Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas from the Pews

Dearest Family and Friends,

Merry Christmas! We hope it is a wonderful one full of the Spirit of Christ, love of family, and company of those you love.

We have had such an amazing year! In May, Brad finished his first year of law school at BYU. He did wonderfully, and was able to work at the Supreme Court of Utah and then at a great firm in Phoenix, Fennemore Craig. With just finishing another semester, we have another year and a half of law school, and we are definitely looking forward to being done.

I continued to work with at-risk kids in the Alpine Summit program and teach piano lessons. I also graduated from ASU in June with a degree in Family and Human Development. I just walked last week and it was wonderful! I will not be returning to the Summit program in January, and leave feeling a little bitter-sweet about the decision.

In June, we celebrated our first wedding anniversary. It's hard to believe how fast time has flown! What a wonderful year it was, and we are looking forward to many more.

Our most exciting part of the year, of course, was finding out that we will be welcoming a new baby girl into our home in March 2015! We could not be more excited, happy, and grateful. She will definitely be one spoiled little girl.

It has definitely been a blessed year and we are looking forward to all that 2015 will bring.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

A Christmas Thought

Merry Christmas, everyone! I am sorry that I have been MIA on the blog, but we have been enjoying our family time in the wonderful state of Arizona, and blogging hasn't been a priority this week.

This morning, as I studied my scriptures, I was brought back to the same thought I have almost every year at this time... who am I in the Christmas story? Every Christmas, we all have the opportunity to decide what to make of Christmas and I think there is a perfect parallel between our decisions and that first Christmas story.

So who am I? Who are you?

Mary: Understanding, blessed, faithful, willing and wanting to do all that God asked of her. Contemplating the miracle that is Jesus, "pondering it in her heart." Are we like Mary? Do we seek to be the best we can so as to be worthy of the presence of Christ? To we marvel at the miracle of His birth, life, suffering, sacrificial death, and resurrection? Do we seek to be with Him this Christmas?

Joseph: Kind, compassionate, wanting to do what is best, willing to take a back seat to the miracle of Christmas. I imagine Joseph concerned about every comfort for Mary and the Christ Child. He was faithful and trusted in God and His word. Are we like Joseph? Perhaps not understanding all that is Jesus, but wanting to, willing to, and moving forward with faith?

The InnKeeper: Busy, preoccupied, unaware. I like to think of the innkeeper as a kind man who was trying to do good and help others, but was so wrapped up in good things that he overlooked the most important thing. He was full. He had already taken in more guests than he had room for. He just couldn't do any more. He was stretched to his limit. Was he one who the shepherds ran to to tell of the coming of the Savior? Did he feel shame? Regret? Did he wonder how he could have missed the most important guest of all? Are we like the Innkeeper? Busily running from here to there to prepare the "perfect" Christmas for our loved ones, complete with beautiful gifts, deliciously tantalizing food, joyous carols, and twinkling lights, but missing the most important piece of CHRISTmas? Do our children care more about Him, or the gifts under the tree? Do we notice the needy people around us or are we too busy rushing to our next dinner party?

The Angel: Joyously proclaims the truth. Are we like the angel? Do we already know Jesus and want to make it know to the whole earth? If we know, are we singing His praises. Do we join with our "host of angels" to sing hosannas in gratitude for the gift of the King?

The Shepherd: Humble and prepared to receive truth. Once they learned of the Christ child, they ran to see Him, to know Him. They left their work and all that they knew to come to know Him. And then, when they had felt the Spirit witness to them that Jesus truly was the promised Messiah, they went and told all who would hear. Are we like the shepherds? Do we keep ourselves in a way that will allow for Heavenly truths to be given us? Do we leave all that's necessary in order to know Jesus? Do we then tell our friends, neighbors, and even complete strangers about our Savior?

Wisemen: Waiting and watching, going in the moment to find the Christ child. Traveling far distances over a long period of time, watching for the signs of His location. Are we like the wisemen? Doing whatever it takes to find Christ in Christmas? Looking for Him in all things and seeking Him, regardless of challenges and obstacles?

