Right after Jane was born a photographer in the hospital took some pictures. I was pressured into buying them (grrrr!) at their exorbitant prices. Afterwards, I promised myself that I wouldn't give in to that kind of pressure again, but when they called to set up a follow-up appointment--which includes one free 8 x 10, I couldn't turn them down--I love free stuff! However, I knew I'd have to be strong and stick with just the free picture. So I called Cindy. She has a knack for photography, and we copied some of the poses that I liked best so I wouldn't be tempted to buy them from the photographer. They turned out really cute, and the best part is that they were free!
I've already written about how Caleb and I started dating. This post covers our engagement. And sometime in the near future, I'll get to our wedding. I'm sure you are all on the edge of your seats with anticipation! But please remember, my initial intent for this blog is to record Caleb's and my history, so I apologize if it is long. Feel free to skip to the pictures at the bottom. Deep breath in...
After dating long distance from December to May, I went to Utah for the summer. It was so nice to finally be in the same place for more than a few days! Caleb moved permanently (and unexpectedly) back to Mesa in July and I followed as soon as I could. We continued to date and our relationship seemed to be heading towards marriage. It was strange how easy it was, after so many years--for BOTH of us--to think that it was really going to happen.
Caleb started asking questions and dropping hints that he was thinking about marriage, but then in August he took it to the next level when he asked me what I would need to know before I would marry him. I was so surprised by the question, that I didn't know what to say. His next question was how long I would need to plan a wedding. This question I was ready for! I had been secretly plotting. I knew that if we were going to get married, it would have to be during one of my school breaks, as I don't have paid vacation time except for my breaks. I had already decided on fall break because I didn't want to have a Christmas wedding and Spring Break was too far away--especially for two people as old as we were! I told him I'd need at least 6 weeks and then hinted that my fall break would be a great time and that--SURPRISE!--it was about 8 weeks away! He didn't really respond to that but instead brought up the fact of getting a ring. I was so excited that I went home that night and (of course!) began looking at engagement rings online.
A week or so after that (with me waiting expectantly for that special proposal) Caleb brought up looking for rings again. We decided on a day and time, but when Caleb came to pick me up, he started acting strange. On our way to look at rings, he pulled into a fast food restaurant, suddenly thirsty. So we show up at our first big ring shopping experience with Caleb noisily sucking at the last of his slushy. When the nice lady asked if she can help us, it sounded like this, "Yes, we would SLLLLLUUURRRRPPP to SLURRRRP at engage-RRrrrrrrrSSLLURP rings." As I browsed, Caleb stood against the wall slurping and looking extremely uncomfortable. I felt ridiculous. I'm sure the people at the jewelry store thought that I had draggedhim there against his will. Nobody would have thought by the way he was acting that it was actually HIS idea!
Anyway, I didn't really see anything I liked, so we left. I suggested we check out another store, which was only about 50 yards away, but Caleb was done. He told me that he thought it would be better if I looked online. Grrrrrrrrr. After almost 32 years of single-hood, my dreams of dancing in and out of every jewelry store in a 50 mile radius, trying on one sparkling ring after another with my soon-to-be-husband went up in smoke. Ah well, it really was much easier and faster online. And soooooo much fun!
Caleb continued working in Greer most days, and so our progress towards an official engagement were slow. Actually, besides my solitary ring shopping, they were non-existent. I was going crazy wondering when he would propose, or even if he would propose. But, I'm an old-fashioned girl, and I wanted to leave it all up to him. However, as the days turned into weeks (and remember, we didn't have many of those to start with), I began to get frantic. We had talked about fall break, so was he just assuming that I was planning on that? Did he realize how fast it was coming up? And most importantly--did he still want to marry me? I couldn't stand another week going by without knowing whether or not I should be planning a wedding. It was Tuesday night, September 1st--5 1/2 weeks before fall break. Caleb was set to leave for Greer again, and I knew he wouldn't be back until the weekend. I decided I would have to take matters into my own hands.
As we sat on my bed (the only place we could talk without my roommates around), I determined to bring it up. I was so nervous. As soon as I started talking, I felt my face get hot. My well-thought out speech turned to mush. It sounded something like this:
Me: "Ummmm, soooooo......Uhhhhh....I don't want to be the one to bring this up, because .....well....I feel ridiculous, but.....ummmmm.....I just want to understand what you are thinking........err.......uhhh........we talked about fall break, for...you know. But I .....ummmmm...........uhhhhhhhhh...I'm not sure....I mean, I don't know if you were planning on that still, because...." (and here instead of talking so slowly, I suddenly sped up and said in one breath-) "if-you-don't-want-to,-or-you-feel-rushed-that's-okay-I'm-not-trying-to-push-you-but-I-just-need-to-know-where-we-stand!"
