Here's a birthday 
shout-out to my beautiful and AMAZING
sister who turned 22 last Friday!!!



holiday spirit.

{My favorite place in the whole wide world!!!}
I SURVIVED ANOTHER BLACK FRIDAY WORKING IN RETAIL!!! I'm happy to report that I only had to deal with like THREE mean customers. It was a pretty crazy day to say the least, but it sure got me in the holiday spirit :) I love working at Big 5 during the holidays because I get paid to listen to Christmas music!!! Seriously, life could not get better.

Meanwhile, if I'm not working I can be found here...

{Santa's Workshop...the presents are already starting to pile up!!!}

Yes, I'm spending lots of time in Santa's workshop and I love it :) My goal this year is to have most of my Christmas gifts for everyone HANDMADE. I figured since I have a sewing machine I better put it to good use. And I have lots and lots of fun fabric that needs to be used as you can see in the picture above. I'm finding lots of the tutorials and patterns for my gifts on Pinterest. I don't know what I would do without Pinterest...probably have lots and lots of free time!!! Anyway, it's been a really good learning experience for me to use what little sewing knowledge I have and also to learn lots of new things about sewing. I have made some really silly mistakes...like attaching the interfacing to the WRONG side of the fabric {OOPS} and stitching a pocket CLOSED when it is supposed to be open {thank goodness for a seam-riper}. But from those mistakes I learn so so SO much. I'm really excited to sew and I'll put up pictures of the things I make AFTER Christmas. Just in case, certain people are blog stalking me :) Christmas is supposed to be about surprises, right???

I hope everyone is getting in the holiday spirit!


contacts and mascara.

{make this banner}

You always realize what you take for granted in life when all of a sudden you cannot use those things or you don't have those things anymore. This happened to me this week in regards to my contacts and mascara. For the past three days, I have had a stye on my right eyelid. I get styes every once in a while mostly due to lack of sleep so I have done my research and know how to take care of them and get rid of them as fast as possible because they hurt a lot. One thing that I can't use when I have a stye is my contacts. Instead I have to wear my glasses. I am grateful for my glasses because if I didn't have them I would basically be blind, but I prefer my contacts. The other thing I can't wear is mascara. I'm not a girl that has to wear makeup all the time, but I do like to look presentable {especially at work} and mascara makes my eyes look better and so much more awake. So please forgive me Big 5 Sporting Goods for looking 'sleepy' these past few days at work. THE GOOD NEWS IS I CAN FEEL MY STYE GETTING BETTER. HOORAY! It used to hurt all the time, but now it only hurts when I close my eye. I think by tomorrow my eye will be stye-free :) 

In the spirit of Thanksgiving and to end this post on a happy note: I am grateful for my glasses and contacts and mascara. I am also so grateful for my vision. I know I don't have perfect vision BUT I can still see. Every day I am able to see magnificent things and recognize the beauty of the earth. Even in the morning when I'm waking up and not wearing my glasses or contacts, I can see a very blurry husband smiling at me. That makes me happy!


rainy weekend.

I didn't have to work this weekend so instead I stayed busy INSIDE making these cute cards...

{just because}
{happy birthday}
It was so much fun to put them together. Some of the cards I made up and some of them I got the ideas from another person or pinterest. I'm trying to make lots and lots of cards because you have to admit that handmade cards are so much better than store bought cards. 

...AND this gives me an excuse to send all my wonderful friends some snail mail :)
{ps. don't forget to check your mailbox!}  



surprise visit.

Last week my dad flew out from Virginia for a surprise visit, SO I have been busy spending time with him and showing him the fun things that Oregon has to offer. It was really great to see him and do lots of fun things with him. It was perfect timing for my dad to come out here because we had some really exciting things going on that he could do with us.


1. Paul and my dad played lots of disc golf. My dad is really competitive and was trying
really hard to beat Paul, but that did NOT happen. Paul is still the family champion!!!

2. My dad came to Big 5 to visit me while I was working and he got some new shoes.
He thinks he is so cool now that he has a pair of SKELE-TOES.

3. We went to the Medford Oregon Temple AND the Portland Oregon Temple.
It was so wonderful to spend time at the temple.

4. We watched Marley and Me!!! This is one of my all-time favorite movies.
LOVE IT and still cry every time!

5. My dad and I took a special trip up to Multnomah Falls near Portland on the Columbia River.
It was so incredible. This is the second tallest year-round waterfall in the United States.

{It was so awesome to have my dad here to visit and to travel with him. It made me think back on when I was growing up and we would go on trips together. My dad is so fun to be with and can always make me laugh. The best part of the trip was when we used the self checkout at the store 'en espaƱol'...he was like talking to the machine!! He is always trying to improve his spanish. It was so funny!!! I wish my sister Whitney was there to laugh with me :) oh and I also got him addicted to Redvines. LOVE YOU DAD!!!}

...AND Paul is so happy that the Oregon Ducks won against Stanford :)

   Oregon 53      Stanford 30


happy birthday X 2.

Today is a very important day in the lives of TWO people who I love very much.

Sonya Mansfield Morris was born 18 years ago!!! I can't believe that my baby sister has grown up so fast. It has been so much fun to be her older sister. I love having deep and meaningful conversations with her AND I also love laughing with her until we are both going to pee our pants. It has been a great experience to talk with her about the gospel and I am so grateful that she loves being a member of the church. She is so talented with singing, playing the piano and acting and I am so so SO proud of her!!! Lately, she has been coming to me with questions on how to apply for college and it is so fun to help her through this exciting time in her life. She is a person that understands me completely and knows how to help me in difficult situations. I am so lucky to have her as a sister :)

On November 9, 1986 my best friend was born. Kathryn Ashley Flanary is basically my twin because we have so many similarities. We talk the same, we act the same and we even have the same handwriting :) I love spending time with Katie. She is the one person that probably knows everything, and I mean everything, about me. I am so grateful that we have stayed the very best of friends even though we live on opposite coasts. Some of my favorite memories include going Vera shopping with her, food lion visits, watching Jeopardy with her and actually playing along {yes, we keep score} and having sleepovers with her and staying up all night talking. She teaches fourth grade now and I am so jealous of her students because they have the best teacher in the world. 



licensed to drive...

