Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A Birthday Boy & Christmas Surprise

When it comes to the Christmas season, for the last few years I've been feeling rather scrooge-like. In my head, I would love for Christmas to mean everyone is nice to one another and doesn't care about buying things for other people and enjoys It's A Wonderful Life at home with a cup of cocoa. In my head, I don't care too much about rushing around and seeing everyone and playing Santa, I just like sleeping in and staying in my pj's and carrying a blanket around the house with me... maybe take a nap or overindulge in holiday candy. As much as I want to do these things, I know that seeing my family and friends for the holidays is what's important to them, and I love them dearly so I am going to do that rushing around thing I was talking about a minute ago. So to prove my commitment to the holidays, I will upload photos of my Christmas decorations.


...and that's it. I haven't accumulated very many decorations yet. 

In other news, last Saturday Dugan and I drove down to Phoenix Saturday morning to pick up his "grandpa" from the airport . When we got to the airport, the person we picked up was not his grandpa it was Elyse! My dear friend is so thoughtful- she surprised me with a visit from New York. I thought she wasn't visiting until next month and was only going to stay for 3 days. All lies. This month. A week and a half. I love my life. So, around my work schedule (sadly) I've been trying to keep up with showing Elyse the sites of Arizona and doing fun activities. So far, we've only taken her downtown a bit, made a quick trip to Sedona, and decorated some holiday cookies. 

There will definitely more on this later. More photos, more scenery, more fun. Stay tuned.

One more thing to touch on is Dugan's birthday. My handsome guy turned 23 last Thursday. We celebrated by eating some delicious sushi and a lot of it. Afterwards, we took a drive around the city to look at all the pretty holidays lights and decorations, some german chocolate cake I made, and then some hanging out at home with some close friends. We stayed up too late and woke up too early the next day. It was great. I think he had himself a good birthday.

 Finished the sushi boat. Well, 2 of them (12 rolls) between 4 of us.

Birthday boy.

Seth is coming to visit tonight so that will be fun. Im sad to be working tomorrow while Seth and Elyse will be here, but I won't complain about the hours.

Saturday, December 08, 2012


There hasn't been much new and exciting activity going on up here but there are a few new things I can talk about. The last few weeks have been filled with job hunting, classes, interviews, lots of hot cocoa and some baking with Rachel. Made pumpkin pie for thanksgiving and then Rachel made some amazing oatmeal chocolate chip cookies last week. It's nice having a baking buddy.
So, here are a few new things going on. They're not a big deal but its just bits and pieces from my every day life.
1. Put up the Christmas Tree
You know the drill. Got george (that's its name) out of the box, and put it up. It looks festive in here. Dugan wishes it was real. La di da.

2. Got some job offers
In the last week I got two job offers- one at Olive Garden and one at Harkins Theatres. I think Olive Garden would've been the better choice in environment and working career, but they wouldn't work with me on my finals week and they seemed a little less flexible with hours so i chose Harkins. It's easy and It's something I know and it's a good simple job for the winter especially since the theatre is located directly behind my apartment complex so I can walk there and Dugan can take the car with him to work and school. If I hate it, i'll re-apply for the summer or look for something better. The spring time is better for job hunting anyway. If I like it at Harkins, i'll stay and make easy money for the next couple years. Nothing is permanent. After school, we'll be headed for Oregon anyway.

3. Finals week!
First semester for us is almost over! Im confident that the finals this week will go just fine for me. I have some essay work to do for ENG101 and then my PSY and Math final will be pie. I'm not worried. I think next semester I'll try out the nutrition class. Keep things interesting.

Last week two of my lovely sisters in law and their handsome guys came and stayed with us for a night. We didnt do much but we had some pizza and watched movies and played some bored games. These are three things we are really good at incidentally. I had planned on making vegetable lasagna buuut then my oven broke and that plan was blown.
All in all, things are going alright. I am really happy it hasn't snowed yet. I really don't like the cold. I like a cool breeze every once and awhile but I hate the feeling of being freezing. I like my limbs. I don't like not being able to feel them. I also like driving without ice on the roads. 

