We met on August 22, 2011 in the Southern Utah University bookstore (go T-birds!). It was the first day of school and the entire campus was buzzing as students flooded into the bookstore, purchasing their supplies and books for the semester.
Lisa was helping her roommate Katie find a Spanish book and Brett had been in the same class with Katie earlier that day and was also looking for the same Spanish book.
The three of us chatted about how expensive textbooks were and the conversation quickly turned to other topics as Katie disappeared (we think?) and we kept talking… and talking.. and talking.
We went on our first date to the Pastry Pub in Cedar City, Utah a couple of days later and talked for about 3 hours.
A couple weeks after casually attending all of the back to school festivities and campus activities together with their roommates, Lisa sat Brett down and told him if he wanted anything like a serious relationship that he could get lost.
She had big dreams and wasn’t in any hurry to get into a relationship after just barely arriving in this new town for college. He quickly agreed, though he had other plans.
Fast forward a couple of months and we got engaged before the end of the semester and were married at the end of the school year.
We were so young, naive, and felt like the world was ours. We didn’t make very much as young married, working students those first couple of years. But we always had more than enough and helped each other realize and achieve our dreams as individuals and as a couple.
Some people will say getting married young is a bad idea, but for us, we couldn’t be more grateful that we got to grow up together and figure out the world together.
Brett, Lisa, K, and M. We’re always singing, dancing, wrestling, and hugging in our house! Here are a couple of things about us as a family:
- We love being together! We are so silly when we’re together and make a conscious effort to play together every single day- individually 1:1, and together. We don’t have to be doing anything significant to be happy. We go on walks together as much as possible, and love to snuggle in our warm bed or in front of the fireplace in a fort.
- We are always singing. Seriously, there’s always music playing somewhere and someone is always singing. Brett’s actually incredibly talented. Lisa, not so much. But we still do it and the kids love singing and music.
- We eat at least one meal a day all together, no phones or screens. It is such a sacred time of day and our kitchen and dining room is our safe place.
- We love travelling! We have been to Hawaii and Japan a couple of times together, and the kids do great in cars, trains, planes, and even bumpy Jeep rides to the Grand Canyon.
- We have an annual pass to both the Aquarium and the Zoo, so we love seeing animals! (minus the birds for Lisa)
Lisa is 28 and loves Taylor Swift, eating Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, relaxing with a heated blanket, listening to podcasts, and baking sourdough bread.
- I am Japanese-American. Both my parents were born in Japan. I was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah and love my Japanese heritage and my home culture. It is a huge part of my identity, and I’m so grateful for everything that being Japanese has taught me.
- I am a total foodie. I love everything having to do with food! The kids love to help me cook in the kitchen and they are excellent little sous chefs!
- I am a full time mom and full time business owner that works part time hours. I own and publish a recipe website, film and edit cooking tutorial videos for education and entertainment, and hold classes and events. I’m lucky to be able to do this from home around our family life.
- Growing up, I was always reading. I love autobiographies, non-fiction, historical fiction, or books based on a true story. I also really like crime thrillers or suspenseful books with crazy twists at the end. As I write that, I completely realize I sound like a straight up adult.
- I hate birds. I have a really weird and irrational fear and phobia of birds. I know it’s silly, but they give me major anxiety to the point of being in cold sweats and tears if they get too close to me. I don’t like anything about them and no, I haven’t ever watched, “The Birds.” Nope. Never.
- My kids are my world. I am obsessed with our children. They are the light of my life. They make everything that’s dull, bright. They give me the strength to carry on and inspire me to be more kind, gentle, and loving each day. I’m not a perfect mother (is there such a thing??) but I try my hardest to be the best mother for my them.
- I have an older brother, two older sisters, and a little brother. I also have many “chosen” family. I 100% know and believe blood doesn’t necessarily make a family.
Brett, on Lisa:
“Lisa has a magnetism to her that all people are attracted to. Whether it is her amazing smile, her incredible work ethic and accomplishments, or her ability to connect with others, people love being around her. Lisa loves to be the hostess. She likes to coordinate and execute big events. She loves seeing her work bring others joy and fulfillment.
“Lisa is an incredible listener. When you open your heart to Lisa, she may not always tell you what you want to hear, but she will always tell you what is best for your growth and progression. She pushes our family to try harder, and see our full potential. She is constantly sacrificing her own time to lift others. She can also find total joy in listening to a good podcast and working alone for hours. Lisa loves to dream about the future and make ambitious plans to reach her goals. She inspires many people to do more and to give of themselves.
“From the moment I saw her in the bookstore at Southern Utah University, I just knew I had to meet this girl. She is incredibly intelligent, and her ability to carry on deep conversation is what sold me right away. I knew I could chat with her as my best friend for all eternity and we would never get bored of each other. I could not be happier with my choice of Lisa as my wife, my friend, and the mother of my children.”
