Tuesday, December 20, 2011

"The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear"

I've seen this around and loved reading about other's traditions. I hope you enjoy.

1. Egg nog or hot chocolate? Hot chocolate and egg nog. My cousin always sends my family a package each year and he includes the best hot chocolate from his store. We try to make it last all year. Yum. I like it with whipped cream.
I like egg nog too, but I usually have to add some milk to it because it's pretty thick to drink by itself.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? Santa usually wraps presents but it's different wrapping paper obviously than the rest of the presents. The rest of the presents are from your parents. Santa also fills the stockings with unwrapped presents.

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? Growing up we sometimes had colored but usually they were white. White lights are so beautiful on the tree when all the other lights are off. This year Jesse and I have blue and white lights on our tree (Go UK!) and colored lights around our windows.

4. Do you hang mistletoe? We've talked about it, but don't have any yet. (Mistletoe fact I never knew from my horticulturist husband: it's a parasitic plant that is spread by bird poop and grows on the top of trees and has to be shot down with a gun! Did you know that?!)

5. When do you put your decorations up? Growing up we would get our tree the Saturday after Thanksgiving and usually decorate then, too. This year Jesse and I had to wait because we were out of town and got our (very first together!) Christmas tree on December 3rd.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish? Hmm, does pumpkie pie count?

7. Favorite holiday memory as a child? I loved it when my sister and I would wake up before my parents and go downstairs (and see the tree all lit in the dark room) to open our stockings. We were allowed to open our stockings- we would usually take a few things out and then put them back till our parents woke up, but had to wait for our parents to open presents. Also, Ohio Village- see #16.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? I don't really remember, but I still believe in Santa 100%.
Santa may not be a "fact," but he is "true."
He may not be a person, but he is millions of people who all work together to bring children beautiful Christmases.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? We wait until Christmas morning to open presents.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? This year we bought blue and white bulbs and tinsel string to decorate. I was just saying to Jesse the other day that we should have bought an ornament when we were on our honeymoon in Rome to have a tradition of ornaments from where we travel. We are going to start the tradition of buying each other an ornament each year to hang on our tree.
My great aunt also made my sister and I an ornament every year when we were growing up from the song the 12 days of Christmas. I'll have to see what happened to those since they're probably still at my parent's house.

11. Snow! Love it or dread it? LOVE! I wish there was snow NOW! I want and need a white Christmas. Jesse doesn't like snow so much because he has to be out working in it, so I try to scale back my love of it, cause I don't want him to be too cold. But, good thing we aren't staying in Kentucky because it's supposed to be raining and in the 40s! Christmas isn't Christmas without snow!

12. Can you ice skate? I've been a few times, but I can't really skate so well.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift? The best memories don't really have anything to do with gifts, just the love that my family had for each other and the time that we spent together.

14. What’s the most important thing about the holidays for you? Family. I love spending time with them.

15. What is your favorite holiday dessert? Spritz cookies with maraschino cherries in the center, of course pumpkin pie, and caramel (or cinnamon) pecan rolls.

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? Growing up we would almost always pick a family in our ward that was less fortunate and buy things for them and then doorbell ditch on their porch or do the same thing with cookies.
We also went to Ohio Village which was a reconstructed 1800s village. We would decorate cookies, sing with the carolers, go around to the different shops, and feed the animals. It was magical since they only used candles and stayed true to the time period. I'm so glad I have those memories since the village is now gone. (Well, the actual village is still there but they've changed everything and it's not the same so we don't go anymore).
In the past few years we went to Slate Run which is similar to Ohio Village and participate in some old time Christmas traditions. (Their gingerbread men were the best!)

17. What tops your tree? Right now it's star that blinks white and blue to go with our UK themed tree. We might keep it or make/have a different one next year.

18. Which do you prefer: giving or receiving? Giving, especially watching the faces of people when they open their gift and knowing it will be something they will love. I don't do homemade gifts very often, but I think next year I might start.

