The picture links weren't working, so I put them all in again at the top... hopefully these ones will work...
Well well well... there certainly is plenty to write about nowadays, and I've been so busy doing it all that I haven't written a thing. I'm tempted to play catch up, but if I write all I want just about the proposal, I'll be here all day just writing that much. So... the proposal...
Heidi's dad and I tried for a few weeks to find a time to get together and have "the talk." I finally decided I couldn't wait any longer (the ring was making frequent trips out of my drawer so as to be in front of my eyeballs), so I told him the date I planned to propose and figured we'd either talk before or after... either way I was getting that ring on her finger! We did manage to get together on Thursday, and I spent that whole day gathering supplies for the upcoming proposal. The talk itself went really well.
The next day I spent all day preparing again. I set up the table in my bedroom so JD and Natasha could see the vision. Heidi had mentioned a couple weeks ago that she wanted to hike Mount Timp, and immediately my brain started picturing a proposal on the mountain.
Preparations included the following items/thoughts/errands/tasks:
- Two light folding chairs
- Borrow table from Quinn and Kristy
- Red flowers (fake, so as to survive the hike)
- Red tea lights and little glasses to hold them (for wind protection)
- Red wine glasses (plastic)
- Red plates (plastic)
- Silverware? Nope... we're eating sushi.
- Granola bars
- Wipes (hey, it's a long hike)
- iPod speaker
- Charged iPod with "Heidi" playlist
- Charged camera
- Another camera for JD and Natasha (thanks, Andy)
- Headlamp, flashlight, batteries
- Printed lists of supplies and schedules so JD and Natasha know where they need to be, and where Heidi and I will be at the time.
- Research the trail - which trailhead is better, how long is the hike...
- Create "Timp Top Tona" menus
- Email lists and menus to Kinkos, go get menus printed on thick, glossy paper
- Fill the car with gas
- Give JD and Natasha money for food and park entrance
- Pow wow with JD and Natasha to give them supplies, talk over plan
- Make sandwiches, pack up backpack with food, water, and well-hidden Martinelli's... and lots of ice.
So. On the day of the hike, I was back and forth up and down the stairs to collaborate with JD and Natasha (they're my friends and landlords - they live upstairs), give them the charged iPod, borrow ziploc bags, remind them of the bag of ice in my freezer, etc. etc. etc. I made four PB&J sandwiches, packed my backpack with the sandwiches, two bananas, two nectarines, five granola bars, an iced bottle of Martinelli's (I put it in a grocery bag with a gallon ziploc bag of ice), a sweatshirt, an extra menu in case JD and Natasha's got ruined (theirs didn't; mine did), a flashlight, a headlamp, a camera, and two bottles of water. Also packed a duffle bag with overnight stuff for staying with Kristy's family in Midway (Krisy is Heidi's best friend, and her family is amazing), and church clothes. Oh... and the ring.
I went and picked up Heidi, and we drove to Midway. It was a beautiful drive, and Heidi and I had some good conversation, laughs, and singing, like we always do. :) We got to the house Kristy's family was renting, and Quinn (Kristy's husband) and I managed to shove my entire backpack in the freezer. I had a lot of stuff I wanted to keep cold, everything was packed so nicely I didn't want to take it out, and of course, I didn't want Heidi to see the Martinelli's. Kristy's family is SO much fun. We played the paper bag game (you have to pick up the paper bag with your mouth without your hands touching the floor, then rip off part of the bag). I was one of the four people who were still in the game when we were down to a quarter-sized piece of paper... it was a lot of fun and a huge surprise to me that I could do that (obviously I was proud of it... hence my writing about it). After that, we did some limbo, and I sneaked away to exchange a few texts with JD... they were running a little late, but not too bad.
