Friday, January 29, 2016

Snow Valley

A couple weekends ago Dan, my parents, and I traded in the Hawaiian sunshine for some snowy Sun Valley.
I must admit, although I'm no fan of Winter, Sun Valley is the one place I welcome snow--the more snow the better, in fact. And this year is the first year in a while that it's transformed into a real life snow globe up there. Out with the light dusting of a few inches of snow, and in with the 3-4 feet of snow!
We took full advantage of our time in winter wonderland. We skied on Saturday and then again on fresh, glorious powder on Monday. We spent an afternoon wearing the dogs (and ourselves) out playing in the snow in our backyard. We cross-country skied (one of our favorites), and we took lots of walks down Fairway.
Dan and I had so much fun with my parents. They are the best example to me of what I hope to be when I'm their age. Nothing stops them, and it's awesome. I really cherish this time of life with my family. I know this newlywed/no grandkids/everyone is an adult now life is fleeting, and I just want to take it all in before a new, equally wonderful chapter begins.

(kacey.ism 378)

Thursday, January 14, 2016

The Happiest Hawaii Christmas Vacation 2015

For most people Christmas comes on December 25th. For my family, Christmas came on December 26th. At noon on the 26th my family was on a plane to Hawaii.
We've been fortunate enough to go to Hawaii the past 5 years around Christmastime and it truly is a slice of paradise.
This year tops the list because it was my first year there with my husband. Last year Dan and I weren't even engaged yet. So much really can happen in 365 days.
Hawaii could not have been more beautiful. The sun did nothing but shine on (and brown up) our wintery, pale faces, and the water did nothing but sparkle apart from the occasional (fabulous) whale breach.
We went whale watching and snorkeling on a catamaran, we went scuba diving early one morning, we played tennis every day, and we jumped off of black rock on New Year's Day.
We also spent every day digging our toes in the sand, reading books, playing paddle ball, and taking dips in the ocean whenever we wanted.
It's such a simple life over there. You wake up, put on your swimsuit, sit on the beach until the sun goes down, eat fresh fish for dinner, and usually fall asleep by 9pm. I just love it.
I love spending those 10 days with my family.  I truly do look at them as my very best friends. I also love to see how well Dan fits in. It feels like he's always been there, and I love it.
As always, it's like I blink and the trip is over. Suddenly I'm shivering at my desk at work dreaming of being back in paradise.
Hawaii, you were wonderful. We'll see you soon, but never soon enough.

(kacey.ism 377)

Monday, December 7, 2015

First Christmas, and 6 months married.

Last week Dan and I brought home our first Christmas tree. We went to Cummings Tree Farm (a longstanding tradition in my family) and found her within 15 minutes. She's a bushy, lovely farm tree, and now she sits in our family room and happily glows as people pass by.
I loved unwrapping our small collection of ornaments and finding the perfect places to hang them on the tree. Dan and I have started collecting ornaments from all the new places we travel to. We got one in Disney World on our honeymoon and one from Boston when we were there in October. I can't wait to see our collection grow as we add new adventures to our list and continue creating new memories.

AND Bonus! As of yesterday we've officially been married for 6 months! Every day I love our little life a little more and I really can't believe I get to be with Dan for this Christmas and the one after that, and the one after that, and the one after that forever more. Life is sweet.

(kacey.ism 376)

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Last the best of all the game.

Well, it's official. All my friends are married.
Saturday, October 24th was the happiest day because LeAnn Paulsen became Mrs. N8 Nielsen.
We have all been waiting impatiently for this day, and it finally came!
Ann and Nate started dating shortly after Dan and I did and they got engaged two weeks after we got married. And then Nate moved to San Francisco! So when I say we've all been waiting impatiently for this day to arrive (especially Ann), I really mean it.

Their wedding day was perfect. They were sealed in the Draper temple and marched out of those golden doors with the most genuine, beaming smiles. There is no joy that compares to that of a newly married couple. And Nate and Ann were just oozing love. Ann was the most stunning, gorgeous bride there has ever been!
They followed their sealing with an intimate luncheon that suited them perfectly. We got to hear from those that are closest to them, and watch them cut the cake and share a dance. I consider myself so extremely blessed to call myself one of those people for Ann. She has been my best friend, roommate, and person for the last six years. She is the most kind, caring, giving, loving person, and I know that Nate will treat her right. I wouldn't have let her go to anything less.

While it was the happiest day, it was also a little bittersweet for me because they now live in San Francisco. I lived with Ann for six years and now she lives in a different state. And while I selfishly would like her to please get back here ASAP because I miss her constantly, I am so excited for their new adventure and know that a little distance will not harm our friendship at all. (And now we have more excuses to plan fabulous girls trips to get us all together!)

From September 2014-October 2015 four of my best friends, and I got married. I can't think of a better way to lose all your friends to their new husbands, than to do it all at once. It has been the best 13 months. I've been able to share the happiest time of my life with those who I love most. No bride left behind!

(kacey.ism 375)

Monday, November 9, 2015

East Coast extravaganza

A couple weeks ago Dan and I took off to Boston to explore the east coast with his parents and his sister and her husband. We were all visiting Boston for the first time and we were excited for a new adventure. We stayed at a charming apartment thanks to AirBNB, and we hit the ground running.

On Day 1 we did the ever famous Freedom Trail. It is a trail set up to take you all throughout Boston with stops at all the famous historical sites from the Revolutionary War. I loved it. We saw where John Hancock is buried, we saw Paul Revere's House, we saw the ship, the USS Constitution, we saw the church where the Boston Tea Party was decided...we really saw it all. We also walked about 10 miles. Needless to say, we came home with tired feet and quickly fell asleep.

