Thursday, December 29, 2011

Changes of 2011

Our (slightly late) Christmas Card with our 2011 letter below.  
Hope you enjoy both!
and Friends,
 I remember when
 2011 just started &
 feeling so uncertain
 about the year because
 we expected so many changes
 but at the same time didn't know
 what, if anything, would happen.  Well, 
I'm pleased to report the changes were
 wonderful and our lives are so deeply
 blessed.  First, I was hired as a full time
 Family and Consumer Science teacher at
 the junior high we both attended growing
 up.  It has definitely been a learning experience
 this year with times of feeling overwhelmed and
 wondering why I am doing this but generally I
 enjoy it.  The next change resulted in us moving.  
I fall asleep so easily in cars that commuting for
 around an hour (possibly longer) both directions
 for me was not an option.  Casey instead commuted
 back to UVU but generally took the bus and was able
 to study while riding.  Casey also had a change this year
 when he started working on campus as a help desk technician. 
 He greatly enjoyed this job and was good at it but change happened
 once again when he decided to quit because he working way too many
 hours a week.  Another big change for Casey was he was called to serve
 as the Elder's Quorum Secretary in our new ward.  We love our new ward
  though it was a huge change from our student ward the first Sunday realizing
 there was actually a large primary and mutual as well as several seasoned
 members.  Probably the biggest change in my life is that I got my life back.
  I started out 2011 with a determination to loose weight.  Well, this has been a
 lifestyle change for both of us and one that I'm never returning.  Seeing the difference
 and feeling the change in my energy level was amazing as I continued to gradually loose
 weight week by week.  Bringing the grand total of weight loss to 93 pounds.  Finally our
 biggest change this year (in case you missed it) is we are expecting our first little one.  I am
 due in June.  We are both so excited for the wonderful opportunity and know it will bring a whole
 new set of changes in 2012 but we are eager to face them together and with the help of Heavenly Father.
Although there have been so many changes there are some things that will never change.  One our love for each other.  Two our testimonies in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  And three being together
 for eternity.
We hope you
 had an equally
 wonderful year.
Wishing you the
best in 2012!!!
Photobucket & Casey

Sunday, December 25, 2011


Casey and Lisa
{Standin' near} a tree...


First comes LOVE...

Then comes MARRIAGE...

Then comes a BABY in the baby carriage!
(in 6 months!)

Merry Christmas!!!
Photobucket & Casey

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Called to Teach

Last Sunday when I was asked to meet with a member of the Bishopric, I was super curious.  I was anticipating a calling of some sort but had no idea what to expect.  I am still the ward chorister and was not released from that.  I was nervous that we would be called to Trek.  I would love to be a trek ma with Casey as the pa but the timing of next summer just didn't seem right to either of us.  So as we waited, we hoped it wasn't for Trek.

To our relief, no Trek call was issued--at least not yet....

I was called to teach Relief Society.  I know this probably sounds kind of odd but I was so excited that I almost squealed.  I really do enjoy teaching!  And being able to teach about the things that matter the most to me, instead of trying to do everything to side step around the religion topic at school, will be amazing.  Well, I obviously accepted eagerly.  Hopefully it isn't too weird that I was excited for the calling!

Today I was sustained by my ward members and then set apart after church by the Bishop.  I will get to learn from and study the manual, George Albert Smith as I prepare to teach and discuss the lessons with the other sisters in my ward.  Before I started reading my manual, I knew that he was called as President of the church--no idea when but long before my time.  And I was guessing that he was related somehow to Joseph Smith.  I {obviously} have SO much to learn this coming year.  But I am still excited because I really do LOVE teaching! :)

Friday, November 11, 2011

11 Reasons I LOVE my life!

So 11-11-11 is pretty big today.  Maybe my friends are all just nerds but "Happy 11 Day" has spammed my facebook page.  My students sure got a kick out of writing the date on their papers today.  I'm willing to guess that their are countless marriages being performed simply because people think it is lucky.  So I kept thinking about 11.  What does 11 mean to me.  Why is today so special.  Well, I will list 11 good reasons why 11 is a great reason to celebrate.

1.  I love spending 1 on 1 time with my sweetheart!
2.  I'm grateful my school is about an 11 minute drive--seriously.  (But only when I happen to hit mostly all green lights.)
3.  I love listening to 11 minutes (or more if I'm waiting at a red light) of conference twice a day.
4.  I was married in the 11th month two years ago!!
5.  I only have 1 plus 1 subjects to teach.  (Love only having two class subjects!)
6.  My fingers are well below size 11 when before they used to be pushing it.
7.  I can always look forward to my 11 minutes (plus or minus) of scripture time.
8.  Just under 11 years ago I met my eternal best friend.
9.  I look forward to my 1:1 phone chats with my mom.
10. I'm pretty sure my texting speed is at least 11 wpm... who knows maybe faster.
11. Every night I get to spend (hopefully more than) 11 minutes together with my love at dinner.

