Wednesday, January 21, 2015

2013 Recap Pt 2 - Let's Go to Utah!

After our big trip to the Dominican Republic, Casey and I were happy to keep busy throughout the year. 

We did our annual trip to Lake Mead/Las Vegas for the Fourth of July. 
After we came home, we got the opportunity to have a whole week with my nephew Greadon. Garrett was in training for the Air Force and Julie had an adults only family trip to go on. It was nice to get some full time mommy-practice. When i went to work, I would take Greadon to my mom's house. I learned a whole new respect for working moms. I was pooped! We had so much fun though. We took him to the LA Zoo, out to dinner at Outback and even Lady got in on the fun! 

In August we went to the Ventura Fair with my dad and Madison to celebrate his birthday. Highlight? I rode a mechanical bull, of course! I did pretty well too! 

Casey and I also did a big day date in LA and explored the California ScienCenter and I got to feel some Trojan Pride. 

Madison lived with us for about a month during the summer which was fun. We helped her buy (and fix) her car before she set off to go back to school, reminding me that Casey seriously is the bestest! 

Casey and I made the decision to plan a trip to Utah for the October General Conference and to celebrate his birthday. Once we made that decision, planning for that trip became consuming and very exciting. Another thing to cross off my bucket list. We took breaks from planning our trip to spend time with friends (Especially little Miss Noelle Pettit born 3.14.13) and go on cutsie dates as much as possible. Between the craziness of work (I was making a huge dent at work and working hard and typically overtime) and trying to get the most out of 2013, I was starting to get drained and very tired. October could not come fast enough! 

Before we went to Utah, I decided to surprise Casey for a special birthday night to see our favorite comedian, Brian Regan, in Temecula at Pechanga. He really didn't know where we were going until we were about halfway there. It was a nice surprise and our seats were actually really good! Casey and I really enjoyed ourselves so much that I actually got a smile out of him! 

Finally we got to head out to Utah. I was so excited. Utah is so refreshing for me and I was very excited to go to the Salt Lake temple for the first time and attend General Conference. We landed late Thursday night. Friday was Casey's birthday and we woke up early to go to the temple. Now for those that may not know this, the temple is a very sacred place and the Salt Lake temple is very rich in history. 

Casey and I had been trying to get pregnant for a very long time and I just knew it was so important that we go to the temple. I went in very solemn and somewhat heart broken. I went in to pray for comfort through the process of trying to expand our family and, if my Heavenly Father would see fit, to bless us with a baby. At the end of the session, there is a prayer said and in part of the prayer the man praying said something along these lines, "...and hothouse who came here in search of answers, know the Lord hears them..." or something. Once these words were spoken, I heard, clear as day, the Lord tell me that my prayers - our prayers - would be answered. And in the "would be answered" the tone was not like "eventually" or "hang in there" it was "now. Your prayer is answered". The emotion, spirit, everything was so powerful. I could not stop crying, I was so overwhelmed. I knew it, I felt it, I was pregnant! I told Casey about the intense spirituality of that moment but I did not tell him about the fact that I knew I was pregnant. I wanted to save that for later. The coolest part was that after I shared my experience with him, he told me that he also had a strong feeling that in that moment of the prayer, the Lord was speaking to me and that those words were for me. WOW!

We left the temple feeling happy (to say the least) and very hungry. We had discussed earlier that we would drive from Salt Lake to Provo where our favorite burrito place is located. We were already crunched for time to make it back to Salt Lake for our dinner reservation. We basically ate our (delicious Mountain West Burritos... GO NOW, TRY IT!) ran by the cemetery to visit my Grandpa Boyd's headstone (another very spiritual moment for me after the temple) and sped back to SLC to get ready for dinner. 

We met up with Casey's childhood friend, Justin, and his wife Andrea for dinner at The Garden. This restaurant...another Must See! The view of the temple just kept reminding me of our morning. For birthday celebrations, the restaurant does this special thing where they open the glass celieng (you heard me) and let the birthday boy/girl release a balloon into the sky as the whole place yells HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! Casey, true to form, would not have anything to do with it so Andrea and I each grabbed a balloon and released them as Casey's proxy. Very fun! 

