Get your popcorn ready as Terrell Owens says b/c it's Story Time. On Monday morning I woke up early to get into work before 9 since I knew that I was going to be taking a long lunch to run a most important errand. At around 11:45 I made a drive out to Maryland to see my jeweler.
Just to let you'll know a little back story before I continue...I started looking for engagement rings around my dad's birthday (Oct. 3rd) on Monday, Oct. 4th. After coming back from Atlanta, where we saw the Atlanta Braves make the playoffs, my mom, dad, and I went to a jewelry store in Richmond that my grandfather had gone to before and gotten a good deal. I went in there and found a couple of rings that I liked and that matched MPP's research that she had provided me with but in the end I couldn't find anything that I loved and that was in my $$$$ range. So I drove back to DC and went to work on Tuesday, Oct. 5th and was talking to one my co-workers about my idea and how I wanted to propose in the coming months. He told me about a private jeweler that he uses for all his jewelry needs for his wife. So I called up the jeweler and introduced myself, emailed him MPP's research, and he got back to me with a couple of designs. Later, I went to his office and we sat down and after educating me on rings for a couple of minutes, he helped me design a ring that was perfect for MPP. This was not just a regular old ring that I picked out of a lineup; this was a ring that I designed myself (with the help of the jeweler of course) specifically for her. After designing the ring and picking out the rock he said it would take about two weeks to make the ring. After two weeks, I followed up with him and the ring was in but unfortunately I was not able to pick it up that day since MPP & I were called away to Richmond on an urgent matter. Unfortunately on the day that I was going to pick up the ring, MPP's grandmother passed away. RIP Mrs. Roberts. You will not be forgotten and I know you are up above watching over us and smiling down on us! While we were at MPP's parents house in Chesapeake, I ended up corning her dad in the kitchen while she was up stairs showering. All sneaky like and I asked him for his permission to marry his daughter, MPP. He shook my hand, gave me his blessing, and said he was ecstatic to add another guy to the family and knowing that I would be making his daughter very happy very soon made him thrilled as well. So Step 2-The Permission was now complete. While we were in Richmond, MPP's family was asking her when they would be receiving the "big" invitation and I said "Invitations to what? My birthday!" (which is in January) and she said "No, Silly. Our Wedding." Meanwhile, I just shrugged off the question like we'll worry about that later type of thing. Also while I was home for Thanksgiving my brother and uncle asked me when the big day was as well and I blew it off. I wanted no one to know about my plan except for my parents and her dad.
So back to Nov. 29th. I showed up at the jewelry and he showed me the ring and everything looked PERFECT! I inspected the ring and he set the stone and I was off. Step 3-Find the Ring was now complete. I must admit on the drive back to work I was like a nervous little boy as I was deciding when the big day would be. Would it be tonight? It was as if it was already burning a hole in my pocket. Next, I came back to work showed the ring to my CEO who had referred to the jeweler and of course everyone else wanted to see as well.
I decided once I got back to work that tonight would be the night, so I left work around 4:45 to beat MPP home and stage the scene. As I rushed home, barely turning the car off, putting it in park, and turning off the lights, I bolted inside. We had gone to Wal-Mart the night before and bought some Christmas decorations including this tin that looked like a red wrapped present with tied a green bow. I pulled out the present and tried to put the ring box inside but it wouldn't fit since it was too BIG, (OH NO) so I started panicking like "WHAT DO I DO NOW?" I freaked for a second, but then the Quarterback in me set in and I called an audible. I took the tin present put the ring box inside and just let the top tangle over the ring box and put the box under the Christmas tree behind our two other tin presents.
Shortly after hiding the ring and my mini-panic attack, MPP came home and at that point I'm worried that she will find the ring under the tree. So I'm following her around the house like a hungry dog ready for his meal making sure she doesn't see it. After changing our clothes, its was off to the bank, Atlantis for dinner, and the ABC store to pick up some liquor for our Christmas cocktail that we would be making later that night. After our errands, we decide to ride through the neighborhood and check out the Christmas decorations and lights, which surprisingly our neighborhood was lacking, except for this one display:
We got home and made the Christmas Peppermint cocktail and start decorating the tree. The whole time my mind is racing as I'm trying to figure out when would be the right time or right song, since we had turned it to one of the comcast stations that plays christmas music all day, to propose. At the same time, I'm still worrying and hoping that she won't find the ring. While we decorated, I tried put most of my ornaments on the bottom of the tree so she wouldn't look under the tree meanwhile MPP was only worried about the top. After trimming the tree and decorating the house, MPP decided to make her cream cheese icing for her red velvet brownies that she had made the night before. While she was doing this, the nervous starts to set in a little more since now I know the countdown is on and I decided to ask her "how long is this going to take to make," so that I could gauge how much time I had before I pop 'the question'. She said about "10 minutes!" By now I can tell that she is getting a little irritated at my questions so she lets me know that I can go sit down but I don't want to leave her alone b/c I don't like when she is productive and I'm not. So I stay in the kitchen and talk to her the whole time until she is finished applying the icing, licking the spoon/bowl, and trying one of the brownies.