Happy 11-11-11 Day... after all this 11 experience will only come once in my life time so I might as well enjoy it!


Saturday, September 10, 2011

Reliving the Tears

Yesterday during morning announcements, something interesting happened.  My principal came on the intercom and talked to the kids about remembering 9/11 and paying a tribute to it.  She said that one of our students requested we say the pledge everyday because her father is a marine and overseas right now.  We all stood up and recited the pledge.  And then my principal came back on.  She was talking to the kids and then asked all the teachers to turn on our TVs and they were going to stream a 9/11 tribute for the kids to watch.

10 years ago, my students were probably between the ages of 1-4.  They have no idea what happened but have grown up hearing about it there whole lives.  They live in the affects but they don't remember 9/11.

The video starts.  It was off of youtube.  I have no idea which 10 year tribute video was shown though.  My students are all watching it fairly quietly and respectfully.  I'm wandering around the classroom and my eyes start getting teary eyed.  I walk back and get a Kleenex.  Some of the students noticed but no one said anything.  The video continues.  I started crying.  I took some more Kleenexes and left my room.  I stood in the hall and wiped away tears.  I could still hear it but at least I didn't have to watch the pictures.  My entire class noticed I left and they all sat silently, realizing how much the video touched me--but not really understanding why.  I wasn't even expecting this reaction.

Afterwards, I was going to do my best to say a short 1-2 sentences about it and then move on.  That didn't happen.  The kids wanted to know why I was so touched.  They were curious.  And they were silent.  Someone would raise their hand and ask a question about what happened on 9/11 or where I was or etc and everyone else listened.  Then another question.  This went on for a 1/2 hour.  I decided there are more important things to learn then just whats on the lesson plan and so I talked to them.

Here is the thing though, I have seen countless pictures in the past 10 years from 9/11, I have watched documentaries, I have read articles.  None of these moved me to tears.  So why yesterday?  Well, all of the sudden watching pictures on this chunky, old-school TV mounted near the roof of my classroom brought back a wave of memories.  I watched 9/11 happen live on the same TVs.  I saw the second tower get hit live on these TVs and watched it collapse live and heard the presidential conference on these TVs and everything that happened on 9/11 was on these old, chunky, need updating TVs.

10 years ago tomorrow, it was picture day.  I was standing in my parent's bathroom, curling my hair when the first tower was hit.  I was in 8th grade.  We still rotated to all of our classes, but it was simply rotating rooms and still watching the TV, all day.  Before we went for pictures, our teacher let us go to the bathroom to wash our faces with cold water to try to hide the red eyes and tear streaks.  Some pictures in that yearbook just look sad.

Watching the tribute yesterday brought me back to 8th grade, a day filled with everyone crying and no one knowing what was going to happen, probably because I am back to the same school.  I am seriously in the exact same place I was 10 years ago and watching the exact same pictures.  And so my students saw that I have feelings and watched me cry and even walk out of the room.

Where were you 10 years ago?  What were you doing?  Has anyone else's life path took them back to the exact same place you were when you watched 9/11 happen?
P.S.  I'm just curious.  To my international readers, what impact, if any, did 9/11/2001 have on you?

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Edible Cookie Dough

First of all, let me just say that this recipe is NOT healthy so for everyone following this blog for healthy living tips, close your eyes.  I did not make any changes to the recipe because I wanted to figure out if it would work for teaching my foods class.  I will likely in the future try making it sugar free/ fat free/ etc but we will see how it ends up when I try to remake it into healthy.

So the reason for this recipe.  I needed something to demo to my students on how to measure ingredients and I have heard over and over to always make recipes at home first--even if it seems simple.  Since it is crazy hot at my school--my honest guess is 90* plus--the ovens are out.  I have a south facing classroom with the entire wall filled with windows.  So making cookies to bake is not an option because my room would only get hotter.  I'm not turning the oven on in there and neither are my students until it cools off.  The next reason I decided to make edible cookie dough is because all of my students were begging to be allowed to lick beaters when we cooked and I laid down the law of NO.  Hopefully they will enjoy this instead without all the hazards with raw eggs.

Plus this recipe is awesome for teaching all the different measuring techniques.  (Pack brown sugar, spoon & level flour, scoop & level chocolate chips, liquid measuring cups, measuring spoons--yup, it has everything!)  In some of my past cooking classes, I have seen Peanut Butter Playdough as the measuring technique demonstration.  But I didn't like the sounds of that because I was nervous about them using it as Playdough.

Anyway, allow me just to say that this tastes just like real cookie dough.  You would have NO idea that there are not eggs in it.  And as a warning it is slightly addicting.  Also note, this recipe really is for cookie dough!  It can NOT be baked into cookies!!  There is nothing to hold it together/ emulsify it in the oven and it would literally just turn into a melted gooey mess.

