Saturday, December 29, 2012

Happy Little Nothings

-Hugs at the train station
-Hot cinnamon milk
-Homemade crescent rolls
-DIY scarves and shirts
-Cold December Nights (Michael Buble, anyone?)
-Christmas candy
-New clothes
-Grandma's homemade cookies
-Shirley Temples
-Sunday dinners
-New groceries in the kitchen
-A clean bedroom
-Relief Society
-No school
-New car stereo
-High bowling score of 100 (Miracles DO happen)
-Solid color jeans
-Running yellow lights
-Goals for the New Year
-White eyeliner
-You've Got Mail
-Hot chocolate
-Sleeping in
-Snow boots
-Laughing children
-Good music

I'm just a Happy Girl these days...
Can't say enough about how lucky and how blessed I am. :)

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmastime in California

Okay... so we didn't actually spend Christmas day in the big LA, but I liked the alliteration... so we'll roll with it.

This year, with Brother leaving on a mission in March and all, the family decided to take a Christmas vacation to California. I love traveling with the family. Being on the road with family always brings back some of the best memories, and I absolutely cherished the time we spend in Cali together this Christmas Season.

We spent the first night of our trip at Grandma's house in St. George to break up the twelve hour drive to San Diego. Even though the night we were in St. George I was feeling the beginnings of a nasty cold virus, I still loved being able to visit with Grandma and Aunt Debbie and her family. Ben went to see the The Hobbit with cousins at midnight, and I crashed at Grandma's house early... lots of rest for me!

We were up early the next day and we made the drive to San Diego. It was a long drive, and I started feeling really yucky. We finally made it to California. We went to a BBQ House for dinner that night, and then went to the hotel.

The third morning of our trip we went to the San Diego Temple together as a family. The temple trip stands as one of my favorite things we did during our vacation. The temple was stunning, and I loved being able to go with my entire family. It was so peaceful.
After the temple, we visited Sea World! This was our first time, and we had a  lot of fun. My favorite part of the Sea World experience was definitely seeing the Shamu show. Those whales are incredible! There were a couple of rides, and a lot of really cool animal exhibits. The penguins were my favorite! Super cute :)

Aside from the temple, the next day we spent in San Diego was my absolute favorite. We went to Mission Beach, to play in the sand and shop along the three mile boardwalk that stretches across the ocean front. 
The vibe at Mission Beach was so relaxed and laid-back, and I LOVED it. We rented the cutest bicycles and rode along the board walk for almost four hours. I admired many quaint little beach houses (think about a honeymoon in a beach house on the coast of California. How beautiful and adorable and fun would that be?!) and I fell in love with this little breakfast/cafe joint that had a view looking right out over the coastline. I am determined to go back there one day to have a cup of cocoa and watch the waves crash against the sand.
 I probably could have sat on the beach all day and watched people. I find it absolutely fascinating. I bought a new scarf at an adorable little shack on the boardwalk, took about a hundred pictures, and raced back to the bike shop to return my bicycle just before my four hours rental time was finished.
After the beach, we went to Cabrillo. We saw one of the oldest light houses on the coast of California. Apparently people often see whales migrating from the lookout during this time of year, but I didn't see any. I loved watching the old sailboats drifting out in the ocean though... and Dad showed us the distant coast of Mexico across the way. The views were gorgeous.
Then it was time for the tide pools. I was feeling pretty hammered from my cold at this point, and the weather was getting windy, so I only stayed at the tide pools for a short time. As the tide went out, we climbed across the rocks and explored. There were all sorts of sea creatures and shells that we could pick up and touch, as long as we put them back when we were finished. I found a baby starfish smaller than the tip of my pointer finger, and the family spotted many other exciting things in the pools of water on the rocks.
Days 5, 6, and 7 were dedicated to Disneyland! After visiting the tide pools, we drove to Anaheim and buckled down at a hotel just across the street from the park.

I woke up on Disneyland Day #1 feeling terribly awful. It was the worst day for my cold. I tried forcing myself to get ready for the day and about passed out... so I stayed at the hotel with Mom while Dad took the kids into the park. I was so sad, but I definitely needed the rest. I ended up sleeping for half the day. I finally made it into the park in the afternoon, but I was feeling so achy and sick that I only stayed for a couple of hours before going back to the hotel for the night.

Thanks to a priesthood blessing, a lot of sleep, and some good old Saltines and Sprite; I woke up the next day feeling a million times better. I seriously experienced a night and day difference. Now that I was on the mend, I spent the entire day at Disneyland! We enjoyed many rides and I got to better experience all of the magic! 
Disneyland was phenomenal. I adore the characters. And the rides. And I absolutely LOVE the magic of it all. Some of my favorites were World of Color, Fantasmic, the snow on Main Street, meeting Rapunzel, riding the new Radiator Springs ride in California Avdenture, riding all of the old storybook rides in Fantasy Land, the smell of gingerbread in the Haunted Mansion, meeting Mary Poppins (childhood favorite), watching the Barbershop Quartet, and seeing all of the lovely Christmas decorations!

I could go on and on and on (and on) about Disney, but we'll just say this:
It was Practically Perfect in Every Way. ;) and I loved every minute of it.

Our last day in California we went to Universal Studios. The park was all decked out Grinch style, and there were Whos from Whoville running all about the park. We rode the new Transformers 3D Ride, and that ride totally changed the meaning of 3D adventure rides. I'm pretty jumpy when it comes to 3D... but I ended up going through the ride twice, and we were so impressed by how awesome it was!
I was also forced on The Mummy rollercoaster. Scariest ride of my life. There were body limbs falling from the ceiling, dead people coming out of the walls, pitch black twists and turns, and scarab beetles crawling over my feet. 

Once was enough for me. haha.

We had a good time getting pictures with The Grinch, shopping, and experiencing the rides in Universal.
After Universal Studios we packed up and made the drive back to Utah. I tried convincing my parents to drive all the way home... but we ended up stopping in Vegas with Aunt Brenda for the night. I had a really good time visiting with her and the cousins though. On the 21st we left Vegas, made a stop at the Cheese Factory in Beaver (Squeaky Cheese and Ice cream is a must for me whenever we pass through Beaver!) and finished the drive back home.

