happy six months.

December 21, 2012

... To the very best part every day, from the moment I wake up to the moment we say goodnight (even if sharing a queen bed hasn't been a favorite... :) I love you to the moon and back and can't imagine navigating through life with anybody else now that I have you. Thank you for making six months the very best I've ever had. I sure do love you a whole lot.

a little place called the shire.

December 3, 2012

A few years ago while I was in New Zealand, we visited a little town called Hobbiton, famously known as The Shire. Honestly, it's amazing. I've never been a LOTR fanatic, but it was unbelievable how much work they put into just one set that only has a little time on screen! When we were there, we had to sign a disclosure form before going on the tour, agreeing that we would not post any of the pictures online since it was still in use for the filming of The Hobbit; now that the filming has finished, we are finally allowed to post away!

It's truly unbelievable, (like the rest of New Zealand, really) and I can't wait to show Max in a few weeks! Except truth be told, my favorite part of the whole tour had to be bottle feeding the baby lambs at the very end :) I'd take one home with me if I could.

our first thanksgiving.

November 28, 2012

November can really be summed up in three syllables: last weekend. The rest of the month was great, but it can't beat four days of Christmas movies, leftovers, and apple pie (and Max all to myself!) We spent the weekend up in Salt Lake, staying overnight in our favorite hotel and seeing the lights on Temple Square. Minus the crowds, it's always so pretty.

Not pictured:
Earlier this year I thought I had found the deal of the century on a $2.50 baby turkey. If you know me, you know I capital LOVE/love turkey. I called my mom about this and she said there was no such thing. I insisted that there was, that it was currently sitting in my freezer, and when I showed her a picture, all I had to do was read the fine print: I had purchased a baby hen. I still have no comment.

To make matters worse, I called my mom just last week telling her of the good news again! I had really found a baby turkey this time! Since Max and I were spending Thanksgiving day with his family, we decided to have a mini-Thanksgiving dinner of our own the night before, and this baby turkey would be perfect.

Unfortunately, when I told my mom the good news, she reminded me (again) that there is no such thing as a baby turkey -- never has been, never will be. I told her she was wrong, I even checked it twice. It was indeed a baby turkey, perfect for two! So I went ahead with the preparations, thawed it the night before, got home from work ready to put it in the oven and... I had purchased processed turkey meat. I had no idea there was even such a thing. Little cubes of white and dark meat and I nearly fell over in my kitchen. It looked bad, real bad. My first thought was to cancel Thanksgiving, but I did what I always do and I called my mother. She told me I should never be allowed to go grocery shopping, and reminded me that I could always buy a fresh turkey (no thawing!) and still have it ready that night! So I ran to the store at four in the afternoon, picked up a real honest-to-goodness-turkey, and four hours later... we feasted.

And then I burned the pumpkin pie.

Our first Thanksgiving as a married couple was what I would call memorable. Alls well that ends well, I say.

christmas and forgiveness.

November 25, 2012

Christmas is my favorite time of year, and almost more than any other year before, Christmas this year has been most needed.

2012 has been an unimaginably wonderful year, but growing has inevitably been a part of it. I have often thought on the lessons I learned in a book (which I've mentioned before) called The Peacegiver. If I could, I would send it to every person I know, or stand on street corners handing it out. I loved it, I loved its teachings, its messages, and its relevance no matter what you believe or ascribe to. At the time I was reading it, though, I had no idea how many more situations would come in the following months where I would need to remember those feelings I had felt before.

To be quite honest, there have been times I have found myself conflicted with those teachings and feelings that I had once felt with so much confidence; there have been times since when I have desperately struggled to fully accept and emulate those lessons, especially when it comes to forgiving those who seem not the least bit concerned with any injury or pain they've caused others. I'd be lying if I said it were easy.

This Christmas season, though, I've made it my primary goal to focus not only on the birth of our Savior, but on His life. What His life has meant for me, what the purpose of His life was (and is), and what that means not only during Christmas, but every other day of the year: good or bad, better or worse... Especially the worse.
"We are not perfect. The people around us are not perfect. People do things that annoy, disappoint, and anger. In this mortal life it will always be that way. Nevertheless, we must let go of our grievances. Part of the purpose of mortality is to learn how to let go of such things. That is the Lord’s way. Remember, heaven is filled with those who have this in common: They are forgiven. And they forgive."
                               --President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

I saw this video a few years ago, and I was entirely amazed (and especially moved) by this story and his dependence and faith in Christ, and his willingness to forgive. An amazing story, and an incredible example.


November 21, 2012

We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.  --Thornton Wilder

So grateful for my many, many blessings this year. Groceries, warm blankets, and phone calls from friends and family. So, so, so grateful this year especially for my best friend, for making five months of marriage (today!) the "best of" my life. So many treasures to be thankful for, all the year through.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Photo via Kinfolk Magazine

that's what's up.

