Thus, Eric, Avie and I set out on Friday, October 17, to try out my new harness and climb a trois. We selected a local crag providing easy top roping and a baby-friendly ten-minute approach on a well-groomed hiking trail. While Eric set up the top rope, I nursed Avie at the bottom of the rock face. I felt unusually compelled to take photos of Eric as he rappelled to the ground below, and now, after what occurred next, I'm glad that I did.
I was climbing first, so I tied my figure eight knot on my harness, Eric attached the rope to his belay device, we made sure Avie was in a safe area on the ground next to Eric, and I made my way up the rock. As I was nearing the top, I noticed some webbing hanging free from the anchor and wondered why Eric hadn't taken it with him. It was not dangerous or wrong -- it just seemed out of place and sloppy, something that climbers frown upon. Once I reached the top, I slapped the anchors to signal a complete climb. At this moment, Eric called my name. "Brynn," he said in a tone saved for big news, one that incites intrigue and question. I looked in his direction, about 30 feet below me, and raised my eyebrows as if to say, "What's up?"
He wore an ear-to-ear grin, a feature that most attracted me to him when we first met. "Yea?" I asked with a bit of confusion. He got down on one knee. "Will you marry me?" is what came next, and at that, my mind went blank, as did my face, and all I could do was stare at him. I hope I was smiling, but I was definitely staring, and then the only thing I could do next was laugh, giggle, and squeal with delight. He told me to look at the webbing hanging from the anchor, the one that I noticed to be peculiarly out of place. Dangling directly in front of my face was a beautiful ring clipped to a carabiner - how I didn't see it is beyond me! When my eyes fell upon it, I thought, "Wow! How did he know to design something like this? I love it!" I came to learn that it was his maternal grandmother's, who led an interesting, well-traveled life. She had lived in China and the Arctic Circle, and I'm eager to learn the origin and backstory of the ring, which I'm now honored to care for and wear.
I laughed some more, unclipped the ring and held onto it with fervor and a fluttering heart. Eric lowered me to the ground. During the proposal, Avie had managed to climb atop his own rock. All smiles, we scooped him up and enjoyed a big family hug. Then Eric reminded me that I forgot to answer him. "Yes!!!" I shouted, of course. I hurried up the same climb again, cleaned up the anchors, and we hiked out, a beautiful sunset escorting us to our vehicle.
The next morning, I woke up and unrolled my yoga mat to begin my regular morning practice. I must have been exhausted from the excitement of our engagement, because six minutes into sun salutations, I felt I could not go on. I retreated to the bathroom, where I drew myself a bath full of the hottest possible water and essential oils and melted into it for a long time, knowing that I may be needing this kind of solace in the near future whilst wedding planning. I closed my eyes and reveled in the surprise of Eric's proposal. What a romantic, thoughtful man I can now call my fiance!
Afterward, I made myself a smoothie, something I do every morning. This morning was different, however. I was now someone's fiance, a great reason to celebrate! In the spirit of moving our relationship to a new level, I added an extra heaping tablespoon, in addition to my normal two, of organic raw cacao powder as well as three chunks of an 88 percent dark chocolate bar. For a week, I played around with various very chocolatey smoothie recipes to find a perfectly smooth, sweet one. Below is the recipe that won out among all the others.
Before you proceed with making it yourself, I'll tell you that it is rather filling and acts as a full meal for me. It refuels me after 90 minutes of power vinyasa yoga in the mornings and subsequently sustains me for three to four hours, during which time I breastfeed, run four to six miles, breastfeed, pick up and carry Avie over and over again, breastfeed, and do miscellaneous household chores. Feel free to cut ingredient measurements in half (or double them!) to suit your lifestyle and metabolic needs.
As a liquid base, I used banana peel tea, which my friend Elise tried for her teething and sleepless baby and recommended for mine. We've been adding it to the chamomile-lavender tea that we make for me and Avie each night, and it seems to work! It provides a hint of sweetness and promotes relaxation, something I'll be needing as a soon-to-be bride. The tea is especially beneficial for insomnia, and even though I drank this first thing in the morning, I did not find myself feeling especially sleepy - rather, I felt a steady sense of calm. With that said, I present you with a soothing chocolatey treat!
Super Green Double Chocolate Banana Smoothie
1 cup diced, frozen mango, thawed
3 cups spinach
About 2 cups (more or less, depending on your preferred thickness) of banana peel tea, chilled in the refrigerator overnight
1 tbsp Garden of Life RAW Organic Green Super Food powder
2 tbsp raw organic cacoa powder
1 tbsp vegan mini dark chocolate chips
1 tbsp pea protein powder
With a go-to relaxant in the form of a smoothie under my belt, I'm ready for wedding planning to commence! Further, seeing that Eric and I have agreed on many of the important things when it comes to our big day, we're off to a good start. A local, outdoor venue? Yes! Writing our own vows? A must. An overnighter river trip honeymoon that involves kayaking, camping and rock climbing? Absolutely! Naturally, we've disagreed on some things, too. A vegan wedding? Ha! Eric immediately shot that down - after all, no one would come! Mostly, however, we are excited to host our guests in our biggest celebration to date. We hope that our wedding manifests as a cozy dinner party, much like the ones we enjoy having in our own home, and that it's infused with laughter, live music, good food, and beloved friends and family having a good time. Now, with Avie on hip, ring on finger, and smoothie in hand, let the planning begin!