Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas Festivities

We had a wonderful Christmas. I only took pictures of Christmas morning though. Oops! On Christmas Eve, we spent the morning watching the snow fall at our house and wrapping gifts. We also watched Mickey's Christmas Carol and opened our gifts from each other before heading off to visit our families.

Then we headed over to Grandma Lively's house and had a good visit with her. After that we stopped at my Grandma Brady's house for dinner with my mom's side. In my family we have a tradition to have soup and bread bowls for dinner on Christmas Eve. I love it! We make like 4 different kinds of homemade soup and it's so yummy. Matt is not the biggest fan of soup though, so we might have to create a new tradition when we are not with either family for Christmas Eve. Maybe fondue. I love fondue!

Anyway, after dinner we headed over to Matt's parents' house and watched their traditional Christmas Eve movies of Mr. Kruger's Christmas and Nora's Christmas.

And we played Settlers til like 1 a.m. We slept over at the Lively's and got up on Christmas morning and had some yummy cinnamon rolls. One thing that I really liked is that Santa left all the presents under the tree and we all took turns opening them. At my house it's kind of like a mad dash for your pile. I liked being able to see what everyone else got.

We hung around Matt's parents' house all morning and had a fun time. Then in the afternoon we went over to my parents' house for the rest of the day. We exchanged gifts and played games and had dinner. Matt got Nathan the most hilarious game. It's the missionary version of Settlers. You build ward houses and gain converts. We about died when we saw it in the store.

It was a great Christmas.

Ever since I got married, Santa seems to like giving me a bag of chocolate chips in my stocking.

Melissa and I got these cute hats. We got a lot of great gifts.

On the day after Christmas we had the annual party at my Grandma Shepherd's house with all the extended family on my dad's side. It was a lot of fun and I'm glad we got to see most everyone. I love Christmas!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

It's a bean!

Now that the cat is out of the bag, I can post about this. :) We got to see our first picture of our little one this week! Matt was so cute at the appointment. When they were doing the ultrasound and the sonogram showed up on the screen, Matt exclaimed, "Look, there it is! It's a bean! I can see its heart!" He was so excited to actually see it. He is convinced it's a boy, of course, and wants to name it Ethan.

I am used to my doctor explaining everything she does before she does it, but since I had to change doctors because I moved, these ones are not quite the same. They just did their stuff without even telling me what was going on, so I was completely oblivious that there was anything on the screen until Matt started getting excited.

Anyway, they said everything was looking good. I have been feeling pretty good too. I've been a little more tired than normal, and I'm trying to get used to eating smaller meals more frequently throughout the day because I'm finding that if I eat too much (like even my normal-sized meals before) I feel sick and if I get hungry I feel sick. But other than that, I'm really grateful that I haven't been super sick.

We are excited for Christmas. We even got our little one a cute little stocking! And I think we figured out how to make it work with all the families. Merry Christmas to all!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas!

You can click on the image to make it bigger so you can actually read it. Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Festivities

This weekend we went up to Temple Square to enjoy the lights. I love this tradition.

We also went to this really cool Live Nativity performance thing at Liberty Park. It was really neat. They have these little station scenes that you walk around and look at. You are led by a shepherd guide and at each station the performers do a musical number.

They had camels, donkeys, sheep, and goats.

I really liked it, and think we should make this a tradition in our family.

We also made a stop at Gardner Village to pick up a Christmas gift and I had to try on these silly hats!

Anyway, it was a great festive weekend.

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Island of Misfit Toys

Can someone please tell me how to be a good married friend? Sometimes I feel like such a misfit. It seems like once you get married, it is SO hard to make friends. Or keep your old ones for that matter. It seems like people in your ward don't really want to be your friend, because they are too busy with their own families and stuff. No one from our neighborhood has even come to visit us or introduce themselves or welcome us to the neighborhood or anything. Plus, I am one of two women in my ward who does not have children. So it seems like all the other ladies get together for play groups and temple trips and stuff during the day when I am at work so they all know each other and are friends, but only because their kids are friends. And Enrichment is usually on Wednesday nights, when I have class. I know I need to be better at reaching out, but it's hard to do that when you feel like the outsider.

