19 December 2013

Everything Will Work Out

Usually Tyson is the one who says this to me, not the other way around. He had applied for a job and had two interviews. Today we found out that he did not get that job. It was quite a blow for us since we really need him to be working and to say this job would have been perfect is probably an understatement. So, now it's back to KSL and LinkedIn and Utah's Job site to find jobs for him to apply for.
Tyson did take his last final today for the semester. Yay!! We are looking forward to spending some time with his family for the holidays. William continues to be super adorable. He's started this habit of putting his arms right around my neck and giving me big hugs. Tonight at dinner he randomly puckered up his lips and made that pre-kiss sound "mmmmmmmm" until I gave him a kiss. MELT MY HEART! He's such a sweetie. We're very lucky to have such a kind and adventurous son. I know he won't always snuggle up with me and give me kisses so I'm going to carry on loving every single precious moment.

09 December 2013

This Weekend

I have lots of stuff to blog about that I've been putting off but I needed to get this all down before it gets fuzzy.

Tuesday, December 3rd, Utah Valley got hit with a BIG snowstorm. While I was driving, the check engine light came on. We took it to our mechanic, Dave, on Thursday, December 5th. He was going to detail the car and do the 100,000-mile tune-up. Saturday morning he called us to let us know that his shop had been robbed and our car had been stolen. He lost about $10,000 worth of tools. The baddies loaded up our car with the tools and stole our car.

Luckily, Dave had given us a loaner white minivan (ghetto fab) so we weren't stranded. Sunday morning the cops called and said they had found our car! The baddies used it as a getaway car when they tried to rob a jewelry store in north Provo. What they didn't know is that our car is special. Not Herbie special, but it has this cool feature where if you leave it unlocked for too long the car will auto-lock. The baddies didn't know that so when they went to be baddies and the car locked on them. So when the armoured security guard showed up, they had to abandon our car.

The car was towed and put in an impound lot so we went and picked it up today. We had to pay $275 to get it out of the lot but Dave wrote us a check for it, no questions asked. The baddies stabbed the dome lights in the car (WHY?!) so Dave is replacing those. Some of the leather got torn and there are grease stains from the mechanic tools. Dave is going to fix it all. I'm glad we got our car back so quickly and I'm so grateful Dave is an honest man.

On top of that, our babysitter, Valerie, is in the hospital. When we went to pick up William today at about noon, she didn't answer the door, William did. Valerie looked like she was sleeping in her recliner but she opened her eyes and was looking around so I didn't think anything of it. That is, until she didn't get up or talk to me. She just sat there, blinking. I was looking for William's shoe which I found in the play room which was TRASHED. For William to do that much mess-making he was probably playing unsupervised for at least an hour. I'm glad he was safe though. He could've gone right out the front door and onto a busy-ish street. Anyways, Valerie finally stood up and kinda wandered around for a minute. Then she started eating Cool Whip with a spoon. She'd take a bite and then hold the spoon at eye level and circle it around in the air. She wouldn't respond to me or let me take the spoon or move. She just stood there. Suddenly she started talking but none of it made any sense. 

Tyson called 911. The paramedics took Valerie's temperature and they pricked her finger to test her blood sugar level. Her temp was 102.7 and her blood sugar level was just shy of 500, which is a serious emergency. She had never mentioned being diabetic to me and she's told me lots of stuff about her medical history. The paramedics and I searched the kitchen and bathroom for medications. They determined that she's probably diabetic. 

The paramedics loaded her up and took her to the hospital. I have no idea if she'll be okay or what will happen to her. Her family just suffered the loss of her ex-husband so they're having a tough time anyway.

Needless to say, things have been crazy here. We are grateful that the three of us are safe and doing relatively well. We are praying for Valerie and her family. Tyson's family is helping us by watching William the rest of this week.

Not having a babysitter has been a plague basically since William was born. We were so happy with Valerie and we hope she recovers soon. Tyson doesn't have a job right now but he does have classes he can't miss. And I can't miss work so we NEED a babysitter. I'm so grateful to Tyson's family. They're the best. 

11 November 2013


Sometimes people don't get me the benefit of the doubt. Even when I say exactly what I mean, they take my words and spin them around and spit them back at me.
Very rarely do I wish I didn't have to work. However, today is one of those days.

08 November 2013

Study It Out

We've been grappling with some pretty major decisions over the past few months. I've been thinking a LOT about this scripture: 

But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right. 
But if it be not right you shall have no such feelings, but you shall have a stupor of thought that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong; therefore, you cannot write that which is sacred save it be given you from me. 

Doctrine and Covenants 8:8-9

30 September 2013

"When I Sing" - Tyler Castleton Lyrics

A few months ago I shared a youtube video of the song "When I Sing" by Tyler Castleton. I still couldn't find the lyrics so I listened to the song a few times and transcribed it.

Something happens in my soul
When I sing
It’s something out of my control
When I sing
It’s not a masterpiece, but I’m given what I need
To share the words my heart can’t speak
When I sing

Sometimes it’s the only way
So I sing
To share the things I want to say
So I sing
When I can’t express my joy, my song becomes my voice
To testify of what I believe
So I sing

I sing to praise the one who grants me daily breath
I sing to share my deepest fears
I sing to thank the one who guides my every step
I feel Him close to me when I sing my melody

I can hear Him teach me
When I sing
Somehow He can reach me
When I sing
He hears my humble pleas, He knows my every need
If I am still, He’ll speak to me
When I sing

The voice is pure and sweet
But it doesn’t come from me
I feel the blessings of His peace

When I sing

Things Denise Has Been Pondering: Friendship

My ward is amazing. Seriously. I especially love that we have two Relief Society groups because I get the chance to know these sisters much better than when all of us met together in a huge group.

Our president is one of my friends and I love her a whole lot. A month or so ago she spoke to us about loneliness. She asked us to raise our hand if we had felt alone at any time during the previous week. Almost every sister raised a hand. I was one of them. 

Many of my close friends have moved away or are so busy that we have a hard time spending time with each other. Things have gotten in the way of my desire to reach out to girls I want to know better. I haven't been very good at doing my visiting teaching and I didn't have visiting teachers for a long time.

