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?!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

L.V. and L.A.

Matt and I decided that we needed a little rest and recuperation after Winter semester finals, so.... we went on a cruise! It was pretty last minute, but one of the best decisions. We needed something quick, since we both started Spring term the next week, so off to LA we went to board a 3-day cruise to Ensenada, Mexico. If you're going to go on vacation, though, you might as well make the most of it. Matt and I rented a car (the cutest little Fiat!.. I'm in love) and headed to Vegas, en route to LA. The drive to Long Beach is 10-11 hours, so we thought splitting it into two legs was a better idea, and it turned out to be really fun!

In Vegas, we stayed in the Riviera, which was... an experience. Let's just say we got a killer deal on a room, and now we know why. For example, no shower curtain? Luckily we just stayed there one night and checked out pretty quickly in the morning. We didn't leave Vegas yet, though. We explored the Strip a little in the morning, but it was all to reach the most delicious destination: Hash House A Go Go. I vaguely remembered hearing stories about this place, but those memories were nothing compared to what I experienced, which was the most overwhelmingly delicious breakfast I have ever tasted. We waited about 30 minutes (which was short, considering all the people waiting in line), but we needed all that time to choose what we wanted to order! I decided on fried chicken and waffles, and Matt got a meatloaf sandwich. Neither of us were disappointed. I think I still dream about this meal. I could barely eat half, it was so big! Going to Hash House was definitely a highlight of the entire trip.

Look at the size of that Chicken and Waffles! And there was bacon cooked INSIDE the waffles.

 After eating, we started our journey to Long Beach! We naturally stopped in Primm at the outlets (can't stop me from shopping), made it to California, then experienced LA traffic. That was fun. Finally we made it to Long Beach, and we were MUCH more satisfied with our hotel situation! We settled in and explored Long Beach for a while, then we grabbed dinner at Bubba's Shrimp. The next morning, we headed to LA to explore some of Matt's old stomping grounds from back in the day. First, we visited the temple, which was beautiful! We had been planning on doing a session, but someone (*I*) forgot their recommend... so we just went to the Visitor's Center instead.

Afterwards, we stopped by Tito's Tacos for some lunch. No regrets there--it definitely lived up to the hype. Those are probably the only hard-shelled tacos I have ever truly enjoyed. (Are you sensing a food theme here?)
A delicious box of tacos...
That day was cruise day, so we had to hurry back to Long Beach to board the Carnival Inspiration. Stay tuned for details on the cruise!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Feeling 22

I'll be honest--I have still never heard Taylor Swift's "22" song, but it just felt right to reference it. I'm twenty-two now! Woohoo! It's so weird to me that I am now fully into the third decade of my life (I had to think about that...third? yup). I've never really had a bad  birthday, but I've had some pretty great ones. I think that this year really takes the cake, though. So many sweet moments and birthday wishes came together to create the perfect day.

The Sunday before my actual birthday, my sisters hosted a fun birthday dinner for me at the Dicksons. It was so fun to celebrate with them and eat delicious food. Steak tacos and chocolate bundt cake! (not together, obviously...)

Now for my birthday on the 16th...

First off, it was a reading day! My birthday always falls pretty close to finals week. This year, I got lucky, and my birthday was the day before finals on a reading day. The only school-related thing I had to do was attend a review session! After my review session and a few hours of work, I got to hang out with Matt all day. I'm the type of person that doesn't need a big group or party--I'm totally good with just being with my best friend. And that's what I did.

My first present of the day was finding out that I made the Young Ambassador's team at BYU! The YAs is a performance group at BYU that sings and dances all around the world. I have dreamed of being a YA since as long as I can remember, and finding out that I finally made the group was more than I could have wished for. (I'll write more about YA's in a later post!) We went to an early dinner at Tucano's, one of Matt and my favorite restaurants. Afterwards, we went home and I got to open my presents! Matt was so good at keeping them surprises. I got a new jacket and scarf (thanks mom and dad!), and Matt got me a piano keyboard! I have been having withdrawals from playing the piano, so I was so happy to get a keyboard of my own. I'm so grateful for my husband who helps me develop my talents and do the things I love.

