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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

#1 Lady!!!

Happy Birthday to the SWEETEST BEST DOG EVER!!! Lady is one year old today and I'm simply heartbroken that I'm not with her! For those of you who don't know, Lady went to live with my parents about 3 1/2 weeks ago. It was really REALLY hard to let her go, but I know it was for the best! She was too cramped in this small apartment with far too little running time in her schedule. She's lots happier in St. George with a backyard and big house to run around in! she also has fun with Inka, my mom's dog. They've been friends since puppyhood so they get along great! I can't believe how fast Lady grew, we've had her in our lives now for about 9 months and she has been the light of our lives! My family just LOVES her and say she brings a little piece of me with her. It helps them not miss me as much cuz she reminds them of me...which I actually DO take as a compliment cuz Lady is so sweet and funny! She was my first puppy EVER and I've loved learning things from her, such as patience, innocence and FUN. Look at what a cute puppy she was!


She grew up WAY too fast and has us all wrapped around her little paw. Those sweet puppy dog eyes melt my heart everytime.

The night before Lady left us we had a little pretend birthday party since I knew I was going to miss the actual day. I DID get to talk to her on web cam though and she STILL just can't figure out where in the heck I am and how come she can't crawl through the computer to get me! :)

Our favorite Lady position. She has always plopped down like this and we love watching her little nub tail wag!

Lady enjoying a day at the beach. Believe it or not, once the sand dried she was perfectly clean!


My last day with my sweet Lady. I miss her SO much!

Lady was the biggest mooch and would eat ANYTHING you gave her (except rice. I had to give it to her once cuz she was sick and she wouldn't touch it!)

Lady can be a bit of a spazz sometimes, but it's part of her charm and we LOVE IT!

We found out she's not a big fan of Opera (sorry Ben) when we took her to Opera in the Park...haha snooze fest!
And finally...Lady was a CHEWER. We never could break her of the habit. She chewed off Figaro's collar, then his harness, then proceeded to chew off her OWN harness...leaving what looked like a thong dangling around her bum! haha. Her teeth are SO crooked from always chewing with the same side of her mouth! Her lip always gets stuck on one tooth that sticks out a little too far.

I know this may seem fruity of me to have an entire post dedicated to my dog...but all dog lovers will understand the special connection between a dog and it's owner. I love Lady SO much and I'll be devastated when she dies someday. I had dreams about her for a week after she left us and it really was VERY hard to deal with! She was truly my best friend as I adjusted to living here in California. She was there for me when I cried and when I was bored and lonely. Ben and I laugh at how much her personality resembles mine, and Figaro's resembles Ben. Lady was fearless and social with EVERYONE at the dog park...and Figs is a bit shy and reserved. We imagine our children may be the same way...one like me, and one like Ben. They have been good training for us to be parents!!!

Happy Birthday Lady! I love you with all my heart!!!

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Saturday, September 13, 2008

Success!

So Ben and I would be very ungrateful if we didn't post about our blessings of success that we have achieved in the past few days. Ben and I have been wondering what to do with our lives, like where to settle for now and where to go to school and such. We both really like it here, but Ben wants to get his MBA and we were trying to pick the best route. We've been praying about it for a while and the other day it seemed we had our answer. We really thought at first that BYU was the right choice (and who knows-it could be still) but the more we prayed we realized that we had a lot of reasons to stay here in California! The first example being that I was awarded a REALLY nice raise at my job. 10% this month, and another 10% next month! I will be making as much as Ben made before he got his 20% raise which goes into effect in two weeks! So we are making more money than we ever dreamed we would make here in OC. We are paying off all our debts and getting financially fit for our future! It is SUCH a blessing to both love our jobs! I added the first pictures because they sorta remind me of what life between married people is like. Your are mostly on your own when it comes to making choices, but it's WONDERFUL to have each other and to do things as a team. I will ALWAYS feel safe in Ben's care because of the man he is and the friend he has always been for me.

I really feel like in the picture below we look like two people who trust each other COMPLETELY and will be able to conquer the world as long as we are together...


