Sunday, January 31, 2010

Matthew's Birthday Celebration

So I asked Matthew what he wanted to do to celebrate his birthday this year and he told me that he just wanted to invite a few friends over to play games and eat some pizza, so I came up with this wonderful invitation:
Well, when Matthew said a small get together I was thinking of like 4 to 6 people so I asked Matthew who he wanted to invite and by the time the list was complete there were twenty people he on it. He assured me that only half the people you invite come so I sent out the invitations that indicated Papa John's would be provided. As time got closer to the party the responses to the invitation came in and all of them were in the affirmative. So we made some adjustments to the plan, like changing the location to our friends, the Chidester's home and asking everyone to bring a small donation so we could get enough Papa Johns for all! It was a fun time. For most of the night we just sat around and talked with our friends. Some of them we hadn't seen in months so it was good to catch up on what was happening in each others' lives. After a majority of people left, the rest of us decided to play a game that our friend Danny Johnson brought over called Snorta. It is a really fun game in which each player has a different animal and selects a noise that goes along with that animal. Everyone has a stack of cards and the point of the game is to get rid of your stack first. You can get rid of cards when you and another player have a match and you win the "Sound Off". So, when you and another player match cards you have to make their animal noise before they make your animal noise. The trick is you only get to see everyone else's animals at the beginning and then they are placed into little barns so no one can see them. And it gets harder with each round because everyone switches animals every round!

On Monday, Matthew's actual birthday, we spent it like most other days...Matthew prefers it that way. When Matthew got home from work I had him open one of the gifts I got him. I went to this cool store called Grey Whale CD Exchange over the Christmas break and saw a couple of movies I knew Matthew would like and took note because I already had enough gifts for Christmas, but knew that his birthday was right around the corner. When I went in to buy the movies I had in mind I got up to the counter and the cashier told me that because of the price of the two movies I picked out I could get a third movie free from a certain section of the store. He brought me over to that section and I rummaged through the movies and found one! I ended up getting Matthew "Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium", "Hitch" and "Finding Neverland" all for only $12.80!! I think that was the most exciting part! Matthew really liked the movies I picked. I was glad to hear that because I was a little worried about getting him movies, but he said that he wished people would get him movies and music more. He says he likes them because they are something he can enjoy over and over again.

After eating dinner and opening gifts Matthew and I went over to Friendship Manor for Family Home Evening. As we were driving to the Manor Matthew got a call from his brother Trevor and was still talking with him when we were about to walk into the meeting. He stayed outside for a moment so he could finish his conversation and I walked in, sat down and informed the branch members that it was Matthew's birthday. They then decided that as soon as he walked in we would sing Happy Birthday and as soon as he stepped into the room the singing began. Matthew knew right away that I had put them up to it and he gave me one of his classic smirks and thanked everyone.

Unfortunately the gift I ordered for him did not make it in time for his actual birthday, but it did come later within the week and we were both pretty excited about it. I know to many this sounds silly, but nevertheless we are hoping it turns out to be a wonderful tool. So one day a week or so before Matthew's birthday I was flipping through the TV channels and an infomercial caught my eye when the item was able to effortlessly peel a butternut squash. Why, you may be thinking, would that catch her eye? Well, it all really started back when Matthew and I got a butternut squash from his parents. At first I wasn't so sure about it, but then Matthew and I created our own infomercial featuring mainly zucchini, but with a little highlight on the butternut squash (I may explain this story more in detail later) and that helped me to warm up to it. After it's video debut Matthew and I decided that this quirky veggie needed to be eaten with some style, so we looked thru our handy dandy Better Homes and Gardens recipe book and found a Butternut Squash Soup with Raviolis recipe. This is where our troubles began. We loved the soup, but alas peeling the butternut was a pain. It took Matthew at least 20 minutes to peel it. So, with all that drama to make a simple soup we were a bit bummed. As you can imagine, when I saw that this peeler could peel away that hard layer with little to no effort I was sold on it and knew the perfect gift for Matthew was the Titan Peeler. Unfortunately we have yet to try it on the butternut it is truly intended for, but we have been impressed by the fine slices of cucumber it produces, and Matthew said that that took no effort at all, so we are hoping for the best.

