Burn it into your brain because that's it!! It's our wedding date!! YEAH! I am so excited. I also found out that it is the same date as Jeremy and Mandee's anniversary and Pastor Ken and Nadine's anniversary, so at that point I really knew it was the right day. As a side note, Matt wrote his version of the proposal story. (Mine was long, but his much longer - and you thought I was the wordy one). Tomorrow we are driving to Minneapolis to see "The Christmas Carol." Our first Christmas season together has been and will be one of many memories, that's for sure.
If you saw me today, you know I'm on cloud 999, but I'm getting tired, so I will not write much of an intro here. Here is our engagement story from Saturday, December 10, 2005. By the way, if you know me, you know that I'm pretty observant, so I did have some thoughts that maybe this would be the day he would ask me to marry him - but still worked hard to not expect it :-). Galena, Illinois was the site of our first real date on July 4 this year, and we have really enjoyed visiting a few times since then as well.
Matt called and said he would be over to pick me up at 10:30 a.m. I said I would make monkey bread for breakfast, so I threw it together and put it in to be done about 10:30. He didn’t end up getting there until 11:00. He was wearing a t-shirt and jeans, so he really threw me off with his low-key demeanor and dress that morning. We drove to Galena and arrived at about 1:30. A few of the bed and breakfasts in town were hosting an open house, so we toured their main areas and saw some of the rooms. They were all built in the late 1800’s to early 1900’s, so they have interesting architecture which we both enjoy. At the last B&B, the hostess asked about our plans for the evening. Matt said that we were going to look at the windows and then have dinner. She asked if we had a reservation, and he said no. She said, “On a Saturday night?” So when we left, I asked him if we should call and make a reservation just in case. He said that he figured it was no big deal – last time, we got in on a Saturday with no problem, so we’d be fine. I bought it, so we drove back to Main Street to check out their living windows displays. Considering that Waverly has a pretty awesome living windows Christmas display each year, this was quite elementary to say the least. So we enjoyed making fun of them, but we did admire the real garland and bows adorning many of the shop windows. It was really beautiful.
We stopped at a coffee shop to warm up and sit for a while. When we were getting ready to leave, he mentioned that while I had run to the bathroom, he called and made us a reservation for 8:00 (this was at around 5:30 or so). I just figured they were pretty busy and couldn’t get us in any sooner. So we continued to walk and stopped in a few shops. At one point, we were quite near the restaurant (it was about 6:30), and I thought about asking him to see if they could get us in any sooner, but I decided to just let it go. We went to a SECOND coffee shop from there to kill some more time. Finally at 7:45 or so, we went to the restaurant. This, by the way, is the only restaurant at which we have ever dined in Galena. We absolutely love it, and they have a room that is lowered a few steps from the main level when you walk in. It has stone walls and vines all around the top, and we both really like it and think it would be a very cool dining room someday. So when we walked in, she said that Matt had requested the “dungeon.” I knew she meant that room, so I was excited since we had never been able to eat in there before. There are only two tables there, and the other was empty.
Matt said he was cold and kept his coat on, and we ordered our food. When the bread and salad came, he said he was going to run to the restroom. I figured I would wait until he returned before I started eating, so I did. I waited. And waited. And waited. They seated another couple at the other table, and I’m sitting there alone with salad and bread and not touching any of it. The server walked by and asked if everything was okay – I said yes. He came back again with our dinner and asked if he should bring it back later. I said to leave it; that was fine. I didn’t have my watch and my phone died, so I have no idea how much time really passed, but it had to be about 20 minutes or so. I was feeling really silly in this little room by myself with the other couple. It took so long that I started to wonder what was going on, but I just didn’t want to let myself think anything. But I hoped that at least something cool was happening because our food was going to be cold either way. Finally…Matt came down the stairs – a vase with a dozen red roses in hand, clad in a 3-piece tuxedo (red vest, of course), and a blue box with a white ribbon in the other hand. He sat the flowers on the table and bent down on his knee. He asked me if I would be his wife. I said I had to call Jim first…just KIDDDING!! I said YES! I was quite teary-eyed and couldn’t say much else – I heard the woman at the other table say, “Oh, I’m going to cry!” They clapped when I said yes, too. That was cute. He handed me the box, but I was shaking and having a time getting the ribbon off. I asked him to do it, but he was shaking, too. We managed to get the ring out, and it is unbelievable. We’ll have to get some close-ups soon because it is so gorgeous. I seriously cannot stop staring at it. Since I don’t have a picture right now, I’ll tell you that it’s a .75-carat princess cut center stone with six diamonds in the band on each side (I think he said they are pave diamonds - he is far more diamond-literate than I - it's so cute). It’s so much more beautiful than that even sounds, though – it has detailing on the sides…oh, you’ll just have to see the picture. Or better yet, see me!!
Okay, so then he sat down at his seat. I looked at my plate and said, “I can’t eat anything!” I had totally lost my appetite and was fighting back the tears. So he ate some and told me about how he had planned it all. He was late that morning because he had picked up the roses and the florist told him that if he kept them in the trunk all day in the cold, they would die. So he stopped at Wal-Mart to buy a cooler and stuck them inside it. Then he had to exchange his vest at the rental place, so that all put him half an hour late. The reason our dinner reservation wasn’t until 8:00 was because he had arranged a carriage ride at 6:00, but they cancelled all the carriages because of the weather. But to replace the carriage ride, he arranged for a limo to pick us up at the restaurant at 9:00, and we rode around and looked at Christmas lights for an hour. And not just any limo – a sweet, new Lincoln Towncar limo that seated about 10-12 people with fiberoptic lighting in the ceiling inside. It was so “wicked awesome” as Matt would say.
