april from a to z

I can hardly believe that May is just around the corner…after all of the snow we’ve had lately, as recently as this past week, it seems like it should still be late February or early March.  However, we are thrilled to be welcoming warmer weather and longer days and will gladly bid winter weather adieu for now (nevermind that snow showers are predicted for this upcoming Wednesday…).

We’ve had a fun month full of adventures and growing relationships.  Here’s April, at least the parts that I haven’t mentioned on the blog yet, from A to Z…

Art of sleeping with another person in the same bed (every night).  This is one thing I didn’t think would be a challenge about getting married, but it seriously is.  I don’t sleep through the night unless I’m staying at my parents’ house (in my old twin bed), which is a serious bummer.  If you have any ideas/advice about this issue, please please please send them my way!  They would be so appreciated.

Birthdays galore!  Mysteridge (my brother), my mom, Danny’s dad, and my grandma had birthdays this month.  Yipee for the wonderful people we have in our life!

Cookies!  Two varieties (banana chocolate chip and lemon) for our last meeting with our Mormon missionaries.  These are both awesome cookies, with the banana ones possibly a little bit better, just so you know.

Doctor’s appointments.  I went back to Greeley for three doctor’s appointments, and saw a new neurologist, Dr. Christy Young, most recently.  My visits were encouraging and I’m trying some new things these days, including yoga, new vitamins and medications, and this upcoming week, acupuncture and massage.

Engaged!  Our friend Kevin, who is currently living in East Asia, flew to California to surprise his girlfriend and propose to her!  She said yes, and so we’re looking forward to their October wedding!

Friends in Greeley.  Since I made it back to good ol’ G-town twice this month, I was able to see a bunch of friends, including Jan, Jane, Shannon, Ashleigh, Kay, Heera, Sarah, and Raquel.  Super blessed by these ladies who work to stay in touch even though we don’t live within a few minutes of each other anymore.

Game Night with the LinX!  Our Young Marrieds group had a game night at church one Friday night, complete with vegan banana bread (Erika is the best), dominoes, four square (yes, just like on the playground in elementary school), and Wise and Otherwise.

HuHot date!  We used up the last of our Valentine’s Day money and enjoyed a night out at HuHot.  With the huge variety of vegetables and sauces and other toppings (tofu, noodles, fruit, etc.), this is truly a vegan’s (or carnivore’s) paradise.  We wrapped the evening up with a trip to Goodwill, where we found hardcover copies of Wild at Heart and Captivating, which I’ve been wanting to get for a while now, for $2.99 each!

Inside North Korea.  We borrowed this short film by Lisa Ling and National Geographic from the library, and will not look at North Korea the same again.  You can also watch it here.  Speaking of North Korea, I’m currently a couple of chapters into Escape from Camp 14, and I will be the first to tell you that it is hard to read.  Shin’s story is real and is the story of many North Koreans right at this moment.

Jessica became a dear friend of mine this past week after our Mormon missionaries brought her along for a teaching session one week.   I was sad to say good-bye to her last week as she headed back to BYU to finish her nursing degree for the next year, but am so thankful for the friendship we were able to grow in a short amount of time.

Keith, Danny’s dad, came to visit at the beginning of the month.  It was as quick trip, but a sweet surprise!

Library volunteering.  Thursday and Friday afternoons, I work as a holds processor at the Briargate branch, and I love it!

Mountain biking for Danny.  This morning, Danny and our friend Chris left for a mountain biking trek in Pine, Colorado.  Praying they’re safe and have loads of fun!

Noodles, peanut sauce covered noodles that is!  I fell head over heels for peanut noodles the first time I went to China, and when D and I went together this past fall, I was devastated to find that the restaurant that served them had closed down.  Thankfully, we found another, which we stopped by whenever we could (despite its 45 minute bus ride away).  We had yet to find a good imitation recipe, but yesterday I found this one on Pinterest, and it is real good.  We made it last night when Chris came over for dinner, and if you need proof that it is good, listen to this: Danny had three heaping servings.  I had one, but that does not negate its deliciousness.

Orientation at Compassion International.  I now have a name badge and am set to start volunteering this upcoming Tuesday.  Excited to be a part of such a wonderful organization!

Panda Puzzle!  Our sweet sister-in-law-to-be, Ali, sent us a mini panda puzzle  It seems easy with only 100 pieces, but I’m telling you, it is deceiving.  Still working on it, to be honest.

Questions.  Danny and I have been pondering some important questions lately, such as, “Where do we want to be in 5 years?  10 years?”  and “What is our vision for our life/lives?” and “What is your dream job?”  We don’t want to look back and realize that we just floated through life without much purpose or direction, so we’re questioning what we’re doing and where we want to be.

