Thursday, January 31, 2008

Love Bird Tag

I was tagged by Holly. Mine is not nearly as clever or funny as yours, Holly!

1. Where did you and your husband meet?

We were in the same singles ward (Colonial I) in the Washington DC area. Our roommates were interested in each other, but Brendon and I were not interested in each other yet - so I don't remember exactly when the first time we met was. It wasn't like sparks for either of us :) My roommate, Melanie, and I were at a party and we invited Brendon and his roommate over to watch the movie "Ray". It was awkward deciding where to sit since we barely knew each other and weren't sure who was paired with whom - so Melanie and I let the boys have the couch and we sat on the floor (we thought it was a nice host-ly thing to do...our husbands did not!) It was already midnight when we started the movie, and Melanie and I fell asleep (our husbands still tease us to this day when we watch movies together). It's a miracle they continued hanging out with us, because aparently both boys were bothered by how that night went down.

2. First thing you said to eachother

??? "Wanna come watch a movie?" I really don't know. I do, however, remember the first thing he said to me that sparked some interest for me. Mel, Nate, Brendon and I had gone to Eastern Market to get pancakes and he was talking about his job search and said he was offered a job at the Department of Agriculture. Being the farm girl that I am something changed that day and I started thinking of Brendon as someone I could maybe be interested in.

3. What was your first date?

Brendon and I disagree on which date was our first. His roommate was taking out my roommate one Friday night, so that meant neither Brendon nor I had anyone to hang out with so Brendon suggested we hang out. We went to Target and bought a crepe maker and made crepes together. Date-ish I say. Brendon insists that our first date was when he took me to an imax movie (Deep Sea) at the Natural History museum, then to watch jazz music afterwards at the Jazz Cafe. I'll tell you what my favorite date was though. We were still very newly was one of our first dates. He didn't tell me what we were doing that night, but he told my friends so they could help me know what to wear. When they told me to wear my cowboy boots I thought maybe we were going to a rodeo. He picked me up and drove to my favorite cute town, Anapolis. He blindfolded me and led me into a restaurant, when I opened my eyes there were concert t-shirts for my favorite country singer, Julie Roberts. I have never been more surprised in my life! I didn't even know she was in town doing a concert. The concert was sold out, and he kept calling the venue every hour all weekend long to see if we could get in. Finally he convinced them to set up two extra seats for us near the doorway to the bar so that we could attend. The concert was AMAZING, but what made the night even more amazing is that after the concert we lingered around the front and made friends with the keyboard player. He invited us to stay for the second show and sit with his family in the back. And he arranged to have us go backstage for the meet & greet. I was so giddy for days!

4. Where was your first kiss?

Brendon had been dragging his feet for months moving from "just friends" to dating and I was ready to throw in the towel certain that he wasn't interested in me. Nate, Mel, Brendon and I decided to take a spontaneous trip to Puerto Rico on a long weekend. I realized that this was my last chance to shift things to "more than friends", and if we didn't kiss on this trip I was going to give up on the guy. The 1st or 2nd night there Brendon and I sat by the pool on lounge chairs until 4 am looking at the stars and talking. All I remember is that he pointed out one constellation that he thought looked like a penguin. I was dead tired, but I was going to hang in there until he kissed me, but then he said, "Ready to go?" I was so dissapointed - he'd had the perfect opportunity to kiss me and hadn't. But right as I was throwing my pity party he kissed me. Success! We were more than friends! Any close friends that know the story about the day after our first kiss know that it was the potentially most humiliating day of my life!!
5. Long or short courtship/engagement?

Average. We were friends/dating for a little over a year, and engaged for a few months. It was too long for Brendon and too short for me, so I guess we compromised. I tell you what was a courtship jam-packed with fun times, trips, and adventures.
Palmyra, New York:
One of many trips to Little Italy (NY):
Duck Beach, North Carolina:
6. Where did you get engaged?

I don't think I'm allowed to blog about it, but if you know where he works then know that it was in a really cool room there with all kinds of a candles and a great view of Washington, DC. After an amazing dinner at Old Ebbit Grill and dessert at The Melting Pot.

