Wednesday, December 19, 2012

I'll be home for (a week in between Thanksgiving and) Christmas

On November 27th I got to make the long trip from Layton to Mountain Home to surprise my dad on his birthday.  I left the Salt Lake airport early that morning, had a quick layover in Denver, and safely arrived in Little Rock that afternoon.  Joseph, Julieta, and their two cute baby boys made the 6 hour round trip drive to pick me up from the airport and I'm so thankful they did!  When I got to my parents' house, they were still at work so I waited somewhat patiently with Joseph and Emily and their families for the party to start.  Mom got home first, so we planned out the details of the surprise.  She was my accomplice when Dad pulled into the driveway.  I hurried out to the front porch, Dad's present in hand, and called him.  I told him I tracked his birthday package and it was supposed to have arrived that day.  He decided to go check the front porch for it and was very surprised when he saw me standing there.  I believe his initial reaction was, "How did you get here?"  A bit more logic oriented than emotional but it was still priceless.  Then the week of fun with my family began!

This was the first time in a long time I've been home when there wasn't any big thing going on.  No reunions or funerals or holidays, just everyday life with the fam.  I got to spend a lot of time with just me and my parents, which was really fun.  I can talk all day long with my parents and not run out of things to say.  It would have been much better if Johnny could have come, but I'm just thankful he was supportive enough to let me buy a plane ticket and leave him for a whole week to fend for himself (AKA eat every meal with his parents down the street).  He's a keeper.  And so are my in-laws for always taking such good care of us!

I also spent a lot of time with my siblings and their kids.  Johnny and I have the cutest nieces and nephews on both sides our families.  I just rarely get to see the kids in Arkansas and they are growing up way too fast!

Tanner and Bailey are always a treat.  Tanner talks so much now and he's as crazy as ever.  Bailey is a sweetheart who gives the best kisses in the world!

Here's Danny.  I believe he's a 7 month old in 18 month clothing.  This kid is not messing around!  He has the best grins that will melt anyone's heart.

Clark plays hard to get when it comes to taking his picture, so I had to steal this one from his mom.  He and I became pretty good little friends this visit.  He even voluntarily held my hand!

One day we all (minus Dad who had to work) went out for a nice pizza lunch.  Can I just say how crazy things are when they all get together?  Four kids ages 3 and under makes for madness from time to time.  It's a blast though!

I also got to be in town for Emily's second 5k race.  She just started running this summer and she's doing great with it!  It was awesome to be with her kids while she crossed the finish line.  Don't mind that Emily is wearing makeup and looks great even though she just ran a tough race and I'm going natural and slumming it just because I was lazy.  Totally normal.

I'm so mad I didn't get any pictures with my mom this trip.  We planned to get one the day she drove me to the airport but we both forgot!  At least I forgot, she may have remembered and thought she was off the hook.  We had so much fun hanging out together.  Dad told me I had to take Mom shopping while I was home so we spent all of Friday out on the town.  We found tons of cute things for her to wear and now I'm just sad I won't be home to see her in them!  She looks dang cute in her new clothes.  I love that woman!

On Sunday night Mom made Mexican food.  Grams was legendary for her enchiladas so Mom made those, Aunt Robin made the tacos, and we also had tostadas - yum!  That brought me back to my younger days of all the Mountain Home family getting together for delicious Mexican food meals and plenty of root beer.

On Monday, my last real day in town, I was busy making pies for my dad!  He loves coconut cream and banana cream pies, so I knew I had to make him some when I was home.  Dad thought the next time I'd be home was in June and he had already been telling me that I had to make pies then.  He got them a few months early:)

We ate our pies Monday night after we finished yoga.  My parents have a private yoga instructor come to their office every Monday night so they can get a nice little workout.  I joined Mom, Dad, and Aunt Robin for yoga that week. How cool is it that my parents and aunt do that?

Mom drove me back to Little Rock Tuesday morning so I could finally see that husband of mine.  Even that three hour, very curvy drive down to the airport was fun because it was just more time to spend with my mom, talking about anything and everything.  (PS since moving to Utah and getting used to the straight I-15 I have lost my tough stomach when it comes to windy curvy Arkansas roads.  Sad day.  Hello car-sickness.)

  Dad was even late for work that morning waiting for me to get downstairs and say goodbye.  

We did so many other things this trip but I forgot our camera and was left with my mom's iphone to capture the moments.  I think I did pretty good considering that, right?

