June was a much anticipated month.  Once the decision was made that we were both DC bound that's where my thoughts would go if ever given a moment to explore on themselves. And to kick it off with a nice big fat road trip made it all the better.  Road trips are so good.  As David observed as we were laughing ourselves silly over something that would only be funny if you were there in the car with us between here and there, you enter into another dimension out there on the road. Things that normally wouldn't happen actually do happen and seem entirely normal.  Or all the more abnormal....  It's the way things work.  

It wasn't really out of the way exactly to swing by Chicago on the way.  Why wouldn't we go.  That was my thought when I saw it there along the map right in the middleish where we might want to get out of the car for a bit and stretch our legs.  And stretch we did.  We walked from the apartment we rented along the parks lining the lake to Millennium Park, then over to Magnificent Mile, enjoying the river along the way.  From there we looked up near by restaurants and the first one caught our imagination so off we went on a walk to Wicker Park.  Not exactly a little walk from downtown.  By the time we got to Native Foods we were thirsty and really ready for lunch.  This little restaurant will live on in memory as the vest vegan restaurant I've been to yet.  I'll leave it at that.  I could go on and on and tell you about how I entertained the idea of owning a franchise and opening one in our beloved Avenues, but I'll just let that dream hibernate back there in the far fetched corner and dust it off from time to time.
 As if we hadn't walked enough, we explored Wicker Park and as we were sitting in the cool grassy shade this guy came up to us and paid us all kinds of the nicest compliments and asked if he could take our picture.  Then asked if we were an item.  If married is considered an item, then yes.  He seemed to think so.  We walked our way all the way home after that and after bit of downtime hopped on our bikes and road over to a Thai place to pick up take out to eat while watching Foyle's War.  It must of been in the stars that day to eat only the finest things.  If it's possible to have two encounters with life altering food in one day we did it.  Best green curry in my life so far.  Why are all the best foods far flung across the globe?  The dream of the best stake of my life tempts me from South Africa to this day.
 After a delightful night with Vicky and Serge and waking up to dappled sunlight and the refreshing sound of rushing water in the stream in the backyard, we went to Kensington to move into our little red house for the summer.  Finding this place is part of a string of miracles that strengthens my belief in a loving Father in Heaven.  Our marriage has been full of those undeniable miracles.  Having a place to live rent free convenient to the metro happened so naturally it felt meant to be.  A week before we left I found an internship with a company that has turned out to be one of the best I've worked for.  It just so happened that it's 3 miles from home.  Miracle number one hundred and I've lost count.
 A Friday night date night took on the the train to Old Town Alexandria.  We walked along King Street watching the people and looking for just the right restaurant for dinner.  We found it in a little Thai place by the water where we could sit out on the porch in the lowering light.  We crossed the street to say hello to that kitty in the window already missing our kitty back home.
 The Torpedo Factory!  This place is still one of my favorite memories to this point.  I was back in Alexandria the next week for work and when the install finished up early I walked a few blocks over to wander around inside the working artist studio galleries.  Many of the artists were there working and ready to chat.  I had some meaningful exchanges full of encouragement.  It was soul quenching to talk to perfect strangers about my real fears of being an artist. Why be scared?  Just keep doing it.  That's what I've decided for now.
 Cobblestones on Prince Street.  I turned a corner and there they were all lined up in busy rows circling around each other and struck through with all kinds of leaf litter.  And all that distilled sunshine made for the best kind of wandering.  Every now and again I have moments like that where I can see potential in everything around me.  I want to paint it.  Design it.  Get run over by it.
 Super Dave rides his bike to work once or twice a week.  I tagged along and decided it in the 16 miles each way you get a good sampling of every type of thing you might imagine on a bike ride.  A few different neighborhoods each different from each other, some light trespassing to cut around a construction zone, a fun bit where you get to carry your bike through a crack in a fence and down a slippery embankment to a bike path that goes under a building and drops you off in the heart of Bethesda Row a trendy little neighborhood near my work, then along the Capital Crescent Trail, over the canal at Georgetown, across the Key Bridge to the Mount Vernon Trail, cross over the Potomac River again on the Memorial Bridge this time, then on to the National Mall to pass by a handful of Memorials, over to Pennsylvania Avenue past the White House, continue on a stretch with the Capital down the road to work at the NGA.  It makes for a nice run on sentence and a pretty great ride too I think.
 The tunnel on the Capital Crescent Trail.
 The squirrels that live along the National Mall are fearless and well fed.
 Worth the three plus hour drive to Falling Water.  Even if we didn't make a reservation so we could only tour the grounds.  We stole some peaks inside which only made it all the better for subterfuge sake.  Plus, we had an adventure along the way in Cumberland.  The creepiest ghost town ever.  Not exactly a true ghost town, but it has the feeling of abandonment.  And the biggest flea market I've ever been to.  
The trees here are beyond words.  They make me feel so small.   This is a bloom on the magnolia giant down the road.

