this is Halloween.

On Saturday night, we had a few friends over for a Halloween costume party. We had it in the "community center" of our apartment complex since the cave is barely big enough for two. I made up these simple invites using picnik, and then printed them as 4x6 pictures.

I'd been planning this since September and was inspired by, you guessed it, Pinterest when I came up with these party favors. They doubled as decorations until our guests left.






 The best part is, they can still hang around through November and be fallish. Yes, fallish is a word.

I was also super excited for the food. I did it potluck style, but I panicked and did three things myself last minute. These chocolate-covered oreos were really good. Actually, they were even better the next day after, eaten straight from the fridge. (All I did was melt about 3 cups of chocolate chips with a capful of vegetable oil, then dunked the oreos into the melted chocolate with a fork and let them set.) 

For decor, I used battery-operated pillar candles, fake webbing, a plastic tablecloth, and my pumpkins. I made my mother-in-law's recipe for salsa, and it was a hit. It's actually well-known amongst my friends since we have it at most gatherings. That huge bowl was about half full, and was mostly gone by the end of the night. There were other yummy goodies like cookie-brownie-sandwiches, homemade fudge, chips ahoy, and little smokies (made by me).

I asked the Frys to make homemade rootbeer (their specialty). It was super tasty and I just had a glassful of leftovers.

Since it was a costume party, we also had a costume contest. I don't remember who won what, but they were all great!

The Allens: UPS man and his "package." Jerah entered in a cardboard box, pushed by Randon on a dolly. Hilarious!

The Frys (yes that's their last name!). So creative!

The Ashbys: 50's couple. So classy!
(Yes, Emma and I do know each other in real life.... we were roommates our Sophomore year of college.)

The Langfords: The Bed Bug and his victim!

Us: Nurse & patient. We were going to be something super awesome, but ran out of time/money. This came together well though :)

 The Fusslemans: Cardiac Arrest! Derek had a badge, and Bridget had handcuffs on. It was so clever, even if it took us a while to guess (Bridget is a nurse, so it's very appropriate).

Another Pinterest-inspired decoration.

My quick and easy banner: scrapbook paper, stapled to tule ribbon.

Besides the contest and food, we watched Van Helsing. My favorite part was probably our commentary (though the movie itself wasn't so bad). Sorry to those who were trying to pay attention! Haha!

Thanks to everyone for coming and especially those who helped us clean up. I'd say it was a success and it was a lot of fun! It was worth the stress I put on myself. I'm already planning a Christmas party, and probably collaborating with Emma. So excited :)

Happy Halloween!

life.

I sit here, on this Sabbath morning, and ponder on the beauty of life, more specifically, the beauty of our Heavenly Father's Plan of Salvation. This week has been interesting....on Thursday, I found out that a good friend of one of my friends had committed suicide. Although I wasn't close to him, I still felt some of her pain. My heart went out to her.

On Friday, I found out that one of my best friends friends is pregnant. It was such a surprise and I am so happy for her and her husband. She's going to be an amazing mommy, and I can't wait to experience the miracle of life with someone so close and dear to me.

Then, on Saturday, I found out that a long-time family friend, and a woman who was one of my Young Women's leaders in church growing up, had lost her battle with cancer. I know that she is now free from the pain and suffering of cancer, but it is still hard to think that she is gone. She was such an amazing woman. When I turned 12 (the age when youth in the church enter the youth programs), I remember being so eager to go to my first mutual activity. My parents, if I remember correctly, had to stall....because when I got to the church, and opened the door to the classroom where it was being held, and being assayed by shouts of "SURPRISE!" because they had decided to throw a surprise birthday party for me. Sister Lowe made sure I felt welcome right off the bat.

Even after her family moved, I babysat her kids. In fact, the first Christmas TJ and I spent together in 2009, right after I told him I would marry him, we got a call around midnight that the Lowes' needed a babysitter so Eric could take Leah to the ER. She was in some serious pain, so TJ and I headed over, turned on the TV, and fell asleep on the couch. That was before they found the cancer. Leah is an amazing woman, and she fought her battle hard. She left her husband and their four children on this earthly home, as she was called Home to rest from her battle.

I don't really know why I'm writing this, for the public to see. I know I'm not the best writer, that sometimes I stumble over my words. I suppose it's cathartic for me. Actually, it's been my release....allowed me to cry, and remember these things.

I know that when we are born, we have come from our Heavenly home.
I know that when we die, we return to our Heavenly home.
I know that this life is only a short span of our eternal existence.
I know that families are sealed together for eternity.
I know that my Savior knows every pain and every joy we experience.
I know that because He conquered death, so can I.
I know that people come into our lives for a reason, and that we have something to learn from each of them.
I know that after every sunset, there is a sunrise.


today is Friday.

Yesterday was really quite the crappy day.
I had a super long day at school, kids that wouldn't listen no matter the cajoling, and the night just wasn't great.

Rather than dwell on that, like I wanted to when I started to write a post last night, today is a new day and I'm remembering the bright moments. I went home teaching with TJ. We have fallen in love with the kids of one of his families. They are the cutest and most well-behaved children I have ever seen (I got to babysit them last weekend and it was the easiest babysitting job ever).

And their parents are such good examples to TJ and I.

