Monday, May 13, 2013

Summer Classes

This semester is the last semester of my nursing program. I cannot believe it is almost over! For my last clinical rotation I am working with the nurses at American Fork Hospital in their Level II Nursery. I am so excited to start! I love working with babies. Some people don't understand it, but I absolutely love it. 

I am also taking Spanish for Medical Providers and a class on nurse leadership, so the semester should keep me busy. 

Carson started his Spring term class, Statics, a few weeks ago. Let's just say it is not his favorite class. Good thing there are only a few weeks left and before he switches to Mechanics of Materials for the Summer term.

Even though taking classes during the summer isn't the most fun way to spend our time, we are both trying to work hard because the end is definitely in sight. 

A Break from the Books

Summer is going to be a little crazy around here. Carson and I are both going to be taking classes and working, plus we have several family reunions lined up. It is going to be really fun...but really busy. Since we won't have a lot of time to relax, we decided to take a quick trip to Dallas before we start school again. Carson has family there and some companies he would love to work for in the future are based near Dallas, so we even squeezed in a little business while we were there. 

Strangely enough, the weather that week was not very hot, or even very sunny. The first day though was beautiful, so we took advantage of it and got in some pool time. 

 Carson's version of pool time.

And mine. Either way, it was way better than being in snowy Utah that day.

Last time we went to Dallas we were exposed to Sprinkles and we immediately fell in love. So of course, it was one of our stops the first day we were in town. 

 I had a very yummy chocolate coconut cupcake, Carson got a strawberry, and we shared a chocolate peanut butter. None of them disappointed. Seriously, this place is amazing. 

That night we went to a Texas Ranger's game with some of Carson's family. Ever since my dad took us to Yankees and Mets games when we lived in New York, I have loved watching live baseball. The atmosphere at the Ranger's game did not disappoint. Unfortunately, the Ranger's lost. Good thing I'm not really a fan.

Outside the stadium. Yep! We bought shirts. When in Rome...

Our adorable niece.

 And cute nephew getting a little help to see the game.

That night was dollar hot dog night at the game, but our brother-in-law Clinton had other ideas. He had been wanting to try the Boomstick for a long time, but he couldn't get anyone to try it with him. What is a Boomstick? Well, it is a two foot long, one pound, $26 hot dog, loaded with toppings. Lucky for Clinton, Carson was willing to skip the dollar dogs and experiment. 

This thing was seriously massive. They said it was really good, but I think they regretted it later.

One of my favorite stops during our trip...the British Emporium. Carson's sister Elaine and I both did a study abroad in London and fell in love with the city. Who doesn't after staying there for a while? We also fell in love with the treats, so we stopped at the Emporium to get our fill.

I was in heaven. There were so many delicious things that brought back a lot of memories, it was hard to choose what to buy. And no, I did not eat all of this, some of it was for Carson too.

By now anyone reading this blog probably knows that Carson is a huge New York Giants fan. Well, one of the Giant's biggest rivals, the Cowboys, are located in Dallas. They just built a massive new stadium right by the Ranger's field. It is an indoor turf stadium with a retractable roof and it has a lot of art inside, almost like a museum. So, even though they are the enemy, we decided to take a tour and it was amazing. It was one of the nicest buildings I have ever been in, and it is a football stadium! 

Seriously huge! Carson was in big screen heaven. 

Inside the locker room Carson showed his true feelings about the team. No offense Romo. Oh, and he isn't looking at the camera because he is making sure the security guard is still turned around.

 The entrance to the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders locker room. We toured it too and learned that in the old Cowboys stadium there were three outlets in the entire locker room. Now each girl has two of her own. Fascinating...

We saw this and had to take a picture. 

Go Giants!

One of our favorite things about visiting Dallas, besides the family we get to spend time with, is the food. Last time we were there, all we did was eat. This time we controlled ourselves a little more, but still experienced some of Dallas' culinary treasures. Carson's favorite is the Hard Eight. It is an open pit barbecue restaurant where you order meat by the pound. A man's dream right?

