Sunday, December 27, 2009

Merry Christmas! computer is officially on it's deathbed.  So I am forced to use Michael's. It's nice, but it doesn't upload photos well.  But, I had to make a post about the magical holiday called Christmas.  We have been running back and forth between our two families in Utah. It has been crazy and wonderful. 

The day before Christmas Eve, I was able to accompany Annie's old violin teacher.  It has become a fun tradition that I accompany her Christmas recital on Joseph Smith's birthday in the Joseph Smith Building.  It stresses me out every year but I really like being part of it.  My family came and watched. That too, has become a new tradition.  Michael sat next to President Samuelson so they were able to talk about BYU winning the Vegas Bowl.  Fun coincidence.  After the recital, we hustled over to the Conference Center to see "Savior of the World" with Michael's family.  I thought I had seen it before, but it was my first time.  It was a great way to feel the real Christmas Spirit.  

Christmas Eve we went swimming with Michael's family and enjoyed some Christmas movies and treats.  We had a very yummy dinner with my family and my grandparents.  Then we had our traditional family night where we read the Christmas story around my mom's amazing Nativity Tree.  We also have a Christmas talent show every year.   Growing up it was a lot more diverse.  This year, it was not the same without Annie there to play her beautiful violin arrangements. But, Melanie and Will are both getting better at piano.  I have a Christmas book with more advanced piano duets and I'm just waiting for Mel to be able to play them with me! This year we also shared our Christmas thoughts.  (I still feel like when I go home I should have my little brother and sisters only talking about presents and Santa.)  After, we went into the "Santa" room and opened our Christmas eve matching pjs.  We looked awesome! Even my dad in his with footsies!  (He was not too pleased that my mom made the purchase. He kept saying, "Why did you waste money on these?" and... "There is no fly! Are these girl pants?!?"  and... "I feel like there should be a bunny tail on the butt!" *CLASSIC!*) 

Christmas morning we enjoyed opening presents and a BIG, WONDERFUL breakfast.  The missionaries came over and my dad quickly changed into the pajamas my grandparents gave him- claiming that "they have a more comfortable flannel fabric." After breakfast we had our climax of Christmas...we got to call Sora Ostler in Romania!  My mom bought herself new phones specifically for this purpose.  We were all on with her- half of us talking at the same time.  It felt like she was home with us.  I can't believe the next time I will talk to her is when she comes home in April! 

Annie was my Christmas thought this year.  I had been thinking about the Christmas story and how of all the people to tell, the Angels appeared to the Sheperds in the fields.  And how that specific night was something every single soul had been anticipating, looking and waiting for.  And now, the Savior of all mankind was here!  I can only imagine how excited the Angels were delivering their message of "great joy which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord."  I also thought about how the Sheperds were so excited to share that message with everyone they saw.  I love that my sister and millions of other missionaries around the world are sharing that same message today.  It's an amazing gift!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

{festival of lights- sort of}

It actually was really picturesque.  Darling trolly.  Sweet little old couple as the driver and "tour guide."  Cute little family singing Christmas carols the whole time.  All of us together.  The lights, however, were not as thrilling as we were expecting.  However, it was still a great night.  These girls will forever be "my roommates" even though I only have one now.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Despite the cold, I love this time of year!  There are so many fun traditions, parties, lights, eats, decorations, smells, movies, and good times associated with this time of year.  I love pulling this stuff out of the closet and getting them up around our little house.  It's still coming up piece by piece.

These are handmade by the talented WMHRoyal:

We don't have room for a Christmas tree this year, so here's our improv tree.

Our other "Christmas Tree" in the corner.

Merry Christmas to All! And to all a good night!

*PS  This post is dedicated to the nagger- I can't do both classes yet!
**PSS  Disneyland pics are still to come!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

{the countdown has begun}

In just one day and two nights, we will be on our way to the happiest place on Earth!  I am so excited!  I feel like a little kid again just thinking about it!  We're going with my family.  They are leaving Monday morning.  But since I didn't want to miss two days of school, we're going with my grandparents Tuesday morning and will be on the rides Wednesday and Thursday!  I can't wait! I can't wait! For this reason and many more, I am thankful...

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Remember when it was Halloween...

