Saturday, June 29, 2013

Father's Day

We woke up on Father's Day to our last morning of camping. I was a little bummed when I discovered we would be up in the mountains Father's Day morning since it ruined my plans to present Brad's gift, but it all worked out.
We enjoyed a leisurely morning of eating pancakes and slowly cleaning up camp as we felt like it. We spent a lot more time around the campfire with our friends talking about careers and all the things that are changing as we become more like real "grown ups".
After cleaning up camp we said our goodbyes and headed home quickly to get cleaned up and make it to church for sacrament meeting. Before we headed to church I gave Brad his gift: a waffle maker. He was pretty darn excited about it. He was always so sad we didn't get one for a wedding gift and has wanted one since. We never could justify just going out and buying one, so this was a good enough excuse to make him happy. AND it was on sale... Score!
Our family always has a get together on Father's Day, but this year we decided not to go, but for a good reason. We spent the rest of the afternoon, until 12:30 that night working on our adoption profile. We have been dying to get it done, but have had limited down time together to work on it. We really cranked it out so we could get going on our home study before my family comes to visit in July. All the hard work and long hours paid off. We are so grateful to have the most tedious part of the adoption process done with! It's a lot of hard work and time consuming so it's nice to be done. We have had so many tender mercies that have helped us along the way and we are so grateful for all that have helped make this happen.
To wrap up our Father's Day, I just wanted to spotlight Bradley; who will be such an incredible dad someday.
Brad has the biggest heart and is so ready to love a baby. With all the time we spend around family and friends with their little ones - it is easy to see. He is always "spotting" the babies/little ones in the room and finding ways to sit by them, play with them, etc. He loves to snuggle babies and has a special soft spot for our cousin's little girl, Reagan. He can't wait to spend time with our kids, making them laugh and taking them on adventures outside. He is always talking about things we will do to help our kids grow up confident in themselves, but kind, and thoughtful toward others. He has dreams of what he will do to give them the best life they can have, but still keep them humble. He is already the king of " dad jokes" so bring on the babies, because this guy is ready :)
Brad and our newest cousin
Playing "dad" with Reagan
helping Cole make his gingerbread man 
snuggling with Reag
snuggling with Reag again.
He is too perfect with these little ones :)

Friday, June 28, 2013

We Went Camping

Last weekend we went camping together for the first time since we've been married. I've been to girls camp, Brad's been camping with friends, but we hadn't ever made the time to go camping. We were lucky enough to get most of our camping essentials as wedding gifts so we were set and ready to go.
The last of Brad's friends are moving away, moving forward with careers and such so we wanted to do a last hoorah before we are all separated. We've all spent the last few years together, supporting our men through intramural football with the Purple Cobras, getting through school, lots of dinner dates, and crafting while the boys watch games.
The best part about this camping trip was that we didn't have anything planned. We went up there fully intending to lounge and do things as we please. We did just that. Some of the men found the perfect spot, away form everyone, right next to the river. It was fabulous. We sat around the fire and talked, and listened to the men talk about all their funny stories from high school. Oh to be a fly on the wall in their lives! We played a few different tournaments of horse shoes, played a few different card games, and went on a short hike together.
I LOVED waking up in the morning to the sound of muffled talking outside the tent - it takes me back to my childhood. The men did a great job being manly men: building fires, setting up the tents, chopping firewood while we helped make sure the campsite was tidy and everyone was eating.
The whole time we were there I kept wondering why it took us so long to get out and go camping. It was so nice to get away from social networking/technology/our fast-paced world and just slow down and enjoy nature, and - in all seriousness - how beautiful life really is.
It was so much fun spending the weekend with such good friends. It made me sad to realize this phase of life is changing and it isn't going to be as easy to get everyone together anymore. We have created such great friendships with these guys and I'm so grateful for them. I hope we all end up close someday so our kids can all be friends :)

***I don't have any good pics, we had our professional photographer (paige slade) and I still need to get the pics from her :)
Brad's hammock -
decided it was too special to get dirty, so this didn't last long
sitting around the fire
on our hike
cleaning up camp

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Home Study Complete!!!