Two months ago our family had to deal with something big, something I'm not sure I'll ever talk about on this blog. I felt totally and completely alone. Sure, I talked to my bishop, my parents, my in-laws, and my best friend but I was physically and emotionally isolated. My bishop told the relief society presidents and made sure our home teachers and my visiting teachers were discovered. Despite the outpouring of phone calls and text messages, the offerings of meals and service, I still felt alone. I probably should have asked a friend to come over but I didn't want to talk about it and I would have probably cried the whole time and I didn't want to be a burden. So I didn't call anyone. I wasn't even sure I was going to tell anyone about it. And I haven't really.

I got new visiting teachers recently, two sisters I sort of knew already, and at the end of their first visit I told them all about what had happened. I wanted them to know what was happening so that I could reach out if I needed to.

But that wasn't enough. I made a choice to be a better friend. If I want good friends, I need to be one. I started texting some girls just to say hello. I started visiting some girls just to chat. I invited them over for game nights. Already I feel more connected to them and it is helping me through this trial.

About a year ago a girl got married and decided I wasn't needed as the friend I had been to her since her husband now fulfilled all her needs. That was a very painful thing for me to process. As I've been trying to make new friends and I've been pondering the role of friendship in my life and in the gospel, I have decided that friendship is needed outside of the home, too. Now, I'm glad she and her husband are such good friends because that is what keeps marriages strong. But the gospel teaches us that we are to be friends with more people than just our spouses and family.

In April 1999, Marlin K. Jensen of the Presidency of the Seventy, gave a conference talk titled "Friendship: A Gospel Principle". He talks about the benefits of friendship in marriage and in families. Then he goes on to talk about friendship outside the home:

"There is a particular challenge we face as Latter-day Saints in establishing and maintaining friendships. Because our commitment to marriage, family, and the Church is so strong, we often feel challenged by constraints of time and energy in reaching out in friendship to others beyond that core group. I experienced this dilemma personally in recent days as I tried to steal a few moments at home to prepare this talk. Twice, friends from my past, whom I love dearly but see only occasionally, dropped in to visit. During what ought to have been choice times of reunion and reminiscence, I ironically found myself growing inwardly impatient for the visits to end so that I could get back to writing my talk about friendship!

I have since felt ashamed. How selfish we can be. How unwilling to be inconvenienced, to give, to bless and be blessed. What kind of parents or neighbors or servants of the Lord Jesus Christ can we be without being a friend? In this information age, is not friendship still the best technology for sharing the truths and way of life we cherish? Is not our reluctance voluntarily to reach out to others in friendship a significant obstacle to helping God accomplish His eternal purposes?....

Our Savior, shortly before His Crucifixion, said to His disciples: 'Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends.' Having been so richly blessed by Christ’s friendship, I pray that we will now be to others what He is to us: a true friend. At no time will we be more Christlike than when we are a friend. I testify of the inestimable value of friends in my own life and express my gratitude to all of them this morning. I know that when we offer ourselves in friendship, we make a most significant contribution to God’s work and to the happiness and progress of His children."

I feel a connection to these sisters and they lift my spirits and my heart as we develop our friendship. I am grateful that I am learning the pains of loneliness so I can truly appreciate good and appreciated friendship.

27 September 2013

What I've Been Up To

This has been the craziest week.

Tuesday we had family pictures done by my friend, Brooke. It was fun and we can't wait to see the pictures.

Wednesday I ended up working from 8am to 4pm to do final prep for the SHEL-8 (8th Studies in the History of English Language) conference our department helped host the past few days. Tyson's department hosted a recruiter dinner that started at 6pm so I asked the lady who watches William while I'm at work if she would watch him while we were at the dinner as well. We did get to pick him up until 8:45pm. He was at her house for just over 12 hours. It was a sad day and both Tyson and I felt badly about it but there was really nothing else we could have done.

Thursday was the first day of the SHEL conference. I was at work at 7:45am and stayed until 2pm. I think I walked two miles or so in the first few hours of my shift. That night I had choir from 7:30pm to 9:45pm. It was so much fun! We got some new music: two more pieces from Handel's Messiah, a hymn arrangement, and a song I did in high school called "Variations on Jingle Bells". It's the best! Super silly and fun to sing.

Friday was the second day of the SHEL conference. We were up at Aspen Grove by Sundance Resort. GORGEOUS drive up the canyon. The trees are all changing colors. Further up the canyon it was snowing so the multi-colored trees were frosted in snow. It was absolutely stunning, but cold. Tyson had two jobs interviews today. This morning he had one for the Puget Sound Naval Base which is in Seattle and this afternoon he had one for FMC which is in Green River, Wyoming. Here's a little map for you: http://goo.gl/maps/GPPNA
I'm not thrilled about the idea of living in Wyoming but it could be good, right? (Fingers crossed for Seattle!!) I surprised him with lunch from his favorite local spot, Pantruchas (Chilean food). 

Tomorrow, Saturday, I have a choir retreat in Spanish Fork from 8am to noon. Then I'm cleaning up the conference at about 5pm. I'm sure we'll be done before the Relief Society General Broadcast. When that's over I'm going visiting teaching and then we're gonna hang with some friends we haven't seen in a while.

Sunday is church and I've got two orientation meetings for new Primary presidencies.

I need a vacation from my life! Things have been so busy.

My job is only 20 hours per week but I worked 29 this week. Whoops. It's okay though. I had permission. It's been a jam-packed week and I still have grad homework I'm trying to get done. I have a midterm next week for one of my classes and it's my birthday next week too. I can't wait!!

18 September 2013

Random Update

This week has been so busy. Monday we had some friends over for games, yesterday I hung out with some friends, tonight we had a church leadership dinner, tomorrow is choir, Friday is a secret, Saturday I'm working concessions at the BYU v. U of U game, and Sunday is the Stake Primary Leadership Meeting where I am doing a whole 20 minute presentation on my own about teaching music to kids 18 months to 3 years. Which I have never done. Sweet.

