Friday, December 17, 2010

This is one way to do Christmas cheer


Yes, that is a Christmas tree perched a top an SUV. It's even got Christmas lights that are working. I feel like this is an appropriate time to quote my favorite character from 30 rock, Jack Donaghey who would feel a kinship with SUV Christmas Tree man, "Only terrorists say Happy Holidays. Merry Christmas."

By Candlelight....

everything is supposed to be more romantic, right?

Behold:


Not using the toilet. If you ever had musings on how the mood would be by effectively peeing in the dark-- let me enlighten you: it's creepy. There's a scene in the movie, Elizabeth, which is about Queen Elizabeth the 1st, and at one point, all of the people who oppose her and make her life miserable in court are killed as they go about their business everyday. One of them is on the toilet at the time. I always thought-- Sheesh, that was awful-- they couldn't have waited, like a minute or two?
No. I understand why. After peeing in the dark, you should know that is this is the most vulnerable place you could possibly be. Nothing could stop anyone from harming you. You're peeing, for goodness sake. It's all you've got on your mind. You aren't thinking a medievil assassin is lurking behind the shower curtain.

The lights are back on now, and we're safe using the toilet, fyi.

(For the record, they inexplicably went off--everything electrical in our bathroom just stopped working. I had to call maintenance, and they took their dear sweet time getting here.)

Monday, December 13, 2010

O Christmas tree!

It is that time of year again. Christmas. Joyous!


There may not be presents under the tree this year, but that's because we gave ourselves a Wii. And we're playing with it already. It was an easy way to cap spending on Christmas this year. One gift, one purchase. Loads of fun.


One of my favorite things about Christmas in my home growing up, was that my mom always had our table set in Christmas plates, with special napkins and a special tablecloth. We ate with those plates the entire month of December. This year, I decided that it was time to invest in some Christmas tableware for the same reasons-- it really makes it feel like Christmas, and that every meal is special when you come home to a table that is fancy and already set. (Although I have yet to find goblets that go with the whole table. The Kate Spade drinking goblets that go with our china really don't match, they're too dainty. I was thinking something clear with big heavy cuts in thicker glass. Anyone have any suggestions?) A special shout out to my friend Krystle who was more than happy to give me (although I heartily protested) her red chargers.


But I did have to do a new centerpiece-- the simple white candle has moved to the bathroom. And so I made the above tree by following this really easy tutorial that I marked a couple of months ago in the blogs I read. It was so simple that I assembled it on a sunday afternoon, while still combating the aftereffects of some benadryl (generally cantankerous mood, sullen stares at one or more family members at any given time, barbed half-mumbled sentences... it was a pretty sight).


The view over all of our dining nook. Merry Merry Merry.


I also might add that in efforts to eventually use my desk and office space, I got around to buying a chair, at the good old Ikea, and brought it home, and amongst all this Christmas splendor, screamed like a Scandinavian power-lifter, attempting to "easily snap in" the plastic chair to the metal base. Arthur was lost in the space time continuum gap known as "finals week," otherwise I would have put his manly man muscles to work. It struck me as particularly funny. Nevertheless, please hold me to my purchasing power, and anytime you see me, ask me if my butt has been sitting in my Scandinavian power-lifting chair. That is the goal-- because when I sit in the chair, I should be writing my little heart out.

Hold me to it blog friends, hold me to it.

New Callings!

Well, the year is over, and we've changed callings!

For our non-mormon friends, a calling is a responsibility within a mormon congregation that typically takes place on Sunday or during the week. Since there are no paid clergy in the mormon church, most mormons happily volunteer for callings and often get assigned callings by the congregation's leadership that they might find challenging or difficult, or in some cases, easy and enjoyable. The idea is to serve others in the congregation and develop new skills in areas where you might not be so comfortable. Most of the time it means teaching a sunday school class on sunday.

Which is what we've been doing all year-- except our sunday school class was made up of children from ages 18 months to 3 years. In other words, it was about a five minute lesson and 1 hour 55 minutes of managing toys, potty breaks and learning baby talk. I won't lie-- it was hard. In July, I thought December would never come! Most callings don't have a time limit on them-- you serve until a different calling becomes available and your time and talents might be used better elsewhere. Uniquely, our congregation gave us a promise when we agreed to teach Nursery, that we would only serve for 1 year. How smart! I've never looked so forward to the new year!

But I have to say, I will miss it just a little. We've become friends with our little people-- they have such distinct personalities and they are really fun. I was going to post some pictures and a hilarious video from our last day-- but then I realized that they are not my children, and I don't have the right to post their images on the internet. :(

Our new callings? Our congregation's leadership seems determined to keep us together (I'm not complaining at all!)-- Arthur and I will be jointly serving as the young single adult advisors. Basically we'll be teaching a sunday school class aimed at young single church members in our congregation from ages 18 to 30.