I loved everything about the trip - even despite being sick for more than half of our stay in Cali - and I am glad we went. There's no place like home though, and I'm loving spending the holidays in Riverton  with my sweet family.

Happy Christmas Eve to everyone. :)
Much love.

These are beautiful words.

This quote... Perfection. I absolutely love it.

There is no difficulty that enough love will not conquer,
No door that enough love will not open,
No gulf that enough love will not bridge,
No wall that enough love will not throw down,
No sin that enough love will not redeem.

It makes no difference how deeply seated may be the trouble,
How hopeless the outlook,
How muddled the tangle,
How great the mistake,
A sufficient realization of love will dissolve it all.

-Emmett Fox

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Hello from San Diego!

Well, the fall semester has finally come to a close! I had more tests and papers due in the past week than I have ever had during finals. But I survived (barely!) and now I'm in San Diego with the fam. 

We're vacationing in California until the 22nd, and we are loving every minute of it! Even despite the nasty cold bug I somehow brought with me, I'm really enjoying my time with my sweet family. (Thank goodness for Nyquil and travel tissues!)

But before we get started talking about Cali, let me write a little bit about the last week of school.

Last Tuesday, my roommates and I had a Christmas Party at the apartment. We all got a couple of small gifts for each other and celebrated Christmas/ the end of the semester/ Julie Potter's move back to Idaho for her mission! We sure will miss her, but we are excited for her to serve a mission in Panama come this April!

We had lots of snacks and goodies at our party, and we had an absolute ball opening up stockings and presents. I got some adorable jewelry, orange nail polish, comfy pajama pants, a new scarf, and a lot of yummy treats! It was a lot of fun watching the other girls open their presents as well. After unwrapping gifts, we watched White Christmas and painted our nails. It was exactly what I needed in the midst of all those finals.

On Thursday, after my last final, Kyle and I went to see the lights at Temple Square. I was feeling pretty bummed because The Choralaires are going to Temple Square while I am in California, so Kyle took me before I left on my trip! (Because honestly, what would the Christmas holiday be without a visit to Temple Square?) I was so happy that I had the opportunity to go see the lights before Christmas. 

Kyle and I ate dinner at The Pizza Factory (so delicious!) and admired all the lights downtown. We also did some shopping at The City Creek Mall. I had such a fun time, and it was the perfect beginning to my Christmas break!! It was a beautiful night. Not too cold, and not too crowded. Ah! I just love Christmas time. I had quite the enjoyable evening. :) Thanks a ton for taking me, Kyle!

So now I'm in San Diego... enjoying the warmer weather and spending some good quality time with my family. Yesterday we arrived in San Diego after spending the night in St. George with my Grandma Paxman.  Today we went to the San Diego temple. It was absolutely gorgeous, and I'm so glad my whole family could go together. The San Diego temple probably stands as one of the highlights of my trip so far. After the temple, we went to Sea World. This was my family's first time at Sea World, and we had a great time there! Pictures will be coming soon...

Tomorrow we're visiting the beach, to go walk on the boardwalk and enjoy the sights, and then on Monday we're going to Disneyland for three days!! I can't wait! We're also hoping to visit the LA and Vegas temples before going home.

More to come on my adventures in California after I get home (with lots and lots of photos), but for now, goodnight! It's time to get some shut-eye. Let's see if we can't beat this cold virus!

Much love from The Sunny State! 
(we'll ignore the fact that it rained all day yesterday and this morning)


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Ward Christmas Party, and a Video.

In the middle of all  auditions, juries, classes, finals, and the Institute Christmas Show, I was put in-charge of my ward Christmas party... and Holy Hannah, was it an undertaking! We kept the party really simple, but between ordering food and organizing a musical program and setting up decorations... it was a lot to handle!

The night before the party, I had a couple of my planned musical numbers fall through. Monday morning I frantically rallied the Folk Dancers together and messaged all of my musically talented friends. (The show must go on, right?)

Can I just say how blessed I am? I have some INCREDIBLE friends. I had so many people offer to help me with the Ward Christmas Party last night, and I cannot thank you guys enough! (You know who you are.)

So, I pulled it off. Kyle helped me wrap presents for decorations on Sunday, Mom helped me figure out the food, My folk dance friends helped me with the program and setup, and my sweet roommates fed me and kept me sane all day yesterday while I was preparing for the event.

I think it was a success. The party was definitely simple, but it was a nice little getaway for the ward members during Finals Week and everything else that this stressful holiday brings into our lives.

I just owe a HUGE thanks to Colton Hattabaugh, Ben Eden, Ben Eschler, Brian Long, Bryan Mason, Kaitlyn East, Katie Swainston, Paige Honey, and Kyle DeYoung for helping me out!! Seriously. You guys are lifesavers!

Also a huge thanks to the people in the ward who came and helped me set up!

P.S. After the ward party, I stayed at the church with Ben, Colton, and Kyle. We ended up sitting around the piano singing and stuff, and I just had to share this video. So here's a little Christmas tune for y'all... I just love how talented and awesome these boys are.

The Update, Picture Edition.

1. My sweet brother Benjamin got his mission call last week. I drove home last Wednesday to watch him open his call. We were all so excited. He's serving in the Indianapolis, Indiana mission... speaking Spanish. Yep, we think it's random too. And SO cool!

2. This one was taken on my phone... so the photo is a really poor quality, but I have some exciting news. I made Weber State's spring musical! Jim Christian is directing The Will Rogers Follies in the spring, and I am super excited to work with him and be on the Weber State stage again! I was cast as a Follies Girl, and so there will be a lot of dancing next semester! Can't wait!

3. Last week I went to a Thai restaurant with Kyle DeYoung, Jon Smith, and Sydney Garlick. Kyle and Jon wanted us to try this thing called Pho... I was actually surprised by how delicious it was. It was kinda of like a beef soup. I'm usually pretty timid when it comes to trying new foods, but I was very satisfied, and we had a good time.

