Thursday, December 31, 2009

Blue Christmas

So I had a little bit of rough Christmas this year.  It all began shortly after arriving at the Singer home when I got a voicemail from a friend asking if I had heard the bad news.  It took me a long time to call her back... at that point I wasn't sure I wanted to know.  I finally pumped myself up and made the call to find out that one of my art professors had passed away.  Kat Galloway was easily in my top 3 professors of all time.  She had such a passion for art and such a love for her students that you could not take one class from her and not be changed.  I will definitely miss her and feel so lucky that I was able to be her student.

From then on things got worse.  The antibiotics I was taking made me so sick.  The side effects included nausea, abdominal cramps, constipation, upset stomach, bloating, and vomiting.  I'll spare you the details, but I wasn't immune to any of them... I can't think of a time where I've felt worse.  My worst morning sickness was nothing compared to this.

Then on top of that I came down with a cold... the whole headache, congestion, and sore throat bit.

Thankfully, I took my last antibiotic Christmas morning and by that evening was finally getting some relief.

Mom and Dad Singer were so sweet and had a wonderful week planned for us (including really good food.)  Dan and Wendy were such good company (and it was so nice to finally get to know Wendy.)  Everyone made what should have been an unbearable week, bearable... and even pleasant.  Thanks Clem and Rita for everything!

On Wednesday we all drove to the coast to pay a little visit to the beach (Nate and my favorite).  The sun was setting and it was beautiful.  Then we headed to enjoy the Christmas lights at Shore Acres.  Afterwards we ate at this really yummy Italian restaurant and then headed home.

On the beach:

At Shore Acres:

Christmas morning was really nice.  We lounged around and Rita fixed us a very impressive Christmas breakfast, which we opted to eat before opening presents.  Then we sat around the tree snuggled in blankets while we opened gifts.

So I had saved all the pictures from both Wendy's and Rita's cameras onto my 300GB hard drive and now it's not working.  I'm so bummed.  There are some really cute pictures on there... and some not so cute pictures on there (Nate and I on Christmas morning).  So Rita, if you have a moment if you could email them to me I'll add them to this post.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

What I wanted...

(The back was even more amazing than the front... the most beautifully stacked A-line I've ever seen.)

And what I got...

minus the really horrible bangs, of course.

I'm still wondering why it's so impossible to find someone who can cut my hair.  The first picture was the first time in my life that I really loved a haircut... the stylist was amazing.  No exaggeration, I had at least 40 people tell me that they loved it (many I didn't even know.)  So I call 3 or 4 months later to get a trim and she's gone... fallen off the face of the planet...  Since then I haven't been able to get one single decent haircut.  Oh well, I'll just wear this one in a ponytail (with about 30 bobbypins, it's so short) for a couple months just like the last ones.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Our Little Nate Jr.

(Complete with 2 arms and 2 legs.)

Surprise!  Nate and I just made it back from our first appointment and as it turns out it isn't all in my head... there is a baby in there.  Funny how it takes actually seeing the little booger on a screen before I was 100% convinced (you'd think the 3 pregnancy tests and 2 missed periods would confirm that.)  As we were waiting for the ultrasound equipment I asked Nate, "What if there isn't a baby in there?  That would be so embarrassing."  But I'm officially not crazy.  The nausea, "filling out", weird cravings, light-headedness, heartburn, heightened sense of smell, and frequent urination are legit.  (Although thankfully the "nausea" part is long over.)

We're now looking forward to the 5th of July.  I'm 11 weeks along and the little kiddo is the size of a fig.  (Next week's "lime-sized" was more appealing, but I couldn't wait that long and I didn't want to lie.)  We're really excited... and occasionally nervous.  Especially Nate, who after the initial excitement wore off walked around like a zombie for a week, with money stress written all over his face.  (Which has thankfully been relieved greatly thanks to some hand-me-down baby gear that won't have to be purchased... now all that remains is an excited father-to-be.  And can I just say that he is adorable about it?  He asked me if he could take one of the ultrasound pictures to hang in his cubicle.  I love it!)

