Friday, July 30, 2010

Learning a Lot

That seems to be the best summary of this week... Learning a lot.

Bret, as you would expect, has been learning a LOT in school over the past three months. He just aced his anatomy test last week. (He won't be happy if I tell you HOW good he did, so I'll just say that if you assume he really did ace it, you'll only be one percent off!) He perfers that I don't brag about him so I usually don't, but I am really proud of how hard he studies. He takes his classes really seriously and I appreciate how much effort he puts into everything he does.

My mind has mostly been turning to mush, but this week I tried to combat that by reading a good book, "The Scarlet Pimpernel." I'm all about re-reading books (I'm so forgetful that it never feels redundant) so I pulled this one off our shelf and got hooked. It makes me want to see the play now! "We seek him here, we seek him there, those Frenchies seek him everywhere..."

I have also attended two work-related meetings and learned more about my job and the things associated with it, although I seemed to leave both meetings with nearly as many questions as answers. The first meeting was three hours of payroll, insurance, etc. It was a lot of new vocabulary (deductible, PPO, workers' comp, etc) but I feel really lucky that I get such great benefits even though I'm not an actual teacher! The second meeting was with the girl who I'll be "aiding." My biggest concern, however, is figuring out just how much "aiding" she wants me to do. I will feed and change her a couple times during the day and will be in her classrooms, but I will be more of a classroom aide unless she needs my help. She's awesome though. She has cerebral palsy and is in a wheel-chair. She can make some noises and can whisper some words, but if she needs to say more she types it into a machine that speaks for her. She's really smart and expressive though. I feel like we'll get along great, but I really don't want to let her down. I know Heavenly Father wanted me to get this job (because I can't think of any other reason why I'd qualify for this over Target) so I hope He doesn't let me down either! :)

One more thing I learned to do today: PAINT WALLS! I helped my visiting teaching companion, Robyn, paint her soon-to-be-nursery today. We only did the first coat, so it looked a little rough, but I think I did a good job and I'm glad that someday when I have a home to paint I will have had some experience!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

As Missionaries Do

We love the missionaries here in San Angelo! On Saturday I went teaching with the Sisters while Bret went teaching with the Elders. (They just so happened to ask each of us, individually, to join them on the same night!) I loved being a tag-along missionary! Today the Sisters called to see if I wanted to come teach another family. Of course I had nothing else to do so I was excited for the opportunity. But...

After such a great, spirit-filled lesson the last time I joined them, I'm afraid I got a skewed perspective of missionary work. The truth: IT IS HARD! They are teaching a woman who is eager to learn and can feel the spirit. However, her husband sat in on the lesson today and he was all over the place. He had lots of questions, which was GREAT, but he countered each answer with his own biases which were extremely inconsistent and confusing. He went on major tangents and told awkward stories; it was hard to feel the spirit. He wasn't trying to argue, but he wasn't willing to really listen. The Holy Ghost will always confirm to our minds and hearts that this gospel is true, BUT ONLY if we have "a broken heart and a contrite spirit." We must earnestly want to know the truth and be willing to act on the answers we recieve.

Teaching with the missionaries, praying for the investegatorts, and studying with a new perspective has really strengthened my own convictions of the truthfulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the only religion containing all the components that existed when Christ was on the earth: Prophets, Priesthood, Faith, Repentance, Baptism by Immersion, the Holy Ghost, Covenants, Revelation and Temples. I am grateful for the Plan of Salvation, for a just and merciful God who gave us the opportunity to come to this earth to learn and grow. Graciously he provided us with a Savior whose perfect example and incredible sacrifice give us hope for an eternal life with him. I am grateful for the Holy Ghost who testifies of truth and comforts us as we go through life. I know these things are true and I look forward to sharing this testimony with others.

"I want to be a missionary, to teach and preach and work as missionaries do!"

Monday, July 26, 2010

Thought for the Day:

“Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.”

- James Barrie
(Author of Peter Pan)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

These are a few of our FAVORITE THINGS...

Beautiful Fresh Flowers.
Maddie brought flowers when she came over for dinner on Sunday. Isn't that thoughtful!

Late night snacks. (When too many things sound good, eat them all!)

1. Our bread-maker. I tried a new recipe today and made cinnamon-swirl bread.
2. Buying mega-amounts of meat to freeze it. I won't have to buy ground beef for months!
3. "Lemi Shine." This one is the BEST ITEM OF THE DAY! Our dishes have been getting a terrible residue on them and I thought it was the detergent but it's actually the hard water build-up. A woman in my ward recommended "Lemi-Shine" so I drove stright to the store, bought it, used it, and REJOICED. My dishes are shiny and clean. Yay!
4. Also featured is the "Kitchen Witchen" who watches over our food and magically prevents kitchen catastrophes. (Sometimes she gets lazy though, because occasionally they still happen!)

