Friday, November 30, 2012

National Adoption Month

I know I'm a little late in the game to acknowledge this, but it's been a crazy month. 

I discovered only last month that the month of November is National Adoption Month and November 17th is National Adoption Day. Pretty neat if you ask me. :) There are MANY things they do including fundraisers, awareness 5K, 10K, etc. They have conferences and small group opportunities to learn more about others' experiences, as well as various opportunities to share your own. Unfortunately we did not make time to do any of that this month and I wish we did. This is all a learning process for us and we are enjoying all of the discoveries we are making. 

One thing Brad and I have learned about our experience thus far is that there is a whole adoption world out there. We never knew any of it existed! It has been a comforting experience, recognizing that we are not alone in this journey. We have so much to be grateful for. Throughout all of this we have learned what a blessing it is to have the opportunity to adopt (someday). 

We are so excited to one day (hopefully soon) offer a home filled with love, learning, and life experiences that will help children reach their full potential.

We are SO grateful for the many people we have been referred to, to share experiences with, learn from, increase understanding, and to seek further guidance in our journey.

Here are a few KEY things that help me to focus on the blessings and opportunities our life experience has to offer:

Christmas Candy

For as long as Grandma Roundy can remember, she has been making Christmas candy with her sisters. One of her sister's MIL made chocolates for a candy shop in SLC way back when, so Grandma was really trained by experts.

Since then, Grandma has carried on the tradition of making Christmas candy every year. There have been years where all of the women have done it together, she's done it with just a few, or sometimes by herself (heaven forbid). Grandma's Christmas candy is one of my fondest childhood memories. She is already a fabulous cook and to say her sweets are delicious is truly an understatement.

This year I took the opportunity to invite myself up to Grandma's to make some Christmas candy. There is a lot to learn about making this candy and a lot of tiny things you should and shouldn't do to make the candies turn out just right.

Yesterday was my first attempt to more independently make them, with the constant guidance of Grandma and continual support from cousin Shaylee as we worked together to make our share. I was pleasantly surprised at how well things turned out and how -somewhat naturally- it came to me.

Here's to a successful candy making experience!
Peanut Brittle
More Melbas, Toffee, and Candied Almonds YUM!
Grandma and me after a long, enjoyable day :)

Thanksgiving Festivities

I cannot believe how fast the month of November has gone by!
It probably helped to have my mom in town a little early for the holiday break. As I mentioned before she helped me out with a lot while she was here. We finally went through the storage room and got it all organized, she helped me make some decorating decisions around the house, and of course helped with the huge painting project. We also did a lot of shopping to help get a bunch of her Christmas shopping done and, by request, help give her wardrobe a little face lift.

It was really nice to have my mom around, especially since Brad's new shift started that same week with him working until 8 or 8:30 every night. Having someone there to keep me company made it more bearable. (anyone who knows me, knows how much I dislike being home alone).

My mom was also able to help me identify different things I really want to focus on improving about myself, physically, mentally, emotionally, etc. Mom's are the BEST at that sort of thing. I am so grateful for my mom and the close relationship that we have. This whole month has caused me to reflect a lot on what I am grateful for and it is truly overwhelming.

My dad and little sister Megan arrived in Utah the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. It is seriously the BEST having family in town. We are always getting spoiled with a full fridge and pantry and great company of course. :) We enjoyed just some relaxed, no hassle time together, always the best.

Thanksgiving day was celebrated at Uncle Steve and Aunt Jill's house. This year was the on year, where pretty much everyone was there. We about 50 people there! That kind of group can get really crowded and chaotic, but it is still the best! Nothing is better than spending time with SO MANY people that you love. It's so fun to see all the little groups of cousins that are like the mini-me groups of all the older cousins.

We spent the night up there Thursday night and went to a matinee movie the next day (a tradition of ours). Brad had to work, so I joined the little ones and my mom for Rise of the Guardians. I actually really liked it. It was really interesting how much Christian symbolism there was... always a breath of fresh air at the movies. There are some pretty awesome looking movies out/coming out and I'm pretty excited about a few.
After the movie Shay, Marcie, Rachael, my mom, and I did some shopping at our favorites: Marshalls & Home Goods. SO GREAT. Then we headed back to Jill's to get ready to head to the temple. Cousin Tucker is leaving on his mission to Tempe Arizona on Dec. 19 and we all got to be a part of his first temple experience. It's always extra special to go to the temple with so many family members. Brad was sweet enough to surprise me and came up in time to join us at the temple. Afterwards we had some dinner at Village Inn with everyone and headed home.