After dinner, Matt took me to the "Sacred Gifts" exhibit at the BYU Museum of Art. Ok, this was really my idea, but Matt was kind enough to allow me to drag him along! The exhibit was all religious paintings  of Christ by Carl Bloch, Heinrich Hofman, and Frans Schwartz. It was such a beautiful exhibit. It was incredible to actually see in person these paintings that I have seen all my life. I especially liked seeing the lesser-known (at least to me) works of Christ.

All in all, I had such a wonderful birthday. Thank you for all those who made it that way! 22 really does feel good.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Month in Review: March

Remember that time I said I would write at least 2 blog posts per month? Ya, that doesn't kick in until next month... ;) March was a fun month, but it seems like every month is fun when you are married to Matt! Here are some of the highlights:

This year, we decided to try out Lent. Matt and I are taking a "Survey of Christianity" calss this semester, which is fascinating! I think it is so important to have an understanding of other people and truly learn to appreciate differences and similarities. As Christians ourselves, it was so interesting to learn about the many different denominations. It has been one of my favorite classes at BYU! Anyways, Lent is a tradition mostly in the Catholic church (although I know Protestants who celebrate it as well) where you give up some sort of vice or bad habit for the 40 days before Easter. There is always a big party and day of "lasts" on day before Lent...ever heard of Mardi Gras? 
I think it's a really beautiful idea to try to purify and sanctify yourself in preparation for Easter. You give up some sort of guilty pleasure in order to become more like Christ. Matt decided to give up fast food (if you know his eating habits, you would know hard this was), and I decided to give up Netflix. I know, mine seems a little shallow, but I've really been wasting SO much time watching marathons of "How I Met Your Mother" and "Gossip Girl." I decided I could be doing so many more important things instead. Anyways, we started this month, and we'll see if we can last until Easter!

St. Patrick's Day
We had the most delicious dinner at the Dickson's for St. Patty's Day. Each of us Pelton girls tried our best to recreate our mom's delicious holiday meal. We are suckers for corned beef and cabbage... ok really we just like the delish mustard sauce that goes on top! It was Matt's first "traditional" St. Patrick's Day dinner, and he was surprised that he liked it! He has really only had corned beef from a can on his mission, and he did not like it. Needless to say he was a little wary of our corned beef! But now he has a new opinion. It was so nice to spend the holidy with my family!

School and Work
This isn't so much a highlight as it is a requisite report. Matt and I have been busy studying away! I can't believe the semester is almost over. Just two week in April then we're done with Winter Semester. We've also been busy with work. Matt is still at the MTC and I am a TA. I'm looking for a new job, though, to have during the summer and into the Fall. I will miss being a TA, but I just feel like it's time to move on from PoliSci 200. Let the job search begin! I've already gotten rejected for a book shelving job in the Harold B. Lee Library, so my prospects are really looking up right now. *sarcasm*

Next month's goal: take more pictures and write more posts! Happy March!

Friday, February 28, 2014

Month in Review: February

February was a flurry for the Greens!

Matt: He has stayed busy with school, ROTC, and especially BYU Rugby. The team has officially started the season! They had a pre-season tournament down in Mesquite, Nevada, which I was able to attend. It was about a 4-5 hour drive, so Matt's cousin Noke came with me. It was fun to get a little sunshine and watch the team dominate. Matt also went with the team to San Francisco to play St. Mary's. I was excited that he got to travel with the team (not every player does), but I did not like the fact that he was away for three days...and over Valentine's Day, too! Our first Valentine's Day as a married couple was not exactly how I imagined it. Luckily we have a few more years to get it right. Now, most of the Rugby games will be at BYU.

Me: I am still in love with school (big surprise). My linguistics classes are a dream, and I'm so happy to be back on campus. I always joke with Matt and my parents that I just want to be a professional student! If only they could pay me, instead of the other way around. I'm a Teaching Assistant for a political science writing and research class, which is time consuming but fun. I get to hold office hours and teach my own lab of 20 students. Because it's a writing class, though, all of the assignments are extremely lengthy papers... they take FOREVER to grade! It's all about time management, I guess. Matt and I both finished off the month with midterms (yay!).

Together: We both had "real" sushi for the first time! And we probably ate enough of it to last us another 20 years... but it was yummy. We also had a few fun dates night, both out in Provo and just staying in. We can both be homebodies when it comes to relaxing, so we always look forward to a Redbox and freshly popped popcorn!

