The Story of Us, Part Five

Pretty soon it was time for me to meet Bryan’s family and I was very very nervous.  We made the long drive to CA for Thanksgiving.  We had fun at the beach, seeing the lights at the Oakland Temple, and going to San Francisco.  I loved being with Bryan’s family and knew these were people I could be related to.  The only hitch was when Bryan got not one but two speeding tickets on the drive home (stupid construction zones.)  After that I knew I had seen Bryan at his most frustrated and grouchy. 
 San Francisco

In December Bryan and I went on one of our best dates.  He surprised me and took me up to Salt Lake to see The Christmas Carol.  Around this time I started feeling pretty confident in this Bryan guy.  I started to give little hints that maybe it was time for us to talk about getting engaged.  Bryan kindly told me “slow down crazy” (can you imagine how many times he’s told me that in the past 6 years?)

We each went to our own home for Christmas then he came to Richmond for the last part of Winter Break.  Meanwhile we had both had a change of heart.  Bryan came ready to talk about marriage and I had decided that maybe being a kid was really fun and marriage was too scary.  Bryan loves to tell people that I dumped him the night he got to my house (my story is obviously quite different- I hardly dumped him, I just told him I wasn’t as ready as I had been before.)  I’m afraid I made the visit a little awkward for Bryan but we still had fun.

We returned to Provo and it took me just a few days to figure it all out.  I was 100% in and luckily he still was too!  I knew a ring was coming and I couldn’t help but wonder every morning if that was going to be the day.  (Can you imagine how much pressure I was under to look good every day?!?  those were rough times.) 

On Valentine’s Day Bryan told me he wanted to go see his cousin’s hockey game in Park City.  We had been on a fun date up to Park City a few weeks earlier and had eaten at a great restaurant so we planned to go back.  But when Bryan picked me up he seemed flustered.  “We’re not going to Park City anymore,” he said.  I figured the game had been canceled or delayed or something and he was just stressed trying to figure out a Plan B.

We went to Carrabba’s (our favorite) and put our name on the 3 hour waiting list and then Bryan went back into ‘trying to figure out what to do’ mode.  We went back to my apartment so I could show him the cute Valentines my students made me.  That took a little while, but we still had time to kill before we could go eat. 

We drove around and ended up on Y Mountain at the trailhead.  Bryan wanted to get out and I tried to resist (it was cold!) but he convinced me.  The irony is that for a month I had been planning for this moment and then when it was happening I didn’t catch on until the very last second. 

I realized that Bryan was shaking which was very unlike him.  And then before my small brain could put it all together he was down on one knee.  I don’t remember much of what he said, but I do remember he asked me to marry him.  And, I know this is going to come as a shock, but I said yes!
 We're engaged!
Then on July 6th we sealed the deal.  


The Story of Us, Part Four

In the summer of 2006 Bryan and I were 5,000 miles apart.  When I was waking up for the day he was going to bed.  I was discovering the most incredible places, watching amazing shows, meeting wonderful people, and learning so much.  He was spending time with his family, working hard at his internship, deciding to be a Civil Engineer, and surfing.

Emails, letters, postcards, and even a few packages whizzed across the ocean.  We wrote each other every day and sometimes even multiple times a day.  Though we were apart, this time was priceless because we got to know each other so well. 

On my last day in London Bryan sent me an email confirmation of his flight coming to Richmond in a few weeks.  I was ecstatic, and it made leaving that glorious place a little easier knowing I’d see him soon.  Bryan came for a long weekend and my family loved meeting him.  Just the two of us spent a day up in DC, which was so so fun.  The weekend was a nice reassurance that I did still like real Bryan and not just letter-writing Bryan.

 Bryan with all the Andersons- oh, they all look so little
Washington Monument

About a month later we were heading back to Provo ready for a new semester of school and to finally be able to date like normal people.   At this point we’d been dating for almost 5 months but we had spent only 2.5 weeks of that time actually together. 

We had so much fun that fall.  We ate lunch together on the wall outside the library when it was nice and inside the Wilk when it was cold.  We went to football games and won a pumpkin carving contest.  I cleaned Bryan's disgusting apartment and we laughed about his completely insane roommate.  We spent a lot of time in the library studying (our moms would be so proud) and would always get ice cream afterward.  

