On April 28th, one day after my oldest son, Clay, turned 23...THIS HAPPENED!!
Clay asked his beautiful girlfriend, Kaitlin, to be his bride!!!
Clay and Kaitlin are high school sweethearts, so she has been around our family for several years; but she has agreed to take us on for real now! Wow! That's quite a commitment! I mean, marrying my sweet son is one thing, accepting the rest of us as family is a brave move! We are quite a package! We are a tight knit, loud, funny, prank playing, joke cracking, memory making, sports loving, loyal, supportive, praying, loving, crying kind of family! And Kaitlin fits RIGHT IN!!! Everyone from Great Grandfather to little brother is absolutely thrilled!
Clay and Kaitlin at the Christmas Snowflake Ball in high school. See what happens when we chaperone? You get photo bombed by your own dad!!! LOL!!! All in good fun!
These two saw each other through the ups and downs of football, baseball and soccer seasons. They both are highly competitive and driven individuals both on the fields of play and off.
They both love the outdoors and hunting and fishing! I'm sure before long, Kaitlin will be in the sheep pens with us, where we will make her do the dirty work because... well that's just how we are...the newcomer paying their dues and all, right? Lol!
This just happened, like...YESTERDAY and now these babies are getting MARRIED!!!!!
The actual proposal was weeks in the making and took an army to pull off! The first challenge was getting everyone's schedules to align for one night. The night that worked best for everyone was the day after Clay's birthday which worked great as an excuse to get Kaitlin out to the ranch! We were right in the middle of a big work week on the ranch. Sheep shearing time! Ranch work doesn't stop, even for wedding proposals. This is what Clay was doing the morning of the proposal. Helps keep the nerves in check!
The set up was to invite Kaitlin out to the ranch to celebrate Clay's birthday. What Kaitlin didn't know was that college roommates and best friends and grandparents and siblings and family fiends were assembling in town from all over. It was a covert operation for Kaitlin's mom and sister to take her to get her nails done with out running into anyone from out of town! Meanwhile.. college friends and siblings had arrived and as soon as the morning sheep roundup was finished, we began turning the front yard into a surprise proposal party! The next item on the agenda was to take Clay's good friends, who were going to photograph and video the proposal, up to the spot to scope out the area and find places to hide and capture the "moment."
Clay chose to propose on the highest point of the ranch. We call the hill "Church Mountain" because a few years ago, Bowen put an old picnic table up there and we occasionally hold family church there. It is an awesome view where you can see all the way to the Rio Grande and into Mexico and the sunsets are spectacular! It is rocky and rough yet awe inspiring and beautiful. Four generations of our family have ridden over that rocky ground, God has been praised there and prayers have been prayed from that hill, I cant imagine a better place with a firmer foundation than Church Mountain to begin their journey!! Pretty special and meaningful! On the table Clay placed a wooden cross that was made by Bowen and Taylor when she was a little girl. We use it for family church and special holidays and it's always had a place in our home. At the last moment, Clay's good friend, Matt, hung a ranch rope from the back of the truck on the cross and that just made the spot perfectly complete!!
What would a proposal story be without a little hiccup? Clay left for town to pick up Kaitlin and bring her back to the ranch. Bowen and Matt had driven the photographers, Connor and Savannah, to the top of Church Mountain to get set up while Clay and Kaitlin were on their way back. Clay's story to Kaitlin was that Bowen had asked him to go into that pasture and turn off some water before coming back to the house. Well, Clay must have been driving with a heavy foot because they arrived earlier than expected! Bowen and Matt were leaving the pasture when Clay's truck came into view over a hill. Matt was out of the truck preparing to close the gate when he spotted them! Bowen took off down the highway, leaving Matt and hoping Kaitlin would not recognize his truck as he passed. Matt flew over the barbed wire fence and dove into a mesquite thicket where he hid just feet from the truck praying that Kaitlin wouldn't see him while Clay was opening the gate! All was good and Clay drove to the top of the hill. He took Kaitlin to the picnic table where he gave her a gift. It was a hand painted Bible with a beautiful verse on the front from the Song of Solomon. He asked her to look at the back of the Bible and there she saw painted her new name! At that point he got down on one knee and...well...I'll just let these amazing picture taken by Connor Black do the talking!!
My favorite part of those last two photos....look at her tear stains on Clay's shirt!!! Oh my heart, how sweet!!!!