Thursday, November 20, 2014

Happy Birthday to our Favorite Brother!

Ian is 22 today!

Don't you just want to pinch those little cheeks?

Mom: Happy 22!  What a great son!!  You are the best!  You are a great brother to your sisters.  You are a loyal friend.  And what a sense of humor. Under it all is a tender heart. More than once, I've been told that Callie and Mattie want to find someone to marry someone who is just like you.   Need I say more?  No, but I will.  I am so happy to have you home for this birthday. This next year holds great potential for new things to happen.  I'm glad to have a front seat to watch your life unfold. I couldn't be more proud. Tons of Love, Mom

Dad: Ian is and always will be my Bud! He has taught me that a father can look up to his boy because of the code that Ian lives his life by, and his zeal for the gospel and all that is good. It makes me want to be a better father and human being. I'm so proud of Ian and thankful that he is my son. Even though he shoulda been named Kedrick.

Just goofin' off.

Cori: There are so many things I could say about you, Bud. I'm lucky enough to be the only kid in our family that remembers the day you were born. Meg and I were at a neighbor's house and Dad called and said, "Did you know you have a little brother?" I was so excited! Then we went to the hospital and no one would let me hold you because I was too little. I was as mad as a little 4-year-old could be! You have the purest of golden hearts and everyone who knows you is better for it. I'm so grateful that you have let me be your big sister, but more importantly, your friend. Love you!

Bud's sweet high school ride.
Ian: I remember when I left on my mission, he was just a wee little tot, then by the time I got back he grew like 4 feet. Between the smiting and the mansioning, we've gotten to be good friends. We've got more in common than just our names. He's a good guy and a good example to all of us. Happy Birthday, psuedobrother.

Ian's graduation day.
Meg: Ian knows exactly what to say to make me laugh. I have a million memories which ended with everyone laughing to the point of tears. He is so dedicated and smart. I couldn't ask for a better brother! Love you, Bud!

These two could be models.
Jillian: Ian and I have always been really close. Whether it was building Lego houses, riding bikes, playing night games or stomping through the snow in search of a lost Barbie doll together, Ian and I have been bestest buds. He is the smartest, kindest, funniest person I know. He is my favorite kind of weird. He has the best one-liners. I sure do love my older brother! Thanks, Ian, for always cheering me up and looking out for me! I'm the luckiest little sister out there!

Happy Birthday, little brother. We love you!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Halfway Through November...

Am I really going to be writing 2015 on everything in 6 weeks? That's weird...

Well, here's the understatement of the entire year: It's been an insane couple of months. Ian and I have been busy with school, work and everything in between. School keeps me very busy, but I get a lot of satisfaction from what I do. I feel like I've been getting a lot of positive feedback from the nurses I'm working with and my instructors. This nursing thing really is the best fit for me. Considering the fact that I've been at it for what feels like forever, it's nice to see the light at the end of the tunnel and feel like this is really going to pay off.

I found this cute picture of some of my friends in class. We have fun. :)
I don't remember it being as hot for as long as it was this year, so it's nice to be able to go outside and remember why this place is considered fit for human life. Ian took me for a ride in the Jeep on Tuesday. It was a beautiful day and I loved being able to take in some of Fall in SoUte.

This was about as rocky as the trail got. My kind of Jeepin'. 

See? If you go up high enough, you'll start to see that green things grow here. :)

Cruisin' with this cute guy.

I like him.

This is how you know you're in Southern Utah. The trail alternated between sand-colored and bright red. It was weird... I love the contrast with the trees and the blue sky, though. It's one of my favorite sights.

Kickin' up some dust in the afternoon sun.
My little Mazda is turning into a senior citizen, so we decided it was time to get another car for me. The plan was to car shop while we were up north for Thanksgiving, but we found one here that I really like, so we decided to go for it. It's a 2008 Nissan Altima. That will be car #4 we've bought in 4 years... We're content for now though, and I've sworn never to buy a car as long as I live after dealing with the... delightful... used car salesman. But it's all worked out now.

The Mazda's parked right next to it. I really will be sad to see that car go. I've put almost 100,000 miles on it, and we've driven it all over the country. I'm SO grateful to be SO blessed!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Happy Birthday, Mom!

I'm keeping up with my new favorite tradition of Birthday blog posts. It's my Mom's birthday today!

A famous picture in our family. The Bills kids.
Vicky: Happy Birthday to my "little sister." I hope you have a wonderful day. I hope you know how loved you are. I'm a blessed one to have you as my sister and friend. Life is easier because of you.

You didn't think she had that side to her, did you?

The whole famdamily at Ian's homecoming.

This one's a classic. Mom and Dad on Halloween.
Dad: I love Becky because despite how crazy I make her she still loves me and overlooks all my innumerable faults and wackiness and still supports me. Plus she's a total hottie!