Prize-winning pumpkin

On Bryan's birthday I planned a fun day for us.  I got a bunch of friends together to surprise Bryan and have breakfast at Kneaders.  Then I'm pretty sure he worked on my car that day (because he's great like that.)  At night we went up to Cafe Pierpont in Salt Lake for dinner then went bowling with some friends.  As Bryan was dropping me off at home that night he said, "Rachel, I think I love you."  To which I eloquently replied, "You just think?!?!?!"  Then I couldn't wait any longer and said, "I love you Bryan."  And he said it back.
Birthday Dinner in SLC

To be continued...


The Story of Us, Part Three

We held hands.  So what now?  I had no clue what to expect.  Keep in mind that it is early April.  We had approximately 2 weeks left in Provo then I was leaving for my Study Abroad in London and he was heading to California to work for the summer.

A couple nights later Bryan asked me on a real date.  We went with his brother and sister-in-law to Trafalga.  We had fun playing miniature golf, riding go-karts, and playing in the arcade.  At the end of the night Bryan let me choose what to get with our tickets.  I got these weird bubble things (Bryan later told me that was a stupid pick, he thought I should have gotten a stuffed animal to “remember the night by” but that was before he learned of my deep hatred for stuffed animals.)  But I’m no dummy.  I got the bubbles thinking I’d be able to convince Bryan to come back to my apartment to try them out. 

Success.  Bryan came back and we hung out for a little bit longer.  Then, as he was leaving he kissed me.  After he left I ran back to tell my roommates the exciting news.    Unfortunately we forgot that Bryan had to walk by our window to make it back to his apartment.  He told me the next day that he heard us screaming in excitement.  Smooth move Rach.

Poor Bryan had mega- hard math classes that semester and he probably should have spent more time studying for his finals, but for once in the history of forever Provo had nice weather that April.  So we made the most of those short 2 weeks we had together.  We hiked up the canyon, had picnics at the park, went to Velour for open mic night, attended a baseball game, ate ice cream, and spent as much time as possible together.
At Velour

Eventually our last night came around.  We walked around Provo until it got too cold to be outside then we headed to Village Inn for hot chocolate (the typical post- curfew activity for BYU couples.)  We had had a great few weeks together but I wasn’t sure what was going to happen next.  Would we make it through 4 months of being very far apart?  Would we even try to make it or just end things now?

Bryan said he had a present for me and pulled out a Walmart bag (the boy has impeccable taste in wrapping paper.)  It was a picture frame with a picture of us.   That’s when he told me he wanted to stay together over the summer. 

So we said a tearful goodbye and headed to our separate destinations.
Our last day together- we were sweaty from packing, moving and cleaning all day and I was about to get on a red eye flight, nice.

To be continued...


The Story of Us, Part Two

Recap-  I like Bryan, he doesn’t know it, we’re good friends.

By Valentine’s Day 2006 things were kind of bleak in my life.  Roommate #1 was engaged, Roommate #2 had a boyfriend and Roommate #3 was on a date with a boy who would become her boyfriend that night and later her husband.  Where was I?  Alone and still pining after Bryan.  I went to a Valentine’s Party and Bryan was there but then he left to talk to his mom on the phone.  Seriously?!?!  Who talks to their mom on Valentine’s Night?  I guess they say that if a boy treats his mom well then he will be good to his wife- worked out nicely for me.

Since all of our roommates had significant others there were much fewer hangouts between our two apartments.  I still liked him a lot, but was beginning to give up. 

At the end of March Bryan told me about some hot springs down in Spanish Fork that we could hike to.  It sounded fun so we gathered a group of people to go.  And, as these things usually go, everybody ended up in couples as we hiked.  And somehow, Bryan and I ended up hiking together.   And this is where the magic happens. 

The trail had lots of snow and ice patches.  Any self-respecting girl in love with the boy she was with would use this to her advantage.  I perhaps slipped a little more than was needful and grabbed onto big, strong Bryan to help stable me.  And, one time I grabbed his hand he didn’t let go.  We held hands the whole rest of the way and I think I smiled bigger that night than I ever had before. 