Heidi and I left at about 4:00, which was when we were originally supposed to start hiking. Getting to the general area of the trailhead took longer than I expected, and then we totally missed it and almost drove all the way to Highland. We stopped at the Timp Caves... uh... place, and asked for directions. We had missed the sign because we were distracted by water flowing over the road... fortunately, though, that made for a good landmark for someone to describe where we were supposed to go. We headed back up the canyon and got stuck behind a freaking horse trailer! I was shooting the horses in my mind and trying not to seem stressed out.
We finally found the campground/trailhead parking lot, and started on our way. A couple of rangers chatted our heads off about the length of the hike, conditions of the trail, blah blah blah COME ON GENTLEMEN, MY FRIENDS ARE GOING TO BE WAITING FOR US UP THERE!!! I kept trying to nod and turn like I was walking away to shorten the conversation, but they weren't getting the message.
We finally started up the trail, and I quickly realized I was missing a water bottle. This was the last straw... I couldn't pretend not to be stressed anymore. But of course, Heidi was really understanding and reminded me that her camelbak held a LOT of water and we'd be fine (we ended up having tons of water left at the end of the night, even after Heidi refilled the one water bottle I did have). We started hiking again, and then paused to say a prayer. Heidi said the prayer, and I felt so much better afterward. Still, I was afraid my not-so-jovial attitude had ruined her fun, and I stopped a couple times to apologize and ask if she was having fun. Before too long we were having a blast again.
We moved up the trail pretty quickly, with only short breaks for pictures, snacks, etc. But just about every hiker that came the opposite direction talked our EARS OFF. One guy told us all about how he used to hike these trails with his dad during a full moon, and you wouldn't believe how bright the moon is out here at night, and on and on. Super friendly guy, I'm sure we could have sat down and had a nice, long chat, but my gosh! JD and Natasha are going to be wondering where in the world we are!!!
Ready for this? Turns out JD and Natasha could see us coming up the trail, and they were trying (WITH all the gear I heaped on them) to stay ahead of us, and they were telling everyone that passed them, "We're setting up a proposal for our friends, and they're catching up to us! If you see a bald guy in a red shirt, and a really pretty girl, stall them!!" Hahahaha! Can you believe that??? Well, some of them stalled us quite well. We never saw JD and Natasha or had any idea that we were catching up to them. Well, of course Heidi had no idea at all, but I was convinced they were WAY head of us.
As we got higher, we started running into a lot of snow. Long story short (ha! real short, Brett!), we lost the trail in a big patch of snow. We did find one set of footprints, which, unfortunately (and fortunately), were JD's. They got as lost as we did! When we got across the snow, we could either head to the right, which was a gradual incline around the mountain, or to the left, which was a steep incline to a ridge that appeared to be the near edge of a huge bowl in the mountain. We knew we needed to go to the "Alpine Bowl," so I thought we should get to the top of the ridge and see if we could spot the trail again. Heidi explored the lower portion, making sure we were always in sight of each other.
Climbing up that steep, often snowy hillside was a pain in the butt. Partway up, I yelled back to Heidi to ask if she'd found anything. She said no... I looked around, and I heard, "Goooooooo south!" It was JD's voice!!! I thought, "Okay... does he mean downhill or south on a compass? We worked together at a Boy Scout Camp for crying out loud, he means south on a compass of course!" So I kept climbing, southward, to the top of that freaking ridge. The last little bit was pretty steep and snowy (but short enough that if I slipped I'd just slide on the snow a bit and start over at the dirt). I crested the ridge and saw......... JD and Natasha, and the "table" set up on a big, flat rock that just HAPPENED to be in an absolutely perfect location. I was so, so, so relieved and happy to see them!