Raquel!  We might have graduated from high school four years ago, but during the time we spent together last week, it felt like no time at all had past.  It was oh so sweet to be reunited, and since I’ve seen her, she has finished college and been joined by her beautiful daughter, AvaMarie.  Her story is inspiring and has God’s hand all over it.  Read more on her blog here.

Snow.  It has snowed so much here in Colorado Springs this month.  Seriously, I think every Tuesday it has snowed for the past four weeks.  I adore it, since I get to stay home pretty much all day, every day, and bask in its beauty and the peace it envelops us in.  Others in our lil’ family are excited for the snow to go away and stay away until Christmastime.

Tokyo Joe’s finally opened their first location in Colorado Springs, and we were stoked to visit as soon as possible, thanks to a gift card from the Easter bunny (a.k.a. my awesome parents).  We loved being joined by our friends Jamie, Steve, Micah, and Becca from church a couple of weekends ago!

Under two months until our Alaskan cruise!  We’re going with my mom’s side of the family to celebrate my grandparents’ 50th wedding anniversary!  I feel so blessed to get to see my family all together twice in six months (this never happens since my Aunt Becky and her family live in Vancouver), and to get to experience Alaska for the first time!  Plus cruises are awesome, and it will be Danny’s first one.

Voice of the Martyrs conference.  We were privileged to be a part of a regional conference VOM hosted at a local church featuring the stories of Christian martyrs and their families across the world.  Highlights for us were speakers from North Korea and Colombia and the incredible harpist.

Working Out!  I went to the gym at our apartment complex periodically throughout the first three months that we lived here, but not with too much consistency.  This month, though, Danny started a group called Abtastic April with some guy friends of his, and we’ve been going to the gym at least five times a week!  Woohoo!  I think that this level of dedication is a first for both of us, and we love it!

eXtra juicy tangelos.  A kind worker was giving out samples at Sprouts this past week, and after one bite, I knew we had to get some.  We downed ours within a day, and wish that there was a closer Sprouts to our house so that we could re-stock.  Danny doesn’t really like oranges, but he sure likes tangelos (which look almost identical to oranges)!

Yoga.  I’ve always been wary of this ‘thing.’  However, after my (most recent) doctor prescribed it, I found a couple of beginner’s DVDs at the library and have been going through the encyclopedia of poses the past couple of days.  I’ve been anxious to actually get to a ‘routine,’ and finally did this afternoon.  So far so good!

Zoo!  We didn’t go to the zoo this month, but that is my go-to word in Bananagrams (when I have a Z), a game that we really, really love.  Maybe next month we’ll go.  We keep saying that if I get a job, we’d love to get a membership and go at least once a month.  I just love the zoo/animals so much!

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the third weekend in april

Here  in the Everett household, we LOVE weekends!  We get to sleep in a lil’ bit, make special breakfasts, go on adventures, worship at church, and spend more time together than usual.  This weekend was no exception.  In fact, it was downright excellent.

Friday night, after I got home from a couple of days in Greeley to celebrate my mom’s birthday, see a few friends and a new doctor, D and I got all dolled up and went to the annual Volunteer Appreciation Banquet at Compassion.

our home is a beautiful place

Although I haven’t officially started volunteering at Compassion yet, I have been through my interview, background check, and orientation, which means that I am ready to begin!  I’m just waiting for an assignment, and I’ll start volunteering on a weekly basis, which I am so very excited about.  I can tell that the people at Compassion are so kind, as they insisted we come to the banquet, even though I haven’t even given any of my time yet!

We really enjoyed the dinner, and the couples at our table, including one who lives in the same apartment building as us!  Rachel and Phillip also recently moved to the Springs, and Rachel is not working and just beginning to volunteer at Compassion as well.  What a sweet God-gift!  And we were extra blessed with vegetarian entrees, even though we had forgotten to order them.

Saturday morning I woke up early and decided to make a new cinnamon roll recipe.  Three and a half hours later, we had these bad boys.  Delicious, YES.  A bit more labor intensive than I anticipated, also YES.  It is totally my bad for not reading the whole recipe first and understanding the need for them to rise (twice) and then bake for a while, too.

After we ate our delicious and well-earned cinnamon rolls (for lunch), we headed to Cottonwood Creek Park for a long, leisurely walk.

lovely walk at cottonwood

The ‘river bed’ is large, but the actual amount of water running through is very small.  Therefore, we surmised that the level of danger was pretty low, and forded the waters a couple times.

look at that hubs of mine!