Rock on, rock on.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Gratitude


For the beauty of the earth,
For the beauty of the skies,
For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies,
Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our grateful hymn of praise.




For the beauty of each hour
Of the day and of the night,
Hill and vale, and tree and flower,
Sun and moon and stars of light,
Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our grateful hymn of praise.










For the joy of human love,
Brother, sister, parent, child,
Friends on earth, and friends above,
Pleasures pure and undefiled,
Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our grateful hymn of praise.

We can't count our blessings enough... we have too much! Happy Thanksgiving!

Hook 'em.

Well, it hasn't been the best of years for "our" team, but still it was fun.







The good thing... it's not over quite yet. Right now it's half time and the score is tied. Hook 'em-- BEAT those AGGIES!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Happy Birthday IAN!


Happy Belated Birthday Ian!

Your birthday may have been in September, but that doesn't change the fact that you are 19 or cool.

I already did a tribute to Ian earlier this year....
so I feel its a little redundant to go over the same points.

Anyway, Happy Birthday!!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Happy Birthday Mom!

Actually, Happy Birthday in august. Because that is when my mother's birthday is.... in my defense, we were really busy that weekend, marrying my brother off.

But my mom is great. Here are some things you might not know about her:


My mom is intensely creative. Give her some fabric and she will make something, sometimes, without use of a sewing machine.


My mom is kind. She has a gentle outlook on life.

My mom is really funny, especially when she is tired. She makes smiles worth having.


Happy Birthday Mom! (Belated on my blog, I know) I love you!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Families are together forever...

Yesterday, we watched as our friends buried their twin baby girls, Sierra and Faith, who were within a week of beginning life here on Earth. It was exceptionally heart breaking to watch two parents bury children they never got to know. Our hearts go out to Michael and Kasey right now, and their three older children.

I was feeling particularly down after the service, even though we had planned to go to the temple last night anyway. I was sad the entire way down to the temple, until the moment I sat down in the temple session. After that I felt my spirits lift a little (and it helped that I got to sit next to my friend Erika too). By the time I got to the celestial room, I felt so much better. Its one thing to say you know that families can be forever together, and another all together to feel the power and reverence behind those covenants we make to actually become together forever.

"Part of the process of reaching into the eternities comes when we must deal with the experience called death. This life is hollow without a belief in and an understanding of immortality. Said Paul, “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.”11 The Atonement and the Resurrection of the Savior are the grand keys that open the locks of immortality. The greatest fulfillment of these blessings, if we are worthy, comes to us in the holy temples of God. Within their sacred walls, those who hold the power and authority bind in heaven that which is bound in earth." President James E. Faust.


I said to my dad yesterday, "How can words about living together forever take away the sting? It just doesn't seem adequate enough." His answer surprised me, "It can't away the sting. Those words aren't adequate enough. They are words. True peace comes from hope in the Savior, hope in His atonement and hope in the resurrection."  


I felt a lot better after contemplating these things in the temple. Many times I find myself at work, or out with friends and I find myself absolutely flummoxed as to how they can find meaning in life without the gospel of Jesus Christ. I would be an absolute wreck of a human being without knowing who my Savior is, or what He has done for me. While I'm devastated for our friends' loss of their children, I find myself thanking Heavenly Father that they have the gospel, that they have temple covenants and that they know their Savior. 

Friday, October 22, 2010

We're alive...

...promise. We're just busy as heck. And for that I'm sorry. Someday soon you'll get an update, with pictures and lots of words that will be great.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

For the beauty of the earth...

it's been outrageously beautiful the past couple of days here in the ATX. I was struck by how lovely everything around me truly is, as I was going to the grocery store. These photos may be pedestrian, but I hope they convey the richness of the blue sky, the sparkling sunlight, and the soft greens that make the world sing.







Sunday, September 26, 2010

Satisfaction

It's a darn tootin great day when you can go from this:


 mass chaos, disorder, plain laziness...

 to this:


Orderly, can-find-it-got-a-place-for-it-finally-using-those-hat-boxes organized. WHEW!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Here's the thing...

Preface: this is a rant. I've been medicated for a cold in the past 24 hours, and so don't take anything I say here seriously.

I've had this on my mind for a few months, so I think I'm finally gonna share:

College was not what it was cracked up to be.

Eeeek! I know, I said it. Give me 30 lashes, or what have you. I understand that my sentiments are not shared by the general populace, and that makes me weird. Get over it, I've been weird for awhile, and I'm not gonna change anytime soon.