Dugan's 23rd birthday is next week and I'll be making him some german chocolate cake- his favorite. I don't know what Christmas will look like. I will be most likely working so who knows if we will have room to drive home. I hope it all works out.

Happy December all. I'll check back in next week!


Monday, November 19, 2012


Made a big change this morning. I'll be adjusting for a long time im sure. I took a before and after photo so you can get the whole impact of how hideous they are.

I'll probably get used to these puppies about the same time it's time to get them removed. Oh well. Here's my new smile for the next 17-20 months of my life.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Family, Photos, FUN!

Hello Friends & Family of cyber-world!
As most of you already know because you were either with me or heard me rave about it nonstop for the last few weeks of my life, we got a visit from my sisters from Virginia and their family- bringing my whole family together. This is a rare thing to happen, since there are just so many of us. It's truly a blessing to see everyone at the same time. I sure love my family.
Halloween Morning, I met my mama and my Hillary at crosswinds restaurant for some unhealthy, greasy, and delicious breakfast. Julia and baby Elias joined us. A nice walk in the fall colored wilderness followed breakfast. 

Brooke, Hillary and my mom got together and took the kiddos trunk or treating on Halloween. That was as fun as Halloween could be I guess. It's just not my favorite holiday, but i make what I can out of it.

After Halloween, we celebrated Hillary's 26th Birthday together with a yummy breakfast at  my favorite family owned restaurant, The Randall House. It was perfect. I so wish I had some photos of all us girls (my sisters & my mama),  but I have yet to snag those from anyone. 

Saturday we went to Tonto Basin to Celebrate my Grandfather's 80th birthday! It was really fun for me to show off my handsome husband to all of my extended family and to see lots of relatives I haven't seen in years. Some of them have a handful of kids now- my big family is just going to keep getting bigger. Again, I don't have any photos of my Grandpa's birthday party, but I have lots of fun pictures of my family before my grandpa's party.

 All the Grand kids- so far. Athan, Damen, Gwendalyn, Emma, Calvin, Charles, Andrew, and Scott
 Silly Faces!
 My sisters <3
 ...with a spoonful of photobombs
This is about as good as a photo of Seth can get...
The WHOLE gang. I love these photos. 
I love this family. 

I am so happy to have spent some needed quality time with my family. 

Everyone who I didn't get a chance to see or spend any time with while I was in town, so so sorry. I promise to make time for you on my next visit. You know there is a place for you in my life- just sometime's it gets a little crowded. I mean... look at the size of my family :)

Happy November Everyone. Stay warm out there and stay away from getting sick- I know we're struggling with it in my house right now!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Foxy Brown

From the minute my dear friend Julia told me she was going to be a mom, I didn't know how to feel. Since we were 14, we've been a couple of giddy, mistake-making, boy crazy teenage girls without a direction in the world. Now, we're both married adults with our own universes.
I got a call in the middle of the night Sunday night that Julia was on her way to the hospital so I jumped up out of bed and drove to Payson to be by her side- one of my many best friend duties. When I got there she had already given birth to a beautiful baby boy. A little while later, he was given a name: Elias Fox Nielsen. I am in love with this baby boy. He couldn't be any more perfect. 

It still feels weird. It feels ground breaking. Our world of being lost little girls is over and my best friend is a mama now. It all feels new but still very natural. Julia is so very important to me. My life has been changed because of this girl. She's seen me at my worst and at my very best. We've had our struggles, but man i'm glad we did. She is my insides. I am so proud of her and I just cant take my eyes off the little man she and R.d. brought into this world.
 Congrarulations Julia and R.d. for becoming parents this week on Monday October 22nd, 2012
Love you guys. I am so happy to have a new nephew.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Staying Warm...

