Our 2nd Christmas Tree

Friday, December 16, 2011

So I must prepare you to see my tree, it's quite funny.

Our first year of marriage we were in the apartment and we got a little Charlie Brown tree that sat on a table so it would look taller.

This year we got something a little bigger, but not too big...the car still had to be able to get it home.

We got it all set up and the trunk was straight and we were so excited!

And then we looked up...

It leans a little....maybe a lot.

Poor little thing, it doesn't have enough lights to go around it and the cat has made it her mission in life to get every glass ball so this poor tree is barely even a quarter of the way decorated...

And crooked.

When I suggested we undo the screws and cut off a bit of the trunk at an angle so the tree would stand upright (probably another hours worth of work), Robbie gave me the dirtiest look. Sorry tree...we live and we learn.

 But it's ours, and our house (and my cat) smells like Christmas. 

This year it's the best we can do.

And isn't that all God asks of us anyways? That we do our best?

Merry Christmas!

Trash to Treasure Part 2

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

We finally got around to painting one of our fences!
But of course Elphaba was super curious, curious enough to take a swipe at the paint brush and leave little kitty paw prints all over the garage.

And now she's got some white tipped ears and whiskers...

Funny kitty cat.

He's so handsome.

 Can you see the paint spots all over his face?

 I pride myself in the fact that my hands were much cleaner.

The one on the left is the one we haven't done. It's up against a white freezer, so the super whiteness is the freezer and the dirty white is the fence. Optical illusion much? The fence on the right is the one we sanded and painted with weather proof, wood stain sealer all in one awesome paint. 

I'm getting a white picket fence for my garden. 
It's going to be magical!

Coaching Cross Country

Friday, October 28, 2011

I have really enjoyed being a volunteer coach.

Our girls got THIRD PLACE in the championships! I was so proud of them. And three of them got medals for being in the top ten!!! I think the boys got fourth or fifth, we only had three, four or five really fast boys. Not only did we not have enough fast boys, they just weren't as fast as some of the others.
Here's how it kind of went.

Are you nervous for us?
Yes, I'm very nervous for you. But I know you can do it.

How hard are you going to run?
How hard are you going to run!
Titans on three, one two three TITANS!

I feel like I need to fart.
Just fart as soon as the guy says go, no one will know and you'll be running so fast you'll leave it behind. No one will ever know ;)

Opening my arms out a little when I run really helped me breathe better, thank you.
She thought the lungs were where the kidneys are... oie.

Can you hold my bracelet? 
Can you hold my glasses?
Can you hold my retainer?
(as she takes it out of her mouth and wipes it on her shirt)

Hey Coach, can you run from here, to here, to here to meet them and cheer them on?
Sure, I can run sprint for like a total of two miles. 
The pain was worth it.

When you get to the finish line I want you to tell me how many people you passed, okay? 
As soon as I said it he kicked it into gear and passed one person, then another, then another, and kept the pace :)

You can do it, this is the last race, PUSH YOURSELF!

I'm looking around for our last boy, whose mom made him join to lose weight, he came in 108 out of 108 boys. As I'm running the race backwards on the sidelines looking for him, I finally see him a little less than a quarter mile to being done. He's still jogging. Running with him, you can do it, finish strong. As soon as I said finish strong he just left. Sprinted to the finish line.

It was amazing to see these kids accomplish this. To work so hard this season, and come this far, and get something out of it. This is why I want to continue to do this, to see the pain on their faces as they've still got a mile to go, and then to see the smiles as they cross the finish line.

The school saying is Simply be the Best. As I've thought more and more about that, I've realized there's nothing simple about being the best. To be the best takes hard work, good work, endurance, training, pushing yourself, learning... You can't just "simply" be the best, you have to work for it. 

Even though we didn't get first, even though the boys didn't place, they did the work. In my eyes they were the best.

Cone of Shame

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The lady bring out my cat called her Elpha-baba...Which reminded me of Ali-ababwa or whatever he calls himself. 

And this.

Cone of shame. She hates it so much. But it's so funny.


