Sunday, January 31, 2016

Birthday funness

This year was my double dozen birthday and I was so excited to have doughnut pans that I could make myself two dozen doughnuts! This was really my only plan for celebrating and going to dinner with Jon. Well come to find out the two restaurants that I wanted to go to were closed Mondays and Tuesdays so that would wait until the weekend. Work started out as a normal day, but being my birthday I decided to go home for lunch with Jon instead of eating by myself in the lobby.

Lunch was delicious leftovers from a pasta bake that one of my friends had been so kind to bring the night we got home from the hospital. I'm so glad Jon doesn't really eat left overs because I LOVE pasta and taking it for lunch was fantastic! Then we took a short nap together before I headed back to work. When returning to work I found a colorful array of balloons taped to the back of my chair and a card signed by the professors and students who were in that day. I had no idea any of them knew it was my birthday! It definitely made me feel special and loved.

Surprise balloons!
Coming home from work, neither Jon or I were very hungry as we'd both had a very large and filling lunch so I went about making my birthday doughnuts, and sure some people say you shouldn't be making your own birthday treats, but I love to bake so it was a fun treat for me to do while Jon studied. Peanut butter and chocolate being my favorite I decided to make a chocolate doughnut with a chocolate peanut butter glaze and sprinkled with some crushed mini Reeses. Jon joined me for the decorating and we both enjoyed one together after he took some artful pictures with his fancy camera to capture me being 24. They were fantastic!!!! You definitely needed some milk though and I'd say that made for a very nutritious dinner =P

I put some on a platter and headed off to Bachelor night with some girl friends. I couldn't wait for them to try these divine doughnuts! When I walked into the house I was surprised by a beautiful birthday cake and balloons covering the floor. They had turned our Bachelor night into a mini party for me and once again I was so touched! So for dessert I enjoyed some delicious cake and ice cream. A well balanced diet right ;) I told them they could all take the doughnuts home since I hadn't known there would be cake and ice cream but most of them ate a doughnut as well. Can I say I'm glad I've made friends who love sugar as much as me?
The beautiful cake!
Making sure I don't start my hair on fire

Did it in one breath!

It was such a special day, filled with love from both friends and family near and far! I'm so grateful to have such a wonderful family and to have made these friends in Kirksville who make me feel just as loved and special as if I was home enjoying my birthday with family. The year of 23 was a pretty fantastic one, and looking at the start of 24 I think it will be just as great!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Blessings to be Thankful for

This year has been so full of blessings I really feel like I'm walking on sunshine. First off I have been blessed to travel all over this last year. In January I was able to drive with Jon to San Francisco for one of his medical school interviews and had such a fun time exploring the city even if it was just one day. Then in March we took what we thought would be our last big trip before medical school started to Montreal and Quebec City and stayed in an ice hotel. Really a chilly yet awesome, beautiful experience! Then we were surprised and delighted to join the Patterson family in a trip to the tropical paradise of Cancun before making the journey to Kirksville, MO.

Though medical school has been a lot of work for Jon he is putting in the effort and doing fantastic! I was blessed to find a job right away at the school and love it along with the people and students. It is such a fun job! To top it off rent is so cheap we were able to rent a duplex house that makes us feel like we live in a luxury home. We love our ward and the welcoming people they are making us feel like family from the moment we moved in. We have made some great friends that we can have parties or for me girl nights. I have a swim friend to help keep me in shape. Free membership (Its probably in tuition somewhere =P) to a gym where I can take fun classes like zumba, barre, and so much more. I have activities out the wazoo to keep me entertained on weeks when Jon is super studying like cooking club, Book club, Releif  society, project nights with fun cheap decorative crafts, and literally so much more!

The great outdoors are so close here its wonderful! I've gotten to go hiking through autumn leaved forests, Kayaking in a beautiful lake, and experienced my first "Dusting" of snow. I am also playing volleyball again which I love and am playing quite well surprisingly for not having played in years.

Then I had the wonderful opertunity to join Jon to Boston where he had an ER conference to present his masters research in. And now here I sit writing this up in Chicago which is a short and inexpensive train ride from Missouri.

I feel so blessed!!! That's not even the half of it! Yes it has been hard to be away from family that I love so dear, but they have been so supportive and we've kept in touch and I know this is a run on sentence but in just a few weeks I will be back in my beloved desert of Arizona to see them and celebrate the birth of my Savior, Jesus Christ.