Note: this stuff is addicting... this is only about half of the original amount.
But just so everyone knows, we did give lots away in ziplock bags...

1 c. margarine, softened--the real recipe called for butter but margarine worked great! :)
¾ c. brown sugar
1 box (3 oz.) instant vanilla pudding--I used french vanilla
¼ c. milk
½ T. vanilla
1 t. baking soda
3 c. flour
1-2 c. chocolate chips

In a large bowl (Kitchen Aid) cream softened margarine and brown sugar until fluffy.  Beat in dry pudding mix.  Add milk, vanilla, flour and baking soda.  On low, mix until smooth.  Dough will be slightly sticky.  Stir in chocolate chips and chill.  DO NOT BAKE!

Can shape into balls and freeze.  Then dip the balls into melted chocolate and then refreeze to make cookie dough truffles.


Monday, August 22, 2011

Finished Day One & FACS Display Case

Last night I had an extremely hard time calming down and falling asleep.  I ended up camping out on the couch and at least got some shut eye.  My fears showed through my dreams though so the night was not exactly comfortable.  But luckily none of my nightmares came true!

It was a great first day of school.  And tomorrow, I will be rearranging my computer/ document camera/ etc.  Tripping over the cords and temporarily crashing it today was enough to make me rethink the layout.  Plus, by rearranging, it will make it so one computer can be used for the projector always and I can use the other to do things I need to.  It is a win-win situation--after I get the rearranging done!

Anyway, I thought I would show off my display case.  Can I just say that I love it?  Walking by it every morning brings a smile to my face.  Even if all the kids don't appreciate it, all the time I spent with it won't be for waste because it helps me remember why I love what I am doing.
The sign in the top left says "the facts about..." with "FACS" dangling below.
Then each of the different parts are labeled with the FACS section they represent.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Dragon Slayer

Once upon a time there was a beautiful princess.  Most people wouldn't recognize her as a princess because she did not wear big fluffy dresses everyday and she did not live in a castle.  But she was still a princess--royal by birth.

The princess loves cooking and interior design and preschool and sewing.  She also loves teaching.  So the princess decided to combine all of her talents and become a teacher--not a regular "princess" job but it is what she loved so she followed her dreams.

This teacher princess spent many hours getting ready for school to start--even on non-contract teacher days.  She cleaned her classroom and wrote lesson plans and rearranged furniture and wrote lesson plans and made bulletin boards and wrote lesson plans and designed a cute display case.  Oh and did I mention that the princess wrote lesson plans?  Because she did. ;)

On Thursday the princess met about half of her students for the first time.  It was 7th grade day so instead of having to teach in her classroom, the princess followed the school schedule for the day and taught the kiddos how to open lockers, where the bathroom was, how to go to lunch, what to do if there is a fire drill, etc.  You know.  All the important stuff that a 7th grader really needs to know.

Yesterday was a non-contract day and technically the last day of summer for the princess.  But can you guess where the princess was?  Yup.  For almost 11 hours the princess was making photo copies, rewriting lesson plans and eventually printing them, and so many other things that the princess can't even remember what she did--all in attempts for trying to have her classroom ready on Monday: the first real day of school.

The princess started to feel overwhelmed.  She wanted to go home but couldn't because there was still things that have to be done before the kids show up bright and early in their brand new outfits Monday morning.  The princess told her knight in shining armor that she wasn't going to be coming home any time soon because she was so busy and stressed and on the verge of tears.  So the knight came to the dungeon to slay the dragons and free his princess.

The knight gave the princess a huge kiss and tight hug and that helped everything seem a little better.  He worked on organizing and making a seating chart template.  The knight slayed the dragons and the princess was freed.  The knight in shining armor took his princess out to eat and then to the movies.  And the princess decided that anything is possible as long as she has her knight by her side. <3

P.S.  Today is Saturday.  Teachers are NOT supposed to work on Saturdays.  But this princess still has to finish making seating charts, make procedure guidelines for desired student behavior charts, print some pictures and make a getting to know the princess box for her students, and go shopping--like required shopping so her students can start on labs.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

School {pause}. Me Time {play}.

Recently, I have found my whole life is SCHOOL.  Little did I know that I would be spending way more time now than I ever did when I was in college.  I thought I graduated so I could be done with homework.  Ha!  I don't think that philosophy applies to teachers.

I have been attending meetings at least 2-3 times a week this entire month.  I'm really looking forward to when those will minimize!  These meetings take up all sorts of time.  And, to be fair, I am learning and they are needed but still, I have plenty of other things to do.

And slowly, my several page to-do list is being crossed off.

  • Make bulletin boards -- check.
  • Arrange desks -- check.
  • Decorate display case -- almost check. (I just need to print out some labels!)
  • Learn how to log in to my computer, use gradebook, check my e-mail -- check, check, check.
  • Clean my room.  Throw away cupboards FILLED with stuff from the old teacher.  Make room for me.  -- check (although this will probably be a work in progress.)
  • Make Scope and Sequences -- check.
  • Work on lesson plans -- check, for at least the first couple of days.

