Happy Thursday, hive! It’s been a wonderful week of reflection and love for me…lots of exciting things happening, and lots of time to get back to what really matters in life: family.
The Geefay family—my family—is small and mighty. My grandpa came over here from China, his full Chinese name was Gee Ying Fay. Fresh off the boat (Oh my god. Did I just say that?) he changed his name to Frank Geefay, and eventually met and married my grandmother and that’s where our little family began.
(Ed. note: My uncle commented on this post to let me know that my grandfather changed his name in the 1920s after facing discrimination, and not right when he arrived in this country, as I’d mentioned. Thanks Uncle Frank, for the correction!)
There are only 7 Geefays in the world: my dad and mom, my uncle and aunt, and their combined 3 children, all girls, which means that the Geefay family name could quite possibly die with us. 3 generations.
When I married I didn’t actually legally take my husband’s name, but use it “professionally.” I haven’t quite decided what to do there yet (5 years into marriage)…the thought of no longer being a Geefay is so frightening and feels like I’m 1/3rd responsible for killing off the Geefay name. I can’t bear that responsibility, so I don’t. And so Geefay, legally, I remain, indefinitely.
There are 2 girls left to make the decision, one being my cousin Frances, who took the leap to move from California to Texas a few years ago to start a life with her boyfriend, Nic.
Avid outdoorspeople (in the spirit of our upbringing, when as a family we’d camp…EVERYWHERE. All the time.), Nic and Frances headed to Amarillo one weekend to hike and mountain bike in Palo Duro Canyon. They happened upon Cadillac Ranch, an art installation of junk Cadillacs, and learned that spray painting the cars is encouraged. Nic challenged Fran to a graffiti competition, one she knew she’d easily win because Nic’s “the opposite of artistic” (and I like to think us Geefay girls have a bit of artistic flair, eh?). So with cans of paint in tow, Nic and Fran set out to leave their mark on Cadillac Ranch. Nic’s challenge was a ruse for something bigger he wanted to accomplish that day.
When they got there, fate stepped in:
The ring was ordered and I knew the official proposal would be coming whenever the ring was ready. We were told a couple of days but I figured on a week, just to keep myself from going absolutely stir-crazy.
I was excited for the most part, but as the week wore on there were seeds of dread that started to sprout.
I was excited and happy BUT also a little embarrassed to be—like I’m not allowed to feel this way. Like, been there, done that. The do-over is cool and all, but keep it low key.
Each January for the last couple of years (though not this last one, unfortunately) we’ve gone up to Vancouver, British Columbia for a weekend. This usually coincides with a break from our annual (January) tradition of going vegan, giving up alcohol, and stopping caffeine.
January 2012 was no different. We were in Vancouver, staying at the Pan Pacific Hotel. We try to do some touristy things combined with relaxing, so on January 14th we went to the Capilano Suspension Bridge, where we’d never been before. It was sort of slushy and cold, but we had a good time.
Montage of Capilano Suspension Bridge Park / Personal photos
When we returned to the hotel we were just in time for happy hour in the lounge. As we were chatting over snacks and a glass of wine, I realized and commented on the fact that it was 4.5 years to the day since Sparky had asked me to be his girlfriend. He looked a little startled but smiled and said that he hadn’t realized it.
Before I tell you about the proposal (soon, I promise!), I want to give you some more back story.
The fall of 2011 was rough for me. I was taking three graduate classes (one of which was clinical) and working full time. I was tired, I was overwhelmed, and I was quietly miserable. Sparky and I had been together for over four years, we’d watched our good friends get married, and one of my closest friends got engaged to the guy she’d been dating for just over a year. I felt lost.
From a Buzzfeed article “What Grad School Is Really Like”—hilarious, sad, and mostly true
I was jealous and sad. That’s not to say that I wasn’t also extremely happy for my friends (I was), but I was sad for myself. Sparky was staunchly against future conversations, and I desperately needed to know that we were on the same page. I didn’t need a proposal, I just wanted to know we were heading in the same direction. (I know all those waiting bees out there can feel me on that!)
Ahh, the proposal. No matter how much I thought I would know when it was going to happen, nothing prepared me for the moment it actually did. Don’t get me wrong, I knew he would propose at some point. We were living together, we talked about our future, we knew we would get married one day. We always said getting engaged/married would be like lightning striking.
If lighting ever strikes, we are not registering at Bed Bath & Beyond (after a particularly horrible experience)!
If lightning ever strikes, where do you think we will get married?
Where will we go on our honeymoon if lightning strikes?
To understand how we ended up at the proposal we first need to go back to (almost) the beginning. I casually mentioned to Mr. B during one of our first dates that I have always wanted to go to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. We looked at pictures and he fell in love, too. Well, a year and a half later, we were on our way!
Image via djoystick.com
True confession: I knew we were going to get engaged.
