Saturday, November 21, 2015

What Stephen Thinks are my Favorite Things

Here's a real live conversation that just happened. It miiiiight be TMI, but I thought it was really funny so I have to share.

Me: Stephen, what are some of my favorite things?

Him: Food. Like free food.

Me: I already got that. What else?

Him: Working out.

Me: Meh.

Him: Rock-climbing.

Obviously he is trying to tell me something here.....

Me: No, Stephen. Like, my favorite, favorite things. In the whole world.

Him: Oh! Sex.

Me: No!

Him: That is your favorite thing, you just don't want to admit it.

Me: I'm posting this on Instagram.....I'm not saying that. What else?

Him: Vacations. Spending money. The beach. Going fancy places.

Me: I do love the beach! Okay what else?

Him: Do you want to donate your body to science one day?

Me: Like when I die? No.

Him: What, why not? Then anatomy students could actually have a pretty cadaver to look at.

Excuse my face....

Me: Can we get back to my favorite things? I need one more.

He picks up a guitar.

Him: What song do you want me to learn?

And there it is: my other favorite thing. My most favorite thing.

It's the man I want to pour all my love into, one packed lunch or rock-climbing date or back massage at a time.

I love him for every time he's gotten out of bed to bring me a cold water bottle from the fridge, for every fried egg he's made for me, for each time he's called me "cutie" or complimented my butt or painted the nails on my right hand. For every baby he's ever played with, every cheesy picture he's ever taken with me, every homeless person he's ever given food to, every time he's skipped class to cuddle with me when I'm off-track.

It makes for a really mushy blog post, this love. I just never imagined it would be this wonderful!

Thursday, November 19, 2015


This is our relationship with Logan, in a blog post. Transcribed as closely as I can recall what happened 10 minutes ago:

He walks in the room where Stephen and I are.

Logan: Ew. Stop kissing. You guys stop it.

We continue.

Logan: STOP! I said stop! I mean it!

We ignore him. He jumps on Stephen's back. We continue to ignore him and he leaves, adding: "You guys are so weird."

Stephen picks up the guitar and starts singing. "Logan sucks and Logan sucks. Logan sucks, he really sucks."

"STOP!" Logan screams from downstairs.

"Logan sucks at Fun Run 2....." Stephen sings joyfully.

"No I don't, it's you, you're the one who quit!"

Repeat 8 times.

"I'm going to tell Dad, I mean it, stop!" Logan announces.

"Logan sucks -" Stephen exuberantly sings back.

The garage door slams as he goes out to the garage to tell Dad.

Later on, Stephen apologizes.

"Logan, I'm sorry. I just say those things to play with you, because I think it's funny how you react."

Logan sits there motionless. He likes to play dead sometimes.

"I actually think you're really smart," Stephen continues. "You might be a manager at McDonalds one day. That's how smart I think you are."

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Hang on to your Butts

Free food, free concerts, and free national park days are some of my favorite things to happen. So when national parks were free a few weekends ago, we had to take advantage and check out Dinosaur National Monument. 

Just a few hours' drive to the East of Provo lies this under-appreciated park. It is the Jurassic Park of our generation, since our generation probably won't see live dinosaurs, so this is as close as you're gonna get. 

It was here that paleontologists discovered a huge jackpot of thousands of dinosaur bones, all in one spot. There used to be a river, and sometimes it would flood, and dinosaurs would drown in it. Other dinosaurs, that had already died, would get their bones picked up and washed down river, and then they all piled up in this sandbar kinda place. 

When it was first discovered, paleontologists excavated a lot of it. Then, they left a lot in place and built a building all around it! And now, regular Joes like you and I and my brother Joseph whose mission blog I NEVER update so please don't read it, can go and see this excavation site, all preserved. You take a shuttle to get to the building, and the shuttle drives up to a gate that slides open all electronically (BECAUSE YOU'RE IN JURASSIC PARK), and then the shuttle drives through, and takes you up the hill to the visitor enter. Many of the biggest and most complete dinosaur skeletons they discovered got sent to other museums, but it is still so cool.