Brik and Brooklyn, caught in the pantry

Princess Paige and Princess Brooklyn

Letting the feast settle

Brik with some of the cousins... seriously guys he is the BEST with kids and available! ;)

Pie time 

2 of the most beautiful girls

the "mini-me's"
Hannah: Rachael, Seth: Jake, Ashlee: Shaylee, Megan: Me, Caroline: Juliana

Brad, me, Mitch, Jess, Zac, Shane, Shannon

Olivia & Maddie

Aunt Marcie, Dad, Mom, Aunt Jamie, Annie, Jake, Gpa, Gma

Rachael, her hubby Nate, and Sophie

Shay and Jas
Just a few of the pics I stole from other people since I didn't take any. :s

Saturday morning was spent putting up all our Christmas decorations. It was fun to have the family there helping since Brad had to work that day. They were all very helpful and I was relieved to have most of it done before the end of the day.

In the late afternoon, cousin Ashlee came over with Elder Zach Alder (Shaun's trainer). It was so fun to talk to him and ask him about Shaun and the mission. They seem to have a great respect for each other. We were also able to share an appreciation for classic Shaun stories. So great!

We finished off the night watching a movie with the fam and enjoying church together the next day. We played a few games of catch phrase together while waiting for time to pass before we headed over to Uncle BR and Jill's house for a fabulous dinner (as always).

Monday morning was a sad morning, having to take the family to the airport to head back to North Carolina.

November has been a month of much reflection on what we have been blessed with, rather than what we want/need.

I have learned to have a greater appreciation for the good health we have been blessed with. I have learned to have greater appreciation for the Lord's plan for us; knowing He knows what is most timely for us at any given time. I have learned how blessed we are to have such amazing families the offer so much love, support, kindness, and generosity. We are so blessed to have the knowledge we do of the gospel and the perspective that it offers. I am so grateful for the many examples we have of service in the church, in our neighborhood, and among friends and family. I do hope this perspective continues as we approach the most important celebration of the year: the birth of our Savior. May we truly strive to live more like Him. 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Face Lift

Living in my parents basement is seriously awesome, but sometimes it can be hard. It's been an adjustment sharing my high school bedroom with my husband, I feel like my family room is just a flash back to all of the parties we used to have here in high school (which were a blast, but not a part of my married life), and it hasn't felt like much of our own.
Now that we know we won't be moving anytime soon, I've gotten pretty antsy to get some things changed around the house to make it more like our own space that reflected more of my style and personality. My mom is totally fine with it because she has been wanting to make some changes herself, but can't always do it from across the country. Since college graduation I have gotten started with the change, but have made some major changed lately.
I painted over our navy blue bathroom walls with a lighter green. I actually don't love the color that I picked, but it's much lighter which makes a huge difference. (I don't have a before picture :s)

Being in the bedroom I had in high school, I have been antsy to make changes there as well. It needed a new paint job anyway. After a little bit of trial and error I painted our room a buttermilk yellow. Then I redid my lamps with some lighter paint and new lampshades. I also made a trip to IKEA to add a few trinkets to the bedroom to bring in another color. It's a work in progress, but I'm liking the way things are turning out.

The most recent face lift has been the HUGE family room space. My mom was sweet enough to come out a week and a half before Thanksgiving to help me with things around the house including this huge painting project. The red walls are gone! It is amazing how much brighter, more open, clean, and fresh everything feels in here now. And thanks to a great friend - Shout out to the magnificent Katie McArthur - for helping with all of the picture arranging and accessorizing. She seriously transformed the space and gave it so much more personality; I'm a little obsessed with it. :)


There are still things that need to be done: some throw pillows to break up the neutrals, throwing in some pops of color a few places. Overall, I'm pretty excited about this transformation.

Our Newest Addition

Please Welcome Ms. Wilma to the Marsh family!

We I feel it is always absolutely necessary to give our cars a name. They are an important part of our lives. They get us everywhere we need to go, they keep us warm in the winter, cool in the summer; it’s crazy how much we depend on them. Betty Blue is and will always be my truest, most reliable friend that I will ever know. She is a ’94 Honda Accord and has more personality than you will ever know – unless you have the pleasure of meeting her. We are still excited to have a new friend for Betty. J
We have gone the last 6 months surviving on having just one car; it really has been great. We have learned to make things work, walk more places, and we have saved a lot on gas. Thanks to our parents conveniently always having an extra car for us to use for the first two years of marriage we haven't had to worry about getting a second car. 
Because I have been a nanny for someone in the ward since June, we haven’t really had to worry about having a second car. I would just walk to work every day and use the car provided by the family I worked for. However, recently we decided I need to get back into the school scene with substitute teaching. It has a more flexible scheduling option, which helps with Brad’s new work schedule. It will also get me back to teaching – my first love in the working world. It was hard for me to leave my nanny job. The family is fun and energetic that I have enjoyed getting to know better. I will still have opportunities every now and then to work with their kids, but overall we feel the decision we have made is best for us. We are looking forward to this new adventure in my employment. I am so excited to get back into the schools!
Teaching friends: Contact me if you are ever in need of a sub!

