Monday, December 17, 2012

30 Before 30

Turning 30 is a BIG deal. And not one that I was even remotely looking forward to. In the spirit of embracing the next decade in my life, I decided to spend the 30 days before my birthday accomplishing 30 goals (some significant, some not). Originally, I planned on doing 30 major things in the one year before turning 30, but time slipped away and I modified my goals. So here's a list of what I accomplished leading up to my 30th Birthday.

30 before 30 in 30 days....

(in no particular order)

#1 Make a calendar to accomplish all my goals
#2 Read my scriptures every day

#3 Eat a vegetable every day

#4 Print out Okcanna's baptism picture and write her a letter to go with it

#5 Do a long run every Saturday

#6 Download my Oma interviews from last summer
Last summer, I spent a few days with my Oma in Germany. I brought along a digital voice recorder and was able to capture a few hours of stories from Oma. Now, as she has passed on, those recordings are even more meaningful.

#7 Organize and clean my desk

#8 Purge 10 items of clothing

#9 Style my hair differently
I know it may not look different, but my hair is stick straight, so these curls and waves took time and effort!

#10 Get a pedicure

#11 Get a manicure (yep, split those up)

#12 Visit the Dairy Godmother (a raved about custard place not far from my house)

#13 Visit my sisters in Washington and Oregon

#14 Create a surprise for Mike
Dinner and a movie...can't go wrong. I made the dinner below and presented him with Rudy as a prep for our trip to Notre Dame for the BYU-Notre Dame football game.

#15 Try a new recipe
I went to the trusty source of pinterest to try this dish out!

#16 Buy a new piece of jewelry

#17 Read a book
My friend Liz gave me this book to read, Stargirl. She told me it was a quick, but a good read. And she was right!

#18 Memorize a scripture
Ether 12:27 "And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them."

#19 Take a yoga class
Lucky for me, my roommate Ally is a master yoga instructor. She was kind enough to host a free yoga night for me and a few others the night before my birthday. 

#20 Try a new restaurant

#21 Make a new dessert

Chocolate Peanut Butter Truffles anyone?? So good!

#22 Visit a new monument/memorial
Einstein Memorial in DC, off the beaten path. Mike took me here on a Sunday evening so I could check off one of my goals. Unique and interesting memorial, definitely worth a stop, especially if you are a scientist.

#23 Attend the Temple

#24 Reach my financial savings goal
I did it!!! I am debt free and reached my savings goal. 

#25 Write in Journal
 I managed to get at least one entry in...October 17, 2012, the last day of my youth....

#26 Print some digital pictures

#27 Do something from my youth
Not sure if others would count this, but I sure do! I stayed up until 2am a few nights in a row!! For those that live with me, they know I'm not much of a late nighter, 12am comes and I turn into a pumpkin, so this was a big deal. All my late nights happened while I was in Washington/Oregon with my sisters. Sisters can talk!!!

#28 Do something crafty
Crafts do not come easily to me. In addition to lacking all creative skills, I also have very little artistic vision. For my first "craft experience" (since high school YW projects), I ventured into JoAnn Fabrics and purchased some fabric to recover a travel pillow I have. I haven't sewn anything yet, but going into the fabric store and successfully coming out with fabric and thread is a big step!

#29 Finish summer blogs
See previous blog post

#30 Set Goals for Year 30
I'll make some more goals as the new year approaches (in a few weeks), but I did write down a few for my 30th year.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Giving Thanks

Happy Thanksgiving!

Early morning Thanksgiving and I have much to be thankful for: peace of mind, health, family, friends, trust in my Savior, living Prophet, sunrises and sunsets, beautiful views, music, comforts, modern technology, scriptures, old cards and notes from friends, pumpkin pie, hot rolls, testimony of the plan of happiness, job, hooded sweatshirts, ocean trips, indian summers and long falls...the list could go on.

I wish everyone a wonderful and happy Thanksgiving! Thank you for all who have blessed my life!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Summer Fun

We are well into fall and I've finally accepted that summer has come to an end. To celebrate the end of summer, I'm creating a mega blog post. A chance for me to sift through pictures, stories, and remember all the summer fun.

