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Wednesday, August 20, 2008The Engagement Story
Once upon a time, there was a normal girl who met a normal guy.
After three years and four months of dating, Blair proposed on my 30th birthday. But, that's not all. You see, the story of our engagement began way back when... and here is how it goes...
When Blair and I first met, one of the questions I asked was related to how he had planned to propose to his future bride. -It was a relevant topic of conversation, not just some random question. (I had learned enough at that point not to pull out those types of questions too soon!) His response surprised me; he said that he had been planning it for a very long time. Moreover, he would never tell any woman how we wanted to do it, just in case she was the one... Little did we know. So, I knew early on in our relationship that his engagement would be BIG and something special.
As our relationship progressed and as I inched more and more towards wanting to be married, I pressed the idea of making the engagement personal to US. I've always wanted friends and family to celebrate with us when it happened. ...Blair took mental notes.
In June, one month prior to my 30th birthday, Blair decided that the time was right. He went to my dad to ask permission for my hand in marriage. Little did I know that he took the day off and met my dad for lunch to talk... Even more, they met up with Blair's best friend (HI ROBBY!) and all spent the afternoon together.
Blair planned the proposal to a tee. No detail was left unattended. Since the occasion was so big and since he knew that I would suspect something, he decided to have it coincide with another big occasion - my 30th birthday. Thus, I knew to take Friday off work and I suspected all activities that were to happen would be for my birthday.
July 25: THE STAGE IS SET
Blair woke me up at 8:00am with a birthday greeting and a giant oversized card that played the chicken dance song. Inside the card were 27 envelopes that were each numbered. I had to open envelope #1 first. Inside, I found instructions on where to go (favorite breakfast place) and on the back was a riddle of which envelope to open next. The envelopes were numbered, but they weren't going to go in numerical order. I was stoked. I knew that this was going to be a fun "scavenger hunt" day!
Towards the end of our breakfast, I figured out the riddle and opened the second envelope. The next destination was our first date location: Sherman Oaks Galleria. When we arrived, we started to walk towards the pavilion and Blair handed me two tickets to a movie. AWESOME! We saw the movie and I opened the third envelope.
Location #3 instructed to go to our first date place: Starbucks. We walked a few steps and there we were. We sat near to where we talked that first night and somewhat reminisced about that first date conversation. It was sweet to go back to that location and remember how it all began...
From there, my next envelope told us to visit his grandparents. Unfortunately, Blair's grandparents have all passed away. Thus, we headed to Mount Sinai to visit the grave sights of his family members. Again, it was a sentimental time. I had been there once before with Blair, but this time was special. (Later, Blair told me that while we were there, he was hoping for a sign from his grandparents. While he says he didn't get one, I certainly did. It made me more aware of Blair's history and where he came from. It was a quiet visit; one filled with emotion.)
The next envelope led us in a completely different direction: the Glendale Galleria. I got to go on a shopping spree! WHOO HOO! And while I would have loved to have spent a fortune and bought myself some Jimmy Choo shoes, I really didn't want to break the bank when I knew Blair was planning for more activities. Instead, I was excited to get some new clothes and window-shop for a bit.
Next stop was to head to dinner. Blair was sort of stalling (I could tell) so I knew something was up. We made a quick stop into Pier One Imports and drove around the parking lot of the restaurant a few times. Finally, when we walked inside, I saw why he had stalled - his parents were there! The four of us had dinner at our "first dinner date location." His parents said that they wouldn't be able to see me on my actual birthday, so this was our chance to all get together. (This was a cover-up, but seemed legitimate to me!)
After dinner, I was instructed to "go get our daughter." Yes, our dog Bailey has become our child. We are proud pet-parents. So when we got home, I was told that we had to pack an overnight bag for her and for us... Hmmm, where were we all going? Time for the next envelope: "Head to your parents house."
Mom and Dad totally pulled the wool over my eyes, saying that they had plans all weekend and wouldn't see me for my birthday. (Looking back on all this, I realize that I WAS REALLY DUMB for not recognizing all these lies!) Anyway, we got to my parents house late. I thought it was suspicious that my parents kept switching off talking with me while the other went to talk with Blair in another room. But I didn't ask questions and I really didn't want to ruin anything - so I just let it go. Blair later told me that was when he was showing my parents the ring and talking about the plans for the next day...
We went to bed and I thought that the weekend couldn't get any better than the day I just had. Blair said that there were more envelopes still to open, but fewer locations to visit the next day. Again, I didn't question anything and I didn't spend too much time thinking about it. I WANTED TO BE SURPRISED.
