Monday, November 15, 2010

New Home...New Appreciation for a Wonderful Family

We did least for now. Over the past two months, we worked (with significant family assistance) to paint the front and sides of the outside of our house. (The back will have to happen later...maybe in the spring!) The final week, we received some assistance from some Elders who ripped out weeds, dug out stumps, and laid mulch. The transformation has been dramatic, to say the least. There's more work to be done....grass to be grown and plants to add more color...but for now, our house is beautiful!
We could not have done this without the significant help we received from my family: dad (expert painter on hand for minute-by-minute advice in difficult situations); mom (always the chipper helper); Brad (willing to learn new skills and keep the attitude up); Aly (painted the shutters black and then assisted the teacher in me by grading papers and sharpening pencils...can't put pregnant ladies on ladders); and Kyle (quite a work horse....seeking out opportunities to wake up early and head all the way out to our neck of the woods to work hard for little pay). I suppose we could have done it without them, but it wouldn't have been done now, it wouldn't have been done right, and it wouldn't have been as much fun! Thanks guys!
Have no fear....this is a before shot. This is before we got married. This is from Google Street View. You can't even see the house...

Hopefully the next few pictures will show a progression to the final result...

This was a year ago...October 2009. You can definitely see a vast improvement.

A few weeks of hard work...and this is after only 2 weekends of work.

Here it is...all finished!!! Like I said, it still needs some work...grass, bushes, flowers....but for now it is a pretty remarkable transformation.

So...what do you think???

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Free Stuff!!!!!

I've been on a kick lately about free stuff. It kinda started with me anticipating my free birthday ice-cream from Cold Stone. I've enjoyed it the past few years and was excited for that birthday gift. So, I became curious what other free items I could receive for my birthday, just for signing up for some e-mails.

I found some incredible things!!!!!!!!

In fact, last night, on our way to my birthday dinner, Simon and I added up the value of the coupons I had received. Now, keep in mind that these were things that I would receive completely purchase necessary. (There's more free out there if you're willing to spend a little.)
I was holding in my lap coupons for about $40 worth of free items.

For my birthday dinner, we went to Red Robin and got a free burger ($9) and free ice-cream sundae ($5). After dinner we hit up Jack in the Box, where I got to choose from chocolate cake or cheesecake. Finally, we stopped by Marble Slab for a free cone.

Most of the coupons I received were valid for about a week after my birthday, so I'm spacing out my ice-cream treats. Here are a few of the other things I plan on getting in the next week...totally FREE!
* scoop of ice-cream from Baskin Robbins
* ice-cream from Cold Stone
* ice-cream sundae from Culver's
* cream slush from sonic
* sandwich from Schlotzky's
* burger from Fuddrucker's


I just want to add one more thing I found: If you sign up on Dave and Buster's website for their emails and whatnot, they will give you $10 worth of game play. Heck of a deal....if you ask me!

Meat Market

So, this last Saturday I attended a job fair for a school district in the area. It was insane...despite the fact that there were at least half a dozen job fairs going on in the area. The craziest thing about the whole thing is that teachers haven't signed contracts yet, so no one knows what openings they have. I explained it to Simon like this:

It was like going speed dating (waiting up to 30 minutes to talk to someone for maybe 2 minutes). Only, when you finally got to talk to them, it was like them saying, "Well, I'm currently dating someone, but I'll keep your number on file just in case. Thanks!"

Not very productive in my mind...

Monday, March 15, 2010

Thoughts on Marriage

So, tonight I had my first opportunity to watch the new NBC show "The Marriage Ref". For those not familiar with the show, here is the premise: A panel of celebrities listens to an argument between a married couple. They give their opinions about who is "right" and the "marriage ref" (not on the panel) makes a final decision. The idea is that the couple can then move forward with this decision.
The episode I watched had Larry David (from Curb Your Enthusiasm), Madonna, and Ricky Gervais (actor and comedian). There were four couples featured on this episode and their arguments were as follows:
1. The wife wanted the house clean but the husband was kinda messy. She was bartering sex for cleaning. They had been married over 25 years.
2. This was a couple who had both been married before. He was divorced and still had couches from his first marriage that his current wife wanted to get rid of. She was a widow who had kept her husbands ashes and prosthetic leg, which he wanted to get rid of. They had been married for 3 years.
3. The wife was very attached to a very large lizard thing (5 feet long). She spent more time and energy caring for it than anything else (meals, affection, etc). The husband wanted it to live outside in a cage. They had been married about 14 years.
4. The husband was very attached to his mother. He spoke to her on a "regular" basis, seeking advice and whatnot. However, his mother is very critical of his wife of 14 years.

