Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Month in Review: July

The first week of July, I finally got to go home to Texas! It was the first time I'd been back since our wedding last September, so I was really happy to go home, feel the Texas heat, and enjoy spending time with my parents. I also took literally no pictures. I was way too busy relaxing! I spent the long 4th of July weekend by the pool, running errands with my mom, making homemade ice cream, and eating. Honestly, what could be better?

For the rest of the month, I just stayed busy with my Spanish classes and work. In addition to my office job, I was also a teaching assistant for Bro. Ludlow (on of my professors back in Jerusalem). He needed some extra help during summer term, so I was more than happy to offer my services. It was fun to go to his classes again, organize his office, and grade assignments. Between my classes and assignments, the office, and TA-ing, I had a pretty busy schedule that ran like clockwork!

I also got to stop by the Young Ambassador Singing Entertainer's camp at BYU! This is a week-long camp that the BYU Young Ambassadors (the performing group that I am now a member of!) put on for middle and high school students. I went three years when I was in high school, and I loved every second of it. I felt like I learned so much as a performer, I made great friends, and I solidified my dream of becoming a YA. anyways, I stopped by some of the workshops to say hi to fellow YAs and some campers I knew, and I got to see the final show at the end of the week. I was so amazed by the talent of these kids! They put together such a great show in just a week; even though I didn't know most of them, I was so proud. It made me think so much about when I was in camp, and it made me even more excited to be in YAs this next year. I can't wait to share happines and my testimony and love with others through song and dance.

Matt was still at LDAC for most of the month. He suffered in the Kentucky heat and humidity, but he made it through alright. He FINALLY came home on the 21st. I don't think I could've last another day! I got to go pick him up from the airport and then surprise him at home with his "Welcome Home" banner (I couldn't resist). It was a sweet reunion.

Matt's Platoon at LDAC -- He's the first on the left, third row from the top. So serious ;)

Pioneer Day was the 24th, and we went to a fun parade in Spanish Fork with the Greens. It was a fun parade and good company. We got there so early to save seats, though! It was worth it.

We also wore matching outfits...
Matt's birthday was the 25th! Happy 23rd to my sweet husband :) There is a separate post for his birthday (or there will be soon).

Month in Review: June

Matt and I stayed busy finishing up our Spring Term classes. We both finished with flying colors during the third week! I even got an A in my computer programming class. I'm still rather proud of myself. Let me know if you have any need of my C++ skillz.

I also started summer classes. It never stops. I took Spanish Linguistics and Spanish Literature--my last two classes for my minor! Yippee!

About a day after finals, Matt left his month-long ROTC training at Fort Knox, Kentucky. :( The camp/training is called LDAC, and it's the assessment course that all graduating cadets have to go through. They get scored on various leadership and Army skills, and those scores go into their assessment for active duty. (It's all a little confusing... I just catch little bits and details and nod my head.) This was definitely the downside to my summer! It was so hard to have him gone for so long! But as you'll see, I tried to keep myself pretty busy.

Before shooting rifles - Matt is in the front row, second from the right
My best friend from high school, Jessica, came to visit me for a few days! She and I were so close in high school, but we haven't been able to spend much time together since then. It was so fun to have her visit, and it felt like hardly any time had passed at all! I love friendships like that. It was Jess's first time in Utah, so I tried to show her some of the best that we have to offer. We hike Bridal Veil Falls, went to an Owlz baseball game, toured BYU campus, went to the Manti Pageant, ate JDawgs and Station 22, and had an all-around good time! We both decided that she definitely needed to visit again. I loved having company right after Matt left, and it was fun to try out our "guest room" for the first time (aka a blowup mattress in the study room). 

Senior Football Game - 2009/10
Hiking Bridal Veil - 2014

My Grandma Goulding turned 80 this year, so we had a big party and mini-reunion with all her siblings and their children (and grand-children and great-grand-children!). We had a big barbecue at one of the local parks, so all the kids had plenty of room to play. It was fun to see some of my extended family that I don't know as well. My favorite part, though, was listening to my grandma tell stories. She shared a shortened version of her life history, and it was so fascinating and entertaining! She grew up on a farm (lots of fun stories there), went to BYU and worked in the Athletic Director's and the President's office, earned her college degree from Berkley, had a great career... she really is an inspiration to me in a lot of ways. I'm thankful for her example and encouragement through my life.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Month in Review: May

May seems like it was years ago! Can't believe I'm just now catching up. 

As most know, Matt was on the BYU Rugby team this year. True to form, the Cougars carried on the tradition and won the National Championship! Even though Matt didn't get to play in the game, I'm so proud of him and all the work he put into the team this last year. I'm always so impressed that he made it onto a championship team without ever playing rugby before. Seriously, who does that?! My husband does. He's not sure if he'll choose to be on the team next year or not, but either way, this last year was a fun experience.

May is the time for Graduations! The Green side had THREE graduations this year: Nikita graduated from the University of Utah (double degree in communications and political science), and None and Nani graduated from Provo and West Jordan High School, respectively. **Okay, Nani's graduation was technically the first week in June.** It was a busy time, but it was so fun to celebrate all of these big achievements! I'm so excited to see what each of them has next for their lives.

