31 May 2011

Two Years Later

After Troy and I spent our first year together, he was assigned to Riverside, California for two years to serve a mission. We both valued missionary service as one of the most important things a person could do and knew that it would strengthen our future relationship regardless of the time we spent apart.

Those two years were the hardest of my life. We both wish now that we would have broken up so that we could have focused on our individual lives. At the same time, we are certainly happy with the way things turned out in the end and we are stronger because of those hardships. We diligently supported each other from across the country through detailed weekly letters. Even though I became impatient at times, those letters became the backbone of my life.

When Troy came home after 24 months of service, he transferred to BYU's business school. I still had one semester to finish up at Michigan State, so we spent the first four months apart. Our relationship began slowly with phone calls and a few weekend visits. Troy was rightfully hesitant to jump into a committed relationship because he hadn't dated anyone for two years. I was more eager to continue where we had left off because I had found that no one quite measured up to him.

I flew out to visit him a couple times and although our future was blurry, one thing was certain. We still had a lot of fun together.

After a few months, we were talking on the phone several hours every day. Troy came out to visit me just before I graduated. I planned a romantic date and sang to him. We decided that I should secure my internship near BYU so that we could be together.

I moved to Utah and our relationship grew slow and steady.


One thing that helped launch our relationship forward was visiting California with Troy and his parents. I was really shy around his family (who lived in Boston) up to that point, and it was important to become comfortable around them. Spending several days with them allowed me to feel like I was part of his wonderful family. So much that I didn't even mind doing our Little Mermaid pose in front of them.

Finally, after a few more months (I know, I'm dramatic for thinking that was a long time), Troy and I decided that we could simply not be apart. We wanted to be a family. He proposed to me (story here) and we began the best chapter of our lives.


30 May 2011

How We Met

At the end of this week, Troy and I will be celebrating our five year anniversary. Five years is not much in the grand scheme of things, but we decided to kick things up a notch anyway (more on that later). 

To lead up to our anniversary, I am dedicating this whole week of blog posts to the two of us. A few people have recently requested stories about how we met and how this little family of ours began. So, to kick off the week, here is how we met many years ago:


We were both freshmen at Michigan State University. I did not want to be there by a long shot. I longed for home and for high school and for anything familiar. I had no interest in settling in to my new environment. In fact, my journal entry from my first week at school reads:

"Well, I'm here at college and I hate it. I have zero friends so far and all I want to do is go home" August 23, 2002.

Troy and I lived in the same apartment complex. I met him and his roommates briefly at a few social events, but I never remembered any of their names. In fact, I thought they were pretty obnoxious at a tenant meeting we were required to attend at the beginning of the school year.

My third story apartment had a balcony, and one night, Troy and his roommates started shouting my name and throwing rocks at the sliding glass door from down below. I was surprised that they knew my name because I had mostly just been moping in my room since I had arrived at school. When I came out on the balcony, they invited me over to play Euchre. I accepted, but brought my math book because there was no way I could justify playing games without mixing in a little homework. 

One night of Euchre turned into many nights Euchre. Troy and I started making a little eye contact and I eventually learned his name. And just a few weeks into school, as the other card playing members dwindled into the night, Troy and I remained in the apartment lounge and stayed up late talking. I was surprised at how easy it was to be myself around him and how we didn't run out of things to talk about. 

There was something blatant standing between us though. I still had a boyfriend back home. And since I was so tied to my hometown, I wasn't even looking at Troy in "that way." 

One sunny afternoon, I was walking home from class and Troy spotted me from his apartment. He opened the window and through the screen shouted, "Do you want to go running with me?" (I laugh about that now because he is not a runner.) I had a conflict at the time (probably more moping) but we made plans to go running another day.

I found out later that he was on the phone with his mom at the time that he spotted me. His mom asked him if any girls had caught his eye. He said there was one girl, but she was dating someone else. His mom said she was sorry about that. Troy confidently responded, "Give me three weeks."

He may have been a little cocky, but three weeks was all it took to woo me. My boyfriend from back home conveniently broke up with me just in time for Troy to step in with his wit and charm. I was devastated about the break-up, but Troy mended that loss quite well. We became best friends almost overnight.

