As we finished up, we strolled out to the quad, enjoyed the sun, and even made it to the 11am CCM mass.
After coming down from Reddish Knob, Christine and I decided to take a stroll down memory lane. As it felt like 5PM but was only 10AM, we were early birds for the classic D-Hall breakfast of waffles, french toast sticks, sausage, hashbrowns, and eggs. It was PERFECT.
As we finished up, we strolled out to the quad, enjoyed the sun, and even made it to the 11am CCM mass.
We ended up calling people the entire way back to Richmond. 2 hours can go pretty fast, and the story never got old telling. What an amazing morning.
I would very much like to thank everybody who helped me in preparing to ask for Christine's hand in marriage:
To GOD: Thank you for bringing us both together and for preparing us for the last 5 years (3 dating, 2 as friends). For being patient and revealing the right time to propose!
This includes both sets of parents: Thank you for keeping my secret for 3.5 months and not exploding at wanting to tell people!
To Fr. Mike Renninger: Thanks for the push out the door and the "What are you waiting for?!" discussion. That was all I needed!
To my friends who I DID tell as I was going through the process of making the ring, thanks for not blowing my cover with Christine!
To Scott, thank you SO much for helping me design Christine's ring! It looks awesome man, and she LOVES it. I know we still have some more processing to go before we can have the real thing in hand, but she's crazy about the model I proposed with:) Thanks for the late nights at the office designing and printing, and being a great friend.
***If anybody else has an interest in Scott's talent, check out his website!
I'll be uploading more pictures as the real ring comes out. As stated a few posts ago, I decided I couldn't wait another month and more for the real ring, so I proposed with the painted 3D printed version. Christine loves it, and frankly, didn't even care it was real :) I guess that's how you know she's a keeper, right?
YESTERDAY AT 6:50AM, I PROPOSED TO CHRISTINE HILLGROVE TO BE MY WIFE AND SHE SAID YES!!! Three times to be exact :) I CAN'T BELIEVE IT! WE'RE ACTUALLY GETTING MARRIED!!!
I arrived at her house at 3:15AM, went inside, set the dog up in the kitchen w/ food and water and such, and went up to surprise her. When I woke her, I said "Happy 3 Years!!! Wake up! We're going to Reddish Knob for sunrise!!!" She exclaimed and leaped out of bed and in 5 minutes, she was ready. We grabbed her "survival items" ... haha... and left!
GPS put us there at 6:30AM, with the official sunrise at Reddish Knob scheduled for 6:45AM. My blood was pumping on adrenaline and I'm so glad it was because I was going off of an hour of sleep... she had about 30 minutes more than me. So we're both pretty much on empty, but she's excited for our 3 year anniversary sunrise, and I'm excited because I'm going to ASK HER TO SPEND THE REST OF HER LIFE WITH ME AS MY WIFE!!! Needless to say, we had a smooth drive out up I-64 to I-81 and then hooked upwards towards Reddish Knob.
As we drove up the switchbacks of the mountain, the sky was beginning to turn blue. We drove faster! I was NOT GOING TO LET US MISS THIS SUNRISE!!! We were zig zagging everywhere and finally made it to the ridge top where the road follows the mountain peak for another mile or so.
We were RACING THE SUN.
And then with a few more wrap-arounds, we made it to the top. Nobody else was there. The sky was JUST beginning to have some dark purple/red/orange as the sun thought about beginning to rise.
We made it. We sat back in our seats, pulled out the blanket and sat in silence just watching the sky.
10 minutes later, a car pulls up to our left, packed with 5 girls from JMU all laughing and blaring "Circle of Life" from the Lion King. All of our windows are up.... that means we can hear it from WITHIN their car. Very appropriate for an epic sunrise, I must say. Excellent humor. Next came a guy and his girlfriend in a pickup. They had DSLR's and were taking some dramatic shots of the mountains.
It was freezing up there. 31 degrees and windy. We were glad for the blanket as we had gotten out of the car and sat on the stone ledge bordering the parking lot. We watched the sun come up and it was INCREDIBLE to see the colors change. The moon was even in the top right view, and it slowly disappeared out of sight as the sun came up.
We talked with the girls to the left for a bit. They were hysterical. Eventually we took some group pictures for them, on the condition that they'd use my phone to take a picture of Christine and I:
I then asked them to take on more as I "needed to change positions".... I knelt down next to her, and looked directly at her and trying to open the ring box with my shaking hands I said,
"Chistine Marie Hillgrove, I have a question for you. ...[ring box struggle] ... if I can get this thing open,.... [ring box opened!]...will you be my wife?"
"Yes, yes, YES!"
And now we are engaged. WE ARE ENGAGED!!!! AS IN GETTING MARRIED ENGAGED!!!
Check out the timelapse I was able to get with my GoPro. It captured the whole thing! :) It took pictures ever 2 seconds for the entire proposal!
It is officially our 3 Year anniversary as it's 1:15AM on Sunday, the 12th.
Christine and I were hanging out with friends and then I dropped her off at her car, and now I'm home. I'm tired, but PUMPED. I called her mom briefly while Christine stepped away and told her of my scheme, so I'm grateful to have the support from her parents in this undertaking!
- Tennish Shoes
- Bathing Suit
- VHS/DVD Box of a favorite family movie
- 3 Tennis Balls
- Munchy breakfast foods
- Long Socks
- Pen and Paper
- A good book
- Favorite pictures of us
At this point, I'm REALLY REALLY hoping she'll say yes:)
Goodnight! Time for a 1 hour nap, and then it's GO TIME!!!
