do what makes you happy. be with who makes you smile. laugh as much as you breathe. love as long as you live.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Year In Review: 2011

A great blogger and friend posted the idea to do a Year in Review and Link Up blogs to share your year; triumphs, challenges and growing experiences. I just had to join in on the fun! Plus, I've been meaning to update, and now is as a good a time as ever!

My first word of 2011 was "Yes!" all in response to my best friend asking me to be his wife. I couldn't think of a better way to begin a new year. And with that one word, a crazy year began, one that was difficult but oh so rewarding and one that I would never, ever change. (If you haven't, check out my post of how Ray proposed) here:

The first weekend in February was the first time I got to see Ray since we had gotten engaged. Needless to say, that was the highlight of my month! In other news, I started getting the hang of my social work classes, and began making friends that made the dull classes more bearable. Slowly, oh so slowly, I began planning a wedding. (I imagine planning a wedding is a lot more fun when your fiance is actually in the same state as you, I'll never know now though!) :)

I got to go visit Ray in California for a second time! I was able to be there for his birthday, which was exponential fun. I got him silly gifts we spent another long weekend laughing, sightseeing, and wedding planning. This time we through in some engagement pictures too! Gotta love them photobooths...

This month, school got a lot more stressful, work was killing me, but Ray got to come to Utah for Easter! This meant that my extended family was finally able to meet him, (what a relief! I don't think they believed me he was real for a moment there! "No I swear! We met in Russia!" "Riiiight.....") Also in April I watched a very dear friend be sealed in the temple to her sweetheart, and got to spend an evening enjoying time with other old friends at such a beautiful occasion.

I proved that you can make it through school even while being engaged!!! Finals came and went, I ended up getting straight A's! Had Ray been in Utah, this probably wouldn't have been the case. Always look on the bright side of life, right? With school finally over, I felt like it could be crunch time for wedding planning. I flew to San Diego to meet up with Ray for a wedding of one of his old friends. (2011 could aptly be called the year of "I Do"). We got to meet with the caterer, floral designer, and the wonderful couple who loved Ray enough to give us their backyard for our reception. We also got our marriage license on this trip and reveled in the fact our marriage was only a month away.

At long last, a Wedding! On a beautiful day, in the beautiful San Diego Temple, we were sealed for time and all eternity. After the best day ever, we peaced out to Mexico to spend a blissful week together on a cruise ship. What a blast! Here we see me crackin' up at something Ray said, who knows what, next to an awesome towel monkey we came back to one evening!

After flying back to Utah for another reception, and a rockin' 4th of July with family, we packed up our rental with all (okay, maybe only most) of my stuff and headed for California! My first out of state move! A long drive and some old radio classic tales later, we arrived safely at our new home. July is also the month I decided I wasn't going to get 39 credits from a Bachelors degree only to stop and take a year off to gain residency and risk credits not transferring over. Hence, I switched my degree to Sociology and signed myself up to take online classes through the U of U. At this rate, I will be a college grad come next August!

Here is my younger brother trying to cram himself into our already packed car so he could sneak away to CA with us :) I miss him!

I began to establish a routine and network myself with friends and the area. Coach the masters team at 5AM, swim, online classes all day, cook dinner, spend my evenings with my new hubby. Life was (and still is, actually) great! I discovered in August that I absolutely love to cook and bake. Having my own kitchen was a dream come true! I believe I went the first three months of our married life without repeating a recipe, and I was having the time of my life! Once school started demanding more though, it was back to standards like meatloaf at least every other week, or crock pot mac n' cheese! Here we are building a new addition to our kitchen so I could have a little more counter space. :)

School got more stressful, and I started to feel the wear of being in an unfamiliar area with few friends, and family around to spend time with while Ray was at work all day. Fortunately, the Lord always answers our prayers, and mine were answered through receiving a calling in our ward that introduced me to so many people, and also in the form of my sister-in-law who lives down the street. With new friends, a supportive and understanding husband, and a loving Heavenly Father I made it through a trial of self-doubt. The other thing about September, was that I realized just how much I missed the mountains in Utah! Fortunately, we were invited to a camping trip with my father-in-law to his hometown which is in gorgeous Greenville, far, far northern California. My craving for mountains was satiated.