I was wishy-washy about our relationship for several months. I didn't want to commit to anything serious and I certainly didn't want him to be my rebound. I was 18 years old and he was planning on leaving to serve a mission for two years. Troy, however, was constant in his affection for me and patiently waited for me to make up my mind (those roles were reversed several years later, only I wasn't so patient). By the time Thanksgiving break rolled around, I realized that I was already in too deep. I missed him like crazy over that long weekend and decided to take my chances on him.

That was the beginning of something great. We went on quite the rollercoaster ride over the next few years, two of which were spent on opposite sides of the country with US mail as our only form of communication. But that is a different story for a different day. And there is obviously a happy ending. An ending that will never end.

Memories from our first year of dating are among the most cherished moments of our lives.







28 May 2011

This is the Life

Our trips to the desert are never filled with a ton of outings, but they are my absolute favorite vacations. It is because my daily schedule looks something like this:

I wake up and start the day by going to an intense hot yoga class (thanks to a willing babysitter). I was so excited that my favorite instructor moved back to Scottsdale after a year in Boston. He teaches in a 100°F room, plays hip hop music, and flows so quickly from pose to pose that everyone is dripping sweat within the first ten minutes. By day four I thought I was going to collapse from how sore I was, and I loved every minute of it. (Here is a clip of a poolside class he taught. His energy is really that high the entire time.)

Then, I come back to my parents’ house and jump into the pool with our boys who are eagerly waiting by the door. We swim our hearts out until lunch time.





We dry off on the porch swing overlooking the desert and mountains.



After lunch, I put the boys down for naps, and make my way back to the poolside to read a book, bask in the sun, and chat with my mom. I don’t get my shower in until right before dinner. I enjoy dinner much more than I do at home because I don't usually prepare it. 

Sometimes, we throw something else into the mix like going to the splash park.






We usually stay inside for the night, but occasionally we make our way to the park to run around and watch the famous fountain.




If you ask me, this is truly the life.


24 May 2011

Nash Walks

I used to think that I would be able to mark my calendar with the exact dates that my babies crawled, walked, and talked. What I didn't realize is that those milestones don't just happen overnight. In fact, the steps are so gradual that we barely even notice when our babies have completely made the transition to the task at hand.

Nash has been taking unassisted baby steps for a few months. He has gradually been increasing the number of steps he takes with each attempt. It was only recently that I noticed that he actually walks across an entire room now. He stills switches back and forth between crawling and walking, but he is becoming more and more brave with his wobbly steps.

Nash was being a typical one-year-old at a nice restaurant the other night, so I opted to forgo the looks we were getting and take him outside to walk around. And I can never resist pretty light, so now I have proof of Nash's walking skills.



My family joined up with us right about the time we were doing the Simba pose. (Not really. I just don't always realize that my get-the-baby-to-laugh-gimmicks look bizarre.)

Nash's grandpa doesn't have to try as hard to make him laugh.

Sometimes I want to bottle up our wobbly walker and keep him this way forever. Until I remember all the screaming in the restaurant which led us to the walking excursion in the first place. Even so, I adore those unsteady first steps and gathering around our baby to cheer him on.


21 May 2011

Hallelujah

This day couldn't have come any sooner for us. Especially since it was rainy and freezing all week and snowed twice. We were overjoyed to see those warm blue horizons stretching out in front of us.

We were not overjoyed, however, with our boys' lack of sleep. They will not sleep in the car no matter how long we are on the road. They both finally crashed in the last 20 minute stretch, go figure. And since it is so rare, I had to capture it. I love watching their eyelashes droop down when they finally nod off.


Hallelujah for some long awaited sunshine.


17 May 2011

Pajamas

I sewed. 

Not just a straight line, an actual pattern.

Some older ladies at church offered to teach a sewing class. They shared their years of sewing experience with us younger gals, all of whom were uninterested in learning how to sew from our moms when we were teenagers. None of us realized until we were older that sewing would be a great skill to have. 

I had the privilege of learning on my mom's sewing machine from the 70's. She gave it to me when she upgraded a few years back, but it has basically just been collecting dust ever since. I was happy to finally put it to use.

