Friday, December 31, 2010

A Lovely Christmas Vacation

I'm so thankful that we got such a great Christmas break this year. We came to Georgia on the 19th of December and didn't get back until this morning. Almost 2 whole weeks! I haven't spent that much time in Georgia for Christmas in over 5 years. We had tons planned to do, more than we could have done in that time, actually, but it was still a great time.

The Sunday before Christmas, we performed in the Stake Christmas Concert. On Monday, the Wilcox girls went off to Atlanta to see Jennifer's new apartment on the north side, go out for lunch, and shop at the Atlanta Apparel Mart (so much jewelry!!)

Sam and I also had several days to finish all our shopping, which way more relaxing than previous years when we would have to finish on Christmas Eve.

We also got to relive a Christmas tradition we haven't done in years: seeing the lights at Callaway Gardens! It was a very cold night, but we all bundled up on the Jolly Trolley to enjoy the sights and wander the Christmas Village.

Christmas Eve and Christmas were busy, as always, as we share the day with both families. But the bouncing back and forth is worth it as we get a full Christmas with both families!

We got some great kitchen stuff like a mini food processor, some gadgets from Williams Sonoma, several movies, and new clothes! The Sunday after Christmas we performed again, this time in Sacrament Meeting.
The week after Christmas gave us time to hang out, do more shopping, and even have lunch with the Houghtaling's!
So much pecan bark and good food, so many presents, so many games, so much family time! We were starting to feel very settled in Georgia and weren't thrilled to return back to daily life and its work, bills, early mornings, and winter weather. Thankfully, there's always next Christmas!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

A real Christmas miracle

 Painting recovered from the Provo Tabernacle fire. The image of Christ was untouched. Image courtesy of KSL

Daniel 3:24-25
24: "Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonished, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king.

25: He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God."

And another great message from today's Christmas program: "And after they had seen Him, the Wisemen took a different road home. Should it not be so with us?" I always enjoy reminders of the true meaning of Christmas

Friday, December 17, 2010

Ok, NOW it's the most wonderful time of the year!

Ok, ok. That wasn't all I wanted to say. I've just had that pent up all evening. Recap of the story was that some guy in an SUV had pulled up after us in line I guess thinking he had claimed the spot we were directly perpendicular to. When I backed up a bit to let the guy leaving out of the parking spot so we could take it (and had a right to in the first place), the guy waiting behind us honked like crazy, then rolled down the window to scream profanities at us, then raced around to park by the sidewalk and get out when we ignored is angry taunts, THEN followed us and threatened to beat us because we continued to ignore his obvious desire to fight over it. We walked quickly into the restaurant and a crowd of people to hide from him. Some people are CRAZY! We were both shaking with anger, offense, and anxiety for at least half of what should have been a lovely birthday dinner out. Thanks, psychotic jerkface.

In other news, the Provo Tabernacle burned down, and I am really sad about that. It was a beautiful, 120+ year old building that looked more like an old Catholic church than an LDS church meetinghouse and was a big piece of Provo heritage. I have distinct memories of great Stake Conferences there both in my single days as well as my married days, a lovely Handel's Messiah sing-in at Christmastime, not to mention BYU Women's Chorus concerts. One really great memory I have of Sam and I from our Freshman year happened there: he came to my concert all dressed up and carrying a bouquet of red roses. I heard girls in front of me giggling to each other and debating over which of them some cute boy below them was looking at. I leaned over to see who all this giggling and fuss was about only to see my Samuel looking so handsome and searching the balcony of singers for me. He smiled when he saw me and the group of girls in front whipped around to ask if he was mine and proceeded to tell me how lucky I was. But I already knew that. Wow, sorry to gush. I'm just sad.

But on a happier note than either of those things, Christmas Break is here! Like the last leg of a marathon, we made it through finals and work and sleep deprivation to 2 weeks of freedom! Yesterday was Samuel's 24th birthday and, sure enough, he had to take a 7am final. :( I still got up early with him to make him his favorite breakfast of Raspberry Cheesecake Stuffed French Toast (yes, it's as amazing as it sounds). Then after his final he got to take a long nap, be exempt from dish-doing, enjoy some decadent brownie-ganache birthday cake made by yours truly, and play some basketball before hunkering down for more studying. Tonight we went  out for dinner at our favorite La Jolla Groves and did some window shopping in the mall. Now we just have to finish laundry. And pack. And pick up the house to be ready to leave tomorrow. It will be a late night, but who cares. Tomorrow we'll be on a plane to my beloved Georgia and to CHRISTMAS!

