Sunday, December 18, 2011

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

I have been SO excited for Christmas this year! I love it always--the magical lights, pretty songs, shopping, family time, Christmas movies...it's all the best. But this year I have been especially excited. The following are major contributors in my excitement:

1. I learned last year how fun it is to have your own apartment and tree to decorate. I was itching to put up our decorations as soon as the Halloween ones (which really just consist of a Happy Halloween sign and some spiders) were put away. I waited until the day my Thanksgiving break started, then couldn't wait anymore and up they went!

2. My family is going to be together! For the past three years my parents have been living overseas and they have not been able to come home for Christmas, so everyone has been mostly doing their own thing. This year they are coming in the day after Christmas, along with my sister and her family from Minnesota, and my Grandma from Arizona. We will all spend a week together in Mesquite, and I am so excited!

3. I now have 3 MORE DAYS of school left! YAY! I love being on a school schedule.

We have done some fun Christmas activities so far. We have watched some Christmas movies, and spent a couple nights driving around looking at the lights with our good friends. We also went to a fun holiday fashion show at my sister-in-law Kelli's hair school. It's been so fun!
Yesterday we had our annual Christmas celebration with Emily and Joe. This year my family picked names for our gift exchange, so we didn't do presents. Instead, we decided to go to the Temple.

When we came out of the Temple, there was a gorgeous sunset. It was so pretty!

After the Temple, we went to Pizza Pie Cafe. For those of you who don't live around here, it is a delicious buffet of different kinds of pizzas, pasta, and salad. My favorites are the Spudolicious pizza, which is pizza with potatoes on it...so good, and the cookie dough dessert pizza. It was so so good. Well worth the 3,000 calories we surely consumed.

After the Pizza Pie Cafe, we came home to build gingerbread houses. We had a good time building them. We also came to the realization that there is a reason the Walmart gingerbread houses are priced at 7 dollars. They are definitely not the most attractive or user friendly houses. The frosting was impossible to use. The houses turned out nothing like the picture on the box! Here are both of our pictures with our finished houses:
Notice the creepy demon eyes on our gingerbread man.
Joe admiring their work.
After we made the houses we started playing a game called Pounce. About 20 minutes later we looked over at our houses and saw this:
Our house was leaning and about to tip over


Their house had already tipped over.

Oh well! We had a good time making them. Later that night Willie and I went to Macey's to pick up some groceries, and looked at all of the gingerbread houses on display for their annual gingerbread house competition. They were amazing! Maybe next year :)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Halloween Cruise

I love Halloween. I don't know if it's because it comes around my birthday (which was great and will maybe get it's own post later), because it signifies the start of the holiday season, or what it is but I like it. Last year we didn't do anything for Halloween, at all, and I was determined this year to do more. So, we found a good deal and went on a Halloween cruise!

It's not nearly as exciting as it sounds. It was not a cruise to the Carribean or Mexico, but rather down the Provo River. Pulled along by our "captain." He literally pulled our boat along by a rope that I guess was tied to some trees. We were attacked by a pirate on a canoe who told us Halloween jokes and gave us candy, and were treated to a recital of a spooky poem by our captain. There were jack-o'lanterns, some lights, and minimal decorations along the shoreline. Does it sounds cheesy? Well, it was! But I don't mind the cheese. In fact, I love it and my only complaint was that the captain and pirate did not stay in character the whole time. We had a great time!

The girls on the cruise

Boys picture take 1

And take 2

Our trusty captain


Some fun decorations



The girls warming up by the fire

All in all we had a fun time with some of our favorite people!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

General Conference

I'm a little late, but General Conference was two weeks ago and we had a great weekend! It is definitely one of my favorite times of the year. For a whole weekend we have the opportunity to hear messages from prophets and apostles, and receive inspiration and instruction from them. I always feel so comforted and inspired, and there is always at least one talk that I feel like is especially for me. I definitely wore out my copy of my favorite talk from last April's General Conference, and am excited to get the ones from this past conference!

One of my very favorite talks this year came from the General Relief Society Meeting.

video

In his talk, President Uchtdorf uses the forget-me-not flower as a metaphor for five things that we should not forget.

