Saturday, November 10, 2012

One of those posts where I promise I'll post more soon.

Hello all, 

I have weeks and weeks (okay, months and months) of blogging to get caught up on. But meanwhile I wanted to say a quick hi and tell you that we are well and happy and thriving here in Georgia (which is probably why I'm so behind here in the blogging world... life keeps us busy, man. Just plain old awesomely busy.). 
Since I last wrote, we've successfully survived our first summer in Hotlanta, enjoyed a magnificent Fall, made lots of friends, had Halloween, had visits with family, done some potty training, gotten to know our way around Georgia a bit, and so on. I have a bajillion stories to share and two bajillion pictures. So, here's the part where I pinky-swear I'll get it all on here one of these days. I want to just as much as you want me to, trust me. For now, hopefully this will suffice.


Love to all, 
--a

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Mega Post

Hi friends,

Happy Thursday to you (as of nine minutes ago... unless you don't live on the east coast, in which case it is probably still Wednesday where you are).
Remember that episode of The Office where Dwight combined like three or four desks to make himself one magnificently large and ugly workspace which he so appropriately called, "Mega Desk"? Well, this post is kinda like that. A whole bunch of things in one. I'm not saying it's going to be pretty... but hopefully you'll like seeing what we've been up to over the last six-ish months. If that sounds royally un-fun to you (and I won't be offended if it does), now would be a good time to check your email or hop on Facebook or Twitter. Because here comes Mega Post. 


Hannah and me in front of Mom and Dad's tree on Christmas Eve. 

In early January Danny took a solo motorcycle trip up the California coast -- one last hurrah before he headed to Atlanta to begin his new job on January 17th (my birthday... yeah, it was the start to a long few months).

Mark earlier this year: learning to brush his teeth (which he now does quite well by himself... most of the time), and just generally being a goofball. He's pretty good at that, too.

The first of this year also brought major renovations for our Provo condo. We knew at this point that we would be headed to Georgia and that we would shortly be looking for renters for our place. While we had been making improvements and updating things since the week we moved in three years ago, there was still more to do. This time around, we built a third bedroom, repainted every wall, replaced the bathroom vanities and toilets, added a glass back splash in the kitchen, and needed several new pieces of furniture. Danny got these projects underway in early January and I took over after his move a couple of weeks later. With the help of lots of family members and some painters to help finish things off, the place was like new -- completely transformed. Clean, fresh, and lovely.


Not bad, right? 
I always complained about living in Provo while there, and I still don't really miss being in a noisy college town, on a busy road, in a second-story condo, but on the day I packed up and headed out of our home so that my renters could move in, I was surprised at how bittersweet it felt to look around and say goodbye. We had put so much work into it and it looked simply beautiful. I had spent so many late nights working on that kitchen or that wall or whatever else. Danny had too, over the years. Not to mention, this was where we brought Mark home from the hospital -- it was where he spent his first two years of life and where we really became a family, in many ways. We went through a number of very difficult seasons during the years we were there, and to close the chapter was a sweet thing but a little strange.

Sorry to be so nostalgic. Moving on... Below are a series of pictures from our various trips to Georgia to visit Danny during the months we were apart. The first few are from the trip where we celebrated Mark's second birthday.



 
  

Below are a few from a weekend trip we took to Columbia, South Carolina to visit my dad's mother (Yaya), and my Aunt Emily and her family during one of our visits to Georgia. The next weekend we accompanied some friends to their beautiful Florida beach home and spent a weekend on the ocean and in the pool.  


  


Georgia is simply beautiful, but few things can compare with the mountains and blue skies of the West. These were some of the shots I took during my last couple of weeks there:





Above are pictures from April -- Mark in my parents' big jetted tub, playing in their living room, and eating scrambled eggs at their kitchen counter (we frequented their house quite a bit during our last month there). I love the one in the upper left... I took it early one morning after Mark had slept in my bed the night before. He was still sound asleep on my left arm. We had so many late nights and were constantly so exhausted because we had so much to get done that when he was asleep, even if he was sleeping on me and I was totally immobilized, I learned to just let him sleep. So we laid there for awhile, my arm numb, and I just enjoyed my sweet, sleeping babe.  