Slow. I know. But Halloween (it was actually Pre-Halloween) was a blast. Horito and the Rat put together a fun pumpkin carving good time. As always, they went all out. They had yummy food and spooky attention to details:

We stuck with the classic jack-o-lanterns this year. You can't tell by the way I'm holding my pumpkin, but it had a beat up side which equaled a beat up carving face. We also tried a new method by carving out the bottom instead of cutting the top because I heard that it is easier to empty the guts. I think we came to the conclusion that emptying the guts is still a task but having the hole on the bottom of the pumpkin made it easier to light the candle and the top still looked pretty.

Here's the whole groups minus Keith and Tricia's. They had an awesome Phantom of the Opera pumpkin. Loved it!

Ours are the two on the right. And yes, the two on the left are bigger pumpkins with little pumpkins lit up inside their mouths. Crazy good carving skills shown above! It was an awesome night! If you want to see more you can look here and here!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

A little bit of Heaven

Fall Break is a wonderful, wonderful concept. I thoroughly enjoyed it. We left town with Jenni and Gray. We finally got on the road and this is what it was like for an hour.

Not the best start.

But we were still excited to be going. We drove straight to St. George. Ate some In 'N Out and then headed to Tuacahn. We saw 'Aida' at their gorgious, outdoor theatre. Of course, we played with these cut outs before the show.

I LOVED it all. The music. The weather. The Company. The Stage. ALL of it!

The rest of the weekend we stayed at my grandparents wonderful cabin up Cedar Mountain. I really have so many memories from that cabin. It's always fun to make some more. We played golf. And when I say we, I mean the boys. The girls drove around in a golf cart.

The boys even did some fishing. (For golf balls)

We went hiking on some trails in Bryce Canyon. (It wasn't as long as the last hikes we took there!) But it is phenomenal. Being there really makes me wonder how anyone can doubt that there is a Creator and that He knows what He is doing! It's beautiful!

This is all of us on this intense switch back part.

We had great fires, great hikes, great scenery, great ATV rides, great eats, and a great time!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

That's my sister!

Brag time! Check out this article:

That's right! That's my sister that's quoted and has the awesome flip throw. Camille and Melanie are both on the Davis High Girls' Soccer Team this year. And they are headed to the State Finals this Friday at 7:00 PM in the new Rio Tinto Stadium. Go watch!

Camille's a senior. (So weird that she's that old.) And Mel Mel is in 9th grade and still made the High School team! They've got serious skill. I'm so excited for those Darts of mine!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Fear of Commitment

Don't worry, I am commited to the boy I married.  I'm talking about another kind of commitment that I feel is sort of like marriage- picking out a couch.  You have to see it everyday.  You have to like it for a very long time.  It has to make it through thick and thin.  It's there for you when you have a long day.  It will support you.  It will still be there even if there are all manner of spills on it.  It needs to like children and possibly pets.  It needs to be compatible with your personality and work with you through time and all eternity.  (Ok stretching it there.)
Yes, I know I am a little dramatic.  But,  this has been my recent struggle.  When we go browsing through furniture stores, it is usually a window shopping type experience.  He will like something and she dislikes it.  She will like something, he will despise it.  Occasionally, there are things that we both feel mildly positive about.  But on one certain occasion, we both liked this beauty... 
But now, all these questions start going through my mind like am I ready to buy a couch?  Is it the right couch for me?  What if I don't like the couch after a year?  Is it a quality couch?  Will it crumble if things get rough?  Is it just a phase? Do I LOVE it or just really like it? 
I then start making pro/con lists in my head like we don't really need it right now, but next summer we will.  And it is on sale for a REALLY great deal.  I don't want to miss out on that.  I think the jury is still out on this one.  What do you think? 

