Saturday, October 22, 2011

Random this and thats+Pumpkins

Once again, this post is going to be all over the place

Just random little bits about what's been going on here!

Clay made a new Filipino dish for me about a week ago
Introducing...Chicken Adobo!
It's basically chicken, garlic, onions, and potatoes...

Soaked in soy sauce and vinegar

and it was DELICIOUS!
Looking forward to more of that very soon!

In other news... school is just school. And horribly busy at that.
Want to see what this...
Plus 4 hours of work looks like?
Something like this...
This is our replication of another photographer's work. We totally rocked it. Just sayin :)

Now, onto the fun bit! We had my cousin Eric and his cute wife Lauren over the other night for some pumpkin carving and scary movie watching!
Hard at work, watching "The Walking Dead"
We LOVE "The Walking Dead" here. But I have to look away more then once during an episode. It gets a little (lot) gory.

Nothing beats undead fabulousness
Clay working on his Autobots pumpkin
Eric and his finished masterpiece
Anyone know what you do with pumpkin guts? I felt a little guilty throwing them all away...
Don't worry mom. We put stuff down on the floor, I promise!
Clay and I's finished pumpkins! We were pretty proud of them I must say
Eric and Lauren beat us out when it came to creativity though...
Here is Eric's pumpkin. Yep. The Bat signal is projected onto the back wall... so cool
And Lauren's Tiger! Could not believe the detail on that one.
Clay's transformer's pumpkin. He had to do a little toothpick surgery to hold it together but I was impressed!
And of course, my little Jack Skeleton pumpkin. (Hope Devin appreciates this one)
Pumpkin Carving experts
And us. :)

This last weekend was Fall Break at Utah State.
Clay and I didn't have anything too special planned so after surfing a little bit and finding discounted tickets online, I talked him into going to Lagoon for the day!

We took our buds Kelsey and John along as well and unfortunately they talked me into going on "The Cliffhanger"

I've been to Lagoon before

and I've been on "Cliffhanger" before

But apparently I forgot how wet you can get on it

and that it's mid October

In Utah
Clay was the smart on and passed on that ride, making him the only one out of the 4 of us not for freeze for the next couple hours.

Here's the gang... and of course my husband... making faces...
I highly recommend going to Lagoon in the fall. Hardly any lines at all!
Overall, it was a great way to spend a Thursday afternoon!

Well my friends, I'm off to the photo lab (story of my life)

I'll be back with more stories soon!
Have a lovely Sunday!


Friday, October 14, 2011

White Wedding and Filipino Food

Yesterday was fabulous

One of the best days we've had in a long while that's for sure!

I suppose you want to hear a little more about it

I guess I could do that :)

Yesterday, one of Clay's very best mission friends got married down in SLC
Our good friends Colt and Sam (who got married a month or 2 ago) drove down and stayed with us the night before and we all drove down together! (after staying up until 2am watching "The Walking Dead." so worth it)

We were pretty excited about the whole situation (mostly just to get out of Logan for a while I think)
btw friends, more of you need to get married. Clay's friends weddings just aren't the same :)

After the sealing, we received a little blow to our morale when we found out that Five Star (the Filipino Restaurant that we went to on our mini-moon) closed down!

We tried finding more Filipino restaurants online but the search was sadly in vain (apparently Filipino food doesn't agree with the average Utahian? Utahan? People that live in Utah?)

We settled for California Pizza Kitchen
Here are our lovely traveling companions...
And of course, my meal of choice. Half Hawaiian BBQ, half Pepperoni. I should have gotten a picture of dessert. It was DIVINE
Well, since we had time to kill, we went to Clay's favorite place in downtown SLC, the planetarium! PS, sorry about the poor quality of these pictures. My phone tried to drown itself a while back. After intense CPR (AKA taking it apart, blowdrying it, and putting it in rice overnight) it came back, but its never been the same since.
We debated taking planking pictures here, but we decided that no one in their right mind would put their face on that "dirt" after watching the little kids running around all over it.
Who knows where they've been
Next was the highlight of the day for me. After Five Star failed us, we tracked down a Filipino market in Taylorsville. I don't think I've EVER seen Clay that excited. We walked in and Colt and Clay just started chit chatting with the owner, and the customers in tagalog. The funny thing is Filipinos are EXTREMELY friendly. They must have talked to this one customer for about 20 minutes. She broke into Taglish (like spanglish, but better) every once in a while so I could sort of follow the conversation.
When they weren't chit chatting with Filipinos, the boys were getting WAY to excited about finding their favorite Filipino foods again. There were high fives going around about milo (supposedly kind of like ovaltine), sinagon mix, and corned beef all over the place.
We made a pretty good haul and I am VERY excited that I won't be cooking much over the next few weeks. More blog posts to come about trying all this stuff out! We HAVE to make it back to the Philippines sometime. Hopefully soon!
After the Filipino market, we ran over to target to get some wedding presents. We hopefully got the best present award because we got them razor scooters (don't you worry, they registered for them!) Then we headed to the reception!