These are two of my three bosses. I took their picture cuz they looked so slick before a big meeting in LA

This is me excited about my big raise! We celebrated at Red Robin!

I had a little victory rasberry limeade! MMMM


Then there's Ben's awesome job that gets us into a lot of REALLY cool events. For example, tonight we spent about 6 hours at "Opera Under the Stars" in Laguna Beach. We got to mix and mingle with some SUPER wealthy people. I really loved people watching at this event because people REALLY do get treated WAY differently when they are rich. But at the end of the day they are JUST people. Even the ones who own a house so big it covers two zip codes, and 2 747 airplanes the use for their "personal jets" and the biggest yacht in Newport Beach. Whatever...haha But really I was SO proud of Ben tonight. He was the official "bouncer" for the VIP party. He looks so cute when he's working. I was so impressed with him all night...


Ben working the entrance

Ben has worked SO hard to get to where he is. He has a boss, Dawn, who really appreciates his hard work and looks for his potential. She has helped him to really grow in his job and gave him a GREAT promotion in February. He spends extra time at the office just to get ahead and I know he is turning heads based on what I heard tonight at the event. He's SO talented!

Like I said...this man is talented. Ben designed this cake top. He did the whole thing in photoshop and I heard SO many compliments on his work! I was like a proud parent tonight with everyone ogling his fancy cake! It was Puccini's 150th birthday so in honor of him the entire second act of the show was devoted to his works such as "La Boheme" and "Madame Butterfly".

Ben with his fabulous cake!
As well as designing the cake, Ben also designed all the posters found around the venue. I heard his bosses praising him to several people, and was so excited to see how many people addressed Ben by name and talked to him like an old friend. He's SO good at his job!!! Also, I had my first jealous moment tonight! One of the singers in the show was wearing a VERY busty dress that made her boobs the automatic center of attention in the room! I was commenting on her earlier, and about 10 minutes later saw that someone was hugging Ben. I thought "Oh that's nice!" then she pulled away and I saw the BOOBS! How dare that boobalicious woman hug MY husband! I'm the only big breasted woman who gets to do that!!!! hahaha. I was totally jealous and very flustered after the moment passed. It felt good though...to feel so protective of my husband. We don't get out a lot and Ben's usually so shy that I don't get the opportunity to be jealous :-) It was good jealousy..not the type that made me mad...just...protective. haha. Needless to say there were no more hugs that night!

I'm grateful for my job and the opportunity I have had to learn SO much. The first weeks were VERY overwhelming...but I have really come to appreciate the whole business and feel appreciated for the hard work I do. Anyone who has experienced this knows what a good feeling it is to be praised and rewarded! For anyone who doesn't know I work for Great Pacific Securities as an Operations Manager. We are a brokerage firm dealing mostly with the bond market, and a little with the stock market. I do EVERYTHING from making sure trades clear, to setting up a new email network for the office. I'm IT, Admin, Accounts recievable and payable...and the all around support of the whole firm! It's been AWESOME and I look forward to every day!

Ben and I are TRULY blessed and we thank Heavenly Father for all that he has blessed us with. We are SO happy and can't wait to spend at least another 4 years here in Orange County! :)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

WARNING-LONG POST!!!

The past couple of weeks Ben and I have had fun recalling "anniversaries" of ours. For example "it's been a year since we met online!" and "It's been a year since our first date weekend!" I thought I'd post the VERY long story of our meeting and first date weekend...and I pulled this from an email I wrote to my friend Lauren the day after Ben left. So it's from my point of view...fresh from right when it happened. I apologize for the amount of cheesiness and girly stuff that will appear in this story...but hey. I fell in love! And this is how...


