Sunday, November 11, 2012


I originally posted this on November 22nd last year. It is our engagement post. I never liked the formatting of it so a few months ago I was trying to fix it and accidentally deleted the post. I tried everything to retrieve it, but it was gone for ever. A few days later Matt found a copy of it that he had saved to Google Reader. YAY! So anyway, I am reposting it so that it can be found on the blog. Also...I still don't like the formatting, but I'm working through it.

Oh, First Grade! Please look carefully and read their notes, or their spellings of Flaherty.

As I am sure you have all read on Facebook, we're engaged! Last Friday, on 11.11.11, Matt asked me to marry him. I will try to make a short version of the story here.

Trying to take our own pic right after

Last Thursday I was really not feeling well. Matt had class and I was at home laying on the couch when he started texting me that we should get up early the next morning to go into DC and check out the new MLK memorial. This is when I knew something was up since Matt NEVER gets up early. I said I really wanted to sleep in because I wasn't feeling good and then hopefully we could go when I woke up if I was feeling good. Matt finally agreed to this plan after some serious back and forth debate.

So Friday morning we got up and got ready and drove into DC. We looked at dear MLK and then Matt said he wanted to go to the Einstein memorial next. I also thought this was weird since it was kinda far away, its not really popular, and I was having trouble breathing since it was cold and I still wasn't feeling that great. I also had teased him a few months before saying I knew he would propose there. But I decided to not put up a fight or ask any questions. So we got to Einstein and there were other people there so Matt started stalling. Then finally he handed me an envelope. The letter inside said that we were going on a mystery ride and I shouldn't ask any questions, he had planned a date. So we walked all the way back to the car and started driving west.

The view from the spot

We started taking exits for Skyline Drive. I started feeling worse so we had to stop for some medicine and water. This is when Matt told me one of the things we were going to do on the date was have a picnic. I asked if he brought any food. He said yes, but we might need to upgrade it across the street at Sheetz (I LOVE sheetz). Turns out Matt had bought food the night before and left it in the car over night trying to hide it from me. I'm glad we upgraded. So we got back on the road and it felt like we were driving FOREVER. After asking him if he was planning to kill me and bury me in the country or starve me to death we finally made it to Skyline Drive. (Sidenote: I will ALWAYS be in charge of directions). Matt asked the lady for a good spot to picnic. She looked at us like we had two heads since it was so so cold. We started driving through the park and Matt was passing every overlook and picnic ground still looking for a place with a good view. I finally had enough because I was starving and told him he had to pull over at a place called The Point. It ended up being perfect. We walked down a little trail and there were two big rocks that looked out over the mountains and that's where he proposed. Obviously, I said YES!

We stayed in New Market for the night. This is where I found out Matt had brought a can opener to open a bottle of wine. It ended up being a little bit of a rough night. I woke Matt up at 7:00 AM. I'm sure he was thrilled. I made him drive me back to Northern Virginia to go to Urgent Care where I found out I had Bronchitis, double ear infections, and a sinus infection. Definitely a memorable weekend!

Finally found someone to take our picture


I thought it would be interesting to write my version and then have Matt write one to see how they compare. Know that we did not read each other's at all before this post. And how for a blogging first...a guest Blog by Matthew, himself.

Our engagement was filled with excitement, embarrassment, adventure, stress,
accomplishment and most of all love! Here is my perspective of how things happened.

After much thinking and planning I thought I had come up with a fairly straightforward
plan. First, I would take Erin to the Einstein Memorial just off the National Mall because
this is where we had “The Talk” and first started being boyfriend/girlfriend. Originally I
had planned on proposing there however after consulting with some friends and
realizing Erin had already figured that out I knew I had to step it up a little. So I decided
to use the Einstein Memorial as a red herring. I would take Erin there but this would only
be the beginning. I would then take her on a “mystery ride” to Shenandoah National
Park. This seemed straight forward enough but I did not account for the many
unexpected events that sprang up including the Penn State scandal, Erin being sick,
and the temperature taking a nose dive.

My whole plan was based on having it be a surprise so I had to wait until Erin was
sleeping to do most of my preparation. After arriving home from my Reconstruction
class I had a snack and kissed Erin goodnight. Then it was time to go to work. I first
snuck in our bedroom to try to get a change of clothes for both me and Erin because I
had booked a hotel room for Friday night. I snuck in the bedroom and was going to get
Erin’s things when I heard her tossing and turning and she even woke up and asked me
what was I doing? This kind of freaked me out so I decided to get my stuff and pretend
like I was just getting ready to take a shower. I went back a little while later and made
sure to be extra quiet. Erin did not get up this time but I face another problem. It was
pitch black and I realized I have absolutely no idea how Erin organizes her bureau.
After a couple of minutes of feeling around I finally got her clothes. I then went
downstairs to the Condo office to write a letter I planed to give Erin when we got to the
Einstein Memorial. Then I went down to the storage unit to get a cooler I planned to put
a sandwich in for the next day. This turned out to be not the best part of my plan. I also
got a blanket to hide all the items in the trunk of my car. After all this I thought I was
pretty well set.

