Friday, December 23

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from our home to yours!

Tuesday, December 20

They're married!

Austin and Kitsy got married this last Saturday! We are so excited to have added a wonderful new 
member to the family. They are honestly the most perfect match and Kitsy is such a sweetheart.

Here's how they met: Our mom's have worked together as nurses for over 10 years and have gotten
together for sewing days almost monthly for the last few years. It never occurred to either of them to set
 up their kids, but as fate would have it they ended up at the same nursing school together, Austin just one
 semester ahead of Kitsy. They had seen each other around the halls a few times and when Kitsy needed 
help with some homework, Wendy (her mom), suggested she call Austin for help. And the rest was history!

As you can see, the wedding was gorgeous! Kitsy was radiant and Austin incredibly handsome.
I can't tell you how happy I am for my twin brother who found the woman of his dreams and married her!

Congrats, you two!

Monday, December 12

A week in paradise!

When Lance and I met, he had traveled all over the United States (including Hawaii) with his family and while competing in track for BYU. I, on the other hand, had been all over the world with my family but had been to few states, and never Hawaii. After two international trips with my family, Lance and I decided that it was time for us to take a trip to the islands.

We left Crew at home with grandma and grandpa Merrell, and headed to Hawaii with Lance's parents and his sister Kirstin and her husband Bruce for 8 days in paradise! It was incredible!

Here are the highlights of our week:

Napali Coast boat tour + scuba diving
The Napali Coast is where Jurassic Park was filmed, so that gives you a small idea of the beauty and magnitude of this gorgeous shoreline. I assure you, the pictures do not do it any kind of justice! It's absolutely breathtaking.

 After an hour or so at sea, the dolphins appeared out of nowhere and starting swimming with us!
There were dozens and dozens of dolphins and they were so incredibly social.
Kirstin and I were like little girls on Christmas morning to see the dolphins :)

 Next it was Scuba diving time. Those are nervous smiles, if you can't tell!
 Scott wasn't nervous at all.
Yup, I was pretty much flipping out at this point and we hadn't even gone under.
I think the instructor was saying, "Calm down sweetheart, breath. It's going to be
fine. You are going to do this and you're going to be so proud of yourself."

It was a great pep just wasn't happening. 

After he lost 3 out of the 4 "discovery" scuba divers, our instructor took out the pros, 
Bruce, Kirstin & Lance, who are all certified and went without a problem. 
They also were able to go scuba diving another day!

13 mile Napali coast hike to a 3000 foot waterfall

This hike took us nearly 10 hours from start to finish! It was a grueling, up-and-down
through dense forest, sweaty, dirty hike right along the Napali coast. Most of the way we were hiking
right on the edge of sheer cliffs! We were exhausted and disgusting at the end but it tops
my list as one of the most incredible and memorable hikes of my life!

Heading off into the jungle!
 These spiders were everywhere.
 The first beach. Straight out of LOST.

The end waterfall which was 3000 feet high! There wasn't a single other
soul at the pool and waterfall while we were there. It felt so remote and exotic.

So happy to be there!

On our way out, we spotted a paraglider. Look closely and you'll see him in the top right hand corner.
Before we knew it, he was circling around and getting closer and closer to us. We were right on the
edge of a cliff, mind you, that led straight to the Pacific ocean. All of the sudden, we hear him yell,
"I'm bringing it in!" and he came barreling toward us! He landed right in between Kirstin & Bruce on
 the trail. Crazy dude had paraglided almost the entire island. He said he wasn't worried at all about the
 landing. And I thought we were being hard-core doing that hike!

Snorkeling and sunbathing on Poipu Beach

We saw some pretty incredible things while snorkeling! 
 We also just kicked back and enjoyed the sunlight.


One of my favorite days of the trip! Zip-lining through the gorgeous and exotic forests of Hawaii.
Yes, please.

Delicious food & great company!

We did a lot of swimming at the resort pool, which was incredible. I'm sad I didn't get a
great picture of it. We also cooked a lot of delicious meals, went to farmers markets, visited
waterfalls and enjoyed some delicious cuisine at a fine restaurant. 

We could not have asked for more from our Hawaii trip. We enjoyed every moment and can't 
wait to go back.
Until next time!

Tuesday, December 6

Grandpa Merrell

I have been  neglecting this poor little blog, and for that I'm sorry! We are alive
and well and life seems to be moving at break-neck speeds!

After probably the craziest October of our lives, Lance and I made preparations to go to Hawaii 
with Lance's parents, his sister Kirstin and her husband Bruce. It was a much needed break and there
will be much more on that in another post. But for a moment, I would like to talk about a wonderful
man, my grandpa Merrell, who passed away while we were gone.

My dad was born and raised in Provo in a chicken-coop-turned-home farm house. He grew
up on a farm where work was the family word and there were no exceptions. My wonderful
grandpa worked hard his entire life and he instilled that work ethic in his children as well.
It's a different world we live in now, that's for sure. 

Anyways, I have fond memories of playing around on the farm and spending time with my
grandpa Merrell all of my growing up years. We had the pleasure of having him move
in with my parents the last 2 weeks before he died and it was such a blessing to have him
around! Even when he was in intense pain he was pleasant and cheerful, always trying
to make those around him smile. He was that way right up until the day he died.

We will miss him, his funny jokes, his old stories and most of all, his thumb trick!
You see, my grandpa lost 3 of his fingers in several different accidents. The thumb,
I believe, was lost to an ax while cutting wood. Ouch. But it made for the best
"I lost my thumb" trick you've ever seen. That lost thumb definitely got it's worth in
gold just for all of the shocked little kids, staring with wide-eyes, because grandpa's 
thumb really was gone. How did he do that?!

Anyway, I'm getting sentimental but I just want to recognize this wonderful man
and the legacy of service and hard work that he's left behind. 

You will be missed grandpa!