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)

Monday, September 28, 2015

Yellow as far as the eye can see.

On Friday Dan and I picked up some sandwiches from Pot Belly's, hopped in the car, and headed for the mountains. All week I've been telling him how much I wanted to see the leaves and he got us there!
I love this time of year. I think Autumn is when the Earth looks her best. She's so colorful and bright and stylish. Those pops of yellow, and red, and orange, and that soft golden light....she's just stunning. 
As we were heading up Little Cottonwood I kept oohing and ahhhing like someone who's never seen the mountains before. I kind of love that about Utah--she never gets old. 
We made it to the top of Guardsman Pass just in time to see everything lit up before the Sun tucked herself and for a nice sleep. After walking along the trail and snapping a few pictures we sat ourselves down right on the dirt (because naturally we didn't think to bring a blanket), and had a nice little picnic. 
It's funny to think that a year ago from right now Dan and I had yet to exchange I Love You's. And now here we are, casually eating sandwiches on a dirt trail in the mountains. 
I'm grateful for an adventurer of a husband. He keeps us going and exploring and prevents us from ever being boring (his worst nightmare). 
I'm also grateful for Fall. I refuse to see her as the transition from Summer to Winter. I hope she sticks around for a while. 

(kacey.ism 371)

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Taylor + Tennis + a mini honeymoon + a bridal brunch

We have wasted no time saying goodbye to Summer and hello to September. And suddenly I've blinked and September is half gone, my studio is back in session, and my birthday is three weeks away. How did that happen? I really can't complain about moving so quickly into Fall. We've had a lot of fun these past couple weeks, and while I never like to see Summer go, I can't help but get excited when the crisp Autumn breeze rolls in.

There was no better way to ease out of Summer and into Fall than with the Taylor Swift concert. Yes, Carli and I wore matching T-Swift t-shirts. Yes, we sang louder than most of the 14 year old girls there. Yes, even our husbands couldn't help but love it, and her. I walked out grinning, and Dan and I continued to be entertained by our light up bracelets for days afterwards.

Dan and I snagged a few hours of sleep after the concert, woke up at 6am and headed up to Sun Valley for Labor Day weekend. It was the best. We haven't taken a trip just the two of us since our honeymoon, and now I know we need to do it more often. There's nothing like being just the two of us. We relaxed, watched a lot of the US Open, played a few rounds of tennis, went on walks, took the scooter for a spin, went on a bike ride, and ate a home cooked meal by yours truly. I love more than anything to look over at Dan and smile because he's my husband now, and know that we're taking on the world together. I feel extremely lucky.

When we got back last week I was in full bridal brunch-prep mode aka let's finally hang some pictures up in our house and make it look like our home mode. There's nothing like an upcoming party to make you whip your house into shape. Thanks to Dan it really did happen. I have pictures hanging and new shelves in our family room, and now when I walk in the room it feels like our own little home.
Ann's shower was so much fun. We had a great turnout. Everyone dined on yogurt parfaits, cinnamon twists, and homemade swig cookies. We showered the bride with presents and learned all about how much Nate loves Ann. And let me tell you, he adores her. It makes me so happy to see her so loved.

This week started off with Federer losing the US Open final (I'll still love him forever), and dance getting back in session (woohoo!), it's currently raining outside, and we speak in church on Sunday. Oh hello there, real life! Time to face the music. How about I just sit here and watch my wedding video over and over instead?

(kacey.ism 370)

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Our Favorite Summer Tradition

Every year we plan on taking a big group of friends to Lake Powell at the end of the Summer.
And then Summer comes and is busy and crazy, and I always think it might not happen.
And then always does!
We take the best bunch of friends to our favorite place, and it always ends up being the best trip of the Summer.
This year was especially fun because we had a couple people who had never been before mixed in with our faithful bunch. I love bringing people to Lake Powell for the first time. It reminds me what an amazing place it is and how lucky I am to spend my summers there every year.
After four glorious days filled with surfing, skiing, paddle ball, trick skis, tubing, boat rides, good conversations, and lot of laughs we already can't wait til next year.
There will always be a next year. I'm determined to never let this tradition go.

(kacey.ism 369)

Monday, August 17, 2015

working for the weekends.

Life lately has been all about working for the weekends. 
We've been lucky enough to spend a handful of weekends in Bear Lake, be part of a 30 hour bike ride from SLC to Vegas, celebrate a best friend's wedding, and get to Lake Powell. 