My Latest Obession

So I know I’m a little behind on the times, but until recently I had never watched…
Downton Abbey
Yep, I’ve officially joined the the Downton Abbey Fan Club. I’ve heard so many great things about it from everyone and I needed to find out for myself. A couple of weeks ago I had to have a minor, pathetic surgery on my big toe and had to elevate it all day. So I found the situation to be an occasion to watch almost the whole first season in one day while I made a new Christmas wreath.
I think it’s safe to say I’m a little bit obsessed and not because everyone else is. I have always loved that era, the culture, the clothing, etc. There’s something about it all that just makes me smile.
Now I am DYING to watch the second season, but I am having a hard time getting my hands on a copy to watch before January. ANYONE HAVE A COPY OF SEASON 2 THEY’D LIKE TO LEND ME??? Or any ideas where I can access it??? Any help in the matter would be greatly appreciated.  

Saturday, November 3, 2012

October 2012

I am slowly getting back into the swing of things with this blog. My attainable goal is to update the blog once a month, this way I won't get too overwhelmed and hopefully it will slowly get easier to stay caught up. :)
October started with an obviously fabulous weekend of LDS General Conference. It is seriously my favorite time of year. And now that I have my handy dandy smart phone, I can re-listen to talks/music anytime, anywhere. One message that stood out to Brad and I most was from Elder Oaks: Protect the Children. It warmed our hearts to hear him acknowledge couples that are longing to have a family. It reminded us that we are not alone, and the opportunity to be parents will be one of our greatest blessings someday. How could I forget the new Missionary change?!?! I was so giddy when I heard this announcement, thinking of so many I know, waiting just to be old enough to go on a mission. This is truly will exciting and will create a lot of changes and growth in the mission field; it is all so exciting!
During Priesthood Session, we carried on our tradition of crafting and I made this lovely number:

Brad and I also had the opportunity to attend an orientation meeting with LDS Adoption Services. We learned a lot about the process of adoption, finances, expectation, timeline, etc. We have learned there are some adjustments we need to make to be/feel more prepared. We took home the paperwork and decided we are really going to hit the ground running with an agency starting January. For now, we will be focusing on improving our networking, blog, FB page, etc., and Brad will get his GMAT test out of the way first part of January.Once we've got that under our belts, we will feel more prepared for working with an agency. HOWEVER, that doesn't mean we aren't open to opportunities now through private opportunities. We have learned not going through an agency can sometimes be harder, but it can often make it more affordable and -we feel- better for us personally. DO NOT HESITATE TO CONTACT US :)

Probably my favorite thing that happened this month was the lovely surprise getaway from Brad. We have REALLY been needing to get away and forget about some of life's stresses for a day or so. I had work off Friday of that week and Brad said I couldn't plan anything because he was doing something for me. Because I am me, I had it pretty much figured out before we went, but I still LOVED that he did it all for us. I got home from work Thursday, Brad told me what to pack and that we were going to Park City, but he didn't tell me what hotel.We hadn't stayed at a hotel since we had been married (aside from living in one), so we were looking forward to it. I was so excited, we packed our bags and were on our way within 20 minutes. It took us forever to get to our hotel and I was surprised with an overnight stay at the Chateaux. Man it is a beautiful hotel and was so cozy. We had a fireplace in our cozy room and ROBES! I've always wanted to stay at a hotel where they had robes for you to wear. I loved it :) We went down to Main Street for dinner and window shopped a little bit as we walked around. I am seriously obsessed with all the cute little buildings and the darling colors and designs of all the houses. Later that night we went hot tubbing in our awesome robes and walked around by the HUGE fire pits they have throughout their courtyard. It was seriously SO pretty and SO cozy, just the way I like it. The next morning, we slept in, got cleaned up, packed up our stuff and headed out for a late breakfast. During breakfast, Brad had a phone interview with It went well, leading him to have another interview Monday morning. YAY! After breakfast we shopped all afternoon. It was definitely a successful bargain shopping day. We were so sad for the getaway to end, but so happy we had the chance to go. I'm grateful for the hubs and time we were able to spend together without worrying about reality for a little while.

