Wednesday, October 31, 2012

pumpkin carving

On Monday night for FHE, we decided to carve a pumpkin.

Tim got a little excited about using our various knives.  Obviously.

Ahahaha.  Ha.

Tim took upon himself the honor of cutting off the top, while I gave him tips based on my many years of pumpkin-carving experience.  [What man doesn't love being told how to use a knife?]

We took turns pulling out pumpkin guts.  And simultaneously took turns romantically calling each other "pumpkin."  Some jokes never get old.

Since Tim had taken the honor of carving out the top, I decided it was only fair for me to carve the entire face.

It got a little intense.  Especially when one of the teeth I'd carved inexplicably came out with the mouth and our pumpkin became a redneck.

A total masterpiece, right?  I bet you can't even tell we didn't use a stencil.

I then felt compelled to take a picture of our front door.

And then of some decorations which maybe aren't even totally relevant yet.  You're welcome.

And then we roasted the pumpkin seeds and ate a ridiculous amount of them.

Next year I'll probably be doing "mom" things like sticking our crying baby into our pumpkin just so I can take a cute picture of her that she will probably consider blackmail material sixteen years from now.

Sounds about right.

Happy Halloween everyone!

Monday, October 29, 2012

our story [part 11]

Read Part 10 here or head over to the Love Story tab at the top to read the whole thing!

We drove over to Tempe Marketplace and walked into Mojo Yogurt.  Since I’d asked him to go to the extra credit lecture with me, I wasn’t quite sure how this would work.  Should I pay?  Would he pay?  Thankfully, he took the awkwardness right out of the situation by informing me that I could get whatever I wanted, which, I assumed, he wouldn’t tell me if he weren’t intending to pay.  I was right.

After he paid for our yogurt, we walked outside to one of the benches by the outdoor fireplace.  After some people-watching and some small-talk, he started telling me about the girl who’d ended up Dear-Johnning him while he was on his mission.  I wondered if he wanted to know more about my situation and was making it easier for us to talk about it.  When he was finished with his story, I told him about my situation and told him in no uncertain terms that I was no longer “waiting” for a missionary.

“I’m really glad to hear that,” he said with a relieved chuckle.

My heart started beating a little faster.  “You are?”

He looked at me intently.  “Well, now that means that I don’t have to worry about asking you out again.”

My face probably turned about forty shades of red with that comment, but thankfully, I was saved from any embarrassment by his phone vibrating.

“I’m so sorry, I wouldn’t normally check my phone, but my band is getting together to practice tonight for our show in a couple of nights.  I kinda need to be there.”

I prepared myself for him telling me that he needed to take me home.  Instead, he said, “Do you want to come?  If not, that’s totally fine – I can take you home if you want.”

“Sure,” I said, trying to control the blush that was more than likely seeping back into my cheeks.

Every time I looked at Tim during their practice, I thought about what he’d meant when he said that he was really glad he didn’t have to worry about asking me out again, and my heart would flutter a little.  He was really all I could focus on.  After they had finished practicing their set, the rest of the members kept playing various songs on their instruments. 

Tim, on the other hand, lifted his guitar strap over his head and set his guitar down gently.  He walked over to the couch where I was sitting, still joking around with his band members but keeping his eyes on me.  Sitting down, he put his arm around my shoulders casually, as if things had always been that way between us.  In the meantime, I began to wonder if my lungs were functioning properly.  We continued to joke with everyone in the room, but it was probably obvious to everyone present that something was different.   And it was.

As he walked me to my front door later that night, I thought for one wonderfully terrifying moment that he might try to kiss me.  Instead, he gave me a hug laced with more meaning than I’d ever thought possible with such a gesture, squeezed my hand, and told me goodnight.

I walked inside, heart still pounding, and wondered what tomorrow would bring.

Continue on to Part 12.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

pregnancy update

Life is so, so good, my friends.

Last year this time, I was bawling my eyes out every night, doing something I didn't love every day.  Poor Tim.  He gave me so many blessings and so many foot rubs during that time.

But this year?  Everything is a complete 180.  I just feel so blessed.  I was blessed last year, too, but in an entirely different, sometimes-hard-to-recognize way.  This year the blessings seem so obvious.