Brett is 31 and is THE World’s Greatest Dad and Husband®. He loves wrestling with the kids, eating DoubleStuf Oreos, video games, helping friends with home projects, and spending time with extended family. He just completed his MBA from Duke University, works as a Sales Enablement Manager, and is currently taking piano lessons.
- I love thinking about new business ideas and trying them out. I have launched a few companies, many have failed, but there have been some successes that have brought me great joy. I love to see something I have created or helped to create, grow.
- I enjoy investing in the stock market and learning about investing in general. I created a Facebook group where I can share ideas with others on investment strategy.
- I am a recent GEMBA (Global Executive Masters in Business Administration) graduate from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. I loved traveling to different countries with my classmates, experiencing the culture, learning international business and economics, and making amazing friendships. My time in the program was life changing and I will always be grateful to everyone who contributed to my education.
- Music is a big passion of mine as well. I sang in many choirs and musicals growing up, and have loved expressing my feelings through song. I am also just starting to take piano lessons. A huge regret from my childhood is not taking piano lessons seriously, and so I am going for it now.
- I also love athletics in general. I played football throughout my entire childhood, and loved it. Now, I love going on hikes, long walks, bike rides, and playing sports with the kids.
- I lived in Japan for 2 years while serving for my church and grew to love the people, the language, and of course… the food. My friends told me that I would marry a Japanese girl since I served in Japan. I told them that the only way that would happen was if she was born in America, spoke English (my Japanese is only so-so), cooked American food and her name was “Ann Jan America.” Well Lisa’s name is not Ann Jan America, but she is everything else on the list and so much more!
- I have 8 Brothers and sisters. Six half siblings and two step siblings. I have lived in 5 different states and 2 countries.
- I am a firm believer in Jesus Christ. I have a testimony of the gospel, and believe that through him we can lead our happiest life here on earth and in heaven.
Lisa, on Brett:
“Brett can be summed up in one word: Good.
“He is genuinely such a good person, husband, and father. I don’t mean good as in “good, better, best.” He is better than best. I mean good as in everything that word could possibly mean. Without guile. Virtuous. Fair. Steady. Excellent. Gentle. Safe. Honest. Selfless. He holds no ill will towards anyone. He forgives easily and forgives quicker than anyone else I know.
“If there’s an assignment to clean toilets or anything else, he’ll pick toilets because he knows everyone else hates it. He does what is right simply because it is right and good- no matter how inconvenient or costly it may be. He does this without any expectation to be paid back, commended, or recognized in any way. He doesn’t hold anything over anyone.
“He is also the “leader” in his circles and family, but not aggressive either. He is the leader because everyone loves and trusts him entirely. I would vote for him as “best all around” in my high school yearbook if I could. He is a friend to all and just the most amazing human.”
We have a 5 year old, (K) and a 3 year old, (M). They are the light and joy in our lives! They are both so smart, silly, sensitive, and sweet kids. K loves battling Beyblades and building with magnet tiles. M loves snuggling and doing anything K does. Here are a few of their favorite things:
- Reading and Books! We have read books every single day and night from birth. Favorites change all the time, but we know we can always get belly laughs out of “The Monster at the End of This Book” and “Nibbles.”
- Making forts. The kids are so creative and constantly make forts, homes, secret hideouts, and mazes out of the couch cushions, blankets, and fort-buidling supplies we have at home.
- Pokemon, Octonauts, Bey Blades, and Number Blocks.
- McDonalds Happy Meals. They call it, “Mickey-Donalds.”
- Playing with our friends and neighbors. We live in a cul de sac at the end of a long neighborhood, where no one really comes unless they live there. Our circle is full of amazing, kind, smart, inclusive, and fun kids that I absolutely love. We constantly play and I love having them over at our house for movie nights, parties, and popsicles on the tramp.
- They love going to Kangaroo Zoo, a fun indoor playplace.
- In the spring or summer, we go to the park or splash pad almost every single day.
K is 5 years old and the best big brother and son in the world! He is just like Lisa and is so smart, thoughtful, silly, and loving. K loves reading books, playing with his friends, German pancakes, and Kinder eggs.
- His favorite songs are Silent Night, We Will Rock You, Beyblade Burst, and I am a Child of God
- LOVES riding his scooter and bike out in our circle
- Going to school and learning from his teachers
- Loves cereal, pancakes, waffles, and homemade syrup
M is the sweetest 3 year old you’ve ever met. She is a LOVER and LOVES to give hugs, kisses, snuggles, and gifts. She is the baby of our family right now, but loves babies!
- M’s favorite songs are The Middle, We are Never, Ever Getting Back Together, You are my Sunshine, and “Kira Kira” (Twinkle Twinkle in Japanese)
- Eating cookies
- Dancing with her dance class and at home ALL the time
- Drawing, painting, playing with kinetic sand, and Play Doh
- My best kitchen helper. She is super good at cooking!