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A Time to Be Grateful

This Thanksgiving, I spent the break in Southern Utah. For the first few days we were in Enterprise, a little town in the hills between Cedar City and St. George. T.J.’s mom’s side of the family lives there so we were able to be with his Grandparents, Great-Grandparents, Aunts and Uncles.

The night before we were leaving, we had anticipated getting caught in the “Storm of the Century,” as they were calling it. But the storm completely passed over Provo and the snow just dusted the grass down in Southern Utah. That was quite a blessing because I was not looking forward to driving in a storm.

Once we arrived, we hung out at T.J.’s grandparents house, ate dinner, caught up, and looked at old pictures of T.J. and his cousins.

For some reason, all my exhaustion caught up with me so I napped so much the entire break. I couldn’t help it. I just would sit in a cozy chair next to the fireplace and five minutes later, I’d be asleep. But it was very relaxing and the naps were much needed.

I also used the time to read the first Hunger Games. I read the first 50 pages out loud to T.J. because our car’s sound system is kind of broken (I had to pop a couple dramamines though so I wouldn’t get car sick). But the book is incredible, I’m almost finished, and then I’ve got to start on the other two! It feels so good to read, I haven’t read for myself for a long time.

Let’s see what else happened….

We slept over at T.J.’s uncle and aunt’s house (Wade and Angel). They have four darling girls and a beautiful home. The next day was Thanksgiving, where we went back to the grandparents’ and ate there. There was so much food. I’m not used to big families. My extended family only gets together once every few years, and at those reunions it still is less than the Huntsmans’ gatherings. I love it though. Anyway, the dinner consisted of a turkey, a ham, lots of side dishes, and about 15 pies. 

After dinner, and another nap, we all got into trucks and drove into the mountains searching for the perfect tree. When my family goes to look for a perfect tree, our excursion stops at about wal-mart and maybe Target. So needless to say, this was the first time looking for a real Christmas tree. I wish I would have been better prepared with better boots and pants. But next year, I’ll be ready.

We finally found one. It looked kind of small to me, but that’s because I’m an amateur. It actually was huge in the living room.

After the kids decorated the tree, we headed back to Wade and Angel’s house for, what turned out to be, a night of intense games.

It was awesome and so much fun to get to know T.J.’s siblings and their spouses better. It’s so cool to me that all six of us are about the same age and really get along, plus we all live so close. What a blessing!

We played Rock Band for a while (which I pretend I’m a pro at, but I just like putting it on the hard setting because it’s more fun even if I fail). Then we played Spoons, which is one of my family’s favorite games. But Angel spiced it up a bit by hiding the spoons throughout the house. Dangerous? Yes. Hilarious and Awesome? Most definitely. Then we played the ol’ Gestures-Boys v. Girls. The girls won, clearly. But the boys did a great job. T.J. was trying to act out “Crazy.” To end the night, we played a few rounds of Pit, which is on my Christmas list, by the way.

On Black Friday, we decided to skip the stores and sleep in because we are low on funds and sleep. It was kind of sad passing up Black Friday, but we got to hang out with T.J.’s little cousins a little longer before we headed to St. George.

In St. George (which is one of my favorite cities because of the red rock), we saw the new movie “The Next Three Days,” with Russell Crowe. It was absolutely intense and a great thriller. We watched a bunch of football games for the rest of the weekend including the BYU v. Utah game. After BYU’s loss, we drove home and had to talk about the game for the majority of the five hours.

It was a great trip, and although I was a bit homesick, I made it through and am so grateful for my in-laws!


Park City and Greeks


This past weekend, Hannah and I decided to have lunch in Park City and then head on up to the Greek Festival downtown Salt Lake. The weather was incredible, the leaves have started to change so the drive was beautiful, and the food–both at lunch and the festival–was delicious. We finished off the night with baklava and rocking out to “Good Morning” by Chamillionaire on our way home. Great weekend!



We’re from Kentucky.

It was really windy.

When I was 14 or 15, my parents and I went to San Francisco for the 4th of July. It was one incredible trip that I still talk about. But mostly I still talk about it because of this one experience:

My parents and I loved walking down all the streets looking at the amazing houses and just wished we could go inside one.

