Gimme Some Oven

I Said “Yes!”

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We're Engaged

Oh my goodness, I’m not even a sentence into this post and already — especially seeing this picture again for the hundredth time — the happiest tears have sprung back to my eyes. Because it’s still sinking in that a week ago, the most extraordinary man I’ve ever met got down on one knee and took my hand and asked me to spend the rest of my life with him.

And I said “yes.”

A thousand, million, zillion times, “yes!”

And then afterwards, let’s be real — I totally lost it. ? Because I felt like I had been ready and waiting for this moment for years and years. But even in my wildest, most hopeful dreams — especially during those long seasons of waiting, hoping, believing it might be possible to meet someone amazing — gosh, I just never imagined that it could actually be this good. That he could be this good. That the reality of life together as “us” could be this good. 

But it truly is. It’s so good. And my heart could not feel more peaceful and thankful and joyful and just…full.

Oh my gosh. Guys, WE’RE GETTING MARRIED!!!!!!!!


Barclay Cooking

And for those of you (like me!) who always want to hear all the details of a proposal, I thought I’d pop in today and share the full story. ?

Actually, many of you who follow me on Instagram already caught the first part of the story last Thursday night. (And a few of you even guessed the ending before I did!)

The whole night began when Barclay mentioned that he wanted to cook me dinner on Thursday night as a thank you for being supportive during his ultra-busy month of shows with his Christmas band, which was wrapping up their final gig the day beforehand. Seemed reasonable to me. ? Plus, I always love our date nights “in”, and was just excited that he had a free evening again.

Sure enough, he showed up promptly at 5pm, mentioning that his aim was to have dinner on the table for us by 5:30pm (<– which he knows is my dream, because I’m an 80-year-old early-bird-dinner-lover at heart, and love eating the second I’m done with work.)  But I admit that I was a bit amused to see him walk in the door with an enormous box of groceries…for just the two of us. This was not entirely surprising, since Barclay doesn’t keep an “extensively-stocked” kitchen, and literally does 100% of his grocery shopping at Costco. ? But still, it was a noticeable step up from his usual chopped-salad-in-a-bag specialty.

Still, though, any momentary suspicions were relieved when he announced that the theme of the date night was “a winter picnic” (<– which was super-cute, being that we are always talking this time of year about how we miss our summertime picnic dates). I offered to be his sous-chef, but he poured me a glass of my favorite wine and insisted that he just wanted me to relax and hang out and let him do all of the cooking. So I plopped down at the kitchen island and we turned on some Christmas music and caught up on our day while he cooked.

…and cooked.

…and cooked.


I was assuming the meal would be like every other meal we usually cook together — just a main course and salad, with maybe a cheese plate before or after (<– Barc’s specialty).

But after he served the third course, and it looked like there was more to come, I figured I had better document this absolute feast that he was preparing. And I was glad I did, because it kept coming and coming! (Ha, so much so that I regretted filling up on that big cheese plate at the very start. Whoops.)   Here are the photos that many of you saw on Instagram — six courses! Each one was absolutely delicious, and had some special meaning to the two of us. For example, the ginger salad was his take on our favorite salad we each order before sushi each Monday night, we make a cheese plate together for a snack probably weekly, he knew that roasted asparagus was one of our favorite veggies, and bacon — well, he knew my love of bacon.

It was all incredible. And oh my goodness, by the end of it I was so full. ?

Engagement Card

Then, as we were finishing up the final course together, Barclay mentioned that he had written me a card, which instantly made me smile.

You see, last Christmas, he and I had discussed before the holiday that neither of us are big “gifts” people and were more into investing in shared experiences together. So we agreed to pass on buying each other Christmas presents. But, I had asked him if he would write me a card for Christmas instead. And he did. And I wrote him one. And it was perfect. :)

Anyway, when he pulled out the card, I figured that was him being thoughtful again and continuing our little tradition. And the card was absolutely beautiful. But I will say…my little antennae did go up for the first time when I noticed that he was following my eyes on the page super-intently when I neared the end of the card. And once he saw that I had reached the end and read the final line…”I love you so much, and choose you with all of my heart”…

…he instantly dropped down on one knee beside me.

