Santa Barbara Half Marathon

So back in September, Preston's Mom, Karlyn, called us up and asked if we wanted to run a half marathon in Santa Barbara. My first thought was "Uhhh, yeah, right, like that's going to happen." But after thinking about it, I came to the conclusion that this was a good idea and would be good for me. And Preston decided to do it with me, too. So the next day, we went out and bought new running shoes and got training.

On Friday, we flew out to LA to run the half marathon. I was really nervous. I hadn't trained as much as I would have liked and I still didn't think of myself as a runner. But Saturday morning came and there was really no way around it: I was running 13.1 miles that day whether I liked it or not. Thankfully, the rain that had been in the forecast didn't end up happening and it was a beautiful day in Santa Barbara. The scenery probably really doesn't get much better. The last mile or so is right along the coast. The whole area is just heaven. We rain through pretty wooded areas, a strawberry field, and some cute neighborhood streets lined with residents in lawn chairs cheering us on. One way or another, I made it through and crossed the finish line. And all I could think was "I have to sit down." So I sat down right there on the track as we waited for the rest of the runners in our group to finish.

If you would have asked me if I would do it again in the future on Saturday, I probably would have said no. But I think I will try it again. And I think I'll train more this time. :)

Preston and I just after I finished the race. Preston crossed the finish line about a minute before me. We had no idea we were so close at the end.

All the runners after finishing. Preston, Karlyn and I did the half, and Ben ran the FULL marathon. This was right after he came across the finish line.

The three half-ers while we were waiting for Ben to finish.

Preston was the first to finish.

And this picture sums up how my body felt afterwards...:)


Washington DC, Philly, New Jersey, New York....

I seriously hate rearranging pictures on blogger, and these are all out of order, so I'll just give you a run down of the trip, and then you can look at the pictures, even though they are out of order.

I've spent the last week travelling around the east coast with Preston's family. It was Preston's parents, Karlyn and Vaughn, Preston's sisters, Emma and Camille, Preston's not-even-released-as-a-missionary brother, Ben, and us. We took the trip to pick up Ben and see his mission, but got to visit some other cities along the way. He served his mission in New Jersey.

Saturday-Tuesday - Washington DC. Ben took at train down from New Jersey and met us in DC. We spent a few days seeing all the sites in DC. We went to the White House, the capital, Lincoln Memorial, Smithsonian Museums, Arlington Cemetery, the DC Temple, Washington Monument, WW1 & 2 Monuments....and probably more. We covered a lot of ground. It was HOT and HUMID in DC. We are probably just babies, but when you are walking from site to site, it can be pretty miserable. I swear I spent half of this trip sweating like a pig. We also went to some good restaurants and watched the fireworks from the roof of our hotel!

Tuesday--Thursday Travelled up to Philly (See picture for details) and then ended up in Newark, New Jersey on Tuesday. This was the section of the trip where we toured some of Ben's mission and visited some of the people that he met while on his mission. I was blown away by the humility and kindness of these people. Truly. Every person we met was so kind, and many of them fed us real authentic food from their countries. Ben served as a Spanish Speaking elder so the people we met were mostly from different spanish speaking countries. At one house, we all went in thinking that we were there for a 10-15 minute visit. It was the end of the night and we were all getting really tired. But when we showed up, the father of the family had made us a feast, appetizers, entrees, and dessert included! It was kind of funny, but the food was delicious. I could just tell by the look in his eyes that he lived to serve others. He loved to do something for other people. He is in remission from throat cancer and is not able to speak very much or very clearly, but his spirit was so strong to me. It was the same at every house we visited. It was great seeing the joy that the gospel brings in their life. Even though they are different from me in almost every way, that was the same.

Thursday Night - Saturday Morning - New York City! We ate at cool resturants, had Serendipity's frozen hot chocolate, went to times square, shopped, took the train to see the statue of liberty, went to central park and the Manhattan temple.

This is an awesome view of the New York City skyline from West New York. Ben served here at the very beginning of his mission.

Us in Times Square right after shopping at H&M and Zara!

In Newark, there is miles and miles of graffiti just like this along one of the railroad tracks. Pretty cool. Some of the areas the Ben served in were pretty Ghetto. Definitely got us out of our element I think.