I think it Has been a long time since I was this excited for Christmas and am already feeling the spirit of it. I am so thankful for this wonderful gospel and the knowledge that if I live righteously I can be with my family forever as well as my Father in Heaven and Savior. Honestly I can't thank either of them enough for the blessings in my life right now but especially for the atonement and the millions of chances I now have to start over when I've made a mistake. Life is wonderful!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Fun scary and the not so fun

I meant to get this posted last Sunday as the events were fresher in my mind, but things came up and so its happening now. October 1st was the general meeting for the SAA group I'm in and we were meeting at the cemetery for some kind of scavenger hunt. I was a bit skeptical but it turned out to be really fun! The school's historian who runs the museum at the school was there to follow us around to the various destinations and tell us interesting facts about the people of old Kirksville.

We first ventured out to AT Still's grave the founder of Osteopathy medicine and of AT Still University the first DO school. There we saw that his son Fred died on the graduation date of the first graduating class and learned that in memory of him they did not celebrate.

AT Still gravesite

Next we found a giant boulder marking the grave of the second school's president. It was during the time of prohibition and I guess he was throwing a party with alcohol and drunk. When someone asked him how he wasn't worried about rioters or getting caught, I can't quite remember which, he pulled out a hand gun that he would use against them. He dropped the handgun and when he bent down to try and catch the falling gun, it landed on the ground and shot a bullet into his head.

We then found a mass grave with all the soldiers who died during the Battle of Kirksville, the last battle giving the Union control over Missouri. It was also cool to find the grave of Jesse Kirk, the man who Kirksville was named after. After visiting some more interesting places we raced to the finish line in first! Wooo woo, got a cup full of candy =) 

Then we heard a creepy story from the museum curator about an old Jewish women's prayer box and the events that would follow the people who owned it. She had prayed to God in the form of this box I suppose as to the cause of the Holocaust that she had miraculously survived but none of her loved ones had. I suppose the answer to this was in Kirksville. The brother in law of AT Still's daughter had started laws in America sterilizing people deemed unfit to reproduce (had seizures, deaf, were from particular regions of the world, etc). Apparently these laws are what gave Hitler the idea for his genocide in Germany and thus caused the Holocaust. Once this was discovered the hauntings from the box stopped. Definitely an interesting story. Overall it was a fun night learning random facts about the history of Kirksville and enjoying some fantastic rich hot chocolate with friends!

A photo with the curator

A photo with our SAA board member, she is whited out and I look like a pig monster =P

And finally a photo at the entrance of the cemetery! I was told to make my scariest Halloween face, but I guess no one else decided to join in...

That was the fun scary night, now onto the story of the not so fun scary night. Last Sunday night Jon got a phone call from his mother that his brother Adam got into an accident on his way back up to NAU. Apparently what ended up happening is he saw a giant boulder (the size of the front of a car) coming down the side of the mountain. He slammed on his breaks and swerved but the boulder still hit the side of his truck, popping all four tires with the impact and sending him spinning 70 feet down the road. The car just behind him said that if he hadn't of swerved the boulder would have landed right on the truck cab, which definitely would have killed him. We were both shaken to hear this, especially Jon and immediately said a prayer of thanks to our Heavenly Father for listening to our prayers to keep our family safe. Every night we pray for this and I'm so glad we do! 

We'll be heading out to Boston at the end of the month so stayed tuned for updates on that and the rest of Fall and Halloween funness to come =) 

Saturday, August 1, 2015

1st Month in Kirksville

Wow I can't believe its already been a month! We pulled up to the house the night of June 31st, had one kind soul from our ward come help us unload and you know what?? What took about 2 and a half to 3 hours to pack with 9 people only took half an hour to unload with 5. My blessed mother and Jon's dad were troopers enough to help us drive the 24 hours from Phoenix to Kirksville and we honestly couldn't have done it without them! I'm so glad my mom was there with me to talk and laugh and made the days fly by.

We finally reached our hotel the first night at 5AM... slept four hours, ate breakfast, and headed off again. That night after unpacking we headed off to grab a bit to eat at the local McDonald's where my mom's crazy tired side started showing. Now Jon knows where I get it from =P We then went to the local Walmart to get water (you have to turn it on in person here so this way we could drink, use the bathroom, etc until we turned it on the next day), food, and an air mattress for the boys to sleep on. So you want to come visit?? See Nauvoo or other church sites? We are prepared to room you!

Once again with not enough sleep we rolled out of bed and headed off to show the parentals a quick look at the school Jon is attending and sent them off in their rental car to Kansas City to fly back home. This was the hardest goodbye yet and I had been dreading it. Each goodbye back in Arizona brought tears, but my mom was my last tie to back home and I think I cried the hardest because of that. Jon teared up as well having said goodbye to his father. We both just cried together for a while before sucking it up and getting to work. I really think setting up the house saved us from dwelling on our depression.

