Have a Very Merry Christmas

My talented cousin Brooke took some Christmas pictures for us when we went home to California for Thanksgiving. The first time we sent out Christmas cards, 5 people got them. We didn't send any last year because let's be honest, without kids or a dog it's pretty silly. And this year, 6 people got them. I just really like the Christmas card tradition. Can we please all agree to send each other Christmas cards next year?


Low Fashion

For the last few weeks, I have been conducting a highly scientific experiment. Anytime Jason compliments a non-Sunday outfit I take a picture of it. I have completed analyzing the data, and the results are fascinating.
Apparently, Jason really likes my most unfashionable outfits. Anytime I'm dressed comfortably to face inclement weather that seems to be a win in his book.
Today he said to me, "You've had probably a hundred great outfits in a row. Ever since you stopped that fashion blog, you started dressing cute all the time."
In case you are wondering what Jason's definition of cute is, please see above. And if I've had a hundred successes in a row... Obviously, I look like a train wreck all the time.


A little tip

Maybe you already know this trick. If so, WHY DID YOU NEVER TELL ME?! I just found this out. And I think it is positively brilliant. The other night I made this amazingly delicious and unsurprisingly unhealthy corn chowder. It was my intention to make some bread to go with it, because those chilies make it hot, therefore bread is a must. But while the dough should have been rising... I was at something called work. Sitting at my desk. Reading the recipe. And realizing that at that very moment, the dough should have been rising.
So I decided to go with the ole grocery fail-safe. Did you know that you can go to your local grocery store bakery (I went to Safeway) and ask the baker for a loaf of unbaked dough? They might not know what you're talking about, but if you tell them that you'd like to purchase some dough, they usually oblige. One dollar and 30 minutes later, you have a beautiful warm loaf coming out of your oven and basically look like a domestic superhero. (Or you can freeze it and look like a domestic superhero at another place and time. It's like having a cape in your freezer.)

The more you know...


Christmastime in the Mile High City

My brother Sam and his wife Michelle were passing through Colorado this weekend as they move back west from Pennsylvania. So, we took them into Denver to take in all the Christmas goodness. I was glad that we happened across the Denver Christkindl Market which was full of Christmas goodies from all over the world. We ended our night at Crave Dessert Bar where this guy and I became fast friends.


Free Treats

Last Christmas, I watched longingly as gifts rolled in for my boss from businesses and clients my company worked with. Well at the start of 2012, I took over a large part of our client and vendor relations. So now, when those packages arrive, they arrive in twos. One addressed to my boss, and one addressed to me. Which is basically the pinnacle of success for me. You guys, I've made it.

I now have a 4.3 pound box of gourmet brownies sitting on my kitchen counter. Well, it was 4 pounds when I brought it home. I think we might be down to 2.7 by now.


Merry Christmas Dad

These are for you.

And these are so you don't have to get a kink in your neck or turn your computer sideways because I can assure you that it would not be worth it.


Healing Hearts

Last week’s story isn’t quite complete without the other side of things. While I was fighting to heal my heart, my dad was fighting for his heart too. Fighting to keep his newly transplanted heart out of rejection and strong enough to go through a terrifying bone marrow transplant and countless rounds of chemotherapy.

My father was diagnosed with Amyloidosis, a rare and fatal disease that is similar to cancer, except that instead of bad cells, you have bad proteins.  These proteins turn on your organs; my dad’s heart was first to be attacked. He miraculously received a heart transplant and a few months later, a month after I moved back home, my dad went off to receive a bone marrow transplant with the hope that this would get rid of his amyloidosis and prevent it from attacking his new heart. It was scary. He got so sick. And then it appeared that it didn’t work. The back-up plan was chemotherapy.

During those months, we’d wait for updates. Is his heart in rejection? What level? What about his amyloidosis count? Is it too high? Is the outlook good? It’s too soon. He’s so young. He can’t die.
And every once in awhile I’d feel so selfish. I was too sad and too worried about myself that I wasn’t allowing enough worry for my dad. It was hard to keep the sorrows fairly balanced.

My dad was at a hospital a few hours away and my mom was by his side through this ordeal. That left me home with my 15 year-old sister who did her best to keep up with her activities, stay on top of her school work, and continue a fairly normal life. It was lonely. And the worry was taxing.

It just so happened that the two hardest things I have ever faced in my young life happened at the same time. But it was truly for the best. When my dad got sick, some families in our church began bringing meals over a couple nights a week so my mom wouldn’t have to worry about dinner. When my parents went off to the hospital, they continued to bring meals to just my sister and me. We weren’t the sick ones, and we could definitely fend for ourselves, but a few nights a week, someone would stop by our house, their arms loaded up with a warm meal, and yummy drink, and an amazing dessert. They’d come in and chat with us, see how we were doing, and sometimes invite us over to their home for a movie night or girls night out.

They didn’t just bring us a meal. They brought us so much more. Love and comfort to two young, scared girls. Many of these people I didn’t know well, as I had been away at college for the past few years. But I felt loved. And I felt cared for. Their meals for a family with a sick dad also provided healing for a girl with a broken heart.

