Sunday, June 25, 2017

Define Your Dash # 25: Occasions I Celebrate Each Year

New Years: We sleep in and sometime hike. Nothing super dramatic.

MLK day. We celebrate by eating ice cream and other dairy products because Alisha and I once looked at the calendar and thought it said milk day.

Valentines Day: I have always liked Valentines Day because there has always been chocolate involved. When I was little my parents would give us secret Valentines. Now that we have our own house we build a fort, eat pizza in it, and watch a movie (as a family).

St. Patrick's Day: We celebrate my dads birthday and Links birthday.

Easter: Big dinner with the family and an Easter egg hunt for the kids (not necessarily on the same day).

Fourth of July: Fireworks, home made ice cream, danger of some kind, traditionally but not always with the Conders.

September 4th: My birthday (what happens changes).

Halloween: Ward Halloween party, costumes, pass out treats, eat pizza with my family.

Thanksgiving: Turkey and Family very traditional.

December 4th: Nicks birthday

Christmas: Varies but we always see a lot of family. Sometimes we stay home sometimes we go to Arizona. I prefer Arizona because I don't love having a white Christmas. I prefer eating dinner on the deck.

New Years Eve: Fireworks and cheeseball :)

Define Your Dash #24: Things, Places, and Quotes that Remind Me of My Dad

Music. There a certain artists and songs that always make me recollect my childhood. When I read this question the first thing that came to mind was Basia (I had to look up how to spell that). Apparently she is still making music but I have only ever heard the music that my dad played. Huey Lewis and the News as well as Billy Joel and Toto always remind me of my dad. I remember one family dance party in the early nineties when my dad got a new Huey Lewis CD. I guess stereos also remind me of my dad.
On another music not (see what I did there) there is a Natasha Beddingfield song (Unwritten in case you need to visualize) that I can't hear without thinking of him bursting into song and surprising/scaring everyone in the car.

His Art. Now my dad really is artistic, we had a picture of the temple done in pointillism hanging in my house most of my life. However, the art work I remember is the same mountain scene that he draws on everything. It is like three very basic mountains, some trees, a sun, and some line birds... This is his signature artwork and I wish could explain it better.

Marriott. He has worked at Marriott as long as I can remember and that brand name has always been associated with him for me. When I was little (before I could read) I thought that Marriott said Keith. To this day I still think that the Marriott M looks like a K. Yeah, just stared at it for a while and it takes conscious effort to see it as an M.

Spider Solitaire. I remember seeing my dad at the computer playing spider solitaire after work or dinner countless times. Games in general remind me of my dad but this is the one I associate most with him. (Other than Dragon Master which he is always the Dragon Master of.)

Bear Lake. I don't know how many times I went to Bear Lake with my parents. I only remember one. My mom wasn't with us. We drove up, looked at the lake, got a raspberry shake and, I got a pebble to bring home to prove to my mom that we had been in Idaho. I just remember it being out of the ordinary and a lot of fun.

Lake Blanche / Lake Mary. Back when I was fat and lazy and young and didn't like to hike, my dad used to get up early on Saturdays and go hiking without us. My how times have changed.

Basketball. Dad has gotten up early several days a week to go play basketball for years. He often came home injured in one way or another. That is a rough sport.

"Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things."


Sunday, June 11, 2017

Define Your Dash # 23: Most Beloved Teacher

Narrowing down the many teachers I have had to a favorite is kind of an impossible task. Is this questions referring to school teachers, or church teachers, or family members? I dunno. . . So here are my top five favorite teachers.

1. Mom
Lets be real. If you are lucky enough to have a parent who gives up their career and life as they know it to stay home and raise you, then that person is going to have a more profound impact on the person you become than almost any other (even if it is just by the default of accumulated hours spent together). That person is your primary example, your playmate, your teacher, and many other things. I was lucky enough to have a mom that not only gave me her time and attention but the benefit of her teaching skills. I knew I was loved, I was taught many things (spiritual, physical, emotional, and academic), and was set a wonderful example to follow (and still do). Mom is my most beloved teacher.

2. Dad
Dad was my other most beloved teacher. He wasn't home with me constantly like mom was but it was because of dad that mom could be there. That in itself was a huge gift and sacrifice on his part. Nick and I were just discussing the possibility of me working and he told me that no amount of money would be worth missing the time that I could be with Link. He told me that going back to work after Link was born was one of the hardest things he has done but he did it because he knew it would keep me home.
My point: My dad was not my primary teacher but he set an excellent example of love and hard work by letting my mom be that person. And, even though he was not home with me all of the time he made our family the priority and I learned many things by watching and talking with him over the years as well.

3. Mr. Hunter
Fourth grade teacher extraordinaire. He was not an especially good academic teacher but I learned more from him socially than I did from any other teacher in my public education. He made us sing, and play, and gave us nick names. He loved art and very much encouraged everyone's creative side. And, he helped us cheat on every spelling test all year (I am not lauding that just reminiscing).

4. Mrs. Boulton
Twelfth grade AP Lit teacher. Academically this woman taught me more about insight and writing then any other has (I know you wouldn't know it from this blog). She pushed us and molded us and taught her subject so explicitly that it was difficult to miss what she wanted us to know.

5. Pat Swenson
Young women's leader. Now, I can't tell you what she taught me exactly but I know that she always supported me and listened to me. Sometimes after sitting through an 8 hour day of being talked at, it's nice to have an adult who will just listen and help and support. The support is what I remember and sometimes that makes the best teacher.

