Okay, so here's the story for those of you who didn't hear it about a million times. :) This trip did not start out as mine are prone to do. We knew about this trip nearly a year in advance! Oh, the luxury of being able to plan! (Those of you who know me will realize, however, that I did not start planning until the week of the trip. Such is me.)

January of 2007 was Grandma and Grandpa Sedan's 50th anniversary, and they invited the Sedan clan (+ Creighton!) to go on a week long cruise to the Mexican Riviera. I know, I know, it was tough but someone had to go! I calously abandoned my students to a week of substitutes and Amy, Creighton and I stole the Expedition for the drive to California the day before we set sail.

Let me back up for a moment. (I know, jeez, Stephanie, you claim to be a linear person, how about you tell a story in a straight line? Well, I have something to say to that. Tbbbt.) Creighton had only just moved to Prescott from Albuquerque. A week or so before the move we were at the mall, "browsing" in jewelry stores. I found two settings that I loved, but they had too many diamonds in them. (Haha, yes, I'm serious.) Granny had rings with sapphires and diamonds, and that's what I wanted for my engagement ring. For graduation Mom gave me Granny's sapphire and diamond ring (one of them). It has a large sapphire and two small diamonds. I have always wanted my engagement ring to be a diamond with two sapphires. Which is, apparently, impossible to find. But the nice lady at the store said they could swap out two of the diamonds in their trio rings and put in sapphires. Joy! So, "just for fun", Creighton asked for estimates. Haha. I'm thinking, "Yeah, right. Our schedule was he was going to live in Prescott for a while and we'd see how things went."

Jump forward to he and I in the car, somewhere on I-40, on the day of the Big Move. He gets a phone call from the jewelry store. This is what I hear:

"Hello? Oh, yes! Thank you for calling me back. Yes, I see...*pause* Oh wow, that's great! Let's see...*pause* Let's go with the second one. Yes, thank you very much. *insert his credit card number* Okay, thank you!" And he hung up and smiled at me. "I just bought your engagement ring."

Blink. "Er...what?"

"Yup."

Swerve.

"Eeeeeee!"

So, we're driving to California. I know he's ordered the ring, and I've suspected he's going to propose on the cruise ever since I came home late from work one night and found him and Mom giggling at the kitchen table. My queries of, "What are you doing?" were greeted with the vague reply of, "planning your future."

Joy for me.

We went to Burbank, because I'd always wanted to show Creighton where I grew up. We drove around, visited the old house, saw that Amy's preschool had been turned into a headstone outlet, ate at Numero Uno pizza (yum!) and hit the hotel.

It was an uneventful evening and the next morning I began stressing about getting to the boat on time. Now, it left port in the afternoon, and we had gotten up at 6 am, but I was still stressing. We hit the freeways, me slipping in "California Driving" mode. Which is fun, but only for a little while. 20 minutes or so down the road Amy realizes she doesn't have her iPod. We turn around, go back, she gets housekeeping to let her into our room, retrieves the all important iPod, and we're off again.

Well, my maps were better than I gave them credit for, (and my navigator), and we arrived at the docks with plenty of time to spare. It's too early to even board. A block down the road is a little cafe where we had a pleasant breakfast. Back to the port parking lot and we snagged the last handicapped spot. Right up front! I made the usual quip about only keeping Creighton around for parking, and we headed into the terminal.

There we got a chair for Creighton (which awarded us instant front-of-the-line status), and settled in to wait for boarding time. I should pause a moment to note that things had been difficult with passports. First we needed them, then we didn't, then no one was sure. Dad got one, Creighton, Amy and I just brought our birth certificates and ID cards. While we're waiting, I get a call from Dad saying they're in the terminal. Dad also has a problem. The passport he worked so hard to get before the trip is sitting on his dresser in south Florida. It's doing him no good there. However, hope abounds in the Los Angeles Port. As right before we came to California Mom had been going through some boxes and found Dad's birth certificate. Which she happened to give me to give to him. Which I happened to have in my carry-on bag. Which I walked down to check-in and gave to him. Which allowed him to get on the ship with us. Yay for Mom!

We get on the ship, buy an unlimited soda cup, and go to our room. And...holy crap. It's an amazing room right on the stern of the ship. And we have a balcony that's easily huge. A balcony! Balcony! Looking right off the back of the ship!

It was amazing.

So, on to the proposal! It was January 17, 2007. We were at sea, between Matzatlan and Cabo San Lucas. It was night time, and Creighton and I were sitting on our balcony, enjoying the moonlight playing on the surf. Then he turned to me and took my hand. (Not unusual). "You know, you've always been there for me," he said.

I nodded.

He gazed out at the sea, "Even when I've felt adrift, or lost, you've been there."

I smiled, "So have you."

He nodded, and we sat there for a moment. "We've had a lot of firsts on this trip."

I grinned, "Right, it's your first cruise, I tried lobster,"

"And scallops,"

"And you got to see Burbank. And it's the first time I've been on a cruise with a balcony."

He gave my hand a squeeze and took a deep breath. "Well," he began, "Hopefully this is the first, and last, time you'll ever hear this question."

I think that's when I started crying. And there was a few moments of both of us crying and laughing. There was so much emotion going on inside of me, I thought I'd explode! Finally, he squeezed out between his tears, "Stephanie Frances," (that threw me, because usually I'm only called by my middle name when I'm in trouble!) "Stephanie Frances, will you marry me?"

I nodded, we cried and laughed, and I looked around, "Where's the ring?" I was so eager to see it!

He gulped, "Well, that's the thing...it didn't arrive before we left."

I had to laugh. So, holding out my right hand, I let him move my garnet ring to my left hand.

Then went to the casino to seek out Dad. I waited until he was done at the poker tables to tell him, because I didn't want to make a scene. We decided not to tell anyone until the 19th, because the next day (the 18th) was Grandma and Grandpa's anniversary. We didn't want to take any attention from them. That settled, we went to sleep.

The next day was fabulous. And that evening at our pre-dinner cocktail party in Grandma and Grandpa's suite, we had a wonderful celebration of their marriage. It was so beautiful. At the end of it though, Dad stood up. "We have an announcement."

My heart leapt.

Dad tried to speak, but couldn't. He looked shocked as tears came to his eyes. "I don't think I can do this," he whispered with a choked laugh.

Beside me, Creighton started crying too. "I can't either!" he said with a laugh.

Dad regained his composure and finally blurted out, "They're engaged."

Commence tears and hugs and cheers all around!

So, that's the proposal. Then it was time to prepare...