So to those who were there for my family in one of our toughest times, from the bottom of my very healed, very happy, and very grateful heart, thank you.
I know my dad’s strong and healthy heart thanks you too.


Darndest things

"I don't understand why people would want to eat fudge cookies with a hint of toothpaste."

Jason, after taking a bite of a delicious 
mint oreo fudge cookie I offered him.


It's for your own good

Jason has a baffling phobia of chapstick. He won't ever use it. But that doesn't mean that his lips agree with his stance. And because I am a chapstick addict and have professed my love for it on many occasions, my lips can't help but empathize with his. So to ensure that his mouth doesn't wither away into a desert of misery, I do what any good wife would do. Chapstick kisses! Because winter is upon us, I thought it would be an opportune time to share with you a simple tutorial. Here's the how to:

1. Apply an exorbitant amount of chapstick to your own lips.
2. Give your husband a most unromantic kiss ensuring full coverage.
3. VoilĂ ! You're work here is done.


Circus Walls

They started painting the hallways in our apartment complex last week. The ceiling was first. We assumed they were going to repaint with the same neutral colors of our current walls.  One night Jason and I ran over to another building to deliver some goodies to a neighbor and stopped in our tracks when we walked in. Apparently, the new management needed more of a party atmosphere because the scent of newly legalized marijuana floating around just wasn't enough.

In additional to large stripes on the walls, each doorway is getting a new color. Blue, green, or orange. Jason and I were both pulling for blue. Or really anything but orange. They added color to our hallway today. As I walked in from work I saw that our hallway had two options. Broncos colors. Every other door was either blue or orange. 50/50 chance. I came around the corner but could only see the door next to ours. ORANGE! It was orange! And by my deductive reasoning I deduced that ours would be blue. Obviously this warranted a text to Jason. BLUE! This also warranted a celebration. So for dinner, we had tacos.


Dearest family and friends,

You guys are the best.  I love you all so very much.


Never Alone

I hope you'll excuse today's departure from the normal silliness that is found here.

I was compiling a list of my favorite posts the other day. I went through each year. I got to 2009 and realized it was full of depressing, vague, weird posts. So I've decided to rectify that. It's time to tell the story. I'm not ashamed or embarrassed any more. So here goes..

Two months after we got married, he told me he was done. I didn’t see it coming but I should have. I was miserable. He had made a commitment to a faith he couldn’t live, and he began to pull away from me physically and emotionally. Neither one of us were happy during a time that should have been wedded bliss.
The heartbreak and anguish I felt in the following months is impossible to explain. I went to work, I showered, I ate, I went to church, and I cried in between it all. Inside I was empty and yet heavy all at once. I’d moved back in with my parents and I would lie in bed at night listening to cars drive by imagining that it was him, that he'd changed his mind, and that he was coming back to me and the life we had imagined. But then the legal work was finalized and it was over.
A failed marriage. I felt embarrassed and ashamed.  

I headed back to BYU for my senior year of college and moved in with some of the best friends a girl could ask for.  They were there when I needed to cry and when I needed to laugh. I poured myself into my schoolwork. I stayed busy with my girlfriends. I focused on feeling strong and sure of myself. Slowly, over time, I started to date again. No one ever made it past three dates. They were all gentlemen, but I never felt comfortable enough with them that I could share what had happened in my past.

And then I met Jason. Our roommates did some snooping and shared the information with us. “He was engaged,” my roommate Lindsay told me one night. “She was married,” his roommate Lance filled him in. So on our third date, we told each other everything. We had the most open and honest conversation and not once did I feel nervous of what he might think of me.
Right from the start, our relationship was founded on trust and real communication. And I started to learn how easy a strong and healthy relationship could be.

In those months of sorrow, there were moments where I thought I’d never stop hurting, and moments where I felt so very alone, and moments where I felt I’d been robbed of the most important thing in my life. But there were other moments as well. Moments where I felt that weight physically lifted from my chest, moments where I felt bright and shining hope, and moments where I felt that promise of happiness.

It didn’t take too long to see that promise fulfulled. I met the most humble, kind-hearted, respectful man who loved the Lord and I married him. I can honestly say that we've enjoyed two and a half years of bliss.

The most trying time in my life was also the most wonderful lesson that in your darkest moments, you are never alone.

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27

“Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.” 2 Nephi 31:20


Cat in the Hat

My sisters-in-law have an etsy shop with the most adorable hats for babies. They crochet all the live long day. So late one night I decided it was high time I developed at least one worth while crafting skill. Chantell proved to be up for the challenge and soon I was yarning over and around and all over town. Unfortunately, we decided to start this lesson at 11:27 PM so we had to call it quits before I got very far. I looked down at my little creation and thought the only thing it would maybe pass for was a yarmulke (ya-meh-ka) and right then the cat sauntered in. 

Eureka! An unwilling and terrible model. We have a mutual agreement to ignore one another. She reneges on that promise far more often than I do, so I felt she owed me this one minor indulgence.
I placed my masterpiece on her head and stepped back to take it all in. Clearly, she felt as pretty as can be because she sat there turning her head from side to side, modeling for us as we showered her in oohs and aahs.

Oh Cat, you're alright. Sorry your family never gave you a name.