I'm so glad I got to visit my family.  I love living in Layton but I'll probably always be prone to those homesick tendencies.  This Christmas we're staying in Utah and it'll be my first Christmas away from home.  If it weren't for this quick surprise visit, I would have a hard time with being away on Christmas.  This trip was just what I needed.  I love my parents and siblings and their little families so much!  Lucky for me, Johnny and I will get to see my parents and a whole bunch of my Mom's family next week for Becca and Derek's wedding in Arizona! We're so excited!  More to come later.  Merry Christmas everyone!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Lots Doin'

So much has been going on lately I don't even know where to start.  Most recently, I quit my job.  My last day was Wednesday and I'm excited for the break.  They treated me really well but I just needed to focus on other things right now.  That's about all there is to say about that.

We've been keeping busy with lots of other things, though.  Last month, Jason got married!  Jessica was such a beautiful bride, it was a little bit ridiculous.  Johnny and I feel very blessed to have them in our lives and so happy to have been there for the big day.

The day before the wedding, Johnny and I went on a little 1.5 year anniversary getaway!  We took the train down to Salt Lake and stayed at the Little America Hotel.  We did some shopping, ate on top of the JSMB, and watched Taken 2.  Also our hotel had an awesome indoor/outdoor swimming pool on the roof which was pretty fun for us simple folk.

Don't judge me if riding the frontrunner was one of the most exciting parts of the trip for me.

For Halloween, Margo threw a family party complete with pumpkin carving, orange-colored bread bowls, chili, apple cider, and lots of Halloween treats.  It's a good thing Margo gets into the holiday festivities because otherwise Johnny would have had to settle for a scary movie and some leftover candy.

For several days I was consumed with making lots of freezer meals.  I joined Margo and all of Johnny's sisters in a freezer meal exchange, which was pretty intimidating since I had never made any freezer meals before.  I made chicken curry, Italian sausage and peppers, and teriyaki chicken.  It turned out to be a lot of food and a lot of time, but tonight when we ate our first freezer meal from Jeanette I decided it was worth it.

Chicken Curry

Teriyaki Chicken

Side note all the way from back this summer - Margo taught me how to make and can homemade salsa!  I cried the whole way through (darn onions!) but it was so fun.  I'm lucky to live so close to my mother-in-law because she teaches me so many domestic things!

Last week we went to visit Johnny's grandpa.  He lives about an hour away from us and he is a treat to be around.  Those Lee kids are pretty cute, too.

Yesterday I went to Provo for Becca's bridal shower.  I know we're technically cousins but I'm pretty sure we were meant to be sisters.  Laura and I kind of put it together (with help from some friends in Provo) and I think it turned out pretty well.  I made the decorations and some of the food, so that kept me busy for the week.  Here's some pics from the show-show.

Picture/Doily Line

Glass Bottle Yarn Vases

A little bit of a theme in the gift-giving department...

I'm good at remembering to take pictures of the food table before we dig into it.  Except that's a lie. 

Best Cousin Friends!

After the shower I spent the night at Laura and Becca's apartment for a nice slumber party.  Even though I only live an hour away from them, I don't get to see them nearly as much as I would like.  It was fun to have a girls night!  

I stole this picture from Whitney (the girls' roommate).  Sometimes Laura and I accidentally match our clothes.

When I got back to Layton, Johnny and I went to his high school to watch their musical, Beauty and the Beast.  Unfortunately we had to leave early but we loved what we saw.  A couple of Johnny's students had big roles in the show, so he wanted to see them do their thing.

Clearly he was excited for the event.

From the play we went straight up to Brigham City.  We didn't get to go to the Brigham City Temple open house, so we thought we'd go today.  It was absolutely beautiful!  

There should be lots of other great things coming up in the next several weeks.  I love this time of year!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Super Great Weekend Leads to Super Sick Days

First of all, welcome fall!  I absolutely love this time of year.  The changing leaves, the corn mazes and haunted houses, the spooky movies, clinging to my husband during those last two things.  Fall is just plain fun.  We've been trying to take full advantage of the new season.  A few weeks ago Johnny and I went on a drive up the canyon to check out the leaves. Here's some shots we captured:

Last weekend we drove up to Logan for an Allred sibling party, or more accurately a Logan-Allred sibling party.  Ryan, Scott, Amy, and Chaz all go to Utah State so we decided to go up for a visit.  It's one of the perks of living in Layton, we're much closer to most of Johnny's family.  Anyway, we started our Logan visit with a trip to Burger King because we love cheap food and Johnny has a coupon book full of great BK deals (thanks to a fundraiser for the Fremont High School marching band).   Then we headed over to the Little Bear Bottoms corn maze and haunted river trail.  I definitely screamed a lot on the river trail but that's to be expected considering my jumpiness.

After Bear Bottoms we went to Scott's house and watched the Woman in Black.  Spoooky!  I think we got home around 1:30 or 2:00 in the morning.  I got to sleep in until like 9:30 that morning but Johnny got up at 7:00 to play basketball with his friend Mark.  Poor guy, he was exhausted that day!

