Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Happy Birthday, Darren!

I feel like a very lucky woman to be married to this man:

Darren's birthday was on Sunday.  I love birthdays, especially when it's the birthday of someone about whom I care so much.  Even though Darren worked Friday and Saturday, we did our best to stretch out our celebrations over the weekend.  I think we did a pretty good job!  All of the moments in my Happy Now 10 for last week will come from his birthday weekend.

1.  Cold Stone--We tried to squeeze as many yummy birthday treats into the weekend as possible.  On Friday night, Darren and I went to Cold Stone to get our favorites (Cold Stone's founder and I share the same favorite--"Founder's Favorite"--and Darren's was  "Berry, Berry Good").

2.  Last Minute Gift Idea--On Saturday morning, I went to the grocery store to do some last minute birthday grocery shopping.  As I pulled into the grocery store parking lot, I noticed some girl scouts had set up shop outside the store.  Darren and I had recently bought a box of Thin Mints and a box of Samoas.  We both LOVE Samoas and strictly split the box down the middle so that we each had an equal share.  Out of the kindness of my heart, I decided to go in for one more last minute birthday gift for Darren--a box of Samoas just for him.  It may seem like a pathetic gift, but, believe me, it was warmly received. :)

3.  Productive Saturday--Really productive weekends are few and far between for me.  By the time the weekend rolls around, I'm usually ready to dedicate those two days to purely leisure activities.  Perhaps because I was so excited for Darren's birthday, however, and had a lot I wanted to do for that weekend, I actually got a lot done.  What a great feeling it is to be unexpectedly productive!

4.  Red Robin--One of Darren's favorite restaurants is Red Robin, so that's where we celebrated Darren's pre-birthday dinner out.  Darren's parents paid for this dinner and for a movie we caught afterward.  So fun!

5.   Birthday Breakfast--When I asked Darren what he wanted for his birthday breakfast, he mentioned a breakfast I had tried a while ago for the first time and hadn't made since--ebelskivers.  We had bought an ebelskiver pan with a gift card we received for our wedding.  Trying something somewhat adventurous when it comes to cooking is not my forte, but I wanted to give them another shot.  Darren made scrambled eggs with fresh tomatos and avocados to go with the filled pancakes.  I have to say, it was all pretty delicious!

6.  Birthday Presents--Nothing beats giving a present to someone who shows genuine appreciation for all the gifts he receives.  Darren is one of those people.  He received cards and gifts from his parents, my parents, his siblings and me, and he seemed so grateful for each one.  It was a joy to watch him open his gifts.

Here's Darren with two of his gifts--the box of Somoas (on which I had to write "For Darren's mouth only", partly to help remind me) and a binder of letters that members of his family and mine wrote to him for his birthday.

7.  Birthday Brownies--Before going to church, I made a pan of brownies to take so that we could celebrate Darren's birthday with our sweet little primary class.  I got a little wound up Sunday morning trying to get everything ready and done in time for us to get to our morning Sacrament meeting, which in my head I was thinking was at 10.  We arrived at the church at 10:06 and, though we were a little late, I was congratulating myself on having gotten so much done that morning.  As we walked into the chapel, the congregation was singing what I assumed was the opening hymn.  It was not until we sat down that we realized the people surrounding us were not our ward members.  Our ward didn't start for another hour.  Somehow, and I'm not entirely sure how this happened, I had convinced myself on that particular Sunday that our ward met an hour before it usually did, and Darren just followed my lead.  We quickly excused ourselves after that ward's CLOSING hymn and went home to relax for another hour. :)

8.  Healthy Eats--Lest you think that all Darren and I ate last weekend was junk food, I feel the need to state that we have actually significantly bumped up our fruit and veggie intake.  We had a very colorful birthday dinner for Darren, complete with a large salad and apples, oranges, and carrots on the side.  This left room for the little extra sugar we had planned to round out the weekend. :)

9.  Birthday Cake--Darren and I have pretty similar tastes in food (except that he enjoys seafood and I can barely tolerate the smell), so I was more than happy to make the cake he requested below (which turns out to also be my favorite cake and frosting combo: confetti cake with rainbow chip frosting).

10.  FaceTime with Family--At the end of our weekend of celebrations, Darren and I chatted with my parents, Chris, and Steven on FaceTime.  What an amazing thing it is to be able to see someone while you talk to them from hundreds of miles away.  How I love my family and am grateful for our ability to stay in touch this way!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Happy Now-March 11

Here are my Happy Now 10 for the past two weeks:

1.  Traveling to Tessa--  I could do a whole Happy Now post just on a trip Katie Houston and I took last week to visit our dear friend and mommy-to-be, Tessa Hendrickson, in Cheyenne, WY.  I took the day off work two Fridays ago and Katie and I started driving early Friday morning.  It was a wonderful weekend: from the road trip with Katie to our time with Tessa and baby girl.  Katie posted a more detailed summary of the trip with pictures on her blog here.  It went by much too quickly!

2.   Thoughtful Friends--Unfortunately, a case of food poisoning joined me on my trip to see Tessa after Katie and I stopped for lunch on our way to Cheyenne.  While being sick was certainly not fun, it did serve to remind me of the amazing friends I have.  They changed our entire weekend plans so that we could all "lie low."  We watched movies and talked, and I felt their love and concern for me all weekend.  I'm so grateful for such people in my life!

3.  Leaving Reagan--As news that I will not be returning to Reagan to teach next year spreads, I have been touched by the responses and well-wishes I have received.

4.  FaceTime with Chris--I had the chance to FaceTime with Chris last week.  It had been WAY too long since we had talked, and it made my day to get to "see" and talk with him.

5.  RESPECT Video--Fifth grade was assigned to make the character education video for the month of March at Reagan.  The character trait this month is respect, and it was so fun to work with the students to put a video together for the school.

6.  Teacher Support--Friday was just one of those days in the classroom.  I had had a difficult experience with a student at the end of what of seemed like a long week.  During the last 40 minutes of the day, during my prep time, I went into the other fifth grade teacher's room which is joined to mine by a small study room.  I sat down in a seat next to her desk and proceeded to tearfully unload some of my frustrations.  She was so great to spend her planning time just listening to me and giving me some very helpful feedback.  I have been really aware of all of the wonderful people who surround me lately, and I am truly grateful for them!

7.  Spring Weather--We have had the most glorious spring-ish weather this weekend.  Darren and I took a walk outside today and I actually wore flip-flops.  I am so ready and excited for warmer weather!

8.  Canyon Run--Due to the warmer weather, Darren and I took a run up Provo Canyon on Saturday for the first time since the fall.  Not only did it feel great to be a little more active (I have been somewhat hibernating the past couple of months), but the air and canyon scenery were invigorating!

9.  Arizona Planning--While we are still not 100% sure where we'll be this fall for law school, it is looking more and more like we'll be calling Phoenix "home."  Especially as the weather here in Utah has started to give us a taste of warmer weather, Darren and I are excited about this potential move.  We have started looking at teaching jobs and places to rent and it is all starting to feel really real.  Exciting!

10.  War Horse--I recently started reading War Horse with my students at school.  I thought the movie was great but, as is usually the case, I'm finding the book to be even better and a fun read with the kids.
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