Sunday, December 30, 2012

Christmas Events

Here are my Christmas festivities that took place this season. A nice slough of photos to rightly depict this past holiday.  Can Christmas already be over? I always feel sad after Christmas, longing for the season to come back soon.  Christmas was absolutely magical this year.  It was my 4th Christmas being away from my family,  which is always hard.  But I was lucky to be with my In-Laws.  They are so great.  I feel so blessed to have great family on both sides!  Also, it was Ryan's and my first Christmas together.  He was so sweet and detailed and really sought to make our first Christmas special.    I felt so blessed to have the most important of gifts in my life: the gospel, family, and my most darling husband.  These are my most favorite of gifts and I feel like one lucky girl.

I hope you all had magical Christmas.  May we all carry the spirit of Christ all year around and seek to lift those around us wherever we go.

Without further ado, here are the photos of the season:

First, I present to you, The Festival of the Nativities that my church put together.  It was absolutely beautiful.  I loved looking at all the unique types of nativities and felt reverence for Mary and Joseph as they helped to bring our Savior into the world.

My work put together quite the elaborate Christmas party.  During which, Ryan and I won hermit crab races!  This particular activity, everyone picked out a hermit crab, they put them in the middle, and they would run to the outside of the ring.  Both of our hermit crabs made it to the top round and out of it, we were granted two tickets, in which we could enter a raffle for various sorts of prizes.  We ended up winning two Jerry Seinfeld tickets for March which valued 80 bucks a piece.  We beat the odds with our single measly ticket.  We were quite shocked!

(Forgive the fact that Ryan's eyes are closed.)

I played Pandora's radio station religiously throughout the season.  Free Christmas music? Yes please!

We were able to make it to the Orlando Temple during the Christmas season.  It was great to be able to participate in service while feeling the spirit of the Lord.  I love this place.  Plus, check out their nativity!

We had a date night at Barnes and Nobles where we read children's Christmas stories to each other.  We found some pretty terrible ones, but some pretty awesome ones all the same.  Afterward, we got hot chocolate at B&N's CafĂ© and drove around to look at the Christmas lights! Quite magical, if you ask me, and perhaps a new tradition is in store?

Here we are opening some Christmas gifts...Ryan continued my family's tradition of pj's and an ornament on Christmas Eve, while I bought him one of his family's traditions of reading the Polar Express every Christmas Eve.  

This is a gift tag that my father-in-law made out to my mother-in-law.  Hilarious.

So, uh...Ryan completely surprised me with Disney World tickets for our upcoming anniversary in two weeks! Quite the shock and quite the excitement! I've been dying to go since we've been here, and welp! Soon enough, Disney world, watch out!!! 

I typically take my lunch to work in plastic bags.  Ryan decided I needed something different, so behold!  A Finding Nemo lunchbox! 

Got to Face Time my family!  Thank goodness for modern technology!

My In-Law's tradition, Christmas steak! SO delcious!

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Sunday, December 16, 2012


How often do I see a beggar on the street and I strategically look away so I don't make eye contact with them?  If I don't look them in the eye I can pretend that they do not exist (horrible, I know) or that they won't see me (A second graders logic: If I can't see you, you can't see me). 
I don't have a lot to give because like most college students I am struggling to put gas in my car as it is. I feel guilty for not giving more. What I feel worse about is how I have been treating these people who I try to ignore. I may not have a couple bucks to give but I do have kindness that is free. 
It isn't hard at all to give someone a smile or a wave when you drive or walk by. I too often forget that these people are my brothers and sisters. They are children of God. If Christ were to be in my shoes he would not simply ignore the beggar even if he had empty pockets. He would reach out to them in kindness and show them charity. So I have a challenge for you starting this Christmas season. The next time you drive by someone with a sign look them in the eye and smile at them. 
Merry Christmas Everyone! 

Friday, November 23, 2012

The Day After

Happy Day After Thanksgiving!

You know what that means...It is officially time to prepare for Christmas.  