Our Bread! Yummier than it looks.

Suprise packages from the Wardles!
Bret's mom sent us a package with t-shirts from the Wardle Olympics and a DVD of finest moments. Our favorite part was when Jay, Millie, Karina and Marissa came out dressed like zombies doing the "Thriller" dance for the family talent show!

The new addition to our family: George.
Yesterday I was bored and went on an adventure to Goodwill. That place was like a gold mine! I got this George Forman for $5 plus a black dress, a retro pink skirt, and a chunky belt for $10. Rock it.

Bret wondered why I was "all dressed up with no where to go." I told him it was kind-of like playing dress-ups. I was happy 'cause he told me he liked my new skirt! He's a keeper.

And here is a picture of Bret heading off to his first day of "Executive Secretary duties." I just put it up 'cause I think he's so handsome. :) I'd also like to mention that he did very well on his Neuroscience test this week and I'm really proud of him.

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens are okay, but these things have made us really happy this week!

Monday, July 19, 2010

One More Thing Biting...

I neglected to mention one thing that's biting in the last post... the misquitos! I have 23 bites below my knees! I woke up around 2am this morning frantically trying to itch my legs in my sleep. I got out of bed and sat on the couch, trying to think of how to get the itching to stop. I decided to try the Cortizone cream again, even though it has never worked. As I sat in half-sleep-mode on the bathroom floor, trying to will the cream to magically cure my crazy itching, I realized the cream expired in 1998. Yep, my grandma gave it to me a couple years ago when I had an itch and apparently we never checked the date! Needless to say, I gave up, scratched a little more (which only made it worse... it always does yet its so tempting!) then got back in bed and exercised extreme self control as I stared at the ceiling thinking, "Don't itch, don't move, don't even readjust. Fall asleep. Fall asleep. Don't itch!" Whew!

Tonight I made Bret come to the store with me so I could get some REAL anti-itch cream. Wish me a peaceful sleep!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Biting into Arms and Brownies

Yes, that's right... today in nursery a little boy who was visiting BIT another little boy's arm. 2 mintues later I could still see the marks. 15 mintues later it was still red. That is NOT what kids are supposed to do in nursery! Then again, they're also not supposed to dump 5 cups of water on the table, pull eachother's hair, or steal toys from someone and then hit them on the head with it. I love being in nursery, but 17 kids (including the aggressive visitor boy) plus 2 nursery workers equals not a very peaceful Sabbath.

Bret's Sunday was pretty eventful too. He taught the Priestood lesson today and got called as the ward's Executive Secretary. He also has a new best friend, a two year-old named Tyson. He's one of the Skidmore kids who I babysat on Friday and who came over this morning before church and sat with us through Sacrament since their mom was out of town and dad was at Bishopbric meetings. This little boy thinks Bret is the coolest thing ever (and I agree). Bret's gonna be a great dad someday, that's for sure.

And finally, our day ended by biting into some delicious brownies that the Skidmore girls helped me bake. Yum! We had Maddie and Luis over for dinner and feel so blessed to have such great friends. We admire both of them.

What an interesting and wonderful day!

Friday, July 16, 2010

We've Finally Got a Social Life

Usually this is me...
Doing little projects by myself in our house. I get a lot of quality time with myself! But this weekend I had so much company! On Thursday, Bret and I went swimming at the apartment pool.

We had a blast soaking in the sun. I love spending time with my best friend in the whole world!
Later that day I got to play tennis with a friend in Bret's program. We're getting pretty good! And like Bret predicted, we girls wouldn't be able to socialize quite enough over the net, so we eventually took a walk and had a much needed "girls chat." Thanks Maddie!
On Friday I babysat for the Skidmores, a family in our ward, all day. It was really fun! We played lots of games and spent about 3 hours at the pool. An added bonus was that I got to drive their golf cart around!
I got to see these kids again today (plus many more) at the Primary party. (Whose idea was it to celebrate Pioneer Day on the 17th instead of next Saturday on the 24th?) I ran the relay race where they took pioneer/cowboy clothes on and off. I've gotta say, my experience teaching dance and running summer camps really comes in handy when things don't go as planned and I have to improvise!
Tomorrow the Skidmore kids are coming over before church while their dad is at meetings, I get to hang out with all my 2-year-old buddies in nursery, and we're having Maddie and another friend, Luis, over for dinner. FHE with some church friends on Monday, Relief Society activity on Tuesday, and Sister missionaries over on Friday.
I LOVE HAVING A SOCIAL LIFE! Whether it's with my husband, his school friends, adults in our ward, or a bunch of kids, its SO NICE TO HAVE FRIENDS!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

"Never Supress a Generous Thought"

I remember hearing this advice at one of my favorite devotionals at BYU, given by sister Bonnie D. Parkin. It's hard advice to follow. I often think about doing something nice and then decide not to. Sometimes our generous thoughts seem impractical, but I've often found myself wishing I had followed through.

