Relationship Dynamics

Fifteen years ago, the Pumpkin Man and I were married in the Denver LDS Temple for time and eternity.

Every marriage has ups and downs but the challenges we’ve have been faced with the last couple of years have been staggering. The last month has been particularly difficult but I’m so grateful to have such a steady, loving, strong and funny man by my side. Despite his own suffering and pains, he has risen to uplift and support the rest of us and I’m forever grateful.

I found this gem from the archives and it still rings true today


This may come as a surprise to you but I can be high-strung.

Or maybe this is not so shocking to those who know me.

I married a great man who is easy going. I have known from the get-go part of what makes our relationship work so well is how we balance each other out.

* I blog.

* I love eating pumpkin.

* He grows giant pumpkins.

* He blogs about his pumpkins.

See? Match made in heaven.

But it wasn’t until our recent ski trip to Keystone that I had an epiphany about it all. We had arrived at the resort and were unloading the car to check-in. As usual, I was stressed about something. Because that is what I do. And as usual, he tried to calm me down.

I have just accepted that this is the dynamic of our marriage. Sometimes I am appreciative. Other times, it annoys me. What if I don’t want to calm down? What if I am completely validated in freaking out over this?

But last week, I was struck withgratitude that he always talks me off the ledge. And I wondered what my life would be like if I married someone who was not a calming influence in my life. Someone who fueled the fire instead of harmoniously extinguishing the flames.

It would not be pretty.

I have been in relationships like that. I once dated a guy who was exactly like me. I know–it is alarming that this is possible. His strengths were my strengths, his weaknesses were the same. We were both journalists, loved the outdoors and were passionate souls ready to conquer the world. In the beginning, we were on such a high–we were the perfect match. I was so thrilled: I was dating myself!

But then we hit the wall. We didn’t compliment each other in the least. We didn’t learn from one another nor grow together. And then I woke up with dread one morning: I was dating myself. Worst. Thing. Ever.

How grateful I am to have married a man who appreciates my strengths and buoys me up from my weaknesses. Happy 15th anniversary, my love!!!

Love and Marriage: The Laundry Wars

This beauty from my draft folder is from a few years ago. Ahh, the memories!

In most ways, Jamie and I have a very traditional marriage. I take care of most household chores and the children. He works, pays the bills and quarterly taxes and raises freakishly large orange creatures.

Remember, I said MOST WAYS. 

I do the laundry. I hate doing laundry but when we were engaged, I saw how Jamie did laundry and I wanted no part in it (his method involved large heaps of clean clothes that were never put away all week long). Though I don’t claim to be the perfect laundress, my process involves washing, drying, folding and putting away the laundry on the same day. I’m also moderately obsessive about doing laundry when we’re on vacation (if possible) and can’t stand coming home with a suitcase full of dirty clothes.

Jamie, on the other hand, likes to mix his clean clothes with his dirty ones in his suitcase.

It’s like nails on the chalkboard, peeps.

I do laundry a couple of times a week so usually stay on top of things, for which Jamie is openly grateful. But the other day, he made an unusual request.

“Where is my Nike shirt?”

“Which Nike shirt?”

“My grey one. It’s not in my drawer.”

“Then it’s probably in the dirty laundry.”

He proceeded to dig through the laundry basket. “HERE IT IS. Why is it not washed?”

“Let’s see. It’s Thursday and I did the laundry on Monday. That means you must have worn it in the last two days.”

I am the master of deduction.

Jamie is picky about what he wears but for some reason, he was hell-bent on wearing that shirt. And this, my friends, is where another laundry pet peeve comes into play. On the rare occasion he does a load of laundry, he only washes his clothes and nobody else’s.

A few minutes later I walked into the laundry room to see he’d thrown a few of his shirts into the wash (another peeve: not running a full load).

“Jamie, do you see this pile of dirty clothes sitting by the washing machine? It would be swell if you’d put some of these other clothes in to wash as well.”

His response? “I don’t want that dirty stuff touching my stuff.”

Dude needs a lesson in airing dirty laundry.

To shutter or not to shutter, that is the question?