 To-die-for chocolate cake
 
 Awesome lights in the Riverwoods shopping center's new square.

 The huge tree in the mall! Doesn't it look a little bit like these two pictures could be one panoramic picture?

This is why I hate Utah traffic...

Dear jerk who flipped out over the parking spot we took that you thought you had claim over by sneaking around us to try and get, 

Rolling down your windows to curse us out, then pulling over to get out and follow us while threatening us because we ignored you doesn't make you look tough, it makes you look like a spoiled child and a fool. If this violence and aggression is how you respond to something so trivial, you've got way bigger problems than us, and the next time you harass us you WILL end up in handcuffs. I feel sorry for every person in your life.

Sincerely,
One more person who has no respect for you.

Whew. Had to get that out.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

I Shot My Eye Out (Metaphorically)

Do you ever have days in work, motherhood, or what have you when you feel like you can't do anything right? And you feel a little like this guy?


Today at work, and the last few days, actually, I've felt a little too much like this. You want something bad enough without realizing that it might be just what beats you down. Thankfully no one was shouting, "you'll shoot your eye out!" when I was working to earn the bb gun, but at times I can't help feeling like I'm in shock, suddenly sitting in the snow with a pair of cracked eye glasses and the knowledge that I did, in fact, shoot my eye out. I know, pity party much? It's really not as dramatic as all that, I just doubt my abilities and my potential at times.

On that note, I'd like to take this opportunity that I've been saving up to brag about my adorable and amazing husband and how much I love him. Walking into his arms at the end of a long day would make any job worth it. Not only that, but he has the uncanny ability to brighten my day and build my spirits to where I've almost forgotten anything unpleasant that happened before coming home to him. He helped me make dinner tonight then snuggled with me for over an hour until The Office was over. He's now at the church playing basketball and I miss him. Very soon we'll be able to spend 2 whole weeks together!

On another side note, we have a decorated apartment. Not pictured are colored lights around the entertainment center, a wreath, another silvery wreath outside and two faux poinsettias. This also makes me very happy to come home to.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Official Day of Giving Thanks

And now, the fourth and final installment of my gratitude list:

76. To be back in Georgia!!! As if I wasn't already thankful to be leaving Utah for a few days, we got a taste of early winter Tuesday and early Wednesday with temps in the low teens. 
77. ...but it was nice to sit at home together watching a movie, cuddling, and drinking hot chocolate.
78. I'm also thankful that we made it to the airport yesterday in one piece. The storm had passed, but there was still a lot of ice and some packed snow on the belt route. It was definitely a blessing that we had no serious problems.
79. That security at the airport was a breeze. No body scanners, no protests, and no big deal.
80. Direct flights. I haven't been on one in years.
81. That the new Disney movie Tangled was not only not as disappointing as I was expecting, it was great! Jazzed up a bit more humor than most traditional Disney fairy tales, but still a great story, several very tender moments, and a great new addition to the league of Disney princesses. Seriously, go see it!
82. A bit off this Thanksgiving-break pattern, but black shirts. Who doesn't look great in a solid, long-sleeved black shirt?
83. Wifi
84. Board games
85. Good books. I'm reading Shades of Grey right now by Jasper Fforde and it's a thinker.
86. Our military men. I've mentioned American Freedom, but it wouldn't be right not to be thankful for the men and women who honor and defend it. My father-in-law is one of them.
87. My adorable nephew. He really is lots of fun. And I'm thankful that he likes me.
88. My cat Princess. I'm still sad that she's gone and has been for over a year, but I love remembering how much like a guard dog she was and what a great addition she was to our family for 18 years.
89. My awesome family. I love being all together laughing, telling stories, exchanging memories, and being ourselves.
90. The Christmas season begins tonight at sundown! (as is tradition). And no, I haven't been tempted to think about it until the appropriate time. I'm a stickler.
91. People that understand me when I talk too fast.
92. Accessible pianos. I really miss playing.
93. My ability to keep jewelry for years and years.
94. Fancy cameras and people who have them.
95. Getting two Thanksgiving dinners in one day. One with my my in-laws this afternoon and another one with my family tonight. A lot of calories, but they don't count today, right? Plus, the food is SOO GOOD.
96. Getting to help cook Thanksgiving dinner. I've actually never participated in the immense task of cooking it and I felt honored to help.
97. Running my first 5k this morning in McDonough!! I didn't do too bad either: 36 minutes, which is better than I was expecting. I might have to do more 5k's!
98. Warm weather in Georgia. The air felt amazing this morning in the race and I love not having to wear a coat when I go outside.
99.That after several years of being apart and several more starting next year, we had this great opportunity to share Thanksgiving with my whole family.
100. Finally, I'm thankful for this month-long challenge that has taught me to look on the bright side and be aware of all the blessings I have and so often take for granted.


Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

ZUMBA

I've heard its praises for awhile. It always sounded intriguing. I just starting doing it. I can't believe what I was missing.


I'd love to go to classes, but the only times they're offered at the gym here are when I'm at work. I guess I could buy the DVD's, I'm just cheap. Fortunately, I discovered this little gem on YouTube. Search for "Hickory Zumba" and you'll find 15 or 20 choreographed videos that also incorporate some hip-hop that an instructor in North Carolina has posted. Awesome! It takes a bit longer to figure out the moves without someone showing you step-by-step, (and I've realized in the process just how uncoordinated I am), but it's SO FUN! Being able to enjoy your cardio workout is so much more effective.

This is the first one I learned.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thankfulness Week 3

51. Animals. My boss brings her dog into work sometimes and it always brightens my day - even if the dog is a bit crazy. :)
52. Alarm clocks (some mornings not so much, but the overall idea of them I'm thankful for)
53. Gmail and all of its sweet planning and organization features
54. My Samuel. I've mentioned him several times already, but I'm extremely thankful for him.
55. Being very tired at night, without which we would stay up all night, every night talking. 
56. That my car gets ridiculous gas-mileage. I spent all day Tuesday delivering samples all over Utah County for work and I barely used a quarter of a tank. Our road trip out here in the summer was even more efficient.
57. Buy Low Market. Wal-mart prices without the headache.
58. Georgia to come back to for holidays. One day it be our home again....hopefully
59. It hasn't actually snowed here yet. A little frost, a few flurries, but we may evade the real snow until December.
60. Butternut squash soup. BOY does it hit the spot!
61. That I went to bed early last night for the first time in a loooong time. I don't feel like a "new person" or anything, but I do feel quite a bit better and I'm certainly proud of myself.
62. On that note, I'm thankful that we have the power to change. Every new day is a new possibility and a new chance to get it right.
63. That we found Sam's ID card today so we can finally do laundry again. Ok, he found it. I admit I lost it.
64. Fridays
65. and Saturdays
66. and Sundays too
67. Mrs. Meyer's cleaning products
68. Nie Nie's ever-inspiring words
69. My yoga pants
70. "The Office" tonight.
71. BYU Catering for taking a huge load off our minds about the Ward Christmas Party
72. Wikipedia
73. Hair straighteners
74. The Dollar Tree for Christmas supplies and decor.
75. That my mom got to come last weekend! We chatted, dined, shopped for Christmas decor, and went to Ross' Choir Concert. It was amazing! I haven't been to a BYU choir concert since I was sang in Women's Chorus my freshman year. Plus, I captured this awesome moment of my mom and Ross tap-dancing in the HFAC after the concert.

