30 June 2012


Friday night there was a lightning show.


I have never seen anything like it. Ever.

And then the lights went out.

Today we awoke to still no power. Also, it is HOT...again. We managed to get some ice from a grocery store in the area before they sold out. When we realized that our freezer was thawing we called the missionaries across the street (who had power all along) and asked if we could please use their freezer.

We have had such a fun day! We've had no choice but to spend time together, and we've made the most of it. Ollie has been singing since he woke up this morning and we have played all day! The boys built a couch fort in the living room. We went to Sam's Club to eat their samples for lunch and walk their air conditioned aisles. We ate our fill of otter pops and grilled chicken kabobs and corn on the cob for dinner.

The power switched on again around 7:30 p.m. and it was all I could do to not turn on every appliance in the kitchen...just because I could! 

28 June 2012

Oliver the Conqueror

And his trusty steed...

{Feels like Home}

Flowers from my sweet visiting teachers.

I love to go to Sam's Club...

Lately, I wish I could go every single day of the week (Though I won't. That would be budget suicide).

I love how familiar it feels. It's just a big warehouse with stacks of merchandise. But there are no windows, and therefore, I can pretend that I'm at the Sam's on State Street or on 2100 South. Besides the layout and a few unfamiliar brands, it looks exactly the same.

It looks like home.

Jesse loves to listen to music when he's in the car...

He's been hooked on a mix he made the summer that we were engaged.

"It sounds the same as it always did in Utah" he said.

It sounds like home.

We love our furniture...

I can't imagine how depressing it would be to walk into an empty house, day after day, always sitting on the floor and sleeping on an air mattress.

I know that sounds silly and shallow, but we had seriously considered leaving.it.all. The cost and hassle of moving it seemed so ridiculous compared to how much any of it is really worth. However, replacing it here would have been impossible. We decided that it was worth the cost of moving to have a place where we could be most comfortable.

I'm glad we did, and I would do it all over again.

It's comfortable, like home.

We both love to sit down to dinner...

Tonight, I made Zesty Chicken. It's a recipe that my Grandma Lucy has prepared my whole life long. Probably longer. It is delectable. It smelled so good and reminded me of Sunday dinner with my family. I took the first bite and closed my eyes, taking in the taste (this was a particularly good batch...my personal best) and, for half a minute, I swore I was in my old seat at Grandma's table.

There's something about food and the way it plays with your senses.

I think you know exactly what I mean.

It tastes like home.

Most of all, we love to be together.

More than ever before.

I'm having a difficult time finding the right words to describe the way our love for one another is transforming...I'll work on it and get back to you.

Suffice it to say that something magical is happening, and whenever I'm with Jesse,

It feels like home.

27 June 2012


Here's the thing.

Jesse and I both have homework.

Most of the time, I don't envy my friend Jesse.

Not. One. Bit.

His homework is usually about 36 kajillion times worse than mine. But this morning I was so jealous! While I was working on my resume and philosophy of teaching, Jesse was playing with Oliver...

Only he gets to call it "practice."

25 June 2012


Jesse is required to have access to a specific app for his program...

Neither Jesse or I had app capable devices.

Jesse was talking to his classmates about what he was thinking of buying so that he could access the app.

We weren't into smart phones. So that was out.

The top two contenders were the ipad...great for reading slides and reading online, or the ipod touch...similar capabilities as the ipad, but small enough to fit in a lab coat pocket.

Both are expensive, and we were seriously dreading the prospect of forking over the cash.

"I think I'm just going to buy an ipod." Jesse told his classmates.

Then one of them piped in, "I have an ipod you can have. I won it, so it was free, but I have an iphone and don't need it."

When Jesse asked how much she would like for it, the girl basically said,


That means, dear world, we owe you one.

Don't worry though, we'll be happy to pay you back as opportunities present themselves.

24 June 2012

A Night Out...

Sometimes, when I'm really feeling poor,

Babysitting for friends and watching their rented copy of John Carter with my friend Jesse after the kids have all gone to bed is even better than a night at the movies.

Also, I LOVED John Carter, though I did not expect to.

22 June 2012

"The world doesn't seem such a howling wilderness as it did last night. I'm so glad it's a sunshiny morning...I'm glad it's not rainy today because it's easier to be cheerful and bear up under affliction on a sunshiny day. I feel that I have a good deal to bear up under. It's all very well to read about sorrows and imagine yourself living through them heroically, but it's not so nice when you really have them, is it?" (From L. M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables)
Yesterday was pretty rough, but I'm feeling much better. It's amazing what a good night's sleep and a couple of small miracles in the form of an ipod and verizon fios rewards will do for perspective. Thanks to all for sweet words of encouragement and validation.

Sometimes I forget about what wonderful and supportive friends and family we have because we feel so isolated where we are now.

I really am the luckiest.

Thanks especially to Melinda, Kristen, Kiana, Jessica, Heather, and Connie for leaving great advice and encouragement.
You're going to laugh at me when I say this, because many of you, my dear blog readers who I am so fond of, have had it a lot worse than me....also, admittedly, I'm a little dramatic.

I'm 23.

And these 23 years of my life have been easy.

So easy.

And I knew that.

But this...

...Maryland, PA School, Settling into a new place, Missing my family and friends, Trying to keep track of every single penny, everything...



I'm trying to pull myself up by my boot straps. Just do it. Because it's really not that bad.

It could be so much worse.

It could be an actual trial, like a serious illness of my child, or infertility, or divorce...

