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Dan & Kara
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Dan & Kara:

Ultimate Christmas Present

My fiance and I's relationship had naturally progressed to the point that we were talking about marriage and looking at engagement rings. I wanted to do something really special and memorable, so I thought about proposal ideas for a while and decided to build a large box (4'x4') with two smaller boxes inside of it, like those Russian dolls that open to smaller dolls inside. Inside each box would be events from our relationship modeled with paper mache, armature figures, and doll house furniture. I started the project in October and planned to be done by the end of December. I needed to be done right before our Christmas vacation because we planned on visiting my family in South Dakota and wanted to propose before we left.

Inside the first box, I modeled our first kiss, our first date, our first halloween together, a ski trip to Devils Head we took over Valentines Day, a canoe trip we do every summer, and a hiking trip to the top of the Black Hills.

In the second box, I modeled a hiking trip to a waterfall in South Dakota, a replica of the house we bought together, a portion of the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry, and also a part of the Chicago Shedd Aquarium.

Inside the final box was a small and plain scene. It was simply two armature figures, one on his knee with arms outstretched, and one standing up with hands covering her surprised face. I planned on putting the ring in the kneeling armatures hands and then getting on my own knees after she opened that final box.

As you can guess, as I was building this project over 3 months she would wonder what was going on. I hid it from her in plain sight, but never let her see inside, by saying it was a for our future child as she was pregnant at the time. She even helped me make certain parts of the project.

I finished up the week before our vacation and the engagement ring finally came into the store a nerve wracking 1 day before I planned to propose. The night before the big date I wrapped the whole thing up in Christmas wrapping paper and put a big bow on top. I could barely sleep that night.

In the morning she saw the large present and asked why I wrapped it up. I said it was just to make it look nice for her dad while we were gone (he was feeding our cat), but she could open it. I helped her with the first lid as it was heavy, and she actually recognized all of the scenes. I'll never forget the look on her face when she opened the last lid, blank at first until the white gold 1k ring with channel diamonds registered and then the huge smile. I got down on my knee and she said YES!

The attached collage should show the scenes in greater detail.
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