I can’t believe it’s almost Easter!  I hope everyone’s spring has been as warm as ours!  It’s so refreshing and unnerving at the same time to be outside without a coat in March.  That just doesn’t happen here.  This weekend we took the dogs for a few walks by the river and they all came back with ticks which, again, doesn’t happen in March.  I’ve never had to put tick meds on the dogs before May.  Despite the ticks, they were full of doggie joy since they were able to run around the trail and go swimming in the river. 

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(The picture is from last summer, but you get the idea – Happy dogs.)

The other fun thing that happened this weekend was that we bought Eric’s wedding band!  He loves wearing it so much he hates taking it off.  I suggested a “man-gagement” ring, but I don’t think that idea sat well with him.  I thought it was a good idea…  It’s a rising trend, according to all the ring manufacturers who want to sell more rings.  Gotta keep up with the times, Eric! 🙂  

Detail work has started with the wedding.  We took a couple trips to Bozeman in the last few weeks to figure out details like bouquets and table placement – really exciting things.  I’m wrestling with some decisions about accessories for my dress (long veil, short veil, two veils?  Too many options!) and Eric is figuring out his tux.  We’re about to wrap up our pre-marital classes at church, and we need to get together with our officiant soon to figure out the ceremony details.  Just checking off the list!

 

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As I write this, I am drinking from my last jug of sun tea for this year.  I made it the other day, sadly succumbing to the fact that it was likely the last hot day of the year, and therefore could be the last day hot enough to make sun tea.  That makes me want to curl up into a ball and cry a little.  Don’t get me wrong, I love fall.  I love the crispness of the air, I love the colors of the trees, I love Halloween, I love the clothes I get to wear, and I really love football.  But in Montana, fall really only lasts a couple weeks then we’re stuck with bone-numbing, snot-freezing winter for the next six months.  A logical person would wonder “Well, why do you live there?”.  Reasonable question.  The main reason is that I love being close to my family.  They’re weird and sarcastic and hilarious.  I wouldn’t trade them for anything in the world and it makes me happy to be able to see them often.  A close second is Montana summers.  They’re incredible. In the dead of winter, when I think I just can’t stand another spirit-crushing day, I think about hiking in Glacier, camping in the mountains, biking with Pasha, road-tripping to Missoula, checking out historical sites like Virginia City, boating, baseball games, and barbeques with friends,  and I realize that hell has not, in fact, frozen over as it has seemed for the last few months.  I just have to suck it up for a little longer and I get to experience paradise when the weather warms up.

Eric, Jaci, Scott, and I with our dogs, camping on the Boulder River this summer

The stream by our campsite in the Beartooths. I mean, come on!

Nothing better than waking up in a tent on your birthday, and then coming outside to see this. I have the sweetest fiance ever!

This past summer has been especially eventful.  So many wonderful things have happened:  Eric proposed in June, my brother got married and I gained a sister in August, we got to watch two of my favorite musicians live (and got to meet one of them, as you can read here), we got to see tons of family that we hadn’t seen for a while, we nearly ran headlong into a moose while hiking, we got to do lots of camping, road-tripping, and were generally “tourists” of our own state .   Unfortunately, there was a tragedy also.  My poor dog Charlie of seven years was taken away from us in a drowning accident a few weeks ago.  That’s been very hard to deal with, but I’ve been slowly coming to terms with it.  I guess events like that tend to snap me back to reality.  No matter what happens, life keeps moving on.  It doesn’t matter if you’ve just had the best moment of your life, or the worst, time keeps marching.  It’s made me especially grateful that everything is in God’s hands and His timing is perfect even if I don’t understand or like it.  It also makes me joyful to think that someday, when we’re in His kingdom, we won’t have to worry about these highs and lows – the rollercoasters of life.  Knowing that makes the tough stuff just a little easier to deal with.

So, here we are, with the last little bit of summer hanging on.  You better believe I will keep doing my summer things until there is no getting around the fact that I can’t walk through the snow in my Chacos.  Because that’s how I get through the transitional periods: denial.  Does anyone else have these problems?  I hope everyone is dealing with this change a little better than I am!

So it would probably be good to start with some basic information. Eric and I just got engaged on June 20, 2011, but who am I kidding? Everybody saw this coming from a mile away! So, needless to say, we’ve been doing a little bit of “pre-planning”, if you will. I’ll get to that information in later posts. I figured I should probably dedicate this post to the “Proposal Story” (awwww…). So here goes:

Eric and I went to Missoula to see a concert of one of my favorite artists – Ray Lamontagne and his band, The Pariah Dogs.

I think I was meant to quit my job and be their roadie...

He was playing with another artist: Brandi Carlile (she’s pretty incredible, by the way).

Can cover Johnny Cash and do it well.

This show was so good that I want to quit my job, buy a Volkswagon Bus, and follow them around the country. Anyway, I digress.

We didn't quite make it this far. Stupid snakes.

We were staying with my cousin in Hamilton and decided that since we had some time to kill before the show and it was such a beautiful day, we would go for a hike. The Canyon Creek Trailhead in Bloggett Canyon is only about 10 minutes from her house, so we drove up there and hiked. It was a great trail: rushing creek, beautiful mountain views, etc…  It was great up until the second snake we ran across.  That’s about the time we decided we had gone just far enough.  So, we went back down the trail and started driving to town.

At a clearing in the trees, Eric wanted to stop and take some pictures of the valley below. He brought his tripod and asked me to stand so he could adjust the camera to get us both in the picture. I wasn’t paying attention (not unusual for me), and when I turned around, he was next to me on his knee and holding a ring box. To be honest, I don’t remember what he said because I was so excited. I think I said something like “Eric! What are you doing!” as if I was the only person in the world who didn’t know what the single-leg kneel was going to lead up to. Of course I said yes, and he had to remind me that there was a ring involved in this process and he would like to be able to put it on my finger, so I needed to stop hugging and kissing him for just 30 seconds.

Fortunately, Eric had set up his camera to automatically take pictures every 30 seconds, so we have documentation of the whole thing. Very creative guy! You may be asking yourself “Well, if there is evidence of this event, where is it?” Valid question. 99% of the pictures we have are taken by Eric, so they are just sitting at his house waiting to be uploaded. I promise I will post them as soon as I can! Ladies: ring pictures will be included.

Update:  got the pictures! (Note: these aren’t staged.  Somehow Eric’s camera got the exact pictures we wanted.  Pretty amazing!)

I was not expecting this!

"Oh yeah! The ring! I forgot!"

Awww, precious!