So far I can't help thinking it's a boy (a mini Nate is what I always picture.)  I will be COMPLETELY shocked (although not at all disappointed) if I'm wrong.  I won't know until July though because we've decided we want it to be a surprise.

And finally the classic baby bump picture...

Weird... I had to do some scrounging to find a shirt that would "show."  Apparently most of my shirts flare away at the belly... so hopefully I can wear most of them as maternity clothes for a little while.  Nothing too extreme... but there is definitely an emerging baby bump there.  The jeans are definitely a lot more snug... 

Monday, December 7, 2009

Mashed Potatoes

The other day Nate and I were sitting on the couch watching television and a commercial came on.  Not sure what restaurant it was, but there were mashed potatoes.  I said, "Oh man, mashed potatoes sound so good!"  Nate turned to me about ready to get up and said, "Do you want me to go make you some?"  I started laughing.  "No, Nate, I think I'll be alright."  He said, "No, seriously I could just peel and boil a couple potatoes... it's not a big deal.  I can even make you some gravy."

And that, my friends, is why I am the luckiest girl....

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Deck the Halls

One of my favorite parts of Christmas is the decorating and while we don't exactly have a whole lot of decorations yet (we are still living in an apartment) Nate and I got out our Christmas boxes this Friday and got to work.  We literally spent the whole evening Christmasing up our place while listening to Nat King Cole's Christmas album.  There is something about putting up the twinkle lights, decorating the tree, and hanging the mistletoe that officially puts me in the the Christmas spirit.

In our 5 Christmases as a family we've only bought one Christmas tree.  Not only is our apartment super tiny, but we just can't justify spending $30 on a tree when we're gone half the month anyway.  So this year I got the genius idea to decorate our ficus tree.  The branches are a little weak, so we had to be extra careful about only using light ornaments... and then I remembered some cute fabric I had bought recently.  We ripped the fabric into strips and then tied them into cute little bows.  Nate calls the tree "our Charlie Brown tree."  I think it's pretty cute and it definitely helped our place feel a whole lot more Christmasy.

Nate's parents surprised us this summer with a nativity set that they had found at an after Christmas sale.  We were so excited to put it up and each took turns adjusting this wisemen and that shepherd to better face the baby Jesus.  Again, it's amazing how something so small can make such a big deference.  I love it!

There's still a few more strands of twinkle lights to be hung, but overall I am loving our apartment right now.  Is there anything better than snuggling on the couch with your hubby sipping hot chocolate in the glow of Christmas lights?  I didn't think so...

Nate and I having some fun taking pictures of our deciduous Christmas tree.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

What I'm Thankful For

So with Thanksgiving right around the corner, I've been thinking a lot about just how lucky I am to have what I do.  Here's a quick list of a few of those things:

1) Nate.  Seriously, how is it that I got so lucky?  My husband is so good to me.  We are a perfect fit.  I'm being 100% honest when I say that I never get sick of the guy... in fact, I usually feel like I can't quite get enough of him.  I start getting really excited around 4:30 waiting for him to come home.  He's a great guy.

2) The gospel.  Again, how lucky can one girl be?  The truth that I have blesses my life each day.  I know why I'm here and what I've gotta do... and it feels good.  The Church is true, Christ lives, and I know my Heavenly Father loves me.

3) My calling.  I've been the secretary in the Young Women's and now I'm the Laurals advisor and I LOVE my girls.  They are such amazing, bright, smart and strong girls.  I appreciate their friendship and I try everyday to be a leader that will influence them for the better.  I hope they know how much I love them and how much I pray that they'll continue to make good decisions.

4) My family.  I have the most amazing family.  My siblings really are my best friends.  They understand me so well.  I love you guys!

5) The sun.  It was actually sunny today and after 2 days of dark clouds and crazy wind, I needed it.

6) Food.  Whether it's Thanksgiving dinner, Italian food or Mexican, Lindor truffles, homemade stew and rolls, or BBQ chicken... it makes me happy.  (Can you tell I'm anxiously awaiting dinner to finish cooking?)

7) Photography/Hobbies.  I'm grateful for my talents and even somethings that I'm not so good at, but that still make me happy... like singing to music.