19. Candy canes: yuck or yum? Yum. You can crunch them or munch them or suck on them or chew them up. I've only eaten one so far this year, but it was delicious. I should eat more because mint helps my stomach. I like sucking on the end to make it sharp and turning it into a little sword. We have them on our tree, but I kind of forget about eating them.

20. Favorite Christmas show? Home Alone, A Child's Christmas in Wales, The Santa Clause, A Charlie Brown Christmas, Elf, White Christmas, While You Were Sleeping (which I always watch every Christmas with my sister).

21. Saddest Christmas song? That Christmas Shoes song. Jesse and I heard it on the radio the other day and I cry every time I hear it so I plugged my ears so I wouldn't cry. He said it's one of his favorite songs even though it does make him cry. (I like the message behind the song, but it's just so sad!)

22. What is your favorite Christmas song? I love "I Wonder As I Wander", "Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella", "I'm dreaming of a White Christmas", and "Good King Wenceslas" and silly, I know, but I love the Chipmunks too! I could listen to them for long periods, but I usually only listen for a little bit cause I know Jesse doesn't really like them and can only stand them in short bursts.
Some songs like "Last Christmas I Gave You My Heart" can just go away. The radio plays that song toooo often and it drives me nuts.
I like good Christmas music.

23. Do you use an Advent calendar? We had one that we used growing up, but we don't have one this year. I should try making one for next year.

24. Do you go to church on Christmas? Not unless it's Sunday, and there's regular church, but on my mission we went one year with a family to their Church on Christmas Eve and it was beautiful to sing carols and see the church lit up with candles.

25. What were your Christmas morning rules as a kid? We weren't supposed to wake our parents up early, but we could open our stocking. Brenna and I would usually go downstairs and look in our stocking and eat some candy and sort though the gifts and then wait for our parents to wake up. If we felt they were taking too long, we would sneak up to their room and quietly wake them up so they would get up and we could open presents.

5 days till Christmas!!

Friday, December 9, 2011

My stomach hates me

This past weekend was a weekend of firsts:

Jesse and I got our first Christmas tree together and decorated it and hung lights on it and around the apartment! Of course it's real! We wouldn't have it any other way...it smells delicious! Oh, it makes me so happy.

Our Stake Conference was this past weekend.

Our first Stake Conference in a family ward.

Our first Stake Conference as a married couple.

And our first Stake Conference in our new Stake.

It was really good! The Saturday night session focused mainly on becoming better parents and better husbands and wives (which was definitely helpful since Jesse and I are new to this whole marriage thing). The Sunday session focused on strengthing our testimony of Christ, following church leaders, and strengthing families by doing what we need to be doing.

That night was the First Presidency Christmas devotional, which we ended up missing since I wasn't feeling too well. But I watched it on Monday at work...definitely worth a

In our current ward there are two other couples that were in the Singles branch with us (one couple got married in March and the other in July of this year) so at least we have friends in our new ward already.

Still no callings (other than home teacher for Jesse). But I'm sure they'll come...

Happy Friday.

*(The post title had nothing to do with this blog.)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Since Thanksgiving is just around the corner, here's a list of things that I'm thankful for this year...

my loving family
my loving husband, Jesse
the gospel
colorful leaves
good music
the earth
Christmas trees (and lights)
ice cream
working cars
saltine crackers
the color red
Nalgene water bottles
ice chips
comfy pillows and throws
The Book of Mormon
having enough to meet our needs
temples (included in the gospel...)
Airedales with
cute noses
washing machines
thankful people

Jesse and I are leaving tomorrow morning for Mississippi and I wanted to post today cause I don't think I'll have internet access later (it will be different this year not spending Thanksgiving with my immediate family and joining them in the annual cutting of the Christmas tree), but I'm also looking forward to getting to know Jesse's extended family and celebrating new traditions too.

I wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving! Are you going Black Friday shopping??


P.S. When I get back from the holiday...honeymoon pictures!

