A Fortune-Filled Proposal

When we tell people the story of our engagement, two details always stand out; the fact that I ruined the proposal and the fact that I promptly threw my ring in sweet and sour sauce and said to my now husband, “You’re so dumb!”
The weekend we got engaged, we were on a road trip to visit Joe’s grandma in Southern Utah. He had a few different ideas of where and how he wanted to propose to me while we were there, but none of them were working out for him. I was eager to be engaged and I was fairly certain Joe had the ring with him on our trip. I was also sick with an ear infection, laryngitis and had a sinus infection coming on, so I was extremely grumpy and impatient with him all weekend long.
Joe kept mentioning that he was craving Chinese food one day on our trip, so I finally told him that we should get some for lunch the next day. That night I had a dream that he put my ring in a fortune cookie at the Chinese food place and proposed to me that way. All the next morning, I was paranoid and text my friend about how I’d had this dream and I really thought it might happen because he’d passed up so many good opportunities to propose during the weekend and I had to get the ring sometime.
After Joe picked up our takeout (for our “romantic” lunch date at his grandma’s kitchen table), he came back and got our food all put on plates, complete with our fortune cookies. I moved my fortune cookies off of my plate so that I wouldn’t get sauce on it and tried to decide if it felt like a ring was in there, but it didn’t. I was still paranoid and suspicious. When we finished eating, I picked up my fortune cookie and Joe sort of reached for his but then he changed his mind. I didn’t like that he was just watching me (we usually open them together), so I told him that he should open his too and he told me, “No.” Our dialogue went something like this:
Me: “Are you sure you don’t want to read yours?”
Joe: “Yep.”
Me: “Why not?”
Joe: “You should just read yours first.”
Me: “Can I read yours for you?”
Joe: “No.”
Me: “I’ll just read it for you, ok?”
I picked up his cookie and he kind of shrugged at me, so I cracked it open and saw the bottom part of the ring
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Me: “You’re so dumb!”
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Joe got down on one knee and I kissed him before he said anything…Oh, and I’d put my ring on my plate in my sauce.
Joe: “Will you marry me?”
Me: “Yeah” or “Uh huh” or something like that.
Joe: “You were supposed to open your cookie first.”
The paper inside my cookie said, ‘Just say “Yes!”‘. I always teased Joe that if he waited too long to actually propose, I’d say no to him.
Our proposal might not have been perfect or been Joe’s first choice for how he wanted to propose, but it ended up being perfect for us. I’m glad he was able to overlook my grumpy, impatient mood and love me anyway. This month we’re celebrating three years of marriage and we couldn’t be happier!
Amberly&Joe 2

Thank you for sharing your engagement story with us Amberly and Joe! We’re just relieved you decided to open the cookie instead of biting into it. Congratulations on over 3 years of marriage! You are well on your way to a happy life together. We are thrilled to share your story here.

If you are interested in having your proposal story published here on the Anniversary Inn Blog, just email a brief summary of the events and a few photos to anniversaryinnproposalstory@gmail.com. Those who submit their stories are automatically entered into our contest to win a free night at one of the four Anniversary Inn locations (Boise, Logan, 5th South, SLC, and South Temple, SLC). We look forward to hearing from you!

Celebrate Your Anniversary With the Fishies

Let’s be honest, fishing is not for the impatient or the faint of heart. However, with the right gear in the right location, fishing can be incredibly exciting and even romantic. This year, surprise your sweetheart by planning a lazy afternoon picnic, set on the banks of a quiet river and enjoy your anniversary in the company of fishies.

First, you must plan a picnic – after all, what is an anniversary celebration without food?!
Option #1: Take-Out
Perhaps you have a favorite restaurant, one you frequent often together. Most restaurants have a “take-out” option, so call ahead and order a few dishes to share. Even higher-end, fancier restaurants will often accommodate requests for take-out. Imagine the surprise of pulling fillet mignon or pasta carbonara out of the picnic basket! Your spouse would go crazy. However, take travel time into consideration. There’s no use in spending money on food that will go bad.

Option #2: Make-It-Yourself
In my opinion, the simplest picnic is best. Plan a meal around delicious foods that also travel easily such as hummus with pitas or veggies, sandwiches, cheese and crackers, fresh fruit, cookies or brownies, etc. Don’t be deterred, a simple picnic can be easily made extravagant by adding a few specialty items like candied nuts, a fresh slice of pie from the local bakery, or slices of gourmet cheese from the deli counter. Pack this with a delicious sparkling beverage and wine-glasses and you’re on your way to a real special surprise.

