our first year of marriage


happy anniversary to us!

this day, exactly one year ago, was undoubtedly the best day of my life.

the three hundred and sixty four days that have followed have been way more joyful than i could have ever imagined, and they have also been way more difficult than i could have ever expected.

yes, the truth is that for us, the first year of marriage has been tremendously challenging. full of true love and real joy and fantastic adventure, but also tremendously challenging. we have experienced profound pain through tough transitions, repeated wrenching discoveries of wild dissimilarities, the bitter fruits of our weaknesses, and times of dramatic despair. marriage has stretched me so far beyond i’ve ever been stretched before. it has been sometimes downright awful.

yet, as i look back on our inaugural year, i am amazed by how definitively the good outshines the bad and by the fact that i somehow love the boy more than i ever have before. as cliché as it sounds, i really do believe that the hollowing out has provided more room for beauty, that the harsh wind has made us stronger and better together, that the stretching is actually miraculous refining towards things precious and enormously valuable.

over the course of this last week, in anticipation of our anniversary, i have been thinking about our perfect wedding day, trying to remember every detail. i’m sad that there are already a few things that i can’t recall – what i thought the second i woke up, the exact image of seeing ian for the first time in the temple, everything that our sealer said. but i do remember so, so acutely that on that day i felt sterling, perfect peace, exponentially more dense and potent than i have ever felt before and i doubt ever will feel again. there was not one teeny tiny part of me that was worried, or scared, or unsure, or hesitant. that peace surged through my every vein. i’ve forgotten about that crystal clear feeling at times during the last year, but i can’t deny that it is in my synapses and my fibers and my cells and i believe it always will be. 

we have a really, really great love. it is deep and abiding and sweet and super tough. it has brought us powerful joy this year that i fiercely believe will saturate our lives more in each subsequent year of learning.

so here’s to surviving the first year – the grueling times and the blissful times – and many, many more to come with my ian. no matter what, i would and will always choose him. he’s my deepest love, my dearest friend, my favourite person, my very heart. he is becoming my soulmate.


the ‘rents come to london


in the middle of september, my mom and dad came to london!

it was pretty great to have them here. they have a deep love for this city and country, because they served a mission here thirty five years ago and have returned many times since.

ian and i enjoyed showing mom and dad around our new london life. we all slept on air mattresses in the still-unfurnished charian flat, shared meals of excellent food and even better conversation, and had a few fun adventures around the city and countryside together.

one morning my mom and i did the “tate-to-tate” – we explored the exquisite tate britian, and then took the boat down the thames to the tate modern! there is nothing like going to a good museum with linda eyre. she’s the best appreciator of beauty and work that i’ve ever known.

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^^ these colors in the main hall are so fantastic, and how about this sculpture made of slices of bread? fascinating. ^^
^^ a same-size oil copy of the lady of shallot hangs in my parents’ living room back home in utah. pretty neat to gaze at the original. ^^
^^ i adore how this room is stuffed with amazing art. brimming with creative representations of mortality. ^^

one night mom, dad and i met ian after work at the one new change rooftop, which provides stunning views over the city from a unique perspective behind st. paul’s. the sun was setting right as we got to the top, and these iphone photos don’t do the lovely sight justice.


after dinner that night, we told mom and dad we had a surprise for them, and we rode a red double decker across the waterloo bridge to the southbank centre.

when we first moved to london, ian and i had noticed a swing ride at “london wonderground,” a carnival just behind the london eye, and decided that taking ricky and linda to ride it would be pretty hysterical. we were right!

when mom and dad realized we were riding the swings they were pretty surprised but of course totally up for the adventure (they always are). we got into these little pods and then were raised up high while spinning, taking in the views with a side of nausea.

three of us really enjoyed the thrill. and ian hated every second after we started spinning – haha!
^^ best photo of the views through the eye and across the thames to big ben. we were spinning pretty fast! ^^
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^^ we are totally all smiling in that picture on the left. photo fail! ^^

on mom and dad’s last day in england, i went with them on a little road trip to the quaint town of batheaston. it was from this town that my great great great grandmother, ellen sarah harding, left everything behind to travel with five of her thirteen children (the other eight died very young) across an ocean and then a continent to zion. i am dumbfounded by this story of faith, and grateful that ellen sarah’s faithful blood runs in my veins. it was really special to visit batheaston and imagine my ancestors there.

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^^ we ended up driving into batheaston on this super narrow and windy road through a tunnel of trees – magical! and then we found the most charming english gardens along the canal…
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^^ and some delicious pub food at an old pub that was already an old pub with ellen sarah and her family lived in batheaston. ^^
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^^ the old church in batheaston, right across the street from the pub. ^^

after the ‘rents spent a few days with us in london, the boy and i took off with them on a cruise through the eastern mediterranean! what a treat! posts about days in dubrovnik, ephesus, santorini, olypmia and at sea coming right up…! but first! some snippets of our love story and some thoughts about our first year of marriage, because friday is our anniversary! i’m excited to celebrate our love, because it is really really really great.


last goodbyes before we headed across the pond


ian spent one of our last days in the mountain west this summer driving our trusty and beloved car from bear lake to provo to sell it to his cousins. it was legitimately hard to say goodbye to the beat up hyundai. in that car is where i first told ian i loved him! and we have had countless good conversations and quite a few tears and quite a few more kisses and sooo many awesome road trip adventures in that vehicle. the dent in the hood is from that time we ran into a deer on our way to bear lake, and the dent on the side is from when i ran into a parking garage pole because i was deep in conversation with a dear friend about ian and my love story. so many memories of good times and hard times, too. we’re glad the car is staying in the family!

speaking of sad goodbyes, here are a couple photos of the day we left ian’s office at stanford before driving out to utah. i can’t resist sharing that cute pouty face, which is somehow kind of a duck face?! ian put in a whole lot of hard work in that little room, and we have some treasured memories together there as well.

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after our time at bear lake, we flew to columbus to spend a weekend with the boy’s brother and his family before heading across the pond. we had such a great time playing tennis together, going out for dinner and ice cream, building star wars legos, attending church together, sharing meals, and playing a lot of board games. sure love these guys!


and then it was off to london! we had a really terrible experience with a messed up flight reservation at the columbus airport, but we finally got to charlotte and then on the plane to london. the boy’s company flew us over in business class, which was pretty fun and exciting for us. we are definite first-timers with that experience, and we were kind of freaking out a little at all the amenities. tricky to decide if we should sleep (lay-flat seats!) or enjoy all the entertainment/food, haha!

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we landed in london nine hours later than expected, and thus began our wild adventures working to get settled here (still ongoing nine weeks later!). we are so glad to be londoners and are excited about our future in the uk. 

p.s. if you are reading this and you are a mom, you’ve got to check this out.

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