We met during the second semester of our freshman year at the University of Illinois. We were both involved in Cru, a Christian organization, however our friendship didn't grow until sophomore year. Initially, we got to know each other at Cru events. We also spent a lot of time waiting in the Orange Krush line for Illini basketball games. We are both HUGE Illini fans. As time went on, we started hanging out in groups a little bit more. During Christmas break, in December 2010, we went to an Illini Basketball game at the United Center. After a truly horrific loss to UIC, we hung out at our friend Elijah's house. Later that night, Craig drove me home, which resulted in a 30 minute car ride just the two of us. This was our first serious one-on-one conversation where we were able to talk a little more about our families, upbringings, and interests.
During spring break our sophomore year, we both went on a Cru spring break trip to Panama City Beach. That is when I (Craig) became interested in possibly being more than friends with Lindsay. However, I knew that I was going to East Asia that summer, and I wanted to get to know her more. Thus, I decided that it would probably be wise not to even think about asking her on date until the fall. As our Sophomore year came to a close, I (Lindsay) had a formal for my sorority, ADPi, and needed a date. During one of our friend's "Movie Nights," I presented the question if any of the guys would want to go as my date. Ironically, Craig's hand went straight in the air and he said he would go. So, as some would like to think, I technically asked him out first....As I recently found out, Craig was very excited and a little anxious for this "date." The formal was such a blast and one of the best I have ever been to. During the night we had a lot of time to talk and get excited for our summers. I was going to Colorado to be a camp counselor, while Craig was going to East Asia. Overall, the night was a perfect way to get to say good-bye for the summer. Little did I know, the next time we would be back on campus, our relationship would take a huge change.
I had a great six weeks in East Asia. When I got home in early July, I struggled with jetlag, and I missed my all of my college friends. A couple weeks after I got back, I went up to the suburbs for my friend's (Nate) bachelor party. The party was Saturday, but Elijah and I went up Friday night. We planned a group hangout at his house. Sadly, a lot of our friends were busy, but I was most bummed about Lindsay not being able to come because she just had her wisdom teeth taken out. I really wanted to hear about Colorado and tell her about East Asia. About a week later, I got my chance. I came up to the suburbs on a Sunday night because the next morning I was flying out to Ocean City, NJ to visit Peter. Thus, I organized another group hangout. This almost blew up in my face. For a while, it looked like Lindsay was the ONLY friend that was free. But, fortunately my friend Ryan was also able to come. Conveniently (I didn't tell him to do this), he was about an hour late getting to Lindsay's house. So, Lindsay and I got a nice long one-on-one conversation about our summers. Because of his involvement with GreekCru, Ryan and Lindsay were pretty good friends. On spring break, Ryan was kind of the glue that made group hangouts happen. Thus, when Ryan finally showed up, the good conversation just got better (we actually forgot to go to dinner, and ended up going to Baker's Square at 10 PM). The night was a lot of fun and it was not awkward at all. A couple of weeks later, I was back up in the suburbs for Nate's wedding. The ceremony was on Sunday, which was also Lindsay's birthday. The rehearsal and rehearsal dinner were Saturday night. Saturday afternoon, Kaitlin invited a group of friends (including Lindsay and I) to go sailing on Lake Michigan. Later that night (around 10:00 PM), after the rehearsal dinner, I was able to go to her surprise birthday party for a little bit. Elijah, being the great friend that he is, accompanied me. Overall, it was a great day. At that point, I knew that once we got settled back at school, I needed to ask Lindsay on a date.
During the start of our Junior year, I was consumed with ADPi recruitment. Basically, I was unavailable and in a constant state of stress and exhaustion. Due to recruitment, I was unable to go to one of the football games, so Craig wanted to buy my ticket. He was being so persistent to get this ticket on Sunday, even though the game wasn't until Saturday. I'm not going to lie, I thought it was a little weird. Unfortunately, he couldn't come and get it on Sunday because I was at ADPi until the early hours of the morning. The next day was one of the hardest days of the semester. I was so overwhelmed with school, and exhausted. I clearly remember being at Bible Study and crying my eyes out with all my stress. At that moment, I would say that was the worst day! BUT....when I got home, Craig came over to get the ticket (I had no idea he was waiting anxiously at Grainger Library for a text saying he could come over). When he came over, I gave him the ticket, however he seemed very nervous. All of a sudden he asked me if I would like to go on a date with him. I was not expecting this at all!!! Honestly, I didn't see it coming either! He was so sweet and very understanding of my busy schedule. He was willing to wait weeks, if it took, to take me on a date. After he left, I walked inside my house, with a shocked face, and freaked out with my roommates.