On Day 2 we started the day by driving out to the charming town of Rockport, Massachusetts. It is a tiny town right on the coast full of darling shops, ice cream parlors, boats, lobster, and a beautiful view of the ocean. It was the kind of place that you can't help but picture what your life would be like there. From there we wound our way to Salem. There is nothing like being in Salem aka the city where the witch trials were held around Halloween. People were nuts. I felt like we were surrounded by a whole city of people who work at haunted houses. I don't think I will experience anything like that ever again. And, Bonus! We saw where Max lived in the movie Hocus Pocus.
Day 3 was Sunday, so we decided to attend the singles ward right next to Harvard. That area of Boston is beautiful. From there we hopped in the car and drove north toward Maine. The drive was stunning. I can not believe the amount of trees that exist back east. They go on and on and on. We were so lucky to see all the leaves just as they were just starting to change. Eventually we ended up in York where we had the most amazing view of the Nubble Lighthouse. It was Caiti's wish to go to Maine, and I'm so glad we did. From there it was back on the highway until we made it to Lake Winnipesaukee. It is a giant, peaceful, gorgeous spot. We were all itching to flag someone down and go waterskiing.
On Day 4 we woke up and jumped back in the car (can you tell we did a lot of driving) and drove South toward Cape Cod. It was a beautiful day, 75 degrees, and we couldn't wait to plop down on a beach for a little while. FYI, Cape Cod is really big. We ended up driving three-fourths down the cape before we decided to stop and find access to a beach somewhere. We found a stretch of sand in front of a bunch a beach houses and took a minute to sit back, relax and enjoy getting some sea salt in our hair and sand stuck between our toes. Mmmmm the beach, oh how I love it.
From Cape Cod we hit the road for Newport, Rhode Island. If you've never been to the Newport of the East Coast, you must go. It was the most charming, stunning little town full of incredible mansions. It made for a long day, but we were all so glad we got there.
On our last day in Boston we decided to spend the day exploring the city of Boston. Imagine that! We started the day with a tour of Fenway Park. I may not be a devoted baseball fan, but after that I can tell you that Dan and I will get to a Red Sox game at Fenway Park someday. That is a really special place. Dan and I took off on our own for the rest of the afternoon. We explored Harvard, had lunch with our friend Liz, wandered through various neighborhoods, and enjoyed watching the rowing teams on the river as the sun set. We met up with everyone for dinner at the Barking Crab, and we treated to the most delicious meal (thank you RJ!) full of lobster and crab legs. It was the perfect way to end a wonderful week.

I know that we will always cherish that vacation with Pam, Ron, Caiti, and Will. I think we crammed it all in, and made it a memorable, fabulous trip (and thanks Dan, for the helpful selfie stick!)! I can't wait to get back there again someday.

(kacey.ism 374)

Monday, October 19, 2015

my 26 year old to-do list.

26 ways to live the best 26th year of my life:

1. Choose to be Happy
2. Embrace every challenge that comes my way
3. Stick to a newlywed budget
4. Go somewhere I've never been (LOTS of adventures are calling...)
5. Drink more water than Diet Coke
6. Make more home cooked meals
7. Know my current events
8. Write in our married journal
9. Take pictures/videos
10. Live what I believe
11. Create 3 longterm goals with Dan
12. Look for opportunities to perform small acts of service
13. Read Books
14. Unplug more
15. Exercise regularly and learn to always enjoy it
16. Try new things! (food, hobbies, etc)
17. Be organized because it makes life easier
18. Tell those I love I love them OFTEN
19. Be a good forgiver 
20. Say Thank You
21. Be better at staying in touch 
22. Finally finish the book "Jesus, The Christ"
23. Celebrate our 1st wedding anniversary
24. Grow Kacey's Dance Academy
25. Support others in their endeavors
26. Be a little bit better every day

(kacey.ism 373)

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

26 years old.

Yesterday I turned 26 years old. 26 YEARS OLD. How did that happen? How am I suddenly closer to 30 than 20? My mind is a little boggled by that thought. 
Despite feeling a little wary at this new older and wiser age, I had a really wonderful birthday. I've said it before, but if everyone treated everyone else like it was their birthday all the time, everyone would always feel happy and loved and special. 
Raise your hand if you think Dan should start a greeting card business. He always makes me the sweetest cards. If you're wondering what this particular card is about, on my 25th birthday he told me he loved me for the first time on our way home from Sun Valley. It is one of our favorite memories together and here we are a year later, married, and still in love. 
After a day at work and teaching dance (both filled with birthday love) I was excited to get home to Dan. He had fresh flowers, a few perfect presents, and a hug waiting for me. For someone who claims he's not good at birthdays, he did a pretty good job. And then it was off to the tennis courts. We seem to like playing tennis on all our special days--the day we got engaged, his birthday, our honeymoon, my's becoming a tradition and I love it. 
*This family picture would not have been possible without the selfie stick Dan gave me! 
After tennis we had dinner at Caputo's (delicious), and headed to my parents house for Mrs. Backers birthday cake (it is not a birthday without Mrs. Backer's!), and presents with my family.
It's also not a birthday without my family. My parents have never missed my birthday. I feel so unbelievably spoiled to be able to say that. For example, this year my dad flew to New Jersey on Sunday at 2pm, and was back home yesterday by 4:30pm--just so he wouldn't miss my birthday. Like I said, spoiled. I love my family so much.
I got home last night with my arms full of thoughtful, lovely gifts, some birthday cake for breakfast, and a heart full of love and gratitude.
Thank you to my sweet husband, my wonderful family, and my amazing friends for making this birthday another one for the books. xoxo.

(kacey.ism 372)