Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Life Update. Get Ready For A Dizzingly Long Post

I'm a terrible blogger. But because of jet-lag from my extensive trip to Japan, I'm up at 4:30/5am and I've got the time. Well, what you've missed in the last 6+ months is: (**Warning: These pictures may look familiar; it's because of the handiness of Instagram and its ability to upload to facebook. I love instagram because it's like an instant, mini, picture blog :))
  • Before Christmas we went down to St. George to be with Loren's younger sister Jessica to go through the temple, in preparation for her becoming a missionary to St. Petersburg, Russia. We enjoyed spending time with the family and seeing his older sister Amelia who flew in from Texas. That day we went to the temple, had lunch at Chili's, the girls went out window shopping, bowling, ate at 25th Main, and watched a Christmas concert at the tabernacle. So jam packed with fun!! The next day Loren and I drove down to Las Vegas to watch Pentatonix perform! Pentatonix was on the TV show The Sing Off the previous year and we had them picked as our favorite. They won and got a record deal and they've been touring ever since. If you haven't heard of them, stop reading this and youtube them RIGHT NOW. Las Vegas was the closest option for us to go see them and it happened to coincide with the weekend we were going to be in St. George, a mere ~2hours away :D Pretty perfect.

Temple and Chili's

25th Main...about to get cupcakes ^_^
Touring downtown St. George. Surprised 4 grown women can fit in a telephone box?

They were IN.credible!
  • Christmas Day. I wrote a post about the day before Christmas but not Christmas day because both were big deals. Christmas was great--slept in til 8 (Loren could wait any longer to open presents so he woke me up), made breakfast, opened presents which was SO fun! Loren got a lot of camping stuff and I bought a few of my own presents so I could get what I wanted and Loren wouldn't have to stress about what to get me. He thought that took out all the love. Oh well. The big ticket item we got was a Wii along with Just Dance 3!!! I actually opened Just Dance 3 before the Wii because Loren thought I was opening a dvd, not a Wii that spoiled the big surprise but it was still way exciting. We immediately hooked it up and played on it for an hour? It was so fun! We were invited by our landlords to have lunch with them--her parents were in town and they made empanadas. Random right? Well apparently not because mama grew up in Argentina and that's what they made for Christmas; they were so delicious. After that we went to the Wallace home (in Utah). We hung out with Rob, Sheri and the kids till it was way late at night. So so fun to get to spend time with them! They're my family :) While they were in town we went to see Les Mis and I took the two oldest girls out shopping.
Christmas corner with handmade crafts on the mantle

Gettin' my groove on!

My cute girls--ALL GROWN UP! Afton, Abi, me, Kaylynne

Playing in the insane amount of snow close to Christmas day--truly a white Christmas
  •  We played some more during Christmas break. I took a crack at making bread (not my forte but it still comes out rather good, taste and density-wise).  Also made blueberry muffins from scratch and they were divine! Honestly just like you would find at some coffee shop.

  • Being a faculty member at a high school requires you to go to some school events. I chaperoned a dance for the first time! My kids (special needs students) loved it!! It was so fun to see them dancing and interacting with the other students. One of my girls even got in the middle of one of those dance circles people make and was dancing like a crazy person :)  It was pretty easy chaperoning but would've been better if me and the crew didn't stuff ourselves full of Mexican food (El Gallo Giro). And yes, Loren has a beard. You never know when it's gonna come back.

  • We also visited an exhibit all about Leonardo da Vinci with my friend and co-worker Kirsten and grabbed some dessert at Cheesecake Factory with my old roommate Brooke. What a great way to spend the day :) We have also supported another co-worker, Scott, at BYU's Laugh Out Loud improv comedy show where he's been performing for a few years. We also had dinner before hand, with one of the (many) P.E. aides we had, in order to set him up. It didn't turn out...and she found another job shortly thereafter (not because of him!). 

  • One of my good friends Evan (more like a brother) from back home came out to Utah to go to the MTC. His brother Laine picked him up from the airport and we all went out for a last celebration dinner (Evan was reporting to the MTC on his birthday). We got sushi, I made pecan pie for the group and we all played Just Dance. It was fun having our Bradley/Anderson group back together (minus Lacey)!
Ashley, Laine, Evan, me, Loren

I'll admit, I cried as we dropped him off. So proud of him!!
  • Valentines day rolled around and I made Loren steak, mashed potatoes and asparagus for dinner, along with chocolate covered strawberries (that I had to make at Kirsten's house so he wouldn't see). Loren got me Wii Mario Kart and a cute, little rose bush. He said he would've gotten me flowers except that he wanted to get me something more lasting, like our love. So adorable! Our rose bush is still alive and kind of thriving, actually. Much better than the tulip plant he got me last year--didn't know I was supposed to continue to take care of it! Whoops...
  • This year I turned 24! We celebrated by eating out at Cheesecake Factory with my brother and his family then watching Oz The Great and Powerful--so fun! The next day, after Loren took an exam for his Saturday morning class (I hope he never takes one of those again), we drove to St. George for Jessica's missionary farewell. We could only stay for 24 hours because I had work on Monday, unlike everybody else who had Spring Break that week. Poo. After the farewell, we took family pictures since that would be the last time everybody would be together for a few years, since Rachel (the youngest) plans on going on a mission, too. A few days later the family came up to Provo to see Jessica off at the MTC, but not before celebrating four March birthdays at Tucanos!!
Celebration with my brother and his family

Back LtoR: Dan, Bri, Amelia, Jon, me, Loren. Front LtoR: Rachel, Mary, Dan, Patty, Jessica

Heaven...aka Tucanos

See you in St. Petersburg, Sister Stone!
  • We have loved going on picnics and camping! Loren's accrued quite a bit of camping gear which made him itching to go any weekend we could. And, we even bought a Mozin Nagant so camping has now become camping/shooting weekends :)
This was middle-late Winter semester and it reached 70 degrees! I made us go to a park and enjoy the lovely weather

Best campfire chicken dinner I've far :) Smores always follow, of course!