1. Forget not to be patient with yourselves
2. Forget not the difference between a good sacrifice and a foolish sacrifice
3. Forget not to be happy now
4. Forget not the "why" of the gospel
5. Forget not that the Lord loves you

All of the other talks from General Conference can be found at www.lds.org. One of my other favorite talks was "It is Better to Look Up," given by Elder Carl. B. Cook. He talks about the importance of looking toward the Lord, and how this can help us in our lives.

"If we... exercise our faith and look to God for help, we will not be overwhelmed with the burdens of life. We will not feel incapable of doing what we are called to do or need to do. We will be strengthened, and our lives will be filled with peace and joy. We will come to realize that most of what we worry about is not of eternal significance--and if it is, the Lord will help us. But we must have the faith to look up and the courage to follow His direction."
--Elder Carl B. Cook

It was so wonderful to be able to hear these messages, and I am so grateful for the opportunity that we had to listen and learn from them. Willie and I watched at our apartment on Saturday, then went up to his parents' house in Alpine to watch on Sunday with them. We had a nice lunch, and it was so fun to all be together! It is such a wonderful time of the year to be able to hear all of these messages and to relax and spend time together as a couple and with family.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Reading

I love to read. I always have, since I was a little kid. I remember going to the library and literally filling my arms with The Babysitter's Club, Sweet Valley Twins, and Nancy Drew books. Every night before bed my sister and I had half an hour to read before lights out, and even now I can't fall asleep without a little time to read before bed. So, I am always on the hunt for a new book to read. I am so happy when other people blog about books they've read so that I can have something new to read...so I thought I would try it out!

My current favorite book is most definitely The Help, by Kathryn Stockett.

The Help is a story set in the 1960's told by three different women who decide to write a book from the perspective of "the Help." It is so popular right now and I'm sure half of you have already read it, but I just have to tell you if you haven't yet, do!! It is so worth it. I actually thought it sounded kind of boring when I read the back of the book and heard about it. It's not. It is so engaging and the characters have so much depth and basically I just loved it. I couldn't put it down, but at the same time didn't want it to end so I would try to make myself go slowly. It is really touching, and has a lot of great messages in it. The movie is good, but the book is better. So check it out!

On a different note in a completely different genre, a series that I somewhat recently finished is the Percy Jackson series, by Rick Riordan.


These books are great light, fun reads. Basically, in the book Greek gods really do exist, and Percy Jackson finds out that he is a demigod, or hero. He is whisked away to camp half-blood, where he meets many friends and has many adventures. When I started reading the very first book in the series, I thought it seemed like it was written for a younger audience (which it is, but in a Harry Potter type way that can still be enjoyed by an older crowd as well), but I do think it got a little more mature as the series progressed, a lot like I think Harry Potter did. If you like Harry Potter, or Fablehaven, Percy Jackson is a must.

Rick Riordan also came out with a spin-off series called The Heroes of Olympus.


He has one book out for this series so far, and the second comes out in October. The first one was super good, and is worth reading once you have finished the Percy Jackson books. He also has another series about the Egyptian Gods, called the Kane Chronicles, which I didn't like much.

A good one that I re-read this summer is Ender's Game, by Orson Scott Card.

Willie read this book to his nephews while we were in Colorado (an edited by Willie version since it does have some strong language and potentially scary material for kids), and I sat in a few times and remembered how good it was. It is set sometime in the future when aliens (the "buggers) have already attacked two times. They recruit young genius kids to come to battle school in preparation for the anticipated third invasion. Ender, a six year old boy, is chosen and goes to battle school. It's really good...read it!

And finally, I am currently reading The Hiding Place, by Corrie Ten Boom.
It is about a lady in Holland during World War II whose family helped aid and hide Jewish people. They were arrested, and sent to prison and I think a concentration camp (I'm not quite there yet). Throughout it all their family members remain really strong in their faith and have such courage and a good outlook on their situation and the people around them, even those who wrong them. It is really good so far, and so interesting and inspiring, particularly because it is a true story. It's a little different style because it is basically someone telling their story, but I've enjoyed it so far.

Anyway, I could go on and on but those are some of the most recent books I have read and liked. What about you?