  • Learn how to use my printer, copy all of my disclosures and worksheets, go shopping for needed supplies, lesson plan for longer than a couple of days, make seating charts, order things from the district, color code my aprons/ kitchen lab, finish my display case, continue dejunking my rooms, sign up for insurance, ETC. -- UNCHECK.  There is still SO much to do!  But the kiddos will come whether my list is complete or not though. So here is to making the best of the situation with my unchecked list. :)

On the up note.  I did win a free i-pod at one of my long teacher meetings.  That was pretty sweet!  It is currently in the process of being "refurbished" though so hopefully it will be usable.  Who knows.  It may never even turn on.  But it still felt cool winning.
P.S.  I (1) miss blogging.  It is a creative outlet/ stress reducer for me.  And (2) I miss eating healthy.  I'm seeing a trend--I get stressed from being so busy then I start having more sleeping problems and then I start eating more (not-so-healthy) options.  Luckily, I can choose to change both! :)

Monday, August 8, 2011

Guess: Where was I sitting?

Just thought you might want a glimpse into my busy life (and the reason I haven't been writing as much on here recently).

I will give you one try.  Guess where I was sitting?!  ;)
I have always studied like this.  When I was in high school or college working on papers or studying for tests, my "space" would look exactly the same.  I love sitting on the floor and then spreading everything I need in a circle around me gradually as I use it.  I even have my own desk now (which I'm pretty sure my hubby was hoping I would use for lesson planning) and I still preferred the floor/ spread out method.

Lesson plans are coming slowly.  My goal is to be 1 week ahead of where I'm teaching.  It will be less stressful that way.  Ultimately, it would be nice to be an entire section ahead but seeing how that was not working, I decided to make a reasonable goal instead.

I still have A LOT (like I'm not even kidding about the term A LOT) of organizing, cleaning, bulletin board making, etc work I need to get done in my classroom.  It is going to be a busy next few weeks before school starts! :)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Pioneer FHE Lesson {for Newlyweds}

Ok first of all... I know this seems really long.  I promise it isn't as bad as it appears.  It is just spaced weird (with some of the bullets being really far to the left--don't ask... I'm not in the mood to fight with bloggers formatting) and I copied the stories/ quotes instead of having links for most things.  If you don't have time to go through EVERY thing though, pick the characteristics you want to focus on.  Or divide it out and use this one lesson for mulitple weeks! :) 

The reason I made this family home evening is because with us living in Utah, celebrating Pioneer Day (July 24th) is pretty big.  I wanted to have an FHE lesson where we both could learn and grow.  All of the Pioneer FHE lessons I found were teaching little kids about pioneers.  Well, my hubby and I have grown up hearing those stories our whole lives.  I didn't really know how applicable that was at this time in our life.  Instead, I thought about why the pioneers traveled west.  Why.  To go to Zion.  Well, fortunately everyone is not called to leave their homes today and gather in one place.  But that means that Zion should be where ever we are.  That is the point of this FHE--to help establish Zion in our own homes {while we are just newlyweds}.

Opening Song: Hymn #30 Come, Come Ye Saints (especially verses 1 & 2)
Opening Prayer:
Scripture:  D&C 59: 2-3

