Monday, July 27, 2009

Let the Good Times Roll...

This weekend held a few fun festivities for the Dahl Family. Saturday morning our Ward Mission hosted a Pioneer Day Potluck Brunch. (Sorry, no pictures!) It started at 10am, but the quiche that I was bringing took me a bit longer to get into the oven than I really wanted it to, and I ended up being a whole hour late. However, there were still plenty of people there, and it looked like everyone was happy that I brought something different than the expected doughnuts and other sweet breakfast foods. I made 2 quiches, and I brought home about 1/2 a quiche of leftovers. I was told that I missed all the pioneer stories and stuff, but I thoroughly enjoyed the conversations with the people there while I ate.
Saturday night, Mark and I went to our very first Red Sox Game at Fenway Park.
We got tickets through a member of our ward because they reserved a couple sections for LDS Red Sox Night. We were able to buy 4 discounted tickets, and we brought our next-door neighbors.



We were up in the "bleacher section" and thought that our seats weren't too bad. I thought to myself that it would be very difficult to be able to see the pitches, but still fun to see the whole field. Then, a nice older gentleman came up to us and asked us if we would mind trading tickets with him. He had 4 tickets for box seats, but his 2 grandchildren were sitting in our section, and they wanted to sit by them. He wasn't really sure if the seats were really any better, but it would get us a little closer to the field, and it would help him to be by his grandkids. We obliged. It turned out that those seats were WAY BETTER than the ones we had before. We could actually see the back of the field in case a fly ball went all the way back and there was an miraculous catch (which I don't recall happening, but if it did we could've seen it.) We were right by the other teams Bull-Pen too...although, we didn't really watch the pitchers warming up much.
As it turns out, the tickets he traded us were purchased through the LDS Night too because our Church's name was printed across the bottom of those tickets too. By listening to the conversation going on behind us, we knew that we were surround by other LDS too. So...that was kind of fun...not that we actually talked to any of them, but their little kids were cute.

Both Greg and I bought a t-shirt to wear at the game (plus, I had been wanting one of my own).

The game was pretty fun, lots of things to watch in case you're not really into baseball...the vendors walking around, people in the crowd trying to start a wave, the wave that made it successfully around the stadium 3 1/2 times, the people trying to get on TV with the signs they were holding up (like "Redheads love the Red Sox"), etc. The Red Sox won, so that was another bonus to the evening.

It was really fun to hang out with Greg and Heather again because it has been a while since we really got to do much with them.


After the game we decided to walk home instead of trying to take the T. We knew that all the T's get so crowded after a game, and with how hot we all were, none of us wanted to try to squish into an overcrowded (probably stinky), sticky hot T. It took us about an hour to get home, but it felt good to get some good exercise and friendly conversation.

Sunday was a normal Sabbath of us. After our church meetings we went to the Swain's for dinner. She served a crock-pot bean soup with shredded pork shoulder and mojo sauce. I really liked it, plus it's rich in iron and protein for us pregnant ladies- YAY! We really had a fun time just hanging out and playing Ligretto, playing with Elliott, and sharing some cream cheese pie with blueberry pie filling. We probably stayed a little too late, but we were just having too much fun. Thanks Birgit and Nathan!!

Oh, and guess what!! This past weekend Mark just got a letter from the Dean at the law school that said he was given a Dean's Award for being the top student in his Professional Responsibility class. I told you Mark was awesome!! The professor selected him as the top student, and now this will be something on his permanent academic record. That's a pretty awesome honor, and we were both very happy to receive it. It looks like this last semester was really good to Mark and it just seems to get better and better. The only problem we're facing now is the fact that he's a 3L, which means that opportunities for jobs are sparse. Hopefully everything will work out though!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Just so you know...

I've got the greatest husband in the world! I'm not really going to elaborate because it's not like he did something really special for me to blog about or anything...it's just that I think he's awesome. I love him so much! Just thought you'd like to know!

Monday, July 13, 2009

It's a Wonderful Day in the Westminster Ward Neighborhood

This past weekend was truly a special treat for me. After work on Friday night I flew to Maryland to visit my friend Theresa Bailey. (Some of you may remember her from my trip back in March- see post from March 17, 2009. ) I know that I just saw her a few months ago, and really hadn't seen her for years prior to that visit, but this was a very special occasion that I just couldn't miss. Since the last time I saw her in March, my friend of 12 years had decided to be baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She had several struggles throughout her life, and I was so happy to be a part of this wonderful event. She wanted to do something good for herself and her daughter, and she has just been so hungry for knowledge and truth.

On Friday night, I arrived at the Baltimore airport at about 10pm, and didn't wait long before I was able to meet up with Theresa and meet her local friend Randolyn Reid. Getting back to her place was fairly uneventful (except for being pulled over for not coming to a complete stop at the blinking red light- she was just given a written warning!), and we probably stayed up a bit too late chatting. I was given the honor of sleeping in her step-mom's bed since she was out of town that weekend with the step-sister looking at colleges all over New England. It was so peaceful on their farm, waking up to the sounds of the breeze in the trees, light from the morning sun, and the light-but-not-too-heavy humidity.
Saturday we had a lazy start, with eggs, toast, and sausage for breakfast. Theresa's dad came over to hang out with us for a little bit, then we took a packed lunch, headed for a library and then to the duck pond for a picnic.