I went back to the ridge and yelled to Heidi, "THIS WAY!!!" She started coming toward me, and JD and Natasha finished setting up the table and then hid behind a bit of a bluff a little ways off. I went back to the ridge to see where Heidi was... still really far away. Went back to the table to unload the Martinelli's... no glasses on the table! I motioned to JD and made a drinking gesture and then put my hands in the air in a confused gesture. He turned around, got the glasses, and ran them over to me. I set them up on the table, went back to the ridge, and Heidi was getting really close. I told her the last bit of the climb really sucked, and she said she'd kill it just like she did the hill in her Ragnar run. :) I disappeared again to start the music, and when I came back to the ridge, she was at the top! I had expected to help/guide her up that last climb, but she really did kill it... and she was frustrated that I hadn't been there to help. She didn't seem frustrated, but she told me afterward that she was thinking, "What in the world??? He's always attentive and helpful in situations like this! Where did he go!?" And then we crested the ridge together. She saw the setup and said, ".......whaaaaaaaat? What is this??" I said something like, "I don't know! But it looks like we should have a seat!" She laughed and hugged me, and I could tell she was wondering whether this was the proposal. She said things like, "Oh my gosh! You do the most wonderful things for me!" (Translation: is this another fun surprise? Or is this.....?) We hugged and kissed (we tend to do that a lot), and then she had to blow her nose. I realize that sounds like an unnecessary detail, but she turned away from me to blow her nose and it gave me the perfect opportunity to get the ring out of my backpack and put it in my pocket.
We sat down, and that was Natasha's cue to emerge from hiding and serve our table. We looked at the menus, which Heidi loved, and she asked, "Do we have a server?" just before Natasha started walking over. It was perfect! Natasha came over, welcomed us to Timp Top Tona, and asked if she could take our order. Here's the menu:
By the way, Heidi and I first met when she was serving my table at Tona, a sushi restaurant in Ogden. I got a PDF of their menu online and grabbed their logo and the wording for our favorite items there. She doesn't work there anymore, but we have eaten there a couple times (well, once, and take-out another time).
Heidi asked, "Is everything available?" Natasha informed her that it was, and Heidi ordered the Dynamite and a Nectarine. I ordered the Cali-Cali with cream cheese and a nectarine. Natasha disappeared for a minute and then she and JD came back with our food, and asked if we needed anything else. By this point I had realized that I needed a bottle opener to open the Martinelli's. I asked JD and Natasha for help... they disappeared for a while and (somehow) Natasha came back with an open bottle. She handed me the bottlecap and said, "Would you like to smell the cork? It's a very good year." :) She also brought over a blanket for Heidi. The whole thing was just awesome, and THEN the sun started setting... LOOK AT THIS:
We ate our food, and then I asked Heidi to dance. I put on "Magic" by Colbie Caillat, and we somehow managed to dance without tripping over rocks. I tried to tell her how much I love her, and almost wished I had written a script because nothing I said seemed adequate. After I felt like I had done the best I could to tell her how I felt, I said, "...and so, there is something I've been dying to ask you, and something I've been dying to give you." I got the ring out of my pocket, got on one knee, opened it (toward me first to make sure the ring was centered... it was), and said, "Heidi, I love you so much. Will you marry me?" She smiled SO huge and gave me a few really big nods, and then whispered, "YES!" and leaned down and kissed me. It was the best response I could have possibly imagined. I put the ring on her finger, and then stood back up for some more hugging and kissing, which I believe I mentioned, we like to do. :)
We danced some more (with the blanket tied around both of our waists to keep our legs warm), and after a while JD and Natasha reappeared... with SPARKLERS!! The blanket and the sparklers were both details that I had not thought of. The blanket was a lifesaver, and the sparklers were perfect since we had hoped to see fireworks down in the valley but never got far enough to see the other side of the mountain. The four of us played with sparklers, JD turned up the music and took more pictures, and we just had a ton of fun. IT. WAS. PERFECT!!!
After that, we started packing things up, and then JD and Natasha led us back to the trail, and we started the trek back down in the dark. Heidi's ring sparkled like crazy in the light of the LEDs in the headlamp and flashlight... that was really fun to see!
