I live and write on Lingít Aaní, and gratefully acknowledge the past, present and future caretakers of this beautiful place, the Jilkaat Kwaan and Jilkoot Kwaan.

Christian proposed to Ella and she said yes, and it all happened rather early, before our regular dog walk at 9:30 and we heard about it in the mud room just as we were heading out and they were coming in.

Of course we all cried and hugged and you can only imagine the scene but Sarah had the presence of mind to take a photo.

It was about zero, but felt like minus-20 with the wind, and Ella had to keep telling the story all day, about how Christian bent down on one knee and offered a ring and said “Will you marry me?” at the end of the trail by Carr’s Cove at sunrise. ( I had all the kids at the house, and wondered why he said no one could come on the walk– he didn’t even wait for the dogs– but I figured maybe they needed a moment. It has been pretty busy.)

Chip was making granola in the kitchen with Emilia and Mateo, in his workout clothes. Which was also kind of funny. He must be the only person who doesn’t feel the cold around here.

Luca and good dog Jeff were watching Henry, because JJ had already driven to the gym to run on the treadmill.

When Ella came in the door as we were going out and said “Christian just proposed!” I cried and so did Beth, who just happened to be there with her dog Lucy.

Then, when we returned, Becky showed up out of the blue with her dog for a walk ( we talked her out of it, she wasn’t dressed warmly enough) but she was especially pleased when we told her the news, since she had already filled out papers to file with the court to be a justice of the peace for a day and had threatened to marry them on the spot, which no one thought was a good idea and it made me worry that they would take the next ferry to Juneau and never come back again — (Honestly, we take marriage seriously around here, and Chip and I don’t want anyone to attempt it who isn’t absolutely certain they are all in. Forever and ever Amen and all that. I was just happy they were here, and on this subject, we all agreed on a family policy of don’t ask or tell.) I guess Christian’s godmother is apparently telepathic.

Stoli and the kids walked in just as we were all celebrating with Becky, and so we made some more coffee ( and the Irish cream came out. It’s Christmas, after all) and Ella told the story again, and it got better each time, and then the sisters debated if she should call her parents, but agreed it was best to wait, as it was 3 am in Australia.

The kids had planned to go to the pool since it’s too cold to play outside, but stayed home instead since this was a pretty big thing.

(The river is frozen almost to the backyard and if it stays cold, there will be ice out front by tomorrow morning. This has never happened since we have lived here.)

We talked about weddings and where to have this one. I think Australia is fine but one of the girls asked, “What about Bali? How about a destination wedding?” (That’s when Chip announced that he was going to work…)

Tonight, we were all at Sarah’s for sushi and mac&cheese and Christian suprised us again, with a bottle of champagne and a toast to Ella. He also found a gold watch in his old pile of stuff here, that Papa Bob had given him when he graduated from Haines High. (You may remember that my father was in the watch business.) It is engraved on the back– To Christian, Love Papa Bob and the date. Ella is wearing it with her new ring. (Can this be coincidence? I don’t believe so. It’s been a year since my dad died, and now this?)

Lastly, and I apologize for being all over the place, since I can’t really wrap my head around any of this just yet— and a baby is crying— and now  all five of my children will be married with children of their own —   but I want you to know that Chip made me cry (again, the second time today) when he toasted Ella and Christian in Sarah’s happy, noisy kitchen, saying, “The best thing about today is that I just gained two grandsons and they are both wonderful boys. Thank you Ella.”