Monday, April 21, 2014

Quite the Long Engagement Recap

Today I am combining letters Q and R for the A to Z Challenge to put together quite the long recap. Because twice the letters means twice as long, hope you don't mind. I want to have everything about this weekend recorded while it's still so fresh in my mind, so let's dive on in. 

Thursday started simply like any other day. TJ was in town visiting and we had plans to go into Old Town, Alexandria that night to meet one of his med school friends, Dan, and his parents for dinner. With that in mind I got dressed, TJ dropped me off at the metro like he does every other time he's in town, and I headed to work. 

My roommate's fiancé, who works in the office right next door to me, took me out for lunch that day which was a nice treat but not anything out of the ordinary. I was in an especially good mood and work was especially busy so the day passed quickly. 

TJ arrived around 5:15 to pick me up so we could metro to Alexandria together like we'd planned. But at 5:30 I was still typing away, sending emails and trying to put out fires before I could leave. In hindsight he seemed a little impatient to get out the door but I thought he was just bored and I really didn't think anything of it. On the ride there I asked TJ about the people we were meeting, how to pronounce their last name, what they did for work, what TJ knew about them from past visits.

When we arrived at our stop we just missed the trolley into town and the next one wasn't for another 15 minutes. He told me their house was by the waterfront, which was too far to walk, so TJ quickly made the decision to jump into one of the waiting cabs.

In the cab his friend even called and said they were running late, that his parents were picking him up from the airport, and they would be meet us at their house soon. I was then concerned that we would be interrupting family time as he was just getting in to town but TJ assured me that would not be the case.

We arrived at Founders Park and walked to a bench near the water to wait. It happened to be a beautiful, sunny, crisp, cool evening and I insisted on taking a picture of the view and one of the two of us for the blog, of course. 

After a minute or so TJ began saying that he had kind of lied to me a bit today but that he would never lie to me again. Huh, I thought? He said we were not there at that spot to wait for Dan or his family, in fact Dan was not even in town (although his parents do live by the waterfront). He then started saying the sweetest things and I was still completely clueless. I was just nodding and smiling along, but then suddenly I realized what his words were leading to. And before I knew what was what, he moved off the bench, got down on one knee, my heart pounded out of my chest, and I started to feel the tears welling up. He pulled a box out of his pocket, asked me to marry him and I said yes! 

I can't even remember what exactly he said just then because the excitement of that moment has overwhelmed my memory. But I know it felt unreal and like a daze. And then a ring was on my finger and I was stunned. 

Literally the most surprised I have ever been. I did not see it coming one bit. I  was not expecting it that night, or this weekend at all. Oh it was the best, most perfect surprise of my life! 

We kissed and hugged and I couldn't believe we were engaged!! I exclaimed over the beautiful new ring on my hand. And then he pointed out the photographer lurking off to the side. He had arranged, with the help of my roommate, for her friend to take photos of the whole thing and I hadn't even noticed her standing there!

When I say TJ had thought of everything, I mean everything

After jumping up and down a few more times and allowing me to attempt to catch my breath, we walked over to the photographer. I got to show off my ring for the first time and then I got to take the first photos with my new fiancé! Ahhh!! I have a fiancé! We walked around the park with her for a few minutes and kissed for the camera, not that we needed to be told to kiss. And I just cannot wait to see those pictures because I am sure I look like the most love struck fool you ever did see. 

After our photo session, the night was far from over. Little by little more of TJ's planning secrets came out. I learned that everyone was in on it, that he had asked my dad months ago, met with sister way back in January, and had the ring picked out and in his possession since February. He had also driven my car into town earlier in the day so we wouldn't have to deal with the cold or the hassle of the metro on our way home. He had planned out the perfect spot and mapped out where to park and everything. So we hoped in the car and moved it closer to the restaurant, Vermillion, where TJ had made reservations. We were shown to our table where flowers and champagne, also arranged by TJ, were waiting. 

