Tuesday, December 28, 2010

3 years ago...

Dear Dane,
3 Years ago, you made my day.

And you have kept doing it ever since. Thank you for the best 3 years of my life.

I love you!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Baby Shower

Last Saturday, some of my great friends threw a baby shower for me. It was so much fun to see everyone there, play a fun game and have some amazing food. It is always a little weird for me to be at a party for myself, but it was so fun. I just tried to think about it as a non-birthday party for our little girl who is on her way is 5 weeks! yikes.

Anyway, thank you sooooo much to everyone who came and to everyone who put so much planning and time into it. Especially because we had to change the time and date a few times because of my grandpa's funeral. You were all so amazing.

Here's some pics from the day:
Of course we opened presents :) I love these little shoes!

This was one of our faves. My friend Naomi made a little blanket that said "Daddy's little girl" on the front with a really cute pink pattern with ducks. I knew that Dane would love it because he loves ducks, but then I turned it over to see why he would really love it. And he did. And the first thing he said was, "It's sad, but I could name all of these different planes."

Here with some of my greatest friends from my BYU days. We all met our freshman year, me, Haylee (expecting her 2nd), Jessica (also expecting her second), and Lindsay who has been married only a few months.

These two girls are 2 of my other faves from my BYU days. Laura and Jordan, who I meet in Art Ed. They were my vice presidents for our art ed organization, NAEA BYU student chapter. Laura teaches ceramics at American Fork HS, and Jordan is teaching art at a charter school in West Jordan.

And last but not least, I had to share this. When Haylee and I were roommates our sophomore year, for some reason, we stuffed clothes in our shirts and pretended to be pregnant. (She is frowning because she isn't married.) Now that we are both pregnant and due basically the same day, we had to take a real one :).

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Indian Corn

So, I am pretty sure that is not p.c., but I am not sure what else to call this.

This last Sunday, the owners and managers of J-Dawgs hosted a Thanksgiving dinner for all of their employees. They deep fried a turkey, and made everything from scratch. Mashed potatoes, candied yams, stuffing, rolls, everything. It was sooooo good! They invited the employees to bring desert and had a contest. So, this is what Dane and I came up with, with some help from Hello Cupcake!.

We won the prize for the most creative desert. It was so much fun. And no, the gourds are not cupcakes. Just the corn. :)

Friday, November 5, 2010

29 down, 11 to go

All right, all right. You asked, and I finally gave in. 29 weeks.

Bigger and Better

I am probably not the best one to be giving updates on Dane's flying, so if he wants to add an addendum to this post, I hope he does! I just wanted to say how proud of him I am for all of his hard work. So, here is the skinny. He is a licensed private pilot with his instrument rating. Which means he can fly in conditions where you can't see where you are going--like at night or when it is foggy, raining...etc. We took off to Houston literally right after he finished that. In Houston he received about 35 hours of training on a Boeing 737 simulator. Since we have been back he has been working on his Multi-engine add on to his private pilot license.

This is where bigger and better comes in. I guess it goes without saying that he has been spending all of his training in a multi-engine aircraft (or sim). If you remember this post from a while back, I think I referred to the planes that he flew as an "egg with wings", but these bad boys are a lot bigger. If you use Dane as the scale, it is a really big difference. He fits in them a lot better, and of course they are a lot more expensive to train in, but a lot more fun from what I have gathered. Dane is hoping to take his final mutil-engine check-ride with an FAA official in the next week or so.

So, the next steps are commercial and then flight instructor licenses. Luckily, UVU has a pretty nice set up for these two licenses so that you work on them simultaneously. Which means, when Dane has his commercial license (means he is certified to fly for hire) he will get his instructor license at (crossing my fingers) the same time. We are hoping this will happen early next year around the time our baby is born and I have to go back to school.

I am so proud of all the hard work he has been putting into school. He is not only juggling flying, and learning everything he needs to pass his tests in the air and on the ground for the check-ride, but is also taking classes online and in the classroom. Add on top of that working 17-20 hrs/week and leading the elder's quorum in our ward. Way to go sweety! I love you!