6. Bonus: Lauren Liang
College professor. Made me feel like I could do it (education, teaching, numerous other career options, graduate, etc.). Loved her subject. Made us love her subject (children's literature). Knew me as an individual (that makes a world of difference in college).

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Define Your Dash # 22: Valuable Lessons I Learned at School

As a Student:
  • Hard work pays off.
  • Having good friends is imperative.
  • You can do things that are difficult, scary, and that force you to leave your comfort zone.
  • The way you treat people effects many aspects of your life.
  • When you try your hardest effort is recognized even if it isn't in the way you hoped for.
  • There is more to life than tests but the tests have to be taken seriously since they effect scholarship opportunities.
  • It is okay to change your mind.
  • Your choices and actions are your own. Claim them.
  • Act. Don't be acted upon.
  • You don't have to read the whole textbook. . . .
  • College is a survival of the fittest kind of thing. You show your potential employer that degree and they think to themselves, Wow, this person knows how to persevere.
  • It's possible to work and do school at once and be successful in both.
  • True love can be found in band class.
  • True love can be found at 12 (not recognized but found).
  • Go on vacation on pig fetus dissection day.
As a Teacher
  • Kids with parents home (or heavily involved) are more likely to succeed academically and socially.
  • Teachers can't do everything a student needs. Parent involvement is essential.
  • Testing sucks for everyone.
  • Hard work pays off
  • Having a good friend makes all the difference.
  • The way you treat people matters.
  • Effort is recognized and you get more responsibility . . .yay . . .safety patrol . . . . . .
  • Be flexible.
  • Never confront someone you are currently super angry with. Cool down first.
  • Never confront someone who is super angry with you or at life in general. Let them cool down first.
  • Taking responsibility for your actions is a sign of maturity. Do it.
  • What is best for someone might be entirely wrong for someone else.
  • There is a time for asking and a time for telling.
  • You don't need 50 kids on Safety Patrol it's superfluous.
  • Do your best to get along with everyone. You might need them even if they drive you nuts.
  • Teachers are some of the best people on the planet.

Define Your Dash # 21: Dabbling in Many Hobbies

Okay, so the prompt this week is, do you like to dabble in lots of different hobbies? If so what are they?

I feel like this is my life. I would like to say I'm a jack-of-all-trades but I don't think that would be accurate. They seem to have many useful skills. I'm more like a Bob-of-all-trades (Bob is Jack's less useful younger brother who has excellent test taking skills but can't convert his book learning to anything practical. But, Bob is highly ambitious, would like to know how to do many things, and just can't seem to settle. So, here is a list of my many many hobbies.

Bam. Other than, you know, Link and Nick. . .hiking is my hobby. I love being in those mountains and breathing fresh air and climbing on boulders (I kid you not). Thank goodness I have a mom who loves it as much as I do.
I am getting so buff from this backpack!

I love a good book but my time is limited right now. There have been times in my life when I have read multiple books in a week. Currently I'm lucky if I can read one or two a month.

I read this like eight times yesterday . . . not to make you jealous or anything.

Thanks to me mum, I have grown up doing arts and crafts in all forms and thoroughly enjoy them. I even completed a whole year of art school before I decided I wasn't talented enough at it to make a career (especially in the bottom of the recession). Life is tough. I picked money over art and went into teaching (stellar choice btw). . .
Despite nixing it as a career I still enjoy painting and crafts. However, I have not been able to do much in the way of creating a piece since Link got tall enough to reach the table.

My basement wall full of art from "the good old days" 

Super Creepy Nic Cage Pillow. . . Yes, I knew you were wondering.

Bike Riding
Tricky with Link but he seems to like it if we go before his trailer turns into an oven.

I suck at gardening but keep trying. I will one day have a beautiful yard full of living plants that are not weeds. For now, I'm happy if Link isn't eating dirt while I endlessly weed our giant three plant garden.

Home Décor
I enjoy this but feel that I have unusual taste. Mostly I like bright colors and tree themed things. I'm not so much a beige decorator (I'm not one hundred percent sure what beige is). I knew I was in good company however, when Nick asked if we could paint a room teal. Our house is going to be tricky to sell one day . . . it's very much us.

Graphic Design
I desperately want to be good at this but apparently not enough to pay big bucks. I'm more of a free training skip the pitch at the end kind of girl. This was what I was going to start after my one year of art school but the U's program scared me away for multiple reasons. Right now I am learning more than I have in years but I can't do anything to technical.

I have several blogs (this one included). I enjoy putting my thoughts down and improving my writing. One day perhaps, I will be typo free. This blog is primarily a journal. I share most of my stuff but I do have a handful of posts that just sit there waiting to embarrass me in front of my posterity. I have a blog I wrote with Alisha about Thailand. I have a blog that I have written for Lincoln that chronicles the experiences I have had being his mom. And, I just started a blog that I hope to monetize eventually called Mommy Practice (this has led to a new host of hobbies).

This has always been a casual interest but I have been paying more attention to it since I started the blog. I think I may buy a camera not attached to a phone someday. . .I know, I'm getting serious. I'm not in a hurry though and want to learn a lot more about both cameras and photography before doing anything rash.

Social Media Marketing
Is only a hobby based on the definition that a hobby is something you spend your free time doing. I don't love it but it has been fun to learn about a concept that I never got to hit on in school. When I started my other blog I actually had to make a Twitter and Instagram account because I had never bothered to use them . . .