The other day I went visiting teaching and the lady was complaining about her kids and you could tell she was frustrated and that it was a totally bad time for us to be there, and I didn't know what to say or do. So the other lady kept telling her it was normal and stuff and I just sat there feeling awkward like I didn't belong there or have anything to contribute or help.

It's the same at work. Plus at my work, since we work with students all day, it's different. I am friends with my students, but it's not the same. And it seems like my colleagues are too busy with their own students and their own families that it seems like they are not interested in being friends. And it's also "taboo" to be friends with a male colleague at BYU. So that makes it more difficult since all the male colleagues are buddy-buddy and I am not. I do like my job, but I miss having friends at work that I can eat lunch with and do stuff with and support each other through the boring and hard times at work and share the good times with.

Like on holidays we don't have a colleague party, or do anything for anyone's birthday, or go to lunch together or anything--unless it's for the students. Which is great, the students are important and that is who we are here to serve, but when I support students all day I need someone to support me too!

We have a lot of married friends from our singles ward that are in our same "life stage", and I don't know why it's so hard to get together to do stuff with them. We try, but most of the time it doesn't work out for some reason or another. Same with a lot of the single ones too. Plus we don't want our single friends to feel awkward hanging out with married people.

I just don't know what to do, but I don't want to be a misfit anymore. Is it normal to not have friends after you're married and I just need to get used to it? I realize I am a busy person with work and school and everything, but I still want to have friends and be a good friend. What am I doing wrong?

P.S. I don't want all my friends out there to feel like I don't consider them friends by this post. I still consider everyone friends, it's just a lot different and I'm just wondering how to handle it.

P.P.S. I am very thankful to be married to my best friend. And that is the best thing I could ever ask for.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

You're never too old...

...to sit on Santa's lap!

I love my job

I work with two really great groups of students at my job. Since it is the end of the semester, we decided we needed to celebrate. They really have worked hard this semester and have accomplished a lot of wonderful things. These are my students that work in the Human Resources area. We manage all the volunteers that come through the organization.

For our celebration, we decided to go out for an authentic Thai dinner. My favorite part was that we got to sit on pillows on the floor! The food was really delicious. Matt doesn't like Thai food, so I never get to have it. I tried a lot of new things and liked them all. I loved the little rice containers where you get a rice ball and dip it in some yummy peanut sauce. It was really fun!

The other group of students that I work with are the Communications students. They manage our website, Facebook page, do a lot of PR and media relations, and just try to communicate what BYUSA is to the student body.

For our celebration we went to the Brick Oven for lunch. I love the Brick Oven!

They have also worked really hard this semester and have made some big changes of which I am so proud of them for doing. It hasn't been easy, but they have been diligent. I really work with some amazing students. I feel so grateful to have a job that I love and that I get to work with such great students. Despite the many challenges I have faced this semester at work, it really is rewarding to see the accomplishments of these students and to be a part of their lives.

Disclaimer

I just wanted to say that I love all of our family members so much and I would love to spend Christmas with all of them if we could. We are part of seven families that are all doing stuff for Christmas that we want to be a part of. Yes, seven. (Our own family, my family, Matt's family, my mom's side, my dad's side, Matt's mom's side and Matt's dad's side.) I love them all so much and I love being with all of them. I just don't know how to be in seven places in one day.

Friday, December 11, 2009

In need of advice

I need some advice from you married folk out there. How do you split up your holidays between both your family and your spouse's family? What about the extended families? Do you try to do holidays with them too or just with the immediate families? How do you get on the same page as your siblings with their in-laws as well? Just wondering.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Do you have room?

Click here if you can't see the video. One of my student's mom wrote this and it is amazing! Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Santa Run

In all my years of attending and putting on crazy events, this is one of the best I've ever seen. I volunteered on Saturday morning at the Santa Run in Provo. It was HILARIOUS! It's a 5K race where all the runners dress as Santa, the volunteers dress like elves, and the aid stations are milk and cookies. It was awesome.

