Monday, October 22, 2012

Pumpkin Carving

Bradford and I have have a few unofficial traditions for this time of year. I love Halloween so IMAG0321I look forward to doing as much Halloweeny stuff as we can manage during the month.

One of our favorites, or mine at least, is pumpkin carving. Each year we go to the pumpkin patch (as mentioned in a few previous posts), pick out a pumpkin or two each, and then another night we set out and carve them. All while eating delicious treats, of course. This year we had donuts and eggnog.

We usually roast the pumpkin seeds too, and this time I think they were the best we’ve ever made. I couldn’t stop eating them. In years past I’ve been underwhelmed by them but I really enjoyed them this time. Yum.

It’s always a surprise what faces we carve. I never really know beforehand what I want mine to look like. It just comes to me as I go. You can go ahead and call me the Michelangelo of squashes.

My favorite part is setting them on the porch and lighting them.

Every year I get nervous that some hoodlum will come and smash our dear pumpkins during the night. But so far, the only time we ever had our pumpkins smashed it was by our own hands (all documented in this post from 2008)… Apparently we are the hoodlums I’ve been afraid of all this time.

Oh. We named them Humphrey and Bogart.

I can hardly wait ‘til next year’s carving session.

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Monday, October 8, 2012


Today is… Well, just one of those days.

Instead of getting into details (because it feels a bit weird to me to dive into specifics on the world wide web) and instead of speaking in abstract generics, I will just dwell on the things that have currently been golden in my life. Because there is gold.

Bradford has been one of the biggest gems. Recently and in the past 6 years that we’ve been dating. Last night I think he sensed I needed a little extra something, and rather than feeling impatient with my glumness, he asked to take me to the pumpkin patch today. Right smack dab in the middle of my work day. On a Monday. I love the pumpkin patch. Every Monday needs a time out for the pumpkin patch (or its equivalent). I think there would be less murders in the world…

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Even though I have a teensy (or not so teensy) bit of anxiety whenever I’m away from work during the day (since that is when everyone and their grandpa seems to need me-once I’ve stepped away from my desk), it was so good to spend a carefree couple of hours with Bradford. Just what the doctor ordered (except not the ones I work for… they kind of want me to work during work hours).

My little sisters came to visit this weekend. My mom had 4 tickets to General Conference for Sunday afternoon so she sent them out to me so me and my sisters could use them. It ended up just being Lauren and Elyse and me that went, but we managed to have fun even though we missed out on our other sisters being there with us.

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They drove down from Rexburg Friday night and we spent the weekend together. We ate delicious food, watched one of my favorite movies, and had an exciting 3:30 AM excursion to my work’s sample closet in our PJs (Elyse had an *almost* asthma attack and there was only one inhaler left in the whole closet! whew…). It was good having them here. Even though I was a little lonely once they drove away. It hasn’t been until recently that I’ve started to appreciate my family and understand that they can be important, even the most important, people in my life.


Last week I had the opportunity of visiting with an old friend who I haven’t much talked to or seen for about 4 years. I met her babies for the first time and got to hold her four month old, darling, smiley, squishy chunk of a daughter for the entire visit (that extended into the wee hours of the morning). She fell asleep halfway through and I was more than happy to hold her sweet warm, softly snoring body in my arms.

I’m so grateful for friends that are always friends. It made me a little sad that I had failed to keep in better touch when she moved back to Oklahoma a few years ago. I was even happier, though, to find that I still have a kindred spirit in her. I love her and she is without a doubt one of the best friends I could hope for. She encompasses my favorite kind of friendship- the easy, effortless kind that is simultaneously honest and deeply soul connecting. The kind that encourages me to be myself, and allows me to be my best self, without even realizing it. The kind that makes me feel like I’m a pretty OK person after all. I needed that visit with her. IMAG0258

I am also, as always, grateful for my dad. Throughout my life he has been one of the people I admire most. Even just in talking with him for a few minutes yesterday afternoon on the phone I was reminded of what an awesome guy he is and how lucky I am to have him as my dad. Not everyone has a dad like Sir Padre and I am realizing more and more how essential that is.

