Sunday, June 27, 2010

The New(s) in our Life

It's been a long time since our last post so we have a little catching up to do. There have been a lot of new changes that haven't been posted yet so I guess we'll start with the biggest.

After my internship and bleak job hunt through the Spring, I decided to stay in Logan to work full-time for Landscape Expressions ( - the landscape design/build company where I have worked during the past 4 summers. Kristen decided to continue working at Inovar and is also considering going back to school for a bachelor's degree. Since we committed to stay in Logan for a while longer we also decided to buy a house while the market and tax incentives were good! So last month we found a house on the west side of Logan that we love and now we are all moved in! Well, we have our stuff moved in but there is still a lot to do (organizing, decorating, etc).  Thanks to everyone who helped us move - it sure made the job go fast!
A few of the many helpers posing after the trailers were unloaded

The other semi-new thing that we never got around to blogging about is our car that we got last August. I traded in my high-mileage Ford Explorer as a clunker and we got a new Hyundai Elantra. Since the wife always gets the most reliable car, Kristen now drives that and I took over the good old Cavalier.
Goodbye old reliable Explorer!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Smithsonian Internship

Well, I guess I'll just post a few highlights from my 12 week stay in Washington DC since there is too much to cover. I had the opportunity to live with Kristen's family in Alexandria, VA while working with the Horticulture Services Department at the Smithsonian. It was awesome to get to know my in-laws better and grow closer to them since I hadn't been able to spend much time with them previously. I was treated like the star child during my stay and sharing a two-bedroom townhouse with 6 other people was actually pretty fun!! OK, so there were 7 of us for only a few days during Kristen's visit, and 6 of us for just a few weeks between Kortney and Kordan returning from and leaving on missions. The rest of the time wasn't that bad with only 5 of us, especially with all the traveling each of us did.

I was only a half hour drive away from my brother and his family in MD so I got to visit them a few times during my stay. That too was a great opportunity to get to know my nephews better and catch up on visiting with family I don't see very often. It was great to be with them during General Conference, Halloween, Thanksgiving and other random weekends! I even got the basement to myself and had the chance to hear my nephews running around upstairs early each morning!

My internship was a good learning experience and the location was great. I worked at the Capitol Gallery office building just a block or two south of the the National Mall, and my Metro stop at L'Enfant Plaza was right outside the building. I would catch the Huntington Apartment shuttle each morning at 6:45 and ride the Yellow line directly to work arriving around 7:20. I worked until 4:00 with an hour lunch time around noon. I packed a lunch each day and often enjoyed eating it on the roof of my office building. When I got home I would either work out at the apt. complex gym or relax a bit before eating a delicious dinner prepared by my mother-in-law. The rest of my night consisted of de-wrinkling clothes for the next day, packing my lunch, showering & getting ready for bed and of course video chatting (skype) with my wife. Thank goodness for modern technology that helped the distance be more bearable!

At work I was able to attend meetings with the two full time Landscape Architects and do other various projects for them. I got a lot better at using AutoCAD & SketchUP and got a good feel for working in an office environment. The main project that me and the other L.A. intern worked on was updating irrigation zoning maps for all the museums. We went around with the irrigation technicians and mapped out the boundaries of each zone as they came on. It was great to see people scatter as sprinkler heads popped up unexpectedly and started overspraying sidewalks! The system usually runs early in the morning when no one is around so it's interesting to see the amount of broken or mis-directed heads that come on. They do their best to keep up on maintenance but it's a huge system with a lot of variables to take care of.

I got to see a lot of cool sites through field trips at work and with family on the weekends. Some of my favorites included: Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, the Maryland Science Center, Mt. Vernon, Fort McHenry, Gettysburg, Hershey and of course all the gardens, museums and monuments right in Washington D.C. The following pictures highlight a few of my favorite memories from my internship experience.

Busch Gardens had some pretty sweet rides! My favorite was the Alpengeist roller coaster - it was crazy!
The German food at Das Festhaus was delicious. We were able to attend a stake meeting in the upper assembly room and do a session in the DC temple. I also made it back a second time during the festival of lights. It was beautiful! We decided to check out the Library of Congress after seeing National Treasure 2 The Solar Decathlon competition was really cool. The whole middle of the Mall became a little community for a couple of weeks and I was able to explore some of the houses. I think I even caught a glimpse of bigfoot in the woods at Mt. Vernon!
Civil War grounds at Gettysburg from Little Round Top
Hershey Pennsylvania was a pretty cool little town
My brother and nephews at the Maryland Science Center
The Declaration of Independence - looks easy enough to swipe....
The National Mall at night
From inside the Washington Monument looking toward the Capitol
The National Cathedral My brother's family at Ft. McHenry - birthplace of the National Anthem