On Saturday the 30th we celebrated Matthew's birthday with his family. We went over to his parents house for some Navajo Tacos, pie and ice cream, and fun games. The food was wonderful as usual, although making the fry bread did raise a little smoke and a couple of us had watery eyes for a little bit. Matthew and I played Clue with our nephew Cole and brother in law Zac. It was fun to play such an old classic. Matthew won, but we let him because he was the birthday boy! Just kidding, he won fair and square and he didn't even cheat this time, well not that we know of anyway. Oh, we brought the ice cream to the party, because our friend Danny Johnson told us that the store WinCo carried a brand of ice cream called Tillamook and said it was the best ice cream he had ever had and we wanted to try it. It was really good ice cream, unfortunatley we only got vanilla because we were putting it on pie, so I still have yet to determine if it is the best I have ever tasted. Well, all in all I think he had a good birthday!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Burgers and Wild Things

So on Friday night Matthew and I went out on a date. We used some coupons we got in the mail to go to Burger King and then we headed over to Sugarhouse so we could go watch the movie we were too tired to watch the previous weekend. When we were ordering our food at Burger King I turned and asked Matthew if he would rather have onion rings or french fries and the cashier said,"We can give you half and half if you like." Then Matthew and I replied, "You can do that?" And he said, "Sure, this is Burger King." That made me laugh because he was implying that anything is possible at Burger King and was completely in line with their slogan of "Have it your way". We were very impressed.

During dinner we enjoyed talking about what has been going on with Matthew's new work experience. After Matthew talked with Fastenal about going back to part time we were sure that they would just fire him. We weren't too concerned with this because Matthew still has some connections with Access RV and his old boss Scott made it seem like there would be a position available if Matthew needed it. Then on Monday when Matthew went to Fastenal they had decided that they would keep him on. We were shocked but happy that he still had work. Later in the week Matthew got a call from Scott at Access RV asking how teaching was going and more importantly to him, if Matthew would be willing to come back and work for him. Now Matthew LOVES Access RV and I was quite surprised he didn't just jump in and say yes, but he was smart and told Scott that he needed to take some time to think about it and figure out what was best for us. While at Burger King Matthew was asking me what I thought and I told him that I wanted him to be happy. There are pros and cons of both companies and either way I feel we will be just fine. Matthew feels at the moment he should wait and decide until he has a better idea about how much the student teaching would be paying him and Fastenal could find some more people because the are already short staffed.

After dinner we headed toward the movie theater. We got our tickets for Where the Wild Things Are and when we got into the theater we noticed that there some people saving a lot of seats. Within 10 or 15 minutes the theater was filled with at least 50 or so children. The movie was very enjoyable.

Friday, January 22, 2010

So Tired

So I have been in school for approximately two weeks now and at the moment I am on a short break between classes and I have overheard all of my classmates talking about how they are so tired and not sure how they will make it through the semester. I feel exactly the same way they do. This semester I have classes Tuesday thru Friday. On Tuesday we start class at 7 am and don't finish until 9 pm. Then we have to be back at 7 am the next morning. Luckily our day is shorter as far as class goes, but when you stack on work, studying, trying to have somewhat of a social life and trying to fit in all those extra things many of the overachievers I am surrounded by stack on, sleep is never enough and Friday is way too long. As an example I will tell you what happened to Matthew and I when we went out on our date last Friday. For Christmas my brother Gary and his wife Haley gave Matthew and me a gift card to The Olive Garden, so we decided to put it to good use. After three classes and work until five and Matthew waking up at 4-5am every morning and working 50 hour weeks we were both already tired, but the call of hunger was strong so we ventured out! We had a yummy dinner, actually when we got there we were told that it would be a 25 min wait. We were fine with that so we found a spot away from the doorway and stood and talked about things such as the upcoming week and how excited we were about Matthew's opportunity to student teach. We also talked about my classes and what I was excited and not so excited about. After about 5 or 10 minutes we saw a small table near the bar area open and the manager informed us that it was open seating and if we sat there we would be served right away. We decided, why not! So we sat and enjoyed each other's company and our dinner. Since we finished dinner at 7:45pm and went to the restaurant in Sugar House we contemplated going to the Dollar Theater so we drove by to see what was showing and saw that Where the Wild Things Are was playing. We both really wanted to see it so Matthew asked if we should stay. Although I wanted to see it I was exhausted so I told him that if there was a show within 15 mins we could go. He convinced me to be willing to wait 30 mins if necessary. He hopped out of the car to check show times. When he came back and said there wasn't a movie showing until 9:20pm and Matthew and I both decided that was too late for us, so we went home and we were in bed fast asleep by 8:30pm. To help us sound less pathetic we did have to get up early and help some friends move, but I know that doesn't help much. Needless to say, I think this will be a long semester!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Job Changes

Monday I began full time employment at Fastenal. It’s been interesting. I’ve enjoyed it. Thursday I accepted a part time student teaching position at Jordan Seminary. I will start Wednesday. I am more excited than I can express here. I informed Fastenal I will no longer be able to work full time. They are not as excited as I am. This creates some problems for them. The student teaching position does not guarantee full time hire. About one-fourth of student teachers are hired full time. I hope I am up to the challenge. I will teach two classes each day. The first one begins at 6:30 AM. I plan to get up at 4:00 AM every day. This will be an interesting time.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Games, games and more games!!