And that about sums up June.



May was definitely the longest month of the year so far.  David couldn't sneak his birthday past me two years in a row so we celebrated him on the 4th and then he spent the rest of the month in Hong Kong interning with the largest law firm in the world, Baker and Mckenzie, and I spent the month keeping myself busy with a list I kept extra long with all kinds of fun things like car maintenance, yard work, gardening, packing and organizing for our summer adventure and preparing for the yard sale I had the last day of May.  Thanks to my parents for staying over with me the night before and making the day so much fun.  We started early and had a steady flow of people buying up all the things that were cluttering up the garage and the money covered our trip back East so I'd say it was a huge success.  Then we packed it up at noon and I went and picked up David from the airport.  It was so good to see him and watch the surprise on his face since he was expecting a curbside pickup.  But that just isn't romantic is it?  Hop in, I've missed you, let's go.  Nope.  That just wouldn't do.
Grandma checked Mother of The Year off of her bucket list.  We all knew she held that honor, but now Bountiful knows too.
My dresser has been mine for as long as I can remember.  It's always every changing so it was like a personal archaeological dig as I sanded down through the layers.  We've been in DC just over a month now and just long enough to really start to miss our little place.
One of the evening bike rides I went on up the canyon wishing he was with me.
Vesper is most definitely a backyard kind of kitty.  She likes plenty of grass to munch and water straight from the hose was a new found summer time treat.
Grandma ended up spending some of the month, and all of June, mending after a fall in the backyard.  She's made of the toughest stuff and worked hard to make it home on July 4th.  A great way to celebrate Independence Day!
Grandpa Awesome visits were like clockwork. He would go every day at 3 for an hour.  Watching the way they love each other is inspiring and filled with kindness and sincerity.

May was necessary to keep the year going along, but I'll like it if we never have to spend time apart like that again.  As with any time you get to do something you don't necessarily want to do, it only made it all the more clear what is important in life.



April.  Always such a hopeful month.  

A client flew me to San Francisco to see her home so I could help her select furniture.  After I got in the wrong car with the wrong stranger and almost went to do work in a stadium instead of a home in Palo Alto, we realized the mistake, and she took me back to the airport where I got in the right car this time and enjoyed my time there and came home with all kinds of great ideas for her beautiful home.  It's too bad she wasn't in any real hurry to make any decisions so I left my job at the end of May without having accomplished much for her.  
The best part of the very quick day trip was coming home.  My parents picked me up from the airport and we spent a sun filled evening at the Awesome's where I got in some much needed hugs and laughs then I went home where David and I talked and talked like I'd been gone much longer than 24 hours.
The next morning I got up ready to go to work and put all my ideas for my new project into motion when I hurt my back putting on my pants. {"That's what you get for wearing pants." David told me later when he got home.  It hurt so bad to laugh but it was such a funny David thing to say.}  I'll probably never forget that tearful crawl to find my phone so I could call in to work.  Then my call to my parents since I'd missed a call from them while I was crawling pathetically down the hall.  It was much more than serendipity that they were already on their way to come see me.  They were bringing me my disposable razor and a pair of shoes I'd forgotten at their place.  They'd called the night before when I was only a block away to let me know I'd left them, but I decided quickly not to go back for them because I didn't need them and I was really ready to be go home.  I'm so glad they decided it was worth a 45 minute drive to return them since I ended up needing my parents much more than the forgotten items.  We sat in the living room waiting for David to come home from class talking and trying not laugh because it hurt.  Family is so good.  Especially mine.
I spent the next five days in bed mostly, trying to be a good patient for David.  I felt pathetic and frustrated to waste a perfectly beautiful conference weekend in bed, but he much more patient with me than I was and reassured me with a priesthood blessing he and my dad gave me and he took very good care of me.  My parents drove down again with dinner for us and some dirt bags to use to plant seeds inside for the garden.  