So who are we? With Christmas fast approaching, it is not too late to readjust. To stop worrying about the gifts, the food, the lights, the trees, and the parties, and remember
Please take 3 min to watch this beautiful video.
What will you give to Him this Christmas?
What will you give because of Him?

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Christmas Lights

Brad and I love Christmas lights.
There is something almost magical about them and they really help me get into the spirit of Christmas.

Two weeks ago, we went to the lighting at Riverwoods and it was so beautiful. They had live music, a visit from Santa, and roaming elves. We even enjoyed a free carriage ride!

Last week, after a wonderful Thanksgiving trip to Idaho, we stopped in Salt Lake City on our way home to see the lights on Temple Square. Brad had never seen them before and it was so much fun to experience that together! If you are in the Salt Lake area, we definitely recommend a visit. 

We met up with my cousin Ashley and her husband Phil and had a great time spending the evening together and basking in the beauty of Christmas.

As I look at these beautiful lights, I am reminded of number of things. Mostly of the light of the star that proclaimed the birth of the Christ child. I love Jesus Christ and am so grateful for all that He did for me and for each one of us. Christmas lights remind me to seek out the Savior, just as the wise men sought Him out by following that Christmas Star. As Christmas draws near, I hope we can remember Him and seek His light and love. Then may we share that light and love with others, as He would have us do.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Our Miracle

I have been hesitant to share this story on the blog. Hesitant for a number of reasons. Mainly, because so many of my friends have recently experienced miscarriage, infertility, and other trials. I've read a number of heart breaking blogs, talked to friends who are struggling with these things, and heard of others who are silently suffering.

But today, I woke up feeling like it was time to share our story. But before I do, I just want to say that I don't understand all things. I don't know why God answers some prayers the way we hope and others in a way we never would have wanted. But what I do know is that God is good. And He knows the end from the beginning. Does he often allow us to suffer? Yes. But I know from experience that those sufferings can draw us closer to Him and allow us to grow. Does it still hurt? Of course it does. Do we often feel angry for a time? Absolutely. We are only human. And I feel for those of you who are suffering and seeking peace. You will find it. God will provide.

So here is the story of our little miracle.

On July 21st, I found out I was pregnant. I still remember crying sweet tears of joy, and immediately sending up a prayer of gratitude. In an instant, my mindset changed. I took a picture of my stomach so that I could compare later. I made a secret board on Pinterest so that I could start pinning baby things without anyone knowing about the pregnancy yet. I prepared how I would tell Brad, and that night when I did, it was wonderful. We were ecstatic. At this point, I was about 6 weeks along. At the time, we were also planning a trip to Argentina. There was no risk associated with traveling, so we preceded with our plans, under the okay of the doctor.

I went to the doctor on July 30th. After examining me, he kept asking questions to make sure I was really 7 weeks along, as we thought I would be at that time. He told me that I didn't seem pregnant at all. I wasn't growing right. He couldn't hear a heartbeat. He sent me for testing.

I got a phone call on August 1st. It was the doctor himself. I knew it couldn't be good news. He told me the results weren't good. He said that I definitely was pregnant, but that I had either already lost the baby, or that I would soon. He said that there was a chance that everything would be okay, but it didn't look good. We ordered more tests. We canceled our trip. I entered what became the hardest week of my life. Between tests, I was a disaster. I was a weepy mess. I didn't want to do anything. Brad didn't know what to do for me, and was struggling himself. Every little pain in my stomach put me into fits of tears, thinking I was cramping and it was happening. But it didn't. I spent my days reading about miscarriage and what if anything I could do to help. We prayed. We fasted. We plead with the Lord like we never had before. We told our family members so that they could join us in fasting and prayer. We told a few friends.

On August 7th, I had a final blood draw and would get the results at my scheduled ultrasound on the 8th. To be honest, I didn't have a lot of hope. I was so emotionally drained from the week that my faith was lacking. Thankfully, Brad still held on to hope, as did our family.

