Monday, March 18, 2013

Let's hear it for the girls!

As you may already be aware, before Julia's arrival I was the only girl in my family for quite some time.  The only daughter, only sister, only granddaughter, only niece ... you get the idea.  So we were more than happy to find out this newest little one will be of the female variety.  But it turns out #4 isn't the only new lady to be joining the family this year.  Yup, Uncle Jared is getting married!!!

Photo stolen from Jared's Facebook.
Winner's of the Gingerbread House contest - already a great team!

I'm sure you remember Miss Kylee from previous posts.  She's one of our most popular house guests and favorite babysitter.  We've been teaching the kids to call her Aunt Kylee for the past two weeks but it seems like she's been a part of the family for a lot longer than that!

Photo stolen from Jared's Facebook. 
Needless to say, we're thrilled about these latest developments!  I got to tag along with Jared during the ring shopping phase (who knew so much time and effort went into the wedding before the engagement even happened?! I certainly didn't.)  Since I didn't have any say in my own diamond (which was perfectly fine with me!) it was fun to see things from the guys' perspective.  One word: agonizing.  So my brother kinda has the same "indecisive" gene that I have.  The two of us were a fine pair.  Jared and I visited 5 different jewelers over two weekends, in addition to his own shopping and lots of internet research.  In the end, nothing was good enough for his girl so Jared designed the ring himself and got it custom made.

Photo stolen from Jared's Instagram (I'm just on a roll here!)
And of course, despite all the time that went into this decision beforehand, the ring didn't end up being completed until mere hours before Kylee arrived for a weekend visit.  In fact, I think it was still warm from the soldering process when he slipped it on her finger!

Speaking of that moment, I was commissioned to capture it for all eternity.  (Because the original choice couldn't make it and Jared doesn't have any other photo-taking friends in the area.)  I wasn't too sure. It's enough of a challenge for me to take pictures of my own kids doing normal every day things.  But taking engagement photos, at night, from a distance?  Um, a bit out of my league.  Oh, and did I mention this was all taking place in a very sketchy area of Baltimore?  Fortunately for him, brothers don't get engaged every day.  I couldn't say no.

Jon couldn't say no either. Although he wasn't too thrilled with the idea of his wife hiding in the night shadows of Baltimore.  He bought me some pepper spray and kept texting me to make sure I was still alive throughout the waiting time.

The scene.
Because there was a waiting time.  Should've known.  Jared said to leave at 8 so I could be at the rendezvous point around 8:30.  I wanted a little time to practice and figure out my camera settings before the big event occurred.  So I left at precisely 8:00. At 8:06 he texted to say it would be more like 9.  Too late, I was already cruising down the highway, chai tea in hand, headed towards the Big City in my husband's fancy car. (Hey, if you're going to have a night on the town without the kids might as well live it up!).  I had brought along a book so rather than sit out in the cold by the water I figured I'd just snuggle up in the car and read in the parking garage.  I guess I forgot that parking garages at night are hardly the place for cozy reading.  There were car alarms going off, strange voices, blinking headlights and shady characters walking by.  So in between texting Jon and scanning the rear view mirror every 30 seconds, I only got a little reading done.

At 9:05 Jared texted to say they were on the way, my cue to get into position.  Except that chai tea was really starting to take its toll on my pregnant body.  Fortunately, the hostess at a nearby restaurant took pity on me and let me use the restroom.  I'm sure it helped that I just happened to mention my little brother was about to get engaged right outside her window.  I headed back out right on schedule and completely incognito - hat, scarf and glasses that I used to wear in high school (or presently when I have to run errands and don't want to bother with make-up).

 photo IMAG1040_zpse2761091.jpg
After I took this I realized it could've been the last picture I ever posted...
Jared had chosen a pier at Fells Point as the location to pledge his undying love for Kylee.  It's a sentimental spot and very pretty (in a city kind of way), with lights reflecting off the water.  It's also very dark and empty.  I'm sure it's the place to be in the summer, but on March 1... well it was just me and any dead bodies that happened to be floating around in the inky blackness that evening.  (Okay, I didn't come up with that one myself.  Honestly, dead bodies never even occurred to me but these three teenagers ran down for a quick picture by the water during my LONG wait and one of them said something about "the number of dead bodies" in the water and it kinda stuck in my head the rest of the night.)  As it turns out, one of Jared's co-workers actually got held up at gun point near this spot a while ago but fortunately neither of us were aware of that incident at the time.  Anyway, I took a few test shots, walked around, sat in a few different spots and tried to figure out the best view that was the least visible.

And I attempted to look super nonchalant to the occasional passerby.  You know, like pregnant ladies hang around the pier alone at night with cameras all the time. Finally, FINALLY I got the "we just parked" text.  And then, after more waiting because I forgot to take into account that Kylee would most likely be wearing heels for the long walk down to the water, they appeared in the distance.  I got into position - first behind the corner of an old, abandoned boathouse.  And then, after they had moved out onto the pier, behind a very large flagpole.

As fate would have it, Jared walked Kylee ALLLL the way out to the end of the pier, where all the lights were out.  Which made for some difficult photographing.  And then he proceeded with a very LOOONNNNGG speech about I have no idea what because I was too far away to hear.  In fact, I had no idea what was going on.  So I just kept snapping away, getting some great shots of the scenery.

Eventually, he got down on one knee and that made it pretty clear at what point we were at in this whole process.  And she quickly jumped into his arms which made it pretty clear where we'd be going with this whole process.  And a little bit later, when I heard Jared yell "I'M ENGAGED!" I figured it was safe to come out of hiding.  Well actually, by this time I was sitting cross-legged at the start of the pier taking photos so I'm not sure what Kylee thought.  But I do know that as I was walking towards her she still had no idea who I was.  So in that regard, mission accomplished.

Actually, mission accomplished all around.  It was a fun, truly memorable, evening in the city.  That ended with me returning home, to my own true love, with my pepper spray still intact and completely hyped up on  young love and chai tea.

And we're still excited.  Because now that ring shopping and engagement planning are behind us we can take the time to focus on what's truly important - what teeny, tiny Baby Girl is going to wear to her uncle's wedding!!  Yay for new girls in the family!

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