Friday, July 19, 2013


So we have lived here for almost 7 weeks and here are some things I have discovered about our new home.

1.  Eden Prairie was ranked the number 1 best place to live in 2010.  We are pretty lucky to spend our first year married in such a great little city.

2. Green - I know I have talked about this, but it is STILL so green here.  I have gotten used to the brown Utah summers.  That doesn't happen here.  Everything is amazingly green.  And there are trees, lots of trees!

3. Lakes - It is called the land of 10,000 lakes for a reason!  And I love my lakes.  We have found a few beaches to catch some rays, but we are still looking for a chance to go boating.  Though, we have found paddle boats to rent!

4. Friendliest people you will ever meet - They are genuinely kind.  Plus, everyone smiles.  It's the best.

5. Storms - Thunder and lightning brings out the 10 year old in me.  There is something so magical about a summer storm and Minnesota storms do not disappoint!  Sometimes it rains so much, the pond outside floods!

6. Jucy Lucy - Think I have said enough about this in previous posts.  We went three times in as many weeks.  My offer to take you if you visit is still out there.

7.  Humidity - doesn't help my hair curl like I was hoping it would...

8.  $5 Tuesday afternoon movies! - It's going to be sad when I have to start teaching again.  These have become a favorite weekly tradition and what a score!

9.  The Bloomington Ward - What an amazing ward family.  They have welcomed us with open arms since day 1.  And I am working in the nursery with the most darling kids ever.  They already have my heart.

10.  Being with my husband.  All of the time. - It's like we are still on our honeymoon.  That all changes when I start work though.  Enjoying it while we can!

11.  Fruits and Veggies - I miss Utah produce.  Nothing here seems to be quite as good and it's all a lot more expensive.

12.  Traffic - Like all of the time.  8:00 in the morning, of course. 5:00 in the evening, you bet.  Noon, surprise! There is traffic!  Luckily, it doesn't typically last too long.  Most of them are only two lanes and  there is no shoulder to pull off to if anything happens!

13.  So many freeways - There are freeways and highways everywhere.  So many number.  Take the 169 to the 494 to the 35.  Oh, and the on and off ramps happen at the same time.  Talk about dangerous.

Ashton says he likes (there are some repeats, but I wanted his contribution):

14.  The mosquitoes.

Just in case you forgot how much they like him too.

15. The thunderstorms.

16. Relatively nice outside - referring to the weather.

17.  Traffic is fun.

18. Gas and food = more expensive

19. The greenery is really nice.

All in all, we are loving the little home we have made here in Minnesota.  Plus, being married is a lot of fun.

Monday, July 15, 2013

when Jameson visits...'s a party.

Jameson works for the Color Run and they had a race in Minneapolis this weekend.  He made arrangements to fly out early and we got to spend a few days with him.

We picked him up from the airport on Monday and really didn't have plans, which was good because he ended up taking a nice long nap.

Tuesday morning we started at the Lake Harriet Bandshell.  We found a nearby beach at Lake Harriet where we sat and watched a turtle.  A turtle.  Out in the open.  Just swimming in the lake.  We seemed to be the only ones really surprised by this.  I have heard that turtles were everywhere out here, but I guess I just had to see it to believe it!

After exploring Lake Harriet, we stopped by Lake Calhoun where we found a nice beach and got to soak in some sun.

Favorite picture from that day:

Can we all appreciate how much Ashton loves when I try to kiss him in public.

For dinner on Tuesday, we went to the Pizza Ranch - a restaurant with endless pizza, salad, chicken, mashed potatoes, and so much more.  The Smith's discovered it while they were visiting.  Wonderful discovery.

Wednesday, we visited the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden.  It was pretty neat!

Then, of course, we had to take Jameson to Matt's Bar.

Come visit us and I will buy you a Jucy Lucy.

After we were full of that oozing, cheesy goodness, we went back to Eden Prairie to check out a local beach.  I am so excited to have found a go-to beach.  Ashton spent some time under a towel (hiding from the sun).  We also found that they rented paddle boards!  That has to be one of my favorite things.

We weren't able to participate in the Color Run, but we got to say goodbye to Jameson on Sunday night.  It was great having Jameson in town.  He was very kind about my experimental dinners, complimented my outfits, and was such a gracious guest.  Jameson, you are welcome any time!

Friday, July 5, 2013

God Bless America!

There is nothing like the 4th of July.  The whole country is united in red, white, and blue.  The day is spent with BBQ's, time with family, and of course, fireworks.  I have loved the 4th since I was a little girl.  It is a magical holiday.

Loving it as a little girl.  With Kelsey and Alyse!

Yesterday was our first Independence Day together and I loved it.  We started the day with Ashton helping me get my bangs back.  I was missing them and I think we did a pretty good job.

My friend Dave invited us to a BBQ that his wife's family does every year.  Brisket, brats, homemade BBQ sauce, salad, and trifle.  What is the 4th without a delicious BBQ?!  After that, we took a good, long nap.  After our nap, I was naturally craving a peanut butter and oreo shake - so we visited DQ.  The Dairy Queen was close to Round Lake, which is where Eden Prairie has their big 4th of July celebration and fireworks.  We got there at 7:00 and fireworks weren't until 10.  Ashton and I took a blanket, listened to a jazz band and wedding bands, and then enjoyed the fireworks.  Can I just say that I miss the days when it was just the sound of fireworks and not music with fireworks.  The music is so loud that it overpowers the firework booms, which are my favorite part!  Regardless, it was still magical.

I have to admit, though, that as wonderful as it was - yesterday was the first time I missed Utah.  I have always spent the 4th of July surrounded by family.
 1. All my family is in Utah
2. Utah really knows how to celebrate Independence Day.
3. My abuela turned 81 yesterday.  Love you grandma!  So much!

Isn't she the sweetest?!

As Ashton and I watched fireworks, I was overcome by the love I have for this great country.

There is so much that is controversial right now and it often hurts my heart - but that will always be a part of politics and a part of our freedom, which then makes me grateful for the controversies.  I am so grateful that we are able to have opinions, beliefs, and the ability to live life the way we want to.  I am also grateful to those who are fighting to keep our country safe.  In the last few years, I have become more sensitive to the spirit of patriotism - and the next paragraph shares a little bit of why.  But as I have gotten older and having seen this country pull together through some terrible things, I have seen amazing power, love, and unity.

I was reading my past 4th of July posts and I was touched by something I had shared, so I will share it again.  As a teacher, I have said the Pledge of Allegiance with my students every morning.  When we would stand up to say the Pledge, all of my students would participate.  They all knew to stand and place their right hand over their heart.  All of them would look at the flag.  I have had several students who can't talk or only know a few words, but often, they were able to recite parts of the Pledge with us.  It brings the spirit of patriotism into my life and it is one of the greatest blessings of teaching.

I am so very proud to be an American.