Monday night William did NOT sleep. He had eaten some Hot Tamales and they made his tummy very upset. He didn't sleep, so I didn't sleep. I only got two hours that night and last night I only got six.

Today I did a van training at BYU to be certified to drive the 12-person BYU vans. They said that if you get only 7 hours of sleep for three nights in a row, your cognitive function is the same as someone who is drunk, above the legal alcohol limit. Oh, wow! I guess I need to make sure I'm sleeping better. Geez.

I'm jamming on my school work. Today I watched three lecture videos and read an article. I have three assignments left and that's it. I did SO MUCH stuff on Monday since it was my least busy day. Phew! I'm glad I'm busy but at the same time, I'm just tired.

I'm totally looking forward to choir tomorrow and the game on Saturday. I hope it doesn't rain!

12 September 2013

Another Great Rehearsal


I think I'm in love with Thursdays now. Seriously. 

Rehearsal went great, of course. I got there early so I could sit in the front row and I made a new friend. She used to be in BYU Singers (so she's awesome) and I loved singing next to her. It totally made my day when, at the end of rehearsal, she turned to me and said "I really enjoyed singing next to you. You have a great voice." 


What is it about this experience that is just boosting my self-confidence through the roof?! I love it! I haven't felt this great about any part of me in a long time. I am so grateful I have the chance to be in this amazing choir. I hope you all come to our concert on Tuesday, December 3 in Salt Lake City at Abravanel Hall. 

Since William was born I have felt like I've given up all of me to my son and my husband. I was mom and wife. I sort of lost 'Denise' for a while. Now that I'm back in school and doing this choir I feel more me. And, actually, I feel like a better wife and mom, too. I bust it all morning at work and then all afternoon on my homework. When William is awake we play hard and it's a blast. When he goes to bed, I jam on more homework. I'm still learning to balance my responsibilities. These new GREAT things are pushing out the small, time-wasting things that were occupying my life. I love it. It's hard. I have to be very careful with my time and attention. It's totally worth it.

07 September 2013

Book and Journal Publishing: Homework #1

My first homework assignment for Book and Journal publishing was to analyze two publisher's websites: Berrett-Koehler Publishers (http://www.bkconnection.com/default.asp) and The University of Chicago Press (http://www.press.uchicago.edu/index.html). 
We were asked to answer the following questions: Which publisher does a better job of engaging readers and authors? Describe how each publisher employs social media and which is more effective. Which one would you like to work for and why?
My professor left me some good comments about how to improve my arguments but also gave me some compliments! Way to boost my self-confidence! I really struggle with commentary. That's probably why I've never enjoyed English classes. I can participate in an analytical discussion, no problems. Ask to me write a paper about my findings? Not so good. I much prefer to help other people with their commentary, not slush through my own. 
My professor left me comments like "Nice original observation - you have detected one of BK's key strategies" and "Good observation" and "Nice closing". He also said that I should never use "I think..." because it muddies my argument. That's great advice. As I've been writing this post I've almost typed "I think..." a few times but I've stopped myself. Okay, so my blog isn't going to win a Pulitzer but I need to practice good writing skills now while it's not for a grade.
Another writing technique I am trying to follow is to never use "very". Seen Dead Poet's Society? Great stuff.
I'm working on my week 2 assignment for B&J Publishing. I'll have to do a last run-through to catch all my "I think"s and "very"s.

05 September 2013

Great News

This was me when I found out I got into the Utah Valley Millennial Grand Chorus:

This was me when I found out my friend Estelle got in:

And this was me when I found out my friend Jodi got in too so now all three of us are in it together:

Yup. And after today's rehearsal, I continue to be like this.

Probably because I only got two hours of sleep last night since I had to wait until 5am to find out if I got in. I was too anxious to sleep until I knew one way or the other. Rehearsal went from 7:30pm to 10:00pm. I'm one tired lady.

Jodi and I are 1st altos! Estelle is a 2nd alto, of course. This is gonna be freakin' sweet. Y'all better come to our Christmas concert on December 3rd at Abravanel Hall in Salt Lake. Seriously. Be there.

04 September 2013

Grad Insights: Publishing Companies

I just finished a time-consuming homework assignment about two different kinds of publishing companies. We were asked to pick two companies and answer some questions about their mission statements and how well we think the company is fulfilling their mission. I chose Scholastic Inc (children's) and Deseret Book (religious/Latter-day Saint).
One of the questions had me find another publishing company in each genre and compare/contrast the mission statements with my original two companies. I wanted to talk a bit about the compare/contrast I did with Deseret Book and HarperCollins Christian Publishing. 

Here's the Deseret Book mission statement: http://deseretbook.com/about/4935914
And HarperCollins Christian Publishing: http://www.harpercollinschristian.com/mission-and-values/

Initially, the differences are amazing. HC was one sentence. ONE. Way to be concise. But DB broke their statement into smaller goals which isn't really surprising considering what Latter-day Saints are taught about goal-setting and the principle of returning and reporting. After taking a closer look, these two mission statements are the same: enrich people by sharing our faith and the teachings of Jesus Christ.

In lecture our professor talked about how mission statements are lofty, continuing, and unattainable. I think HC fits this description but I don't know about DB. Because they broke down their mission into smaller goals, I think it's not lofty or unattainable. In fact, it seems pretty straight-forward and recordable. Okay, not a real word. Roll with it.

Let's break it down and paraphrase this mission statement.

Deseret Book is:

Committed to giving excellent service to customers, authors, and owner.
Committed to providing quality products in a timely manner with good service and fair prices.
Committed to following good business practices.
Committed to expanding their line of products to meet the growing needs of the customers.
Committed to maintaining professionalism and leadership in the publishing community.

None of that sounds over-the-top or unattainable, am I right? In fact, ALL of those are something you could graph. Now that's impressive.

I don't know. Probably no one cares, but that little discovery was cool to me. Even Deseret Book listens to the teachings of the prophets and implements those principles into their company. Sweet, man.

02 September 2013

Choir Blackmail

Earlier today I got some pretty disappointing news about the choir I auditioned for: they've had so many people wanting to audition they added two new audition days for next week. Also, because they've had so many women wanting to audition they've decided that women who refer men to audition have a better chance to get in. So if you don't bring a guy, your chance goes down the drain. At least, that's what it feels like.