May I Introduce...Elphaba

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Isn't she adorable? We call her Elphie. 
We only have a few problems...for example.
My shoes were ready for the dump as it is, and I just haven't had the time to go shopping for new ones. But I have a funny feeling she's going to help them on their way...
She loves chewing on things. Unfortunately we can't exactly get rid of all the wires, considering that we have laptops and cords up the ying yang...but that's why we have a spray bottle. It's almost unfair, I don't think she can tell a wire from a string. Robbie says we should just let her until she learns her lesson and is electrocuted. I don't think so...
She's ripped up tables...
Squirt bottle.
Eh. I don't mind as much. Not as expensive as a table.
(You should see all the other pieces on the floor)
Who me? Yes you. 
She also likes to attack, and I mean full on attack, feet, hands, hair (you think she's all cute when she's climbing on your shoulders and then you realize she's eating your hair), couch, keyboards, books, phones, the spray bottle, elbows, clothing...Pretty much everything. Including the coffee table, that's her favorite. She plays on the ring (you can see it in the background of the third picture), and hits her head on the bars as she's running by too quickly. She's a little crazy.

I can't stand leaving her for most of the day because she just cries and cries, she doesn't want to be left alone! And I wouldn't either. I come home and she knows someones there and she just cries and cries to be let in. If you leave her sight for more than a minute she's crying and following after you.

She's only really calm when she sleeps. Which, as far as I can tell, is only from about 3-5 in the afternoon. I can't do anything without being interrupted, which is nice and so annoying all at the same time. 

She likes the bird party in the back yard from 5-7. It's the weirdest thing, we just get this huge flock of birds that sing for us every day. 

She loves to watch television. Weird, right?

I love her. She's driving me nuts, but I love her.
She was guarding it so I would stop squirting her...and she fell asleep, 6:30. She just goes and goes and goes until she poops herself out. 
Oh my dearest Elphaba.

Annual Pismo Trip

Monday, September 26, 2011

I love this tradition my in laws have...and I love my family...and Pismo.

They kinda speak for themselves.

 Just in case this one is not clear, our feet were blue.
 Can't you tell he loves me?

Good stuff.

Plan to Keep Your Faith

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Friday Forum was awesome. 

Bishop Tucker? from the Fresno YSA ward was awesome. He could have written a small book of all the little things he said in half an hour. What stuck out to me the most was

"We don't ever plan on becoming inactive"

For those of you who have no idea what that is, "inactive" or "less-active" is a term we use for members of the church that have fallen away and have lost or misplaced their faith. 

He told us stories of his six best friends, and how back in the day they were thick as thieves. They all went on missions except one, they all got married in the temple, and twenty or so years later three of them fell away. Two asked for their names to be removed from the records of the church. 

Did they sit down one day while they were young, planning out where they wanted to be in five, ten, twenty years and say: "When I have done this and turned this age I will abandon my faith and turn against everything I ever learned"? No. They didn't. But did they plan on keeping their faith? No, not exactly. 

I had never thought of that before. I knew that people usually stopped doing what they needed to, like reading their scriptures, praying, going to church, and such, that it's a gradual process of forgetting your faith and then eventually, losing sight of it completely. But I'd never thought of planning on when you would lose it, or that you could plan to keep it. Plan to do the things that will keep your testimony alive and well, not sickly and dying. 

Plan to keep your faith alive and well.

My 2011 Testimony

Sunday, September 18, 2011

For those of you who don't know, I'm a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You can find more information here, and I'm pretty sure there is an online chat to ask questions if you don't want to ask me or someone else you know who is "Mormon". 
Every Sunday we have church, and twice a year (I think) we have Stake conference right before General Conference. This year we are in the West stake, again, like I have been most of my life. I loved sitting with my parents, my sister, my husband, aunts uncles cousins grandparents...seeing old friends. One I saw was Kenneth Randall. He was a friend in high school, but we weren't close. Several times he asked me about the church, and I either ignored him or didn't give him the detail he wanted. My excuses were that I thought he was weird, and I had some really bad experiences sharing the gospel in high school. People are mean, and so I didn't want to open up a debate I guess... He had some family in the church, and what do you know. He found me on facebook after high school and told me he'd joined the church. I was shocked. He said he was going on a mission. I don't know how to express the emotion that came over me then and now when I think of all those times he asked me to answer a question and I didn't want to share. I had no idea that his intentions were such. I felt awful, and full of joy all at the same time. He's home on medical leave for a couple of weeks, he had a cancerous tumor they had to remove. He's going back, unlike some people who come home, find girls or other things and don't finish the work. I'm so proud of him, and so happy that he accepted the gospel with no help from me.