Dancing at my wedding.
Cori: You're the best mom! I've thought about a lot of the fun things we used to do as kids with you. I can't count how many times we made the trek out to Neola or down to St. George for the weekend. I love our lunch dates, car rides and phone calls. We have had so many heart-to-hearts when you've taught me how to be a good person and succeed at life. I've never doubted that you've had our best interests at heart.

On my wedding day
Ian: Its Birthday time! All the kids are enrolled in college, got yourself a new job, its for sure a good birthday to have. May your next year be just as productive.

Looking for pictures, I noticed that Mom is almost always surrounded by family. 
Megan: One thing that I love about Mom is how well she knows each of her kids. She recognizes our differences and deals with each of us individually, something that's not easy to do. One of my favorite Mom memories was when we went to see Hairspray together. When we were driving home, we listened to the soundtrack and  had a long talk about life. She told me the story of how she and dad ended up together. It's moments like that that I love the most. Happy Birthday, Mom! Love you!

Meeting Bud at the airport.

Bud: Mom is super duper fantastically awesome. She is there when you need her and is always interested in what's going on in your life. She's never shy to share experiences or help you out in any way she can. Happy Birthday Mom! Loves.

At Jillian's graduation

Jillian: Momma is da best. She taught me how to work hard, support myself, and be hapy even when life is hard. Love you, Mama!

Monday, September 1, 2014

The first week of the 2nd semester

The primary president asked me to do a spotlight of myself in Primary. I decided it would probably be really short, because there's only one thing that takes up the vast majority of my time...

I made it through the first week of my 2nd semester. 1 down, 15 to go (or something like that). It seems like everyone in my cohort has a tendency to talk about how crazy this semester is going to be and/or how overwhelmed we are (both valid points, really) but honestly, I'm feeling pretty good about things. I was reminded that my instructors aren't trying to make me fail, quite the opposite actually, and a lot of people with a lot more crap going on in their lives have made it through this program, so I can too. I'm recording this so during the first week of November when I'm quite possibly in over my head, I can reminisce about how good the first week felt.

I've been seeing a lot of research lately about how taking notes with pen and paper rather than on a lap top is much better. After taking a bunch of NCLEX-style tests this summer, I have to agree. There were a bunch of times when I went to answer a question and said to myself, "I remember talking about that, but I don't remember what was said." Consequently, one of my goals this semester is to really learn it so it stays in my brain.

We went over cardiac physiology in class on Friday. My instructor drew a diagram of the rib cage on the board and reviewed the best places to listen to the different valves of the heart. I realized that I have learned that in theory, but I really don't know how to interpret what I hear on an actual patient. That's my clincal goal over the next few weeks, figure out what the heck it means when I hear something other than a normal rhythm. I guess that's the advantage of studying in St. George. Most of my patients are old people with weird heart rhythms. Exciting stuff, right?

There's really not much to report other than differentiating heart sounds. Ian's getting settled in to his course of study as a finance major (nerd!). It's hard to take the advice of the general authorities who say to "find joy in the journey" when we're both trying to be successful as students and employees, but we try. We're blessed to be able to go to school and have good jobs that allow us to provide for ourselves, and give us enough left over to do fun things. Life is crazy, but oh so good.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Happy Birthday, Dad!

I've been going around all day saying to myself, "Today is my Dad's 54th birthday." Well, I did the math and he's only 53. Oops. ;) I had fun writing Megan's Birthday post and reading all the happy thoughts people had to say so I decided to do one for my awesome Dad!

Dad's senior picture. Check out that knot in his tie!

Partying with mom and the band.

Grandma (Dad's Mom): It is hard for me to pick one good memory with your Dad. I have so many good memories of his many talents, and his ability to make people laugh and feel good. When he played one of the missionaries in the production we did of Saturday's Warrior he stole the show! I think I have told you that he flunked out of choir in high school because he was funnier than the teacher.....the teacher actually told me that.  He could not stand having Jeff make the whole class "break up" with laughter when he could not get a chuckle. Most of my cherished memories are of his tender spirit and loving "bear hugs". When we sat together many long nights on the kitchen floor by the heater vent together keeping his "bummer" lambs alive, and then the funerals he conducted down by the river before he buried the ones that we lost, I knew he would always be a compassionate man all his life.  So see, it is hard to pick just one.

PS He is and has been my 'God sent son' to help me heal from a gigantic loss.

Mom and Dad's wedding day. October 16, 1986.
Mom and Dad's last anniversary. October 16, 2014
 Mom: Jeff is a great dad and husband.  He adores his kids and loves being with them.  When we were first married, we went to Dan and Robin's apartment in Provo.  I watched Jeff get down on the floor and play with Randi and Tana.  I knew then what a great dad he would be.  He is so proud of all of his kids and he has a unique connection to each one.  Bub had him the moment she was born and now they text back and forth about medical stuff.  Meggie-boo is Jeff's late night date to the movies.  Eeken is his best Bud.  And Jilly-bayba is his exercise and dance move partner.  I know he will miss you all when you move out in a few weeks. 