November 8, 2012

I'm pretty sure that this is the cutest video,
ever, ever.

leaving the country.

November 7, 2012

It will come as no surprise to anyone that I was clearly disappointed Governor Romney did not win the election last night, (disappointed is an understatement, and for those of you more optimistic than I, I am genuinely glad that there are people like you out there!) At the very least, we got to throw somewhat of a mini party with our friends last night, who, when the tides had turned, helped keep things somewhat cheery :) (thanks guys).

As for leaving the country, no, we're not leaving because I didn't vote for the President who won, but it is because our tickets are all booked, and we are officially ready to spend the last few weeks of 2012 in sunny and glorious New Zealand! This will be our last trip out to the country for quite some time, (perhaps our last trip out there as an entire family, ever) since my parents move home in February, and will be on to new adventures elsewhere; so I've already started my checklist! Day trips to Devonport, my all-time favorite, Bay of Islands, even a 13 hour plane ride with hobbits (genius)-- yes, it is no secret that Max and I are holding out to meet Bilbo Baggins. 

Bon voyage, mon amour!

the future of america tonight.

November 6, 2012

"It's been a part of the American experience to know that its future is better than its past...Let us begin that future for America tonight."

I voted early, and nearly ran once we parked the car to get in line outside of the Utah County Health building, to wait patiently for my own turn at the polls. I'll have to be honest in admitting that regardless of what the majority of my fellow Americans vote tonight, and even though I so desperately hope that the next President of the United States will be Governor Mitt Romney, I felt proud (as I'm sure we all do) that I was voting as an American first and foremost, for a future of a country that I so gratefully and proudly believe in.


October 30, 2012

-I married a pumpkin carving connoisseur.  Max takes these things so seriously, but claims it's because it's his first Halloween in three years.
-Max also tagged along with me and my dad to his first ever BYU football game. I think he enjoyed himself, minus the cougar fight song. He refused to sing along with that.
-Witches night out this year was another success!
-If you're not into really, really scary movies, (like me) anything black and white will do. Cape Fear, Twilight Zone episodes, Rear Window... some of our favorites this year.
-And I'm always amazed at how much we get into our murder mystery dinner parties. I almost convinced myself that I had actually had an affair with Al Capone in 1928.

And wish us luck as we throw our first (ever) Halloween party. Homemade root beer and trick-or-treat bags all thanks to Pinterest will be on the menu, (ps. remind me to tell you which gift bag not to recreate, because it's impossible to be that cute, and I wasted two boxes of brownies on it) - anddd no UVU dances for me this year, thank you very much.

And thank you, dear month of October, for always being so great. I'll be missing you these next 11 months, until we meet again.


October 25, 2012

Unfortunately, I took maybe four pictures while we were in Disneyland for the remainder of the weekend; too many fun things to do, and I made zero time to capture all of our memories (regretted)... So what I do have to say, is that out of all the many trips out there with family and friends before, my trip with Max had to be my all-time favorite. He hadn't been since he was a little, so it was like going with a seven-year old version of Max. 14 hour marathon days park hopping (even though we were both exhausted by the end of the trip!) was the best.

And just for future reference: Mickey's Halloween party was like, the best Halloween party ever. They give you handfuls (handfuls!) of candy (and only the good kind!) at all 390,483 candy stations throughout the park. Plus all the rides have zero lines because everyone else is excited about the trick-or-treating. After stopping at only two of the stations, Max and I ran around the park like crazy getting on as many rides as possible (completing 21 rides in four hours!) eating two bags worth of candy! I had to stop at one point and just jump up and down. Not a joke. I was just so excited! This felt like every kids dream come true! And even though we had had enough of a sugar high to last us a month, we made sure to stop for some pineapple dole whips - theyrethebest.

Thesis statement: Disneyland is the happiest place on earth.
Add candy, costumes and no lines? Happiest-est place ever.

PS. Radiator Springs is totally worth the wait.

huntington beach.

October 23, 2012

California is great. I love, love, love the feeling I get when I see the flashing signs: "freeway stops here" and you know you've reached the very end of the West Coast. I just love it. Max and I arrived just in time to watch the sunset on Huntington beach, too - following up with dinner at everyone's favorite: Ruby's Diner. We even split a brownie sundae and snagged a few penny gumballs. This place is always a favorite.

picnic with sara.

October 16, 2012

Sara and I went on a fall-esque picnic a few weeks ago, carrying our grocery bags of candy in one arm, and our knitted sweaters over the other. The sun was warm enough as we ate too many Oreos, and the yellow leaves fell perfectly into our laps. So we caught up on the past two months in only two hours, and it was reaffirmed without needing to be said: we will always be kindred spirits.

napkin notes.