When he got back from basketball we drove to Provo for BYU's homecoming game against Oregon State.  Our friends from Orem, Ryan and Allegra Bel, got us tickets because Ryan is interning with the athletic trainer for the football team.  Such a sweet hookup!  The first three quarters of the game went great and then we fell apart, so we'll skip over that.  Still a fun game, though.

After the game and the crazy game traffic we went to Los Hermanos (Johnny's favorite Mexican restaurant in Provo) with Ryan, Allegra Bel, Laura, Whitney (Laura's roommate), and Chris (Johnny's old roommate slash mission friend).  Such yummy food and even better company.  We got back to Layton late that night, completely exhausted from our crazy busy/fun weekend.

I guess I can only handle so much of a good time because I got sick after our wild weekend.  Just a nasty cold is all, but it knocked me out for three days of work.  I'm still on the mend so hopefully I get all better real soon!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

I Know My Life is Exciting When My Biggest Update is About Puzzles.

From the lack of blog posts in recent months it probably looks like Johnny and I have been super busy doing lots of super cool things, but I'm pretty sure I've just gotten lazy.  We did a few fun things to finish up the summer, though.  Before we drove down to Arizona for my family reunion, Johnny and I spent the day at Lagoon!  It was my first time there and I absolutely loved it.  I even rode all of the scary roller coasters! (I'm usually a huge baby about scary rides, but for some reason at Lagoon I just decided to man up and go on all of the roller coasters.)

We also had a blast in Arizona with all of my mom's side of the family.  We drove down there with my cousin Becca and her fiance Derek.  It was way too short of a trip but so worth it!

I think Johnny was a pretty big hit with Brooklyn and Kaymie.

My man has got the moves!

We also had a great visit from our dear friend Jason this summer!  He and Johnny were roommates at BYU and we're all great friends to this day.  I was thinking the other day about this, and I'm pretty sure I met Jason before I met Johnny.  Then we all became friends and hung out all the time even before Johnny and I started dating.  Jason gets married next month to a beautiful girl named Jessica and we couldn't be more excited for them!


One day, Johnny and I attempted to watch a meteor shower.  We had a campfire and made s'mores and I think we each saw one meteor.  Great night.

The biggest news of late has got to be that Johnny is officially teaching!  I seriously couldn't be more proud of him.  He loves his job, he's great at it, and he is doing something important in the world.  He worked so hard through college to get here and I'm so glad he's happy with his career.  This Friday night we're even going to Fremont High School's homecoming game because we are so supportive of the silver wolves.

Look how cute he is on his very first day!

For Labor day weekend we spent some time at my Aunt Jan and Uncle Don's cabin with their family.  It was absolutely beautiful!  We also checked out Swiss Days in Midway.  It's a cute little festival with lots of vendors and quaintness.  

The only really exciting news I have about me is that I'm recently addicted to puzzles.  We bought our first one at Swiss Days and since then I've borrowed several from Margo (she literally has hundreds of them - goldmine!).  

We had a cousins dinner this past Sunday at our house in Layton.  Turns out Laura and Becca are pretty good at puzzles, too.  We took this photo after finishing my first 1000 piecer!

That pretty much sums up our lives as of late.  I'll probably post again if something cool ever happens!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Life Post-Graduation

So much has gone on since we graduated and moved up to Layton.  First of all, Johnny and I are both working like crazy.  He loves Durk's Plumbing and I'm really liking Legacy Village.  Johnny is getting excited about starting school next month.  He just got a ton of books to read before he starts teaching so he'll be busy for a long time with that.  (Right now he's finishing my favorite book, To Kill a Mockingbird, before he starts his assigned reading - he's definitely the intellect in our relationship.)

I'm getting so attached to so many residents at Legacy.  So what if 95% of my friends are 75 or older?

Here's some of what we've been up to lately:

  • Allred Family Camping Trips

  • Sunday Walks

  • A Drake Family Reunion in Arkansas

Is that enough pictures for everyone? I have a million more that I decided not to bore you with.  Basically, Johnny and I are loving life right now.  We have lots of fun with Johnny's family here in Utah (I don't know what we'd do without them) and we were lucky enough to have a spectacular visit with all of my dad's side of the family except for Zach (plus his new wife Diana) and Trev who are both serving in the military.  Such brave boys.  It was so nice to get together just before the year mark of Gram's passing.  We're all as close as ever! And Johnny got to meet lots of my sweet relatives too.

Already looking forward to our next fun events: Johnny's 40 mile backpacking trip in the Uintas and then the Cluff family reunion in Arizona!