Tuesday, January 6, 2015

hey there 2015...let's tango.

Well ya'll it has been quite some time since we last hung out.

hello again.

Back in January of 2013 I started the tradition of a new year blog post. This was for two reasons. One, to help me remember the highlights of the year because my journal writing is slacking. Two, because often times I find my blog writing is a very different style then my journal. When I journal I leave it all out on the table. I'm all over the place and usually using it as a place to vent frustrated feelings. When I blog it tends to be more reflective and helps me realize a lot about myself, keeps my attitude in check, and often humbles me.

I started 2014 living with my favorite old roomie. We have been roomies for most our lives and by golly it felt good to have her back. We always pick up right where we left off and have a grand old time full of inside jokes, tears shed, and late night DMCs.

I was working at Primrose still but began a new position as the Preschool I teacher. I moved from 18 month old children to 3 year olds and what a difference! What a time for children to be exploring a new phase in life, learning to navigate relationships with others, controlling behavior and emotions, and engaging in school-level language and math skills.This is honestly the age I feel you can really make an impact on the foundation that is built for their future. I absolutely love it!

Oh and I got to see Phantom of the Opera on Broadway...no biggie.

April was the start of the 'year of weddings' for me. My sister Chelsea was marring her high school love in the Bountiful Utah temple and I couldn't have been more excited for her! She was so genuinely happy that day and I knew she was ready to embark on this new chapter of her life with an amazing man by her side.

I couldn't make a trip out to Utah without catching up with my old loves so after the festivities I headed up to Logan for a few days of Chipotle eating, moving watching,  girl jabbering fun. We also held our 3rd annual tea party and had a grand time lifting one another up and reminding each other how amazing we all are.  

Oh, and I couldn't wait to show off my alumni to my baby sister. I am not so secretly trying to brain wash her into going to Utah State. It is after all the best University. Ever. 

My summer was pretty chill just working and hanging out with the family. I have enjoyed the time getting to know Brandon and Tiffany again. I especially realized this summer how much they really have grown up and changed. When I moved away from home they were 6 and 10. What a difference 7 years can make! I am so proud of the people they are becoming!

In August my sister Brittney got married. I was defiantly not ready to lose my partner in crime. You can ask ANYONE and they will tell you we are a packaged deal. She knows anything and everything about me and she is my personal psychiatrist. haha. She looked beautiful on her big day though and I knew I could trust her to still only be a phone call away. I was happy to support her and loved seeing her so happy!

The summer ended with me losing my co-teacher at work and she is pretty darn amazing! I really was  not ready for this change and sad to see Justine go. People don't always realize how important a co-teacher is. They become your 'spouse' essentially because you are spending 40+ hours a week caring for 24 children together and trying to maintain a well organized and functioning classroom. They are really the only other adult you communicate with for those hours and I was lucky to have someone who was so fun to talk to and see eye-to-eye on matters with.

Three weeks after she left I was offered a new position as the Preschool II teacher and I was so excited for this welcomed change! I would be working by myself for the first half of the year with 12 adorable children. While a little overwhelming at first, I loved this new position and classroom!

November brought on wedding number three for my family as my girl Jess was getting married to her boy she meet earlier in the year. I had a hunch back in April she would be getting hitched to this kid Ben she insisted on me meeting so I wasn't to surprised when she asked me during the summer if I would be her bridesmaid. This girl could not have been happier or more ready! I was ecstatic to fly back out to Utah and spend time with her and catch up with old friends.

 One of the highlights of the trip was probably her bachelorette party. The sisters spent the morning/afternoon at the spa which was complete with soaks, facials, massages, pedicures, naps by the fireplace, and sipping sparkling cider. We then met up with everyone for dinner and after had a private paint class complete with a dirty 30. We topped off the night with the Mockingjay premiere. (Duh!) It was fun to throw this party with Aly and catch up with her and the rest of the gang. It was fun to hear what everyone was up to and see us all come together to support our girl.