More from April: Mark's room before we moved out, Mark showing off a tower of blocks, and in the bottom right he's got an ice cream cone in each hand while he takes a break from helping pack up the condo. 

 

 Below: Cousin Carter's fourth birthday party, looking up at a passing airplane, playing at the park, and playing blocks with "Bampa."
 

I would be remiss if I didn't post a couple of pictures from one of the sweetest highlights of the year so far -- my beautiful little sister's wedding in March. Sarah and Danny, I am still so happy and excited for you and truly think you make one of the world's very best couples.


 






One of the nice things about a family wedding is that your husband and son (who otherwise are not big fans of being dressed up and having their picture taken) are forced to be dressed up and have their picture taken. Which means that I came away with beautiful and professional photos of my own family. HOORAY! These are just a few. 







Now it's time to talk about Georgia. Below are a few shots that sort of capture the travel experiences related to our move (Mark and I visited Danny twice between January and April and then flew out for good the first week in May).
How sweet are these pictures of Mark watching the airplanes at the airport? As my dad put it, these shots "say so much of Mark's thoughts." My boy loves airplanes. He has loved them ever since he started sitting in the backyard at Grandma and Grandpa Richards' home every week and watching the planes pass overhead on their way to the Salt Lake City airport. And boy, oh boy, he can hear and see one in the sky from a mile away. It was the greatest thing in the world for him to get to see them up close... not to mention ride one. Or half a dozen.



Top left: layover at the airport at midnight (can't remember which airport... LAX, maybe?), excited to get on that plane to go see Daddy. Top right: Mark makes an airport friend in Denver. Bottom left: Danny totes Mark out of the Atlanta airport on the suitcase (best way to tote wild little boys in the airport... can't believe we didn't think of it sooner). Bottom right: Mark rings the doorbell at our new home as we arrive for the first time in May.

The next series are some pictures of our new home and neighborhood. Though we spent many hours looking at homes with a realtor, we decided not to buy a house for now, since this was such a huge move for us and we wanted to figure out exactly what we were doing here first -- get our bearings and get an idea for how long we'd be here. 
Instead, we opted to rent a little townhome in beautiful area about 30 miles north of Atlanta. Danny works three miles away from our home, a half mile down the road is the pre-school where I teach and Mark is a student (Mark goes to pre-school, how cute is that?); nearby are lovely homes, lots of business parks, lots of restaurants and shopping, and lots of diverse and interesting people. And did I mentioned it rains here -- a lot? It is pouring, in fact, as I type this.


  





Mark has done well here in Georgia so far. Below are about a bijillion pictures of our boy -- everything from the GQ-esque shots of him on the porch one Sunday after church, to playing in the park, to playing guitar and video games with Dad, to that little naked bottom in the shower (he decided a few weeks ago he was too cool for baths... it's all about the shower, now), to just plain old Mark silliness.







P.S. I have never, ever, not once used that plunger that Mark has suctioned to the wall in the above photo. I bought it a few weeks ago and it's never once been in the toilet... so please don't have a heart attack at the thought of my two-year-old running around the house with a germy plunger.





Finally, in case you wonder what Danny and I look like these days (since you will see way more pictures of Mark and very few of us...), here you go.



Well, that was fun. I want you to know I'll never do a post this huge again. I think I've been working on it for the last like three weeks... five minutes here, five minutes there. I will try to do short, sweet, easy-to-read posts from here on out. I think we'll all be much happier about that.