Matt is still working with the young men in our ward, and he loves it. He got to go on a scout campout with them and try "bouldering" for the first time. 

Caitlin's dance recital - None's graduation - Nani - Matt before campout
Memorial Day weekend was pretty low key (which is how I like most of my holidays). My parents came into town, which is always fun! We went shopping, went out to breakfast at Ruth's Diner (AMAZING), and enjoyed being all together. Matt and I also stopped by the Provo Carnival with Neeley and Shishir. We won some pretty lame prizes and it was overpriced, but nothing says "summer" like a carnival!

Grammie and Papa with the kiddos! - Baby Zoey - Matt and I with our Carnival Prizes

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Month in Review: April

The biggest things this month were my birthday (is that vain? haha) and the cruise, but here are some other fun tid-bits from April:

  • Matt and I finished Winter semester with flying colors, and we are now on to Spring Term, where the classes are longer and the term is shorter. I am taking an introductory computer programming class and a Spanish lit class, and Matt is taking Econ and a religion class.
  • We got to go to a Salt Lake Bee's game with some friends! Matt and I are so bad at making plans with people, so it's always nice when we finally go out with other couples. The game was a blast, and the hot dogs were delicious!
  • I got a new job! I was a little concerned about the job search-situation at the end of March, but things quickly turned around for the better. I was hired on as a Student Assistant at LDS Philanthropies, which raises money for all the BYU schools (among other things). So far, it's been a really great job, and I love the people that I work with! The office is right next to campus, which is so convenient. I do have to wear Sunday dress to work everyday. At first I thought this would be fun, since I have so many cute skirts and dresses, but I got kinda tired of it after the first week. Now I'll usually bring some pants to change into before I go to class. Overall, though, I'm excited for this new opportunity!
  • An update on Lent from last month: we almost lasted!! We went two weeks without cracking, then Matt needed a little celebratory dinner in the form of Cafe Rio. That dinner did us in. Soon he was back to eating out, and I turned on Netflix while folding laundry. I now have a much greater respect for those who participate in Lent! Maybe we'll try again next year and be more successful.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

That Cruisin Lyfe

We love cruises. Our cruise to Ensenada was so fun! It was just long enough to feel relaxed, but short enough to keep the boat a novelty. We cruised on the Carnival Inspiration out of Long Beach, down to Ensenada, Mexico.

The first day, we boarded the boat and explored. We had a lovely ocean-view room, and the boat itself was quite pretty. There were many lounges, a big pool, waterslides, mini-golf, and of course, the food! We went to the seated dining room every night for dinner, and it was delicious. There was always a good range of choices, and Matt and I always ordered more than we should eat! The best part was that we got the table to ourselves. Usually on a cruise, you get seated with about 6-8 other people for dinner. I was a little nervous about who we would be seated with, but it turned out that I didn't need to worry! Matt and I were literally the only ones at our table for 10. We definitely enjoyed our nightly gourmet meals for just the two of us. After dinner, we went to one of the musical shows, watched some (unmusical) people try karaoke, and explored the ship some more.

Dinner on the first and second night
The second day was spent at sea! The day began with the most delicious brunch! It was honestly the highlight of my day. I ordered eggs benedict and frosted flake-coated french toast. I just couldn't decide between the two so I got both haha. I couldn't finish either, but I certainly enjoyed them! It was a little cloudy but warm, so we tried out the pool for a while. We also played mini golf, ate lots of ice cream, relaxed, went to a comedy show, and saw another musical performance. It was just the right balance between relaxation and having something to do.

The third day was port day at Ensenada! We quickly ate breakfast then got off the ship as soon as possible. We didn't really have anything planned for the city, so we thought we would just figure it out when we got there. We took a shuttle from the port into town, then we caughtanother bus up to the Bufadora. The Bufadora is a natural blow-hole created by sea water rushing into a cavern, building up pressure, then being released into the air, like the blow-hole of a whale. I guess it's a pretty unique phenomenon. It was cool to see a huge pillar of water rush into the air every 17 seconds, but I did get a little too close one time! I tried to get pictures, but it was hard to catch it in action. There were tons of little shops and stands lining the way to the Bufadora, which Matt and I explored. I got some sandals, and he got candy. There was also a great taco stand which we enjoyed immensely. Best fish and carne asada tacos ever!

After the Bufadora and shopping, we looked around town for a short while and headed back to the ship. We laid by the pool again, then we went to a gameshow that they had on board. It basically takes a bunch of Hasbro board games and turns them into a show, so there was life-size Connect Four, interactive Trivial Pursuit, and Monopoly. It was really fun, especially when I was chosen to go up on stage to participate! The game I played (on a team) was Operation, in the form of skee-ball. I was terrible. I only got point for one out of seven shots, and I completely face-planted as I was running around the stage! It was so embarrassing. Matt got a really good laugh about that one. Later that night, we enjoyed dinner and another comedy show.

I was obsessed with the towel animals that they made each night! Can you blame me?!
We were a little sad that the cruise was over so soon, but Spring classes started the next day. We deboarded the cruise early the next morning and made the long drive back to Provo. The cruise was such a nice diversion from the busy semester we had, and it gave us just enough relaxation time to gear up for the term ahead of us! We'd love to go on another cruise with some friends... any takers?!