Morgan and Jenny were living one perfectly happy life... and then one day they decided to spice it up with some crunching, chewing, barking, little fun. So get comfy, make yourself at home, and enjoy our little blog of chips and dip (o)..

Monday, December 20, 2010

Morgan the Beautician: Part II

Last night, Morgan tweezed my eyebrows.

As we were cuddling, Morgan began to stare into my eyes with serious intensity. Now, if it had just been love bearing into my soul, I would have understood the intense staring contest, but then I realized that his eyes were actually locked just above my eye, and on my eyebrow. Suddenly he jumped out of bed, ran into the bathroom, came back, and pounced on me - tweezers in hand. Apparently he spotted a few hairs that were just barely sticking out of the skin and being in touch with his beautifying feminine side lately, decided he would tackle the eyebrow tweeze.

Since I am a girl, and have tweezed often in my life, I felt no pain as he tweezed the few stray tiny slivers. Morgan was shocked, because for those of you who are married or close to men, you may realize that they have no pain tolerance, and for those of you that aren't yet - you have something to look forward to. I decided to put off looking at his handiwork until the morning, that way I would be able to sleep if he did something terrible, but it turns out, by not looking, I tossed and turned through the night, until I finally gathered the courage to see what he had done. Fortunately, he was right, he only grabbed the hairs that had been cut before, and so, he did an excellent job.

Well Morgan Dipo, you have been hired: highlight my hair, tweeze the brows, and tell me wonderful things. Maybe next week I will teach you pedicures.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Morgan the Beautician

Well it's been three months since we got married (ok minus a day), and that means my hair was getting ugly. You see in the summer it is pretty blonde from the sun, but in the winter my hair turns a color of ashen bone mixed in the mud with strands of straw poking out. Something like that.

Typically I would go to a professional and get my hair highlighted for some absurd price. Seeing as I don't have a job, and it's Christmas, and I no longer need to have perfect hair to attract the love of my life - turns out men don't notice these things near as much as we would think - I decided to buy a DIY Loreal highlighting kit. It was only 10 bucks, and the girl on the front of the box looked gorgeous, so naturally I would too!

I stood in the aisle at Safeway for 23 minutes. I read all of the boxes. I matched my hair to each. I contemplated. I prayed (just kidding, but I did think REALLY hard about it), and I purchased one. When Morgan got home I told him of my new and exciting way to save money and still look beautiful; he was spirited and we opened the box.

Out of the box came a million bottles and directions, gloves and caps, and smells. Morgan put on the gloves, pulled out the directions, and with some mad scientist skill we concocted my next hair color. Then, we put on a DVD of How I Met Your Mother. There are six episodes on each DVD, if we watch any, we usually watch two episodes per night. As we began the first episode, Morgan tied this holy hat on my head and began torturing me. By holy, I do not mean a yamaka (sp???), or a nun's cap, or a burqua - but rather a plastic cap with a million holes in it. Morgan then took a metal hook and pulled, yanked and tore strands of hair through the cap. Tears rolled from my eyes, as Morgan, the ultimate champ, pried pieces of my long hair through this hideous contraption.

I looked like this picture:

5 episodes later...

Morgan slathered on the creamy smelly product and there we sat for a whole other episode. When it was finally time to rinse, I ducked my head under the faucet, and fear began to take over me as chunks of hair came sliding out of my head. I started to panic, and the stupid white cap WOULD NOT come off my head. Morgan came to the rescue and tore my hair, tore my hat, but saved my heart by telling me no matter what happened I would still be beautiful. Somehow, bushels of hair later, Morgan removed that godforsaken hat from my head, and I proceeded to shampoo a rat's nest.

After about an hour of detangling and more tearing, I went to bed, fearful if I would have hair the next morning, and the color it might be.

When we woke up this morning, we both looked at our masterpiece, and my head looks pretty much the exact same way it did yesterday morning, just a LOT frizzier. We found like two strands of hair that may or may not be a little lighter.

Morgan is now much more enthusiastic about spending the 100 bucks to go to a professional, and I am even more in love with my husband who has bought me... feminine hygiene things... pretends to enjoy organic cafes, endured countless chick flicks, and has even highlighted my hair. This is the man who took me to see The Lion King on the night of the Apple Cup. This is the man who hates chocolate, but every time we share a dessert, orders a chocolate delight of some sort. He, my Morgan, really is the best one of the best ones. And it turns out, not even the most professional beautician can make me feel as beautiful as Morgan does.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

All Things Pumpkin

I love the fall.

I love squash.

I love dressing up for Halloween.

I love that there is a new season of Glee.

I LOVE eating chocolate and candy from Halloween.

I love hot apple cider.

I love the smell of cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg.

I love pumpkin EVERYTHING.

So let me introduce you to my past three pumpkin days.