I want to soak in Christmas as much as humanly possible.  Even with Florida's heat, I still want to feel Christmas running through my veins.  If only I could request snow for the week of Christmas...But nevertheless, I digress.

I plan on filling my Florida Christmas with hot chocolate, cuddling with my man by the fireplace, and reading every children's Christmas story book at Barnes & Noble.  It makes for the perfect date night, I think.

I plan on making plans. Big ones. Wonderful Christmas plans.  I will be living every wonderful moment of this holiday.  I will NOT let it pass me by.  No siree.

I can hardly wait.  This is the best season ever.  I'll keep you posted of my Christmas journey.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Success Baby

Ryan and I were sitting in church, when they announced the last hymn to sing.  We opened up our hymn books and rejoiced to see that it was "Love One Another" which is happily only one verse long! We immediately thought of the success baby meme, and thought we better create this meme pronto.  So, without further ado, our first meme ever created:

Friday, November 9, 2012

Type Something. Anything.

I am having a serious case of writers cramps. Should that be plural? I am not exactly sure how to say that sentence correctly. You catch my drift all the same, right? Good. 

So here is my attempt at writing something. 

Anything really.

 I just need to write.

I could tell you about living in my new apartment. Which I adore.
Or I could write to you about losing weight! Hooray!
I could tell you about school. I love my music classes.
Or how about single life? Lets not even get started on that.

Honestly I don't want to write about any of that. 
 I just want to write words, nothing in particular, just words. Lots and lots of words. At the moment I would prefer the words to not be anything particularly profound, funny or personal. Just light and airy and maybe a tad bit sentimental. Is that a contradiction?

I keep writing utter nonsense and deleting it. I am not even sorry in the least bit though. I am relishing in the fact that I typing and taking my thoughts from my brain and putting them onto something tangible. Can a computer screen be considered tangible? Perhaps I should just keep everything I am typing and stop deleting every sentence that I write. But then you will know how scatterbrained and indecisive I really am. Okay, I will post one thing I have written in the past little bit and you can get a taste for what is going through my mind. 

Here you go:

I already miss the Fall.  How come I feel like I missed it? What happened? Why is there snow on the ground and on my toes?

Dear Snow, 
Please wait to come until after Thanksgiving.
Yours Truly,
One who always gets a bad case of the shivers when I am too close to you.

Well this was a good start at redeeming myself for my lack of blogging in the past little bit. I hope you have a wonderful day!

Sunday, October 28, 2012


I like animals.  I really do.  When I was a kid I dreamt of becoming the world's greatest veterinarian.  My favorite toys were my stuffed animals and my littlest pet shops.  I loved animals.  I begged my parents into owning a stray cat that I found.  When they finally gave in to my demands,  I treated that stray cat as a prince.  He was my little soldier.  I loved him.

Then I took it a step  farther and pushed for a dog.  We had a few dogs over the years.  I loved them all, with probably the exception of one, considering he was twice my size and liked to jump on me as soon as he saw me.  I was terrified of him.  Our little sheltie dog, I took the liberty myself to train her and to nurture her.  I was so proud.

Now that I am away from home and all "grown up", I see other friends opt for a pet of some sort before kids start rolling in.  I have played with the idea of having a dog, but then I remember how much maintenance, but most of all hair, a pet can have.  That convinces me otherwise.  In addition, it seems that over the years, I have become allergic.  The moment I start breathing in animal hair, my head starts to pound, my nose begins to itch, and my throat becomes swollen.  No thank you.  It takes a good chunk of money to care for a pet.  Pet food does not come at a cheap price.  When you factor in the mantra "time is money" the bills start to add up.  Constant walks, constant play time, constantly waking up in the middle of the night to let your animal out, picking up their poop, training them, etc. etc. etc.

