will chronicle all our happenings, with two authors (which hopefully means more posts)!