I attended my first trunk-or-treat, and Ray fulfilled a life dream of making a plaster, skeleton mask. We had oodles of fun rubbing vaseline all over his face so we could layer the plaster on and then peel it off easily once it dried. Ray then painted the mask himself... such talent!
Not surprisingly, Ray won our wards' Scariest Costume Award. He was thrilled :)

November was a bitter sweet month (like bitter-sweet chocolate! in the end, you're still getting chocolate). We didn't go to Utah for Thanksgiving, so it was my second away from my family. However, we also avoided snow, huge bonus! I made my first Thanksgiving turkey, which actually turned out really well, I was most pleased with the dinner I put together :) On the 11th of November, my dad remarried. Although I wasn't able to attend, I know he's happy, which makes me happy in turn. Another highlight of November was getting to spend time with Ray's dad and stepmom. They invited us to their home for a day of... hard labor? :) The couple is amazing and working towards complete self-reliance, so while Ray helped his dad put up the walls of second greenhouse, I helped his stepmom uproot her harvested garden and prepare the dirt to be repotted next spring. The long day of work was so rewarding and the company was the best you could ask for!
That's right, I hauled every one of those buckets full of dirt across the yard, then emptied the dirt and tore the roots out of it to prepare it for next year!

This month has been so much fun. Ray and I had a blast trying to hide gifts to each other around the house, and continually hunting for the perfect one. We spent time with family and worked on remembering Christ each day through the many blessings we continue to receive. Our Christmas Eve was spent celebrating our 6 month anniversary, and Christmas Day was spent enjoying each others' company plus some family and new friends for a delicious dinner. It couldn't have been better! To end our fantastic 2011 Year, tomorrow we leave for Disneyland, so we can spend New Years Eve there and go full circle from one year ago when we began our crazy, most excellent adventure together. Can't wait!!!

Time to post your own Year In Review!
I linked up with:

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

For My Grandmother...

It's been 5 months since I've lived here in the Sunshine State and I haven't posted pictures of my luxurious accommodations yet! What was I thinking?! Following are some lovely pictures of where Ray and I reside. Our life is easy, and we like it that way :)

So if you were to walk into our apartment on any given day, this is what you would see. NOT! Haha, usually it's much messier than this, I cleaned specifically for these pictures so I could show my Grandma I'm taking care of my house :)

After seeing that, if you walk straight, you'll bump right into our kitchen, which looks like this:

Again, usually a lot more dishes in the sink, but I really am trying!

Finally, there's our room, which is really hard to take a picture of and get everything (it's that grandiose, you know) so I debated between showing you our bed, or our dresser. I went with the dresser, because it's cool and we got it for only $20. I'm proud of us.

I didn't take a picture of the bathroom because... I didn't clean it. Juuuuust kidding. I just thought it would be weird posting a picture of my bathroom on here. Also, just to convince you it really is clean. I recently discovered Ray has this amazing talent for cleaning. I asked him to clean the bathroom the other day- 30 minutes later our bathroom shone like no bathroom has ever shone before. I was thoroughly impressed. I told him he did such a good job he could clean the bathroom all the time now! I would let that be his job! Because I'm that nice. He didn't really like the offer... That man drives a hard bargain.

Monday, September 19, 2011

A Saint and My Hero...

This is how I would have to describe my husband in light of recent events. Let me illuminate you as to why he is firstly, A Saint:
About two weeks ago, we finally decided to get a car. We spent 7 ridiculously long hours at the dealership, and finally decided on a lease option for a Toyota Corolla. We've lovingly named it: Monstro, after the whale in Disney's Pinnochio. It's our baby, we love it, it takes us everywhere with awesome gas mileage and allows us some freedom we'd both been craving. Too good to be true? Karma thought so. One week after getting our new car, a neighbor child rode his bike past our car a little too close and left a nice scratch along the front side. Too deep to just be buffed out with products we bought at Wal-Mart.

