March has been a crazy month, but we have loved it! On the 8th, Sam and I went to the Houston Rodeo, our first. I forgot my camera, but you can imagine all the rides, big hats, boots, and meat for sale. We loved watching all the events and were glad that they explained all the rules as they went along. Bull riding was certainly the most exciting, but we also appreciated the hulking steer wrestling, and the skillful calf-roping. We will definitely go again next year.
On the 11th, I flew to Utah for my brother's wedding. I spent a couple days hanging out with my mom and making the sign-in book for their reception (which I forgot to take pictures of-- maybe I can beg that of you Steve). I really enjoyed doing it and think my skills have improved. Sam flew in late Thursday night and we spent Friday with my family. We went to the Salt Lake Temple in the morning and had a wonderful, peaceful couple of hours there and then came home to a delicious lunch of chicken salad and good company. We spent the rest of the day preparing for the dinner with the Halls that night and getting some food ready for the first day of Steve and Rachel's honeymoon so they wouldn't have to worry about it.
At dinner we got to mix and mingle with Rachel's family. Steve introduced his best friend Nate to Rachel's younger sister, Deb, who lived in Steve's apartment complex, and it was at their wedding that Steve and Rachel met. Needless to say, it was great to see Nate again and reminisce on all our adventures while we were RA's and afterwards. We all chatted and ate for almost three hours, so I'd call it a success.
The next morning was the wedding. Sam and I leisurely got ready and headed back to the Salt Lake Temple. I was so glad that I'd be able to see the ceremony for at least one of my siblings, and it was a beautiful ceremony with wise words of counsel before hand. Steve and Rachel couldn't stop smiling and gazing adoringly at each other. I loved it :) Afterwards, I changed into my specially made pregnant-woman version of the bridesmaids dress (thank you to Mom who remade almost the entire dress in one night so it would fit just right), as pictured here:
We took lots of pictures at the temple until we were all too cold to be outside anymore and then we moved into the Joseph Smith Memorial Building where we took even MORE pictures. By this time, my young nephews' patience was wearing very thin, so Sam put our digital camera into the hands of one of them. By the time we got it back, it had over 150 more pictures on it with such classics as this:
Finally, it was time for the luncheon to start. I sat with several of my dad's siblings and they told some great stories about their childhood together. Eventually, we went back to grandpa's house to rest a while before heading to the reception, which was like any other wedding reception, so I'll spare the details. Here are a few pictures from the day instead.
We had a great dinner with Sam's grandpa Frank, who I'd never met. He is one suave and witty guy. Again, I forgot to take a picture with all of us, so I guess we'll just have to go back. After dinner, we took a very round about way to get to a campground where we could sleep for the night. (Don't worry-- I was sleeping on an air mattress. I would not survive a night on the ground at this stage.) I woke up at the very earliest stage of dawn to birds chirping and that feeling you always seem to get when camping, which is, of course, compounded by pregnancy, of really having to go to the bathroom. However, once I took care of that and could relax again, I got another hour or more of sleep before we all woke up to breakfast on our bagels.
Saturday was warm and sunny and we started the day with a walk along Town Lake in Barton Springs park, enjoying the boaters, turtles, and cool water on our feet. We ate our fill of burgers and fries at Hut's and then went to the Capitol Building. It was beautiful and I enjoyed learning a little more Texas history. We tried visiting the Governor's Mansion (closed for renovation) and the Texas History Museum (more money than we wanted to pay) and the UT business school (no parking) but eventually just headed home. I felt really tired and slept most of the way, and by the time we got home, I had a bad headache, and when I was getting in the shower, I noticed a rash all over my belly. I took a cool shower and described my symptoms to my mom over the phone. She diagnosed it as heat exhaustion, and after eating a sandwich and a delicious smoothie that Sam suggested we make, I felt much better and the rash went away later that evening as we watched "Dan in Real Life."
Easter Sunday was relaxing. Sam did great playing the piano for about 40 min straight during the cantata our choir performed for the service at church. It was a very uplifting meeting and I felt the love of my Savior as I sang about and pondered His atonement and resurrection. After church we went to a friend's house for Easter dinner with several other families from church and had a great time. I'll be going over later this week to look through her baby clothes from when her daughter was born in June three years ago. We're so grateful for kind families like the Longs!
For Family Home Evening yesterday, Sam and I dyed eggs (we also decided PAAS dye kit is way better than Dudley's) and to finish, here's the latest pregnancy profile, though I think I'm already bigger. It's exciting to be 30 weeks pregnant and on the last stretch! Baby Anna is a mover and I'm working hard to love all my kicks in the ribs. Sam is so helpful with lots of massages and picking things up off the floor. We'll keep you updated, though hopefully, in smaller chunks next time.