Monday, February 23, 2015




Although this is my super detailed e-mail to Lauren, it is also an announcement to our friends and e-mail and blog family!  As many of you know, and some of you don't:


Yea!  Congrats!  Cool!  Excitement!  etc. etc. So the following are the pictures and then the details of their courtship and engagement!

Brad had these placed at intervals up the mountain
This last tile was at the top of the Camelback Mountain trail.  143 is what Tatum and Brad say to each other.  1 = I  4 = LOVE  3=YOU!  143!

So this Friday, Brad asked Tatum Tarwater to marry him! Tatum is a former girlfriend who Brad met and started dating just before his second year of football at Southern Utah University.  During the last 8 years they have remained friends, but their paths separated.  Brad went on a mission and Tatum got married.  Tatum has a little girl named Presley and a  little boy named Jagger.  But "sometimes good things fall apart so that better things can fall together", and Brad and Tatum reconnected this past October and started hanging out.  By Christmas they began thinking ahead to his leaving to go to his new job at JP Morgan in New York City after graduation this coming May.  Brad started considering the all the pros and cons of having a family in New York and it all sounded not only possible, but would be a great blessing for all of them.  So Brad decided to work on getting married and take this new little family to live in New York City!  Brad has fallen in love with not just one person, but three people and they are all so cute and happy together!  You should see how he nibbles on Jagger and makes him laugh and the fun he has when he plays with Presley.  We already knew that he would make a great husband, but who knew he already had great parenting instincts as well?!

Well, that's pretty much the back story.  It seems like a lot of important decisions for a 27 year old to make, but he has stepped up and is perfectly happy with his decision to marry Tatum.  I have been keeping Lauren and Brittany updated with what I can BraTum (that's Brad and Tatum) and they are always excited to hear any updates.  Lauren, Brittany, Steve and I are all very happy and excited about Brad's decision. Brad enlisted Brittany in looking for ring styles that Tatum likes, hence she became an expert on Tatum's pinterest account.  I was instructed to begin looking for apartments for rent in Manhattan that are in Brad's price range (how does $2,800 for an 800 sq.ft. 2 bedroom 1 bath sound?).  Once the ring was found, (thanks to his father's keen eye) the implementation of Brad's grand plan for proposal began.

Brad's Proposal to Tatum:

Tatum said one day that she wanted to get more exercise.  Brad suggested a hike up a mountain.

Brad has since conducted multiple meetings over the last three weeks with his "team" to prepare for the proposal atop Camelback Mountain here in Phoenix.

He got on the phone with Tatum on Wednesday and told her wanted to take her to a real nice restaurant for dinner on Saturday night.  (say "real nice" like Randy Quaid does in Christmas Vacation).  He asked her were they could go that would be the nicest place she had ever been.  The whole point was to get her thinking that he was going to propose on Saturday instead of Friday.  Then, that night, she told him, "You're not very good at surprises."  Oh little did she know.

Brad and I went to Home Depo on Wednesday night to shop for "wood" planks to make signs that he wanted planted on the way up the trail.  Well, he decided against the wood and went for five 12x12 pieces of tile!  Only about 30 LBS of flooring to hike up a mountain!  (not for him, though, because he wouldn't be hauling it up, his buddies were going to be doing that!).  Then he hustled around on Wednesday and Thursday  getting the tiles to an artist friend and we even had a violinist, Megan Brown, come over to the house to let him hear what she was going to play for him.  And Megan was really good.  After Megan left, he practiced how he was going to propose and what he was going to say (I was pretending to be Tatum) and it was good because we uncovered some weak areas (like the box upside down one time and the ring was stuck in the bottom  and when he opened the box all you saw was a grey poof and no ring).  So those kinds of kinks were worked out.


Friday at 7:00.  Brad packed the tiles, his sports jacket, a jacket for Tatum that he stole from her house, and water.  Brad's accomplices showed up at 8:00:  Vann Childs,  Vann's Dad, Keith Childs, Erica (Vann's girlfriend) and Megan with her violin.  They all took off together and headed toward Camelback Mountain at 8:15 ish. It is described as a moderate hike but the end they are hanging onto a rod and climbing on boulders!  Wow.  The things people do for love.  Then at around 9:00ish, Tatum shows up at our house with Jagger.  I had eggs and toast for them (and some sausages that I won't ever buy again) and made them fruit slushies.  So they ate breakfast while I was holding Jagger.  Then they took off around 9:30 for the mountain.