Sugar Cookies

Last Saturday a good friend of mine gave me a call and invited me to come over and decorate sugar cookies, and she discovered something genius. After we had decorated the white ghosts, and the orange pumpkins, our attempt to mix brownish frosting for the leaves was not working.

So, the thought came up that we should have used cocoa powder. Oops, that would have been great. And before I knew it, she had grabbed the Nutella out of her cupboard and was mixing it in. Wow. I was surprised first because it seemed kind of crazy, and secondly when I tasted it. Amazingness. Her husband agreed. Skeptical at first thinking that the cookies would just taste like they had Nutella on them, even he admitted the creative genius. So, that is my recommendation to all of you. Next time you make frosting, try adding a dab of Nutella!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Happy Belated Halloween!

(For those of you who can't tell, I am supposed to be a bottle of special sauce.)
I'd have to say that our costumes turned out pretty well this year considering the 15 min we took to put them togeter...

Friday, September 3, 2010

Summer Summary

So, this is the last of my "catch-up" posts. I just wanted to put up some pictures from this summer.

I was lucky enough to be able to go back to American Income and get a job for the summer. I was not doing sales, though. I handled all of the office administrative stuff and was able to work for just 2 months. They were so gracious to let me come back just for a short time (Thank you!) before I hired and trained my replacement so that I could take August to get ready for school. It was the perfect job for me. I worked about 30 hours/week, and was able to come home and crash at the end of the day...I never realized how much it took out of you to make a little baby!

Dane was able to meet with his flight instructor every day and get back onto his bike. He, Dale and a few of our friends are training right now to ride their first century in October. It is a 100 mi bike ride in St. George. Yikes. As much as I would love to do that someday, I am kinda glad that I have a good reason not to train for something like that right now.

A few highlights from the summer were being able to spend time outside--not in the blistering humidity--see family, and spend time with friends that we missed so much while we were gone.

Here is a panoramic shot that Dane took at the top of the Tram at Snowbird. We went up here with my parents and all of their grandkids over the age of 8 for "cousin camp". So fun! after this we went on ATV and horse-back rides down into Mineral Basin. It was a beautiful day.

Another one of our favorite activities this summer was hiking up to Stewart Falls in Provo Canyon, just above Aspen Grove. We went with our friends Mollie and Rod Pettingill. This is after running through the ice-cold waterfall. It had been a hot day and felt really nice! (note to self, next time I run through a waterfall: don't wear white shorts!)

At the end of the summer, we did get a special treat! Our friends, Jessi and Ryk, who we met in Houston came into town and we got to do dinner with them. We miss them so much and wish that they were just there for an internship and coming back to Provo too! But we do realize that there comes a time when we do need to move on and out of Provo...just wish that our friends all left the same time we did!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

And the Dr. says.....

Yesterday, Dane and I went to our 19 week OBGYN appointment with great excitement to find out what our little one would be, a he or a she. As soon as we found out Dane sent a mass text to many of his texting-savvy family that said,

"The Dr. says our baby likes pink!"

It was so exciting to find out! I also found out that I have been feeling her move around a little bit but didn't really know what that twitching was down in my tummy. She is pretty active, and looks healthy so far! What was really fun, was that they let us bring a blank DVD so they could record the entire ultrasound for us. Dane and I watched it again last night before going to bed. I think this may become one of the greatest hits in our house!

We still have not decided on a name, so if any of you have some unique and cute suggestions that would go well with the name of Smith, let us know!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Coming Home in One Piece

So it's no surprise, but we made it home safely. There is just one thing that I really want to document about our trip home, and that is the adventure with the truck.

Grandpa Hamblin was kind enough to lend us his '87 Dodge Ram for the move out. We didn't take any furniture with us, but still couldn't fit everything we needed for our 5 month excursion to Houston in our little Civic. So, Dane drove to WY to pick it up, and it worked perfectly for the move out, and back. I am happy to say that it made it, both ways!! For those of you who didn't hear, though, we did have a tire blow out just a few hours outside of Dallas. It was no biggy, we called AAA and a true Texan came to our rescue with one of the thickest accents I have ever heard.

