Sunday, May 31, 2009

Logan's big day

Our friend for about eight years, Logan, married his fiance Brooke on Friday. We met Logan through Ben, and have been great friends ever since. Logan is a great friend, and he is always willing to hike or bike with us, or just hang out on a Saturday night. He met Brooke about two years ago and they have been inseparable ever since. Logan asked Brooke to marry him right before Christmas last year during one of the worst snowstorms we had all winter. Logan said they didn't know if they were going to make it to the restaurant do to the snow, but he was determined, since he'd already dropped off a beautiful bouquet of flowers a few hours earlier and the plan was already in place.

So, last Friday, after months of planning, Logan and Brooke tied the knot. E and I were there along with most of our friends. Ben and Jo, unfortunately couldn't make it. The ceremony was great and Brooke looked awesome. After that we enjoyed the patio while the wedding party was whisked off to take pictures. Dinner was fantastic, we had sole in hollandaise sauce, roasted potatoes, ravioli, yummy rolls and a great salad. After awhile, the reception started and more guests started to show up, along with a lot more food. E and I snaked on chocolate dipped strawberries, mini pizzas and fruit while we chatted with friends, danced, and tracked down the happy couple to tell them congrats. It was a great night.

The excited groom only moments before he will be wed.
Dining room. Aren't the centerpieces and black tablecloths elegant?
Here is some of our group. Left to right - E, me, Becky, Justin and Mike.
Newly married couple. And E and I, who will be married three years come July.
After I finished this post, I got started thinking about all the fun things we've done with Logan and Brooke over the years. Here are a few of them:
Lots of parties at our house. Dinner, drinks and games too.
Hanging out with Ben whenever he is in town.
Joining Logan and Brooke for their annual Halloween murder mystery.
Biking Deer Valley.
Backpacking Southern Utah.
Biking Moab quite a few times (here, here and and even here).

Happy Wedding!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Wedding season

As I mentioned in an earlier post, today is the kick off for the season of weddings for E and I. We know quite a few people getting married, and each event is so special.

We also are lucky enough to be really close to lots of the people that are getting married, which of course means, I get to be a bridesmaid! I've been a bridesmaid once before in Naina's wedding, and really enjoyed it.

So, although I'm not a maid tonight in Logan's and Brooke's wedding, I have a lot of maid duties to look forward to. And also a lot of dress shopping.

In August, I'm a bridesmaid in Jo and Ben's wedding.
In September I'm a bridesmaid in my Mom's wedding.
In October I'm a bridesmaid in Allison's wedding.
And next June (June 2010) I'm the maid of honor in Chelsea's wedding!

Here are some of the things I might wear. Jo and Chelsea haven't made a final choice yet, but my Mom and Allison have. So two of these are still yet to be decided.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Ben and Jo are home from Korea!

For years Ben and Jo have been talking about going to Korea to visit Jo's family and also visit special places in Jo's life. In early May they flew first class to Seoul where Ben met Jo's dad for the first time. Jo's sister Sunny flew into Korea also from London, where she is studying, and the entire family took a trip out to some coastal islands, explored around the city, and got to know each other.

Ben flew home a couple of weeks ago, and Jo stayed to spend a couple additional weeks with her family in her country. Just on Monday she returned home. She said they had such a fantastic time there. Her father loved Ben, which is wonderful news, since they are getting married in two months.

Here is a photo from their travels. Here is Ben, Yoonki Cho, Hyekyung Kim, Sunny and Jo all enjoying the Korean coastline. Love it.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I can almost smell the lilacs

I know I've already posted three times today (yea for a new record), but I just need to post a few more photos of the amazing lilacs that were in bloom over the weekend. I swear, I can smell their perfect scent just looking at these photos.

Memorial Day weekend at the farmhouse

After E and I were done with our awesome hot springs hike we headed to Mount Pleasant to enjoy the farmhouse and the company of E's family. We arrived at dinner time on Saturday and went directly to dinner. Nobody was very hungry, except for me, but being the pregnant woman, I got to decide. We headed to the pizza restaurant and had a great evening.

