Monday, September 16, 2013


Have you ever wanted something so badly, but HAD to convince yourself it wasn't going to happen?

That's how I felt going into the weekend of September 7th. I had such a mix of emotions. Excitement because I was seeing my boyfriend, Dave, who lives 2 hours away. Anticipation because I totally thought we were going to get engaged this weekend. The creeping fear that it wasn't going to happen, and the disappointment that would follow and ruin the wonderful weekend we were lucky to have together.

I arrived in Canton Thursday night. Dave and I spent a wonderful time together alone, with family, and with friends. I went into every activity with an anxious fluttering in my stomach, wondering, if this moment could be the one where he gets on his knee and asks me to marry him. Thursday night passed, Friday came and went, and Saturday afternoon Dave told me he had to work on a project for class with his friends Nik, Mike, and Heechun. I agreed to hang out with my best friend Hannah for the time he had to work and I would see him went he finished. I didn't think a thing of it. I didn't want to keep him from his schoolwork.

Hannah and I spent around 4 hours together doing puzzles, talking, and trying to blindly fix her computer.  When Dave came to pick me up he had a container of raw chicken in a shopping bag.  I questioned him about it, but he shrugged it off, and I puzzled about it for hours.

Saturday night passed with no changes in our relationship status. If I'm being completely honest- I was crushed. I figured if it wasn't happening that night than it definitely wasn't happening this weekend. Boy, was I wrong.

Sunday morning- Dave got a text from his brother-in-law Brett asking if we'd mind babysitting his (absolutelypreciousandadorable) babygirl, Ellie from 4-6. Dave had told me earlier that he had a meeting for APO at that time and I gladly offered to do it myself! Hanging out with a cute baby for 2 hours? Count me in! Little did I know, those sneaky guys were NOT at meetings, but rather setting up the beautiful surprise that was going to happen later.

Nik working on some of the yummies to come later!
6 o' clock rolled around and Brett came home, scooped up Ellie and I filled him in on the details of the afternoon. Earlier, Dave told me to bring a change of clothes with me because he would be taking me out to a fancy dinner, so I took the time before he came to freshen up and change into my favorite dress.

6:15- Dave came through the door looking dapper in a button-down and tie. I could barely breathe, I was so nervous. We said goodbye to Brett and got in the car. We had eaten a large lunch (Chipotle, yum!) and Dave said he wasn't quite hungry for dinner yet. He suggested we go to Monument Park and walk in the Garden Center and up to the little trickle of waterfall where we had gone many times before. I was certain this was it. The car ride was quiet and tense. We exchanged very few words, just listened to the mix CD I had made for our 1 year anniversary.

We arrived at the park and I looked for decorations everywhere. I tried to take in every inch of the scenery to spot where it was going to happen. We walked past the chimes and the church bells, past the gazebo, and up to the waterfall. There were no decorations. No lights. Just the place we had been to many times before. I held my breath and watched Dave's every move. A few minutes passed of us looking at the water, and exchanging murmured comments. He suggested we walk some more. My heart dropped. I grabbed his hand and followed blindly as he led me down the path we came, but this time to the right. Up ahead I heard faint guitar, and asked Dave if we were going to walk right past the man playing and interrupt.

He kept leading me forward and as we walked around the hedge there were two of Dave's friends: Nik, gently strumming a guitar and Mike standing next to him, napkin over his arm. I stared, dumbfounded.

"Good evening und welcome to zee Impegno," Mike said in a bad French accent. (sorry, Mike!)
"May I escort you to your table?"

I still couldn't say anything. I looked at Dave, looked at Mike, and looked where he was escorting us. There was a beautiful pergola with lights strung between the boards, and a table set up underneath it with a fancy tablecloth, wine glasses, a candle and a bowl of strawberries in the middle. We took our seats and Mike poured us water and lit the candle...which took a few attempts because it was windy. By this time I was just giggling and giddy at every little thing that happened.

Dave enjoying his sample of the sparkling cider. (It was on the house!)
Over dinner, Dave pretended like he knew none of the answers to my questions, and we acted like this was a place we had just stumbled upon by a lucky accident. Two of Dave's other friends, Peter and Heechun, also served us...Peter with a fake Indian accent, and Heechun's real Korean accent made the Impegno a culturally diverse "restaurant".

There were so many moments during this meal that made me smile, laugh, and especially love Dave and all of his wonderful friends for taking the time to do this for me,

BUT- this moment trumps them all.

Look at that sneaky ring box behind his back!
At the end of the meal, and after chocolate covered strawberries, Dave and I stood up to go. Out of the corner of my eye I could see the guys peeking around the side of the barn to see what would happen next. Dave looked at me and said, "I remember when I asked your Dad it felt like jumping into a pool for the first time.  I couldn't believe it was actually happening at first.  I feel like that right now." He got down on one knee.


"Casey Freeman Gatenby, will you marry me?" He asked as he opened the ring box. As soon as I could see the ring the tears started falling. My mom had given him my grandmother's engagement ring to propose with.

Even in my wildest dreams, I couldn't have expected as much as this man, and his amazing friends gave to me. I am blessed beyond belief to have them all in my life. As I tell the story over and over again to friends and family they are amazed at the thought and time put into the engagement.

SO- Mike, thank you SO much for helping Dave come up with ideas and for being an amazingly wonderful, horrible-French-speaking waiter.

Nik- Thank you for serenading us with beautiful music and helping make food!

Peter- Thank you for making us laugh with your Indian accent and your "grandfather's" sayings, and for opening up your house so you guys could cook dinner.

Heechun- Thank you for taking Dave grocery shopping and for the AMAZING stir-fry! (even if it looked like we didn't eat any...there was just a TON on my plate haha.)

Brett&Deb- Thank you for the fancy plates and glasses (; and Brett, thank you for helping Dave set up, and letting me watch your precious babygirl!
Autumn- Thank you, thank you for catching all of this on camera. (& for enduring all the mosquito bites in the woods) These photos are amazing, and I will cherish them forever.

and of course, Dave- Thank you for always being there for me. For being my shoulder to cry on, and the one to make me laugh. For being my biggest support, for loving me like Christ loves the church, and for asking me to be your wife. I love you.

Thursday, January 3, 2013


Well hello again friends. I have made it my mission in 2013 to keep up with my blog and really hammer down a routine, and stick to it! I love doing this, but a lot of things through October-December kept me very busy. I think I've found my bearings through the busyness and I'm ready to take another shot. This means preparing, planning, and really setting time aside to focus on this which will be tough for me, but I'm excited about it and the adventures that 2013 will bring. Graduating school, taking boards (& passing, fingers crossed!), a big move to Ohio to be closer to my beau, and hopefully finding a steady job there doing what I love! So cheers, everybody to the fresh start of Phalangenista. :)

I know what you're really thinking about this post...classy Christmas card Gatenby's. Nailed it.