Sunday, October 2, 2011

32 Miles

We knew we had a problem when the transmission fluid in our Buick was poured from the bottle, to the transmission, to the floor. I kept getting the impression that I needed to take the car in. The individuals who had lived in our apartment before us got a coupon in the mail from a local car repair shop that was a discount on transmission repair. So I called them up and took our car in a week later.

The repair cost turned out not to be too expensive and we just needed a new pan. What was startling was when they were going through the check list of things that were wrong with our car.

Manifold Gasket.

WAIT!! This same gasket cost us 1,400 in repairs last year and we had to fix our radiator fluid and hoses because of it. I was furious. (I had even taken the car back to the repair shop because the oil change place said the radiator fluid was dirty. They assured me nothing was wrong.)

The repair man at the new place started pointing out the leak and one that was adjoining it.

So we went home and checked our warranty. Bryce was sure that we had surpassed it with driving to and from Rexburg to Idaho Falls. But we checked the odometer and pulled out the paper work. The repair was guaranteed 12,00o miles. We pulled out the calculator and found that we were at 11,968. 32 miles.

We called up the new repair shop, they were both NAPA certified, and said we were still under warranty. There were other needed repairs and because everything was being taken apart they could cover the labor under the warranty. What would have been over a thousand dollars in repairs we paid only $230 in parts.

It was one of those moments that left me with an assurance that the Lord knows who I am, my struggles, and that he is aware that we pay our tithing even though we are struggling to get by. A non believer may think it was luck, but it was providence in my eyes. Those 32 miles were a miracle.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Bryce's Chicago Trip

Kristen asked me if I wanted to post on the blog about my trip and I quickly said no, but this morning I got up and decided to go for it.

The trip to Chicago was for a program called Chicago Urban Studes: Inner City Youth. This is a fund that is set up through LDS church members in Chicago in coordination with BYU-Idaho. Grover Wray, one of the teachers from BYUI, is over the counselors every year and hand picks about 10-12 counselors who meet together and plan out everything for the camp as far as activities go. We started planning this camp last November and didn't leave until the 6th of August.

Our group having breakfast together
Left to Right: Grover, Spencer, my empty chair, Brittany, Neil, Jack, Juan,
(right side) Micah, Rachel, Joy, Eric, Mike, and Gina

My group going out to explore Chicago for the day (I'm wearing the cow shirt)

What an adventure. We left Salt Lake City at noon on Saturday the 6th and got to our Hostel in Chicago around 8 that night. It was kind of crazy going out at night because Lollapalooza, a huge music festival with like 100 or so bands over three days, was happening and only like 3 blocks away from where we were staying. I don't think I've ever seen that many drunk people flooding a street and chanting U - S - A at midnight in the streets below us since...well, ever. Chicago is pretty humid, you don't have to try to sweat when you walk outside, it just all happens for you. I don't know if I would give up mild weather in Idaho or Washington for never having to use lotion in a place like Chicago, not worth it.

We all got to go to a Chicago Cubs game at Wrigley field and wait for two hours in the rain so that the game could get rained out. Still a great experience, a little wet actually really wet, but really fun just getting to go with the whole group.

Yeah for free hat and T-shirt night at Wrigley field.

Most of the group, all getting soaked for two hours before the game was cancelled. All of the girls ended up wearing ponchos by the time we left (yeah, guys don't wear rain ponchos, we're tough, we work out and stuff!), but as soon as they called the game, it stopped raining for the rest of the night.

We had some good fun in Chicago for four days before taking 32 12-15-year old boys from in and around Chicago back with us to Victor, ID for the summer camp. We had to be up at 4:30 on Wed. morning of the 10th and take the Orange line to the Midway airport, that was also a fun experience. The kids started showing up around 6am and then we started our, what turned out to be almost 16 hour long, trip to Victor. We took two flight to SLC, then took a bus that started breaking down on us to BYU-Idaho, then drove another hour to Victor. What a relief to be done traveling at that point.

Mike, Brittany, Joy, and I ended up having the middle group that was mostly 13-14 yrs. old. What incredible people to be able to spend 10 days with getting to know and have fun with during the camp. We did some really cool things with the boys like a ropes course, tons of activities and classes about a lot of different things, nightly firesides/testimony meetings, devotionals, and we took all of the boys to see the movie "17 Miracles," about the Mormon Pioneers. This was an absolutely rewarding experience to be able to have a part in the lives of these boys and to see their goodness and to get to learn about a lot of the trials that they have to deal with on a daily basis in Chicago (drugs, gangs, shootings, family life, girls, school, etc.). A few more pictures from this trip will some this up and it was amazing.

Our group name, "Not in da Face"

Our group at Eric's class, learning how to make water
rockets out of two liter bottles.

Some of the boys at the BYUI Badger Creek Ropes Course
learning about one of the challenge activities

All 32 boys learning about how to work as a team.