There was this one house that was being remodeled and the door was wide open. A construction worker was outside and my parents decided to ask him if we could go in the house.

He said, “Si.”

My parents are nuts and decided to go inside.

I pleaded with them, begging them not to go, but it was too late they were already in the doors. I walked in the foyer but that was all. My mom walked into the rooms in the main floor and my dad headed on upstairs for the grand tour.

But something started to hit my mom and I.

The house was still furnished. Paintings on the wall. Pictures on the table, jackets on the coat hanger.

This house, folks, was not vacant. And we soon found that out.

“Hi, can I help you?” said a woman who came in from another room.

My mom, thinking she was a real estate agent, said, “Oh, we’re just looking around, checking out this nice house.”

“This is a private residence!”

My dad with impeccable timing called from upstairs, “Nancy, there’s more up here!”

I was in utter horror. Shock. I couldn’t believe that this was really happening. We had walked into some lady’s house just because the man outside who clearly didn’t know English told us, “si.”

I grabbed my mom, she started apologizing over and over, called for my dad, we ran out of the house while my mom gave her last apology:

Oh, I’m sorry, we’re from Kentucky.

That explained it.

You have arrived!

Going along with the last post, on Saturday we headed to Zion National Park to hike the Narrows about 30 minutes away from St. George.

T.J.’s aunt and uncle told us the directions the night before, but just to be sure, we used Sean’s phone that gave the directions out loud.

Before we got into Springdale (which is the city right before the park), the phone suspiciously told us to take a left. The road was kind of gravely and I had my doubts. But who am I to question the phone?

We entered the Kolab Canyons, which is a part of the national park, but it didn’t look too familiar from the past time I went down there. But once again, who am I to question the phone?

The drive was absolutely beautiful. I was amazed by the many trees on the red rock canyons.

We drove for about a half an hour or so and then Sean said, “Guys, I’ve got some bad news.”


“You have arrived!” said the phone.


We were in the middle of no where. There was a small dirt road forking to the right, but it definitely was not the entrance to the Narrows.

Needless to say, we weren’t supposed to take that suspicious left a ways back, but we eventually found our way and got to the park entrance.

It wasn’t a loss though, because the drive was so beautiful and we got to see a lot more of the park than we had planned.


Scavenger Hunt in St. George

This past weekend, T.J. and I drove down to St. George with our friends Heidi and Sean. Friday night, we wanted to go to the St. George temple, but we got to town too late. Instead, we drove around the whole town searching for a place to eat. Sean brought one of those coupon entertainment books, so we wanted to find a restaurant with a coupon.

The first place we went to was supposed to have scones or something, which sounded wonderful. But it went out of business. Then the next restaurant was supposed to have 30 types of cheesecakes. I was thrilled about this place and was picturing something like the Cheesecake factory. It turned out to be a bar attached to a bowling alley. It wasn’t a bar and grille though, it was just a bar with a few bar stools around pool tables. We stuck out like sore thumbs as BYU students.

Next, we tried to hit this Italian place where we had a coupon for a pizza. The restaurant it was supposed to be had a different name, so we thought we might as well give it a shot, but the boys were too embarrassed to ask if the coupon would work.

Like I said in a previous post, I really am turning into my mom because I obviously was not embarrassed to ask about the coupon, especially if we would get a discount from asking. So Heidi and I went in and asked if the coupon was still valid even though the name of the restaurant changed. The hostess told me no and I got kind of embarrassed and said while walking out the door,

“Oh, sorry, it was just for a scavenger hunt.”

(It’s like the time my mom said, “Oh, sorry, we’re from Kentucky…” But that’s another story…..)

Anyway, we ended up at this great Thai place called Benja Thai. I highly recommend it, especially the sticky rice dessert with mango and coconut sauce on top. Delicious. Also, it inspired me to learn how to make curry. Does anyone have any good curry recipes?


The Narrows

Two years ago, I hiked the Narrows in Zion National Park with my family. 

This weekend, T.J. and I are hiking it with another couple in our ward.

Gotta live it up while we can, right?


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!

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.