An engaging weekend

So, here’s what I thought was going to happen this weekend:

  • Dinner out on Friday night.
  • Wake up early Saturday morning to join the We Heart YA girls in reading to underprivileged children at Joseph-Beth.
  • Brunch afterward with the WHYA girls.
  • 9 holes of golf with Andy and a friend.
  • The usual reading/errand-running/TV-watching.

And here’s what actually happened:

So this happened...

Yes, Andy and I got engaged.

(No, that’s not how he proposed. I just thought Riley was cuter than my hand.)

More details, for those of you who are curious:

Andy has, unbeknownst to me, been dreaming up proposal ideas since 2008. They have ranged from the extremely private (just us) to the extremely public (Keith Urban concert) but always involved a level of sneakery, since he knew I wanted to be surprised.

7 months ago, Andy finally settled on The Idea.

Because writing and storytelling are so important to me, he decided he wanted to incorporate them into the proposal. So first, he made a book. A children’s book, sort of. It’s called THE STORY SO FAR, and it’s about us. How we met, fell in love, started a life together, etc. Told in alternate rhyming stanzas. Illustrated with pictures of us from over the years.

In a bold move, this book was hiding somewhere in our house until last week.

Two weeks ago, Sarah emailed to say she had volunteered us (We Heart YA) to read to underprivileged children as part of an all-day event at Joseph-Beth. She asked if I would meet her at 7:30 AM, before the bookstore opened. After moaning and groaning about the early start time, I agreed.

A couple days later, I was telling Andy about it, and he said it sounded like a cool way to give back to the community and asked if he could tag along. Since waking up early on a weekend seemed less painful if we were doing it together, I said sure.

The day of the event was Saturday, May 4, 2013. Our alarm went off at 6:30 AM. I snoozed it a couple times, then finally dragged myself out of bed to take Riley out and feed him before we left.

On the drive over, Andy was in good spirits, teasing me about being tired. He said that maybe this would be life-changing. I just rolled my eyes, since he says that all the time, about silly things like going to dinner at Ruby Tuesday or meeting up with friends for putt putt.

When we arrived at Joseph-Beth, Sarah was already there, and Stephanie was just pulling in. The four of us got out of our cars and were greeted at the door by Dave, whom I recognized from various author events at the store. He took us over to the children’s section where we would be reading to the kids. There was a theater-like area, and a chair with a short stack of books on it. I told Dave I had never done this before and asked how it would go. He gave me a funny look.

Dave: “You’ve… never been to Storytime?”
Me: “Nope.”
Dave: “Uh, well, the kids will come in and sit there, and then you’ll sit here and read to them.”

Yes, thank you, Captain Obvious.

(At the time I was thinking, “Well, duh.” But in retrospect, I suspect that my question caught him off-guard because it seemed like maybe I was catching onto things!)

Anyway, Dave wandered off, and since we were four smart adults, I figured we could handle Storytime ourselves. Andy suggested we take a look at the books on the chair. First was EXTRA YARN by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen. Second was CHLOE AND THE LION by by Mac Barnett and Adam Rex. Last was THE STORY SO FAR by…

Andy Butler?

My immediate thought was that this was a very strange coincidence. Then I wondered if Dave knew Andy somehow and was playing a practical joke. Finally I began to realize what was happening.

Holy crap he’s going to propose!

Only a second or two passed before Andy turned to me and said, “We’re not here to read to children.”

My head whipped around to find Sarah. “WHAAAT?”

(I assure you, it was a GIF-worthy moment.)

Andy suggested that I have a seat, and he would read to me. As I sat down, I began to realize just how fully I had been duped. This was a proposal. There were no children. There were never any children.

Andy’s hands were ever-so-slightly shaky as he opened the book to the first page, and in that moment, I very nearly cried. But then the shock took over again, and all I could do was sit calmly, smiling and trying to process everything while he read me his sweet rhyming words about our lives, our love.

His hands stilled and his voice gained strength with every page. When the story was nearing a close, he handed me the book and said that I should turn to the end. I did, and when I looked up, he was down on one knee, with a ring. He spoke the words that were written on the last page.

Will you marry me?

Breathless, I managed to say, “Yeah. Of course I will.” Not the most romantic or enthusiastic-sounding answer, but I assure you, I was over the moon. I put on the ring, and we kissed and hugged.

“You should thank Sarah and Stephanie for this,” he said as we stood up together.