As we fix up our house to put on the market, our past several weeks have also been dedicated unto life-altering decisions such as “Do we put shutters on the new house?” I’ve had sleepless nights over such minute details. Only the strongest of marriages survive a renovation or a move. Fortunately, we’ve naturally gravitated to our areas of strength. Jamie has handled all the refinancing, loans and permit details while I’ve focused more on purging and cleaning our house.  You know, the things that don’t require any brain power, that’s me!

The whole process has been seamless but we sometimes clash in our design decisions. I want a completely different look and feel from our Denver home. We currently have a lot of browns and reds, which was swell when we built 13 years ago but I want to brighten up our plot a lot more. To Jamie’s credit, he has acquiesced on much of it, thinking I will give him full reign over the basement and yard and for the most part, I will. Except for the location of his greenhouse. Out of all the places on our .5-acre-plot, he wants to build it smack dab in the middle of my view of Mount Timpanogos. HEAR ME ROAR!

We’ve finalized most of our decisions from the design center but we’re still pending on one minor detail: to shutter or not to shutter? Our design consultant a.k.a. Jamie’s Generous Sister Who is Trying Not to Kill us With our Indecision sent over a few photoshopped pictures of her neighbor’s home that is undergoing renovations. Obviously, our house will have a different design but the colors are similar and this gives us a general idea.

No shutters.

The home with photoshopped black and then white shutters.


Jamie and I sat down to discuss our options.

Jamie: “I like no shutters.”

Me: “I think the black shutters make the house look too dark. Let’s nix those.”

Jamie: “Agreed.”

Me: “I’m kind of leaning toward the white shutters. I like the clean lines”

Jamie: “Huh. I’ll tell you what. Let’s compromise and do no shutters.”

Amber: “How is that a compromise? That is the choice you originally wanted!”

Jamie: “Exactly.”

Merry Christmas!

If you read my blog, our annual holiday newsletter is old news to you. But I assure you, Fat Kitty has never looked better.

Merry Christmas!

If 2014 could be summed up quickly, it would be non-stop travels for the first six months and the other six were spent recovering with little/no travels. We’re so grateful for both and most importantly that we have had minimal health crises this year and no hospital visits (wood is currently being knocked).

Our year was unprecedented for travel and will likely never be repeated but what a blast we had! I attended a media event in Denver for the Maui Convention & Visitor’s Bureau and was thrilled when I won a trip for two! The coincidence? The only other time I’ve been to Hawaii was when my dad won a trip for two to Hawaii through work. Fortunately for my siblings and our kids, we let them tag along and truly fell in love with that island paradise as it was our favorite trip ever (see all the fun here)and I’m now moderately obsessed with buying a cabin there someday.

Just as we were recovering from Maui, I was asked to attend the Disney Social Media Moms, an invite-only, highly-sought-after conference at Disneyland so we decided to splurge. And Disneyland isn’t the same without family so we surprised the kids by waking them up the morning of our departure. For once, they did not complain about being woken up early.

One of our favorite ways to play is skiing and this past year we’ve been to Breckenridge, Steamboat Springs, Crested Butte, Copper Mountain and Park City Mountain Resort...and have many more ski trips planned for 2015. One of our favorite experiences was dog sledding for the first time in Breck!

And, of course, the kids and I spent our month-long vacation in Canada and the Western United States. Jamie joined us for a week at the lake with my family in Vernon, B.C. and we had a fantastic time boating. Usually our Canadian adventures are a reprieve from Denver’s searing heat so we won’t comment how it was actually cooler in Denver during our lake retreat.

Now, onto family matters.

Hadley (age 10, fifth grade)

Hadley grew leaps and bounds this year…literally. Her huge growth spurt over the summer launched her to the top of the class in height and continues to send us scrambling to replace all her clothes, which is challenging because she hates 99% of what she sees in the store. She has a wicked sense of humor and a large group of friends at church and school. She hates math and piano and enjoys handwork, travel, art, violin, pumpkin growing (hers weighed 401 pounds), Minecraft and crafts. Her favorite class trip ever was a three-day class camping trip to the Great Sand Dunes National Park where she was the second-fastest kid to summit the highest dune in North America (a bit perplexing because she’s always the first-slowest when it comes to leaving the house). For volleyball, we bumped her up to play with the 6-8 graders and she has had no problems keeping up the big girls. She’s a mountain goat hiker and is ready to be challenged on the big peaks (we just need to get our act together to take her), is moderately obsessed with bouldering and is constantly heckling the rest of us to keep up with her during her crazy traverses. She’s a great skier, is learning to tackle the moguls and we had a fabulous mother-daughter trip to the slopes in February during her school break. She loves the water and, despite her protests to try wakeboarding, popped up on her first try and now does it like a champ. Though she and Bode would never admit it, they’re besties and play wonderfully together 93 percent of the time; no comment on the other 7 percent nor who is the instigator for the fall-outs.