Monday: The World's Most Incredible Pumpkin Banana Bread


1 cup brown sugar packed1/2 cup white sugar, don't worry too much about heaping scoops - more is always a good thing
1/2 cup vegetable oil
0.5 (8 ounce) can of pumpkin (I used the stuff from Costco, just plain 100% pumpkin)
1 large mashed banana (make sure it is overly ripe with lots and lots of black spots)
1 3/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin spice
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
Sprinkles of Sanding sugar (you can buy this at William Sonoma... and to be honest I can't seem to find it anywhere else)

Preheat oven to 350°F
Mix together sugars (not including the sanding sugar), oil and eggs
Add mashed banana, pumpkin, and milk
In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients together
Slowly add to wet ingredients, mixing as you go
Gently mix in nuts
Pour into a loaf pan greased with crisco or butter, leaving about an inch of room at the top. I used a regular loaf pan, and it was pretty gooey in the middle; using smaller loaf pans, or even creating muffins would be DELICIOUS.
Sprinkle abundantly with the sanding sugar
Bake for 60-70 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean
If you can tell it is not cooking well in the center, but it getting pretty dark on the top, decrease heat to 325 after 50 minutes and bake another 20 minutes or so. Hopefully this shouldn't happen, as long as your baking powder and soda are fresh, and your liquid to powder ratio was correct.
Cool on a wire rack
If on the event you discover you have a gooey center as you slice into your perfect loaf, embrace it. Oh man gooey quick breads are sooooooo good.

Tuesday: Pumpkin Carving

Morgan, of course, as a devoted Husky fan created this very sleek pumpkin:

Me? Well, I love Glee, the TV show, quite a bit. Once a cheerleader and "glee club" performer myself, I can relate all too well. However, due to its relatively new nature, there were very few glee pumpkin carving patterns on the web. In sort of a bummed out, obsessive, and overly dedicated kind of way, I decided to make my own pumpkin carving pattern for the first time. Boy, was that tough. HOWEVER, after a long and arduous process, I succeeded in both shaving and carving my pumpkin down to resemble the lovely GLEE logo.

Wednesday: Pumpkin Pie Yogurt

My dear friends and family, I must now advise you to run, don't walk to the nearest Safeway to purchase Lucerne's Pumpkin Pie Low-Fat Yogurt. It is heavenly, and unlike anything you have experienced. Go now, read no more, and invest in the best breakfast of your life - ESPECIALLY if eaten with a slice of the pumpkin banana bread mentioned above.

Camping the Great Indoors

We registered at REI - may I recommend that everybody registers at REI, it is amazing. For wedding gifts we got a brand new tent, all sorts of camping cookware and a bunch of other fun useful things. So naturally, even though we got back from all the wedding stuff (and by that I mean honeymoon and reception number two) mid-October, we had to go camping.

Morgan agreed to go with me to Leavenworth; the fact that it is a German town and they were celebrating 'Oktoberfest' that weekend definitely contributed to his agreeability, and so I began planning in total excitement. Then, of course, I was knocked out flat with some stupid version of the flu, which began to affect Morgan. So as Friday approached, I begged for the strength of my immune system. Friday morning, the weather changed. Morgan had left work believing we would be camping that night, but as the temperature dropped to a shockingly low value of 20 degrees in Leavenworth, I realized that meant at least close to zero up in the mountains and that was not exactly conducive with unhealthy campers.

So, in a desperate attempt to make our first camping trip memorable and healthy, I began plotting. I pushed back the couch, set up our tent, sprinkled pine cones around, even set up our miniature Christmas tree, and began preparing our camp food so that it was all ready to cook campfire style when Morgan got home. I lit a pine-smelling candle that surprisingly, and beneficially, let a ton of smoke throughout the house creating that smoky campfire experience. I opened all the windows, put out the lantern, the flashlights, and all our camp cooking stuff. When Morgan got home he was greeted to our campsite with the beautiful view of "Planet Earth - temperate forests" playing.

It was definitely not the best campsite ever - but it was pretty awesome. That night we roasted marshmallows under the broiler with our little marshmallow skewers. So here is a delicious thing to try:

Caramel Apple S'mores

-Cut thin slices of apples, so that one apple basically creates 4 big flat apple-looking slices. (Should have taken a picture... next time)
-Soak them if you are going camping or won't be using immediately in lemon juice cinnamon and sugar - naturally use an abundance of the sweet stuff
-Place the apples flat on a foil-lined cookie sheet and place two pieces of a chewy caramel on top of whichever apple slice you decide to be your bottom of the s'more.
-As you roast marshmallows, let the apples sit on a lower rack in the oven. This actually doubles as a cleaning and safety mechanism in the event that your marshmallow drops or drips or such
- Once your marshmallow is golden brown and just how you like it, and the caramel is all melted over the apple, remove the cookie sheet, place the marshmallow between a caramelly apple slice and a regular apple slice, squish together and enjoy perfection.


And, for the record, I am a serious chocolate addict, so a s'more without chocolate seems like a sin - but this my friends, was a new level of Nirvana. Feast and enjoy.

We woke up that night still FREEZING - you should not be able to see your breath in your own house. However all in all it was a wonderful trip.

In the morning we did in fact take a "day hike" to Leavenworth, to eat some brats, admire the beauty of colorful leaves, and watch dead salmon floating down the river. It was a beautiful day.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Where do I start???