 4. Here's my bowl of Pho. There were strips of beef, meatballs, lime, noodles, spices, crunched peanuts, and other seasonings in the soup. The bowl was huge, but I managed to eat a good portion of it. I would totally order it again, if I was going to a restaurant that served it.

 5. There was a lot of rehearsing for the Institute Christmas Show last week. I didn't have my costume for the clog during our rehearsal, so I rallied the girls together and told them all to dance the clog in their bloomers with me. Us girls, we know how to have a good time.

 6. The Institute Christmas Show opened last week. We performed Friday and Saturday... and it was such a blast. Here is one of my favorite numbers this year. A Dutch number called "Chillibatanz" with Ben Eden.

7. I was in Folk Dance AND Choralaires in this year's show... so I hardly got a moment to catch my breath. There were many quick changes happening backstage, but it was so fun to be involved with both groups this semester. This was one of the only moments I had to capture a photo backstage. This is Paige Honey, who was the only other girl doing both Folk Dance and Choralaires with me.

 8. Last Saturday a group of Choralaires made an early-morning trip to the Bountiful Temple. Let me just say, it had been far too long my friends. I've missed the temple! Not having one nearby over the summer was unfortunate, and I need to be better about going regularly. I loved being surrounded by these wonderful people in such a beautiful place! What a great start to my weekend.

9 and 10. I spent the majority of my weekend with these boys. Kyle DeYoung and Joe Favero are both in Choralaires with me this semester, and we had SUCH a great time this weekend. Kyle, Joe and I drove to the temple together on Saturday. I love spending time with both of them, and I love their hip glasses! ;) During the last show, they made a sign and waved it around backstage in the wings while I was dancing on stage. You can bet it made my entire day. :) What sweet guys. My family took the three of us out to ice cream after the last show, and it was the perfect ending to my weekend.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Happy Little Nothings

-Finishing my fall semester juries on a high note.
-Noodles and Co. with Tanner Rampton.
-Finale of Once Upon a Time with my #10 boys.
-Folk Dance Christmas social.
-My adorable new blanket from Sister Delozier.
-Bryan Mason's Oreo "cookies and cream" cookies.
-New calling in the ward.
-Phone call from my best friend Brittany Hathaway
-Seeing my family at my voice recital.
-Seeing Colton Hattabaugh, Kyle DeYoung, and Ben Eden at my recital.
-Dinner at Denny's with Kyle and the fam.
-The sweetest text message from Katie Swainston.
-The miniature Christmas tree set up at home.
-Receiving an extremely nice message from a professor.
-Hazelnut hot cocoa with whipped cream.
-Dove raspberry chocolates.
-Being asked to sing in the family ward Christmas Program.
-Disneyland in two weeks.
-Listening to awesome music with Kyle.
-Driving home today to see my brother open his mission call.
-Being stopped on campus and getting asked for my number.
-Rehearsing for the Christmas institute show.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Playmill White Christmas

Mom and I went on a mini road trip yesterday to see The Playmill Theatre's production of White Christmas in Idaho Falls. I loved the show, and the trip was definitely one of the highlights of my week!

I woke up Saturday morning for 6am dance practice at the institute, and then I rushed home afterwards and got ready for my day trip with Mom. She picked me up at my apartment in Ogden, and then we were off! We stopped at the Sinclair to fill up (and grab a little snack) and then drove to Idaho Falls.

Two-and-a-half hours later we were pulling up to The Colonial Theater to pick up our tickets for the matinee show. When we walked into the box office, I was so surprised to see Miss Maggie all dressed up and ready for her performance! (She's the directors' youngest daughter.) Maggie quickly directed me backstage to see the rest of the cast.

I saw Alex backstage, and I saw Rivkah and Heidi in the girls dressing room before the show... and it was such a fun reunion! Nobody from the cast knew I was coming, and I loved seeing everybody's surprised faces!

Mom and I grabbed lunch at Jimmy John's, and then it was time for the show! When I arrived at the theater I saw Maggie, Heidi, Rivkah, and Alex again as well as Jon, Roger, Hannah, Jake, Scotty, Eliza, and Bryson! There were so many hugs and hellos that were exchanged... and I cannot tell you how elated I was to see each one of these people!

The show was fantastic. It was my first time seeing White Christmas. I've never even seen the movie! The costumes, the dancing, the singing... everything was so cute and so festive! I loved every minute of it. During intermission I couldn't resist buying a piece of Playmill Peanut Butter Fudge... and it was even more delicious than I remembered!

Being at the show yesterday filled me with so many good memories, and it reminded me of how much I love The Playmill. I love those people SO much, and I didn't realize exactly how much I've missed them until I got to see them again.

After the show, I saw everybody once more. I got to do a little catching up with my lovely friends and congratulate them on a great performance. I also ran into Brooklyn and Lauren, who drove up from Provo to see the Saturday night show.

I absolutely LOVE my Playmill family. I am so thankful to have them in my life. They love me and support me, and even though I hadn't seen them in a couple months, they were genuinely happy to see me... and that meant the world to me. 

I was so excited to see each of their happy faces. Hannah was so cute with her baby bump. Heidi looked great with her curly hair. Scotty is still one of the sweetest people on the face of this planet. Bryson was so awesome with his million-dollar smile and his big hugs. Alex's voice made me melt. Eliza's dancing kicked-butt. Maggie was absolutely adorable on stage. Jake was out there rockin' the concessions, just like he always does. Roger did such a fantastic job directing. Jon and Riv were as sincere and amazing as ever. Brooklyn was wearing the cutest skinny jeans. Lauren still called me "B", and it made me smile...

It was so good to see every last one of them. :) They are some of the most genuine, loving, accepting, artistic, talented, amazing people I know.  I have learned so much and grown so much during my time knowing them, and I'm so grateful for each of their examples!It was so refreshing to see them, and it reminded me why I love to do what I do.