·         Questions to Discuss (with answers I thought of—if you don’t like any, use your own)
o   What is a pioneer?   (Define:  A pioneer is a person who opens a way or prepares others to follow.)
o   What sacrifices did the pioneers have to make?  (leave homes/ families, physical trials, travel to Zion, etc.) 
o   What sacrifices do we make that are similar? (leave our families and establish our own, move often, learn to get by with little money, establish Zion in our home, etc.) 
o   What sacrifices do we have to make that are entirely different?  (attend college, save money for a family, etc.)
·         President Monson said, “We honor those who endured incredible hardships. We praise their names and reflect on their sacrifices.
“What about our time? Are there pioneering experiences for us? Will future generations reflect with gratitude on our efforts, our examples? You young [people] can indeed be pioneers in courage, in faith, in charity, in determination.
“You can strengthen one another; you have the capacity to notice the unnoticed. When you have eyes to see, ears to hear, and hearts to feel, you can reach out and rescue others of your age” (“Pioneers All,” Ensign, May 1997, 93).
·         We can be pioneers for our (future) children and our children’s children’s children.  The Mormon Pioneers gave up everything to come to Zion.  So tonight, let’s figure out how we can make our home become Zion.
·         How to build a Zion with just two people (or more if you already have kids):
o   Read Moroni 7: 45—although this talks about charity, I’m pretty sure it is a good “Zion” list too.  In place of the word charity, have the wife read the scripture with her hubby’s name and then vice versa.  Are all of these things true?  The following short activities will help strengthen these areas of your life to help build Zion.
o   Suffereth Long
§  The Savior was the perfect example of someone who suffered.  Have each person find and share his/ her favorite scripture about a time when the Savior was suffering.
o   Kind
§  What things can your spouse do to be kind to you and show you his/her love?  Make a list of at least 5 simple things he/ she could do for you then share lists.  (For example: I love getting a text/ phone call from my hubby during the middle of the day.  When he does that, I know he is showing me his love.)
o   Envieth Not
§  Have each person use the camera and find three things that you love having.  Use this to focus on what you do have instead of being jealous/ wanting other things.  Share the pictures with your spouse.
o   Not Puffed Up
§  Read and discuss the following story from the Jan 2008 Ensign.
§  “Putting My Marriage before My Pride”
By Irene Eubanks
“Like any couple, my husband and I have had disagreements during our marriage. But one incident stands out in my mind. I no longer recall the reason for our disagreement, but we ended up not speaking at all, and I remember feeling that it was all my husband’s fault. I felt I had done absolutely nothing for which I needed to apologize.
“As the day went by, I waited for my husband to say he was sorry. Surely he could see how wrong he was. It must be obvious how much he had hurt my feelings. I felt I had to stand up for myself; it was the principle that mattered.
“As the day was drawing to a close, I started to realize that I was waiting in vain, so I went to the Lord in prayer. I prayed that my husband would realize what he had done and how it was hurting our marriage. I prayed that he would be inspired to apologize so we could end our disagreement.
“As I was praying, I felt a strong impression that I should go to my husband and apologize. I was a bit shocked by this impression and immediately pointed out in my prayer that I had done nothing wrong and therefore should not have to say I was sorry. A thought came strongly to my mind: “Do you want to be right, or do you want to be married?”
“As I considered this question, I realized that I could hold onto my pride and not give in until he apologized, but how long would that take? Days? I was miserable while we weren’t speaking to each other. I understood that while this incident itself wouldn’t be the end of our marriage, if I were always unyielding, that might cause serious damage over the years. I decided it was more important to have a happy, loving marriage than to keep my pride intact over something that would later seem trivial.
“I went to my husband and apologized for upsetting him. He also apologized, and soon we were happy and united again in love.
“Since that time there have been occasions when I have needed to ask myself that question again: “Do you want to be right, or do you want to be married?” How grateful I am for the great lesson I learned the first time I faced that question. It has always helped me realign my perspective and put my husband and my marriage before my own pride.”
o   Seeketh Not her Own
§  Instead of focusing on you, focus on your spouse.  Think of something you could do to serve him/ her in the next week.  Ask him/ her for ideas.
o   Not Easily Provoked
§  Read the what/ if scenarios out loud and talk about how you would honestly respond.  Then decide what you could change to help you be a more Zion-like person.
§  Diner is almost ready.  It is in the oven and the timer is going to go off in 2 minutes.  You just finished setting the table and even got out the candlesticks and cloth napkins to make it a special evening.  You go invite your spouse to join you for dinner and they say they will be right there.  You go back to the kitchen and take diner out of the oven.  You then sit and wait at the table.  10 minutes pass and your spouse is not there.  Diner is getting cold.  What do you do?
§  You have the day off from work.  You are so excited because it has been a busy week and the most important thing to you is to catch up on your sleep.  You told your spouse this the night before and he/she agreed to be as quiet as possible in the morning and to turn the alarm clock off as soon as it went off so you could keep sleeping.  You have now heard the alarm clock go off 6 times and your spouse is still in bed.  Finally he/ she gets up and realizes what time it is and frantically gets ready and turns on all the lights trying to find everything.  What do you do?
o   Thinketh No Evil
§  Read the following quote by Robert E. Wells.
§  "Control your thoughts because they become the words you use.
Control your words because they become the actions you perform.
Control your actions because they become the character you reflect.
Control your character because your character becomes your destiny.
Control your destiny by becoming what your Heavenly Father and Savior, Jesus Christ, want you to be."
§  When bad thoughts come into your mind, replace them with your favorite hymn or primary song.  Have each person pick their favorite “go to” song and then practice singing them together.
o   Rejoiceth not in Iniquity  (this means basically means you are happy when someone else does well)
§  Take turns telling your spouse something he/ she did well and that you were so excited for them doing so great.  Shine the spotlight on him/ her.
o   Rejoiceth in Truth
§  Take turns sharing your testimony with your spouse.  It doesn’t have to be your whole entire testimony that encompasses everything you know.  Simply testify of the truths.
o   Beareth All Things
§  Write in your family journal (or a personal one or write a letter to yourself if you don’t have either) about a trial you are currently going through and write about what you have learned.
o   Believeth All Things
§  Take turns reading each of the 13 Articles of Faith out loud.
o   Hopeth All Things
§  Write a letter to yourself in where you hope to be in 5 years (or 10).  Seal up both letters in the same envelope and read them in 5 (or 10) years.
o   Endureth All Things
§  The only way to endure is by doing the daily “simple” (prayer, scriptures, etc) things.  Evaluate how you and your spouse are doing both personally and together and make a commitment to improve.
·         Commitment: just like the pioneers were willing to give all they had to come to Zion, I hope we will be willing to do the same in our own home.  Have each person commit to working on establishing Zion between the two of you this week.