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Colorado

My wonderfully relaxing and enjoyable summer has come to an end. We drove back from Denver Friday, and today I started work again and Willie flew back to Colorado to finish his internship. I will be all alone for three weeks! Let's hope it goes by fast.

I had the best time in Denver. Here are some highlights of our stay:

Kelli, wasn't able to stay in Denver because of her school, but she came in for a weekend and it was the best! We went to Pirate's Cove, a small water park. It was super fun.

The little guys all tuckered out after our day at the park.

Mindy and Jakob took us to one of their favorite restaurants, Cherry Cricket. They had the most delicious burgers, fries, and onion rings. It was so fun to all go out together.

After Cherry Cricket, we went to another restaurant (I forget the name) and got pizookies. YUM! They are half baked cookies with ice cream on top. Really good.

A couple of weeks later we went to the Denver temple.


We also had several trips to the pet store in the mall. I love puppies and kittens and am so thrilled whenever I get to play with them. I was so happy that they are not stingy with letting people play with their puppies like the Utah stores are ( I know because I will periodically ask Willie to take me to a pet store so that I can play with the puppies).

We also played lots of games! This little guy (our nephew, Jude) was the biggest fan of them. He can play for hours. He is so cute!


One weekend Mindy found an awesome deal and we were able to go rafting. We had such a fun time!



We had a great time in Colorado, and I'm so glad that we could have the opportunity to be there. Thanks Mindy and Jakob! :)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Good Life

I have to tell you I have been loving this summer. I was nervous that it would be too much free time for me...not the case. There has been just enough fun stuff and change that I am still just enjoying it, and even beginning to dread returning to a full time work schedule.


I think someday I will just love being a stay at home mom. Although I would probably be happy with a little more to do right now, I have been really liking the flexibility in my days. I don't have to worry about getting to bed early so that I can wake up early and be trapped at work all day, then get home and inevitably be exhausted because I never get to bed on time. I know that there will be challenges with it as well, but I'm thinking I am going to much prefer it to working full time. Don't get any ideas, I'm talking about a future that is more than 9 months away!


We got to Colorado on Monday, and Willie started his internship Tuesday. Woohoo!

First day picture! All of our shopping for clothes paid off and he looked spiffy.


We are living with Willie's sister Mindy and her family. It has been so fun spending time with all of them. My days have been spent signing up for a gym, grocery shopping, playing lots of board games with our cutie little nephew, and becoming obsessed with the MTV show Teen Mom. Mindy introduced me to it. It's on netflix and it's super good. Well, that's about it. I will keep you updated on our adventures in Colorado!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Park City

Willie and I went to Park City to celebrate our one year anniversary this past weekend. We left Thursday when Willie got home from work, and went up to our hotel. I mentioned in my last post that we used priceline for our hotel...it turned out great! We got a pretty good deal, and were given the Yarrow Hotel. It was a little older but nice. But then again I could be happy at a motel 6...just being in any hotel is so fun and feels like vacation! That being said, I'd read online on a money-saving blog that a lot of times if you book the cheapest room you can ask for an upgrade when you get there, and they will do it for free or just a few bucks more. Although I'd be happy with anything, I'm certainly not opposed to nice rooms so Willie and I decided to try it.


When we got in there was a younger guy behind the desk. Willie asked if there were any upgrades available, and the guy said sometimes there are, then didn't mention it again so we figured he'd forgot and just thought "oh well." When he gave us our room he said he'd put us by the pool, and let him know how we liked the room. When we went in, we realized he'd given us a really nice upgrade for free!! (I knew this because I had looked up all of the different rooms online when we were seeing what hotel priceline gave us). I think he just didn't want to say anything in front of the other people waiting to check in. But our room was definitely not the cheapest one we were originally assigned to. We had a fireplace and a kitchen and could walk out of our sliding glass door right onto the pool deck! We were so excited, and so appreciative of that nice young man! What a great guy. My only regret from the hotel is we never got the chance to tell him thank you for what a nice thing he did. But we had a great time and were so excited to get a nice room for a steal!


So after we checked in we went to the main street in Park City to have dinner. Before we left I'd googled good places to eat in Park City and found a Thai place that looked good, especially because I found a buy one get one entree coupon on their website! I don't know about you guys, but finding a deal always makes it more fun for us. So we went to eat there and it was so delicious!! It was only my second time eating Thai food, and I loved it. Willie said it was probably better than Thailand but less authentic. We really want to go there, but will have to wait for a much later anniversary I think!