We clinked glasses, and toasted to the best night ever and I was beaming from ear to ear the whole time. I was sure people could tell I had just gotten engaged, surely I had to look noticeably different. 
We shared steak tartare for an appetizer, then I enjoyed Maryland rockfish and TJ had Berkshire Pork for our main courses. We then declined dessert but the chef brought us a treat to share anyway. Everything was delicious and I savoured every minute with just the two of us.

When we left the restaurant we started calling everyone. I never thought I had a very big family until I had to call everyone in it. Hah. First on the list obviously was my parents and my sister who were anxiously awaiting my call all together, because of course they already had known tonight was the night. 

It was so fun to say the words "I'm engaged!" and to relay the story over and over. We called grandparents and a couple aunts and uncles in the car before we got back to the house. When we pulled into our parking spot I was little disappointed to see that the house looked dark, which meant my roommates were either out or already asleep. But when we walked inside, flipped on the lights, they jumped out, popped champagne and I screamed in excitement! 
They had hung a banner with our names and had more dessert and a present waiting for us. Okay... So the gift was mostly for me (wedding magazines, a clipboard, a cute gardening trowel for our future home, and the book "The Meaning of Marriage" by Tim Keller) but TJ was excited just the same. 
Before that night I had been under the impression that we wouldn't be getting engaged until at least next month- at his graduation weekend when both our families would be in town,maybe later. That's what I had been speculating and what his co-conspirators had been encouraging me to think as well. But TJ wanted this weekend to just be about us, without graduation festivities distracting from it, which is so thoughtful of him and it couldn't have been more perfect! 
The next day we headed up to my parents to continue the celebration. More posts, and more pictures to follow! Also, I just wanted to say that if there is ever time to just adore social media it's when you get engaged. I have felt so much love these past couple days. Thank you for all the comments and well wishes on my blog/Facebook/Instagram. We are feeling so blessed! 

13 comments :

  1. So sweet to hear the story again, and I'm glad you wrote it down. I can't wait to see the pictures, but these are cute too. You have wonderful friends : ) And a fiance!! Ha! It is fun to say. Happy Engagement!

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  2. Oh Shannon, how beautiful and perfect!! Congratulations. I have thought for awhile that this was definitely coming. All of the trips and posts about TJ, and the love gushing out everywhere, it was just a matter of time. I feel like I know your family through your sweet mama's blog and your blog, that this just makes me extra happy to see you've found the one that's perfect for you. God is so good! Many, many blessings to you.

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  3. congratulations, shannon!! such a sweet engagement story and what a wonderful time :) I am so happy for you!

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  4. I loved this story! Perfect day/perfect couple! Can't wait to see your engagement pictures!

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  5. Congratulations! Engagement stories are so fun!:-)

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  6. Dear Shannon and TG, Love is the expansion of two natures in such fashion that each include the other, each is enriched by the other, each offer a smile of "sunshine".... each are equally "yoked"...YOU TWO were made for each other! I'm so excited for your eternal journey of Family and Love Together Forever! Best Wishes~Annette

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  7. A very special day, and a sweet sweet story. Congrats and God bless you!

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  8. How wonderful!! I am excited to learn that you live in the Metro DC area! I lived in Alexandria before moving to Florida. We were there 12 years! I know Founders Park and Old Town well. TJ could not have picked a prettier place to propose!

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  9. Congratulations to you both on your engagement. You are a lovely couple.

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  10. I had goose bumps reading your recap! Wow he thought of everything! I'm so happy for you and TJ! You are such a beautiful couple!! YAY!!

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  11. Congrats!! I loved reading your story. He sounds like a truly wonderful man. Praying God's blessings on your life always!

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  12. You are absolutely radiant! It's a picture of Christ in the way your fiance thought of every detail in beautiful ways that would please you. Good man!

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  13. I saw all the pictures on Facebook but I'm just now catching up on your blog. What a sweet proposal story! I love that your roommates were in on it! Congratulations Shannon! Let the wedding planning begin!

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