Thursday, December 31, 2009

Empty Chairs and Empty Tables

Well, here we go. We are off. Last night (and all day yesterday) Dane and I spent packing up the final boxes, loading the truck and cleaning. This morning I have been packing the car and doing more cleaning. Thank you to everyone who came and helped us last night. You are amazing.

Thank you to everyone who has helped give us an amazing experience here in Provo, our friends, and our ward. We will miss you , but we will be back!

Thank you Ben and Rosa for staying in our place while we are gone so that we will have something to come back to.

Thank you to my work for letting me take a break and come back in 5 months.

Thank you Dane for working so hard in school and taking me on an adventure.

Houston, baby: Here we come!!!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I will give you one, wild, guess...

So, can any of you recognize this city?:

I will give you some clues.
1. It is the 4th largest city (population wise) in the United States, and 6th largest (metropolitan wise).

2. everything is BIGGER there.

3. It often--well, hopefully not TOO often, has received distress calls like ______, we have a problem!

I would not have been able to recognize it just from the picture, but this is a city scape that Dane and I are both about to become a lot more familiar with--Houston, TX. So, for those of you who didn't know yet, Dane has been accepted to an internship program for Continental Airlines, Jan-April 2010! To say that we are excited is an understatement. We are greatly anticipating this great adventure, and I am sure that Dane can tell you a lot more about this later, but I just wanted to get the word out.

We will miss so many of you here it Utah, but don't worry, it is only for 4 months, and we will be back!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A sweet treat!

So I don't expect too many of you to understand the magnitude of this, but I wanted to share it anyway. Yesterday, the 3rd of Nov., I flew to Houston to interview for a winter internship with Continental Airlines. While I was waiting for my return flight back to SLC I got to hang out at the Flight Training Facility. I was hanging out with a couple of the current interns, and they arranged a rare opportunity to sit in a full-motion 757 simulator.

This is what a 757 looks like... for those who don't know. :)

This is what a full-motion sim looks like.

This is what the inside looks like. It is an exact replica of a 757 cockpit. This is a $40 million piece of equipment! Super accurate.

They let me Fly!! I did a take-off, circle around the airport and landing!

An awesome experience!

Just for fun

I am sure that all of us have those random times where you find yourself laughing uncontrolably forever. Dane and I had one of those nights, and just because we never want to forget it, I thought I would put it here:

Sunday night, we were relaxing on the couch--me with my toes under Dane because I am sure they were cold, and Dane with his feet on me. With his feet practically in my face, I noticed that his toes had almost a perfect little ball on the end. I saw a pen on the table next to me, and for some reason felt the urge to turn one of his toes into a smilie-face. It was a moment that I felt like being a twit more than anything, but apparently he thought it felt really good, so I then decided to give each of his toes their own personality.

One of the funniest things that happened when we were all done, was actually the next day. Dane got up earlier than I did to take a shower and head to school. When I was up later and in the bathroom, I noticed little blue spots all over the floor. I could not figure out what they were until I recognized them as faces....Ha ha! They had washed off of Dane's feet in the shower and made little stamp marks all over the floor. It was so fun.

I am so glad that we still find times to be totally random and laugh.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Happy Halloween!

So, Dane and I just wanted to give you a little update on our Halloween adventures. Our ward had a party on Friday night and we weren't able to go because I had to work, so we decided to have a little Halloween get together at our place Saturday night with some friends, good food, treats and games. Thanks to everyone who came and all the fun you brought. It was so good to have a night with friends!!

What did we dress up as? Well, that is a great question. I am never really good at costumes, but this year our inspiration came when we were cleaning out our closet and getting rid of some clothes that neither of us have worn for a long time. Dane pulled out a red, plaid, flannel shirt he got some time ago and wanted to give it to DI. I was really hesitant because I remembered how badly he had wanted this shirt and had not worn it as much as we were hoping. I told him to throw it back in the closet and we might be able to use it for a Halloween costume some day. After that, Dane knew what we would be for Halloween this year:Do you remember these guys? Paul Bunyan and his big, blue, ox, Babe!

Somehow Dane's beaver, "Stever" made it into this picture too :)

Like my tail?

What did you all dress up as
this year?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Birthday Celebration! (part 3)

So, here is the final part. My birthday was actually on Sunday and it was a great day. Dane and I enjoyed one of my favorite breakfasts, german pancakes, with Dale and Leisa before church (or as Dane grew up calling them, "fluffy-oven-pancakes"). And then headed to my parents for dinner that afternoon. It was a very relaxed day with only a few meetings...everything that I always hope Sundays can be. My mom made curry and rice, and Emily made a pumpkin and banana-cream pie. Yum.