Some of the counselors and boys riding on top of the trailer we loaded with
hay that we all moved for a service project.

At the ropes course, one of the activities is getting to the top of a 30-foot high telephone pole and standing on top, this was a little intense and I didn't think that I would be doing it myself, but all the boys and other counselors said, 'Bryce, you're next.' I thought to myself, "self, don't freak out," not because it's very high, but it is high when you get to the top and it's just a telephone pole sticking out of the ground.

After a minute of holding on to the top, I braved it.

Well, I made it, without falling off and I realize that once you get to the top you have to say a goal you have, but once I got up there, I thought that I should have already thought of a goal, because that's a little terrifying on top trying to think of a goal.

This was a wonderful camp and I feel privileged to have gone and get to know all of those boys. Maybe next time they'll go to bed before 2:00 every morning when we have to wake up at 6:30.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Not a writer.

I think everyone can honestly agree I lack in the skill of writing.

Now that that was stated we can move on.

The summer is almost over and I think I spent the majority of it at work. Our annual convention was held in Minneapolis at the beginning of the month and most of my time the months before were spent sitting at my desk producing labels, forms, and booklets to be handed out for those three short days. My first experience at convention was quite exciting.

I stayed on the 18th floor of a hotel with an awesome view.
I was almost trampled on by people running through doors.
I got to help make the logo. (Ryan deserves the credit)
I was proposed to by the most creepy man in the world.
I was yelled at by a Mennonite woman. (I thought they were supposed to be nice)
I got to see my products in use by the actual customers.
I got a contact for freelance work.
and... I got to see a magic show.

The biggest bummer about convention, other then my tacky green vest, was that I missed the window to see Bryce a day or two before he went to camp. He went to Washington to help his Dad out with a cabinetry job the week school ended, and then left while I was at the convention to help out at an inner city youth camp.

Let me tell you...three weeks is a long time. I don't know how my Dad was able to go on two month business trips when I was a kid.

I was so excited for Bryce to return. If absence makes the heart grow fonder, my heart was fonded. It is amazing how I used to be so independent and had a hard time in the first year of our marriage having to spend so much time with someone else. Now it is the opposite, I have the need to be around people all the time. I was grateful I was able to spend a week while he was gone with my parents in Washington while we were apart. (I'll write about that later)


Tuesday, June 28, 2011


I think I found a new favorite show the other day. My big fat gypsy wedding. (Note: these are Irish Travelers not Romanians.) And before you judge me hear me out. First I'll argue the negatives...Yes it has little and adult women dancing skanky every once and a while, and there are boys grabbing girls and running off with them, but...the culture is insanely interesting. It is fun to step inside (or sit on my couch and watch) another culture for me. Especially one built up on so much tradition.

First, everyone or most everyone lives in a traveling trailer. They usually do not achieve higher then an eighth grade education and they marry at like 16. Woman don't work and clean the trailer all day, while the males usually work in labor jobs. The wedding dresses are extreme. It is as if an eight year old planned her dream wedding with the puffiest dress and a castle cake.

I think the social commentary on the show is what fasinates me the most. How they deal with the ignorance of others and the fact that they are ignorant themselves. In Mormon society I find we do the same...not the skankiness or trailers, but that we have traditional behavior and it is sometimes hard to accept other "normal" cultures. I personally feel that like them I am often leary of others stepping inside my culture and seeing the oddities and the fact we think honestly really weird and how much I know it. It is kind of nice to know that others have the same problem of balancing and loving what they believe to be a really nice "traditional" lifestyle that is outside the mainstream. I am proud of my background, and like them love participating in the weird traditions.

Also note Bryce hates this show.

Sunday, June 26, 2011


I've decided I've had enough of Rexburg.

I know 26 is not old, but I feel old in this town. I walk into restaurants and if the average age is 20 I have this immediate feeling like I should leave. Mostly because pure feelings of disgruntled anger usually follow after an 18-year-old girl yells out something idiotic to catch another 18-year-old boys attention, and will follow by literally jumping him in a tackle of flirtation. I think I am over that. I think I was over that at 21. I am like a grouchy old man who married a grouchy old man (who is also over crazy teenagers).

With all of this pent up anger we came to the decision to move. We found a place in the large city of Idaho Falls (pop. 56,813) where there are a whopping two Super Walmarts. Rexburg doesn't even qualify for that large of a mega store.

I am excited to move on from Rexburg and college life. I know Bryce has a lot more schooling and we will still be "in school" for at least 3 more years but the thought of not having to live where I went to school will be nice.

