Monday, February 28, 2011

Happy New Year!!

So, I know it's the last day of February, and I'm a little behind on my posting, but I still wanted to get a Happy New Year Post in!  We had a great New Years!  Brandon and I drove to Owensboro to celebrate with my bestie, Alisha, her hubby, Scott, and their wee one, LC. (Full name not disclosed to protect the cute!)

You may remember Lish from my previous post about her yummy cakes.  Her bakery will hopefully open this year.  In the mean time, she's loving staying at home with LC and I love eating her icing when I come in town.
I promise I wasn't pinching him - I think he was just over getting his picture made - or having me hold him!  He eventually warmed up to both though. 
Isn't he so cute!?!?!?!  Look at those little teeth coming in. 
One thing I love about visiting Scott and Alisha, is that it's such a relaxing time.  We just spend good quality time together - hanging out, laughing, and reminiscing.

We also played lots of Guitar Hero (among other Wii games)
Lots and lots....of Guitar Hero.
Once midnight rolled around, we tuned in to watch the ball drop
 I thought this year's ball was very pretty
 It's 2011!!! 
 The start of another year together.
 Scott is very excited - can you tell?
The next morning we hung out some more and played with LC.  I love this picture of Lish and the bebe.
This look cracks me up!
 I could kiss those cheeks right off!!!
 Baby's First New Year - so glad we got to be there for that little milestone. 
 I was *right* in his face with the camera all weekend
 We even did a '7 Month' photo shoot.  Scott and Lish do these each month.  It was fun to be a part of!
What a fun New Years!

Monday, February 14, 2011

We're Engaged!!!!!!

What better day to post this than Valentine's Day!  Last weekend (Sunday, Feb. 6), Brandon and I were in Chicago with my parents and we Got Engaged!!!!

That's the short version.

Since everyone knows I'm notorious for excruciatingly long detailed blogposts, here's the whole story:

We had surprised my parents with tickets to Chicago with us (we got an awesome deal back in October and decided to treat them - which meant we had built-in 'chaperones' too - for a trip he and I had been wanting to take, but not being married, we don't do vacations alone).

 I was so excited for them to get to spend even more time with Brandon.  Since he and I have a long-distance relationship, we only see each other on weekends.  We stay with my parents when he comes into town, but sometimes we arrive there late after they are already asleep.  While we have had many times we have played cards and eaten and hung out with my parents, I couldn't wait for them to spend some good, extended, quality time with him too!

We started the weekend by flying out of the Ville on Saturday February 5.

Of course, it probably wasn't the best time in the world to go to Chicago, since they just had a blizzard and all, but we wore layers and did lots of indoor activities and braved the cold just the same.

Once we arrived in Chicago, we took the train to our hotel

Upon arriving, my Dad -poor thing- all but passed out due to the amount of motion sickness pills my mom and I had given him (he's not a great fly-er).  He slept for a good (almost) 2 hours!

While Dad was sleeping (and Brandon took a little snoozer too), my Mom and I headed over to Magnificent Mile to look around.

When the cold got to us, we ducked into a little Mall-type area.

We went to several places there, but our favorite was the Lego Store.
We sent this picture to my brother to show the kiddos - "Nana about to be eaten by a giant Lego T-Rex!!!"

Once we had killed enough time for the boys to sleep, we headed back to the hotel to change.  It was off to Downtown Chicago for us!
This is Millennium Park - that face on the building sprays water out it's mouth in the summer!

One feature of Millennium Park is a sculpture called "Cloud Gate" although most people call it "The Bean."  It's a shiny, reflective, curved surface that is completely unusual.
Here's our reflection - love my Dad's face!
And this is underneath the curved surface of the Bean - crazy contortioned views!
And another reflection...(doesn't Brandon look like a Mormon Missionary?)
The reason we came to Millennium Park all dressed up was to participate in their Winter Dance Night!
Ballroom Dancing on the stage of the Pritzker Pavilion!

This is my mom and Brandon dancing - it was a dark picture, so I tried to lighten it - this was the best I could get.
After Dancing, we had dinner at the Weber Grill
It was yummy.

The next day, Sunday February 6, we took a bus to the Science & Industry Museum

I thought the simulated Tornado was pretty cool.
And I'm still scratching my head as to how a pendulum really works.
There were lots of cool exhibits
My Dad really enjoyed the weather area.