And then the miracle happened. At our appointment on the 8th, my numbers had suddenly shot up. We did the ultrasound, and I let myself have a glimmer of hope. We both prayed silently for good news. And then we heard it. The heartbeat. The baby was only measuring 6 weeks, when we thought she should have been at 8 weeks, but there was a heartbeat! We cried tears of joy, praying to God and thanking Him for His goodness. We called family and thanked them for their prayers and faith. And suddenly I had hope again. I was still nervous throughout the entire first trimester, but now I could move forward with faith.

I went to the doctor here in Utah, expecting the baby to be at about 10 weeks based on that wonderful ultrasound where we heard the heartbeat... and another miracle happened! The baby was measuring 12 weeks, which is right where she should have been based on my original appointments. And since then, she has stayed right on track.

I don't know why she was 2 weeks behind in the beginning. I don't know why I didn't grow myself for awhile. I don't know why we had to go through all of that. But I do know that we became stronger because of it. And every time I feel this little girl move inside of me, I am so grateful for our amazing miracle. And let me tell you, we cannot wait to meet her!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

22 Week Pregnancy Update

Let me tell you, it is taking all of my remaining self-confidence to post these pictures.
I just keep reminding myself it's all baby... right?

22 weeks pregnant

How far along: 22 weeks!
Baby is the size of: A pomegranate. Which I think is kind of a random comparison... 
Maternity Clothes?: Yes! And I think everyone should wear maternity pants. They are pretty much the most comfortable things I have ever worn. ever.
Stretch Marks: Still No! Maybe I'll luck out...? 
Sleep: It's actually a bit better than it was. Still not at it's pre-pregnancy greatness, but better. 
Best moment this week: Taking a day and a half trip down to AZ to watch my brother perform at the State Marching Band competition. It was so fun to surprise everyone. It was definitely a fast trip, which is why I didn't bother telling anyone but family, because I was there for state, and that's what we did. It was a blast! And Mesa High took 2nd with one amazing show. Go Jackrabbits!
Movement: Yes! It's a lot more frequent now that I notice the movement and it's fun. Brad was even able to feel her the other night!
Cravings: The other day, I really wanted frozen pizza and brownies. Weird, right? I know. But they were delicious in all their unhealthy greatness! I figure I stay healthy most of the time, so I could splurge for a meal, yes? I added a bit of green salad... 
Anything make you sick/queasy?: Still fried food. Actually, that might not be true. I haven't tried recently. But the idea alone puts my stomach into fits. 
Have you started to show yet?: Yes! I'm suddenly gigantic... One day I walked into work and one of the boys said "Woah! You are suddenly pregnant!" So there's that. You can even tell from the front now.
22 weeks pregnant

Gender: It's a girl!!!!! If you missed that announcement, check it out here.
Happy or Moody?: Still like before. Mostly happy, but every now and again, I am just strangely sad/mad/upset with no real reason. I just need a quick cry and then I'm usually okay.
Looking Forward To: Thanksgiving! We are headed to Idaho and are so excited to see family there, relax, eat way too much, and even make a few things for baby!! SO excited!!

Monday, November 17, 2014

It's a...

Have we left you all in suspense long enough??
I guess I just haven't had time to make something cute until today! 

So here it is!!

It's a Girl

We are SOOO excited to start thinking all things pink,
deciding officially on a name, 
and preparing to welcome this little girl into our family!!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Pregnancy Update: 20 Weeks Pregnant and Halfway There

I am aware that this blog has been suffering severely since I got pregnant. Sorry. But Now that I am finally feeling good, I expect to be posting more frequently again. I am also excited about getting back to posting about our weekly date nights. Just know that recently, Friday nights have gone something like this:

Brad: I have this really great plan for date night!
Kailei: Sounds great! But… (runs to the bathroom to be sick)
Brad: So... movie at home?
Kailei: (queasily) looks like it…

Brad has been a great sport about all of this! And the great news is that my nausea and vomiting are a thing of the past! We are going on 3 weeks now of not being sick! Life is good. 

So here is the skinny on this pregnancy.

First, I will say that I am a little self conscious about some of these things… but with the family far away and their wanting to know these things, I decided that I could do at least one pregnancy post. If you aren’t even kind of interested, feel free to leave for now and check in on the weekends to see what we are up to!