Have a "blessed day," as they say here in the south.

xoxo
-a

Thursday, June 14, 2012

from Georgia, with love

Oh hi. Bet you thought you'd never see me again. Well, that was becoming a very real possibility, as my life seems to only get crazier and crazier as the days go on, pushing blogging back to my very, very, VERY back burner... behind all the other things I need to do and haven't made time for (I would list them for you but that would just be embarrassing). BUT, as it turns out, we up and moved last month. And I now find myself thousands of miles away from home and with a brand new reason to keep friends and family in the West at least sort of current on our new life here in Georgia. So, do I have my work cut out for me? Yes, clearly (it's been a year and a half-ish since I last posted... Mark was a baby then, he's practically off to junior high now). Do I have time to get things caught up tonight? No. But I will make every last little effort to get things up to speed in the Blogosphere just as quickly as I can -- mostly for you, Mom and Dad, Sarah and Hannah. For now, it's 1:46 AM and I love you, but Mark has been waking up at unearthly hours lately so, until next time, good night. 

xoxo,
--a 

Sunday, April 3, 2011

let's get reaquainted

Hello world. How are you this lovely General Conference Sunday afternoon? I would normally start off by apologizing for having been AWOL for so long, but Danny always tells me that it's annoying when I apologize for something I absentmindedly do over and over again. And since I know I am bound to enjoy writing today and then may or may not get back to it again soon, I suppose I won't apologize. So, I'm not sorry. I've just been busy, that's all. I have, however, missed you. And I do, however, think I'd like to get back in touch for a minute. So, here we go.

Things have been perhaps more busy around here than ever. Danny has his full load of classes and work each week. And when I say classes and work I mean all-nighters, long hours spent at a microscope, mind-bogglingly difficult math, and countless presentations. I mean butt-busting work. I went back to work full-time at the beginning of this year (for me work is not quite like Danny's, although it has been unusually demanding lately and rather exhausting... staffing and personnel changes, endless paperwork, some thoughtless overhead decisions which led to lots of extra work for the little people like me) and am taking two classes at night. Mark happily puts up with us being so ridiculous all the time, and enjoys the time he gets to spend with Daddy, Grammy, and Aunt Sarah during the week, and Mommy at night and on the weekends.

On top of this, we are about to majorly revamp our home yet again (might as well do it now while we still live here rather than later when we have renters here to deal with, right?) - new paint on every wall, ceiling, floor board, and so on, new vanities in the bathrooms to replace the positively icky ones that are there now, crown molding, new sinks, toilets... the list goes on. Aside from being mildly stressed about it all, I am actually really excited. For the most part, we really like that kind of stuff. Besides, it'll completely transform the place.

On top of THAT, I worked up the nerve to do something I've always wanted to do but never thought I was brave enough for - I am running the Hobbler Half Marathon in Hobble Creek Canyon in July. It is bought and paid for. I have a training schedule and have been training for three weeks. It owns me now... there's no going back. I have successfully snagged Sarah into doing it, too, and Danny is still deciding whether he wants to participate and kick my trash. He's a seasoned marathoner.

What's that, you say? We are crazy? Yes, tell us something we don't know.

In other news, there are buds on the tree in our front yard. There is a yellow-budded wreath hanging from a yellow ribbon on my soon-t0-be-repainted front door (okay, so it's been there since the end of February... maybe I got a little excited). My toe nails are painted purple. Michael proposed to Holly. Danny surprised me a few weeks ago with a new Dyson Animal - which makes cleaning my house - dare I say? - SO fun. I am not kidding. For the first time ever I participated in March Madness by filling out a bracket and watching most of the games. And learned that - amazingly - it really IS all it's cracked up to be.



We have spent the last few months having Christmas and about a dozen birthdays. Sarah, Hannah, and I all celebrated ours, and Mark celebrated his very first. We spent some time with some of our favorite people, Brianna and her little boy - Mark's cousin Carter. He and Mark become fast friends whenever they get together.

This weekend is General Conference. Danny's birthday and Easter are later this month. We have had more warm days than cold ones lately (okay, except for today... which is covered in very bright - albeit melting - snow). It is staying lighter later, which means that when I come home from work, there is still plenty of daylight and time to spend playing before Mark goes to bed. A year from now (or maybe a little less) Danny and I will be graduated and moving on to grad school or jobs or both. What could be happier than that?



