Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Last Four Months In Pictures

This past semester has been fairly crazy! It is my last semester at BYU (technically) and in just 2 more weeks I will never have to go to another class or take another final in my life. HOOOOORAAAY! Jon and I are doing great and loving life! See pictures below to see what we have been doing with all of our spare time.

We went to the wedding of Jon's sister, Elyse, early in October. She looked so beautiful and the day was really fun spent with lots of family.

It was also our first trip to the Bountiful temple, which we loved. The weather was perfect and the temple was amazing, as always.

Jon turned 24 on November 14! We had a wonderful day spent shopping for new basketball shoes among other delights. Then we were treated to a weekend long celebration, with parties from his family, my family, and his friends.

Our families spoiled Jon well and it was great to spend time with them and celebrate Jon.

I love Jon more than I can say and am so grateful that he is part of my life! He is such a blessing and he makes everyone around him so happy! I always love birthdays because I get an excuse to spoil him rotten and spend the whole day with him. Happy Birthday, Love!

I know that this is random, but here at Wymount, we have our own wildlife preserve. We have a family of deer that consists of three bucks, three babies, and two mamas. We got to watch the babies grow up from practically newborn and now they hang around in our backyard almost every single day. Sometimes, when we are getting ready, we can feel something watching us...and then we look out the window and see eye to eye with these deer! Jon LOVES it! time, he even stalked the deer, crawling on his stomach to get a good picture (with lots of neighbors wondering what the heck he was up to).

Then, last weekend, we took a road trip down to Arizona. Jon's other sister was getting married and we wanted to be there for support. We drove the 10 hour drive in one day, bringing Jon's sister April with us.

I loved this trip because I used to live in Gilbert, AZ for 9 years. I haven't been back since we moved to Utah, so it was a trip down memory lane. This is my old elementary school. The name is changed, but it is the same school. We used to be called the Neely Knights.

This is my old house!!! The people who live there now really trashed the place. They tore out four really beautiful trees, tore out the backyard grass and made room for their 4 rotting cars in the back. But it was still fun to go see....

We got to stop by the Mesa Temple and take some pictures. It is such a beautiful temple and the weather was FABULOUS!!! We wore t-shirts, shorts, and flip-flops to a soccer game and got a tan! We loved it. Especially since we drove home to Utah in a BLIZZARD. I hate snow.

As tradition, my family always stopped at the Lake Powell dam and had lunch and that is what we did on our road trip. Overall, it was so nice to get out of Provo and be somewhere warm. We got to stay with my aunt and uncle and with Jon's sisters. We had a lot of fun spending time with them, soaking up the sun.

When we got back, Jon's brother asked us to watch their two little girls while they went out of town! It was a crash-course in parenthood. We had to think of things to entertain them constantly. One of the items of entertainment was my hair. They thought I looked so beautiful after covering my hair in bows that they did it 4 more times. It was a dangerous game though, I have gouges all over my head from where they scraped me with the clips.

We made a fort and partied all afternoon with candy, cookies, and a Barbie princess movie.

Over the next 48 hours, we went to Kangaroo Zoo, BYU Bowling Alley, and the movie theater. It was a wild ride filled with whining, temper tantrums, and lots of fun. We even got to deal with throw up after the little one bounced too hard on a blow up toy.

They really loved this place and the slides and we spent almost two hours making them tired :) Despite the massive exertion of energy, these kids woke us up at 7:00. It was still dark and it was a holiday. Needless to say, it was an excellent form of birth control :) Jon and I were exhausted after those two days. I can't imagine it full time! Those of you who do it full time, you are incredible! I don't know how you do it!!!

Monday, November 2, 2009

The BEST Halloween Ever!!!!

