Monday, May 13, 2013

I'm Still Here...

Whew! To say that the past 9 months have been a whirlwind would be an understatement. This post has been in the making for about the past two of them, but somehow I just never got around to finishing it! I guess time flies when you're having fun, right? 

We have loved every minute of living here in Arizona and it has brought lots of fun changes. Here's what's been going on with us the past several months. Get ready for a picture dump!
If I had to sum up what my life has consisted of since we moved, this view makes up a lot of it. Working from home has made my life MUCH more flexible and Nick has been a great sport to let me jet set all over while he has been so diligent with school.

September started out with a trip back to Utah just a couple weeks after we moved in. I got to escape the heat for a couple days and catch the first glimpse of fall in Logan

Back in Phoenix we got all settled in to our new place with a lot of this:

And finally this:

And loving the (almost) constant sunshine even from our bottom-floor apartment

We made lots of new friends in the ward, despite being divided over the BYU vs. U of U football game ;)

October started out with a business trip to Vegas

Followed by an extended weekend in Honolulu with three of my very best friends. Blogged about that here.

Aaaand that trip was followed by another few days in Utah, where I got to see newest twin nieces who decided to make their debut at 29 weeks (and are both doing wonderfully now)! 

As you can tell, I practically lived out of my suitcase this entire month.

And once I came home to the weather still beautiful, I got to take my office outside to work alongside this view. No complaints here! 

Most of November was consumed by our Italy adventure (blogged about that here), which was amazing in every way. 

After we got back, my dad and Aaron came into town for a quick visit. My dad came into town the day of our ward Christmas party, of which I was in charge of the majority of the food for the ham dinner. Let's just say had my dad not been there, that dinner probably wouldn't have happened. He was a lifesaver!
These two had just returned from a backpacking trip through Belize and Guatemala. I'm not kidding when I say this is the first time in my life I had seen my dad with facial hair! I barely recognized him when I picked him up from the airport.

December started out with a quick trip to Florida for Nick's first dental school interview! I'm so fortunate to be able to take work wherever I go--with internet and a laptop of course--and it was great to tag along with Nick.
Leaving the hotel for his interview. Isn't he so handsome?

Nick's sister and her husband live in South Florida, and we were so glad that they drove up to Tampa to meet us for dinner!
As we were taking off from Phoenix, I realized that we would only be a couple hours away from Universal Orlando. We had been DYING to go to Harry Potter World ever since we saw it being built back in 2009 when we lived in Orlando, and we couldn't resist not going. We only got a half day at the park before our flight left, but it was so worth it!

I literally got chills when I saw this. Not kidding. We are Harry Potter nerds at heart!
Our friends, the Larsons, live in Orlando and I used to babysit for them when we lived nearby. They were at the park that day anyway, and it was awesome that they met us there for a few rides. I babysat this little guy Jacob when he was just a newborn and it was fun to see him so grown up!
Had to start the Christmas season off right by visiting the Grinch!

Once we were back home we fully engulfed ourselves in the Christmas season--it's Nick's ultimate favorite.
We had fun at the Christmas festival with our friends and neighbors, the Woolfords
Enjoyed our Christmas tree
And made Christmas cookies!
(Nick made a few tooth cookies, too)

Christmas Break
We drove to Utah for Christmas so we could transport all of our ski/snowboard gear easily. The drive wasn't too terrible, and we had some great views along the way!
Nick and I decided to do Christmas Eve/day on our own this year, and it couldn't have been any more perfect. 
We started Christmas Eve at the Nutcracker matinee
We finished up some shopping at City Creek, and then checked into one of our all-time favorite places--The Grand America.
We brought a few of our own decorations to be festive and had an amazing view out of our balcony

All Nick wanted was a "white Christmas" and he definitely got it! We spent a couple hours on Christmas Eve at temple square and even though it was freezing, it was so picture perfect! We loved getting our snow fix, especially during the most fitting holiday.

We took a hot chocolate break at the Joseph Smith building to warm up. We found the exact room that Nick proposed to me in four years ago. Can't beat that view! We loved having a quiet Christmas Eve to ourselves in such an awesome setting.
We woke up Christmas morning to find a stocking on our door from the Grand America. Seriously, that place never ceases to amaze me. Then we headed down for breakfast which was delicious as always. We can't wait to go back next year! 
We spent the rest of our break in Logan. My little brother, Scott, had just gotten home from his mission in Korea on medical leave, so it was great to spend some time with everyone all together.
We tried out cross country skiing on New Years
Enjoyed A LOT more snowfall
Spent our one and only ski day of the season with my dad at The Beav
Got to help welcome these precious little twins home from the NICU after their two-and-a-half month stay
Nick got some quality Kona time while studying hard
We all played lots of pool (my dad takes that game very seriously if you can't tell)
And we also opened up my Grandpa's old films from the 1950 and had a legitimate movie night with the family. My grandpa had film from literally every corner of the world--Rome, Japan, the Taj Mahal, Berlin--you name it. We are so lucky to have these!