The most important thing, that I realize I often take for granted, is my relationship with God. I would be so much worse off if I didn’t have that. As long as I have God I know I have everything I could need. That’s another tidbit I am learning and re-learning lately.

This has made me feel better. It is so easy for me to feel bogged down and worrisome about the stresses and complications that are guaranteed lots in life, but I know that for every bad thing there is at least one other thing that is good. I need to remember that.

That’s something I’ll work on.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Wedded Bliss

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I realized that I haven’t blogged (or recorded in any way, really) a couple weddings I went to this summer. One being my little sister’s and the other was one of my best friends. Shame on me.

In July Caitlin married a boy she met in her ward last autumn and had a lovely wedding and reception down in Manti where Neil (her husbandIMAG0663) is from. The whole family was there, except for my brother-in-law Matt and his and Michelle’s kiddos. They were able to come out the next week though to Kentucky where we had an open house for Caitlin and Neil.

It was so good to be around family for awhile. And to visit Kentucky again. I absolutely love that place.

From Kentucky, I flew to Alabama and drove my little rental car down to AuIMAG0566burn where I was the “best man*” for one of my best friends ever, Chris, who married a girl he met in his ward (also last autumn, fancy that!). I was so glad I could make it. He has been such a constant in my life, more like the brother I should’ve had (I always day dreamed about having a twin brother and I think he could’ve been it) than a mere friend. I also got to see his family again. Which was weird and awesome. I haven’t seen them since I was fifteen (10 years ago!) and it was fun to catch up. His grandma, who I’d never met before, made it her personal duty to introduce me to every single person in the reception hall, whether she knew them herself or not. She also made me perform a mini photo shoot for her out on the patio (because she wanted to remember me) which had me cracking up for a half hour. Also, she has a glass eye that she named Gladys. I think I love her.

I was seated at the groom’s family table for the reception. Chris’s dad also insisted on my being in the family photo’s. It was so thoughtful of him but made me feel a bit out of place. Mostly since the photographer wasn’t thrilled about the idea for some reason. It seemed she couldn’t wait to tell me to get me out of the shots. She must be a very by the book person…

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While in Auburn I had some time to myself to explore the campus, which is gorgeous, and learned that a person could very well drown just by walking outside (that is SERIOUS humidity, guys), and ate some incredibly delicious southern food, including the best red beans and rice I’ve ever had the privilege of stuffing in my face.

It was a great summer.


*The only thing that really designated me as the “best man” was that I helped Chris set up his hotel room before the reception (they didn’t have an official bridal party). Chris said that by helping him it made me his “de facto best man.” I’ll take it. For the hotel room, we got the usual bubbly drink and chocolates, as well as some rose petals and a few Asian fruits and treats Chris loves from Malaysia where he served his mission. A few days later, he told me that the rose petals had stained the sheets and carpet red… Whoops. I guess that’s a tidbit of information I’ll need to log away for any other future weddings I help out with. Sorry Marriott!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Stuff and Stuff

I’m already slacking on the posting. It’s not even for lack of anything to post either, this has been a busy summer full of lots of fun things.

My only excuse: life has been so tired lately! We all know what that’s like, right? Ugh.

Most days I barely have enough energy to make it through the motions that keep me alive. And clean. Though sometimes even that latter one falls to the wayside…

I don’t know what I’ll do once I have children someday. Someone pray for me. And those poor souls who will end up under my care.

Scary thought, huh?

(all pictures from events taking place since my last post. Including a trip to Ft. Bridger, WY for the Mountain Man Rendezvous, stopping at the Muddy Creek pioneer camp/trail on the way, the Eastern Idaho State Fair, the Utah State Fair, Bradford’s opening social for ROTC at BYU’s Aspen Lodge at Sundance, trying out some Singaporean food, and some other random tidbits from life)


Monday, August 20, 2012

What Happens in Vegas… gets posted to my blog.