We also checked out the pool that’s located in the park that has not only a water slide and a lazy river, but also a wave pool!  What?!  My cousins and I are hoping to make our way here before too long…

On Saturdays, some of Danny’s co-workers and friends get together to play football (there are no photos because that is what moms do  and Danny is not my child and I don’t want to embarrass him too badly), and D tries to make it as often as possible.  Girls are forbidden from playing, so I read Just a Minute and The Organic Food Shopper’s Guide in the car.

Thanks to a gift card I got for Christmas from my parents, and a coupon we had saved for this occasion, we enjoyed an early dinner at Noodles & Company that didn’t cost us a penny!  Japanese Pan Noodles for D, and Garden Pesto Saute (minus the feta) for me.  The Garden Pesto Saute is a new dish for Noodles this spring, and was absolutely delicious.  Unfortunately, I just found out that the pesto sauce on it contains milk and thus is not vegan.  Boo.

yum yum

Although our plan was to play a game or two of Bananagrams before heading to church, D decided that going to a Rockies game (which we did on Sunday) necessitated Rockies gear, so we drove to the nearest Arc Thrift Store.  Alas, no suitable team gear was to be found, BUT we were able to pick up a few polos for Danny to wear to work.  Three ‘new’ shirts for under $7, so that was a cool bonus.

Off to church, where we ran into our new friends Rachel and Phillip, and enjoyed worshiping and learning with fellow believers.  I am really appreciating going to church and seeing people we know…I have a feeling that we are on the verge of developing a neat lil’ community here!

And then…our double date!  Through the Mormon missionaries we’ve been meeting with, we’ve connected with a sweet girl who Danny went to high school with.  Her name is Jessica, and she has been such a good friend to me, so when she asked if D and I wanted to join her and Darren for a double date, I was excited.  You see, Jessica’s moving to Utah in two days to finish her nursing degree at BYU, so I’ve been jumping at any chance to spend time with her before she leaves.  While we were at church, Jessica and Darren went out to dinner, and we met them at Jessica’s house afterwards for a “little activity.”  Little did we know that Jessica is a master date planner!

The theme for the evening was “Throwback to Kindergarten.”  We started the evening off by bundling up and using Jessica’s family’s backyard basketball court (seriously huge) as a comic book canvas.  Using chalk, we creating a story line that involved Batman, a damsel in distress (me) being pushed off a building, Superman, and a few burning buildings.  Once our (my) fingers were numb and we were out of ideas for our story, we moved on to play-dough sculpting indoors.  The theme was animals.  Danny made a turtle, Jessica made the entire cast of “The Emperor’s New Groove,” and Darren made a T-Rex Boy Scout.  I made a snake, which was later eaten by the T-Rex.

sweet jessica

darren's dinosaur

No kindergarten double date would be complete with some finger painting, which is exactly what we did next.  We were on our own – no guidelines – for this one.  I went for a butterfly, Danny for idyllic forest/lake scene, Darren for a kitten in a basket under a rainbow, and Jessica…well…hers was (self-proclaimed) very unique.  I’m pretty sure she had the most fun, though.

finger painting fun

All this time, my camera was threatening suicide, but I was able to convince it into a few pictures.  Unfortunately, it surrendered right as we partook of the most delicious part of the evening…snack time.  Popsicles and Hi-C juice boxes were available, but considering that Jessica had also prepared fondue, we bypassed the themed snack  and feasted on strawberries, graham crackers, and bananas dipped in chocolate-y goodness.  Of course, it was vegan, because Jessica is so thoughtful and conscientious about looking out for us.  A perfect way to wrap up the day.

Sunday brought a lazy-ish morning and cookie baking before a trek north to meet my parents, Mysteridge, and Mysteridge’s friend (Peter) for a Colorado Rockies baseball game.  D and I arrived in Denver early, so we stopped by the Neat Market, which labels itself as “an underground vegan bazaar club thing.”  Neat Market happens once a month in different locations, and features small-scale producers and 100% vegan goods…can’t go wrong with that, I figured!  I had read about it on Facebook, and thought it was worth a visit, even though I had no idea what to expect.  I’ll be honest, it was a little bit weird.  It was clear that we’re not your typical vegans, but we still loved it.  We had some samples and discovered that we like seitan and bought a slice of pizza which was given to us on a glass plate that we had to wash ourselves after using it.  YES!  I love sustainable, smart things like that.  Oh and the pizza was incredible.

love us some vegan pizza

Our curiosity about local-ish vegans satisfied for the day, we met up with my family (+ Peter) along the Platte River in downtown Denver.  Next to our picnic site, there were a few diversions…

showin' off

watch out mysteridge!

