Thursday, July 30, 2009

A Shout Out to the New Mothers in my Life

I have had the chance this year to watch so many close friends and family bring new lives into this world, and to hold so many little children who were so new and so close to the veil. This has caused me to reflect on how amazing our Father in Heaven is in allowing us to create life. I've also come to respect the women in my life who are taking on the challenge of being mothers. I truly am blessed with such amazing examples in my life right now. Some of the women I have watched in awe this year are:
Dayna Checketts, my sister in law

Not only did she go through quite a long labor, but she has endured well the trial of becoming a new mother and moving into a new home. Dayna and Chase are a lot alike in that they are always doing something. I don't know how she keeps going all the time especially now that she has Gabe, but she is a go-getter and I love it! I wish I had half her energy.

Karrie Smith, my sister in law
I have been humbled throughout Karrie's pregnancy by her resilience. She found out she was pregnant during the aftermath of Hurricane Ike. She and my brother Brad had to put their house and yard back together while dealing with insurance agents throughout her whole pregnancy. Karrie also juggled work and raising their 3 year old Milo. I was with Karrie earlier this summer, and it amazed me that even with the heat of a Texas summer and all the stress that this year has brought her, she was cool and relaxed for the birth of my newest nephew Ollie.
Beth Klain & Tiffany Balls, my former roommates

These two girlfriends had their babies just days apart--when we say we are close friends we mean it in every sense of the word :). It's been so crazy to watch my friends become mothers. They both seem like naturals! It's been amazing to watch them transition so smoothly into motherhood, and I am humbled by their positive attitudes despite the lack of sleep they are facing at times. I also respect the fact that they both aren't near immediate family to help lighten the load they carry. Instead, they are diving into parenthood with their husbands and learning together as they go.

Little Mckay and Kayla

Some of the roomies
Megan Saunders, a cousin
Megan was such a trooper as she continued to work in order to finish out the school year during her pregnancy. I know that one day when we start a family I will have to do the same thing and Megan has been an example to me that you can entertain teenagers on your feet all day and still survive while being pregnant.

Rachael Rose, a close friend

Rachael just had her little girl, Anna, on Tuesday. I was in total awe the next day when we went to the hospital and found Rach so peppy and positive, especially since Rachael did an all natural labor. She is such a strong woman, and it really impressed me that Rachael conquered such a feet in delievering Anna natrually. I'm also impressed by the great perspective on life that she has--she really has her priorities in order. Thank you Rachael for our conversation just the other day--you really helped me in reevaluating myself. I'm going to miss the frequency of our conversations when she and Richard move.
Lindsay Gassin, my sister in law

Lindsay announced just last month that she is pregnant with her third child. What you have to know about Lindsay though is that her pregnancies are really difficult. Already she has been to the hospital at least twice. The fact that she chooses to undertake such a difficult trial in order to bring new life into this world humbles me. Since joining this family I have been inspired by Lindsay's skills as a mother. She truly is a creative, talented mother and I know the Lord is so grateful that she endures these difficult 9 months so that He can have her raise one of his choice spirits.

I apologize that this is so long, but I wanted to express how blessed I feel to witness these women undertaking their divine roles as mothers. Thank you for your examples and for everyone who is undertaking the responsibility of raising children right now in such a crazy world.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Surprise!!!

I have to start out this post by saying that Chase is such an amazing husband. He is so good about wanting to be better. I say this because just a week ago we were discussing how I miss the surprises he use to do for me while we were dating. So, Chase took my constructive criticism and ran with it while I was in Logan this week. Chase surprised me when I came home by making an itinerary for me. The itinerary included the following:

Thursday
6:30 am Workout (I failed to do this part)
8 am Go to work
12:15-1:15 pm Get a pediacure (I love pedicures!!!)
6 pm Meet up with friends at the Cheesecake Factory (Love it when my girlfriends come to town and we all meet up!)