In a sweet cathedral that we visited in Newark. It looked as big as the Salt Lake Temple. I'm not sure if it actually was, but it was massive and beautiful.

Preston in the Ironbound in New Jersey. The Ironbound is an area in Newark that got it's name because it is completely bound by train tracks. It is one of the safer parts of Newark and it is the place where all of the Portuguese people come to live. There are a lot of different cultures here, but it seemed that Portuguese was the dominate ethnicity. So this was pretty cool for Preston. We got to eat at a restaurant that had food just like food he used to eat while he was on his mission. They basically brought out a huge plate with a bunch of fries, rice, and really well-seasoned chicken and ribs. It was a ton a food and fun to try something that Preston was familiar with.

We also got to try out a portuguese bakery and get a bolos, a portuguese pastry that I've heard Preston talk about for 2 years. Ben also served in this area and learned to communicate with the portuguese while he was there.

This was one of the only pictures I took in Philadelphia. We were only here for a couple of hours. One of Preston's best friends lives in Philadephia as he goes to Villanova for law school. He joined us for a tour of the liberty bell and constitution hall. This was in the room where the Constitution was signed and where many important meetings were held. We also went and got Philly cheesesteak sandwiches for lunch. They were delicious.

We got to see our best friends Steve and Jessie in DC. Since they moved to DC in May, we have really missed them. We were so happy to see them a few times while we were there. They will always be in our lives, I just know it. :) This is just us in front of the capitol on the Fourth of July, our last night in DC.

Us at the Licoln Memorial. This was one of my favorite places that we visited in DC.

The DC temple in Maryland. We went to church on sunday at the church building right by the temple, and then went to the visitors center by the DC Temple. It was beautiful.

With Ben at the Temple.

More pictures to come....!

We went to this famous food truck called Waffels and Dinges. They did delicious Belgium Waffles.

Us in front of the White House. You can't get very close to the front, but we took a tour of the inside. You only get to see a small portion of it, but it was still cool to say we did it.

Preston walking up to the capital. We took the Capital Tour.

This was me on the ferry that we accidentally got on. Haha. We were trying to go to the statue of liberty, but we went to Staten Island instead. It was an adventure. The Statue of Liberty is in the background, but it's pretty small. It was raining that day and very foggy.

Sorry I didn't take many pictures of the whole group, but Preston's mom took care of that. I'll post some if I get the pictures from her.


Cooking and other things.....

Photo taken at a wedding this past weekend. We matched. :)

You may be seeing a lot more blogging from me in the coming months. I just got my cute little iMac set up and I LOVE it. Seriously, I have a place in our apartment that feels like "my space" and I have somewhere to create and write and blog! Love it.

Tonight's dinner was delicious. Pork tenderloin with Chimichurri and a green salad and butternut squash. ChimiChurri > Candy. But not better than chocolate. No no no. But it is a delicious mixture of parsley, cilantro, oregano, lime, vinegar....and a lot of other deliciousness. Recipe here. I realized today that cooking has become much much much less stressful for me. When we first got married, I swear I would be sweating and stressed by the end of any meal. I never knew if I was doing things right, I measured every little thing, and I hated dishes piling up as I cooked. I'm proud to say that it is actually therapeutic for me now. I love to cook a good meal in a quiet home after a long day at work. It's wonderful.

We aren't the gardening type, or maybe it's the fact that we don't have a yard, but we decided to try our hand in growing fresh spices. We have rosemary, parsley and cilantro. Before you begin to be impressed in the slightest, I should tell you that we bought them already grown, and we just have to not let them die. We will see what happens. For now, they just look cute in our window sill. And its so nice that it's actually WARM enough for these little puppies to get enough sunlight.


Birthday, mavs game, and a few more....

Yesterday was my birthday and it was grand. I really did have a great day.

It started out on sunday night, when Steve and Jessie came over and gave me a birthday/going away present (They are going away, not us.) She has spent the last couple months making this beautiful quilt for me. I saw the process she went through on her first quilt and how much time it took her to complete, so I really can't say how much this gift meant to me. It was the perfect start my birthday, and truly, truly touched me. She even made it to match the decor in our living room (Not to mention that they are my favorite colors to decorate with). At the risk of sounding way over emotional gushy, I must say that Steve and Jessie have just been the greatest friends to us that anyone could ask for. We love them very much, and will miss them when they move this week. I've known Steve since high school, and he couldn't have married a greater girl. She's someone I truly trust and really admire. I'm really excited for them to be moving on from the student life in Provo.