It's done! It's done! It's done! Yay!
We are SO thrilled to be at this point in the adoption process. There is a lot of work that goes into the process up to this point and we are so relieved to reach this level!
We have filled out questionnaire after questionnaire and told story after story and collected picture after picture and we are here! Even though it was a lot of work and somewhat tedious, it was also a neat experience. With some of the things the profile required, it really caused us to reflect a lot. We talked a lot about our favorite childhood memories, what made us happy, what we find is most important to raise a successful family, how we will discipline our children, etc. It was fun to carry on these conversations and remember how blessed we are to have been raised the way we were.
Anyway, the actual home study happened by tender mercy after tender mercy. After finding out Monday that our home study would be Wednesday, I got a little overwhelmed. Our house was clean, but I had one room that was in dire need of organization and I had just put it on the back burner. It had become my: I'll deal with it later room, and later never came. Now I had no choice, but I didn't know how I was going to get that room in order and get the house really clean the next day. Then, I knew who to call, the woman who saved the day/my life: Miss Danielle Tamang! She seriously made it all happen. When I hesitantly asked for her her help, she eagerly replied with a yes and was at my house by 8:00 a.m. Tuesday morning. We spent five hours working hard, cleaning, organizing, and finally had it all done, with a few minor details for me to do on my own. With as crazy busy as I was, there is no way I could have done it all. I seriously don't know what I would have done without her help. She is seriously the greatest and I am so grateful for her willingness to help in our time of need.
Brad spent some time Tuesday night doing some things I needed him to do. The next morning we put on all our child safety locks, outlet covers, and made sure everything was where it needed to be.
Our house was perfectly ready, spic and span, just in time for our 10:00 a.m. home study. 
We passed with just a few things needing to be moved around and now we can breath a sigh of relief. At this point in the process, our caseworker puts together and 8-10 page write up of us as a couple, our background, and our home. After she is done, she presents it to her supervisor and an approval board. Once it is approved we will be published!!! The average time for this completion is 4-6 weeks. Shannon, our case worker is hoping to get it done closer to 4 weeks. We are so grateful for her and her willingness to share our eagerness. Once we are published, we just wait and pray real hard :) 
We are so grateful to have come this far and can hardly believe we are at this point! Again, thank you to everyone that has helped make this happen - whether it has been through physically helping, offering support, keeping us in your prayers, etc. - it has all been most helpful and has not gone unnoticed :)
we celebrated that night watching Iron Man, eating air-popped popcorn and a yummy treat
It was so nice to relax and not feel guilty about it :)

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

My Birthday & Other Celebrations

The first week of summer we had our ward's Girl's Camp. I have been in YW for over a year now and this was my second time going to camp. I look forward to watching the girls interact with each other without technology getting in the way of normal conversation and drawing closer together in the ward. It was so rewarding and I was so sad to leave early, but I had good reasons.
I guess you could consider it a tender mercy that I got sick the night I got HOME from camp, rather than at camp. Unfortunately I got the 24 hour flu, just in time for all of our special, family celebrations.
My mom flew into town for a week to surprise my aunt, helping her with wedding stuff and to be a part of a family sealing as well as a family wedding in the same week. I left Girls Camp Wednesday so I could go to my cousin's sealing on Thursday. She was sealed to her hubby and darling little girls and it was such a sweet image seeing them all together in the sealing room. It was especially sweet to see their little baby, helping to give me a little glimpse of what it might look like when we have the opportunity to be sealed to our babies as we adopt. I'm so excited for that special moment. :)
darling family (photo cred: Ashley Morgan Spaulding Photography)
I was devastated to wake up that morning with the flu. I literally cried, knowing it was going to be hard to make it to the ceremony. But I knew I had to go, I REALLY wanted to be there. So with the help of a priesthood blessing given by the hubs and my cousin, Jason, I made it - barely. I was definitely still miserable, but much less miserable than I usually am with the 24, so I was definitely able to see the blessings of the priesthood power, and having a righteous desire. All I asked was to make it there, and I did :) I'm so grateful for the priesthood in my life!
That night we had an open house for my cousin that was getting married the next day. It was fun to see it all come together. I was especially pleased since they used a lot of my decorations from home complete the look.
Friday, my birthday, was the day of the big wedding for Mitch and Jess. That morning Brad brought me breakfast in bed, but a light breakfast since I was still recovering from the 24 hr. flu. I was feeling MUCH better, but still had to be a little careful. The ceremony wasn't until 12:40. So it was nice to be able to take my time getting ready in the morning and open up a few presents. I was especially excited to wear the new skirt my MIL gave me for my birthday. We went to the ceremony up at the Salt Lake temple and listened to a BEAUTIFUL message by the sealer.
the happy couple: Mr. & Mrs. Mitchell Hatch
Afterwards we headed to the luncheon at Lion House - SO GOOD! Then headed back to Alpine. When I got home, I discovered my Mia Maids had come over and decorated my house with birthday decor. It was darling! Afterwards took a little nap, cleaned up a bit, and headed to their reception, here in Alpine. (Small world: my cousin from Layton, married a gal from Alpine - kinda fun).
We danced the night away and I was excited to go to bed and get a good sleep for the first time that week.
My mom left for a red eye that night to get home for my sister's bday. (ended up missing it, but that's another story).  It was so fun to have mom in town for a week; it was especially nice to have her there, helping take care of me when I was sick. I seriously am scared for the first time I am sick when I have kids. I've got to toughen up and take better care of myself so I can handle being sick!
the darling owl my mom got me to add to my home decor