We met every other Saturday morning for six weeks to learn the ins and outs of sewing. The teachers picked out a children's pajama pattern for us to follow since most of the students had young children at home.

I felt pretty proud that although there were experts around, I actually sewed something half decent with my own hands. After working on Blake's set of pajamas in class each week, I went home and followed the same steps to make another set for Nash.

Nash's top ended up a tad big because I had a hard time modifying a size 3 pattern. He still drowns in most of his clothes though, so I'm not losing sleep over it.



I had a really hard time finding cute boy fabric, hence the basic blue and white stripes. I actually ended up liking the simplicity of the final product though. And the boys who filled the pajamas, of course.

I doubt that I'll start making all of our children's clothing with my new found skills, but the wheels in my head are starting to turn with sewing project ideas. And since the men in our family are not blessed with great height, we will certainly be saving on hemming pants in the future.


13 May 2011

Mischief

At 15 months, our little mister is still not walking. I'm not too worried about it because he was a really late crawler too. Nash takes a few steps but I wouldn't consider him a walker just yet. That doesn't stop him from getting into plenty of mischief though.

It has been a given for many months that if I am trying to take a shower or cook dinner with Nash in the room, he will pull out every single item from every drawer that I have been unable to childproof. I circle through the rooms in our house hourly cleaning up messes, only for all of the utensils or bathroom items to be strewn across the floor again in a matter of minutes.

Nash's list of mischief grows by the day. He gets into the toilet water if we forget to close the bathroom doors. He pulls the register covers off of the floor and tries to climb into the vents (despite my efforts to hot glue the covers down). He pries letter keys off of the laptop. He gets into the trash if the trash cans are in his reach. He outsmarts the childproofing on the entertainment center and pulls out stacks upon stacks of dvds (several times a day). He chucks every morsel of food off his highchair tray when he is finished eating or doesn't like the particular item. Bits of food fly across the kitchen, over the banister, and into the family room, increasing in range daily.

Just when I think he couldn't possibly destroy more things or get into more trouble, he surprises me with a new trick. He recently launched himself into the bathtub (still clothed) while the water was running. He took off his pants and diaper during nap time. He opened all of the drawers in the bathroom and climbed all the way up to the third drawer. I found him hoisted over the drawer with his feet dangling off the edge (that one terrified me, because if he had done that on the dresser in his bedroom, it would have fallen over on him).

I'm surprised by these things because they are so unlike how Blake was at this age. Sure, Blake got into things, but nothing of this magnitude. If one crumb fell off of Blake's highchair tray, he would lay his head down and point and stare at it until we picked it up.

Even though I have to be on my toes a little more with Nash, I am beginning to love his boldness and lack of fear. Life wouldn't be much fun if he was an exact clone of Blake. Yesterday, while we were at the park, Blake shied away from the incredibly tall twisty slide because he was scared (even though in the car he told me he was going to be brave). Nash, however, climbed up five stories of stairs without hesitation. He turned his little body around and slid down the long twisty slide as if he was three times his size. He didn't even care if I was right next to him, he just wanted to go.

Another thing I love about Nash is that he will still snuggle and rock with me. He is usually on the go, but if I can catch him right after he has woken up from his nap and he is still a little groggy, he'll curl right up against me with his lovey and his thumb in his mouth. I love those one-on-one times when I can snatch them. Because I love our little mischievous boy, in trouble or not.


11 May 2011

In Bloom

Troy gave me a new camera lens for Mother's Day that I was so excited about I almost cried. I saw it sitting on the counter on Saturday afternoon and could hardly contain my eagerness to use it. After seeing my little dance around the island in the kitchen, Troy opted not to put it in a gift bag and let me try it out a day early. I immediately ran around our yard (and neighborhood) snapping shots with exuberance. I think I made some sort of exclamation after each shot about how awesome the aperture was.

Needless to say, I was pretty psyched about the gift. And what better way to celebrate my new lens than to capture my favorite bokeh (blur) effect on the beautiful spring blooms? I'm sure you'll be seeing a whole lot more bokeh from my new third child.