Family Utah Trip

Just a week before Christmas, my family was able to go to Utah for Aunt Tanya's wedding. On the way up, we spent the night in Flagstaff, where we had dinner with TJ's family. To make a long story short, I tackled TJ into the "snow," which turned out to be ice. This is what happens when my face meets the ice (why, yes, I am wearing footie pajamas, thank you for noticing):

Let me tell ya, the scabs were beautiful and it stung like the dickens. This is my face the next day, as we journey to the state full of Mormons (thank goodness for concealer for wedding pictures the next day!):
Once we got there, we enjoyed homemade tomales and lots of screaming kids. It was a blast. The next morning (the day of the wedding) we headed to the nearest church building...down the street...for a big breakfast of sourdough waffles and homemade buttermilk syrup. Except I got one. Oh well. Here's Sheldon, playing with snow:
Oh, didn't I mention? TJ came with us :) He got to meet my dad's side and everything! (No, he's not winking, the sun was reflecting off the snow and blinding him.)
On the way to Salt Lake, from Payson, to the wedding. Of course, we got stuck in traffic behind a wreck and were almost late. What else did you think would happen?
Kyndra looks oh-so-happy that I'm kissing her face. PS, I made that flower. Yes I did. Cute, huh?
Guess who got to be the lucky babysitters while all the adults were in the Temple? (And I'm not even you see her face?? My cousins are adorable.) There were 15 kiddos, ages 8 and younger, with two babies: 4 mos. and 5 mos. This is the super-cute Jolee:
And Elisa, who was so good and just colored the whole time:
TJ had these little ladies happy and content. Jolee has the adorable habit of calling her sister, Taylee, "My wittle one!" and kissing her all over:
But it was Sheldon who got the babe to sleep:
Later on that night, after the dinner. Mom, laughing at and clapping for TJ:
Who was doing jazzercise while airing up a mattress:
(in his ever-fashionable and super-hot basketball shorts and church socks.)

Then, we had to play parents and send Sheldon to his room. Note that I give the intense glare while TJ does the yelling and finger-pointing:
Sunday, after church, waiting to drive to Salt Lake again. TJ calls this my "thinking face," and he noted that apparently all the Hassell women in my immediate family have this face:
Dad holding baby Sam (who loves to spit up by the way):
There it is! The gorgeous Salt Lake City Temple, with the grounds all decked out:
It was suuuuper foggy, so all the pictures look kinda cool :) and it made the lights seem really bright.

Now I know this next one is a kissing picture, but hey, it's my blog and I love it:
That would be a Green Bay Packer's beanie that TJ gave to me to wear:
Another shot of the glorious Temple. I will visit this one someday:
My wonderful family, plus Hunter and Annie (note the super-cool reflection strip on Dad's motorcycle jacket):
Hey, there's us again!
Last, but not least, here's a couple more of the cousins. I told you they were cute. Meet Nathanaell:
Aaaaand Josie!

It really was a great trip. I met a few cousins that I hadn't yet (seeing as they were born since I last saw their families) and an aunt (Betty...I wasn't able to go to the wedding) and Tanya's new husband, my uncle Bryan. Of course, seeing everyone else was wonderful. Most of my cousins that were there are pretty young so it was fun to see how they've grown. I was also glad to have TJ with us. It was really fun and I think my siblings especially enjoyed his company. I love my family and I'm so grateful that I am blessed to be with them forever.

S N O W D A Y!!

This is what I've seen since waking up this morning at 6, then snuggling back down in the covers until 9 (because I didn't have work this morning.)

....and it keeps coming down.

So this is what NAU says to the snow:

"Northern Arizona University's Flagstaff campus will be closing at noon today because of worsening weather and road conditions. A decision on Tuesday's schedule will be announced by 6 o'clock tonight.

"Students who are unable to take their final exam on the Flagstaff campus today have the option to accept their current grade as their final grade or they may elect to take an Incomplete and the final exam will be scheduled during the first week of spring semester."

I have an A. So I won't be taking my one final today.

I say, "WOOT WOOT! (squeal)"

Thanks for the continued tender mercies.


Tender Mercies

I should be doing assignments right now.

(But I'm an expert procrastinator.)

After one of the roughest weeks of my life, I can't help but look back and reflect on the ways I have been blessed through my difficulties.

So instead of focusing on how hard things have been, I'll give you some insight on what went right. (Think of it as a Thanksgiving post, if you will.)

love and support (from my man and my roommates)
peace through prayer
words of wisdom from the Book of Mormon
Christmas lights
final put online because of blizzard
one thing at a time
warm bed, food, and a roof over my head
Mom's birthday present
semester's end

...there's so much more I could list, but homework really is calling my name.