My parents generously picked up Subway for all of us, as well as fresh fruit (pineapples from Sprouts these days are incredible!), and I contributed pb & j cookies.

goofs

My mom and I enjoyed a long walk along the Platte River en route to Coors Field to meet up with the males after their visit to B’s Ballpark Museum, which they seem to have thoroughly enjoyed.

baseball afficiandos

After all of the snow (like right now!) and chilly weather we’ve had lately, we were blessed with a perfect day for watching baseball.  Not too hot (I only got a minor sunburn), not too cold, and blissfully sunny.

love love love

The game started slow, causing me to turn to the word search in the middle of our program, but got more exciting, and eventually a bit sad as the Rockies lost 5-4.  On the bright side, though, it was bobble head day, so we all left with an Eric Young bobble head, one of which now sits (stands?) proudly on Danny’s desk at work.

bobblehead day success

I’m always grateful for an opportunity to be with my family.  I’ve been able to see them five times in the past four weeks, which has been such a blessing.  They are just splendid people who love me and care about me so well, and being with them is such a joy.

love these two

Seeing how she recently moved to a new apartment, we knew this trip to Denver wouldn’t be complete without a stop by Rachel’s house.  Since she’s not busy with grad school or her internship or working full time or anything like that (FALSE), she made us a delicious dinner and some tasty treats for dessert.  It sure was a treat to see her and Leia (and the new apartment) and catch up a bit.  Thanks for having us, sweet lady!

new family

Whew!  What a weekend!  Busy-ish, but still restful.  Full of family and a few new friends.  Lots of pictures (obviously) and sweet memories.  Thankful for the opportunities we’ve been given and for a husband who loves adventuring with me.

since getting married

On Thursday I did something I hadn’t done since getting married.  I stayed up past midnight.

These days, since we usually get up between 5am and 6:15am (depending on what time Danny has to work that day and whether or not we go to the gym before said work), we’re getting ready for bed by 10pm…at the latest.  Many of our friends from college (who are still in college or at least living like it) think we’re crazy and just don’t understand.  All I understand is that when I wake up at that hour on a daily basis, I cannot stay up late.  It is not a choice.

Other things have changed since getting married, too.

For example, I haven’t left town aside from going back to Greeley for doctor’s appointments (and of course sneaking in some visits with family and friends) and going to Ikea (it’s basically its own town) for all of our furniture needs.

I’ve started cooking dinner every night (unless we have so many leftovers, we don’t have any more containers to keep them in, and thus decide we should not make anything new).

Besides the ever-growing piles of laundry and never-clean bathrooms, I have very few obligations.  No school, no work, no meetings.  {This is why, ladies, you should tell your man to get a job so you can stay at home all day like me.  It’s kind of awesome.}

I used to get paid to play Pinterest and answer the occasional phone call, but now I volunteer.  I volunteer to pour cereal/pack a lunch/make dinner every day, I volunteer to make sure we get out of bed and do not get consumed by dirty dishes, I volunteer to coordinate our social calendar (okay, so this is not a real thing, but if it were, I would volunteer to do it).  I also volunteer at the library which is only a little bit more legit than those other tasks.

I get lost often.  Try moving to a new town where all the streets have names and not numbers and you, too, will buy yourself a GPS.

I have developed a love/hate relationship with the grocery store.  I can’t remember how I used to feel about grocery shopping, but I sure know how I feel now!  It is a battle.  A battle to stay within the budget (first time I’ve had one of those in my life!) and to not be overcome by the crowds of people.  The Colorado Springs metro area has somewhere around 650,000 people and one Sprouts.  One.  Bad idea.  Sprouts, if you are looking to expand, please please please consider north Colorado Springs.  Preferably next to the Bass Pro Shops that is being constructed behind the mining museum (aka across the street from us).

I have slept through the night somewhere around six times since becoming a Mrs.  Three of those times were when I was in Greeley visiting my parents and had my good ol’ twin bed all to myself.  The last three times were sometime during the past week-ish, about the time I started implementing a “pull-your-pillow-all-the-way-to-the-edge-of-the-bed-so-that-we-are-as-far-away-from-each-other-as-possible” mandate.  Not exactly the cuddling-all-night sort of thing we envisioned, but in our case, sleep > cuddling.

I have someone to do tasks I don’t want to do.  This primarily applies to scraping off my car (if we are going somewhere together), deadbolting the front door at night, and running out to the car at night to get stuff that we’ve forgotten.  I still put out the trash, wash the dishes, and do the laundry, however.

I dance more than I ever thought possible.  In the car, in the kitchen, and even in front of the computer as I (okay, we) watch One Direction and Taylor Swift music videos.  It is awesome.

I don’t buy purses or shoes or clothes anymore.  I don’t need to say anything else, except that this is both good and bad.