Here's my reasoning behind taking the college experience down by a few notches:

-Unrealistic expectations. Between hearing rosy glossed over memories from parents, seeing how "awesome" college is in the television/film arena, and in my case, getting spoonfuls of what is supposed to happen in college from my cultural background (find the love of your life by 21, get married and have babies before graduation)-- all of that just set up for loads of disappointment. My university was not the same one my parents attended 20 years earlier. It in no way represents any university found in a tv series or a movie. And those cultural expectations? That happens to maybe 10% of the people who went to the same university I did. Lemme tell you, it's weird when the things that your culture says are supposed to happen to you on a certain time frame don't happen on that time frame.

-My college years were miserable. Don't get me wrong, I met great people, I had a fantastic education, and on the whole I came out a better person. But you couldn't pay me to go back and do it again. I dealt with more outside stress, more worry, more anxiety than a person my age really should have had to. You know how people look back and wistfully remember the great times in college? I won't. My college years were defined by anxiety, depression, worry. The best lesson I learned in college (and the one I'm most grateful for) is how to get out of bed, how to keep going and how to move past all the bad stuff going on in life, and get things done.

--You know how I know college wasn't what it was cracked up to be? Life after college! I can't tell you how much I've loved my life after college-- it's been great. I joined an LDS singles group that was much more healthy in terms of how young LDS adults dated and courted one another. I found the love of my life and married him. I've been able to really strengthen my family as an adult living nearby, and have countless opportunities to serve. I live in a ward with great people, who are incredibly understanding of different people in different phases of life. I have a job where I get the opportunity to live my standards and share the gospel all the time.

I think my biggest criticism of the college experience, is that some look back at college and go "this was the best time of my life, and my friends are the best from college, and it was so great and it can never get any better." How can you say that? Shouldn't the next phase of life just get better? Shouldn't we be aiming to improve on our circumstances, to live more outside of ourselves, to serve others, to love more, to live the gospel with greater enthusiasm-- in other words-- to live life as our Father in Heaven would want us to live it-- better?

How can we do that if we hold on to a time and idealize it as the "best" when really the best is yet to be?

ok, I think I've made my point. end rant.

Friday, September 10, 2010

New Blog

I'm not abandoning this blog, but starting a hobby blog with some friends. Since it's essentially a recipe exchange, I thought I'd open it up to all my friends everywhere-- all the deets explaining how it works are on the blog, on the second tab. I'm really excited about it, and hope it takes off!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

best weekend EVAR!

No seriously, it was one of the best weekends we've had in quite some time.

We got invited to go camping. I can honestly say, I wasn't that excited about it.

But I was wrong. Soooo wrong. Because with a little cool weather, this is what greeted us:


Gorgeous. I was dumbfounded. Camping here didn't seem like it would be a possibility in Texas. We were invited for the whole weekend, but we couldn't get subs for nursery, so we only went down friday and saturday. It was so much fun, even the simple things like playing the guitar, cooking over the fire, and just staying up late and talking, knowing that the only thing to do in the morning was sleep in! 


Round the campfire with the girls.



Amy, Kjersti, Me, Amara, Michele and Rhe. Oddly enough, everyone except Kjersti (and Amara of course) went to girls camp together as youth. I would have never guessed that 10 years later, we'd still be friends, and that we would still be camping together.





This is the view from the top of that hill in the first picture. Awesome. The hike reminded me of how out of shape I am. But the view was well worth it.



As my sister in law would say "PRESH"


On the way down the hike, we made a stop in a very nice cool cave, that you kind of had to shimmy through the entire way. This was the entrance.



This is Michele being a cave monster. Her husband is afraid of caves. Yup. Clearly, she thinks its worth mocking, and I'm kind of glad she did, because we now have this picture.


In front of me.... hubby dearest.


Behind me, Michele and Amy. Goobers.



Stud Muffin.


Amy's husband Steve, who was our fearless leader.


Freaking out in the cave. (I look awful, but it's a funny pic)



Hiking down-- way easier than going up!

Sadly, I have no more pictures for the rest of the weekend. We had a fantastic time swimming in that river, and then nice and refreshed, taking off for the ride home. I totally slept the whole way.

Then monday, we hung out with our friends Rawle and Krystelle at Barton Springs. No pics there either. Lame. 

We ended up having dessert at the Goodalls that night with the family and watching the Bosie State vs. Virginia Tech game. 

What did I tell you? Perfect weekend. How could you cram in more friends, more fun, more excitement? Answer: You can't. Sorry, we win. :)

Lastly, I'd like to throw out a shout out to Kjersti and Nate who made the whole weekend possible. Thank-you! And just for you, a little video. (I'm still figuring out my new phone, so the video wasn't as high quality as I wanted it to be... but you get the idea)

video