I have some big news to share, but it comes with quite the backstory...
December 14th, 2013
Ben and I went on our first date! We went on a double-date with our good friends Hannah and Tom. (In September of this year, Ben and I were actually in their wedding together, which was a lot of fun. Those sneaky Smiths played matchmaker. And it worked very well!) The night of our date was a chilly Saturday night, and they picked me up at my house in Hannah's blue Mustang. We ate at Olive Garden first, though not for any particular reason. We couldn't decide where to eat, so Hannah and I finally just said to go there. While we ate, I think I talked to Hannah and Tom more than I talked to Ben. Although, I would like to point out that that's not my fault. He'll even admit that he was very quiet that night. Afterwards, we went to Nashville to go ice skating, which was so much fun! (Ben and I have actually been ice skating a couple of times since then because we like it so much.) Once, again I spent most of the time skating with Tom and Hannah while Ben zoomed around the rink without me. He was a little shy at first, but I think I've definitely gotten that out of him. :) To finish up the night, we had ice cream at Maggie Moos before heading home. I thought it was a great first date and a memorable one, even though my date was a little timid. We actually still joke about that night all the time!
|Hannah, Tom, myself, and Ben on our very first date.|
April 4th, 2014
This was my senior "prom" night. It wasn't actually prom, but earlier in the year, I decided I didn't want to go to prom. So, my mom offered to buy Ben and me tickets to see Wicked, a Broadway musical that gives the backstory to The Wizard of Oz in a very interesting way; with the Wicked Witch of the West as the protagonist. I saw the play when I was in the sixth grade in New York City and had been obsessed with seeing it again ever since! (If you ever get the chance to see it, do it. It's wonderful! Ben and I are already looking in to seeing it again!) That night, Ben and I went out to eat and saw the play. We had amazing seats on the front row of the balcony, and I don't think I stopped smiling from the time the overture began until curtain closed. Ben loved the show, as well. As excited as I was to see it, I was even more excited to be able to share something I enjoy with him. We had a fantastic night, and I've never regretted not going to my senior prom. When we made it back home, he opened the car door for me (like always) and began to walk me to the back door. He stopped me along the way and asked me if it was too early in our relationship for him to say, "I love you," and I told him, "No, not at all!" So, he said, "Well, I love you." (Of course, I said, "I love you, too!" Later, Ben jokingly told his sister Katie that I had replied with, "Thank you!") I was standing there with my hands full with a McDonald's cup, my wallet, keys, phone, and the play program when he gave me probably the most awkward side-hug you've ever seen. But, I thought it was really sweet.
|Us right before we left to see Wicked. This is one of my favorite pictures of us!|
November 27th, 2015
Fast forward to over a year and a half later. I had been home from New Zealand for a few weeks, and Ben was getting ready to leave for Louisiana for a job for two or three weeks. He wanted to take me on a big date, just the two of us, before he left. He got off early from work, picked me up, and we headed to Nashville. The only thing I knew about what we were doing is that we were going ice skating, like we did on our first date, and that he was planning on taking me to P.F. Chang's. The ice skating was much better this time! (No offense, Tom and Hannah.) We had so much fun, and we didn't even fall once; we're actually getting pretty good at skating! After we started to get tired from the skating, we went to see a movie and walked around the mall before deciding to eat at The Cheesecake Factory. (I think we made a good decision. P.F. Chang's is incredible, but I'm glad we tried something new.) Afterwards, we drove home, and Ben pulled my car way out past the house, which I thought was strange at the time. He opened the door for me, and I got out with my hands full with my wallet, keys, phone, and a pair of socks I brought to skate in. (Sound familiar?) When we started to walk towards the house, he stopped me and gave me a hug and asked if I remembered when he first said I love you. We were standing in the same spot where that had happened. I laughed and said something like, "Yeah, it was pretty adorable. I'm cold. Can we go inside?" He kind of laughed and told me to wait a minute. Then, he began to get down on one knee. (At this point, I started to realize what was actually happening and started to cry. Of course. Until that moment, I hadn't suspected a thing!) As he pulled the ring box out of his pocket, he asked me if it was too early to ask if I would spend the rest of my life with him. When he said, "Diana, will you marry me?" I thought my heart would burst with happiness! Of course, I said yes, and even though the moment passed in such a blur, it was one of the most amazing moments of my life. I'll never forget it! I don't really have the words to describe it. After some tearful hugs, we walked down to the house and told my family. They were all very excited to hear the news and see the ring. Then, we went to Ben's parents house to tell his parents and sisters, and they were all pretty excited, too! We all can't wait to begin planning and getting ready for the wedding! (Personally, I just can't wait for the wedding to actually get here! I can't wait to be married and begin a new life with the man of my dreams!)
|Ben's mom took this picture just after he proposed! My nails are done because Ben's sisters tricked me into going with them to get their nails done for "pictures." Those sneaky Hoot girls... :)|
This past weekend I made a promise to spend the rest of my life with the man I love. Please pray for us as we begin this new, exciting chapter of our lives together. We know that with school, work, and being married, things will get tough. But, we believe that with God, all things are possible. Only He can help us be strong through the tough times that are sure to come. For now, wonderful times are ahead as we begin planning our wedding, which we hope to have sometime next summer.