Like last time, it did not disappoint. The only drawback, we both smelled like smoke and meat for the rest of the day. Not so appealing. 

Our quick trip was definitely a good way to start our summer. Even though we both had textbooks with us and did homework on the flight home, it was a much needed break from school. Thanks for letting us crash at your place Elaine and Clinton (and Ella)!


Warning, this is definitely a brag post, but I am so proud of Carson for what he has accomplished in the past year. Some of you probably have no idea what I am talking about, so let me explain.

Over the past year or so, while going to school and working part time, Carson has started building his own company - Empire Graphics. I help, but let's be real...he has put in the real time for this thing.

It started small with vinyl projects for ourselves and friends. 

A decal for a helmet at work.

Helmet stickers for his brother's tackle football team.

And wall decals for our nephew's BYU themed room.

Soon Empire started getting contracts with businesses. The first was with a less-lethal weapons company - Tiberius Arms. We made a few large vinyl decals for car windows and a lot of smaller ones that they give to vendors and ship with their products.

Next was with the company Carson works for - Fast Fill Systems. Carson did vinyl wording on the windows at the office and we made hundreds of logo shields that they now include with their products. 

He also helped design and supply them with posters and banners for one of their clients in Canada.

Then he started working with Midwest Pest Control in Oklahoma.

He designed a billboard for them...

And made them bug decals for their trucks. 

To explain all of the services that Empire offers, Carson decided to put together a website

Throughout all of this, Carson has been working on the first major goal of the company - licensing rights to all BYU logos. As you can see, we were using the logo for gifts and for ourselves, but we couldn't sell any products with the logo on it because we didn't own the rights. Well, with a lot of hard work and a really long application process, Carson did it. Empire could now sell products with the BYU logo on them. So we started making BYU decals. 

Carson also set up an Etsy store to start selling the vinyl decals online.

 The next step...getting a contract with the BYU Bookstore. Carson put together a demo board and met with the purchasing department at the bookstore and they accepted it. So we started making even more BYU decals. A lot more.

 Since we were selling them in a store, we had to think about things we had never had to deal with before - like packaging and a way to let customers know what color the decal is. We definitely learned a lot by putting this order together - things that will make the next orders go by much better.

It was a lot of hard work, but it was definitely worth it after seeing Empire's decals in the BYU Bookstore. And seeing someone buy one while we were there! Pretty crazy.

It is pretty exciting seeing our product on a random car in the parking lot!

Then, Empire expanded and started making clothing. This is still in the development stage, so we are mostly doing custom orders and gifts, but so far it is coming along great. 

One of our first jobs was making ourselves and Ryan and Jess some shirts for BYU's blackout game. 

Ryan wanted a Ty Detmer jersey and then got Detmer to sign it at the game.

 A BYU apron for Carson's mom for Mother's Day.

 Ohio State shirt for Jessie.

And a BYU baseball shirt for a friend. 

Basically we are putting vinyl logos on whatever we can get our hands on! 

As you can probably tell, I am super proud of Carson for all of his hard work. He got an idea and has stuck with it, even though it has been tough sometimes. I am impressed with how professional he is and with all of his ideas for making his business better. There is definitely work to be done, but it's not a bad project to keep us busy while we are in school right?

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Salt Lake City Half Marathon 2013

A few weeks ago was the Salt Lake Half Marathon (and marathon...but I didn't run that so let's not talk about it). I signed up for the race to motivate myself to keep running hard and because running is way more fun when there is a race in the mix. 

 The race shirt and my number. Lucky number 4879...right?