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Kildew Lane 4th of July

I know I am slow! I am just getting around to telling about the rest of our 4th of July. At least I am doing it while we are still in July! :) We went up to my Grandparent's house for the 4th. They live kind of in the middle of nowhere between two small towns in Idaho. I love it up there! We don't get cell phone reception or anything. I use to go live with my grandparents during the summer between semesters while I was going to BYU-Idaho. It is definatly my second home. Wherever my parents are is my first. I may never have seen where they live, but it is crazy how the second I walk into their home wherever it is, it just feels like home. Anyway! So I am really close to my Grandparents and I am so glad Mark really enjoys going up and visiting them. It probably has to do with the fact that my Grandma is an AWESOME cook and loves to cook for Mark because he eats soooo much! :) It is just relaxing also. So our 4th was filled with food, sun, sleep, tennis (I almost cried when Roddick lost Wimbledon! He fought so hard!), and Shoshone Falls. I have tons of pictures we go!

First off, the drive up was BEAUTIFUL. There was a storm rolling in and it was so cool to watch.
The next morning, Grandpa going to check on the fields. Just a Good 'ol Boy and his horse. :)
We went to Shoshone Falls near Twin Falls on the 4th. It was so cool! It is the perfect year to go because the water is so high.

We had a picnic in a park area near the Falls. It was fryin' hot but so much fun. Great idea Grandma and Grandpa!


Jack, after Mark did his hair...he's a new man!
My Grandparent's house and yard...I have never seen it so green. Love the rain!
The view behind their house...I love it out there!
We had a beautiful sunset on our drive home also. The End!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Kordan's Mission Call

One of the biggest highlights over the 4th of July weekend was my youngest brother, Kordan, getting his mission call. Mom called and we were on one of the many phones they had going when he opened it. We were all guessing that it would be state side because it was such a thin envelope, so when we found out where he was going I think everyone was in shock. The video is priceless so hopefully I can download it. He is going to Vladivostok, Russia! At first when he said it, I thought he was kidding but it is real! He goes into the MTC on October 7th so we have a month from when Kortney (my older sister) gets home from her mission to when he leaves that we can have a family reunion.
I just want to say how much I love my family and what a great example each one of my siblings is to me. We may all be spread across the country, but we are still a very close knit family. After all the moves we have been through and the only people we knew being each other, we turned into each others best friends. It didn't seem like it growing up sometime, but that is the case now. Kordan is going to make a great missionary because he is such a hard worker and so charismatic. He has an amazing testimony and I can't wait for him to share it with the people in Russia! :)

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Thanks to Kristen

I just have to clarify from the last post that the only way I (Mark) was able to do well in school was because of Kristen's support. She allowed me to focus on school by working so hard and taking care of everything else. My dad keeps joking that in his college days the wives of graduates were honored by receiving a 'PhT' (putting hubby through) degree. Well, if anyone deserves one it would be my wife! Thank you Kristen for putting me through school and being so supportive - even with the many all-night projects!

One of the many all-nighters that I won't miss one bit!

I have to agree that Kristen does make some very amazing trees though!


On May 2nd Mark graduated! Wooohooo! He graduated with honors from Utah State with a bachelors degree in Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning. It was a very exciting day since Mark has been working towards it for 6 years! It took him forever to figure out what he wanted to do. We didn't know he was graduating with honors until we looked in the commencement program. I don't know how he did it when EVERY project was turned in late! I have been around for 4 of the 6 years of college, and I have learned that Mark is a procrastinator and perfectionist which is a hard combination. I can't even tell you people how many all nighters he has pulled! I only pulled one with him in all the years...I made trees for him all night. They were amazing trees if I do say so myself! :) Other than that, I couldn't help much because I don't really have an artistic bone in my body. He is so smart and talented. I am very proud of him.
We haven't had any luck with the job search yet, but I am not discouraged. We have always been taken care of. He will be working for Landscape Expressions like he has for the past 3 summers for now. His boss Ben is a great guy and has been very generous to us. I think one more summer of manual labor will help light a fire so he will look harder for a job in a landscaping firm doing design work instead of the labor. :) We are still in limbo right now, but I am very excited for what the future holds.
Mark marching into the Spectrum...
My cousin Bryce graduated the same day! I was excited I got to see him. Wooohooo Bryce!

Mark getting his degree...It was a LONG ceremony. It reminded me of why I skipped all my graduations...I went to my seminary graduation and that is it! hahaha...I graduated a semester early in high school so I decided to skip the ceramony 6 months later because it was our last night in Germany and I wanted to be with my friends. Then I decided to skip again when I got my associates degree at BYU-Idaho. I didn't mind supporting Mark though. :)

Mark and his parents...we had to take all our pictures in doors because is was raining so hard all day. :(
I thought this picture was funny because Mark's Dad was like,"Smile like you are having a baby next week!" or something like that hahaha...I think my face says it all! Don't rush me people! I will get there eventually! :) Notice Mark doesn't look too excited either!
Congratulations Honey! I love you!