Community Service
One of my goals this year has been to find more ways to serve. More than anything else that has meant feeding people (missionaries, new moms, new members, etc.). However, I have also been able to participate in teaching some English classes to immigrants and refugees.

I freaking love cupcakes (and books in which the main character makes cupcakes. . .I know weird). But it is a dangerous hobby. When Link was first born I made a new gourmet cupcake recipe every week for months (which made me gain back the baby weight that I had already lost, how annoying is that). So, I have to make them sparingly now since it is expensive to make loads of gourmet cupcakes and bad for my self-esteem to eat them.

This is one of the only hobbies I have that I feel I am legitimately good at (which I think is fair after earning a degree in it). I use it on Link, in the English classes I sometimes help with, and in relief society.

Another hobby that is just something I spend a lot of time on. Link and Nick are a full time cleaning job and I am a bit anal about having a clean house. If the house is messy I can't sleep or focus on other stuff. This is something I think I need to chill out on but don't know how yet.

Movie Watcher
I'm not as into this as I once was because time is so scarce. When I do get a minute, I tend to watch inspirational crap that makes me bawl because I love being splotchy and congested.

Harder with Link but I still love it and have a list of places that I want to see in the flesh before I die. Canada Ahoy.

And there you have it. A condensed list of my current hobbies. Focus is not one of them. . .

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Define Your Dash # 20: Active Goals

I had my big huge list of goals I wrote out in January and I am doing alright with some of them and failing miserably at others. For example, it is hard to exercise with a toddler. I'm still going to get in shape but it is requiring some serious creativity. On the other hand, I have kept up with these posts and am being more social with my ward and finally got up the courage to start my other blog.
So, I want to talk about that for a minute. I started a blog called Mommy Practice which, despite what all of the tutorials I have read recommend, is not a very good niche blog. It is all over the place. But for now that is okay. I purchased the domain and hosting in September and didn't get going forever because I got so bogged down in having everything perfect before I started.
I was obsessed with the idea of monetizing it right away in order to help bring in income. I have calmed down, realized we are okay financially, and am now using it as a learning experience. It has been so fun to write, and take pictures, and learn about graphic design and marketing (something I never did anything with in school). It has also caused much introspection and been a part of the reason I go out of my way to make my days more interesting and eventful.
I would still like to monetize it (or a version of it once I figure out what I am like the most) someday. But for now, I am progressing. I am learning. I have a hobby that I enjoy.
My new goal is to have a decent source of income from the blog by the time my youngest child goes to kindergarten (provided the government doesn't irreversibly screw up the internet).

Define You Dash # 19: First Best Friend

How do you define best friend? I know I have had a handful of people in my life that I would have considered my Best Friend at a given point.

When I was little it was probably Nathan Conder. We were raised side by side and spent crazy amounts of time together. Yes, we are still in contact and see each other at least a few times a year.

I had a best friend in first grade named Michelle Bodkin. I have no idea what happened to her but I do remember her being my first good friend who was a girl.

When I moved to Sandy my best friend was probably Miranda Peterson. We were good friends from second grade until fifth grade when she moved. I remember that being very hard and for a while, I drifted a bit. Lots of acquaintances, no best friend. We are facebook friends I think.

From sixth grade until the end of middle school my best friends were Karin Nizguritzer, Kelsy Jordan, Katy Ogden, Franklynn Stott, and Alisha Larson. The amount of time I spent with each as my best friend and the closeness of the relationships fluctuated quite a bit. I am Facebook friends with them still but I only have real relationships with Franklynn and Alisha at this point.

My best friends in High School were Alisha Larson, Franklynn Stott and Tara Smith. High school was a little bit different though and I feel like I had a wide variety of people that I got along with and hung out with. There were lots of weekend get togethers and Frisbee games. I worked with Franklynn and Alisha though and other than my family I would say I have spent more time with them by choice than any other people in my life.

Towards the end of high school, Nick became one of my best friends. He had been an acquaintance and casual friend for a long time but it wasn't until that last year that I started spending as much (or more) time with him than Alisha and Franklynn. I married Nick (and he is my very best friend), am still in fairly regular contact with Franklynn, and pester Alisha with texts almost daily since she moved away.

The first year of college was tough. Nick went on a mission, Alisha went to Idaho, and Franklynn and I spent so much time together that it is a miracle that we can still speak to each other. After floundering for a bit, I made some good friends in my singles ward, Ashley Kimball and Alicia Anderson (among others). I still see Ashley all of the time.

My best friends now (other than Nick), and they have always been there even if I didn't think of them as my best friends, are my family. I have had the opportunity to spend a lot of time with my Mom the past couple of years and have enjoyed getting to know her as an adult. I also see me dad, brother, and sister frequently and have excellent relationships with all of them.