Bode (age 8, 3rd grade)

Bode’s big news is he got baptized in August surrounded by both sets of grandparents. He’s a happy, kind and thoughtful kid who has two emotions: joyful (most of the time) and sensitive (usually during the aforementioned fall-outs). He’s a whiz at math and a regular receiver of “Star Awards” at school yet has barely legible handwriting. He is recovering from an addiction to Calvin and Hobbes and Clash of Clans and he thrives on being responsible–he even sets his alarm early for school so he can be “extra-prepared.” For his eighth birthday, we threw him a surprise party where we hired Rolling Video Games Denver to come to the house and we invited all his friends for a two-hour video game marathon that was deemed “the best party ever.” He’s intrinsically more cautious than his sister but battled his fears and did an awesome job wakeboarding, cross-country skiing and a high-ropes course for the first time. Named after Bode Miller, he continues to rock the ski slopes and went on one of his first mogul run last week. When I asked him it was terrifying, he confessed, “A little bit,” and I can’t blame him because I sometimes feel the same way. He plays the piano non-stop, enjoyed growing his 325-pound pumpkin, loves Cub Scouts and is gearing up for his first Pinewood Derby where it will be revealed just how competitive his father really is. Bode went on his first six-day overnight camp to Camp Chief Ouray with Hadley last summer and had the time of his life. As smart as he is, he still puts his shirt on backwards but loves to snuggle up so I’m relieved he’s not growing up too fast, even if he sometimes acts like a responsible 40-year-old man in an 8-year-old body.


The Pumpkin Man had his his worst pumpkin-growing year ever and lost both of his plants to yellow vine disease in August. Despite that setback, he was able to preserve one of them long enough to make it to the scale and it topped 500 pounds. We were sad we wouldn’t have a real giant pumpkin to display so rescued his buddy Joe’s from being axed and it just happened to be the biggest grown in Colorado this year. Jamie had a blast taking the pumpkins around to the area schools and had a ton of media interviews–he was even featured front page on The Denver Post’s YourHub. But his most memorable pumpkin moment was when he decided it would be fun to dress up as The Pumpkin Man, hide inside the pumpkin, and terrorize trick-or-treaters on Halloween. Fortunately no law suits were filed and we only had one casualty when he made Spiderman cry (watch the hilarious video here). His web development business continues to add more people to the team and we’re grateful business is growing (unfortunately so do his stress levels). At church, he’s the Stake Technology Clerk and the Priest’s Quorum Adviser but most importantly, a wonderful husband, father and mortal enemy to superheroes.


As for me, I continue to juggle trips, kid’s activities and working from home. I’ve taken over the business/advertising side of Mile High Mamas, which has confirmed I’d much rather be writing. And traveling. And hiking or skiing. But unfortunately, I haven’t figured out how to make much money from those exploits so in the interim I’ll just dream of more playtime. I’ve become more of a regular contributor on 9News and have done segments on everything from travel tips to Halloween treats to their ugly sweater Christmas party on Friday. I was released as the Primary pianist at church and am on my way out the door for Public Affairs as I’ve been called as an Akela of the Cub Scout Bear Den. I am also an aspiring dodgeball player and if this writing gig doesn’t work out, I hope to go pro in the future.

Fat Kitty

Fat Kitty is the only serious one in the family. In addition to napping for 23 hours a day, he enjoys decapitating the occasional mouse, eating grass until he pukes and annoying Jamie. He also decided to get in shape this year and his favorite exercise is a cross between a lunch and a crunch.

Some people call it lunch.

Christmas Wishes

This time of year, we’re especially grateful for our many friends, family and for our our Savior. Have the happiest of Christmases is our Christmas wish and gift to you!