Even before they sprung this policy change on us, I had been trying to recruit my guy singer friends simply because I know this choir is going to be an INCREDIBLE experience and I don't want anyone to miss out. Now, I might miss out because I can't get a guy to audition. Tyson can't do it because he'll be watching William and dealing with the semester from heck. I'm so disappointed. I actually feel really badly about this. After all the crap I've been through in the past few weeks, months, years this was one thing I was looking forward to in a big way. I was chatting with a friend about the choir a few days ago and I expressed my nervousness about maybe not getting in (this was before the new policy). She told me that everything would work out because God knows how much I need something like this in my life right now. And now? Ugh.

All the anxiety I felt the day of my audition? It's back. In a big way. I barely made it through last week, dealing with grad school and my audition and other stuff. I've never struggled with anxiety and stress like this. I'm doing my very best not to deal with it like I used to: comfort food. I threw myself into my grad work today and it helped for a while. Now it's 10:30pm and I should be going to bed but I can't. My body is reacting poorly to the stress, my mind is stretched and fried, and my heart feels heavy.

I can't make anyone audition for this choir and list me as their referral. I am trying my best to act and not react. And who knows. Maybe by some miracle I'll still get in, without a guy. The first rehearsal is Thursday evening. I'll hang on until then.

I heard this quote somewhere and I think it applies: When you feel like you're at the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.

I'm hanging on for dear life.

Today: Grad Stuff and Medifast Update

I rocked it today. Seriously, go me.

This is what I got done for my grad stuff.

Book and Journal Publishing: Lecture A and B
Fundamentals of E-Publishing: Lecture A, B, and C; video discussion; anecdotal video; quiz.

This is what I have left.

B&J: 4 short readings (sample author contracts and proposals)
Fund. of E-Pub: Chapter reading, 2 writing assignments, and a forum discussion.

And it's only Monday.

I weighed myself today. No change. Which is actually just fine with me. Since starting my grad work, I'm spending more time away from home which is making it more difficult to do Medifast since a lot of the food is cooked in the microwave or on the stove. But, I got some more meal bars and I'm all set to be back on track this week. I mentioned before that I am doing Just Dance for my exercise and it's great. I love it. My waist is smaller :) And so are my arms.

After this crazy week I crashed this weekend. I got sick too. On Sunday I didn't wake up until almost 1pm. Whoa. William was camping with Tyson's family so I actually got to sleep in. It was amazing. I'm getting on a better schedule though. We have to start leaving the house at 7:30am to drop off William and get to campus well before 8:00am every morning, otherwise I won't get parking. Silly faculty.

Other stuff happened today but it was less happy so I'll save that for later since this is an upbeat sort of post. Cheers :)

30 August 2013

To Jordanelle and Back

I drove William up to Jordanelle State Park today. Tyson's family is camping there but I'm too busy with grad stuff to go and Tyson is getting ready for school to start on Tuesday. So, William is camping :)
To get to Jordanelle from Provo, we drove up Provo Canyon past Heber City. We left at 9pm so it was already dark. I don't like driving on mountain roads in the daytime. I HATE driving on mountain roads at night. It doesn't help that I have a really hard time seeing while I drive at night. It's actually pretty scary. After William was born I had my eyes checked and my right eye has a slight astigmatism. I have some glasses that I wear when I'm doing a lot of reading and there are supposed to help when I drive but they don't. Whomp.
As we were approaching Heber, there were some clouds above the mountains. Like this:
I made this in Paint :) So we were driving along when suddenly the clouds started looking like this:
It was so cool to see lightning up in the clouds like that! I don't think I've seen lightning do that before. It was amazing and distracting.
I got home just before 11pm. I'm so tired. I'm looking forward to getting some extra sleep and finishing up my homework and reading for the week.

28 August 2013

Just Dance 4

I tried Just Dance 4 today. We have 1, 2, 3, 4, and the Michael Jackson Experience. Before today, Just Dance 2 was my favorite. 3 didn't appeal to me as much 'cause I think the songs are weird and the dances were interesting. 

But 4 is now a strong competitor for fave. Like the other versions, 4 has the "Just Sweat" option. However, they've added warm-up, in-between, and cool-down sections which totally reminds me of the aerobic dance classes I've taken. I loved it! The first one I did was "Electro Body Combat" which was like kickboxing plus cardio plus Jackie Chan plus Dragonball Z. Just ask Tyson. Some of the moves were like this:

The commentator sounded like this guy (2:20-whomever is voicing Jackie):

I also tried the "Sweat Around the World" which was basically Latin dancing for beginners. Which I am. I'm not a beginning dancer but I'm a white girl so my hips just don't move like that. It's the number one reason I don't do Zumba. Don't get me wrong: it was fun. Just don't expect to see me on America's Got Talent as the next greatest Latin dancer. Nope.

I haven't done Just Dance in a long time. I forgot how much FUN it is! I'm definitely gonna do this more often. Especially since it's a really good break when I have a forest of reading to get through.

27 August 2013

When A Day Ends Right

So today was my second day as a grad student. It's weird because I don't feel any different although that probably is because I'm not taking classes in a classroom. I do feel a LOT busier. My little planner is maxed out every day. I wasn't sure how the coursework would be but I think as the semester goes on I'll get more used to it. Hopefully I won't be so intimidated by seeing ALL my readings and lectures and assignments all on Monday mornings. 

Today was also my audition for the Utah Valley Millennial Choir and Orchestra - Grand Chorus. I haven't auditioned for something in a long time. Last time I auditioned for a choir was for BYU Women's Chorus...and I didn't get it. But I've been faithful to ward choir and other opportunities. I miss singing in choir. Especially a BIG choir. I'm thrilled to be part (hopefully!) of something akin to ward choir on steroids. In fancy clothes. It's all faiths but they sing spiritual songs. That's what I love most about singing. Sure it's fun, but I love to sing with my testimony. It's so much easier for me to feel the Spirit when I sing.