Ben and I met online on August 18, 2007. We met on ldschat.com…and we both weren’t expecting any romance that night. We were both just bored. I had been stood up for a date (sorta) and Ben was ignoring a group of people hanging out downstairs, and opting for conversation with the crazy people you find in chat rooms! ☺ Little did he know, he was about to find the craziest of them all….
We talked for almost 6 hours that night. I fell in love with the person I met online…and knew that night that I was going to marry this man. I even put his number in my cell phone as “Ben Hubby” (It still says that, to this day). Ben knew as well…but being that he hadn’t had any other relationships he was being careful to not let his feelings get too carried away. It took 4 days for him to call me on the phone, (he insisted on texting and chatting on msn…how funny) but since that day we have NEVER gone a single day without talking. We would talk all night sometimes…and we learned as much about each other as you possibly can over the phone. But eventually we would HAVE to meet in person to know if this was all for real. So after only a week Ben bought a plane ticket, and the next weekend he flew to Vegas to meet me! We met face to face on September 1st 2007. It was a very strange moment for us both—meeting someone we already felt so much love for, for the FIRST time! That first hug was so special...


I remember thinking in that moment…”wow this is probably the first hug of many! He’s going to be my husband someday!” So my mom and sister had been at the airport with me to wait, and it was Ashlee who shot the picture of our first hug. My mom was there eager to meet the guy I had SWORN to her I was going to marry! It was sufficiently awkward…and then finally we were on our way to get to know each other for REAL.
After almost crashing leaving the airport parking lot (that didn’t make Ben nervous at all) we went to the Galleria Mall. The doors we walked in just HAPPENED to be where all the jewelry stores camped out in the mall. So in one corner, Fred Meyer, the other, Jared’s…and so on and so forth. AWKWARD! But we wandered around and then finally Jake and Lauren met us at the mall to eat at Chevy’s restaurant. It helped to have extra conversation starters. Jake and Lauren ALSO sorta met online, so I think they could relate a bit. The rest of this story is told from my point of view to Lauren…because I wrote her three VERY long emails after Ben left for the weekend. Pace yourself…and prepare for corny.
Ok so that day we left you guys and I drove him past my old house where I grew up mostly in Vegas, then past my old elementary school, and then we tried to find the discovery museum but just ended up driving all the way to the strip. He just said well lets just walk around, there's plenty we can do before the show later! So we parked at TI and walked through to Venetian, then just wandered along the strip. It was really awkward between us for a while, I mean we were surrounded by people, smoke, and noise so we couldn't REALLY talk, and he didn't dare hold my hand! So it was weird. But finally we hopped on the monorail to beat the heat when we knew we needed to go to Mandalay Bay there was NO way we were walkin! So we went there, and as soon as we got there we walked to the Starbucks and got water and lemonade. We sat down and chatted for a while and that's when the awkwardness finally started to wear off.We were finally seeing each other as the people we had been talking to for 2 weeks. We took some funny pictures and then after we had been hydrated again we went to the shark aquarium. It was SO pretty. I actually liked it more than the Waikiki aquarium! More creative setting, don't ya think? So yeah, we took some more cute fun pictures there, and I was noticing he dared touch me more. When we would take pictures and my arm would be around him he wouldn't move away fast...oh my it was electric!
But I was having a hard time knowing what was going to happen cuz he was SO shy! SO yeah, I knew he probably liked me, but I couldn't tell totally. It was WEIRD!
So anyway, we went to the show, and- haha after having 5 hours to kill we still didn't have time for a sit down dinner. It just took us longer than expected to get back to the Venetian. So he picked up our tickets that cost 115 each! AH! I had this look on my face like holy crap, and he saw it and said "don't worry about it! you're worth it!" and that was the beginning of it all.... :) So we ate at the food court upstairs then went to the show. It was SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO good. I mean the set was AMAZING. So when that first chord hits for the music I just got chills and reached over and wrapped my arms around his arm. He was SO nervous! haha it's so cute.
So yeah, the show was amazing, and we got a backstage tour after! TOTAL backstage! the cast was gone by the time we got to the dressing rooms, but it was still really cool to see how they do it all, all the trap doors and such. So we left Vegas at like....12:30? and we had to get gas so we left at one...which was 2 my time. and we got home at 4 utah time, and boy was I TIRED. I had struggled to stay awake, but you know how little sleep I had gotten the night before! So he was driving and I started to doze off right before the gorge, and then woke up, and then dozed a little bit later. I was laying on his shoulder...and I loved it. It was so comfy.
So the next morning the poor guy was in my house, and I was asleep in Ashlee's room, so he woke up and went into the bathroom and my mom came in was like "WAKE UP! IT'S AWKWARD! He probably feels dumb!!!!" hahaha what a dork. She had gotten his bed ready in the spare bedroom the night before with a note, a towel and washcloth, a bar of soap, and a peppermint on his pillow! haha! We laughed so hard...oh betsy.
So anyway... I woke up and got dressed and I wasn't fast enough cuz he introduced himself to my dad and they had started chatting before I came over.... but nothing to awkward there, my dad seemed to like him!

