Monday, December 31

2012 in Review

2012 was another fabulous year for Nate and me. It is so fun to look back on the year and remember all the great things we were able to do during the year.

Here are some of my favorite events from 2012:

*Seattle trip: in July Nate and I were able to take a few days of work and drive up to washington. We spent two days camping and hiking around Mt. Rainer national park and then a couple more days in the city, including Bainbridge Island, a Mariners baseball game, Pikes's Place, and more.

*Liebe: in January we added another pet to our family. We got a cute little tabby cat, who is full of sass. We named her Liebe (pronounced Lee-bah) which is German for love. She escaped outside for a few days last month and scared us a little, and we are glad to have her home.

*St. George: in May we took a long weekend and met my parents in St. George. We really enjoyed spending the time with them. We rode our bikes in Snow Canyon. We ate at a Bear diner, yum. We rode our bikes around the city. We did a tour of the city, went to the Brigham Young house and the temple. Also, we hiked the red was a fun trip.

*Thanksgiving: My parents came with my grandma B and their foreign exchange student Marta to our house for a few days. We ate Turkey dinner at my aunt's house in Alpine with 55 people. We also had a pie night with some of my Brinkman cousins.

*Yellowstone/Tetons/Jackson Hole: The Berretts came to Utah for 2 weeks in July and August. We spent the tail end of their time with a trip to wyoming. We went to old faithful, saw geysers and buffalo at yellowstone. paddled in canoos at Jenny Lake. Wandered the shoos of Jackson Hole. And just had fun.

*Christmas: Nate and I were able to get a lot of time of work and go to Virginia for Christmas to spend time with the Berretts. We stayed in Va for 11 days. We went to Harper's Ferry, Antietam, and DC. Played games, including ping pong, Mario Kart, and Bananagrams, and the boys played basketball. Ate way too much food. And of course enjoyed opening Christmas presents together. (I will post more about this soon)

*New Job: In October I decided to make the leap to a full time job at Heritage, and give up teaching and my other part time job. I am now the executive assistant at Heritage working with the executive team, and helping with special project. Its a really fun job, and I feel like it was built for me, plus I get benefits now too.

*Heber Creeper: Nate and I have been wanting to ride the Heber Creeper for a while, and we figured the Polar Express ride in the winter months was the perfect time to do it. We took a fun ride up to the North Pole while enjoying Christmas tunes, a cookie and hot chocolate, and a visit from Mr. Clause himself. This is definitely something we want to make a tradition.

Happy New Year to you all! I hope your year has been as fabulous as ours and I hope the next year will be even better!

Sunday, December 16

Polar Express - Heber Creeper

Nate and I have a list of things that we want to do in Utah Valley, while we live here we might as well take advantage of as much of it as we can. (No, we aren't moving any time soon - maybe like 8 years?) Anyway, one of the things on our list was taking a ride on the Heber Creeper. The Heber Valley Railroad is an old fashioned railroad that now operates for special events and holidays. They have a haunted Halloween Ride and a ride to the North Pole for Christmas.

We decided we wanted to take a ride on the Polar Express and we took a ride last Friday. The train had original cars and it was decorated with Christmas lights. It was a little chilly despite the heater in the back of the train. But it was, nonetheless, and awesome experience that we'll definitely want to repeat. There was an MC named Gary who told us the history of the Heber Creeper, movies it's been used for and directed the passengers in song. 

We were visited by Mrs. Clause, Santa's Elves and even Mr. Santa Clause himself. They gave us a chocolate chip cookie, and hot chocolate and we enjoyed singing Christmas tunes. It was so fun for Nate and I, and I think this might be something we want to make into a new tradition for us, especially as our family of two grows (no, I am not pregnant) over the years.

Tuesday, December 4

Thanksgiving 2012

My parents, grandma Brinkman and Marta (a foreign exchange student living with my parents - from Italy) drove up for Thanksgiving and stayed at our house for a few days. It is so nice that Nate and I have a house big enough to host family, even if they didn't all get their own full room. Even having 4 extra people we still had plenty of hot water and laughs to go around.

Thanksgiving dinner was at my aunt Cherie's house this year.With all of my dad's siblings, their spouses, children and great grand children it was a full house with about 55 people. But don't worry we were still able to get a group picture.

Thanksgiving dinner was delicious. Mom and I each made a pie. I made a berry custard pie, that I think turned out delicious.