Alright, so I've been married for 7 1/2 months and I'm not claiming to know all there is about marriage. I understand that this has been the easy part. We haven't dealt with any real issues. We're still goo-goo for each other, which makes getting over things pretty easy. We still want to spend all of our time together and want nothing more than for the other person to be happy. I hope these feelings continue forever, no matter what we go through, but I understand that marriage, like life, has its ups and downs. I understand (in my brain, at least) that someday we will struggle, that things will be harder than they are right now. I get that.

BUT...let me tell you what I think about all these fights.
I think that if these partners would step back and remember what it is they wanted and promised on their wedding day, to always love, honor, and cherish their partner, then these would be simple arguments to dispel.

A quote I always think about when it comes to marriage is this one, from Spencer W. Kimball:

Every divorce is the result of selfishness on the part of one or the other or both parties to a marriage contract. Someone is thinking of selfcomforts, conveniences, freedoms, luxuries, or ease. ... If each spouse submits to frequent self-analysis and measures his own imperfections by the yardstick of perfection and the Golden Rule, and if each spouse sets about to correct self in every deviation found by such analysis rather than to set about to correct the deviations in the other party, then transformation comes and happiness is the result.

I understand that we all have times where selfishness creeps in, when we think more about what we want or why we are right than how we can make life easier and happier for our partner. Even in my relatively short relationship with Simon, I have felt myself getting grumpy about housework or him working late or whatever. But, when I step back and remember what it is that I want for us, it becomes easier. I want him to be happy. I want us to move forward in life, growing in our relationship. I want us to work to become more Christlike, in our relationship and out in the world. I want to love him with all of my heart, and I know that I can't do that if part of my heart is stuck on why I always do the laundry, or blah blah blah.

Anyway, that's my take on marriage and the whole big thing. As a final note, I would like to point out that all three celebrities on the panel are unmarried, either divorced or just not married. Seems to me that whatever they said, the complete opposite should have been the advice given. Just my opinion...

Chinese New Year Celebration at the Crow in Dallas

So, a few weeks ago I was so excited to read about a Chinese New Year celebration going on in downtown Dallas. It was a free event at the Asian art museum. I had never been and thought it sounded like fun. It ended up being generally disappointing, but we were still glad for the adventure.

When we got there, they were handing out glow necklaces for the show later.

We found a man painting names in Chinese characters. We waited probably 45 minutes in a rather crowded and chaotic room, but we eventually made it to the front. They are beautiful!

We're still trying to figure out where to put them in the house. Luckily, the red paper and black ink goes pretty well with our style.

Next, we went outside to wait for the lion dance and martial arts show to start. We waited patiently in a great spot for the show, and about 10 minutes before it was to begin, someone moved the cones that were blocking off the performance area. When this happened, people rushed forward and our amazing view was gone! We were a little upset after having waited for so long, but oh well! We stood off to the side, people watched, and enjoyed a little public display of affection. We did get a peek or two over people's heads and then decided to head out.

The Crow had these really cool glowing Buddhas sitting on pillars. They changed colors and were rather pretty in the night sky.

This is me being sad cause the night hadn't exactly gone as planned...

However, we were grateful for a fun adventurous evening together. I love that Simon is willing to try new things with me. Mostly, I just love being with him all the time.

What a handsome devil!

a little variation on the necklace...heading home!

Even though it turned out to be a little crazy, we were still happy to have gone and spent the evening together. Spending time together means learning more and growing closer. I'm so grateful to be married to my best friend!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Just a List

So, I totally stole this off someone else's blog, but I thought it would be fun to complete and share (and it motivated me to blog) so here goes...

What I was doing 10 years ago:
1. Spending all my time with my boyfriend
2. Getting ready to graduate
3. Making decisions about where to go to college
4. Working at Quiznos
5. Practicing (or procrastinating practicing) my clarinet

Things on my to do list:
1. Call the doctor
2. Fill out applications for school districts
3. Find Paige a birthday present
4. Finish painting the shelves
5. Find a reading game to teach and "entertain" my third graders

Snacks I enjoy:
1. Pita chips (even though they hurt my teeth right now)
2. Cheese sticks
3. Pudding with whipped cream
4. Pizza pockets
5. Taquitos

Things I would do if I were a millionaire:
1. Pay off my house
2. Go on a vacation with my amazing husband
3. Help my brothers (and sisters-in-law) pay for college
4. Fly to Maryland to see Paige's baptism
5. Buy Simon an original Mini Cooper in British racing green

5 Places I've lived:
1. McKinney, Texas
2. Binghamton, New York
3. Laie, Hawaii
4. Layton, Utah
5. Salt Lake City, Utah

5 Jobs I've had:
1. 2nd Grade teacher- Clearfield, Utah
2. Sandwich Artist (Subway)- Laie, Hawaii
3. Sandwich Artist (Quiznos)- McKinney, Texas
4. Event program seller- 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City
5. Loving doting housewife

Hope you enjoyed this! Until next time...

