Taken just after he popped the question - misty eyes and all!
Saturday morning started out just like any other morning. We were visiting his brother in Virginia and had decided to wake up early that morning to make the drive to Shenandoah National Park for some hiking. After a failed alarm, a mixup with a rental car pickup, and a stop for breakfast, we were on the road about 2 hours later than anticipated, headed for Northern Virginia.
After making a few stops on the way, we arrived to the Park and started driving up the long, winding road to one of the lookouts. We made our way up the mountain to one of the higher lookouts and Mike casually asked if I wanted to get out to take a look at the valley. I obliged, even though it was about 45º with 20 mph winds, so we hopped out of the car. I think I lasted about 23 seconds before looking at him and then quickly running back to the car.
Little did I know, he was thinking about PROPOSING TO ME RIGHT THEN. Oops.
I noticed that he seemed pretty agitated getting back into the car. I, of course, had no idea that he had a ring in his pocket that he intended to use, so I figured he was just annoyed that we had made the drive all the way to the Park for it be much chillier and windier than we had anticipated - we hadn't dressed appropriately. We started driving back down the mountain, passing a couple of overlooks along the way before we came to another one that was empty. He pulled into the parking lot and asked if I wanted to try to get some pictures, as it seemed a bit less windy at this one. We got out and found a little path that led to a more secluded, private part of the lookout. We climbed up on a huge rock and had the most beautiful view of the valley (seen below). I pulled out my phone to snap a couple pictures, at which point he put his arm around me. I thought he was just pulling me in for a hug, to keep warm. I looked at him and before I could even say a word, he started talking. He said some words and, before I knew it, he was down on one knee with a ring box in his hand, asking me if I would marry him. I can't remember if I said "yes" or "of course" or "duh", but whatever I said caused him to pull out that ring and slip it on my finger. I was so surprised and couldn't believe that it had all just happened. We spent a few minutes celebrating and taking photos, before realizing how cold we were and running back to the car!
As soon as we got in the car, he started telling me the whole story of how he had planned the proposal. It was a complete surprise, so it was cool to hear about the thought and planning that had gone into the whole thing. He had been totally himself all day, so I hadn't suspected a thing. The man can keep his cool under pressure, that is for sure!
The view from where we got engaged!
We were able to celebrate with his brother and family when we returned to their house. After a couple hours there, we hopped in the car and drove to Raleigh to meet up with my sister's family and my parents. It was so special to us to be able to see both of our families that day and celebrate with some of our loved ones. I love that he factored that into his plan!
The proposal was simple and sweet and perfectly surprising. I love that we have a special place where it happened, a place we can visit again to relive that wonderful day. Looking back on it, there was a sense of peacefulness that covered that whole day. It just feels so dang natural to be his future wife, officially, and I love that.
We loved our time of just dating and have had a wonderful 4 years together, but we're both so excited for this next chapter. I would've married this guy three years ago without a second thought, but I wouldn't change the timeline or course of our relationship for anything. Being able to share in one of life's biggest and most exciting moments for the first time, together, has been such a blessing. He truly is one of the best humans I know and I'm honored to be able to call him my fiancé.
With the holiday season, I seem to do a lot of travel and take a good amount of time of work. Much of that time off is spent with family, but I also like to take advantage of the opportunity to read as many books as possible. I love a good show, don't get me wrong, but is there anything better than getting sucked into a really good book?
One of the (many!) things that I love about Mike is that he enjoys traveling as much as I do. It seems to be that just about every new season, we're off to another place together. We have a good mix of new places, like Seattle, and places we've been before, like Washington, D.C., to visit family. Without fail, when we're at the airport waiting for our flight back to Chicago, we talk about where we want to go next - on my list are Toronto, Austin, and New England.