Truth be told, though, my biggest blessing has been the same both years.

And I just love him.

Would you like to hear an update about our baby girl?

This was at 21 weeks.  And this:

Was at 22 weeks.

Now I'm 23 weeks.  And she is turning into quite the active little girl.  I felt her move for the first time during the second session of General Conference on October 6th [and I bet you can guess just how much of that particular session I payed attention to], and it's just gotten a little stronger every day.  We're learning that [in utero, at least] our little girl is a night owl - just like us.  She starts moving the most at about 10:00 at night and continues on through about 1:00am.

We are completely and totally in love.

This stage of pregnancy has been my favorite by far.  I only get mildly nauseous, like, once or twice a week. I get terrible heartburn sometimes, but that's not really any different for me.  [Thanks, GERD.]  But heck, if that's the worst it's gonna get right now, I am totally ok with that.  And the best part is feeling her move around.  It makes everything feel a little more real - more magical.

For the longest time when anybody would ask what cravings I was having, I would just laugh and say that I wasn't having any cravings - just food aversions.  And that was applicable to pretty much everything.  Now I can eat pretty much whatever I want [hallelujah!] but the only thing I consistently crave is Taco Bell.  What the random?  Tim is extremely encouraging of this particular craving, though I'm sure he would prefer Filiberto's or Chipotle.

Oh and...I think we have a name.  Actually, we're pretty sure.  We want to name her...


We are absolutely in love with the name, but for some reason, I always feel hesitant about telling people what we've decided.  I don't know why.  Maybe it's because people always have all kinds of opinions, or maybe I'm scared I will change my mind, or maybe I've just heard too many stories about ultrasound techs getting confused about the gender.  Like, could our little Ellie actually be a boy?  I mean, we would be thrilled either way, but we would be starting from square one as far as names are concerned.  Because let's face it, there's no way Tim would let me call a little boy Ellie.  Men.

I'll go ahead and stop there lest any of you are getting baby-ied out.

Moral of the story?  Tim is my hero, and we already love our baby more than we could possibly express.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

vertuccio farms

Last night, we went on a double date with this fabulous couple.  We all drove out to Vertuccio Farms in east Mesa to have some corn-mazing, kettle-corn-eating, old-fashioned fun.  I wish I could tell you that the air felt crisp and that the smell of autumn was in the air, but really I'm just grateful that the weather is no longer in the nineties.

I was startled to find that there was a fake udder under there that would actually shoot out water.  Startled...and thrilled.

Tim was just thrilled to discover that he could shoot me with said water.

The next few pictures are all part of our corn maze adventure:

And these pictures are all because of my fascination with the farms animals.  Former 4-H girl, you know.

This little guy melted our hearts.  All he wanted was some attention:

These pedal cars were fantastic.  I felt a little like I was five years old again.

And then there was the strength competition:

Here's how it went down.  Joe won.  Tim got a close second.  Cassie wasn't really that far behind them.  And I lost by a landslide.  

I blame the baby.

And now, for your viewing pleasure:

That time we were all five again.

And then we all went to Bahama Bucks to finish off a perfect night.

Thanks, Joe and Cassie!

Monday, October 22, 2012

our story [part 10]

Read Part 9 here, or head over to the Love Story tab at the top to read the whole thing!

Following Katie’s advice, I decided to ask Tim if he wanted to come to an extra credit event with me that I needed to go to for a class.  It was a lecture on a night in the middle of the week, and I knew it wouldn't be an exciting topic, but it seemed like a good excuse.  He immediately accepted and then asked what time I wanted him to pick me up.  This gentleman of a man never ceased to surprise me.

Tim picked me up (right on time, as always) wearing what had become my favorite jeans and a plaid shirt that made his blue eyes look even more beautiful.  We flirted during the whole drive over and during the whole lecture, but he never tried to hold my hand or put his arm around me, giving me some of the most conflicting emotions I’d ever experienced.  On the one hand, I was disappointed.  I knew I was starting to have feelings for him, and maybe his lack of touching meant a lack of interest.  But on the other hand, I wasn’t sure I was ready anyway.

