Monday, December 21, 2009


Josh and I celebrated fabulous birthdays this year. They were rather monumental birthdays--he turned 25 and I turned a year older than 25. That was kind of a big deal for me. I'm old. I'm older than 25. not okay.

For my birthday in September, Josh created a wonderful candlelight dinner for me. He made grilled salmon, vegetables, and mashed potatoes. It was delicious! But I was anticipating the birthday cake. I kind of really love cake. So when Josh came out from the kitchen holding a candle-adorned pumpkin pie as wide as his shoulders, I was in shock.

Not cake?
And pumpkin?
Who makes pumpkin pie before Thanksgiving?
Before Halloween?!

I just laughed and laughed. Josh explained that he had seen a key lime pie (second to cake, in my opinion) at Costco the week before but when he'd come to pick it up the next week it was gone. All they had was pumpkin pie. So that's what he got.

I'm not sure how he missed the 2-foot chocolate cakes that always line the goodies tables but somehow he did.

It was a fabulous birthday dinner.

That weekend we went out for sushi with Uncle Craig and Jaclyn. It was a hilarious night! We came home and found a cake in our house. Darcy had baked it in our oven, frosted it with her friends, and then left.

Seeing it look so pretty on my table made me want to do this:

Josh had a themed birthday this year. Two years ago we had a Donny Osmond theme. This year we did Pirates. I'll let Josh tell about it:

I had class in the morning until noon. When I came home from class I found a ransom note tied to my engagement sword (it is a pirate sword). The note was really cool; it was written in awesome calligraphy and burned around the edges. The note gave me an encoded clue to meet Clarissa at Pirate Island (a new, fun pizza place in Orem) for lunch before I had to go to work. A year or so Clarissa tried to do a similar thing (leaving me an encoded message) and I went to the wrong place. So when I showed up to Pirate Island and didn’t see Clarissa’s car I was worried. But Clarissa drove up just then, saw me in the truck, and ran into the restaurant.

It was a fun time. Clarissa had made me an amazing book of all of our memories. She had gathered all of the notes and letters we had written each other, our tickets to different football games and stuff that we have done together. She put it all in a sketchbook with pictures. It was really nice. After a fun time eating our pizza and yummy brownies and ice cream (and the "wenches" singing Happy Birthday) I had to go to work.

After work I had to go take my exam. When I finished my exam Clarissa rode up to campus and we rode our bikes home together. When we got home I saw the screen door open and someone going inside. Clarissa said that Darcy was coming over . Then when we went inside the back door none of the lights in the house were on. So I asked Clarissa if Darcy was in the house and Clarissa explained that the lights were off because Darcy had a headache. Then as we walked into the dark kitchen, several things happened at once. I went to rest my elbow on the table and felt something gooey (a cupcake) at the same time I noticed Ashley and Clarissa’s cousin Lindsey both standing in our tiny dark bathroom. As all of these confusing thoughts entered my mind everyone jumped out and yelled "HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!" But because my mind was struggling to figure out why my table was covered in something gooey and why my sister and cousin were crammed into our dark bathroom my brain didn’t have anymore space for extra stimulus and I wasn’t startled or surprised at all. Then I realized that our house was full of friends and family that were dressed like pirates.

Those who came were Grant and Jill Ensign, Rebekah and James Handley, Brendan and Dahlia and Claytin Bone, Tanner and Michelle and Owen Ensign, Shari and Bishop Engelhardt, Mitch and Jade and Torrence Jones, Brad and Rachel Miller, Lindsey and Jared Conover, Nichole Huntington, Ashley Haycock, Tim Shaw, Jarom Jordan, Whitney and Stetson Robinson, Lindsey Jordan, Darcy Whetten, Nicole and Cliff Bergmann, and Kate and Cameron and Peter Kmetzsch.

It was a great party and Clarissa had managed to keep it a secret this time (unlike last year) primarily due to secret coded emails. Clarissa’s decorations were amazing; she made a pirate flag, people brought tons of goodies (hence the gooey table top), and there were IBC sodas in a giant tin basin filled with ice. I loved it! I haven’t had a surprise birthday party since I was in First grade.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Hot Date Night

It's 4:45 am. Josh and I have been working in his biology lab all night. He's been here since 9:15pm and I joined him around 10:30pm. The boy is finishing up a term paper that will be published in a scientific journal next year. It's titled Ontogenetic Shifts in Age in Utah Brown Trout (Salmo trutta) in Fall Months. He's a genius.

I've been working on some math homework and a peer review for a term paper and then a Christmas wish list....And I can't believe we're still here. The lab is three floors down from the main floor in the Widtsoe building so we have no idea what the early hours look like outside. It's probably still dark, which means it would still feel like 5pm or something. And we've loaded up on chocolate and Coca-Cola (and Lunchables and Hot Pockets) so we're probably still good to go for another hour.