Yesterday was a special day when I decided NOT to supress a small generous thought and recieved a great blessing. I was going for a run through our neighborhood and passed an old man who looked like he was getting out of his van. We waved hello and I kept on running. I realized though, that he still hadn't gotten out of his car and wondered if he needed help. There was a handicapped sign in his car and he looked pretty frail. I ran past one more house, listing all the reasons why I shouldn't turn around, then decided it couldn't hurt to offer and went back to the van.

I asked if I could give him a hand. He said "No, but I can give you one," and started clapping. Very clever. He told me he was just waiting for his daughter to come pick him up. We struck up a conversation and I stayed there with him for about 10 minutes. He was very chatty but not overbearing; I could have left but didn't want to. I found out he is going to North Carolina this week to hopefully get a lung transplant. He said, "God is good. He knows what we need and He watches out for us." We talked about San Angelo and where I was from. He asked if Bret and I had any children and when I said, "Not yet," he told me to, "Get on it!" He showed me a picture of his 5 grown daughters and told me a little about each of them. Two are married to pastors and one is a minister of children's education. I could tell they were a very religious family. He invited me to stop by their house anytime, and you know what... I think I will.

I am so grateful that yesterday I decided not to supress a generous thought and had the opportunity to meet Mr. Williams. Our little chat made my day and helped me remember that "God is good" and He loves me very much.

Monday, July 12, 2010

A Selfish Post for Remembering

I'm getting really excited to start teaching dance again. It has made me reminisce about all of the dancers I love...
BYU Children's Creative Dance Class (the ones in white). These girls were young enought to be childlike and daring but old enough to have sophisticated ideas. They taught me a lot about patience (yes, they sometimes tested it just a little bit) and having personality.

My little jazz class at Orem Dance Theatre. If I could, I'd teach them forever. They are just as sweet as they look. Funny, nice, and good learners! I love them.

"Sugar, Sugar... aw Honey, Honey... YOU ARE MY CANDY GIRLS!"
(They were the "candy" in the studio's performance of Hansel and Gretel... very fitting for these darling girls who are as sweet as sugar and have lots of spunk.)

I don't have pictures of my older jazz girls but teaching them was a blast. We laughed and we learned a lot about dance and life. They accepted each challenge I threw at them, including the very technical jazz piece I taught them for Hansel and Gretel. (They were the "black cats" in the forest... everyone loved their dance!)

Makaela and Logan, two of my favorite Dance Co. students who performed a section of my senior project duet in their performance and did GREAT. It was a very mature piece and they are young dancers. I am so proud of them... still!

Westlake Dance Company! I can't believe how talented this group of high school students are. They have technical skill, but what makes them unique is their love for dance as an art. They know how to make dances that are funny, beautiful, complex, structured and artistic. Sometimes I want to call them up to ask for choreography ideas. They inspire me.

I think this is why I love teaching so much... because I get all these wonderful people influencing my life and teaching ME new things. I miss my students in Utah but I am excited to learn from a new set of students at the San Angelo Civic Ballet this year. Teaching is the best job ever!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Good and Broken

As a couple, Bret and I are doing so good! Bret just found out that he did great on his anatomy test last week and I am still on a high from getting a job that I'm excited for. We love Texas and just can't get over how lucky we are to have a great apartment in a wonderful neighborhood. We are so happy!
We are also a little broken. Bret rolled his ankle pretty bad playing basketball today. He's been self-diagnosing himself. I've been messing up my knees running. Luckily its all just minor stuff... nothing a bag of frozen corn and some ibprofen can't help!

Another thing that was very good but very "broken" was this cake we made to take to a combined family home evening on Monday. I used a new recipe for Lemonade Cake (thanks Suz!) and it tasted delicious but looked... well...
It started out looking ok, but by the time we got to our friends' home the top layer had almost slid off the bottom. I tried so hard to make it look pretty. Sigh. Maybe I'll just have to make it again. :)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Shew-be-do-be-do dance dAnCe DANCE!

Tonight I watched So You Think You Can Dance. I feel...