And then I was reminded during conference that we do not change people. Only the Holy Ghost can change people's hearts. We just need to invite, be open, and share our testimonies and the gospel which we know to be true, and the Holy Ghost will do the rest.

I was reminded that holding anger and resentment towards people that have wronged us is no way to live. No one has ever done to me what was done to the Savior, and so really, I have no need to complain. I need to forgive and forget, just as the Lord has promised to forgive, and forget, what I have done wrong. 

I was reminded of how important the Young Women program is, to build up the faith and skills of our future women. To strengthen and develop faith, to recognize their divine nature, to know their individual worth, to gain knowledge, to learn that for every choice you make you are accountable, to do more good works, to learn of integrity and virtue. I'm grateful, for my parents and what I learned growing up, how to be good, honest, hard working. 

I was reminded about faith, and how blessings don't come until after a trial of your faith. Trials...they kinda suck. They're hard. But miracles don't usually strengthen your faith, trials and a blessing? Much better success rate.

And then Brother Hansen got up. Now I have loved that man for as long as I can remember. Girls camp stories of trials and faith, star gazing, every harvest reminding us of why we're picking grapes. This time there was no talk of grapes. He's a seminary teacher in Madera, and they're studying the Old Testament. He told us about the people that tell him he's going to a hot place because he reads the Book of Mormon, another scripture other than the Bible. He asks them if they've read their "Bible", and the usual answer is no, not really.  The Old Testament is full of amazing stories of faith, obedience, and love of our Savior and our Heavenly Father for every one of us. 

I'm only in Genesis 20, and I've learned so much more than I ever though I could about the creation, Adam and Eve, and Abraham! Oh my goodness! Abraham is so awesome, I learned about how to resolve family disputes from his story, which I never thought would happen. Also, being rich isn't awful, Abraham was rich, and he did good things with his wealth. It's the love of money that is evil, new testament. I've learned a lot more, and I can't wait to keep learning, especially about my Savior. Many Christians don't know or realize that Jesus Christ was put in charge of the creation, under our Heavenly Father's direction, and so is Jehovah, the God of the Old Testament. There is so much evidence, in the old and the new, but the translators kinda messed it Elohim. The him or im is plural in Hebrew, meaning Gods. If people took that into consideration, it would mean the destruction of many churches and what they believe to be true. That's why we believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly. 

Anyways...sorry about that ginormous and a little random and unorganized paragraph about the awesomeness of the Old Testament. 

Saturday session I was working, so I missed conference. But Robbie said they said it over and over again, go to the temple. We've been "busy"...what an awful excuse. 

To sum up I guess, what I wanted to say, is that I know this church is true. I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior, he lived, died, and lives again for me and for you. I know my Heavenly Father knows who I am. I know that he calls prophets on the Earth to guide us and give us His direction. I know Joseph Smith was a prophet, that he translated the books written by prophets of old called The Book of Mormon. I know President Monson is our living prophet. I know that God is unchanging, and so are His methods to lead and guide us home. I know that the priesthood and truth are restored to the Earth today, and I am so grateful.

What a wonderful weekend.

Someone's Trash is Our Treasure

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

So this month or week or whatever is the trash pick up week. 

Everyone has stuff outside on the curb. Robbie wakes up this morning at 6:25am, five minutes before I have to go to institute, and he asks me to help him with something. Well, considering I haven't seen my husband for the past two days except in passing, of course I said yes. 

He holds my hand outside, taking me down the street...Yes. We're looking at trash piles. I felt so weird. Really weird. It feels as weird as it sounds...