The last day of my resting we celebrated knowing each other for a whole year by driving through the avenues taking photos for an art project, then having dinner at the restaurant he took me on our first date.  We were trying to imagine ourselves a year ago on that rainy night, not knowing how in just a year our lives could change so much.  The intoxicating newness of love is over rated when compared to what I feel for him now.  It was a fun contrast to think of the handsome stranger with kind eyes that intrigued me that night, to the caring man with a familiar {and still so surprising} soul I share my heart with every moment.
The trail leading up through Provo Canyon is a lot of fun for us, and convenient from our home so it's becoming the ride of choice for me.  We rode to Vivian Park two weeks after my foray into lower back pain and it felt so good to feel the strength of my body return.  
The dirt bags at their prime.  David watered them diligently and gave me the best instructions to plant them after Mother's Day.  If only he'd been there to watch over them when they went out into the cold hard world.  He wouldn't have let them be so shocked by the change.
Vesper at her morning perch.  Her daily duties involve following the sunshine through the house sampling her favorite napping locations and imploring anyone who goes into the kitchen for food.  David is her most favored counterpart in getting the fridge to open.  She knows how to prey on the tender hearted.  
More riding.  Lots and lots of riding.  I'll follow him anywhere.


Sadly, not much to be said about March at this point.  I don't have many vivid memories, just a blur of happiness and a few photos collected to give March it's moment.  The photo above was taken in Oakley when we drove up one a Sunday afternoon and had dinner with my dear friends Suzanne and Greg at their horse ranch.
Late one Friday night I sprung a wild idea on David to move our room around.  It was high time for some rearranging.  Vesper was as excited as I was.  She likes curiosity, and moving furniture creates all kinds of adventures for a cat.  David laughed at my timing, but he was amenable so long as it was quick.  The bonus came in the ambition of the curious cat to leap to the top of the upended mattress where she would be able to look down on us once again.  She used to have a kitty loft where she could watch the goings on of the Pollyanna kitchen. We took a long break in the middle to 'help' the cat in her endeavor.  It was clear in the twitch of her tail and her false starts that she was after greatness.  We stood by cheering, which I'm sure took some of her will to leap right out her.  It would be unthinkable to have her humans watching these kinds of things with such rapt attention.  It'd be too much like entertainment, and that's a dog's job.  Saturday I took down the too colorful and patterned window panels that were the perfect thing for my dark basement room on 7th avenue, but really wrong in our room.  Then stripped the bed of my colorful collection of blankets and patterned pillows, and our room instantly felt bigger and brighter.  I've always had an eclectic collection of things made up from treasure hunts and my evolving aesthetic, so it was a fun change of pace to start with a blank slate and begin to slowly build a new nest more suited to fit an us in it rather that just a me.  I hung the impulsively, but instantly loved, His and Her bikes we got with some wedding cash and the new sheer panels and our room felt like it was welcoming a new season with much more sunshine to come.
Dillon and Seaira stayed with my parents while Ben and Kwona took Cari and Devin to Oregon to have their friend do some dental work on them.  Dillon threw a balloon high in the air at Liberty Park and said 'Watch this!' 
A painting I almost gave up on when David gave me some of his thoughts on what he was seeing and opened my eyes to a direction to take it in that I hadn't considered.  I'm still critical of it, but I look at it now and like the memory of what it felt like to have him see potential where I didn't see any.  I've never felt comfortable creating anything with anyone around to see the progress, or lack of, while I'm working.  It's been surprising to me to enjoy hearing his thoughtful thoughts on things.  It's the honest truth that this man of mine makes living much, much better.
David had been out on his bike more than I'd been on mine so you can't tell from this photo but I felt like my lungs were trying to escape right out of me and flutter away in the wind after climbing our way to the top of a {very long, seemingly never ending} steep hill.  I used the convenient blossoming tree at the top as an excuse to stop and enjoy the sunshine for a minute.

Our garden after we tilled it on a blissfully warm Friday afternoon.  It looks so hopeful and ready to grow wonderful things.  If only David hadn't left it in my care while he went to Hong Kong in May.  I did my very best.  And now we've left it in the hands of our kind subletters so we'll see how it's doing at the end of the summer.
My caked pallet that I've been dabbling from more lately though I still feel like it's an uphill battle.  For every tiny bit I like I feel like there are layers and layers of failures. As much as I love having David's encouragement I have a real worry that I'll never find a way to express what I see. I like to think I'm peeling away at something and will find what I'm looking for it if I just I keep after it.
And to finish off with a bookend memory, a cozy Sunday evening spent with Matt and Sarah and their cute kids in Olympus Cove. 



The difficult thing about writing in the past tense is not remembering all the little day to day details.  I remember slivers of February.  A clear, brisk hike around the neighborhoods nestled into the mountainside.  Picnics in our room watching copious amounts of The Good Wife and talking about the characters like they're real people.  Vesper working her kitty charms on David, slowly winning him over.  Missing him from Saint George for ten days while we installed the parade homes.  Fun adventures when he came down and we spent a week playing and napping and getting in lots of quality time with Ben's family.  Kwona's cooking.  {David would want me to add a few !! after Kwona's cooking.}

Our view from the house we rented for the install on Coral Canyon golf course.  It was fun for me to live just off a tee box where I had worked at for three years.  I have so many happy memories  getting up before the sun, being outside every day of the year in every weather condition, chasing lizards and catching anything that moved.