video

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thankfulness Week 2

26. Lds.org videos
27. Having Ross out here and getting to spend time with him every week
28. This last election
29. Having a healthy body again
30. Low-fat, sugar-free banana chocolate shakes that satisfy my sweet tooth without breaking the scale. I rely on them.
31. All my bittersweet memories of the 2 years Sam and I spent apart while he was on his mission...
32. ....And looking back at their joyful conclusion
33. Having straight teeth
34. 5 o'clock
35. All the......possibilities.....that await with Medical School
36. Great in-laws
37. The Christian station that I listen to on my way home from work 
38. Snow at Christmas
39. Service opportunities to teach me how to love more 
40. Lady Antebellum and their songs always seem to speak to me.
41. Modern medicine
42. Planners
43. Facebook and blogs for keeping in touch with old friends
44. Pell grants
45. Friends having children before me so I know what to expect and what I have to look forward to
46. Family history
47. Getting the chance to serve as a missionary...even if it was only for a month
48. That we live in a day when it is socially acceptable for women to wear pants. I know that sounds weird, but think about it. It's a really nice thing.
49. Getting to go back to Georgia for Thanksgiving and Christmas
50. Workout videos when I don't have time to go to the gym

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Week 1: I'm Thankful For...

As part of a challenge in Relief Society to name 100 things I'm grateful for, I plan to post 25 each Thursday until Thanksgiving. I think I like 25 things in 4 weeks more than just one thing every day, plus it means having to think up four times more things I'm thankful for! It's an interesting challenge that I'm excited to take on. Here goes. I'm thankful for:

1. A comfortable place to call home
2. Coming home every day to my Samuel
3. Being married forever to him
4. A good job. I always describe it as a "high-stress job in a low-stress environment," but it's so true
5. Freedoms as an American
6. The Gospel
7. Having a temple so close by
8. The beauty of God's creations
9. Trials and suffering that help us grow and make us appreciate life
10. My red hair (which has never been colored and still gets lots of compliments)
11. Good food...and being able to make it :)
12. My family
13. Being perfectly confident about singing in public
14. Making new friends
15. Never missing a year at the beach to see the ocean and walk through the surf
16. Having a party blog. I thought about it and thought about it, finally did it with Sam's encouragement, and I love it. It's not huge, but I actually have a few followers!
17. That God always answers my prayers. Even if I'm not always looking for that answer or if it's not quite when I expect, He ALWAYS does.
18. The knowledge that it's obviously important that I learn about project management as I've been doing a lot of it in my job lately, and an awful lot of it in our calling.
19. The comforting rhythm of seasons and holidays
20. A car
21. Martha Stewart.com 
22. My gym membership 
23. Being from the South
24. My degree in Advertising from BYU
25. Music. Actually, art in all it's forms.

And more to come next week!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Halloween Festivities

Boy, what a weekend! I could tell you how busy we were with putting together our Ward Halloween Party, spending hours decorating for it (and it looked awesome!), making cider, setting up, attempting to quickly get replacement supplies and handle crowd control, and attempting to have time dress up, and how we were too  busy to take any pictures, and too exhausted after cleanup to do anything to our apartment that looked like the damage path of a tornado. I could tell you lots more details, but this post reminded me that you don't want to hear me whine. Oh....wait.

Very seriously, though, I was sad that we didn't really get a chance to enjoy the party much or that our costumes weren't much of a success. I decided very last minute that I wanted to go as an Egyptian queen and Sam really wanted to go as a mummy. I had all the costume stuff, the wig, the makeup, even the jewelry, and Sam had all the strips of linen to be the perfect mummy....but our costumes were last on the priority list that night. Oh well. At least we'll have some sweet costumes for next year.

The rest of the weekend we enjoyed some much needed sleep and relaxation. Sunday felt a little weird and not much like Halloween as we had church in the morning plus some extra meetings, visiting/home teaching, and the like. We had Ross over for dinner and to celebrate his birthday. I always loved how much we celebrated Halloween while growing up because it doubled as his birthday.

 Some of our spooky decor
We made pumpkin turkey chili (sounds weird, but it's actually really good) and birthday pumpkin pie. Don't you love the tombstone candles?

 Ross playing hide-and-seek with Ethan over Skype.

We had everyone on Skype singing Happy Birthday! It was so fun! After Ross left we planned to watch "Vertigo", but were too tired to do so for the second year in a row. One of these Halloweens we will enjoy a thrilling Hitchcock movie! As for this week, I'm sad to see Halloween go, but looking forward to the coming holidays and especially more than grateful for a little breather. Not to mention that the valley is absolutely beautiful right now. I've really become accustomed to Western falls.