Anyway, so back to the drive home, we prayed the entire way home that we would not have another tire blow out and that the truck would just make it. And it did, but I can honestly say that we had angels beside us holding those tires together. I lead the way in the Civic most of the way home because I had the GPS and more importantly, cruise control. When we got to Price canyon though, Dane was feeling the need to lead, so I was happy to follow behind him. I was watching the truck, our stuff and the back, driver's side tire caught my eye. It was a bulge and it was huge. I had no idea how long in had been there, but it didn't look good. I didn't say anything to Dane, though, I guess because I felt it would make the tire explode or something? I donno.

We got out of the canyon and continued on Hwy 89 through Springville, and by this point I had to go to the bathroom really badly, and didn't have the patience to follow old faithful anymore, so I radioed Dane. Told him the situation, and that I would meet him at the house, oh and by the way that his back tire looked like it was about to explode. (I guess I figured we were close enough to home that if he had problems, we would be fine.)

I rushed back to the house, found the keys (thank you Ben and Rosa!) and relieved myself just in time to hear Dane pull up. He had made it! But we both agreed that we shouldn't move the truck until we could fix the tire because upon inspection we found the tread was separating and exposing the metal mesh underneath. Yikes!

This was Friday. (Can I just say here that it was sooooo good to be back in our little house! Ahhhhh. We missed it.) Two days later, on Sunday, when we got back from church, I could see the spare sticking out of the truck bed, where it always was, and asked Dane if he had changed the bulging tire in the back. "No, why?" he asked. To that I pointed out the spare that had apparently EXPLODED in the back of the truck bed.

I don't remember how hot it was that day, but there had literally been a mini-heat wave--the same day that canyon rivers were flooding the salt lake valley. I guess it was a combination of the heat and the pressure difference from the altitude. So were we grateful we made it home? Oh, yes. And with no blow-outs, so we didn't have to use the spare, that may have also blown out while driving.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Our Last Trip: California

So, our last weekend before moving home from Houston, we hopped on a flight to San Fransisco to visit Dane's mission, Santa Rosa, CA. Marlyn Gillis, a wonderful woman that rented an granny-unit to the missionaries and absolutely fell in love with Dane during his first 6 months, was gracious enough to pick us up, take us to dinner, and let us stay with her for the trip. She was a wonderful host, fed us well, took us to see the redwoods, and allowed us to do whatever we wanted. We love you Mare!

I think this is supposed to be one of the oldest/biggest trees in the forest we visited. The photo doesn't really do it justice, but it was pretty big. Dane said that there are trees that put this one to shame a little farther up the cost. Sounds like we may just have to make another trip someday.

Charles Shultz, the creator and illustrator of Peanuts (Charley Brown and Snoopy) lived in Santa Rosa. There is a pretty cool museum right next to where he lived. I never really appreciated that comic until I had learned all about it.

Marlyn took us on a long, beautiful drive along the cost. It was a perfect day. We even got to see sea lions!

Dane and I took a day, rented a car and drove to some of the other cities that he had served in. Of course we had to make a stop at one of our favorite bakeries, Bouchon in Yountville, just outside Napa. Yumm.

I bet you didn't know the Jelly Belly Factory was in Fairfield, CA did you? Yep, that was one of Dane's areas too! They give free tours of the factory, and even free samples.

It was a great last trip for us, and we will be grateful forever for the experiences we had while we were in Houston. Thank you Continental Air Lines!
I added up all of our flights we hopped on for free. Any guesses? 30 total! 3 of which were first class.
I went to the CAL website, and those 30 flights, if I were to book them ahead of time for the same weekends next year, were worth about $14,546. So, I guess you can say that we got a run for our money!

The Big Apple, courtousy of AIL!

Last year when I was selling life insurance, I surprised myself (and my family, I think) at how well I was actually able to do it.

Now, I feel I need to say, even though I did find success and make a good amount of money, I will most likely never, ever, ever do it again. It was a really good experience, but just not for me. I have no complaints about the company or the people I worked for. Actually, I love everything about the people I worked with, and the product I sold. However, I decided that no matter who you are, no matter how much money you make, if you are not happy, it is not worth it. So, when I say I wasn't happy, I think the hardest thing about the job was just how demanding it was. It took a lot out of me, but did not give me the fulfillment that I am looking for in a career. As my #1 career goal is to become the best mother I possibly can be, I am kinda picky as to what I want in a job if it is going to take me away from my home.