I got home first on Friday, so I started gathering up the camping stuff, and even packed clothes for Stephen. By the time he got home I was ready to be gone, like, an hour ago. 

Me: Come on, let's get in the car!
Him: Hold on, I have to pack my clothes.
Me: I already got you clothes. Let's go.
Him: Oh you did? Did you pack my short-sleeved denim shirt? The one with the collar?
Me: Huh? No, we're going to be hiking and stuff. 
Him: I know, but I need that shirt. I need to look like a paleontologist. 

I broke into a huge smile and got super excited - because I had packed clothes for myself that looked like paleontologist clothes! So we're clearly meant to be together. 

Stephen is generally happy to pose ridiculously for pictures, but sometimes he gets embarrassed about it. Like when he's all intrigued and asking the ranger intelligent questions, and then I go off and want to pose like this in plain sight.

The Jurassic Park fence!!!

We went with Margot and Gonzalo and had the best time. And we even found a trail called Stump Trail, so we were excited to have another teacher on our team join us!

Mostly, Dinosaur is deserty and the landscapes aren't as cool as the bones. But there were some pretty pink rocks.
Also, some petroglyphs. 

And a dirt road that Cassidy Jane and La Grosse Berta got stuck on.  
And a sign that all the cars pass, so again I'm the only poser. 

Everyone should go, if you haven't already been! And take all your 7-year-olds. They'll love it just as much as you do. 

Monday, October 12, 2015

BFF's and World Peace

"Mrs. Shimp," our resident class bully / tattletale says earnestly.

(As usual. Recess is over, so it's time for his daily tattle.)

"G was butting me," he complains. "And he stepped on my foot, and pushed me."

"That's a real shame," I say, "because you know what? I know G. And he's a really good guy, I actually really like him. And I know you, and you're also a really good guy, and I really like you, too. So it's too bad that you had to argue.....I mean, couldn't you have thought of something better you two could have done?"

I've got some suggestions ready: stay away from each other, let it go if he butts you, maybe calmly explain that he hurt your feelings when he did that.

T immediately responds with his own suggestion: "Maybe, we could just be best friends instead!"

And suddenly it's resolved, and they are best friends instead.

Our tenth Airbnb guest was a PhD student. She was on sabbatical in the United States, studying chemistry with a BYU professor. I chatted with her while I was making dinner, and accidentally cut my finger with the knife. She brought me a band-aid and told me to please be careful, and then we laughed about how her mom had called, and yelled at her about the fast food she had been eating.

"She's really nice," I told one of my friends.

"Yeah, well," they replied, "She didn't bomb your house, so that is nice."

Which I thought was not nice. Because our guest was a Muslim girl from Iran, but she was also a teacher, and a traveler, and a potential best friend, and you wouldn't know that if you only focused on a few things about her.

She told us all about her life in Iran. Her students loved her, because she was a very relaxed teacher. She always had to cover her face, but she liked how she didn't have to here. They have all four seasons in Iran. She didn't much like traveling and never expected to go anywhere as far as Utah again in her life. If I wasn't there, she seemed uncomfortable having conversations with Stephen and instead would just say a quick hello and then retreat to her room. She didn't like spicy foods. Alcohol is not allowed in Iran, but unlike America where everyone raged against the machine and started up speakeasies until it was re-allowed, no one seems to care in Iran. Dating is also very different - she said there is no touching, and you would never be alone with each other.

And talking with her, and sharing my home with her, just made me wish that ee'rbody in the world had the same viewpoint as T, and would take a step back and maybe, just be best friends instead. We're all people, after all, and we aren't all that different. We all feel feelings, and we all shiz out of our buttholes, and we all like Instagram better than Facebook.

And we can all be best friends.

Friday, October 9, 2015

25 Reasons You Love Me

I'm having a birthday this year. This usually happens, but this year is special!

*She said every year.*

Ehm, anyway. This year, I'm turning 25.

(I might say this for a few years, but this year it's actually biological. So take note!)

In honor of this very exciting event, I thought I would make a list of 25 things about me. Random things that you may or may not know.

Let's begin.