After the matinee it was back to Utah so I could get home in time for the Folk Dance Christmas social. I really didn't want to leave so soon, I wish I could have stayed even longer.  (What I really wished was that I was up there performing with them!)

I raved about Playmill to Mom the whole way home (she loved the show too). I absolutely enjoyed being able to have quality chat-time with Mom all day long. I'm so glad she came with me!!

So all in all, it was an amazing day. Looking in hindsight, I realized even more how awesome the summer was, and how much I took for granted.

... Let's just say I'm looking forward to auditioning again! :)

I loved having my very first Playmill experience as an audience member.
It was so fun to be a part of all the Playmill traditions from the audience perspective.
Great job Playmill, it was a show well done!

Gingerbread Houses

Last Friday night I went to Kyle DeYoung's house for some gingerbread-making greatness! Kyle had never made a gingerbread house before, so we went all out... and it was so much fun! 

When I got to The DeYoung's home, we had a delicious dinner (thin crust pizza, salad, and Rootbeer floats. Yum!)  and then we cleared the table and got to work on our adorable little projects. Kyle had made the gingerbread the night before, and then on Friday we made the frosting and assembled the houses.

We had various candies for our decorating party... Mike N' Ikes, Lifesavers, Andes Mints, Sprees, pretzels, gumdrops, gumballs, sprinkles, licorice, and peppermint candies (just to name a few.)

I had some trouble getting the frosting into the squeeze tube so that I could decorate my house... but other than that, I think I managed alright! In the picture above, my house is on the left and Kyle's is on the right.

Didn't they turn out cute?? We are practically professionals, if I do say so myself!
Here are more pictures from the evening:

Putting our houses together with white frosting...
Please note the music player on the right. 
What would a night like this be without some Christmas tunes?

 Meet Chipp the Snowman. (And yes, his name is Chipp with two P's.)

A project such as this requires deep focus and concentration...

And here we are with the finished product!
I love that the workspace got noticeably messier throughout the pictures
Also note Kyle's gingerbread man. Best ever.

I had such a fantastic time creating our gingerbread houses.
We managed to ship my gingerbread house safely to my apartment without it breaking.
Now I have a festive little work of art on the kitchen table.

Thanks for the fun night, Kyle!


I was going to blog tonight. And clean the kitchen floors. And start my homework. And redo my blog header. And write a letter to my best friend. And practice my pieces for juries. And clean my bedroom. And about a million other things.

Yeah, that's not happening anymore. I'm clearing off all of the junk on my bed and setting it all at the foot of my bed. I'm changing into the comfiest pajamas, wrapping up in my new blanket, and I'm going to sleep.

Forget about everything else. Sometimes it feels good to just come home and crash. Sometimes that just needs to happen.

But there's a lot of good stuff coming up. Blog posts of recent gingerbread-house making, road trips to Idaho Falls, and folk dance Christmas socials are all in the works.

So I'll be back soon, and next time I'll have something more exciting to say.
Sweet dreams. :)

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Back to the Grind.

During the Holiday Break I...

-Played Just Dance 4 with the siblings.
-Slept in my double sized bed at home. (glorious.)
-Ate a delicious Thanksgiving dinner at Aunt Desriee's home.
-Was introduced to Pumpkin spread and gingersnaps. (divine.)
-Ate one slice of pie. Just one.
-Made a trip with Mama and Brooklyn to Grandma's house
-Drove through The Festival of Lights in Spanish Fork
-Played a couple games of Rumikub with Grandma
-Drank hot cocoa. (Anyone surprised?)
-Went "Black Friday Shopping" in Fairview
-Ordered a BLT at Wheeler's
-Read my new wedding magazine that Gma bought me (I'm a sap.)
-Hit the jackpot at The Family Dollar (one of only two stores in Mt. Pleasant)
-Had a nap while Grandpa watched football.
-Dyed my hair ( We're back to brown. Grandma did such a good job!)
-Got sick with the stomach flu. It was awful.

TANGENT: This is why I only got one slice of pie this year. 
I was too sickie to eat any more than that. So sad.

-Endured a very long car ride back home.
-Memorized lines with Mom.
-Recovered from the nasty stomach flu. (It was short-lived. Sing praises!)
-Slept until noon on Saturday
-Drove back to Ogden
-Went to The Nutcracker with Kyle DeYoung
-Was introduced to hot cocoa floats. (divine. again.)
-Finished all of my Spanish homework
-Started conquering my essay for Hist and Lit.

Let me just say, even though I hated being sick during the break, I'm glad I got it out of my system before classes started up again. (and auditions, and juries, and the Christmas show, and a voice recital, and a ward Christmas party to plan... having the flu during all of that would have been a disaster.)

Other than the sick part, I loved my break. I didn't realize how much I missed my family. I really needed them this weekend. To laugh with me, remind me that I'm not crazy, and give me the spring in my step that I'll need to propel me through the end of the semester!

Also, I am so ready for this holiday season. The Festival of Lights in Spanish Fork was about the cutest thing ever. We're talking twenty minutes of pure delight. We saw an advertisement as we were passing on the highway, so we made a u-turn and decided to check out this "Festival of Lights". We paid seven bucks and drove through a golf course that had been transformed into a festive, glowing, winter wonderland! (I've heard tell of a similar getup in Willard Bay. I may have to investigate that this season.) Between that and my outing to The Nutcracker on Saturday, I had the perfect kick-off for the Christmas season!

So tomorrow it's back to school for two more weeks of crazy. But that's it! Fourteen days, a week of finals, (and auditions, and juries, and the Christmas show, and a voice recital, and a ward Christmas party to plan) and then it's Disneyland! I can't wait.