And besides...I was part of every decision made.

Actually, since I'm super bossy, I made most of the decisions.

I chose to do this.

Not to mention, we've only been here for a month.

But it was all I could do yesterday not to call my dad up and beg, BEG him to come and help me register my car so I wouldn't have to do all of the research, and make all of the decisions, and face all of those safety inspection and car registration people by myself. From what I've heard so far, registration can actually be a rather hellacious experience in the state of Maryland, and Jesse barely has time to breath, let alone help with car registration (except he's going to help anyway, because he's extraordinary).

But seriously, Dad, will come to my house next week? I'll tickle your back...

Anyway, I'll be fine. We will be fine. It will all be fine.

I'm making friends, I think. And all of my family and friends from home have been so supportive.

We've got each other. Jesse and I both seem to have bad days, but at least they are never the same day.

And Oliver ALWAYS makes us laugh.

We have firm testimonies of the gospel and know where to turn for strength. guidance, and peace.

Everything will turn out...

I think I know that.

Just don't think I'm too weak when I admit that I have wished to come home almost every day this week.

21 June 2012

Dreaming of Cooler Weather

Temperatures are a little high on the east coast right now.

Imagine walking into the bathroom after someone else has just taken a hot steamy shower...

That's what it feels like every time we walk outside.


Think 105 degrees. 

We are dreaming of last week when it was cool and rainy and a soft summer breeze floated through our open windows...

...while we wait out the heat inside with the AC up and the windows shut tight.

(Happy, Happy Birthday Beatrice Dear!)

20 June 2012

The Story of Jesse's Life: PA School

Would you like to know how my friend Jesse is doing?

The poor man is stressed!

That's how.

"PA for a Day"
Though I think deep down he is enjoying school, it is a lot of work...maybe more than he bargained for.

But he is persevering and trying his hardest.

His current schedule goes something like this: Study, Class, Study, Sleep, Repeat.

His hard work is already showing great results though...he earned a very respectable score on his first official (and long...and nasty) test...ahem 90%.  He danced me around the kitchen in celebration.

Tomorrow will mark his first official month down.

Only 26 more to go...

19 June 2012

A Family of Feet

I had considered "Family Footsies" for the title of this post, but thankfully I realized that, at first glance, it may not come across as intended...so it was scrapped.

Whenever I give my camera to Heather at a family function and ask her to take lots of pictures, I always end up with at least a few pictures of feet.

These photos came from my Grandma Lucy Ann's 80th birthday party in May:

(Really, who else would those bad boys belong to?)

And the star of the night?
Why, Mrs. By of course.

Her feet were not featured on this evening, but she looked far too fetching to leave out of this post because of some silly foot technicality.

18 June 2012

I think Congratulations are in Order!

I got a very exciting phone call from my brother last night...

Yes. That's right Ladies and Gentlemen!

Bryan and his girl Brittany are now engaged!

(I was especially happy when Bryan told me that he made the announcement in the traditional, Childs Children way...Tell Mom and Dad first, and then just throw it out in the middle of family dinner and see who was paying attention. Good Form, Bryan! Good Form! Except I think we have to be careful because I worry that Grandma and Grandpa will stop inviting us...)

Oliver J. and I have been talking about it all day.

We've been discussing Bryan...and dirt bikes, of course. We have practiced Ollie's pronunciation of Brittany, and Oliver has taken to pointing out Bryan along with the Grandmas and Grandpas every time he walks past the family pictures in our stairway.

I have to tell you that I really love my brother.

He's a pretty great guy, but we weren't friends for a long time.

I think that the tides changed for our relationship when Bryan got his driver's license and started chauffeuring me to ballet lessons for my mom. I think he might have hated it, but it forced us to spend time together in his truck. Sometimes there was conversation, but mostly we were listening to entirely inappropriate music together...and often at entirely inappropriate volume levels.

We had fun. He was cool. And it was comfortable.

(It must be noted that the girls in my ballet classes seriously thought he was the most attractive brother to grace the studio...)

Since then, he has been the best. He takes Heather and me out to movies. He spoils Andre. He feeds us his favorite foods. He gives thoughtful and generous gifts. He loves my baby, and has befriended my husband. He even says "I love you" if I say it first...

I'm happy that he has found someone to love, and to love him in return. She makes him so happy. And I'm really looking forward to getting to know her better myself.


Our Bryan and Brittany lesson came full circle when Oliver came up to me and informed me that this little friend was Bryan:

 You can see the resemblance can't you?

17 June 2012

Happy Father's Day

Oliver and I are so blessed to have such a dedicated and loving man to support and care for us. He works with such diligence to provide for our needs and guarantee a successful future for our family.

Oliver and Jesse at Arlington National Cemetary 6/9/12

Today we are also grateful for the love and support we receive in abundance from our fathers and grandfathers.

I am especially grateful for mine. My dad and grandpa have always cheered for my victories and supported me in my trials. They have provided me with unforgettable experiences and taught me valuable lessons. They are easily approachable in times of need and whenever I ask, they are willing. In fact, they often express that they wish they could have done more.

My little family is so lucky to be a part of theirs.

16 June 2012

Sometimes I Envy Oliver J.

His life is one happy round of simplicity and innocence.

His only responsibilities are to have fun, use his manners, and listen to his Mama.

He hasn't a single worrisome or doubtful thought in his body.

Of the three of us, he is the best adjusted to our new life.

I'm so glad, though.

That's really the way it ought to be.