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

{the perks of being a teacher}

A couple of things that I really like about my job:
(In no particular order...really)
  • Fall Break- Starting today! Nice! 
  • Spring Break- A whole week this year!
  • Christmas Break
  • Summer Break- No work and still getting paid. Great idea!
  • Thanksgiving Break- (There are a few more of these, but I think you get the picture) 
  • No homework for me (unless you count grading while watching movies) 
  • Something new everyday 
  • Kids say the darndest things
  • Actually seeing students grow and learn so much in one year
  • Realizing that your attitude and smile really can make a difference to someone
  • Getting to read a bunch of good books
  • Celebrating every holiday known to mankind- Johnny Appleseed Day, Grandparents Day and Red Ribbon Week are a few of the lesser known ones that are recognized in Elementary.
  • Having and decorating a classroom
  • Watching my class play dodgeball- it looks like "The Matrix" out there sometimes
  • The pay- HA!
  • The benefits are actually a pretty sweet deal- now I just need to schedule all the Dr. Appts.
  • Recess
  • Being able to casually say, "Reese's are my favorite" and have students from this year and last year drop off Reese's for me. Yum!
  • It's just fun, but I am excited for Fall Break!  Sleeping in and adventure, here we come!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Birthday Boy

Happy Birthday to the boy that treats me like this:

Boy, Am I lucky he was born!

Monday, October 5, 2009

What a wonderful weekend...

As previously mentioned, weekends are always great. However, two weekends of the year automatically have a special place-it is not the super bowl- it's Conference weekend!

I have grown up in Utah, so I have liked Conference weekend because it means you can watch the sessions at home in your pajamas with lots of yummy food. Now, I look forward to conference because it means the seasons are changing and it makes me want to be better. This past conference weekend was no exception to all of the above. What an amazing tradition!
Saturday Michael had to work in the morning, so I listened to morning session at our house. Yes, that is correct, I LISTENED, because our poor little old school house will not pick up any channels without the extra cost of satellite or cable. But my radio sure got great reception! It was actually great because as I was listening I was able to get all of the laundry done and put away. I also got the whole house picked up and grew spiritually. It was a great mix.
Saturday afternoon I went up to my house while Michael went to Priesthood. I LOVE girls night out during Priesthood. It's just fun. We stayed the night at my house. My dad's mission companion and his wife stayed with my family, as well, which means there was some seriously good eats provided by my mom. I should have taken pictures of it all, but there is no time for taking pictures when the food is hot and you're hungry.
After Sunday morning session (which was spent watching it in pajamas in front of the TV) we were able to go to the sunday session. Michael's mom got tickets for us and it's just amazing to be in that phenomenal building with a living Prophet right in front of you! I'm so glad we got to go. It's the weekend I needed. I feel like I am back on track with my goals back in focus. Love it!
Here's the whole group:
(Boo to having to wear winter clothes. What ucky weather!)

Friday, October 2, 2009

Momma said there'd be days like this. Boy, was she right. I will admit that I really do love my job. I love the school that I teach at. I love my team that I work with. I love teaching 5th grade. I love my class and I do love being busy. But...there is still the unbelievable relief that Friday brings. I feel like I have energy to spare but as soon as that bell rings and I drive home, I feel completely drained sometimes. Thank heavens for Fridays to regain my strength and organize my thoughts. Now that Friday is here, could the weather please be pleasantly Fall temperature again? That's all.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Shields & Clark Expeditions

This past weekend was really fun. (Minus the awefulness of the BYU game-which I don't want to talk about!) We went canoeing out to Utah Lake with Jenni and Grayden. We have some very funny circumstances when we are with those two. It was a perfect autumn day and the sun was setting. All very picturesque.

Then we came upon these fellows:

Ha ha! I'm sorry, but I do not see how you could flip these canoes without wanting to. However, they did not know how to put it right side up. Thus, we found them like this. Asking for help. They were little scouters who were trying to earn their merit badges. We saved their oars from floating away and we tried our best to help them, but we were in normal clothes and did not want to end up like them. So we were telling them how to flip the boat back up but it had too much water inside of it and so the final advice we gave was to swim for shore and fix the boat there. To which, Jenni quickly replied, "Kick in the water! In the water!" To avoid splashing. Don't worry, we saw their scout leaders paddling back for them a little further down.