Okay, so the list goes on but that dinner that I was talking about is nearly finished so I'd better run, but I just had to take a minute to vocalize how grateful I am for everything that I've been blessed with.  I love this time of year.  We get to focus on what we're thankful for and then we get to celebrate the birth of the Savior... not sure I could make it through winter without the holiday season.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Willis Campout 2009

So every summer my family gets together for a family campout.  Since Nate and I have been married they've been rough.  The first summer was the year of the bees.  We spent the whole time in a screen tent playing games... they were really that bad.  Pretty sure that we all got stung at least once.  That same year we also saw a rattlesnake and fresh bear poop in our camp.

Then there was summer number 2.  Nate came down with something right before we left, but we decided to go anyway.  Not only did our campsite (plus our tent) flood, but Nate became so ill (we're talking sweating through a sweatshirt AND sleeping bag) that we decided to head back after the first night.  Good thing, too, because Nate had a really serious bacterial infection.

That brings us to this summer.  By far the best.  We did run into some illness.  I'm not sure anyone was immune to it.  I was feeling pretty good while camping, but it hit me pretty hard the next day.  And it also rained pretty hard one day.  Overall I think it was a success and we had a blast.  I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.  (I love the ones of the boys catching the football.  Jaycie's kids have the best looks on their face.)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Thanks Brayden.

My brother Brayden called me this morning to let me know that one of my photographs was published in BYU's Daily Universe.  He said he walked by the newspaper stand and did a double take because he recognized the photo.  I have to admit I'm a little annoyed that I wasn't given credit, but I still thought it was cool.

Here's the link to the article online:

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Oregon Coast 2009

The next week after we got back from Italy Nate had to train state employees on a new computer system in Astoria.  We stayed in this really nice hotel in Seaside, OR.  On Friday, while Nate was at work, I stayed in the hotel to finished up some photographs for a client.  Once Nate was finished, we were finally able to go to the beach.  It was beautiful and the weather was perfect.  We just relaxed there for awhile and did some wading.  

Saturday we got up and hit the beach again.  We got ice cream (which was a huge disappointment after gelato), found this amazing candy store with about every candy from your childhood.  We bought tons of saltwater taffy in flavors like raspberry lemonade, cinnamon roll, key lime pie, etc. and a bunch of Tootsie Roll brand Frooties (I was so excited... they're my favorite.  I used to go to Frank's in Moses (you're right Jaycie, I knew Bob's didn't sound quite right) and buy them for a penny each, but I can never seem to find them anymore.)  We had the most delicious fresh fish.  It was just the perfect weekend.

Before we left we drove down the coastal highway and went to Canon Beach (the stores and shops there are amazing... cute little boutiques and a dozen kite shops... I told Nate that the next time we go to the coast we definitely have to buy and fly a kite) and this less popular, but in my opinion prettier beach, where we ended up swimming.  

Freeze action fun.  How is it that it never gets old?

I'm thinking I should've been a gymnast.

Nate excited to be having to answer work emails while on the beach.

I love reflection photos.
Man, my legs are so white.

This is one of my favorite pictures of Nate ever.

It was so cold early Saturday morning.
There is nothing that Nate loves more than the ocean... except for me, of course.
Nate trying his hand at some freeze action jumping.
Getting some serious air.  Gotta love that face!

Saturday morning the clouds broke, the wind died down... so we went swimming.  It was so cold, but definitely worth it.  We have the most amazing luck whenever we go to the coast.  The weather is always beautiful.

And for you, Amy and Cara, these are just some pictures of the loot we ended up with from Italy.

Murano glass.  The guy who sold us the blue one was the sweetest guy.  He told us all about how you could distinguish Venetian glass from impostor glass.  Probably one of the nicest people that we met.

Some small watercolors.  Loved this artist.  He was adorable.

The cow purse.  The woman who sold me this purse was one of my other favorite people that we met in Italy.  And she was so kind to remind me multiple times that I'd better not use this purse until the summer because it's not a winter season purse.  She was so funny.
This leather purse is soooo soft.
The two glass rings, three glass necklaces and two scarves I bought.