P.P.S. Is anyone else having problems with their Google Reader not showing all the posts for blogs? I don't know if it's just my computer, but I really dislike the new layout...let me know if you know how to fix it!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


Marcel is back! And cuter than ever...

Thursday, November 10, 2011


I know it's been three weeks since I last blogged...

Jesse and I have technically been married for one month this past Tuesday- the 8th- (though our actual four weeks was on Saturday the 5th) and Jesse brought me a bouquet of flowers he picked out and arranged himself! I gave him a card. He's so thoughful and I love him to bits! I'm so thankful for him.

We were in the kitchen the other day and had the following conversation:
Jesse: "Why are you so beautiful?"
Me: "Because Heavenly Father just made me that way." (Normally I'm not that pride-ful(?) about my appearance but I was trying to be semi-funny too)
Jesse: "I thank Him every night for you!"

We'll be going to Mississippi and staying in cabins for Thanksgiving this year for a family reunion (with Jesse's mothers family). It will be the first year that I won't be spending it with my family (other than my mission) and it will be different, but I'm also excited to meet Jesse's extended family. He already warned me (highlighted at the top) about a certain gravy not to eat...

I promise I haven't forgotten about honeymoon pictures! (Not sure anyone really cares about them but anyway...) We don't have internet access at our apartment so when I blog, it's from work and I don't have the pictures on the computer at work. Hopefully in the next few! days I will post them as well as some more wedding pictures.

Thursday, October 27, 2011


Me: "Guess what?"*
Jesse: "What?"
Me: "We've been married for two weeks!"
Jesse: "Oh, no, it feels like a year!" :)

ha, that husband of mine. I sure love him!

This conversation took place on Saturday, so today we've been married for 19 days! This means I'm a marriage expert, right? Right? Not really- I have a far way to go, but during the past 19 days I've learned a few things and felt like I wanted to share:

1. Your wedding day is exuasting! If possible try to go to sleep early (or at least at a reasonable hour) the night before your wedding or take a nap in between your wedding and reception if you have time (we didn't because our reception was from 2-4pm). You will need the rest for your wedding day. Jesse and I went to bed late, up with last minute preparations and then had to be at the temple at 9:30am for pictures. We were tired by the time our reception was over. Thankfully our reception ended at 4pm, but my family was there cleaning up until much later- thank you to them!

2. Make sure to take a week for your honeymoon, if possible. It gives you time to spend just with each other before jumping back into real life.

3. From the start, make couple prayer and scripture study a habit. It will help you to grow closer together not only as a couple, but also with Hevenly Father. I love praying and reading scriptures with Jesse.

3.5. Pray for each other and for your marriage in companionship prayer- it brings unity.

4. Be patient with each other and yourselves in the first few weeks of marriage. It's a little bit of an adjustment to be married, but remember to put each other first and find ways to serve each other.

5. Be open with your feelings regarding intimacy. As LDS people I sometimes feel that the subject is taboo, but it needs to be discussed. (Is that TMI? Anyway...)

6. Focus your wedding day on the temple- really that is the most important part. Commit to return often together.

7. Create an album of your photos. We made one for our honeymoon photos (I don't have the wedding CD yet) and have looked through it multiple times already. It's wonderful to re-live the day(s).

8. I love being married. It is wonderful being married to your best friend, knowing that together you are in the process of building an eternal family and knowing that whatever comes you have each other and Heavenly Father to rely on. I believe it was President Snow that said: "Marriage is a wonderful institution. I highly recommend it." I wholeheartedly agree!

We have a cross stitch that we bought in Italy similar to the one below hanging in our living room. Yes, it might make it look like we're Catholic, but I love Jesse's comment about it. "I really like this because it represents not only Joseph and Mary and Christ, but it can represent our holy family as well."

*(we started playing the "guess what?" game on our honeymoon. We would ask each other "guess what?" and then answer with something like "we're on our way to Rome!" or "the Pope is right in front of us" or "we're almost to the beautiful Sistine Chapel!").