…and pulled a ring out of his pocket and asked me to marry him.


…and I freaked out.

Haha, I mean it. ALL of the smiles and shrieks and laughter. ALL of the happy tears and cries of joy (which pretty quickly turned into not-so-classy-but-happy-sobbing). ALL of the kisses and hugs and holding each other tight and both holding up my hand again and again and again to look at the ring.  ALL THE FEELS.

And it was amazing.

We probably sat there on the couch for at least 20 minutes just freaking out about the-rest-of-our-life-ness together.

Engagement Ring

Oh, and then I finally got around to asking him how got ahold of this!

The ring is was actually 102 years old, and was my Great Grandma Allie’s engagement ring that I inherited years ago. It’s tiny and simple and beautiful and perfect and I had dreamed of wearing it someday. But it was at my parents’ house in Wichita. And — yeah, yeah, I will admit — I had been keeping a wee bit of an eye on Barclay the last few times we were in Wichita to see if he might have slipped away for a bit with them to ask their blessing and get the ring. But he hadn’t! (And I was starting to get a little impatient about that not having happened…)  ?

Well, turns out that while I was in Korea last month, Barclay went above and beyond to make that meaningful as well. On the day after this enormous event that he helped coordinate at his work (like, imagine weeks of overtime leading up to this thing, and exhausting long workday the day-of), he woke up early on a Sunday and made the 6-hour round-trip drive to Wichita to spend the day hanging out with my parents…and then of course, asked for their blessing and picked up the ring.

Finding this out, of course, prompted another round of happy tears.

It meant so much to me that he did that. And also meant so much that he’d had a similar conversation with his parents, and that they were all “in” on the big surprise and excited for us. All of their support has meant so much to both of us along the way.

Anyway, by this point in the night, I was still a sobby, smily mess. But Barclay told me that he had one more “tiny little dream” for us that night — he wanted to know if I’d go back to El Pueblito (where we had our 7-hour first date) and share a margarita to celebrate together. I couldn’t imagine a better idea, so I grabbed some Kleenex and my furry coat, and we immediately hopped in the car and drove over.

Showing Up At El Pueblito

As we were pulling up, the reality of all of this was beginning to sink in more and I asked him how on earth we were going to tell our friends. But we agreed to just soak it all up with just the two of us for awhile, and then maybe call some family and friends after our margarita. Well, turns out…

this amazing surprise was waiting for us.

Tons of our dearest friends were all there at the restaurant waiting for us, and greeted us as we walked in the door with a huge cheer and lots of hugs and two big margaritas for the future bride and groom. And I was 100% surprised. (I mean seriously, I’m good at sniffing out surprises, but I think I was in such a deliriously happy haze that this one hadn’t even occurred to me!!)

Engagement Party

As it turns out, Barclay had arranged the whole thing with them and the restaurant owner (who told us we should get married on our first date) beforehand. And throughout dinner, he had been texting them periodically to tell them when to show up. Apparently he had been a little anxious because we were running behind schedule during dinner — which I then delayed with All The Tears after he proposed — but it all ended up working out perfectly.

Perfect, perfect, perfect.

Barclay and Me Calling The Rents

When we arrived, everyone instantly asked us if we had called our parents yet to tell them the big news, and we mentioned that we were thinking of doing so afterwards. But they insisted we do it soon, so we Facetimed my parents and shouted out to them that “WE’RE ENGAGED”! They cheered on the other end, and we cheered, and everyone smiled and cheered. Ha, but unfortunately it was so dark and the music was so loud in there that we couldn’t hear much else, so we decided to catch up later and called Barclay’s parents as soon as we left the restaurant and could hear again. Which we did, and the smiles continued.

