Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Andrew's Bday

It was Andrew's birthday on Monday! Happy 26th stinks!

In Andrew's family there is this ongoing joke about how Andrew was a mistake and how his parents forget his birthday every year. Poor, poor Andrew. A story is told that one year they even forgot his birthday when they were in Lake Powell where there were no malls or even Wal-Marts easily accessible. Andrew got the best that the Bullfrog Marina store could offer including an orange life preserver, a 6 pack of Dr. Pepper, a Page, AZ trucker hat and crushed ice. It seems like every year his memory of this event gets even more vivid and even more painful.

In my family birthdays were always a huge deal. We decorated with the exact same crepe paper decorations for about 20 years of my life and we did the whole shebang. I loved my birthday growing up except for the fact that since my birthday was the day school started I received things like scissors and rulers from my friends. In any case, Andrew, because of his traumatic past, became the birthday Scrooge. So for his birthday this year he didn't want anything but I couldn't let that fly so I surprised him with a new cowboy shirt and a couples massage at the Grand America.

Okay, first of all I love that place. Andrew commented a couple times that it felt like we were in a James Bond movie. We had access to the entire spa facilities all day so before our massage we went swimming in their indoor pool that overlooked the courtyard and sat in the hot tub. We were in heaven :)

Then there was the massage...oh, the massage...When we got into the room there were chocolates made by the pastry chef and a raspberry elixir waiting. (I'm not quite sure what is different about an elixir than just a regular drink but it was incredible) And the massages just blew us away, it was 50 minutes of pure heaven. After the glorious event we both said that it was one of the best we've ever had! (and my mom was a massage therapist for 20 years so that is really saying something.) I especially liked my therapist because she had similar hands as my mom. She was firm but gentle and did some stretching which I love!
Overall, I give the Grand Spa a 5 Diamond review. If only we were really James Bond, that would be the life.

But we had to get back in our Toyota Camry and head back to the real world far from glamorous jobs and expensive massages. *tear*

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


Every one of our posts involve horses. A lot of people ask me how I grew to love horses so much and I can't remember one specific moment when I said "This is my passion" but horses have been a very prominent part of my life since I was a baby.

It started with my mom. She had horses all growing up. Her first horse was named Shortcake and she loved that horse. She used to tell me stories of how her family wasn't able to afford a saddle so the kids had to ride him bareback everywhere. She grew up in Menlo Park, California, about 15 minutes away from Stanford University. Leland Stanford bought up all of the land around Stanford University including a lot of land next to my Grandparent's house but somehow my mom, with her grace and charm, got a key and permission to ride through the hills whenever she wanted. How could anyone say no to her?

When she decided to go to college she immediately fell in love the idea of merging her passion for horses with her education. She went to Rick's College with her two horses, a retired race horse named Terry and a quarter horse name Dutch Treat, and graduated from their Horsemanship and Stable Management program as their honorary "Woman of the Year." (obviously I didn't get her educational drive) After college she taught lessons in the little arena my dad built for her and competed a little bit. She would always tell me how I was never scared of the horses and how I would wander around their feet while she was tacking them up. She would take me with her sometimes when she rode and put me in a carrier or just on the front of the saddle. Eventually she gave up her cowboy ways and teaching for the suburbs and became a massage therapist.

As I grew up we didn't have too many opportunities to go riding living in Orem. Once a year we would go to my mom's best friend, Patti's, ranch in California. I patiently waited every year for that opportunity and cherished every second on their horses. I did take lessons for a couple summers but those were quickly cut short by lack of money and eventually the place where I took lessons from sold their land to a real estate developer.

(yes, that is me on the little shetland)

My dreams of having horses kind of came to a close when I was a teenager. Shopping and fitting in with my friends became more important to me and money and places to take lessons became more and more scarce. My mom would randomly take on horses that needed to be trained so I would go watch her train every time I could. She was a new person on a horse. She was so good with horses. She understood their psyche, their emotions and she genuinely loved them. She was confident but gentle and they might have put up a struggle to begin with but eventually would do anything for her.

Until I met Andrew I didn't realize how much I missed them. He was lucky enough to grow up with horses. He had a horse named Crazy Dog who he grew up with. From what I know he learned most of the important stuff with Crazy Dog that really created that bond. Andrew tells me all the time how they used to go swimming together, round ups and rides until Crazy Dog died. Then Andrew got the General. The General was a special horse to Andrew. It's funny because we always used to joke about how impatient the General was and what a butthead he was, the funny part is, Andrew and the General were the same. They were the same spirit when they were together. Andrew and I joke about how he has other "mistresses" that I have to deal with and the General was numero uno followed by his saddle, his boots, his hat, his motorcycle, etc. You get the idea. Last winter the General was hit by a car and had to be put down. We are still mourning his loss and miss him every time we go to the mountains. It's not the same without him. Andrew's not the same without him.

But we haven't let that stop us. I am just grateful that Andrew loves horses too. Every time we ride we know that the Lord put us together. As much as we like to say it was our own doing there is no way I can deny the Lord's hand in our meeting. It was just too perfect. We like to say that it was our interest in horses that actually brought us together. Andrew didn't even look at me until I mentioned that I rode ;)

Last Saturday we went just past Daniel's Summit by Strawberry and went riding at a little place called Willow Creek. It was an easy ride but a perfect place to work on the horses' foxtrots. Every time we go riding Andrew reminds me of how he wants to have a thousand acre spread with a cattle/calf operation. All I want is a horse and a dog. We had so much fun and I am so grateful for Andrew's parents for providing such a fun and worthwhile hobby for us. We couldn't do it without them! Andrew is my knight in shining armor.