Overall, February was pretty good second month of the year: busy, constantly changing, but at the same time, familiar. I was terrible at taking pictures, unfortunately, but nothing really big happened, either. We're both excited for March! It's sure to be a good one.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

4 Reasons Why I Love School

After taking a year-long break from school, I could not be happier to be back this semester. It feels like coming home. I felt like a nervous freshie again, anticipating the first day of class and making sure I knew where all my classrooms were. To my surprise, school is better than I remembered.

At school, you know what is expected of you. Where else is every expectation and formula for success laid out in a syllabus? For a stresser like me, syllabi are heavenly.

At school, you can ask whatever questions you want. The (possibly) even better part is that people can usually provide answers. This can of course lead to some "dumb" questions, but hey, get them out in the world. Ask away, my curious friend.

At school, you have a purpose. It's not some abstract concept or lost wandering--you know exactly where you're going and what you're doing. I know what classes I'm taking, and I even know what I'll be taking next semester. I'm getting a degree. I'm networking with professors. I know what's up.

At school, you get to learn everyday. Ok, I realize that there are opportunities to learn everyday without being in school, but it's a little harder. I learned a lot when I was a professional blogger (oh yes, I was a blog writer for a company this last Fall) because I had to write about unfamiliar topics. But otherwise, it's hard to consciously learn things. I love to learn, though, so I love school. It's a given.

These are just a few of my musings about school. Maybe I'll add more later. Stay tuned!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Goal Keepers

I like to wait until at least one full week into the New Year to decide how I feel about it. It's just not fair to judge a whole year when you're just first getting acquainted. Luckily, I have decided that 2014 is going to be a fantastic year. The last year had a lot of ups and downs, turns in the road, tears and laughter, and questions and answers. I hope 2014 has more ups, laughs, and answers. And with M by my side, how could it not?!

We Greens have been trying really hard to set smart and achievable goals to better ourselves and our marriage. M and I are big "goal people"--we both like setting them and believe in the power of of a written goal (even if we sometimes have trouble on the follow-through). Fitzhugh Dodson said:

Without goals, and plans to reach them, you are like a ship that has set sail with no destination.

It's been very fulfilling to work together on deciding what we each could work on and determining how to be better spouses for each other. While we're not even finished writing them all out yet, I can already tell a difference in our home.

Along with more serious and self-reflective goals, I've also made some "fun" ones that I thought I would share! Maybe if I share them publicly, I'll feel a little more accountable... :)

  1. Read (and enjoy) a non-fiction book. I have just never been into non-fiction, and I don't know why. For some reason, it just doesn't grab me. This is probably a sad result of my Harry Potter-dominated reading preferences haha. But this is the year for non-fiction. I already have a few lined up: Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand, and I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai. I'll do I review when I finish them.
  2. Write at least 2 blog posts per month. I realize this is kind of a sad goal, but looking at my track record, it's still an improvement! Hopefully I can work up to 3 or 4.
  3. Begin learning Arabic again. After one semester, I loved the language but wasn't able to take more classes. I hope to review my materials to re-learn the basics and hopefully take a class during the summer!
  4. Become a conscientious gift-giver. I truly admire those people who always seem to give the perfect gift for birthdays or anniversaries--something with meaning, that brings happiness to the receiver. I want to be one of those people. 
  5. Write more Thank You notes. I can't believe I'm saying this after all the cards I wrote from our wedding! But, I want to write more Thank You's. I think there is great love in a written note, especially in one of thanks for the simplest of actions. 

I think I'll just share 5 for now. After all, I don't want to get too overwhelmed! What are some goals (serious or fun) that you've made for 2014?

Friday, January 3, 2014

Welcome, New Year

M and I had a fun time ringing in the New Years with friends. We stayed up playing lots of games, eating treats, and laughing (the best way to start anything is with a laugh, right?!). I'm convinced, though, that M and I are actually 3 times our actual age--midnight was about as late as we could last. Nonetheless, it was all good fun.

Traditions I'd like to keep to celebrate New Years:

  1. Eating Chinese Food on New Year's Eve (I know M wouldn't mind...)
  2. Playing Games
  3. Toasting with Martinelli's
  4. A New Year's Kiss... of course!
I think I need to figure out some new traditions to add... my list is embarrassingly lacking. Any suggestions?