So this past weekend we got together with some friends we haven't spend a lot of time with lately. On Friday night we went over to Dave and Jessica Wardle's home and spent the evening with them and Rory and Dorthy Fellows. They all went to high school with Matthew and they all swear Matthew was one cool kid in high school and even now! We started the night by playing a game that Matthew and I learned from his parents. It is called Ripple and is played with SkipBo cards. We enjoyed the company and had a lot of fun catching up and getting to know each other better. By the the end of the night we were hopped up on cookies and milk and the guys decided to build a tower of baby toys that reached the ceiling.

On Saturday we were invited to spend a day of game playing with our friends Emily and Greg. Every so often Greg plans an all day gameathon and we thought since it was the last weekend before school starts we better get in all the fun we can before we have too much studying. I also was able to invite my cousin Aaron and his wife Yvette down to join in the fun. We spent a few hours playing Hearts and catching up with the cousins and then we played Spin Uno which puts a few "spins" on the Uno game. After a lot of friends departed, Emily and I went back to her place and watched A Beautiful Mind while Matthew and Greg stayed and played HeroScape with some of Greg's other buddies. All in all it was a fun-filled weekend!

Thursday, January 7, 2010


So this past week Matthew has had the opportunity to substitute teach at Brighton's Seminary. He has been enjoying it even with all the challenges it brings. He also found out many great and important things concerning the Kingdom of Bowen. First, it does not look like the seminary program will be able to hire any student teachers in January, so it looks like we will be waiting until June to know if Matthew gets the opportunity to move along in the program. Matthew thought he would be more disappointed, but with being able to substitute this week he has been grateful for the opportunity to continue to learn and grow without the added pressures of being evaluated. And secondly, starting Monday, Matthew will be working full-time at Fastenal. This job will be a blessing to us as it will bring in more money and keep Matthew busy while I continue with my schooling. It will mean long days and sales work, but Matthew is up to the challenge and very excited. He says..."Bring it!"

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Our Holidays

Matthew and I had so much fun this Holiday Season. Being a fairly newly married couple we trade off our Holidays with both sides of the family. This year we spent Thanksgiving with my family down in Las Vegas. We had a wonderful time down there. We helped, well I should say that Matthew helped, my family put up Christmas decorations. I didn't so much help as I did watch since I was blessed to be sick during my vacation, but I did enjoy watching. My family has an enormous Christmas tree that they place in what my family used to call the pink room (pink based on the color of the carpet). It is a sitting room of sorts and the ceiling is open to both stories. Putting up the tree is an all day family event. I enjoy putting the ornaments on because my mother started a tradition of giving us a new ornament each year and I like some of the memories that come with the ornaments. Last year my mother gave me my ornament box to take home with me so this year Matthew and I put them on our Christmas Tree. For Thanksgiving my family always has an assortment or treats to munch and crunch on throughout the day and the wonderful turkey dinner ends the day with everyone full and happy. This year my dad let Matthew carve the turkey! The year Matthew and I were engaged we decided to go to my parents house for Thanksgiving and when we got there the night before Matthew asked if we would be having cranberry sauce (with cranberry chunks in it) with our turkey on the following day. My mom had forgotten to get it so on Thanksgiving morning we had to go and get some. This year on our drive down Matthew wondered if we should stop and get some just in case! When I called my mom to ask she said, "No, I remembered that Matthew loves it and I even remembered that he likes it with cranberry chunks!" Matthew and I got a nice little laugh about it.

While we were down there we also had the opportunity to go to one of Matthew's cousins baptisms. It was a wonderful baptism. I was especially impressed by the talk given about the Holy Ghost. Sometimes it can be so hard to figure out how to explain to children about something that seems abstract, like the Holy Ghost, but the speaker compared that Holy Ghost to something easily relatable to children; a teddy bear. She asked the children what they felt when they hugged a teddy bear. They came up with words such as warm and safe, then she explained that they Holy Ghost gives us the same feelings as teddy bears. The Holy Ghost can give us comfort and warnings and we know if what we are doing is right by that warm feeling. She then further explained that in order to always have the Holy Ghost with us we must choose the right. Anyway, I am not as articulate as she was, but it was a wonderful lesson.