The next day the weather was more of the same, more rain. We slept in, had a yummy farmhouse breakfast hash, and pretty much spent the entire day relaxing. At one point E and I went on a little drive looking for interesting birds, but didn't see much. Later we drove up the the Fairview Cemetery to put flowers on E's grandparent's graves. We headed back while Chelsea and Joe decided to investigate a kitten lead. Chelsea and Joe have been wanting to adopt a kitten for about three months, but hadn't found a litter of kittens. About an hour later Joe and Chelsea arrive back at the farmhouse with the most adorable gray kitten you've ever seen. Nobody is sure if it is a boy or girl, so a final name has yet to be decided. However, spending the rainy afternoon playing with a tiny gray fur ball was great fun.
That night E decided to make his famous Dutch Oven Goulash, which sounded really good to all of us. What's better on a cold rainy night than baked pasta covered in cheese? After dinner E whooped my butt in a game of checkers.

Here are E and David outside working on dinner. Didn't I take this exact same picture last year? As I remember, it was a cold rainy May last year too.
On Monday we woke up to sunny skies (why does it only rain on the weekend?) so E and I decided to take a little walk. The weather was PERFECT, warm but not hot, beautiful, and clear. All the lilacs were in bloom so the entire town smelled of a perfect spring. Later that day we took a little drive with David to one of our favorite spots where we walked around looking for birds and such. David and E spotted two snakes in the grass, so that was neat. Back at the farmhouse we had a hot dog BBQ before cleaning up and heading home. Overall, it was a great weekend.

My mom picked a date and a location!

My mom and her boyfriend Chuck have wanted to get married for as long as they've know each other. They started dating in March 2007 and have been happy in love ever since. About a year ago they started talking about getting married in earnest, and over the weekend they made a decision: they want to take the entire family down to Lake Powell over Labor Day weekend and have the wedding on a desert beach. My mom has always loved the idea of having a wedding after dark, under the starlight. She wants a lot of candles, including floating candles, fantastic food, and a beautiful location. She's even rented a houseboat!

So, come September 5th, my Mom and Chuck will tie the knot in a beautiful location and I'll be getting a new step father. Can't wait!

And boy, talk about the summer of weddings! We kick off the summer of weddings with Logan's and Brooke's this Friday!

Fifth Water Hot Springs

Above, E in a field of wildflowers on the way up. Yes, dandelions are wildflowers.
Below, me in the hot springs. Don't I look relaxed? The water was deliciously warm!
E and I decided not to go camping over the long weekend, but instead head to the farmhouse for Memorial Day. On Saturday, before arriving in Sanpete County, we decided to do a hike that I haven't done for years, up to Fifth Water Hot Springs in Diamond Fork Canyon. Diamond Fork Canyon is on our route to the farmhouse, however, we've never stopped in all the years we've been going down there.

Well on Saturday I finally convinced E to join me on this hike I've loved since I was a little girl. We arrived at the trail head around 1:00 to gray skies and spitting rain. We decided to go for it, and headed up the trail. Luckily, I was feeling energized, because ever since I've been pregnant, some days I'm totally drained. We conquered the 2.25 mile trail in no time and were soon at the springs. I held up a towel while E changed and he did the same for me.

We slipped into the hot water at the base of a raging waterfall. The main river is not warm at all, but the hot springs mix with the cold mountain water and make wonderful tubs varying in temperature from quite hot to lukewarm. Being pregnant, I never got in the super hot water, instead enjoyed water that was the temperature of a nice bath. E and I relaxed there for awhile and the rain started to pick up, it was so fun being in the middle of the woods with a ranging waterfall next to you, sitting in some natural hot tubs all while it was raining.

After awhile E and I got out, dried off and changed back into our clothes. The 2.25 mile hike back was rain free and great. The time flew by because E and I talked about or favorite subject of all: travel.

