Our Love Story, continued: The Proposal

In honor of our 8 year wedding anniversary (TODAY!), I wanted to share how it all began...You can read the first part here.

Okay I'll be the first to admit that the way we met doesn't exactly make for the most romantic story, but the proposal definitely makes up for it....read on and you'll see...

From the moment Ricky returned my flip-flops outside the campus fitness center, it was full speed ahead. He was a Junior, lived at home and went from class straight to work every day (which explains why we never crossed paths at school). I was a Senior with only 6 weeks left of classes and a lot of decisions ahead of me.

I graduated with a degree in Communications in May 2003. My parents wanted me to move back near them (about 1.5 hours from where my school was) but I wasn't so sure. Instead, I spent a few weeks soul-searching and job hunting where I was, finally deciding to chase a childhood dream while I had the chance. I found a film school in Burbank, California that had a 6-week acting course and that fall, after dating Ricky throughout the summer, I packed my things and drove cross-country with my dad without any clue what my next steps would be.

Ricky flew out to visit - even ran from my apartment to a nearby store while I was in class to grab what was needed to surprise me with a nice romantic homemade dinner. He must have sensed that I was debating on whether I would stay in LA to pursue acting or if I would venture home to the familiar. (A man who made the effort and spent the money to fly across the US? And one that cooks? He sure scored points in my book!)

When the 6 weeks was up, I was at a crossroads. I stared at my list of acting contacts, my recently taken head-shots and my ID card that granted access to the Universal Studios lot where we had filmed several student-led short films. I'd be lying if I said the acting bug hadn't bitten me hard. I wanted to stay. But I honestly felt that either way I would be taking a risk and chasing something with no sure outcome - whether it be an acting career in LA or love back home.

In the end, I left California and I never looked back.

-- In our "dating" days --

Fast forward to the next spring. Ricky and I had been dating for a little over a year and half at that point and as things progressed I knew I had made the right choice - coming home for love.

One beautiful spring morning, we made plans to go to the zoo and I had a feeling. A feeling that perhaps this outing would bring something special. We arrived at the front entrance and "happened" to be met by a zoo employee who asked if there were any certain exhibits I wanted to be sure to visit. I mentioned I loved butterflies. He said the exhibit wasn't open quite yet, but he'd sneak us in ahead of the crowd.

Once inside I was overwhelmed with the beauty of it all. There were trees dripping across the walkway and hundreds of butterflies flitting about. As I was taking it all in, I barely noticed a song softly humming in the background. Our song.

I turned to find Ricky down on one knee with a little box in his hand. His voice shook as he asked me to be his wife (with a few sweet sentiments mixed in as well). He slid a beautiful princess cut diamond ring on my equally shaky hand as I said "YES!" over and over.

[Sidenote - Later I found out that he had written my mom a letter asking her for her mother's engagement ring that my mom had kept for more than 20 years after she died. He kept the vintage platinum band with 6 small diamonds in tact and designed a custom setting with a new center stone. The original diamond was then incorporated into a piece of jewelry for my sister.]

-- Just after he popped the question :) --

-- Me showing off my custom ring --

Outside the exhibit we called a few family members to tell them the news. We were planning on going to a family barbecue later that day and I was so excited to show off my bling. First, he said, we needed to grab something from my condo. When we walked in the entire place was covered in rose petals and candles. Later on, we ended the evening with dinner reservations at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse. It was the perfect end to a perfect day.

To Be Continued...