So, unlike the last time I ran this race, the weather on race day was horrible. Like 30 degrees, rain, and wind horrible. Carson wasn't able to come watch me run because he had a History final that morning at the same time. So, there I was, alone in the rain. I was totally frazzled that morning as I tried to figure out what to wear for the weather and how to get to the starting line. Normally I get really excited at the starting line of races because of all of the excitement, but this time I just felt alone and cold. Really cold. Then Carson sent me a good luck text that ended by telling me to look for his parents during the race. I was overcome with emotion (because you know me...I am emotional). I didn't know they were coming to watch. I hadn't planned on anyone coming to watch. It meant so much to me that they would come all the way to Salt Lake in the rain to watch me that I almost started to cry. But by this time I was running out of the porta-potty line to the starting line because I was about to miss the start. Like I said - frazzled. 

Since the horrific events at the Boston Marathon were just a week earlier, there was a nice moment of silence at the beginning of the race and everyone was proudly wearing blue and yellow - the colors of the Boston Marathon. Personally I felt like a high school cheerleader with blue and yellow ribbons in my hair. Then, the gun went off and I forgot all about feeling alone and miserable and I did what I love to do, I ran. My mind went into race mode and I forgot about being cold (even though I didn't feel my legs until I got home a few hours later). I was feeling great for the first part of the race and when I started to get tired, there were amazing spectators that I didn't even know, braving the weather to cheer on all of the runners - and I felt their encouragement. That's another thing I love about races. There is definitely a palpable sense of community among the runners and the spectators. I feel connected to people I don't even know, and that's pretty cool.

I'm not going to lie, the end of the race was pretty miserable. The last two miles were uphill with wind and rain in my face. My soaking wet socks had slipped down in my soaking wet shoes and I could feel the insoles of my shoes starting to bunch up. It was pretty rough, but I finished within my goal time. Overall, I was really happy with how the race went...too bad it couldn't have been in better conditions. 

A little video of me finishing...swinging my arms like I always do when I am tired. 

Again, I can't thank Carson's parents enough for coming to watch.

 I was freezing pretty much until I got home and took a warm shower, but Carson was able to see my muddy legs and battle wounds (or battle blisters) before I cleaned up.

Oh, and he got an A on his final, so at least he made missing my race worth it. I guess.

The Biggest Catch Up Yet

To anyone still reading this blog after my five month break, I apologize. I'm sure we all know how it is - life gets busy and my list of things to blog about increases as blogging drops lower and lower on my to-do list. I really admire people who manage to update their blogs regularly even when they are crazy busy. It is a talent I tell you!

This post is long and mainly for my own selfish journaling purposes, but I hope it will be shortly followed by more frequent and current posts about our life now. I won't make promises, but I will try try try. If you are interested then feel free to read on, if not then the extraordinary amount of pictures in this post can give you a quick glimpse of our life over the last couple of months. 

First off, school. School pretty much dominates both of our lives these days. Fall semester I did my clinical rotation at the VA hospital in Salt Lake on the surgical unit. While working with adults is not my long-term career goal, there is something I really like about the veteran population. They are so willing and patient to let students learn. Like when I missed putting in an IV and the patient didn't even care. He just said, "Poke me again, I don't care, you need to learn. Trust me, I have been through worse pain." The VA was definitely a great place to start my nursing experience.

My clinical group. It is amazing how close I got to these people over the few months we were together. I couldn't have done it without them.

And one day I took pictures for a brochure about upgraded precautions at the hospital. 

Don't worry...I didn't put this picture in the brochure.

In our house fall means football...BYU games, intramural games, and of course the NY Giants.

At the blackout game we made our own shirts...and they were definitely the coolest ones there. 

Carson plays on an intramural football team with his friends pretty much all year. I grew up watching my siblings play all kinds of sports, so I love going to Carson's games. It feels natural to me.

Can you tell he loves the Giants?

The unfortunate thing about fall football is the snow at the end of the season. Seriously, these games were freezing.

Next up, Halloween! If you know us, you know we love decorating for holidays. If you follow me on Instagram you have already seen sorry.

And what is Halloween without caramel apples? Nothing I tell you...nothing. They are definitely a must. 

And while we are already making fruit unhealthy, why not add some chocolate? At least that's the way I think.

At Carson's house they always have doughnuts for we figured we should too.

Any excuse for sugar right? 