I just wanted to say THANK YOU so much to everyone who helped make my birthday great. Thanks for just saying Happy Birthday! I found myself overwhelmed by how many people I have in my life that I love, and love me too.

Birthday Celebration! (part 2)

So, the celebration continued in the middle of the week last Wednesday. Dane had told me a few weeks ago, that I was not allowed to work this day so I arranged my schedule and appointments to be able to take this day off. I had a nice morning and was really able to relax without the mental burden of thinking I had to go to work in a few hours. It was nice. Dane surprised me with an amazing evening he had been planning for weeks. First, we met my parents at one of my favorite Vietnamese restaurants in Salt Lake, Shanghai Cafe.
Next, Dane surprised me with tickets to one of our favorite bands, Mae. This is a band that Dane introduced me to the day we met a few years ago. They were playing at "In the Venue". It was a great Show! We were pretty close to the front the whole time. All three of the opening bands were great, they even came out and danced with us for a lot of the show. The only thing that we would have changed, is I wish Mae would have been able to play longer. They even had a raffle at the concert where people could bring hygiene items to donate to Road Home for a ticket. They gave away things like signed albums, t-shirts, and last but not least a set list from Wed night's show signed by the whole band.

And guess who won the set list? Yours truly. It was pretty sweet.

Here's a pic of Mae's lead singer, Dave Elkins taken from my phone during the show.

This isn't the best picture, but here we are with Dave after the show. He was so nice!

Thanks for a great night, Dane! I love you.

Birthday Celebration! (part 1)

So, I guess this is going to be a little bit of bragging time for me, but oh well. Here we go. First I have to say that I have the BEST husband in the world and that everyone should be able to celebrate their birthdays for a whole week...yeah, that's right for an entire week.

So this is how it all began:

Last weekend, Dane and I drove down to St. George with Dale to meet up with Leisa, because Dane didn't have school and we needed some time together. This is when the birthday celebration all began.

Have any of you ever heard of (or had) the American Chocolate Cake from Costco? Since Leisa had never been to Costco, it was one of our first stops in town. It was a great Costco day, lots of samples :)

Dane and I had been telling Dale and Leisa about this cake for quite sometime and picked one up to celebrate both my upcoming birthday and Dale's birthday from a few weeks ago. This cake is a-MAZE-ing!
It is everything that a four layer, chocolate cake smothered in frosting and chocolate shavings should be. Not too rich or two sweet, but tons of chocolaty goodness flavor. The label on the cake box says: Nt wt: 7 lbs.....! Yikes. It is huge. Needless to say, we ate the whole thing over the course of 4 days... with the help of some of Leisa's roommates and their friends. Thank goodness.

So, we had a nice relaxing time in St. George, and went shopping, to dinner, to church with Leisa, and of course, on a few really fun bike rides.
One one ride, we road out to Santa Clara and stopped at the Jacob Hamblin house. For those of you who don't know Dane's mom, Janet's maiden name is Hamblin.

Here is a cute one of Dale and Leisa!

I am pretty sure that I have some type of Hamblins in my ancestry as well because My parents have often stopped with us there as well. We got there right before it opened and were taking these pictures when a couple of missionaries who do tours showed up to open for the day.

Here is Dane and me! Don't mind my ghetto-booty with my jacket wrapped up in my back pocket :)

It was nice to go down south to get a little sun before the real cold weather sets in.

Oh yeah, and DALE and LEISA GOT ENGAGED! Congrats!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Will Ferrel Fights for Health Insurance CEO's

So, I don't know if any of you will get a kick out of this, but I think it is pretty good.

(I couldn't get the video to show up here so you will just have to visit this link.)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Warning: wild, vicious deer on the loose

So, a few days ago I was turning into our street, 560 North, from 900 East and was cut-off by a deer sprinting out of my neighborhood, right in front of me, across the street and then into a back yard of some house on the west side of 9th. Now, let me preface this with the fact that I LOVE animals, and even when I almost hit one that could mean the end of my car, I still stop to admire their wonder and beauty.

I hadn't put much thought into this event until last night when I came across my dying tomato plants in the back yard. Suddenly my love for this deer, or whom ever his friends might be, vanished very quickly. You see, last year Dane and I grew some basil and oregano in some little pots on our front porch. After we harvested the basil leaves to make pesto, our plant never
grew back. The naked little sticks just withered and died. We were probably supposed to leave some leaves so that the plant could survive, but then again foresight is always 20-20, right?

So, needless to say, we felt defeated but up for the challenge again this year when we inherited our neighbors' cherry tomato plants. We were SOOOOO diligent in watering them and have enjoyed many a salad with fresh, homegrown cherry tomatoes atop.

However, that all changed, when I walked out to check on them last night.