“I’m going to kill them for this,” I joked.

sarah's 03 best

But of course I didn’t. I thanked them, and Dave, and then spent the rest of the weekend wrapping my mind around what had happened. Around all the careful planning that Andy had put into it. You guys, there are so many little things I’ve left out, seeds that Andy planted over the course of several weeks so that they would bloom naturally and I would not suspect a thing. The man is a diabolical genius and we are all just lucky that he uses his powers for good!

Andy had given certain people advance notice of the proposal, so many of my calls to friends and family were more or less like, “Hey, I’m engaged! But you already know that…” Still, it was nice to share the news and the story.

Later that night we updated our relationship status on Facebook — which was bittersweet, since I took a strange sort of pride in not ever having had a relationship status on Facebook before — but the outpouring of love and excitement from everyone made it totally worthwhile. (Also, let’s be honest: Social media is just such a good, convenient method of letting people know what’s going on.)

Last but not least, on Sunday, Andy gave me one additional gift: A scrapbook he had made of the top proposal ideas that didn’t pan out or that he had decided against, for whatever reasons. Going through that was like getting proposed to a dozen more times.

Now we’re just going to enjoy this phase for a while. After all, we dated for almost 8 years, so why rush to plan a wedding? (We do agree that we’d prefer something very small and low-key, though.) So technically, not much has changed.

And yet, calling him “fiancé” gives me a little thrill every time.

Like this:



April in photos


The almost-proposals


  1. What an awesome story! Congratulations =)

  2. OH that’s so sweet and thoughtful! Congrats again!!!

  3. Julia

    I love stories with happy endings/beginnings. Congratulations!

  4. AAAHHHHHHH SOOOOO EXCITING!!! :D :D :D so happy for you, and such a sweet story! would you be willing to share a few of the didn’t-get-chosen proposal ideas? i’m so curious!

    congrats again! <3

  5. I must repeat: most creative proposal ever! He is so sweet to go to such lengths. It seems like an absolutely perfect day. So, so thrilled for you! Congratulations again! :)

  6. Wow, what a clever man you have! I mean, how many women can be like “oh ya know, when he decided he wanted to propose to me he WROTE A BOOK FIRST and read it to me and then asked me to marry him and gave me a beautiful diamond ring.” I love it! Congratulations!!! :)

  7. WOW. That’s a truly impressive proposal! I’m so happy for both of you! I love this story, and I’m dying to know what the other proposal ideas were. How awesome that he put so much time/thought into it. So sweet. I want to see more of “The Story So Far”! (Which reminds me of the movie “Up,” by the way.)

  8. This is the most romantic thing I’ve ever read. Congratulations, Kristan and Andy.

  9. OMG. Congratulations!!!!!!!!!! :)

    What an awesome proposal. Wow! He should plan lots of events! Your retelling of it made me feel like I was there. How incredibly romantic. You got a good one! COngrats again!


  11. Congratulations! What an amazing story. Thanks so much for sharing it here. Very very best wishes to you both!

  12. Awww. So sweet. What a great guy you have! Congratulations to the both of you!

  13. Trisha

    Very happy for you both.

  14. Congratulations! That’s such a special moment in your life. May your relationship keep on growing and surprising you in beautiful ways. ;)

  15. CONGRATULATIONS! Soooo adorable!

    My boy’s reaction to this story:
    “Wow. I’m so glad we’re already married because Andy set the bar SO HIGH I can’t imagine being able to top that.”

  16. I am SO CRAZY HAPPPY for you, Kristan!

    Huge congrats to you and Andy! (And he gets brownie points for life for that amazingly thoughtful proposal. Wow.)

  17. Congratulations! All the best.

    With a proposal like that, definitely take your time about the next step. Your wedding will have to be pretty special to live up to this. :-)

  18. krista


  19. This is SO COOL. Wow. You have a really special guy there. Congratulations!!!

  20. *happy dances!* so excited for you guys. that is simply wonderful. :)

  21. Oh, Kristan, that’s so incredible. I’m all big smile-y because, really, what a perfect moment. :-)

  22. Thank you SO much, everyone! (And yeah, he’s pretty great.)

    Linda and Meghan-
    Hm I’ll have to think if there’s a good way to show a few ideas here on the blog.

    Bwahaha, your hubby’s so cute/funny. :)

  23. Becky Wallace

    OOOHHHHHH! Love it! He’s darling. You’re darling. Congratulations!!

  24. Jon

    Oh my gosh!!! That is so exciting!!! Yay! Congrats!

  25. eric

    too precious… also, please don’t ever tell this story to my future girlfriend, as in I don’t think any man will be able to top this.

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