Almost at the end of the street I see a white picket fence sitting on top of a pile. I'm confused. I've seen this in passing for almost a week now and haven't thought twice about it...He is so excited and I'm so confused...What? Oh. 
In the backyard he wants a dog, and I want a garden. Fence posts like this go for $15 and up, and we got it for free. Yes, it needs to be cleaned up and a new coat of paint, but it should be part of the fence and gate we put in to separate the future dog and future garden.

I got to class like twenty minutes late. Oops. 

I caught a small wiff of something that smelled like Eucalyptus tree today...and a wave of happiness rushed over me. I can't wait to go to the beach.

Nursery Stories

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

This Sunday's nursery story starts early...Robbie and I went in like 45 minutes before church started to finish decorating what Sister Evenson and I couldn't finish on Wednesday because the activity day girls use the Nursery room on Wednesday nights...and they are louder and have less manners than the 18 months to 3 year old children we see in nursery. Kind of ridiculous I thought...
But to happier news! We were almost done, and then it happened. 

A mouse.
I jumped like three feet in the air! It was crazy how fast that mouse ran and how it climbed up those chairs! I screamed and couldn't stop saying "There's a mouse! There's a mouse!" for like a minute. So I had to get out of there, and of course I told someone, not knowing that my husband was amazing. 

When I got back, he had chased that mouse across the wall and under the door (which I couldn't fit a pencil under), and then out the outside door. He laughed at my face must have been pretty hilarious. 

And now I know that my husband can do anything.

And then we found a needle on the floor. Left from activity days. That was shockingly scary. Really ladies? Really?

Here are the finished products!
I made them a little different, with a little more space in between the petals. It was so adorable seeing the kids put them on their heads and nod up and down, the only problem is the lamination machine is small, so I had to cut them in half and then tape them together. My mom was kind enough to lend me her hot glue gun, because these little kids were strong! And almost every flower was torn in half. I'm hoping hot glue AND tape, double duty, will keep them together. 

And the birds.
They sing good morning!
And we made a legion of them. Robbie helped. My hand was so cramped, because I cut out all the birds, and then all the petals, and all the circles for the flowers. Ouch. But so rewarding, right?

I don't know what my favorite part of nursery was, maybe the tiny little cupcakes I made? Gluton free, because one little girl has a gluton allergy and I couldn't find just one little gluton free pastry, so I made gluton free brownies! One extra egg made it a little more cake like, and with my Aunt Kara's Texas Sheet Cake frosting they weren't too dry. And really, little tiny cupcakes are the cutest things ever. 

I guess my other favorite part was one of the littlest girls, who was the only one who seemed to get chocolate all over her hands and face, loved me. She just wanted to be my friend. I even gave her a piggy back ride and didn't get any chocolate on my white shirt. Miracle? I think so. It took four weeks, and they seem to finally be getting used to us, to like us. 


Count Your Blessings

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

I got my first letter from my brother!
I don't blame him for not writing me often, what's to write really. But I was excited. 

And waking up to a wonderful husband who smiles and holds my hand, and seeing sunflowers over the fence dancing in the light? 

Today is a good day. 

Last Sister Day of Summer

Friday, August 12, 2011

I went up the hill this morning to spend time with my sister.
After I put my plant out. Only ten minutes and a droopy, pathetic, dying thing stood straight up.
I had a great time with my sister.
I pretty much love her. And I miss her a lot, I wish I could see her more often.
We went for a good long walk, and loved everything but the grasshoppers, including the pretty dragon flys.
And cats. I love cats. Following the leader...
And here are Sock's newest kittens! One will be mine in...4-7 weeks?
Don't you love the look: "What in the world are you doing taking a picture of this..."
I tried to hold one...
They are still a little two small...almost two weeks old...
And they just get a little psycho...this picture cracks me up every time.
I also read a lot of my brother's letters. And I took a picture of a picture.
He looks so grown up! I miss him.
Shelby and I had a blast...and my mom, once she got home. Hanging pictures was a lot of fun, drawing too. My sister is going to be an artist someday. You should see some of her stuff. She's really good.
We trimmed the roses.
We played with cats.
Decided we loved Anaheim peppers.
Played with more cats...
More flowers...
And last, but not least...more cats. They just make me so happy.

