Saturday, January 1, 2011

Year in Review

Happy New Year!

So Ben and I decided that this would be the perfect time to revamp "Ben's Blog" into "Ben and Barbara's Blog." We've made a resolution to update more often (I won't say how often I've resolved to update in case, you know, it turns out to be less than we've set out to write. Though, I must say, I'm pretty good at keeping resolution I make...).

With so much happening and so much to update at this time, we figured we would start with a simple Year-In-Review. So here goes our Top 12 (there were just too many to keep it to just 10) Momories of 2010!

1. Barbara joining the LDS church, February 20th:Me and Ben with the missionaries, Elders Van Woerkom and Durrant

So, of course, it's a long story, but ultimately, the baptismal date the missionaries proposed was the weekend Ben was coming down from Berkeley! So I asked him to perform the baptism. I really liked my missionaries and I really appreciated everyone who came to support me in my decision to join the LDS church, many of whom were non-member friends.

2. Ben's Project - Hi guys, Ben here. In the spring I proposed a senior honors thesis project that got approved by the Theatre and Performance Studies department. I've been having a very interesting time the past few months interviewing gay LDS men and women, some of whom have left the church, others have stayed. My project is to compile these interviews into a one man show that I'll be performing at the end of March. It's been an amazing experience so far, and will only get more exciting from here.

3. Road trip, Spring Break... around March we think - For Ben's spring break we decided to make a whirl-wind road trip down to Southern California, up to the Central Valley, and back to Central Coast. The first night we drove down to LA to see "Urintown," a musical in which several of Ben's fellow PCPA classmates were acting. We stayed with some friends of mine at Pepperdine University in Malibu. The following morning (Saturday) I took Ben on a tour of the school. It was great going through the theater department, which had pretty much been my home while there. The school had just been renovated, so it was more beautiful than I thought possible. From there we went to Disneyland! My friend, Kelly, works there and got us into the parks (Disneyland and California Adventure) for free! That night we stayed with my step-dad, Tony, and his girlfriend, Sally (pictured below - in front of their backyard bamboo forrest).

From there, we drove to Porterville and Exeter in the Central Valley. My friend, Melanie, and her fiance, Will, were planing to get married that Monday, but there was a mix up with the date and they had to moved the wedding to the following Monday so her parents would be able to come. It was unfortunate that we couldn't make the wedding, but it turned out for the best because we got some quality time with them.
This is us with Melanie and Will - we went on a great morning walk into the hills near their house. Immediately followed by home-made fruit-filled pancakes!

4. Getting Engaged, April 20th - Ben proposed in front of the Oakland temple. He had brought me there under the pretense that we could get my scriptures inscribed with my name at the distribution center near the temple. Little did I know, distribution centers don't inscribe scriptures. It had been a rainy day, but the sun cleared the clouds just in time for the special moment; it was perfect.

5. Trip to Texas, End of May - Ben and I flew out to Dallas, Texas for my best friend, Krista's, wedding. This was Ben's opportunity to meet Krista and her fiance, Chris (it's very important to have the best friend meet the future spouse). It was a beautiful wedding and a fun weekend (and Krista, Chris, and Ben really hit it off... shwew!).

Me and the bride.

I caught the bouquet, and Ben caught the garter! I guess that means we'll be the next to get married...

From there we hitched a ride to Austen for the series finale of Lost. Ben had only seen the series premiere, about 6 years before, but we - the fanatic "Losties" - filled him in on everything he needed to know to enjoy himself. Ben was able to meet some more of my college friends. We had so much fun, ate great food, and Ben was intrigued enough to being watching the entire series of Lost (I may have pushed it a little bit...)

We took decorating very seriously. Everything was labeled with "Dharma" labels, a thing from the show.

6. Getting Married, Part I, June 6th - We got married after a long, 6 week engagement. The wedding was held in Ben's sister, Kristen's, backyard in Paso Robles. All the Abbott siblings were there with their spouses and some children, and I had my parents and a couple friends there. It was a beautiful, stress-free event, and we got some great Abbott family pictures taken.