On the walk back across campus, we decided to take a few detours.  It was only his first semester on the ASU campus, and since it was my seventh, I decided to show him around a bit.  I showed him The Secret Garden, the massive underground library, and some of the places we’d hung out as freshmen living on campus.  Somewhere along the way, I felt him grab my hand.  My heart skipped a beat, but we’d only walked a few paces before he let it go again.  I was confused.  And then I second-guessed myself.  Maybe he had only accidentally brushed my hand and it had awkwardly turned into unwanted hand-holding?  Either way, we talked and laughed as if we’d known each other forever, and by the time we got back to his truck, I’d resigned myself to the fact that this might just turn into a really good friendship.

“Would you like to go get some frozen yogurt?” I heard him ask.

Surprised, I nodded and smiled.  Maybe he didn’t want this night to end yet either.

Continue on to Part 11.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

puzzle them home

Have you guys heard about Puzzle Them Home?

Neither had I until my cousin posted about it on facebook.  The fact that she knew this family personally made it personal to me and I was instantly curious.  I clicked on the link, read through the website, watched the video, and somewhere in the midst of it all realized there were tears falling freely down my face.

In case you don't feel like going to the website, I'll give you a rundown.  But first, watch this video:

I know this video is meant to be cute and funny, but it makes me cry every time.  Maybe it's because I'm pregnant.  Or maybe it's because this family is truly inspirational.

Ok, so if you aren't curious enough to go ahead and click on that link, I'll go ahead and give you that rundown now.  Basically, this family already has eight kids, three of whom are biological and five of whom are adopted.  All of the adoptive children and one of the biological children have special needs of some kind - anything ranging from blindness to no arms to severe autism to disorders I hadn't even heard of, like CLOVES syndrome.  And they want to adopt two more special needs children - one who has spina bifida and another who is blind.

Here's the thing.  This family has never asked for money, and they aren't asking now.  They just have some incredible neighbors who have grown to love this unique family and are aware of the unique challenges that come with having so many children with special needs.  These neighbors started Puzzle Them Home in order to help raise money to buy this family a more accommodating house - one that would allow for wheelchairs and switches that don't require arms.

Of course, you can donate financially.  But there are a few other ways to donate, too.  If you were at all touched by this story, just spreading the word would be a tremendous help!

And in the meantime, go watch that video a few more times.  I don't know about you, but each time I watch it, I'm inspired to be a better person.  And who couldn't use a bit more inspiration?

Friday, October 12, 2012

even before she was born

"Tell me again, Dad," I pleaded, hugging the comforter of my twin bed up around my chin.

"But you know this story already," he reasoned in the dim light of my bedroom.

"I know, but I want to hear it again!"

"Ok, ok.  Well you already know that I got baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints at age eight, just like most kids do and just like you did.  But for some reason, we didn't actually go to church much.  My mom taught me how to pray, but I didn't really know too much about the church except for what my grandma would teach me when she came to visit.

"When I moved away to San Diego for graduate school, something changed.  I think I just remembered my grandma's bedtime stories and wanted to investigate a little further.  So I started attending institute classes, which is kind of the equivalent of taking college-level classes about our church.  I didn't go all the time, and I wasn't converted right away, but I liked that all the things I was learning made sense on an intellectual level.

"I still hadn't actually been to church, but eventually I went to one meeting.  And then another.  I probably only went to one hour of church per month.  Slowly but surely over the course of about two or three years, I started going more regularly.  Somewhere along the way, everything started making sense in my head and in my heart, and by the time I was 28, I was going to nearly every meeting and even had my very first calling passing out hymnbooks.

"And, as you know, that singles ward was how I met your mom.  I had a feeling the very first night I met her that she would be the one I married."

"And then you waited two more years to ask her out," I teased.

"Yes, but we got married three months after we started dating!" he defended himself.  "Ok, I think that's it for tonight.  I'll tell you more tomorrow."

I turned the lights out and smiled.  I loved that story.  Something about it just felt so familiar.

