Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Our time here in Virginia is going by so fast. We can't believe it has already been one month. There are definitely good things about this place and definitely things we miss about our Provo home. Here's a little photo update of what we've been up to the past month...

Our first month here started out with a visit from my MOM. It was so fun to have her here. She and I (Chana) spent our days scouring fairfax county for thrift/antiques stores. We had great success! She was a gem to have around. She helped me hang curtains, make pillows, and paint end tables, just to mention a few things.

One of our favorite second hand/antique stores
(Ok, so I stole this picture off the internet; we went in August not December)

The month continued with our SECOND ANNIVERSARY. Andrew and I celebrated by going out to dinner at a beautiful restaurant on the wharf in Old Town Alexandria. We ate outside and it was amazing. The view of the Potomac River was breath taking, the company was perfect and the clam chowder was to die for.

Andrew and part of our view of the Potomac

Our restaurant
(We ate right under the blue umbrellas)

Andrew and me on the wharf

Next came our SECOND set of visitors. April, Trevor and Douglas. (April and I went to France together. Trevor is her husband, and Doug is her little brother. I actually knew Doug way before I knew and loved April. Doug is best friends with the little brother of one of my best friends (Carli) so we got to know each other very well with all the time I spent at her house during college.) The three of them came for a rally in DC and we were so excited to have them stay at our little apartment. April and Trevor slept on our blow up mattress and Doug... he slept on the floor with our couch cushions. It was a tight squeeze but oh so fun. We spent hours talking, laughing and touring museums.

Group Picture at 4:00 am

Our month here came to end with a THIRD set of visitors. Our favorite little family came to see us. Eric, Rachel and Lucy. Eric is getting his MBA at Duke in Durham, North Carolina, which means they are only four hours away and we are very excited to have more of these weekends. Andrew's mom came along with them, which made it even more exciting. We had a great weekend. Our one bedroom apartment was very crowded, but it was so fun. We spent the weekend going to DC monuments, going to museums, eating delicious food, swimming, and baking amazing peanut butter cupcakes.

The girls in front of the Capitol

The White House at dusk

Taking a break from walking at the Washington Monument

We felt right at home amongst all the BLUE and ORANGE in DC
(the BSU/Virginia Tech game was that weekend and there were fans everywhere we looked)

Andrew and I at the Mall

(she was such a good little mama)

Despite the distraction of all our visitors, Andrew has been very disciplined at his school work this past month. He comes home every night with very tired eyes from reading all day long. We are finally filling settled in to our new adventure in Virginia... now if we could only find me a job.

p.s. Visitors are always welcome. We have a very comfortable blow up mattress and a couch.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


Not that more than a handful of people noticed, but we’ve failed to update our blog for a long time. Why, you might ask? We don’t know. Maybe we are lazy. Or maybe it’s because anybody who does read our blog probably already knows what’s going on in our lives. After blogging all last summer about sand, camels, pyramids, and singing and dancing with Arabs, perhaps writing a sufficiently interesting post about our life in Provo, Utah is simply a hard act to follow. It’s not like we have been sitting on the couch twiddling our thumbs. I (Andrew) graduated from college, we have a new sister named Roxy (she married Craig), and Preston left on his mission to South Africa. Despite our long and mysterious absence though, we are back.

You may have heard the saying “Virginia is for lovers”. If you’ve noticed how intensely in love Chana and I are, you now know the saying is true (Chana is now rolling her eyes). That’s right, about 2 weeks ago we packed up everything we have and moved east (again, anybody reading this probably already knows). We will be here for at least three years for me to attend law school at George Mason University. Now on to some things the handful of you reading this may not know....

We had a pretty cool trip out here. We were lucky enough to have friends also moving out to the D.C. area so we came up with a master plan to split the cost of a moving truck. Even better, they offered to drive it out for us a couple weeks early and put our stuff in storage. So it was me, Chana, and Stella (that’s our Toyota Corolla) driving across the country. I quite enjoyed the company. Chana enjoyed Stella and put up with me. Stella was a trooper though she lost her sight in one eye, which resulted in a $25 ticket while cruising the streets of Chicago after dark. We stayed one night in Kearny, Nebraska, then two nights and a day in Chicago, and one night in Cincinati, Ohio. It was the first time to Chicago for both of us and we had a great time. We did an architectural boat tour through the Chicago river, spent some time with Chana’s cousin who introduced us to the world famous Garrett’s popcorn, and had some delicious Chicagoan pizza for dinner.