How far along: 20 weeks today!!
Maternity Clothes?: Nope! But hopefully soon… I actually really want to need maternity clothes. I mean… I am half way there! I think I’ll go get some this week. My jeans are starting to get a bit snug.
Stretch Marks: Also Nope! Maybe once I start growing some more…
Sleep: Bleh. Not so hot. It’s not so much that I’m uncomfortable, but I’ve been having leg cramps and then when I do get to sleep, I have some pretty nasty nightmares. And then there is the fact that I have to pee a few times a night…
Have you told family and friends?: Yep! Which is why you’re reading this. If you missed the announcement, check it out HERE.
Best moment this week: Being able to go out on Friday night and still have enough energy to clean the house on Saturday! I know it seems silly… but it was SO great to not feel like I had to rest and sleep all day on Saturday to recover from a busy week. Energy levels are on the rise!
Movement: Yes! Nothing super distinctive, but just general flip-flop feelings in the tummy. It’s fun.
Cravings: Not really anything I’ve been craving recently. Some things just sound like they will settle well. Like eggs. But no recent real “cravings” to report.
Anything make you sick/queasy?: Anything fried. It’s just bad. Even after the nausea has “passed,” I just have no desire to eat anything fried. Up until about week 14, almost everything made me queasy. Except eggs. And bread. So egg sandwiches were a staple.
Have you started to show yet?: I feel like I am finally at a point where I look like I have a baby bump and not just like I have gained 5 pounds. Then again, a lady at church on Sunday told me that she couldn’t even tell I was pregnant… so who knows. I definitely think I’m showing!
Gender Prediction: For a long time I was feeling boy. But recently, I’m feeling girl… And Brad was feeling girl and now he’s feeling boy… so who knows. But we find out for sure on Thursday!!!!!
Happy or Moody?: Most of the time, happy. But every now and again, I get this mean streak…. I really don’t mean to. And I try to stop myself and just can’t… then I apologize and feel bad. But 95% of the time, I am happy and nice!
Looking Forward To: The anatomy scan on Thursday!!! We are beyond excited to finally stop saying “the baby” and be able to say he or she!!! Speaking of that… it’s time to make your guesses! What do you think? Boy or Girl? Guesses in the comments below!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Happy Halloween!

We had so much fun for Halloween yesterday. 
We definitely kept it simple, but that was what was so great about it!

After some Halloween festivities with my kids at school and then some of the kids from church, 
(with one of our favorite little boys from church)

I was ready for a chill evening.
So I headed to Papa Murphy's to pick up this fun little guy

Who doesn't love a Jack-o-lantern pizza??
Our cousin Melannie stopped by and so we enjoyed some pizza and started carving pumpkins.
It was a good thing that Melannie came around, because Brad was in the mood to carve 
something super intricate. So Melannie started sketching away.

Pretty intense, right? We were very impressed with Melannie's drawing skills!
Melannie had to head out for her Halloween plans, and we dug into the pumpkins.
As Brad got started on his Hogwarts crest, 
I decided I was more in the mood for a semi-traditional jack-o-lantern. 

We took a quick break from the carving festivities to head to see Hocus Pocus, 
which they were showing at BYU's dollar theater. 

It was such a blast!
We hadn't seen it in ages, and I had forgotten pretty much everything about it. 
So fun to watch such a classic Halloween movie. 

From there, it was back to the pumpkins. Like I said, I went with something simple, so I was done pretty quickly. Then I enjoyed watching Brad finish up his masterpiece. And let me tell you, 
it was pretty impressive! When we were both done, we admired our work for awhile.

In all, it was a great Halloween, complete with awesome Halloween treats from Grandma.

We hope everyone had a wonderful Halloween!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Weekend Review

We had the BEST weekend ever!
My Mom and Dad were in town, and it was so good to see them and spend time together.
They got here on Wednesday and we enjoyed dinner together and just visited.
Of course, a quick trip the the creamery was in order for some amazing ice cream.
Then, they were off to Park City as part of their 30th anniversary trip 
and we finished out the week of studies, work, etc.

On Friday, they went to the BYU/Utah State Game... Go Aggies!!
And Brad and I attended his mission reunion 
where I was able to meet his mission president for the first time.