After dinner, we were not done celebrating my amazing husband so we grabbed a horse and buggy for rent and took a ride around the city! The tour guide was funny and made the cold experience very fun. We then said our goodnights and went back to our hotel room where I had every intention of grabbing one of my special tests I had started to bring with me on all our trips to tell Casey the special news on his birthday. Unfortunately, after a very long couple of days, we both fell asleep almost immediately upon coming back to the hotel. 
Trying to stay warm on our carriage ride through SLC
The next morning, Saturday, was the day we were set to go to General Conference. We had tickets for the morning session so we woke up and had to very quickly get ready and out the door to get to the Conference Center on time. Again, no time for my special birthday gift for Casey. 

Being in the conference center was amazing! The speakers were amazing and the whole experience had me full of the Spirit and my eyes very teary! 

After conference was over, we said "goodbye" to Justin and Andrea and made plans to see them later for a late lunch/early dinner before we left Utah. As much as we love hanging out with them, I was very glad to go our own way because I had a very important date with a P-Test! 

We got back to the hotel and I very secretly grabbed the test from the suitcase (cleverly hidden in a pocket casey never ever uses) and snuck into the bathroom. The word "PREGNANT" popped up within seconds and my heart skipped a beat. I took a deep breath to calm myself and stepped out of the hotel bathroom. Casey was laying on his stomach on the bed scrolling aimlessly through his phone. I casually said "Casey...". Without looking up he said, "Yeah?". Again, with my heart beat pounding and my voice starting to show signs of nerves I said, "CASEY!" And he looked over at me and I just stood there holding the stick with a (I'm assuming) goofy, teary eyed smile on my face. He jumped onto his feet and stood up and said, "REALLY!" and I nodded and began crying. We had a big hug and I cried the happiest tears. I then shared with him my full experience from the temple and shock set in. 

Again, in true Casey form, he was not ready to believe it; It was too good to be true. So we scoured Salt Lake to find a CVS, Wallgreens, Anything. I bought two packs of pregnancy tests and we rushed back to the hotel. 
He finally believed me. The moodiness, exhaustion and lack of appetite was starting to make sense. All my symptoms multiplied on the flight home and I was never more grateful for Ginger Ale. We left Utah and returned home, ready to figure out what this new chapter would have in store for us. We spent 2013 busy and making lots of memories and the whole flight home, none of those memories were as precious to me as the moment I knew my life would never be the same. 

2013 Recap Pt 1: Passport Please!

2013 was the year of health and happiness.

I started by joining a bootcamp program to get myself fit and healthy. It was brutal and fun.
I had good motivation to put up with how rough it was; Casey and I planned a trip to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic for early May. I continued kicking butt at Semco and would clock out and get my butt kicked at Afterburn Fitness.
Finally it was time to go. Excited does not begin to describe how I was feeling.

We landed and the airport was so tropical and foreign looking and so beautiful! This is a picture of the airport. This picture is from when we were leaving to come home but you get the gist.

It was so crazy to drive through the local areas. Everything was so different, the houses, the roadways and driving rules. Before this trip I didn't realize how small my little world was! Driving though was an adventure in itself. We finally arrived at our resort and it was like a commercial. UNREAL! (Thanks Whitney and Dennis for the recommendation!) We stayed at the Majestic Elegance in Punta Cana. We will be going back for sure! Besides the gorgeous grounds, the beach and water were like a postcard! You may not believe me but the following pictures were not photoshopped in any way! PS: Thanks Whitney & Madison for the hat.
We decided to do three excursions; one every other day so we could just lounge the other days: Local Bus Tour Excursion, Swimming with Dolphins and Zip Lining.

The Bus Tour was the one I was least excited about but ended up being my very favorite. It gave us a chance to see the local villages. We went to a Cocoa Plantation, a small farm and a school. We got stuck in a crazy rain storm on that one and it made it that much more enjoyable. It felt so tropical and surreal. I pet and fed some giant Iguanas, ate a raw Cocoa bean, and danced in the rain! The school was adorable! The children were so precious and eager to meet us. One even gave me a drawing of a flower. Again, just driving through the beautiful country was an adventure. This is us after we got stuck in the rain storm on the open air bus back to the resort.

Speaking of being back at the resort, it was all-inclusive and they made AMAZING non-alch. drinks! We sipped on "Majestics" and other delicious drinks while we enjoyed the amenities. They had a giant open theater that put on some super fun shows, my favorite being the Michael Jackson tribute. 