That night we went to a reception for one of Brad's friends, then went to dinner with our friends, the Fillerups. I forgot how much I love Macaroni Grill! It was fun to catch up and just chat about all of the similarities at our stage of life.

One major highlight of the month: cousin Juliana and her hubs Zach had their sweet baby boy Connor Joshua Morris. Connor was born on 10-11-12... how fun is that? He is seriously the sweetest thing! One Tuesday this month I had the opportunity to go down to Springville to spend the day with Juj and her sweet little boy. Aunt Marcie came over and we helped clean up their apartment and make it a little more functional. I loved every minute of it and look forward to the opportunity to do it again in the near future.
Isn't he sweet??? 

That weekend was Brad's first half-marathon. YAHOO! To prepare, Friday night we had Paige and Austin Slade over for a Carb dinner of loaded baked potatoes. Brad was worried all week about the race, because he had been fighting a really nasty cold all week. It wasn't gone by Saturday morning, but it was a little better. We drove up with the Slades to Daybreak, where the race started. Pai and I dropped the boys off and we on a bit of a detour drive before eating some breakfast at Chik-fil-a: in honor of their So-Jo Chik-fil-a marathon. After our breakfast we parked at the finish line and got there just a little bit before the boys started coming through. I was SO PROUD when I saw my hubs making his way to the finish line. He looked sicker than a dog, but was still going strong. Brad came in 4th for his age group overall and averaged a 7:27 mile, What?? I don't think I could run ONE mile that fast, and he averaged that for 13.1??? I'm super proud of him and pleased to know I've got a super fast husband.

(pictures to come as soon as I get my hands on some) 

After the race, the boys wanted to celebrate with touring the new SCHEELS across the freeway from where we were. It was a pretty awesome store, but I am really glad I had Pai there with me. With us going together, the boys were able to ooo and awe over what they liked, while Pai and I kept ourselves entertained and found things of interest to us.

This last week of October was kept busy with work and getting the house cleaned up. We had our Halloween party with Brad's AZ friends and wives. If you know me, you know I LOVE hosting parties and like to find excuses for them to happen. I've been so excited for this one all week, I started setting up like 4 days before it started. We had yummy Chili with bread, salad, lots of finger foods and a few games. We did a costume contest, some candy corn relays, and of course donut on a string. We ended the night with an Audrey Hepburn classic suspense: Wait Until Dark. All of the husbands were pleasantly surprised... NEVER underestimate the potential of a movie with Audrey Hepburn ;) All of the costumes were great and one, a little bit TOO real for my liking... thank you for your Zombie obsession Mr. Slade. ;)

Fred + Wilma Flinstone

Batman + Catwoman

Boarder Patrol + well, you know...

Pita + Katniss

Mr. + Mrs. Zombie...
They won the costume contest!
Sunday was our Primary Program, which had me in tears within the first 20 seconds. I seriously can't handle how cute and innocent little children are. They have such sweet voices with angelic, teachable spirits. I envy their lives everyday. I am always overwhelmed with their unwavering faith, knowing they are all children of God. I look forward to the day when we will be blessed with the opportunity to have them in our home.

Monday we had our annual "Hatch Howl" up at my Aunt Jill's house. It was fabulous as always: to eat yummy food, visit with family, and carve our pumpkins. Unfortunately Aunt Jill was sick, so she wasn't able to participate as much; which was such a bummer (it is her favorite holiday). But we still had an awesome night and I enjoyed catching up with some family I hadn't visited with in a while.

(maybe I'll take a picture of our pumpkin before it looks too saggy)

Last but not least, HALLOWEEN: The day was pretty normal, working as a nanny and following normal routine, until I was let off work early. I joined Shay and the girls to trick-or-treat at Vivint and visit Jason. While we were there we also visited with cousin Ash and I got to meet Shaun's mission trainer. Long story short, he and Ash work together and everyone but me had already met him. I was so happy to finally have my turn. It's funny how things like that make you feel closer to the missionary.
"Elder" Zach Alder
Brad didn't have his GMAT prep class that night so I was really excited to spend the evening with him. We dressed up in our costumes and handed out candy to the darling neighbor kids until we ran out. After that we headed over to Shaylee and Jasons to see the kiddos and enjoy some good munchies while watching Hocus Pocus. Such a great end to a fun holiday!
too cute!