Friday, May 18, 2012
Today, May 18th, marks the 14th anniversary of the day Mike proposed to me. We celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary 10 days ago, and while discussing all that has changed in our lives since, I was reminded of how much fun Mike made the engagement for me and also realized that many of our friends and family don't actually know how he did it!
It all started as a multi-media, 10 Stage Multi with a diamond ring being the final cache. Yes, Mike was way ahead of his time creating this event a full 2 years before Geocaching was born and became another important part of our lives....
I was working part-time at a law firm in downtown Grand Rapids and had just finished my Junior year at Grand Valley State University. I left work as usual and reached my locked car, parked in the adjacent ramp, only to find that something looked awfully fishy. When I went to get into the car, there was my portable CD player sitting on the seat, a map, a pencil, a piece of paper with an anagram on it, and a CD with a note reading, "Play Me".
I truly had no idea what was going on but thought it would be fun to play along! So, I popped the CD into the player, turned up the volume on my old stereo, and heard Mike's voice come on (how did he manage that?!), telling me that a clue to solve the game could be found at the intersection of Plymouth St. and the unscrambled street on the piece of paper. So, I worked out the anagram, which was Michigan Ave., and headed over there. Once there, I found a piece of paper with another anagram nailed to a pole and the voice on the CD gave me another street. Off to another intersection I went! This continued on for quite some time, with me crisscrossing all over town, until I reached a particular intersection in Kentwood, where I checked every pole on every corner and there was...nothing. Nada. Zip. We had no cell phones at the time so I was completely lost as to what to do next!
All of a sudden, this old couple pulls up along side my car and they roll down their windows while motioning for me to do the same. I was baffled but did as they indicated anyway. I did not know these people but the little, elderly lady leans out of her window and says, "The clue you are seeking has sailed away with the breeze. The next clue that you are looking for is "East Beltline". Good luck!". Then, they drove away. I was dumbfounded. This was crazy....
So, I traveled to the last intersection, the East Beltline and Lake Eastbrook (given to me on the CD) only to find another piece of paper, but this one was different. It was a puzzle where I had to take certain letters from the anagrams I had solved and put it into the puzzle in order to reveal a secret message. It read, "Mountain Jacks". That's it. I was so confused but I then realized that Mike must be taking me out for dinner at one of our favorite restaurants and wanted to surprise me! It was a full 2 hours since I had started this process and frankly, I was starving! My only reservation about heading straight over to this restaurant was that it was a pretty nice place and I wasn't exactly dressed in my Sunday best. Oh well, I was hungry and I definitely didn't want to go all the way home and back at this point, so I drove over, went inside and headed to the hostess stand.
The hostess was expecting me and showed me to my seat, where Mike was patiently waiting with a huge grin on his face. No sooner had I sat down, when up pops Mike, gets down on one knee, presents the ring and asks me to marry him. I was shocked, surprised and giddy! Of course I said yes! Then, I glance over and realize that there is a person literally hiding under the next table, in the dark, with a video camera....our friend, Justin. These 2 goons had been recording my every move the entire day without me having the slightest idea! So, this entire episode is on a VCR tape somewhere...I'll have to make a concerted effort to find it one day.
All in all, I've heard of some pretty great proposals, in some pretty great locations, but I think mine takes the cake. Thanks to my creative hubby, it's a day that I will definitely never forget!
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
We have been making progress on the new house but not enough to post any real before/after pictures. We've painted the living room, kitchen, hall and foyer thus far, with the dining room, library/office and master bath not too far on the horizon. We've painted almost all of the trim on the main floor, changed out all of the light switches, upgraded most of the lighting, replaced all of the bathroom fixtures, added window treatments to all bedroom windows and numerous other small projects. It's starting to feel more like home as we continue to add our own personal touches.
One of my favorite ways to personalize our space is adding photos. Mike gave me a wonderful photo-collage frame set for Mother's Day last year and I finally had an opportunity to use it! I decided to add photos that depicted many of the places that we have traveled to as a family in the past 3-4 years. I'm very happy with how it turned out!
How many different U.S. States are on display here?
I also have been admiring the picture ledges that I have been seeing in many catalogs and online. I figured that instead of spending the money that I could make them myself. With Mike's help, we made 2 - 4ft wooden picture ledges, painted them to match the trim and installed them above our piano. Love seeing our friends and family from virtually every spot on the main floor!
Are you on our wall? Still space for more photos!
I've always wanted to hang a collage of frames down the wall of our stairs. I was a little intimidated by the process but I found some great frames for a great price at IKEA and my idea started to take shape. I wanted to use some of my favorite photos that I've snapped during our travels and them get them printed to size. Here is the result....
Palm trees, sunsets and the bluest waters...
We have high ceilings in the new house and when we installed our bookcases in the office, the area above it just seemed so empty. I decided to use some old maps that we had laying around, cut them up and put them in frames. I used 5 different maps: a US map of Michigan to Florida (a favorite route), a aeronautical chart of Grand Rapids, MI, a collection of Caribbean islands, a road map of Eastern Iowa and a map of Barbados.
Everything has been coming together and the more we accomplish, the better I feel about the house and the space. The pictures and artwork really help! Just one more shot of the front foyer and hall so you can see how it's all coming together...