Sunday, October 27, 2013

trunk or treating

This Saturday was our ward's Fall Festival.  This included trunk or treating.  Since Minnesota is so cold already, families decorated doors instead of cars, and kids walked around the building to collect their treats.

Our Saturday started with a costco trip for an eye check up.  Looks like I need glasses for distance/driving.  Cool.  After that, we thought it would be fun to drive up to the Chick-fil-A in Maple Grove, since the one buy us hasn't opened yet.  It was 3:30 in the afternoon when we got there AND the line was out the door.  Drive thru was just as long.  Super bummer.  We ended up at Olive Garden and before we knew it, it was 5:00.  I thought the Fall Festival started at 7 - turns out it was 6.

We then rushed through a few thrift stores and walmarts, looking for suspenders.  No luck (where do you find suspenders these days?!).

We rushed to get ready and I think we pulled off the Alfalfa and Darla look alright, even without the suspenders!

The Fall Carnival was a success and I am glad we were able to go.  There is something magical about being around kids for the holidays.  It was fun to see all my little nursery kids dressed up.  They weren't too sure about what was going on, but they sure did look adorable!

haunted house

I love Halloween.

I like scary things. As a kid, my friend, Ari, and I, would sit and read scary stories together - I don't know how we ever fell asleep.  My family watched X-Files together.  In fact, for one of Kelsey's birthdays she got a whole season of X-Files on VHS.  I enjoy watching Ghost Hunters and alien type documentaries.  Once, I even chased a UFO.

And then I married Ashton, who does not enjoy any of these things.

After we went on a few dates, back in 2009, I tried to get him to go to a Haunted House with me and some friends - he wouldn't have it.  Well, this year, we are married and that means, we were able to go to a Haunted House together!

We went with the Day's and it was a pretty good Haunted House.  They did a good job of turning lights off and  then jumping out at you when the lights turned on.  Ashton handled it well, though his face in this picture may say otherwise.  We finished the night with some Culver's custard just to make sure everyone was happy.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Throwback Thursday: how i studied for finals

My sophomore year at BYU, my roommates and I decided to have a study party in the library.  It was the best.

We spent the last hour dancing.  Here is the proof:

I hope you enjoyed the video, because it is one of my very favorites.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Dear Robi,

Today wasn't my best day.  To simply put it - I was off.

And then I realized what today was.

Robi,  I still think of you often.  I can't believe it has been four years.  I talk to Ashton about you all of the time.  I still see things that remind me of you on a regular basis.  Through you, I still make new friends.  Because of you, many of my relationships with old friends are continually strengthened.  And all of these things make my heart so happy. 

There was another day last month, where I felt much like I did today.  Just couldn't get into the groove.  As I was heading home from work, I heard "Party in the USA".  Now, Miley isn't my favorite, but I had to blast the song because it made me think of you and smile, a lot.  I spent a few minutes throwing my hands up, nodding my head, and moving my hips.  The best part was that I could see you dancing too.  The rest of the drive, I reminisced on our adventures.

Later that day, I realized it was your birthday and that me listening to that song was not a coincidence.  

I have realized a pattern, one that I am not proud of.  I tend to wake up on September 28th and October 23rd not in the best of moods - and I often don't realized what day it is until that evening, after I have spent most of my day grumpy.  You would never approve of that and I know it!

So, here is my new goal.  September 28th and October 23rd are going to be celebrations!  I will wake up on these days with a special smile, one that will be there because of you.  I am allowed to get emotional, because I still miss you, but I am going to make these two days yours and be Robi happy.

I am saving a gigantic hug for you.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

falling in love with minnesota

Friday was the most perfect fall day we have had.

People kept mentioning apple orchards, so I thought it would be fun to go check one out.  We took the scenic route to the orchard and I fell in love with Minnesota.  I have learned to like it and call it home, but this is the moment that I fell in love and realized I enjoy being here!  Kind of a big deal.

We drove by lakes surrounded in vibrant fall colored leaves (and sadly, I didn't get any pictures).  The lakes reflected the colorful trees.  The clouds in the sky were big and beautiful.  The sun was out, and while it was a tad on the chilly side, if you stood real still, you could feel its warmth.

While I didn't get pictures of the scenic drive, I took a ton at the orchard.

 Handsomest guy I know

 Apple doughnuts and Brats covered in apple. Yum!

 The boys.

