Sunday, January 23, 2011

Gentlemen, Start Your Engines!

We're late posting the pics from our MLK holiday weekend adventures, but we hope you'll ignore our tardiness.

How could you not when you see the bundle of cuteness we were getting to know?

This is Miss Livvy.

Daughter of Savannah and Matt Hansen - friends of ours who are currently residing in Indianapolis, IN.

All I can say is, this little lady has fabulous taste. Are you seeing how she's working the Madden heels?
Diva in the making and she's not even two.

We had a blast spending time with the Hansens, and for .00035% of the time when we weren't being lazy and spending time indoors, we bundled up to go and explore the sights of Indy.

(The tragic thing about being a child is that the adults around you force you to wear clothing that you would never choose on your own. We wanted to see how Livvy liked Steve's scarf and gloves. Pretty sure she loathed it. Who wouldn't when it's up against pink and purple accessories that actually match AND fit?!? Go figure.)

What sights did we see?

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway:
Home of the Indy 500.

This place is gigantic.
Part of a golf course is placed in the interior portion of the speedway.

For you racing buffs out there...

Matt and Savannah.
Hosts extraordinaire.

We are not even remotely into cars.
But we still thought they looked cool enough for a few pictures.

Having said that last statement, I was genuinely intrigued by a few vehicles (if you can call this contraption a vehicle). Cool, eh?

This was my favorite car in the museum.
Cool shape and very cool color.
That is the extent of my knowledge about this car.

Favorite picture of the trip - Savannah behind the wheel.
Her expression is priceless!

The other 99.99965% of the time in Indy was spent talking, relaxing, eating delicious food, and playing games. We love playing Dominion, and had a blast introducing it to the Hansens.

In case you're not convinced that Matt, Savannah and Livvy are some of the coolest people on the planet, I thought I'd share a few pics that explain just how fun they really are.

I came across these pictures (taken by my brother, Cullen) over Christmas break, and they brought back so many fabulous memories with Savannah.

Evidence of our insanity dating back to August 2005:

Yup. Savannah convinced me to JUMP OUT OF AN AIRPLANE!
(Or maybe it was vice versa? I can't remember the specifics of how it came about...)

Here we are, contemplating our decision to strap ourselves to instructors that instructed for 3 minutes tops, and jump out of a moving airplane at 13,000 feet.
Please notice the body language here - total composure.
(That might have changed when I heard my instructor shout, "3...2...1...JUMP!!!")

One of the craziest and most exhilarating things I've ever done.
So glad I could share the experience with a friend.

It's wonderful when you move out of your home state and realize that you're only 3.2 hours away from good friends who are willing to do crazy things. I'm sure Savannah and I could conjure up more exciting adventures, only this time, the husbands can accompany us.
Even better.

Thanks for a fabulous visit to Indy you guys!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

5 Years Ago

I couldn't let today slip by without sharing a few thoughts.

Five years ago - 18 January 2006 - I found myself in the Provo Missionary Training Center embarking on one of the wildest rides of my life - an LDS mission to the Texas San Antonio Mission.

Nine weeks after that and with a little Spanish under my belt, I found myself in the heart of the TSAM. I had no idea then how much the next sixteen months would shape the rest of my life.

Five years later - 18 January 2011 - I still think about my mission on a regular basis - the people, the land, the lessons, the challenges, the hysterical moments, the mistakes, the lack of sleep (or so it felt), the miracles, coming to know and feel pure joy, pure love and so much more. Words are inadequate to capture it all.

I loved my mission and I cherish its ongoing effects.

For all of you TSAMers out there...

les amo


Sunday, January 9, 2011

The 2011 list

New year = new book list!

Many moons ago (Summer 2008), Steve and I "encouraged" one another to read our respective favorite books.

His recommendation to me:
John Adams by David McCullough

My recommendation to him:
Advise and Consent by Allen Drury
It didn't take long for either of us to decide that we like each other's taste in books.
Both are excellent.

Instead of making traditional new year resolutions, we've created a book list for each other with books we've either read ourselves and loved, or books we'd like to read, but we want the other person to find out if they're worth reading.

For the Mr.

I have assigned Steve the following books to read, which fall under three periods of world history: Classical antiquity, the Renaissance, and the U.S. Civil War era.

1. One of three books I've selected from classical antiquity: The Iliad, The Odyssey or The Aeneid. It's poetry and prose, so he can pick one of these three. My guess is that Steve will breeze through the other two assigned books, but it may take him a while to get through Homer or Virgil, depending on which he chooses.

2. Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead - a play based on two lesser figures from Shakespeare's Hamlet, a very roundabout way...a selection from the Renaissance/Humanist movement in 16th century England even though it was written in the 20th century.

3. One of the greatest books I've ever read about the American Civil War - The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara. The title comes from a poignant conversation between Sgt. Kilrain and Col. Chamberlain fighting together for the Union. If you don't feel like reading the book, I'd highly recommend the movie Gettysburg, which is based on Killer Angels. Be warned though, it is a real tear jerker.

For the Mrs.

Steve gave me a little more freedom in choosing the books I'll be reading by offering only the following guidelines. One of the books must be:
1. A Pulitzer prize winner
2. A biography about a head of state
3. A book about a thing

So, I've got the second one covered (it falls under two categories, but I am counting it as the head of state). My dad gave me Cleopatra, which I am thoroughly enjoying, but if you have any suggestions about a favorite pulitzer prize-winning book, or a book about some fascinating thing, please, do tell! I'm always up for good book suggestions.