I feel that I have been blessed with great friends throughout my life and have always had the relationships that I needed when I needed them.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Define Your Dash #18: What I Love Most About Where I Live Now

It is no secret that I really didn't like living in my current neighborhood when we moved in. We came to check out the ward after we put an offer on our house and it seemed great. It was full of lots of young couples just like us. There weren't a lot of teenagers but after growing up in historic Sandy that seemed normal.
It took us a little more than a month to start going to the new ward consistently because we were simultaneously trying to get Grandma's house ready for selling and our house to the point where it was livable. By the time we got there, our names had been read in (on a week we were at our other ward) and we found ourselves with callings almost immediately. Nick was put in the young mens/scouts and I was put into the young womens.
This was difficult for me. I didn't really get a chance to know anyone in the Relief Society because I was with the young women all of the time and I didn't know how to interact with the presidency I was put into. I have been in several presidencies during my life and I honestly didn't know what to do with this group. The communication was unlike any I had ever experienced and I simultaneously felt like a surplus member of the presidency and the overused (no one else will do it give it to Whitney) member of the presidency. As I reflect on the situation several years removed from it, I can tell that I had a slightly skewed view of what was happening and a less than mature attitude about what I was asked to do. In retrospect the whole experience taught me a lot. I also got to know and love many of the women I worked with but that took quite a while.
So, my original view of living in this house was not positive. I didn't particularly like my ward, aspects of my neighborhood scared me a little bit, my house was put together but not my dream house, and I was just so busy all of the time (this didn't have a ton to do with location but I think it made my whole perspective more negative than it would have been otherwise). I went to class Monday, a meeting on Tuesday, young womens on Wednesday, my parents on Thursday, and by Friday I was usually up for half a movie before I passed out. None of these things was bad but all of them after a ten hour work day each day (first year teaching) and my life was not what I wanted it to be.
Since then, I would like to think I have grown up a little bit but it is hard to know for sure since our circumstances are so different now. Five years later, I really like where we live. Our area is diverse socially, ethnically, and economically. This presents opportunities to get to know, serve, and be served by people from a variety of backgrounds.
I have a different calling, that I love, and have gotten to know a lot of people in the ward.

-As a side note, this was not an easy feat. When we moved in, it felt like getting to know people was a task akin to pulling teeth. People would get up on Sunday and bare their testimonies about what a warm welcoming ward we had and I would wonder what ward they had moved into. I'm not sharing these feelings to complain, I am trying to prove a point. We do (and I assume did) have a great ward. But it wasn't until I put forth the effort to get involved, and be the person who goes out of their way to talk to people, and plan stuff, that I made some good friends and started to like it. I think for some people the social aspect of life is easier. Maybe they are more naturally social, or their face says to people "come be my friend", or maybe they just happen to sit by the right people at the right time. I don't know. I just know that in my own experience, my best friends have been made when I am brave enough to leave my comfort zone and find them.

Anyway, I have a calling I enjoy (though I think I would enjoy any calling more now than I did then). I am a stay at home mom, I have a beautiful baby boy who makes me so happy. Nick is done with school and happier, life is just far less stressful than it was (or maybe the stresses are happy stresses now).

So, what do I love about where I live now?

The people I live by, my ward, the neighborhood, easy access to everything, and the fact that I am choosing to live here.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Define Your Dash # 17: What was your childhood home like?

I feel like I had two childhood homes. The first one I remember was a duplex in Holiday. We lived next door to Marge on one side and Lamar Petersen on the other. I think the house only had two bedrooms and one bathroom. The kitchen floor was yellow linoleum. There were fake plants on the way down the stairs. There was a big room and a laundry room in the basement. The laundry room was olive green. I shared a room with Ben and Spencer. I slept on the top bunk in a bunk bed which I fell off of once and then only wanted to sleep on the bottom bunk. My parents room had a wooden floor (gees I must have spent a lot of time looking at the floor because that's mostly what I remember). I used to hide in my moms closet and put on her shoes to better disguise myself. There was a huge stereo in the living room that had flashing lights and a huge speaker. I remember having dance parties in there and crawling around by the speaker.
The duplex was on a corner lot. We did not have a backyard but we had slanty front yard where we could play in the sprinklers. There was also a light post on the corner of the lot that I rode into more than once when I was learning to ride a bike.
We lived really close to the Conders. Spencer and I used to play with Nathan and Sam all of the time. They had an especially magical backyard with a swing set, trampoline, climbing trees, fruit, a compost heap (I don't know I thought that was so cool), and a slightly forbidden wooden play house that we were not supposed to play in but did. Nathan and Sam lived next to the church which had a really cool parking lot we liked to adventure in. Part of it was elevated and very exciting for climbing and riding things with wheels. We also lived near a magical storm drain area that we called the wilderness and liked to explore.
I mostly remember playing all the time and being very happy here.

We moved into my second childhood home when I was seven. It was a mess. I remember sleeping in the living room on the floor once before we actually moved in to try it out. I also recall my mother painstakingly cleaning up all kinds of messes (from crayon on the wall to a shed full of somebody else's garbage) and eating loads of peanut butter sandwiches. I remember moving in and sharing a room with my brothers again. We had all of our beds upstairs and all of the dressers downstairs in the scary room (which later became my brothers' bedroom). The laundry room was especially frightening, so, my mom let us paint an under the sea mural on the wall. My parents still live at that house and it is 1000 times better than when we moved in.
Socially, this was a harder house to live at and lacked some of the "magic" of the first home. Here I didn't have ready made friends and had to work hard to make them. School was tougher and primary was different. My mother was so involved in our lives, however, that the scary stuff wasn't so scary.
I still love this house and associate it with joy, acceptance, and safety.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Define Your Dash # 16: Favorite Childhood Holiday Traditions

1. I loved presents on Christmas, but I really liked our big Christmas breakfast (which we usually still do). It was the only day of the year we got sausage and bacon and eggs and pancakes and hash browns. We also invited lots of people. Our neighbors would come and sometimes various Conders or Nielsens or Fehrs. It just depended on where we were and where they were at the time.

2. I enjoyed acting out the Christmas story with the Conders (I think I grew weary of being Mary but I look back very fondly on the program.)

3. During the Summer we would always try to go to the drive in movie with all of our friends at least once. Take the blow up mats and cards and food and stay awake (or not) until the second movie was over.