I went through a few different ideas for what Christine's ring box would look like, and this is what I thought she'd like the most. It's a suitcase- Not your traditional clamshell, but I think it's appropriate.
Two summers ago, we went to Europe together. It was awesome. It felt rather honey-moonish, traveling and exploring, with only eachother to rely on in foreign countries. We've looked at Groupons and Living Social deals for international travel, and always stopped ourselves from going through with it because we said that we wouldn't do another trip until we were married.
I thought it would be cool to play off of that, by asking if she'd join me for a long term adventure :) Other trips can fall into place of course, but I think asking Christine to be my wife could certainly qualify as one.
Check out the pics below for a general process of the box being printed, painted, and padded:
So it turns out that the friend of a friend who is casting the Platinum ring is going out of town on Spring Break with his family this week. It was originally going to be 3 weeks for him to make the ring, so now it's put off another week and a half until he returns.
Not a whole lot to do about it, as he's being SUPER nice in making the ring for me, so I don't want to be rude and rush a favor.... I'm not going to lie though, I'm so pumped about proposing that when I heard we were going to be put back another 10 days, the below image summed up my entire response:
I'm now thinking that instead of waiting another month and a half to propose while just sitting on my hands....
I CAN PROPOSE WITH THE PRINTED RING!!! I have the print with all 3 stones printed as well, so I won't even have to worry about the real ones falling out or losing them. That way, I will have a copy of the real ring to propose with, and she'll be able to have the Platinum ring as soon as it's finished. I have a feeling she'll be ok with that :) I also have a few other tricks up my sleeve to do for the actual proposal:)
Christine, I know you can't see this, but I'm banking everything on you saying yes:)
So I had originally planned on going with Diamonds Direct to cast the ring. They offered a two week turnaround on the ring after receiving the CAD design. From there, they would make it from either Platinum or White Gold.
Each material is beautiful. They're both bright, neutral to be worn with anything, and make the stones shine as they reflect white light.
Typically, Platinum is a bit more expensive than White Gold, one of the reasons being its hardness and low-maintenance. When a platinum ring bumps into something, it creates light scuffs and scrapes rather than deforming or digging. White Gold is still hard, but softer than platinum. When it comes into contact with another hard surface, it deforms or digs. Granted, nobody intentionally walks around smacking their engagement rings on things, but stuff happens. All of these things can be fixed, but it just depends on how much you're willing to put into it. If there are any misconceptions here, please let me know! I'm still learning:)
White Gold is really nice, but a common misconception is that it's ...white....gold, when in reality it's just normal 14K yellow gold with a microscopic layering of Rhodium/Nickel plating on the outside. After a year or two of taking the ring on and off, people say it "yellows" or ages... in reality, that's just the plating wearing down, and the yellow gold showing through. It's very common and tons of jewelers do the replating for a fee. Diamonds Direct offers a full coverage plan that replates your ring for free if you go through them. It's a pretty sweet gig, seeing that it's a $100+ process that needs to happen every one or two years.
However, I was able to find a friend of a friend who could do the casting for me, and therefore, the Platinum became much more affordable by avoiding the retail markups:)
Therefore, Christine, your ring is going to be Platinum!
And then finally, I painted the ring and put the real stones back in to see what it WOULD look like finished:)
Took the prints from this morning home at lunch today. The fit between the stones and the pockets is fantastic! Scott did a great job. Maddi, my dog, was most intrigued. No way she's eating this.
And then I painted the ring to give it the aesthetic that's closer to metal... It looks great:) Christine, I hope you like it!!!
Here's the updated ring with the reinforcements in the Diamond/Sapphire supports as well as the printed stones. I'm printing two just for safety in case one breaks and so forth. Check out the sweet timelapse below on the Formlabs 3D printer:
Below is the final print. Going to clean these babies up and paint them:)
All of the work here has been done after hours at the office where I work as a Mechanical Engineer. My job has been super busy lately. There have been nights where I've been doing actual work until 10:30PM... aaaaaaaand then there have also been nights where I've been working with Scott on the ring until 10:30PM...
Nevertheless, Christine thinks that ALL of this time has been for work work....not... fun making a ring in secret work... She's a bit peeved at my job right now for "keeping me so late" at the office...
She's so supportive, but it's so hard to keep a straight face when she tells me they work me too hard.... I'm surprised she hasn't noticed my demeanor- On the nights I'm doing work work, I come back and my eyes are glazed over from the computer screen and my brain is obliterated. However, when I get back late from working on her ring, I OBVIOUSLY CAN'T TELL HER THAT... but I'm energized and excited! Again, it's hard not to be like that when you're making an engagement ring, and I'm absolutely horrible at keeping exciting secrets. In a way, this blog is my outlet until I pop the question:)
Anyhow, Christine, this will be a lot clearer after I ask you to marry me. Until then, thanks for rooting for me and supporting me on these late nights! Honestly 2 of the 3 late nights really are for work... it's the other 1 out of 3 that has to stay a secret for a liiiiiittle bit longer:)
My name is Richard and I'm 24. I'm Catholic, and am blessed to have a solid working job as an engineer which I look forward to each day. I grew up in a super classy place called Manassas, VA, went to college as a Duke Dog at James Madison University, and now live in Richmond, VA. RVA!