This Halloween just happened to be the best Halloween I have ever had. For multiple reasons. But the most incredible part of the day was when Jon and I drove up to Saratoga Springs and were reunited WITH MY KIDS FROM ETHIOPIA!!! Cherish and Kelly are their new parents. This amazing couple adopted 7 of these adorable kids from Africa, ranging from age 2 to age 17!!! And they already had 4 kids of their own! And then Cherish's father adopted 3 more of the kids!!!! The day I got a call from them from America I shed quite a few tears and said a million prayers. I thought that if I was ever going to see them again, I would have to raise thousands of dollars to go back to their remote village. But here they are in UTAH. I cannot believe it still! What amazing, incredible, AMAZING people these two families are and what an incredible, overwhelming blessing it is to be able to see these kids that I lived with for three months (in one of the most poverty stricken countries in the world) be adopted to families that live within 30 minutes of my house into a home where the gospel is loved and taught. Dibabbe, the oldest of the girls, is currently taking the discussions! Her father, Kelly, is also a seminary teacher, and after one of his classes, she text her mom and said, "Daddy is such a good teacher. GOD is LOVE." Incredible. When we got to Saratoga Springs, the kids were already out trick-or-treating, so we snuck up on them from behind. Dibabbe was the first one that saw me and in two seconds she was giving me a life-squeezing hug. And then she cried. I can't explain the incredible feeling of love that I had for this girl and the love that I knew Heavenly Father has for her. I just know that there is something amazing in store for these wonderful kids. Overall, it was one of the best nights of my life, and with a full heart I could tell these kids that I would be back to see them as often as their parents would let me.

These are all of the kids from the Village of Hope the night that I left. Of these kids, TWELVE, have been adopted, plus three more that came after I left. There are 7 in Saratoga Springs, 3 in Spanish Fork, 2 in Salt Lake City, and 3 in Logan!!!!!!

And as a special surprise, Fayisa was there for a 2 week visit!!! He practically made the Village of Hope run while we were there. He helped to teach me the native language and was the only father-figure these kids ever had. They adored him and it was so wonderful to see him again!! Another awesome surprise is that Fayisa is also taking the discussions from the missionaries and on the night that we saw him, Oct. 31, he had begun reading the Book of Mormon!!!!! Steffanie and I always insisted that someday he would become a Bishop. At the time, he didn't know what that meant, but he knows now and laughs. I am so positive that he will accept the gospel. His heart has been ready for a very long time.

Again, what an incredible blessing this weekend has brought! I just want to hug Cherish and Kelly for forever for taking these incredible kids into their home and giving them a real chance at life. I can't imagine the hardships that this merging will bring to their families, but I am sure that they will be blessed tremendously for their outpouring of love. It is such proof that Heavenly Father really hears and answers our prayers and that He knows each of us individually!!!

Well, after those amazing few hours, the rest of Halloween can't quite compare, but it was really fun. Jon was the creative one for this Halloween and we dressed as Lumiere and Babette, from Beauty and The Beast. We had a lot of fun putting together our costumes...

Can you see the resemblance?? Haha...Jon's costume is made solely from women's DI clothing and oatmeal cans and my dress was also a DI addition...with some feathers from some white dusters I bought. Let's just say that when we got home, it looked like we had killed and defeathered a chicken! There were feathers everywhere. And they still are everywhere. Even though we cleaned up, I found at least three lingering feathers on my jeans in the car this morning.

We went over to our friends' house for a good Halloween party where we could show off our costume! By then, Jon was fully into his character. He sat like Lumiere, with his arms at right angles, for the entire party! And occasionally, he would lean forward to "sizzle" a feather on my dress and then apologize for burning me. It was so great! Thanks to the Robertsons for having us over! Afterwards, we went to Jon's parents and raided the candy and talked about their Halloween evening and then we headed to the Low's house. As always, we stayed late and talked, but we had to bolt before Andrew could put on a scary movie or Lord of the Rings or Joe Dirt :) (thanks for veto-ing, Court!). All in all, it was the best Halloween ever.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Blogging Stupor and Hawaii!

