How to Surprise the Surprise Ruiner (My Engagement Story)

I’ll admit it, I’m a surprise ruiner. I can’t help myself, it’s like I’m compelled to uncover the truth, and I want to know the WHOLE truth. All. The. Time. (Even when I don’t…) So when you can successfully surprise me, big kudos! My fiancé earned those kudos this past weekend…

After parting ways over a year ago, we reunited in October and our relationship blossomed into something I never thought I would be blessed with. Love and respect, kindness and honesty. He’s my perfect match. And while I knew we were progressing onto bigger and better things, I was hesitant to believe that this wonderful man might want to be with me forever.

He spoke to my parents when I was out of town, while he claimed to be painting, furnishing, and redecorating my daughters’ room at his house (yes, I know, this should have been my first indication). Little did I know, he had finished the room ahead of schedule. Now you know why I call him McDreamy.


My parents gave him their blessings and never let on to me that they knew our lives were about to change. So as I packed for our trip to Florida, throwing in my swimming suit and flip flops, I didn’t have a clue that I would be coming home with a gorgeous ring on my finger.

Wednesday morning we were scheduled to boat to a local island with the entire family, all 20 of us, plus some additional friends. Two boats, two trips, ten kids, and several hours seemed daunting without the impending storm. Although the group trip was postponed, six of us decided to take the risk and head out anyway. Even if I had a hint of what awaited it would have been dashed due to the constantly changing plans.

The wind whipped as we headed out into the Gulf, stealing McDreamy’s hat and donating it to the cool green waters that surrounded. With a quick response and some skilled maneuvering we had the hat back in the boat and we were underway. The island was gorgeous. White sandy beaches, waves of seaweed artistically drew lines in the sand, green-blue water as far as the eye could see. Basically my version of heaven.


After jumping off the boat, McDreamy took my hand leading me away from the other two couples as we joked and explored the treasures that were underfoot. When he released my hand, I instinctively grabbed my camera and started snapping photos as he searched for a stick to draw pictures in the sand. When I heard him call out, it took me a moment to realize he wanted me to come over and view his masterpiece. I meandered over and still did not register what was going on as he knelt in front of the writing. As he fidgeted for something in his pocket I read and re-read the writing on the ground.


“Will You Marry Me” were the four most challenging words for me to comprehend.

I met his eyes and asked, “Are you serious?”

“Yes,” was his response, a smile forming at the corners of his mouth. I think at this point he opened the box, however, my eyes were brimming, my vision blurred, and my breath caught deep in my chest.

When I regained the slightest bit of composure, I responded, “Yes, of course I’ll marry you.”

The distance between us closed instantly and the sun peeked from behind a cloud. Between tears, kisses, and I love you’s we spotted a dolphin off the beach joining us briefly in celebration. The other two couples joined us for a champagne toast and some additional photographs.


When we arrived back at the house, McDreamy took my daughters and myself aside and asked if they would be willing to let him marry their mommy and be their daddy. The looks on their faces described so much more than they could have ever put into words. Love, longing, acceptance, hope. The tears returned to this mommy’s eyes, silent thank you’s being sent up to God for so many answered prayers. The girls accepted and McDreamy presented them with their very own rings. Image

Surprised is an understatement. A dream come true, answered prayers, more than I could have ever hoped for: those are more indicative of my emotions. I am one blessed woman and very thankful that I didn’t ruin this surprise.

~ Thankfully Exhausted

Best Laid Plans

Sometimes it’s better to just go with the flow.

A few weeks ago, my boyfriend and I fled the city in search of the tall mountain peaks and the fresh white fluff that allows a large curved piece of wood securing both feet slide gracefully down said peaks with a few slight motions.


IMG_1334The weekend was perfect. I was back in my hometown participating in my absolute favorite sport with a man that has been dubbed McDreamy by my co-workers. What more could a girl ask for?

Then it happened. The moment of truth. The moment when the weak lose all sense of dignity and clarity of thought.

We got stuck.

The Arctic Edition Jeep met its match in some deep snow and there was no clear way to extract ourselves. We tried pushing. We tried pulling. We tried rocking. But we never got rolling. And all the while there was a calm. No harsh words were said. No blame was passed. We were a team and we were going to work together to fix the mess we had gotten into.

Some asked if this ruined our perfect weekend. I answered this made it infinitely more memorable. It’s the unplanned moments that make life exciting and bond us together.

We finally got out with a moment of brilliance by McDreamy and the helping hands of friends. We were even able to return our snowboarding equipment before the rental shop closed. When asked if it was worth it, we both replied, “Absolutely.”

~ Thankfully Exhausted

Epic Fail & Nailed It

Today I had a moment that could be described as an epic fail. 

Last year we had a Lorax birthday party where I made Lorax cake pops, tutus, and we went to see the Lorax with all of her friends in the theater. The cake pops turned out so well. I spent a lot of time perfecting them and it showed. I was proud of my cake pops. 

So when my daughter’s first grade teacher emailed the class parents asking for food items for their Dr. Seuss party, I was overjoyed to share my amazing cake pops with all of her friends. I also figured I could hit two birds with one stone since my daughter’s birthday is on the same day as Dr. Seuss’s and she wanted to bring treats.

What could possibly go wrong? 

Let me just tell you: Long day at work, lack of time (up until 2 a.m. making these masterpieces), a lack of supplies, and a lot of impatience. 

Result: See for yourself…


What they’re supposed to look like (thank you Bakerella).


Nailed It!

At least my daughter was happy and she said they were tasty. I guess that’s what it’s all about. 

If you want to see what my first round of Lorax cake pops looked like, visit my Planning a Birthday Party Without Going Broke post. 

~ Thankfully Exhausted