Ben came and picked me up from one of the parade homes since I didn't have a car and took me back to Hurricane with Dillon and Seaira in the back of his Camaro drawing while we chatted.  It felt so SO good to be with my family.  I was completely soaking it in.  We were having family night with my parents on skype when they had a surprise visitor - Dave-David!! - so he was there with us and I couldn't stop staring at him.
I took this photo in our shower the night I left.  I love the sunlight in there late in the afternoon so I asked him to get in with me to soak it in for a minute.  I'm glad he puts up with my silly ways.
Someday I'd love to live in a home in Kayenta.  I imagine it as our retirement destination.  Him with his books and his writing.  Me with my brushes and my paints.  And cats.  More than one cat.
Our kitty.  Somewhere early on in the year she went from being my kitty to our kitty.  


I've spent some time recently putting together an album of our wedding and as a consequence I was sifting through some photos on my phone.  Which lead to a massive download of photos. Which lead to a healthy dose of rebuking thoughts {again} about my aversion to blogging as of late.  I'm calling myself to the carpet.  So without further rambling excuses, I bring to you a massive catch up session.

Starting out the year as Mrs. Ward should be a good indication to where this year is headed.  And having the advantage of being a time traveler, I can tell you the first six months have been every bit as awesome as the months leading up to our wedding day.  My parents are fond of saying that it only gets better from here.  I'm happy to be able to agree with them.  

David settled into our little orange bring home and it feels like it's always been this way.  It doesn't matter what was going on during the day, coming home feels special.  Our time together in all the in between moments is priceless.  And even with law school demands and working full time I don't feel any lack in our relationship.  If anything, I think we appreciate our time together all the more when it comes with so many other things competing for our attention.
Lunch with Heather and Miles at Sawadee {a favorite Thai place and our third -and fateful -date restaurant}before they headed home to California.
We spent a couple days in Midway with David's family after we got home from our honeymoon in San Francisco. We had an unseasonably warm and very bright blue day, perfect for walking to the ice castles and watching some of the family ice skate.  We went to Saving Mr Banks with David's parents that night.
My work threw an after party instead of trying to fit it in with all the other pre-holiday scramble.  We had a fun evening that started off in a party bus with a surprise location - the new Trolley Square location that was under construction at the time - where we had dinner, followed by hot cocoa at Hatches.  It was done up in true Alice Lane style.  Tasteful, elegant, fun, with luxurious gifts and stocked with good people and music.
My main projects at work at this time were working on the upcoming model home set to install by the end of the month, and two parade homes in Saint George in February.  As you can imagine, with installs that close together there is a certain level of stress to manage.  I work well under this kind of pressure, nothing makes me happier than managing a bunch of moving parts and organizing details.  It's a bit harder to not be more in control of my day to day since I was playing more of an assisting position without much say in how my days would play out.  The designer in charge of the projects is capable and talented and her way is no more right or wrong than my way, but I found it incredibly difficult to fit myself into the small space I was given to work within.  I would say this was my lowest point in my design career thus far.  In the 12 years I've worked in the design industry this was the most challenging because I felt my hands were tied so much of the time and felt like I wasn't trusted to do much more than manual labor.  By the time we completed the third install in St. George I was on the verge of quitting my job.  I knew I'd be happier doing anything anywhere else.  
There were definite moments of levity and clarity.  Most of those were because of my dear sweet husband who would listen to me and help me see things in perspective.  He would help me remember the blessing he gave me the night before I started working there and the promise that important work would be accomplished, among other things.  I took that to mean at the time that I would be challenged as a designer and get to produce great work.  Instead, looking back, I can see it challenged my character and how I chose to handle disappointment and difficult situations.
I should make it clear that my entire time was not difficult or disappointing.  Not at all.  I enjoyed the people I worked with very much and I liked being part of something that was so successful.  I rubbed shoulders with a lot of very creative and inspiring people and I'm grateful I had the opportunity to be there.  I came away from my experience a better person {I hope?} so that's what it can amount to.  Another experience that will help shape whatever it is needing to be shaped or smoothed.
I promised David I'd give it a year at least before I chopped my hair off again, which seemed like a promise I could keep.  Until I had a string of weeks of really bad hair and absolutely not an ounce of desire to deal with it.  So instead, I made it a few weeks into the new year before I decided one day to do it, and by the weekend I had shed all that mess and felt like me again.  Funny how that works isn't it?

No photo of the cut just yet, but a photo of a tree from that day that I will covet until I have one of my own.