Tire swing photo op

 So much beauty

 Muddy corn maze

More beauty


He loves when I give him kisses...obviously. 

love at the apple orchard

So fun to have family in town! 

 Cartwheels!  Ashton lands them perfectly.

 And that is how I land my cartwheel - beautiful huh?

It was a perfect fall day in Minnesota.  Probably one of my favorites so far.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

mall of america & mirror maze

On Thursday, we went to the Mall of America.  I have only been once before and it was Ashton's first time.  Casey was so excited about Nickelodeon Universe!  Coree had a paper for school to finish, so while she found a quiet place to work, we walked around the mall.  That place is huge!  My goal was to find some real snow boots and I found them! After lunch, we went through the Mirror Maze.  I had no idea it was there, but when Casey was doing his "research" of things to do in Minnesota, he found it.  We had so much fun, but our heads were spinning for a bit when we got out.

 Double Casey's

So many Ashton's.

After exploring the Mall of America, we took a drive through downtown Minneapolis.  We were going to stop and walk through some of the skyways, but the Mall had taken it out of us.  We were exhausted and decided to just look at the skyways from the car.  Ashton and Casey went and played some church basketball later that night while us ladies stayed in and watched Hocus Pocus. 

when family visits

I had fall break on Thursday and Friday and it just so happened that the Smiths in Utah did too!  Ashton and I had been talking of different things we could do over fall break and when he mentioned his family might come out, I almost cried.  I love living in Minnesota, but lately, I sure have been missing family.  Michele, Coree, and Casey decided to come and visit for the short break and it was just what I needed.  

They got here on Wednesday evening after two long days of driving.  On top of bringing themselves, they also brought some of my favorite things.  Our little apartment was full of happy hearts.

 Mate cocido and home dipped chocolate covered cinnamon bears. Yum.


Monday, October 14, 2013

To all my single ladies...

Last night, I was chatting with a sister or a friend - a single girl.  She was telling me about the boys in her life and at one point said, "I just can't wait to get married."

All of the sudden, I was having flashbacks and I wanted to share them because I think every single LDS girl feels this way at some point.


I was 18 and off to my freshman year at BYU.  Everyone in my home ward was prepping me, telling me that I would be married faster than I could blink.  That is what I wanted and now expected.  Oh how wrong.  I got to BYU with my chin up, ready to date and find the man of my dreams.  Freshman year went by and all I got was one group date.  Let me tell you about this group date.  My date bailed last minute and found someone to fill in for him.  Eh.  My sister was also on this date because she was in town visiting.  Guess what?!  At the end of the date, my date asked me for my sister's number.  And that is how I felt about dating my freshman year.

Then came year number two, living in Liberty Square with 5 of my favorite girls.  All of the sudden, boys between the ages of 19 and 21 weren't around and I was hanging out with 22 year old men.  I thought for sure this was the year.  I was so ready to be a wife and do wifey things.  I got my first kiss this year and dabbed around with dating a tad.  I did spend countless of weekend nights alone though.  I left for summer with an Argentine semi-not really-boyfriend.

That summer, I went to Mexico and I am so grateful for that opportunity.  I loved it and it was there that I realized I still didn't know who I was.  It was there that I caught a glimpse of who I wanted to become.

My junior year was just a lot of fun.  Some dating, maybe a bit more than my sophomore year, but I was in the special ed program and school was finally everything I wanted to study.  I started to realize that maybe I didn't need to be in such a rush to get married.  I continued to find ways to make myself better. I kept growing. (And now I was amazed that I ever thought I was mature/ready for marriage my freshman year...).

Senior year came and I made some big leaps on the dating front.  I had my first boyfriend and my first heartbreak.  I learned so much.  All the dating I had done the previous years helped me get back onto my feet and get out there again.  I had a better idea of what I needed in a relationship and how I could be better in a relationship too.  Graduation came and went.  I made it through all 4 years at BYU without getting married.  I thought that was such a huge feat and I hated it, BUT it is happening a lot more often than we think.

I saw countless friends get married.  It started to hurt my heart a bit.  Sometimes I would just feel so lonely.  And this loneliness didn't happen only after graduation.  It started my freshman year and was felt often throughout all my single years.  It was in those lonely moments, when my heart just longed to love and be loved, that I relied on my Savior's atonement.