Friday I worked a half day (Nate worked all day), and then I went with my parents, grandma and Marta to the mall to do some black Friday shopping. I was able to get a few things for great prices. And came home with about a dozen things for about 75 dollars, including belts, headbands, shirts, shoes and more.

We spent Friday night with my Garrett extended family again at the stake center in Alpine playing games with the family. Including pictionary, human foosball and more. It was a blast.

Saturday evening we had my Brinkman cousins over to our house for a "pie night". This included pizza pie and dessert pies. For this I made a caramel apple pie that was the best apple pie I've ever had. And it was great company too.

Sunday night we all drove up to the temple to see the Christmas lights. Luckily it wasn't too cold of a night, and it wasn't too crowded either. But the lights were as gorgeous as ever.

Tuesday, November 6


About a week ago Nate decided he wanted to eat vegetarian for 3 weeks. Three because Thanksgiving wouldn't allow him to do for, and we can't really miss Thanksgiving. Well, since I put it on my list I decided after eating a vegetarian lunch on Sunday (butternut squash soup, salad and bread) that I would start my 2 weeks now as well. 

I kept making excuses that other people would be cooking for me, so I wouldn't be able to choose what I eat, and about events that were happening, that would be serving meat, but I figured in the end it'll be much easier for me to do this at the same time as Nate, then to do it by myself.

So far, so good. I'm only on day 3 of 14, but I feel good. I haven't noticed an increase in energy from eating more veggies yet, but I hope it comes. I'm also making sure with all our Halloween candy around NOT to eat tons of that a day, because that would definitely negate the effects of this healthy eating. 

I don't think I would ever become completely vegetarian. I'm not against eating animals. But I do think its better for me to eat more fruits and vegetables. And I think I could try eating vegetarian dinners at least couple days a week to reduce the amount of eat I eat and also the amount of money I spend. Meat is expensive! 

Also, we want to cut back red meat. We rarely eat steak or anything like that, but we do eat a lot of ground beef. I think it would be good if we did 2 vegetarian days, 2 chicken days, 1 salmon day (that's right, I agreed to eat salmon once a week), 1 day beef, 1 day pork. That's my goal for the future. 

But for now, 12 more days vegetarian. Or 16 if I decided to go to Thanksgiving with Nate. 

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, September 18


Every Tuesday I ask my students what they did for the weekend. Today, one student said they had planned on going to a concert in Las Vegas, but couldn't go because a friend had died in a car accident. She said the friend was from Dominican Republic.

Last Saturday Nate told me about a man who was killed in a motorcycle accident. Two men were on the motorcycle and they were hit by a drunk driver, the passenger flew off the motorcycle and into oncoming traffic and was killed immediately. The man's name was Juan Ernesto Salazar Conce. Here is an article in the deseret news about this.

A few months after I started teaching I had a student named Juan Ernesto Salazar. He was in my class for about 4 months and moved through the system at our school, coming some months, not coming others, but moved to level 3 or 4. He was from Domincan Republic.

I looked up a picture of the man "Juan Ernesto Salazar Conce". He was my student. He was a man that I knew. I hadn't seen him in a few months, but now he is dead.

He had so many dreams. To get married. To get his masters degree. To get a better job. Now he can't.

It has almost been two years since Robi died. A great friend from middle school died a few months ago.

I will never see these 3 men again.

Life is so fleeting.

Grab your loved ones by the neck and hug them with all your might. Hug them and don't let go. I know I'm going to hug Nate really tight when he gets home.

Do what you love. Don't waste your time just being. Go out, find something you really love, and do it. Do it now. Whether that means finding a new job, spending less time on facebook and more time with friends, learning a new hobby, I don't care. Just do it, do whatever you have to do, to be happy now.

I hope my family knows how much I love them. With all my heart.

Wednesday, September 12

Utah State Fair

I've lived in Utah for 18 of my 24 years. That's 75 percent of my life. That's a lot. Well, the point of this is, I've lived in Utah for 18 years and I have NEVER, not ONCE, not EVER gone to the Utah State Fair. Until this year. 

That's right, sweet 24.

Nate and I went to the fair last Friday after work. 