OK - So I have clearly been slacking in the blog department, but in my defense it has been one seriously insane month and a half. I couldn't decide... well I guess I actually can't decide if I should tell you all the incredibly sappy wonderful things Morgan does for me, explain the beauty of life as a Dipo, or describe the details ofthe past few weeks, the parties, the wedding ceremony and the reception, Costa Rica and beyond.
I guess I'll just write, let it flow, and hopefully you can piece together what I feel like has been an utterly perfect past few months.

I think for now I'll start with that moment that the wedding drew to an end. For those of you who have been married, you may have experienced what we did. Basically, someone may pronounce you husband and wife but you aren't officially married until the pictures are done, hugs are exchanged, food is consumed, bouquets are tossed, and the clock signals it is time to go. It's not until all that passes when you finally realize that the mantle of marriage is now upon you, and life as you know it will never be the same.

After running through a tunnel of bubbles, cheers, and our dearest friends and family, we got in the car finally being able to relax in peace and listen to our own thoughts. Within 5 minutes of being in the car, the miraculously sunny day's forecasted clouds filled the sky and rain began to spit on the window. Morgan in his excitement began re-living some of his favorite moments in the wedding, and as he explained how much love he felt as we danced with our friends, and as we were cheered goodbye, tears overcame us as we realized just how loved we are and how beautiful life will be as the newest Dipo family.

It was our perfect wedding. We had been watching the forecasts for weeks and never once did we see anything but rain for the week before and the week after. Even the day before and the
morning of forecasted pouring rain on September 18th. Once I got to Newcastle I remember looking out the window and seeing a glimmer of blue sky and announcing that at least I could say we had blue skies on our wedding. Actually, that was quite the understatement and by the time we went out to take pictures, nothing but blue skies illuminated the seattle skyline and the sun beat down on the bright green grass and our beautiful wedding continuously.

Family and friends came in from out of town, and our biggest regret from that day was not spending more time with all of them. But, people keep telling me it is what's expected from a wedding, so I guess, we can just be incredibly grateful for their love and support. It really was a perfect day.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Practicing Chivalry

Jenny's parents live in a house on the top of a cliff overlooking a bay on Bainbridge Island. To get down to the water, they have a tram that will take you down steadily in about two minutes. If the tram is out-of-order, or if it's at the bottom and you don't want to wait for it to come up to get you, you can take a neighbor's staircase down to the bulkhead.

Such was the case on Saturday afternoon. Jenny's dad was working on their boat, and we were supposed to go down to meet him so we could go pick up a crab pot we had placed a while earlier. Unfortunately, the tram was already at the bottom, and we didn't want to hang around to wait for it, so we took a neighbor's staircase. Once at the bottom, though, we realized that it was high tide, and that it would take some wading in front of the bulkhead to get over to the Black's dock since significant shrubbery and thorns blocked the way between the two properties. It didn't look that bad, but the beach in this particular area is very rocky and will easily scratch one's feet. Jenny felt confident because she had snowboots on (don't ask me why) that were supposedly water proof. I just had tennis shoes on, and wasn't fond of getting my feet cut up on rocks and dead clams, so I told her I would run back up and wait for the tram.

"No, Morgan, I can carry you," said Jenny prophetically. I then thought to myself that it was probably a waste of time to wait for the tram when I had already come all this way, so I decided I could wade barefoot, but Jenny still insisted on carrying my poor, soft feet over the sharp rocks. She started to wade through ankle deep water with an extra 200+ pounds on her back, and I thought she would give up at any moment and make me walk. But she kept trudging along without complaining until, before we realized it, we were in hip-deep water, and there was no turning back. We didn't realize the water got this deep so close to shore, but she couldn't set me down now because my cell phone was in my pocket, and would surely get ruined. Like a true soldier, Jenny continued to wade until I was safe and dry on her parent's bulkhead. Jenny, on the other hand, was soaked from the waste down, but had won even more respect from me.

Next time, we'll take the tram.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Judgment at First Sight

Like most guys, when I first saw Jenny, her attractiveness caught my eye. As I later got to know her, I found out that she had just graduated from BYU (this was back in 2008), and had just started working as an environmental consultant for a company called Oasis.

Hmmm....a very gorgeous blond that just graduated from BYU, and is still in a single's ward? There were only two possibilities to explain this conundrum: 1) She got married her freshman year, and is now divorced, or 2) She has a bad case of the crazies.

I came to find out it was neither (or at least not the first one). Jenny was simply no ordinary MRS Degree-seeking BYU student. She was (and is) something special, who isn't "tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men." She does what she wants and what she feels is right, and is all the better for it.

And thank goodness, because who knows where I would be if she had followed the masses of marriage culture at BYU.

PS> September 4th.....GO HUSKIES!!

Saturday, August 14, 2010


I'm camping with my dad; sort of a last Daddy-daughter excursion before I get married. Or so that was the original plan.