Closing Song: Primary Song # 213 “To Be a Pioneer”
Closing Prayer:
Activity: Watch “17 Miracles” if it is showing in a theater near you.  Or watch “Legacy” together at home.  This is available on the “Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Visual Resource DVDs.”  (It is the 4 disc set put out by the church about fairly recently.)
Treat: The July 1975 (old school baby) Friend magazine has a List of Pioneer Recipes.  (Click that and pick one.)  Or make your favorite treat.  Surely Zion will consist of all our favorite foods. ;)  --I wanted to try some of the pioneer recipes but didn't have time.  So we went with the favorite and had Reese's ice cream with caramel.  Yum!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Loving the New... Missing the Old

Since we moved about 3 weeks ago (it seems crazy that it was just so recent--it seems like we have lived here for a long time!), I have been comparing the things I love and miss about our two apartments.

I love having a washer and dryer IN our apartment!  I can do wash whenever I want and it is now just an activity rather than an entire day event.  I miss having all our clothes dry at the same time--one nice perk about the laundromat.

I love having a dishwasher.  Wow this really saves so much time.  I miss having a reason (ok... maybe the right word would be excuse) for having dirty dishes in the sink.  Now I can't really justify it.

I love being able to open the fridge (and crisper drawers) and not have water gush out.  The old fridge was broken.  I miss having a full sized fridge.  The top of the fridge now comes up to about my chin/ mouth area.

I love how quiet our home is.  It is so nice not hearing constant busy road traffic.  I miss having two air conditioners.  Part of the reason our other apartment was loud was because it was also cooler.

I love having a dumpster to throw away all of our boxes in.  So nice!  I miss only having to take a few steps to throw something away outside.

I love having a two car covered parking.  I miss not having to climb two flights of stairs every time we leave/ come home.

I love the new location.  It has easy access and is close to everything.  I miss spending more time with Casey. He now has a good commute, twice a day.

I love our second bedroom.  Our house feels so much cleaner and not so cluttered.  I miss the monthly rent.  It was obviously cheaper because it was smaller.

I love our new ward.  We are slowly making friends and I can't explain it but there is just such a comforting feeling there.  I miss our old ward and friends but you can't stay in a student ward for forever....

Overall, the move has worked out extremely well and I feel so blessed.  I know the Lord's hand is in our lives and has been guiding and helping us so much through this time of transition.  That is my favorite part.  No matter where we go we will (1) always have the Lord and (2) always have each other! :)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

"The Eternal Blessings of Marriage"

Yesterday, I was blessed to be able to attend my first Relief Society activity in my new ward.  I was excited to go (1) to learn and be spiritually uplifted and (2) to meet new friends and feel more comfortable with those around me.  I'm happy to report that both of my objectives were accomplished! :)

We talked about ideas for FHE, even as newlyweds.  I have written about this before and my strong conviction to have FHE because we are a FAMILY.  Find my testimony and why FHE is important to me in "The Blessings of and Ideas for FHE."  This post is also a great resource because I listed off countless ideas at the bottom!!  I hope some of them will work well with your family!  Another great FHE idea to check out is "Looking For The Good."  I loved doing it at the time.  I just went back and watched the video I made again and love it even more now that we have moved.  We have record of our previous apartment!  300% recommend EVERYONE have this FHE lesson sometime!

Anyway... I just realized that Family Home Evening may not look like it is super important in our lives.  I haven't posted about it in a while.  (We have had other things on our mind--like applying for jobs, loosing weight, moving, etc.)  And although we have continued to have it week after week, writing about what we have done to help inspire you hasn't been happening.  I'm going to get better at this.  I promise! :)

So my idea for today comes from the past General Conference by Elder Richard G. Scott.  His talk called "The Eternal Blessings of Marriage" is PERFECT for newlyweds!  Perfect.  (As well as perfect anyone with a spouse--and maybe even hoping to someday have a spouse.  It is just a great talk!)  I have a few ideas for the lesson--pick what works for you!

First off, let me just say that his conference address is very similar to the CES Broadcast he gave on September 10, 2010.  Casey and I had the opportunity to watch that address live in the Marriot Center.  We were sitting really close and loved it!