The Johnsons

November: Because It’s Better Late Than Never

Sure, I know we’re already blazing through December but November, how I loved November. I’d be pretty darn remiss if I didn’t give a few of my favorite November moments a mention before they’re lost forever.

We had our first family ski trip of the season at one of my favorite Colorado ski resorts, Copper Mountain. Many more details to come but for now, our first of what I hope will be many pictures on the lift together.And then there’s Hadley. This fun, free-spirited, strong-willed girl of mine and I may not always agree but there’s no place we bond more perfectly than the outdoors.

There was plenty of bonding for the whole family on the slopes and off. That evening, the kids tried to make me jealous when they abandoned me for Jamie’s side of our booth at Casa Sanchez Mexican restaurant.
Nope, I didn’t feel envious even one bit.

When people say they have no desire to ever try skiing because it’s too cold and difficult, I honestly feel sorry for them because they think a ski vacation starts and stops on the slopes. Soaking in a hot tub under the stars and white lights as you listen to the groomers on the mountain is truly a magical end to the day.

Boy with creepy beady eyes notwithstanding.

Jamie and I had a great month in the romance department. It turns out that if you sing “You don’t bring me flowers anymore” that if you married a good man, he will deliver.

We went on some memorable dates but none was more memorable than when we were at a preview for the History Colorado Center’s new Living West exhibit and we tried the two-seater outhouse.

Let’s just say I saw him in an entirely new light.

Do you love It’s a Wonderful Life as much as my Jamie does? I surprised him with a date night to see this  story brought to life as a 1940’s radio broadcast at Miner’s Alley Playhouse in Golden. I’m admittedly not a huge fan of the movie but fell in love with the charming and hilarious cast who made us laugh ’til we cried and ignited an appreciation for idealistic George Bailey as he received divine intervention one Christmas Eve. This 130-seat theater was quaint, the acting superb and the audience interaction was fun (have you ever been playfully given Jelly Bellies by the actors prior to a show?) 
We made an evening of it and went to dinner prior to the show. Downtown Golden has some of our favorite dining options and we tried the new Indulge Bistro & Wine Bar with outstanding service, food and ambiance  in Golden’s Gateway Station. I’m still salivating over my Filet Oaxaca, a Black Angus filet mignon served with manchego potato puree, grilled vegetables, blackened shrimp and mango mole sauce. I could show you a picture but it would just make me  hungry again.
In honor of Thanksgiving, Bode gave a great lesson for Family Home Evening and they made a big gratitude basket where we listed all the things for which we are grateful.

Jamie cut out a big pumpkin and put “grandma” on it. We all know what he really meant.

For the third year in a row, we served Thanksgiving dinner and made cards for low-income seniors through Volunteers of America.I get a little choked up thinking about all the wonderful people we met that afternoon that really brought home the whole spirit of Thanksgiving. November, you’ve never been a favorite but you will be most welcomed next year.


Johnson Family Newsletter 2013

In typical bipolar fashion, I decided to do a holiday newsletter, then opted out and then upon receiving newsy holiday  newsletters from friends,  decided it should be back on. After all, the world must know what the Johnsons did in 2013!

Overall, we had a great time full of family and friends, travel and minimal hospital visits (our gauge for a good year). We took plenty of fantastic ski vacations all over Colorado and a week at our favorite, Park City Mountain Resort in Utah. Last summer, the kids and I spent almost a month in Canada on a 3,000-mile trip that covered two countries and six states (Colorado, Montana, Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Utah). Jamie was only able to join us for a week of our trip, citing  “someone has to work to support your playtime.” Wise man; I couldn’t agree more.

Here’s a quick glimpse at our happenings. Click on the links for more details!

Atop 14,265-foot Mount Evans


Hadley (9 going on 19) is in fourth grade at her Waldorf charter school and continues to love their arts-based academic education. Our free-spirited, fun-loving girl has been on several camping trips with her class and keeps busy with piano and volleyball. She’s also a stellar skier and for my birthday, we had a girl’s weekend of mogul-busting, snowshoeing, lake-skating and sledding. Hadley is a huge fan of horses and was delighted to spend a week at overnight Camp Chief Ouray last summer. She loves Fat Kitty, swimming, hiking, crafting, gardening, cooking and she was the top-performing girl in her grade at her school’s Fun Run. I should know. I ran beside her the entire way until our fifth mile when she blazed past me and I walked with a limp for a week. Her love for Scooby Doo has been replaced by mind-numbing shows on the Disney Channel like “Jessie” and “Dog with a Blog.” It looks like we have a tween, folks.