The more and more I think about it, the more I convince myself that owning a pet is NOT a good idea.  Not for now, anyways.  They're cute, and oh so fluffy, but not worth my time, money, and effort for the moment.  I'll just go visit the local pet shop to enjoy their cuteness.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Weekend, Precious Weekend

I have felt spoiled this weekend.  I got my husband all weekend.  Such a rare treat!  Let me recap what we did this weekend:

Friday night:

Date night!  Ryan took me out to dinner to one of our favorite spots: Panera Bread.  We are in love with this place.  After a good dinner, we hopped in the car and Ryan took me to downtown Tampa to show me the grounds.  After checking out the city, we crossed "the bridge" and checked out the lights reflecting in the water below.  Beautiful.

It was fun to get to see the place where I am living.  I feel as if I only know one or two routes....The first being to and from work, and the second being to and from church.   Luckily, the grocery store and Wal-Mart are along those routes, but apart from that, I hardly know this place!! It was fun to explore!


We slept in and it was glorious!  Sleep is my best friend.  After a nice, slow morning, we got up and headed back to Panera Bread for pumpkin bagels.  Unfortunately, they were sold out, so we settled on a cinnamon crisp bagel before heading on the road toward Orlando to the temple!  While there, we ran into my old Bishop from 6 years ago while I was doing my Disney College Program! It took me awhile to recognize him, but we did get to talk to him a bit.  After, we hit up Five Guys and then the outlet malls.  Glorious Saturday.  Then I made the mistake of embarking on baking a cheesecake for the first time ever! I didn't plan for it to take as long as we did, so we found ourselves up until 1:30 a.m.  Brutal, especially knowing that church is at 9 a.m. the next day.


Alas! We did manage to crawl out of bed and make it to church!  I finished my cheesecake (more hours on end!), we made dinner together (curry! YUM!), and now just enjoying the rest of the evening!

Guys, I really am missing the Fall.  I am craving it.  Hard core.  Anyone want to bring me some Fall happiness into my life?

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Moving Out

Last week I started really feeling like I didn't belong at home anymore. I felt out of place and disconnected. It was not because do not love my family and want to spend time with them, I just didn't feel like that is where I needed to be.

I casually looked at some ads on KSL for apartments even though I was pretty doubtful I would find any good ones especially one in a complex I really wanted to move into. To my amazement, I found a girl selling her contract to the complex I was hoping to move into. She had never moved in because the day she was supposed to move in she got a job in Saratoga Springs and decided to live in Lehi instead. I called her up and it just so happens that I was hanging out with my friend who lived in her complex so I was able to go and look at the apartment. It felt so right. 

I went to the office to fill out an application and she said I can sign the contract as soon as I pay the deposit and first and last months rent with the total coming to $622. I honestly did not have the money but I knew with a calm assurance that it would be okay and somehow I would have the money. I told her I should be able to pay it on Tuesday (which would be the earliest I could move in if I paid the money), not knowing how I would come up with the money. Looking at my finances over and over again it looked like I wouldn't be able to. Just in the last couple weeks I have had to put $1,500 into my car in order for it to be safe to drive. I also have to pay more money to UVU because I dropped two of my classes that were paid in part by grant money. 

The next day my mom and I had a yard sale. We had a prayer together that we would be able to make the money necessary for me to move out. Miracle of Miracles we did! In big part because my mom was also very gracious and gave me her portion of the yard sale money. I am truly grateful that she is so giving. I know that it was a blessing to have been able to sell so much I also was able to sell my bed and bed frame which was a nice chunk of money. 

So...I am moving out!! I can move into the apartment on Tuesday.  I am so excited for this new chapter in my life but I am still a bit nervous being thrown into a single atmosphere again.  I know without a doubt that this is where the Lord wants me to be and because of that he will help me and bless me through anything I go through. 

So here is to a new beginning! 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Fall Lament

I logged onto Facebook and Instagram to realize that is is officially the first day of Autumn.  Friends posted beautiful pictures of the mountains back in Utah changing colors.  Some pictures depicted fall clothing, bundled up in beautiful sweaters with leggings and boots.  Others talked about picking apples at an orchard.  Another posted pictures of a pumpkin patch.  It made me miss fall.  Badly.