July 26th: MY BIRTHDAY
The next morning, I got up early and went downstairs where my mom and dad were getting ready to leave on their errands for the day. They said that they had to do this, do that, go here, visit there, show up for appointment A, followed by appointment B, and so forth. Again - believed every word of it.
My first envelope of the second day also involved breakfast. We went up the street to a little cafe where we had a nice, leisurely, breakfast. When we were done, my envelope's message for the next location was different - there were only three words: PUT THIS ON. There was no riddle... What was going on? When I looked up, Blair was taking a blind-fold out of his pocket. Hmmm... where were we going?
We climbed in the car and I was told to put the blind-fold on before we even left the parking lot. Blair drove in circles right after that which didn't feel too good on a full stomach, but whatever. I had no clue where we were going, so I didn't care.
About 45 minutes later, I was told that I could take the blind-fold off. We were still driving. I looked out the window to a vast land of NOTHING. I immediately thought, no wonder I can take it off - there's nothing out here! Then I saw it. PERRIS VALLEY SKYDIVING. I recognized this location; I had been there exactly 4 years earlier. I was super-excited! I loved my skydive the first time and was even more excited that Blair was going to do it with me! FUN!
We checked into the skydiving place and signed our lives away. As we were waiting for our group to be called, we sat on a bench outside. At one point, I was looking around and saw a guy that looked somewhat familiar. He looked like Blair's cousin, Ethan, from San Francisco. IT WAS BLAIR'S COUSIN, ETHAN, FROM SAN FRANCISCO! He had come down to go skydiving with us for my birthday! THE FUN WAS JUST DOUBLED! And it didn't end there... soon, my parents showed up with my grandmother in tow! WHAT?! They were here? They didn't have to do all those errands?! Wow, I was excited. The fun-meter was now tripled. Family and friends were here to celebrate my 30th birthday skydive! (Ah, how naive I was!) Then, Blair took me inside the gift shop where he wanted to show me something. Standing there was my good friend, Geoff, and his roommate Gabe. OH MY GOSH, THE FUN HAD NOW QUADRUPLED! This was going to be the best birthday, EVER.
So there we were: the five of us who were going to skydive, my parents and my grandmother (who were to watch). My parents busied themselves getting permission to be on the landing site to take pictures as we came down. That seemed cool.
TIME TO JUMP. Me, Blair, Ethan, Geoff, and Gabe got our instructions for our jump and piled into the airplane. We were soon airborn. The time was approximately 12:20pm.
Because Blair had paid for a videographer to film my jump, I was the last person assigned to jump from the plane. One by one, my friends jumped... When my turn came, the pilot said we had to fly around again since we were too far from the landing site. (They were stalling for extra time to let the boys get down.) Then, it was MY TURN. We jumped. Once again, I had a great skydive. It's such a rush and is truly one of the best things I have ever experienced. I recommend it to (almost) everyone!
After my parachute opened, my instructor and I talked about the view, the jump, and he pointed out the spot we were going to land. It was the big grass field. On the field was a tiny white box that we were going to aim for. (At that point, and at that altitude, I didn't know that the white box we were going to land on was a big tarp.) As we got closer, I could see some lettering on that box, but couldn't see what it said.
A few hundred feet up, we were directly above where we were going to land. I looked down and saw the tarp. It was a big tarp, with a big question on it: JESSIE WILL YOU MARRY ME? BLAIR
I don't remember feeling shocked. I don't remember my eyes starting to fill with tears. All I could think was OH MY GOD, IS THIS REALLY HAPPENING? We came in for a landing.
There was Blair. He started to get down on one knee. HOLY SHIT, IS THIS REALLY HAPPENING? I won't tell you what he said on bended knee, as I want to keep that as a private memory between us (even though it's caught on video). But I said YES.
After hugging and kissing, someone told me to look up at where all the cheers were coming from. Standing there, behind a safety fence were family and friends who were there to celebrate this special moment. I was literally overwhelmed. I've never had my legs give out on me, but I fell to the ground, crying like crazy! My heart was filled with so much love and surprise.
We went to greet everyone and I was amazed at how many people came! My best friend from San Jose came! My friends from my old job came! My cousins all came! My Melissa and Robby came (when they were supposed to be in San Diego!)! Blair's family was there! IT WAS AMAZING! I couldn't believe all the people that were there to help us celebrate! And then my grandmother told me that we were going to go have a party at her house and everyone was invited. She had made a big dinner to celebrate the happy day! Blair provided driving directions and maps to everyone.