 Alma 7:11&12:
11. And he shall go forth, suffering pains and aafflictions andbtemptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will ctake upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.
 12. And he will take upon him adeath, that he may bloose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to csuccorhis people according to their infirmities.
Christ felt it all.  Yes, He atoned for our sins, but He also suffered all our pains, afflictions, temptations, and infirmities. That stinging loneliness that I felt so often was a pain.  It was an affliction.  And through it, I turned to the one person who I knew understood what I was feeling.  I developed a very real and very close relationship to my Savior during those years.

Once, I almost got engaged, but something in my heart was off.  I felt so sick.  After we had come up with plans for our future, plans that I fell in love with, I knew it wasn't right.  Girls, never ever feel like you are stuck once you've said yes.  You deserve so much more.

After that, I realized how much I needed the gospel to be a part of the life of my spouse.  That lead me to the next man in my life. I dated him twice because I really thought it would be him.  He was that spiritual strength I needed, but of course, he wasn't the one.  Telling him that, especially twice, was heartbreaking, BUT I learned so much from him.  Again, I had a better idea of who I needed to be and what I needed in a spouse.

30 Rock introduced me to the concept of a "settling soulmate" and though I joked about it often, sometimes it sounded like a great idea.  A settling soulmate is "the person you were meant to settle for."  It isn't the ideal situation, but it is one that both sides could, hopefully, benefit from.  Ehhh... Liz Lemon's response to the idea of a settling soulmate - "Settling soulmates?  That is grim.  And I've played Monopoly alone."  Settling is not worth it under any circumstance.

I had so many good guy friends at BYU.  They are awesome guys and we always had so much fun.  For awhile I was convinced that I was struggling to be in a relationship because I compared my dates with my friends.  That wasn't fair, but these guys 1. always treated me better and 2. already knew me.  It was comfortable and I didn't have to worry about rejection with friends.  I didn't marry any of them, but again, they showed me so much of what I was looking for in a spouse.  Find and surround yourself with good guys.  It's ok to let them help you build your confidence.

Finally, after trying everything (online dating, blind dates, trying to make it work with an ex - again, dating within the ward, dating your substitute) I found Ashton and it all just happened.  Everything fell into place and once I said yes, I never doubted it!  I was always happy and continue to be happy.

Even in those moments of loneliness and longing for a relationship, I learned to love life and have fun!  I made yearly trips to Vegas for the basketball tournament.  I traveled with friends to football gamess.  I went on TWO cruises.  I went to New York multiple times.  My single years were full of spontaneous road trips, good friends, new adventures, and a whole lot of fun.  On top of all those exciting single activities, I learned how to be independent.  I became successful in a career that I love.  I bought myself a car.  I supported myself financially and did all those grown up things. Just knowing that I was independent successfully for years is so empowering.

Mostly what I want to say is don't rush.  Don't feel pressured.  Learn to love yourself so that you can let someone else love you.  Discover your independence.  Don't settle - there is no such thing as a settling soulmate!  Don't lose happiness because so and so got married and you are still single.  Those negative emotions are a waste of energy.

Never ever ever everrrrr feel like you aren't worth it.  That you aren't beautiful enough.  That if maybe you lost 15 pounds handsome man would love you.  Never think that he only dated you to get to your best friend.  Don't talk yourself into thinking married life isn't for you if it is.  I regret each and every time I thought any of those things.  More wasted energy and time spent moping.

Enjoy the single life.  This summer, I heard someone give Ashton's brother some real good advice. "Once you're married, you'll never be single again."  It's true!  So make the most of it!  Have fun.  Spoil yourself.  Be the best you that you can while you are single.  Learn to be independent and find the power in it!  Learn to be confident without being in a relationship!  Learn to love life by yourself! Go out and celebrate you!  Because you are worth it.

You never know when it is going to happen.  So don't give up.

I won't lie, marriage is sweet.  I love my husband and I love being a wife.  I am thrilled to be married, but I wouldn't trade any of my single memories to have gotten married any earlier than I did.  I hope that makes sense.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Throwback Thursday: Our first dance

Today was a long day.  Probably one of the longer ones I have had for years.  We had parent teacher conferences from 3:00 to 8:30.  I thought we were done at 8...let me tell you how disappointing it was to hear I still had another half hour at school!

Anyway, I got home and Ashton immediately left to play some church basketball.  I decided I needed a nice long shower to unwind.