We live in Fairfax, Virginia in a little one-bedroom apartment west of D.C. We’d never seen the place in person so we were a little nervous. Despite a few minor glitches, we are happy with our pick. We’ve yet to really meet any of our neighbors . . . it’s not quite the same as our BYU married couples complex in Provo, but it’s a nice little community and we have any store imaginable within 2 miles of us. We live about 15 miles from my school and something like 20 miles from D.C. My school is in Arlington, VA, close to the Arlington Cemetery and Pentagon. Chana swore she saw Michelle Obama just walking down the street by herself. She eventually conceded that the first lady probably wouldn’t just be walking by herself. I take a bus/metro combination and it takes just under an hour to get to school in the morning and about the same to get home. Pammy (Chana’s mom) spent this last week here with us. She was a huge help in getting our apartment set up and keeping Chana entertained while I started school. In short, we love our new home. Virginia and D.C. are beautiful and we haven’t even scratched the surface. Of course we really miss friends and family back west but are excited for our new adventure.

Graduation from BYU

Craig and Roxy's Reception in Boise

Preston entering the MTC
(we love Preston and miss him so much)

Chicago after the architectural river boat ride

Andrew enjoying the boat ride

We made it!

Andrew in front of his school in Arlington

P.S. Chana posted the pictures (I'm really not that obsessed with myself).

Sunday, December 27, 2009


This post is very late, considering it is the end of December, but we thought our families and friends would enjoy some pictures of what we've been up to lately and some of the wonderful fall traditions we've started. Plus fall is my favorite season so I wanted to remember what a great time we had...

Andrew proposed at Sundance on the Full Moon Scenic Chair Lift, so at least once a season we try to go and remember that perfect day...

Andrew and Chana on the chair lift

Another tradition that we've had since we've been married is going to a pumpkin patch and picking out our very own pumpkins. This year our good friends Stephanie and Kyle Atwood came with us on our adventure. After picking pumpkins we bought the best apples and apple juice from the orchards and went home to carve our pumpkins...

Us on the trailer, being pulled by a tractor that takes you from the big red barn out to the pumpkin patch.

Chana and her pumpkin

Andrew and his pumpkin

Andrew carving his pumpkin.

The finished product.
(Andrew carved a weiner dog and Chana carved the owl... I told Andrew that Halloween was about creepy animals not snugly ones, but he insisted on carving a dog that resembled the one at his parents house- Amos Earl)

Fall continued with a trip to Boise for Blake's 50th birthday. It was so fun to be with all of the Alders. We had many great activities planned for the whole family, but we did make sure and have a special girls activity as well. We loved having Eric, Rachel and Lucy around and wished they lived closer so we could see them more often.

Sisters shopping at a craft bizarre

The whole crew outside the church

The Fall ended with another quick trip to Boise. This time it was for Thanksgiving. Andrew and I spend most of Thanksgiving with the Alders and had a great time. Sheryl and I watched all the boys play in the annual Turkey Bowl, we all ate an amazing Thanksgiving dinner, Andrew and I had dessert with the Allreds/Blackburns and I ended the weekend with shopping on Black Friday with my mom and sister.

Andrew in running the ball
(He was by far the best player of the whole game)

Preston, Blake and Craig

The Turkey Bowl players

Thanksgiving Dinner

Sunday, November 15, 2009


September was a month of getting use to life in America again.  We do miss things about the Middle East (the heat, our awesome shower, long bumpy bus rides, our apartment guard Mussin, the lack of pork, the call to prayer 5 times a day, and Ahmed.... just to name a few) but it sure is nice to be back.  September was eventful and busy but lots of fun.

First, we were so blessed that Chana got a job within a week of being back in the states.  She worked hard in Jordan searching the web and emailing potential places for a job.  She hadn't heard much back from anybody until the night we got back when she found a message from The Black Goose Design on her phone that we had left with her parents.  She called them back the next morning and they wanted her to come in for an interview ASAP.  So we left Boise early and made the trek down to Utah.  Not surprisingly she rocked her interviews and got the job.  Best of all she is doing what she loves - designing!  She has to commute to Midvale five days a week but for our situation and how the economy is doing we won't complain.

Second, we got to meet for the first time our brand new (and first) niece who was born in June while we were gone.  Eric, Rachel, and Lucy came to Utah to do Lucy's baby blessing and of course mom and dad Alder came too.  Craig also got back from his mission while we were gone so it was the first that with the whole family together.  Lucy is awesome and she quickly decided that Chana and Andrew are her favorite aunt and uncle.

Third, Chana turned 23.  Chana doesn't really like to celebrate birthdays and against her will mom and dad Allred came down for the weekend to party.  The dad had tickets for us to all go to the BYU game and after that we went out to eat at Chana's least favorite restaurant, The Pizza Factory.  Chana also hates sweets, but we forced her to eat some cake and ice cream. Lucky for her though she got a brand new sewing machine as a present.