It was O so fun, especially this part...
Such a cute idea. They printed off 4 copies, 3 for the guests and 1 to put next to your note in the sign-in book!
Holy hanna we are nerds.

Sam and I got another taste of the Philippines at the reception as well in the form of about 6 mission buddies that Colt and Clay hadn't seen in over a year. I loved seeing that reunion happen and it was great to finally put faces to names that I had heard of in letters! (I did have to ask them what their last names were though. Mission friends apparently don't care for first names at all.)

We laughed all night at old mission stories and ate lots and lots of cheesecake. It was lovely. And just what we needed.

I love weddings

More little adventures to follow I'm sure! I'll keep you posted!


Monday, October 10, 2011

How to (Not) Wait for a Missionary

Clay and I are a little bit spoiled

We get an extra anniversary that most couples do not get to celebrate

This anniversary was on October 7th

It was that day that this happened...

(Just between you and me, this was the minute I knew I was going to marry him)

I didn't talk much about my "waiting" experience on here
Mostly because I made a point to tell Clay that I was NOT waiting for him
Well, that plan went well didn't it?

A few people have asked me how I did it, and I've given a few (lame) answers
So as October 7th came and went I thought a lot about it and have decided to write this post!
So, for the curious...

How to (not) Wait for a Missionary

First off, we'll start with some statistics.
At any given time there are about 1400-1600 missionaries in the MTC
90% of these have girls writing them
Over the course of 2. Long. Years. The ranks are thinned a little bit
Only 3% of these lovely MG's (missionaries' girls) make it through the process
That's about 42 girls my friends
Now out of that group the ranks are once again thinned when it comes to the "time and all eternity" aspect
Now there have been no official studies (what the heck BYU scholars?!) but unofficially out of those 42 girls guess how many bag their eternal companions?


Daunting numbers for sure.
I often heard a joke (mostly from my uncles) that said that if you wanted to know if a girl would wait for you, all you had to do was walk around the Provo temple a couple of times and ask the Angel Moroni if she would wait. If he nodded you were good to go!

Now I don't tell you this stuff to discourage you, just to let you know that UNOFFICIALLY the odds are against you. And people find it necessary to let you know. Often.

Now, it is important to share a little bit of my "waiting" story

I will be the first to admit that I was one of those girls that laughed at the girls that pledged their undying love and devotion (at 18?!) for their high school sweetheart. I would NEVER be one of those girls. I was going to go to BYU with my besties, go to school, find some dashing RM and THEN live happily ever after.

Then this one came along...
(look how little he was. Official mission picture btw. No wonder moms cry when their boys leave on missions)

and Heavenly Father laughed at my plans, and decided to show my a glimpse of his.

I had every intention of making a clean break when Clay left on his mission
that's what everyone told me to do after all, but the opportunity never really presented itself, and every time I thought about it, it seemed like a terrible idea.

Soon the day came when I would be saying goodbye to him for 2 years.
I honestly didn't think I would cry. I am not an emotional person.

So there I was, the night before I was heading back down to Logan, 3 days before Clay went into the MTC, bawling my eyes out.
And it didn't stop the next day either.
That goodbye was in my top 3 worst days ever

The only thing that got me through was KNOWING that a mission was the right thing for him to do. That to become the person that he needed to be, he needed to commit 2 years of his life to his father in heaven. So, the first way to wait for a missionary is...

1. Have a testimony of missionary work
In the end, the person that it effects the most is your missionary. They leave boys and come back men.

Well, I cried and cried the ENTIRE way home, almost driving off the road multiple times (stupid swollen eyes). I probably scared a few people on the highway that day.
I arrived back at my apartment intending to go to my room, lock the door, and wallow in my sorrow for the next few weeks. My wonderful roommates however had a different idea.