This is a story about last week. Since Paul and I are planning to stay in Oregon for a while, I decided that I needed to get an Oregon driver's license. At the time, I had no idea that such a small decision would be such a BIG process.

The story starts at the DMV. I arrived with all the things that I needed. I had my Idaho driver's license, my passport, my social security card and MY MOTHER-IN-LAW. Yup, I needed to have my mother-in-law there to claim residency for me. She signed her life away and made a statement saying that I was in fact living at the same address as her. There was one last thing that I needed in order to get my Oregon driver's license...a passing grade on the driving knowledge test. I thought "No biggie, I've been driving since I was 15 AND I passed the test in Idaho not even a year ago. This is going to be easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy". So I go and sit down at the computer terminal and start taking the test. Well, the questions were really really tough :( I knew I had to get at least an 80% to pass. I got to the point where I had 22 right and 7 wrong and I knew that if I got one more question wrong then I would not pass. I wanted there to be a "withdraw from test" button because I knew I was going to fail and I didn't want a computer screen telling me that I failed. After much time and thinking really hard, I missed my eighth question and failed the test. 

So, I spent the next few days studying the wonderful book that the DMV gave me. I learned lots of new stuff about driving and the rules of driving. I also reviewed lots of things that I already knew. I wanted to have that book memorized so I would pass the test. Three days later I go back to the DMV and I am ready to take the test and actually pass the test.  They send me to the same computer terminal and I start the test again. I'll save you the sad details about test #2 and just tell you the conclusion.
I FAILED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
...and I also cried. The questions were so hard!!!
{Apparently I can pass Abstract Algebra and Advanced Statistical Methods, but I can't pass a stinkin' driving knowledge test! Sheesh!}

The next day I go back to the DMV to take the test again. This time I know everything and anything there is to know about driving and everything involved with driving. By now, everyone that works at the DMV knows me by name and they know why I am there. Once again, I go to the same computer terminal to take my test. {I almost asked for a different computer because OBVIOUSLY in my brain that computer was the reason I was failing my test.} This time I will tell you the details about the test. The questions were not hard at all; with some of the questions I could tell you the exact page in the book where the answer was found. Half way through the test, I knew that this time I would be leaving the DMV with an Oregon driver's license in my hand.
I passed the test with a score of 97%!!! 

I was so excited to finally have an Oregon driver's license and to not have to take that test again!!!
The next day, we had waffles for breakfast to celebrate :) THE END


beautiful heartbreak.

This inspired me to find joy in my own personal life, even with my unique and individual difficulties. 
My challenge to YOU is to do the same :)


F is for Fish.

My mother-in-law teaches a preschool to sixteen children during the week. Every week she introduces a new letter to them. All week they read stories about things that start with that letter. They also color pictures of things that start with that letter to help them recognize and associate the letter with words. 


{via pinterest}
Last week, it was letter "F" week. I decided to make the kids some fish cupcakes to help them remember the letter f. I got this idea from Pinterest {of course} and it worked out really well. If I were to make these again, I would get a bigger bag of m&m's because I ran out of red ones. As you can tell because my fish only have one lip and the ONLY red fish is majorly lacking fins. Also, if I had more m&m's all of the fish could have had more fins.

{The kids absolutely LOVED them!}

I'm so grateful for the experience I have to spend time with these little darlings. It is so interesting to see how the mind of a child develops. I learn new things every day as I work side-by-side with these kids.

{...and here's a fishy kiss goodbye...}


happy {late} birthday paul!!!

The whole reason your husband has a birthday is so that you can give him lots of gifts, right? RIGHT! I was so excited for Paul's birthday this year because I had a few ideas that would make him feel loved and because I just LOVE birthdays!!! :)

My first present to Paul was a romantic-mushy-gushy-type present. Paul was turning 27 so to make him feel extra special I typed up 27 things I love about him and printed them on small cards. I woke up really early that morning and hung the little cards on the wall in our room. He was very surprised when he woke up and loved reading them. Some of the things were funny and the other things were sentimental, a perfect mix of things I love about my best friend.

My real birthday present for Paul was something that he had wanted for a long time. Ever since we had played the game Bocce with my mom's family, he had wanted a set for us so we could play. My mom and I both knew this so we split the cost for the game. This was awesome because we were able to get the better quality {higher-priced} one and not spend a lot of money on separate gifts. I was able to find the game at my favorite store Big 5 Sporting Goods :) I made him guess what is was before opening it so that explains the confused look in the picture AND I wrapped it in newspaper because that's how Paul wraps all my presents.

The hammer was from his dad. A few days earlier, Paul broke his hammer so he needed a new one. His dad gave him a practical present and I gave him a fun present. Paul is both practical and fun so he loved both presents.

Lastly I made him a birthday cake!!! He usually likes carrot cake but he said he didn't care what kind of cake he got this year so I was able to try something new. Thanks to Pinterest, I was able to experiment and make this lemon-blueberry layer cake. We didn't have 27 candles so we {his mom and I} improvised and decorated the cake with the left over blueberries. It was so yummy and rich AND we had leftovers for about a week.

{...he didn't know how to cut our wedding cake either...}

I love you Paul!!!