So here is the story you have all been dying to hear (be prepared it is a long one-if you don't care about the background just skip to Saturday, July 24th)...
Sometime in February:
We buy Cubs/Cards tickets for the game in Chicago the weekend of my birthday. We decide to make a weekend of it and spend part of the weekend with my grandparent's, go to the game and then spend the night in the city after the game. We then decided we would go back to my grandparent's for lunch. He also talked me into it being a good idea to stop at his parent's house on the way home for dinner. I wasn't completely thrilled with the idea mostly because I knew it would make a late night and I had to get up Monday morning at 5 am to drive back to Jefferson City for my last day of work (which was also my 26th birthday)
About 4 days prior to the day:
My sister and Aunt somehow get it in their heads that the perfect birthday present from Nick would be an engagement ring. I blow it off thinking there is absolutely no way he is proposing. I had just moved back to St. Louis and Nick has spent the last several months in commitment phobia stage (turns out that was all just a show...tricky boy!) Not to mention making an engagement ring my birthday present just wasn't his style. Really in my head engagement was about 2 years off- the next 6 months would just be too soon for him and then it would be an election year and that just wasn't going to happen- so I was thinking at the earliest the after the 2012 election.
Thursday, July 22nd
I drive to St. Louis from Jefferson City. It was about 9 by the time I got to Nick's house. We load the car for our weekend in Chicago. As we get ready to leave he hands me a wrapped box- my birthday present. He made a huge sacrifice and somehow managed to find a Cubs jersey in St. Louis which was apparently quite a feat given there is only 1 store in the whole metro area that carries them. I was extremely excited and grateful for his sacrifice. We leave St. Louis and drive to his parent's house for the night to break up the trip a little.
Friday, July 23rd
We leave Decatur and start the trek to my grandparent's house where we had plans to spend the day on the beach relaxing. About 2 hours into our trip Nick asks, "What's that noise?" My response, "I didn't hear anything but why is the road so rough all the sudden?" As I start to say, "I hope we don't have a flat"
Nick says, "and we have a flat tire" So we pull over onto the side of the highway and Nick changes the flat tire on my car rather quickly without getting too frustrated or upset and we are back on our way with as little time lost as possible. We make it to my grandparent's only a little behind schedule, but at this point Nick is exhausted so he goes to take a nap while my sister and I drive into town to get my tire fixed. Finally by late afternoon we make it to the beach where we enjoy the rest of our afternoon relaxing in the lovely lake Michigan. My sister however, has not dropped her brilliant idea and bugs Nick the whole time about when he is going to propose. At one point he even tells her he can't propose because he is "keeping his options open" (I told you he was tricky). We head back to the house for dinner and some board games (Nick gets a glimpse at the famous Kingma "art of cheating") . We are enjoying a wonderful game of Boggle (by enjoying I mean I was getting my butt kicked by Nick and my grandpa) when my aunt Cyndi calls. She was babysitting my cousin's son who had gotten sick and she wasn't sure what she should give him. My grandma hangs up the phone and says, "Listen up everyone I have an announcement! Carl is proposing to Paula tonight!" Turns out she couldn't call my cousin to ask because he was proposing to his girlfriend that night at the Jack Johnson concert in Indy. My sister takes this as an opportunity to lay it on thick about how cool it would be if we both got engaged the same weekend. In an attempt to down play and get her to stop with the pushy engagement plans I say "Who wants to share that weekend...that is a terrible idea" Having no idea of Nick's plans- he was apparently freaking out a little inside when I said that.
Saturday, July 24th
We woke up early on Saturday to get ready to head to the city for the baseball game. Now we should have left with plenty of time to stop by the hotel, check in, park, get to the train station and make it to the game on time; however, we ran into several detours and closed roads. We finally made it to the hotel and the parking garage where Nick and I had a short argument about just leaving the luggage in the car because we didn't have time to take it back to the hotel, again me having no idea there was an engagement ring in the trunk of my car or understanding why he was so upset about just leaving everything in the car for a few hours. So we make it to the train station and get down the steps and my sister says, "Do we have the tickets?" Well we left them in the car, so Nick runs back to the car to get them. He miraculously makes it back to the train just in time and makes the same train we do. We finally make it to the game by about the 2nd inning, find our seats and relax for a while! It turned out the be a beautiful day for baseball and the Cubs won!
|notice the beautiful cubs jersey!|
|ignore random dude!|
After the game we boarded a very crowded and hot train and headed back downtown. After we dropped my sister off at her train to head back to my grandparent's we walked through Millennium Park, took some pictures, and did a little sight seeing.
|I made Nick take this picture...He was not thrilled!|
We got back to the hotel just in time to shower and get ready for dinner. We had plans to walk to Weber Grill Restaurant where we enjoyed an absolutely amazing dinner- I would highly recommend the restaurant. I even got a birthday cake:
After walking down the pier and back Nick suggested we find a photo booth and take some pictures. We finally found one but it was inside and very hot! There was also a screen on the outside so anyone could watch what was happening on the inside and there was 4-5 children and their moms watching everyone take their pictures. They were also making awkward comments about poses-just a little weird. But we ended up with cute pictures nonetheless.