So we begin our journey in Kirksville!
Our house!
 Sneak peak of the inside, I love my kitchen!!!

The day after our parents left I had a job interview and got the job! I was so blessed to get this position and now I have a name thingy! Never thought I'd have one of those. I work in the microbiology/immunology department at ATSU the school Jon is attending and I love it. Everyone is so nice and fun to work with and I've gotten to do some fun science so far, but I won't bore everyone with that =P
 The town's 4th of July Parade was so fun! Afterwards we wandered around the Saturday morning farmers market they have every week and got a yellow zucchini and some homemade oreos, like legit homemade. The filling I'm pretty sure was from their cow and sugar it was delicious! Oh yeah we have yet to get a picture of it but we have quite a few Mennonite or Amish people who ride carriages pulled by horses next to the freeway. Its pretty fun to drive by them and they are always giving a wave as you pass. 

The town put on quite the awesome firework show! People were packed in this parking lot but we just crossed the street and enjoyed the view on our picnic blanket in the grass, I don't know why more people weren't over there. But hey, more space and enjoyment for us! We made our own hotdogs and watermelon feast for dinner, so all in all I say we had a pretty fun 4th of July.

The week of Jon's orientation we went blueberry picking! Seriously the most delicious blueberries I have ever eaten, even after being frozen and put in cereal, pancakes, or muffins. Mmmm!
So everything just grows in Missouri I guess and we have had a LOT of rain (I guess more than usual though). So here was a strawberry we found growing in the school's medicinal garden and once again it was the most delicious strawberry I have ever eaten! I definitely plan to grow some in my garden next year. We have also had the joy to try out some raspberries and grapes from this garden too and once again they are fantastic! Much smaller than the ones you find at the store but maybe that's why they are so delicious because they pack so much awesome flavor.
 The last day of orientation the school had a giant picnic dinner by the lake. It was gorgeous! They even had pontoon boats you could ride and get a view from all over the lake. We saw deer and lots of geese with their teenager babies. I've never seen a teenager goose before! Then the next day was the white coat ceremony and it all started to feel real that Jon's actually starting medical school! He is rocking his first three weeks, getting 100's on most of his quizzes, but Monday is the first big section test so he is studying away! 

 Wrapping up, last weekend we decided to go to Nauvoo and watch the Nauvoo Pageant to celebrate Pioneer Day remember those saints and the hardships and sacrifices they went through. Its crazy to me to be in the Nauvoo Stake and so close to so much church history! We walked around the gorgeous temple and then went and visited the fudge shop. I guess it was a favorite of Jon and his brother when they did a church tour so we had to make a stop =) The pageant was so fantastic though, I'm so glad we went and next year we plan to do the British Pageant which is about the British converts and their journey to Nauvoo.  

I think we're going to like it here!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Life and Death

Four years ago I was a freshmen in college taking general chemistry. Through frequent study sessions at the LDS Institute of Religion on campus before tests I became acquainted with a girl who was also in my same predicament. She was quickly to become one of my really good friends. Later that year I faced a huge struggle in my life and she was there for me every step of the way, she would listen when I just needed someone to listen, give advice when I needed advice, a shoulder to cry on when I just needed to let it out. Sadly I provided the same for her around that very same time when she found out her father had a brain tumor. We both grew stronger from supporting each other in these trials and have been close friends since. She transferred to another college but we still keep in touch even though lately it hasn't been a lot since she wanted to spend as much time with her father as possible.

Today he passed away.

It wasn't shocking news when I found out, it was bound to happen and he'd already done the impossible by pulling through so many years. Yet I still broke down. I can't even imagine what it would be like, oldest of four, 22, having to be strong for your siblings. Or even her mom, losing her best friend and having all these stresses fall upon you, funeral planning, how to support your family, etc.

I may be weird, but I tend to put myself in others shoes and try to understand their feelings. And in doing that, one of my thoughts was, I wonder if they ever even imagined going through this when they first met and got married. No one every knows what trials and challenges we will face in the future so when I think what those might be for me, I can't, can't imagine at all.

Life is rough. Life is not easy.

Thinking of all this family now has to deal with, I feel all my complaints and stresses right now are nothing in comparison. I hope to never have to go through such an ordeal. Yet the gospel brings knowledge that comforts me in thoughts like this and I know is comforting my friend and her family. Her dad is not gone forever, but only for a short time until in the next life they will all be reunited, and oh what a joyful meeting it will be, I know! And the knowledge that Christ is there to help me through whatever is in store for the future, I know I can make it through anything.