Well, after visiting for a bit, TJ asked them what they remembered from General Conference.
After NayNay (age 4) astounded us all with his memory of a story told by President Monson, Clayton (age 2) made us all laugh with his two cents:
"President Monson....when you're old....can't play on monkey bars!"

Oh man, out of the mouths of babes. I love kids.


[P&Q] Day 3



[Little K, choosing to run away from the camera at our shoot Monday evening.]

"In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility."  -Eleanor Roosevelt

[P&Q] Day 2


"Our Heavenly Father is most pleased when we sacrifice something good for something far greater with an eternal perspective. Sometimes, that may even mean nurturing small but beautiful forget-me-not flowers instead of a large garden of exotic blooms." -Pres. Dieter F. Uchtdorf (from this talk)

[P&Q] Day 1

In the summer of 2010, I issued myself a challenge: one photograph paired with one quote, every day, for 30 days. I failed miserably. Well, I decided to revive that series for the week, so instead of my regular posting, you'll get one image, and an inspiring quote each day. I'm in charge of the quote of the day on the whiteboard at school, so it may be those. Anyway, I hope you enjoy! I'll be back to more normal posts next week.

*** * ***


"Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light." -Albus Dumbledore (in JK Rowling's Harry Potter

Emma.




Emma and I went on a little adventure last week. I was itching for a model, and she wanted some pictures for an outfit post. Check it out on her new blog!

men will be boys.


There is a strange phenomenon that occurs in our culture.
The conditions must be right:
open gym,
enough participants,
certain shoes,
and certain shorts.
When these conditions all combine, members of the male gender come together
and "play ball."
They divide themselves into two teams.
Then, they run around a rectangular court with strange lines drawn on it.
They continuously aim to toss a large orange ball into a net, suspended 10 ft. above the gym floor.
They run around in circles, and nobody keeps score.
Sometimes, they shove each other out of the way.
Sometimes they fall, resulting in a bruised ego, and perhaps a bruised tailbone.
Sometimes they shout out strange noises.

All of this, for the love of a game:
basketball.


baby girl.

TJ's parents welcomed a new addition to the family a couple of weeks ago. Meet our new "little sister" Aspen. We got to puppysit her on Saturday when TJ's family went out of town. 

She is a pitbull mix, and has the most gorgeous eyes and coloring (notice the two different colored eyes above). She's a little cuddler, too.

We took her for a couple of walks. It was funny to see her hesitation heading away from home, and her eagerness upon our return.






After a day of playing, Aspen and I were both a little tired, so we took a nap together. She snuggled right into the crook of my arm and we were both happy.

bookish.

It has been far too long, my friends, far too long....since I've read a good book. I don't know what's wrong with me! I haven't had the itch for it lately. I blame the interwebs. And myself. I just need to find something good, and that will catch and hold my attention. I'm hoping to borrow The Hourglass Door from my mom the next time I go down to the valley. I've heard it's really good. Any recommendations for me?

In other news, TJ has started reading! This is huge, friends, huge. For the whole of our relationship together, TJ has never sat down/desired to just read. Well, at my parents' about a week ago, he picked up the first Tennis Shoes Among the Nephites book, and has been hooked since. And he's fast. He finished the first two in just a few days, and is on the third. As someone who absolutely loves reading, this is excellent news. It means we can sit together and read, and talk about one of my favorite series together. It's so nice to hear him say, "I'm going to go to bed and read now."


Jillian.










Jillian was in my cohort (the group of people I took all of my Ed. classes with).
She has a gorgeous smile and an infectious personality.
When she asked if someone could take some graduation announcement pictures for her on facebook, I jumped at the chance.
We had fun traipsing around North Campus, and it didn't take long to get some great shots.
Thanks for the opportunity, Jillian!

Which one is your favorite??

around campus.











I took these around campus when I was waiting for a friend to get there so we could take her senior pictures. I love the perspective I get when looking through a camera lens. The way I notice beauty in the details. Having the mindset of a "photographer" (not that I call myself one) has helped me to notice details, textures, light, and so much more. This is truly a beautiful world in which we live, and I can see God's love laced in every beautiful detail.

Happy Sunday.

he's home.




After much prayer, fasting, pondering, prayer, discussion, prayer, and thought,
and after receiving an answer,
TJ quit his full-time job.
Working full-time and schooling full-time was too much.
We did it contrary to what many people counseled us to do.
In fact, it was probably one of the hardest decisions we've ever made.

But it was time.
It was time for us to be a real family, and eat dinner together.
It was time for us to see each other during the week, in our home.
It was time for TJ to be able to focus more on school,
and not be so stressed about not having time to study.

We had to take a leap of faith.
A huge leap....
Because he didn't have another part-time job lined up.

Guess what?

We put our trust in God, and we have seen His hand in our life.
As soon as we really decided, opportunities started to show up.
The day TJ put in his two weeks, his supervisor gave him the chance to stay on
part-time, as a temp. Other employment opportunities have come our way.

We've seen miracles in our lives.
We feel so beyond blessed.

Will things be hard in the next few months?
Yes.
Did TJ walk away from higher pay and great benefits?
Yes.

But you know what?
We know everything will work out.
Exactly as God has planned for us.

"I would show unto the world that afaith is things which arebhoped for and cnot seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no dwitness until after the etrial of your faith."

And so, for the first time in our nearly 17 months of marriage,
my husband is home
when I'm home.