He met the fam and we had breakfast together, which was quite eventful. My mom kept being so shocked by what Ben was allergic to, or didn't like. He's gonna be hard to cook for! So anyway, we ate and then got ready for church, and he came with me to my parent's ward. It was really nice to sing with him during the hymns. His voice is just...oh wow. So ya...church and after sacrament he met Keith and Christina and they loved him, and then we went home after. We were just chilling talking on the couch and my dad came home and talked to us for a while and Ben was totally daring to be closer to me. He was almost cuddling with me. So my mom got home and we all talked and then my mom and dad went to take a nap and left us there to chat. We talked for a while and took some pictures haha. Then my sisters got home and we still just laid there and then I asked him if he wanted to go sing at the piano. The rest is history haha. We started out with him playing while I sang some pretty churchy songs. Then we ended up singing "The Prayer" by Josh Groban and it was SO pretty...I mean together our voices just BLEND. So yeah, we did that and then a song from Phantom, and my mom ended up taping it (of course). It was really sweet. I loved it. Then we went over to the main street house and Ben met Jessica first, who was SO hyper it was hilarious! he loved her. then Danelle and Wes showed up and met him. We chilled for about an hour and then went home to my mom's for dinner.... which was nummy! haha I need to leave out some details!
So we were at my parents for a bit longer, we took a nap on the couch, then we went in and talked in the spare bedroom. we were talking about kissing and I wanted to kiss him SO bad. I was saying I didn't know what to expect from him! and he said that he was just getting used to everything, trying to let his emotions catch up with his mind and stuff...so I totally didn't expect that we'd kiss till maybe the next day. but I wasn't sure! it was just a silly awkward conversation talking about kissing each other. haha.
Anywho, we finally left for Cedar later on and it had started to rain. It was really pretty, a total lightning storm in the sky. We were holding hands...sorta...it gave me butterflies cuz I put my hand on his and he entertwined our fingers just ever so slightly. It was AMAZING how such a small thing did wonders for me! haha...
So we got to Cedar and went to my grammy's first and sang for her and her husband JAck. It was the BEST reaction! after we sang one song she threw her hands in the air and said "oh my hell! That was gorgeous! I wanna call somebody! who can I call??" hahaha it was so cute! So she made sure we promised to come over the next day to sing for more people! haha...
So after that we drove to my apartment and he was driving (this is the cute story! ) we got to my apartment and it was raining outside. So I'm looking all over for my keys and can't find them ANYWHERE. so I call mark cuz he has my spare and it goes straight to voicemail, call my mom to see if the keys are there and they're not. So I found them in the back on the floor after a while of looking. I was so excited to find them so I said totally without even thinking "I think we should kiss now!" hahahaahahaha. So he said ok.... and leaned in for the kill!!! I could tell he was nervous, but it was so just BAM! out of the blue that he didn't have time to be TOO nervous! so we kissed a few times...nothing major and I was just reeling. It was soooo cute. So we got outta the car and I was dazed. We went in the apartment and I showed him around and then we sat dow n on the loveseat and were just talking and then I got nervous to kiss him again! hahaha...but we kissed a few more times and then he wanted to do something fun, so we put in King of Queens, my fave show and watched a couple episodes. So yeah...then we went to bed cuz it was getting a little late and we were both tired. He "dropped me off" at my bedroom door and kissed me goodnight. So we were in bed and I noticed more lightning out my window so when he texted me to say goodnight dear, and I said yeah I'm tempted to drag you out of bed to take a walk with me to watch the lightning. He said ok I'll get dressed! so we took a walk around the block and I just LOVED it. of course! haha. the lightning was SO gorgeous!
So we finally went to bed and the next morning I set an alarm, got up, showered and we both got all ready for the day and left for breakfast. we went to ihop and shared an all egg white omlet and I had pancakes. haha way to tell details eh??? So we ate and then went to my grandma's but she wasn't there so I took him to the park by the creek and we wandered around in the creek and then when Kirsten fell into some mudd and covered her feet and shoes we decided to stop hiking around down there so close to the water haha.