An apology is due. I don't know what happened to me. I hit a blogging wall. But our most recent trip deserves to be blogged because we actually have cool pictures. Jon and I decided, after some discussion with a good friend, that now is the time to enjoy our marriage and the time we have together, before we have kids. So we decided to take a big trip...we first decided to go to Brazil where Jon served his mission, but the flights were insanely pricey. So we thought we'd go to Ethiopia so I could see my kids again, but again, really expensive. So we followed my friend's footsteps and bought tickets to Hawaii!!! Neither of us had ever been, so we were so excited! We went for 9 days, 5 days on Maui and 4 days on the Big Island. It was AWESOME! We just got back and can't think about anything else. Jon dreams about Hawaii every joke. Well, we took a million pictures, so I thought I'd let the pictures tell the story! Sorry for the overwhelming amount!

Snorkeling at Honolua Bay...with a nasty, scary eel.

The eel wound himself into the rocks and would just gape at us with his white mouth. We couldn't see any eyes and it was totally freaky!

Fish at Honolua Bay!

The best part of our trip was snorkeling with these deep sea turtles. We saw ones that weighed over 300 lbs and were almost as long as me! The littlest ones couldn't hold their breath for very long and they would surface every few minutes, which is why they were so close to us. They were incredible!

On our last day, we went to Honaunau and there was an entire family of sea turtles that lived there. They nipped one guy in the butt, but were really friendly to us. This one kept touching my legs with its slimy flippers.

Kona Temple! It was beautiful! We were so glad that we got to go, but we hit a snag. We thought they rented clothes, but they didn't! I had to borrow clothes from the brides' room. And we almost missed the last session of the day!

The amazing beaches in North Maui!

Night out on the town after the temple! We had such amazing food!

Sorry these are kinda blurry. This is where the lava flows on the Big Island meet the ocean, sending off a huge plume of smoke. We had to stay pretty far away because there was an underground river of lava between us and where the actual lava flows into the sea.

This is at Wianapanapa State Park where one of the best black lava beaches exists.

Our favorite night, we stayed in a little cottage in the middle of a 5 acre fruit and flower farm. It was like living in the middle of the most beautiful jungle. We grilled up some salmon and veggies and then relaxed in the jacuzzi while we watched these little geckos crawl all over the house. They were pretty cute!

On one of the days in Maui, we drove the famous Road to Hana. It winds in and out of the coastline and was sometimes incredibly scary because it was so narrow! But the ride was beautiful and we saw and jumped into so many waterfalls along the way. The waterfall above was way too shallow to jump, but was so clear!

In the background you can see the Hana coastline and see the sheer cliffs that we drove along. The sights were amazing!

This is Iao Valley, the remains of the caldera of the Maui volcano. The center of the volcano has eroded away and has left these towering sheer walls that are covered by the jungle.

This was the worst moment of the trip and I am pouting. We went to eat out and I spilled an entire container of BBQ sauce all over my new shorts, my purse, my shirt, and my chair. It was horrible because not only do I hate the taste of BBQ sauce, I also hate the smell and I smelled like that for hours and we were too far from our hotel to get a change of clothes! Grrr to my clumsiness!

Beautiful sunset in Lahaina.

Famous beaches at Ka'anapali.

The great banyan tree in the middle of Lahaina. It was SO HUGE! I don't get how they work...they had branches connecting to other trees and branches shooting straight into the ground. It was pretty sweet.

At the Luau we went to. The food was amazing (I am now a big fan of kalua pork) and the hula and fire dancing was crazy! How anyone can move their hips that fast is beyond me!

Our drive around the Northern side of Maui.

Overall, it was the BEST TRIP EVER. Beaches, snorkeling, waterfall hikes and dips, great food and great company -- what more could you want! We loved spending time together for those 9 days and coming back to reality has been hard because we actually have to say goodbye in the morning. Hopefully we can go back another time! There was so much more to do!