4. Cookout in the mountains during the Summer. We often go to Millcreek once or twice because it reminds my mom of my Grandmother.

5. Ice Cream on MLK day (started as a teenager because Aisha and I thought it said milk day on the calendar ( but its been like 10 years of ice cream now. . .so yeah. . .)

6. Fireworks at Dan and Deri's house in Sandy by the park. As a kid this was quite magical. We had lots of sparklers and home made raspberry ice cream and the famous be safe with fire speech.

7. My mom had a big plant in our living room for years that would sprout candy filled Easter Eggs around Easter. I enjoyed having a candy tree.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Define Your Dash 15: Homes and Apartments

1. I believe I started life in a tiny apartment downtown that my parents helped manage. I think it was minuscule.

2. The first house I remember living in, was a duplex in Holiday that my parents rented for super cheap from my Grandpa's friend Lamar Peterson (1932 E Woodside Dr). He was a nice old man who took good care of us and likde to give us random stuff from DI. He often had very stale snacks at his house (for a long time I thought Cheetos were gross then I realized that his were just old). Mostly I remember playing with Nathan and Sam Conder and having adventures at this house.

3. When I was in first grade we moved to 9000 South. The house my parents still live in. I mostly grew up here. My dad drove me back to Holiday to finish first grade then I made some friends over the summer and started second grade in Sandy. I have lots of fond memories of this house (that are still being made). I always wished that I lived in the neighborhood instead when I was younger though. Living on the busy street away from the day to day action made me feel like an outlier.

4. When college started I moved to the dorms at the University of Utah, Chapel Glen 803 to be exact. I started in the party dorm (because that is where they put scholarship kids). It was awful. One of my room mates was promiscuous and drunk and super irresponsible. There was often puke all over the bathroom, boys in her bed, and random friends of hers in my room. So I switched dorms.

5. I was lucky enough to miss a bus one day and ended up talking to a girl in one of my classes who hater her dorm. Her room mate was just to normal and didn't like that she had her boyfriend in her room all the time. So we decided to switch if we could. IT worked, prayer answered. I ended up in a dorm next to some very active LDS girls and that made all the difference. As a plus the dorm was right across from the Heritage Center so the food was close.

6. Moved back home after one year of the dorms.

7. When I was almost done I lived in Phichit Thailand for a summer above Dr Sucharts theparak clinic.(I have a whole blog about that).

8. Moved home for a few months.

9. Married Nick and moved to my Grandmother's basement at 211 East Twin Peaks Street in Midvale. Lived there for a little less than two years.

10. Moved down the street to my current Midvale house.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Define Your Dash 14: Barest Essentails I Would Need to Make A Place Home

Nick and Lincoln would be the essentials. Other things that would be nice are a roof, a bed, food, clean water, scriptures, and some means to continue learning.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Define Your Dash # 13: Greatest Achievement of My Life

When I get to the end of my life and look back, I will hope to able to say that my greatest achievement is to have raised a righteous family. I understand that I can't make choices for my children but I hope and pray that Lincoln, and any other children that I might have, accept and live the Gospel and go on to share it with their own families.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Define Your Dash #12: Motto or Creed to live By

I have never thought about this. I have been trying to think about how to sum up the way I live and I why I live it but it's difficult to condense. So here is my super long motto. Maybe later I can make it more succinct.

Follow the prophet, trust God, live your beliefs, set a good example, be smart, be kind, and be honest. Be grateful for what you have and happy in your circumstances. Work hard to get where you want to go and be flexible if that isn't where you are meant to go. Be brave and love.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Define Your Dash # 11: Dearest Personal Values

1. Trust God: I believe that God loves me and knows what I need better than I do. I try to go to him with all of my questions and concerns (big and small) and follow his counsel and guidance.

2.Work Hard: I also believe that God helps those that help themselves. I know that when we put our best into everything God can make up the difference and better direct us. I also think that working hard develops character, makes you value the things you earn more than you might if they were given to you, and helps you understand others better.

3. Be Kind and Inclusive: Everyone has a place and can fit in if they are given the chance. As a kid my mom always made me include my siblings in my activities (despite the age gaps) and I have always been grateful (even though I didn't always like it at the time). Being kind and inclusive can get you a long way with a variety of people and kindness is harder to argue with than anger.

4. Never Stop Learning: Whether it is at school, church, home, or in the community, I believe that it is important to continually better ourselves.

5. Be Honest and Forthright: I think honesty in every thing you do is extremely important and I think it is important to not say things about people that you wouldn't be comfortable saying to them. I'm not perfect at this but I think it is important to be the type of person who people can not only count on to have integrity but who they can count on to have their backs or at least not malign them when they aren't present. Maybe be one faced instead of two.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Define Your Dash # 10: What are Your Memories of School Lunch

I ate hot lunch during Elementary, a mix in Middle School and cold lunch in High School (usually). I remember early on (maybe first grade) when a teacher was taking counts for hot lunch and cold lunch I was very confused. I didn't realize that cold lunch was brought from home and not a cafeteria option. I couldn't figure out why anyone would want the cold version of the lunch.
In 4th-6th grades, I remember getting to be a lunch server, which I loved. We got to leave class and go to the kitchen and put on fancy gloves and hats and serve our fellow students (fruit cups if we were unlucky and mashed potatoes if we were lucky). If you were extra unlucky, you had to wipe tables.
As a janitor, I remember cleaning ketchup off the walls. . . .nuff said. I also remember eating the free breakfasts and lunches with the little kids during the summer when I was little and when I was 18 working the summer shifts with Franklynna and Alisha.
I middle school I remember sitting with a big group of kids and somehow often longing to be at "the popular table". The food was mediocre and sometimes I would skip lunch one day so I could splurge and buy an ice cream the next day. I also remember kids pretending to be Pokemon right outside the cafeteria in middle school. . .
In high school, the lunches switched every other day and I had some really good lunches with some really good friends and some less desirable lunches that made me feel isolated and alone. I learned that it is important to be friendly and open and willing to have many friends and groups.
As a teacher, school lunch was obnoxious and took far to many minutes of my already to short lunch break. Lunch servers were even worse because then suddenly half of my class was gone and it was pointless to teach anything that I didn't want to reteach the next day.