LOVE my new skirt -
don't mind the construction in the background
cute little notes down the stairs
balloons and streamers and confetti
more streamers with darling pics from little ones
Because my birthday was filled with wedding stuff, we celebrated some more the next day. Zac and his girlfriend slept over Friday night so we had a big breakfast together that morning, played some hilarious games with balloons and got cleaned up for the day. Brad took me bike shopping! I've been wanting a cruiser for YEARS, but could never justify asking for something. Brad and my parents decided they would go in together and get me a bike of my choice. We found this great guy on KSL that sells every color and a couple different styles. They are great! We picked up my bike on our way to Salt Lake to go to the Bees game with some of our friends. Brad and I actually hadn't been to a game together since we had been married so I was really looking forward to celebrating my birthday going to a game. We sat on the grass and enjoyed watching the fireworks after the game. A perfect night!

the mcneils
the firework show :)
bday present from my brother, Zac. Only good things come from this bag :)
(Thanks Karlie)
cookbook from my cousin, Shay and her little family.
I've been wanting this one for a while.
putting her together :)
meet Tami :)
When we got home, Brad and I stayed up late to set up my bike; it was perfect!
Even though I didn't celebrate much on my birthday, it was a great day celebrating family and so many people were so kind with their birthday wishes. I'm anxious/excited to see what this next year of life brings... Here's to turning 23!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

May's Missing Moments

This post is to document a few other things we had going on throughout the month of May.
First off, this pretty lady got married to her high school best pal. They are seriously darling together and pulled off the most adorable dance "performance" at their reception.
Mr. & Mrs. Skillings

Jess's Shower
We also threw a bridal shower for my cousin's fiancee. I was put in charge of helping pull together and set up the decor. It was the perfect excuse to make another banner :)

One of the biggest events of the month was taking Miss Mindy to the MTC. Brad's sister, Mindy has been called to serve in the SLC Temple Square mission. We have learned so many amazing things about that mission and are anxious to hear more about her experiences. You can read more about her experiences HERE.
We were watching my cousin's girls again, so they got to be a part of the "goodbye".
love this of Brooklyn
love this of Reagan
Miss B insisted on being in every picture :)
Miss B striking another pose
there she goes!
Brad's cousin played in the high school state championship for baseball this year (4A) and we had the chance to go to the state game. I had the day off of work, Brad got off early, and I had my cousin's little girls for the day so we spent the day at the ball park. It was fun playing "parents" for the day and enjoying spending the afternoon with family watching one of our favorite sports.
Shout out to Salem Hills for taking state this year!  Yahoo!!!
watching the little ones play

trying to improvise

love when this girl dresses herself.. notice her toes in flip flops and her two purses
Unfortunately my cousin, Shaylee ended up getting appendicitis and was in the hospital all weekend. Lucky for us, we had the girls off an on for the next week or so. again, we LOVED playing parents some more and spending a lot of times with some kiddos we love like our own.

one irresistible little monkey jumping on the bed

snuggling to get warm at the splash pad

watching the other kids play at the splash pad

John Rowe Moyle: TREK

This year for our ward's youth trek, we did the "John Moyle" trek.
You can watch a condensed version of his story HERE.

This trek consists of walking from Alpine, Utah to the Salt Lake Temple, in one day.
Hard. Work.
Brad and I were both adult leaders on the trek, however we were never together :( So I will mostly be sharing my experience, which I'm sure is similar to many others.
Our experience consisted of about 29 miles, 11ish hours, about 7 of those hours being in the rain. We started at 2:00 a.m. on a Saturday morning and arrive to temple square around 1:00.
This was honestly one of the hardest things I have ever done (mentally, physically, etc.) - as a leader it was especially humbling. I was so impressed with the drive and determination the youth had; they are what kept me going.
The journey had it's ups and downs. There were times it was harder to keep the youth motivated, there were times it was harder to keep myself motivated. There were sometimes we were skipping and singing, making fools of ourselves. Most of the time it was easier to just keep walking, rather than take advantage of the break stops or the occasional red light. Once we got to our last stop at 1300 East and South Temple, I joined a few other leaders and we ran the rest of the way - with some of the young women joining us. I guess I shouldn't say run, but it wasn't a walk - it was more of a wobble-jog, but it got us there faster and it was nice for my muscles to have a change in motion.

