}

Monday, October 13, 2014

Back at it...

I've fallen off the radar.

This I know, and this I regret. We played way too much and I haven't slowed down to record any of it. I hate social brags, so I don't want this post to come off that way, but it's my blog and if I have fun I can post about it! This has been the best year of my life. It has been filled with more love, passion, adventure, and just plain fun than ever before. I've decided I better chill out for a second and write some of these moments down or I'll forget them and be sad.

I know marriage is a whirlwind of never-ending "figuring it out" and learning lessons from each other, but if we've ever had a time that we've "figured it out" this would probably be the closest we've ever come. Life is not even close to always rainbows and butterflies, but for some reason, especially recently, we've had a blast and Heavenly Father's blessed us with the ability to just have lots fun together. We've had a blast making our home a house, putting in a yard, spending quality time together, traveling, and growing in our love. I'm (slowly) learning to develop the patience and deep never-ending consistent love that Andrew has, and although I have a long way to go, it's been just lovely. Marriage is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me, and I'm not quite sure how I convinced Andrew to be mine but I'll take it. 

We've had a great summer, here are a few highlights:

1.We put in a yard! This was crazy and so freaking hard. Andrew and I figured it out by watching YouTube videos and had a blast spending our Labor Day weekend installing a full sprinkler system (with the help of Andrew's awesome family). We also poured concrete for our basketball court and it was so beautiful when it was done, I cried. Seriously, I cried. Show me another wife who cries over a basketball court and I'll pay you fifty bucks. We planted seed and our grass is coming in nicely. I'll post an updated of the grass when it's ready. 
We thought it'd be cool to do a flagstone firepitarea. We LOVE it now but had no idea how big of a project it would be. It was SO much work and I'm about 15% sure it was worth it.
2. We played every (single) day - Andrew started a job at Vivint Solar this summer which coincidentally was in the same parking lot as my job at Qualtrics. We ended up carpooling most days and had a blast spending breaks riding my company golf carts and eating lunch together most days. We knew this was a rare luxury and soaked up every moment we could. 

3. We spent quality time with the fam - We headed up to Bear Lake with my side and down to Las Vegas with his side. It's always so fun to be with our nieces and nephews and siblings, in-laws and parents. We also spent many summer nights on the moped and in bare feet with snow cones, which is really all I need to be happy in this life.
^^Don't mind my sexy running short tan lines^^
I get along WAY too well with 5 year olds...

4. I loved my job (and still do!) - I have been at Qualtrics for about 6 months now and I am so happy with my job. It's just in line with what I've been wanting to get into and is a great company. I do Event Marketing there and have learned SO much. I have now been to San Francisco 3 times, New York, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Los Angeles, Seattle, DC, and Chicago! It's been so much traveling all over the world. I've come to decide my favorite city so far is New York, with Washington DC in a close second. I will say though, that going to all these places makes me really appreciate my lifestyle, my friends and family, and my home. It's been such an adventure and I'm really loving it. 
Central Park in New York 
Driving across a bridge in Pittsburgh - I loved this city! 
I judge pie-eating contests for a living...
A view from my hotel in LA.
During an event at the Seattle Space Needle 
The sunset while walking the streets in Georgetown, DC. This is my second favorite city. They had adorable cobble stone streets and flower hanging plants everywhere, it was fabulous and the food was amaze!  
Walking Times Square with my colleague after an event. 
Fulfilled a dream and met Coach K after an event at the Grand America in SLC. So scary but amazing! 


5-We ran lots!And did the AF half marathon. We were set to run a full marathon in September then we...just stopped running...and didn't do it...wish I had a better excuse.

6-We had a good time with friends! I had a friend move to Tonga so naturally we had to throw her a going away party. Also my very best friend is having a baby in a few weeks and we threw her a shower. We've had lots of friends over at our house and it is a dream. I love having friends and family over and showing them a good time. All I've really wanted in my life is to have a home where people can come together and laugh and have a fun time and to see that happening is a blast. Andrew loves entertaining as well and is 10 times a better cook than I am. 
Check out my limbo skills^^

Overall, really solid Summer with people I love. Life is good!

xoxo
steph

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Andrew's Optimism

Today Andrew (unknowingly) taught me a lesson that I don't want to forget. A good life lesson here or there deserves a blog post in my opinion! I feel awkward writing a "serious" post since most of my writing is either always sarcastic or always hilarious. (I crack myself up sometimes...)

I arrived home from work today and Andrew walked out to meet me in the garage and help me with my bags (as he does every night. A gem, he is.) We sat in the kitchen to wind down. He wouldn't tell you, but for the past few weeks he's been completely consumed and busy and overwhelmed with school, and I know he's stressed because he's been picking at his stray eyebrow hairs a lot lately (a funny quirk of his that I love.) We sat in the kitchen and caught up on the happenings of the day as we normally do. The ups and downs. Embarrassing things. Motivating things. Things we thought were weird. The usual. 

