Ashley and Frank

1010939_526542360754144_1335249551_nHow we met: Frank and I met at Thomas Middle School in Arlington Heights, IL. We can never remember the first time we saw each other, but Frank is convinced he walked right up to my locker and swooped me away. He first asked me to be his girlfriend when we were 12 at his family’s summer home in Lake Geneva, WI. Unfortunately, our middle school love was short lived – not long after I moved middle schools to a town 30 minutes away, which to a 12 year old is basically another state.

Frank and I stayed in touch and 4 years later, what felt like states away was suddenly a short drive for a 16 year-old Frank&Ashley. We started dating again!…and a few weeks later my mom announced she had a job transfer and my family was moving to Nashville, TN. Frank was adamant about making it work, his relentlessness in making me his was always unquestionable – but now we really would be states away. We managed to stay friends (I even stayed home the night of my senior prom and vividly remember texting him the entire night) but after years of not seeing each other it was inevitable that distance would slowly drift us apart.

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                                                                       *Lose. = Franks 16-year-old spelling errors. :)

Another 4 years or so passed and I found myself living back in Illinois. One drunken night on vacation with some of my girlfriends I spilled a seemingly pointless secret- I always said I’d marry this guy named Frank Stellato because his last name sounds like stilettos. My girls laughed at me and asked what happened to Frank and even though I had kept in social media contact with his sister and mother, I hadn’t seen a picture of Frank in years! I quickly grabbed my phone, stalked his sister, found Frank, and added him on Facebook immediately. I didn’t have to wait long for a response…because Frankie sent me a message a couple hours later.

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                                  *Over-use and misplacement of “!!!!”. = Ashley’s drunken spelling errors. :)

After a few months and some non-committal text messages, a random meet up in Lake Geneva, WI with Frank’s sister, mom, and I, turned into Frank finding out I was in town. I was sitting in his family’s kitchen waiting to go to lunch with the girls and Frank waltzed in announcing he took off the rest of the day off (obviously to hang out with me. :)!! ) We had a blast that day.

Frank and I spent the rest of the summer getting to know each other again. On weekends I frequently came up to the lake, (yes that same lake from when we were 12!), and where Frankie was living full-time. We spent those summer days taking endless boat rides, hanging out and getting to know each other’s friends, and mostly eating a lot with his family. 

By autumn we were exclusive. The love between us was absolutely effortless. Frank and I always knew how to be best friends and it was obvious that we had grown up to be very similar people. It didn’t take long for me to pack up and move in with Frank to Lake Geneva….back to where it all started :)

How he asked: Lets just start off by me stating that I’ve literally been getting my nails done solidly, every single week, since August (It’s now October). I knew Frank and I would be getting engaged soon but the guessing game was driving me absolutely crazy. Why do females do this to ourselves?

After Frank passed up popping the question on four very solid occasions (A Boat Cruise I performed at, His birthday, My Birthday, Our Anniversary…) I gave up guessing. So when Frank asked me Sunday, October 19th if I wanted to have a fun day date with him and tour the Yerkes Observatory I was thrilled! Yet not expecting much. Frank and I had been discussing touring the Observatory for well over a year now. We would frequently anchor our boat right in front of where the facility stood and float around the beautiful scenery. Frank and I have always shared a passion for film, photography, and art ( but more importantly we love bad Sci-Fi movies and Ancient Aliens ) so when he brought along the GoPro, charged and ready for an Observatory Tour…I didn’t really question his motives for the day.

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The tour of the Observatory was INCREDIBLE! Frank has a good friend whose father happens to be an employee at Yerkes Observatory for many years now and he had secretly planned this private tour just for us (I knew none of this on our way there) !! We got there early to check out the building and the grounds. We found this fun yellow leafed tree and hung out a little bit before going inside.

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The tour was fantastic. Our guide was so knowledgeable and since the Observatory is closed on Sundays he really made us feel so special! At the end of the tour we were able to walk above the Observatory, around the telescope outside, which I almost would describe as an “up in a light-house” kind-of feel. The sky was filled with light pretty clouds that day and a line of autumn-changing-trees bordered our favorite lake. Basically it was BEAUTIFULLLL.

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And then of course the perfect moment had arrived. Our guide left us and stated he was going to leave us to walk around the top of the Observatory alone (with one rule, don’t.fall.off). Frank set his GoPro in a good “landscape photo position”, as he put it…(*suspicious*)…and began talking to me about our relationship – start to present. When I turned to face him he was on one knee…RING IN HAND! I blanked, but video footage revealed in reality I instantly hit him and told him to “SHUT UP!”. Typical. Really.


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And there you have it! Of course I said YES following my spurt of domestic violence and now Frank and I are actively still celebrating the engagement! It’s been an amazing week filled with loving family, friends, coworkers, old classmates, ect. It pretty much feels like everyone we’ve ever met together in the last 14-or-so years has reached out to send blessings and their congrats. It’s a humbling, exciting, and an inspiring experience to have with my best friend.

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