Hit this sucker on my 2nd try! Loren was mad since that was our only target ;)  
So we came up with our own target! And he nailed it!
  • Late March/early April was my school's Spring Break so 2 of my coworkers decided to road trip it to San Diego!! Kirsten's family lives there so we were able to crash there--score! Surprisingly, this trip went very well. You know how sometimes too much estrogen, especially in a car for 10+ hours then palling around everywhere, can get to you? For us it didn't--PHEW!! I'll admit it worried me but I really really wanted to go to San Diego. On our way down we visited LDS Temples, St. George, UT and Las Vegas, NV.
Kirsten (pink sweatshirt), Tiffany (black & white shirt) and me. St. George on left, Las Vegas top and bottom right

View from Kirsten's home ward. Can you say gorgeous?

Had to visit the Mormon Battalion site--one of my fave attractions!

That boy is Kirsten's baby brother, in case you were wondering why there's a dude with us...

SIX FLAGS!!!! I think Disney people have it wrong, Six Flags is THE happiest place on earth!! :D
Photos with superhero stuff, in honor of one of our fave students, who thinks he's a superhero :)

More rides--X2 was by far the best. Top right is the Minion I won! :)

  • The next day we were supposed to go to the beach but the weather conditions were not ideal. So instead we picked strawberries in Carlsbad! What a wonderful experience! You hop out of your car and the air smells of strawberries. You pay for a "bucket" and you get to eat and pick as many strawberries as you can fit in your tummy and bucket. So joyous! Kirsten's brother, wife and baby came along, too. After that we went to La Jolla Cove and took pictures, especially of Kirsten so she could finally have her pic up in her family's living room. Then we ventured to the San Diego temple (because it's beautiful and because Tiffany had never been) and ate at On the Boarder (which I haven't been to in years) and then proceeded to forget my card that I used to pay with. Never turned up. Thank goodness I had it cancelled immediately.
So full and happy!

Beautiful weather and scenery

  •  I did my first 5k in support of Autism. About 2/3 of my students have Autism so my co-worker Kirsten and I, along with several members of our school's Special Olympics club all did it. The picture may look ugly but the overcast sky was the perfect condition for us :)

Loren "stole" one of my nieces' bikes and they're chasing him for it

Thank you miserable tax day and all the free food we scammed :) Arby's, Cinnabon and Outback--score!

Gettin' healthy: homemade black bean burger, chips and guacamole. YUM!

  • My friend and bridesmaid Amanda was visiting Utah one weekend so we drove up to Salt Lake to hang out with her! We went to the Japan Festival downtown and boy it was filled with some interesting people, all dressed up in their favorite anime, etc. character. Not my cup of tea. I prefer a different side of the Japanese culture. :)
Loren liked this picture

Sushi food babies ^_^

  • Our favorite (current) Sister Stone was still in the MTC and we decided to surprise her at the temple one Sunday!  She was so surprised!! Her jaw dropped when she saw us in the crowd. We had a nice chat about what's going on in our lives, what she thought of the MTC, listening to her and her companion speaking Russian, and had her bear her testimony in Russian.

Taking pics like we weren't loitering for a missionary ;)

  • The Stones came up for Loren's birthday and Rachel's track meet! We went shooting while Rachel was at the meet (not competing). The boys were on fire hitting all of the targets! We won't talk about me...

Rachel's track meet. Summer was definitely kicking in!

Watched Iron Man 3 for Loren's bday
  • The fam came up again 2 weeks later for Rachel's State track meet. That time the weather took a turn toward Pacific Northwest standards--chilly and rainy. I kind of liked it but I was feeling sick so we didn't stay long. These pics might've been from the previous visit...oh well.

Candid! Which you don't get much of from me

Love her face in this

  • Practicing my photography skills with their nice camera and these are some of my favorites :D

  • On Mother's Day I got to talk to my BFF on her mission in Taiwan! The Thomas family is so sweet to include us on their short, intimate time with their missionary--thank you!!!

Mt. Timpanogos temple

LOVE the flowers!
  •  In May we had been going to my brother's house almost once a week, to help with yardwork or watch a movie. This day I had taken my oldest niece, Elise, on a girl's date to Kneaders and the mall :)
2 out of my brother's 3 sweet girls
  • On May 29th I was officially done with work, but the 30th was my students' graduation. 10 out of 17 students in my class were seniors! So of course I had to go and support! Kirsten (who got another job a month ago) even got off work for the ceremony. The whole procession was great, with just a few hiccups in between ;) Unfortunately I'm not able to post any pictures or stories of the students due to legal issues, otherwise I would and would have throughout the year. I have some great tales but can't share. Bummer. 
  • After I was done, Loren and I ran around like crazy to get ready for our 5 week trip to Japan! It was a bit stressful but it all worked out and we're here!! I'll do my very best to post often and include lots of pictures, if not for you then for me :)