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Greeting Card Alternative

Hate spending money on greeting cards for your spouse for every occasion? Hate finding places to store those greeting cards from your spouse? Hate the guilty feeling you get after throwing away old greeting cards? Want to be able to keep the sentiments together and available?

Well, I have your solution...sort of.

I can't remember where I read this idea, but I love it and wanted to share it with "the world"...or the few of you who read my blog. Here it is...
Instead of purchasing cards for your spouse for Valentine's Day, birthdays, anniversaries, etc, purchase a journal. On the day of the event when you would normally give and receive greeting cards, use the journal to write a letter/note to your spouse. Then, leave the journal where they will find it and enjoy the special note.
Here are a few of the benefits of this method:
1. Save money on greeting cards
2. Save the environment by not having to dispose of the used cards
3. You get to save the special messages. You can go back and read the sweet, thoughtful notes exchanged between you and your spouse through the years.

Simon and I have just begun this, and while I still enjoy a good greeting card every once in a while, I look forward to being able to keep all the messages in one place that we can go back and enjoy in the future.

So Adorable Onesies

So, my friend Alice had a baby recently and I was invited to her baby shower. I've been feeling crafty lately, so I decided to make something for handsome little Brandon. For my wedding back in August, we bought a cute onesie for my nephew (3 months) that had a bowtie on it.
So, feeling inspired, I set out to design some cute little outfits for the baby. I went to the store and bought four different fabrics (1/8th of a yard each) and then used a iron-on fabric adhesive to stick them together. Here's how they turned out...

It was about midnight on the night before the baby shower when I finally got to work on them. Every time I finished one, I would run into the office and say to Simon, "Isn't this so cute????"

Little nod to the cowboys...

So cute! Love this material!

After making this one, I started thinking about how easy it would be to make a whole scene with a cactus, moon, lizard, etc. Maybe next time...

Nice and simple.

I couldn't resist a little cowboy hat.

One more look at the whole set...
The next day I called my sister to get sizes for my nephews so I can get to work on tons of cute things for them. I can't wait!!!

Monday, January 25, 2010

We really didn't need it...but it's fun to have!

So, for being a tech guy, Simon has very little technology in his life. He has a pretty basic computer that he likes to mess with and fix up. His phone is pretty basic. Up until recently, we watched TV on 27', 10-year old televisions. He's extremely frugal, so it takes quite a bit of pushing from me to acquire new technology. I originally wanted to buy a flat screen television as a wedding gift for him, but the money ran short (as it almost always does in a wedding). We waited and thought and thought and waited. Finally, I suggested putting together an actual fund to save up for the purchase. We did and were amazed at how quickly the money came together. Between Christmas money and weddings (Simon performs weddings as a hobby and makes pretty good money doing it!), the money came together during the Christmas break. We did our research and went out on the hunt. After visiting 6 stores (Target, Walmart, Sams, Conns, Best Buy, and Fry's), we settled on one and decided to buy. It took some pretty "gentle" persuasion from me to get Simon to hand over the money, but he did it and we took home our new toy!

It took up the whole back seat of the car. I was really worried that it wasn't going to fit!

I loved seeing him this happy and excited. It was so fun!

Out with the old...

Unpacking it and seeing it for the first time.

In with the new!
I hate to admit it, but we watch a lot of TV. We're getting better, but it's fun to snuggle up and relax at night. This makes it so much more fun. We still occasionally comment on how amazing the picture is. We love it!!!

(For those of you who were wondering it's a 50' plasma LG.)

PS-This post is not meant to be any kind of brag or anything, so please don't take it that way. This is a fun thing we decided to do and I wanted to share it with the world.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Laundry Room Remodel

Laundry is not my favorite thing in the world, so shortly after moving in, I decided that the laundry room needed some brightening up...just to make the chore slightly less despicable. I decided on a nice bright yellow. Simon was kind enough to donate some of his time off of work to help with the project.

Originally, the walls were white with white shelves (quite warped) on the wall.
(I always forget to take pictures before I start the project.)

What a handsome painter!

Carefully cutting it in...

And...there you have it!

I spray painted the shelves black and they look nice and modern. When we redo the kitchen, I think we're going to use the old cabinets from there to put in here. We'll see!

One final touch to this project was a homemade curtain. It was my first real project on the sewing machine I got for Christmas. The material is really cool cause it's fuzzy! I like it!

The final thing I'd like to add is some vinyl lettering on the walls. I have a few quotes that I'm debating. Let me know what you think:
1. Laundry Today or Naked Tomorrow
2. Laundry Room...Drop Your Drawers Here