Saturday, January 08, 2011

New Year's Resolutions

With so much happening lately, I'm kind of behind on my New Year's Resolutions. I haven't really even thought much about them until today. I had set a little mini goal to have this post accomplished by the end of the week...which I consider to be tonight, so I have spent a bit of time contemplating the things I would like to change/improve in 2011. I really appreciated Lori's focus on progress as opposed to perfection for her New Year's resolutions and am going to follow her lead.

2011 New Year's Resolutions

1. Exercise 4x a week. This is less than what I used to do, before I moved and my life turned upside down. However, it's also more than what I'm currently doing. It's going to take dedication but is definitely achievable. And, it takes into consideration my new life and responsibilities.

2. Pay off car and credit card. I'm really close to having my car paid off and should be able to finish it off quickly with my new job's nice salary. My credit card is another story, unfortunately. It's not horrible right now, and I only have a balance on it because of last year's financial difficulties. However, in the next few months, I'm going to have to put a big thing on it, hiking up the balance significantly. That said, I'm positive that with a bit of discipline and tracking of my spending, I'll be able to get both bills paid off by the end of the year...barring unseen circumstances.

3. Go somewhere new in the USA. This should be fairly easy to accomplish since both Steve and I love traveling and going to new places. Also, with a honeymoon in the future, it may be the perfect time to explore a new part of the country. Or maybe we'll go somewhere new for July 4th or Christmas. Lots of opportunities!

4. Pick up a new hobby. My mom said she might give me her old sewing machine, so I may pick up sewing. Or painting...a long time ago I bought some painting supplies but have never broken them out. Maybe gardening. We have 2 nice patios that could use a little sprucing up and planters full of plants and flowers would look great. I'm okay with multiple hobbies, but I definitely want to do new things.

5. Spiritual basics. I need to go back to the basics and strengthen my foundation. There are several ways I could work on this, but this year I'm going to focus on church attendance.

That's it. I don't believe in having too many goals...don't want to spread myself too thin. Okay, I wouldn't mind being thinner (teehee) but seriously, I'm hoping that working on these few items will help me accomplish the progress I know I'd like to make this year.

Wish me luck!

And, good luck to you on accomplishing your goals...if you made some. *smile*

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Christmas and the Engagement

So, as you know from a previous post, Steve and I had made plans to spend Christmas in Denver, so we moved up our Christmas celebrations one day. One the 23rd, we did what will be our traditional Christmas Eve stuff. We went for a long walk along the river (not necessarily a tradition, but it was nice), then went out to eat in Ogden at an Italian restaurant we really like on historic 25th Street. After dinner, we kept one of my family's traditions by driving around looking at Christmas lights. We drove into some nice neighborhoods in Ogden and saw some really nicely decorated homes. We came home and opened up our stockings. This was Steve's idea and I really like it, unless we have children someday, then stockings will have to be opened on Christmas since Santa fills them. Among the fun things he gave me were a teddy bear wearing a shirt that has "Someone in the Air Force loves me" written on it, mint chocolate truffles, a pedometer, and Mario Kart!! Yay! We watched a The Night Before Christmas and then played Mario Kart several times before going to bed.

Christmas Eve morning, we opened the presents under our tree. We started with gifts given to us by other people, then we opened the gifts from each other. We had limited ourselves to 3 presents each. I gave him a cordless drill and drill bits, a rotary saw, and Who Wants To Be A Millionaire for the Wii. He gave me a Peyton Manning jersey, a new digital camera, and a Kindle. I had been skeptical about Kindles when he first mentioned having one, but one week I was sick and ended up reading 6 books on his Kindle and fell in love with it. So, I'm thrilled to have one of my own.

After presents, I was plugging in my kindle and camera and realized that Steve had left the room. He came back in with an odd look on his face and one hand behind his back. I asked what was up and he brought a silver-wrapped present from behind his back. I gave him a hard time about breaking the 3 present rule and he said he hadn't because it wasn't a Christmas present. I started to open it and noticed my hands were shaking. I kept telling myself not to get too excited because it may not be what I thought it may be. With the wrapping paper gone, a Morgan Jeweler's box was uncovered, and my heart started beating faster. I looked at him and he smiled, and I smiled because he looked nervous. I opened the box and pulled out the white ring box. I couldn't believe it was finally happening to me. I'd always wondered what it would feel like and I was finally finding out. I opened the box and saw a beautiful ring, a ring that was better than anything I would have picked out for myself. I looked at Steve and he got down on one knee and asked me if I would marry him. I started to cry and managed to choke out a yes. He stood up, we hugged and kissed, and I put the ring on. It fits wonderfully, loose enough to be comfortable but not so loose as to fall off my finger.

So sparkly!

There wasn't much time to revel in the moment, we had a flight to make, so we got ready to go (after I hurried and called both my parents) and headed out to the airport. The whole time, I kept glancing at the ring, hardly believing that I was engaged! We arrived in Denver, found our hotel, drove all over the place until we found an open restaurant, ate, then went to True Grit. An untraditional Christmas Eve, but then, we had already done Christmas Eve...and Christmas for that matter.