1. Sometimes I get so excited about birthdays that I over-plan them, and then I start to think that that day is all about me and my awesome plans. Even when it's someone else's birthday. This happens annually with Stephen. I have literally said to him, on his birthday: "Don't you ruin this for me! Don't you dare take this away on my special day!"

2. I'm pretty sure I get a crick in my neck more often than is normal, and like 8% of me wonders if an oil would fix it, but I would rather have cricks than turn into an oils person, so. That's a problem I live with for now.

3. I love dressing up and free food more than almost anything else. These things make the world go round.

4. I live vicariously through my sisters in their dating/texting lives. Boys trying to date my sisters, beware that you might be reading a txt I wrote.

5. I remember almost all of my dreams. I make a point to think about them when I wake up, because I love them so much.

6. And actually, I'm a great dream interpreter. My dad keeps telling me I should make a website and interpret people's dreams, because wouldn't that be so funny, and I keep thinking "What is funny about that, this is serious."

7. I never realized how many ways a person can sleep in a bed wrong until I married Stephen.

8. I once went on The Price is Right. I did not get called up. And consequently I did not win any money. I still feel a little sad about this from time to time.

9. I love snakes. Sometimes when I'm feeling lonely, I peruse the snakes for sale on KSL, just intending to look. Get an idea of the cost. And then, inevitably, I end up txting Stephen about 4 or 5 different ones that I waaaaant and are such good deals.

10. I am unceasingly inspired by my mom and Marjorie Pay Hinckley.

11. I went through this Elvis phase once, when I was like 11, right after I watched Lilo and Stitch. I got like 3 Elvis CD's for Christmas that year.

12. Sometimes I try to think about taking a Europe vacation, and I try to Pinterest it, and look on Airbnb, and it always overwhelms me. And somehow I wind up on cruise websites instead, what?

13. I get perfect weather for my birthday e'er year. It just always happens.

14. My most embarrassing moment occurred when I went on a date with a boy, who took me to his apartment to introduce me to his roommates, who apparently were sordid pigs, and I went to the bathroom and found a sandwich floating in the toilet and an empty toilet paper roll and no soap. And I am not going to share the rest of this story.

15. As a teacher, yes I have favorites. #sorrynotsorry. (My favorites are not set in stone and sometimes change daily, if that makes it any better.)

16. If I ever become rich, I want a beach room in my house. Not a beach house. I want a room with a wave pool, and sand, and a skylight, and a sound system that plays the sounds of the ocean. In my house. Stephen says this is unrealistic and I say that is rude.

17. Also, I want a car butler. I do not understand these horseless carriages!! I just want someone I trust to come over monthly, and check everything, and tell me what I need to fix, and get the oil changed, and do all the maintenance things that I am physically incapable of keeping track of.

18. When I first came to Utah, I came with big dreams of marrying a cowboy or Cosmo the Cougar. I married neither. But holla at my better-than-I-ever-dreamed-of-hottie-husband that I snagged instead!

19. I like to wear mismatching socks.

20. One of my nostrils is drastically different than the other nostril. Stephen was the first person to ever notice this, to my knowledge, and he took a picture to prove it to me. His nostrils are perfectly symmetrical, so it was really shocking to him.

21. My car's name is Cassidy Jane Carbaby. One time I bought a car and named him Lerone, after this guy on the Bachelorette who didn't even get a single rose. I was very upset by this and felt like he deserved at least one rose, because he made a great first impression on me! But then Lerone The Car died like a week after I got it. So I decided that Emily must have been right, and I never named another car Lerone ever again.

22. One day, I would really really like to publish a book.

23. I read "The Fault in Our Stars" and it ruined my life. I just think about it and I cry. And this happens like, monthly. Do not read this book!!

24. I have a slight obsession with engagement photos, wedding photos, love story videos, everything up that alley. Sometimes I google "couples story" and watch video after video of people I don't have any connection in the world to, and it makes me so happy.

25. I am really particular about my water - or more specifically, the temperature of it, and the ratio of ice to water. In case you're interested: freezing cold, and like 70% ice.

Stephen just put my birthday crown on me (!!!!) so I guess it's time for bed.

Thursday, September 24, 2015



It is delicious.