And at midnight, we all piled in the car to head to Park City.
On Saturday morning, we enjoyed breakfast all together and 
then watched the first session of General Conference. 
As soon as it was over, we left for Salt Lake, 
where we would attend the second session in the Conference Center. 

It was so good to attend conference together and have the day with family.
After the second session, we went to dinner.
Mom and Dad surprised us by treating us to dinner at The Roof,
an amazing restaurant that overlooks Temple Square.
And let me tell you, dinner was so yummy. It was such a fun atmosphere too.
We definitely weren't expecting such a neat surprise, but we were so grateful that 
we were able to experience The Roof with my parents.
Thanks Mom and Dad!

Sorry for the bad photo... the sun was coming right in the window.
After dessert, we sent the boys off to Priesthood session, 
and I got to enjoy two whole hours alone with my mom!!
It was the best time! We just enjoyed chatting and spending time together. 
We went to Deseret Book and met a couple of our favorite authors and ran into lots of friends.
It was perfect.

Afterwards, we met up with our boys again and drove back to Park City.
The whole day was just right.

On Sunday, we drove back to Provo and enjoyed seeing the fall leaves through Provo Canyon.
We watched conference in our apartment and tried to soak in our last few hours together.
All of conference was amazing and faith promoting.
I am grateful for living prophets today who lead and guide us.
I am grateful for my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ for providing a path back to Them.
I am grateful for eternal truths that keep me grounded in a changing world.
I am grateful for covenants that allow us to have eternal families.

It was sad sending my parents off to the airport, and I miss them terribly already,
but I am so glad that we had such a great weekend together!

Thanks Dad and Mom for a wonderful time!!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Happy Mail Project

Do you ever feel like all you get in the mail is bills, junk, and more junk?
I know I do!
But is there anything better than getting a real honest-to-goodness snail mail letter?
The only thing that might be better is an honest-to-goodness snail mail package!
But those are usually few and far between.
Birthdays and Christmas maybe... and that's only if your family and close friends live elsewhere.

Well, Lauren over at Pink on the Cheek thinks there is nothing greater than happy mail too.
And she doesn't think we need to wait for birthdays or Christmas.
We don't even need to wait for a family member to get an inkling to send something. 
You see, Lauren pairs up bloggers to get to know each other and then swap 
Happy Mail Packages!
What a fun idea, right?

I was SO lucky to be paired with the amazing Samantha.
If you don't know her/read her blog, you should. 

I didn't know Samantha at all before this project, but we had a fun time swapping emails, 
reading each others blog posts, and getting to know each other. 
Samantha and I were both SUPER busy through the month, 
but it was nice to still make time to write.
It was like having a pen pal all over again! 
You know that exciting feeling you got in elementary school when you realized your mystery pal 
from the class next door responded to your last letter?
It was a lot like that! 
I loved learning more about Samantha and preparing a box I thought she would like.

And at the end of the month, Samantha sent me this amazing package

It was like she knew exactly what I would pick out for myself!
I am a bit obsessed with the scarf. Super adorable and amazingly warm.
The nail polish is the perfect early fall color.
How did she know that I always make my piano students Halloween cupcakes?
The cupcake papers will be absolutely perfect!
And can we please talk about the carmel apple milky ways???
Seriously, I didn't even know these existed.
In Brad's words, this is the only way they should make Milky Way.
So. Good.
And I am so happy to have a new white board that magnetizes to my fridge.
Ours is getting old and blackened. So that was so perfect!
And the school supplies are so great for work right now!
I know... I'm an awkward selfie taker... because I never do it. But you just HAD to see the scarf!
And the polish. Such a great color, right?

Samantha, I had so much fun getting to know you and I am glad that we will stay friends! 
And another thank you to Lauren for organizing the Happy Mail Project.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Why October is the Best Month of the Year

I love fall.
It's probably my very favorite season.
In fact, October is my favorite month in the year. 

While the week of Christmas is my favorite week of the year,
December is actually a pretty stressful month for the first half.
Final exams, school coming to a close, trying to get finals papers and projects in etc.
Maybe once we are out of college, I won't feel that way about December.