On the way down, JD and Natasha talked about their engagement, wedding, and reception (they've been married for a year). Heidi and I talked about our thoughts so far, and we all talked about the difficulties we encountered in trying to make the evening's proposal work out! JD had been carrying a table for the first couple of miles and then ditched it in a thicket of trees because it was way too heavy. He found it on the way back down, and I carried it out. JD and Natasha filled us in on why EVERY stinking hiker was so dang chatty on our way up, and we told them about a European couple that they had apparently not sent on a mission to stall us. The man had said to us, "There was a guy carrying two folding chairs up the mountain!" to which I had responded, "No way! Seriously??" :)
The hike down was a lot of fun, with the exception of a couple ankle rolls by JD and a trip by Heidi that resulted in a decent gash on her knee. She washed it out like it was a towel... my gosh she is superwoman. Natasha had a first aid kit, and she helped Heidi get bandaged up. Then we were on our way again. A while before that, we had stopped to eat my peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and unload some no-longer-necessary ice. It was a really, really, really fun hike down, and I'm so glad JD and Natasha had been our helpers. First of all, they did such an excellent job with everything. But also, the story of their meeting, dating, engagement, wedding, and reception are so much like ours have been/we want them to be, that it was really exciting, comforting, and refreshing to hear them talk about their experiences and be so excited for us.
We got back to the trailhead at about 1:30am, got in our cars, and drove home. JD and Natasha went all the way to Ogden, and Heidi and I only had to drive to Midway thanks to Kristy's family. We got to their house (that they were renting) and found quite a few of them awake and watching The Prestige. I was happy they were awake so we could share our excitement and pictures with them and also find out which shower we could use with the least risk of waking people up! We showed them pictures, took showers, borrowed a Book of Mormon to keep our daily reading goal, and then we each took a couch and slept for not nearly long enough. :)
In the morning, Kristy's brother-in-law made omelets and someone had made French toast and potatoes. They fed us lunch before the hike, too. We went to church with them, and Heidi got up to bear her testimony. I had consciously thought about bearing mine and decided I didn't feel so inclined, but when Heidi went up I couldn't resist following her! It felt so good to hear her bear her testimony about love and family, and hear her express gratitude for her own family, Kristy's family, and the family she is about to join. She said it's important to tell the people we love that we love them, and expressed gratitude for Kristy always telling her she loves her, and for me always telling her I love her. When I got up, the first thing I said was, "I do love her." I mentioned that I had just asked her to marry me the night before, and then shared my testimony, mostly about how the Lord can forgive us and make us worthy to enter the temple and someday become like Him in spite of all our mistakes, sins, and shortcomings.
We went to Sunday School, and then I went back to the house because I was so tired. Heidi stayed for Relief Society, and then found me asleep on the couch when she got back to the house. We had some more delicious food, told the proposal story, sent out some texts and got some congratulations, and then drove about ten minutes to where Heidi's family had just arrived at the Homestead in Midway. They were there to stay the night, relax, and celebrate the 4th. We spent almost all our time with them playing tennis. Heidi and I challenged her parents, and they beat us. My only victory was against Heidi's 10 year old brother, and I won after a loooooong stretch of deuce, advantage, deuce, advantage, etc. It was a LOT of fun, and it felt really good to just have a laid back, fun time with Heidi's family. They loved the ring, her dad referred to our tennis team as the "Fairbourns to be," and her mom said she was excited for us. Her family is a lot of fun, and she texted her dad today to find out when would be a good time to visit them again. He said, "Don't know yet. Come on down anyway!" :)
When the sun started setting, Heidi and I ate some food she had packed and then said goodbye to her family and started heading home. We could not believe that we had left Ogden only the day before. It was a busy, productive, WONDERFUL weekend.
We are SO excited for the Fairbourn family vacation that starts this Saturday!!!!!
I have never, ever been even remotely close to this happy in my life. Heidi makes me feel so loved, appreciated, and secure all the time. I love her so much, and I am simply the luckiest person alive. Correction - most blessed person alive. I get to be with her forever!!!