Woke up this morning to a very cold house and couldn't manage to get warm at all! I needed to do homework and it's tough to do homework under a pile of blankets so I needed to find another option. Hey! We have a fireplace!

Now this is happening...


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Color me OCTOBER

Ive been keeping my camera in the car with me for the last few weeks so I can snap photos of all the fall colors whenever I see them. I want to document a few of them so I can bathe in these fall colors as much as humanly possible. I can't get enough autumn in my life. I just can't.

 What the heck, i'll throw one in of me and my handsome guy too.

My Redemption

Here's a little story for you.
Since I was 13 ish, Ive struggled with this little "pouch" of fat on my tummy. I call it my baby bump. No, not a real baby bump, but it genuinely looks like a 4 month baby bump so that's what I call it. So I did all I could to try to get rid of this "baby bump". I did lots of working out- at one point I was running almost 2 miles a day- I would do lots of dieting and trying to eat healthy. I counted calories, did hundreds of sit ups, and still nothing changed.
What I had never realized, until recently, that I was doing it all wrong. Yes it was good that I exercised, and eating healthy is never a bad idea, but I never did the two extremes at the same time. When I was working out a lot, I always felt it was okay to eat what I wanted and the same happened when I dieted, I felt like since I was eating healthy, It wasn't as important for me to work out. wrong. So very wrong.
As of this year, I made the decision that I was going to start going to school in hopes of one day being a nutritionist and go into dietary studies. I feel that it will be beneficial not only to me, but to my family that I become educated about food, our bodies, etc. Since I was going to start becoming a "health nut" I also decided that I was going to make a change in my life when it came to exercise. I was no longer going to start exercising in order to look good, I was going to start working out in order to feel good. 
And that's exactly what I did. 

Starting in may, when I began the move from New York to Flagstaff, I decided that I was going to start exercising every day of the week. Even if it meant waking up at 5am or just going for a ten minute run. I would find time no matter what. 
This definitely kicked in in August and I was a little bit more strict about it when Rachel moved in and I had someone to motivate me.

I guess I never realized how unhealthy I really was before all of this until I looked at the photos we took on my last day in New York:

Yikes. No wonder I felt so crummy all the time. Literally and figuratively.

To my defense, I did live in a very cold state that year and felt it necessary to layer up for the winter. No?
Also, I had started birth control which definitely made me feel hungry all the frickin time.
No excuses.
So, I made a change.
Each day for the last 3 months I have found time every day to do some form of exercise, with the exception of a day or two a week when I need a break (a break is okay every once and awhile).  On top of the exercise, I have found what I can and cannot eat, and only "cheat" once a week. Im not dieting, I'm just eating healthier. Sadly, I see less and for some none of: Ranch, Potatoes, Cheese, Butter, Tortillas, Gravy, Pasta, Fatty Meats, etc. I eat more and lots of: Spinach, Fruit(we go through so much fruit a week here it's crazy), egg whites, oatmeal, chicken, etc. 

weight: 129lbs
pant size: 6
bust measurement: 36.25in
Bra size: 36D (sometimes DD depending on brand)
Waist measurement: 28.5in
hips measurement: 35.5in

weight: 112lbs
pant size: 2
bust measurement: 33in
bra size: C34
waist measurement: 24.5in
hips measurement: 30.5in

weight: 17lbs
bust: 3.25in
waist: 4in
hips: 5in
Overall inches: 12.5inches.
More than a foot smaller overall.