And flavorful.


I call it Sausquashcos.


butternut squash
chili powder
salt and pepper
olive oil
Italian sausage
black beans
cream cheese with chives and onion

1. Chop up your butternut squash into bite-size pieces.
2. Put it on foil. Drizzle with olive oil and generously sprinkle on salt and pepper and chili powder. Like a lot. Butternut squash is this weird, beautifully colored vegetable that tastes like absolutely nothing, so you have to really help a squash sista out with the spices.
3. Put it in the 400* oven for 15 minutes.
4. While that's in there, doin' it's thang, slice up the sausage and sizzle it. And chop up the onions and sizzle them in the grease coming off the sausage.
5. Then your butternut squash will probably be ready for you to flip it! Pull it out and flip it and sprinkle more chili powder and salt and pepper on it.
6. Then your sausage will probably be ready for some black beans! Turn the heat down low (low, low, low, low, low, low, low). Open up a can of black beans and throw it in the pan with the sausage and onions.
7. Mix it all around and add in some cream cheese with chives and onion. You don't need much....just enough to make it look like the black beans are sick. And dying of a weird white stuff that's growing on them.
8. Take out the butternut squash and mix it all together.
9. And then put this delicious mixture into a slightly-heated-in-the-microwave tortilla, and serve it to your husband, and make him love you all over again.

You're welcome.

PS Sorry that I don't have fancy pictures, or quantities for my ingredients, but I never claimed to be a food blogger! Also I never actually intended for this recipe to change my life, but it kinda did.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

How do YOU Francisco? (A Quiz)

After the Redwoods, we went straight to San Francisco. We drove across the famous Golden Gate Bridge at about 10:30pm, and found our bed about 20 minutes after that. (Stephen has a San Franciscan friend who graciously let us stay at his home while he and his family were gone on their own vacation!)

The next day, we explored the  city - or should I say, we explored ourselves. I learned a lot about myself in San Francisco, and a lot about Stephen. New places have a way of doing that to you.

So I came up with this quiz, to tell you about our day in San Fran. The question is, are you a Heather, or a Stephen, or a city-dweller?

1. Good mooooorning! Do you prefer to:
a. Go out and find somewhere to eat.
b. Make pancakes and then go out exploring.
c. Starve.

A is Stephen.
B is me, except I didn't have time to make anything.
C is San Franciscans. I'm pretty sure they just starve, because I saw how big their kitchens are, and I saw how expensive the restaurants are, and I saw how long it can take to get one mile in downtown San Fran at any time of the day, and it just seems like eating cannot be a priority to these people.

2. You're looking around for a place to eat breakfast. Driving in San Francisco is:
a. Downright terrifying, so you'll let someone else do it.
b. Alright. I can handle the driving - parking is what really sucks about this city.
c. Kinda fun! So many opportunities to honk....but it's also kinda stupid. So I ride my bike.

A is me. I did finally drive, at the end of the day, but mostly I was more than happy to let Stephen chauffeur me around.
B is Stephen. He did get slightly anxious about all the one-way streets and the traffic, but the parking situation truly would have had him in tears if he wasn't so masculine.
C is the San Franciscans again. I am baffled by this, but no one seemed bothered by the overload of cars. It was like watching a cooking demonstration, and the chef pours the brownie batter into a 2"x3" Pyrex pan, and it's clearly not gonna fit, but he's going for it anyway, and no one in the audience goes, "Hey Curtis do you need a bigger pan?" And then it's spilling all over the counter and still nobody thinks to say "Hmm maybe that's too small of a pan." And that metaphor was really just a long, abstract way of saying there are too many dang cars in this city, it is not big enough for all those people, but no one seemed to notice except me.

3. You find a place to eat breakfast! After driving around for another 45 minutes looking for a place to park, you find a different place to eat breakfast. One you can walk to from your parking space. You order:

a. Potatoes, eggs, ham, and pancakes. You eat about 1/4 of one of the pancakes and leave everything else on your plate.
b.  A breakfast banana split. (Basically a banana sliced in half and topped with Greek yogurt and homemade granola full of unidentifiable seeds and other organic things, and strawberries and blueberries, all served in a beautiful glass dish.)
c. A breakfast burrito. Which you inhale in about 5 minutes.