Now don't get me wrong, I adore Florida.  I really do.  I love the humidity breathing on my neck, the sun shining on my face, and knowing that there is a beach not so far away.  I love it.  I love the fact that I won't have to scrap my car of ice during the winter, or slip and slide while the roads are icy.  Florida is also beautiful with its palm trees and greenery.  It is gorgeous here.  But I am a fall girl.  Fall is my favorite of seasons, and I find myself wishing the air would be crisp and that the leaves would turn colors.  Then it can go straight on back to being beautiful fall weather.  Oh, I miss the fall.  I really, really do.

I find myself looking at the calendar, and immediately going to my closet to pick my best chunky cardigan, layered among cute tees and tanks.  I grab my tights and find myself reaching for my scarf and boots, only to remember that I do not have fall weather.

I miss corn mazes, and crisp nights wrapped up with hot chocolate and a blanket.  I miss driving up the mountains and seeing the beautiful array of colors.  I miss bundling up and finding new ways to layer clothing.  I miss everything about Fall.  My heart is yearning for it.

Florida, I love you very much, but can you please, just maybe consider fall for a short while? Pretty please?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

I survived today.

This is my before and after shot of the day.  Lovely, eh?

Today was a great day.  No complaints.  But I just want to relax.

Things on my mind:

1) I want to go brew some sleepy time tea with some popcorn, while curled up with a good book.

2) I'm feeling crafty...and lazy.  Somehow, I think the laziness will unfortunately win for now.  But I do want to craft soon.

3) My work rocks.  I'm in love.

4) My husband rocks. I'm in love.

5) The beach.  I miss you.  You are so close, yet feel so far.  Let's play soon?

P. S.  I love how Caitlin writes these thought provoking posts, and here I am...rambling about nothing in particular.  I'm lame like that.

Sunday, September 2, 2012


Self Esteem is something that everyone struggles with. I know I do.  I have struggled with knowing who I am and who I want to become. With school starting and with the changes that these last couple of months has brought in my life, I have reflected on my self worth.

Am I good enough? 

I keep learning the answers to questions like this over and over again. 
It is a part of all of us to ask questions such as this and Satan wants us to believe that we are not good enough and that we will never be. 

Such lies. 

Although the opposite is true to. He can lead us to believe that we are too good and that we are above everyone else. 


Which is just as bad.

So how can we find true self esteem? 
I have found that by relying on the Lord, praying, studying the scriptures and by striving to keep the commandments I have found out who I really am.

I am a Daughter of God. 

He loves me. 

He hears me and cares for me. 

He has a plan for me. 

I know that my Heavenly Father will help me individually with whatever I am in need of. No matter how big or small he always answers my prayers. Here is a video that I watched today that explains the worth of an individual beautifully. 

So cheer up and know that someone knows who you really are and it is so much greater than you can ever imagine.

To learn more about how I have come to know about who I am visit:

Saturday, August 18, 2012


Wow.  Well, it has been one whirlwind of a ride for about a month now.  Let me explain to you the chain of events.  Ahem:

July 13th: I get a job.  It was a job we weren't really expecting to get, but nevertheless, we did, and we feel great about it.  So after just a few days of panic while on our Florida vacation, we decide to move forward with the move and get things in order.  Starting date for the job is August 13th, about 4 weeks.

July 17th: I'm still on vacation in Florida, but call in my two weeks notice.  I do a little dance of victory, excited to move to the next chapter of my life.

July 19th: We return to Utah.  Must survive the next few weeks ahead.

July 30th: We FINALLY get things worked out for a new car! Introducing our Honda Element, Bigger Red!

Isn't she a beauty?

July 31st: Ryan and I finish our last day of employment.  Celebration dance!

A sign my little sister Callie made to celebrate my last day of employment!

August 1st-5th: We go on our last "hurrah" with Utah friends to St. George.  Oh, also Las Vegas.  Oh, and then also California.  We got to see cool tanks in California.  We come back on August 5th.  (Jammed pack, eh?)  But it was a blast.
Tanks are cool!