As I approached our first date, I was excited. Craig and I did not get a lot of one-on-one time in the past, so I thought it would be really fun to get to know him better. I remember the day so vividly. He came to pick me up and looked so cute in his button up shirt. He took me to Desthil for dinner, which I had never been to. We actually got the same thing to eat, a bison burger (Yes that is right, I ordered a burger. I wanted to show him I could eat meat and am not just a salad girl). The night was a blast and I got to see how caring and loving Craig is towards his family and friends. Not only that, he was so interested in finding out more about me. After dinner we went to Espresso Royale and had coffee and tea. Here we talked about more spiritual things, and found out how similarly we view various issues. Then he took me home, and as he drove into my driveway, he asked me on a second date. Of course I said yes!!
For our second date, we went to the football game and then to a sushi restaurant off-campus. This was really sweet because Craig remembered me saying (in the first date) how I had never eaten sushi, but always wanted to. During the date we played "hot seat" where we went back and forth asking each other random questions. It was so much fun getting to know each other more this way. Before the night was over, Craig asked me on a third date, which I agreed to.
I was hoping to get to see more of Craig's spiritual side during this date. At this point my feelings for Craig were growing, and I really liked him. For the third date, Craig took me to Curtis Apple Orchard. This is one of my favorite places and it was the perfect day. Craig had to get some pumpkins for Cru, and I wanted to get some apples. We first went to get pumpkins, but didn't even think to bring anything to carry them. Poor Craig had to carry two really heavy pumpkins back to where the apples were. Also, on the way to the apples, I dropped my bag for the apples. I felt so dumb!! I did not want to be that girl! However, throughout our time at Curtis we talked a lot about his trip to East Asia, church, and family. This was exactly what I wanted to hear from him! At this point in the date I was confirmed I wanted to date him. I had been praying a lot about if being in a relationship with Craig was something God wanted for me. Through all the conversations and seeing Craig's heart for others as well as the Lord, I felt that this was something God was leading me to. After Curtis, Craig took me to an early dinner at Radio Maria. This is a fun tapas restaurant in downtown Champaign. During our dinner Craig opened up to me and explained where he was at in regards to our relationship. He really liked me and wanted to be able to call me his girlfriend. He understood that I may not be at the same point, and was willing to wait, but he wanted me to know how he was feeling. Then he asked me how I was feeling. In my head I was dying and so excited. The words that came out of my mouth probably sounded so dumb. But I explained to him that I had prayed about it a lot and felt that this was something the Lord wanted, and so, I would be ready to date him. Then our journey began, and Craig asked me to be his girlfriend, which I responded YES!!
At the beginning of the summer, Craig and I talked about getting engaged by the end of summer before school started. Throughout the entire summer, I couldn't wait for August to roll around and await Craig's proposal. Once summer school ended on August 4th, I was anticipating the proposal any day. We traveled to my grandparents lake house in Pentwater, Michigan as well as Craig's family condo in the Ozarks. During each of these trips, I kept trying to figure out if Craig was going to propose. In my head, I would come up with possible ways that he was going to propose. Not only that, but I heavily overpacked for each of our trips just so I was prepared for anything. During this time of waiting, I had to trust God and that His timing was perfect. Even though I kept thinking Craig would propose at a certain time, and didn't, I was so excited for the time he would pop the question. I love surprises and wanted to be surprised; however, I had to keep telling myself to stop thinking. My friends and I had come up with several "engagement" outfits for me to wear each day I thought I could get engaged. I would be all dressed up to just go to the grocery store because I never knew when it was coming. I wanted to be fully prepared!
During the month of August, Craig planned to take me on a date the last day of summer before I started "work week" for my sorority. It crossed my mind that he could propose on that date, but I honestly didn't want it to be that day. I had in my head that I would be so busy making multiple calls, so I would want a day or two to do that. As it got closer to the date, and no question had been asked, I started to realize that this date may be the day Craig would propose. However, I had to tell myself that Craig was not going to propose so that I didn't get my expectations too high. So many of my friends had to yell at me to stop thinking and simply go into the date thinking it would just be a special "last day of summer" date.
On August 21st, 2012, Craig took me on our last date of the summer. This was the best date I could have ever imagined! Throughout the day I was so excited to see him! It was so hard not to let my mind go down the path of thinking he was going to propose. It was a mind battle all day! In preparation for the date, I began to get ready very early in the afternoon so friends could help me choose my outfit, etc. Craig was planning on picking me up around 4pm, however, I was all ready to go around 3pm. Anxious would be an understatement. My excitement was so high that I didn't know what to do with myself, and actually started to pace in my room. Luckily, Kaitlin was there with me and gave me the task of decorating my room while I waited. This calmed me down a little and helped the time go by faster. As 4pm rolled around Craig came and picked me up.