October 10, 2012

Max started leaving 'napkin notes' lying around the apartment once we got married, (closest thing to a post-it note I think he could find,) and it's been one of my many favorite parts about our newlywed days. I usually pride myself in being "the clever one," but if I'm honest, Max certainly takes the cake - especially when it comes to these.

Today's napkin note was taped on my bathroom mirror when I woke up, and I nearly squealed with joy when I saw it! Max knows I never take anything Disney-related lightly, which is why I have a Disneyland fact sheet, Disneyland playlist, and Disney fruit snacks all waiting for us in the car. I'm absolutely convinced that Max will be the best Splash Mountain buddy I could ask for, so if only I could get him to wear this costume (he refuses), I'm pretty convinced we'd make a great Mickey and Minnie pair at the Disneyland Halloween party, too :)

So we're off to sunny California and the happiest place on earth! Hope you have a wonderful week!


October 8, 2012

I shy away from any talk of my political beliefs, because chances are some of you might agree, a lot of you may disagree, and I probably won't sway anyone's opinions regardless.
But I'm going to go for it again anyway.

A lot of people care about a lot of different things: some people find passion in women's rights, in going green, even in saving the dolphins... But somewhere down the line, my interest and passion took root in politics. I have asked myself once or twice why I didn't major in political science? Whatever the reason, it's a big mystery to us all. Whether it was seeing my parents involvement, September 11th, the 8th grade debate team, I really couldn't say; but something, somewhere down the line was triggered and has since been something that has mattered to me so much that I physically feel this need, this impulse to voice my opinion, to stand up and to say something.

I think this drives Max crazy to be honest. In fact, I know it does. He makes me turn off the TV when I start getting antsy, and then we have to play a round of tennis when Obama has frustrated me again, (which lately has been a lot). I know my friends have always joked about it (they just need to ask me about socialized Obamacare) and truth be told, a lot of them just don't find interest in it. I can't entirely blame them I guess, because I don't have much to say about saving the trees either.

But what I do have to say, no matter who it is, no matter your interests, no matter your party affiliations, no matter what basically: (and I am shamelessly going to use my small soap box online to say it right here right now,) is that we all have an obligation to vote. Many of us know it is our privilege, but that is exactly what makes it so much more of our responsibility.

In the 2008 election, only 64% of people in the United States eligible to vote actually went to the polls; Utah had the lowest voter turn out rate in ALL the county (53%), yet so many of us just don't! So many people say it won't make a difference! Utah will be a Romney state no matter what. New York will vote for Obama. Some say there's a little bit more of a reason to vote in a swing state like Florida or Colorado ... but as for my generation, the generation who will be the most affected by everything going on right now: today, tomorrow, this presidential election... We are the one's least likely out of all the age groups who will actually get registered, and get out to vote. If statistics are right, only half of us will this upcoming November 6th. So I'm pleading with all of you who read this: Just go do it. Vote.

I know this sounds crazy, but I care so much I could cry. I truly believe that this is one election where things will actually drastically change depending on whose elected President of the United States of America. Things will be very different one way or another four years from now.

I love this country, I love what it stands for, and I love that we are the children, and grandchildren, and great-grandchildren of heroes who have fought and died and lived for an idea that they believed in and that they'd put their life on the line for: for freedom to speak, to act, to choose, and to live. We are privileged and we are obligated to go out and make our vote count, not only because we can, but because so many hundreds of thousands of people never could, never have, and never may be able to. So please, please, please - just do it. Register. Wake up early to beat the lines on November sixth. Go make your vote. Use your voice. I know this entire post may sound like a public announcement ad -- but out of all the many things I believe in, the United States of America is right there at the top of the list.

(Print can be found via)

Atticus Finch.

October 5, 2012

"They're certainly entitled to think that, and they're entitled to full respect for their opinions... 
but before I can live with other folks I've got to live with myself. 
The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience."
-Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

Once the leaves started changing colors, and the sun became a little bit more orange than yellow, Saturdays weren't our favorites anymore, but Sunday nights were. Fall is a favorite in so many ways, but so many of my reasons is simply because of home. Growing up, we had our ritual Sunday night walks, Sunday night movies, and best of all: Sunday night snacks like cinnamon and sugar toast, and marshmallows, and hot chocolate.

It somehow became a tradition along the lines that the first movie we'd always watch together as a family during the season was To Kill A Mockingbird. It was always my dad's favorite, and naturally, became one of mine too. My eyes always sting when I see Atticus sitting outside of Tom Robinson's jail, with his lamp, in his chair, reading his book. It just said so much. I always felt so much. I still do.

This movie, (and most especially), Atticus Finch has and always will be an out-of-the-ball-park-sort-of favorite; and with my dad in town for the weekend, Max gets to join in on the Christensen tradition and I just couldn't be any more excited for my Sunday nights again. Happy (conference) weekend!

harry, zayne... and that's all i can remember.