We had a three day honeymoon at Disneyland. Again, my friend Kelly hooked us up with a discount at the Disney hotel, the Californian, and free admission into the parks. She also got us VIP seats to the fireworks and a parade!

Us with Kelly. We got really nifty bride and groom mouse ears we wore all weekend. We got many comments, congratulations, and unsolicited marriage advice.

A flavor of things to come.

7. Ben Directing Camp Melodrama, July - Ben again. This summer I directed camp melodrama a 4 week theater day camp for kids. I'd been a teacher before, but never in charge of it. It was a lot of fun, and I had a blast with the 50 kids, from age 7 to 17. They just cracked me up. Barbara would get home from work at about 1AM, and I had to get up at 6:30, so we would literally go days without seeing each other beyond me shaking her to say goodbye in the morning. Still, it was a great time with all those kids!

8. Getting Married, Part II, August 14th - We decided to have a ceremony/reception for all our family and friends. It was held in San Luis Obispo at the Dallidet Adobe Gardens. Ben's mom, Judy, was our officiant, which was just wonderful. I designed my dress and my friend, Kathleen, who is a professional draper made it. Ben helped to make a structure to hold pies instead of cake. The pies were homemade and were a huge hit. The day was perfect. It was truly put together with the help of much family and friends. We are just unspeakably grateful to everyone who helped make it so wonderful.

We took a second honeymoon (because we're greedy) in Tahoe. It was a week long this time, which was just fabulous. Tahoe is great because there are plenty of options of things to do, but there wasn't a feeling that we had to fill our days with activities to get our money's worth.

We took a hike one day on the ski resort near our hotel.

Our friend, Briana, gave us tickets for a dinner cruise, so one evening we rode the MS Dixie.

We each got to briefly captain the boat!

One day we went out to the lake to swim and kayak. And we only over turned the kayak twice :)

9. Moving to Albany, September - We were really concerned that we just weren't going to find a place to live in the Berkeley area within our price range. We were looking for a few weeks and finally found a small studio apartment in Albany, a small town about 5 miles north of Downtown Berkeley. We signed the lease the day after Ben started the school year. We love most things about it - with the exception that our downstairs neighbor smokes like a chimney and every once in awhile the smoke will make its way up through the heater. We'll post pictures of the apartment soon :)

The Berkeley ward up here is amazing and we've had a really great time getting involved and making friends. For Christmas Ben was asked to be Santa Claus for the ward Christmas party.

Santa with our friend, Karley's daughter, Brice.

Santa with his costumer.

11. Getting a job at Aaron Brothers, October - We have this on the list because it was just impressive how quickly I obtained this job and it has been such a blessing to us. After only three weeks of job searching I had an interview and was offered a position! Aaron Brothers is a framing and custom framing store owned by Michael's. I was really drawn to it because it seemed relatively artistic and I had a cousin who was a manager at a branch in Southern California who spoke highly of the company. I've really enjoyed working there and have learned a lot about framing. Custom framing has an element of design to it that is really fun for me; though, it's made it hard to look at all the stuff I want to hang on the walls - framing is pretty expensive, but it looks so good!

12. Our First Christmas Together, December - We'll leave this for a separate post :)


  1. I'm the first one to comment on your blog! Love it! Sounds like you had an amazing year! Love Ben's Santa outfit and the Abbott family pic with all the kids! We took two honeymoons too! Hooray for honeymooning! :)

  2. good job guys! i love it! i knew most of that stuff but not all the details. i was just thinking the other day about the year ben went to 3 proms, and now he's having 3 wedding celebrations. of course this means you'll need a 3rd honeymoon:) sometimes 1 just isn't enough.

  3. Funnily enough, I read Ben's blog yesterday and thought how sad it was that all the excitement from the last year was not there. Yea for New Year's resolutions!


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