P.S. I voted today! I didn't get my absentee ballot in time 2 years ago to vote in what would have been my first Presidential election, (I know, FOR SHAME!) but today I did. I felt so proud! What a blessing it is to have the freedom to have my voice heard.


Saturday, October 23, 2010

Rain, Rain, Go Away

So much for the cornmaze tonight. I was really looking forward to it......

One of my favorite Halloween traditions here in Utah is Cornbelly's Cornmaze. It's a great fall festival for families, but they have plenty of fun stuff for college students and adults. They also have a hayride around the cornmaze and pumpkin patch, hot cider, games, haunted attractions, and, of course, the cormaze. I love it! Since we're in that weird stage of life where we're too old to trick-or-treat and don't have any kids of our own to take yet, it's a fun way to celebrate Halloween. If the weather's good, hopefully we'll make it there next week - stuck right in between carving pumpkins, throwing our Ward Halloween Party, renting a classic Hitchcock film, and celebrating Ross' birthday (on Halloween). It's a rough life.

In other news, I've been juicing, counting calories, working out daily, and my jeans are slipping on easier these days. I'm excited. A lot more on that later.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tender Mercies

Yesterday and part of last week I was dealing with a huge design project that had lots of pitfalls and was basically falling apart in my lap - just one of those "The Devil Wears Prada"- type work days. I held back tears at one point thinking how my boss had potentially lost trust in me and over-worrying about my position and my abilities. But then I left work, and as I drove on my way to the store I felt the cool fall air on my face and listened to a Christian Rock station. A song came on about pressing on and enduring because there are good things that wait for those who have faith. I was reminded that my Heavenly Father, who is God over all the earth including my job, is completely aware of me, knows my full potential, and that this one job is just a blip in my life and eternal progression. On the drive home from the store, the sky was pastel blue and neon pink against the mountains, an evening fog was gathering in the valley, and it was breathtakingly beautiful. That feeling of gratitude carried me through the crazy traffic and grocery trip all the way until I could finally be home at 7pm. It didn't erase the need for me to run errands after a stressful workday, but I felt so peaceful and empowered as I continued on, albeit tired, to do it. 
 
Just the other night, Sam and I were lamenting the long and arduous process of finishing school, both what it took for me, and what he has ahead with Medical School and just feeling very inadequate. He had been doing a lot of homework over the weekend and spent nearly 12 hours on campus yesterday just going to classes, taking two tests, and finishing a paper, and he really didn't know when he would have time to do the studying he needed for an upcoming genetics test. After prayers of faith, sure enough, today he took that test and he got a 96! It really is a huge blessing considering how little time he was able to put into it with all the other work he was doing, but I know it was because the Lord is watching out for us. Even when things get tough, so very tough, he will always consecrate our efforts and bless us even beyond what we can give.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Homecoming Weekend

Boy, what a week! Sadly I have no pictures of this weekend yet. My camera died early Saturday morning and I was just too busy to think about it. I always kick myself for that. But, I will steal some pictures from my mom's iphone and share them with you later on.

Friday night was our Ward Luau, which was actually a pretty big success. Due to weather concerns, we had to move it from outside in our quad to the basement meeting room under the D-building (or "the bunker", as I like to call it). We decked it out as best we could, served real Kahlua Pig and Hawaiian food, and listened to Hawaiian music. We had a ton of people come and it seemed to be really fun for everyone. After the last people had left and the last bit of rice was vacuumed from the floor, Sam and I sat together silently in the two remaining chairs just finally enjoying being able to breathe. Finally some respite.... until our Halloween party. I'm actually really excited for that one, and the D-Basement in all its dreary glory is a great venue for an awesome Halloween party experience.

My mom and dad came into town on Friday night and took us for some really yummy frozen custard at Coney's after the Luau was over. My dad was a yell leader at BYU years ago and they came back for Homecoming for him to march with some of the yell leader alumni in the Homecoming Parade and cheer at the game during halftime.

Isn't he cute? It still fits him!
On Saturday morning we watched the Homecoming Parade. It's not a big parade, but it was still really fun to watch. I can't believe I never took the time to go when I was still a student. My dad looked so cute cheering with the cheerleaders in his old yell leader sweater. I'll definitely have to post a picture of that one!