Secondly, get the gear.
If you are interested in fishing long-term, go to a local fish and tackle store and invent in your own gear. If you’re in Boise or the surrounding area, check out Howard’s Tackle Shoppe on your way to the lake. The staff there is incredibly helpful and knowledgeable; they will equip you with everything you need at a decent price. If this fishing endeavor is a one-time adventure, check out your local fish and game organization (for Idaho, go here). Oftentimes, they will offer free lessons or cost-friendly ways of testing the waters without making an investment into expensive gear. June 14th is Free Fishing Day in Idaho – the one day a year when you can fish without a permit. See the schedule of events to find out where you can go to enjoy the days festivities.

 

Third, pick your location.
While the local fish and game activities are fun and convenient, it you’re looking for a romantic afternoon, get your hands on a fishing pole to share, rent a canoe and head out over the waters with your sweetheart for a truly romantic excursion. I recommend Lake Lowell. Just 30 minutes outside of Boise, this lake is pristine and heavily populated with animal life. It is conveniently located and never very crowded. It is considered a prime spot for spring fishing, so make the drive, it will be worth it.

Last, but not least, book a night at the Boise Anniversary Inn.
Anniversary Inn has just the suite to cap off your perfect anniversary: Fisherman’s Wharf. This Ruby Suite is enchanting. Nestle in next to your sweetheart in the cozy bed of a canoe (don’t worry, mattress is included!) and reminisce the days events surrounded by beautiful panoramic murals of Boise’s natural wildlife. It will feel like a continuation of the day on the lake…just without the flies or fish. After an afternoon spent fishing, you’ll be happy to relax and enjoy celebrating one more year with your beloved.

A Staycation at the Opera

Salt Lake City has always had a reputation of featuring real talent in the realm of the arts. Between the Utah Symphony, Ballet West, Pioneer Theater, and the Utah Opera, theater goers have their pick of truly excellent, local performances on stage throughout the year. If tourists from around the country are coming to Salt Lake to see these shows, shouldn’t we be taking advantage of the prolific artistic culture in Utah as locals?

butterflyPageBannerAs the 2014-2015 theater season begins this summer and fall, consider planning an “opera-style” staycation right here in Salt Lake. This year, the Utah Opera has a fabulous line up, starting with Puccini’s Madame Butterfly that begins on October 11, 2014 at Capitol Theater. As one of Puccini’s most famous works, Madame Butterfly is the tragic tale of the boundaries race and status place around love. The story begins in Nagasaki, Japan when a U.S. Naval Officer and a common Japanese woman – Butterfly – fall in love and are married. Soon after the marriage, the naval officer leaves for the United States and does not return for years. When he does return, he brings with him his American wife in hopes to adopt the son he shares with Butterfly. The encounter yields devastating consequences. Written in 1900, the opera has influenced many other works including Schonberg and Boublil’s Miss Saigon. With elaborate sets and opulent costumes, this masterpiece is not to be missed.

To cap off your enjoyable staycation, book a night at the Anniversary Inn on South Temple, just blocks away from the Capitol Theater. You and your sweetheart could forgo the stress of finding a parking space and take a romantic walk down South Temple admiring the sites along the way. To carry on the opera theme, reserve the Phantom of the Opera Suite. With painted murals from the musical combined with ornate decor reminiscent of an opera house, you will find yourselves the star of the show as you and your honey spend the evening relaxing in grandeur. And you didn’t even need to leave your home town!

Tickets to Madame Butterfly go on sale July 20th – check the Utah Opera site for further updates. The opera runs October 11, 13, 15, and 17 at 7:30 pm and on October 19 at 2 pm. The opera is sung in Italian with English subtitles projected above the stage. Under 30 years of age? Check out these amazing discounts from Utah Opera! For the full season preview, see this video. Subscriptions to the Opera can be bought here.

Who Says You Have to Be an Adult to Celebrate an Anniversary?

Anniversaries are like fine wines, they get better with age. With each coming year, the relationship you have with your companion grows deeper and sweeter. Unlike birthdays, anniversaries are celebrated without wincing at the reminder of age. The more you have, the more successful your marriage is … and the more there is to celebrate.