Mark now walks more often than he crawls. In fact, last Sunday he walked most of the way home from church (as opposed to being carried or riding in the stroller), until I had to put an end to that because he kept running for the street... at which point he screamed the entire rest of the way as I carried him. It took a few minutes once we got home for him not to be mad at me anymore. Also, he had his first hair cut three weeks ago - when I say hair cut I mean that the mop on top of his head is slightly less moppish now... just had to cut enough off to keep it from getting in his eyes and in his food. He looks quite dapper. He has also discovered a love for balls - tennis balls are his favorite right now. We realized a few weeks ago that he seems to have some inborn gift for dancing. When there is music on, he begins to shimmy like nobody's business. It is great.

Speaking of Mark being great, I wanted to share something I read a few weeks ago. If you've ever ridden in the car with me at 7 o'clock in the morning (aka, Mark) or are around me enough to hear me say this (Danny), one of my favorite people is Amanda Dickson, one of the hosts of the morning show on KSL radio on weekdays. She is absolutely enthusiastic and inspiring. And I am a shameless fan. The other week I was reading an interview of her in a magazine. She talked about how her little children help her forget everything that's wrong or bad or sad with the world. Mind you, she's a news anchor, a reporter, a journalist. She sees plenty of bad things. I just thought that was great... and I think nothing could be truer. Children make all the bad go away. They make it all better.

One last thing, you might've noticed I deleted my last post, the one about Danny's and my third anniversary. I felt (and others agreed - ahem - Danny - ahem) that it might have given off the wrong message. I didn't mean for it to sound like our marriage is perfect all the time - completely joyous and devoid of problems. In fact, I highly dislike the kind of people who submit to the world that their marriage is that way... I'm not sure such a thing exists. What I meant was, in spite of its imperfections, our imperfections (and there are many) it still makes me very, very happy. And I am still grateful to be married to such a smart, entertaining, ambitious, and downright charming person. So, not to worry, Danny and I are still married, still love each other most of the time, still fight, still make up, still enjoy spending time together and with Mark, still make each other crazy, and still have a long way to go before we have it all figured out. But that's okay. Isn't that kind of the point?

Well, I hope you are enjoying Conference weekend. Thus far, I have appreciated each message that I've managed to listen to (in between chasing Mark around and doing some housework) about family, overcoming trials, drawing nearer to Heavenly Father, temples, and so on. Conference really always adds a certain sweetness to this time of year.

Now, I have an obscene amount of pictures to share with you. I hope you enjoy!

Christmas



Playing with Christmas presents


Mark and Daddy


Birthdays


High five!


Rooaarr!


Lovely birthday flowers from Danny


Mark stuffing his face with birthday cake



Playing with his new friend, Thomas the Train



This was actually Hannah's birthday cake. I would post a picture of her, but she had just had her wisdom teeth out, and I imagine she wouldn't appreciate that very much.

Cousin Time



Two peas in a pod... just chillin.



Mark opening his birthday gifts from Carter.


Play Time


Swinging at the park on a fine Sunday afternoon.


You mean I can't climb up the slide?


Mark met a little poodle.


Moooommmm! Let me go!




Jailbird.


Loving Mom's gigantic basket of colorful cookie cutters.



Relaxing by the fountain at the mall.


This is a hideous picture of my bathroom - yes, missing the outlet cover. But I thought it was so funny because Mark hates the duck towel that I wrapped him in. I thought he was darling.


Worth documenting... Mark never falls asleep in the car. But a few days ago we were running some errands and before I knew it he was out. I wanted to seize the sweetness and let him keep snoozing... so for forty-five minutes we drove all over kingdom come... down to the lake, up to the tree streets on the bench of Provo. I loved it.

Well, thank you for stopping by and indulging me for a bit. Have a beautiful Sabbath!

xoxo
-a