I'm sitting on a boat in 90 degree weather, stuffed full of cherry pie (courtesy of Cyrus O'Leary), and a delicious Italian dinner. Yes, I am using the internet. Jimmy Buffet is playing and my dad is wearing a silk aloha shirt and white linen shorts. White? Yes. Camping? Yes.
We are plugged into the world wide web via MiFi, the newest device of ATT which basically taps into the 3G network anywhere and creates a wifi network for 5 computers. We are out at Blake Island with a bunch of friends of my family and so though my final camping trip isn't quite the quiet intimate camping experience with Dad, I am quite content. Plus, since I've been surrounded by a ton of people whose inhibitions are weakened by the not-so-occasional cocktail, conversations have been fun, abundant, and rather loud, leaving me with ample time to sink into my thoughts and dream about Morgan. So I thought I would share this fun little story:

Shortly after beginning to go to the University 3rd ward, I became good friends with a girl named Maile, who was dating Morgan. After we had been friends for 2 months or so, the two of them went their separate ways (phew). Maile knew that Morgan was getting pretty serious about buying a home so she gave him my number so I could put him in touch with my mom - the all-star realtor of Bainbridge Island and definitely the go-to person for ANY real estate question. I distinctly remember being out shopping the first time Morgan called me. To be honest, I don't at all remember what was said, but I do remember completely freezing in one corner of the store (Urban Outfitters) for about 10 minutes as his question flowed effortlessly into conversation and laughter. The realization that I was flirting with Maile's ex and was entirely too happy/comfortable with it made me flush with embarrassment and quickly hang up the phone.

That conversation began a series of phone calls that lasted way past Morgan's bed time. Nowadays, since he has me hooked, Morgan tries to be in bed by 9, but let me tell you, back in those glory times, I had him on the phone past midnight almost every night - and this was before we had ever even 'hung out.'

As I lounge on the boat watching the sun go down, Boston is playing the song "Foreplay" which I think is perfectly fitting for this blog.
GOSH get your mind out of the gutter.
But really, that flirty stage before you decide to go official - I suppose it is a type of foreplay, one I liked enough to decide to take the plunge!

Get married that is.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Dinner disaster

In a previous post I explained the video Morgan and Cecile put together for our bridal shower in which Morgan answered a variety of questions. One of the questions asked: "What was the worst meal Jenny ever made for you?" To which he responded he couldn't think of any bad meal but if he had to say something it was probably something vegan. Well, thanks to tonight's creative outburst, I now know what his answer would be.

So I don't know what's wrong with me, but somewhere between new supplements (magnesium and chromium for sugar cravings), a desperate attempt to diet, and strong advice to avoid wheat, dairy, sugar and red meat for clearer skin, my cravings and energy levels have gone somewhat awry. Now I'm not the best at following a strict diet, and though I have lessened my intake of those suggested vices, I have definitely not expelled sugar and wheat; cookies are a permanent part of me and I will never give them up. That being said, I have definitely been a lot better, but as is the case any time you reduce your calorie intake and deny yourself certain foods, my cravings have been less than ordinary.

This afternoon, Morgan came home to find me asleep in his bed - I was supposed to be running. Apparently, a sudden onset of exhaustion flooded over me as I was changing into my workout clothes, and my quick nap seemed a much better use of energy than running. At any rate, upon waking me up I realized my hunger had reached this sort of sickening low, and my cravings were running rampant. I offered to make dinner to make up for the embarrassing fact that I had been napping while he was working. As I approached the kitchen, thoughts of fruits, fats, breads, and beans flooded my mind as I tried to acclimate my diet with Morgan's pantry. What came next was a disaster, not for the weak in stomach:

Makes 1 serving:
1 tortillia (corn or flour depending on your ability to handle wheat and/or advice to consume it)
1/4 avocado
1.5 tbsp almond butter
1.5 tbsp strawberry preserves
a lot of turkey slices
1/2 tomato
1/4 mango - diced

On Morgan's I included... (oh I am so embarrassed to admit this) 1 tbsp mayo and 2 slices of provolone.

Roll it all up and ENJOY!

Sweet wonderful Morgan ate the whole thing, and I enjoyed mine too considering it was apparently what my body wanted at the time. For the record I would have included spinach, but men don't seem to ever have green things in their fridge outside the form of pickles and moldy cheese.

Morgan kindly told me (after some prodding) that he would prefer that I not make the creative wrap again, and I agreed. I feel like we have accomplished something here: I have officially made the first most awful meal of our life together. Oh so many more firsts to come.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

"These days there's dudes getting facials..."

Morgan always quotes this song by Brad Paisley whenever I chide with him that his jeans are denim versions of sweat pants... and not just any sweat pant, but like the serious ghetto pant which could conceal a skateboard, an oozie, a few boxes of pizza, or perhaps an entire extra person. The song is called "I'm Still a Guy" and Morgan uses it to remind me that he refuses to wear anything... constraining... at all to maintain upmost manliness.

But yet, some things can change.

In an effort to make my skin radiant, youthful and unusually void of my age-defying ocasional pus-filled pore (IE acne) my mom has gifted me with a series of peels, facials, LED light treatments, eletrocuting glove thingamabobbers, and so forth. As much as the acid, the extraction and the electric shock therapy are quite the opposite of relaxing, my skin is feeling noticeably better and wonderfully shiny.