Hadley’s first scary leap into the Rooster Tail at the lake house in Vernon, B.C.

Skating at Copper Mountain

Summer hiking group at Mount Falcon


Our resident geek, Bode (age 7) loves all things space, educational and ensuring everyone is following the rules all the time. He is moderately obsessed with being the best-behaved kid in his second grade class (yet somehow is also among the most well-liked), thrives in academics, is a great little soccer player, skier, hiker, cook, master pumpkin grower and lives for his bi-weekly WiiU and technology sessions. For the second year in a row, he and Hadley were my child models at the 9News Back-to-School fashion show and he put Zoolander to shame. He and his sister went to Avid4Advenventure’s Survival Camp last summer and I now feel confident they can survive exactly two hours solo in the great outdoors. He never shuts up on the piano loves to play the piano, enjoys to read Calvin and Hobbes, bike down to our neighborhood skate park and play with LEGOS. His current obsession is constructing dream mansions for us out of giant wooden blocks and creating intricate maps of his designs. We strongly encourage this as a future profession.

First solo flight to see Grandma in Utah!

A snowy hike in Evergreen=joy

First fish fly fishing at The Ranch at Emerald Valley


The Pumpkin Man had a great year. He grew his biggest pumpkin ever, 1,220-pound Stanley, and we landed a picture of him in The Denver Post. A professional carver drove down every day from Fort Collins for a week to chisel a marvelously creepy face into the giant gourd. And then Stanley and Jamie went on tour visiting both of the kids’ schools and harvest festivals, thereby cementing his status as a local celebrity. In other news (though really, is there any other news?), Jamie’s web development business Pixo Web Design and Strategy continues to grow, he has a few employees and is always busy. We marked our 10-year wedding anniversary last February and he surprised me by recreating the magical night we got engaged that included a limo ride to the swanky Briarwood Inn. He was recently released from the Bishopric at church and not even five days later, he was called as a stake clerk over technology, a real stretch.

Atop McConkey’s lift for the first time as a family at Park City Mountain Resort

Stanley the Pumpkin

Stanley’s scary carving


I’ve had a busy year working for the newspaper and various freelance opps in the travel industry. Our favorite gig is writing for AAA Five Diamond The Broadmoor’s magazine because they pay their writers in trade, which amounts to an opulent, indulgent vacation like no other in Colorado Springs.  I love hiking every week, skiing, boot camp, volunteering at school and in the community. I received an award in recognition of journalistic excellence as a community blogger from Digital First Media, The Denver Post’s parent company. But my real prize was when I was at a media luncheon hosted by the Maui Convention and Visitor’s Bureau and my name was drawn as the winner of a trip to Maui (we’re going in February). At church, I was sad to be released from the Young Women (favorite calling ever) and now serve in the stake’s Public Affairs where I work with community leaders and media.  I’m also the volleyball coach and our ward’s Primary pianist and have mastered The Look from across the room, which quickly corrects the behavior of any misbehaving kids. We all have our talents.

Solo hike to Maxwell Falls in Evergreen, Colo.

9News fashion show

Girl’s only birthday ski trip

Fat Kitty

He’s still fat, snuggly, sleepy, sweet and lives for his backyard adventures of stalking mice and eating grass ’til he pukes. We often walk in on him licking himself in Cirque du Soleil-esque positions but it was this shot I took of him on my bed that convinced us all that he’ll be America’s Next Top Model. Look for him on a Kitty Litter advertisement coming your way soon.

America’s Top (Cat) Model

We feel infinitely blessed this holiday season for wonderful family, good friends and the gospel in our lives.

Merry Christmas!


The Johnsons

10 Years Ago Today

Ten Years Ago Today, I married the perfect man for me–one who knows and loves me better than anyone. Who is wise beyond his years, patient, fun, romantic, kind and hilarious. Our wedding day was perfect. That word isn’t usually in my vocabulary but that is exactly what it was because of the man I was to marry and the beloved people who surrounded us with their love.

