21 days

21 days, or 504 hours, or 30,240 minutes left of summer.

Where did it go?  Remember one of my posts way back in June when I listed some summer goals for the weekend?  Did I do them that weekend? No.  Did I do them this summer? NO!

So, now it’s crunch time!  I made a list of ten things I’m going to do them in this short time that I have left.  Please hold me up to it, so I really do it.

  1. Read Hunger Games.  I’m going to sit up on the couch so I don’t fall asleep like I usually do when I try to read.
  2. Hike Mount Timp, the whole thing. I want to be able to say I’ve done it!
  3. Go camping with T.J.’s siblings and their spouses
  4. Visit the Springville hot springs
  5. Have one more snow cone
  6. Go swimming at least one more time
  7. Play a round of tennis without throwing a tantrum
  8. Take the moonlight sundance ski lift ride with T.J.
  9. Play laser tag with Ryan and our old friends up in the canyon.
  10. Go to 7 Peaks with Hannah
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Flash Back

So, I finally wrote in my journal yesterday with all the deets of our engagement story.  I know it’s late.  But better late than never right?

Since I didn’t have this blog when we were engaged, I thought I’d share the story with you.

Background: We had talked about marriage, but hadn’t set any dates or planned anything. We also didn’t want that long of an engagement, and T.J. said he didn’t have money for a ring, so I figured he wouldn’t propose for a month or so.  But back in December, we had looked at rings and I just was so eager to get engaged and start the planning! Oh and one last thing, since we had talked about marriage, I wanted to the proposal to be a complete surprise.  I’m not a fan of the cheese.  I just wanted it to be all of a sudden and out of the blue.

It was Friday January 8th, T.J. took me to Red Robin for dinner.  While we were waiting to be seated, we walked through mall (I bought an amazing down coat–another awesome thing from the night) and when we were in Gap, I saw T.J.’s feet dancing in the dressing room and heard him snapping and singing. I asked him,

“T, are you dancing?”

“Uh… yeah… I just had a good day at work.”  (Really he was excited for the rest of the evening.)

Strange, but that’s why I love him.

I was pretty tired after dinner so we just went home for a while and watched The Office. All night he talked about how he wanted to go to Chili’s to get our favorite lava cake dessert.  I was kind of confused why we would go to another restaurant that night, especially after eating a lot of dinner, but he was so persistent.  He just said he was craving it and so I went along.

When we got to Chili’s, we ordered and he left to go the restroom (he actually went and arranged with the waiter what he wanted to happen).  When our cake came out, there was a note addressed to me.  I looked around thinking someone “sent me a note” like a mormon version of “sending over a drink” or something flirtatious like that.  Then I looked at T.J. and asked,

“Wait, is this from you.”

He nodded.  I opened it up and thought he was just being cute like normal.  Sometimes he writes me notes and poems, so I didn’t think anything was up.

There was a poem inside (his Grandpa used it to propose as well), but I couldn’t finish reading because I noticed T.J. reaching in his coat pocket.

“T.J. what are you doing?  WHAT are you doing?!?”

He didn’t say anything back, he just nervously smiled, eyes wide, eyebrows raised.

Kneeling down on one knee, he asked if I would marry him… Or something like that, we don’t really remember the wording.  And I don’t remember if I said yes right away, I just met him on the ground, kissed and hugged him.

We were so excited/anxious/nervous to eat our cake.  I couldn’t get the fork to my mouth without making a mess.

Anyway, it was great.  I was completely surprised and loved how it was out of the blue and random.   Oh and he arranged with his coworker, Abby, so she could take pictures of the whole thing.  I didn’t even realize she was there until after he proposed!


Some Must Push and Some Must [Shove] – Day 2

I knew it was time to wake up when I heard the rooster cock-a-doodle-doodling. I’m not kidding.  I literally woke up to the sound of chickens!  I absolutely loved it!  It annoyed T.J. to death, but I loved the feel of being out in the country on a farm.

We headed to town to watch the Pioneer Day Parade.  The most special part of the parade was to have T.J.’s Great-Grandfather lead the parade in a horse and buggy.  He had his cute little cowboy hat on and waved to the crowd. One word: adorable.