At the Hot Springs on hand-holding night

To be Continued…


The Story of Us, Part One

I’ve learned that buying a house is possibly the slowest and most frustrating process there is.  About a month ago our realtor said, “This will happen soon, better get packing!”  Either she grossly overestimated the amount of belongings we have or she grossly underestimated the time it would take to close on this freakin’ house.  So, I’m pretty much all packed up and just waiting.  And waiting around with all my belongings packed up means I have lots of time for blogging!  I’ve seen a few people do this and I think they’re delightful to read.  If you think it’s annoying though, I’m terribly sorry.  Just ignore my blog for the next few days.

Bryan and I met in the fall of 2005.  We were in the same ward at BYU.  I had two tall and gorgeous roommates and when they heard there was an apartment in our ward that had 3 guys who were 6+ feet tall they dragged me to meet them.  When I laid eyes on all 6 foot 4 inches of Bryan, I was instantly swooning. 

Our apartments became good friends that year and we all hung out a lot (another marriage came out of this friendship as well)  We went to Rock the Block together, played baseball in a parking lot, went up the canyon, had Halloween parties, etc.  One memorable night we had a prank war with the boys that left our little apartment looking like this:

I never let on to Bryan that I was majorly crushing because I wasn’t sure how he felt and I didn’t want to mess up our friendship.   In December Lisa’s dad had 4 extra tickets to see The Forgotten Carol.  Lisa convinced me to go with her and ask Bryan (the only time I’ve ever asked a boy out on a date and it was extreeeeeemely nerve-wracking- poor boys.)  We went, had a great time at the play and eating pie afterwards.  
Post-edit: This is the picture from our Forgotten Carol date.  I knew it existed somewhere, it just took some extra time to find

After the date I thought “Okay, the ball’s in his court.  If he likes me he can take this thing further.”  But he didn’t.  Later he told me he had no clue of my intentions then.  I decided that I was doomed to be his good friend with a major secret crush on him forever.

To be continued…

Our pre-dating life- having s'mores up the canyon


International Baby

Remember this outfit Uncle Chad brought back from Japan for Jilly?

Well, Bryan has a coworker from India who just brought this little dress back for Jilly

It has little bells sewn on the skirt and she loves that it makes noise when she moves.


Dancing Queen

Friday was a big day for Miss Jilly.  I was on the phone with my mom and Jilly was wrestling with me trying to get the phone.  All of a sudden I felt something hard in her mouth- a tooth!

Then in the evening we were playing and she took her first step!  She repeated it a few times over the weekend, but always just one wobbly step.

And, lastly, on Friday we filmed this little gem.  The girl loves to dance- solid proof that she's my daughter!


Tough Mudder

Yesterday Bryan and his 3 brothers completed the Tough Mudder in Tahoe.  It's basically a 13 mile obstacle course up the ski slope and back that took a lot of training.  Yes, they're crazy.

The Mudders (sporting the Gorilla face which inspired the team name The Gorillas) leaving my house in the wee hours of the morning

They numbered his forehead so they could identify him just in case he died on the trail 

The Gorillas- Chad looks really happy to have just signed his life away on that waiver 

This is one of the obstacles- we were too late to see our guys but that guy at the back was screaming what we can only guess was obscenities in Japanese the whole time.  Glad Jilly doesn't know Japanese! 

Jilly playing with her Grandma while we waited.  We think we deserve Tough Mudder status as well because we stood at the Finish Line in the blazing sun for 3 hours.  They told us to expect them in 2 hours- it took 4.5!

These are the last 2 obstacles- they had to walk across those beams then through those hanging yellow wires that were charged with 10,000 volts of electricity. 

Almost Done! 

 One of the rules of being a Tough Mudder is you can't smile

Donating his shoes- hallelujah those disgusting things didn't come back to my house 

 My favorite Mudders

Afterward we relaxed by the lake - our little beach baby was in heaven


10 months

These pictures make me a little sad because I think she looks like a little kid more than a baby.  I would forbid her from getting any older, but she keeps getting cuter and more fun every day.