Thursday, November 22, 2012


I am thankful for...
(just a small list.)

water. hugs. nail polish. jewelry. expression. ballet. tap. (any kind of dancing really). music. hymns. Choralaires. Folk Dance. musical theatre. friends. examples. hot cocoa. peanut butter. chocolate. ice cream. milk. a warm bed to sleep in. roommates. banana bread. electricity. cameras. laptops. ipods. Mom. Dad. Benjamin. Brooklyn. missionary work. the priesthood. temples. institute. backpacks. A car to drive. wintercoats. scarves. modern medicine. freedom. sunshine. beaches. travel. history. smiles. straight teeth. good health. blue eyes. long hair. freckles. rosy cheeks. pine trees. mountains. the smell of sagebrush. lotion. perfume. teddy bears. church. the sacrament. families. eternal families. cousins. grandparents. opinions. piano. babies. playgrounds. the holidays. gifts. service. kissing. the sunrise. thunderstorms. fresh snow on the ground. flowers. puppies. the internet. telephones. green grass. good eyesight. best friends. college. scholarship money. talents. testimonies. compliments. hot showers. homemade cookies. christmas lights. snow cones. acceptance. faith. patriarchal blessings. trials. safety. pets. The restoration of the gospel. children. good literature. rainbows. warmth. modern technology. the military. firefighters. police officers. doctors. teachers. leaders. church leaders. general conference. scripture study. prayer. sleep. second chances. forgiveness. strawberry lemonade. professors. home. apple juice. Mom's cooking. machine washer and dryer. crisp fall leaves. charity. The Holy Ghost. tithing. marriage. random acts of kindness. handwritten letters. quotes. tender mercies. repentance. the atonement. My brother, Jesus Christ. the plan of salvation. eternal life. God's divine love.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. Count your many blessings, spend time with your loved ones, and reflect upon what you are grateful for. Truly, what a wonderful time of the year. :)

Much love.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Tender Mercies, and Thoughts about Life.

This morning I woke up feeling pretty crappy about myself. I was up until three the night before, I slept in late, and I wasn't looking forward to the day ahead of me. I was pretty emotionally wracked. If I had it my way, I probably would have stayed home watching P.S. I Love You and eating a ridiculous amount of peanut butter and chocolate chips. But I dragged myself out of the house and carried on.

At first, things didn't get much better. I was dancing around on the Austad stage in the Browning Center during Choralaires when my Playmill ring flew right off of my finger and into the empty rows of seats in the audience. I treasure that little ring, and I was really upset about losing it. I searched the aisles of the auditorium for several minutes (with the help of two extremely kind choir boys) after finally giving up.

I remember thinking to myself, "Okay. It's going to be one of those days. I get it."

And then after that I remember thinking about perspective and optimism and "the glass half-full" and all of that, and my day started to change.

Talk about a day full of tender mercies.

During the Institute Weekly Devotional, I got a message that Becca Packer from the choir had found my ring after Choralaires practice. I cannot tell you how thankful and relieved I was to know that someone had found that ring.

Various people made an effort to smile at me throughout the day. I was so happy to see the faces of many bright happy people; Brother Barlow, Brother Delozier, Kelsie Slaugh, Derek Williamson, and Mickey Larson, just to name a few.

And my phone conversations with Mom are always precious minutes sent from heaven, especially on days like today. I called Mom twelve times today. I know that Mom worries and cries and stresses right along with me, and I know it isn't always easy for her... but she's always there for me. Always. And I love her for that.

So the day just kept getting better. I re-read my Compliments Book from Bre and Addi, and I was overcome with gratitude for the amazing friends that bless my life and for all of the kind words written in that special little book. Then Daddy called me. Hearing him over the phone almost put me in tears, because I just love him so much. I received a random letter from my friend Elder Blake Merriam today. Dalen Ellsworth and Greg Ethridge sent me text messages, and their messages couldn't have come at a more perfect time. Emilie Knecht, a girl I hardly know from the choir, sent me the sweetest message on Facebook. And to top it all off, I went out to ice cream with one of my best friends, Ben Eschler.

And all of these experiences today (especially the conversations I had with Mom, Dad, and Ben Eschler) made me realize a couple of things.

1. I really can't stand girls who have their own selfish agendas. The ones who ask you about your life just so they can, "have the scoop" or "be in the know." Do people honestly have nothing better to do with their time? Leave me alone. I don't ask you about your personal life, so don't ask me about mine unless you honestly, genuinely care about my well-being. If you're going to ask me about my life so that you can know something for your own personal agenda, then don't bother trying to ask me. You are wasting your time.

2. I need to stop thinking crappy things about myself. Nothing is wrong with me. Sure, I have trials and insecurities and faults just like everybody else. But I am striving to do what is right. I have a foundation, a testimony, and a pretty strong set of standards. I'm learning about myself, and I'm learning from my mistakes. And that's okay. I should constantly be motivating myself to be a better person, but I should not beat myself up because of my imperfections.

3. Everything happens for a reason.
4. I need to learn how to be more submissive to Heavenly Father's will and timing. He will guide me where I need to be, when I need to be there. I can look at my past and see evidence of this. I can see His hand in my life, and I know that I wouldn't be where I am today if it weren't for my loving Father in Heaven. I need to trust that He is still there to guide me. He always has been, and He always will be. I can't wait to look back on this time of my life and see that it all happened just the way it was supposed to. Because even though it's all a mystery to me right now, I know that God knows what he's doing.
5. I also need to learn how to take things one day at a time. No more worrying about things that I can't control. No more worrying about things that aren't going to happen for another five months. No more worrying about other people's decisions. I need to stop focusing on all of those things. I need to focus more on MY decisions that are happening RIGHT NOW. I need to focus on the small decisions I make every single day that will eventually shape and mold me into who I want to become. Everything else will fall into place.

6. I have a whole lot of people who love and care about me, and I take them for granted far too often.

7. I have a pretty dang good life. Seriously. Even on days like today, I am SO BLESSED.

And it's just like Daddy told me, "Tomorrow is a new day."
I've had a lot on my mind recently... but I'm ready to shake it off. It's not always going to be easy, and It's going to take a lot of work; but I am going to start focusing more on the positive, the present, and the power that I have to make my life whatever I want it to be.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

New Favorite.