This weekend we were showered with advice, kitchen supplies and bedding at a beautiful wedding shower on Bainbridge Island. Morgan came over to the Island with his mom and me, but was obviously not invited to the shower. Since I have been frequenting Bainbride for my skin treatments, I advocated Morgan paying a visit to Vernell at Athenique for a... "dermatologist appointment"... Though skeptical at first, with a bit of encouragement, Morgan did it, he signed up for a facial, and though he is embarassed to admit it, I'm pretty sure he enjoyed it almost as much as I do... especially the extraction part - if you don't know what that is, look it up and enjoy.

During the shower, and while Morgan's pores were being exfoliated, I was out at Hilary Newbery's beautiful beachy home talking with old friends (old as in I have known them for a while... not exactly regarding their age) and getting some wonderful advice. Furthermore, we ate beet-chocolate cupcakes that were to DIE for, and I promise as soon as I get that recipe, not only will I personally bake and eat 2 dozen more, I will post the recipe on here.

I LOVED talking about Morgan, and despite the fact he joined the ranks of "dudes getting facials" I pretty much think he is quite the man - and truly a manly man, uber guy, or however else you want to say it. I get giddy telling stories about him, and I guess as the days grow shorter, I am getting more and more lost in love and am still overly, completely, and 'jubiliantly' twitterpaited.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

One hot shower

So apparently I am not the best blogger. Life has been so fun and so busy, but boy when that sun comes out (as it has been FINALLY doing around here) I shy away from computers big time and get outside. However, since Morgan has written a bunch of blogs in a row, I feel it is time to begin my much overdo contribution.

Let's talk about sex.

Just kidding.

But I got you going didn't I?

So as the days are getting closer, that oh-so-anticipated night is approaching, and to warm me up to the idea, my friends threw a super sexy bridal shower for me on Thursday. Kaetlin Miller, all the way from NYC spear-headed this thing, with Cecile Farmer being her hands on the west coast, and Lachelle Francis taking charge of the invite duties.
I have AWESOME friends.
In an attempt at getting me some first class education, Kaetlin's original idea was to have the shower at a "toy" shop, which was tamed to just have the toy shop lady come to the apartment. In sort of a bridal shower, not-supposed-to-have-any-part-in-the-planning-process-but-I'm-terrified-how-this-may-go-over-with-some-of-my-naive-friends panic, I vetoed the decision and reigned in poor Kaetlin a little more. The thought of a 19 year-old sweet little impressionable LDS girl engaging in one of those conversations definitely had us squirming out of discomfort.
Fortunately, Kaetlin kept up the creativity, and turned this party into a fantastic and memorable night. Cecile put up all sorts of decorations and made party favors while Kaetlin baked a cake in the shape of a giant... well I'll leave that up to your imagination. The girls brought all sorts of fun gifts and between that and the discussion, I am definitely feeling a little bit more educated and ready.
Cecile and Morgan put together a you-tube video where he answered a bunch of questions like, how we met, what our favorite things are about each other, favorite meals etc. So Cecile would ask me a question, I would answer hoping to match his answers and then we'd play his video getting to see what he had to say. Sure enough, we matched on almost everything! One of the only ones we differed on was our celebrity crushes, and since neither of us have one, both of us tried to guess somebody random, when really, we both only have one crush: each other. Morgan was so cute and more than once the girls sighed in unison as he would say the perfect thing... like I am pretty sure he always does.

It was truly a blast, and with less than two months left before the wedding, I CANNOT HOLD IN MY EXCITEMENT!!!! So many wonderful friends will be able to make it, even those far away with babies! This Saturday is the adult-friendly bridal shower, which I suppose is more centered around cooking stuff. I do find this funny seeing that this group of ladies would be far more versed in the night-time stuff than my younger group of friends... but I think I'm thankful for this setup, despite the apparent contradiction.

Life is wonderful. Wedding plans. Showers. Birthdays. Summery days. Long Runs. Blogging.
Sheesh. I really like this no-job stuff.

Ward Spotlight

Just thought I'd share this ward bulletin that Allen Brand posted about us (click on the image to see it better)...

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

My Preeeeecious

After I proposed to Jenny, she immediately took to her ring very well. I loved to see her wearing it immediately and trying so hard to keep it clean and looking nice. It's almost like she has already been wearing it for years. She has even said that she feels naked when she doesn't wear it for things like wake-boarding. It took me a few weeks to pick out the best possible diamond for the most important person in my life, and it's really neat to see that she likes it so much.

We have been having fun with her new engagement ring. Having seen poor Gollum's obsession with a ring in Lord of the Rings, we tend to also call Jenny's ring, "The Precious." Ok, it's kind of weird/cheesy, but it makes for fun jokes during sacrament meeting. Sometimes she will let me hold it and polish it with my handkerchief. But she is like Frodo, and is the only one worthy of holding The Precious for any extended period of time.

When we are actually married, she will have two pavé wedding bands stacked around the actual engagement ring. What will we call that? The Triple Precious, of course!

Jenny is my Precious.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Learning to Love What She Loves

When Jenny and I first started dating, she never ceased to make it very clear what her expectations were. One of those stipulations was that if we were to end up together, I would have to learn to appreciate camping.