At 10 Months Jilly:
- loves cats (much to my chagrin)
- is obsessed with tongues- she sticks hers out all the time and loves it when other people stick their tongue out as well
- stands all by herself and is a speed crawler
- hates to have her diaper changed, thus we often have a bare-bummed baby crawling around our apartment
- loves her play time with daddy every night will I clean up after dinner
- eats anything within her reach


Greatest Show on Earth

On Saturday we went to the Circus with Bryan's parents.  The highlight of the show was Jilly eating her first piece of licorice.  She loved it and was covered in red stickiness for the rest of the day.  The licorice also gave her a nice sugar rush- she was literally bouncing up and down until she crashed and fell asleep.  Perhaps not our finest parenting day, but we sure had a lot of fun!

Believe it or not, this is the best picture of the day.  Circuses do not lend themselves to picture taking.  



In 2001 I had just started my sophomore year of high school.  On the morning of September 11th I was sitting in Mrs. Rollison's homeroom and as people walked in there were whispers about planes, towers, and an attack.  No one quite knew what was going on so our teacher turned on the tv.  I remember smoke, lots of smoke.  I don't remember very much about school that day but I will never forget 6th period.  A girl was called to the office.  She seemed nervous so my teacher said, "Don't worry, I'm sure you're not in trouble," to which the girl replied, "I'm not worried about being in trouble.  I'm worried about my dad- he works in the Pentagon."  The room was silent as we all waited and hoped for her to return with good news.  Luckily, she did- her dad was fine.  

9/11 is always a reminder to me to be grateful for all I have.  I'm grateful for my family, my country, my friends, my health, my safety, my beliefs, my education, and my freedom.


A pair of pears

Actually, it's about 20 pairs of pears.  And they're all sitting on my kitchen counter.  I'm planning on feeding most of them to Miss Jilly girl.  But, even a little hungry caterpillar like her can't eat that many pears.  So I need any and all delicious pear recipes you have.   Thanks!


We're Moving!

But, not very far away.  We bought a townhouse that is about 7 minutes away from where we live now.  Best part of our new home?  We'll have a garage for all of Bryan's toys and a craft room/guest bedroom for all of my toys.  We may never see each other again.  As I type this I can hear our upstairs neighbors- sounds like they have set up a woodworking shop up there.  Yes, we're very ready to move.

So, not much is going on around here except packing which means I put things in a box while Jilly tries as quickly as she can to take everything out of the box.  She's made packing very exciting.



When I was little I looked up at those huge Utah mountains and proclaimed that the state was ugly and I hated it.  Then I lived there for 6 years and I fell in love with those mountains.  They are beautiful in their own majestic way, and provide so much entertainment for us!

Jilly and I were excited to visit Utah.  My family was there so Jilly had lots of fun playing with her aunties and uncle.  We also visited lots of my aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents.  I have 72 relatives living in Utah (I realize that I exaggerate a lot, but this is no exaggeration, I counted.)  We traveled all over the state seeing most of them.  To my Utah Friends- I am so sorry I couldn't see you, I didn't have my own car nor my own schedule.  We were at the mercy of the group and with 72 relatives to see friends had to get the cut.  We'll have to make another trip soon to see friends.  We love you!

While in Utah we:
- went up the canyon for a hike, picnic, and roasting s'mores
- got to be there for my cousin Josh's homecoming
- spent a day playing at Seven Peaks Salt Lake
- walked around Temple Square
- visited some adorable 3 week old puppies (our dog's half siblings)
- went to the zoo for Jilly's first time
- went on a hike up to Cecret Lake
- saw The Help while my saintly dad watched 9 little kids
- went swimming in my cousins' pool

Welcome Home Josh!  Can you tell that we're all on our toes trying to look taller?  Even on my toes I'm the shortest. 

Jilly loved hiking with her Grandpa 

My aunt and cousin fed Jilly a piece of cake- obviously she loved it 

Checking out the elephants with Auntie Jenn

She loved the monkeys and as I watched them I realized she is very much like them!

This puppy and Jilly just stared at each other for a while and they were both making the same squeaking noise at each other, it was so funny

at the Christus statue