Because Matthew and I bought a new laptop in November we decided that this Christmas we would try and keep it relatively inexpensive. While thinking of what I could get Matthew this year another family tradition came to me. What was nice about this tradition is that Matthew's family also shared it. Growing up my family always opened one gift on Christmas Eve...pajamas! At first I thought that I would just go out and pick some nice pajamas for the both of us, but then I decided that I would like to try my hand at sewing again. Some of my close friends already know my experience with sewing and can attest that me trying again was risky, but I had a great companion guiding me...Matthew's mother, Cynda. She helped interpret the foreign language known to some as a pattern and she also gave me tips on knot tying, hems and how to go in a straight line. It was a wonderful experience and I not only gained the beginnings of a new talent and some very comfy PJs, but also the great company of my second mom. Another gift that I prepared for Matthew was not new, but rather something he has had most of his life that just needed a few retouches. His beloved bear Lot O'Bottom. The name describes the bear entirely. This bear has been through more than any bear I have ever known; from getting his head twisted around 720 degrees to being stuffed completely into a family sized peanut butter jar and then stuffed into the freezer. I am surprised he didn't come out with more battle wounds. But with a little bit of stuffing, stitches and soap Lot O'Bottom is whole and happy once more! Matthew also got me some wonderful gifts. He knows that I love making of my favorite being cookies. And even with the great assortment of gift cards we received from our wedding we had yet to get a cookie scoop so that I wouldn't have to ick my hands up with cookie dough, so it was Matthew to the rescue with a cookie scoop accompanied by some cookie dough. He also got me some decorative boxes and made a tiny version of a very special blessing and laminated it for me.

Even with all the wonderful gifts we gave each other, I have to say that the best gift of all was spending time with family. We decided to stay at Matthew's parent's house on Christmas Eve and we stayed up and played some fun games and enjoyed one another. On Christmas day we woke up to the wonderful smell of blueberry muffins and sounds of beautiful Christmas music. After opening our own gifts we headed over to Matt's sister Liz's home to spend time with her, her husband Zac, our three nephews Cole, Spencer and James and our niece Madeleine. Please forgive me if I have spelled the names wrong. We had fun talking and playing with all the new toys and listening to Cole on the new piano that Liz and Zac had gotten the family. Later that evening we were joined by Pete (Matthew's younger brother) and his wife Steph. We also enjoyed talking and visiting with them.

In between Christmas and New Years my family came to visit for a couple of days. It was a wonderful visit. The first night they were here we opened Christmas gifts and enjoyed talking. The next day while Matthew and I were at work my parents took my brothers (Jonathan, Jordan and Kaleb), the two foreign exchange students (Arved and Stanley) and my sister (Elisa) sledding at Liberty Park. Much to their dismay and enjoyment (dismay because they had to drive in it the night before and enjoyment because of the sledding) the snow was perfect. My parents thought that my siblings might last half and hour at most before they were too cold to play any longer, but they were out sledding away for over 2 hours. When they returned to our apartment they were all drenched and shivering, but there were still smiles on their faces. After changing into dry clothes we all piled into a couple of cars and went to meet my Great Aunt Millie for lunch at a little place called Navajo Hogan. It is a great little restaurant that makes what my family calls, Indian Fry Bread. We enjoyed the great food and time talking with my aunt. After lunch my parents helped my sister move her stuff into her new apartment up in Ogden. I am very excited that she will be so much closer. When they all returned my dad made some delectable breakfast burritos for dinner and then we went to see the lights on Temple Square. When we came home we all sat down and enjoyed hot chocolate and my siblings enjoyed an application on our laptop called Photobooth. All in all it was a wonderful visit.

For New Years Eve we decided to spend the evening with our good friends Cory and Danielle Anderson in their lovely new home. We also were able to spend the evening with my sister and Scott and Lorissa Lowry. We spent the evening eating yummy food, chatting and solving a murder mystery by completing an Alfred Hitchcock puzzle while watching O Brother Where Art Thou. The trick to this puzzle is, that instead of having a picture to look at we had to rely on a story (read to us with all his talent by Cory) telling us of clues left behind. With those clues we were able to identify some of the objects in the puzzle, the rest was left to a little bit of luck and a lot of determination. Not to fear, our determination was strong and we were able to solve the case, it only took 7 people and approximately 5 hours! On New Years day Matthew and I went to a movie with his parents and Pete and Steph. We went to see Sherlock Holmes. I have to say I was very skeptical at first, the previews did not impress me, but alas the movie was wonderful. After the movie we said farewell to Pete and Steph and had a wonderful conversation with the parental units. When they left our piney home (earlier that day we decided to take down our beloved Christmas tree Piney and may pieces of him lay strewn about our apartment) Matthew and I decided that it was finally time to celebrate the end of a semester and more importantly the completion of his Bachelor's degree. Matthew had decided on a place that we should go and I with all my cunning curiosity figured out what this secret was before we got there. We went to a place called Simply is an all you can eat sushi restaurant. We enjoyed each others company as well as the company of our sushi chef who suggested the best sushi roll we had all night. I can't remember everything that was in it, but two of the ingredients were lemon slices and jalapeno. Suffice it to say the combination was a wonderful experience.