We then decided to walk to the John Hancock building for drinks. After a rather long walk (much longer than it looked on the map) both of us were tried, hot, and had very sore feet. We walk in the building only to find a very long, slow moving line at the elevator. There was a THREE HOUR wait at 10 pm to go to the restaurant so we vetoed that idea and decided just to find another bar. I kept telling Nick "It is fine we will come back and do all these things some other time" (again having no idea there was a proposal that kept getting ruined). At this point I was very tired and hot and really would have just been ok going back to the hotel and going to bed, but Nick kept insisting we go find a drink. So we walked around looking for a bar and finally end up at the Hard Rock. We are enjoying our drinks when Nick suggests we stop in Grant Park and see the Buckingham Fountain at night. Again I really could have just gone to bed but decided I would indulge him since all his other Chicago touristy plans were ruined. We hailed a cab and asked him to take us to the park. We were in a bit of a hurry because the internet said the park closed at 11 pm so we didn't have much time. I told the cab driver where to take us and how to get us there so he wouldn't drive us around and waste time. Well he was very confused and asked us for a street address (umm...it's Grant Park is it that hard to find??) Luckily the iphone came to the rescue and we gave him a cross street and we made it there. We walked across the street and are welcomed by the beautiful fountain and some John Philip Sousa. I stopped to snap this beautiful picture:
As I go to take another the lights go off, the music stops, and the fountain turns off! Park closed. I'm of course thinking well at least we got to see it right? (little did I know)
I don't really remember much else from this point forward so I'll try and piece it together:)
So Nick suggests we walk back through the garden and as we head that direction he stops and says something like . "You know what I've learned tonight...even if everything goes wrong it doesn't matter as long as we are together." I of course get all sappy and give him a big hug. Before I know it he is down on one knee and has a box in his hand. I immediately start crying. I honestly have no idea what he said next and I just stood their crying. He then got a sappy look on his face and I realize I hadn't said anything. I then say "Yes!" several times and give him a big hug. I also remember several people walking by commenting on "how it was the most romantic thing they had ever seen"
We start to walk back to the hotel and he asks, "Do you like the ring?" At which point, I realize I hadn't even looked at it! Once I stopped to look at it, it was perfect and beautiful.
I'm pretty sure neither of us got much sleep that night and I spent most of the next several hours giggling and staring at my finger!
Side note: His first plan was at the fireworks, his next plan was the photo booth but it was hot and the spectators freaked him out (I think he gets props for creativity on this one though!), plan 3 was the top of the Hancock tower but waiting 3 hours just wasn't happening and plan 4 was the fountain- who would have thought all 4 ideas would have fallen through!
Sunday, July 25th
We wake up fairly early, especially since neither of us got much sleep, and started back to Indiana to my grandparent's house. I decide I was just going to let my sister figure it out on her own. We pull up to my grandparent's house and she is outside loading her car. I hand her a bag with my left hand, ring quite visible, and she doesn't even notice.
Nick says, "wow you are oblivious!"
Sarah says, "What are you talking about?"
Martha, "I don't know what is he talking about?"
She then looks down and sees my ring. At which point she starts screaming, "I knew it, I knew it!" as she skips up the driveway. We go in and share the news with the rest of the family and enjoy a lovely lunch with the family before heading to Decatur to tell his family (I now know why he was so adamant about having dinner with them!)
We got to his parent's house, where all his family was waiting. We call his parents out to meet us and his dad walks out the door and just grabs my hand (the wrong one at first). Apparently they had a feeling it was happening and just knew that was why he wanted everyone there. They were all also very excited and full of questions! We enjoyed a lovely dinner and birthday cake (I know I almost forgot it was my birthday the next day too). We left after dinner and presents and didn't get back to St. Louis until after 11 (remember I had to be up at 5 am the next morning).
So there you go...the very long story! Stay tuned for what is sure to be more adventures as we plan our wedding and enjoy being engaged! Also check out Nick's blog theotherviewofido.blogspot.com