The downside of moving will be the difficulty of finding new friends. Rexburg has a plethora of young married couples to befriend. It will be hard to leave the friends we have made here. But like us, I know eventually those we have become friends with will move on too. So here's to new adventures!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


I have this dream that I can make delicious French Macaroons. So far it has been 2-0...with me on the losing side. Any bakery I go to the first thing I do is check for macaroons. It is the one thing I CRAVE but can't find anywhere in town. I braved the attempt to try again after looking at my cousins facebook pictures. She said to follow Martha Stewart and I wouldn't go wrong. CURSE you Martha. I thought you were supposed to make the difficult things easy for the everyday run-of-the-mill woman. They tasted awful and wouldn't come off the pan. I think it is maybe a mixture of the almonds, oven, and paper...or maybe it is just the cook.

I swear, I can make anything but cookies. It is as if God knew I shouldn't be eating them. I even tell people I hate cookies. Mostly because I can't make them myself and don't want to feel jealous of how they can succeed at something so simple.

Ah curses. I'll stick to bread.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Planting Season

We finally got around to planting our seedlings today. This year we planted squash, onions, cabbage, and a tomato. Last year our tomatoes didn't do so hot so we thought we would try just one this year.

Gardening in an apartment can be difficult because obviously everything needs to be in a planter. Bryce and I were talking about how we can't wait to be home owners someday and have a giant garden in our backyard. For now our little planters will do! And I can't wait to see how everything grows.

I did a pot of annuals this year. We got a flyer in the mail for four free annuals and four vegetables. I figured we shouldn't pass that up and we bought a few more flowers to go with it. Lets hope I didn't plant everything too close together. I'm new at this and am learning from every years mistakes.

Thursday, May 19, 2011


I have had this weird obsession with checking the KIDK news website lately and they have a section called Buy it for Half. I finally found something useful to buy. My in laws are coming at the beginning of June for our birthdays and had mentioned they were going to be staying at a hotel in town...low and was on the Buy it for Half section at a whooping 70% off! Hurray for good deals. $50 for $15!

Sometimes I see pictures and blogs of people who do extreme couponing and I get jealous! I totally wish I was capable of saving money like that. It takes a lot of work for them, and they can get some random crap they'll never eat practically for free. But I think it is admirable they can plan like that.

For now I'll glory in my savings and that sometimes Albertsons has buy-one-get-one-free meat.

Monday, May 16, 2011


Today I turned 26. Amazing feat, I know. It took little effort and a small amount of street smarts. Bryce told me how my Mom talked with him about how as a child I would plan my birthday for months.

When you are the fourth of five children and your parents weren't wealthy it was a big deal when you got something and no one else did. I have some good memories of planning my birthdays as a child. They usually involved elaborate plans and impractical presents. Which I almost never got, and didn't really care about anyways as long as I got a Barbie or some clothes I was happy.

One birthday that sticks out was my eighth birthday. It was barbie themed and I had all the little girls from church and school over. My Mom did a fantastic job of decorating and planning games. One was musical chairs. It is one of my very few vivid memories of a child, racing around the living room fighting for the last seat. I inherited the table and chairs that we played that game on...maybe someday I'll do the same with my kids.

Another birthday I remember was when I was in College. Bryce and I had been dating about two months and he and my roommates planned an awesome party. There was even a pinata. We made a fire pit and roasted kebabs.

Today was a quiet birthday, and it was just as nice as any I had before. I went to work, came home to a homemade dinner by Bryce and opened a few cards and presents. Just Bryce and I. I think it will be a memorable one. Because of all the dreams and plans I had as a child none involved being with the person I love more than anything in this world. And I am so lucky that he is the perfect gift from heaven for me.

Sunday, May 15, 2011


I know...It's about time I updated our blog. I really do come on here like everyday...and everyday I have nothing exciting going on or something I should complain about publicly so nothing is ever updated. But, I made it a goal to write about my amazing birthday weekend.

Life has been a little stressful for me and it's been a month of me coming home and complaining about my inadequacy and far to many silly tears. Bryce and I made a list of things that make me happy and one of them is car trips. Since my birthday is coming up we thought it would be a great time to get out of town and we went to Yellowstone and Jackson, WY. We headed out midmorning and drove north through Montana and West Yellowstone. The park only recently opened up from the winter. We were astonished how much snow was still there.

Obligatory car photo! See ya Rexburg!

The first animal we spotted! A Buffalo on the side of the road!


Bryce took this shot through the little photographer!

The stinky sulfur pools

A gushing geyser.

Us in front of a fore mentioned Gushing Geyser...

The snow on the side of the road.

About half our trip through the park looked like this. I guess they had a lot of snow this winter and just opened some parts of the road last week. Good thing it was clear for our drive to Jackson because we really didn't check the road status.

Jackson Lake and the Tetons. They were amazingly beautiful.

I feel so blessed that we got the chance to get out of town for the weekend. My husband made everything special. I am lucky to have him.

We stayed over in Jackson on Saturday and walked around the town. It was fun to just get away from everything. It was an amazing birthday I have to think of a way to top that for Bryce next month.