None of this is to brag. I want to document this so I can remember. I want to remember these things so if I ever need a bit of motivation again it will be here. I can do it. I can. And although my genetic "baby bump" will probably be here forever, It's the smallest it's been in 7 years and I am so grateful for that. I  am the smallest I've been in years and i'm not going back!
I am happy. Not struggling, not pushing through it, not looking for the home stretch. I have to keep telling myself that this is not a "here and now" thing. This is my new lifestyle. I will live much longer now that I am learning what is good for me and what is bad for me. How much of diet and exercise is too much and how much is not enough. Just because I've reached a goal of mine doesn't mean this part of my life is over. I am going to stay healthy, stay working out, and continue eating like I want to live a life without being overweight or with heart disease or diabetes. As good as things are, I will have you all know that I am not done. I am happy with the way I look and the way I feel, and I plan to keep it that way.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, October 12, 2012


Well, I have 2 essays due by the end of next week so that's what I've been doing lately. Ive been working less days lately which means we've been getting less money. I think it's time to start putting my resume in some new work places again. We just cant afford such instability. My boss/lady I babysit for had major surgery this last Thursday and will be recovering from that for awhile. I don't know what that means for me, but I certainly hope she recovers fully and soon. No body likes to drag those things out.

For the weekend, Dugan must be in Florence to report to his new company since his company up here in Flagstaff is deploying soon. Annoying, but it's fine. I'm glad he'll only have to go to Florence once a month. In the mean time, I will be at Amantha's new place in Glendale while Dugan's in Florence. I'll be working on my essay and doing whatever I want because I can.

This last Monday, Dugan and I took a drive out to Locket Meadows with our friend Andy who likes to occasionally take photos of us. Andy is the one who took the photos of us last May. Remember? :

Yeah, these ones!

So, anyway, we had another shoot and I love it just as much as I loved the shoot from last year. I think I will have Andy take our photos forever! I'm sure most of you have already seen these so I'll just upload a few for my own memories.

Thanks again, Andy. I love them! Yes, these will be going on my wall. Maybe not all of them, but my favorites.

Ive been taking photos of all the fall colors lately. I've just kept my camera with me in my car and snapped beautiful trees as I'm driving by. This means, of course, that I keep leaving my camera in the car and am too lazy to go get it so when i go to blog, I dont' have any fall photos to show you. Some day I'll remember to bring it inside.

I hope everyone has been having a spectacular Autumn so far. It is 100% my favorite time of the year and I have been soaking it in as much as humanly possible.


Monday, October 01, 2012

For Now

There are quite a few things I need to catch up on, but I would like to have appropriate photos for those posts so they'll just have to wait.

BUT, here's a couple things I have been up to lately:

1. Made Butternut Squash Lasagna with Vegetables
I so wish I took a photo of this masterpiece! It was amazing! I have never made a lasagna before, so I was really nervous about it. As most of you know, a year and a half ago, I didn't know how to cook anything. With the help of my mama and my loving sisters, I have learned to cook a lot of new things. I take pride in the fact that we eat a home-cooked meal every night together. I am very very happy with the way this lasagna turned out! The butternut squash turned out a bit crunchy but it doesn't bother me too much. I think it's perfect. BE PROUD OF ME!

2.Work, Work, Work, with school on the side.
I had 2 overnight shifts this last week, and am trying to get in more work here and there. Every penny counts, especially up here. Flagstaff certainly isn't the cheapest place to live, but I still love it to pieces. School is treating me alright, my classes are easy so that's definitely not a problem. My Psychology class is the most frustrating because my teacher is totally scatterbrained but If I just do my best, then I won't have to retake the course.

3. Waiting!
Getting very antsy about Julia having her baby here soon. Every day I am on the front of my seat ready to get to her as soon as I hear the word. My patience is definitely being tested. New babies always make me so overly excited. I'm also trying to be patient for the end of October to be here. I LOOOOVE October(more on that later) but the Greenstreets and Hillary will be here in a few weeks and I love them more. I am so excited I can't take it!

4. Reuniting
My sister in law, Geneva came home from Alaska last week so we drove to phoenix last minute to have a family dinner with her and Dugan's family- excluding one of his sisters(sorry again, Ashley). 

I, of course, made Seth tag along because I love him and don't get to see him very often. I feel guilty this week that I missed his most recent play. Sorry, twin!