Check out the lower pools. Don't these look amazing?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

I officially reached my second trimester!

Today I am 14 weeks pregnant, which means, I finally reached my second trimester! The first trimester is a tough one, in addition to feeling sick and gross (I felt both, but luckily my symptoms were minor), you also have to worry about miscarriage. Now that I've reached 14 weeks though, I will start to feel better and will start to look pregnant!

I'm still not showing much, as of 14 weeks. My pants and shorts are definitely snug, and I'm looking thicker around the waist, but I don't have a little baby belly yet.

Lots of people have asked us if we've thought about names at all, and the answer it yes. Our top three boy names are James, Elliot and Jackson. Our top three girl names are Isabelle/Isabella, Rachel and Lily. I am most partial to James and Rachel, since they our mine and E's middle names, but we'll see how things play out. I also really like Malia, which is Obama's oldest daughter's name. It is adorable, and I might convince E to pull that name into the top group.

This week Baby November is the size of a lemon and already has his/her unique fingerprints. Go figure.

As far as cravings? I've been craving Mexican food now for a few weeks, nothing tastes better than chips and salsa. Also, Big Macs. I don't know if McDonald's specially formulates these for pregnant women, but honestly, they taste like heaven on a bun, plus the french fries aren't bad either. Luckily my appetite isn't huge, otherwise I'd be gaining weight like crazy, but so far I've dropped a pound.

Over the next few weeks I'll start showing a little bit more belly and also feeling a lot better. The pesky headaches and fatigue should fade now that I'm into my second trimester. Plus, I had a great job interview last week, so I might be a working Mama!

Here is a photo E took of my exploring the Tintic Mill on Saturday. Notice, I do have a little belly, but not much. I'm still able to fit into most of my pre-pregnancy clothes! I am excited to start showing a little, but in all honestly, I'm scared too. I've had the same body since high school, for the most part, I'm scared to see it change.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Ghost towns and an abandoned refinery

Today E and I decided to pack a picnic lunch and head out on the road to celebrate the perfect weather. We've been wanting to explore Eureka and the surrounding ghost towns for what seems like forever, and today everything was perfect.

We left the house around 11:30 and headed west towards Tooele where we then cut south. The drive south of Tooele is an area E and I have explored often, since this is also an area ripe with ghost towns. Today, however, we continued south and didn't stop until we had reached Juab county, an area rich with mining ghost towns. Our first stop was Mammoth, a ghost town neither of us had ever been to, and was well worth the drive. High on the hill stood an old mining building along with a huge gouge in the mountain. Below there was a lot to explore, many store sites that were abandoned and in one place, an entire sub basement exposed. We got out of the car, took pictures and explored every nook and cranny of a handful of sites.

Our next stop was Eureka itself. I came to Eureka about five years ago with my mom and we explored the entire town. Many homes were abandoned, some still full of food and garbage. Today, however, Eureka is a different place. The mine has re-opened (after more than 50 years) and many of the old homes have been cleared for new ones. Main Street is still dilapidated, however, there was not as much to see in Eureka as there once was.

After our picnic lunch of turkey sandwiches, grapes and chips we headed to Dividend. Dividend is another ghost town right outside of Eureka. Many mines were located in this area, and unfortunately, other than a few mine structures; there was not a lot to see. This was a little disappointing, because a large town lay here at one point, and only was abandoned 60 years ago.

E and I headed east and soon stumbled upon a place we’ve talked about a few times, but forgot where in the state it was – the Tintic Standard Reduction Mill. E and I drove past this huge smelting site high on the mountain years ago, and just couldn’t remember where it was. Today we found it! From far away this site looks like an ancient castle, huge turrets and buildings litter the side of the mountain. We drove close to in, got out and took some photos, and then decided to go explore the site itself. Access to the site is an easy hike along the mountainside, where we looked down at Warm Water Springs (more like toxic springs, if you consider that there was a refinery here). E and I were awe struck by this location, how beautiful it was, in a forgotten way.