Side note: My lovely mother made my lunch almost every day (that I took a lunch) from Elementary School through College) then my handsome Husband made it until I quite teaching. I was very spoiled.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Define Your Dash # 9: What I know About the Day I Was Born

My mom was very sick and did a lot of puking and wondering if my Dad would leave her (he never would have) after so much throw up. They left to go the hospital and my Dad stopped to buy a Mountain Dew. I was born naturally and late in the morning. My Grandma had predicted that I would be born on Labor Day and was correct.

I learned more. My mom was in labor almost all night at home. She slept on the floor in the hall with her feet up in the air against the closet because it was the only comfortable position. She woke my dad up around four and he stopped not once on the way to the hospital, but twice because the first place was closed and he was not able to get any caffeine. I was born late in the morning at the University of Utah Hospital with a room full of people (interns and nurses and people who needed to witness a live birth). My dad may or may not have cried harder when I was born than at any other point in his life. My mom did get an epidural but much to late to do anything (she had taken a class that strongly discouraged them). They didn't know if I was going to be a boy or a girl until I was born. After they left the hospital they stayed with my grandparents for a few days before my Grandma told them they were good and sent them home. My mom cried and cried because she didn't know what to do with a baby. She figured it out and I have wonderful parents.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Define Your Dash # 8: What Did You Enjoy Doing with Your Father When You Were A Child?

My Dad was a very present figure in my childhood (and is in my adulthood for that matter).
Every once in a while, we would have interviews. Interviews were where we got to spend time with just dad and talk. He asked us questions about school and church and we pretty much got to tell him whatever we wanted. I only remember doing this a handful of times but I thought it was pretty cool to have Dad's full attention for a half hour, or whatever it was. It made me feel important and worth listening to.
I also enjoyed going on hikes and playing frisbee. I was not so good at hiking as a child, but I thought it was a lot of fun when the whole family would pack lunch and go on a grueling one-mile hike on a Saturday.
Dad taught me how to play frisbee, which pretty much became my Saturday night activity in high school. He was very patient and showed me how to throw straight and far. We loved to go to the park for family night and have mini ultimate frisbee matches or just play catch.
Movies are another activity I remember enjoying with my Dad. He likes movies and liked to share the good ones with us. The ones I remember most clearly are Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and Minority Report.

  • Star Wars stands out because it is the only time I recall him having me stop playing outside to come inside to watch a show. We had just watched Empire Strikes back and he wanted me to come in and watch Return of the Jedi so I could see how it ended. He was probably disturbed that I really wanted Luke to end up with Leah. 
  • Lord of the Rings came out when I was in Middle School and dad would check me out of school so we could go see them together in the middle of the day. 
  • Minority Report (which I hate) reminds me of my dad because he drove my friends and me to the dollar theater when I was in seventh grade and then stayed to watch the movie with us. It scared me to death (I have always been a wimp when it comes to movies). When he was dropping my friends off after the show he shouted "Run" very loudly at one of them and scared us all to death. If you have seen the movie that makes sense. Run till haunts me. . .
I also remember my dad playing video games and letting us try. I have never been terribly good at video games but I am pretty boss at the original ones that Dad taught us.
I remember family night treats and games and visiting Dad at work. I remember going with him and mom to clean up my grandma's yard every Spring. I remember and enjoyed the many vacations he took us on and getting to stay at all the cool hotels (which I will discuss) in another post.
I think, that when dad was involved, there wasn't a whole lot that I didn't enjoy doing.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Define Your Dash #7: Vacation Wist List

What destinations are on your vacation wish list?
Oh, this is hard, I love traveling and would love to go almost everywhere. However, money won't allow that currently and there are many places that would give me pause now that I have a baby. Becoming a mom has made me worry more about my own safety than I used to.
So, I have two lists. My realistic list that I really do want to accomplish before I die and my I would love to go here but they are secondary to my first list list.

Definitely want to go to/do/accomplish LIST

  1. I want to visit every state in the USA (I think I have done 22)
    1. Cedar Point in Ohio
    2. Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando
    3. Disney World in Orlando
    4. Niagra Falls
    5. The Smithsonian
    6. See a play on Broadway
  2. I want to hike through the slot canyons in southern Utah and specifically do the Subway in Zions National Park
  3. Havasupai Falls (hike Grand Canyon)
  4. I want to Hike Angels Landing
  5. I want to visit Phichit Thailand again and see the school that I helped start (I want to take Nick to see all of the amazing places I saw)
  6. Europe, there are many places I would like to see but my goal is just to make it there.
  7. Inca Trail to Machu Pichu
  8. China/Taiwan 
Would be Great LIST
  1. Chichen Itza
  2. England/Scotland/Ireland Trip
  3. Australia
  4. The Alps
  5. Iceland Laugavegurinn/Fimmvörðuháls Pass
  6. Appalachian Trail
  7. Pacific Crest Trail
  8. Pyramids in Egypt
  9. Japan
  10. New Zealand