If you're reading this, tell me what you are thankful for.
You'll be surprised at how much there is in your life.

That's how we do.

So I'm pretty sure a total of like...5 people read this thing. BUT issall good. It's fun, right? Right. I hope the 5 of you reading enjoy a peek at my latest and greatest adventures.

Below is an example of a super-sweet boyfriend. I was having not-so-good-slightly-more-stressful-than-average day and he brought me these beauties and brownies. He's a keeper I think. The best part? He brought them to me over a week ago and the majority of them are still lookin' good.

I haven't been to a formal dance since high school. So when our church hosted a winter formal, the roommates and I decided to go. Here we are in all our glory:

Are they not perfect for each other? Aubree and her fiance. Just look at those faces.

(Aubs + Aaron) X (Kylie + TJ) = ...well at least we entertain ourselves even if no one else is amused.
I have a bone to pick. Notice that Aaron is smiling as his woman kisses him. Now look at TJ's face....
Lastly, this is a prime example of who wins when plastic measuring cups get in a fight with the dishwasher. Note to whoever loaded it: don't put plastic on the bottom rack where it could fall through. It smelled somethin' purdy let me tell you.
(*are ya happy Elise?)

Life is hard...

...but God has promised that all will be well.

"Therefore, let your hearts be comforted concerning Zion; for all flesh is in mine ahands; be still and bknow that I am God."
D&C 101:16

Let's play monsters and be furry.

So...I'd rather not post about summer. Let's just say it was not my best summer ever. I had some good times, but nothing really blog-worthy.

Now I'm back in beautiful Flagstaff and loving it. I'm pretty busy with school and work and institute activities. I'm taking 5 classes this semester, including jewelry (which I think I'm really going to love).

Here are some highlights of the past couple of weeks:

1. Dinner with the sister missionaries! They are so amazing and fun and I love Sister Jones and Sister Empy!

2. Having fun with roommates....laughing....and being us :)
(This picture is from last year, but sadly, I don't have any yet from this year.)

3. Hanging out/going on dates with this guy:

(TJ Pond)

It's been a fun and crazy couple of weeks!

Such is Life

This has been my "theme" as of late:

"No one is in control of your happiness but you; therefore, you have the power to change anything about yourself or your life that you want to change."
-Barbara de Angelis

But I would like to add:

"Each one of us has been given the power to change his or her life. As part of the Lord’s great plan of happiness, we have individual agency to make decisions. We can decide to do better and to be better. In some ways all of us need to change..."
-James E. Faust

And definitely:

"If we will turn to the Lord and believe on His name, we can change. He will give us the power to change our lives..."
-James E. Faust


"Here, then, is a great truth. In the pain, the agony, and the heroic endeavors of life, we pass through a refiner’s fire, and the insignificant and the unimportant in our lives can melt away like dross and make our faith bright, intact, and strong. In this way the divine image can be mirrored from the soul. It is part of the purging toll exacted of some to become acquainted with God. In the agonies of life, we seem to listen better to the faint, godly whisperings of the Divine Shepherd."
-James E. Faust

I'm just sayin'.

Happy Birthday Sis!!

Happy belated 14th to my wonderful little sister! Not many sisters can say they're exactly 5 years and 1 day apart, but we can! And although we don't always see eye-to-eye, she is probably the greatest birthday present I ever received. She is sweet, loves to make things, loves children and babysitting, and I have to admit, will probably make a better homemaker than I do. We're pretty opposite about a lot of things. For example, she is rather neat and is usually early to things if she can help it, and is an early riser. I, on the other hand, can't ever seem to keep my room clean, am usually late to everything (I really do try), and am very much a night person. And for 14 you already dress cuter and can do you hair better than I ever could.
Fourteen is a fun age! You can go to some Saturday Night Dances (everyone at least should experience that to say that they did), and be at the top of the food chain as a big bad 9th grader. Heck, you may feel like a dork at times, but always remember to have fun and be yourself. I'm sure you've figured out that guys are kinda dumb at that age, but they grow out of it... eventually. Never forget who you are and that I admire you so much. You are beautiful and sweet. I can't believe how grown-up you're becoming. I still remember when you were 2, curls bouncing, binky firmly in mouth, a baby doll in one hand and the finger of your other hand stuck in your belly button. (Sorry if I'm embarrassing you, but it is MY blog.) I hope you know that you can count on me if you need a friend...I'm just a phone call away. Please come to me with your boy issues and self-esteem me, I've been there and so done that. I love you!
Sisters forever,

RaNdoM Thoughts...