Still, the celebration of anniversaries can grow dull year after year if the way you celebrate this special event becomes too routine. So, spice things up this year by returning to the days when carelessness ruled and time was not an issue – become teenagers again by celebrating your anniversary at the local amusement park!

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There are plenty of amusement-style centers all over Utah, but if you live in or close to Logan, Utah, we recommend the Cache Valley Fun Center. Located in North Logan, this place has it all! From roller skating to billiards, from laser tag to bowling, you two will find plenty of ways to remember what it was like to be young and reckless. They even offer Country Dancing on Monday and Wednesday nights – free instruction included.

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The facility is clean and offers all these attractions at incredibly low prices (visitors give the facility 4.2/5 stars). If you and your sweetheart wanted to make an entire evening (or afternoon) of it, you could roller skate, play a game of pool, bowl, and challenge each other to a game of laser tag – all for under $20/person! After popcorn and treats, you’re spending almost that same amount going to a movie or play…but, let’s be honest, what’s the fun in celebrating an anniversary without laughter and conversation? Personally, I would love nothing more than to rally my husband in a round of laser tag. Bragging rights forever! It may take a few minutes to get into the swing of juvenile fun, but I’m sure you’ll get the hang of it soon enough. Plus, it’s a great excuse to eat greasy pizza or churros or soft, stuffed pretzels or even corn dogs! All offered at the Center’s cafe for great prices ($2.50-$16.00)

After leaving the amusement park, the fun doesn’t have to stop. Book a night at the Anniversary Inn in Logan and request the Player’s Clubhouse Suite. Along with the standard cozy bed and jacuzzi tub, this suite includes a Foosball table, putting green, and large, flat screen TV. Lose that game of bowling to your competitive spouse that won’t let it go? Challenge her to a “friendly” game of Foosball and show her who rules. At the end of the night, you two may be so exhausted from all the fun, you’ll be dying to take a tub in the large, heart-shaped jacuzzi reserved just for you. It’s your anniversary after all! With all the fun and games, there is still plenty of room for romance.
CVFunPark1Cache Valley Fun Center hours and location

Proposal Story: “A Haunted Engagement”

It was a crisp October afternoon in 1998.  My boyfriend and I had just returned from doing a few errands in Logan.  I had planned to go to the Honeyville Haunted Corn Maze that night with my sisters.  I had just asked my boyfriend if he wanted to come with when I noticed how red and warm his ears were.  I asked him if he was feeling okay.  He said he wasn’t and that he better go home for the night ( I later learned that he was just nervous for the night he had planned out.)  I was sad that he couldn’t go, but thinking that he was sick, I was glad he was going home to get some rest.

As evening approached, my two sisters and I arrived at the gate of the haunted corn maze.  These haunted corn mazes really scared me and I was nervous to go inside.  We started walking slowly through the corn maze.  Screams were heard in the distance as other maze goers were getting spooked by the frightful characters hidden in the maze.  Monsters and zombies were hiding around every corner just waiting to jump out and scare those brave enough to enter the corn maze.

A few turns into the corn maze we were scared by a werewolf that had jumped out at us.  We screamed and then went on our way.  I happened to look back and noticed that this same werewolf that had just scared us was now following us.  I started to get a bit nervous and began walking faster.  A few twists and turns later, I looked back again and saw that he was still following us about 20 feet or so behind us.  I asked my sisters, “Do you think that werewolf is following us?” Unknown to me that they were in on it, so of course they say, “No, I don’t think so.”

After a few minutes of him following us and me looking back, I noticed that he was starting to get closer to us.  My mind began to think the worst things like “Is this someone that knows me and is just trying to scare me?”, “Do they want to kidnap me or my sisters?”, “Will my face end up on a milk carton?”.  I grabbed onto my sisters and I told them “Let’s run.”  As we began running, I looked back and noticed that the werewolf began to run after us.  I was really freaked out by now!!