The rest of the parade was filled with the city’s 3 wards (there is a WHOLE stake in this city of 1000!) and their different floats for Relief Societies, Primaries, and even the Stake President!  Families dressed as pioneers and pushed/pulled hand carts down the street in memory of their ancestors who made the trek across the plains.  My favorite float had their ancestry tree drawn out against the side of the truck.  Grandparents sat in the middle and were accompanied by their huge family.  Who knew a parade could be so sweet?

After the parade, we checked out the national park a few miles away with these cool rock formations called “Honeycomb Rocks.”  We weren’t dressed for exploring, so we didn’t stay too long.

For the rest of the day, we hung out with family, had a huge barbeque, ate so much sugar I thought my teeth were going to fall out immediately, and laughed till we cried while listening to the stories his Grandpa, Aunts, and Uncles told.

The town held races for the children which were pretty entertaining, but it was over a 100 degrees so I couldn’t stay outside for too long.  T.J.’s Aunt Karen also threw some games for the kids to keep all of them entertained.  We played “Name that Tune” with the adults and won an iHome for our iPod.  (Eliesa, about have of the songs you put on that CD for us were in the game, so I owe it to you.)

When the day was drawing to an end and the house was calming down a little bit, we headed to St. George to stay with Karen and her family.  They were a blast to be with, not to mention had the biggest TV I’ve ever seen, so clearly my love for them grew instantly. They also had a great pool with a hot tub, so we finished the night off with a swim and then a movie.

Well.  I’m sure you really didn’t care about what I did every waking moment this past weekend, so I apologize for these past two posts!  I really just wrote them because I’m counting my blog as writing in my journal so my mom doesn’t get at me for not writing memories down.

Anyway, thanks to T.J.’s parents, uncles, aunts, cousins and grandparents for making this weekend a great one.  It really was a dream to be a part of such a large family who all share the same values as we do.  Love you all!



Some Must Push and Some Must [Shove] – Day 1

As you may or may not know, I had been looking forward to this past weekend for quite a while.  We had been planning for on going to Enterprise, Utah (near St. George) for Pioneer Day-Weekend since May or so.

Seeing as it is my first summer in Utah, I’ve never had what some may call, a traditional Pioneer Day experience.  But let me tell ya folks, this weekend was incredible. Now, I am going to warn you, I’m going to write a lot of details, simply because I want to remember every bit of it.

Friday afternoon T.J. and I packed up the car and headed on down to the little town in the middle of nowhere.  T.J. was tired from working, so as he slept, I rocked out to my new playlist that I downloaded for the drive.  You know how some days you just want to hop in the car and drive with your windows down and music playing loud?  That’s exactly how I felt.  The last stretch of the drive from Cedar City to Enterprise was the best.  It was a scenic little route through the mountains with windy roads and a beautiful sunset.

{sidebar: a post coming shortly with the list of songs in my summer series playlist}

As soon as we got there, I fell in love with the town.  There were a bunch of old buildings that looked like they were straight from an old western movie.  Ya know what I mean? Like the classic post office building?  I don’t know how to describe it… Also, everyone kept such great care of their lawns, the houses were beautiful and whole place gave off a great “small town vibe.”

When we got to T.J.’s grandparents house, the house was filled with people.  If my family were to have that many present, it would have been a huge family reunion that had been planned out for years, but it was completely normal for all of his family. Most of them I had met but I couldn’t quite match them to the right names.  But one person I noticed immediately was his Great-Grandfather, Leland. Leland is 100 years old, soon to be 101.  He looks healthy and bright.  He always has a quaint smile on his face, although he doesn’t say too much any more.  I gave him a hug, along with T.J.’s grandpa Lyman who is a blunt. hilarious, and down-to-earth farmer.

We got there just in time to head over to the rodeo with his parents, cousins, aunts and uncles.  We listened to his Uncle Brian play with his band beforehand, which was a lot of fun to meet another member of Kelly’s (my mother-in-law’s) family.

The rodeo was a blast.  It was my first one ever.  Although I felt bad for some of the calfs that were lassoed and tied up, I was always amazed when they would just run away like nothing happened! The bull riders were so intense too.  I screamed at the top of my lungs over and over because I was so scared for the people when the bull would come after them.  What crazy person would ever want to do that?  One guy even got pretty beat up and had to be taken out by EMTs.

Probably the most fun part to watch was the chicken catch.  All the little kids tried to catch chickens that were running around the grounds.  It was hilarious to see the little boys walking away triumphantly, chicken in hand.  All night long, they held there chickens under there arms.  I saw one little girl tie a rope to her chicken’s leg.

