And Then We Got Engaged

A week or so ago on Instagram I shared that Aaron had asked me to marry him while we were on vacation in Riviera Maya, Mexico. Today I want to share more about the story and our adventure. 

We planned this getaway last September after I had to miss going with Aaron to see Dave Matthews at the Gorge due to those blood clot issues (just finished up six months of medication for that). Many of you know that we are major Dave fans so when the event came through my email about Dave + Tim Reynolds putting on a three-night concert at a resort south of Cancun I knew we needed to make it happen. 

It ended up being one of the best trips of my life. 

Disconnect to connect.

We wanted to stay at the concert event property - we actually never left the whole time we were there which I personally loved - so we got a room at the Barcelo Grand Resort. We booked a room at the Barcelo Maya Beach (there are four or five properties all together that make up the Grand Resort) and our room ended up being literally less than two minutes from the concert venue.  

We would totally go back to this all-inclusive resort and are thinking about taking the kids back there after we make this official. 

We arrived on Monday night after dark and ate and then went for a walk around the property. As we were walking back towards our room we were caught in a downpour. We hustled over and crawled under a bridge over one of the pools - I led the way with that crazy idea - living the length and the width right there. Aaron later said he wished he'd had the ring on him at that moment. 

Amazingly enough, the sun was shining every day we were there except the last day when we left. It was awesome. 

Aaron took the vast majority of photos on this trip with his phone. I have to tell you that I loved having a break and just let him be in charge. I didn't even take my DSLR camera.

Navy pattern cover up is from Boden

I also didn't take my computer which meant I didn't do any work or even check emails. That might seem like a no-brainer for a vacation but I have had a hard time in the past pulling myself away - this time I made it happen and it was the best (got everything done I needed to before I left and just told Katie to be in charge). 

In the background of this photo you can see the stage set up that was located at the right end of the Barcelo property. 

The water was amazing and warm. 

We started our first full day by getting up early to catch the sunrise (we also knew we'd probably be staying up late on most of the other nights so this day made the most sense for getting up early). Living on the West Coast means we've seen our fair share of sunsets but sunrises are much more rare. It was so worth getting up early - especially as it ended up being the day he proposed. 

Aaron proposed when we were standing out in the water cooling off. He had gone back to the room right before and unknown to me had grabbed the ring. I had been telling him over and over throughout the morning how happy I was to be there with him in the sunshine. I was also telling him how much I loved him and how safe I feel with him. He is a solid, calm, good and kind man. As we stood out in the water he was standing behind me and hugging me and said "Will you marry me?" and I jokingly said, "Are you serious this time?" And he said I've been waiting for so long to do this and he got down on one knee in the water and asked me for real with the ring in his hand. And I said, "Of course I will marry you." And that was that. 

It was perfect. 

After proposing Aaron said, "wait until you hear about my other failures to launch." The best one was planned to happen the Monday before we left for Mexico. He had written out a bunch of words and phrases on notecards and had planned to come into the office (on a day Katie was here) and start placing them one at a time under the camera where I was filming a video for the March One Little Word® classroom. They said wonderfully funny, sweet and loving things (including one about how Katie has been there at so many of our most important moments - like the day we met at the movie theater). But his plan was foiled by a couple things including my kids being here that day (a last minute schedule change and then Simon was in the office working on an English paper for most of the day) and me finishing up my video recording much earlier than he anticipated. 

It all worked out. 

Late afternoon naps before the concert for the win. I think that was probably my face most of this trip. So happy. 

Last fall Aaron and I went to one of our favorite local shops - New Twist - to look for rings because we knew this was the direction we were likely heading. There were many, many discussions about all the factors over the last couple of years and the timing felt right. This one-of-a-kind design by Victoria Cunningham immediately caught my attention because I was looking for something different - something a little less traditional and something that would have a deeper meaning behind it and I just want one ring. 

One of the things I loved most about this one - which includes a slice of a diamond in the center - was that it has cracks inside the diamond slice. Those imperfections - so much like life itself and so much like our journeys to this stage - made this the perfect ring for me. 

Aaron wanted to have the chance to surprise me so I’ve been patiently (honestly) waiting until he found the right moment.

Dave and Tim were awesome. The venue was so cool and was part of the all-inclusive package so there was food and drinks available throughout the whole concert. Loved that part. 

It was definitely my first time to be able to stand in the ocean and listen to live music. 

I did a lot of this. 

Lots of fun conversations with other Dave fans over the course of the week. Lots of talk about how many shows everyone had been too - many people have been to so many all over the place. 

This was their "living postcard" set up. A few proposals happened in this spot over the three nights. 

Each concert day (there were three nights) included a live band playing around the pool.

We spent most of our time on chairs facing the beach rather than at the pool - hard not too when the ocean looks like this. 

I finished one of my books standing in the ocean. 

Really, it was the best. 

And man I love reading. 

So what's next? Most likely a small, private ceremony followed by a trip with all the kids to celebrate our family. 

Here are a few things I jotted down before leaving Mexico as well: 

  • I want to remember reading two and a half books and loving it. Finished up the forth a couple of days after we got home. I read Perfect Little WordWhat Alice Forgot, and The Twilight Wife.
  • I want to remember ignoring all the news.  
  • I want to remember the complete break from work and social media and I want to set more boundaries in my everyday life.  
  • I want to remember the shape of our days. Sleep till 9. Get beach chairs. Breakfast and then read the day away. Concerts at night.  
  • I want to remember meeting Andrea and then Jill at the last night of the concerts.  
  • I want to remember the color and feel of the water and the sun on my face and the instant friends connected by Dave Matthews.  
  • I want to remember the calmness and ease of our days.  
  • I want to remember getting proposed to in the Caribbean Sea and saying yes, of course, and then Dave having a sound check and playing parts of So Damn Lucky.  
  • I want to remember standing in front of Aaron with his arms wrapped around me while we listened to Dave & Tim.

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106 thoughts

  1. SuzMannecke says…

    Congratulations again Ali! So happy for all of you!!

    Reply 0 Replies
  2. JeanetteE says…

    Congrats to you & Aaron

    Reply 0 Replies
  3. RosetteShauna says…

    Congratulations! I am so happy for you and Aaron. I have been following your journey for over a decade now, and so glad about this new adventure - preparing for the wedding! Yay! Can't wait to see what you decide. Also, LOVE the ring!

    Reply 0 Replies
  4. djruffing says…

    A great story. I did not know you were now probably remarried!

    Reply 0 Replies