Anyways, I woke up stressed and nervous. I had a TON of grad stuff to do and I was nervous about my audition. I went and got my hair styled which really helped me relax for a bit. My friend Estelle also auditioned tonight. She stopped by before my audition and let me sing for her. She praised me and made me feel a little more confident about my voice. I was still nervous though and I showed up 30 minutes early. Oh, well. Those waiting to audition were sitting in the lobby chatting. It was nice to meet some new people. 

My fancy hair and makeup :)

The audition itself was pretty short. Just some up and down scales and one of my two prepared hymns. We were asked to sing a non-soprano part in our range. I sang the tenor line for "All Creatures of Our God and King". They didn't have my sing the whole thing, which is usually a bad sign but they were trying to move quickly so I didn't feel badly. The UVMCO director, Cory Mendenhall, told me I have a beautiful voice. Brandon Stewart, one of the co-founders, told me he really liked my sound. I was shocked! I've never been in an audition where they've really liked my voice!

I'm not a soloist. I get stage fright so badly I mess up every solo I've had. (Okay, except this ONE time when I sang "His Hands" and my friend Steph signed it (ASL) in our single's ward. That was a fluke.) I myself couldn't believe how...together I sounded. I wasn't even shaking! This is a big step for me. After not having a lot of self-confidence for a long time, I feel pretty great right now. Add this to the fact that I have a good portion of my grad homework for this week done and I feel awesome! I haven't felt awesome in a while.

To keep it real: my grad stuff has sort of taken over so our apartment is a mess. I did fold two loads of laundry and I made fajitas for dinner and I took out the trash. But I did not do the dishes. I loathe dishes. I would rather eat on paper plates for the rest of my life than wash a dish. I realize that's totally unrealistic but that's how it goes.

Anyways, I love to sing and I love to sing praises to God and Christ. I am grateful for the gifts I've been given and I sure hope I get to add my talents to all the other people of the Millennial Choir and Orchestra.

26 August 2013

New Beginnings

Today I started my graduate program from George Washington University. I am getting my master's degree in publishing. I have so much to do already; it's a little overwhelming.
All our assignments and lectures are posted on Mondays and we have all week to complete the readings and so forth. It just feels like SO much because it's all assigned at one time. This program is going to help me with my time management in a big way. BYU has little calendars I came to adore during my undergrad years so I'm using one again. I don't have a smart phone but I prefer to write stuff down anyway. I guess that makes me old-school? Not sure.
I did my weigh-in this morning and I'm at the same weight I was last week. That's 15 pounds down. Woot! I put on my black work pants today and they looked like parachute pants. Not lie. I could grab bunches of fabric at my thighs. It was pretty awful. Especially since I wore them to work anyway.
William had a rough day. He had a crazy blow out and then he got hold of my razor while I was bathing him and he cut his finger. Great. It bled a lot. The first band-aid didn't do anything. Within a few seconds his finger was dripping through the bandage. It's fine now but I panicked for a bit. He moves too fast for me.
Tomorrow I am auditioning for the Utah Valley Millennial Choir and Orchestra - Grand Chorus. I know one of the brothers who founded the Millennial Choir and Orchestra program: he was my high school choir teacher for two years and my family's home teacher. I'm pretty nervous about the audition but excited too. I'm still working on my a cappella piece. I keep going a half step flat. At least it's consistent, right? That's easier to fix than if I was jumping all over the place. 
I'm looking forward to my grad program and this new choral experience. I'm totally exhausted today but I'm hoping I can quickly adapt to this new schedule. It's only 7:49pm and I feel ready for bed. I'm going to do some readings and then peace out for the night.

Can I just say I'm super grateful for my life? I know it's not perfect and sometimes I can't believe I'm dealing with the stuff I've been given. But my husband and my son love me so much. I have an amazing family and super in-laws. I have some dear friends who always know what to say. My relief society is really reaching out to help our family and me. I'm so lucky. And most of all, I know God and Jesus love me. I feel their love so keenly when I'm singing praises to them. I've missed that experience so much and I cannot WAIT to be a part of that again.

21 August 2013

Late Night Ramblings

Lately I've been watching a lot of The Big Bang Theory. I like it.

I deep cleaned most of our bathroom tonight. Still to do? Shower/tub and inside of the toilet. I even cleaned the baseboards and behind the washer and dryer.

A few months ago I had a doctor's appointment and he asked me how my sleep was. I told him fine. I think I might need to tell him it's not fine.

Tyson's new meds have been really helping him to sleep. This is a big deal since he NEVER sleeps like a regular person. Maybe he stole my sleep and gave me his. Dang it.

William is hilarious. I took another picture of him tonight in a weird sleeping position. I'll have to add it in later and I'll post it on Facebook. He's totally my kid.

I'm freaking out about my grad program.

I'm freaking out about Tyson starting his LAST YEAR at BYU in chemical engineering. I can't wait for him to be done. It's a high-stress, ultra-competitive major so I look forward to Tyson's graduation day. I'll probably be more excited about his day than I was for mine.

I have recently come to the astonishing realization that some people who I thought were really great friends are actually rather poor friends. I don't know what to do with that info other than just think about it some more.

Compassion goes a LONG way in helping someone cope with a problem. Good friends help with that.

Good friends are also not who you always expect. I think God has a hand in that. I mentioned that last week was a sort of living nightmare for us and some people from church really reached out and made me feel loved. It meant a lot to me.

William is going to be two soon. My baby isn't a baby anymore. He's officially a toddler. Admittedly, he still doesn't say very many words and that makes me nervous for his doctor's appointment. He says LOTS of stuff but only a few almost words or phrases. His favorites are (in William-ese) "Please", "I did it!", and my personal favorite, "Uh-oh" complete with rounded lips and a hand at his mouth. I need to capture a picture of that. It's hilarious and adorable all at the same time.

I'm making cupcakes at 1:30am. I don't plan to eat any but I can't sleep and I don't want to clean anymore and I don't want to fold more laundry although I probably should.