I could tell Andrew was feeling burned out, I could just see it in his face, his furrowed brow, and his demeanor. I asked him how he was really feeling because he rarely, if ever, complains about things he has going on. He took a deep breath and then proceeded to tell me about his day. I braced myself for his complaints and his frustrations, and prepped myself inwardly for things I could say to sympathize and agree with all his thought barf he was about to upchuck...(how's that for an analogy?)

I'll never forget what he said, during this stressful, busy, monotonous time in his life right now. It went something like this:

"You know, today I got to a point where I started to feel overwhelmed. I walked out of our office (at our house where he studies) and stood by the front door of our house. Then I took a step back and imagined myself at the age of 20. On my mission, no idea where my life would end up, who I would marry, what I would become. I imagined myself walking through the front door of our house, looking in our office and seeing all my law school books, and seeing that I'd go to BYU for law school. 

I imagined myself looking around our house, and being overwhelmed that this was my house and what we've done to make it our own. 

I imagined myself walking over to the fireplace, enticed by a wedding picture, wondering 'who did I marry' and seeing Stephanie Sampson and not believing it. I could have never dreamt my life would turn out as it has."

Andrew doesn't know this but this conversation tonight in our little house nearly brought me to tears. How I wish I could have his optimism in times when I am overwhelmed or going through life trials. What I would give to be able to always keep things in perspective and see the big picture, especially when I'm in a rut.

Tonight I looked at Andrew with full love and admiration, and knew that no matter what he does, he will be successful. Success can have a lot of different meanings depending on who you ask. In my opinion success means happiness, contentment with life, and genuine, long-lasting relationships with people. 

It's a cool feeling to be able to look across the room at the person you're married to and after almost 4 years of being together, be completely blown away by the profound things they say. I look up to Andrew and the person he is. He makes me better and he makes me appreciate life. He drives me crazy and I drive him crazy, and not always in good ways. We fight and we get really mad at each other on occasion. Life isn't always the rainbows and butterflies we so often portray in small, incomplete glimpses of Instagram posts and Facebook updates. But we get over our issues and we grow in our love, and more importantly, our friendship and respect for each other.

From Andrew I've learned life is what you make out of it. The decisions you make and the attitude you have, in times of good or bad, is what will define who you are. 

Thanks for the lesson babe. You'll make a great coach one day. ;)

xoxo
steph

Monday, April 14, 2014

Changes, Changes

Attention, attention.

...drumroll please....

...I got a new job! 

Random, I know. To be honest, I wasn't actively looking for jobs. I've really enjoyed CLEARLINK and some of the great people I've been able to work with. I've grown and stretched myself in ways I didn't know were possible! The company was great, the culture and perks were fantastic (minus the 6 pounds I gained in Costco orders #yikes) so why get a new job, you ask? 

2 reasons:

1. I saw this poster (posted in the CLEARLINK office ironically):

I'm not trying to be all sappy or anything, but this really struck a chord with me both personally and professionally. I had this weird quarter-life crisis/evaluation experience (I'm such a deep thinker these days, I know...sarcasm...) but I took a step back. I realized that I while I was comfortable, I wasn't (professionally) really doing what I wanted, what I studied in college, and what interested me most within marketing. From my first job out of college up until now I've been able to weed out the things that don't interest me and realize more of where I want to end up. Just as I was probably napping and eating chocolate chips in deep contemplation about my career - out of nowhere came this opportunity at Qualtrics, a position on their Events Marketing team. I had my first day today and am so excited for this opportunity, it really seems surreal. It feels liberating to really be doing something that I am very interested in and excited about. An opportunity to be actively involved on a team, to contribute to the bottom line of a company and see the direct impact of the job I'm doing in terms of ROI gets my geeky blood flowing.

While I know this is somewhat of a career change for me, I am also happy for past jobs I've had and the broader marketing knowledge I've now acquired. I've been able to dip my fingers in multiple marketing channels for some time and am now excited to be more focused on an area that appeals to me. I really do enjoy so many aspects of marketing but this is just a great fit for me and my skill-set right now.

I'm sure this job will most likely be stressful, and far from perfect, but I can't wait! I'll be able to travel (a few times a month) and interact with our clients and meet new people and see new places. I am stoked for the opportunities that lie ahead.

2. Second reason - the drive is 22 minutes from my house. Yes, I timed it this morning (I could squeal!) For some that may be long, but for me (driving 55-65 minutes the last 5 months) that is insanely short. 

Sidenote: have you been on i-15 in Utah County lately? That freeway is a beauty...

Again, I've had such great experiences at CLEARLINK, making it all the more difficult to step out of my comfort zone - but I can't wait for what lies ahead!

xoxo
steph

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Springity Spring!


