Aug 7, 2013

Anniversary Week: Our Engagement Story, Part 1

This would become our official engagement photo - Cameron proposed just after this photo was taken
First some background: Cameron and I met when I was only 20 years old when we were both attending Chico State. I'd graduate from school in May of 2004 and move in with him, officially, by the end of June. Whenever we would go out to the mall Cameron would do everything in his power to keep me away from the jewelry stores, always insisting outwardly to other people that he was never, ever going to get married or have kids. I knew better as privately we would talk about the future and it had the "if"s of marriage and kids as in "if we get married", or "if we have kids"...
When Cameron & I fly, we always make sure we have time at the airport to have a drink to help calm our nerves
And our engagement story starts about a year and a half before Cameron actually proposed, when Cameron went to Europe with some fraternity brothers. I'm told he had a conversation there where he admitted he was pretty sure I was the one. And when Cameron returned from Europe, when we would walk around the mall to avoid the hot or cold days in our heater- & air-conditioner-less house in the Bay Area, he suddenly was fine letting me window shop in Jewelry store windows, even suggesting we go inside Tiffany's of all places, a few times. This lasted about a year. Then suddenly he was completely against this kind of window shopping again. 
Cameron's typical pic at airports prior to vacation
You wouldn't believe how hard it is to get a shot of him like this - ever! It easier with kids now.
In the time that we did go into these stores, we'd look at engagement rings and talk about what we did and didn't like.And I did figure we were sort of shopping for my engagement ring, which when I did finally see it, I knew for sure - though I had never seen it in real life, as we could never find it when we were out together. Cameron would tell me later it took something like 5 stores before he could even find the right setting and then it took some finagling on his part for him to get the store to swap out the sapphires with emeralds. 
We got in late the first night so we headed to a 24-hour restaurant where Cameron got this massive pile of nachos. I shouldn't have ordered my tomato soup and grilled cheese!
Also, I'd always told Cameron that I would never say yes to a proposal unless he had asked my dad for permission first - for some reason, in that one way, I was old fashioned. I really don't know why I felt so strongly about this, but I did. And I remember I was heading up to Chico to visit my parents one weekend when Cameron actually said he wanted to go too, and then he called my dad himself to set up a round of golf. Cameron had just returned from a business trip in Virginia, from what I can remember and I think I was going up to Chico specifically for a hair appointment so the plans didn't phase me much. But apparently, that's when he asked my dad for permission and my dad said yes. And then my poor dad had to keep this secret for about 6 months! 
Our first day in Vegas we went and visited the Mandalay Bay Hotel's Aquarium
 My poor dad did a great job keeping this secret too, because my mom didn't even know and she straight up asked my dad if Cameron had ever asked him. This was after I had told her she would likely know if I was getting engaged before me since I was so adamant that Cameron ask my dad for permission first. My dad lied. 30+ years of marriage and he lied to my mom to keep his word to Cameron to not say a word. This occurred within weeks of the actual proposal.
We took a backstage tour where we saw this cute guy! He was new and adjusting to life in the aquarium.
On August 12, 2007, my best friend Sara married her husband Jim on her family's tree farm in Oregon. It was a gorgeous setting. We had driven up from the Bay Area and we spent much of our drive home discussing the wedding and what we liked and what we would do differently for our own. It was at that moment that Cameron and I started planning our wedding without me knowing it. But first he had to have some fun with me to totally throw me off. 

We'd talk/fantasize how we would want to get married on his family's ranch, with him skydiving in and then have the reception at Peach Tree golf course, where his family had been members for years, followed up with partying out at the bars in Chico where our relationship started and blossomed. 

And then we planned a trip to Vegas for Christmas. And suddenly Cameron started jokingly asking me about my thoughts of eloping while there. I was fine with that, as long as my dad & mom were there. I love Christmas and I love Cameron. It would make Christmas more special for both of us, had we eloped. And Cameron tried to get my parents there, along with his mom and Joe, without telling any of them that he was going to propose and with them there, we would likely just get married. But that didn't work out - it was just the two of us on that trip. 

And so he then just starting to mention that we should make everyone think we had eloped through photos, reminding me that he wanted to wait to even think about getting married until after he finished his masters - that was a year away! How he wanted to fake every one out, was to take pictures, like him down on one knee and one of me in front of the Mandalay Bay Chapel: 

We'd then post them on Facebook without saying anything about them. 

Cameron kept talking about this "joke" we were going to play right up to and throughout our vacation.

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