Friday
6:30 am Workout (It was a late night...again I failed in working out)
8 am Go to work
5 pm Pack

Saturday
Drive to St. George

Sunday
Drive to California for a 7 day cruise

Yep, you read it right. Chase surprised me with a cruise to the Mexican Riviera!!!! Very not like us...very spontaneous. But we're excited. And it's even better now that I don't have to take "leave with no pay" since I have tons of vacation days all of a sudden. So I'm exiting the blogging world for a bit while I go soak up some sun in Mexico. Peace out!!
Hopefully I'll get a picture of this in Cabo San Lucas--as seen in Pirates of the Caribbean (the first one when Jack is riding in on the boat and he passes by the dead people hanging...they were hanging here in Cabo).

Thursday, July 16, 2009

It all makes sense...

So, for months now I have been boggled by the fact that I always seem to have far less annual leave days than my coworkers. At times I felt guilty in thinking that I must take more vacation days than anyone else because I couldn't seem to accrue very many. But today as I was reading our policy manual (I make it a point to reread it every summer during my long 8 hour days alone in my office), I realized that I was accruing time off at the rate of a non-exempt employee rather than an exempt employee. In other words, for the past 2 years I have been short changed 3.07 hours of annual leave a pay period, which equals about 20 days. Not to mention that since I've been hired I have taken about 8 days without pay when I didn't need to!! You better believe I immediately contacted my HR representative and informed him of the problem. As I type he is determining how much money they need to reimburse me and how many vacation days I really have. It really pays to read your policy manual!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Logan's Beauty

This week I'm teaching at EFY in Logan, UT. I have to say I love this area of Utah. I have never been here before, but the drive here was gorgeous! Granted it has been a wet summer and that probably has something to do with how unusally green the mountains are right now. Last night I tried to go to a session at the Logan temple, but alas there is construction going on resulting in it being closed. So I decided to walk around and just take some pictures. It was just peaceful being on the grounds. Like the primary song says, "I love to see the temple!!" Hopefully, I will get to go inside this one someday. Actually, I hope Chase and I are able to come here next month for my former student's wedding. It's crazy to think that my former students are getting married already! Man time flies!!

Monday, July 6, 2009

It's a Nice Day for a White Wedding!

I apologize to people like Marcus who have been waiting for this post for forever. I think after you see the post, you'll realize why it has taken so long to finish. We took so many pictures it was hard to choose which ones to post and to upload them all. We just had too much fun with our camera. So without further ado let the wedding festivities begin!
So, before meeting up with Kristin, some of us went to Schlitterbahn. I highly recommend this water park for anyone venturing to Texas. It was quite fun. Not many pictures were taken since, ya know, cameras don’t do well getting wet, but I did capture our various attempts at the Flow Rider. Jason seemed to be the best at it, although Emily wasn’t too bad herself.
The next day us girls met up with Kristin for some pampering followed by a beautiful bridal luncheon at Kristin’s aunt’s house. The house was ridiculously amazing and her aunts’ attention to details made the luncheon really fun.
Details like putting a rock candy stick in my lemonade. Seriously, what a cool idea! As tradition goes, each bridesmaid pulled a charm from a cake. I pulled a wishbone meaning my deepest wish would come true. So I’m just waiting for my puppy dog to show up on my front doorstep. Any day now Chase…
Later that night we enjoyed some yummy Texas bbq in the Hruska's backyard!
That night I witnessed for the first time the legendary "Bum Bum Dance" performed by the Russons. As you will see below, each person involved in the dance hits the bum of the other person while jumping in a circle, hence the dance's name. Emily had a bit of difficulty since she was only filling in as a partner to Jason, who normally performs this dance with one of his Canadian guy friends (I know, Canadians are weird), so as you can see she was focusing on staying up rather than hitting Jason's bum.
Kristin and Jason were married in the Houston temple. I love this temple. This is where I received my endowments!!
Presenting the Andersons!!!
Kristin was stunning on her wedding day despite the crazy heat and humidity. The family was well prepared with fans and iced water though. I’d have to say that one of the many things I loved about the wedding was the abundance of gorgeous flowers. It was amazing!We took a chance to do our own little photo shoot.
The evening celebrations took place at the Mossy Nissan car dealership Kristin’s dad works at. You would never believe that the reception hall is normally the showroom. The Hruska’s did an amazing job transforming the place. It was spectacular!
Even Jason agreed that the place was top notch. Cheers Jason! Equally spectacular was the groom’s cake. It’s a Southern tradition for the groom to have his own cake. I love this tradition! I am so glad that Kristin had a traditional Texas wedding with lots of bbq and Southern flavor including her kickin boots!
I had to post this next picture in order to give credit to Emily for some of the most clever writing I've seen on a car. As we decorated the happy couple's car, Emily made sure to write, "Save a horse, ride an Aggie." What a great country song, and very appropriate for that night! Well done Em. Please ignore my attempt at showing how to ride a horse.
The reception ended with some great tunes to dance to. Chase tried to get artsy with the camera rather than joining us on the dance floor. Sure do love watching the Russons break it down on the dance floor.
What a great day for a white wedding! Congratulations Andersons! How bitter sweet to see the last roommate married. Now we are enjoying as girlfriends the blessings of babies! The Klains' little boy Mckay was blessed yesterday and the Balls' baby Kayla is being blessed next Sunday. Good times! Great girlfriends!