Swimming with Dolphins was also unreal; something to cross off my bucket list. I was way more excited about this than Casey was. In fact, this was the excursion I was most excited about but ended up being the least favorite out of all of them, which is not saying much since they all were amazing.  With this excursion, we did a lot more than just swim with dolphins. We also met (and kissed) a sea lion, watched a cutsie exotic bird show and then got to meet and "encounter" the birds in that show. It was really fun but the actual swimming with dolphins part went by very quickly. I was very glad, when we got home, that we bought the professional picture package they sold there. 


After a very long and fun day of swimming with dolphins, we were glad to have scheduled a day to stay at the resort and relax. Again, no photoshop here! 

When the day came to finally zip line, it was bittersweet. I did not want my Dominican Dream to end! We set off in another open air bus, past many of the places we saw on our first excursion, to the Zip Line course. After the obligatory safety and instruction spiel, we were harnessed and set off. Let me just reiterate, this land is gorgeous!! Unfortunately, I was not allowed to carry my phone or camera with me to get pictures from my view but it was breathtaking! Again, glad we purchased the picture packages they sold there.
On the bus ride home from zip lining, the driver/tour guide person picked a cocoa plant off a tree and cut it open for us all to eat. So yummy! On the bumpy drive I pondered all the fun memories we made on our crazy excursions. We hit some pretty rough turbulence but it was all part of the experience... that is...until my camera fell victim to the ride; somewhere between the Cocoa plant and the main road, my camera fell off my lap and through the floor of the open air bus. ALL MY PICTURES, GONE! I took pictures with the students, with the birds, all over the resort... all gone. This made me even more thankful that we splurged on the souvenir picture packages sold at the excursions. The next day was our last day there and we just spent it running around the resort trying to capture pictures on Casey's phone to make up for losing the dozens of photos i lost. I told casey that this meant we had to come back and do it all over again. 

The trip home was an adventure all it's own. On the way to the airport, Casey misplaced his passport (minor heart attack) luckily we found it by the time we got to the airport. Our plane was delayed a few hours. Finally we boarded the plane. We were set to make our connecting flight in Chicago and be home the Saturday before Mother's Day. Then, we sat on the plane on the tar mac for about an hour before they asked the older lady next to me to get off the plane because apparently she fell on the walk to the plane because due to being drunk and dehydrated. Once she was off we spent another hour waiting for them to take her luggage off the plane. By the time we got to Chicago we had just missed the last flight to LA until the next day meaning we no longer had a ride to pick us up from the Airport on Mother's Day. The airline put us up in a hotel, Casey and I ate at Harry Caray's for a (very) late dinner and got about 3 hours of sleep before going back to the airport for our final leg of the journey home. 
In the Chicago Airport (finally) headed home

When we landed at LAX all our family was busy celebrating mother's day so we had a car service pick us up and take us home. It felt so fancy! We got dropped off, changed as quickly as we could and rushed to my mom's church for Mother's Day sacrament. It was a nice surprise for her and it was nice to do something normal. 

Believe it or not, this is only the first half of the excitement that 2013 had in store. the second half of the year will be covered in Part Two. Until then...

To Be Continued....

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Reader's Digest Version of 2011 and 2012

So last time I posted was Oct 2011. Lets just do some quick catch up on 2011 and 2012. Hopefully I'm not forgetting anything big.

2011: The Start of Big Change
-Left Sunshine

-Dad moved to Afghanistan for work

-Baby sister started college

-Went on our first cruise. 3 day relocation cruise from Canada to Long Beach. Explored Canada before the cruise. Hit a massive storm. Discovered that i love BINGO.  Had a blast!

-Gained another niece on the Evans' side. Welcome to the world Sophia!

-Started work at a temp agency

2012: New beginnings and settling in

-Started as a temp at Semco Instruments.

-Began looking to buy a house.

-Gained another nephew on the Evans' side. Welcome to the world Hunter!

-Older sister, Whitney got engaged to Dennis!

-Dad ended his Afghanistan job and came back home!

-Got hired on as "full time" at Semco

-Congratulations Mr. & Mrs. Steele!

-Older brother, Garrett and his wife Julie had a BABY! Welcome to the world Greadon! First Myler Grandbaby!

-Tried buying a house and it fell out of escrow after our previous home needed us out and we were left with nowhere to go. Found a chance rental in the home between two of Casey's brothers. and moved in on New Years Eve 2012! Ready to start 2013 in a new home!

2013 was a big year. Big enough to start a new post. :)