I went to bed exhausted but feeling under control. This quickly changed when I woke
up and realized I had brought wine and no wine opener. So while Erin was in the
shower I got the wine opener and brought it down to my car. Erin was not feeling well
so even though I asked her to get up early she, understandable, slept in until about 9
a.m. and was not moving the quickest. After some breakfast we were ready to go.

Fortunately, Erin wanted to see the New Martin Luther King Memorial so I had a
explanation for getting to the mall. I decided we had to drive even though Erin said we
should take the metro. This was a necessary decision but did not work out that well
because there was no parking. We had to park a long way off, which did not help my
cause of moving things along. The MLK Memorial was pretty impressive. I especially
liked the quotes. I think my favorite one was True peace is not merely the absence of
tension: it is the presence of justice." (16 April 1963, Birmingham, AL). After we
were done I suggested that we go to the einstein Memorial and without batting an
eyelash Erin says okay. As I suspected, Erin was on to this idea. It was getting
cold and Erin was not feeling well so it was a slow walk. On our way we saw the
Vietnam Day services as the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. When we got to
Einstein I gave Erin the note and she gave me a look like “WTF”, Success!!! As I
found out later she knew about Einstein but nothing else.

The drive was nice, it was a sunny day and there was not much traffic. Everything was
going great until we decided to pull over for some cough drops. This was good and bad
at the same time. It was good because right next to the CVS we stopped at was a
Sheetz. I knew Erin loved Sheetz and I was having second thoughts about the food I
had packed so I revealed that my secret involved a picnic so we should get some
Sheetz. The bad part was that I had to reveal my poor planning involving the sandwich,
which I am sure I will not hear the end of for a long time! This also gave me the chance
to get the ring I had hidden in the trunk and put it in my jacket pocket in preparation for
the big event.

On our way home it took us about 2 hours to get home. This definitely was not the case
on the way to Shenandoah. I am a big Google fan but my Google directions failed me
this time. Instead of going on the direct route that involved a highway with a speed limit
of 70 mph we were going through the back country of VA. It was beautiful scenery but it
was stressing me out because of all the previous delays the sun looked like it was
almost going to go down and I definitely did not want to propose in the dark. I drove
probably a little faster than I should have and finally got to the gate.

To my great delight it was a free weekend so we did not have to pay to enter the park.
We also talked to the park ranger because I realized I did not know where in
Shenandoah I was going to propose. I asked her about picnic areas since that was my
ploy but she said the only picnic areas were deep in the woods, which was not what I
was thinking about. We drove along Skyline drive which had some spectacular views
and there were many overlooks that could have potentially been good spots. However,
it seemed like they were either too close to the road, had to many people, or did not
have a good view. We did not eat since breakfast and it was getting to be about 5
oclock so finally Erin said she had to eat soon. I also thought I was going to run out of
overlooks so just decided to stop at the next one. At first site it did not look to be good
because it was right next to the road. However, it had a trail that led to a fantastic spot
on a ledge overlooking the mountains and the sun was still in sight!!!!!

It was freezing cold by the time we got to the ledge so before Erin had a chance to put
down the picnic supplies I grabbed her hand and went down on one knee. I told her
how much i loved her because of her great family, how she is funny, looking towards the
future, and always has patience with all my eccentricities. I told her about how about 3
years ago was driving down to DC from Massachusetts and not knowing what to
expect. I would have never expected meeting and falling in love with a beautiful, strong,
and overall awesome girl, but I did. So I asked her to marry me and she said Yes!!!!!

We took some pictures and decided it was a good idea to go back in the car to eat our
food. We called our family members to tell them the good news and then started to
drive to the hotel. This turned out to be quite an adventure because on the twisty road
we spotted literally about 20 dear, luckily there were no collisions. After putting our stuff
in the hotel and taking a break we searched for a restaurant that was still open at about
10 o'clock. Luckily there was one, The Italian Job, which was the only restaurant
besides McDonalds that was open in the whole town.

The next day Erin showed me a much faster way to get back. However, I guess, thanks
to being out in the cold Erin was feeling worse and we had to make a stop at the urgent
care where Erin was prescribed 6 different medications for having a ear, synus, and
throat infection. Not the best way to start out our first day of being engaged. We got
home in time to watch the Penn State Nebraska game, take a shower, and a nap.

Overall, not everything went as planned but I am very happy with the result. Erin and I
are now engaged!! Good thing I have Erin to help me plan the wedding!

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