The whole family at Lucy's blessing
Moving back in 

Dad enjoying the game

Rise and shout, the cougars are out...

Mom and Chana frosting the carrot cake

Sunday, September 20, 2009


Although this is a month overdue we just wanted to write a little post with some pictures of our trip to Israel/Palestine on our way home from the Middle East. It was HOT and tiring because we were going going going, but also relaxing because Andrew was done with all of his big tests and we were pretty much just on vacation. We saw some awesome things and it was an educational experience we will never forget.

We spent the first few days up north in Nazareth and around the Sea of Galilee. Nazareth is where the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary, where Jesus spent his childhood, and where he began his ministry by announcing in the synagogue that he was the fulfillment of prophecy. It’s a fun little city mostly populated by Christian and Muslim Arabs and has beautiful churches. We stayed for two nights in a convent that is run by a French order of nuns. Under the convent we got to see ruins of a first century house that is traditionally believed to be Joseph’s house.

In the Galilee was stayed for two nights in Tiberias in a hotel right on the beach of the Sea of Galilee. The sight from the balcony of our room was beautiful. Christ did much of is teaching and preformed many miracles on and around the Sea of Galilee. On Saturday (the Sabbath in Israel) we took a boat ride across the Galilee before church. The church building in Galilee is incredible. It’s up on a hill and behind the pulpit are a big glass wall and a balcony overlooking the Sea. After church we toured the cities and churches in the area including Capernaum (home of Peter and where Jesus spent much of his time) and the church of the Beatitudes.

The rest of our time we stayed in the BYU Jerusalem Center, which is on the top of Mount Scopus overlooking the Old City. The center is absolutely incredible and we loved our stay there. We had breakfast and dinner in the cafeteria everyday and we had sack lunches waiting for us at breakfast to take on our daily excursions. We did everything most tourists would do in Jerusalem (Temple Mount, Church of the Holy Sepulcher, Garden Tomb, Gethsemane, Bethlehem, Orson Hyde Gardens, the four quarters of the Old City, Western Wall, etc.). In addition, however, almost every night we had some kind of lecture, which made it more of an educational experience. We heard from and met numerous people involved in the government and public policy including Americans, Israelis, Palestinians, an Australian, and a Brit. One of the coolest was a renowned leftist Israeli attorney who took us on a tour of the security wall and Israeli settlements in the West Bank. It was kind of surreal to be right there in the middle of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. You can feel the tension and the more you see it in real life and learn about it from both sides the more you feel like it’s kind of a hopeless situation.

On a happy note we loved Israeli. It was, in a way, a dream come true to be right there where so much history has occurred, including so much history of the three major monotheistic religions of the world. The atmosphere and feeling is like no other place either of us has been in the world. The trip was a perfect way to end our four month journey in the Middle East.

A beautiful view of Nazareth from the roof of the convent

 The Church of the Annunciation 

Chana twirling yarn at the Nazareth Experience
(It was a little museum where you got to see everything how it would have been during Christ's day.)

The view from the church building in Tiberias

The city gates of Capernaum

Remains of a Synagogue in which Christ taught

The Security Wall separating Israel and the West Bank

Inside the Church of the Holy Sepulcher
(It was like a huge zoo in there... people everywhere.) 

The Garden Tomb- a beautiful and peaceful place

The Garden of Gethsemane

The Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount

More of the Dome of the Rock.  

The view from the Orson Hyde Gardens

The Western Wall of the Temple Mount (aka. Wailing Wall) on a Friday Night

Friday, August 7, 2009


So we thought we would post a few pictures of what we do on Friday.... our Sabbath day.  Because Friday is a holiday in Islam the Middle East has their weekends on Friday and Saturday and so Sunday is a normal work/school day.  So we go to church on Friday.  We’ve been part of the Amman branch for the summer, which consists of mostly expatriates working for government agencies and other companies, a number of Arab Christians, and for the summer half of the branch was BYU students.  There is also a branch up North in Irbid which is made up mostly of Arabs.  We went up there for a weekend to visit two weeks ago and had a great time.  It’s been such a blessing to have the church as a place of refuge and to feel the spirit of the members here. 

P.S. We leave for Israel/Palestine in two days!

Andrew with our favorite old Arab member, Solomon (Sue-lay-mon)

Chana was asked to work with the Young Women this summer.  They LOVE her and are really sad she has to leave.

We love this Sri Lankan family.  There is also a father and two daughters in Young Womens with Chana.  

Andrew and Stevey (named after Stevey Wonder) playing at his house. 

Chana and Stephanie

This is a lady we stayed with overnight in Irbid when we went to church up North.  She's not a member of the church but lets the students stay at her house 

The church in Irbid