Amazed. These are phenomenal dancers. Dance is a big part of my life, but dance IS life to these people and it shows. The dancers are incredible and so are the choreographers.
Irritated. Who does the costumes this year? Or have they always been this bad? Sleezly, ugly, barely existent costumes. Yuck Yuck Yuck. And I have to say that while the costumes play a major role in the sexualization of the dances, the choreography itself is often extremely sensual. Let's just say that movement + costumes = not much left to imagination. Luckily not all the are this way, but way too many are. Ugh.

Antsy. I want to dance so bad. I'd love to take a class... but its summer and all the studios are closed. I'd love to teach a class... same problem. I'd love to dance in an open studio all by myself... not experienced in breaking and entering. I'd love to choreograph... I feel rusty.

While I'm babbling about dance, here are som other thoughts I've been having lately:

I am so grateful for my dance experiences at BYU. Even though I haven't been able to use my degree like I expected, I will never regret majoring in dance education. Dance is a silly, insubstantial, unimportant thing to many people. Not to me. Much of the dance we see in the media is silly and unimportant, but the potential of dance goes so far beyond those flashy, entertianment-oriented things we see on TV. Dance has a rich history, a powerful present and a promising future... you just have to know where to look and not be afraid to appreciate it when you find it. I feel like dance has given me the perfect opportunity to learn about myself, my capacities, my goals, my opinions, my standards, my beliefs and my desires.

I miss dance. Can you tell? Shew-be-do-be-do dance dAnCe DANCE.

Monday, July 5, 2010


Here's to the strangest 4th of July ever. I already mentioned the dinky little parade on the 3rd. Well when we set off to the firework show over the lake we weren't sure how high to set our expectations. Having been informed that the show started at 9:30 we set off for the lake, not sure where we'd have the best view, but the crowds of people everywhere led us to believe that we were in the right place. We picked a spot right next to the water where a family was barbequing hamburgers in the trunk of their car and listening to Mexican music (yes, on the 4th!). People were setting off their own big fireworks all over the place so we kept thinking it was starting, then realizing that people here set off pretty cool personal fireworks.
Finally we saw a lot that kept coming from the same spot. It was after 9:30 and we thought that must be it. Half of the fireworks from that spot were hidden by a big cluster of trees that we just couldn't see around. Thinking we were missing the show, we decided to relocate, then decided they weren't cool enough to relocate for (rather sporadic, not that great). We went home feeling disappointed and realizing the fireworks were just like the parade: a big let down. We turned on the TV and watched an incredible firework display in Boston and tried to pretend we were there seeing them live.
Around 10:15 we started hearing lots of firework bangs. We thought it was just personal fireworks, but when they got louder and more consistent, Bret ran around the corner to find that the real firework show had started... and it was good. So we got in the car, drove a few blocks away and parked just in time to see the final booming eruption.
We clapped, got back in the car and went back home. Next year we'll know... the fireworks aren't lame, they just aren't on time!
PS- None of these pictures are of the fireworks we saw, they just represent how lame/cool the fireworks we saw were. (First pic-not real exciting, Second pic- HOLY COW!, Third pic- sweet.)

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Patience Gets You Points

We all have phrases that we fall into a habit of using frequently at times in our life. When we were dating, Bret's two favorites were "Don't overcook your grits" and "Patience gets you points." I'm still trying to figure out the grits one, but the second phrase has proven to be true. After two months of trying to find a job, I got a call this morning saying that they would like to hire me as a special education aide in the San Angelo Independent School District.


I will be working one-on-one with a high school girl who is in great mental condition but is stuck in a very low-functioning body. I will go to all her regular, general ed classes with her to help write, hand her papers, etc. I have a feeling we will become great friends. This job will also be great because it will allow me to teach almost all of the dance classes I'm scheduled for! Patience gets you points. We are so happy.

What else is going on in San Angelo?
** It has been raining for the past week and we kinda like it that way. It has been muggy but perfect temperature.
** Bret got let out of class early on Friday and gets Monday and Tuesday off! He loves anatomy and told me today, "I just want to disect bodies for the rest of my life." I'm not sure whether to be happy that he loves his anatomy class or creeped out that he finds so much pleasure in it!
** My new hobby is running and I'm am so excited because I unintentionally ran 10 miles yesterday! My energy was great, but unfortunately my knees and one of my feet are really hurting. Any suggestions (besides streching and ice) from you runners?
** I ordered pictures from our wedding and am going to start scrapbooking that special event. Yay for projects.
** We made our most successful pizza crust ever yesterday! Perfect thickness and softness.
** Today we went to the Independence Day parade in San Angelo. Compared to Provo and Salt Lake parades it was pathetic... infact, Bret said that even Burley's parade completely dominates this one. But it was fun to attempt to celebrate the 4th with the community.

Well, that's what's going on in our lives lately. We couldn't be more blessed.