Precious girl, poor chicken.

After the rodeo was a town dance.  A town dance. How cute is that??  I actually didn’t go though because I was so tired and knew we had a big day ahead of us on Saturday, so I hit the hay pretty early that night at Wade and Angel’s house (another one of T.J.’s Uncles).

So that ends day one of the weekend.  More to come…



T.J. and I are planning on going to Disneyland for Thanksgiving.  We just went for our Honeymoon and had an amazing time, but we hear that during the Holidays–the place is incredible.

Saving money is actually not as hard when you have a goal or incentive to work towards.  So although it stinks not to be able to buy the shoes I want right now or to eat out throughout the week, it is easier to make the sacrifice when I know Disneyland is in sight if we save!

Sneak Peak!

Karen Huntsman, T.J.’s wonderful and gracious and talented boss, took our photos on the day of the wedding, as well as our Bridals.

She just sent us a URL for the first set of photos.  They are beautiful!  I was worried they wouldn’t be perfect because it was such a cold and windy day, but they turned out wonderfully!

Here is a slideshow of a few of my favorites.


If you would like to see the rest of this first batch, click here.

Anyway, thanks so much, Karen!  I can’t wait to see the rest!

I’m a Utahan?

Last week I changed my last name and once I get my new social security card, I’ll be getting my new drivers license.  A Utah drivers license.

I will miss my Kentucky license.  It always sparked conversation and it made me unique. And although my home is now in Utah and my license will say I’m a Utahan, I will always be a Kentuckian at heart (always remember that, mom).

Anyway, now that I’m going to be a Utahan, it’s time to start acting like one.

So first thing on the list as a Utahan was to go camping.  Last weekend I went camping with T.J. and his sister Lacey and her husband Josh out on the other side of Utah Lake. Just a bunch of Utahans camping in the dessert, with a big truck, lots of supplies, a firepit, and guns.

Next thing on the list is to hike Mt. Timp.  Anyone want to join?

First time shooting a gun.

We scooped out the insides of oranges, put cake batter inside, wrapped them up in foil, and baked them over a fire. Delish!

Camping when you're married is awesome!



Eclipse. Was. EPIC.

I hear the second time you see it, at a normal hour and when you aren’t loaded up on sugar and caffeine to stay awake, it just doesn’t have as much power, but I refuse to believe it.

The EPIC night started off by eating at El Gillo Giro, my new favorite mexican restaurant (a post about that is soon to follow), filling our stomachs with delicious burritos, enchiladas and free chips and salsa.

When we arrived at the movie theater, it was 8:00 pm.  We thought we probably had some time to walk around the mall for a while after we picked up our tickets, but turns out the Provo Towne Center was the place to be to watch the movie.  People already were camped out with their blankets, laptops, cutouts, t-shirts, memorabilia, pizzas, ice cream, dinners, and my favorite, lawn chairs (brought by two women over sixty years old).

So we found our place in line, set up camp, and waited around.  For 4 hours.  We watched a lot of YouTube videos, ate a lot of candy, took a bunch of videos and pictures, and watched the second Twilight movie.

Finally midnight rolled around and we were let into our theater, and the movie was starting in 20 minutes.  We rannnnnnnnn to the theater, knocked down children, fought for seats, stole some popcorn (more or less of all that is true), and got perfect seats for the film.

Needless to say, I cried several times in the movie, including the proposal scene.  I loved the part when they were in the tent, for several reasons 🙂 anddddd I loved that Edward actually acted in the movie, instead of staring at the camera, all white and gangly.

Anyway, the event was a success.  Here are a few pictures from the evening.

Upcoming Road Trip

Can’t wait for the road trip with T.J., Josh, and Lacey to Albuquerque this weekend for Dustin’s wedding!  T.J. keeps calling it “The Armpit of America.”  All I know is that it’s far away from Provo, so it’s gonna be awesome.

The Phoenix

My parents held a reception for T.J. and I in Cincinnati.  It was at The Phoenix, downtown, on June 4th.  The reception was absolutely beautiful, yet simple.  It was a great way to share the excitement and celebrate with my close friends and family.

Leila James Photography

If you would like to see more photos of the reception, click on the image or visit my Flickr gallery.