So for good reason, I went to bed feeling very loved and very happy. The next day, my work let me pick what restaurant we have for lunch and what kind of dessert we have for lunch. I picked a thai restaurant called Thai Lotus, and a triple chocolate cake for dessert. It was delicious and nice to have everyone in the office acknowledge my birthday.

After work was done, I came home to an amazing surprise from Preston. I knew that Preston was planning some kind of surprise, but I was wayyyy off on what it was. Preston got me a new iMac! It is a BEAUTIFUL machine. My laptop has been out of commission for months now, and have been wanting some kind of computer for awhile, but kinda just put it on the backburner until a later time. I'm sooo excited to have this computer.

Then we went out to dinner with some friends at Shoots. It's a chinese restaurant that we used to go to and wanted to try it out again. It was great. It was fun to celebrate with friends.

We invited everyone over afterwards for cake and ice cream. It was a great day, and I'm so grateful to all the people that made my day fun.

A few other noteworthy events:

A couple of weeks ago, we got tickets for the MAVS JAZZ game!!!! If you know me well enough, you know that I'm a Mavs fan. I grew up watching Mavs games with my family and I just love basketball. (Which is a really good thing considering who I married...:)) We got to the arena about 5 minutes late. All the scalpers were still trying to get rid of their tickets, so we asked one of them how much they would sell tickets to sit in the lower bowl. We had cheap upper bowl seats, but thought it was worth a shot if he would give them to us for cheap. We negotiated down to 40 bucks for seats on the 12th row. IT WAS AWESOME. Seriously, more awesome than we thought it would be. And we already thought it would be pretty awesome. It kinda felt like a dream come true for me, as silly as that may sound. We were right by the Mavs bench so I got to see Dirk and the rest of the team up close. They look so massively huge when you are sitting up closer. It was close until the 4th quarter and then the mavs pulled away for the win. Now if we can just pull away with this playoff series against the trailblazers, I'll be a happy girl.

Dirk in all his glory....

This is a picture of Preston and I on our Valentine's day dinner a few months ago. Preston has a black eye in this picture, but that's another story. :) Think basketball, an elbow to the face, and a trip to the emergency room.

We also were able to see my family this past weekend. They were in town for my sister's graduation from BYU, so it was nice to spend some time with them and the rest of my family that lives in Provo this past weekend.


I'm grateful.

I'm grateful for my good job and for my good husband.
I'm grateful that he's sweet to me when I'm sick.
I'm grateful that I end most days exhausted, because it means I'm busy. I like being busy.
I'm so grateful that we don't have to be constantly worried about money.
I'm grateful for the support of families.
I'm grateful to my mom and dad for having so many kids. Being from a big family shapes the way I think and act a lot of the time.
I'm grateful that Preston helps me cook dinner.
I'm grateful that Preston pushes me. He urges me to try new things and makes me less fearful.
He makes me excited for life.
I'm grateful for two amazing sets of parents who teach us in different ways.
I'm grateful for my independence and alone time.
I'm grateful for the knowledge that I can do hard things.
I'm grateful for my testimony and for the spirit.
I'm grateful for temples and bishops and visiting teachers and callings and tithing.
These are the things that keep me on track.

Today I did yoga at work. Thursdays are my favorite work days because of this. Taking 45 minutes in the middle of the day to stretch and focus and breathe {not to mention work out...yoga is hard work!} makes all the difference in my state of mind.
Our teacher's name is Jen. She's everything you think of when you think of a yoga instructor.
I feel like she can tell my mood just by being in my presence.
I have no idea if this is true, but it seems this way.
Tonight, we'll probably make dinner {salmon and steamed squash, or perhaps mongolian beef.} and then go to the gym. Watch our tv shows and make a smoothie. Yum.

Many of our nights consist of these activities.