I returned from Utah to a new co-teacher and a handful of new students. While a little nervous at first, I really lucked out. Alison is a seasoned pro and so great to work with! I have enjoyed getting to know her and our classroom is a ball of fun! We have even started to dress the same. Unintentionally. Plus she is going to help me on my journey to loving vegetables this year! Work really was a highlight for my year. I was honored to be recognized as teacher of the month in March and again in November. I love the relationships I have built with my students and their families and find so much joy in what I do. I can't think of a single day this past year that I didn't want to go to work. For that I feel truly blessed.

I ended by blog last year with this resolution:

"May it [2014] be a year I can be proud of. A year I make a difference. A year I allow Heavenly Father to shape me into the person He knows I can become. "

Well if I am being completely honesty I did not live up to it and pains me to go back and read it. Because hiding behind all these wonderful smiling pictures and stories, is a girl who really struggled with staying true to who she was. I told myself moving back to Ohio was going to be hard, but damn. It was hard. I will spare you all the gory details (as mentioned before, I save that for my journal) but I will say that I lost who I am. I lost that feeling of being needed, being useful, being loved. I feel back into old addictions, unhealthy ways of thinking, loneliness, and self-loathing. Instead of facing this challenge with courage and integrity, I faced it with fear and doubt. I stopped being honest with myself and didn't want to put in the work that was being asked of me. I stopped believing in me and sadly even lost a little faith in my Father in heaven.  So many things were changing, so many people were moving on, so many challenges were piling up, and so many tried attempts failed that I stopped searching for a way out and just gave up, letting the walls cave in. 

Ironically New Year's Eve was my turning point. I had another panic attack, my third one that year. After using the last of my inhaler and silently begging the Lord to make the pain stop, I realized things needed to change and it had to start with me. I wasn't going to have another year like 2014. I didn't want to overwhelm myself with a list of resolutions or goals so I took a page out of Jess's book and decided to find one word to center my thoughts on. One word to help guide my year and the changes I want to make. 


Trust in myself. Trust I am not my mistakes. Trust I am strong enough. Trust I am an agent for change. Trust I can forgive myself. 

Trust in others. Trust they are sincere.  Trust they are dependable. Trust they believe in me.

Trust in my Heavenly Father. Trust His plan and purpose. Trust He hasn't and won't leave me unaided. Trust He wants the best for me. Trust He is forgiving.

Happy New Year! May you all find trust in your life to make the changes you want and love the life you are living!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

good day.

Hello stranger.

It's been awhile.

This is going to be a short one.


Ever have one of those days that comes to an end and you look back and think, "Oh wow. Today was just a really awesome day!"?  Well today was one of those days for me.

I have been in a slump really and just going through the motions of day to day life. Nothing bad happening, just nothing real eventful or worth taking note of either. I have been super stressed with things that I don't have a whole lot of control over right now, which makes them even more stressful because there is nothing I can do to change it. Today was different.

While it was still a pretty normal day with no profound events, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I got like 8 hours of sleep. That is a beautiful thing.

Was able to get in a bit of morning scripture study, an area I have been slacking in.

My class only had 13 children today. 13! I truly enjoy all of my students, but to go from the usual 24 to 13, it was a nice relaxed and calm day.

We even had a picnic with the children that was a lot of fun, with the bug attacks and all.

Came home from work to see delicious buckeye cupcakes waiting for me. Thank you again Jamie and Brittney.

Spent the evening sitting on the porch, enjoying cold lemonade, grilled chicken, and fresh fruit.

The night ended with a few hours of much needed girl talk and laughs shared with some amazing ladies.

It was a nice reminder that attitude is everything and that Heavenly Father is looking out for me. Today was the exact kind of day I needed and I am grateful for every minute of it.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

meet the giffords.

My family is pretty great.  I have had people time and again almost pity me for how large my family is and ask how I do it. They always end up making a remark along the lines of how they can't even stand their one sister, how do you handle three? Trust me, we have our issues and problems like all families do, seven people in one house, five of which are hormonal women, yeah it got is crazy. We make it work though and I wouldn't trade any of them. At the end of the day, after the fights, the messy bathroom, the favorite box of cereal already eaten, the closet ransacked through for clothes, and having to hide in the car for some peace and quiet, I love them. Yes, I can't wait to move out again and be on my one once more, but for now this is where I  belong, and I find myself enjoying the noise and chaos most days and love how there is always someone around ready to play a board game, or go shopping, or watch a movie with you. Looking at the big picture I know we are all trying to lift one another and support one another as best we can. I couldn't get through this life without them.