September 27, 2012

I've just got to admit it... I love this song.

bad day daises and stuff.

September 19, 2012

1. Smash Book - a birthday present that I've finally started using and I absolutely love it.
2. Bad day daisies, which have lasted for more than two weeks! 14 days of insta-cheer.
3. You'll know me by these polka dot pants, because I've matched them every outfit I can. Love them so.
4. The Disneyland fund jar. So far Max and I have saved $116 dollars (amaze!!) But even though we're short a couple hundred, I think Mickey's Halloween Party sounds like too much fun to miss. (and people think I'm joking when I say I get onto disneyland.com once a week... #fact)
5. My partner-in-crime, who bought me a pink tennis racket of my own!
6. The reason why I hide his guitar on the weekends. His ability to focus on any of our conversations drops negative one hundred.
7. Getting ready for The Dirty Dash. A group of us talked ourselves into doing it, (not sure why) but it's happening this Saturday, ready or not.
And 8. If it's not bad day daisies or a cheese pizza, Max knows the only other way to my heart is a fridge full of diet coke. Clearly my health matters to me.

first unofficial day of fall 2012.

September 14, 2012

"The First Unofficial Day of Fall" is a tradition three years running, so I thought why not continue the celebration? It's kind of like Thanksgiving, because there's no specific date, really, it just always happens to fall on the second Saturday in September.
So we celebrate it.

As tradition would have it, we usually kick off the day by listening to Christmas music, eating french toast, making trips to the library for old black and white scary movies, and snacking on a batch of homemade caramel popcorn... so the un-holiday was celebrated again! Nat King Cole sang about chestnuts roasting on an open fire, we ate (and ate) all-you-can-eat french toast at Kneaders, (first time, by the way, and it was amazing) And we ended the night up the canyon taking pictures of barely red and golden leaves, with our black and white scary movie of choice: The Ghost and Mr. Chicken.

May any made-up tradition that includes all or any of the above, always continue.

but why?

September 12, 2012

I remember the first time I attended an Opera. It wasn't romantic... or that much fun. I was 13 years old, and my dad had bought tickets for the family to attend a Saturday night production of La Bohème at Capitol Theater. I dreaded going, I dreaded even the idea of sitting through an entire two hours of people singing in French, and worst of all, I dreaded spending any Friday night without the company or quality of my Dream Street CD.

I remember asking my dad why we had to go. A lot. I'm sure he said something about spending quality time with family, but when I kept persisting, but whyyyy ... I remember him saying something about the importance of broadening our horizons.

Years later, in a British Lit class at BYU, I had a very wise professor ask us why we were in college. Beside, perhaps, becoming informed citizens, gaining necessary credentials, and socializing - why were we there willing to study History? Art? or Literature? Why did something that happened in 1809 matter over two hundred years later? Why read Wordsworth? Practice the piano? Travel thousands of miles to see the Mona Lisa? Or barely survive reading The Odyssey for the first time? Why do we care?

My dad must have taken a class from this same professor, because he said something about broadening our horizons, too... But then he quoted something I doubt I'll ever forget:

Make your mind an interesting place to live for the rest of your life.


September 4, 2012

It felt like summer sort of came to an end this weekend, (even if it technically lasts a few more days) so we unofficially kissed our summer goodbye; we did nothing that exciting, really, it just felt sort of final with all the rain and the leaves beginning to change colors.

I'll miss our summer months, all our free time for outdoor movies, temple trips, and the few bike rides we went on, (Max doesn't seem to share the same sort of affinity towards beach cruisers that I do, unfortunately,) but I'll mostly miss our long, summer afternoons. It was all so perfect, and it all went by too fast; but truth be told, I'm welcoming the new season with open arms. Fall is great. So we bought pumpkin(and the like)-scented candles this weekend, only because Max insisted, and it seemed sort of deserving... Official and all.

ryan lochte and michael phelps in vegas.

August 31, 2012

Our weekend in Vegas was a weekend well-spent. Cirque du Soleil was insane, (if you aren't a Beatles fan, this will convert you... Blackbird has to be a new favorite.) Eating at Senor Frogs deserves an entire post - like I was an 18 year old on Spring Break, (plus the food was amazing!) And sitting by the poolside watching Michael (Max) and Ryan (Austin) re-play the summer Olympics (Ashley and I being score keepers) we really had a blast. We napped, we ate, we dressed up, we talked for hours about politics (Romney'12) and walked around Louis Vuitton, as if we could afford the $410 sunglasses -- we forgot about home and and just had fun with our friends. We could travel anywhere in the world, but that's always good enough for me.

And lets just be honest: the best part about Vegas is the water show in front of the Bellagio.

(PS. Unbroken = Ended up being one of my favorite summer reads. Louis Zamperini's story is unreal.)

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