Friday, October 21, 2011

My wedding day...

I know I've been absent from the blogsphere for a little bit and my apologies if you've missed me. I was busy with last minute wedding preparations and then my honeymoon (we just got back on Tuesday) and I haven't been feeling too well since we got back.

I was sealed to my love, Jesse, in the Columbus, Ohio temple on Saturday October, 8th at 11:30 in the morning.

The wedding was absolutely wonderful...the beautiful spirit of the temple ceremony, the happiness of having our friends and family gathered around us, the smile and small chuckle that came when the sealer told us to look at him rather than each other, the joy and peace and happiness I felt when the sealer pronounced us as husband and wife for all eternity...the quiet time of reflection with Jesse after the sealing in the Celestial room. It was truly a wonderful day.

For all those who helped in every way and showered your love on us, thank you, thank you, thank you. Especially to my mom for tailoring my dress, and all her hard, hard work with the reception.

Pictures will be forthcoming, but here are a few:

"The family is a creation of the Almighty. It represents the most sacred of all relationships. It represents the most serious of all undertakings, It is the fundamental organization of society. Through the revelation of God to His prophet came the doctrine and authority which families are sealed together not only for this life but for all eternity." - Gordon B. Hinckley, "The Great Things Which God Has Revealed"

Photographs courtesy of Frozen in Time Photography. (If you click on the link you can view some more wedding photos as well.)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Someone is having a birthday...

Today is Jesse's (my soon-to-be-husband) 29th birthday!

Thank you for loving me and being my best friend. I'm so excited to marry you and have you be mine for eternity.
Happy Birthday, love!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Birthday Weekend: Part 2

For the second part of the birthday weekend I'm going to sum it up in pictures...

Raven Run where we went to hike on Saturday the 10th...view of the Kentucky River.
Taking a picture of Jesse taking a picture.
Winnie the Pooh ice cream birthday cake from DQ.

Beautiful flowers from Jesse
The delicious cake Brenna made me. Yum!
The present from Jesse! (Don't mind the messy background).
Brenna and Jesse lighting the blazing inferno...
I got them all out in one blow. :)
Cutting the cakes."Natasha,

I love you
more than
Pooh loves Honey

more than
Tigger loves

So when your feeling gloomy like Eyeore, worried
like Piglet or lost in a hundred acre wood. Remember someone loves you
Thank you for all the birthday wishes! It was a good weekend. As my mom always says, I have a knack for spreading my birthday celebration out over a few days...in this case, a whole weekend!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Birthday weekend: Part 1

Wow, what a weekend! I have so much to say and not enough words to express it all...this weekend has been wonderful, sad, reflective, and bittersweet all at the same time.

Friday the 9th-my birthday:
As Friday evening rolled around we were undecided whether to celebrate my birthday out or go for a night hike in Berea as planned (which was the Friday night activity). We decided to go on the hike, and as Jesse came to pick us up, his arms were full of a bouquet of flowers and an ice cream cake from DQ! What a wonderful present!

When we arrived at the Pinnacles, there was an ampitheater which we went to look at...a guy in the group told me to go down the steps to look at it better. When I turned around the group started singing "Happy Birthday" to me. Sneaky Jesse, who told me he didn't say anything about my birthday! It was a nice surprise.

The hike, about 2-3 miles, was a little steep (and muddy) at times, but once we got to the top the view of the city was beautiful and peaceful! Jesse and I had a little bit of time to sit and reflect and it was wonderful. I'm so glad we all went. Once we got back it was about 11:30 and we all decided to save cake for Saturday since we were tired.

Jesse and I decided to head out to the Arboretum (even though it was officially closed due to the football game, he got in because he's the horticulturist there!) to look at the bird house exhibit... we painted a birdhouse together and Jesse wood burned one so we entered them both (it's a fundraiser for them). I have pictures, but I can't find my camera cord! Arrrr. Jesse told me as we were leaving that he hopefully would have my birthday present finished by the evening. I told him I thought the flowers and ice cream cake was my present!

