Monday, June 27, 2011

England Travels

"The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page." ~St. Augustine

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do.  So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor.  Catch the trade winds in your sails.  Explore.  Dream.  Discover." ~Mark Twain

I love to travel.  I have a long bucket list of places I would love to see, and I continue to add to it.  I adopted the above Mark Twain quote as a kind of mantra when I first started teaching and creating a theme for my classroom.  My mom was a huge help in making the "leader-ship" theme become a reality in my classroom.  Each student's name tag bore a picture of a ship.  My hope was, and continues to be, to inspire my students to be leaders as they explore, dream, and discover new things on their journey through 5th grade with me.

Darren and I had the wonderful opportunity of traveling abroad earlier this month.  It was Darren's first time out of the country, so we chose to go to a place with which I was familiar and where we could both understand the language (most of the time) ...


We left on May 28th, the day after my school year ended.  In an effort to save money, we booked a flight/hotel package on Travelocity.  We had two layovers and a very long day of traveling, but when we arrived at the London Gatwick Airport on the morning of May 29th (London time) we were so excited to be there!  Our journey had been relatively SO easy.  We had no delayed flights nor lost luggage.  In fact, our suitcase was one of the first bags off the plane in London.

We took the Gatwick Express into Victoria Station without a hitch and then the tube to our hotel just a few minutes outside of the city center.  Once we had dropped our things off at the hotel, I took Darren on a highlight tour of some of London's most famous landmarks:

Darren did a great job of capturing some of London's most iconic images in this picture: the double-decker bus, London Eye, Big Ben and Parliament, and the corner of Westminster Abbey.

Westminster Abbey

We decided to walk through St. James's Park toward Buckingham Palace.  Along the way Darren loved looking at the English architecture.

We happened to arrive at Buckingham Palace just in time to catch the Changing of the Guards.  As Darren's tour guide through London I would have loved to take credit for the timing of this experience, but alas, I could not.  It was pure luck.  Here is the new set of guards getting ready to march to Buckingham Palace.

Guards marching to Buckingham Palace

We then ventured to Hyde Park.  We were so exhausted from our previous day of traveling that we hoped to relax and perhaps even take a little nap on the grass.  It got too cold for us, however, and we decided to return to our hotel where we vowed to rest no longer than an hour.  SIX hours later I awoke to the startling realization that I had just broken the cardinal rule of traveling and jet lag--never sleep before nightfall in your new city.

We decided that we were too awake to sleep the rest of the night, so we went back out into the city for dinner.  We ate dinner in Piccadilly Circus and then wandered around that area for awhile enjoying the shops and lively atmosphere that existed there despite the late hour.  We discovered about a half hour too late, however, that the tubes closed around 11:20 p.m.  Not wanting to pay for a taxi, we tried to figure out the bus route back to our hotel.  Long story short, we did get closer to our hotel by bus but ended up having to take a taxi anyway since we were still a fair distance from our hotel when we got off.  My confidence in being a tour guide had taken a hit, but Darren seemed undaunted.  It was the end of a wonderful first day in England and we had several more to come.

Stay tuned for more England adventures!

Monday Night Cooking

Those who know me well know that cooking isn't really my thing.  Baking sometimes, but cooking ... never.  My attempts to cook in the past have produced some pretty interesting meals.  Those that did turn out edible only came after a lot of angsting on my part.  Darren has been a sport.  We received so many wonderful cooking supplies for our wedding, though, that I knew I couldn't give up.  Practice makes perfect, right?  I would love cooking to be a favorite past-time of mine, so I'm going to work and will it to be so.

A few weeks ago I made a summer's resolution to try at least one new recipe a week.  Baby steps.  Tonight I took pictures of my meal and wanted to share.  I decided to do a more simple dinner: a grilled chicken salad with sliced grapes and strawberries.  The lettuce and strawberries came from my cousin Mary Wintch's garden.  So great to have fresh food to eat.  Thanks, Mary!  I used goldfish for croutons, a tasty trick I learned from my college roommate, Shelley.

 Since all I had to do for dinner was grill chicken and slice fruit, I decided to be a little more adventurous with the dessert.  I made home-made vanilla ice cream!  This was a big deal for me because, unlike a recent banana bread incident, it actually worked and tasted really good!  This might be a new favorite.  I had mine with strawberries and Darren chose to go with peaches.  It was a light, but yummy, summer meal.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Wedding Day

Favorite day?  Easy.

November 27, 2010
Newport Beach Temple ~Hyatt Huntington Beach

Thank you to family and friends for sharing these pictures with us!

I was lucky to have so many close friends and family as my bridesmaids.  Here are 6 of the 10.
From left to right: Whitney, Katie L., Katie H., Shelley, Tessa, Melissa

Handsome Groomsmen

Love the Chaffee family!