Craig had told me we were going to be walking, so that was all the information I had concerning the date. However, once he picked me up, we drove to our friend's, Paul and Kate, new apartment. I thought this was very strange, and it definitely threw me off. While we were there, Craig seemed a little nervous, which made me think he could be proposing, but going to our friend's definitely made me question it. We left the car at their apartment and began walking through downtown Champaign. We were going to an early dinner, but I didn't know where. Then, we turned a corner and were at our favorite restaurant, Radio Maria. This is where Craig asked me to be his girlfriend as well as where we celebrated our 6 month anniversary. So, as you can see, this is a very special place for us. Knowing that, I initially thought he was going to propose, but that little voice had to yell at me and tell me not to think. It was so special being back at Radio Maria, and we actually sat at the same table where Craig asked me to be his girlfriend. As we were ordering our meal, Craig seemed kind of rushed and mentioned to the waiter that we were in more of a hurry. Let's be honest, this definitely made me think a little! I knew he had something up his sleeve, but had no idea what exactly!
After we ordered, Craig started to reach in his pocket, and pulled out multiple sheets of paper. As he opened up the papers, he said to me, "So this may be a little familiar and repetitive, but I want to tell you 100 reasons why I like Lindsay Anderson." I was freaking out!!! Once he said that, I was almost certain he was going to propose. This was too much work to not be something special, plus this was our last day of summer. As he started to go through the reasons, I was dying inside. For each reason he explained why he felt that way. There were a few moments where I started to tear up (I know, typical girl). I was so surprised by him because 100 reasons is a LOT! Plus, he kept making me laugh and was being so funny! We took a few little breaks between eating and going through the list. Once we finished our meal, we continued on his plan, and began walking. Craig took me to several places on campus that mean a lot to our relationship. He correlated each location to the reasons that he was saying. We stopped at Helm's Park, where we had a great conversation during the summer, Altgeld (since I'm a math major), the Eternal Flame, Alpha Delta Pi, ACES Library, and ended at the Arboretum. We both love the Arboretum and have had some amazing conversations there.
As we approached the Arboretum, the reasons started to get more sentimental. Inside I was bawling!!! I could barely handle it! With the reasons he was saying, I knew this was the day we would get engaged. While we were walking in the open field, I looked in the distance and saw a circle of rose petals as well as a blanket with other things, which I couldn't tell. Once I saw this I was losing it inside, knowing that the circle of rose petals was for us and where Craig was going to propose. As we came near the circle, Craig positioned me, and we stepped inside of the circle. I was so overcome with emotion and shock, I couldn't control my hands! They kept going straight to my face, because I could barely believe what was happening. Once we were inside of the circle, Craig told me he loved me for the first time! It was amazing to hear those words come out of his mouth. I had waited so long to hear them and was dying to be able to share with him how I truly felt. After he said "I love you," he got down on one knee and asked if I would marry him!!! I immediately said YES!! Then he got up and we had our first kiss. During dating we both decided to wait to kiss until engagement. This was so special and a sweet moment for the both of us because it, not only was the first kiss as a couple, but our first kiss ever! A funny detail, we had some trouble getting the ring out of the box, but once we did, Craig put it on my finger. It was crazy to see a ring on my finger. I love the ring so much and it is the exact one that I fell in love with.
As a side note, after Craig and I had that conversation at the beginning of summer, Courtney (my sister-in-law) and my Mom took me ring shopping to see what I like. Then another weekend, Kaitlin and I went to Woodfield Mall and found two rings that were absolutely beautiful!! Of the two, deep down I loved one a little more than the other, but would have been happy with either. Well, Craig chose the one I loved!!! He knows me so well!!
After Craig proposed, we walked over to a blanket he had set up with candles, a bouquet of flowers, and a basket full of all the gifts and notes I'd given him. In addition, he had Kaitlin raid my room and take all my picture frames and put pictures of Craig and I within them. Ironically, that morning I had developed a ton of pictures from the summer, so I did part of her job for getting the pictures. The whole set up was idealistic and so romantic. This was one of my favorite moments to get to spend time the two of us taking in the moment. We were so excited and shocked, well that was more from me. While we were there, Craig prayed for us, our engagement, as well as our future in marriage. This was so sweet to get to thank God for all He has done in our lives. He is the center of our relationship, and it is only by His grace that we are getting married!!
Overall, I couldn't have asked for a better proposal. I was so surprised, which is very impressive on Craig's part. I also loved how it was just the two of us the entire time. One of my biggest requests for any type of proposal was that there would be pictures. Craig blew me away by having his cousin, Shannon, who is a professional photographer for Shannon Leigh Photography, take pictures throughout the entire proposal. I am so thankful that she was there to capture every moment, which we will have forever. It has been such a fun journey dating Craig, and we are so excited for this period of engagement and preparation for marriage!!