Please acknowledge who did most of the work:

Ok, we actually have developed into quite a good team. It takes practice. When we got where the river dumps into the lake it really was beautiful. We put our canoes up on the rocks and took a walk around. The wind was starting to pick up and we didn't want to have to paddle against the wind so we went back to get in- only the Clark's boat slipped away from them and quickly started to drift out to sea. I really was half ready to see Gray or Michael dive into the water after it. Luckily they were quick thinkers, and the boys jumped in our canoe to catch up with the empty one.
They caught up to it and it was quite a sight watching single canoers trying to get back to shore.
Finally, we all were in and paddling back. By this time, we were getting hungry and selection of places to eat gets tricky in Provo on the weekends because the lines become unbearable. While we were debating where to go, Michael realized he had a "skip to the front of the line" pass at T.G.I. Friday's. That made the decision easy. We got there and the manager got us right in and to a table. Everything was great. We had a free appetizer and soon thereafter our meals were brought out. For some reason, the general manager brought out Michael's dish and was starting a conversation with us and mentioned that Michael's dish was only $5 because it was part of this special they were having and that the person who seated us should have told us. (I don't think Gray was too happy to find that out.) When the general manager noticed that we were shocked by this news he continued to say, "Who was it that seated you?" etc. We didn't want anyone to get in trouble so we were going on about how great the young manager had been when he seated us. The general manager didn't let it be. He got the young manager who had seated us and informed us that he would be buying a dessert for us that night. We felt kind of bad, but also loved the dessert. It was a very comical and wonderful evening.

Monday, September 14, 2009

{I secretly want to be on HGTV}

I think we can blame watching many hours of HGTV this summer for the sudden increase of desire to do some projects. This weekend we bought two end tables off of Craig's list. After some research, we have discovered for being such little things, end tables are expensive! So we were glad to find a really good bargain on this set. They started out a light pine color and so we sanded them and stained them a pretty red mahogany.
Here's a before/after shot- kind of:
Here's the sanding: (He did all the sanding because that sound gives me the super chills. It's the equivalent of nails on a chalk board to me! ugh!)

Despite him being the only one in the photo, I really did help with the staining. (Someone had to take the picture!)

Now we have a lovely end table to cozy up our little home! Thank you HGTV!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

...where buffalo roam...

This past weekend we went out to Antelope Island in the Great Salt Lake. Michael had never been there. Being from Utah, I knew what awaited me- the smell of the salt water with all the brine shrimp and lots & lots of bugs. But I still went. We actually had some fun. It's amazing to see how much it has changed just from my Elementary School Field Trips. The water level has gone down a lot and to get to the water from the parking lot has become quite the hike! The smell wasn't as strong as I remembered, but the bug factor was definitely still there.

We went with a friend of Michael's from work, Marcus, and his wife Erica. They were so fun!

We all took our bikes and we rode around the island for a bit. (7 Miles- I am quite proud and not as sore as I thought I would be.) While we were riding, Michael would be in front of me and I would see at least 20 big flies and other insects on the back of his shirt. It creeped me out and as I would help swat them off, I kept wondering how many were on my back. *shudder!*

It was a fun ride though because there was little traffic (if you don't count the bugs, grasshoppers, and the few antelope & bison) and the view to the beautiful Wasatch Front from the island's perspective was really amazing!

After bike rides came a nice picnic lunch that included my mom's unbeatable homemade salsa. Yum! Then it was off to the beach. Again, being from Utah, I knew what awaited me- the salt water that will literally burn your flesh if you have any type of cut or wound and the MILLIONS of gnats. Michael was so excited to get in the water and float. (It is pretty fascinating.) So he and the Hardy's went out into the water. I enjoyed the walking on the sand/ wading in the water part. There was a good size crowd and it really looked like we were at the beach. People were in bikinis and yes, there were a few older gentlemen in speedos enjoying the lake that day as well. It was funny to see sun bathers putting sun tan lotion on. I just kept wondering how many gnats were getting stuck on their oily bodies. Seriously, the beach is so crazy because you will take a step and what looks like a cloud of dust or sand will come off the sand. Only it's not a cloud of dust, it's the gnats. Here are a few hundred that took a fancy to Michael's shoe: (Look closely!)

I really just love long weekends- especially, when there are so many adventures to be had!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A tale of two weddings and a tradition

A couple of weeks ago we got to pull out the top layer of this beauty from the freezer.

We were in transit so we had our car all packed up and we stopped and visited our friends- Graydon and Jenni. While we were there, they said they had just pulled their wedding cake out of the freezer and were kind enough to offer us some. We then replied that we actually had our wedding cake waiting in the car. So we all pulled out our cakes and enjoyed the splendor of frozen, year-old cakes together. They actually weren't that bad. I love traditions!