But big plans for the weekend. Golfing on saturday {weather permitting} and dinner with dear ole' dad whose in town for a church calling training thing. Then off to Keys on Main, a dueling piano bar in Salt Lake, to celebrate the birthday of a dear friend, Jessie.
Then sunday is church and NBA playoffs and Navajo Tacos. Go Mavs. Yep. Should be a good one.


Happiness and Craftiness.

On a blog that I read, someone said the following.

"Honestly, I think only low-IQ people get to be happy, except in short bursts"

How sad that someone actually thinks that. If you are happy, you must be dumb. WHAT? What a terrible way to live life. I'm so happy to have been raised knowing that we can be truly happy in our every day lives. Yes, we have good and bad days, and yes we have struggles that last weeks, months and years, but we can be happy because of the hope that the gospel brings. We can learn to see the good in our lives and see the many blessings in our lives.

Anyway, I've been in a little bit of a crafty mood lately, and I thought I'd share one of my creations. I've seen this print on a few different blogs, but I modeled mine off of this blog: http://sonotdonnareed.blogspot.com/2011/01/you-look-familiar.html

There is this photographer named Leo Reynolds that allows anyone to use his photos for free, as long as you give him credit! Here is the link to his site: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lwr/collections/

So here is my creation:

It's so easy! I just used Word to make it. The hardest part is just getting them all to the right size so they all line up correctly. But once I figured that out, I made the word doc in to a PDF, and went and got it printed at Fedex.

I also made a few pillows for our couch. These pillows aren't completely done yet and I'm probably going to make more, but here is what I have so far.

I seriously hope that one day I'll have a home of my own and the means to decorate it as I wish, but for now, this will have to do.


Welcoming in 2011.

Our year in review: Two semesters of school, One summer of graveyard shifts and messed up schedules, One job getting moved to part-time, then going away completely. One relaxing month of unemployment, One start of a new great job, and with that the start becoming an "extreme commuter." One hair dye mishap. One summer of fun short trips with friends and family. One anniversary celebrating our first year of marriage. One move to a new apartment. One "go-to" couple friendship made. 3 new callings between the two of us. One snoop dog sighting. Two bowling tournament trophies (A first and a third place). One season of the bachelor. One season of the bachelorette. One season of Bachelor Pad. One game of Fantasy Bachelor Pad. Many trips to 24-hour fitness. One year of no more school for me. A transition of going from broke to not as broke. The marriage of many friends. One family reunion. One college graduation. One first time playing golf. Many nights of spades. One large fiasco involving best buy and verizon (I still hate both of you in case you were wondering). One terrible-turned-not-bad BYU football season. The beginning of the PB&J report.

It has been a good year.

2011 has got some great things too:

1) Preston hopefully and most likely graduates from BYU in December!
2) A trip to the east coast with Preston's family. Mostly DC and New York.
3) Christmas in Texas with my family.
4) Turning 24.
5) Preston's brother Ben coming home from his mission.
6) I'm sure there are more things that I don't remember!
7) Oh yeah, and we are having a baby...............................ok JUST KIDDING about the baby.

My new years resolutions:

1) Keeping our room clean and organized. I'm pretty good about our living area/kitchen...but my clothes kinda take over our bedroom. I blame it on not having enough dresser space, so today we bought some more storage for my clothes.

2) Getting a better scripture reading schedule going.

3) Be generally nicer and show real concern for what people are going through. Show the people that are important to me that they really ARE important to me in direct ways instead of assuming they know.

Christmas was nice. So nice that I didn't want to come back. Oh well, such is life. I didn't take too many pictures, but I did take some pictures of one thing. One thing that Preston's mom, Karlyn did for us for Christmas was buy us a replica of the top of our wedding cake. You see, our wedding cake was so good that the people serving it served up the entire cake to our guests without saving the top for us. Karlyn felt bad that we never got to try our wedding cake and we didn't get to do the whole "save the top and eat it on your one year anniversary." In reality, I think this was the best of both worlds: still get this fun little rite of passage without having to eat year-old cake! So we did the whole cutting the cake ceremony, AND Preston shoved the cake in my face this time, because there is no way in heck I would have let him do this for our actual wedding. haha. While we were doing this, I remarked that maybe this will mark the end of our newlywedness. Preston's dad, Vaughn, responded, " Are you SURE you want to do that??" I think he's right. No need to end the newlywedness. Keep it coming.