As Jesse was under a tree retrieving a heart nut to show me, he must have bothered a wasp nest since he got stung twice- once each on two of his fingers. As he came back out he told me to hurry away from the tree since a few of them started chasing us. Hurting Jesse- the nerve of that wasp!

After the Arboretum we headed out to Raven Run for a 4 mile hike.
As we were driving there, I mentioned to Jesse that I sometimes miss being a kid and doing kid things like running around sprinklers, bike rides, and playing outside with no cares in the world.

When we got to Raven Run the weather was perfect and it was lovely spending time in nature with Jesse. It took us about 3 hours to go four miles which is pretty slow considering some people run a 15 minute mile... but, in our defense we stopped to play in the streams, look at plants and trees, take photographs, play Three Billy Goats Gruff on some bridges we found ("who's walking on my bridge?"), and pick up buckeyes (which I eventually had to put back. Sad). Jesse took some wonderful nature photographs and also one of me as I was playing in a stream. It was fun how the hike made me feel like a kid again.

After the hike we went to Olive Garden for a birthday dinner. When I got home Brenna, my sister, had presents waiting for me. Such lovely birthday gifts- a pair of fuzzy socks, Twix bars, little notepads, and two wall phrases to hang up in our new apartment once Jesse and I are married.

Later that evening after resting for a little bit, Jesse came back over for ice cream cake and chocolate cake which Brenna made. As he was walking up the steps he was carrying something in his arms....

Post 2 coming soon...hopefully with pictures.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

September love

I always think of Septeber 1st as the beginning of Fall, though I know it really doesn't start until the end of September. But the days do start getting cooler and more fall-like...

Here are some things that I'm excited for in September:

♥ Today is one month and one week till I marry Jesse! ♥ my birthday (beginning of September) ♥ Jesse's birthday (end of September) ♥ beautiful fall leaves changing color ♥ cool morning air ♥ soups and chili ♥ evenings with blankets and snuggles ♥ giving and receiving birthday presents ♥ delicious homemade bread ♥ my upcoming wedding (refer to the first thing on the list) ♥ Labor day weekend ♥ Possible trips to Mammoth caves, Natural Bridge, etc for hiking and looking at fall leaves ♥ My passport coming! ♥


In other news, we finished registering for our wedding.

Two of the big things we registered for?

A Kitchen-aid mixer (professional series!)


Roomba- a vacuuming robot!

The Roomba was pretty much scanned as a joke (but not the kitchen-aid) since I'm pretty sure we won't get either of these things (expensive!). But Jesse said he would laugh if we got the Roomba and not the Kitchen-aid. But I told him that if we got the Kitchen-aid he would get more homemade bread- which he loves. One can hope, right? ha ha

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

My mind...

somedays I don't know where it goes.

For example...I was at the post office turning in my passport information and the following conversation took place. (M=me; P=postman)

P: Everything looks good so we'll get it mailed off for you.

M: Good, thanks!

(as he was putting the envelope in the mailing bin)
P: Have a great trip!

M: Thanks, you too!

Umm...I guess he could have a good trip home or to the bathroom...

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A new find

I've been hesitant to put a new blog post up because I like looking at Jesse's handsome face when I see my blog, but I guess it's time for a new one since I can see his handsome face in person.

When Jesse was 8 years old his family lived in a semi-rural area in Arkansas. One day when his parents and siblings were gone and Jesse was home alone, an electrical problem started a fire in the house. As the fire started increasing Jesse called the fire department and his Dad who was about 45 minutes away and then he grabbed a picture of Christ and a family photo and got out of the house.

Recently, in the middle of wedding planning I came across this new (to me) website and I can't stop looking at it.

The Burning House is a blog where the author asks people the world over this question: "If your house was burning, what would you take with you? It's a conflict between what's practical, valuable and sentimental. What you would take reflects your interests, background and priorities. Think of it as an interview condesnsed into one question."