The morning after discovering the scratch, we were driving to work and discussing the damage and what could be done. While I sat there fuming and fighting every urge to go kung-fu ninja on anyone and everything around me, do you know what my husband said to me? "Let's count our blessings." And he began listing our many blessings one by one. I quickly deflated and contemplated the repenting I needed to start.

Story #2. This is why my husband is My Hero... I've gotten myself a job as a swim coach for the Master's program out here, which is great. I absolutely love it, it's nice being a part of a team again, even if it's not quite the same intensity and passion as high school or college swimming is. However this job requires me to be up at the very wee hours of the morning. Something I thought I missed from high school, but the more this goes on, the more I realize I'm getting old and I just want to sleep that extra hour. Anyway, this morning I had to be up at 5:30, which is better than the usual 4:30, but still far too early for me, and definitely too early for my hubby. I stumbled out of bed and sloppily made my way to the bathroom to pull on my funky, tie-dye, sparkly swim suit. I got to the doorway though and happened to look up. Low and Behold: THE LARGEST SPIDER I HAVE SEEN IN MY LIFE. Just chillin' on the wall, like it owned the joint. I about faced back into my bedroom and pathetically whimpered to Husband dearest that there was a ridiculously huge spider in the bathroom. Again he amazed me, within five seconds he was out of the bed and in the bathroom with a shoe. No questions asked. I stood in our room and watched from afar as he disposed of the intruder so I could continue my morning routine without being threatened.

Amazing, this man is amazing.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Why My Wedding Day Was the Best Day of My Life...

Are you KIDDING ME?! Duh! Because I got to marry this guy!
How could it not be the best day of my life? I married my best friend :) Here are some extra details though, that whole wedding thing that happened...
So I woke up bright and early, ate some breakfast with me mum and bridesmaids, and then began the process of getting ready. The wedding wasn't until 1, but I was up at 7 and in the shower by 7:45. My cousin, who is absolutely amazing, hooked me up with some fabulous friends of hers who did my hair and make up for me. The were spectacular and I felt top-notch that day, definitely a bridal feeling. Here we can see the gobs of fake hair that was clipped into my own hair to make me look super-modelish-awesome. Oh how I wish I could grow hair like this!
Then I packed all my stuff and my mom and I were off to the San Diego LDS Temple! Easily one of the, *ahem* more beautiful, temples in the world :) I'm so grateful that we got married there. As I was walking up to the doors, Fiance (for the last time!) came walking out to meet me. Overwhelming peace snagged me when I saw him, I need this man in my life. We sat in the records room for a little bit while they checked our marriage license (I was terrified it was the wrong one, but all was well). And then we were taken upstairs where I went to the bride's room to put on my ceremony clothes. There was only one other bride in the room and she left shortly leaving just me and my mom to enjoy this peaceful, beautiful moment together in an absolutely gorgeous room. I was a basket of nerves, but the temple workers commented to my mom that she looked so calm and helped me with my clothes like she had done this a million times. I hope someday I have the wisdom and sereneness of my mother, even a teaspoon of it would make a world of difference in my life. Once finally ready, I sat and waited for a few moments until another worker came to tell me it was time to meet up with Fiance. I walked out and when I saw him we both burst in to huge smiles. Hand in hand we climbed the stairs to another room where only peace and happiness exists. We spent, who knows how long, in the Celestial Room. Sitting on a couch, reveling in the fact that we were only moments away from being husband and wife. A small prayer was offered, and then a sealer came to lead us to the sealing room. We walked in and were met with smiling faces of friends and family. Just the right amount, in planning a wedding I realized I the opposite of what I'd thought I would want! Small and simple was the order of the day, nothing busy or frilly, and when it came to those in attendance, I wanted to be with the ones I loved. The Sealer spoke to us for a while about the promises and covenants we'd be making that day, and we sat there quietly taking it all in. Finally the actual ceremony commenced. It was all perfect, aside from the fact that I said "Yes" in the wrong place, which brought a smile to the sealers face and laughter from my family. We continued on though and shortly we were pronounced married, according to the laws of the land and the ordinances of God. What a blessing! Rings were exchanged, kisses and hugs shared, and we were off again to change clothes and prepare ourselves for hours of pictures.