The LDS missionaries who have been working with Theresa the past couple months came by, as well as Randolyn.

Note the feathers in his pockets... Nina was collecting them for him.

Elder Thorne and I planned the musical number for the baptism the following day- "Lead, Kindly Light"- while the others took moldy bread to go feed to the ducks in the pond. Theresa had originally thought that we would go to the Music and Arts Festival that was going on in town, but when we found out that admission was $25 instead of free, we decided to pass. We went back home and played with Nina for a little bit before both of us were so overcome by the humidity and heat of the day that we both fell asleep.

Nina was patient and played by herself for a little while as we napped, but when she decided that she wanted to read a book (and since she can't read herself yet), inevitably I was the one she woke up to read to her.

After that we had chicken and alfredo for dinner, and ate it outside since the weather was so beautiful.


We did a little bit of swinging on the hammock, playing with the dogs, and then decided to go out for ice cream and bring it back to watch a movie.
video

We ended up watching episodes of Gilmore Girls (4th season) instead. I've heard of that show before, and know several people who like it, but I've never seen any of them until this time. It was pretty fun. I ate my entire pint of ice cream...which is probably not a good thing, but it was sooo yummy! We were watching until about 11:00pm, and we probably could've stayed up much later watching more episodes, but we knew we needed to get out of the house by 8:30am for Church...which meant we needed to go to sleep sooner rather than later.

Sunday was the big day, so of course we somehow didn't get out of the house until about 10 minutes later than we wanted to... and on the way to church I realized I'd forgotten my camera back at the house (but that's ok because I could take pictures with my phone!)... On the way Theresa commented on how funny it would be if the bishop, who always gives the announcements at the beginning of the Sacrament Meeting, would announce that her baptism was going to be that afternoon right after Church and that she wasn't even there in the congregation. We didn't quite arrive on time, but we walked in during the opening prayer, so we weren't too late. We sat by Randolyn and had a pleasant day in our meetings. Theresa had forewarned me that I was like a celebrity to some of the people in the ward because there were several who heard of me and were hoping that I would be able to make it down for her baptism to meet me. I even had someone say "Welcome, Kat!" before I had even been introduced to him. It was so good to see so many people who were reaching out to Theresa, excited for the day that she'd be baptized, and to see that she really does have a support group there in the Westminster Ward.

After the 3 hours of church meetings, it felt a little frantic...trying to get pictures of Theresa and the Elders before they changed into white clothes, trying to get Elder Thorne in the same room so that we could go over the musical number with the accompanist before the ceremony, and making sure that we had everything all set up nicely in the bathroom for when she would be coming out of the water. The Relief Society President was nice enough to go home and get a couple towels (why didn't I think to remember to bring towels?...maybe because all the baptisms I've done for the past 6 years have been in the temples where they provide towels! I was kicking myself for not thinking of it myself!!)



With all that was going on, as well as the font-filling taking a few more minutes, we started the ceremony a little later than scheduled, but it didn't really matter. From the moment of the opening song, the Spirit was there in the room. Theresa had picked a couple of short songs for the opening a closing numbers because she didn't want to prolong the ceremony, but I did find them quite fitting. The opening prayer was given by Elder Hardman and then Sister Reid gave a well-prepared an nicely presented talk on baptism. Then it was time for the special ordinance. I led Nina out to the font and told her to kneel right in front by where the bishop was standing. Then I made my way back into the side where she would come out of the water toward the bathroom. Theresa, contrary to what some may think, is not one who likes to be in the center of attention. She was nervous to have so many people watching her, cracking little jokes to ease her tension, questioning if they needed to do it again because her feet came up...but really she did great!



While the group waited for her and Elder Thorne to change back into their regular clothes, they showed a video of Christ's life, emphasizing His baptism. When they had both returned, we continued the ceremony with Elder Thorne and me singing what we prepared and then it was my turn to speak on the Holy Ghost. I really don't know how long I talked...all I know is that I was so filled with joy to see her sitting there. I wanted to use that moment to teach her just how special a gift it is that we can have the Holy Ghost with us as a constant companion. I honestly didn't care what her ward members would think about what I had to say...my little talk was for Theresa, and I shared my testimony with her the best I knew how. Yeah, I cried the whole time, but you'd expect that from me... let alone the fact that I'm pregnant too! :) What was important was that she appreciated what I was saying for her, and that I got to really be a part of this special day in her life.

We closed after a few remarks from her Relief Society President and Bishop Cook with the song and prayer. Then after all was said and done, Theresa was inviting several people in the group to refreshments at Randolyn's house. We had lunch there and then had to head back to Theresa's place to pack. We both had to pack because Theresa had to bring Nina to her dad's place for a couple weeks.

On the way to the airport, Nina zonked right out. I thought that I might have left my phone at her house, but I found it in my bag, so we continued on without another thought of concern.