It's so facisnating to see what people would choose...

From looking at the pictures, here are few things in common that people would take:

People and animals that are currently in the house
Moleskin notebooks/journals

Bleuenn age 2

David age 27

Jennie age 19

Janet age 58

What would you take with you if your house was burning?

Saturday, August 20, 2011

A few more engagement photos

As I mentioned before, these were taken around Keeneland. Sara, the photographer ended up with about 800 photos by the time we were done. She edited them down to around 220 for us to pick an engagement photo from...and now I'm showing you these ones. I wanted to post more but didn't want you to be subject to too much gushiness! I'm only thinking of you afterall.


We call this one "Professor Jesse"

Getting ready to put a flower in his hair

"Behind bars" (notice the police cars behind us...)

The one we chose for our engagement photograph...?

We thought it was a good representation of Kentucky.

Friday, August 12, 2011


Have a look at their amazing benefits. Also here. Crazy!

Free lunch everyday, made with love by gourmet chefs?

And the first year in working there you get 15 days of paid vacation. Wow!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Help for Africa

I don't normally post about things like this on my blog, but during lunch I was reading the news (briefly) and came across this slideshow and story on msnbc.com about the famine in Eastern Africa.

As I was looking at the slideshow the pictures drew me in. I must be living under a rock because I had no idea that a famine was happening. I started crying and feeling really guilty for being so stressed over my wedding preparations when there are children and families dying of hunger. I am really blessed.

View the complete slideshow here
And ways you can help here

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Expressions of love

How grateful I am for Jesse's expressions of love-
A kind word when I've had a bad day
A hug and a kiss
A joke he tells to make me laugh
His wonderful drawings with love letters included
The words: "I love you"

He is smart, funny, thoughtful, selfless, and ever willing to serve. He always sees the best in me, even when I don't, and helps me to feel the love of my Heavenly Father.

I'm so grateful that he will be mine for time and all eternity. And that knowledge is oh, so good.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


We went to Keeneland this past Saturday and had our engagement pictures taken by the lovely Sara J. We took some near a police car while we were behind "bars" (i.e. jail), and took some by horses when they tried to eat us. A few of them were a little cheesy, but some have to be, right?

Here is a preview...

For our very first date, we went to The Mad Potter and painted these...Cletus and a flower pot. Who knew we would end up getting married!
She posted a third one, but it's just a close-up of the second one.

You like? More to come!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

This and that

Remember how in this post I said that my mom is making my wedding dress?

Well, when I was home this past weekend we had a little thrift store journey where I found a dress that fit....but was very big (meaning made me look very wide) and in need of some adjustments in several areas...cutting and re-sewing in others. We left the store with out it.

After I came back to Lexington, my mom called with an idea....to possibly combine the dress that she is working on and use part of the dress that I found to make a new dress for my wedding.

My mom went back to the store to see if the dress was even still there. It was in someone's elses hands!! Ahhh. But then she put it back and my mom grabbed it and bought it, where it was 25% off the listed price! since it had been in the store so long!

The dress? Oh, here's a picture....see how big (poofy) it is?
+ other pictures from home:

In other news, I'm starting to be a big ball of stress...less than two months left to go and so much left to do! Ahhh. Jesse reassured me last night that things will be okay. Take a deep breath and start on that to-do list....

And we did see Harry Potter pt. 2 on Wednesday July 20th for our date...(first ever date in a movie theater with him!) Even though I'm not a super, super crazy H.P. fan I really liked the movie and I've read some of the books. Any way, it was good and I might have cried just a little bit.

Ok, here's a video that will (hopefully) brighten your day:

My favorite quotes?
-the brain is like a wrinkled bag of skin filled with warm water, veins, and thought muscles
-the probe probes the brobe
-leave the pea be

Enjoy! And happy Thursday.

(All pictures taken by my sister!)
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