October is a whole different ballgame.
School is pretty mellow in October.
Even if midterms come around, they're not much different than a regular test.
The weather is practically perfect.
The evenings and mornings are cool enough for a glass of hot apple cider.
General Conference is the first weekend of October.
It's my birthday month.
I can start eating pumpkin everything.
(Though we started a little early this year)
Fall break happens.
The leaves are beautiful.
And, I love Halloween. Not the scary parts... I don't do scary well...but seeing cute kids
in cute costumes, carving pumpkins, taking a hay ride, caramel apples, carnivals.
All the good parts.
Thus, October is my very favorite month.

Basically, I love October. I am so excited that we made it to the greatest month of the year!

Do you love October?
What is your favorite month of the year?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

What's in a Name?

"What's in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;"
(Romeo and Juliet, Act 2 Scene 2)

Last week, I went to babysit for a family in our church group.
As I was getting the kids into bed, the oldest asked me,
"Sister Pew, why is your last name Pew?"
I told her that it was because I married Brother Pew.
"So that wasn't always your name?"
"No, not always."
"Well, what was your name before?"
Seeing no harm in telling her, I responded.
"I like that a lot better than Pew. Shelley is pretty. Pew means stinky."
And she climbed into bed.

Suddenly I realized what Brad went through as a child.
And what our future children will have to go through.
And I chuckled a little to myself.
Adults don't question that your last name is Pew.
(Though I must put in a little aside that I jokingly feign offense when a family member 
crinkles their nose and says "pew!" to a foul smell).
Children latch on and make a joke.

But this whole little experience got me thinking about my process of becoming Kailei Pew.
I absolutely love being Kailei Pew.
I think it symbolizes my oneness with Brad. 
I think it shows that we belong to each other.
I felt a zing of love and pride the first time Brad called me Mrs. Pew right after we were married.
I wanted it and I chose it.

But let me tell you, I had a little bit of an identity crisis when I decided to change my name.
As much as I wanted to change it, as much as I felt right about it,
I suddenly wondered:
who was Kailei Pew?
I knew who Kailei Shelley was. I liked what she had done and accomplished.
I liked the things attached to her name. 
Goodness, for 18 and a half months, Shelley was the only name that defined me.

And for some reason, I didn't know what would happen to her when she became Kailei Pew.
I felt like I had to "make a name for myself" all over again.
And then we moved to Utah, and no one even knew Kailei Shelley.
Only Kailei Pew.
And I really felt a little lost.
It took a good six months for me to finally realize.
I was still me.
A name doesn't make me who I am.
I didn't have to build and entire new identity.
I hadn't changed,
just entered a new phase of life.
And I was proud of being Kailei Pew.
I will never fully leave Shelley behind.
It's as much a part of me as Pew is, and I am proud of my Shelley roots.
But my identity crisis is over.
Kailei Pew sounds pretty natural now.
It's finally the first thing I sign, without starting into the She--
And I love it now even more than I did the first time Brad called me Mrs. Pew.

So thanks, Shakespeare.
Just like the rose, I think I'm just as sweet.
Even with a "stinky" last name.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

This summer, we spent a weekend in Pine, AZ. 
It was lovely to be with family and get away from the hustle and bustle of the world. 

While there, we attended church where we had a wonderful lesson. 
The woman teaching was talking about goals.

She taught that desires are only wishes until we make a plan. 
Only after the plan do we have a true goal. 
She ended by saying,
"Someday is not a day of the week."

That hit me pretty hard. I loved it. I wanted to remember it. I even googled it. 
Google told me that Denise Brennan Nelson said it. But then it told me that Janet Dailey 
was actually the one to say it. Then Pinterest told me that it was actually Dr. Phil. 
So I'm sorry it I'm not giving credit where credit is due, but I am going to attribute this one to 
the dear woman who taught me a valuable lesson in Pine, Arizona. 

Someday is not a day of the week.
How often do I say that I need to improve my scripture study
and then continue doing the same thing I have been doing for the last year?
Or that I need to exercise more regularly
but choose to push the snooze button two times each morning?
Or that I would love to play a certain new piece on the piano
but I keep playing the same comfortable things over and over?
The list could go on.