Best date night ever.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Catching Up

We did a bunch of fun things this summer. Here are some of the favorites:
Payson Scottish Festival--twice. Once with Tim, Aubrey, and Maya Chavez where we wandered around and ate "authentic" fish 'n' chips. And once with Jill and Grant Ensign where we watched the competitions. Grant was playing with the Salt Lake Scots. Josh was just really happy to be able to wear his own kilt. He's so manly.

Sheepdog Competition at Soldier Hollow
We were able to see the splash dog competition, duck herding, and the main sheep herding competition. And then Grant Ensign's Salt Lake Scots group came trooping down the hillside at the end of the day.

Ammon, Idaho

We went up with Whitney and Stetson Robinson for a family, um, "get together" at the Grandparent's house. All of my aunts and uncles were there and a handful of younger cousins as we gathered around Grandpa, expecting him to kick the bucket. But he didn't. We're happy he's still around to make us laugh.
This hamburger joint was a pleasant surprise on our drive back home. It was the most enjoyable Idaho road trip ever.

Alisa Izu Lujan
Izu was my trainer on the mission and my most, most favorite companion out of all thirteen. She was in Provo for a family reunion and made time for a visit with us. She brought along her sweet babies, Peyton and Cephas. We walked around a park trail and tried to catch up as quickly as we could. It was one of the happiest 36 minutes of my life! Love her!

Intramural Softball Josh had several softball games this summer. It was fun to sit in the grass and watch his little booty...I mean, his athleticism.

Mountain Biking in Midway

The summer was gorgeous in Midway. We love visiting that valley.

Rexburg, Idaho

My friend Jessie Nielsen and I made a spontaneous trip up to our campus to work out academic questions with our counselors. It was so wonderful to be up there and to soak in the Spirit of Ricks and drive around all of our favorite places. We didn't recognize much with all the massive amounts of construction they were doing on campus but we were still very happy to be there. And very thankful that Craigo's was still there. Oh glorious monster cookie...

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Great Road Trip: Destination Provo

After another brief stop at the luxurious Hotel Simpson where we cat-napped and brushed our teeth, we took a straight shot to Provo. It had been an exhausting road trip. Even with a two hour driving shift (except for Tim who didn't get much of a shift change) and plenty of time to nap or read, we were all spent.

But it was beautiful scenery all the way home.

Oh yeah, we were filling up on gas when the pump didn't shut off and spilled all around Tim's car. It was bad...but cool! I didn't know that gas would come gushing out like it did!

The Great Road Trip: Winter Quarters

30 July 2009
On our trek back West we stopped at Winter Quarters. This was our first time visiting there and I think we were both surprised by its overwhelming peacefulness. We wandered around the Visitors Center and tried our hand at pushing our own handcart around. Then we went across the street to the cemetery. It was really special to see the people who had been buried there. It helped us both to recognize the sacrifice they had made to help us have what we have today: Restored truths that are being spread around the world. Their courage and faith to follow the Prophet's direction, as commanded by the Lord, is humbling.

Complimenting the reverence of the cemetery was the Winter Quarters temple just on the other side of the gate. I think it's special to have the House of the Lord next to such a reverent plot of land. It's a miracle to have a holy temple built where so many people ended up sacrificing their lives. This was a very neat place to visit.

The Great Road Trip: Chicago

29 July 2009--The first thing we saw coming out of the parking garage: the Willis Tower, formally the Sears Tower.
At the Cubs game. This is where we paid $30 to stand for 3 hours. "Thank you, Illinois! The Land of Lincoln!"

Josh dropped his watch and it took three crew members to give us permission to go beyond the gate (Josh got far, didn't he) and get the watch back. With his ingenuity, he was able to retrieve his watch.
The boys that played outside the stadium the entire game.
It was a successful day at the ball park. I had my first hot dog at a baseball game, the Cubs kicked some Astros, and we learned the Cubs' post-game anthem "Go Cubs Go!"

Looking back at Navy Pier from the Riverfront walk.

A nice little garden we found on our way to dinner.
True Chicago pizza.
Don't be fooled. These are actually starving faces.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Great Road Trip: The Cookie Monster Shirts

Our next stop on The Great Road Trip was to visit Conal and Monique Whetten up in Chicago. The Chicago-ian Whettens have five children that are always dressed in matching outfits. We thought it would be funny if we arrived at their house in matching shirts, as well. So the night before we left we made a midnight run to Wal-Mart to find shirts. Much to my absolute chagrin, the majority vote was for these hideously bright blue Cookie Monster shirts. Personally, my vote was on striped polos. Everyone (but me) thought the shirts were hilarious. So all seven of us (plus Dad) bought a shirt.

We definitely got funny looks as we stopped at gas stations along the way. I think most people assumed we were a Baptist youth group since the seven of us seemed like a storming mass because the shirts were so flagrant.

This is how ridiculous we looked:
Oh well. In the end it really was funny.