S: Planning a Proposal
BC: The End ...of the Beginning.
FC: A Look Back to the Story of Our Engagement... | Planning a Proposal
1: For the Love of my Life and all of our memories to come...
2: Inspiration was easy. | Hiking is one of our most enjoyed activities together. Not only is it one of Kristie's favorites, it was definitely something she'd suggest on her own.
3: Kristie loves the outdoors. The couple has strolled along the Pomperaug River behind the Hollow Park in Woodbury, ventured up to Bash Bish Falls on the state line of Massachusetts and New York, and even wandered below a hidden covered bridge on the way home in Vermont. The first time Kristie convinced Joe to go hiking, he whined and made excuses until finally they embarked on a small yet memorable trek to the top of the Tedesco Trail, a 26-acre land trust in Watertown, CT. There he convinced Kristie to climb up into a massive, seemingly ancient tree; a branch of which had split and, precariously perched, loudly creaked in the wind. Perhaps this was not the safest of adventures - but it was a lot fun! Joe found a walking stick there too. Later that summer on the annual Tacos Tacos trip, Joe cut it down to the right length. With the remaining piece, Joe whittled Kristie a small rose to match the one he carved for her the year before.
4: Picking Flowers
6: Joe asked for Kristie's opinion on over 100 rings in the Mark Schneider and ArtCarved collections to narrow down what she really liked. She seemed to hate them all. When her answers started to contradict each other, Joe knew the ring would have to be custom. | No pressure - it just needed to be perfect.
7: Joe was working on a special birthday gift. Kristie's walking stick was constructed primarily from a vine-choked branch procured behind Five-Guys Burgers and Fries in Farmington. Joe knew that the rosette would be attached to the staff, symbolic of the two becoming one. He didn't know how to decorate the top of the walking stick or that it would become instrumental in his method of proposal. Like his father, always a romantic, Joe wanted this momentous occasion to be special. After much prayer, Joe was inspired to conceal the ring in the top of the staff. The design and construction of a daisy that would unscrew and house the ring took time. By the time Joe had purchased Kristie's custom ring, the paint and lacquer were almost dry. Unfortunately, Kristie's birthday had come and gone; but, she thought that Joe could never afford a ring until Thanksgiving.
8: Construction took place spending hours whittling on the back patio and turning the garage into a woodshop. This was the project a lifetime and it was poured over in Love. | Under Construction
10: It wasn't Kent Falls, but still close, private and beautiful.
11: Kristie and Joe had learned by then to take advantage of their common days off. The chances were good that Kristie would suggest going for a hike. She did! On October 11, 2010, Kristie and Joe embarked on a trip to Kent Falls. Joe had gotten the suggestion from his brother-in-law Chris, but the directions from his friend Mike led them to the less crowded Macedonia State Park nearby. It was perfect. Joe did well to put the walking stick in the trunk. Kristie's curiosity would have had her peeking in the white gift box made from 2 long-stem rose boxes within minutes. Not even the beautiful hilly landscape of the road trip or the changing foliage would have kept her attention the whole time. Once they parked, Kristie opened her belated birthday present. She was breath-taken by the lifelike daisy, skirted by hydrangea leaves that overlapped to create hearts. She was awestruck by the fine details, including her Hebrew name and the coloring. Joe instructed Kristie to be gentle with it because it was "freshly glued" to help ensure she wouldn't tamper with it or ruin her surprise.
12: We're here! Time for a hike...
14: She doesn't even know... | She doesn't even know...
16: Some spots may have still been tacky but that sold the idea that Kristie shouldn't fidget with it. | Finished Just In Time
17: Kristie almost insisted on leaving the staff in the car, likening it to a piece of art. Joe had brought his walking stick also, and coaxed her to use the staff for its intended purpose. Moments later, Kristie was dancing around with it and posing as Joe snapped some photos. Somehow, through all of this and the hike to come, Kristie never felt Joe was acting nervous or out of character. A bit over an hour to the summit, they stopped several times to catch their breath and take pictures. They can't even remember how often Kristie put the hiking stick down, still clueless as to the sparking band still inside. By the time they reached the topmost clearing, they were sweaty and out of breath. At this vista, Joe feigned the extent of his exhaustion and wandered off the path to a small grassy area. He had to beg Kristie to come over. Reluctant, she finally did and sat down next to him. Her motivation was mostly to show Joe the picture she'd just taken. Her laugh magnified with each zoom as Joe's expression of near collapse showed on the preview screen of her digital camera.
18: "I bet I can make you stop laughing." Joe quipped, still building up the courage to pop the question. He was holding her walking stick as they looked out over the landscape. "You know the beautiful thing about blossoms?," he posed,"They open up - like our hearts did for each other." As he slowly spun the sunny-side egg of a daisy Kristie exclaimed, "No, you'll break it!" He took off the cap and inverted it, handing it to Kristie. She gazed at the burned etching trying to make out the design. She thought it resembled a strawberry at first, but, hearing his words, came to the realization that it was a diamond. "Kristie, I love you. I think you are the most beautiful of all of God's creations and I never want to live without the blessing of having you in my life." Noticing that he was now unwrapping something in his hand, she knocked him backward, punching him in both shoulders simultaneously, "Are you proposing right now?!"
19: He unfolded the small cloth parcel. The ring was white gold and held 3 stones in its prongs. The center stone was framed with two infinity signs. "I'm trying, I just don't know what else to say," they were both starting to cry. "Well, " she suggested, "you could ask me." "Kristie Sousa, will you marry me?," choked up. "Yes, a thousand times yes!" tears flowing freely. He slid the ring onto her finger. They kissed. They held each other. They kissed some more. They ogled the long-awaited sight of the ring on Kristie's left hand. They breathed in the unforgettable moment and emotion of unparalleled happiness. Before they left the mountain, they prayed and thanked God for His blessings, for His plans for their future, and for each other.
21: So happy :)