Thank you, Mom, for all you did to make this the beautiful, memorable day that it was.  I still think you have a career as a wedding coordinator should you want to try something new.

Father and Son

First Dance

Father/Daughter Dance--One of the highlights of the reception for me.

Mother/Son Dance

Good catch, Katie!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

At the beginning ...

Do you want to know one of my most favorite things?  Here he is:

Since I will be writing this blog as MRS. Kate Myler, I want to take a moment to explain how that name came to be.  Darren proposed on June 11, 2010 (about 7 months after our first date and about a year after we first met).  By the time the ring was ready and he finally proposed, I was very eager to say "Yes".  We had found the ring together several weeks before, but it wasn't ready for Darren to pick up until June 11, the same day I was leaving Utah for a couple of weeks on a family vacation.  The thought of waiting to get the ring until I returned to Utah broke my heart.  Darren was the most kind, hard-working gentleman I had ever met.  Of course, the fact that he wore cowboy boots didn't hurt either (see below).  I was more than ready to be his fiancĂ©e.

Fortunately, and unbeknownst to me, Darren had picked up the ring moments before swinging by my apartment to take me to the SLC airport.  Darren had picked me up early enough to have dinner at one of our favorite places and then take a slight detour to temple square, where he dropped to one knee and popped the question.    It was a moment I'll never forget.

I dove immediately into wedding planning.  As a teacher, I had all summer to dress hunt (though that didn't take too long) and organize all the details of the big day.  Later that fall, Darren's brother, Steven, took our engagement pictures in Park City.  Thanks, Steve!  He did a great job.  Here are just a few of my favorites:

The picture above was taken at the spot where Darren proposed.  We were then just a few short months from the big day ...

Hello Blogging World!

Hello!  I am so excited to be starting this blog!

Let me start by explaining my blog title.  I wanted this blog to be an archive of some of my favorite things. Darren and I are creating memories as the newest Myler family, so I know that there will be many new favorite things to share as I journey through my new role as wife and beginning homemaker.  There will also be many old favorites.  When thinking about some of my favorite things outside of the obvious, three "p" words came to mind ... and who doesn't love alliteration?  Here's a quick description of why the words in my title are three of my favorites:

Pencils:  For as long as I can remember, I have loved office supply stores.  My desk at home is filled with post-its and notebooks I have yet to use but couldn't help buying while perusing such a store.  Choosing a career as a teacher has given me ample opportunities and excuses to stock up on these supplies.  One of my favorite things to buy, however, is a pencil.  Though I have nothing against mechanical pencils, which can be very handy and reliable when stocked full of lead, my preference is for the old fashioned, needs-to-be-sharpened, #2 pencil.  The image of a pencil cup on the top of my desk filled with pencils sharpened to a fine point with full, pink erasers thrills me to the bone.  Few things make me feel more academic.  Below is a picture of me on a recent trip Darren and I took to Keswick, England.  Keswick was home to the first pencil after graphite was discovered in its hills many years ago.  Stopping by the Keswick Pencil Factory and Museum was a must on our trip!

Pages:  Whether blank and full of potential or filled with someone else's story, I love pages.  They could be pages in a personal journal, published book, magazine, or newspaper.  If filled with good, wholesome, insightful writing, I love them all!  Along with this, I believe we all have the desire within us, no matter how deep, to create something.  As someone with little to no artistic talent, a pencil and a few blank pages provide an exciting avenue of creation possibilities for me.  Whether or not anything I record on this one, long, electronic page will be worth reading has yet to be known.  What I do know is that words can have an extraordinary impact and our ability to record those words on pages is truly a gift.

Petals:  My love affair with petals, and the flowers they come from, started at a very young age.  I remember my mom surprising me with a small vase of roses from our yard from time to time.  She would never present them to me herself, but would leave them secretly on my bedside table or bathroom counter.  They would immediately brighten the room and fill the area with a delicious tint of their fragrance.  Years later, I gained a true appreciation for petals (and plants and trees and shrubbery) when I first visited England.  I was moved by the relationship the British seemed to have with nature and the effort they put into preserving their beautiful parks and gardens, often incorporating a lovely variety of petals.  When I returned to England a second time for a BYU study abroad, I worked on a paper that would eventually become the foundation for my college thesis: the social role of English gardens in the 18th and 19th centuries.  Frivolous as the topic may seem, I was hooked.  When Darren sent flowers to my classroom early in our courtship so that my students could "see me smile" and later surprised me at my apartment door after driving 3 hours to see me holding a red rose, I knew he was a keeper.  When deciding what to have guests throw as we left the reception at our wedding, we left the rice behind and chose, you guessed it ... petals!

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