Truth be told, Mr. PT and I had been discussing wedding plans for years. I remember very early on, like the second year we were dating, I had asked Mr. PT why he didn’t have any serious girlfriends before me. He replied, “Miss Palm Tree, I’m a Virgo. I waited until I found someone I could be with for the rest of my life.” True confession #2: Since about late August/early September, I had been hounding him about engagement plans. We had a very serious, in-depth, late-night talk one night about growing up and moving forward, etc. I got him to confess that he would ask me before Christmas.
“Did I really find the one girl who wants to know when she’s getting engaged?” he would say. I would obnoxiously wiggle my fingers in his face, or make comments like “Gosh, this finger sure seems lonely. Doesn’t it seem like it’s missing something?” My favorite was when a situation required the middle finger—I’d flash my ring finger (and stick my tongue out…because I’m super mature like that).
The week before Christmas I was a lunatic. I found hidden meanings in every single thing he said. This was prior to Mr. PT’s “big boy” job, and he was working as a manager for a local Five Guys. So when he told me he had to work the closing shift (until around 11:00 PM) every day except for Friday, I’d wonder, “Hmm, maybe he’s saying he has to work so he can catch me off guard!” I’d rush home after I got off, expecting him to be there…and then stupidly feel a smidge of disappointment when he wasn’t.
As promised, I have quite a story about my engagement. But first, let’s talk about how Cam and I came to be the Cameras!
It all started in late summer of 2009. I had accepted a position in North Carolina and was gearing up to move. This was a big deal. I was leaving home and moving to a state where I knew exactly zero people. Any of you in healthcare know what a process getting licensed is (and I’m sure other professions as well), so I filled out all my forms and just waited. And waited. And waited for a total of four months from the time I graduated until I actually set foot in the ER I would work in. I did a lot of cleaning my parents’ house and watching more daytime TV than I care to admit.
I was getting antsy, y’all.
The Airplane engagement story is a long time coming. Mr. Plane had been hinting, joking, and teasing about possible dates and locations since December—he even flat out told me he went shopping, but I didn’t believe him. I definitely did not see this one coming.
Mr. Plane works in hospitality management, and he convinced me that we were traveling up to his hometown in the Saginaw area for a conference and dinner. We’ve been to similar events, and there was a recently renovated country club that fit his story perfectly—again, very similar to past events. So, I put on a dress and off we went.
(There was also the very clever diversion of a coworker that was supposed to travel with us to Saginaw, but canceled at the last minute. Guess who fell for that one.)
The faux schedule dictated a two-hour conference and then a group dinner. I decided I would spend the time shopping at the local mall, and so I dropped Mr. Plane off at the club and went on my merry way, failing to notice the nearly empty parking lot and my FMIL parked in the back row.
Here are the texts between MOH D and me from that afternoon:
Two hours and a manicure later (I swear I had no idea!), I returned to pick up Mr. Plane and we headed to a nearby hotel for dinner. The hotel was located next to a tri-bridge (cleverly called the Tridge) where we spent time during our second date. Since dinner wasn’t for another half hour, I suggested we walk over the Tridge “for old time’s sake,” which, of course, fell right into Mr. Plane’s plan. Again, definitely missed the very familiar cars in the parking lot…
I was on my way home on Friday night after work. A girl I worked with was leaving to go travelling, so we went for a drink and I called home to say I was on my way back.
I walked through my front door; it was a typical Friday night. Radio on, he’s in the kitchen cutting up potatoes to put in the oven for dinner. “I’ll take about an hour and a half for the potatoes,” he says, and pours me a glass of wine and I start to chill out for the evening. He disappears into his studio for a minute and comes back.
“Hey, you wanna come listen to a new track I’ve been working on??”
I sigh a bit and say “OK then.” This is typical behaviour. He loves every song he writes and makes me listen to it about a million times so I can give my input.
So I walk into his studio and it’s filled with candles. Candles everywhere. And on his computer is a video. He offers me a seat, and I press play. It’s a bit Love Actually (his favourite film) and is a series of notes that he’s written to me.
“Jackrabbit,” it says.
Note: I originally wrote this post for A Practical Wedding, but I want to post it here too because it generated a ton of really awesome comments and conversation from brides and women in all stages of life. If you want to read more personal engagement stories and encouragement, I’d definitely check it out!
Photo by Niki Marie Photography
I want to tell you all about the best day ever. Do you have a best day ever? A day when everything, in spite of all odds, somehow turns out perfectly? My best day ever is the day Mr. C proposed to me. And it wasn’t just about being engaged, it was everything else in the universe aligning to make the most amazing, absolutely perfect day.
But first, let’s start at the beginning.
One day last February I was home from work and wistfully scrolling through images of Versailles on my computer. I was showing Mr. C some images and talking about how much I wanted to return to Paris. I was trying to convince him that we should visit Paris in November when I knew we’d have a week off for Thanksgiving break. Suddenly Mr. C bent down beside me. He had a puckish twinkle in his eyes. “What if we went to Paris for spring break?” My heart stopped. I stared at him for a moment. Mind you, spring break was only around four weeks away at this point. The idea of hopping on a plane and making a spontaneous trip to Paris was both exhilarating and terrifying. Really only terrifying in a very mundane adult sort of way: How much would it cost? Where would we stay? Can we really do this? Should I feel guilty about spending this money (when I really need a new car…)?
