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10th Anniversary

10th Anniversary

We’ve been thinking about our 10th anniversary since our 9th. We wanted to do something big and had narrowed it down to either a trip to Costa Rica or river guide school. When Glenna got diagnosed and came to live with us, planning became infinitely more difficult. (Maybe we should have known Costa Rica was bad luck, that was also the plan for our 5th anniversary and that didn’t turn out either.) Even if we’d logistically worked something out with family so we could go somewhere, there was always the fear that we’d be out of contact partying it up while she was dying. We decided it was probably best that we not make any big travel plans. We kind of moped around about it though. You know, Poor us, our life is so hard and our anniversary is going to be the worst ever. Boo, hoo, hoo. Super mature. At some point in January, I got a burst of optimism in the midst of the general malaise I was feeling and decided that we weren’t just going to sit around and feel sorry for ourselves, we were going to do something for our anniversary and it was going to be fun. I looked at all the local events that would be happening on our anniversary and bought tickets to the play An American in Paris. I bought Noel a new suit and me a new dress (all amazing clearance finds of course). We would at least getaway for a few hours in style.

I’m glad I made those plans months ago, because by the time our anniversary rolled around, we were too spent to make any plans. To put it in context, here was the calendar surrounding our anniversary:

  • Saturday, February 25th – Glenna passed
  • Thursday, March 2nd – We began traveling for the funeral
  • Saturday, March 4th – Glenna’s funeral
  • Tuesday, March 7th – Ellen’s birthday/traveling back from the funeral
  • Friday, March 10th – Our anniversary
  • Saturday, March 11th – Ellen’s birthday party with friends

And those were just the big things. Not included: planning the funeral, kids swim lessons, grieving, and typical life maintenance functions. Like I said, I’m glad we already had plans because otherwise we probably would have just gotten takeout and watched Netflix in our pjs. Instead, we had a pretty good day.

Subversive runners

Both of the kids are in school at the same time for three hours, four days a week. Sometimes Noel and I take advantage of this and workout together. Running has been one of the things we’ve enjoyed doing together from the very beginning, so we decided we needed to go on a run. There had been a fire the day before on the nearby mesa, a place where we frequently run. We headed out to run there, not thinking anything about it because we’d heard the fire was out, but hadn’t realized a second fire had started. When we got to the trailhead we were met by Park and Rec officials putting up signs that the mesa was closed. We could see people on the mesa though (there are multiple trails that go up the mesa, we were just at the main one), and in an act of subversion left the main trailhead and made our way to the top via another route. (I’d like it noted that the mesa is big and the fire was on the side farthest from where we were so technically we weren’t actually in any real danger . . . )

Out on the town.

That night we dressed up for our second, and much fancier date. We picked up our babysitter and hit the town.


While the kids ate mac n’ cheese, we ate dinner at Parisi’s, one of our favorite restaurants for special occasions. (We’d looked at going somewhere super fancy, but neither of us could get over the sticker shock and Parisi’s always delivers.) In case the pictures don’t speak for themselves, dinner was amazing.

Bathroom Selfie
A full length look at the dress.

After dinner, we headed downtown to the Denver Center for Performing Arts.  The play was a lot of fun – lots of ballet and singing –  and Noel even got into it after he overcame his acrophobia. (We had seats on the front row of the balcony and it was freaking him out a little. ♥) We headed back home and after taking the babysitter to hers, pulled some salted caramel cheesecake out of the freezer. (I seriously need to share the recipe on the food blog so you too can have this magic in your life.) We stayed up till midnight, which if you know me is late, and I didn’t even complain! It was a different kind of celebration than we’d thought we would have for our 10th anniversary, but it was still a blast. We’re planning on having many more anniversaries anyway so we have time for those other crazy adventures.

10 years

10 years

“A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.”
– Mignon McLaughlin

10 Years ago
10 Years ago

“There is no more lovely, friendly, and charming relationship, communion, or company than a good marriage.”
– Martin Luther


The good, the bad, and the bleh – it’s been 10 years full of adventures. I’m glad we’ve had each other through it all. There’s something about a decade that feels solid, which is exactly what our marriage is.

9 Years

9 Years

This year marked our 9th wedding anniversary. Noel and I put a lot of thought into what we wanted to do. We’re always tempted to dress up and try to do something fancy, but ultimately we decided we get more enjoyment out of owning who we are and doing something less fancy.