engagement pic 3

We were running as fast as we could, but the werewolf soon caught up to us.  He was right behind me.  He reached out and grabbed hold of me from behind wrapping his arms tightly around my arms.  My sisters were still right by me and at the time I thought they were trying to help pull me away.  They later told me that they were trying to hold me there because I was fighting so hard to get away from this person who I thought was a madman.  As I was fighting and trying to escape this person’s clutches, I looked down and saw that this werewolf was holding a piece of paper with my name on it.  I thought this was weird that this crazy person knew my name.  I finally calmed down a bit and opened up the paper realizing that it was for me.  I opened the folded paper and inside were the words “Will you marry me?” I was still scared and must not have been thinking clearly because I looked at the person who still had the werewolf mask on and said “You had better be Shawn.”

engagement pic 1

Needless to say, it was my boyfriend, Shawn.  He was so out of breath from breathing through a tiny mouth hole in the mask and chasing us and trying to hold on to me so I wouldn’t escape that he was still trying to catch his breath.  He removed the mask and got down on one knee.  After telling me how much he loved me and that he wanted to be with me forever, he asked me to marry him.  I must not have been too mad at him for scaring me to death because I said “YES.”  We were married two months later and have been together for 15 ½ years now.

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Thank you for sharing your engagement story with us Tiffanie and Shawn! Let’s just say, Shawn is lucky to have escaped the night with a bride-to-be instead of a black eye. Congratulations on over 15 years of marriage! What an accomplishment. We are thrilled to share your story here.

If you are interested in having your proposal story published here on the Anniversary Inn Blog, just email a brief summary of the events and a few photos to anniversaryinnproposalstory@gmail.com. Those who submit their stories are automatically entered into our contest to win a free night at one of the four Anniversary Inn locations (Boise, Logan, 5th South, SLC, and South Temple, SLC). We look forward to hearing from you!

 

Rio Grande Room Anniversary Inn

Make it a Rio Grande-Style Staycation!

The concept of “staycation” is simple. Take your sweetheart on a vacation without ever leaving home. How is this accomplished? All you have to do is open your eyes and revisit your city as if you were a tourist and then treat your weekend as if you were on vacation. No obligations, no deadlines, just time to spend enjoying your surroundings. Continue reading

Attend the 14th annual Smart Marriages® Conference

Every year for the past 14 years, Diane Sollee has organized a conference that has attracted the biggest names in Marriage and Family Therapy circles in this country and from around the world. People like Dr. John and Jane Covey, Dr. John Gray, and Dr. William Doherty, just to name a few.

Ms. Sollee had come to the conclusion that too many marriages were falling apart and something had to be done. Sollee firmly believed that “..when it comes to marriage, we’ve been operating with good intentions, but terrible information. All that’s about to change. The research shows anyone can learn how to have a Smart Marriage®. Welcome the new era as we move out of the marital “dark ages” and into the Marriage Renaissance!”

Initially, the attendees were mainly marriage counselors and local clergy who were looking for additional information on how to support and educate couples on strengthening marriage commitments, but the conference has evolved into a fun getaway for couples who just want to find a unique way to travel and spend quality time together. In the past, it has changed venues so that each year you travel to a different part of the country.  This will be the second year in Orlando.  Think about several days at DisneyWorld with a couple of marriage education courses thrown in for good measure. For those couples who are always on the lookout for ways to strengthen their relationships, consider attending the next Smart Marriages Conference being held this year (for the second year in a row) in Orlando, Florida.

One of the Keynote Speakers will again be Dr. William Doherty. Over the years, crowds have loved his analysis and valuable insight into the world of marriage relationships because of his courage to ignore politically correct sensitivities and shed an honest and truthful light on some of the mistaken beliefs and past misunderstandings of marriage counselors, while at the same time encouraging couples to work through difficult periods and stop giving up too easily.

Says Doherty, “You move into marriage in the springtime of hope, but eventually arrive at the Minnesota winter, with its cold and darkness. Many of us are tempted to give up and move south at this point, not realizing that maybe we’ve hit a rough spot in a marriage that’s actually above average. The problem with giving up, of course, is that our next marriage will enter its own winter at some point. So do we just keep moving on, or do we make our stand now with this person, in this season? That’s the moral, existential question we face when our marriage is in trouble.”

As I’ve written before, people don’t have to get married with their fingers crossed, hoping that they can get along well with their spouse. Happy marriages can be learned! If you are serious about saving your relationship, don’t panic at the first sign of boredom, resistance, or doubt. Have faith in each other, remember why you fell in love to begin with and attend a seminar in Orlando. It will do you good!