The next day we laid out by the pool for a bit (the water was freeeeeezing so we didn't get in), then got ready and went shopping at the outlet mall. We got Willie some clothes for his internship (which I guess I haven't mentioned on here yet...we are leaving next week and going to Colorado! Willie got an internship at his brother in law's company, and we will be staying with them....yay! Thanks Mindy and Jakob! Willie will be there right until school starts for him, so July and August, and I will be out there for July and then the first week of August, then I will need to come back for my job. Bummer but at least we will only be apart a few weeks. We are super excited to go though!). I also got a few things at the outlet mall that were steals (I was excited...I'm not usually so lucky to find the cute stuff so cheap), then we wrapped it up because Willie was dying. Shopping is not his thing :)


That night we got some pizza from Dominos, which was a treat and nice change from Little Ceasar's. We rented a movie on Amazon and hooked up our computer to the TV to watch. We had actually had in mind to go out to a movie, but it was such a small town that the theaters there didn't have a lot of good movies playing, and their 7/7:30 showings were their latest ones! It worked out perfectly though. It was fun to eat and watch a movie in our comfy room.


The next morning we packed up and checked out, then headed over to the Park City Mountain Resort to do the Alpine Slide and Coaster. Super fun! We rode the ski lift up to the top to ride the alpine slide.

On the way up we could see the Coaster we were going to ride on after. You get in a little car and it pulls you on the track up, then you ride down.
Dragging our alpine slide seats over to the tracks.
After we went down the slide, we headed over to the coaster. We rode together which was so fun. It was kind of like the Alpine slide in that you could accelerate or put on the brakes, and Willie held the accelerator down the whole time! It was super scary and fun. It was really cool because you wound through the trees the whole time, but I was concentrating so hard on not falling out that I was mostly staring at the track!
After that we headed back to Provo. It was such a fun trip and we had a great time!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

One Year

One year ago today Willie and I got married! Yay! It has been the best. Willie is the sweetest husband and I am the luckiest!


Here are some pictures of our wedding day. I never did a wedding post, and now I remember why. It was so hard to pick my favorite pictures! I had way too many to include and try to move around where I wanted them. Luckily fickle blogger helped me out today by deleting all of the pictures I originally uploaded, frustrating me so much that I only wanted to upload a couple the next time around. Actually, I uploaded four but have now deleted two of those (accidentally of course). These are good ones though.



We are celebrating our anniversary next weekend, and are going up to Park City. We got a pretty good deal on priceline on a hotel (it was so fun and exciting bidding for one!), and we are super excited. We have some things in mind to do, but let me know if any of you know of anything fun (and inexpensive) we could do there :)


This morning we went out to breakfast at Kneaders, and it was so fun to think about how a year ago I was getting ready and heading to the temple to be sealed to Willie. It was definitely the best decision I have ever made, and I am so happy for it every day!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

School's Out!

School's out for the summer! Hip Hip Hooray! Friday was my last day of work until August. I'm sure I'll get a little restless later in the summer, and hopefully I can get some temp work or something, but as of right now I have lots to look forward to and I'm super excited! I leave for Italy with my mom and sisters in 5 DAYS! Then, we have our 1 year anniversary, some friends coming to visit, my parents in the U.S. for a couple months that I will be able to call during the day (yay!), and just sunshine and the wonderfulness of summer! There is also possibly one more exciting thing that is not a sure thing yet, so I will hold off on posting it so that I don't jinx it! Curious? I will let ya know if it works out!


Thrown in there I need to hurry and finish up an independent study class (I hesitated to write that because I don't have the best track record with those, but maybe this will put some pressure on me), and start teaching Relief Society (AHH!). My lesson is pretty much right when I get back from Italy, so I've already started preparing. Wish me luck! It's just slightly nervewracking for me :)


P.S. I forgot a picture from my 2 month update!! Willie and I went to his friend Josh's graduation party and we all went to a kareoke bar. Willie and I went up to sing a song!