Anyway, back to the trip! So, every year the company give their employees an opportunity to qualify for an all-expense-paid trip. This year, it was a huge convention with very few meetings and mostly parties/awards nights, and lots of fun in New York City. I was surprised, to be completely honest, when my boss called me up in Houston to let me know I had qualified for this year's convention.

So, in the middle of May, Dane and I hopped on a plane (Continental Airlines... ironic, I know) to New York for 5 days of fun. They gave us true, high class treatment, too. We had tickets for a 2 day hop-on-hop-off bus tour, lots of free time in the city, $50 for a night out on the town on our own, tickets to WICKED(!!), and lots of banquets, along with a great hotel room and shuttling to and from the airport. It was a blast, and a vacation that we really enjoyed. So, here are the pics:

A true, New York deli-style Reuben. Dane and I shared it, and still couldn't eat it all. Take that man.vs.food!

We took a trip to the top of the "Rock", the Rockefeller building. Very nice view.

Of course I wanted to make a stop at the Museum of Modern Art. Here we are in front of a famous Andy Warhol. I have to give a special thanks to all of our friends who tagged along...it was an interesting day. I guess I can just say that not everyone loves modern art as much as I do...

Convention hall.

All dressed up for the formal banquet/awards night.

Wicked! It was the first time for each of us to see it, and we were not disapointed.

We had enough free time one afternoon to take a few hours and visit the Manhattan Temple. It was so beautiful! It was a good day to be inside, too because we later found out from our drenched-freezing friends that it had rained all day, and the double-decker bus tour had not been that great because all of the seats on the bottom were taken.

Houston Space Center

So, after we worked out the logistics with the police and our accident we were feeling a little deflated, but decided to continue with our plans for the day anyway. So, we hopped this time, into our friends' car and recommenced our journey to the Houston Space center. We were soooooo glad that we did. It was a great way to help clear our minds with something fun. We were ok, and that was what was most important.
So, if any of you remember this post from a while back, you may remember my life-long dream of becoming an astronaut. Well, it goes without saying that I was VERY excited to go to the space center. I actually got to see the room where the famous words "Houston, the eagle has landed," "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind," and "Houston, we have a problem," were received over radio transmission. So cool. There is still a little part of me that wants to go to outer-space some day. So, i guess my best bet from now on is to become a multi-millionaire and grab a ticket on Virgin Galactic.

So, here are a few pics from the space day:

Here is the whole gang; Dane, me, Jessi and Ryk Heiner, and Stephanie and Trent Hartman in front of one of the pods that some Apollo astronauts came back to Earth in.

What do you think, does it go with my outfit?

There was a flight simulator, and of course Dane had to try, and of course I had lots of advice to offer.


Apollo V Rocket. Huge.

Here it is, Mission Control! They stopped using this room, I think in the 90's. But this is where all of the Apollo missions went down. Pretty sweet tour, if I do say so myself.

Monday, August 9, 2010

A long awaited update

This update has been a long time coming, even if there are no more readers out there, I have got to do this for myself!
SOOOOOO much has been going on. Here is a brief summary with more detailed posts to come:
Last you all heard we were still traveling the globe from our home-base in Houston, so that is where I will start.
-We got into a car accident. No injuries, but it put us a few weeks of repairs behind our anticipated move-home-to-Provo date.
-Finally got to the Houston Space center
-We made a trip to the Big Apple courtesy of the insurance company I worked for last year. It was a qualification based on sales/agent. So fun!
-Made one last trip to Cali to visit Dane's mission and a few dear friends.
-Moved home successfully, and miraculously in the truck and newly fixed civic.
-I got to go back to work right away with my insurance company for the summer.
-Dane started flying
-And for those of you who haven't heard yet, we found out that we are expecting our first baby! Due Jan. 22, 2011! (I know, next year. That sounds farther away than it should.)
-Dane is still flying and looking for a job.
-I have started to get my classroom and lesson plans ready for the quickly-approaching school year.