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Define Your Dash #6: Mother's Influence

How has having a mother enriched my life?
I was lucky enough to have a Mom who stayed at home with me. This made a huge difference. Having taught school for five years I could almost always figure out which kids had at least one involved parent within the first week. My mom was very involved. She always knew where I was as a kid but I never felt like I didn't have freedom and choices. The feeling, even as a kid, that my opinion mattered and that I had options was key for me. I think a different parenting style could have made me a much more rebellious person (knowing myself better now than I once did).
I know my family was far from wealthy when I was kid, but I didn't realize that. My mom gave me more than enough support and attention to make up for any money that we didn't have. I remember doing art and playing outside and going to parks and on bike rides.
As I got older I remember her being there when I got home every day ready to listen as I talked about my day. This was consistent and she asked me questions and was involved. She knew my friend's names and what classes I liked and didn't like. She welcomed my friends into the house and fed them and was always willing to have guests for dinner. She once made me a deal that if I was ever in a situation where I was uncomfortable (like my friends wanting to do something that I didn't want to do) that I could invite them over to my house for ice cream instead and that she would go buy ice cream for us no questions asked.
When I was an adult and started college she let me come home whenever I wanted and often drove me back up to the dorms Sunday night crying. She drove up and rescued me on more than one occasion as well. She let me go but at the rate that I needed. She let me set my separation pace and has always been there to help and take care of me.
I am a mom now and she still does these things. She showers my baby with love and has more than once come to my house to watch him while I have a nap. She was there with me when he was born and when he had surgery (both times). She still feeds us regularly. She participates daily in our lives and we are enriched by having her around.
This is short and has said nothing of the lunches she made me (all the way until I got married) or the skills that she taught me (organization, cooking, cleaning etc.) or the example in the gospel she has set for me my whole life or the selfless service that I am trying to emulate. . .
My point is, my mother's influence in my life has been key to me being the person I am and still points me towards the person I would like to be. I am eternally grateful that I have the mother that I have. My life has been far more than enriched by her.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Define Your Dash #5: Qualities I Admire in my Friends

What qualities do I admire most in my friends? Well this question gave me pause and I had to reflect on the friends that have had throughout my life. Looking back I have had three types of really good friends. Givers, takers, and a combination. I imagine I have also been one of these three types to those same people.
Givers are exactly that. They give you their time, they are the ones who remember your birthday and get you something, they are always there to listen, and they don't expect anything in return. I have only had a few friends like this which I am ashamed of because that made me the taker.
Takers are the opposite and force you to be the giver. Which I am not great at and these relationships are not generally sustainable in the long run (for me).
The best type of friendship to have is one where both parties give and take. My very best friendships have been with people who I can both count on to comfort and advise me and who I know will come to me if the need counsel or comfort. They are friendships that both people are invested in. It absolutely sucks to feel like a friendship would fall apart if you stopped caring. (And I feel like this happens all the time.) It is terrible to be the one always calling and planning and inviting. Good friendships don't work like that. Both people care about the relationship enough to be involved participants rather than bystanders who will join you if cajoled.
Other qualities are important too. Commonalities between the two friends help. History is great but every friendship has to start somewhere. I like people who seem interested in my life, I feel like I am fairly good at asking questions but its nice when they seem to care as well. Remembering is key. What I mean is that it is refreshing when conversation varies and you don't have to have the same thing rehashed over and over because the person doesn't care enough to remember. I think it also important to be there regardless of the circumstances.
Now, I know this seems like a lot but the question is, what qualities to admire most in my friends, not what qualities are required for my friendship. Though it seems I have been talking about two different things.

Qualities that make a Good Friend.

  • There for you
  • Willing to give advice and comfort
  • Willing to accept advice and comfort
  • Make an effort to keep friendship going
  • Share common interests or is willing to learn about friends interests 
  • Interested in the life of friend
  • Remembers previous conversations
  • Is okay with ups and downs of life and emotions

Qualities I most admire in my friends.

  • Kindness
  • Willingness to serve
  • Willingness to listen
  • Flexibility (Being Easy Going)
  • Selflessness
  • Planning Ability
As I wrote the second list I realized that the items are what they are because they are what I am weak at. I like to associate with people who possess them so that I can learn and become better.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Define Your Dash #4: Childhood Hobbies

As a young kid I remember being outside all the time. I spent a lot of time at the Conder's house in their backyard and riding my bike around the neighborhood (or into trees and poles). One time I played hide and seek with my mom so well she thought I was kidnapped or something (that is not as funny to me now as it used to be).
When I got a little bit older I liked to go to the movies with my neighborhood friends. I think there was a span of several years (late elementary early middle school) where we went to the dollar theater almost every weekend.
In the middle of middle school I really enjoyed reading. I remember my mom asking one of my teachers if the amount I read was normal. She assured her I was fine.
Later I really started liking Frisbee. Mainly because this cute boy I liked played it all the time. Nevertheless, I got fairly good at it and convinced a lot of my friends to meet me most Saturdays and play (including said cute boy) at Sandy Elementary. (As a side not this tactic really worked out for my love life.)
Art has also been a hobby on and off throughout my life, I even gave it a go in college. I have never been particularly awesome at it but I have always found it soothing and enjoy the time I spend doing it. I like to experiment with most mediums but I wouldn't say I am a master of any particular one.
I love anything creative and hope to someday be proficient in writing, graphic design, and photography.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Define your Dash #3: Grandparents (Love Stories)

Do you know the story of how your grandparents met and fell in love? 