Having become an Eagle Scout, I have had my fair share of camping experiences. Through the years, I have grown to have a special hate for the activity. If I have a free weekend, the last thing I want to do is sleep on the hard ground outside in the cold after walking five miles with 80 pounds on my back. Not to mention the lack of showers, comfort, good food, and being woken up at 4 in the morning to the sound of chirping birds. Oh, and did I mention that's just when the weather is good? Unexpected snow, rain, hail, etc. can only exacerbate an already excruciating camping excursion. I remember one occasion in particular in the Boy Scouts where we were trying to camp in snow caves on Lookout Pass in Idaho. It rained that night. Snow caves and rain do not mix. That, and many other experiences have led to my distaste for camping. Why spend the weekend being miserable (i.e. "roughing it") when you can have fun doing something cleaner and more relaxing?

This was not going to sit well with Jenny. Her experiences have all been good. So, last summer, she orchestrated a trip for us to the Olympics and Washington coast, much to my distaste. I wasn't helpful at all, but she pressed forward....

....and I had a great time! We had a nice, long drive towards the coast, and had one of the best burgers I ever had at Smitty's along the way. After arriving as far west as we could go, we took a short hike down a cliff to Shi Shi beach, where we did some exploring. Jenny educated me on the wonders of tidal marine life, and I had a blast prying starfish off the rocks to inspect. We later spent the night on another beach somewhere else and woke up to a sunny day and low tide that must have gone out a mile or so. I couldn't believe it, but I was enjoying my time camping with Jenny.

Later in that trip, we also took a hike to Sol Duc falls, spent some time at a hotspring (that was commercialized to be populated more like a water park), and went cliff-jumping at beautiful Crescent Lake.

When it was all said and done, I had to admit that I had a really good time and loved Jenny even more for it. Camping still isn't my preferred weekend activity, but if it's with Jenny, I know I'll have a good time. In fact, if any activity is with Jenny, I know it will be fun. She has a way of waking me up to new experiences that I learn to love.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Perfect Wink

As of today we have been engaged for one month and one day. HOLY SMOKES has it only been that long!?! All the hard, time-consuming wedding stuff is done, and now we're just playing some terrible, tortuous waiting game.


Patience, young grasshopper they say... well never in my life have I wanted to see a summer end more than this one. I'm just so tired of saying goodbye, of driving home, and of morning texts. I can't wait to begin our forever.

When Morgan and I first started dating, we kept it a secret for various reasons for almost two months... Well, I think we thought it was a secret for that long, but I would venture to guess after a month, most people saw the twinkle in our eyes. At any rate, one of my favorite memories is of our first Sunday back at church after the first time we kissed. I walked into the chapel, talking to a few friends at once, and Morgan was discussing something important with the relief society president. As the door opened and I walked right past him, both of our conversations paused for a split second as our eyes locked, he winked at me, and my heart melted into oblivion. I remember feeling as if the whole world had paused and gone silent for a minute as my entire cardiovascular and respiratory system stopped functioning all because of that little wink and knock-out smile. But as I came to, shaking myself back into reality, the conversations continued, we wandered into church and found seats expertly placed a few rows apart, so that nobody would notice. Ha... how naive we were.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Luckiest

One time a friend in a somewhat condescending tone rebuked me for having been knocked so far off my feet I saw little else in the world beside Morgan. Apparently my world was revolving around "us" and she saw this as a problem. For a split moment I was taken aback, maybe she was right, but then I realized how wholeheartedly I disagree! Yes, I am topsy turvy, completely enamored with Morgan, and yes, my life now does revolve around "us" but my goodness I would never want it any other way! I firmly believe because we have this sense of a joint universe, we are the LUCKIEST!

Imagine, everybody in the world is the center of their own universe. They realize their thoughts, they act according to their own sphere of influence, and such is life. What Morgan and I have discovered, as I would hope most couples truly in love have, is that these two 'centers' are in fact so close to one another, their spheres almost entirely overlap, and we can share this new center of the universe together. I am A OK with that.

So mushy mushy stuff aside, I have TACKLED this wedding head on. Since last blogging, I have booked a photographer (Redbox Pictures), I have bought my wedding dress, bought the bridesmaid dresses and some accessories, began the alteration process, met with the wedding planner, purchased the wedding bands, the invitations, and am starting to truly check things off the list. With Hilary involved (the wedding planner - which yes I watched last night, and no she doesn't quite look like J-Lo), I can now hand over all responsibility and begin thinking about getting a job - a very unattractive concept, but money does seem to be somewhat necessary in this overly capitalistic world.

Anybody know of any awesome government relations/ political affairs positions or internships around here?

Would the company care if I was gone the last half of September?

Yea, maybe I should just enjoy the summer... which perhaps will one day come to Seattle.