August 6th: The fun begins.  Packing.  Lots of it.  Too much of it.  So we see a few friends for the last time.

August 7th: More packing.  It is beginning to become overwhelming...but packing it is.  We also had lunch with my parents and had a few friends come over to visit while we pack and pack and pack and pack and pack...Our plan to leave for Florida is August 8th.  The next day.

Thank goodness for Bigger Red.  She holds a lot.

Early morning, around 2:00 a.m. August 8th: I break down.  I am exhausted and we have so much stuff. Ryan comforts me and suggests that perhaps we should take the extra day to pack and clean and unwind a bit, then move on the 9th.  After some hesitation, I decide it is the best thing to do.

August 8th during the day: We slept in, we relaxed, we got things done, PERFECT.  It was exactly what we needed, or I needed.  Low stress, and able to get everything done while being well rested for the adventure that was to take 3 days.

August 9th: We leave!! Caitlin comes with us to help with driving and to experience the beauty of Florida.

August 9th-11th: Travel, travel, travel.  We were very lucky to have family and friends along our route to Florida to house us for both nights of traveling.  We first stopped in Omaha, Nebraska at Ryan's Aunt and Uncle's and the next night in Atlanta, Georgia at Ryan's old time friend's place.  It was so wonderful.

An exhausted traveler.

St. Louis, Missouri's Famous Arch.

Late night August 11th: We arrive at last! It is late, and we have early morning church.  Good night!

August 12th: Early morning church, the thunderstorm cancels our beach plans, dinner night at Ryan's sister's place, and a bit of relaxation.

August 13-17th: My training at my new job begins.  It. Is. Awesome!  Seriously...I can't believe I have this job.  I'm feeling pretty blessed.  Did I also mention the free house we have? Ryan's parents are currently in Jacksonville for a promotion, and they left their house with the intention to move back in a few years after Ryan's dad retires.  So free house to ourselves.  Pretty lucky, eh?  Every night during this week we go do something fun with Caitlin to let her experience Florida.  Needless to say, I have been exhausted all week.
At Downtown Disney

Visiting the Ghirardelli Ice Cream shop at Downtown Disney.

Sunset at Siesta Key, Beach.  Gorgeous.

August 18th: FINALLY.  A chance to relax, unpack, clean, get things down, blog, etc.  It has been wonderful.  Ryan also started his job today.  Next week should be a bit slower paced.  But we'll see.  But this is the new chapter of our lives, and we are excited to see all the adventures ahead!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Saturday Night Surprises

Caitlin and I played this past Saturday.  We didn't have much planned: Shop here a little, shop there a little, return an item, you know.  Pretty boring.  So we were pleasantly surprised when we happened upon a free, outdoor concert down at the Riverwoods in Utah.



They had 3 local bands:

Blue Aces: Three 16 year old girls and a 14 year old girl on the drums provided quite the amazing experience! We were rather impressed, especially for their age, and their amazing energy and stage presence!  We secretly hoped that they would win.

The New Electric Sound: There music was fun and energetic, but it felt similar to the Neon Trees.  We didn't care too much for the voice of the operation, but it was fun all the same.  We felt them to be the lesser of the three bands.  However, they took away the first prize of a thousand dollars.  We were a bit disappointed at that.  But they were still fun, I suppose.  Judge for yourself!

D'if:  Similar to the Postal Service.  They had a great sound and was very enjoyable to listen to.  We liked them a lot and would have been happy if they took first.

Meanwhile, as we listened to the bands, we got FREE chalk!

It is for their upcoming event in September, "Chalk the Block".  So of COURSE, we immediately had to chalk it up.  Pronto.  Besides, I won't be in Utah in September.


Free chalk, free music, great company....Seriously...All the night needed was a snow cone shack just behind us.  Then it would have been perfect.  

Oh, and check out the sunset:

Gorgeous, eh?  It was quite the fabulous evening.  Now, for picture overload:

This is Erin and Caitlin, signing off! Happy day to you, good person!