This past week has been a blast.

IMAG0185 It started on Thursday night when Bradford and I went to the Iron and Wine concert in SLC as part of their summer Twilight Concert Series. It was fun but once we remembered how close were to Copper Onion, we knew we had to make it there for dinner. We left the concert early, hopped on the trax, then indulged in an absolutely IMAG0709delicious meal. I love that place so so much. Some of the best food I’ve ever consumed. Ever. (Also, if ever there was an appropriate time to take a picture of your meal, it would be here. Though I never seem to remember because I can’t wait to dive into it the second it touches down on the table in front of me. I may have a problem.)

Friday, we met at Bradford’s parents house so we could do some car work before we drove down to Las Vegas the next day. Bradford’s car has been giving him a lot of troubles lately and he had a hunch it may be his fuel pump. After scouring a wrecking yard he found a similar car to his, took it’s fuel pump, and then put it on his car in place of his old one. Much to Bradford’s excitement, it worked! He was very pleased, and I couldn’t help being a bit proud of him myself.

After then changing the oil in my car, we grabbed some dinner from Kneaders, and went to the Scera Shell Theater in Orem to watch their production of Fiddler on the Roof. I wish I had taken pictures, but I seem to be forgetting to do that more and more lately… It was a wonderful show and we were glad we went. Also, its one of the few places that I know of that still sells Dippin’ Dots so that alone made me a happy camper.


The next day, bright and early, Bradford and I drove to Las Vegas. His brother, Richard, is an ER Doctor there and has a friend who for some reason or another can get really discounted tickets (like, almost 85% discounted tickets) to the Phantom of the Opera at the Venetian. I’ve been wanting to go since the spring when I found out that after September 2nd they’re no longer going to be doing it. It was a pretty last minute trip plan but we are so glad we went. The show was amazing. We got our 4th row tickets for $75 total for the two of us (normally would be $400!) and the theater itself, let alone the performers, were absolutely incredible.


Before the show, we went to a sushi restaurant that Bradford found on Yelp that promised to be tasty. He let me order $35 of sushi, just for myself! He sure knows how to woo a girl. After dinner we went and picked up our tickets for the show, and then we walked around the Venetian fIMAG0201or awhile, enjoying some of the similarities to the real deal, and kind of wishing we were back there. It was a fantastic evening. We even tried our hand at some of the slot machines. I still haven’t decided if that was bad of us or not, regardless, It was soon obvious that one of the two of us should probably not gamble. Either Bradford, because he lost all his money, or me, because I almost tripled mine. We still aren’t sure which is worse and would breed the bigger gambler. (Also, Bradford at first made fun of my choice of machine since I only chose it because it was cute. Looks like that’s a pretty good method after all.)IMAG0198

Sunday, we drove home after attending Richard’s sacrament meeting with his family. Before we left Vegas, however, Bradford wanted to stop by the fast food restaurant, Jollibee. Its a Filipino restaurant and it was fun to get a taste of something that Bradford has often talked about from his mission. We each had a “Yum” burger with cheese and we split some fries and some halo-halo from Red Ribbon (another Filipino establishment) that shared the restaurant space with Jollibee. It was an experience for sure. The burgers did not taste like our American burgers (though weren’t altogether bad), and I’ve never really like halo-halo (this one had the usual ice cream and gelatin cubes, as well as cornflakes, kidney beans, chunks of cheese, and strips of coconut), but it was fun to feel transported for a bit.

It was overall a great weekend and we are so glad Richard and Christy finagled those tickets for us and let us crash at their house.

Week(ends) like that make it oh so much harder to come back to work on Mondays…


What’s that, Bradford? Where are my posts about our REAL Italian trip? Oh… uh… I think I hear my mom calling me…

Friday, August 10, 2012

Lay Off Me I’m Starving!*

I think we can all learn something from these photos.


Clearly I need to calm down when it comes to my food.