To me summer is all things good. I love everything about summer: weather, food, trips, freedom. This summer was filled with fun and adventure. I kicked off the summer season with a trip to Duck Beach in North Carolina's Outer Banks. Duck Beach is the annual trip for DC area (and everywhere else) LDS singles. There was volleyball, dance parties, food, movies, and lots of beach playing time. All in all it was a great weekend, even while suffering a little dehydration and heat exhaustion (played a little too hard during the volleyball tournament).

4th of July
4th of July in DC is always a treat! A perfect Independence Day includes pool, BBQ, and fireworks and this year it delivered. Success!!! For the fireworks show, we decided we didn't care to fight the downtown crowds and instead stayed in Arlington, VA and watched a local fireworks show at the Arlington Country Club. While downtown is fun, I sure didn't miss the crowds and travel time. I think we decided that next year we'll play it low key, and maybe even add some sparklers of our own.

The downtown pictures were actually from July 3.
Summer Storms
This summer DC had some crazy summer storms. The week before the 4th we had a Derecho...a storm that comes from intense heat. I think we had a week or more of continuous 100+ degree days! Add DC humidity and that 's a recipe for disaster!! The storm ripped though Friday night and caused power outages from Ohio to Virginia. Mike's house lost power for about 24 hours and a bunch of trees fell down in his backyard crashing on his shed, but his house was intact. Many of his neighbors weren't so lucky. The power outage and fallen trees were a bummer, but I think Mike was even more sad about Tiger Woods' AT&T National Golf Tournament. The Saturday event was cancelled for spectators because of fallen trees and debris. Lucky for us the tournament is returning to DC next summer!


In addition to lots of pool time, BBQ's, and golf, summer wouldn't be complete without America's Favorite Pass time--Baseball!! Mike surprised me with a spontaneous trip to Philadelphia in June! We ran the Rocky steps, ate Philly cheese steaks, and then went to see the Phillies! I have a goal of visiting all the MLB Ballparks on the east coast and I'm one stadium closer! Philly fans are intense, but what a fun ball game! Mike and I also went to a few Nationals games and the annual Baltimore vs Seattle game at Camden Yards. I love watching my Mariners, and I got bonus innings this go around. At inning 11, I asked Mike if we needed to go home (it was a Tuesday night), but he responded that we were committed to the end (game lasted until after midnight and we had an hour drive home). Did you know there is a 14th inning stretch? Sadly, we lost the heart breaker in the bottom of the 14th inning. Maybe next year....

The Lake
As I've gotten older travel and beaches have become more available, but boating has become a rarity. Lucky for me I got one waterski trip in. Mike and I headed to Deep Creek, MD to deliver a few ping pong tables. After delivering the tables, one of the families invited us out on the lake. It's been a few years since I've been waterskiing, but it seemed to come back with ease. Even with less experience on the water, Mike also proved his skills. I also discovered the goodness of Amish bakeries and delis. Oh my goodness....bread, cheese, and meat to die good! Oh and we got to do some hiking after boating. I will admit that parts of Maryland and Virginia are beautiful!

I know this isn't a picture of the lake, didn't get any there, but the hike to the waterfall after was just as pretty!
International Travel
Every year I have a goal of getting another stamp in my passport. Last year work sent me to Switzerland and this summer I spent three weeks in....NICARAGUA! I'll give you just a taste but save the details for another blog post.

Something I've wanted to do since moving here is to have Maryland Crab in Maryland. I convinced Mike to go to Annapolis on a Saturday. We really wanted crab, but in the end settled for crab cakes as I got stage fright of learning to crack a crab with no experience or no help from a seasoned crab eater. Taking a hike through the Naval Academy was pretty cool and the views from the harbor were gorgeous. A good first time to Annapolis and maybe next year I'll be brave enough to try the crab.

Summer came full circle as we ended summer with Labor Day weekend at Virginia Beach. Steffany came into town to celebrate her 30th birthday and six of us went down south to get one more trip to the beach. The weather didn't cooperate too well, but we did get a few hours of beach play time. The best part of the weekend was spending time with Steffers who moved back to Utah last spring.

There you have it...Summer 2012. It came and went. Ciao.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Ms. Didenhover Comes to Washington

You know it's a great weekend, when your sister is able to fly across the country to visit you!! Over Mother's Day weekend, Jaime came out to D.C. to spend an entire weekend with ME!!!!! We put on our tourist shoes and raced to see and do everything this city has to offer. We gave it a good go and while we saw and walked a lot, Jaime will just have to come back for more.