A is the San Franciscans. I KNOW! In this place where all the napkin holders have signs saying "Please only take what you really need," Stephen and I were shocked at the wastefulness! Not to mention, we were starving at this point and had to really hold ourselves back from eating that person's leftovers, because pretty sure they were on a date and pretty sure they didn't even touch it, so pretty sure we could have eaten it without getting the plague, but whate'er.
B is me. Did I trick you?! Did you think Iiiiii was the San Franciscan? Well thaynks. (It was actually quite delicious.)
C is Stephen. And his burrito was also delicious.

4. Breakfast is over, and your plans for the day include taking a picture in front of the Painted Ladies (Victorian townhomes from Full House). Do you:

a. Drive by them because, boring.
b. Park illegally and run your butt up the hill to take a picture, only to get embarrassed of looking so touristy and refuse to get in the picture and hand your camera to someone else.
c. Pose for a picture, then run back down the hill in an absolute PANIC when you see a policeman drive by, clearly on his way to ticket your car.

A was the San Franciscans. They don't curr.
B was Stephen. Normally he's really good about taking pictures with me, but he wasn't havin it in San Fran. I think it was a mixture of embarrassment, concern that someone was going to steal our camera if we asked them to take a picture, and anxiety about being in the city at all.
C was me. And no the po did not ticket us, whew!

5. You're done with one tourist attraction! Next, you:

a. Go back to the hotel / place you're staying at. This is way too stressful. It's not even fun. I actually hate it here.
b. Go back to the hotel / place you're staying at. I'm getting eaten alive in this city. I almost got run over by a car. (That might have happened like 3 times actually.) I just need to plan out my day a little better....
c. Go to another attraction because I run this city.

A is Stephen. B is me. I don't love cities, but I do kinda like them. Stephen, however, borderline-hates them. So after breakfast, one attraction, and 3 hours, we were both ready for a nap.
C is, I'm guessing, the local SFans. They all seemed so confident....one day I'll be like them.

6. You're in Ghirardelli Square, looking out at the water

a. gobbling a Ghirardelli's sundae and trying to figure out the least incompetent passerby who can take a picture with the water in the background
b. on a date with a handsome man, and you're both delicately picking at your own Ghirardelli's sundaes, not wanting to scare off the other one by scarfing down ice cream with your normal abandon
c. so you walk through the middle of a circle of benches filled with couples, and rip out your biggest possible fart. Then keep walking, unabashed, leaving all the lovebirds on benches to look around and giggle and question whether they actually just heard what they think they did.

Let's hope I never get pregnant too far away from a Ghirardelli's, because pretty sure I'm going to crave these.

A is actually both Stephen and I. Maybe we are past the honeymoon phase, but we might have spoon-fought over the last bits of fudge. It's fine.
B is the well-dressed gay San Franciscans we observed having the same(ish) date as us, just on a different bench. Oh, and there was no spoon-fighting. They were a lot daintier than us.
C is another San Franciscan. A lady. (Though not a very ladylike lady....) who really did exactly that.

7. In Fisherman's Wharf, the best place to go is:

a. a fancy exPENSive store, with statues of horses and dragons and naked people, and $2,000 urns, and sundry other expensive decorations that would look expensive anywhere you choose to drop them in your front yard, next to your 10-foot Bellagio-esque fountains, obvi.
b. Boudin's Bakery, where they make clam chowder and sourdough bread bowls - or rather, the stand right next to Boudin's Bakery, where they sell the exact same sourdough bread bowls and clam chowder, for the exact same price, but just without the indoor seating and the line.
c. anywhere else, because Fisherman's Wharf is a tourist trap.

A is me. I don't want to say that I enjoy window-shopping and looking at all the things I can't have, but I do enjoy window-shopping when it's things that I don't want and they are obscenely priced. It's just kind of fun.
B was Stephen. This day was largely (90%?) about the food for him. And I don't like clam chowder.
I'm assuming C is how the locals feel, but who really knows. I couldn't always tell the San Franciscans apart from the tourists.....although I'm sure people knew which category we fell into!