Now...Thanksgiving. Carson and I went to Las Vegas to celebrate with my family. I ran in the "Catch the Gobbler 5k". This race has become somewhat of a tradition around my house - I run and my dad braves the cold to to cheer me on and get a pre-Thanksgiving turkey dinner after (how his stomach can handle that at  7 in the morning I will never understand). This year my youngest brother joined the race (his first 5K!) and Carson joined my dad in the cheering section. 

The course is always the same and my dad knows the best places to stand by now so I think we have 6 versions of this same exact picture...all from different years. Somehow I didn't get a picture after the race with Matthew, but that just means we have to do another race together.

Like always, Thanksgiving dinner was fantastic. I love getting together with all of the family we have in Vegas...and eating...I love eating (I feel like we have already gone over that).

Another Thanksgiving tradition we have is a man-made dessert competition. Emphasis on the man. We figure that the women in the family have spent enough time cooking the dinner that the men can handle dessert. This year we had entries by Carson, Matthew, and my two uncles. As always, the desserts did not disappoint. If I remember right Rob ended up winning but Carson got the most votes in a few categories (maybe if I blogged right after it happened I would remember, but I have no idea right now).

Carson's entry was an apple tart with streusel topping - but he gave it a French name for effect ;)

One of my favorite places to go in Vegas is the LDS temple. This is where Carson and I were married, and for that reason and others, it is probably our favorite temple. We decided to visit while we were in town and, like always, it did not disappoint. 

Finally, my family's last Thanksgiving tradition is shooting in the desert. 

Again, another picture that I am sure I have several versions of from different years - with different guns of course. 

My mom wanted a family picture while we were all together (minus Drew who gets home in a week!). 

I love these people so much and am so grateful for everything they do for me. That's really what Thanksgiving is about right? Spending time with the people you love and giving thanks for everything you have. 

We also took some family pictures of our own.

Okay, now on to Christmas. This year we stayed in Utah for Christmas to celebrate with Carson's family. 

By now you know that Carson loves the Giants right? Well, he tries to incorporate them into everything...including Christmas.

So of course he needed a Giants Santa hat. 

And remember how we love decorating for holidays? Well Christmas is no exception. This year I made an advent calendar so we could count down the days...and have an excuse to eat the chocolate inside (again with the eating thing). 

These boxes were super easy to put together with a little help from my Silhouette Cameo. I love that thing. 

Last year we had a huge problem agreeing on a tree, but luckily this year we walked into the lot, looked at this tree, and knew it was the one (and then second-guessed ourselves as the employee almost ruined it by dragging it through the lot...but that's not the point). Next we can work on agreeing on the lights for the tree, but this year I let Carson have his way...hence the colored lights. 

A little idea courtesy of wrapping paper, red twine, and a white paint pen. It turned out really cute with the rest of our red, black, and white wrapping paper. Is it weird that I like to coordinate my wrapping paper? I get that from my mom. 

I love Christmas for all of the traditions that come with it. One of the fun (and sometimes difficult) parts about being married is combining traditions. Sometimes they complement each other and sometimes they are completely opposite (my family has white lights on the tree, Carson's has colored), but it's always fun seeing what others do for Christmas. One of Carson's traditions that I especially love is the homemade gingerbread house. Carson is serious about his house and has a "traditional" way of decorating it. Maybe next year I will make two so we can each decorate one. 

One tradition both our families have is sugar cookies. Who doesn't like Christmas sugar cookies? of my family traditions...and a delicious Christmas treat. I always eat WAY too much of this stuff. It's a good thing I only make it once a year. 

Collin and Jessie came to Utah for Christmas with their cute baby Landon. We seriously could not get enough of this boy. I love how much Carson loves kids. It makes me excited to have our own someday. 

This is Carson's favorite - nap time with a baby on his chest. 

Now for the pictures from Christmas morning at Carson's parent's house.

Isn't that tree amazing? 

Carson's stocking.

My stocking.