After arriving home from our day-long outing we researched the site and found out the name and some of the history. This was a refinery for metals; gold, copper, silver and lead were all refined here. Wow. Learn something new about your own state every day. It was a great day.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Baby November

This Mother's Day is like no other I've experienced, because this year, I'm expecting! Yes! It is true! Let me back up a little and explain, because so far, I've kept my pregnancy quiet on my blog.

E and I decided to start trying last fall for a baby. It was a hard decision for us to start trying, I was excited and scared, E was mostly just scared. Both of us knew we wanted to be parents some day, but we love our life, and this is a huge huge huge change. (BIGGEST change you can make!)

We tried for a few months and had luck conceiving in February. I missed my period in early March, took a home pregnancy test and got a negative. I waited, somewhat patiently, and took another a week later. I wasn't expecting much. Since we started trying, I've taken dozens of pregnancy tests that I was sure were going to be positive, all with a negative result. Well the pregnancy test I took on March 16th was different, because there, unmistakably, was a second pink line! (Two lines means you're pregnant, one means you're not). I was so surprised, couldn't even understand what I was seeing. I hoped in the car and went straight to the doctor's office for a blood test. That was positive too, I was officially expecting!

The entire day I kept my mouth shut, I wanted to tell E in person that night. Plus, because, it really didn't seem real, I didn't have a problem. When E arrived home from work that night we talked on the couch like we always do. I tried to pay attention to what he was saying, but am not much of an actress. Finally E said "you seem distracted, what's up?" I just looked at him with surprised eyes and said nothing. I wanted to tell him in a romantic, exciting way, but this was obviously not going to plan. E then said "you got a job?" and I shook my head. "You got another interview?" again no. I could not stop thinking that this was just not how you tell your husband, I wanted it to be more, to be special, but here I was, failing. Finally he guessed "you are pregnant?" I nodded, started crying, and hugged him. He sat there in disbelief, I sat there crying in disbelief, and then we both laughed and I tried to tell him about how I found out. We are due in November.

That night we decided to go out and celebrate. We went to Market Street Grill and ordered a fantastic dinner. Our feelings kept wavering between shock, mild surprise, and excitement. I didn't "feel" pregnant yet, so it was hard believing it was real.

For the next month E and I decided to keep our secret under wraps, so many pregnancies are lost in the first few weeks. We wanted to wait all the way to 12 weeks to tell our families, which would have been nice timing, because 12 weeks along was Mother's Day (today!). After three weeks of keeping our secret we decided it would be fun to tell close family and friends. Easter seemed like the perfect day.

For months I've been planning on telling our families in a fun way - with one of my favorite toys - Playmobil! I bought three sets of Playmobil with a mother and baby way back in December, when I was convinced I was pregnant the first time. On each of the boxes I wrote "We're Expecting!" and wrapped the presents up. On Easter I nonchalantly handed them to family, saying that they "were just a fun little Easter present we found and thought you'd like." Everyone's reaction was the same: huge eyes, huge smiles, and lots of questions like "are you really?!" E and I had kept it a secret so well, nobody had a clue. Everyone was thrilled, excited and so surprised. Nobody had any idea. We also called some close friends on Easter to tell them. E was too nervous to tell Ben, so I decided to. I told Ben we had an announcement, and then said he was going to be an uncle. There was a huuuuggggeeee long drawn out pause (like 20 seconds!) and then he said "you're joking!" We are still laughing about his reaction, because he knew we were trying, and kept thinking we'd tell him something similar every time we talked to him previously. It was hilarious.