So I've decided that I need to start making these desires into goals.
And I need to make short term, obtainable goals. 
Maybe even daily goals.
Do you ever get to the end of the day and wonder,
"what did I even accomplish today?"
I do.
More often than I like to admit, maybe. 

So I am committing.
Each morning, as part of my routine, 
I will prayerfully decide what I can reasonably accomplish that day.
And then I am going to do what it takes to make it happen.
Because someday is not a day of the week. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

100,000 Miles

Yesterday, we made it back to Utah safe and sound.
I definitely cried on our way out of town, 
leaving behind our family and everything we hold dear in AZ.

But there is a time a season for everything, and for now, we are in the law school time and season.
And life is good.

On our way up, this happened.
Yes, I know the picture is super blurry... 
Try to navigate the highway just outside of Las Vegas between 2 Semi Trucks and get a decent picture.

100,000 miles on my dear little Corolla!
And all of a sudden, all of these wonderful memories came flooding back to me 
and made my heart happy.

Like the first time I saw her.
I had just graduated from high school and we had been searching for a good car for me.
My dad called, telling me he had found the perfect car for me in Manti, UT.
I was a little skeptical, since my dad had found 5 "perfect-for-me" cars before... 
all of which I thought were duds.
But when I saw her, I knew she was the one. 

Or when she was finally ready and we went to get her. 
My dad and I flew up to Utah and navigated the Frontrunner to get to Provo, 
caught a ride with a cousin to Manti, and then drove the car all the way back to AZ, 
just the two of us.
And how I knew that my dad would sacrifice anything for me at that time.
And I will always remember that road trip with dad.

Or how she got me to ASU every single day for three years.
Early morning classes, new friends, amazing adventures. 
Oh the college years. 

Or the time I let my brother borrow her to go to a high school dance.
I thought I was a pretty cool sister.

Or the time my friends decorated her on my birthday.
And then we made it a tradition to decorate each other's cars for that entire year of birthdays.
Including one midnight trip in her out to Avondale... maybe getting a little lost.

Or the first time I drove her again after a year and a half in Argentina.
And thinking I might die since I didn't remember how to drive.

Or the time that she took Brad and I away, as husband and wife.
After the wedding, after the reception, we were just us. The Pews.
And then she drove us to California to take our honeymoon cruise.

Or the time she drove us up to Utah for the very first time to start this new adventure.
Two young, married college students, off to take on the world. 

Oh, these are heart happy memories!
My very first car...
She has been a good car to me, and I expect another 100,000 miles out of her.
Where will she take me in these next 100,000?
Surely it will be a grand adventure!

Do you have a car that makes you smile to think about all the memories you made with it?

Monday, August 4, 2014

Change of Plans

Sometimes, plans have to change.

For personal reasons, we had to cancel our trip to Argentina last minute.
We are super sad, but we know we made the right choice
and we will be working through some things for now.
But we will get through it together, and all will be well.
Everything happens for a reason.

Soon after receiving the hard news that led us to cancel the trip, 
we found this giant chair.
And sitting in it seemed to lighten the mood just a little bit. 

Someday, we will visit Argentina again. 
Until then, we now have 2 completely free weeks where neither of us is working or in school.
That hasn't ever happened!
So we need a plan to fill our days...

So far, our brainstorming has come up with these options:
Make a Grand Canyon Trip
Visit Sedona
Explore Desert Botanical Garden (unless it's just too melty hot)
Catch a Movie or Two (we're not big go-to-the-theater people, 
but we have a million gift cards... any suggestions of what's good right now?)
Relax and Enjoy Being Together

We might head back to Utah earlier than planned as well so that we have some time to 
rest before Brad starts back into law school and I head back to work and piano teaching.

What do you all think? What should we do for the next two weeks?

Friday, August 1, 2014

Leavin' On a Jet Plane

T-minus 3 days until we leave for Argentina!!!

This was my view landing in Buenos Aires the first time around... over 3 years ago now!

We're just a little excited...