Before the race started, the race director had all the Santas do "warmups". He did this rendition of "Head, shoulders, knees and toes" that involved "boots, belly, beard and hat." There were also jumping jacks that were counted like this... "One. Ho ho ho. Two. Ho ho ho...." It was so funny.

There were about 200 runners and about 25 elves. There was music blasting along the course that involved songs like, "Here Comes Santa Claus" and "Santa Claus is Coming to Town". Some of the Santas had stockings full of candy canes that they would throw out to the crowd as they were running. Others had silly string they would spray on everyone. One had jingle bells tied to his foot so he was "jingling all the way" and some others had stuffed their shirts so they would have a Santa belly.

Here are the milk and cookie stops. They had candy cane sticks at the aid stations too.

The race director dressed as Santa too and his van even had a sleigh hooked up to the top.

Mine and Caron's jobs were to track the runners' times as they came through the finish line. We just had to click a button every time someone came through and it would record their time. Since our job was at the end of the race we spread some Christmas cheer in the meantime by doing some elf-y heel clicks.

It was so cold. I was wearing under armor, a fleece pullover, a hoodie, my coat, and my elf shirt on top. My running tights, workout pants, and my elf pants on bottom, wool socks, 2 pair of gloves and 2 hats. Caron informed me that I looked "ridiculous" with my elf shirt on over my coat. It was worth looking ridiculous though because it was like 18 degrees out there at 6:30 a.m.

I seriously had so much fun. I wanted to actually run in the race, but the registration fee was a bit out of my budget this month, so I decided to volunteer instead. And I got a free elf costume out of the deal too! Maybe next year I will have to save up so I can actually run. But if not, being a Santa's Helper was fun too!

O Christmas Tree

Our Christmas tree this year wasn't quite as adventurous as last year when we had to hold onto it from out the sunroof, but we did have a large bug fly out of it straight at Matt after we had brought it in. I love Christmas trees and they are worth all the hassle. :)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Interesting

I just heard a lecture that quoted Ronald Reagan as saying his biggest regret was signing the Family Law Act when he was the governor of California, which basically said that no-fault divorce was now ok.

Even he realizes the importance of the family.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Does it have to be over?

Thanksgiving break has been so wonderful. I don't want it to end! I had such a great weekend. Thursday we got up and did our annual Turkey Run 5K. It was great. Matt went to the Turkey Bowl with some of our old friends from the singles ward while I watched the parade with my fam. We spent Thanksgiving at my Granny's with all the aunts, uncles and cousins. We made it over to Matt's Grandma's later that night to spend a couple hours with them.

Friday we got the rest of the house cleaned so it can be ready to paint. Hopefully that will happen soon. And I spent a few hours just laying on the couch reading a book. It has been such a long time since I have been able to do that. And it was heavenly. Friday night we got together with Matt's family for tamales. I guess Matt's grandma used to make them all the time and now Matt's uncle brings them up from Arizona whenever he comes.

Saturday we got a bunch of errands done and went to the game. I thought it was great, and we'll leave it at that.

It really was just a much needed break and so relaxing. I even took like 3 naps. I didn't do an ounce of homework, which means the next couple of weeks are going to be busy trying to finish up my projects for the semester. Oh well, it was worth it.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

And I am thankful for...

In N' Out Burger. Yup, This is Matt making apparently his bi-annual post. I just had to show though how excited I was about the opening of In 'N Out. Here are a couple of pictures to show the excitement, and a video that must certainly be watched.

Here is a pic from my car about 35 minutes in or so.


Here I am looking at the most wonderful drive through menu in the land. (Although, there is really no reason for me to look at it, cuz I have it all memorized, at least the important stuff anyways.)


Mmmm, this is the view about 45 minutes later. I kinda want another one just looking at it... I must say, it did not disappoint in the tastiness that I remember. Bear in mind for those skeptics out there, this is a "fast food" burger, not some "Crown Burger" competition. It is the best "fast food" burger around. :) Just watch my video, sorry for the poor quality it is on my cell camera.


video

Go to In 'N Out, enjoy, and you'll see what I mean. :)

Giving thanks

I am thankful for so many things, but I just wanted to focus on a few. First, I am so thankful to know that God is watching out for us. I know that He has a plan for us even though it might be different from what our own plan is. I'm still so amazed at how guided and directed we were in this whole layoff situation. I know that it was because God wanted Matt to be in school and for us to move to Utah County. Seriously, we were about to close on our house in Layton and Matt got laid off the day before we were supposed to close. And then he got in to BYU a week later. Some people might think it's a miracle, but I know it's because God is directing our lives.