While that was depressing I just needed to get it out. Now I will appreciate the little joys in life even more, for those are what make enduring through the challenges worth it.

Monday, November 19, 2012

1st Anniversary

Wow, one year already?!? It does not seem like it was a little over a year ago Jon and I got married, yet when I think back on all the fun things we did this year it makes sense. To celebrate our one year we decided to finally use a wedding present from one of Jon's uncles which was a weekend to one of his timeshares. We picked Pinetop as our location and the planning began!

The Friday before I went to my lab in the morning ate a quick dollar lunch and headed off to home to pack up for the trip in hopes of leaving by 2. I got home with the car and Jon left to fill it up with oil and change the spark plugs. He said he'd be back in 20 minutes tops and left while I packed up my clothes and such for the weekend and then all the food. I had planned out all the meals and was very excited to make them all! Who needs culinary school when you have the internet to find fun recipes and a husband to cook for? =P So I had finished packing everything up and double checked to make sure I didn't forget anything and Jon still wasn't home, it had been half an hour so I expected him home any minute and waited anxiously for him to come....... finally half an hour later I heard him come up the apartment steps and knock on the door. I opened the door about to ask what had taken so long to find Jon holding a dozen roses and something I had longed for for years.... A 1LB REESES!!!! Really two half pounds to make it the typical two Reeses per package, but still!!!! I was sooooooo excited to see them in their massive peanut butter chocolatey goodness and eat them right there! I have no idea where he found them but it was perfect! And the roses were so pretty, speckled and gorgeous smelling! So gorgeous smelling I held them in my lap the whole time I drove to Gilbert so we could grab a few things from his parents house.

We finally made it up to Pinetop around 9:30, checked in and got settled in our room. It was such a cozy place! A fire place, ipod speakers to play music and a queen sized bed that fell out of the living room wall to snuggle on with hot chocolate while watching the fire. We were both exhausted though and soon fell asleep before we could move to the real bed in the bedroom. Some point in the early morning Jon had woken up to go to the bathroom and then came and woke me up telling me to look out the window. I crawled out of bed and opened the blinds to see snow!!! The ground and trees were covered in a layer of white fluffy snow! In fact it was snowing at that very moment! I was so excited I couldn't sleep much longer but had to get out and explore the winter wonderland outside. Here is some of what I found:

 This is from outside our window

 Outside on the porch

 A site I never thought I'd ever see, our car COVERED in snow!

These were some sweet icicles we found later on in the day

After my adventures I hurried inside to the warmth to make lemon poppy seed pancakes with blackberries and hot chocolate for breakfast. Once we had filled ourselves we drove out to see Ft. Apache and satisfy Jon's history obsession. It was cool to read about and see the different houses people stayed in but you could only go inside one house and then the rest was just walking around and reading plaques. I would have enjoyed it more if it hadn't been freezing cold and super windy outside. We also stopped by the cemetery and it was interesting to read all the names and dates and wonder how their lives were like. There were a lot of war veterans so I felt it was appropriate to remind us of remember those who served/serve our country for Veterans Day. We were finally done being outside in the freezing cold and headed back to town.

 A creek we stopped by along the way

When we got back we looked around for a good place to eat dinner and ended up going to a place called Darbie's Cafe where we had some yummy fried zucchini and shared a fancy burger and panini. We had wanted to get dessert but were WAY to full afterwards, it was delicious food though! On our way home we stopped by a redbox and got War Horse to snuggle in the couch by the fire with some sparkling cider Jon surprised me with and watch. The movie was good but man it had some rough parts to get through, even for Jon! Since we'd had time to let our stomach's settle it was time to break open the giant Reeses!!!

It was just as delectable as it looks!!! I ate one quarter and immediately wanted another so I did even though it was like 1000 calories no joke. I felt fat in thinking I could have eaten another, but after a couple minutes the richness definitely set in and I knew I couldn't eat any more, but boy was that half amazing! 

Sunday our actual anniversary I attempted to make Jon's favorite breakfast, french toast, but haven't had much practice with it since my mom never made it growing up. They were okay but kind of soggy in the middle so I'm going to have to keep practicing those. Jon was a sweetheart and still ate them without complaint. At breakfast I also gave Jon my anniversary gift to him that I had worked on the week before which was an exploding box full of pictures from the year (here is the site I used to make it, its pretty easy actually! And a huge thanks to Melanie for letting me come and borrow her tools and time!).