Engagement with Friends

Well, turns out that the other best part about him proposing three days before Christmas was that we were able to spend the entire holiday continuing the celebration with friends and family….including our two other dear friends, Erin and Jeff (the two on the right), who also got engaged the same week. So fun! (Also, those are two of our matchmakers there in the middle, Lindsay and Will, whom we will always have to thank for bringing us together.)  So much love to be thankful for this Christmas.

Anyway, the whole thing felt magical, and meaningful, and exciting, and fun, and so like us. And it made me so thankful for the millionth time for this incredibly thoughtful man who I now get to marry. And much more importantly, spend the rest of my life with, which just feels like the wildest and best thing ever.

I love him with my whole heart. And he loves me with his.

And not a day goes by that I’m not thankful for the incredible gift that this all is.

And, as always, not a day goes by that I’m not thankful for the incredible gift that all of you are.

So from the bottom of my heart, thank you for all of your sweet encouragement and support over the years leading up to this point. Barc has been asking this week when I’m going to share the good news with my readers, and I’ve been offline ever since last week taking some time off and soaking up time with friends and family in town around the holidays. But I feel like this is the post that I’ve been dreaming about writing for literally years and years now. So thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading along, and I promise to keep you posted on plans ahead! ?

El Pueblito Square

#ThrowbackThursday picture of the two of us on our very first date at El Pueblito last year. I knew then that I’d found a keeper. :)

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246 comments on “I Said “Yes!””

  1. We are so delighted for you–and for us, since we get a new niece! We pray God’s richest blessings on you as you plan your future life together.

  2. This is the sweetest story/proposal EVER–so, so happy for you both!

  3. Congratulations!!!!

  4. How exciting!!! I’ve been a silent reader for a couple of years now, but I got so excited seeing this in my email that I HAD to say congratulations!!!! The fact that he went above and beyond to make it truly special and romantic is amazing. I can’t wait to see the planning and progress!! Happy holidays!

  5. Hello,
    So excited for bed thvof yiu. Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful story, si very wonderful hope you both will be as happy as you look. Thanks again


  6. Hi again

    Sorry for the mistake, plan it on a bad headache, just so happy for you both.


  7. Congrats! It’s about time this happened. I thought for sure he would propose in France. Love your blog and all your recipes. Keep up the good work and best wishes!

  8. Congrats! What a beautiful story. I went back and read your post of your first date and I could not help but smile. So happy that you found the one! You two seem like a great match!

  9. Congratulations! Wishing you many years of happiness…we will celebrate 28 years of marriage in June!

  10. So many HUGE congratulations to you both!! 

  11. Congratulations! This is Beautiful News!

  12. CONGRATULATIONS to both of you.  I may be a cranky old 70-year old, but a love story like yours gets to me!

  13. Congratulations! Beautiful couple, beautiful story and beautiful ring.

  14. Congratulations! ❤❤❤

  15. CONGRATS! So happy for you both

  16. Congrats !!  My hubby n I will celebrate our 48th in April and we both still feel the way you describe !!  I feel so Blessed and Thankful !! Wishing you Both many, many years together !!

  17. I’m a fairly recent follower of your blog, but nonetheless, I’m so happy for you both!  

  18. I’m thrilled for you – such a special guy………… I can tell you two are in love.
    Want advice from a lady who has been married 49 years (4 months ’til our 50th) … ok here it is:
    Always remember to put Christ first in your life, husband second and children (when they come) third. Jesus Christ will give you the path to follow as per Proverbs 3:5-6
    5 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart,and do not rely on your own understanding;
    6 think about Him in all your ways, and He will guide you on the right paths.”

    Babette in Dallas

  19. Congratulations to you both. So happy for you. May you be blessed with an infinity of happiness.

  20. Congrats!!! Love your blog!  Love that you shared the proposal!  Now send us the veggie samosa recipe!  Lol! Yay Bsrclay!