I'm so thankful for my testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that it is true. I know there is a prophet on the earth today...just like in the times of Moses or Abraham. I know that the Book of Mormon is a true book and that by reading it we can come closer to God and Jesus Christ and better understand our purpose here on earth. I'm thankful for the Atonement of our Savior and that because of His sacrifice, He will never give up on us and as we continue to try to follow Him, He will bless us more than we can imagine.

I'm thankful for wonderful family and friends. People mean a lot to me. I love them so much and I don't know what I would do without them. They really have influenced who I am and I love having them a part of my life.

I'm thankful for Matt. He makes me laugh and smile every day.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Girls Night Out

Last night I went to dinner with some of the girls that I grew up with in my home ward. We started this bi-annual tradition a few years ago and I love it! We got kicked out of the restaurant for staying too long. Oops! Maybe next time we will have to go somewhere that stays open later. :) Love you girls!

While I was laughing it up with the girls, Matt was in line at the new In-N-Out Burger that opened yesterday in Orem. He was so excited about the grand opening that he waited in line for an hour just to get a burger.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

In 10 years...

You know how when you're in Young Womens or some simliar setting and they make you write a letter to yourself saying where you'll be in 10 years? Well, let me just tell you that what I wrote when I was 12, 18, and even 25 when I was coming home from my mission is not what ended up happening.

When I was in Young Womens I wrote things like go to college, get a good job, get married, be a mom--all before the age of 23 of course. And some other good goals like go to the temple, travel, be a good person, etc. When I came home from my mission, I wrote the same stuff . And a few other goals like be a writer, have a career, be active in the church, magnify my callings, learn new things, etc.

And 10 years later...I never expected to have to wait til the ripe old age of 28 to get married. I never expected to have to put my husband through grad school. I never expected to be going to grad school while working full-time. I never expected to have to wait til I'm at least 30 to be a mom with the possibility of having to be a working mom if we even do have kids before Matt graduates. I never expected to still be renting a place to live. All this wasn't part of the plan!

But I also never expected to go on a mission. Or move to Georgia. Or study abroad. Or change my career. Or run a marathon. Or have such great roommates. Or travel like I've been able to do and learn so much about other places and people. Or get masters degree. Or discover some of the talents that I have. And those things probably wouldn't have happened if my little 10-year plan had worked out.

Sometimes I just need to remember the 2nd list when I'm feeling frustrated about the 1st list. :)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Murder in the Wild West

This year's murder mystery came off pretty well considering that it was the day before we moved. The pictures didn't turn out the greatest, but oh well. It was still a lot of fun. The setting was the Wild West. I got this fun Wanted poster cutout from the party store.

But neither Matt or I was the killer.

Rebecca was Scarlett Ohlahlah, a saloon dancer.

Dave was General Custard, the leader of the calvary unit at Fort Dodgy. Here he is preparing his remarks.

I was supposed to be Jane Calamity, the private detective hired to solve the murder (aka...the hostess) but one of the characters got sick at the last minute so I had to take over her role as the saloon owner. If I would have known, I would have dressed the part. Oh well!

Dave was Juan Eye, the Mexican cowboy. He was hilarious! He talked in a Mexican accent the whole night and kept saying the funniest things.

Matt was Woody Box, the undertaker. He kept measuring everyone for their coffin size!

Danny was the Deputy Sherriff. I loved his mustache...it was fantastic.

Anne was Yellow Flower, a local Indian. Here she is doing a rain dance. The best part was that this costume was her 2nd grade Halloween costume!

Jay was Ace Lender, the town banker.

And Caron was Marie McCousin, a local rancher. Here she is serenading Tom. (Selleck, that is.)

Stacey was Blaise F. Glory, a bounty hunter. She brought this cap gun and scared everyone when she shot it off.