8. It's rush hour once again. This time: the night kind. You:

a. Joyously run people off the road with your ginormous-butt semi.
b. Get in the car, in the passenger side. Coax your co-pilot into the driver's side. Talk them through the process of squiggling out of the tight spot you have found yourselves in, thanks to some very selfish parkers who didn't feel like leaving a mile in front of and behind you on the curb. End up moving to the driver's seat again, because your person couldn't handle the stress of it. Flawlessly squiggle out of the claustrophobic space and onto the normal road, where it's not quiiiite as claustrophobic.
c. Get in on the driver's side. QUICKLY realize that this is not the place for you. You don't belong in this world of shiny new bumpers and parallel parking and 31% grade hills. You don't belong!! Panic. Press on the brake with all your might. Put the car in reverse and press a little harder on the brake. Express alarm when it starts making a terrible sound. Crawl shamefully into the passenger side, then back into the driver's seat once the car is safely away from the curb.

A is the San Franciscans. There are some rude semi-truck drivers there....or at least one.
B was Stephen. He really believed in me for about 2 minutes, I think.
C was me. I'm a little embarrassed to admit this, but kind of indignant that anyone is expected to live and drive like that.

I did like San Francisco.....I just wish that we had had more time there. Someday I'll convince Stephen to go back with me ;) And we'll take the trolley so we don't have to worry about parking or driving, and that will make everything so much better.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Tall, Tall Trees

Another morning, another beautiful campsite. 

It was a long drive to the Redwoods from Crater Lake, and we were glad to see some familiar faces on our way!

In case you can't tell, that's Paul Bunyan and Babe, his big blue ox! 
Stephen was too embarrassed to take this picture, but not to worry. I wasn't.
The trees in the Redwoods are just so ridiculously tall! 
And so ridiculously wide.

We climbed into a tree that we could have brought our dining room table into. It was huge! This was the view looking up.
When a tree falls in the Redwood National Forest, even if someone is around to hear it, there's not much else they can do about it. Eventually, someone will come by and cut a path through it, and then they'll leave the tree carcass there.

I climbed this tree (these trees?) like a rock wall. It was so fun! 

I felt so enchanted by this quiet place, where everything was so disproportionately gigantic and people were so small. It felt like we had driven through a magic shrink-ray, and now we walked around in an ant world, a fraction of our normal size. 

So as I always do when I feel enchanted, I invented a lot of cheesy poses for Stephen to do with me. #sorrynotsorry

I think the trail we explored was about 3 miles, but I didn't even notice it. We just walked around in awe, taking a million pictures, climbing, touching, talking. Whenever we wanted to take a kissy picture, we would wait until everyone else moved on, then quickly set up our tripod and put it on self-timer. We sometimes like it when people offer to take pictures for us, but we sometimes hate it. Anyone else?

We also went to Fern Canyon, where some parts of Jurassic World were filmed. When we were about a mile and a half from the trailhead, we encountered a giant lake in the middle of the road! We pulled over and just walked to the trailhead. And then we were actually kind of glad that we did, because we came face-to-face with some huge elk.

NatGeo status.
Looking at us with a side-eye.... 

I was so afraid the guy with the horns was going to charge at us! Stephen was not afraid of this and kept getting closer to take the picture. Then he thought it was funny to say stuff like, "You just keep walking and I'll catch up. I might be running. He might be running after me." But he didn't, and we made it to Fern Canyon in one piece.

Fern Canyon was so fun! There were footbridges everywhere, because the whole trail was pretty wet. The footbridges weren't really secured down, so when you walked on them, they bounced and moved out of place. 
"Fern Canyon" was a perfect name for this place. I've never seen so much vegetation growing all over the walls in any canyon I've ever been in!

The road to Fern Canyon isn't paved, so there was dust EVERYWHERE. You can see a huge difference in the ferns in this picture and the ferns in the one above it. 
So far, we liked the Redwoods the best of our whole trip. One day we'll go back and camp there. Anyone who wants to plan a trip and invite us is free to do so :)