Saturday, January 2, 2010


We have a blog!

A New Year, a New Start

Hello Friends. I have wanted for some time now to start a blog for our family, but the excuses have piled high, so as a new year has begun I've decided that I can make some time.

First a small introduction to us:

Matt and I (Kara) met in our singles ward approximately 3 and 1/2 years ago. We became good friends and a year later began to date. We were married in the Las Vegas Temple on March 15th, 2008, so we are nearing our 2nd Anniversary.

Matthew is a highly organized goof. I have described him as OCD in the past, but I have been corrected due to the fact that he is really only OC because the D indicates disorder and his life has not been disrupted by his obsessive tendencies. The goof portion comes into play in the following example of his OC tendencies:

On Christmas Eve we were at Matthew's parent's house playing a game called Cross-Boards. It is a game closely related to Sorry. When Matthew's turn came and he finally rolled the number needed to release his marble from home, Matthew proceeded to move the first marble out and then systematically moved the other three marbles from their previous places in the home section to new spots, thus moving them closer to leaving their home.

I know this example may be hard to visualize or even understand...maybe you had to be there, but I can say for certain that his parents, well entire family, would agree that he is one big goof. That's why I love him! There are many other reasons why, but that's one.

As for me, I am a very much so a less organized goof, although I do have those freak-out moments of an overwhelming sort. You know those moments where what is happening around you can not be tolerated anymore? Let me explain by another example:

One day Matthew, my sister Elisa and I were in our lovely apartment and I went into our study and observed the "organized" mess and I could stand it no longer, I started taking things and throwing them away while making such statements as "I haven't touched this in months...I don't need's just taking up space."

Fortunately I believe I usually have more control than that in normal more important situations, but it is needless to say one of my many quirks. Others include making funny, interesting faces, rhyming and dancing in ways that may embarrass, but surprisingly find compliments.

Hmmm...what else? Oh, well I suppose I can tell you want Matthew and I want to be when we grow up!

Matthew, just finished his Bachelor's Degree (Hooray!!!) in Communication Technology at the University of Utah. He has decided that he wants to be a teacher. A teacher of what you ask? Matthew wants to be a Seminary Teacher for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. And now you are saying to yourself, "That's perfect!" Or at least that was my thought. It is actually not an easy career to get into. There are many hoops to jump through, but Matthew has been up to the challenge and has already jumped through several.

1. Has to be Married (well, men have to be married in order to be qualified women do not) (check)
2. Must have Bachelor's degree (Check)
3. Graduate from institute (Check)
4. Take Doctrines of the Gospel 1 and 2 (check)
5. Take two Pre-Service classes (these classes teach people how to teach!) (Check)
6. Participate in a 10 day teaching experience with 9th graders (check)
7. Be invited and participate in a year of student teaching (still waiting to get an invite)
8. Do well in student teaching and get an interview for a full-time position
9. Get a full-time teaching position

So, as you can see we are in the waiting phase of the hoops. Matthew participated in the 10-day experience and loved it. It was hard, but he enjoyed it and by what we can tell he did well in his evaluations. Most of the time people get invited to student teach in June so there is a possibility we will be waiting a few months before we hear the news. The is also a slight possibility that they will invite one or two people to student teach in the next few weeks, but that is much less likely, so we wait! While we wait Matthew will continue to work with the company Fastenal. Right now he is part-time, but they do want to bring him on full-time, so if he has to wait until June then at least he will be busy.

As for me, I am in graduate school trying to earn my doctorate in physical therapy. I am now officially half-way through!! I have two more semesters of book work and 3 more internships. My next internship is this summer and I will be in Pittsburgh for 10 weeks. Matthew will be staying here, so it will be interesting being apart for that long. But we have already started to make some provisions. We purchased a new laptop in November and plan to Skype for the summer. We have also planned on Matthew making a visit once for a weekend and at the end of my internship we are planning a cross-country road trip!

Well, that's a bit about us! Hope you enjoy our adventure!