Thanks to my amazing family and absolutely spectacular friends, everything (appeared to me) to go flawlessly that day. Even if there were things blatantly wrong, I really don't think I would have noticed. After far too long of waiting I was finally with the man I wanted to be with and there would be no more short weekends once a month, no more long nights on Skype, and no more goodbyes. Inexpressible Joy. As we walked out of the temple, cheers and shouts met us and we stood there just smiling with people all around us. Then there was 3 hours of picture taking, which Husband (woohoo!) and I thoroughly enjoyed. Our photographer kept commenting almost in a surprised tone how we were such an open couple and how much true emotion we were expressing in our photos. Are you nuts? It was hard to hold back! Wedding pictures are the best for the following reason: If you truly love the one you just married, wow, you get to just hold them and smile and cuddle and hold hands and kiss for hours on end and people are actually encouraging you to do this and "Hold that pose!" for just a little longer. Yes, please! Sign me up. Anytime. So those photo's soon to come, Husband and I cannot wait to see them!

After all that business, we were starving, so in our formal wear, we drove through a Carl's Jr. Because, we're cool like that, and we needed food, STAT. Husband and I don't do well without food, he gets tired and lethargic, and I get cranky and mean. Not a good combination. Anyway, so we checked into our hotel (which was beautiful by the way) and finally got to just sit down and relax and eat some food! It ended too quickly though and soon we were off again to our reception.

May I just say: growing up in Utah I have been to a LOT of wedding receptions, but may I also just say, mine is the best I have ever been too, hands down, I don't care what you say. There was delicious, and I mean DELICOUS food, the best music (chosen by yours truly and Husband), impressive dancing (thank you dear bridesmaids), and the best of company. It almost ended too soon, but then I remembered I would get to leave with my Husband and we were going on a cruise, so then I didn't feel so bad. We ate some food (because I think it's silly when the bride and groom don't get to eat their own food, come on people!), we cut our cake (which was soooo good, Husband wanted yellow cake with fresh strawberries in it. Good choice dear, good choice.), and then we had our first dance to La Vie en Rose sung by Louis Armstrong. Husband is quite the dancer, I usually just try to stay on my toes and let him throw me around like a rag doll. Sometimes it works, sometimes I just look like a zombie from Michael Jackson's "Thriller," but I like to think that that night I looked like a princess with her prince charming. Yup! After two hours of that, we finally hit the road (in our toilet paper decked out rental vehicle, yes!). A week of awesome cruise and Mexico fun followed and all I can say is that it all ended too soon. I look back on my wedding day with only good memories, thoughts and feelings.

Although, I am glad wedding planning is over. Here's hoping I never have a daughter I have to plan a wedding for! ;)

Monday, May 30, 2011

Better Late Than Never?

Okay, I'm awful at this whole blogging thing. I can't even count how many times in the past 6 months or so I've thought: "Wow, Kailin you should really update your blog! Lots has happened in your life you know!" And yet, here I am, the end of May, just now getting around to documenting my most recent excursions. So here we go, a wise person once said to start at the beginning, so I shall...

I got home from Russia on Dec. 22nd around 12:45 in the morning. Our flight out of Chicago had been delayed for hours and we sat in the plane on the tarmac forever just exhausted and wanting nothing more than to finally be home. My homecoming was awesome, I practically sprinted from the gate to baggage claim. Lots of people had just arrived so my family didn't even see me racing towards them until I was hugging my mom. My wonderful co-workers showed up too! With a sweet banner, balloons, and some gorgeous flowers for me. Thank you so much guys, I'll never forget that. :) Being home was wonderful, but as expected, about 2 days here I began bawling because I missed Russia so much. Heck, I STILL miss it so much! I take every opportunity I can to reminisce on the great times I had there and to look through all my pictures. I don't regret one second of that trip, the absolute best thing I ever did in my life and I can't wait for the day I can go back to visit.