 I am incredible grateful to be as close to my siblings as I am. They are built in best friends. I use to always want an older brother, someone to look after me, but I can't deny how much I  love being the oldest! I love  being "in charge" and watching out for everyone, trying my best to care for them. No, I have not always been the best big sister, but I am definitely trying to be and hope my siblings know that they always have at least one person on their side.  

Brittney is my go to girl when it comes to "growing and learning" from life. I don't do anything, and I mean anything, without first checking in with her. She is not only beautiful on the outside, but stunningly beautiful on the inside. The girl would give you the shirt off your back if you asked her to. She shows more diligence, faith, and trust in our Lord than anyone I know . She is my confidant and the only person I have ever told everything to. She is the one person who can give me advice and I will actually listen. Without her I would be a hot mess. Brittney has taught me to try and be a selfless person and has helped me to remain humble and true to who I am. 

Chelsea is my go to girl when it comes to "pintersting" our life. Our style can be so similar and she is extremely talented in everything she does, and I mean everything. If Chelsea says it is going to get done, you better believe it is going to happen and it is going to turn out better than you dreamed. This girl grabs life by the horns and throws it down. You would never think she has ever had a challenge or trial because her gorgeous smile has never faded from her face. She is going to become an amazing wife this April, and an even more amazing mother (much later down the road. haha). Chelsea has taught me to just keep smiling no matter what life hands you. I always tease that I feel like I am always in a silent competition with her to be the better sister but that has helped me to become the best version of myself and to continue striving to be even better. Without her I would have stopped trying to be a better person long ago and given up on thinking I can improve.

Tiffany is my go to girl when it comes to actually "living, experiencing, and loving" life. The girl is non-stop moving from one activity to the next. She is so enthusiastic about life and always looking for the fun and adventures within it. She will give anything a try at least once and usually loves it after. The girl will talk to anyone and befriend whoever wants to make the world a better place. I believe she wants to leave her mark on this world, and trust me you will see her mark soon enough if you haven't already. We always tease her that she was my "mini-me" growing up, and while I would like to think I have a lot of her same qualities, she has definitely taken those qualities and perfected them. She is sassy. She is confident. She is bold. She is kind. She is unstoppable. Tiffany has taught me to not let anything get in your way, that everything is worth achieving with a little coaxing, negotiating, and humor. 

Brandon is my go to guy when it comes to "working hard and improving" my life. The kid is a well oiled working machine. He works so hard to achieve his best in everything he does. He is consistently pulling straight A's despite his learning disability and puts 110% into his sports and boy scouts. He is constantly wanting to learn more and looking for the best way to accomplish any task. He loves trying new recipes he found online or science projects he found on youtube. He looks for the why in everything and absorbs new information like a sponge. As much as he denies it, I think he likes being the only boy in the family and is a total sweetheart and will give you a much needed hug at the end of a rough day. Brandon has taught me to face every challenge with optimism and determination. Nothing is impossible and no matter how tough the challenge, it can easily be conquered with a go-getter attitude and a hug from a friend.

I love families! I hope everyone out there has a family they can turn to, no matter how it is made up. If not come talk to me, I like to think we are a pretty welcoming bunch.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Welcome 2014.

I almost feel bizarre writing this post, I feel like I just wrote my 2012 year in review (here)Yet I am summing up 2013 and it is so bitter sweet. I laugh every time I write this kind of post because I always start or end it with something along the lines of "this has been my toughest year" and here I am a year later saying the same thing wondering if this can possibly get any tougher. Trust me folks, it can. It always can. I ended last year with a wish to all that 2013 would,
 "bring all of you hardships, heartaches, and tears. Hardships so you can see your amazing strength and grow in humility. Heartaches so you can see the amazing support and love from your friends and family and build trust in the Lord. Tears so you can truly feel the joys of life. The joys that bring so much happiness all you can do is cry in gratefulness for those moments."  
Well this last year certainly had plenty of that for me. I think I am still working on the humility and trust in the Lord part. It doesn't come easily, at least not on my end.

