Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Weekends (this is more a travel log and life recap, so feel free to skip)

I'm am officially addicted to the weekends. Bad, I know. I wish it were possible to get away from that "living-for-the-weekend" mentality. I keep trying, but even on great days like today I find myself counting down to Friday. Why do we do that? I think part of it is A) I look forward to more sleep, and B) I get to spend more time with Bret.

(I just feel like I should insert here that I LOVE LOVE LOVE my job and feel super lucky and blessed. I don't dread the weekdays... I just am eager for the weekends!)

This weekend Bret took me on a special date for Fall-in-Love February. On Friday night we drove to Fredericksburg to see a show at the Rockbox. Possibly our favorite venue in all of Texas. I didn't realize how much Bret and I shared in a love for live music - maybe because we hadn't been to many live music events before - but we have just loved both times we've been to the Rockbox. They play music from famous musicians past (in a range of genres) but they also dress and act like them so its really humorous as well. It is also 100% family friendly which is great that we don't worry about inappropriate lyrics and jokes.

Friday night we stayed at a hotel in Fredericksburg and the next morning we drove to San Antonio. We attended a lovely session at the Temple and then ran into Becky and Jarom in the distribution center. Unfortunately they were on their way to a session so we couldn't chat forever, but it was such a fun and unexpected surprise to see one of my best friends in the whole world who lives 6+ hours away by chance! Tender mercy?!

After the temple we went to the San Antonio rodeo which was in a huge indoor arena - very different from Oakley, Utah in July! We loved it. My favorite event was mutton-bustin' - 4-5 year olds clinging on the back of sheep for dear life and seeing how far they can get across the arena. It was very funny! Following the rodeo events there was a concert; Jake Owen, a really popular country singer ("Barefoot Blue-Jean Night") was the performer and we thought he had an incredible voice... just wished all his songs weren't about beer and getting girls. There were a few good ones though. After the concert it was Chipotle, driving home, and going to sleep.

Bret wasn't feeling well on Sunday and had to stay home from church. I got called on Saturday night to sub the 12-13 yr old Sunday School class which went a lot better than I expected. They are a bit crazy, but they still let you "teach" them, whereas the Seminary kids need to be treated more like adults. We finished off the day by watching "17 Miracles," a beautiful movie about the Martin and Willey handcart companies.

I had a holiday on Monday but Bret didn't, so I got a nice relaxing afternoon to myself - a good mix of getting things done and just chillin. I wanted to surprise Bret with something nice at the end of the day so we went out for dinner with a left-over gift card and had so much fun eating together.

I know we are spoiled that we get to spend this much time together but I hope we can make an effort to still have "our time" when our family grows. I love that guy so much and I look forward to any chance to take a walk or watch a movie or just drive in the car with him.... which puts us back where we started.... counting down to the weekend so we can have another adventure together.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Fall-in-Love February PICTURE POST

So Fall-in-Love February has been GREAT! I highly recommend it! I also recommend being more organized than me. I made this advent calendar with the idea that every morning Bret could pull out a note hinting at what the activity or surprise was for that day. Well half of the days he hasn't gotten a note until after the fact, or yesterday, I left a note in but forgot to actually do what the note said (it told him to look for a surprise on his pillow that I never put there - oops). But either way, it has been fun and has led to a lot more meaningful activities together. Here are pictures from some of the things we've done.

Advent Calendar (I know there are not 30 days in February, by the way)
On the first day I made bret pink heart-shaped pancakes. Mmmm....

Dessert Party!

Aren't these little cards cute? That was a 99 cent Michael's stamp!



The slips of paper had things I love about him.
We had $10 for dinner and a date. We decided to buy a cheap pizza and then go to the mall with the leftovers, split up for 15 minutes, and buy each other  whatever gift we could find for $3. (Not easy, especially for guys - can't get a cheap pair of earrings of anything like that.) We had a lot of fun!

The $3 goods - an ice-cream scoop for me and pj's for Bret.

Bret scored free tickets to the children's performance of Dr. Doolittle.  The best part was this little girl in our ward and a tiny boy played the roll of a funny king jungle king and queen who argue over how to prepare Dr. Doolittle and his sidekicks for dinner.

Bret and Neal made a delicious dinner for Lori and I.  They set up a canopy inside, had candles, flowers, and fancy glasses, and Meg and Kate were our waitresses. So fun and thoughtful!

Bret and I didn't see each other until really late on Tuesday (Valentine's Day) but when I came home at lunch these were waiting for me. I know flowers don't last forever, but they sure make me happy. Didn't he do a good job!

This was intended to be a lot more fun than it was, but we were both tired and had things to get done so we ate homemade mac'n'cheese for dinner and watched a cheesy movie while we worked on stuff.

I made this heart garland which I thought turned out very cute EXCEPT that the hearts won't stay right side up no matter what!  I hung it through his car while he was in class (and then we put it up in our home later).