Apparently I get so excited about what is before me that its hard for me to wait, even if just for a camera shutter, before my taste buds lose control, resulting in blurred photos. And a snarful Julie. 


Here’s to cooling my jets about the meals I’m about to consume. And being patient during photo shoots. Not that anyone really cares about what I’m eating though, let’s be honest. Except maybe Instagram. I think that’s one of their requirements actually, that you must take x number of photos of your food to be allowed on the app…


But golly do I like food.


*This I love.

Thursday, August 2, 2012


I love Kentucky. I feel so alive when I am here. My family moved here from Oklahoma the summer after I graduated High School. I lived here with them for about 5 months before moving out to Utah for school. My love for this place definitely has to do with the people I met here as well as the beautiful countryside. More than that though, I realized that I love Kentucky for the personal discoveries I had here.

IMAG0593Two of my favorite people that have become lifetime friends I met here. I visited with one of them last night and after driving down the 22 back toward home, I was pondering again how much I love this place. I love the easy, flowing, landscape with the gorgeous green hills carpeted with fields, wildflowers, and trickling creeks. I love the majestic thunder storms and the magical evening fireflies. I love the spatterings of wooded groves and abundant wildlife and the way the homes and dwellings are tucked between the hills. I love the unpretentiousness of the towns here, the way they are almost part of the land instead of dominating over it.

As I was day dreaming, following the swerving road that twists and turns along the natural curves of the land, I was struck, as always, when I came to the town of Crestwood. Suddenly, there between the trees, is the Louisville temple. Its a breathtaking sight, one that would be easily missed if you so much as blinked. To unexpectedly be wowed by the simple beauty of the temple never loses its charm.

Its a small temple, hardly any grounds around it, and shares the parking lot with a chapel which is just as small. There is only one row of parking spots separating the church from the temple and it is right there that I chose to park my car for a bit before driving on home. I love this spot.

I remembered back to a night, now almost exactly 7 years ago, when I sat in that very same spot. That moment was easily the single event that rooted part of my soul in Kentucky soil forever.   

That night I had a mental, spiritual, and emotional shift. I learned what it means to truly heal and be healed. I knew what it meant to be released from the lonely darkness and sent forth with all the freshness of a free life. I knew how it felt to be loved eternally and against all reason. In the days after I discovered that, each new day offered its own promise of sweetness and hope. How I soared on that newfound knowledge!

It was a very poignant night. And I’m not ashamed to say that on the way home from that parking lot last night, I wept, just like I did that night years ago. I loved every tear. They represented the honest joy those memories and lessons brought to my life and reminded me that I can feel that way again.

Joy is so much more than happiness. I know that thanks to my lovely, green, Kentucky.

Saturday, July 28, 2012


Hopped up on Benedryl today. Why do I always forget that Benadryl knocks me out and leaves me in a surreal fogginess all day? I shan't take it again. At least not in my supposed to be waking hours.

I am in Kentucky right now visiting my family. My dad works in Australia and had to leave earlier today (and I missed him leaving since I was in a drugged induced coma) so I'm sad that he won't get to be around for the rest of the time I'm here. I sure do like him.

Yesterday, after my sister's open house at my parents' church, we went across the street to a Mexican restaurant for dinner. Thanks to the awesome thunder/rain storms Kentucky has been having, everything was super wet. And I was worried about my new shoes I just bought. 100% leather suede. And expensive to boot. The most expensive shoes I have ever bought, in fact. Naturally I was fretting over their safety like a mother hen the entire time I'd been wearing them (almost a manifestation that it's not worth it to buy another fancy pair of shoes ever again. Almost...) so upon seeing my distress, my dad swiftly scooped me up and carried me across the parking lot to the door of the restaurant. Though he mentioned I was not quite as light as the last time he'd done that (granted I was probably 8 then) he seemed to have no struggles and I was left feeling a little bit like my Daddy's little girl again. In a good way.

Thank goodness for Dads that set awesome examples of love, committment, and sacrifice. I would be much worse off in life were it not for my dad.