Later in the day, my mom, Ross, and I did some shopping at Target, and I hugged Nie Nie. Yes I did. We were wandering around one of the decor isles when I saw her cute little son, Ollie, run past. I turned the corner and sure enough, there she was! (It's really not that coincidental. I've run into her before and we live in the same town.) I spent 5 minutes trying to decide whether to leave her alone or just talk to her. I mustered the courage to do the latter. I didn't introduce myself, I just told her that I didn't know when I would get the chance to tell her again and that I think she's awesome and that I love her. She then gave me a hug and told me how she is always grateful to hear that. When I think about it, who wouldn't want someone to randomly tell you you're awesome and loved? Yeah, I'm a stranger to her, but I wasn't weird about it. I was just telling the truth in a very friendly, casual way. I think a lot of people would kill for that kind of affirmation and encouragement anytime you could get it. I carried a big smile around for the rest of our shopping trip.

In the afternoon, we went to a lovely little Alumni Tailgate party at the Alumni Center, which is so beautiful. There was a tent out on the patio overlooking the valley where they served yummy BBQ fare and BYU's famous mint brownies. We schmoozed a bit with alumni both old and young, and then they headed out to the game while I headed home for a bit. I was looking forward to the game, but the thought of cleaning and shopping not getting done, not to mention my sick Samuel trying to finish homework was a good reason to stay home. We still won, thankfully!

After the game, we braved the traffic to meet up at Malawi's Pizza. Remember La Jolla groves? It's owned by the same folks, (I wouldn't mind if they created a monopoly on all Provo restaurants), and very very good. Imagine a modern-Serengeti themed experience plus great service plus fabulous pizza plus the fact that they donate a nutritious meal to a child in Malawi with every meal sold. Not to mention, they make an effort to make their food healthier and more natural. I love that. The general manager even came out to meet us when they served us an extra salad and insisted that we get two dessert pizzas on the house for the trouble. What a nice guy. Seriously, if I haven't made it clear, check out La Jolla Groves and/or Malawi's Pizza. You'll be glad you did.

Yikes, this was a long post. Sorry about that. I have a tendency to write a novel when I write about my life. To sum it all up, thank you mom and dad for coming to town and showing us a great time! It's been a long time that I've laughed so hard as I did when we all went out. I'm glad I only have to wait until Thanksgiving for my next hug from dad and girl's trip and life talks with mom. Also, thank you mom for the incredible juicer! I can't wait to make all kinds of healthy fruit and veggie cocktails!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Busy Busy Busy


No, really. I know that life is always busy, but it feels like we've had some kind of commitment every single weekend for awhile and will every weekend for awhile, not to mention the daily grind of often-stressful projects at work and always stressful school for Sam. I guess it's cool; better to be busy living life than taking it easy and not doing much to improve oneself. Here's a quick summary of some of the things going on:

The last weekend in September we finally celebrated our anniversary! Nothing special, we decided in the long run that we didn't want to spend too much money, so I let go of my inner drama queen that craved something unique and awesome and we just went out to a nice dinner. We went out to a place in Provo that just opened up in the Riverwoods called La Jolla Groves. It's owned by the same folks who own The Chef's Table, so we knew it was going to be good. The ceiling is covered with a "grove" of artificial lemon trees. Cute, no?

Sam enjoying our artisan cheese and fruit.
Good food, great service, beautiful atmosphere, and not too pricey. You should check it out for your next hot date.

We also stopped to buy Sam's present - a pasta roller. He's been dying to make healthy, homemade pasta for months with our own pasta roller and he is so happy to finally have one! He's my little chef. It's just one on a long list of fancy kitchen gadgets that we hope to furnish our fabulous future kitchen with. (That was a lot of f's wasn't it?)

Then, this last weekend Jennifer came to visit with Ethan! It was a bit crowded in our one bedroom apartment, but it was fun to visit with Jennifer and play with Ethan out in our apartment complex playground and try to make sense of his almost-talking.

Friday night we went to Sam's mission reunion for the first time. This one was a big deal, because his old Mission President is finally back, so there was a huge turnout and it was definitely the one to come to. It was so weird to run into some of his old companions and mission friends that I had only seen pictures of or heard about for years. What was also weird, (but mostly fun), was having them remember me as his then-girl-back-home and being excited to see us together and married.