We then packed avacado chicken salad sandwiches and headed off to his grandma's house in St. Johns to visit since we wouldn't be coming up for Thanksgiving with Jon's family. It was a beautiful scenic ride through the mountains and a great visit with her and her brother. She even had apples on her apple tree for the first time in years that we got to pick and take home. They are really tiny, but so sweet and crunchy I love them! We got to hear some fun stories from his grandma and then headed home when the sun started to set. 

We came home to delicious smelling chicken stew to which I added cornbread dumplings on top to cook as we went outside to try and build a snowman. The snow was still to fluffy though so it was only good for snow angel making and snow dusting each other. We couldn't play too long though because we hadn't packed any gloves and our hands were hurting after only a couple minutes but it was still fun. We warmed up with some hot chocolate and the fire and then had our stew with some more sparkling cider. Once again we were too full for dessert so we saved our wedding cheesecake for after the Muppet movie, which was super cute by the way! A great kid/family movie, we were laughing throughout so highly recommend it!

Then came the moment I was really excited for, eating our wedding cheesecake! Jon's dad didn't think it'd be any good after a year and that made Jon nervous to try it but it smelled so good I couldn't wait to dig in. We both had a bit at the same time and it was sooooo good!!! Once again Melanie for making it and keeping it in your freezer the whole year. Now I know why you were so tempted to eat it all the time. It was the perfect anniversary! I could never get tired of snuggling by a warm fire and looking at the snow outside. We ended up falling asleep in the queen bed again, don't think we ever actually slept in the real bed, I mean why would you when you can sleep by a fire???

It was such a great, relaxing weekend to just be with Jon and not have to think about school or anything but him! I did not want to go back to real life on Monday, but we did a good job distracting ourselves and didn't get home to Tucson until 10 that night. Just in time for Jon to start his four day graveyard shift.... a nice shock back to reality. Oh well, it was a great weekend and anniversary and he won't have to work those shifts much longer and soon have him by me to sleep with every night. It has been such a wonderful first year together. I'm so grateful to have him in my life and can't wait for what adventures will befall us this next year!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Halloween! Halloween! We love Hallowee-eee-eee-EEEn!!!

So October came around and I decided to try and come up with a super awesome couple's costume for me and Jon to do since it was our first Halloween together. The requirements though made it difficult to come up with because I didn't have a whole lot of time with tests and it had to be cheap too. After a couple weeks I finally saw the perfect one! The couple from UP! it would be perfect!!! Jon already had suits and that sort, we'd just need to get him glasses, me a dress, and some balloons the night of. Even Jon agreed it was a great idea so we were set. Once we had this idea though Jon brought up the fact that we could either be the old couple or the young one and he really wanted to be the cranky old man (no surprise there =P) but then most of the movie his wife is dead... a tragic movie Pixar seems to like those these days. Then an idea popped into my mind, Jon could be the old man and I could be Kevin the bird who WAS a girl it turned out. But Kevin would probably require so much time and money to create something... So I tried to push the idea out of my mind and just focus on dress ideas for the young Elle.

Finally I finished my 3 test week and even though I had a paper and a lab report to do still I needed a break and thought it the perfect time to go to Savers and get our costumes. I quickly found Jon some glasses and a perfect suit jacket for really cheap and then I headed to the dress section. No where did they have anything close to the style of dresses Elle wore in that movie! I was becoming frustrated and decided to go peruse other things they had just in case I might have been able to do Kevin. I had even secretly made a list of things Kevin would require... And to my beautiful surprise I found colored, plastic, ruffled leis and an amazing idea popped into my head. I was going to be Kevin for Halloween and I was so excited!!! I haven't had a really great idea for Halloween in years! So I slowly gathered all my supplies the rest of Thursday and Friday and even got my paper and lab report written by Friday night so that all Saturday I could work on my costume.

Saturday morning I woke up extra early and started my pumpkin chilli for the chilli cook off part of the Halloween party and then headed off to work with all my supplies. Throughout the day when I wasn't on stand guarding for the swim team's invitational I was hot gluing on the leis to a shirt with the help of one of my lifeguard buddies. It turned out perfect! Then thanks to Monica and Jen, the lifeguard, I had some sweet make up and ideas of how to put it on for the night. As soon as we were done cleaning up after those gross kids I ran home, showered, drove to Gilbert to finally be with Jon again (he had been babysitting his siblings all week, of course on one of the hardest weeks of my semester =P), hurriedly we got dressed and ready and headed off for the party!

We looked pretty awesome, don't you think??? I was so happy it turned out! And we even won best over all for the chilli =D Then on actual Halloween we dressed up again though not quite so convincing and got to have $2 booritos at Chipotle and handed out candy corn sugar cookies to trick-or-treaters. I love Halloween!!!