Lesson Ideas:
1. Read the Conference talk together.  Look for ways he was able to show his wife love and then try to follow his example.  (You can read the talk online by clicking HERE.)
2. Instead of reading, watch the Conference talk together.  (Click HERE for the video.)
3. My FAVORITE idea.  Assign one person to read/ study the conference talk before hand and assign the other the CES Broadcast talk.  Then present them together in FHE and compare and contrast how they are similar and different.  (The text for the CES broadcast is found HERE and the video is available HERE and then click on the movie stream.)  --As a note: the CES talk is much longer.  Assign this to whoever will have more time/ reads faster/ etc.

Activity Ideas:
Write a letter to your spouse.  Instead of reading them, seal both letters in an envelope and write on the outside of the envelope the date (or event) when you will open the letters and read them.  Example of when to read the letter--1 year from today, 5 years from today, on your next anniversary, when you come home from the hospital after the birth of your baby, night of graduation, etc.
P.S. We enjoyed this lesson.  It was a good reminder.  We were so busy that night though that we didn't have a chance for the activity.  We still need to write letters to our future selves.  I'm excited for this because it will be fun to read them eventually.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

A Glimpse of Eternity

Ok... So first of all, this picture is from 2 months ago--I'm behind on blogging... I know.  Casey and I went to BYU AstroFest.  It would be SO much fun for little kids but we still enjoyed it without little ones running around! :)

I love this though because as we sat in the BYU Planetarium, I caught a glimpse of what eternity will be like.  Beautiful and without end.  It is amazing to sit there and watch all that surrounds us in the universe and to know that this was all created for us.  It didn't just happen out of nowhere but instead with a plan and for a purpose!

Another place that really helps me glimpse into eternity is when we spend time in the temple.  (This picture was taken yesterday.)  With all the moving and boxes and cleaning and sorting and boxes--everywhere (sidenote: we really are working to unpack all the boxes.  We are making major progress but wow we have A LOT of stuff housed in several boxes.), it is nice to take a break and to go somewhere clean and orderly.  I want my home to resemble the temple--beautiful and peaceful.

But anyway, as we take the time out of our super busy lives to attend the temple, I am reminded of all the blessings that await in the next life.  It is glorious and I know it is real.  It sometimes seems hard to think that there is anything after this life or to get caught up in the craziness of the moment, but the temple is a gentle reminder that eternity does exist and it is just waiting for me.  I love little moments like this that remind me who I am and what we can become! :)
P.S. As a sidenote, I just mapped how long it takes to drive from our home to the Jordan River Temple.  It is under 20 minutes.  But here is perspective for you.  Yesterday while we were on the freeway, I sighed and then stated "Gee we sure live far away from the temple.  It takes a long time to get there!"  Keep in mind, before we moved, we lived maybe 4 minutes from the temple.  Maybe--only if you had to stop at the lights.  And so I miss our less than 4 minute weekly commute but am grateful to now have 4 temples under 30 minutes away! :D

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Saga of the Shoes

A little while ago, it dawned on me that Sister Missionary Mall would have comfortable shoes.  Hello!  I NEED comfortable shoes with good arch support while I am on my feet teaching all day.  We have tried inserts and nicer (still cheap) shoes and foot rubs and etc.  Nothing helped.  Ok so maybe it helped but I was still having terrible foot pain which also caused a lot of back pain.  (As a side note:  I'm willing to guess that my back pain will be way lower while I am standing around all day though this coming school year because I have lost so much weight.  There is not as much pressure and heaviness on my whole body and I love it!)

So a month or so ago, I walk into Sis Mish Mall and feel totally uncomfortable because I am (1) married, (2) not going on a mission, and (3) wanting the shoes for teaching not proselyting.  I didn't know if that was legal. Well, apparently it is and apparently they sell more shoes to non-premies than to the mish-bound type.  Oh.  Ok.  I fit in perfectly then.  I tried on a few but they were at least $125 a pair.  I'm sorry but that is WAY too much money.  I don't care what the shoe feels like.  Then I see a clearance table.  I ask about it.  You can buy any two shoes off the table for $100 (FOR BOTH!).  As soon as I learned about it, I started looking and trying to find my (European) size on the table.  No such luck.  I left the store empty handed but determined to go back and check the clearance table again.

I have kind of forgotten about/ been to busy to stalk Sis Mish Mall.  Fast forward to this morning.

It dawned on me; we are moving next week!  If I am going to get shoes from there, it is going to HAVE to be today.  I tell Casey about my urgent NEED to go buy shoes today.  He (fortunately) understood and agreed.  In our morning prayer, he prayed that I would find shoes that are comfortable and on clearance today when I went in to the store.  I prayed in my personal prayer.  We both kept praying--at least I did.

I had not even thought about buying full priced shoes.  I honestly don't know if I would have or not.  I was just trusting I would be able to find clearance.

Well, I walked into the store and EVERYONE was super helpful and friendly.  Until they learned that I was interested in the clearance shoes.  'Oh she is one of the el cheapo type and we don't get paid enough to give her valuable customer service.'  Whatever.  I was assertive and figured out what shoe size I wore--generally an easy task: between 9-10, preferably wide.  Well, these shoes are European sized with numbers ranging between the 30s- 40s.  I have no idea.  So I hunted someone down and asked.  And every time I had a question, I would keep hunting and asking.  It worked.