Suddenly I was having flashbacks to my naked, dying basil plant. There were no tomatoes to be seen on the branches, and hardly a leaf at all. Is this to be the end of my success as a potted-plant-gardner? I am pretty sure that we were ambushed by a deer. Grrrrrrrr.

Our remaining harvest from the victim plants

So, I just thought I would do you all a favor to let you know, he's out there.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Dear Abbie,

So, this post actually started out as a letter Abbie, Dane's sister, and I found myself thinking that I have so many more people that I would love to share this with....

So, I don't know how much time you have for reading these days, but I have a recommendation for you. I think you may have seen me reading it on the cruise: Healthy at 100 by John Robbins. I know that Emalei thumbed through it reading chapter headings and finally concluded that "this book promotes veganism." That is not entirely true, but I can see how some one who has not read the book could get that initial impression. It addresses not only the importance of a healthy diet, but also exercise (no real news) and also focusses on the importance that social relationships play in our health in a refreshing, well thought and very well researched perspective. For me, it has been nice to read the actually studies, rather than rely solely on what the food industry might be pushing for health, or what my vague general knowledge and experience has told me.

I don't know if Dane has told you but we are making big changes in our lifestyle these days...Yep, less meat, actually less animal products overall, soy milk, and lot and lots more veggies. We still do cheese, and to be honest, this is something that I have actually be very interested in for a while but never ever thought that it would fly with Dane.

Well to say the least, mostly thanks to the research and studies that we have read in this book, I am proud to say that Dane is just as excited, if not more than I am about this whole change. The perfect example of this happened just a few nights ago when Dane called me from the grocery store, picking up a few things to make dinner. He asked me, "Do you know how to make tofu?" (or something along those lines....I don't really remember exactly, because I was immediately flooded with thoughts of eating tofu on my mission, loving it, as well as thoughts like, who is this and what have you done with my husband?) I was very excited. We made "orange chicken" with tofu substituting the chicken. To my delightful surprise we gobbled it all up. We even had invited a few of Dale's friends over for dinner that night, so here I was sitting with 4 fully grown guys listening to comments like "This is way good! The tofu actually tastes like chicken!" I was WOWed. I told the guys I was proud of them and that it takes a "real man" to admit he likes tofu.

Yeah for health!

Anyway, so back to the book. There are actually no parts in particular that at any point lobby for a strictly "vegan" lifestyle, but it does focus on the health benefits of a plant-based diet. This basically means relying mostly on plants for major sources of nutrition. It makes sense really. For example, if I am looking to get protein in my diet, let's compare beans, tofu and nuts to meat. Each have protein but that is not all. Meat is full of saturated fat, omega-6 fatty acids (not good for you, can increase your cholesterol, blood pleasure and other things). Beans, legumes and nuts also include fiber (good!), unsaturated (healthy) fats, fewer calories and are much more nutrient dense.

And that is only the beginning. The benefits of a diet high in plants and natural nutrient rich foods (like as opposed to supplementing your diet with vitamins and medication to counter the effects of processed foods) are nothing to scoff at. How about reducing the risk of diabetes, heart disease, asthma, high blood preassure, ostioperosis, and even cancer by astronomical levels.

Anyway, has anyone of you ever considered the thought that today, compared to say 100 years ago, people are not really living longer, but just dying longer? To some respects it is true. So if any of you are interested in just knowing more about what our culture is doing to our bodies, not only by the food we eat, but by our perception (or should I say obsession) with youth--I recommend this book. I am not saying that you should all stop eating meat, or change to an organic lifestyle based off of what I have said, but that there are important studies that have been made where the results are indisputable. Anyone who has seen the film Super Size Me would be able to agree.

So, I will get off of my soap box and just say READ this book!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

...another vacation?...yep

I know what a lot of you must be thinking (because I was thinking it myself), "What? ANOTHER vacation?!" I know. We really had no pressing reason in particular, but Dane and I were feeling that we needed to take another week off and visit his family in WA. Maybe being in Alaska for a week just didn't fill the need-to-go-home-and-visit-hole... :)

So, off we went, last week for another week. We spent lots of time at Mama and Papa Smith's house in Prosser, went on a few really great bike rides, spent a little time in Seattle with Emalei and Fabio and then drove back to Provo last Thursday, caravanning with Dale. (Yay for Dale moving back to Utah!!) So here are some highlights from our trip...each of which are taken from our phones' cameras because we somehow managed to forget to actually take a camera on our trip. We are somewhat helpless in that area. At least we took some pictures right?

This is a view of the Puget Sound from Alki Beach.

The city at night

Dane and I spent a morning at the Boeing Museum of Flight. Way cool.

After the museum, we were starving, so we had lunch at a nice little Thai place on Pike St.