I beat Robbie home by ten minutes, and as soon as he got home we rushed to Costco...and got me a vacuum. We got a Dyson! I'm excited. And now I can recycle my broken one and return my Nana's ancient Orveck which she was so kind as to let me borrow when I called at 7:00 am moving day almost crying because mine kicked the bucket at midnight that morning.

Yep. It was good to visit home, and then good to go home. 
I love my husband.
I love my sister.
I love my family.
I love my home.

Second to last week of Summer...

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Sunday Nursery Story: We don't let the little kids play with the chairs. This little girl got a hold of one and was wielding it like a lion tamer, and I was the lion. Talking and asking her to put it down and back where it came from was not working, at all. So Robbie distracted her, I got behind her and got a firm hold under her arms and lifted her up so that her head was level with mine, so for this little girl it was pretty high, but I was not about to get hit by that chair. As soon as she was in the air she had a death grip on that chair with her arms and her legs. It was amazing. Another adult came over, Robbie untangling her arms and the other adult taking apart her legs. She was not happy. But we got the chair away! And no one was hurt, which I'm beginning to think is the ultimate goal for the two hours.

We then went to a memorial service. My friend from high school, Chloe, her mom died. We weren't best friends, but we never had any problems with each other. She's a good person, and my heart goes out to her and her family. I thought what if I didn't have my mom, to be there for me for the rest of my life. I mean, for my college graduation, for the pregnancy and birth and life of my future children, what about for my brother's marriage, and the rest of my sister's life! I think my sister needs her the most, and I can only imagine the pain and sorrow she's feeling. My heart goes to my friend.

Then we went to my cousin's Court of Honor! My two cousins, James and Mason, are 15 and 14 years old. It was super cool, and the talks given, about how only maybe less than 1% of scouts go on to get their eagle and here are two brothers, a year apart. There were some pictures of my brother in the slide show, oh how I miss my brother.

The rest of the week kind of flew by. I meant to do a lot of things, like go grocery shopping and clean the house, but I would start to read Atlas Shrugged first thing in the morning and not stop to eat or anything until Robbie got home and I'd realize what time it was. I did that Monday, Tuesday, and half of Wednesday until I finished. I remembered the book ending better. I thought I would be happy, and I think I was the first time I read through it. But, this time around, I felt more like Eddie Willers, crawled up in front of the train, crying for the end of the world, not knowing if the best minds in the world are going to fix it before I starve to death. I think it was a little more real to me, now that I know a little bit more about people and the world we live in. And they had no religion, I don't think Ayn Rand was too fond of it. But we know the truth, and I think I would have felt a little more happy if they knew what I know.

Then I had a headache and went to bed, after a half day of reading and then the other half cleaning and grocery shopping. I had nightmares all night about not getting my homework in on time, and rushing to get it done. I also had nightmares about working at Vons. Weird, right? Scared me enough to wake me up every hour, on the hour. Not a good night sleep.

So that has been what you've missed. This summer I've read all the Harry Potter books, Ender's Game, and Atlas Shrugged. I don't think I've ever read so much during the summer. Maybe, I can read Twilight again? I re-read Harry Potter because the movies ruined it for me. I can say they are amazing books now that I've read them in my adult years and teen years, and the movies don't stand up to them at all. Twilight? I'm not sure anymore. I have a week and four days...I don't know if I want to read anymore. Maybe I'll save it for the next break from school.

Now to do some music. I'm making a cd of all the songs we want the nursery kids to learn, so that we don't have to rely on the quality of our acapella. And so the kids can know what the music sounds like. I have like ten cds to burn to my computer. And THEN have to pick different songs and make a cd...oh dear. I might use Robbie's mac.

Today is Thursday. And what a great Thursday it is.