Well let me just say, it is pretty dang expensive. 10 if you buy tickets at the door, 7.75 online. Plus then of course at the fair you have to partake in the delicious fair food, and that's at least 6 bus a person, and then the cheapest ride is 4 bucks a person. And then we had to get a funnel cake to end the night.

Anyway, we had fun, but we probably won't be going back for another 12 years. 

So while we were there we ate some food, saw lots of stinky animals, rode on the ferris wheel, ate a funnel cake, and looked at the photography exhibit.

We first looked at an art exhibit. Then for dinner I got a bacon cheeseburger, Nate got a philly cheese steak and we shared some fries. We saw lots of animals, cows, pigs, goats, and sheep. My favorite were the babies of each of them. We rode the ferris wheel and tried kissing each time we got to the top. Nate tried making 1 basket in a game, but unfortunately didn't make it do I didn't get a giant stuffed animal. We got a DELICIOUS funnel cake with bavarian cream and strawberry sauce on top. Then we went to see the photography exhibit, and got inspired by some cool pictures.

Also, they didn't have ANY drinking fountains in the whole place, at least where we went. Actually in the photography area there were fountains, but 2 of the 4 were missing the buttons to push and the other 2 had the lowest amount of water pressure I've ever seen.

I hope to go to Oktoberfest soon, and I got a new job that I'll tell you more about once I actually start. Life is so so good!

Friday, September 7

Yellowstone/Tetons/Jackson Trip

I seem to always start posts with "we were lucky enough", well, we are lucky. Or blessed. And Nate's family was able to come out for 2 weeks. Unfortunately I still had to work a mostly normal schedule, but Nate got to work half days. And we had two of his younger brothers stay at our house the whole time they were here. Let me just say, LOTS of gaming took place. Anyway, it was so fun to have the whole family out here. We mostly just had fun spending time together, of course lots of halo, the boys played basketball a few times, bbqs, shopping, and more fun.

The last part of their trip I was able to get a couple days off of work, so Thursday evening after work we drove up to Lava (where Nate's grandparents have a cabin). We all hung out that evening and the next day Nate and I tried fishing at the pond, to no avail, but it was a gorgeous day. And that afternoon we all got tubes (Nate and I used our 2 person raft) and floated down the river. It was my first time, and it was A BLAST! It really made me want to float the Provo River too!

We headed off late in the evening and made it to our campsite late Friday evening. Our campsite was kind of like a KOA, with reserved spots and a bathroom close by. But it was pretty nice. Only a few trees would have made it better. But it was still nice and plenty of space for all of us.

We decided to have 4 tents, with Nate and I in our own. Nate's parents, Sandi and Matt in another. The brothers, Dain, Taylor and Ethan in another. And Dain and Taylor's girlfriends in the last. It worked out great.

We decided we would spend Saturday at Yellowstone. I've grown up going to Yellowstone. I don't know how many times I have been there, but I would guess 10-15 times because we went almost every summer that we went to grandma B's and we went to her house almost every summer when I was younger too. I don't know if I'd ever seen the east side of Yellowstone though, with Yellowstone lake. We always went to West Yellowstone, and went to Old Faithful, some colorful hotsprings and the falls. We of course saw Old Faithful and the falls too. It was fun to go, and remember seeing the same sights with my family as well.

Sunday we went to Jenny Lake in Teton National Park. It was seriously gorgeous. We decided to rent some canoes. Three of us fit in one canoe, so Nate and I went in a canoe with his dad. We paddled around a little point of land and then we got to a little area with a small beach and a rock to jump off. The water was absolutely freezing! But I still had to get in, a couple times, just to feel it and be with everyone else. I didn't take our camera because I was worried about it getting wet. After the lake we drove around a bit, with a stop at Teton Village, and then to Jackson Hole where we went into a couple art studios, went into an old fashioned candy store and took some pictures next to the antlers. We headed back towards our campground just into Teton National Park and found a spot so the boys could fish. I enjoyed lounging, reading a book and taking lots of pictures.

We had gorgeous weather the whole time we were there, except Monday morning it decided to rain. The morning we needed to pack up and put everything away, it decided to rain. So, it made packing up our tents a little difficult, we decided to find a pavilion and make some pancake for breakfast in the meantime. We finally got all packed up, with a few stops in between and made it home in the early evening.

It was a perfect end to having Nate's family here to visit us. We loved having them visit and wish we lived closer or were rich so we could travel to see each other more. Here's to hoping for Christmas.