The next day, it didn't feel like Christmas at first. Mostly because, as I just said, we'd already celebrated it. After breakfast at the hotel, we drove to downtown Denver and walked around a bit. Nothing was open except 2 of the 5 Starbucks we walked by. We got hot chocolate and a chocolate chip cookie at the first one. It was sunny and mid-40's, extremely pleasant and surprising. After a couple hours, we drove to Colorado Springs to spend the rest of the day with Steve's best friend (and practically brother) Jimmy, his wife Jen, and their two boys, Ethan and Brody. Oh, and Jen's family. This is when it started to feel more like Christmas Day. Even though they weren't our family, they were family, and Christmas is about family. We ate a lot, played games, watched the kids play and fight, ate more, played more games, and basically were loud and had fun.

On the 26th, Jimmy and Jen took us and their boys to Garden of the Gods, a really neat park south of Colorado Springs that has awesome hiking trails I'd like to try in warmer weather. Then they took us to the Air Force Academy, where Jimmy works, and showed us the falcons that Jimmy cares for as part of his job and the beautifully unique chapel. They are such nice people and I felt an instant friendship with them. It was fun to see Steve interact with Jimmy - they are pretty funny guys!

This is Jimmy and his family at Garden of the Gods.

Me and Steve in front of Balancing Rock

Steve and Jimmy, Garden of the Gods

Jimmy feeding Athena, one of the falcons at the Academy.

Steve and I in front of the Academy chapel. Isn't it cool?!

Inside the chapel. The whole place is designed around airplanes.
You can learn more by going here

On the 27th, Steve and I hit the Aquarium. Our first date was to the aquarium in Sandy then to a Bee's baseball game. We also went to the aquarium in San Francisco when we were there for the 4th of July. We both love aquariums and it's kind of become our thing. Afterward, we ate at a fabulous Irish pub in downtown Denver then walked around for awhile. That evening, we met up with Jimmy and Jen for dinner then went to an Avalanche hockey game. I'd been to a couple Grizzlies games before, but an NHL game is different. The play is faster and the atmosphere was buzzing. We ended up losing, but it was an exciting game, and I had a lot of fun.

At the aquarium. Fish, sharks, and octopi...Oh my!


Can you spot the snapping turtle?

A big fish, though not as big as the BIG fish we saw in SF!

Us at the hockey game

Jimmy and Jen at the game

Pregame warm-up

The players about to enter the rink

The next day, we returned home to Utah. Oh, but first, since we had a couple hours to kill in the morning before the flight, we visited the zoo. We spent just over two hours there and could have easily spent another two. It is a big zoo with lots to see. We saw some fun animals. We caught the flight to Utah, happy to be headed home.

Me on the carousel at the zoo

A snow leopard

Kings of the jungle

Hey, the sun was in my eyes! It hurt! :)


An okapi. It looked like a cross between an giraffe and a zebra. Very cool looking!

It was a fun, long weekend. Definitely a Christmas I'll never forget!

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Year In Review - 2010

Last year may possibly be the best year I've had to date. There have been so many changes, some sad and painful times, and some really amazing good things. Great things, in fact. For so long, my life seemed to be a broken record, the same things over and over again, year after year. Some minor changes, but mostly the same. This year definitely broke that mold. I just wish I would have spent a bit more time documenting all the changes, on this blog and/or my journal. Oh well, here's the review of 2010 to the best of my recollection.

Places Visited: (new in italics)
Paris, France
San Francisco, CA
Las Vegas, NV
St. George, UT
Layton, UT
Ogden, UT
Denver, CO
Colorado Springs, CO
Manitou, CO
Riverdale, UT (my new home!)
Salt Lake City, UT
Vernal, UT

Guys I went on dates with: 4 (I think that's all)
Guy from Cedar whose name I can't remember. We only went out once.

Number of boyfriends: 2

Guys kissed: 5
Alex (midnight New Years Eve 2009/10 so I'm counting him for both years)

Guys I got engaged to: 1 - Holy Cow! I'm engaged!!!!

Craziest thing I did: Skydiving in Vegas with Aly and Cassie

Number of jobs: 3
Intermountain Hearing Clinics
Southern Utah University
Spinal Care Center of Utah (I hated it!)

Number of deaths: 3 (what a year)
Cousin-in-law Annie
Grandpa Merrell
Grandma Rasmussen

Big accomplishment: Maintaining my weight loss, I've lost 180 lbs to-date. Yay!

Least proud moment: dating other guys while dating Sam. I should have just broken up with him, but I learned a valuable lesson.

Brave decision: quitting my good, stable job at SUU to move to Layton to progress my relationship with Steve.

Favorite moment: Christmas Eve morning when Steve knelt on one knee and asked me to marry him.

Fun memories: farmers markets all summer; Bees baseball games; camping with Mom, Cassie, Alyson, and Katie; tennis with Cardine, Kyle, and Jon; sledding with Scott, Robbie, Mom, Jason and Rachel, Kevin, and Steve; dinner with Joy, Cardine, Sarah, Shiree, and Steve before Shiree left for England; sky diving (worth mentioning again); my niece's baptism; Bryce Canyon with Kyle, Jon, and Jon's date in February - the stars were amazing; moving into my new home in November; working at SUU - it was a great job; putting my contact in medicated eye drops and having my eye dilate big time; playing Mario Kart at Kyle's then getting it for Christmas (yay!); exploring Antelope Island with Steve; discovering lots of new restaurants in Ogden, Layton, and SLC; University of Utah football games (we're getting season tix for next year); Christmas in Denver and meeting Steve's best friend and his family; spending lots of times with lots of amazing people. I have the best family and friends!

Hopes for 2011: find a good job, marry Steve, look into plastic surgery for my excess skin, visit a new place.

I know it's a little late, but I hope you all have a HAPPY NEW YEAR!