He looked at me with this kind of stunned look that said, "I had no idea you were such a nut!" Or maybe it just said, "HUH?" Of course he had no idea of the agony I'd been going through! I then reminded him that I said I needed at least 6 weeks to plan a wedding and fall break was only five and a half weeks away, but I was quick to point out that we could wait for Christmas or spring break if we (meaning he!) needed more time. Caleb said, "Well, I definitely want to marry you, and the sooner the better." Then he told me he loved me for the first time. My response was (according to him, and he loves to tell this part...) to smile and say, "really?" Then, (after waiting a bit so it wouldn't be the cheesy expected response) I said it back to him. We talked a bit until he had to leave for Greer. I was probably still smiling and glowing until I suddenly realized we still hadn't really decided anything. "The sooner the better" wasn't an answer! I started fretting again, feeling unsure of how to proceed over the next week while he was gone, when he called me on his way to Greer and asked me what day I wanted to get married. I quickly checked dates on my calendar, which brought us to choosing a temple. By the end of the conversation, we had decided on October 9th in the Salt Lake Temple. Caleb told me to call the temple as soon as possible and see if we could schedule our sealing. This was the confirmation that I needed from him to feel like it was real. We were going to get married!
Within minutes of hanging up the phone, my mom called me to tell me that she and my dad wanted to come to Arizona for a visit during...you guessed it...Fall Break! I told her that wasn't such a good idea, because I didn't think I'd be in town.
Mom: Where are you going? Me: Ummmm, not sure. Mom: Then why do you think you won't be there? Me: I just might not be. Mom: What do you mean you "just might not be"? Me: I just think I'll be going somewhere. Mom: Well, who would you be going somewhere with? Me: Maybe Caleb. Mom: ???
At which point I told her that Caleb and I were planning on getting married in Utah, so it really would be better for them NOT to come to Arizona. She was surprised and immediately stressed, but also very happy for us. I also told her not to tell anyone yet (besides my dad), as Caleb hadn't officially proposed. Why is it that we women think we need a ring to make it official anyway?
The following day (September 2nd) I scheduled the temple. With only a few weeks to go, I became a wedding planning maniac! Every spare moment was spent planning our wedding, reception, and open house. I loved it! And everyone was so helpful. My mom took care (with my directing from afar) of the Utah reception, and Caleb's mom offered to take charge of the Arizona open house (which was what I had secretly hoped she would do--Thanks Mom C!) Everything seemed to just fall into place.
Well, almost everything--let's get back to the proposal. I bought a dress, the temple date was set, and bridal shower invites were out. However, I was still missing the ring! I know, I know. It is not the most important part, but I really, really wanted one! In fact, not having an engagement ring was the cause of my only real bride-zilla moment. After searching and searching, Caleb and I finally found a ring we both liked. I knew that he had bought it, but day after day went by with nothing happening. My bridal showers were coming up and I still didn't have a ring! I got whiny and grouchy and told him that if I didn't have a ring for my bridal shower (which was about a week and a half before the wedding) I didn't even want to go. Finally, the day before my bridal shower, Caleb was on his way back from Greer. I was so excited for him to get back that I momentarily forgot about the pains of not having an engagement ring. As soon as he walked in the door, I kissed him. But there was something strange about the kiss. He was kissing me funny, and I couldn't figure out why until I felt something pushing on my lips. I pulled away from him, spit out my ring, and put it on, grinning from ear to ear, while he said something about loving me and would I marry him? The ring was already on my finger, so what else could I say besides "yes"!
One more item deserves to be mentioned in this not-so-brief history. A few days after I told my parents the big news, I was talking to my mom over the phone and she said something about how it was all just meant to be and how everything was just falling into place. She said this with that strange lilt in her voice which, over the years, I've learned to recognize as "I have a secret that I'm not telling you." I tried to get whatever it was out of her, but she wouldn't give it up. No amount of coaxing would work, so I let it go, only to have my dad call a few days later to ask me if Caleb and I would like for him to be our sealer. He then told me that a few days prior, he had been called in to meet with President Bateman. When the meeting began, my dad had no idea why he was there. President Bateman asked him how his family was and when my dad told him that his 31 year old daughter just announced she'd was going to get married in the Salt Lake Temple, President Bateman asked if my dad would like to seal us. It took my dad a moment to understand his meaning--he was being asked to be a sealer in the Provo Temple.
Temple sealers are always set apart by a member of the first presidency, and my dad was scheduled to meet with President Uchtdorf the following week. As we were planning to get married in the Salt Lake Temple, my dad needed special permission to seal us, which he received upon meeting with and being set apart by President Uchtdorf. As much as I love and respect my dad, this really was a very special opportunity. And it was the first live sealing he performed. I remember thinking how blessed I was to be marrying someone I loved, having all of my immediate family there, and to top it off, having my dad be the sealer!