5 Daily acts that will remind your spouse you love her (or him)

With the pressures and speed of daily life, it is easy to forget that our marriages need to be nurtured in the same way we would nurture a small plant in our kitchen window.  With our plant, we need to give it sunlight and water on a regular basis.  It doesn’t take much, just a small amount of water and a little sun will keep the plant growing and over time you will see a beautiful bloom of color and life.

Our marriages need the same attention.  It doesn’t require much, just a loving glance here, and an affectionate touch there, but that small amount of nurturing will keep the love between you blooming and full of color and life.

Here are 5 small acts you can do each day to ensure your loved one knows you still care:

1) Kiss her goodbye before leaving for work.

2) Send him a text saying “Hi”

3) Find one thing to complement her on.

4) Ask him how his day was and then listen to him tell you.

5) Hold her hand while watching TV.

Arguing in front of the kids…. Could it actually be good for them?

It seems intuitive that if parents continually argue in front of their children, the children will be affected. However, there is a new study that has found that the affect does not always have to be negative.

According to a recent report by the University of Notre Dame, which has been conducting an ongoing study for the past 20 years, kids can actually learn conflict resolution skills if they witness their own parents working through a conflict.

“Children actually are not disturbed by (witnessing a conflict) if there are sincere efforts to problem-solve,” explains Mark Cummings, a professor of psychology and the lead researcher on the ongoing study. “They actually are happy about it, which surprised us to find that kids would actually say they’re happy to see the parents work it out.”

The study was quite elaborate in it’s design. Psychology researchers at the University of Notre Dame set up a home-like environment with cameras to record the children and to monitor their reactions. They then hired actors to play the parts of married adults that would argue in front of the children. Researchers tested around 500 children between the ages of 5 and 18 over the course of 20 years. They monitored their reactions to different argument scenarios and even took saliva samples from some of the children to study their levels of cortisol, which is the primary hormone produced by stress.

Different scenarios were portrayed. Sometimes the adults started an argument and then worked through a positive resolution. Researchers discovered that the children learned from these experiences and could recall details of the experience as well as the resolutions.

In other scenarios, the adults would initiate an argument, then pause and leave the room. The children never knew whether or not the disagreement was resolved. In other scenarios, the argument would end with one parent storming out of the room in anger.

Additional findings reported in the study included the fact that, on average, typical married couples have about eight disputes a day. These can be simple disagreements about who should pick up the dry cleaning, or who will do the dishes and can range to much more heated exchanges. But, as hard as we try to shelter our children, the report found that children witnessed their parents arguing about 45 percent of the time.

Po Bronson, co-author of the book NurtureShock, explains that if parents pause mid-argument to take their conflict elsewhere, they should tell their children afterward that the argument was resolved. “In the study, children who don’t see the entire argument, or who see just the beginning but not the resolution, can become overly dramatic in their conflicts. They may become more erratic in their behavior, and their relationships may suffer” says Bronson.

“Boys and girls react differently to parental conflicts,” he added. “Boys show more anxiety in the short term and rebound faster, yet while girls may not seem as affected initially, the conflict depresses them for at least a couple of weeks,” he said.

According to Cummings “The lesson is that if children see grown-ups fighting and making up, those children learn that disagreements can be stepping stones to solutions.”

Dr. John Gottman to speak in Salt Lake City

As part of the National Marriage Week celebration in Salt Lake City, the Utah Commission on Marriage is sponsoring Dr. John Gottman at the Salt Palace on Friday, February 12, 2010.  This nationally acclaimed speaker is the founder of The Gottman Institute™.  The Institute “helps couples directly, and it provides state-of-the-art training to mental health professionals and other health care providers. It also applies leading-edge research on marriage in a practical, down-to-earth therapy and trains therapists committed to helping couples. No other approach to couples education and therapy has relied on such intensive, detailed, and long-term scientific study of why marriages succeed or fail.”

The seminar is targeted to Therapists, Professional & Faith-based counselors, as well as Family Life educators.  Students studying each of these disciplines are also invited.

The seminar costs $45.00 and has already been sold out once.  Arrangements have been made to increase the available seating, however, these newly added seats are almost gone, so you will want to act quickly!  Tickets are available through all SmithsTix locations.You will need to They have made arrangements for a larger area, but the remaining tickets

CEU Credit available!