Tomorrow is Morgan's birthday, and for the first time, I have realized the terrible irony of buying someone birthday presents with your (shared) money. We haven't melded bank accounts yet, but I guess what's mine is pretty much ours now anyway... this has a unique advantage seeing that I don't currently have an income. Morgan and I are both turning 25 years old this year, which means we only had to live 1/4 of our lives without one another, assuming a 100 year life-span. If I keep eating cookies at the rate I've been going in the last week, this span may decrease significantly. BUT, that means I will have spent a greater portion of my life with Morgan. So, I suppose, no matter how you look at it, we really are the luckiest.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Inspiring Others to Love

A few weeks ago, Jenny and I attended a fund-raising breakfast for a non-profit that is also a client of mine. At the breakfast was someone I work with on a fairly regular basis at the bank named Sharon. I spoke with Sharon this week about an unrelated matter, and part of our conversation went essentially as follows:

"Morgan, Byron tells me you have some good news!"
"Yep, I'm engaged!"
"Oh, that's so exciting! When I saw you two lovebirds at the breakfast, I knew something special was brewing. You two are so adorable together!"
"Aw, thanks."
"You know what I did after I saw you guys at the breakfast? I pulled out my cell phone, called my husband, and told him I love him! You guys inspired me!"

Much like anything having to do with Jenny, it made me smile.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

I don't know how you do what you do.....I'm so in love with you

So the honeymoon is supposed to be up to the groom, right? I was all over that, but with me not being a big traveler, not having much time outside of work, and not being fond of seeing prices for such an endeavor, I found it best to outsource said responsibility to Jenny. Don't get me wrong, I'm still paying for the great escape, but Jenny was so good at reading my mind and offered to take over in the planning. Oh, how I love that woman.

It looks like we'll be spending a little over a week in Costa Rica at a couple different venues. We'll be spending three nights (give or take) in a beachfront cottage here: and four nights in a romance suite here: And for the first time in my life, we'll be flying first class! I may be looking forward to that the most. Ok, second-most. Being with Jenny is a hands-down #1.

Jenny has taken on a whole new form now that we're engaged and I don't know how she does what she does. I get so tired just thinking about the honeymoon (probably the easiest part), yet she has all this energy to plan that, the reception, the invitations, the logistics, the dress, the designs, the pictures, etc.

She's on fire and I'm in love with her more and more every day.

Monday, May 31, 2010

The In-Law Rendezvous and the Registry

You know the part in Father of the Bride when Steve Martin and Diane Keaton go to meet Brian's parents? For those that don't completely remember, basically Steve Martin shows up at this mansion and snoops around the dad's office, admires his checking account, accidentally flings his bank book into the pool and falls in himself... Well, this weekend our parents met, and sadly it was nothing at all like that. However, things went just perfectly with a wonderful mix of Mora Ice Cream, Dance Dance Revolution (of course), a boat ride on the Hinckley, and an outstanding dinner. For that matter, we didn't even miss a ferry, which for anybody who has ever come to visit me on Bainbridge, this is an incredibly unusual feat.

It is funny what things occur in my life that really ground me into reality, and this, amidst all of the wedding plans, has probably been the greatest eye opener that yes, in fact, we are getting married!

My parents loved the Dipos, and I wholeheartedly agree, I sure am marrying into an incredible family.

Today, Morgan and I began the registry registration... or something like that. We walked into Macy's and after a cup of hot chocolate, some free wine glasses and a few complimentary magazines, we were sent into the store with one of the deadliest guns known to a bride: a gift scanner.

So you would think I would have gone to town with so many options, my fiance at my side, and a quality scanner in our grasp; but rather, I froze! I couldn't decide, I couldn't make up my mind at all. Did I want this china with the thin silver band or the one with the silver band and a touch of floral? Did I want teflon pans, or stainless steel? I paced, I panicked, I spilled hot chocolate all over my face and white sweater, and Morgan kept asking if we were ever going to scan anything, as I looked wide-eyed over my wonderland. Finally, we began, and as we poured into the task, I kept reminding Morgan that we were looking for the best this and the best that, and he asked a painfully truthful question: 'Do you only think it's the best because it costs the most?'


We have many more stops to make at Macy's before we go public, but we will probably end up at REI, Pottery Barn, and William Sonoma, though maybe Crate and Barrel.. If you have any suggestions on places to go, things to register for, oh please send them my way. I feel like a kid at the North Pole who has been told to choose one present to bring home and is so torn, they just run around like crazy until Christmas has passed.

Ok. Weird example, but you must know the feeling... No?

Sunday, May 23, 2010

27 Dresses

So it turns out planning a wedding can really serve as a full time job, maybe I should look into that... Thus far we have hopefully pinned down a wedding venue, Newcastle Golf Club, but we are waiting to hear back on their available dates. I've looked at a few invitations, and have spent countless hours online researching nautical weddings, bridesmaid dresses and groomsmen outfits. I thought I had my wedding dress all figured out.

I was wrong.

So I headed over to my parents house this weekend to try on my Mom's dress she has been keeping in an air tight package for the past 27 years; she assured me we were the same size, and I was ready to pull off the 'vintage' look. Anyway, we bust out the dress and it is COVERED in what appears to be coffee stains, which were not there before the packaging, (they are positive it was professionally cleaned) so they are a true mystery. However, I attempted to look past the stains, comfortable the dress would be cleaned up with a few gallons of clorox and slid the dress over my head.

And that's about as far as I got.