Happy reading.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

2010 Finale


It was a year like no other, and both started and ended with a bang.

Here's a looksie at how we bid adieu to a fabulous year, and welcomed in a new one during the holiday season.

Synchronized snowplows.
This is what Columbus looked like out of the window of the plane on the day we flew to Utah. A huge storm hit the East Coast, but we made it out before things got too ugly.

An on-time arrival was crucial since I was responsible for the flowers for a friend's wedding as soon as we got home. Steve was a fabulous assistant from start to finish.

Sea of gerber stems - I couldn't have asked for prettier flowers when I went to pick them up. They turned out great.

The bridal bouquet.
Kirsten's colors were pink, silver, and black - pretty fun for a winter wedding.

One of the best moments of our entire trip - attending the sealing of Kennedy Ann to her amazing parents, Kyle and Jessica Turner.
It was the coolest experience, and we're so glad we got to share in this special event.

I have the coolest in-laws. I brought these bouquets to Natalie, Lindsey and Julie on the day we celebrated Christmas with Steve's family, and we had some fun with the flowers before putting them back in vases.
Both flowers and family are lovely.

The breakfast Claw.
It's tradition on Christmas.
Enough said.

And here is little Dax - cute as ever - getting comfortable on his new train from Aunt Lindsey and Uncle Tyler.

One of many awesome games that we played over the holidays - Settlers of America: From Trails to Rails.
Even better than Catan.

We got to see the Mitchell crew one afternoon and helped the kiddos put together a puzzle.

Playing games with the Turner and Hess families - good friends from high school.

John and Sara got married while we were in Scotland, so this was really fun because it was the first time we got to meet and spend time with Sara, and see them together.

Christmas found the Irvines in Sun Valley this year to visit my brother, Scott, who couldn't get away from work.

Cullen and Steve halfway up Penny Hill - a fabulous sledding hill near the Sun Valley lodge.

Too bad I didn't flip around sooner to see Steve fly off his saucer.

Tandem sledding = a really good time.

After we trudged up the huge hill to sled on some amazing powder, we called it a day. The video at the bottom of the post will give you an idea of the hike.

We came.
We saw.
We conquered.

Cullen and Myca.
They're checking out new furniture.

Oh Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree,
How see-through are your branches...

Making sure Santa's sleigh is in working order...

On Dasher, on Dancer, on Prancer, on Vixen...
On Comet, on Cupid, on Donner and Blitzen!

Perfect timing, Steve.

Gearing up for the sleigh ride we had booked later that evening.

Post-sleigh ride - the Irvine family, minus one. Natalia spent Christmas on tour with Disney on Ice in Dublin, Ireland.
As for the sleigh ride at dusk, it was the real deal - horses, pine trees, snow, carols, and a beautiful blanket of stars overhead.

My dad and sister went skiing.
Nathan and I went snowboarding.

After skiing for 20+ years, I've decided it's time to move on.

Waiting for Nutcracker on Ice to start on Christmas Eve.

Scott designed the set and organized this popular production, which was followed by a torch-light parade down Dollar mountain and a spectacular fireworks display.

Skating on Christmas day with a special guest to Sun Valley.

No clue who that is on the right?

He performed in the ice shows earlier that week, and also skated on a public session on Christmas, which happened to be the same session we decided to skate on as well. He is the most gracious Olympian (and only Olympian) I've ever met.

Christmas dinner with the family.

Adams family White Elephant party. This white elephant gift exchange is serious business.
The infamous turtle that reappears every year assured the Team Adams marriage in 2009 (Steve got the turtle Christmas 2008 - the owner will either get married or have a baby the following year), and this year, it went to Leah. She was the first person to choose a present and it just happened to be the turtle.

The Irvine extended family party took place after Christmas, but Santa still made a visit to make sure the kids got what they asked for.
I must say, Hayden is the cutest little guy on the planet.

I was reprimanded for not leaving any cookies these past few years...

We went to see The Nutcracker at the Capitol Theater on the last night of the production, which means we really saw, The Nutty Nutcracker (tribute to Hollywood).

The following individuals were sighted:

Luke Skywalker
Darth Vader
Willie Nelson
Marilyn Monroe
Gene Kelly
Ginger Rogers & Fred Astaire
Lady Gaga
Captain Jack Sparrow

and last but not least, stepping in for the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier: James Bond with his Bond girl.

It was hysterical.

New Year's Eve day - one of the greatest days of the trip - getting together with dear friends and sharing fabulous announcements. 2011 is going to be an exciting year for this bunch.

Couldn't miss the lights at Temple Square so we strolled the walks on New Year's Eve.

Amazing photography brought to you by Steve.

Fireworks at the Andershall residence on New Year's Eve with Ann and Ryan, plus a bunch of other friends from Texas. Ryan proposed to Ann the previous evening. The coolest thing when a best friend gets married? Besides seeing her happiness, we acquire an additional friend. Ryan is wonderful, and we're so happy these two have found each other.

And the fireworks were spectacular.

Happy New Year!

It's gonna be grand.

A few videos that we wanted to share:

1) What happens when you're not a believer quite yet.
2) Taking on a hill of pristine powder.
3) Taking on a hill of packed snow.