In just three short days we crammed in: Capital Hill, Library of Congress, tour of the Capital Building (including a walk on John Boehner's balcony), Good Stuff Eatery, Museum of Art (modern and not so modern), Natural History Museum, American History Museum, dinner at Matchbox, FDR Memorial, Eastern Market, Vietnam & Korean War Memorials, Lincoln Memorial, White House, milkshakes, mother's day breakfast, Mt. Vernon, Arlington Cemetery, BBQ at Mike's, and lots and lots of girl chat!

I only have a few of the pictures we took, but enjoy the sampling!!!

I love sister's weekend!!!! Thanks Heimme Ann for visiting! Please come back soon!!!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

This is the The Place

A few weeks ago, I went back to Utah for a visit. It had been almost two years since I had stepped foot in the Beehive State and I knew I was due for a trip to good ol' Provo to visit family and friends. The weekend was unscheduled with no particular things to do besides spend time with some very dear friends, become reacquainted with my adorable nephews, and eat at Provo's best restaurants.

I spent a few days in Provo with Alison, my BFF and former roommate of almost 8 years!!! I caught up with other old roommates, mission companions, friends, took a stroll through BYU campus, and simply absorbed the beauty of the mountains.

Saturday morning, my favorite running buddy Traci, invited me to "Color me Rad" 5K race. We woke up, put on white t-shirts and then ran 3 miles while having colored corn starch sprayed on us. I don't entirely understand the allure of having colored dust tossed on you, I'm pretty sure it's all for the pictures. But since I participated, and I'm a runner and a photo are a few pics to commemorate the race. Yes, we wore swim caps for the entire 3.1 miles--made us sweat like crazy, but kept the cornstarch out of our hair.

Tutus. check.
Swim caps. check.
What will we wear for our next race?

Saturday night I headed up to Herriman (a few miles west of I-15) to my brother's house. He and Alisa, my sister in law, built a new home a few months ago. I was the first Didenhover relative to come and see. The house is beautiful! But the best part was playing with my two nephews Jake and Josh. These guys are full of energy and just want to play. We had lots of trampoline jumping and races through Candyland. I hope I don't go another year before I see the Didenhovers again!

My last day was Monday and I got the chance to catch up with Stephanie, who I hadn't seen since her wedding day! (over 2 years ago). We had a great time catching up and visiting the new City Creek Mall in Salt Lake. Stephanie has an adorable little one year old who accompanied us on our outing. Before I visited, I made Stephanie show Eliza (her daughter) pictures of me so that when I visited she would recognize me. I'm pretty sure it worked. Eliza was a dream and sent me only smiles.

Stephanie and Eliza at City Creek Mall
BFF Brittney who I grew up with in Spokane. Brittney is pregnant and I think I'll have her show pics to her child as well so he knows who I am when I come to visit.

The few days in Utah were short, but very much needed! I better not wait 2 more years to visit again! Thanks to all who hosted and visited with me!!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Happy Easter


Christ is Resurrected! For he truly is Resurrected!

This is the greeting spoken in Ukraine all during Easter weekend. Ukrainians greet each other and instead of saying hello, they say, "Christ is resurrected" and the other person answers, "For he truly is resurrected." As a missionary, I loved being in Lviv, Ukraine for Easter where people greet each other and walk around with baskets of bread, fruit, jams, eggs and other goodies to give out to family, friends, and even sometimes strangers on the street. The entire weekend is a holiday. People dress in traditional clothing, there are festivals and concerts, families walk the streets together, and churches are full! Easter was lively and much more celebrated than even Christmas for this former atheistic country. Ukrainians love their country, culture, and their freedom.

Spending Easter in a Catholic dominated city helped me to realize how much I love Easter. It's been a favorite holiday of mine for quite awhile and living in Ukraine confirmed that for me. I love everything that Easter represents. I also love the advent of spring and warm weather, robin's eggs, and pastel m&m's, but really I love Easter because of its message. Even more than Christmas, I think Easter provides a time of reflection for what the Savior did for us. Christmas gets busy with traditions and commercialization, but I feel that Easter has escaped some of that. I love Easter as it focuses my thoughts on the Savior and His perfect life. All events led to the time in Gethsemane, on the cross, and eventually out of the garden tomb where He was raised from the dead. The message of the Atonement and Resurrection provides hope and peace. Even in a chaotic world with sorrow, grief, and pain, we can find solace in the Gospel message that Christ lives and has overcome all so that we may too. I know the Savior lives. I know that he lived a perfect life so that He could rise again.