Here I am in front of Pike's Place Market. Apparently it's a pretty famous place in Seattle, that I should be a little shy to say I had not heard of before this trip... :)

One of the famous stops in the market: the fish market. These guys get pretty wild and are known for throwing fish all over the place. If you look closely, the guy behind me on the right just caught a big, wild, alaskan salmon in some paper.

That night, Emalei and Fabio took us to see a beautiful Japanese garden. (These pics were taken by Emalei.) I couldn't help but laugh at the branch that Dane managed to tangle himself in here. :)

We walked around this pond full of HUGE carp. For some reason, they started following us around to each little spot we stopped at.

Here is a pic of the carp. Notice the duck floating for scale.

On our drive back to Prosser, we had to go by Mt. Rainier. Hopefully next year, we will have some time to go backpacking!

And last but not least we spent a lot of time just hanging out at the house. I love puzzles and Dane found this one of Mt. Rainier and pulled it out for me. I didn't have time to finish, but it was a lot of fun.

Thanks for a great time Mom and Dad Smith! We miss you already and hope to see you again soon!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Family Reunions Part 2: Alaskan Cruise with the Smiths!

So, here comes Part 2. Dane's parents graciously took us and the rest of their children on an amazing cruise up to Alaska. We started in Vancouver, B.C., stopped in Ketchikan, Juneau, and Skagway, and then back to Vancouver. All in all it was an amazing trip.

Dane and I flew into Seattle and got a ride across the boarder with Emalei and Fabio the next morning. Before we left, they took us on a nice walk through Discovery Park, right by their apartment, and stopped here to get a great view of The Puget Sound. It was a great morning.

First stop, Ketchikan. It was a nice little town, with this pretty little board walk going around the bay.

We did get to see some pretty sweet logger-action there as well!

Next stop, Juneau. Here we rode a tram to the top of a mountain to go for a little hike. Dane and Dale, check'n out the view.

This the view of our ship, the Norwegian Sun, from the tram.

Taking a break on our little hike for a family photo.

The next day, we spent cruising through an amazing fjord, Tracy's Arm. The view was breathtaking! This is Fabio, Dale, me and Dane. We stopped on our way to the hot-tub just to watch for a while.

Some of the beauty we passed...while spotting, mountain goats, bald eagles, whales, and seals.

This is Sawyer Glacier at the end of the Tracy's Arm Fjord. This picture does not nearly do it justice. It was huge. We watched it "calve" a few times. Which is when part of the glacier breaks off into the ocean as the glacier shifts. It sounded just like thunder.

Of course, one of the great things about the cruise was our state room, complete with towel animal surprises every night when our bed had been turned down. (If you can't tell, the eyes of the monkey were 2 Andie's mints. Funny huh?) They took really good care of us out there.

Here we are with our favorite little Ella. She was a doll for the entire trip. We already miss you, Ella!

Thanks for the amazing time, Mom and Dad. We love you so much! and are so grateful for all that you do for us!

Family Reunions Part 1: Aspen Grove with the Laytons!

So, many of you may already know that Dane and I have spent the last two weeks out of town on family vacations, with both sides! We had such a great time with both families and just wanted to say a big THANK YOU to our parents for making this possible.

SO, here is Part 1. Bridget's family went to a family came up Provo Canyon, Aspen Grove, for a week and had a blast! We even had matching, orange shirts for everyone. The week was full of activities for every age group--from new-borns to grandparents. Here is a little bit of what we were up to: (These are just a few pictures of us, but to see more of our whole family look here.)

Don't you love all the orange? :)

There was a ropes course that most of us made it up and around. This is me with my brother-in-law, David getting ready to go in all of our gear.

Almost to the top of the wall!

We spent a lot of time in the craft room doing everything from beading, to making jewelry, to painting...

...making hemp bracelets...


and even trying our hands at the potter's wheel!

This is about how far I got before I ruened my pot. :) Oh well, they couldn't fire them anyway.

The cool thing about their studio for the wheels, was that it was on a covered bridge right over the river! Way to go Dane!

This is what most of us ended up with. :)

Mostly, we just loved spending lots of time with family.

Molly, taken from my cell phone.

My neice, Taylor.

To be honest, Dane spent most of his time winning the hearts of his little nieces when we were with the family. This is Molly in his arms, sitting by my sister, Sarah.

There was almost always someone on his shoulders.

Big smile from Kate! (I think she is in love!)

Some of our other activities included: hiking, bike riding, swimming, sand volleyball, basketball, paintball, archery, a night of skits put on by the different age groups, great meals as a family, playing board games, and there was even a day spent on the big field competing with all of the other families up there that included water games, potato-sack-races, and other silly things. Aspen Grove is a great place for families and we loved every minute of it!

Thank you for an amazing week, Mom and Dad! We love you sooooooo much!
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