So we were done at 10:00 and proceeded to drive home. I finally was getting hungry, so he got me a hamburger at Burger King. I talked on the phone most of the way home – my parents, both sisters, his sister, Mandy, and his parents, Jim and Sharon, a message for Bill and Natalie, and Cindy. I asked him if it was okay for me to talk on the phone the whole ride – I think it’s generally pretty rude, but in this situation, he said it was fine. He liked hearing me tell the story to everyone. J So, we arrived in Waverly at around 1:00 a.m. I will have to post my Sunday fun later because I am getting very tired and once again, have not eaten dinner yet. But I am pretty sure I’m the happiest girl in the world today, and I wanted to share it with all of you. I wish I could see you, hug you, laugh and scream with you, and tell you in person, but since it doesn’t always work out that way, I figured this would be a good way to spread the news. Our news – we’re engaged! So, from the soon-to-be-Mrs. Matt Gidley, I love you and thank you all for sharing in my joy. It’s a fuller life for having each of you in it. Thank you for loving and supporting us. And to Matt...I love you. I cannot wait to be your wife.
If you don't live in Waverly or somewhere north of the Mason-Dixon line, you may not empathize with us here. But this week has been insanely cold, and last night was the culmination of the freezing moments for me. I generally look forward to Windows on Main for quite a while, and this year I was excited to see Crossed perform some Christmas music. Since Maggie (the drummer Jason's fiancée) was driving from Independence, I thought she might be a little late, and I didn't want to have to find a place to park in all the craziness, so I figured I could walk and meet her there when she arrived. I have bag full of scarves and gloves, so I knew I could bundle up, and it's only 5 blocks, right? I'm tough - I can make it that far.
Oh, my word. OH...MY...WORD. I don't even know what the temperature actually was, but I was at the end of the alley on my block when I realized that this was no ordinary cold. I began to think of all the things I could have done to be warmer for this trek - an additional pair of socks, knee-high boots, tights, a warm hat, an extra pair of gloves...the list goes on. How did I leave the house so unprepared for this? And why again did I choose not to drive? It was the longest 5-block walk of my life...wait, all of a sudden I'm having flashbacks of a rain-soaked walk/run to the Gidleys house this summer. Messy, but still far more fun than last night. I'm sure I looked like a rain-soaked rat, but at least I had a fun memory with Matt that will not soon be forgotten. So...last night's freezing, snowy, icy steps were counted one-by-one and excruciatingly painful as my toes and fingers began to freeze and lose all feeling. I arrived at the Steere building to see that my face was wet, and every time I blinked, mascara was removed from my eyelashes and making black marks on my cheeks and eyelids. What a mess! I have to say, the band did a great job, though. Matt's parts on "Carol of the Bells" and "Oh Holy Night" were so great - it made me so proud to watch him play those so well. So, was it worth the walk? In a way, yes. But I have gained wisdom from the experience and will some day apply it. Such as learning that being a good girlfriend does not necessarily require frozen appendages as part of the deal. Good lesson.
Since I posted a scary picture of Matt last time, I owe him a nice one. This is about the only picture we got from Lindsey's wedding on Friday, anyway. It snowed for some of the afternoon and all evening, so it was a little treacherous for those traveling but definitely made it beautiful. It was really fun to dance with Matt and with the heels I wore, I think it was a decent workout, too. So overall, I'd have to give it a thumbs-up. LLLLOOOONNNNGGGG day, though - the night wedding seems like such a romantic prospect, but no thanks to the waiting-around-all-day aspect of it. But I hope she enjoyed it since that is how she wanted it. Too bad you can't see my cute shoes in this picture - they were killer. And I can't find a link to them on the Internet, so you'll have to live wondering. I'll try to wear them for Christmas or something so my Waverly friends can see them. Payless has these amazing gold shoes with which I am so in love, but I have refrained so far. Sorry, I got a little distracted with the introduction of the topic of shoes. Well, remember to bundle up and head out for Windows on Main tomorrow night - Crossed is playing in the Steere's window, so come by and make faces in the window...I mean, cheer them on. :-) I am so the supportive girlfriend, let me tell you.
Does anyone else love to dress up? The thought of going home and cuddling up on the couch in sweats is always appealing, but there is something about putting on a beautiful dress or a nice outfit and doing something special. I enjoyed dressing up for Lindsey's wedding. I know, at the end of the night the only thing I could think about was taking off the restrictive undergarments and high-maintenance dress, letting my hair down, and grabbing my warmest pajamas. But for those few hours, it was great to feel like a beautiful princess. If you haven't read Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge, I HIGHLY encourage it. A portion of the book discusses how it is core to us as women to have a desire to be beautiful - not only to be beautiful, but to offer our beauty to others. I can't say it as well as they do in a few hundred pages, but it is impacting to know that we are made in the image of God and He created us to be this way. So enjoy your holiday parties and any dressing up you will get to do - you are ALL beautiful and bless my life with your beauty in many ways.
I'm a 33 year old first time mom to the amazing Isabella Grace. I work from home and take care of her at the same time, so I have two full-time jobs. Three if you count being a wife as well. I am married to my husband of 5 years, Matt. We live in a former church, hence the bell tower.