 Happy Easter from Washington D.C.!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

St Paddy's Day

The luck of the Irish was upon us on St. Paddy's Day as we played a few rounds of mini golf (putt putt for those of you east of the Rockies). We played a very close game and thanks to Mike's mad skills and a little help from me, we were able to pull out and win! (prize = Cafe Rio salad).

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Happy Birthday Michael B!

On February 9, Mike celebrated his birthday! To kick off the birthday celebrations we had dinner at Matchbox with some friends and then went back to a "surprise party." Okay, so really there was no surprise, but I did arrange for friends to decorate Mike's house and set up the dessert and candles before we arrived. He was a good sport and acted surprised.

The next surprise was the present I got for him--two tickets to see STOMP in New York. We were already planning on being in NY for the weekend because Mike attends the annual Toy Fair every year in Manhattan. We carved out some time for dinner and STOMP. The show was high energy, creative, and really fun. I'd recommend it to anyone looking for a dance/show.

Mike stayed the whole week (including Valentine's Day) in NY, but unfortunately, Toy Fair is not part of my job so I couldn't stay. However, Mike came through and sent me these.

We just celebrated my half-birthday (yes, we do those things), so now it's awhile before another birthday comes up.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Puerto Rico

Welcome to the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico! What better way to escape the only snowstorm in DC this winter than a weekend get away to the Caribbean. No passport or exchange of money needed, just a plane ticket and a Spanish speaker (of which I have both). Mike and I went down to Puerto Rico in January to catch yet another ping pong tournament. While Mike spent his mornings working, I took advantage of the beautiful infinity pool overlooking the cruise ships and the state of the art hotel gym. Not a bad way to spend your Friday and Saturday mornings. As this was some work and mostly play, we stayed in San Juan and rented a car to take us to some of the sights on the island. 

We took an afternoon exploring El Yunque, the tropical rain forest on the island. We drove through windy roads, hiked up to waterfalls, and even took a splash (small) in the waterfall. On a warmer day, I may have ventured to stand right under. The views from the top of the rain forest were spectacular!

Puerto Rico is also known for its bioluminescent bays. There are only a few in the world (Caribbean mostly) and Puerto Rico boasts three! As Mike and I are not the best detail planners, we didn't make arrangements ahead of time, but Saturday night we took our chance and went to the bay hoping to find an available tour. With a wink and a smile, we were able to join a group. Nightly kayak tours are available in the bay. You join a group, get in a kayak, and kayak your way through a pitch black mangrove forest to come out into an open bay, all along watching the water glow electric blue. Microorganisms in the water glow when touched as a defense mechanism, meaning as you paddle or put your hand in the water, your paddle or hands glows blue. Pretty cool!

Other adventures including finding authentic restaurants to eat at, playing on the beach, hanging out at the pool, watching ping pong, attending church, and exploring a 16th century fortress (grounds only, we were there at night), and just enjoying 82 degree weather in January! If you are looking for a tropical adventurous get away that's not too far away (from the east coast), come to Puerto Rico!!!

We didn't take a ton of pictures (kinda shocking, I know), but here are a few.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Welcome 2012

New Year's in New York City

Ringing in 2011 in Central Park was so much fun, I had to do it again for 2012. 5 of us drove up to New York on NYE to meet my dear friend Traci for a rockin' New Year's in the city. There was some eating, strolling through Central Park and down 5th Avenue, sights at the Rockefeller Christmas Tree, and then Martinelli's, fireworks, and a four mile run through the park at midnight. Traci and I ran while others enjoyed the firework show and cheering the thousands of runners. I can't think of a better way to ring in the New Year. 

Happy New Year!!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas! 
Christmas celebrations started in DC with friends, then continued on in Portland with the fam. The whole month was wonderful! 

(and yes, the roommates all got matching pj's...we might have even gotten the boys matching ones as well, which they liked even if they don't admit it!)

Christmas this year meant lots of treats, good food, energetic kids, and lots of sister time! (as evidenced by the pictures). We had everyone together, except for Kurt and Co (the Utah Didenhovers). With our families ever expanding, it's doubtful that we'll ever be in the same house for Christmas, but I'll take what I can get. I loved the family time!

p.s. I'm trying a new picture tool, so let me know what you think.