Sunday, July 31, 2011

So, we've been in this new/ old ward for me for a little over a month now, and we just got called to nursery.
I was very excited at first, especially because this is the first calling Robbie and I have had together. And I mean, come on, my job is to entertain children, I thought, how bad can it be?
Well, I sort of froze today. 
I always feel bad when I don't like the way people teach, like in this ward, in my opinion, Sunday school just wasn't all that great. I was bored. I tried my best to get something out of the lessons, but it was really hard and I'll leave it at that. Last Sunday I was asked to sub as the Primary pianist, which was awesome. I've always felt like I've learned more in Primary through the music and the children. And it's nice! To see their faces light up when they've learned something new, or something finally clicked, or you can tell that they feel the spirit but don't know how to explain it. It's more than lovely, Primary is fantastic.
I figured Nursery was going to be similar, just more playing and lots more screaming. That's how it was in the old ward. I don't know what was going on today but I felt really lost and confused...I guess there was no lesson because the Sister giving it wasn't there, and the children only know three church songs? I don't know what I was expecting, but it wasn't that. 
It was nice to be with Robbie, who kept giving me encouraging looks when I looked like I was going to cry. And Sister Evenson is there, she was one of my YW counselors when I was in YW. Also, my VT companion and teachee are in there too, and the three of them are super awesome. 
The kids are pretty cool too...there's just about 15 against 4-5 adults. They said that there used to be only 2 adults. Oh dear...
I just felt like there needed to be an adult leader, someone who we could all sit down with and plan the next week, games we could play, stories we could tell. I know I have loads of ideas on how to make stories from the scriptures interactive and fun. One person to make the final call on what worked and what didn't, what we should do again and what we shouldn't. One person to buy snacks, and not everyone just buying something and bringing it. How are you supposed to know what to bring, if you're supposed to bring anything. 
Maybe I am over thinking things. I also felt drained. I'm not a very imaginative person. I don't make up imaginary places, I can't have an imaginary conversation with an imaginary person over the phone. I'm just not very believable. And after about an hour total of playtime over the two hours, making sure everyone was happy, no one was hurting anyone or themselves, and playing with them I felt drained. 
Best. Moment. Ever.
This little girl is very aggressive, and for some reason, maybe trying to get my attention, I don't know, she decides to step up onto me (I'm on the floor playing with a couple kids). It hurts, and so I ask her not to do that. Then she tries again, this time pulling my hair. I tell her no, and then she says she can hit me if she wants to! I was not having any of that. I told her if she hit me or anyone else she would be put in a time out. She stomps angrily away, forgetting everything and picking up another toy in a matter of seconds, and this little boy who saw the whole thing (he was in the group I was playing with) gets up and kisses my head where the little girl had pulled my hair. At first I was confused, thinking here was another kid coming to attack me, but then I realized what he had done and I was touched. It made me so happy. I'm used to kids kicking me, hugging me, whatever. But kissing my head to make me feel better because someone else hurt me? That was a new one. One I'll never forget. 
Matthew 18
 1 At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?
 2 And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them,
 3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
 4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
 5 And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.

I love working with kids. I hope this is just shock of entering a new system, and I'll soon figure it out and not feel so lost and confused. Hopefully I'll have a good story like this every week too. I always know that I can learn something from children that you can't always learn from adults. You have to watch, listen, and love them. I hope they keep us here for a long time.

Our Backyard

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Here are my favorite things about the back yard.
My plants. The spider thingy from my in-laws, because someone decided to steal my beautiful ivy that I kept outside to get better sun. I've lost about half of the creeping spider from the heat and not knowing how much to water. I think I've got it down now. We also got a sago! Thanks to my boss. We're going to keep it in a pot, a very pretty large pot that we do not have yet. 
We're trying to grow grass. In the backyard, and in the front yard. It's so cute.
I have a mat now! So that I can wipe my feet and not track dirt into the house!
I love my wind chimes...
Here's something else I've been doing...
Sewing. I sewed a curtain for the garage...I have no idea how I screwed it up. But both ended up too short, and then one shorter than the other. It took me a couple days to finish it, and it still ended up wrong. I was so sad.

Ta da!