Remodel Update

We survived our first room of painting!! Thanks to a little help from Robin, Chase's mom, we were able to finish things up on Friday. One room down, six more to go. To answer the question as to what all we are doing to our condo, here's a run down:

We are repainting our entire condo, hopefully. It use to all be creme--the walls, the trimming, everything! So we are painting the ceiling, trim, and chair rail white and the walls in our living room, bedroom, and hallway tan. Already with just our bedroom done, the walls look so much cleaner and nicer.

We are changing a lot of the color schemes in our rooms. Our bedroom is changing to black and gold (Go GHS!) with new bedding and new furniture (we sold our bedroom furniture set).

We're hopefully adding beadboard to our bathroom and a tile backsplash to our kitchen with a red accent wall.

We are trashing our flimsy, yucky, cheap blinds and have wooden blinds coming soon!

I'll post before and after pics as soon as we have a room completely redone. So pretty much, stay tuned for pictures.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Remodel...It's Begun

So we started the remodeling of our condo. We decided since we're staying here for the next 3 years we might as well spruce up the diggs. Well, we've started with our bedroom, and I think I'm already ready to stop. Just kidding...kind of. Casualties thus far:

*My sock (I stepped in the paint tray the first night. Genius, I know)
*My sanity...1 1/2 days of non stop painting has done a number on me.

Pray that we can get the edging and trim looking decent by tonight or I might lose it.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Galveston

Yay for being a new aunt! My sister in law, Karrie, and my brother, Brad, just welcomed their second child into this world on Saturday. That makes 13 nieces and nephews for Chase and me. His name is Ollie Stoke Smith. I seriously can't wait to see him in person.

We had the chance to spend time with Brad and Karrie down in Galveston before Kristin's wedding. Poor Karrie looked ready to deliver any day when we were with her. We tried to do lots of active things with hopes that it would put her in labor, but alas it didn't work. But we had fun anyways! We drove down Monday afternoon arriving early evening. Chase was put to work that night helping nail down Brad and Karrie's new fence. Many of you know that they were affected by Hurricane Ike. They've come a long way and their house and yard are looking great. Chase was grateful he could help out a bit.

(Yes that is my brother...not some hispanic)

The next day we headed to the beach. My brother has become an avid surfer so he taught me how to surf! That was pretty cool!! And Chase learned how to boogey board. Chase and I were amazed at how long Milo could just play by himself in the water. He's such a crack up. (Sorry no pictures...we didn't want our camera to sit in the sun all day). Since we fried ourselves that day, we decided to not go back to the beach the next day and instead headed to NASA. We took a tour of the grounds. NASA is set up like a college campus practically so we had to ride a little train to get around.

We saw historic mission control. This is the mission control you see on movies like Apollo 13. It was in use until 1995 when they changed to a different building nearby. They restored it to look like the 60's version of mission control.
A little fact about Chase is he wanted to be an astronaut for a really long time. So he was in heaven while we were touring around. We saw the facilities where the astronauts train. And below you'll see an actual space ship. It was going to be Apollo 18 I believe but they canceled the Apollo missions before it was used.
I call these next 2 pictures: "Like father like son"...

I loved being there with Milo cause we got to play the fun games made for children :)
Also on our stay, we made time for Rock Band. Check out Milo's pose!
He really gets into the vocals. Best vocals I've ever witnessed!
Thanks Brad and Karrie for the super good times!!