They sat me down, and informed me that they would not allow me to be a crying, ridiculous mess for weeks on end.

I got 1 night to get my crying out.

They were prepared with cookie dough, ice cream, The Notebook, Pearl Harbor, and A Walk to Remember.

Good crap.

2. Have great friends
It was one of the worst/best nights ever. We all cried, and cried, and cried, and ate, and ate and ate, got very sick and cried and ate some more.
But an amazing thing happened the next morning

I got up and realized that my tear ducts were now tiny patches of dust and I couldn't cry anymore. I sat on my bed, took a deep breath and decided that crying wasn't going to solve anything. Clay was about to embark on a grand adventure (one I was EXTREMELY jealous of) and I had promised him 1 letter a week (if I wasn't otherwise engaged) and he would need something interesting to read about. I resolved right then and there that I wasn't going to put life on hold while Clay was out there living it.

3. Give them something interesting to read every week

I really do think this is one of the biggest factors to me making it 2 years. I still had a slight loathing for those "missionaries' girls" and the image they portrayed.
Yes I was technically one of them now, but I always pictured girls staying in on Friday nights, holding their missionary's picture, maybe lighting a few candles, penning a love, and tear soaked letter, spraying it with perfume, showering it with kisses and sending it off to a 19 year old in some part of the world who is most likely WAY to busy to deal with a girl that can't handle a little alone time.
Is that harsh? Probably. But that's how my brain works.

I started off slow.
I hit up a dozen or so different concerts.
I went ice climbing with my uncle and cousins
Ice skating
Made lobster
Took yoga
Decided photography was awesome enough to stay my major
& made some of my very best friends
You know, just the basics

On the weeks that were mostly just school and sleep I found ways to "embellish" stories.
and of course, I tried to keep up with Clay spiritually

4. Don't forget the little things
Those boys are sleeping, eating, and breathing the gospel. Try to keep up. Pray, Read your scripts, go to church and institute, and you should be just fine. Don't be hard on yourself or feel like you're falling behind. It's the little things that matter the most.
So, I had fun, and I did what I was supposed to. Weeks eventually turned into months and I still looked forward to that e-mail from the Philippines every single week. With luck, it might even have some pictures attached to it too!

5. Write fan-freaking-tastic letters
I got very good at writing letters. I knew who Clay was teaching, and who his companions were. I was happy when he was happy and of course I was always praying for him. I noticed that girls sometimes go to 1 of 2 extremes when it comes to letter writing...
1. The first train of thought is the letter I described earlier in this post. The depressed, frankly pathetic kind of letter. In my extensive (ha. Not) experience, these girls tend to write letters something like this:

Dear Eternal companion, teddy bear snookums (any sort of pet name will do),
-Insert another pet name here.

Yah, that was an exaggeration.


I don't read other girls letters. It's a federal offense after all.

So, what is wrong with this picture?
Besides the obnoxious all caps and exclamation points, it is dripping with nonsense that the poor boy does not need to hear. Yah you can say that you miss him, but holy cow control yourselves! There are lots of weeks when your boy might feel like coming home, don't give him a reason to! Your job is to encourage and make dang sure he knows that you are there for him, but not if he comes home for you.

2. School of thought #2 is a little more subtle but no less damaging
Dear Elder so and so,
How are you? So this week I went out with.............. he was way nice. (Insert detailed description of date here) Hope everything is going good with you.
-attention seeking jerk's name here

K, some letters to missionaries might have to start like this. The dreaded "Dear Elder." Personally, I think if you're writing a guy off, keep it short and sweet and apologize for breaking promises you made. I promise I'm not judging you for not making it. Stuff happens and sometimes Heavenly Father has different plans for us (obviously this is the case for me as well) but no need to rub dirt, salt, lemon juice, or shards of glass into the wound.
But this is besides the point.
If your missionary knows you at all, he knows when you are holding things back, and of course he doesn't want to hear about you going out with those marriage hungry RMs. (I'm looking at you BYUI) Sometimes girls do things like this to get a reaction out of their boy. Perhaps they are lonely and are trying to make their guy jealous? Perhaps they need to take a chill pill and stop thinking about themselves?
But that's just me.