The night before, my in-laws graciously arranged a delicious Valentine’s Day dinner for our out-of-town guests, catered by Jamie’s good friend, Chef Mike. I stayed up late giggling with dear friends in our condo, wondering if I could ever fall asleep before the most important day of my life.

February 15, 2003 dawned bright, beautiful and SNOWY! Denver was having a severe drought and this was certainly not in the forecast but was a dream come true for this Canuck bride!  Jamie came to pick me up and after only one minor stress-related freakout (quite miraculous for me), we drove to the Denver LDS Temple. The grounds were spectacular and the snowy-frosting on all the trees was good enough to eat.

For me, one of the most beloved facets of the LDS faith is the knowledge that marriages and families are forever, bestowed through the process of being sealed in the temple. To be in that sealing room surrounded by those we love, kneeling across the alter from this amazing man and literally feeling the concourses of angels–to date it was one of the most powerful experiences of my life and I couldn’t help but blubber all the way through it.

And we’re talking “the big, ugly cry” as Oprah calls it.

When we left the temple, the party began.  Here are some snapshots I took of our wedding photo albums. Scanners are for wussies…or rather, people who have way more time than I but you get the idea.

I literally get weepy when I see these pictures of all our loved ones. See my niece Emily in that red coat? Haddie wears it now

My family

Jamie’s family

The Parents

My Maid of Honor Stacey whom I’ve literally known since birth

Jamie and I were both at BYU at the same time, graduated in the same department, had likely played volleyball together at Carriage Cove every night one summer and yet never met until eight years later. It was during our lovely wedding reception at the Marriott that the craziest thing happened. I had many wonderful friends from my BYU days come to Colorado for the wedding, as did Jamie. And many of these friends knew each other from BYU. Just another meant-to-be moment.

That evening, we had our reception at a charming cabin in the mountains. Before I even moved to Denver, my mother-in-law Linda had searched out reception venues for me and patiently toured me around until we found the perfect one. Just 15 minutes from Denver in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, Chief Hosa Lodge was my dream come true. Cozy with multiple fireplaces, white lights and a harpist, it was oh-so quaint.  The snow that evening made it magical. The reception was a blur with memories of the many people who would become my Denver family. We kept things simple–No wedding party, no painful line.  We greeted our guests, chased bubbles, dined on the delicious food that included croquembouche (a traditional French dessert I fell in love with on my mission) and danced the night away. It was the favorite wedding I’ve ever attended.

It’s a good thing, too, because it was all mine.

Last night we gathered the kids together to share our love story with them for the first time–the full one that very few know. They were captivated and mesmerized and my heart was full as I marveled at the family life we have been blessed to create in such a short amount of time.

Happy 10 Years to my beloved Pumpkin Man. I feel infinitely blessed to be yours.

The Beginning of the End of the Rest of Our Lives

Our engagement photo

What is more apropos for Valentine’s Day and the day before our 10-year anniversary than to reflect upon our journey to togetherness?

I’ve written about our Love Story here and also briefly about our wedding day. Tomorrow I’ll share oodles of pictures from our wedding album for posterity.

Though I’ve written much about our courtship, I’ll likely never reveal it all online because it was an intensely personal, sacred experience for both of us.

It all started when I messaged Jamie on July 22, 2002 after seeing his profile on Though I was in the process of ending a five year on-again, off-again relationship, I felt very strongly impressed to write this guy in Colorado (I was in Utah) who had posted a picture of himself a mile away on an Alaskan glacier. Note: His screen name was “ArvadaFun” and mine was “BlackDiamond”and I wrote about the Colorado mountain towns I referenced in this article.

I’m not sure about “Arvada Fun” but I will say that I recently experienced “SilvertonFun,” “OurayFun,” and DurangoFun.”

So, how does it feel to be living in Pleasure Sponge Central? (I’m JEALOUS!!)


And yes, I did reference a “pleasure sponge” on the very first email. #Hussy.

Thus began a whirlwind long-distance courtship. Five months later, I dropped everything to move to Denver and a month and a half later, we were married. Before our wedding, Jamie compiled the volumes of emails we had exchanged into two beautifully-bound keepsake books that are an absolute treasure. He inscribed them for me with the following message:

On July 22, the great events of my life took place. I got a message. A message from the woman who was to be my eternal companion. That message started a two-month email and phone correspondence that brought about a marvelous work and a wonder and a great love.