We had a great Western dinner of chili and cornbread. I even made Wanted posters with everyone's pictures on them as decorations.

And the killer was....the cheating, lying banker.

Next year I will be sure to not have the party the day before I move so I can spend a little more time preparing. I've already had a request to make it a masquerade murder mystery so that should be interesting.
It was way fun though and I loved everyone's costumes and how much they got into it!

An Ode to Our Old Apartment

Goodbye Apt. 1327...it's been great! Our first apartment was definately memorable. From the lady with the squeaky bed who had different guys over every day and the millions of dogs to the playground right outside our window and the garbage truck coming every Saturday morning at 6:30 a.m. and going to the little gym and all the fun times we had there. Yay for our first apartment!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Moving Update

We got all our stuff moved into our new house. Thanks so much to everyone who came and helped out...we NEVER could have done it without you!

Upon arriving at our new place, we found it to not be in very good conditions. At all. Seriously, the people before us did not clean at all and the place is filthy. Not to mention it needs some serious repairs and painting. Our landlord is about the least helpful person I have ever met...I mean I don't expect the place to look new, but I do expect it to be clean and taken care of and that things are functioning properly.

So we are trying to negotiate with the owner that some things be fixed. I don't think I'm being unreasonable when I want holes in the walls repaired, the garbage disposal to work, the toilets to flush, and the carpets cleaned. Anyway at this point, I think I will probably have to clean and paint myself so we might be painting in the next few weeks if anyone wants to help!

At church on Sunday, we found out that our neighbors are the Greens, the Greens, and the Greens. So we live in a Polyga-house. This should be interesting. And apparently Green #4 used to live in our place! Weird! The school bus stops in front of our house and all the kids pile on the bus. It's kind of funny. But the people that we did meet at church and some of our other neighbors seem really nice. I'm excited for our ward, it seems like a good one.

I really think that once we get the place fixed up, it will be really great. I love the location and I love that we have so much space. And I'm loving the 10-minute commute to work. I went running this morning and it was lovely. It was so quiet and there are lots of hills in my neighborhood, so that will be good conditioning for me.

I also love that I live close to two of my cousins and their families. Ashley and Danny have especially been so helpful...they have fed us while we got the kitchen unpacked, let us shower at their house until we got the water heater turned on, helped us light the furnace, etc. You guys are great!

Here's to this new adventure we'll call Springville!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Moving is stressful

I am stressed. We are moving on Saturday and I have so much to do. Plus, I scheduled the murder mystery party for Friday night before I knew we would be moving the next day.

I'm worried I won't get everything packed in time, I'm worried we won't have enough help unloading the truck in Springville, I'm not happy that we have to spend a lot of money to move (renting the truck, switching over all the utilitites, buying blinds, cleaning, etc.) I'm really disappointed that the previous tenants did not clean the house before moving.

But I am happy to only have a 10-minute commute starting Monday.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Happy Halloween

Since my Halloween last year was pretty lame, I vowed I was not going to let that happen again. This year was much better. I was Minnie Mouse and Matt was a pizza. We went to our ward party and passed out candy at the Trunk or Treat.

The kids loved Matt's costume and kept coming up to him and pretending to eat him. It was great! We also played some games with the kids and had a chili cookoff. There were 4 little girls dressed as Snow White and 3 Tinkerbells.

After the ward party, we went to our friend, Ben's Halloween party. We made the traditional Ghosts in the Graveyard and played a fun game where there was an object in a paper bag and you had to guess what it was just by feeling the outside of the paper bag. There was a bag for every letter of the alphabet and the thing inside started with that letter. It was really fun.

Anne and Caron's costumes turned out great! Anne was Hannah Montana and Caron was the Morton Salt girl.

On Saturday, I carved pumpkins with Allison and then went trick or treating with my sister in law and little nephew. It was really fun!

I did not get a chance to make Halloween cookies though. Maybe this week.

Here is my finished pumpkin. Since I was packing all day and packed the candles, I had to use a flashlight to light up the pumpkin.

Some of my students dressed up as the Scooby Doo characters!

And the murder mystery is this weekend so it's not over yet! Hurray!