I started 2013 living at Legacy Village in Logan, Utah with these amazing women. We couldn't have all been more different. haha. But we made it work and it truly was a blessing to get to know them, become friends, and create a small home for us to turn to when life got crazy. I look back now at each face and know exactly why Heavenly Father put them in my life. Each of them helped me learn a very specific lesson and develop and nurture my trust, love, patience, and charity towards others and towards God. Plus we had some awesome Dirty 30s, tribal ski-pole fights, check-outs, and OTH marathons.

The school year continued as usual. Full of fun and parties. I love my girlfriends.

I accomplished one of my biggest goals in May. One I set when I was 10 years old. To graduate from Utah State University. I did just that and it felt so good.

I spent the summer just relaxing and having a blast with some of my dearest friends. I felt I deserved it after graduating.

Looking back at my amazing summer, I also feel like it was helping me avoid looking to the next step. I didn't really plan anything after school. I liked school. I liked my identifier being "Student at USU". No one really ever wants to completely grow up and work a 9-5 job rest of their life. No one wants to start paying back the student loans. If they do, its a lie. haha.

I think I was also avoiding the fact that I wasn't even close to my other goal, and that is being a mom. I would have never admitted that six years ago. I didn't even want that ten years ago. I know women around the world are laughing right now telling me "you are so young, the world is so big, just relax and give yourself time". I give myself that pep talk all the time. trust me, I realize that. However, I wanted to be a mom in Utah. I love that place. You see, I was also trying to push aside the feeling that I needed to move back to Ohio and possibly elsewhere after that. (You can read all about my decision to move here and here.). In a nutshell, it was the hardest thing I have ever done in my 26 years of life. I still struggle with the decision today but know it was the right one and turn to Elder Jeffrey R. Holland's comforting words,

 “God expects you to have enough faith and determination and enough trust in Him to keep moving, keep living, keep rejoicing. In fact, He expects you not simply to face the future (that sounds pretty grim and stoic); He expects you to embrace and shape the future--to love it and rejoice in it and delight in your opportunities.God is anxiously waiting for the chance to answer your prayers and fulfill your dreams, just as He always has. But He can't if you don't pray, and He can't if you don't dream. In short, He can't if you don't believe.”

So in August I made the move to Ohio. 

The last few months of 2013 seem pretty usual. While looking for a job, I was thinking about my last one in Logan. I enjoyed my time working with families at the Child and Family Support Center in Logan, but I realized I missed teaching. I taught a program called Good Touch/Bad Touch while at the center and absolutely fell in love with it and being in the schools. I miss it tremendously! (if anyone knows of a program like it in Ohio, please let me know!) So when I moved to Ohio I got a job teaching 18 month old children at a Primrose school. I do enjoy my job but I am excited to be moving up the preschool room in a week! I can't wait to get my hands on the curriculum and working with older children. 

What makes Ohio so hard is the feeling of not knowing my purpose in my life at this moment. Logan was that for me. I knew exactly what my purpose was there. I knew the exact people I was helping. I knew exactly who my friends were. I knew exactly what I needed to be doing. I like to feel needed. I like to feel like I am making a difference in the world and contributing to society in some way. I don't feel that in Ohio. I can't seem to find that I am needed here. I can't feel like I am contributing in anyway. It's going to take time for me to find it.

2014 is going to be a busy year for my family and I hope it is for me too. I can tell you right now I am going to need to find more of that trust in the Lord. I can be pretty stubborn. I am continuing on the journey of creating the best version of me. Seems like that is going to be a lifelong pursuit. I won't bore you with the "small and timely" goals I set, but I want to do everything in my power this year to help that process along. I hope I can make people proud this year. I hope I can make myself proud. I hope I can be a friend someone always needed, make a difference in someone's life this year. I hope I can allow myself  to let someone to be that friend for me.

So here is to 2014! May it be a year I can be proud of. A year I make a difference. A year I allow Heavenly Father to shape me into the person He knows I can become. 

I think I can handle 2014 after all. There are only 78 days till Divergent comes to theaters and 324 more days till Mockingjay. Oh and this woman is going to be my roommate!