From the very beginning of our correspondence the Spirit was very strong. In some ways the words on these pages do not completely convey the depth of the messages sent back and forth. I look back at some of the things I said very early on in our correspondence and I can’t believe I was so bold. At the same time, saying the things I did felt very natural. Time had no meaning over the first two months of our relationship and everything seemed compressed. It is difficult to explain, but things that happened over a two-week period felt like two months in the most wonderful of ways.

The two months of emails, IMs and phone calls ended in the most amazing revelation of my life: The clear promoting that I needed to get engaged to Amber before we had ever met each other. After much pondering, fasting, prayer and a blessing from my father, I knew exactly what I needed to do. I proposed marriage to Amber via email.

A week later I knocked on the door of my fiancée and for the first time saw her lovely face. We now eagerly look forward to our sealing in the Denver Temple on Feburary 15, 2003.


December 2002

That’s what husbands are for

I have felt overwhelmed and grateful by all the support I’ve received from friends, family and complete strangers since I started writing professionally.

But a few weeks ago, I received my first vicious email from a reader about my column in The Denver Post. I don’t write a lot of controversial stuff and what he was spewing out was so ludicrous, irrational and hateful toward children that I promptly deleted it and deemed him a madman.

But still, it bugged me.

Later that day, I commented to Jamie: “I got my first piece of hate mail today.”

He didn’t ask what it was about and only offered, “No, it wasn’t. Remember that kindergarten article you published a couple of years ago in the Denver Post’s YourHub? A man was so irate about it he sent ME an email telling me to tell my ‘misinformed wife’ she was nuts?”

“Thanks for the pick-me-up, Jamie.”

Our Anniversary Love Story

It’s official: Jamie and I have been an old, married couple for NINE years!

In keeping with tradition, I’ll share my courtship story with Jamie. Y’see, my beloved James and I were BYU students at the same time, graduated from the same department, walked through the same graduation ceremonies and regularly played volleyball together on the same court one summer…and yet never met.

It took a glorious thing called the Internet to finally bring us together many years later. I was in the midst of terminating an on-again, off-again five-year long-distance relationship and was cruising a popular Mormon singles site, adding unsuspecting prey to my Little Black Book.

Jamie had also ended a relationship a few months prior and was looking for some nice local Mormon girls to date. I, however, was not local. (Or nice for that matter; really, my only qualifier was I was Mormon). He was in Denver, I in Salt Lake City. I had just endured a long-distance romance and vowed I would never do that again. That avowal lasted about a week. He, too had no interest in something long distance.

Despite the odds, I came across his profile. It was not his dashing good looks that initially struck me (his photo was taken on an Alaskan glacier five miles away) or his poetry and prose (i.e. “I like eating good food”) but rather the strong impression that I needed to write him. Immediately.

Our connection was immediate. Jamie first knew it was love when I expounded upon mountaineering and the definition of the horned sacrificial altar in Ancient Israel (yep, we’re two of a kind). I knew Jamie was The One when he googled my name and read every single article I had ever written. Either that or he was a stalker. Fortunately, he proved to be the former.

After countless e-mails and phone calls over the next two months, we planned to meet. By this time, it had been revealed to both of us in a very powerful way that we would get married. Imagine, if you will, how you’d feel opening the door to a person you’d never laid eyes on, yet knowing he was The One. Suffice it to say, the week prior to our meeting, I was a wreck.

Another confirmation I received was when The Family Curse came upon me. Y’see, when both of my brothers met their spouses, something unfortunate always happened. For Patrick, he “accidentally” passed gas when he was introduced to Jane. For Jeek, he had developed a horrible boil smack in the middle of his nose when he met Shannon. For me, I developed an allergic reaction to some flowers at work, which resulted in a stye in my eye. Y’know. The really pink, pussy, ugly kind. This was yet another sign.

And so despite my pussy, makeup-less state when I finally laid eyes on him (albeit one good eye), I knew then what I know now: that we were meant to be together. And despite all my Murphyisms and idiosyncrasies, he still loves me. And keeps loving me. I don’t understand or question it, I’m just grateful for it.

Happy Anniversary, Honey!

(To read all the sordid details of our wedding day, go here).