My new favorite scripture for the time being: Doc. & Cov. 128: 22-23

Brethren, shall we not go on in so great a cause? Go forward and not backward. Courage, brethren; and on, on to the victory! Let your hearts rejoice, and be exceedingly glad. Let the earth break forth into singing. Let the dead speak forth anthems of eternal praise to the King Immanuel, who hath ordained, before the world was, that which would enable us to redeem them out of their prison; for the prisoners shall go free.
Let the mountains shout for joy, and all ye valleys cry aloud; and all ye seas and dry lands tell the wonders of your Eternal King! And ye rivers, and brooks, and rills, flow down with gladness. Let the woods and all the trees of the field praise the Lord; and ye solid rocks weep for joy! And let the sun, moon, and the morning stars sing together, and let all the sons of God shout for joy! And let the eternal creations declare his name forever and ever! And again I say, how glorious is the voice we hear from heaven, proclaiming in our ears, glory, and salvation, and honor, and immortality, and eternal life; kingdoms, principalities, and powers!

Anyways, I am getting tired. Time for bed. Good night.

19 August 2013

Medifast Update

Things have been up and down for our family the past week or so. Last week was CRAZY. Without going in to our family stuff, I basically lost it last week. I ate the Medifast food in the mornings but by the time I got home I couldn't handle all the stress anymore. I didn't handle it well. I handled it with Del Taco fish tacos and The Big Bang Theory. Not the most healthy, I totally know that. I'm just impressed that I didn't have a breakdown of some sort.

I gained three pounds last week. I am trying to find my motivation again. Today wasn't that great either. It's harder for me to be good at home. In the mornings I just grab my morning Medifast food so eating at work is no problem. I totally need to be better about my water intake. I think I'm going to buy a gallon of water and keep it in my fridge. That way I know if I drink all my water for the day.

Anyways, I'm looking forward to getting things back, well, I would say to normal but that doesn't seem like the right word.

15 August 2013

A Nightmare

I haven't had a true nightmare for a really long time. Sure, I've had some scary dreams when I've been watching too much Supernatural but this was different.

I dreamed that someone was at my house watching William for me so I could take a nap. I suddenly wake up from my nap and the babysitter was watching TV and I can't find William. The bathroom door was open and I thought maybe he was throwing things in the toilet since he loves doing that. I go in the bathroom and he's not there. Then I notice the bathtub. It's full of water. Still water. I yank back the shower curtain to find William under the water. I frantically pull him out and start yelling at him and shaking him, "William! William, honey, wake up!" I yell to the babysitter "Call 911! Hurry!" Thankfully, he spits out some water, smiles at me, and gives me a big hug. 

Then I woke up. It was 4:30 this morning. William was still sleeping. I checked.

He's learning how to open doors and I think it's time to get those safety-knobs for the bathroom.

This has been a tough week. Really tough. I'm not getting enough sleep and my quality of sleep is really poor. I hope that I'll have some answers this afternoon and maybe I can sleep better tonight. I sure hope so.

12 August 2013

Week 3 Weigh-in

This morning starts my third week on Medifast. I weighed myself this morning and I've lost another 3 pounds bringing my total weight loss to 13. I can't even believe it! My coach told me that the weight lost in the second week is less than the first but still. 13 pounds! 

I am 5 pounds away from the weight I was as soon as I delivered William.

I am 27 pounds away from my pre-baby weight.

I am 47 pounds from my 8th grade to marriage weight.

I am 62 pounds from my goal weight.

I put on my "skinny" jeans today and they fit perfectly. In fact, the one pair of jeans I've been wearing for months (that's right, one) are too big unless I wash them every day. So 3 pounds might not sound like a lot but it's sure making a difference.

This past week I struggled to drink all my water and I did have some Diet Coke which I've heard is okay. I don't usually drink soda so I think I won't do that again, just water. I'm still trying Powerade Zero but I haven't found a good dilution yet. Working on it!

Two weeks until I start grad school! I wonder how much more I'll have lost before then?

08 August 2013

Books for Grad School! and other things

I bought the four books I'll need for my first semester of grad school! My friend Matt is going to the same school for a different program. The other day we were chatting about how surreal it feels to be going back to school. Like we know it's happening, but feel like it won't. It's weird. When I bought my books today, that felt real. Tyson complained that his books are so much more expensive than mine. All four books cost us less than $100 on Amazon. One of Tyson's books could be twice that amount. 

Yay for Humanities!

Here are the books I'll be reading this semester:

Book: A Futurist's Manifesto: A Collection of Essays from the Bleeding Edge of Publishing by Hugh McGuire (On Amazon)

The Book: The Life Story of a Technology by Nicole Howard (On Amazon) This one sounds like something I would have read as an undergrad if I had taken History of the Book. 

The Handbook of Journal Publishing by Sally Morris (On Amazon) This one is a reference book. A how-to of Journal Publishing. Should be interesting. It touches on lots of topics that I'll end up taking full courses on. That's the best thing about a grad program! It's no longer about broad understanding. Can I get a hip-hip for depth?

Publishing for Profit: Successful Bottom-Line Management for Book Publishers by Thomas Woll (On Amazon) This is also a reference book but this one covers the business end of publishing. Not what I'm interested in, at all. We'd talked about that in my fiction editing class at BYU and I was just bored. I love to copy-edit. That's my fav.

These books sound interesting. I got an email from the program director today. He gave us a heads up about what to expect for the program. It was much anticipated information and I'm so glad he sent it to me. He said we can expect about 3-5 hours per class per week so I'm looking at max 10 hours a week. This is great news since I'll be working 30 hours per week and mainly in charge of William and the house.

Tyson has got a crazy semester ahead of him. He's taking Physical Molecular Chemistry and some other hard chemical engineering classes I don't remember. But he is also taking the L3 exam which he has to get 100% to graduate. No pressure, right? It's 25 questions, no time limit. They get three chances. The first time they get all 25 questions. The next time they only get the ones they missed and same with the last time. These questions are rumored to be hellish and I totally believe it. 

In good news, Tyson will be done with classes after Spring term in June. He's so close! That also means that he'll be able to keep working at his campus job until August after he graduates unless he (HOPEFULLY) has a real-life job somewhere else. By the time he finishes I'll be almost done with my 3rd term of grad school. Half-way done! June sounds to far away but it's totally not.