While we loved getting our snow fix over the holiday break, I can't deny that I was ecstatic to come back to warm weather. And Nick was pretty happy about it too, considering he could do this:
I did a lot of this:
(Ok, I don't always use the Luv Sac as my office chair.. but sometimes chairs just get old!)

Nick had his second dental school interview in Chicago, and he got to meet up with my sister's family afterward. I was so sad I couldn't be there, but we're happy to have them move closer in just a few weeks!

In mid-January, I had a short stint in Honolulu again--this time with my parents and Scott. It wasn't easy fitting in work in the wee hours of the night so I could hang out with everyone during the day, but it was so worth it!
My mom and I rented one of these (basically a moped on three wheels) and drove it around Diamond Head. Hilarious!
One of the only "group" pictures I got while there. I feel like I only think about taking pictures AFTER I already forgot to do it. Ugh.
Had to make an obligatory stop at Matsumotos for shave ice.
And saw some awesome views on the North Shore.

Overall, it was awesome to spend some quality time with the fam. We all missed Nick, but his absence on the trip paid off. While I was gone, he had his third dental school interview over in Mesa. They called the day after with an acceptance invitation! 
We are so excited to be staying in Arizona for the next for years, and I'm so proud of Nick for working so hard to get to this point! 

We finished off the month with celebrating my 24th at Ruth's Chris--I would take one of their steaks over a birthday present any day! 

And some Sprinkles cupcakes to go :)

I enjoyed lemon season

Got acquainted with my new juicer 

Started to enjoy being in our nursery callings after a chaotic first couple months

Had our annual Valentine's Day fondue dinner at home

Enjoyed having my friend Jo in town for the long holiday weekend. She hit a gold mine at Last Chance and we took some fun pictures with our matching Jimmy Choos (90% off, anyone?), enjoyed some delicious cupcakes, and got to spend some time at the Mesa Temple grounds. 

We spent the last few days of the month (and Nick's Birthday) on spring break in Belize--blogged about that fun adventure here.

Since I'm a person that thrives on sunshine, it's easy to see why I was just thrilled to live in this weather during early spring
We take advantage of our pool quite a bit and love that its so convenient.

We went to our first Spring Training game

 Worked on our golf game... which is still a work in progress

Went to the Mesa Temple Easter Pageant for the first time with our friends the Woolfords

And last but not least, two of my best friends, Lindsey and Kyndra, came to visit! Their trip was originally scheduled for mid-January, but the huge snowstorm in Utah cancelled their flight for a couple days. Despite the delay, it was still so much fun to have them here.
We spent a fun day of shopping in Scottsdale, had lots of quality pool time, and just had fun catching up since we hadn't seen each other since last summer. Can't wait for them to visit again!

April was filled with a lot of family visits, which we loved! It started out with another trip to Utah, but this time together for Nick's mom's wedding! She was such a beautiful bride and we are so happy for her. 

It was the first time Nick's entire family had been together since our wedding four years ago! It was so fun to be with everybody for the weekend. 

Back in Phoenix, we visited Chase Field for the first time for the Diamondbacks vs. Dodgers game

Then my dad came into town for a couple days to check out some real estate. This is quite possibly my favorite picture of my dad. He couldn't resist taking the beach cruisers for a ride down those wide aisles at Costco! Haha. 

A few days later, I flew back to Utah (solo this time) to see my sister and her family who were in town finalizing a home purchase in the Salt Lake area. We're so excited to have them on this side of the continent now! 

We took the girls to the American West Heritage Center to see some baby animals. I think I loved it as much as they did. 
 The sibs

It had been an entire year since I saw these little ones and they had grown up so much!

Scott flew back just a day after I did to Phoenix to catch some sunshine, and we had some fun on the golf course together.

I am VERY new to golfing, but luckily Nick's skill of finding golf gear on eBay for great deals has me looking less like an amateur...that is until you see my swing ;).
Well, that's my best attempt at summarizing our life over the past nine months or so. More to come soon (hopefully) about our summer adventures!