It's Spring! It's Spring! Oh, how I love this time of year. The blossoms start coming out and the weather gets warmer and the sun start shining. It gets me all sorts of giddy. This time of year is one of my favorites for a few reasons:

  1. It's our anniversary! (2 years on April 12th...what, what! PS - I should probably get my name legally changed...#yikes)
  2. College bball memories - this was the time that the season started wrapping up, and while I loved playing, this time of year always meant FREEDOM! I will never ever take a free weekend for granted again for as long as I live.
  3. I love being outside. Really, truly, I believe that sunshine is an essential part of happiness in this life (at least in mine).I love going for a good run in the pretty weather or just sitting on the porch reading a good book. Sunshine is just my favorite and I can't get enough of it.
  4. FLOWERS. Flowers start blooming and I think fresh flowers are one of God's greatest creations. Especially the blossoms - they'll always have a special place in my heart...sigh...
In case you didn't notice, of Spring, I am a fan. We've had a busy few weeks but Spring has been good to us so far. 

March was my birthday month! (Yes, my birthday gets a whole month of celebration and self-indulgence) I had such a great birthday this year. (I'm a QUARTER OF A CENTURY....WOAH.). My friends went all out this year and kidnapped me from my house in the middle of the night and took me to Denny's, per our old middle/high school tradition. It was seriously awesome. Andrew went all out and took me shopping, to lunch, and surprised me with these fabulous rocking chairs that I still drool over. 
 (really, how adorable are they???)
I've already enjoyed them and can't wait until Summer, I have many books to read on these chairs and I have ongoing visions of us sitting on them, drinking lemonade and watching the sun go down when we are eighty. I'm a dreamer, sue me. 

We also had a fun day of shopping and eating, and enjoyed fun dinners with both sides of the family.
(^^How hillarious/creepy is this picture? Andrew's mom happened to be taking a picture with her camera so that explains the creepy lighting. Josh holding the knife and my expression couldn't be more perfect. Awkward/funny things like this probably make me way more happy than they should at my age...oh well...^^)
(^^Dinner at Goodwood with my family. Aren't my grandma's shades dope? She's 91 and still looks pretty bad-a$$ if you ask me.^^)
(^^Yummy pizza at Pier 49 complete with a day of shopping and browsing Gardner Village. He knows me so well...^^)

Let's see...what else. Oh yes, we had 3 weddings in 2 days. As well as 2 wedding dinners. It was very busy and very fun. One of my lifelong friends Courtney Thomas (now Adams) was married and it was such a fun day! She was beautiful and the the day was perfect. I was honored to be one of her bridesmaids and was so so happy for her and Austin.

If you read the news you probably heard about Lexi Hansen (one of my best friend's little sisters) She was a BYU student who was hit by a longboard on campus a few weeks ago. If you have followed her story at all or her Pray for Lexi Facebook page you know how miraculous her story and recovery truly are. Andrew and I have been so touched by her story and the miracles that have taken place. We've talked about it a lot over the last few weeks and it's really changed our outlook on life and strengthened our faith and relationship. When I found out some of my friends were doing a Benefit Concert for Lexi I was so excited to be able to be a part of it. We were in charge of the raffles and it was so amazing how it all came together. I was way impressed with the generosity of all these businesses who donated so much, and how all our friends came together to help out our few friends who headed the whole thing up. I really have the greatest friends.
 (^^Andrew, my friend Lexe, and her husband working the raffle table^^)
(^^My bestie Court and me getting everything ready for the concert. Gotta love a good selfie.^^)

 There was also some amazing talent that sang at the concert. Including Nathan Osmond, Allred, and Lexi Walker, who recently gained fame in her cover of Frozen's 'Let it Go'. She is SO talented! It was a great night and I was happy to be a part of it.

A few other minor announcements:
  • We are Sunbeam teachers. Again. We are contemplating Catholicism trying to stay positive.
  • Waffle Luv is amazing. If you haven't been there, go. It is the best waffle ever. The 1,000 something calories in 4 bites are totally worth it.
  • Andrew tore it up in his annual alumni-tournament at Murray. Career high 27 points in the season opener. I was like a proud parent! (He'll kill me for posting this but I don't care I like to brag on his behalf every so-often.) 
  •  We have the coolest neighbors. The Allen's live right behind us and we are in love with them and their cute little boys. We go back and forth through the backyard and have loved getting to know them and are so grateful they are our neighbors! 
Like I said, Spring has been good to us. Life has been good to us, really. I can't complain. I am so blessed!  

Lastly, a shout out to my cool husband. (Sometimes I'm hesitant to post this stuff but this is my blog and my journal so I decided I don't care if I'm cheesy sometimes.) 

I snapped this picture last week of us winding down after long days at school and work. We sat down on the floor and talked for a really long time. About our days. About our future. About school and life and things that are funny and things that bug us. Things we think are weird and things we have to look forward to in the upcoming days and weeks and years. This picture means a lot to me because I know how lucky I am to have someone who is not only a husband, but a friend. To have both in my life under my own roof is something I try my best not to take for granted. Our life and marriage is far from perfect, and we have our share of ups and downs, but at the end of the day there's no one else I'd rather have on my team doing this whole life thing with. It's pretty fun.

End ramble. 
^^snapped this pic on Andrew's parents' street. Go Spring!^^

Thanks for stopping by! 

xoxo
steph