So surprise: Remember the man I taught with in Russia? The one laughing hysterically at me with the "North Pole" incident? From now on, he will be referred to as: Fiance! Yes, your eyes did just read that. Fiance and I became the best of friends while in Russia. We've got the same sense of humor and would sit and laugh with each other for hours on end. Other people in the groups couldn't even keep up with us and ended up slowly backing away from us as we giggled insanely next to each other. After 3 months of that, Fiance got up the courage and kissed me as we rode the elevator up from our daily metro ride. I was completely caught off guard, but in the best way possible. The only way I can describe that first kiss is this: an overwhelming feeling deep in my heart of: Finally. As in finally, this is what I've been waiting for. As in, something clicked and I knew I'd never kiss another man in my life besides this one. As in, I had found my best friend that I wanted to share my life with.
At this point in the trip, Fiance was getting set up with a fantastic job in Silicon Valley. I was supportive and excited for him, all the while wondering how I was going to handle this when he left to CA and I was stuck in UT still! As the time came closer for our departure back to the states, we began talking more seriously about what we saw in our futures and what we wanted in our lives. I knew then, again, that I was going to marry him. No doubt in my mind. So, 10 days after returning to the states, Fiance proposed, I said yes, and a date was set for June 24th! Allow me to immortalize our story here, it's worth it:

Fiance flew back to Utah after spending Christmas with family in Texas. I was so excited to see him the day he flew in and it was killing me to not know where he was (he still didn't have his cell phone back at this time). Finally he met me at work after a long day and we went to dinner with some of my extended family. This is where my family told me he was a wonderful man and they were happy for me that he was in my life, as if I didn't know this? But it was still nice to hear :) That night after dinner we talked more about the marriage and finally came to the conclusion that yes, that is what we wanted, not only that, but we wanted a Temple Marriage, so we could be sealed to each other for time and all eternity.
The next night was New Year's Eve and Fiance came to my family's home to celebrate with us by eating delicious homemade egg rolls, (are you catching the theme here of my life? I really like food, all of it). I had also met some of his extended family that night. We passed some time together watching the marvelous movie: Fivel Goes West, and then decided to try and find any fun activities happening at midnight. Nothing was going on, so we decided to just go looking for a clock tower to watch midnight strike instead. No such luck, no clock tower and it was freezing cold anyway- Strike 1. Then we decided to go back to Fiance's family's house and watch the ball drop in NYC on the television. Unfortunately his relatives don't believe in cable, sooo.... Strike 2. Finally we just set our phone alarms for midnight. Fiance was being adorable and making me fall in love with him even more. When the alarms went off, we wished each other a Happy New Year and shared a midnight kiss. Fiance then told me to go turn off the phone alarms, which I thought was silly, why didn't he turn off his own? But I walked over to do so anyway. As I was doing that, me thoughts I heard the sound of a ring box, my heart skipped a couple beats. When I turned around, Fiance was standing there smiling at me. He walked over to me, got down on one knee and lovingly asked me to be his wife. To which I of course responded a resounding YES! Needless to say, the most wonderful night of my life, I can't wait to marry this man, he's the best thing that has ever happened to me, my best friend, and the love of my life. I couldn't ask for more!

So that's that! I began planning this wedding while trying to balance a full coarse load at school, and work close to full time as manager of the swim store. It's been crazy stressful, especially because Fiance got his job in Silicon Valley and I had to continue school in Utah for a semester. So we've been separated our entire engagement, planning our wedding from afar, and seeing each other once or twice a month, plus nightly Skype sessions. Needless to say, I'm so over this whole engagement and wedding planning thing. Let's get this show on the road!!! 25 Days!!!!!!