A good letter has the perfect mix of reassurance, positivity, and empathy (as well as some personal adventures of your own) it takes practice but that's why you have 2 years right?
Well, throughout Clay's mission there were good times and bad times for both of us.

6. Never emotionally disconnect
Sometimes it seems easier to get through 2 years if you kind of turn off, but the real trick to hanging in for those boys is to grow together. Yah there are some times when you get a little lonely but come on, you are a strong independent woman right?
Now there is one key to waiting that some just don't come with

7. Don't be one of those girls that always needs a somebody
I came about this by accident. It's just never been my personality to always have a significant other. I promise, you can be by yourself. You will survive. If you need a boy at all times to feel good about yourself, maybe you need a hobby.

I recommend cooking.

Or maybe running

Either one is good

Work on yourself! Hang with friends, magnify your talents, have fun!
I think Vaughn J Featherstone puts it better then I do.
Got this talk from a friend of mine that is going to be part of the 1% in just 2 weeks!
Click HERE

8. Enjoy it!
MG's sometimes describe those 2 years as the hardest they've ever been through. If that is really the case, they're lives have been pretty dang peachy up to that point. You may not believe me but those 2 years can be some of the best the BOTH of you can have. You get to enjoy learning about the local cuisine wherever your missionary may be...
and laugh at their stories that go along with them
You get to smile at the happy moments, and cry at the sad. Together. Even though you're miles and miles apart.
Plus, how romantic can letter writing be?
It's so old fashioned and fantastic
9. Remember that it eventually does end
You blink and it's over
I know that any of you that may be in the process probably want to crawl through the computer and slap me. Go ahead and try, it wont help :)
Use the time that have been given to you wisely. You only get 2 years to love your independent self.
Then he shows up again...
and your lil independent self is no more.

And it is blissfully wonderful

and before you know it, perhaps you will join the privileged ranks of the 1%
(come party. We're making t-shirts)
and you will laugh at your cheesy letters back and forth to each other. (Yes you were that love struck teenager once. Thank heavens you grew up)
and when times get hard, you'll always remember a time when all you had was e-mails and be grateful that he is always there with you now
and you'll remember those 2 years fondly
and how they taught you what real love is
and count them as the beginning of your eternity

and that is something to celebrate


Friday, October 7, 2011

A Fall Post

Not sure if any of you have noticed, but this is what Fall looks like in the rockies...

But even if we don't technically get all 4 seasons, I still decorated for fall!

My mama was nice enough to come down a few weeks ago (during the planet's are not aligned bit of my life when I was thoroughly depressed) and she helped me make my house all kinds of cute.

We added a little color above the sink...
With these cute little fake leaves
that we found at TJmaxx
Some cute lil Halloween towels
This awesome center piece. The mood is completed with a pumpkin scented candle...

The terrible weather comes with perks! I made some cheese soup a couple days ago!
I made a full batch, and discovered a cute lil idea on pinterest to freeze the soup in muffin tins so that you can just pull one out and microwave it later.
Unfortunately I underestimated how much Clay and I love soup and apparently the freezing was very unnecessary.
O well, the thought was a good one right?
Today was such a lazy day, I decided to make something pumpkin related so I made some pumpkin chocolate chip cookies!
I just found out I misunderstood my mom's directions, so they didn't turn out like they probably should have...
Clay helps by watching "The Office"
Note to self, do NOT add the eggs, water, and oil the cake recipe requests...
It makes very flat cookies
O well, they still taste pretty good. Another unfortunate thing I did not anticipate is that the batter would make about 200 cookies. At this moment I am at the photolab, waiting for some prints to wash and Clay is trying to finish off the cookie batter.
Hope he doesn't hate me too much
If anyone wants some pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, PLEASE come over

Cold weather also brings cold weather clothes
and hot chocolate! This first hot chocolate of the season!
Clay enjoys making faces
What a creep.

So, I mentioned that my mama came down and single handedly cuteified (yes cuteified is a word) my house yes? Look at how nice she is to me...
Look at our cute new book cases! I am in LOVE with this wall now
And we finally have a place to put our expanding DVD collection
I think it makes us look quiet studious don't you?

(I told you I'd be back with pictures! :))
Well, I'd better get back to work, but before I go, I leave you with this...
Poor guy is all tuckered out after a long day of relaxing.
Hope you all enjoy your weekend!