Sunday, May 3, 2009


A bit more than a week ago, it was our ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY!!! Hooray!!! I can't believe how quickly time has flown by. I never believed I could love anyone so much or grow as close to someone as I have to Jon. Everyday just seems to get better and better as we learn more about each other. Cheesy, I know, but true. We had both of our parents over for dinner the other night and they asked us what the most surprising thing was about marriage in this first year, and we both answered that everyone told us how incredibly difficult it would be to adjust to one another, to get over the little quirks that we both have, to learn to do things for the other person, and it surprised us how wrong they were, because married life was immediately (and still is) very easy for us. Life with Jon has been amazing...we just seem to fit perfectly! He is incredible in so many ways and I am so wonderfully blessed to be married to the most unselfish, devilishly handsome, sweet, caring, hardworking man! To prove his wonderfulness... Jon surprised me with a weekend getaway to the Zermatt Resort. We got some excellent discounts and they upgraded us to the Honeymoon Suite! It was so fun! The whole weekend was spent in complete relaxation, which was much needed after the long semester and finals.

We got to Zermatt late on Thursday and then Friday we lounged around the resort, ate gelatto (devine), slept in, watched TV (which we don't have and sometimes crave), watched movies...pretty much, it was heaven. Jon also had made some really fun plans to go either hot air ballooning or for a helicopter ride, but they fell through because of the stinky weather. So instead, we went to The Crater. It was pretty sweet. This is a picture from inside the crater, which is actually like 50 ft wide. The water was really warm and Jon and I went snorkling. We watched from above as others below were getting their scuba diving certifications.
The water was so blue it was incredible, and contrary to rumor, the water was really clear and you could see all of the wall formations underwater.

This is us on top of the crater and Zermatt is in the background. Later that evening, we went out to dinner at ClaimJumpers because our favorite restaurant in Seattle was ClaimJumpers. Sadly, Heber ClaimJumpers doesn't quite match up, but we had a really good time and the food was really good. That night, Jon presented me with some really pretty flowers, and a sweet gift certificate for a shopping spree the nest day, and we enjoyed an evening of candy and movies! I gave him a much needed electric razor and a hair clipper kit (and I cut his hair just last week for the first time...I was terrified but it ended up looking okay!) It was a fabulous weekend and a fabulous anniversary!!!

This past weekend was my brother's 17th birthday! I can't believe that Josh is that old. He is the one with the glasses down below. He is currently ranked the #6 best goalie in Utah for lacrosse! Incredible! Anywho...Jon and I decided to put aside other responsibilities to go hang out with my family and we had a great time. My brothers always crack me up and somehow manage to make the oddest comments of all time...they are definitely a generation of TV addicts. Sam is missing from this picture...

This is my dad and my cute grandma who came up for the birthday celebration. My other grandparents were there too and it was so fun to spend time with them.
Unfortunately, we spent too much time and didn't get home until 12:00pm...with the rude realization that both Jon and I had massive amounts of homework...I mean, an eight page paper due by 8 in the morning! It was a LATE night for us both.

So anywho...other than that, the update on life is that Jon and I are pretty much going to be dead this summer. We are trying to work really really hard so that we can save up and get back to Brazil and Ethiopia soon! Jon is working three jobs and going to school full time (he is crazy, but so willing to work hard and sacrifice for us!). I am working two jobs and also going to school full time! I just started waitressing at the Old Spaghetti Factory if anyone wants to come in, please do! I would love a friendly face! To sum up, we will have a very busy summer, but we both feel that it is the right decision and hopefully we can reach our goals. One sad note is that we are being kicked out of our cute, lovely little house. The landlord has decided to sell it to some buyers who want to rent it to their married kids, so we got the boot. Unfortunatley, the house has got me a bit was so nice, so open, so full of light, and SO cheap...I don't think something like that exists south of campus besides our house. Luckily, we got into the newer part of Wymount (you gotta love the "rabbit hutches") for the right time, so I don't think it will be too much of an issue. I just wish we weren't leaving our home, which we have really come to love, and I wish we weren't leaving the ward! We just got called as ward mission leaders and are LOVING the calling. GRRRR to change!
Wow...well this was a novel....hope it makes up for the slacking I have been doing (sorry katie!).