Once we got to the airport, it was 6:04pm and I had a 7:00 flight...no worries... that is until we couldn't get the back of her truck to open up. We were pushing, and pulling, and pushing for probably about 5 whole minutes before we were able to get it unstuck. Finally we got it to open, took one last picture, and then I rushed to the AirTran counter to check-in. Turns out that it was issued through AirTran, but I was actually flying on US Airways! Oops! I had to then move to the other line, which took much longer than a line of only 1 person should really take. Security had a long line, but I wasn't worried about missing my flight. Turns out, my gate was (of course) in one of the furthest gates away, and I was getting tired from my heavy backpack. I was taking an escalator down to the next level of gates, and an airport worker asked me if I was going to LaGuardia. "Yes, actually!" I replied. "Well, you're the last one!" I guess the whole plane had boarded and I was the only one they were waiting on...good thing I was able to check-in at the right counter, huh?


It was a short ride from Boston to BWI, but there wasn't a direct return flight, so I had a lay-over in NYC. It was a pretty short connection, but long enough for me to eat dinner (packed from the left-overs from Randolyn's house), call Mark to tell him that my flight would actually be arriving 2 hours earlier than I thought it would be arriving to Boston, and to just relax for a little bit. This second plane was a much larger aircraft, but not nearly as crowded. I had the entire row to myself...I didn't know what to do with my whole 3 seats!! I tried lying down, but that wasn't comfortable, but I did lean up against the window and put my feet up as I watched the lights underneath pass by.


Looking back at it, this was really a great weekend! Theresa seemed so much happier than the last time I saw her... even though things are still hard for her with money and trying to find a job, overall she is a happier person. She has plans for trying to go back to school to become an X-ray technician and then eventually a radiologist. She's also lost 30 pounds since early March! I'm so proud of her! Watch out everybody... this lady is on a ROLL!! Woohoo!
This will be a weekend that I will fondly remember for a very long time!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Independence Day Weekend

Ok, so I better post this before I forget what we actually did!

It was so fun to have a 3-day weekend with Mark because both of us had Friday the 3rd off of work. We had talked about certain plans with a few different friends, but I guess we never actually confirmed with anyone. So when Friday morning came around, we realized that we really didn't have plans. We called around to a few friends, and we were finally able to set-up a trip to downtown with Birgit Swain and her little boy Elliot.

Mark bought a Boston Red Sox hat (which was long over-due) and we saw a few fun things downtown like:
Copper People! Colonial Militia

And a street performer who liked to balance things on his face... yes, that's a baby stroller he's balancing on his chin!

After a little wandering, we decided to make our way to the Dress Rehearsal for the Boston Pops Concert guest starring Neil Diamond. When we got to the entrance of the Hatch Shell Oval, there were really long lines. I remember going to the Pops last year, but I didn't remember there being such a long line to the actual event, and this was the Dress Rehearsal. Mark was pretty certain that we should've gotten there earlier, but I was ok with when we got there. The line was only continuing to grow before it got shorter. We were still able to set up our chairs and blankets on the lawn. We had enough space for the 4 of us...even for Mark to get in a little rest before they started!

Even Elliot got a little shut-eye!

a few fun shots from our several hours of hanging out before and during the concert rehearsal


Elliot saw someone with these light wands, and he got pretty excited. They told Birgit she could keep it since it was really cheap and they didn't care. It made him happy!


By the time we got home it was pretty late, but it was a fun time spent with Birgit. It turned out that her husband Nathan wasn't able to make it to the rehearsal as planned, but we still got to see them again the next day at a BBQ hosted by the Flandros.

Some of the guys getting to know each other...note Mark's cheesy grin!

Doug Flandro (the gracious host) and his wife Sarah

Probably one of the best pictures taken of Mark and me in a really long time


After the BBQ we invited several people to come over and watch Independence Day with us, but only the Swains were able to make it, and they had to leave before it was over to get to their plans to watch the fireworks. We decided to finish the movie anyway and go to watch the fireworks on our own. We were going to go to the top of the BU Law Tower, but Mark said that he thought it was too far away, so we should cross over to the other side of the river and watch it from Memorial Drive. I suggested crossing at the BU Bridge and then walking up Memorial, but Mark figured that since the Mass Ave. Bridge is closer to where they set off the fireworks, it would be better place to cross over and not have to walk so far up Memorial.
So our plans changed mid-stride, and we thought that we were heading in the right direction for the best spot to watch the fireworks because there was a crowd in the streets heading the same way we were.


But when the crowd started looking like this, we got a little worried.
The two of us trying to look like we're having a good time!!


It turned out that the entire bridge was cram-packed with people, and we couldn't even cross it to get to Memorial Dr. So we watched what fireworks we could from the edge of the bridge...not the greatest view in the world, but oh well!

This was what our view looked like as short people in the middle of a huge crowd!
But it wasn't all bad!

On Sunday the 5th, we had dinner with some friends from the ward (a couple I been meaning to get together with, but it just never happened before now), and then we went to pick-up our friend Anny Li from the airport. Overall, it was a good weekend, and we were really glad to have a few days to relax together to celebrate Independence Day. Plans may not have all gone as planned, but we still had a great weekend!