Jessie and I used my Cameo (there is that amazing machine again) to make these shirts for Collin and Carson. And no, he does not wear it in public.

Carson "playing Santa".

We went to a restaurant in Salt Lake called the Roof a few days after Christmas. The food was amazing but one of my favorite parts was the view of the Salt Lake LDS temple. 

Temple Square is gorgeous at Christmas time. After dinner we walked around and looked at all the lights and the candy displays in the windows in the area. It was a perfect Christmas time activity. 

Bad picture, amazing display (and company).

Oh snowed a lot during the Christmas break.

Good thing we didn't need to go anywhere because my car was good and stuck for a few days.

After Christmas we drove down to Brianhead resort to do some snowboarding with my family. I am amazed at how good my brother and sister have gotten. How do kids catch on to stuff like that so fast?

One of my favorite things about Brianhead is the gorgeous. Oh and Dani...I think you missed the memo about wearing green.

We took a break from boarding one day and took a snowmobiling trip up to Cedar Breaks. We had a guide that was showing us the way and teaching Carson all kinds of crazy snowmobiling tricks. And I only got stuck once! 

How pretty are those red rocks with snow on them?

During the Spring semester I had my clinical rotation at Primary Children's Medical Center on the infant unit. I absolutely loved it. For this rotation I also had the opportunity to go to Shriner's Hospital and watch a surgery. Shriner's is an amazing place and it was a really cool experience. 

To go into the operating room I had to change into special scrubs - paper scrubs. I didn't know you could make legitimate clothes out of paper. Oh, and you know how operating rooms are really cold? They are even colder when you are wearing paper. Trust me.

While I was busy at the hospital, Carson was busy in school too. In one of his classes he made a longboard out of carbon fiber - the same stuff they use in the Boeing 787.

He bought a longboard and stripped it completely down until just the wood was left, then he molded the carbon fiber around it, powder coated the trucks, put it back together, and added his own grip tape. He is too attached to it to ride it though...

For Valentine's Day we continued our holiday decoration trend by making some subway art canvases.
I love how Carson gets into my projects. He always wants to be the one to paint my subway art - it is probably the perfectionist in him. 

The finished product. 

Another Valentine's Day project thanks to Pinterest and my Cameo. I am telling you, I love that thing. 

And then we made a subway art for St. Patrick's Day too. 

This one wasn't actually for us, it was for an Etsy customer. I am so glad that she was happy with it and loves it as much as I do. 

Around this time, some of my friends from school decided that we needed a little break from all of our studying, so we got together for a fun night at the Paint Mixer. I had never heard of it before, but it was so much fun. It is an art studio in Park City that teaches a class each night on a different painting. Even though it is a class, it is super chill - the instructor tells you a step and then turns the music up really loud while everyone does their thing. Oh and they sell wine and soda for you to drink while you paint. My friends all enjoyed the wine to help them reveal their inner Van Gogh...but I was able to release my artistic side while sober. 

My favorite part of the night was seeing how everyone's paintings were unique even though we all had the same instructions. I really could see people's personalities in their art. Overall, I was pretty impressed with how mine turned out. 

Okay...we are up to Easter! To keep with our love of decorating and holiday traditions, we started the season by dying Easter eggs.

And we made some of our favorite Easter (or any holiday really) treats. 

I am so glad that M&Ms are made in holiday colors. They give me an excuse to make yummy treats like these. 

And of course Carson needed a basket on Easter morning. 

As the weather is getting warmer we are enjoying more time outside. A few weeks ago we had dinner in the park with some friends. It was the perfect weather for throwing the football and baseball around...and eating of course (food!). 

All of our husbands play on the same intramural football team so we get to spend a lot of time together. I love it!

To almost completely catch you up, another intramural football season has just ended. Carson's team made it all the way to the semi-finals and I was able to make it to most of the games. I'll call that a success.

Those boys are lucky to have such a great cheering section. 

Thank you for staying with me to the end! Now you know what we have been up to since October. Let's see if I can keep up with this blogging thing now.