This is my favorite picture of my dad and me. My baptism day. September 28, 1996

Cori: I've said it before and I'll say it again: I got your best genes. I have your hard-working, care taking, fun personality and I couldn't be more grateful. I'm glad you have been working from home for the last couple years because it has allowed all of us to spend more time with you. I remember during a conversation on a Sunday night one time, mom asked you if you work a 40-hour week. Your response was, "Man, I wish I only worked 40 hours in a week." It made me realize how hard you've worked over the years for our family. Even when I was little and you worked 10 out of 14 nights, you still tried to spend time with your kiddos. Happy Birthday, Daddy-O! xoxo, Bub 

Ian: Mr Sanderson (said like agent smith from the matrix) I first met the man while we were skipping school, he gave us a call and invited us to lunch like it was no big deal. We had Del Taco and had a grand time. And we've been pals ever since. He's always good for a chuckle or two and genuinely cares for the family. Although not a traditional guy in the slightest degree, he manages to pull it off with style. Happy Birthday!  

The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.
Meg: Dad is cooky and crazy and everything a great dad needs to be! I love the dance offs and ridiculously funny texts that blow up our phones. He gives 100% to every new project he takes on, whether it be perfecting the newest work out move or creating the masterpiece that is his potato salad. I'm so grateful for all his love and sacrifices for his family. Have the happiest of birthdays, Daddy-O! Sure love ya!

Just monkeying around with his Monkey Boy.
Ian: I've always loved the bond that I have with Dad as his only son. Going on appraisals with him, going bunny hunting, or even just taking a trip to the store with him was a lot of fun. I'm glad dad always took the time to hang out with me. He has always been my hero and I know I can look to him for help. Love you, Pop!

Jillian's baptism day. January 25, 2003.
Jillian: Oh how I love my Papa. He's weird, loud, crazy, energetic, partially deaf, a little embarrassing, and sometimes a little stinky. :) He's got a huge heart, so huge that there is more than enough room for anyone and everyone he meets. He is very smart and knows a lot of things, like how to cook a mean steak, change the brakes on my car, or how to masterfully pack the family's suitcases into the trunk. But the thing I think he knows the best is how to love those around him and make them feel like a million bucks, one bear hug at a time. :)

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Kayaking at Quail Creek

I've been excited all week for Braden and Lexi to come down for the weekend. We saw them last weekend when we were home so we've spent two weekends in a row together! That's never happened! Last night, Lexi and I went out for a much needed girl's night for both of us, while the boys went to the park with Braden and Lexi's little girl. I sort of love that Ian spent the night watching Jenna while we had fun.

We all went to Quail Creek Reservoir and rented kayaks to paddle around in for a couple hours. It was so much fun! I just wish I remembered the sunscreen on my neck. Thank goodness for after sun lotion. Seriously. If you don't use that stuff, you need to. It's the BEST!

Could this family be any cuter? No.

Ian took Jenna to play in the water all by himself. *Swoon!* :)

Let's take a minute to appreciate this almost-two-year-old playing like a pro on the iPad. 

Getting ready to go.

Ian just chillin on the water.

Braden decided to try out paddleboarding. I'm pretty sure he spent more time in the water than
 on the board, but it was a fun adventure.

Ian and me on the 2-man kayak.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Happy Anniversary!

I can't believe Ian and I have been married for 4 years today! He tells me all the time, "I don't want anyone else. I understand your kind of crazy." I think that's a good thing... :) It feel like a lot of our marriage has been working and being in school, but we have had quite the highlight reel. I love our great life!

First he came home from his mission.
And we had to hit the slopes together.
We went to the color festival when we were engaged.

4 years ago today, we got married.

And it was a very happy day!
We honeymooned in Vegas (and went to Vegas another time).

We played on the beach at Pineview Resevoir
And went to our first demolition derby in Idaho.

Then we moved to Texas for the summer and enjoyed living by the beach. 

And got a little crazy in the process. I don't know why Ian has an apple sticker on his head.

We went to Disneyland with my family for Christmas 2011.

And of course, made a stop at Newport Beach.
For our 2-year anniversary, we took a Mexican cruise.
And even though I was pretty sure we were going to die, we went ziplining.

Then we went to one of the places I went while Ian was on his mission.
I'm noticing we pose this way a lot. Our big trip in 2013 was to San Diego for Casey's wedding.
See, with the pose? This was from another Vegas trip in January.

Then we went to Central America in March.

We've spent a lot of sunny days on the beach!
 I'm looking forward to many more fun adventures with this love of mine.