I was expecting everyone to be off key and terrible like all of my past stake dance etc kareoke experiences. Well, we certainly were. The guy operating the music had to come up and clap and sing with us to get us going to the right tune. We were there really early and the first ones there pretty much. When their friend got up after us, I was thinking, Wow, she's really good! Little did I know that each and every person in that place sang like professional singers! Haha anyway, it was super fun to sing and be there and hang out with Megan and Josh!

Happy Birthday Willster!

This is a little late as Willie's birthday was last Sunday, but Happy Birthday to Willie!!! Saturday he spent the day swimming and playing volleyball with his brothers up in Alpine (I was busy at Kelli's hair school being her model all day...so fun! ), then I went up and we had dinner and went for some ice cream. Sunday Willie opened presents, and I made dinner after church and we played games and had cupcakes with siblings and friends! I didn't take many pictures, but here are a couple!
(We don't really keep up with our block calendar... :))

Happy Birthday to the best husband in the world!! Love you! :)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

All At Once

There have been so many things that I have meant to and wanted to blog about in the past two months...and I have done none of them! My blog to do list kept growing longer and longer, and I felt overwhelmed. So, here it is. Two months all at once!

First off, Kenny came home from his mission, and Timmy left on his! It's been so fun having Kenny back, and Timmy seems to be doing super well on his mission. Willie works at the MTC doing maintenance, and has even gotten to see him a few times! We had lots of family in town for the homecoming and farewell, and it was really fun to see everyone.

Willie and I waiting for Kenny with the fam at the airport

He's home! Willie and his brother :)

A couple of weeks later, we went to conference with Robbie and Kelli, Timmy, and Kenny. I had a cute one of all of us, but I tried to upload it and blogger kept deleting it! Bummer.
We got the tickets from Willie's Grandma Claire. She and Willie's grandpa volunteered with the missionary department for a long time, and get a few tickets each conference. We were really lucky to be about 10 rows back this time! It was so neat.

Next: Easter. Willie and I had such a fun Easter this year! We went shopping and picked out surprise Easter baskets for each other.


Then, for our Easter dinner, Willie barbequed some DELICIOUS pork chops for us. He is quite the grill master! I warmed up some rolls and made homemade mashed potatoes (not as good as my mom's but better than powdered I guess) and asparagus. It was such a good dinner! This is a picture of Willie's plate because I'd already digged into mine by the time we remembered to take a picture :)
This past weekend I was able to fly to one of my bestest friends Sarah's wedding in Texas!! It was so much fun to see and visit with her! She looked absolutely beautiful and was so happy! I think this picture of them is so cute.


And, in the past two months I've done two crafts. First, I finally completed my wreath! I decided to go with a yarn wreath, and actually had the yarn wrapping part done and sitting around forever. It took me such a long time to decide on flower colors and to figure out how to place them! I finally just went with these colors, but stuck them on with velcro so that I can switch them up sometimes. I think the flower placement is a little awkward, but it was surprisingly difficult to place them. I will probably add some more later. I ended up deciding to put in on the inside side of our front door. Thanks for all of your input!!

The other craft that I did was a birthday calendar! I am sort of proud of this one because I kind of made it up on my own. Kind of. I don't remember how I got the idea to make one, but when I did I googled "birthday calendar" and found where one girl had made a similar one. She wrapped paper around a piece of cardboard, and glued on little papers like the ones I had and hung it with a ribbon.

I changed it a little by adding the title, flower, and mod podging the paper and sticker letters on. I wanted something thicker than scrapbook paper, and didn't think mod podge would go well on cardboard because it's kind of bumpy. So then I came up with the brilliant idea of cutting this foam placemat that Willie and I won in a white elephant game. Bad idea!! It now curls in and has to be taped down to my wall. If you ever make one I would recomend a posterboard back probably. And maybe no mod podge. That's what I wish I had done.

Anyway, I googled birthday calendar printables and got the little papers for each month. I printed them out on cardstock and used distress ink on them. Then, I used scrapbook removable glue dots to put them on so that I can take them off and re-write when I have new birthdays to add. Here it is!
So far it's been really helpful and I think cute in our kitchen. I like it!

So, there is a quick-ish review of the past two months. Hopefully I'll be back on here sooner than that this time! :)