A while ago I wrote a post about us waiting to try for another kid until after my grad program. Well, this past week we thought about it some more and since Tyson's going to be in school until June we thought "Hey! Why not start thinking about it? Maybe it wouldn't be so bad!" I love my OB/GYN and I loved the hospital I delivered at so why not have another baby here in Utah? I talked to my grad program director to see what the schedule was like since we do classes in three semesters a year: I'm doing school for two straight years. The longest break I get is three weeks at the beginning of August. Geez. Three weeks and then back to school and work with a three-year old and a newborn?! That sounds nuts. We're not sold on the idea and we're not even sure if that's what the Lord wants for us. But we are open to the idea so I guess that's a step in the right direction. Who knows what will happen. 

I'd love to reach my goal weight before getting pregnant again. It would be so different being pregnant at a healthy starting weight. I think it would be much better in the long run. Healthier all around. 

But, like I said, we're not sold on the idea of another kid. Although every time William gets around a baby, he's so sweet and gentle. It's adorable. He's adorable. Don't get me wrong, he has his genuine boy moments which mortify me but that's the way it goes, right?

07 August 2013

Medifast: Day 10

Today I woke up groggy and with a headache. My mouth has been super dry despite the insane amounts of water I'm drinking. I tried Powerade Zero yesterday. Blech. It tasted like the syrup used on snow cones. Minus the snow. Tyson told me I should dilute it with water. It sort of helped. We're gonna keep trying to figure that one out. Here's today's meals:

1) Cinnamon Cereal
2) Parmesan Puffs
3) Cinnamon Cereal
4) Chocolate Chip Soft Bake
5) Chocolate Brownie
Lean) Chicken and broccoli

Would you believe that I ate the first four meals all before my lean meal? And that it's 7pm and I only have one meal left for today? I'm so proud of myself! I made it a point to eat every two hours and I got all my meals in today! Now if I can figure out the dry mouth thing... It's irritating. 

You may recall I tried the Parmesan puffs when I first started the program and I hated them. I got desperate and ate some today. They weren't as bad! I think it helps that I'm totally off sugar and bread so my tastes are starting to adjust.

My new food should be here tomorrow! Yay!

06 August 2013



Note: For those of you who are not my dad, NFZ is nap-free zone.

Medifast: Day 9

Today was a pretty good day. William and I went to the park this evening. He had the whole place to himself, minus some young adult couples. Here's today's meals:

1) Mixed Berry Cereal
2) Brownie
3) Mixed Berry Cereal
Lean) Chicken and broccoli

The cereal-at-work thing is awesome. I had it again after work because it was quick and cold. My new food is coming! Hurray! It should be here next week. I can't wait.

The other day I steamed some broccoli and saved the extras. I love steamed veggies. I want to try making zucchini chips but it takes multiple hours and it's so hot in our apartment as it is, I don't want to contribute. I'll wait on that one until it cools down outside. I think I'll roast some veggies though. I still haven't tried cauliflower or spaghetti squash. I need to get on that. Many of the recipes I've found call for ingredients from Walden Farms. Do you know that brand? I can't seem to find them anywhere here! It's too bad because I could make some yummy stuff but I need that brand. I'll have to do some calling. Maybe Target carries it. Our Target is posh.

05 August 2013


Today I sort of went nuts. I wasn't feeling well so I stayed home from work. But I didn't actually lay around all day. I had to pay rent and go to the store and get Tyson from work and we had to return some stuff to Home Depot. When we got home I decided I was going to re-organize William's room. Why? Who knows.

I pulled out all his toys and clothes to sort through after he was asleep. I vacuumed his room (no more crushed up Cheezits!) and moved around some of his furniture. I also determined which items we needed to store at my in-law's home: crib, recliner, and end table. Removing those three items from William's room will make a huge difference in there. We wanted all his toys stored in one place. Now that he's older, he doesn't play with all his little toys. I'm in the process of sorting through them and trying to decide if we should keep the old toys and store them, or donate them to Deseret Industries (the Mormon version of Goodwill or other thrifty stores). 

I'm going to do the same thing with William's clothes. He has lots of wintery things from last year that I'm pretty sure aren't going to fit him again this year. Except we'll be storing all his clothes. If my sister-in-law Amber is correct in her prediction (she's 4-4 now*), my next baby will be a girl and then I'll have twin boys. So, hypothetically, we're going to need all the boy clothes we can get!

Tyson thinks I'm clearing out William's room to make space to set up the crib. He thinks my subconscious is ready for another baby. I laugh at him.

*Amber has correctly guessed the gender of my baby and of all three of my other sister-in-law's babies before we found out the gender. It's a bit creepy. But I'd love to have a girl next so I'm good with it...unless that twins thing is true. Heaven help me.

Medifast: Day 8

Today marks a full week of being on Medifast. I'm 10 pounds down. My natural waist looks slimmer to me. I woke up still feeling sick. Ugh. My nose is running like a crazy person. Some day I'll get a nasal lavage system and it will solve all my nose problems :) Here are today's meals:

1) Cinnamon Cereal
2) Cinnamon Pretzel Sticks
3) Chicken Noodle Soup
4) Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
5) None
Lean) Spicy Chicken Cesar salad from Wendy's - half-size

You might notice that I've been eating a less than shocking variety of food lately. My next batch of food isn't here yet. I'm excited for when it gets here because that means I'll have meal bars! That will make the mornings SO much easier. It's getting almost impossible for me to keep up eating the Medifast food at work because 1) it takes a while to prepare and 2) I am running out of microwave or eat-it-dry food! I hope the new food comes soon!!

I think I'm gonna go back to the gym. I miss it. Sorta. It will be good for me to go walk on the treadmill or do some weights, still taking it easy for the next two weeks. It'll also be good for William who needs some more kid-to-kid interaction in his life. It's hot here so it's hard to go outside to play all day. At the gym he gets to run like a wild man for 30 to 60 minutes a day. For this week, I'm gonna do 30 minutes a day. Sunday I started doing hip lifts again. Good glory! Yeah, those are good for your abs but they KILL my lower back. My back muscles are still pathetic from when I had William. Mind you, they are significantly better but not anywhere close to what they should be. I have a lot of lower back strain and I think it's because my muscles aren't developed enough to support the extra weight. So as I lose weight and work out those muscles I hope my back pain will decrease.