A friend kindly agreed to watch the kids and we headed up to a nearby open space park after picking up some Chinese takeout. We enjoyed our dinner as we watched the sunset. Then we went on a night hike and enjoyed the stars. IMG_20160310_173903599_HDR

It might not be the typical anniversary celebration, but it was definitely true to who we are. Here’s to many more years of owning our unfanciness.

First Kiss

First Kiss

The chill air had given us an excuse to cozy up next to each other on our late evening star gazing excursion. Both conversation and laughter flowed easily and we strolled slowly back to my apartment. It was like a scene from the movies were everything is perfectly scripted and the audience waits in anticipation for the swell of the music. We paused on my steps to say goodnight and he leaned in for that magical moment and I, 100% oblivious, turned my head and wrapped my arms around him in a tender embrace. Undeterred, he took a step back and said, “Let’s try that again” and I, realizing that my well cultivated kiss-dodge-maneuver had unintentionally kicked in, panicked. The moment was lost and our profuse apologies hung in the air like a storm cloud as we retreated to our separate apartments. He to stew on one side of the wall and me to cry regretfully to my roommates on the other. He called the next day to apologize, the first guy to ever do so after I’d deflected a kiss, and the layers of protective cynicism I’d painstakingly built began to crumble.

Us when we started dating in the spring of 2006.

When his sister found out that neither of us had ever kissed anyone she said, “Well how will either of you know what to do!?!” and he, in practical Noel fashion, simply said, “We’ll figure it out.” It took over a week for him to work up the courage to try and kiss me again and the setting wasn’t particularly cinematic. I was shivering in a too thin jacket, an overgrown pine tree obscured our view of the valley, and there was a couple arguing within earshot. I don’t even know if anyone else would technically consider it a kiss since our lips barely even brushed, but for me it was magical nonetheless.

In seven years of marriage we’ve tackled a lot of firsts. Our approach is often less than glamorous, but we’re figuring things out together. Big things like parenting and little things like how to patch a hole in the wall. Before we got married I giddily thought everything would be romantic, even mundane household chores like folding laundry. Sometimes I think about that and laugh when I’m staring down the mountain of clean clothes on our bed. Still, there’s no one I’d rather have a heart to heart with while matching socks. Our life is often ordinary, but it’s ours and that’s my favorite part about it.

2007 - When it all began.
2007 – When it all began.
2008 - Halfway through the Top of Utah Marathon
2008 – Halfway through the Top of Utah Marathon

2010 - Noel's Graduation and Cooper's Debut
2010 – Noel’s Graduation and Cooper’s Debut
2011 - During our month long stint in DC.
2011 – During our month long stint in DC.
2012 - After Ellen's blessing.
2012 – After Ellen’s blessing.
2013 - Checking out natural hot springs on our trip to Monterey, CA.
2013 – Checking out a natural hot spring on our trip to Monterey, CA.
2014 - In our backyard (well, technically this was late 2013, but it's my favorite most recent photo of the two of us.)
2014 – In our backyard (Technically this was late 2013, but it’s my favorite recent photo of the two of us.)





6th Anniversary Trip

6th Anniversary Trip

In the “early days” of our marriage, we always went on a trip for our anniversary. Our Spring Break wedding and our continuing student status aligned our first several anniversaries to fall within close proximity of Spring Break, so a trip was always in order. Once we graduated, there was always a baby to nurse so we had to take a two year hiatus, but now that both those babies are weaned (Don’t worry, Cooper much sooner than Ellen) we are able to bring that glorious tradition back, and it was glorious.

Back in 2010 we went to Monterey, CA. We had a grand time, but since I was seven months pregnant we knew we hadn’t reached our full potential of fun and vowed we would come back. That’s exactly what we did.

We rented a cute house in Pacific Grove as our home base. Then we hiked without wearing children, ran without pushing a jogger, boarded planes without car seats, read books without anyone touching us, ate delicious food without anyone screaming, visited good friends way past bedtime (although we may have messed with their kids bedtime, sorry!), saw a bunch of really cool things without worrying about anyone throwing a tantrum, and slept all night long every. single. night. It was pure bliss. Allow me to invite you into our virtual living room for a viewing of the slideshow of our adventures. Pull up a chair, stay awhile. I swear we took out the most boring ones . . .