Bear Lake is Dan's favorite place in the world, so I have loved spending time up there with him and his family. They have spent countless hours playing in the sandbox as kids, reading books on the back porch, learning to waterski behind their boat, admiring the gorgeous sunsets, and stargazing under a breathtaking sky for most of their lives. Whenever I'm up there I really feel apart of the Jenson clan and I love it. I love being part of the new memories they're making. I know Bear Lake is going to be a big part of my life now, and I wouldn't want it any other way. 
The bike ride we did is called Saints to Sinners. And we really did ride our bikes from Salt Lake to Vegas in a day. Well, we each rode various legs from Salt Lake to Vegas. Saints to Sinners is a ride to raise ALS awareness. We were on team Creighton's Riders. Everyone on our team (about 80) were all there to support Creighton Rider himself, who is suffering from ALS, yet still comes every year and rides his bike with his sweet wife Lisa. We felt so honored to be apart of something so special. 
Sadie and Logan are married! It was the happiest day. They were just glowing. I loved seeing Sadie, who I have known for 20 years, look happier than I have ever seen her. Those two are the perfect match. I know I've only been married for two months, but I can already say it is the best life there is, and I'm so happy they get to experience it. 
Last weekend we shot down to Lake Powell for a quick few days with the Leishmans. And even though it rained the first day and we had a wind storm somewhere in the middle, it was a much needed, memorable, happy trip. The water was warm, the skiing was lovely, and as is always the case with Powell, we spent the days smiling and laughing. We were even gifted with a double rainbow after we'd spent an hour re-anchoring the houseboat on our windy afternoon. 
We're spoiled and are heading down to Powell again soon. I'm so excited it's hard to sit still. 

Eventually we'll spend a Saturday hanging pictures, making DI runs, and adding some much needed furniture to our house. But until then we'll be doing what we can to come up with more adventures. 

(kacey.ism 368)

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Happy Birthday USA

The (second) best day of the year is the 4th of July. 
**I say second because June 6th just got bumped into first place.
I love celebrating America more than I love celebrating my own birthday (and that's saying a lot).
Sun Valley does the fourth right. Well, I should say the Schneider's in Sun Valley do it right. 
We went running, rode our bikes, had a relay race that ended in a water fight, sat by the pool, and slack lined--all before 4pm I might add. 
That evening we hosted a big BBQ with wonderful friends and played our annual volleyball match. (Schneider's were victorious this year!) 
Dan and I are becoming quite the ice cream makers. It's been fun to provide everyone's favorite part of the meal, and have them like it! Phew. 
We ended our night by going to the ice show and enjoying their fireworks. 
We sang Yankee Doodle as we rode our scooters all the way home.

A friend reminded me that a year ago I said I would be married by the 4th of July, 2015. 
And I must say that looking over at my husband during those fireworks probably makes this the best 4th of July yet. 

(kacey.ism 367)

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Est. June 6, 2015

The Jensons
Est. June 6, 2015
We've been living in total bliss for 18 married days now.

Much much more to come....

(kacey.ism 366)

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Happy Birthday to Dan!

On Tuesday we celebrated my best friend's birthday.
Dan turned 26! 
I was so excited to celebrate him from sun up to sun down, and spoil him, and sing happy birthday to him, and make him the center of attention all day long (his least favorite place to be). 
I told him he better get used to it--I don't mess around when it comes to birthdays. 
We went to lunch, played a round of tennis that turned into a battle against the wind, opened presents, had dinner with his family, dessert with my family, and ended the night with a round of Mexican Train. I think it was a birthday well spent. 

I'm so grateful for that birthday boy. I love him for so many reasons. I love him because he's good, and kind, and loving, and fun, and because when he looks at me I know he loves me too. 
Today he turns 26, next year he turns 27, in ten years he turns 36, and in fifty years he'll turn 76. And the best part is I plan to be there with my arm around him, singing happy birthday in his ear for every single one. 

(kacey.ism 364)

Monday, April 27, 2015

40 days

F O R T Y  D A Y S

In forty days I get to call him my husband.
If this photo isn't proof, I have about 200 more from our engagements that prove I spend most of my time staring at him with hearts in my eyes. 
I can't help it. I'm not sorry for it. And I plan to continue to stare at him that way for the rest of my life. 

(kacey.ism 363)

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Palm Springs Please

Last week Dan and I broke our 200+ consecutive days in a row as he headed off to Mexico and I headed down to Palm Springs. 
It was a sunny, beautiful, much needed 4 days of relaxation, tennis, and time with my family. 
I love the BNP Paribas tennis tournament. You get to see the players up close and personal, and watch tennis under the hot Palm Springs sun. 
We saw a lot of tennis and came home with the tan lines to prove it. 
We also played some tennis, relaxed by the pool, and watched more tennis...The perfect Schneider weekend. 
It's always hard to come home from vacation, but having my fiancĂ©, who I had not seen for 9 days, pick me up from the airport made it well worth it. 
Until next time Palm Springs! 

(kacey.ism 362)