I had some nice, calming music on when the song from our first dance started playing.  Overwhelmed by Tim McMorris.  I can't believe it has been more than 4 months since Ashton and I were married.  That day still consumes most of my thoughts.  It was a dream come true type of day.

 "There's something in your smile that gives me strength to carry on."

"Oh, I've dreamt that a time like this would come fulfill my life."

"From the first time I saw you
I knew that you’d be mine
And from the first glance you gave
My world it slowed, you stopped the time

And in that moment I could see all of the things that we would be
You were the girl I was waiting for, that’d I’d ask to marry me

Like the beauty of the sun you light my life so I can see
You make me laugh and show me how, just how good this life can be
And in our moments filled with joy, is where I live, where I am free
Lay in my arms, I’ll hold you tight, just like you like, continually

And I am, overwhelmed, by you
Am, over come with joy
You've, taken me higher, and shown me what love can do
Where would I go, or be, without you

I could sing a thousand songs about you still that would not do
There’s a million tiny things that make the things that you do, you
I wouldn't trade our time together, wouldn't trade for anything
Cause nothing else here in the world can bring the happiness you bring

And I am, overwhelmed, by you
Am, over come with joy
You've, taken me higher, and shown me what love can do
Where would I go, or be, without you"

The words to the song so perfectly describe my love for Ashton.  Sometimes, I am convinced that I feel so much more than the normal person.  It isn't unusual for me to talk about how things make my heart feel.  From the time I met Ashton, my heart knew and that love quickly consumed me.  It overwhelmed me in the most amazing way.  I love how this song captures the overwhelming feeling of true love.

We are still learning about each other and I am continually amazed at how made for each other we are.


My favorite weekend.

Twice a year, we are blessed with a weekend of General Conference.  That weekend happened to be just this past weekend.   And my heart is still so full.

It was our first conference weekend as marrieds and I loved watching it next to my handsome hubby.

We spent Saturday morning with the Day's and a new couple friend who just moved here from Utah. It started with a waffle party, followed by the morning session of conference, and then topped off with hot chocolate.

Saturday afternoon was more conference.  We watched it from home, snuggled in blankets, while the rain fell outside.  Like I said, thunder, lightening, and just rain in general, always remind me of the power of my Heavenly Father.

Saturday night, Ashton went off to the Priesthood session with all the guys.  While they were off doing their thing, I went back to the Day's house for some quality time with Amber.  There was pizza, lots of talking, and Fluxx.

Sunday was another rainy day, just begging for us to snuggle up and enjoy conference.  We went on a nice fall walk in between sessions.

Someday soon, I hope to get around to posting some thoughts on the talks from conference (because they touched my heart), but until then, you can always find them here.  Go.  Read them.  Watch them.  You can even listen to them.  They will do you good, I promise.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

third period.

I have one class everyday.  Just one.  The rest of my classes are every other day.  And of course this everyday class includes my toughest kid.  Friday was the toughest.

I dwelt on it, probably longer than I should have.  I was discouraged, and frankly, plain out bummed.  

My classes did alright on Monday, but the student who had given me a hard time, wouldn't acknowledge me.  He sat quietly, didn't cause any chaos, but he also didn't seem happy.  It broke my heart.  I tried striking up a conversation with him when class was getting out and he only said a few words.  Today, I tried harder.  I felt bad, though I know I wasn't at fault (I am not so good at being a disciplinarian and often relied on my aides for that last year).  Anyway, at the end of third period today, I found this folded up on my desk:

I am so sorry for the last day that I behave bad.  
I won't do it again to help the classroom.  So I am sorry.

It instantly melted my heart and was exactly the reminder I needed.  Today, my toughest student also became my favorite student.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Wonderful Wednesday

Last night, Ashton and I visited the St. Paul Temple with the Days.

It was perfect, just what I needed.  Time stops while I am in the temple.  I am not worried about my list of To Do's.  My heart is filled with joy.  My problems disappear and all I feel is my Heavenly Father's pure and sincere love.  What a blessing the temple has been in my life.

While we were inside, a nice, big storm rolled in.  As we sat, we could hear the rumbling thunder and pitter patter of rain.  Thunder makes me feel like a little kid.  It is so much bigger than us and a reminder to me of the power of our Heavenly Father.  I love thunder.

Following our session at the temple, we went to a local burger place called :D Spot.  Oh my goodness.  It was delicious.  Ashton's face just says it all.  Yum!