March = Party Month

March = Party Month

Silly GirlThere is a lot that goes on in March. I feel like every time we turn around we’re celebrating something new. It keeps life exciting, but also means my house is in need of some serious post-celebratory-cleaning. Here’s a brief recap of what we’ve celebrated so far. A million birthdays, including our favorite little lady’s.

Trains! Free day at the train museum. Cooper was actually a little overwhelmed by the huge trains, but really liked the model train display.

Spring InsideOur anniversary. Six years and counting. This year it fell on a Sunday so we were going to go on a date the day before, but then there was a big blizzard. Luckily, I’d picked up some tulips the day before that made being trapped at home seem less dreary. (I rarely buy fresh cut flowers, but there was a one day sale at Whole Foods and I had a feeling we might need something special to brighten the weekend.)

BuckeyesI’d also read that the sixth anniversary was the “candy anniversary” so the day of we made some Buckeyes. Ours were ugly, but terribly delicious. Fortunately, we know we lack willpower around confections of this sort and had the sense to make a half batch. It was pretty low-key, but that’s okay because we have a really fun belated anniversary trip planned for next month.


Pi Day! I think this was actually the first year that I realized it was pi day and had enough time to do something about it. We made chocolate pudding pie that didn’t disappoint.

ConstructionSt. Patrick’s Day. I was contemplating buying Ellen a St. Patrick’s Day tee from Carter’s and even dropped by the store when we walked the mall with playgroup one week. I was a little miffed to discover the shirt cost more in store than it did online and then when the line to checkout was really long I just put it back and left. (I have pretty low tolerance for lines. I have to really want/need what’s at the front to wait in them.) Still, that little red-haired girl needed something festive to wear so I gathered one of Cooper’s old t-shirts, fabric paint, glitter, and some painter’s tape.

L-Clover-V-EIf I could do it over, I would do the letters closer together, but for something she’ll only wear a handful of times I think it turned out great.

Leprechaun With the exception of Cooper getting Roseola and having his third ear infection this year, it’s been a fabulous March so far. Now, I better go clean my house before I have to get ready for Easter.

In Five Years

In Five Years

Five years ago

You know the classic question, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” Well, I seriously doubt that five years ago I would have said, “I’ll probably spend my fifth wedding anniversary breastfeeding my newborn and telling my toddler ‘no’ again as he pulls all the wipes out of the container.” At the same time, newlywed me wouldn’t have known how much I would change over the course of five years. She wouldn’t know how deeply I would love my kids or how touched I would be that my tired husband worked like crazy to simultaneously make me breakfast in bed and keep our busy little boy from waking me up early. So even though eating take-out from a great Italian restaurant isn’t quite the same as an exotic vacation, today I’ll be content to snuggle my three favorite people. Besides, Costa Rica will still be there next year.





3 years

3 years

It’s official, as of yesterday Noel and I have been married for 3 years. In a big picture view 3 years isn’t that long, but it sure makes some of the newlyweds in the ward gasp 🙂 A lot has happened since then and I know we’re in for a whole lot more. I’m trying not to get sappy or emotional (I blame it on the baby), but I’m grateful that I’ve been blessed with such a perfect match.

The Big Day

1st Anniversary - Washington DC
2nd Anniversary - Los Angeles, CA
3rd Anniversary - At home with my new plant

P.S. Remember, I’m pregnant not fat.

Have your cake and eat it too

Have your cake and eat it too

Since we passed the one year milestone on our matrimonial bliss we had the opportunity to follow the tradition of eating the top of our wedding cake. Granted we had heard many horror stories about how bad wedding cake can be after a whole year. However, due to the excellent packing and freezing abilities of Wayne McConkie ours was as good as the day it came out of the oven.

1st Anniversary

1st Anniversary

Audrey and I spent our Spring Break wreaking havoc in our Nation’s Capitol . . . well as much as we could while still passing multiple daily security checks. We stayed in a lovely B&B in Virginia

Bed and Breakfast

and saw such cultural sights such as the Puffy Shirt from Seinfeld and Mr. Rogers Cardigan.

Puffy Shirt

While we were at it we also checked out some Smithsonians, some monuments . . .

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