This was a little chick hatchery.  One actually hatched while we were standing there!

And this is a video of my mom getting all the chicks to come over to her:

Have you seen "Despicable Me"?  We think this looks like something Vector would drive.

This is a huge submarine display - an actual submarine!!

After the museum, we tried to go to the (formerly) Sears Tower.  But the snowy conditions made for zero visibility, so we changed up our plans and just walked around for a while instead.

Then we headed back towards our hotel and ate at this great Pizzeria

We played "Hand & Foot' while our pizza cooked
And then we had some awesome Chicago-style deep-dish Pizza!!!!!  YUM!!!
After dinner and lots of good conversation, my parents headed back to the room, while Brandon and I decided to venture out for dessert.  We asked the guy at the front desk of the hotel what the best place for dessert was around there.  He said, "Grand Lux."  So, that's where we went.
It was about 10:30 at night and we just about had the place to ourselves.  It was absolutely gorgeous inside!!

The restaurant was on the second floor and our table was right by the window, overlooking the street and lots of twinkle-lighted trees.  It was so pretty!
Here's my sweet man sipping some coffee
And here's me, happy as could be, not knowing in a matter of minutes I'd be a betrothed woman!
We had a very scrumptious Strawberry Shortcake.  We ate every bit of it!

After eating, we sat and talked about how happy we both are.  We talked about how we are so glad that the Lord worked out so many things for us to be able to find each other.  We are just so grateful to Him and His perfect timing.  Well, this conversation lead into Brandon saying "I've known for a long time I wanted you to be my wife."
Then, he slid around the side of the table and got down on his knee and I started crying!  He had the ring box in his hand and said, "Melanie, will you be my wife?"  Of course I said "Yes!"  He said, "I hope you like it" and he opened the ring box.  It is the most beautiful ring I've ever laid eyes on!  Before he put it on my finger he said, "You did say Yes, right?"  haha!  "Yes!!!"

About the time he put the ring on my finger (while he was still kneeling), the waitress walked up and realized what was going on.  She said, "Oh my goodness!!"  And then realizing that she might be interrupting, promptly said, "I'll go away."  I said, "No, please - take some pictures!!"  So she captured the picture below!! I LOVE IT!!!!
And then she got this shot - right after the proposal.  (if you click to enlarge you can still see the tears in my eyes)
This view is from the street - that's our little engagement booth on the very far left.
After shutting down Grand Lux, we headed back to the hotel.  When we got there, my parents were already asleep, so I literally jumped on their bed and woke them up!  My mom screamed out of fear, I think, when I did.  Of course, being the absolutely wonderful guy that he is, Brandon had already asked my Dad for my hand in marriage (back in January), so they knew it was coming at some point, but they were unaware it would be this particular weekend.  They were overjoyed!  Sleepy, but overjoyed!!

My mom snapped a couple pictures at the hotel too.  I had a hard time falling to sleep, but I'm pretty sure I slept with a smile all night!

Here it is!!!  Isn't it GORGEOUS???
Here's a side shot  I LOVE it!!!!!

The next day, Monday February 7, we got up and went over to Wrigley Field.  Although we couldn't take a tour (they don't offer them during the winter), we had to go see the stadium.
Behind the outfield fences, outside of the ballpark and across the street, the buildings have bleachers on top of them that people can rent out to watch ballgames - pretty neat!
Outside one of the entrances is this Harry Caray statue

“People ask me what I do in winter when there's no baseball. I'll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring.” - Rogers Hornsby (and also one of my brother's favorite quotes)

Since we didn't get to go to the top of the Sears tower the day before went this day.  The views speak for themselves - even in the winter!

The new thing they have at the Sears Tower are the Glass Ledges.

Don't look down!!  That's 103 stories up.
Dad looks a little nervous out there on the ledge.
We kinda look like we're floating.
And there's the 4 of us
And one last gag-me-with-a-spoon kissy photo, in honor of Valentine's Day.  Hope yours was great!! 
Although today's events would be hard to beat last weekend's event, I'm currently sitting with my *Fiance* watching "Return to Me" - my very favorite Romantic Comedy - after we got a buy-one-get-one deal at Qdoba just for kissing at the register (Qdoba is a special place to us for reasons I won't make this blog longer with for now).  He also sent me a dozen red roses and a very very sweet note! Sigh.  I'm so blessed.