7. Where were you married?

Oakland, California temple.
8. Where did you go on your honeymoon?
Hmm. Brendon's mom and aunt graciously let us use their timeshare for a condo in Park City for a week between our California and Utah receptions. But since we spent half the time driving into Orem to spend with our families we don't really count it as a honeymoon. We are currently planning the "honeymoon" that I am forcing Brendon to take me on for sometime this Spring/Summer. We'll update you when we make a final decision...but we are trying to narrow it down to a couple exotic countries in Europe and the Middle East. Think Italian gelato, Greek islands, Spanish bullfights, Holy Land, and Egyptian pyramids.
Now...I tag:
Brookie...because she has fun stories
My she can FINALLY have something to blog about
Laura H. ...for the same reason :)
Jen Butter...because I love reading her blog
Everyone else! Go for's Valentine's day

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

State of the Union

Last night we were invited to a reception hosted by the First Lady to watch the State of the Union in the White House. We've been in the East Wing of the White House Mansion many times, but when we attend these parties on the State Floor it is a completely different experience.
When we first arrived we were greeted with live piano music, and then Irvin Mayfield, a New Orleans jazz trumpeter legacy, played amazing music on an antique looking trumpet. The flowers are always amazing in the White House. If only I could have an in house florist like the White House does. *sigh*

The food was set up on a long buffet table in the State Dining Room. They served a delicious green salad, Prime Rib, pasta, green beans with hazlenuts, salmon, and yummy little desserts. It's always a little magical to eat your dinner off official White House china with the President's Seal on your plate and napkin. If this plate looks a little sparse it is because it was like my third helping. He he.

We wandered through the Red Room, Blue Room, and Green Room socializing and eating. It is so surreal to just be eating and talking to friends, sort of forgetting where you are, and then the Chief of Staff or Secretary of Commerce is standing next to you and you realize what a one-of-a-kind experience it really is. The fireplace behind us is one of my favorite things in the White House. The inscription on the mantel reads: "I pray heaven to bestow the best of blessings on this house and all that shall hereafter inhabit it. May none but honest and wise men ever rule under this roof." This prayer came from a letter that John Adams (the first President to reside in the White House) wrote to his wife, Abigail, on his second day in the White House. This became known as the official White House Prayer and Franklin Delano Roosevelt had it carved into the mantel.

After dinner we moved into the East Dining Room to watch the State of the Union. It was quite a different experience to watch the speech in the White House surrounded by die hard Bush supporters, rather than just watching it from my own couch. Interesting to watch the speech with people that know the policy and the speech inside and out. I thought it was wonderful.

Monday, January 28, 2008


This is where I'm having Family Home Evening tonight. Tune in tomorrow for pictures.

President Gordon B. Hinckley

"Let us all try to stand a little taller, rise a little higher, be a little better. Make the extra effort. You will be happier."

Friday, January 25, 2008


Remember this fabric that I ordered ages ago?

I have finally done something with it. I was delayed because one of the colors was sold out, and then my machine broke, and all kinds of trouble. But once I started it goes pretty fast. I've probably spent 2 or 3 evenings after work working on it. I just need another good day or two.
Don't look too closely...all of my corners don't always line up perfectly. Oops. But not bad for my first real quilt.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Eye Candy

I guess I hadn't really ever spent much time in the Natural History Smithsonian. I went to see this....(the Hope Diamond)...
and also oogled over this amazing crown that belonged to Marie Antionette (if I remember correctly)...
... or maybe it was this treasure that belonged to Marie A. Either way...I wouldn't complain if I owned either of them. They are both like a million bazillion carats of diamonds.
...the minerals were also fun. When I was a little girl I used to collect quartz crystal when we would go on motorcycle trips to Nevada. I thought I was going to be rich from all the "crystal" I was collecting. Imagine if I had seen this...I would have retired right then and a 7 year old :)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Whirlwind Weekend

My brother and sister in law came to visit from Arizona on Thursday. I took the day off on Friday to join them in their tourist adventures. We started our morning off with an East Wing tour of the White House guided by Brendon (I love excuses to see him during the work day). After that we walked over to the Holocaust Museum for a history lesson. We underestimated our time and nearly ran all the way to the Capitol for a tour at 2:00. I know, I know...we coulda' shoulda' have taken a cab...but we didn't. I think I have some sort of strange phobia of paying for cabs and I only take them if it's absolutely necessary.

For dinner we took advantage of DC restaurant week and met up with Brendon for yummy steaks at District Chophouse. I even managed to find a parking spot on the same block as the restaurant...I think that was my most significant accomplishment of the day.

(Justin, Trina, & Gracie on their West Wing tour)

Saturday morning we woke up early and headed back into the District to take in some Smithsonians before heading to The Kennedy Center to see My Fair Lady (see earlier post). Saturday was another day of rushing, and after the show we hurried over (in a car thankfully) to the White House for a West Wing tour, then raced to Marrakesh to make our dinner reservation on time. All the while shivering! DC was freezing this weekend!!

Dinner at Marrakesh was such a cool experience...I can't believe I'd never eaten there before. The restaurant door is unmarked in a somewhat seedy area of town on New York Ave. You knock on the door and are ushered in to your seat. Everyone in the restaurant starts dinner at around the same time. You are seated on low couches around a small round table. Your waiter comes by and washes your hands for you and then your delicious seven course meal begins. All seven courses with the exception of the couscous you eat with your hands out of a common serving platter. An extremely talented belly dancer also entertains you while you eat. For only $30 it really is quite an experience!