a few of us that came in together
I was honestly ready to cry when we got there. I was also a little bit panicked with claustrophobia since my fingers had LITERALLY swelled to the size of hot dogs and I couldn't get my wedding ring off (that thing didn't come off until about ten o'clock that night).
Even though this experience was hard and there were a million other things I could have been doing, it was ABSOLUTELY WORTH IT. We can talk about the fact that it was 29 miles (8 miles more than John Rowe Moyle actually walked), or that it took a few hours longer than we were told, or that it rained most of the way, or that our we couldn't keep our feet dry - OR we can talk about the fact that we got to walk on paved paths most of the way, we had the wonderful April Moriarty serenading us at one point in the journey, it DIDN'T rain while we were walking through the dirt/mud (serious tender mercy), the rain provided nice, cool weather, when we arrived we had a whole slew of people cheering us on and dishing up a fabulously delicious meal at the finish.
This experience was truly a life-changing one that I will never forget. Yes it was hard, but it was worth it.
I am so grateful for for John Rowe Moyle and his dedication to his service to the Lord and calling in the church. He truly did his very best in fulfilling his duties, being called as a temple worker. It would take most of us far less than a missing/wooden leg to try to get out of responsibilities in our callings, but that didn't stop him. I am overwhelmed by his wonderful example of a servant of the Lord and pray I will have the faith and determination to fulfill my duties in the church - more fully.
Thank you, Alpine 11th Ward, for this amazing experience.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Mother's Day

Mother's Day was a great day!
I was a little bit nervous to see how my emotions would be this year, but it was truly wonderful. Heavenly Father blessed me with a spirit of joy and gratitude on this special day and I am so grateful for it!
Our morning started pretty early with our final missionary Skype session with Elder Shaun! It was so good to see him and it's so crazy to think he will be home before Thanksgiving this year! Yay!

Here we are! I big happy family! In four different places :)
Afterwards we went back to sleep for a bit and my morning really started: Brad brought me breakfast in bed, such a sweetie! Then he brought in a present he had been dying to give me. He and my parents went in on it together and got me a brand new Kindle! I was SO happy. I've been borrowing one from a friend and got totally hooked on it! It's been years since I have really enjoyed reading; now that I am done with school (and have been for a year) I'm finally getting back into enjoyable, leisurely reading.
Here she is!

and here is the perfect case :)
While I was getting ready Brad put my scriptures on the Kindle so I could bring it to church today. I loved it! Then we headed to our ward. It was a special day because it was my dear friend, Nielle's (Danielle Tamang) homecoming. She just got back from serving her mission in the Philippines and it is SO GREAT having her back :) Afterwards we went over to her house to visit with all of our friends and their family. 
so HAPPY to have my tall Asian friend back!
The rest of the afternoon was spent up in Layton with my mom's side of the family. We always do lots of yummy salads and desserts with a BBQ. 
All throughout the meetings on Mother's Day I was constantly overwhelmed by the spirit; there was not one moment of sadness. I truly was pleasantly surprised and know it was a Tender Mercy from my Heavenly Father that made this day so perfect. I was reminded of the sanctity of the role of a mother and the divine nature we have as women in the church to nurture, love, and serve one another. I am so grateful for the opportunities I have now to practice my role as a mother and recognize my responsibilities and what I have to offer. I'm grateful for the opportunity I have to be a homemaker - making our home a sanctuary away from the chaos of the world. I am so overwhelmed by the countless number of amazing mothers I have been blessed to associate with on a daily basis. I pray I can continue to be mindful of these things as my opportunity to really become a mother comes closer and closer. :)

Brad's Birthday

We had Brad's birthday on May 10th and we did what we could to celebrate. We both worked that day so I woke up early and made him breakfast in bed and gave him his birthday present: new sunglasses. He gets headaches really easily from the sun and has been dying for a nice pair of sunglasses to help avoid those headaches. He LOVES them and I think he looks pretty studly in them :)
Checkin' out his new shades
He only worked half-day and spent the rest of the afternoon golfing. When I got home from work, we got cleaned up and headed to The Smoking Apple for dinner with the Deelstra's. Brad LOVES The Smoking Apple and we highly recommend it to anyone and everyone. Their food is SO yummo! After dinner we headed back to our place and some of our family/friends came over to help celebrate with us eating confetti cupcakes and ice cream - Bradley's favorites.
Last but not least, Brad has been saving his own personal pennies for months now to buy something big: his handgun. He's been finding ways to make money doing odd jobs for people and some was back when he was working a position with commission. Welp by the day after his birthday he was a little bit shy of the amount of money he needed to get his gun. I surprised him with a little extra cash and he is now an official handgun owner. He thinks it's pretty cool. Watching Brad get his favorite things is like watching a little boy on Christmas morning, I love it :) So happy it made him so happy!
filling out the legal paperwork

making his final decision

there it is! can't wait to have it in his hands

making the purchase

One Happy Camper
Happy Birthday Brad! I hope you had a fabulous day celebrating life! 
Can't believe you are a quarter of a century!