Feelin' a little country right now.
I wish I had a video of the dance combination I saw to this song today.
Beautiful. (ah, I love dancing!)
That's how I discovered this one. Enjoy :)

Let it snow.

The goods and bads of the season...

+ Hot cocoa
+ Wearing scarves and boots
+ Peacoats
+ The Holidays
+ Sparkly snow
+ Ice skating
+ Snuggling in blankets
+ Warm sweaters
+ Hats
+ Running the heater at home
+ Fireplaces
+ Snow fights
+ Fuzzy socks
+ Snowflakes
+ Warm baked goods
+ Building snowmen
+ Snow angels

- Scraping snow off  of car windows
- Shoveling the sidewalk
- Icy roads
- Numb fingertips
- Muddy boots
- Wet snow hair
- Feeling cold
- Less daylight

The pros definitely outweigh the cons. Mostly because now I have an excuse to drink all the hot chocolate I want (except I've recently put a "thee cups a week only" limit on myself), but the other stuff makes me happy too. :)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

D is for Disneyland.

That's right. I'm going to this place in thirty nine days.

... And Counting.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

This is what you're signing up for.

My dear future husband,

Please prepare yourself for the following behaviors:

-Dancing in the kitchen.
-Stories at bedtime.
-Late nights of uncontrollable laughter.
-Ridiculously funny faces.

-Long hugs. 
-Long prayers.
-Silly nicknames.
-Sharing ice cream sundaes.
-Taking all of the bed covers in the wintertime.
-Singing in the shower.
-Long walks in the summer
-Holding hands without any reason.
-Getting into soap fights at the kitchen sink.
-Disappearing to the rooftops to view the stars.
-Lots of seemingly unimportant tangents.
-Shameless kisses.
-Falling asleep on your shoulder.

And this is just the beginning of my list.
Love, Me.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Yes and Yes.

Mom told me that this happened on The Voice.
I had to check it out. And I love it. Have a listen, yeah?

And then we have Christina Grimmie.
Mr. Ben Eden introduced me to this one.
I'm all over it. And I love the piano at the beginning.

Mmm. Good music.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

A Time To Remember.

Come see us tonight! We would love to have you there.
...And I sure am excited for another performance with the Choralaires.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Pet Peeve #51611

Shopping at Walmart.

Really though, Walmart gives me some of the worst anxiety. It's practically a zoo. Usually if I have to make a trip to Walmart, I try to either go late at night or extremely early in the morning just to avoid the crowds.

Also, I hate pushing a grocery cart - in any shopping situation. During my freshman year of college I struck a deal with my roommate: I drive us to the store, she handles the shopping cart. And that's how it worked, every time.

First off; if you don't hold the cart where the plastic covers the metal, you get shocked from the friction caused by the wheels. Secondly; you have to worry about steering the cart amongst all of the other shoppers... the young woman on her cell phone who isn't paying attention, the ignorant man who cuts you off, and the grandma who walks snail-pace right down the center of the aisle. If that isn't bad enough, try maneuvering a grocery cart amongst children who dart in and out of the clothing racks.

Can you say terrifying? 

Oh, and let's not forget the defective grocery cart. You know the ones, with the squeaky, wobbly wheel. We've all had them. No matter how forceful you steer the cart, it always veers to the right. Always. And then you're running into stacked cans of green beans or shelves of sugar cookies.

You know, Walmart is like some sick game of Survival of the Fittest. Just after you snag the last box of fruit snacks on the shelf, you round the corner and head down the cereal aisle. You check your grocery list and make a beeline for your next item. As you enter the aisle, you realize that there are already six grocery carts sandwiched between each other. Fantastic.
So what do you do? Leave your cart at the end of the aisle and make a dash for the Cocoa Puffs. After ducking under the Walmart employee who is stocking the shelves and sneaking behind the family of four who are arguing over Lucky Charms or Fruit Loops, you finally snatch your Puffs. You make it back to the safety of your cart, but when you return... you notice that some idiot has stolen your fruit snacks! And that was the last box, too!

And what's the deal with every Walmart being organized differently? Is the office aisle in the back, next to the computers? Or is it in the front to the right next to the cosmetics aisle? One time, I spent a near thirty minutes searching for hangers. Finally I humbled myself enough to ask an employee... only to discover the hangers I needed were gone. 

Oh, the joy.

Anyway. You get the idea. And let's face it - we have all experienced the insanity I speak of. The long lines, the screaming children, the harsh lights and dirty linoleum floors...

But now I have to leave the comfort of my quiet house and make a trip to buy some thread. At least I won't need a grocery cart for that, right?

Wish me luck. It's a jungle out there.

Deep Love and other Halloween things.

I remember dressing up for Halloween when I was a little girl. Usually the weather is bitter and cold during the holiday, so Mom would make me wear a coat and gloves over my costume.

This ruined everything.

Princesses and witches didn't wear winter coats over their silky ballgowns and velvety robes! This would destroy my costume!

...But in the end, I was always grateful to be bundled up in my winter gear after a long night of knocking on neighborhood doors. I remember coming inside with my pumpkin bucket full of treats and stripping my gloves from my hands so I could warm my fingers over the heater. 

Halloween is more fun when you're a kid, or when you have little kids at home. Because when you're little, Halloween is about dressing up as your favorite character, getting candy from the neighbors, and walking in the costume parade at school. It's about carving friendly jack-o-lanterns out of pumpkins and watching Hocus Pocus on Disney.

I still enjoy Halloween, but it's definitely not my favorite. I don't love trying to think of a costume every year, I'm not a fan of haunted houses, and there are always one-too-many scandalous kittens wandering about at lame Halloween parties.

But each year, I enjoy a variety of different festivities. I got away with no costume this year, and I avoided the Haunted Houses... but here are a few of the fun things I did this spooky season:

Picture time with Kaitlyn East and Rachel Santos

The folk dance groupies, in all of our spooktacular glory ;) Jordana Galvez, Myself, Sam Howe, Rachel Santos, Colton Hattabaugh, Jordan Smith, and Kaitlyn East.