Then another tender mercy.  Some lady is over in the shoe part trying on the full priced shoes.  The associate sat there with her and answered her questions.  Well, I listened in and chimed in with my own questions.  The lady wanted good arch support.  Hey me too!  The associate was pointing out the best shoes for arch support and then looked at my feet and commented that the shoes I was trying on were actually the best ones--just a different color.  What?!  I'm sold.  I definitely want that pair of shoes (it is metallic black; a slightly odd color but whatever!  It is on clearance and fits my foot GREAT!)  The other lady was wanting to try on my metallic shoes.  I showed her some other ones I had found (which turned out to be about a size 5) and kept her away from the metallic shoes on my feet--I was not sharing because they were the only pair there.  Now I could either get it for $69.95 or get 2 for $100.  Well, I really want the two so I can rotate.  And I REALLY want the second pair to be brown so then I can wear both of them with everything.

I could not find any brown shoes on clearance except for the "Hush Puppy" brand.  And it is no where near as comfortable as the Metallic Danskos.  At first I thought I liked it but then decided I didn't want it.  I would never be happy with it on the comfort level scale when the metallic ones were incredible.  I asked if there were any more clearance shoes--specifically anymore brown.  'No.  Everything is on the table.'  I searched the table again and again.  I seriously read every shoe description/ name/ European size probably 3-4 times.  And then one shoe jumped out.  It was size 42 and Dansko AND brown.  Well, the metallic ones were size 41 so maybe the 42 would be close enough it would work.  I have no idea where this shoe came from.  I mean obviously it was on the table because no one touched any of the shoes but I swear it wasn't there earlier.  I had read all the boxes.  I have no idea how it just appeared/ I missed it before.  But there it was.

I try it on.  It is a little bit bigger.  And a different style.  No where near as cute as the other ones.  But it is still comfortable.  I ask the associate (still conveniently helping the other lady--and therefore me too!) what the arch support was of the brown shoe.  She said a tiny bit lower than the metallic ones but still extremely high.

I walk around and around the store.  Trying to decide if I like it enough to buy it.  Is it comfortable?  Is it too big?  Is it worth the money?  Can I deal with it not exactly being "cute?"  Well, I decided I did like it and that my pants will be covering the shoe anyway so the cute factor will be fine.  And the comfort level is amazing.  For once in my life, my ridiculously high arches actually have support.  This truly is a novel concept but one that I'm getting used to pretty quickly while I lap the store.

This is the ONLY time I will be wearing mismatched shoes...
I just wanted to show both off! :D
And, they still are as dreamy comfortable as I remembered while I was at the store--
don't you hate how shoes are great in the store but somehow they change on the car ride home?!
Not these ones--they are still fabulous! ;)
Yipee!  Our prayers were heard.  One black (ish) pair, one brown pair.  Both with HIGH arches, excellent support, and an orthopedic insert.  Both are comfortable.  Both are my size (or close enough).  Both were on the clearance table!!!! 

I walked out of that store with a large white bag, a huge smile and countless grateful prayers!!!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

One Dream Prevents Huge Ticket

Yesterday night, I woke up probably around 2 or so and was hot.  I flip the covers off and just laid there hot and incapable of sleeping in such temperatures.  I should have just gotten up and turned on the air conditioner right away.  The room would have cooled off and I would have gone back to sleep.  But no.  I just laid there because I was too tired to get up and too hot to move.

Finally I got up and turned it on.  And then went back to bed.  As I got back into bed though, Casey sat straight up.  "The CAR!" he said.  Uh-oh!

First of all, Casey was not sleep talking or anything crazy like that.  He was wide awake.  And I knew exactly what he meant.  Allow me to explain.

You see, we live in this crazy neighborhood where you are not allowed to park on the street from 10 pm to 6 am unless you have a permit.  If you do park on the street without a permit during the night, you get a ticket.  And a big one at that!  So the problem was, we left our car parked on the street instead of the driveway.  I'm now dreading the worst--a huge ticket.  Lovely.

Casey grabs his shoes and keys and runs out to our car to pull it in the driveway.  I'm laying on the bed (1) wishing it was cooler and (2) wondering how much damage this ticket would do to our budget.  He comes back in and informs me that there was no ticket yet--so he pulled the car in the driveway and all was well.

I couldn't believe it.  We both felt so greatly blessed and offered prayers of gratitude thanking Heavenly Father for helping us with a small detail in life.  It just proves that He really does care about even the smallest of things and really is loving.  I asked Casey why he woke up so suddenly and he said it was because of a dream and then he startled awake.  I am also so grateful that my husband acts on promptings from the spirit.  We have no idea but it is very possible that even given a few more minutes, it might have been too late.