  • I want to preface this by saying these entries are short and the way I remember them being told. If you have more information or know I am telling them wrong please let me know.
  • My Dad's parents, Gary and Gerrie, met at a church dance in San Francisco while my Grandpa was on shore leave (he was in the navy). My Grandma was the only active member of her family and when they got married, they went to the San Diego Temple with my Grandpa's parents where she went through the initiatories and endowments for the first time before getting married, she also happened to be on a deaf session and thought she need to memorize all the hand signals. After that, it took her a while to go back to the temple because it was such a confusing experience for her. Right after they were married they drove to Salt Lake where they settled down. I asked her why they came to Salt Lake instead of staying in California and she told me that that was just where Gary drove them too (that answer was once she had dementia).
  • My Mom's parents, Reed and Donna, were set up on a blind date that neither of them wanted to go on. My Grandpa happened to be the one who answered the phone when the person who was looking for a date for my Grandma called. And that was pretty much that.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Define Your Dash #2: Transport

Question: What are all the modes of transport you have used?


  • Orange Vega: I don't remember much except that we had an orange car when I was little and it had a hole in it.
  • Van: grey, black, sea green, red . . .my parents got a van when I was a kid and have been trading them out ever since.
    • Bangkok to Phichit
    • Phichit to Myanmar
    • All over Bangkok
  • Death mobile: little blue Toyota that I learned to drive stick in.
  • Caucasia: my first car gold 1997 Toyota Corolla
  • Truck: We bought a truck right after Link was born and I don't know if I can go back. Red Ford f150
    • Bangkok right out of the airport no seat belt sat on the shift stick. . .
  • Taxi: Bangkok, Phuket, and Pataya

On Water
  • Canoe: at girls camp in Cedar City, in The Floating Market in Bangkok, and in a lagoon in the Phi Phi Islands 
  • Ferry: down the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok and from Phuket to the Phi Phi Islands
  • Double Decker Tourist Boat: Around the Phi Phi Islands
  • Longtail Boat: Around the Phi Phi Islands
  • Duckie: Down the Colorado River
  • Paddleboat: Lake Havasu
  • SLC to Pheonix multiple times
  • SLC to Disneyland (Choir Tour)
  • SLC to LA (on the way to Thailand)
  • LA to Taiwan
  • Tiawan to Bangkok
  • Bangkok to Cambodia
  • Sleeper train Phichit to Bangkok. I started with the bottom bunk but Alisha came down to talk to me and fell asleep in my bed so I had to sleep in the top. . .
  • Trax: rode it for a field trip when it was first built, then to college and work for over two years
  • Super crowded train from Phichit to Phitsanoluk each Sunday for church (church took us eight hours in Thailand)
  • Freezing Train: literally so cold it gave us all runny noses
  • Motorcycle: in Phichit to the local Kodak store
  • Tuk Tuk: all over Chang Mai and Siem Reap
  • Camel: in a Zoo in Pheonix
  • Horse: My moms cousins farm
  • Elephant: Up a mountain in Chang Mai to see the Long Neck Women
  • Zipline: Camp and Olympic Park in Park City
  • Bicycle: all over Utah, lot of the Jordan River Trail, Phichit, and Chicago
  • Feet: everywhere else

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Define Your Dash #1: 2017 Goals

This year I am going to try and write down part of my dash each week for 52 stories. This is one of the challenges on the LDS website and one of my personal goals. The church also provided a list of guiding questions which I am going to try and use when possible. I know it is the third week in January but I am going to start with number one because it is important to me.

Question: What goals do you hope to achieve this year?

Goals are so important to me. Each year of my marriage Nick and I have sat down one of the first family nights of the year and written out our goals. I then tape them to my dresser right next to my bed so that I can see them every morning when I wake up and every night before I pass out. We create goals in categories, together than individually. Throughout the year I check them off because I reread them so often. Some goals are more personal than others but this is kind of what our goal sheet looks like.

Goals 2017

  • Family Nights and Family Councils each Monday
  • Study the Marriage and Family Relations on Saturdays and Sundays
  • Study the Book of Mormon with the BYU videos Monday-Friday



  • Study Christ everywhere
  • Read all of the Sunday School and Relief Society lessons before church
  • Read D&C and study it
  • Go to RS activities when possible
  • Fulfill all callings to the best of my ability
  • Keep up personal blog (journal)


  • Participate in more service opportunities
  • Start some kind of play group in the ward
  • Hike Mt Olympus
  • Make new friends
  • Obtain life insurance and verify a will


  • Do all Fun Pass Activities
  • Date at least once a month (2 x is better)
  • Go camping down south and other places
  • One Family Activity a week (pass, hiking, dinner, etc.)

  • Diet together, help each other make better eating choices.
  • Fewer treats, buy healthier food

  • Eat in moderation

  • Exercise 3x weekly

  • Finish laundry room
  • Fix the bathtub
  • Baby Proof

  • Invest 401k

  • Stick to the budget (log purchases in goodbudget)



  • Learn more about graphic design and photography via lynda and the library
  • Look into taking a class at SLCC with Americorps money

On my copy all of this is filled in, and Nick does have goals I just didn't think I should put his on the interwebs. Hopefully having it out there creates more accountability.