Lori and I took Bret and Neal to this FREE and FABULOUS event the ballet put on.  An awesome sultry jazz singer from Austin (Lex Land is her name) performed while we snacked on chocolate dipped strawberries and other "delicacies." We had a blast just sitting and chatting and listening. Then we went out for some dessert.

FINALLY!

Today Seminary FINALLY worked the way I wanted it to.

Fun? Check.
Students participated? Check.
Felt the Spirit present? Check.
Excited for tomorrow? Check.

It has been a really long time (at least it feels really long) since I could honestly check all those off, especially the last one. I am counting this as a tender mercy from our Heavenly Father who knew how discouraged I was feeling and wanted to remind me not to give up.

The lesson today was based on the story of Nehemiah (emphasis on ch. 6) and a talk by President Uchtdorf from April 2009 General Conference called "We are Doing a Great Work and Cannot Come Down." This successful lesson reminded me that the Lord called me to do a great work this year by teaching seminary and despite the distractions that Satan uses to try and make me quit trying (discouragement being his favorite one) I cannot come down at his call. "I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down" (Nehemiah 6:3).

Whatever your Great Work is... strengthening your home, marriage, testimony, etc... I hope that you won't get distracted by the insignificant and loose sight of the tremendous good you are striving for. Good luck!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Shouldering the Burden

This has been one of those weeks in Seminary where nothing seems to work out like I have planned. Sometimes it was my fault. Sometimes it was their fault. But either way, it was discouraging and frustrating. Yesterday class actually went quite well, but I still left feeling irritated and emotional. I didn't want to have that sadness in my heart all day so I said a simple but sincere prayer asking Heavenly Father to take my load. I just want to share my testimony that He can and does do that for us. It doesn't me we won't ever experience pain or sorrow, but it does mean that through the atonement Christ knows exactly how I feel and can take some of that burden away if I let Him. The rest of my day went so much better than I anticipated and today got off to a great start as well.

video
If you are feeling weighed down with a burden or if your heart is heavy, this is a fantastic video clip!

One is Silver and the Other Gold.




Saturday, February 4, 2012

Fiesta

Our church held a fiesta night for all the congregations in San Angelo. It was meant to be a missionary tool - bring a non-member friend so they can see the church and mingle with the people.
It was really fun. We brought some of Bret's classmates.
Dan, Steven, Adeeb, Stephanie, Luis, Melanie, Bret

A lot of my seminary kids were there and many of them volunteered to help clean tables and clear food. I had fun snapping pictures of them. Enjoy. 

 Celsee, Audrey, Brittney, Brandon (just baptized!)
 Ty & Logan
 Dusty
 Audrey & Brandon
 Alisha & Raquel (both graduated last year) & Caitlin
 Nathan (trying not to smile) & Brittney
 Caleb, Dusty, Logan
Brittney, Brandon, Fred

I think my Seminary kids are great, don't you? We couldn't get a picture of Ben and we missed Cameron, Andrea, Cody, Eric, Sofia, Daniel, Ashley, and Josh. 

Of course I couldn't help snapping a few pics of my favorite kiddos. Here are few of them...

 Tyson
 Riley
 Kate
Avery

We had a blast at this great church event. Hopefully some good comes out of it for the missionary work here in San Angelo. I feel so lucky to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Ballet

I teach this girl...
to flex her feet and roll on the floor and turn in and release her spine and breathe and be less of a dancer

AND I LOVE IT!

Fall-in-Love February

As you know, I declared last month to be "Joyful January". It was great. A lot of days I would stop myself and say, "Why don't you feel happy right now? Has anything bad happened today?" And usually the answer was no, so I would remind myself of all the reasons I had to be joyful. It was just fun to feel like my little efforts to recognize joyful moments had such a big impact on my overall state of happiness.

Well Joyful January is over, but I don't think the joy stops here. Fall-in-Love February has begun, and Bret and I are going all-out! We have planned some fun surprise dates for each other and I made a silly (but really cute) advent calendar that has a nice note or a hint at what he should expect each day. For example, today's was, "Fall-in-Love February has officially started. On Feburary 1st, expect to be 'hearted'." I made him pink heart-shaped pancakes for breakfast after seminary. :)

(A picture from one of our first dates... the first time he met my family at Grandpa Richard's birthday party. We look super young!)

I know this idea sounds so nerdy, but I invite ya'll to join me! Even if its not a daily thing, why not make the entire month of February dedicated to doing small and simple acts of kindness for those you love, especially your spouse. Sometimes we take the people we love most for granted, and I am so excited for a fun reason NOT to do that. I can't wait for all the memories we'll make together this month. If you have any great ideas for ways to show your appreciation for your spouse/family/friends, please share!

Hope your February is full of love!