Now this is a side note:  Now I had Jagger.  And he cried for 2 hours!  I actually expected him to cry the whole time so I was pleasantly surprised.   But it was rough for awhile.  Then I laid him down on his back on the couch and started rubbing his little chest and he fell asleep (yea!).  He slept for about 45 minutes.  When he woke up he was a new boy!  I had a riding hippo that he wouldn't touch earlier, which he finally sat on and started riding all around (it makes fun noises too) so he was laughing and happy.  He ate a banana and lots of gold fish.  I even fed him some of his regular baby food.  Then Vann, Erica and Megan came back around 12:30 and Megan hung out with me because she put her car keys and wallet in Brad's backpack thinking that it was Vanns.  So she had to wait with me until they got home, but it was great for me because I got to hear the whole story from her!

So, Megan is a hiker/daredevil/violinist.  She had no problem hiking up the mountain with a violin.  As it turned out, they all thought that Erica would be the slowest, because of her lack of hiking experience, however, she was the first on the peak, then she started her stop watch and Megan came 5 minutes later, then the guys (now including Vann's friend who was the photographer and videographer),  came about 20 minutes later.  But keep in mind that Vann's dad was hauling an extra 20-30 Lbs of tile!  I don't know how heavy that back pack is, but they brought it back and I lifted it and it is heavy!

Megan said that they got to the summit and  set up everything and then decided that they needed to change the camera angle and have them stand near the peak so they repositioned everything.  Also, on the way up the guys had taken the tiles out and placed them at intervals along the trail. I've got pictures. Then they could hear Megan playing the violin and the guys said it was cool because you could hear wisps of it and then when they got closer you could hear it really well.  After awhile they spotted them coming up the trail and so Megan started playing.  Now we switch to how Brad tells it.

He said that when they saw the first sign it was in a tree and it said "Forever Love".  Then they hiked further and he said, "look Tatum, another one of those signs." (The pictures of this are in the next e-mail)  After 3 more, the last tile said, "143" which means 1=I  4=love  3=you.  143.  So she said that she didn't think anything about it until they saw the last one and she said she thought he had done something cute with the tiles for their hike, but she had no idea that he was going to propose. They get to the sign and Brad stopped and wiped his brow with a hanky and Tatum thought "why are you stopping to do that now, we are almost to the top", but Brad said he was super sweaty and he didn't want to look gross for the video!  So by now they are definitely hearing the violin and then they see a large group of hikers on the summit (turns out there were 80 hikers just hanging around waiting to see the proposal), then Brad see's his mark, which is a handkerchief they put where he was supposed to stand (because they had the video camera all set up and Brad needed to know where his mark was), so then Vann comes over and assists Brad (butler style) in putting on his suit jacket (he hiked in black pants and a black t-shirt) and Erica put the dressy jacket on Tatum and at this point Megan says that she couldn't hear what they were staying because she was playing Ave Maria softly.  Then Tatum said yes and everyone on the mountain clapped and cheered.  Megan said they hung around and Tatum showed her ring to them all and she said they stayed up there for quite a little while and then started down the mountain all together, and they picked up the tiles as they came down the mountain.  And Brad said that it was perfect.

So then, Brad said that Tatum wanted to wear her ring, but he was like, No.  You can't. and she tried a couple of times to get him to let her wear it down the mountain, but he was not going to let that ring get damaged because it wasn't his ring!  It was a loaner!  It  was a duplicate.  The real ring was getting sized!  Anyway, so when they got off the mountain she got to have it back.  They went to a restaurant near Camelback and Brad had previously talked to the manager.  He told him that he was going to propose on Camelback Mountain and was there anything special that he would suggest that Brad do to make it special.  So the manager told him that they would reserve a table for them outside on the patio and that they would sprinkle rose pedals all around and their table. So Brad had pre purchased and delivered to the restaurant the rose pedals and a flower arrangement for the center piece and they had it all decorated when they walked into the restaurant and the people on the patio all clapped for them and made it known that they had just gotten engaged.  So they had lunch and left to come home to pick up Jagger, who was happily playing on his hippo and eating banana when they got home.  Brad said the proposal was implemented perfectly. They were so happy and Brad look relieved to have it done and go so well.  Tatum said that she had no idea but you could tell they were both happy.

And that, is the story of how Brad Johnson proposed to Tatum!

The End.

Well, Lauren.  I'm excited to hear what you have to say about your crazy brother (that is if you have time after reading this mile long e-mail!)  Thanks to everyone else who read all the way to the end!  haha!  Admit it, it was the best thing you have read all week!

So, Lauren I will hear from you soon.  I love you!  Have a great day!

Love and hugz and kisses,
The greatest mom in the history of moms (with the exception of my mom)

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