  21. Congratulations! What a beautiful proposal! It was perfect! I’m so happy for you.

  22. WOW!! So pleased for you both : a lovely story for a lovely couple. Congrats xxxx

  23. I am so happy for you! You are a beautiful couple! Much love and joy always as you travel through life together. xoxo

  24. So adorable! Congrats!!!

  25. “Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be.” Robert Browning

    Congratulations to both of you!

  26. Congratulations ? Ali!  It’s been so fun following your relationship through the blog, I love that you’re sharing the proposal with us all.  Barclay is definitely a keeper!  Best wishes on this next step in your journey together as a couple.  My hubby and I celebrated 16 years of wedded bliss this past Monday.  We’re big believers in true love ❤️ 

  27. This is truly good news. Congratulations your readers will be so happy for your engagement.

  28. Congratulations! I love a great romantic proposal and love story. Wishing you all the best in your marriage and future together.

  29. May you always be as happy and blessed as you both feel today.  God bless you both!

  30. Aww, so sweet!! Congratulations, I’m so happy for you!!

  31. Congratulations and many blessings on you two! I pray that the days and months leading up to your wedding will be as delightful as this post and that your home will continue to be a haven of blessing and peace as you build a life together.

  32. CONGRATULATIONS!! You two are absolutely adorable together!! So excited that God finally led you to the one he created just for you!  Enjoy your engagement!

  33. Congratulations! What a beautiful couple and such a special story! Thanks so much for sharing it with us! May your Love and Happiness be eternal!

  34. Ali!!so so thrilled for you both. We’ve known Barclay for years and he works with my husband. He’s a very special person. Looking forward to meeting you at some point because Barclay has told me wonderful things about you! Congratulations!!!!

  35. I loved the story!  Reminded me of my own engagement surprise (at age 42).  We have been happily married now for 31 years!  You two look like the perfect match and I predict you will be very happy together.  Congratulations to both of you!

  36. Congratulations! I am so happy for you two! Be blessed!

  37. oh so happy for you both! God’s blessings upon your union!

  38. Congratulations! What a beautiful story, so romantic…you will remember it forever!

  39. Yeah, Ali! Congratulations! I’m so happy for you! I’ve got tears in my eyes reading this post. I’ve been following you for years, and it was so exciting when you and Barclay first started dating. I know you will have such a happy life together, because you already do. It will only get better. I can’t wait to see all the wedding posts. Happy New Year!

  40. Congratulations!!! SUCH a sweet story! A super lovely proposal and celebration! xo

  41. Soooo happy for you! I follow your blog all the time and want to share this story with my 25 year old (sweetest ever) daughter who thinks she will never meet anyone! Looking forward to watching the wedding preparations. You rock (as my daughter would say)!

  42. Oh Ali , thank you so much for sharing this beautiful life event. I’ve got happy tears now from reading about yours. Congratulations  to both of you . 

  43. bless you both

  44. Congrats and so very happy for you both. 

  45. congratulations-I am sitting here getting all emotional as I read your post- so romantic- I wish you many years of happiness

  46. Wow!  What a great story- this really made me smile (ok, and maybe shed a tear…). Congratulations!!!!  Barclay sounds like a great guy- a real keeper. If this was just the engagement, I can’t wait to hear about the wedding! I wish you both a lot of joy in your future!

  47. wow now that’a a story CONGRATULATIONS and best wishes to you both. I follow your blog and enjoy your recipes as i am also a food blogger

  48. Barclay,  what a romantic you are!!  You took your time finding the right person to fall in love with – but it looks like you’ve found the perfect match/mate/best friend.  Congratulations and my very best wishes to you and Ali.  You make the world a better place.  Ali, I know you know this, but your getting a really remarkable guy!  Casey

  49. Congratulations and may your marriage be blessed like ours. I love a man who cooks, and mine cooks all the time. What a beautiful story about your surprise engagement. I just posted mine in my FB page last week as a gift to my groom of 54 years.

    Thanks for your beautiful posts and delicious food, and the wonderful stories you share.

  50. So so so happy for y’all! :) Congratulations!