The wheels in my young brain began to turn.  I wonder if, I thought, during that whole story, I was up in heaven watching him, and maybe even encouraging him to go back to church so he could be closer to the Savior and so he could meet Mom.  I liked that thought.  Even if it wasn't true, something about it felt right.

It wasn't until I was a young adult that I had an electrifying thought: If it's possible that I was up in heaven watching and encouraging Dad during that whole period of time...does that mean it's also possible that my future children are watching me right now?  Very few realizations gave me stronger motivation to make sure that my actions were in alignment with what God wanted for me than that one did.  If my children were watching me, well, that was as good a motivation as any.

Whether or not it was true, that line of thinking slowly changed my heart.  I began to love those future children, even though I wasn't even married yet.  I wanted to make sure that I lived my life in such a way that I would be worthy to be their mom someday.

And now that I'm over halfway through my pregnancy, my heart is filled with such gratitude for this incredible opportunity to be a mom to this little girl that I already love so much.  I know I won't be perfect.  Far from it, in fact.

But if she doesn't know anything else about her mom, I want her to know that I loved her even before she was born.

Monday, October 1, 2012


Life is changing very quickly, my friends.

For starters, my temporary job at MCC ended and now I'm just focusing on growing a baby.  With a very large helping of packing and unpacking on the side.

Which brings me to our next major change.

We moved!

Cue the Hallelujah Chorus.

Don't get me wrong, I loved our last apartment.  We spent a very happy year there.  But.  The attempted break-in and the sex offenders and the drug dealing were all getting to us.  We learned some very interesting things about our neighbors through our surveillance camera.  In fact, Tim watched that thing like it was the next episode of Psych.  Except it was much more like a soap opera than it was like our favorite witty comedy.  Plus we discovered right as we were deciding whether or not to move that the owner of the condo was being foreclosed on anyway.  Not that we really needed any help deciding to move.

Now we live in a much less ghetto area and I don't feel like I might be molested or shot every time I walk out the front door.  Which, you know, is kind of important.  And the new condo is beautiful!  We are in love.  It's definitely the nicest place I've lived since moving out of my parents' house five years ago.  But I guess if you'd seen some of those places that might not be saying much.  Too bad we are moving again in about a year.


"Let me explain.  No, there is too much.  Let me sum up."

Tim got a big promotion at work and I now have a sugar daddy.  What!  He is now the Retail Marketing Director at his company and I am so proud of him!  It is certainly well-deserved.  And he is loving it.  But here's the thing.  It means that in about a year, they will be transferring us to Utah.  Utah!  The one place I always said I'd never raise my kids.  I have incredibly mixed feelings about this.  On the one hand, Brigham City is twelve hours away from my family!  Twelve!  My heart feels like exploding every time I think about that.  But on the other hand, from what I've heard, it's a beautiful area and it's a small city, which sounds perfectly heavenly.  My small town heart doesn't fit in well in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area.

I guess the deciding factor in all of this is that we prayed about it and it felt right.  And it's kind of hard to argue with that, even though my threatening-to-explode heart sometimes wants to.

And in other news, even though my job was possibly one of the more boring things I have ever done with my life, now that I don't have a job, it feels so odd.  Like I constantly have to remind myself that it's okay and that I'm just in a different phase in my life so I don't feel guilty.   It just didn't make sense to spend a couple of months looking for another job only to quit after another couple of months when I have the baby.  But I'm just not used to not being crazy busy all the time.  This is gonna take some getting used to.

Now that I'm almost done with my novel, I'll leave you with some pictures:

I certainly never used to care about anyone else's ultrasound pictures [and I guess I don't really expect most of you to care], but now I look at baby girl's ultrasound pictures daily.  This one is my favorite because she's totally just chillin' in there.  [And I guess that's another piece of news that I totally just butchered...we are having a girl.  I knew it!  Towards the end there I was certain.]

And for fun, the growing bump at 18 weeks!  This shirt shows it off way better than any other shirt I've worn.

And just because this picture cracks me up.  I took like 10 pictures like this before I finally realized it was backwards.  So special.

If I've forgotten anything, I'll try to update you in a much shorter post.  You're welcome.  

Happy October everyone!