Then, Saturday and Sunday, of course, was General Conference. Wow! What a pick me up at a time when I'm so inclined to mope about being stressed. I love coming away from Conference with a renewed sense of hope and gratitude for all the things I have. The Gospel has such an amazing power to comfort, encourage, chasten, and uplift.

Stuff this week: wrapping up a big design project at work, parents coming to town Friday, helping throw our Ward Luau Friday night, and Homecoming tailgating and football game Saturday. (Too bad it won't be much to watch. Watching the game live will be fun anyway.)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I miss my car

I realized today, while driving the Protege, that I really miss the Miata. I'm so grateful to have a bigger and newer car so we can actually fit groceries, luggage, and ourselves - it's just not as much fun. I find myself thinking, while making a fast U-turn, trying to accelerate quickly, or squeeze into a small parking space, "the Miata could do that."

Thank goodness the Miata is just around the corner in Ross' dorm in Helaman if I ever want to take it for a spin. Right, Ross?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Halloween

...I can't wait! I'm going to be honest, it's the holiday I get most excited about, probably as much as most people get for Christmas. I can't call it my official "favorite" holiday lest Sam ridicule me. (Not really, but it's a serious matter. He was born at Christmas, so he's a bit biased.) Corn mazes, pumpkins, candy corn, vibrant fall leaves, decorations, parties, dressing up, and yes, even some of the scary stuff. It's just awesome! Hooray for the Halloween season!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Backwards is Forwards

I love how autumn feels like a beginning; the start of school and the turning of a new leaf, just as the leaves get ready to fall. I'm no longer in school, but 17 years of conditioning has taught me to think of fall in this way: new classes, new people, and more importantly, new goals. It seems like, for at least the first few weeks of the school year, everyone is so focused. Not even just students - everyone! Schedules are kept, homes are in order, and priorities in their proper place. It's sort of like how at Christmastime everyone seems to be more charitable and compassionate - things they should be all year round, but which come naturally that time of year. I think that's why I love fall. It's a beautiful time of year as summer fades and the world prepares for the cold season, but most of all I love it because I feel motivated - and empowered - to be my very best. Thanks, fall. You're beautiful in more ways than one.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Ethan loves Star Wars

Watch Ethan jump at the Star Wars intro! Despite what it looks like, he loves this game.

video

Jennifer and Ethan moved back to Georgia today with Sterling soon to follow. We are now the only ones left living west of the Mississippi on either side of the family. How I wish we could be calling the South our home again too. Soon enough. Soon enough

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Sweet Southern Comfort

We're finally back from our much-needed 2 week vacation! We flew out to Georgia and were quickly overwhelmed by the humidity. I really don't remember it ever being so bad. The night we got in was Amy Galli and Ryan Turner's Reception and I was so glad I could make it! They looked so happy.

Stephanie, Amy, and I.

We ate Zaxby's! I get it twice a year and I'm always excited.

Sam relaxed and caught up with old friend Meep.

Then we got to the beach! Check out that view!

And that one!...

...and that one! Notice the nice hot tub, which was frequented only by us.

The boys got right to puzzling.

And Sam bonded with new friend Ethan.

Here was Ethan's play pool,

but he seemed to prefer lounging safely away from the sand and salt water.

Oh, and I found a hermit crab.
And my sweetie looked dang good on the beach.

Sam bonded with his nephew even more and taught him about shapes.

We ate some really good seafood,

and saw a guy order the restaurant's burger challenge: the Jetty Giant.

I love Destin Harbor.

The boys feeding the fish.

Ethan with his momma,

and his auntie.

We went to this water park - Big Kahuna's,

and got up early to watch the sunset on the last day.

No dolphins out for their morning promenade, though. A beach trip first.

When we got back to Georgia, we had anniversary cake.

Happy 2 years to us!

Then we packed up our new car - the Mazda Protege - and drove back to Utah. I was too busy driving or sleeping during those two 13-15 hour days to take pictures, but they looked a lot like this:

(Photos courtesy of my last trips to and from Utah in 2007 and 2008.)

It was a wonderful trip, but boy does it feel good to be home! I'm refreshed, more freckled, and ready for all that fall has in store.