The people I love SO much
The places I want to see again and show to Brad
The things I never saw and now get to visit
The food
The culture

This is going to be one amazing trip!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Easy Banana Cream Pie

It has been quite a long time since I've gotten a recipe up on the blog!
This one is definitely a favorite. 

Brad's birthday was last week... 
The big 25!! 

We had a great day celebrating Brad's turning a quarter of a century, complete with his favorite pie!
I love making his favorite treat on a special occasion,
and this pie is perfect for a summer treat, so timing was great!

This recipe is super easy and oh, so delicious! Give it a try and let us know how it turns out for you!

Easy Banana Cream Pie

2 Graham Cracker Crusts 
1 (3.4 oz) Box Instant Vanilla Pudding
1 1/3 c. Cold Water
1 can Sweetened Condensed Milk
2 pkg. Cool Whip, Thawed and Divided (You won't need it all, but I'm sure you can find a use for it)
2 Large Bananas 
Optional: 3 Squares Hershey Chocolate

1. In a large bowl, combine pudding, water, and sweetened condensed milk. Mix with a fork until well
    blended. Place in the refrigerator for a few minutes.
2. Fold in 1 1/2 c Cool Whip into the pudding mixture. Return to fridge. 
3. Slice one banana into the bottom of each crust to cover. Make sure to reserve the plastic domes.
4. Pour filling over bananas, dividing the mixture between the two crusts. Refrigerate for 10-15 min.
5. While the pies firm up, chop the chocolate into small pieces. 
6. Remove pies from fridge and top with desired amount of cool whip (about 1/2 pkg) 
    and sprinkle with chocolate 
7. Return to fridge for at least a few hours. 
8. ENJOY!!

Like I said before, this pie is easy, pretty fast to put together, and delicious!

What is your favorite summer treat?

Monday, July 21, 2014

On Choosing Love

When Brad and I got engaged, some people asked me what was different this time. 
Why now, when not before?

If you are new around here, let me catch you up a little. 
Brad and I met in preschool and were best friends through all of high school.
He left on an LDS mission, and I went to college.
He came home and we dated, but it just didn't work out. 
Eventually, I left on an LDS mission.
When I came back, things were just different. In the best way possible.
And the time was right.
The difference?
I chose to love.
If you want more than this reader's digest version, check out the whole story here.

So what do I mean when I say that I chose to love?
Well, before my mission, the first time we dated, I was constantly seeking reasons why I should 
or should not pursue the relationship. For each thing I adored, I found something I didn't.
I prayed and prayed, and felt more and more unsettled.
So eventually, I just decided to be done. Brad felt the same way.

The second time around, I started down the path of overanalyzing everything. 
Were Brad and I really "meant to be?"
Were we "soul mates?"
Could we be together forever?

I was praying and praying to know if I should move forward with Brad.
I was wondering if it was too soon. If I was totally crazy.
And then I had a bit of a break through.

This is from my journal right around the time that we started dating:

7 Feb 2013
On the way to Brad's house tonight, I found myself thinking “oh I hope I get an answer that this is right because I really want it to be right!” And then it hit me. I really do want it. I want it to work out. I am for the first time really acting to bring it about. And I know that the Lord knows all of those things and He wants me to be happy. Maybe it didn’t work out with Brad before because I didn’t truly want it. It was not the time. But now, I feel like things are different. The Lord is responding to my prayers.
I just have to pay attention.

From then, I decided to choose Brad. 
He was the very best man I had ever known.
He served the Lord and loved God more than anyone or anything else.
He was a hard worker.
He was kind and loving.
He served others because he wanted to. Because he loved them.
He was accomplished and had goals and dreams.
He treated me like a queen.
He was everything I had ever wanted, 
and I knew the Lord approved.

So I stopped worrying about whether or not we were meant to be.
I stopped wondering if there could be such a thing as "soul mates."
I stopped questioning my own thoughts and feelings.
And I chose to love.

Was Brad absolutely perfect?
Was I?
Definitely not.
Did I stop worrying completely?
Of course I didn't.
But I chose faith. And I chose love.
And in the end, I think that's what God wants for us.

Thank you to Darby Elizabeth Photography for the amazing pictures!

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