I went to a masquerade party with a bunch of friends from the folk dance team. We met up at Bella's for dinner, and then we drove to the dance. Shopping for masks is a lot more fun than shopping for costumes. But a girl like me loves getting dolled up and feeling elegant for an evening.

The dance was held at this gorgeous old church that's been converted into a home. The old wood floors, tall square windows, and indoor balconies were beautiful. I had a great time dancing the night away with friends, eating good food, and enjoying some fun music.

Halloween Socials.
Mr. Howe and I posing for a snapshot at the PACC Social.

I attended two Halloween socials this year, both with The Institute. The first was the PACC social, held the Friday before Halloween. The Choralaires, Chorale, and Folk Dancers had a combined social at the Institute. People dressed up, we ate yummy food, played games, and I even got to teach the "Thriller" line dance at the party. There were a lot of fun costumes, and the company was fantastic. :) After the social, I went to Apt. 10 for a movie night with Dalen Ellsworth, Ben Eden, Sam Howe, Clay Orton, Emily Sawyer, and Jessica Love. It was an excellent night :)

The second social was the Folk Dance Halloween Social. Jake Sommer hosted the party, and he does a stellar job hosting and decorating! Blacklights, photos printed in negative, indoor mazes, strobe lights, and colorful decorations adorned his entire front room and kitchen. I had to leave the social early, but it looks like they had some yummy soup bowls and Halloween treats. I had a wonderful time while I was there.
Cabaret Night.
Ben and I at the Cabaret
The Alumni Cabaret Night really had no Halloween theme, but it was held the weekend before Halloween (the same night as the Folk Dance Social), and it was quite the event. I went to the Cabaret Night with Ben Eden where we enjoyed amazing music and delicious food (catered by Roosters). Special guest David Spangenthal (also graduated from WSU) talked with us about his experiences in New York and on Broadway. It was a really great opportunity for me to network with WSU alumni, and I enjoyed the company of everyone who came to the event. It was such a classy, successful night. I love AAT and my department and my professors. They're the best.

Movie Night.

I had a couple of friends over for a move night on Tuesday. The Institute gave me a platter full of fresh leftover tomatoes from our PACC social, and so I made fresh homemade salsa for our little get-together. (And pretty successful for my first time, I think). We had snacks, visited, and watched Red Riding Hood. The original plan was to watch The Village, but we couldn't get a hold of the movie. Instead, Sam Howe and I rented this movie. It was a little too Twilight-esque, but we had fun anyway. Jessica Love, Ben Eden, and Emily Sawyer were also there. I loved having them over for the evening. Gosh, I have some pretty neat friends! :)

Blind Date.

On the night of Halloween, I was set up on a blind date with Spencer, my voice teacher's nephew. I hadn't been on a blind date since high school. I was a little nervous, but I had such a great time! Spencer picked me up at my family's home in Riverton, and he took me to see Deep Love: A Ghostly Folk Opera in Provo. I didn't know a single thing about Deep Love, but I had seen the posters around the Browning Center. I wasn't sure what to expect, and I ended up being pleasantly surprised and impressed! Deep Love is a rock opera written and put together by a group of students from Rexburg. The music was entertaining, the vocals were awesome, and it was the perfect activity for Halloween. I had a nice time getting to know Spencer, too. After the opera, Spencer and I went to a Halloween party in Provo where we played Wii, ate Halloween treats, and had a good game of Farcle. It was an awesome ending to my Halloween season!

So even though some of the traditions I remember when I was little were not part of my festivities this year, I still had a great time doing a lot of exciting things. And now... November. I'm so excited for snow, winter scarves, Thanksgiving, holiday music, and Christmas! Only five left weeks of the semester. Holy cow! It's going to be a grand time.

If you want to hear some of the music from Deep Love, go here and click on the "store" link on their sidebar. I especially like the voice of Old Bones. (Listen to the first song. It's probably one of my favorites.)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Choralaires Sunday.


-I have some of the greatest friends on the face of this planet. Ben Eschler was a lifesaver when he brought me a box of safety pins for my choir dress fiasco. And Kaylee was a doll for helping me pin my dress.

-Testimony meetings are the perfect cure for morning grouchiness. I almost completely forgot about my sleep-deprivation because the spirit was so strong, even though it was 7:15 in the morning.

-Never give boys anything that could be used as ammo against you.

-Nutella is a favorite.

-When you run a Chinese Fire Drill, make sure everybody runs around the car going in the same direction

-I loved making new friends, especially ones who are as passionate about music as I am.

-Sunday school is a favorite.

-One of the best parts about Sunday School with The Choralaires: listening while we sing the opening hymn. The spirit really does speak powerfully through music.

-Waffles for lunch. Delicious.

-I love The Institute.

-Ben Eden and Dalen sure do know how to make me laugh.

-Whipped cream can get really messy, so don't try to plan revenge using whipped cream when everyone is in performance attire.

-Boys aren't very good at tying bows, but we love them anyway.

-The ladies' room will always be the perfect place for some positive, yet juicy girl talk ;)

-I love pearls.

-I'm really embracing the alto thing these days. I love singing those low harmonies.

-When all of the returned missionaries stood up in the congregation during I Am a Child of God, I completely forgot to sing. It was such a powerful, beautiful, and spiritually edifying moment.

-I love missionary work.

-Even though there was a lot of driving throughout the day, I loved having some quality Ben Eschler/Bailee time.

-The purple dresses are really growing on me ;)

-I love the boys in Choralaires. There are some dashing, fine looking men in that choir. And their voices make me melt like Nutella on a hot waffle ;)

-Singing all day in a choir is taxing business. But totally worth it.

-I love Choralaires Sundays.

Monday, October 29, 2012

A Monday Video Post.

Mr. Eden introduced me to this song last weekend.
Everything about it just makes my heart happy.
This was one of the only videos of the song that I could find.
Tell me you didn't smile, I dare you :)

Sunday, October 28, 2012

A Sunday Video Post.