That afternoon, we ate good food, told good stories, celebrated, and opened presents. I got to visit with people that I had not seen in a while, so I loved the time together. Blair started telling me about all the planning that had gone into making the weekend possible. Everyone was in on it - and everyone had done a good job of keeping it secret. The planning/orchestrating of everyone meeting up in the parking lot outside the skydive place was perfect. He arranged to have my parents take photos from the field of our engagement, which is why we have such close shots. EVERYTHING had been thought of down to the last detail.
This was the best day of my life.
Driving home that night, my eyes had been all cried out. I had been crying with tears of joy all day; I didn't have anything left. The feeling of being sooo loved and the thought of spending my life with Blair was the greatest joy I have ever felt. Since then, it's only gotten stronger.
Thinking back and remembering all of these details, knowing what I know now, still overwhelms me. It was such a special weekend, one that included EVERYTHING that is important to our relationship: family, friends, fun, laughter, thrilling moments, sentimental moments, trust, communication, and above all - love. It's a weekend not to be forgotten...
For this normal girl and this normal guy, our happy ever ending lives on.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008We're Planning A Wedding!
To maintain our sense of normalcy (I have to live up to the name of my blog), Blair and I have decided to hire a wedding coordinator. HOORAY! I'm thrilled to have the relief of knowing that on the big day, we won't have to stress - someone else will be doing it for us!
So... if you're keeping count... that's one thing done. I think there are about 400 more "to do" items to get done. Um, yeah. One thing at a time, right?
And since it's Tuesday, Blair and I have decided to try to visit a few prospective wedding venues this weekend. I've sent e-mails to those that are at the top of our list. Keep your fingers crossed that we find one, available for our date, and within our price range.
Mom and Dad have been very generous in their support for us. They, too, want a beautiful wedding and have agreed to help us. THANKS SO MUCH MOM AND DAD! Our day is going to be so wonderful - filled with family, friends, flowers and photography!
Every now and then, I wonder, "is this really happening?" It seems so surreal. I've been dreaming out this process and looking forward to a wedding for so long. Now that it is here, it seems far-fetched. WE'RE PLANNING A WEDDING! I keep expecting to wake up from this wonderful dream. But it's not a dream; it's REAL. And it feels even more real everyday that I get to share it with Blair. These last few weeks, we kiss a little more, we hold hands everywhere, we giggle more, we cuddle longer, and we're both eager to call the other "fiance" at every opportunity. (Seriously, as I typed that last sentence, I could feel myself blushing and a little giggle crept out.) You would think that we were kids in a candy store. In some ways, I guess we are!
I can't wait for more to come. I'm so excited!
Saturday, August 09, 2008I'm Engaged! And Now The Planning Begins...
I figure that if I'm no longer the "20-something and single girl," I may as well change the look of the blog. What do you think? Do you like the blue color theme?
Since the engagement, I've been really into the wedding plans. I'm THRILLED to be getting married to Blair and equally as excited to throw a wedding for family and friends. Since I was little, I've been dreaming of my wedding day (I guess most girls do!). But, now that I'm doing it, it's overwhelming! There is so much to think about, to plan, to decide, to budget... Ugh, the budget. My problem with dreaming about my wedding for 25 years is that I was dreaming BIG (I blame my parents for telling me to do so!). Now that reality is setting in, the BIG DREAMS for our wedding are turning more and more into a backyard BBQ wedding, at best. I'm learning to "let it go" and am reminding myself to focus on what is important. The marriage is important. The wedding day will be beautiful despite the venue, the low-budget flowers, the construction-paper name cards, and the Vena Wong dress... I'm preparing myself for the worst; knowing that it can only be better.
Blair and I have also agreed that we are only going to talk about wedding stuff on Tuesdays and Saturdays. As much as possible, we want to maintain our normal life - talking about normal things and not becoming wrapped up in THE WEDDING. I'm trying to stick to this rule; Blair is really good about reminding me when it is NOT Tuesday or Saturday. (Insert guilty grin here.)
Today we are meeting with a potential wedding coordinator. She was referred to us by a friend who recently got married and I'm already prepared to sign the contract. Blair is a little more suspicious and needs to be "sold" on this whole idea. I keep trying to tell him that I don't want to stress on the BIG DAY nor do I want my family or friends to be worrying about any of the details. I want us to show up and enjoy the day. Keep your fingers crossed that this first meeting goes well...
Anyway, wish us luck as this process gets underway. If anyone has any suggestions or ideas, I'm all ears!