So we sat under a tree in the park and called his best friend Kennessa for her birthday and both talked to her. She was saying that Ben is just not one to give his heart away lightly, and that I must be a really special girl if he's made such huge moves to come out here and meet me. She said it just says a lot about me for him to be so brave!
So we left there and went back to my apartment and hung up some decorations in my apartment. So after that we just sat there and talked and I was just TOTALLY overwhelmed. I knew right then, cuddling with him, talking to him, that I loved him. I almost couldn't hold it in, but I was patient. I wanted the moment to be right and I've always had a rule that HE say it first ya know? So we fell asleep for a while, like 20 minutes maybe. Then we were talking a little bit more and he leaned over and whispered in my ear and said guess what? I said what? and he said " I think I'm falling in love with you" and I said....yeah so am I. and then he kissed me for a bit and then just looked at me and said it. I Love you. I told him I loved him too!


Then we went for a walk a little while later. We walked from my apartment around the college campus and I showed him where a few of my classes were. We walked all the way down the street to this gas station that has a little donut shop in it, so we bought some stuff and sat down at one of the tables right by the window and talked. I told him a little bit about my divorce and I just remember how he had this look in his eyes, almost as if he were feeling physical pain for what I went through. I realized then that he really DID love me, I mean I knew it before, but I could tell he truly cared for me, and he told me he was sad I’d ever had to go through what I did. It was a big moment for me, I just knew he was going to be someone I could always trust and depend on to be understanding and honest with me. So we finished our chips and frazil and water and walked back to the apartment, hand in hand. We went to my grandma’s again because she had made an appointment to see us and have us sing. She ordered food from Quizno’s for us, and we had some salads. We sang for Ed and Shelly, Barbara and Gibb, and her granddaughter, Diane and Garth, and it seems like maybe someone else…but that’s all I remember. It was so fun, my grandma was so proud. She just loved and adored Ben from day one! So after eating and singing, we finally left and drove down to St. George. Ben had told me how nervous he was to be around my mom now that she knew we had kissed! ( Ben had texted Kennessa right after our first kiss, and I had texted my mom lol!)
So we got home sorta late, and wanted to wait for Michelle to come over so we could sing for HER. So we just chatted and whatnot for a little while. I totally horrified Ben I’m sure….by stating to my parents that we were hoping for a Feb. wedding hahaha…GREAT news for them for a guy I had known two weeks! But I just KNEW. So anyway…Michelle finally showed up, and tired as we were we sang for her as well. It was fun, and she really like him too. Then we made it to bed finally, after cuddling. We were so sad that the next day he would have to leave!
The next morning I drove him to the shuttle pick up in St. George at 4:45 a.m, and dropped him off with a really sad goodbye. I had just fallen in love and had to let the man of my dreams get on a shuttle and then a plane to be hours away once again! It was really hard. After I drove away, I headed back to Cedar to get a few more hours sleep before work and school. I was sad and had a heavy heart the whole way home. I couldn’t believe how sad I felt after just our first meeting.


Ben and I dated for 3 months--long distance and on November 19th we got engaged.


5 months after that we were married for time and all eternity in the St. George Temple!



I can’t believe how much my life has changed in a year! We are SO happy together, and look forward to what this next year together will bring us!