Sunday we saw the changing of the guard at Arlington Cemetery, and drove Justin and Trina around to all the monuments so they could hop out and see them. Brendon and I stayed in the shelter of the warm car with Gracie because it was something like 7 degrees outside with the windchill. Brrr!

It was quite a fabulous weekend. Sometimes it is nice to have visitors to force you to be a tourist again and take advantage of what your home has to offer.

Brendon's favorite activity this weekend was making fish faces with Gracie's chubby cheeks. If we could read her mind, I'm sure she is thinking "Real mature Uncle Brendon".

Whose The Fairest Of Them All?

My Fair Lady was playing at The Kennedy Center on tour from London, and I begged Brendon to request tickets to the show but he said he rarely gets the box tickets for the shows he actually requests. Being the great husband that he is he tried anyway, and he was able to get four tickets for the President's Box for the Saturday afternoon matinee. My brother and sister in law were visiting, so it was fun to be able to share this with them. The musical was absolutely fabulous...even the guys loved it...and we were singing and whistling the tunes all weekend long.

As always, we loved devouring the adorable boxes of Presidential M&M's and Jelly Belly's. And aren't these Whitman's chocolates adorable? I had never seen these in the box fridge before.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Edward & Bella

Don't you just love it?!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


How fun does this Valentine's Day project look?

Little Bo Peep...

Baby Gracie is coming to visit tomorrow...I thought I would make her a toy.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

A Good Laugh

So this morning Melanie told me about this website ...where you can determine the worth of your blog. Our favorite blog to read Confessions of a Pioneer Woman cashes in with a blog worth of $1.3 million. Nice! Melanie said she had checked hers and she was worth a whopping zero dollars, so I assumed mine would be as well. But when I tried it out myself I was told my blog is worth $12,984.42. Hilarious! How in the world do they determine these values?!

Later in the day I was reading my friend Jane's blog and found out about this site where you can determine your blog's reading level. This was my results:

I must say...I am on a roll today! Ha ha.

Monday, January 14, 2008

My New Loves

I love trying out new make up. Both of these products I had read about in numerous fashion mags so I was dying to try them. My in-laws are wonderful and they got them for me for Christmas. I am happy to report that I love them!

Diorshow Mascara

Bare Minerals


Check out my chubby-cheeked niece in the little booties I made for her. It just makes me smile. And giggle a little bit.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Say "Cheese"

We took Merkley family pictures over the holidays. I like these:

Monday, January 07, 2008

I Heart NY

Friday afternoon me, my coworker Melissa, and my boss Lisa took the Amtrak train to NYC for our company holiday party. We had dinner at Rock Center Cafe - you can't really tell from the pictures but our view was of the huge Rockefeller Center Christmas tree and the skating rink. We saw a proposal on the ice rink while we were eating dinner - supposedly it's like a nighly occurence there. After eating a four course steak dinner we practically had to roll ourselves to Hotel Pennsylvania.
Saturday morning we strolled down 5th Avenue to check out the department store holiday windows - thankfully they were still up. These pictures don't come close to doing them justice...all the parts are moving and so's worth a visit.

After 'window looking' we walked to Time Square to have lunch at Joe Allen's. We were told we might see celebrities luck. On the way there we passed the Neil Simon Theatre where 'Hairspray' plays and there was a line out front and we realized it was time for the lottery. We didn't want to have to stand in line for a long time or anything inconvenient like that, so we asked when the drawing was going to take place and the guy said, "one minute". Perfect timing! So we patiently waited one minute and he drew out 10 names. I crossed my fingers as tight as I could and the third name he called out was mine. Melissa, Lisa, and I totally jumped up and screamed and cheered (everyone around us thought we were crazy because no one else did celebratory dances when they won) and I happily accepted my two tickets. When we took our seats in the theatre we realized that we were the very front row and the centermost seats ...we worried that maybe our view would be poor being so close. We quickly realized that was not the case. We were so close we could see the spit fly from their mouths when they sang, but we could also see the whole stage. The actors would run up to the front of the stage and they were literally 12 inches from us. Lance Bass played the part of "Corny Collins", so we figured we'd count that as our celebrity sighting for the trip. Melissa and I were giggling with joy the whole show - there are not words to express how much I loved it!

After the show we had dinner at my favorite place in Little Italy and then had amazing Italian desserts at a cafe across the street. Then back to the hotel for one more night.

NYC is so magical. Dirty and smelly, but magical :)