I'm off with the Choralaires for the day, singing at a couple of wards in the area.
Hope everyone is having the best of weekends. Much love :)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Happy Little Nothings

-Pumpkin muffins from Starbucks
-Hazelnut hot chocolate
-Falling asleep outside BC 230
-Wednesday devotionals at the institute
-Wearing Mom's old eighties knit-sweater
-Watching YouTube videos before History and Lit
-Listening to the sound of the heater
-Internet connection
-White mountains
-Yellow peacoat
-Pretzels at the AAT Meeting
-Getting asked on a date
-Vanilla Cherry Dr. Pepper
-Clean bedroom
-No more stage scenery
-The first snow
-Wednesday dance practices
-Auditions Techniques class
-Compliments book
-My new "Super Estudiante" pencil from Spanish class
-Mid-afternoon naps
-Hot chocolate at Apt. Number 10
-Cookie dough

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Finding Joy.

I worry about grad school.

I worry about my future occupation after I graduate from school.

I worry about making the decision to go on a full-time mission.

I worry about making the decision to serve a performance mission in Nauvoo.

I worry about making the decision to audition for The Playmill again.

I worry about what I'm going to do this summer.

I worry about marriage.

I worry about my grades in History and Lit of Theatre.

I worry about what my roommates think of me.

I worry about being able to do Choralaires and Folk Dance next semester.

I worry about auditioning for the spring musical.

I worry about my spring semester schedule

I worry about friendships

I worry about getting all of my credits finished to graduate in two years.

I worry about what I look like.

I worry about Caesar, our family's puppy.

I worry about my singing capabilities

I worry about money.

I worry about hurting other people's feelings.

(Image via.)

It's time to stop worrying. Most of my problems I have no control over, and these will most likely work themselves out with time. I need to stop worrying about tomorrow, and start focusing on today. Live in the moment. Vivre dans l'instant. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Ben, Ben and Ben!

Time for another Shout-out! (You can read all of my Shout-Out posts here.)

Benjamin Paxman

This kid is seriously one of my heroes. I have never seen anyone face trials with such a strong spirit and positive outlook. Ben has experienced many physical trials in his life. He had four major surgeries, and he spent many months during his teenage years in Primary Children's Hospital because of some intestinal problems. It was a very scary time for our family, and Ben had indescribable courage and patience throughout this trying time of his life. I will always look up to him for everything he went through.

Aside from his incomparable positivity in difficult times, I admire my brother for many reasons. Ben is a peacekeeper. He is very level-headed and calm. Ben is also very mature for his age. He knows how to communicate and socialize with people of all ages, and he is respected and admired by many adults for his maturity. 

Ben has such a sweet spirit about him. He is very tender-hearted... I haven't met many people who have a sweeter spirit than Benjamin. All I can say is, he's going to be an incredible husband for somebody one day, and she will be one lucky girl... if we can find someone who deserves him ;)

I love my brother SO much. He teaches me by example every day. We have such a great time whenever we're together, and our inside jokes are timeless. I love when we act like goofballs and joke around. Because we are only eighteen months apart,  we grew up together and I have always considered him one of my best friends. I can't believe he's already in college and getting ready to serve a mission! I am extremely proud.

I can't say enough good about him. I love you, Bud.

Ben Eden

I just met Ben Eden this year, and I already admire him and appreciate his friendship and example! Ben and I both auditioned for Folk Dance AND Choralaires this year, and I've really enjoyed being a part of these performing groups with Ben. We have a lot of fun dancing together! Ben and I are partners in the clog number this semester, and I don't think I've ever had so much fun dancing with a partner.

One of the personality traits I admire most about Ben is his ability to make people laugh. I'm always guaranteed a good laugh whenever I'm around Ben, and I always appreciate that his humor is so clean and positive. He always has a positive energy about him, and his countenance is something that I look up to.

Ben is great about including everyone, both when we're at Folk Dance and Choralaires. He was the one who gave me the confidence to audition for Choralaires in the first place. I admire how outgoing he is. Ben knows how to be a genuine friend to anyone he crosses paths with. He is very patient and he knows how to encourage his friends. I appreciate his patience, encouragement, and willingness to help me learn how to play the piano.

I also appreciate Ben's willingness to communicate. I admire people who can have intellectual and profound conversations with others, and I appreciate that Ben is comfortable sharing his thoughts and opinions with me. Effective communication is something that I greatly value in all of my friendships, and Ben knows how to communicate well.

I always have an enjoyable time when I'm with Ben. We have had a lot of fun times at his apartment, playing games and catching him up on Once Upon A Time. I look forward to getting to know him better, and I look forward to the opportunities I will have to perform with him. He is very talented, and an amazing example to me! Thanks for everything you do Ben. :)

Ben Eschler

Where do I even start with Big Ben? I met Ben a year ago (has it only been a year?) When we auditioned for the Folk Dance Team together. He and I went on a no-sugar diet together last fall, and we've been friends ever since. (I'm just glad our friendship lasted longer than the no-sugar pact!)

Ben always has my back. I appreciate his willingness to listen to my venting and ranting, even when I'm negative. He also knows how to keep me in check. I appreciate a friend who can offer fresh perspective and keep me in line when I'm acting unreasonable. He knows how to listen well, but he will offer his opinion and advice when it is needed.

Big Ben is so loving and genuine! He gives the biggest hugs, and I love how happy he gets when he is around his friends. His genuine joy and giddiness is one of my favorite things about him! His happiness is infectious. 

Ben will do anything for his friends. He's always there to pick up the phone when I give him a call, and if he doesn't answer... he always calls me right back. He also made the effort to drive all the way out to West Yellowstone to support me this summer... and that means THE WORLD to me! He will probably never know the impact he had on me when he and the other folk dancers came to visit me last summer. Whenever I need a friend the most, he's there to be whatever I need at the time. 

Ben is stellar, and I am so glad to call him my friend. Not just a Folk Dance Friend, but a Lifelong Friend. I can't wait to see the many amazing things he will accomplish as we grow up! You're fantastic Ben, thanks for all you do!