So, I plan on starting at the top of list and working my way down to give more details and photos.
Here we go. The car accident. It was crazy. The first one that I can say that I have ever been in, and to be honest, it could have been a lot worse. I am so grateful that no one was injured and we were wearing our seat-belts! (Thanks Mom for the family motto, "We are a seat-belt family!")
We were on our way to the Houston NASA Space Center with friends on a Sat in May. It all happened really fast. Apparently there was a girl traveling on the cross street to us who ran a red light, not paying attention on her cell phone, and as we went through our green light, we t-boned her. Our car stopped dead in its tracks, the airbags went off, and there was smoke everywhere. She was pretty apologetic at first, but of course when the police showed up, her story changed. It was frustrating, to say the least.
Anyway, with conflicting statements, we had nothing else to do other than plead our case the best we could and fork over the deductible to get our car fixed as soon as possible. (We were planning on moving home in about a week...that definitely was put on hold.) Luckily Houston City is crazy about red-light cameras and that just happened to be an intersection where they had one! But there was no way of knowing if it was even working, so we put in a request from the time and date of our accident, hoping for a shred of evidence in our favor, and waited...a long time.
So, all went ok, but to be honest 2 of the best days of our lives so far have been 1. The day we got the video in the mail from the city of Houston showing our accident, and 2. This weekend when we got our reimbursement check in the mail from the girl's insurance company! Yay. I am glad to say that this mess is finally all over. Ahhhh.
So, here are the pics and video of the damage:
Our car....sniff...

Oh, did I mention that it started raining after that? Crazy hard.

This is the damage we did to her. Too bad she only had liability coverage. Her car is pretty much toast. Bummer. Lesson learned. Don't run red lights!

Here it is, the best video that I have seen in a long time!!!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Syracuse, NY

Last weekend was one of my favorite trips we have taken so far. Is that okay to say? Again, this one was pretty last minute. We called Aunt Beth, Thursday night and hopped on a plane the next day. We were so glad that she had the weekend open! It was such a wonderful time for me to get to know the famous, beloved Aunt Beth a little more, and I can see clearly now why she has such a special place in the hearts of Dane and his family. Beth is my father-in-law's older sister. She has never had children or married and has truly taken her nieces and nephews under her wing as her own. She is an unwavering example of strength, courage and faith. We love you Aunt Beth!

So, for those of you who don't know, Syracuse is about 60 miles from Palmyra, NY. We took a little day trip there on Saturday and had a chance to see the historic sites for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I have not been there since my parents' mission and it was wonderful to go back. In a way, I think because they served there, a part of me really feels at home in Palmyra.

Here are some of the highlights from the sites:

Here I am with Aunt Beth at the top of the Hill Cumorah

Going into the Sacred Grove

For lunch, we stopped at the best place to eat in Palmyra, Nima's. Dane's sister, Emalei server as a site sister missionary in Palmyra and Aunt Beth said it was Emalei's favorite place to eat.

We ordered calzones and needless to say, they were HUGE!

Here is the Grandon Building where the first edition of the Book of Mormon was published. Unfortunately it was closed the day we were there because someone was filming a movie, but we got a picture just for fun.

Next, we stopped at a small grave yard in town and visited the grave of Alvin Smith. This is a headstone that the Church made as a memorial.

On the back side of the new headstone you can see where they put the original one.

Martin Harris home

We took a short little detour to go visit the Palmyra Temple. We didn't have enough time to do any work inside, but Dane had never been here before, so it was nice to see.

We walked around the back, and here is a picture of the stained glass window coming from the celestial room. It was really windy and cold, so we ran back to the car pretty quickly.

This is an inside view of the Peter Whitmer farmhouse where the Church was organized on April 6, 1830.

Outside view

Saturday night, Dane, Aunt Beth and I stayed up really late looking at old photos from the Smith family from past generations. Beth had endless stories to share and it was wonderful to get to know more about where Dane came from. Beth has taken upon herself the role of "family historian", and let me just say, she is an All-Star. She really knows her stuff.

Thanks for a great weekend, Aunt Beth!
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