HOLY SMOKES. A) My mom was a stick. B) I have GOT to get in shape for the wedding C) What exactly does a size 8 mean in 1983??? Because it sure doesn't mean the same thing now.

So, slightly crushed, and a little encouraged to actually buy P90X, I gave the dress back to its rightful owner who announced it shall now be apart of the landfills of Bainbridge Island. So much for lugging that thing around the last 27 years.

On the bright side, I get to go dress shopping! Well, I thought that was bright, until I began looking at the price tag on wedding dresses. My indulgence in cookies may be quite a bit pricier than I thought. Gulp.

So as I tackle my own dress, I'm scouring the web for bridesmaid outfits and sort of hope somebody just says here, this is the dress, deal with it, because to be fully honest, I don't really care as long as everyone is happy.

That's another question: does anyone have any thoughts about purchasing wedding party attire? As far as every book and website reads, that's something the bridesmaids and groomsmen pay for, but that just seems like quite the imposition to ask them to purchase a dress they may not even want or need.

I watched Father of the Bride the other night with my parents. My dad cried an extraordinary amount, which is saying something from a guy who's favorite pastime includes watching Die Hard nursing Scotch on the rocks. I adore this movie, and hope to the high heavens we find a "Franc" to just take over the wedding, I am 100% positive anybody would do a better job than me.

Tonight I convinced Morgan and Danny to watch 27 Dresses, and so I've begun the wedding movie saga. I am open to suggestions: next on the list is "An Affair to Remember" followed by the "Wedding Planner." This is a precious time in life, and since I will probably never convince Morgan to watch these movies again, I've got to milk it for all its worth.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Playing Poker

Early love is like playing poker. You know exactly what your cards are, but you have no idea what your opponent might be ready to lay down. Sometimes, your position may not be very strong, but you can bluff your way through the game and still come out on top. Either way, it's always fun and exciting.

When I started playing, I mean courting...with Jenny, I hadn't been dealt very good cards. I had been home from my mission for almost three years and my actions in prior relationships had been much like a bull in a china closet. Needless to say, although I felt I knew how to play poker, I wasn't very good at it.

I'm sure Jenny is good at playing poker. For whatever reason, though, she always decided to show me her cards before I could even place a bet (in other words, she had no problem telling me exactly what she was thinking about "us"). I remember sitting with her on the couch at my apartment one afternoon before we started dating when she said something to the effect of, "Gosh, I really want to cuddle with you, but just don't know if I should!" Interestingly enough, I had been thinking the same thing, but certainly wouldn't have laid my cards on the table like that. With Jenny constantly showing me her cards and letting me win, our relationship progressed throughout the year.

That's not to say we didn't have stumbling blocks and disagreements, though. We even stopped dating for a short period of time because of our petty differences. But when you truly fall in love, you fall in love with the person, not just specific attributes. You love the whole package with all its beautiful imperfections and potential for divinity. Something I learned is that, if for no other reason, I should always love Jenny just because she puts up with me and my weaknesses like no one else can. She obviously has much more to offer (energy, humor, incredible beauty, love for everyone, fun-going personality, etc), and I appreciate every little part of her in my life.

Jenny also has very strong patience. Through showing me her cards early and often, it became pretty clear she was ready for marriage and only needed me to pop the question. I pretty much knew I was going to get there, but wanted to really be 100% first - something that, in hindsight, I probably already felt, but didn't realize. When she left for Peru and we had an over-dramatic goodbye at the airport, I knew we were going to be together forever. So, on April 16th, I made one of the biggest purchases of my life and, on April 17th, asked her dad if I could be the one to take care of her from here on out. On May 15th, I popped the question, and the rest is history.

As a very special woman, Jenny intuitively knows what's going to happen before it happens. That's probably why she never had any problem showing me her cards before the game even began. It turns out, Jenny is always right.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Let's start at the very beginning...

For whatever reason, this is one of those questions EVERYONE seems to ask, so it seems appropriate to start our engagement blog with the start of "us." Does that make you gag a little? Yea, ok, so I'm a little bit twitter-pated, but I have decided there is no place I would rather be than on Cloud 9.

After graduating from BYU with a solid resolve to not get married for a decade or so, I eventually found my way back home on Bainbridge Island. Attending the family ward, though fun, wasn't giving me the social life I hoped for. So one morning I hopped on the ferry and showed up at the University of Washington singles wards. There are 3 wards at UW and without knowing a soul, I plopped myself down in U3, and introduced myself to only two people there: Robyn Dipo (Morgan's sister) and Maile Stephens (Morgan's girlfriend). I looked up at the man they had in common, who happened to be the Elders Quorum President, and decided that U3 was definitely the ward for me.

From that day forward, Morgan and I grew to be friends, and when he entered back into single's life, our friendship quickly blossomed. The very first time we were ever alone, I remember looking over at him and my heart skipped a beat as I heard in my head a voice saying, this is the man you're going to marry.

The thought actually freaked me out quite a bit, and I battled with the idea for the first few months we were dating, constantly wondering why I had that feeling, and if I really was going to be with him. Well here we are 15 months later, and it turns out that feeling was pretty darn legit.