I was posting these blog posts late every night or first thing in the morning so I could have a complete list of my meals. But frankly, I don't like that. I like having my computer off and done earlier at night so I'm going to post these entries incomplete at first. Don't worry, I'll update them the next day. I just don't like feeling tied to my computer.

You might think these posts are silly but it's cathartic for me to blog-whinge about my days on Medifast so I can remember what it was like. And so other people can know what it's like. Good news, though. If you don't like these posts, you can skip them!

Medifast: Day 7

I mentioned in another post that I slept in until 11am today. Geez.

I got up immediately made my first meal. Here's the list:

1) Pancakes as waffles
2) Tomato soup as flatbread
3) Cinnamon Cereal
4) Eggs
5) None
Lean) Salad with chicken and broccoli

As the day went on I felt more and more sick. I had to choke down those eggs at around 10pm. I've had a summer cold for a while now but it escalated all day. Bleh.

Other than that, it was a great day. We spent some time as a family just lounging around and playing with William. Hopefully I'll feel better tomorrow.

04 August 2013

Sleeping Habits Lately

The last two nights I haven't been able to sleep until 1am or 2am. Since it's the weekend, Tyson has been taking care of William in the morning so I could sleep. Yesterday I didn't get up until 9:30am and today I didn't get up until 11am. Seriously. It doesn't help that last night I was having serious muscle issues with my left shoulder blade. 

This had better not be a habit. Tomorrow is going to be rough! Maybe I'll take some Melatonin at like 8pm so I can get to sleep earlier and be up for work on time.

So, I Cheated...

I know I said I was going to weigh myself on Mondays but I was just so curious so I weighed myself this morning as soon as I woke up and...

I've lost 10 pounds! That's actually 15 pounds down from my heaviest weight. 

I can't believe it. My coach told me that it would work but I guess I was still skeptical. Not freaking anymore!!

I have 18 pounds to go until I reach what I weighed after I gave birth to William. 
Then I start on the baby weight. That's 35 pounds from where I am now to what I weighed when I found out I was pregnant.
Then I start on the "married" weight. That's 50 pounds from where I am now to what I weighed when Tyson and I got married. It's also how much I've weighed since 8th grade.
My goal weight is 15 pounds less than that so 65 pounds from my weight now.

From the conversations I've had with my coach and seeing other people's loss time lines, I gather I will be at my goal weight in April. It sounds like a long time but 8 months is NOTHING compared to the years I have to look forward too. 8 months is less time than I was pregnant with William. In April, Tyson will graduate from BYU and I will have finished my second semester of grad school. Crazy.

Medifast: Day 6

Note: I write these posts all day long, as I eat my meals. Keep that in mind. I started writing this post at 9:50am. Maybe I should put in section breaks. Hmm...I'll think about it.

Good morning! Tyson let me sleep in so I didn't even get out of bed until almost 8:30am. I decided last night that I was going to try some of the "recipes" you can make from the Medifast packets. Here's what I made today:

1) Maple and Brown Sugar Oatmeal as a waffle
2) Chicken and Wild Rice Soup - added chicken bouillon
3) Chicken and Noodle Soup as chips
4) Cinnamon Cereal
Lean) In N Out Hamburger: Protein Style

Oatmeal as a waffle: YUMMY :) My coach told me that it takes longer to cook than a regular waffle but I guess I didn't wait long enough. The outside looked done but the inside was still the consistency of oatmeal. So it wasn't bad. Add in the sugar-free syrup I got to have and YUM! I was surprised. I'm kinda particular about my oatmeal. I don't do instant, only Old Fashioned Quaker Oats. I add sprinkles of cinnamon and nutmeg (it's like Christmas morning in a waffle) and I prefer homemade maple syrup or fruit syrup, like strawberry. But the Medifast way is good too. Really! Sorry. But I'm totally shocked when I like something the first time around. The food gets better the more my tastes change so I'm feeling very hopeful about the oatmeal/waffle scenario.

I found THIS recipe to try and make the chicken soup as chips. I didn't have parchment paper so I used aluminum foil instead. So I reduced the cook time from 10 minutes to 7 minutes. It wasn't quite done so I put it back in for 5 more minutes. Well the aluminum didn't really work out. The dough stuck to it so instead of chips I had small to large size crumbles haha They were good though! I need to get some parchment paper and then I'll try this one again.

For dinner I had a protein style hamburger from In N Out. I LOVE that place. Turns out, the whole smell is from the bread. They gave me my burger and as I drove home I couldn't even smell the food on the seat next to me. So weird! It didn't even taste weird. Tyson says he likes protein style better than regular. Although, he's not a fan of In N Out in the first place. Protein style is definitely messier but I still feel full after eating. I don't have that pressure against the upper part of my stomach though which is great! Maybe this whole "no bread" thing will help my acid reflux. Huzzah! 

I just finished eating my lean-and-green at 8:30pm. I still have two meals to go! Ugh. This is the hardest part about the Medifast program. I'm not supposed to miss meals but I am just not hungry. I don't want to get in trouble and I don't want my body to go into starvation mode so I know I need to eat all six meals in a day. That's what I get for sleeping in. I'm going to have to combine the last two somehow. Maybe do another waffle? And eggs? You'd like that each meal wouldn't feel me up so much seeing as how they're only about 100 calories a piece. But each one is glycemically (sp?) balanced and I'm getting all my protein and other nutrients. When I eat a 100 calorie meal, it's 100 calories that matter. Not 100 calories of sweets, or bread, or Wheat Thins, or Cheezits, or ice cream. My body is learning to utilize all the calories I intake since there are no fluff calories. It's great. Really. 

I'm interested to see what I've lost in this first week. I decided, for now, to weigh in on Monday mornings. I'm not going to share what I weigh, but I will share how much I've lost and how much I have until I reach my goal weight. Once I'm at my goal weight, then you can know how much I weigh right now.