You already know that I did not receive a ring along with my proposal. But what actually happened??
It began like any other Saturday night. We headed to a friend’s house to hang out. Much fun was had, and we somehow ended up being there until about 5:30am. I was nodding off on the couch, so we decided to call it a night and head home.
When we arrived back at our apartment, I was still so sleepy but the ever-clever Mr. Whale noticed that the sun was about to come up. Our balcony faces east, so we can sit on our couch and watch the sunrise without even going outside. I agreed to watch the sunrise before we went to bed.
As he often does, Mr. Whale then picked up his guitar and started playing a few different things. While the sun was coming up, he started playing a song that he wrote about me. (It’s so good, and I’m not just saying that because it’s about me!) Near the end, we both got a little teary. When it was over, he just looked up and, out of nowhere said, “Will you marry me?”
!!!!! I’m pretty sure I looked something like this (except a little more tired):
Image from Angie Animated / Image from the movie Tangled
I was originally going to write this post about finding the first step of wedding planning. But…it makes more sense to start with what’s actually step zero of wedding planning—getting engaged!
I’m almost positive that every girl has dreamed at least once about the perfect proposal. If you haven’t, then you clearly haven’t been on Pinterest. Like many women, I too once sighed and dreamed about how amazing my proposal might be. I even went so far as to daydream about Mr. Whale booking a secret photographer to take pictures of the proposal.
To give you a bit of a timeline, Mr. Man proposed in October of 2011. After the first time around, he and I had talked about having a private proposal; as loudmouthed and outgoing as I am with friends and family, the idea of being proposed to in public again was still terrifying. Even though I knew it was coming soon, he still completely surprised me by proposing in our apartment while I was cooking dinner. I was blabbing away as usual, when he called from the living room that he thought our newly adopted kitten wasn’t feeling well. I didn’t think much of it when he plopped the cat into my arms and turned to presumably go clean up a mess. I looked down at our kitty with concern. He didn’t look sick to me, but he was was obviously distracted by something, and kept pawing at his neck. When I went to see what he was fidgeting with, I saw Mr. Man had tied the ring onto his collar! I looked down to find Mr. Man hadn’t gone far, and was looking down at me expectantly from a few feet away. He was so nervous he forget to get down on one knee, which we laughed about. He got down so quick he had a bruise on his knee! He started saying some more gooey things about me, but I was so happy I just pulled him up from his knee and hugged him like a crazy person. I was so excited it took me a minute to even say yes! Things got dangerous when he tried to remove the ring from around the collar…he was so nervous it flung off and almost landed in the garbage disposal. We had a long laugh about it, and he put it safely on my finger while I recovered from my near heart-attack!
|Partner in crime!|
And speaking of the ring, he picked the “right one!” Up until the moment of the proposal, I’d been racking my brain wondering which one I hoped it would be. When I saw it dangling from Cade’s neck, I felt relief wash over me. They say when you can’t make a decision, flip a coin. While it’s still in the air, you’ll know which you should choose because while it’s still flipping, you’ll find yourself wishing for one or the other. It was just like that with this!
Without further ado, here’s the ring he asked me to marry him with!
I, like many bloggers before me, must admit a little secret! I was very involved in this silly “proposal” business. Well, some people would call it silly. But that person sure isn’t me! And here’s another one. That amazing proposal? Well…it wasn’t the first.
We might as well be honest with each other. I mean, this is the internet—nothing is sacred anyway.
When Manatee and I first met, we’d both been through hell and back as far as relationships go, even at our young ages (21 and 22). He’d just gotten out of a grueling, emotionally exhausting three-and-a-half-year relationship that most people (especially his family) agree had very little good about it, even from the start. I’d been a serial long-term dater, with little success. After three year-long flames, none of which ended well, I was done with the dating game! I was not ready to launch myself full tilt into even one more emotional mess, and I was living the life! I’d been single about two months at the time, meeting people but never taking much interest in dating, and as you may have read in our intro, we were pretty much forced into meeting by our respective roommates, despite my best arguments. I was determined not to like him! Although he swears up and down it was love at first date, I took a little convincing! Even still, within a week of our (mostly) blind date, we were exclusively dating. Everything went about a mile a minute after that, and I miraculously was able to push my fear-monster into hiding and enjoy myself. We were together pretty much 24/7. The first “I love you” came at three weeks, he presented me with a beautiful little promise ring on the morning of two months, and at three months we found ourselves in San Antonio, one of my favorite places in the world. If you’ve never been to the Riverwalk around Christmastime (I believe they lights are up year round, now) it is absolutely magical.
Image via Go Travels