After I cleaned up the dishes, we were about to sit down and look at cameras, which by this time it was almost 9 o'clock, when I stop her dead in her tracks and tell her to "Come over here, I have something I want to show you." So she walks over into the dinning room area and stands almost in the archway between our dinning room and kitchen. Next, I ask her to close her eyes. With her eyes closed, I dive under the tree like I'm sliding head first into home plate and retrieve the tin present with the ring inside. As I popped up I take the ring box out of the tin present box and set the tin box on the table. I slowly open the ring box and gracefully slide down on one knee (right knee) with the box held out tight with both sides. I ask her to "Open her eyes" and as soon as she does with the nervous/excitement in my voice I say "Kristen Friend, Will You Marry Me?" At that point she is completely surprised and shocked so much so that I thought for a minute she was going to fall backwards into the kitchen. She responds with "Are you serious?" and I said without hesitation and more confidence in my voice this time "Dead Serious!" Still shocked and completely off guard, she again responds with "Really?" and I nodded to confirm and she responds with the 2 most important words that were neither yes baby or I do but
Now that Step 4-The Proposal was complete it was time for Step 5-The Fitting. As I pulled the ring out of the box, I was very excited but nervous at the same time because what if I didn't fit then this night would be ruined b/c of one key factor: THE SIZE! Just to let you'll know how I found out her ring size in case gentlemen you want to use this: I asked her about 3 years ago over a Gmail chat in passing. At that time, it was sort of an awkward time to ask since we had only been dating since October (so about 4 months) and we didn't really DTR till Friday, December 5th, 2008 but I knew if the relationship worked out it would definitely come in handy later. I believe me asking for this and asking her to do ring research in passing or at random times really helped me in making this proposal such a surprise to her. Anyways, so as go to slide the ring on her finger it stops around the knuckle which causes a bead of sweat to role down my head but then with one little push it slides over the knuckle and fits perfectly like a glove.
Afterwards we both shared such joy and happiness as we were both so ecstatic to be ENGAGED!!! I was on a such a high and so happy that my plan worked to perfection well not exactly to perfection (if the ring could have fit into the tin present it would have been perfect) but it was perfect for us and that's all that matters. But I think about it now that if the ring box would have fit into the tin then I would have had her open the box herself and I would have slid down to one knee as she opened it but it was blessing that it didn't fit b/c otherwise I wouldn't have had her close her eyes and she probably wouldn't have been so surprised. I had two other proposal options in mind as well: (1) I was going to propose after a hot air balloon ride but it was obviously got to cold for that since it has been 40 degrees all week here and (2) I was going to propose during a little trip/stay at the The Homestead either after a horse back ride or carriage ride. I told MPP these ideas and she thought the proposal that I did was more us then my two other options and I agree since now that I think about those 2 ideas were a little extravagant for us. Also, MPP let me know that when I had her close her eyes that she thought I was pulling out a pig Christmas ornament that we had seen the night before at Target. Little did she know it was something much smaller and brighter. Check out the ornament that she thought she was receiving (which I got for her the next night):
Next came Step 6-Spread the Word, which this step could take anywhere between 1-2 days to a full week or even longer. First, we called up her mom and Skyped with her. MPP started off by showing her our tree and then she said I have something else to show you and she put her hand up to the camera and a loud scream came from the other side as her mother was overjoyed. We spent the next hour to 2 hours Skyping with my parents, her dad and her sisters, who had the same reactions as her mother. My brother was shocked as well. He kept saying how sneaky I was since neither me or my mom gave him any hint at all and my moms usually not very good at keeping secrets, but I got to give her props here she did a great job. MPP's grandfather had a great reaction as well he said he was excited and happy for us but he had to go back to watching the country music Christmas show hosted by Jennifer Knettles of Sugarland haha. I could hardly sleep that night since I was on such a high and b/c I had been on an emotional roller coaster the whole night.
Over the last next couple of days, we have been emailing and calling and spreading the good news to all of our family and friends. MPP sent an email blast to everyone (family, friends, co-workers, etc.) in which she included this collage:
The 7 Step Engagement Process Timeline
Step 1-Information Gathering-January 24th, 2008 to Monday, October 4th, 2010
Email via Gmail asking her for her Ring Size-Thursday, January 24th, 2008
MPP's sent me a Diamonds 101 tutorial email w/ her Ring Research-Friday, August 10th, 2010
Went Ring shopping for the 1st Time-Monday, October 4th, 2010
Went Ring shopping for the 2nd Time-Friday, October 29th, 2010
Step 2-The Permission-Sunday, November 21st, 2010
Step 3-Find the Ring-Monday, November 29th, 2010
Step 4-The Proposal-Monday, November 29th, 2010
Step 5-The Fitting-Monday, November 29th, 2010
Step 6-Spread the Word-Monday, November 29th, 2010 to Present
Step 7-Plan the Wedding-Monday, November 29th, 2010 to Present
Check out the pictures below from our night to remember/The Engagement Night
(Monday, November 29th, 2010 around 9pm):