1. Playing is fun. Work is boring. I love my roommates :) Oh how I miss them!

(at Catey's call-0pening)

2. I love Flagstaff! There's so much to do and it really is beautiful. In the past week, I've been to a park with swings, up to Mars Hill (saw an amazing full moon), night-hiking (don't ask me where, it was dark), to the Grand Canyon for sunset and a picnic (about 1.5 hours away), and spot-lighting for elk (and also looking at a million stars in the middle of somewhere.)

3. As of last Monday, I'm with my by myself. For over a month. (Now would be the appropriate time to shed a tear of sympathy in my behalf... OK, I feel better.) I mean, I still have friends here...and I'll hang out with them as much as possible...but I will be all alone in my apartment. This should be interesting.

(the most bored/depressed pic I could find of myself)

4. Semester grades were finally posted. *Drumroll please*
All A's and...
one C.
(Biology, just as I'd predicted. Dang final worth half the grade!)
But it's OK! C is still passing, and the important thing is my GPA is still above 3.5 (for my scholarship). I'm a little disappointed in myself, but it's over and done with and no more lab sciences for me. What a relief! (Just so you know, there was a brief span of time when I was freaking out, but I called my advisor who referred me to someone in Financial Aid who calmed my fears.)
schools out.jpg

5. Congrats to the ever-amazing Cathryn Elizabeth Stroud on her call to serve as a full-time sister missionary in the Utah Salt Lake City mission. I am so proud of you and I love you mucho!!


A new milemarker will be passed on May 7, 2009. Upon this day, I shall take the last final of my freshman year of college.

And then it's done. I will have accomplished something I've known I would do my whole life, but never really visualized.

I can see how I've changed in some ways. I suppose I'll never know how I changed in other ways. I know I've grown, yet somehow I feel smaller. I see the world with greater sight.

I've learned many lessons:
Time is precious.
Family is not only important, it's necessary.
Staying up until 3 in the morning does nothing to help you stay awake in Biology. (But it's fun sometimes.)
Look to the future, plan, but live each day to its fullest; take life one day at a time.
Loading a dishwasher is an art form.
Have fun, make memories, and cherish relationships.
Procrastination is a trap that is ever-set.
Prayer is an essential lifeline. Heavenly Father is always listening.
Domino's is open until 2 am, Safeway and WalMart are open 24/7, and Wendy's drive-through is open past 10:00 pm.
The power of the Priesthood is real.
Bonds stronger than friendship are forged when you live together with 3 of the most amazing girls on the planet.
And food costs money. Who knew?
(to name just a few.)

And now, I look forward to a summer full of possibilities...

...and another 3 years of college.
Stay tuned.

179th Annual

Oh my goodness, General Conference was amazing! 
I had the wonderful opportunity to go to Salt Lake with some friends from Flagstaff: Preston, Darrell, and Edwin Tenney, and Emma Olmstead. We stayed with the Tenney's sister Kiersten, who lives close to downtown SLC. Anyways, she had her Master Recital and the above picture is of an LDS church building across the street. We totally thought it was from another religion at first. Pretty cool, huh?
The above picture was taken from my seat at the Saturday Morning Session. That's right! I got to sit on the Plaza level, section 2, with Preston. We kinda didn't have tickets, so we begged, and we got pretty lucky the first session, and we got into all the sessions we wanted to (Sat AM, PM, and Sun AM.) What an incredible feeling it was as the entire congregation stood when Pres. Monson, Pres. Eyring, and Pres. Uchtdorf entered the room. They truly are men of God.
Leave it to Utah to still have tons of snow in April. It was a bit chilly, especially on Saturday when it was snowing, but the mountains were glorious. I fell in love with them. I decided if my future ever leads me to Utah, I would have no problem with that. (Although I would be sure to clarify that I'm not from Utah.) If any of my wonderful aunts and uncles would like to host me for a week or so sometime during the summer or another break, I'd love that. :)
On Friday, we had the opportunity to do Baptisms for the Dead in the Jordan River temple. I love the Spirit that is felt when I'm in the Lord's holy house. This was one of my most spiritual experiences in a temple, and I was grateful that I could prepare to listen to the voice of that same Spirit testify to me during conference.
I love the Salt Lake temple. So majestic! It's my goal to do some form of Temple Work in this temple someday.
This last picture is reminiscent of the poem "Three White Dresses," which is one of my favorites. This display was part of an exhibit in the Church History Museum, which we went to on Friday as well.

Overall, I think I can safely say that it was one of the most wonderful experiences of my life. I've always loved Conference, but I felt the Spirit so strongly. I learned something from every talk, and I will strive to improve my life in accordance with what was taught. So many themes: adversity, home & family, Temples, faith, the Atonement. My testimony was strengthened, my faith renewed, and my hope now burns brighter.

I hope you enjoyed it too.