Here are the presents, all ready to go. One for my mom, one for my dad, and one for E's family.
All wrapped up. They look like Easter presents, don't they? Nobody suspected a thing.
E talking to Ben after I spilled the beans.
My Grandma was so thrilled. This will be her first great grandchild.
The past month has passed pretty uneventful. My symptoms have been fairly minor. I have a touch of morning sickness sometimes, but it is not a usual occurrence. I've had a few headaches and some nights with insomnia, but other than that, it is hard to believe I'm actually expecting. E's been wonderful, and said some of the most wonderful things. He says he loves me more than ever now, and can't believe how much he loves little Baby November too.

Finally, on Friday, we saw the doctor for the first time. E and I were both so nervous they would find something wrong. I had now reached the 12 week mark, so chances of having a miscarriage have gone down drastically. My doc spent lots of time with us, which was great. She talked to E and I for awhile about tests, classes, and such.

Then my doctor wanted to hear the baby's heartbeat. I was so excited and thrilled, what if she couldn't find anything? What if she found two heartbeats? When she was getting ready to put the doppler on my tummy she told me that sometimes the heatbeat is really hard to find, you'll hear only static for a long time, and not to worry. Then she placed the doppler on my tummy and we heard a strong heartbeat immediately! She said "or we'll hear it right away!" It was so wonderful to finally hear the heartbeat, for the first time my pregnancy felt real! E and I held hands, it was fantastic. She moved the doppler around a little and we either picked up the same heartbeat again or another one. She said she highly doubted it was twins, but asked if I'd like an ultrasound. I said yes!

I felt so lucky that she offered an ultrasound, usually she only gives them at 20 weeks. I don't think I could have waited two more months. She brought me into the ultrasound room and quickly we saw the baby (just one baby). We saw the little one moving his/her arms and kicking a little. It was awesome, finally we really knew this was real! There was a little baby in there! It is way too early to tell if it is a boy or girl, but it was fun to see what we did. We even saw the little fingers and toes. We are thrilled!

Look at that profile! Baby November already looks like a baby, not a tadpole. He/she has all their organs, and most are functioning. Little ears and a nose is already formed. But Baby November is only 2" tall.
He/she kept moving around, it was awesome to watch. In this image you can see their little hand in front of their face. You can even see the tiny fingers!
So, from here we have 8 more weeks to find out if its a boy or a girl. We'll find out in early July, around E's birthday, so that will be fun. In August we have our trip to Canada and Ben and Jo's wedding, and then I have Allison's wedding in October, where I'll be huge! Around Thanksgiving we will be adding another little person to our family, we can't wait.

Any guesses if it's a boy or girl? I'll add a poll to my blog (it is at the top of my blog on the right), please only vote once. So far my mom, E's mom, Joe, Taylor, and I are "feeling" boy. E, Kendra, and Chelsea are "feeling" girl.

Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, May 08, 2009

Life in the garden

Every day I try to spend at least two hours in the garden. When we moved into our house last fall the backyard was an open canvas, and E and I were excited to plan it and plant it. Since the very earliest days of spring I've been digging up grass, moving dirt, pulling up a pesky garden liner, and staying quite busy. In the last two weeks, between the major rain, I've been planting the first of our many planned plants. I've planted hostas, violets, ornamental grasses, ground cover, a lilac bush, my entire veggie garden and much more. In the coming weeks I have a few online orders arriving. We ordered bamboo (what's an Asian garden without bamboo?), more ornamental grasses and some more beautiful ground cover. Every day, while I work and enjoy my little garden, I realize how much I've always dreamed of this. I've always wanted a garden that I could plan myself, and enjoy every single day. Don't worry, I'll take some wide shots of the yard when more is complete.

I transplanted our Japanese Maple this spring. E didn't like the location I planted it in last fall, and I have to agree the new location is great. Just this week the leaves uncurled. They are so pretty in a light breeze.
Our Buddha quietly meditating under a tree.
Isn't this ground cover neat? i don't remember the type, but it looks so stunning when the light filters through the trees.
Above -roof in shadow on our Japanese lantern, gnome guarding the newly sprouted lettuce in the veggie patch, and our other new tree, a crab apple, is blooming this week.
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