Tuesday, May 22, 2012


James and I had a fun weekend.  We went to the temple with James' cousin Jed and his wife Missy. Then we ate homemade chile verde and chocolate caramel cookies.  After dinner we trekked to the water lab so that James could work on his thesis project.  I don't mind hanging out while James does his work and he prefers to not be alone in the lab.

 I took this picture as James was preparing to run his samples in the LCM. 

A funny story about margarine:
As you will notice there are THREE containers in our fridge.  How does that happen?  We purchased the second tub and somehow it vanished from our fridge shortly after.  Our fridge is not that big so we were perplexed, how did it vanish?  We both figured it never made it in the car (some how) so we bought another tub the next time we went to the grocery store.  Imagine my surprise when I opened the fridge a week after and lo and behold, the OTHER TUB.  It was weird.  
If our fridge is some kind of portal, I want to know where it goes so we can save on gasoline.  It's almost as good as teleportation.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Vegas Weekend

This past Monday my Mom texted me and asked if I wanted to go to Vegas that weekend.  She said James was invited too but she understood if he was too busy with school.  I was a little hesitant to go at first because I really like spending time with my husband and I didn't want to be a bother.  I did want to go visit my sister and her family for one last time before they move away.  Josh's graduation ceremonies were scheduled for Friday and Saturday so we drove down Thursday afternoon and headed home Sunday morning.
The bright lights of Vegas

It was really fun to spend time with the kids, who doesn't love Parker?

Seriously.  Just try.  He'll melt your heart in second.

Avery took this self portrait on the way to her dad's graduation.  She loves taking pictures.

She also loves taking pictures of her shoes.

And more of herself.

By this time she was pretty tired of the graduation ceremony...

A very blurry picture of Josh receiving his hood and medallion (or necklace as Avery dubbed it)

Congratulations Dr. Armstrong!

The Armstrong Family

On Saturday afternoon/evening we went to the park so Avery could see the surprise my parents brought from Utah.  While we were walking she handed me this tiny flower.  Here is what she said,
"This flower is for Mina because Mina likes flowers."
I thought it was really sweet of her to give her unborn cousin a flower.

And Avery's surprise: paper lanterns!  Just like in Tangled!  She was pretty excited to see the lantern take flight. My Mom found them at Hallmark but you can also buy them on-line.

We were kind of hesitant to let another one go (we had a total of SIX) but we decided to do another one.  By that time we had started to attract a crowd.
A pretty good sized crowd.

One last lantern for Vegas.  We're saving the other three for next month when they visit before they move.

and away...

We headed back to Kaysville after a delicious breakfast of cinnamon french toast (thanks Dad!)  We stopped ONCE for bathroom breaks and to top off the tank.  Not too bad for a girl who is 6 months pregnant!

I love this picture of my parents.
We needed to get home so we could Skype with Elder Keller.  He's doing great! It was really nice to see him and talk to him.  Hilary and her family even joined in from Vegas via Facetime on Lauren's phone.  Technology is so crazy and great.

One last thing!
We went to dinner at this great place called Firefly to celebrate Josh's accomplishments.  It was really good!  It's a tapas kitchen which apparently means they serve appetizers and you share a bunch as a table.  The bacon wrapped dates were amazing.  Not so amazing was the time I tried to eat a toothpick when I was eating some salad.  I had left the toothpick from the bacon wrapped date on my plate and put salad on top.  Oops.
For dessert we got takeout from The Cheesecake Factory.  We shared three pieces between the five of us. We saw one of the Sister Wives.  I wasn't sure which one so I looked it up.  Apparently it was Meri.  I had to look it up afterwards.  She was just hanging out with friends and we aren't really the kind to approach people.  Unless we know them personally.  But that's just a normal thing to do.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Three Years

Yesterday was a tough day.  I moped around for the first part of it and then figured it wasn't very productive.  Rather than focus on the fact it had been three years since my best friend died, I decided to think about some of the great experiences we shared during our decades of friendship.  Here are a few of the funny memories that brightened my day:

1. The time we made "Mormon Tequila"
  I think we were in seventh grade and we decided, while watching Indiana Jones, to make a "festive" drink. I'm pretty sure we just threw anything sugary into a pitcher with some gummy worms and then drank it.  We were so hyper and giggly after consuming so much sugar that Lorraine kicked us out of the kitchen and made us go outside until we calmed down.

2. The Ringo Starr concert--March 12,1999
   My first concert was Ringo Starr and his All Starr Band at the Dee Events Center in Ogden.  I remember buying the tickets and the Smithtix lady looking really confused as to why a bunch of 15-16 year olds would want to go see Ringo Starr. I went with Lariann and our friend Malina Seeley.  I didn't buy anything at the concert but I now have Lari's Ringo beanie and mug that she bought at the concert.  I look at them and think about my first concert experience.

3. My First Date
    My first day was with a guy named Kiel Christopherson and we went to see "The Haunting."  The original plan was to go on a group date with a bunch of his friends and their dates.  I had called Lari and told her about the date and she told me that she and our friend Liz were going to see that movie too.  We didn't compare show times and I told her I would call her about the date the next day.
    As it turns out, I didn't have to tell her that much.  When Kiel arrived to pick me up I quickly discovered I was the ONLY girl in the group (none of the guys managed to find dates.)  As we walked in the movie theatre I saw Liz and Lari sitting near the front.  As luck would have it, one of Kiel's friends decided we would sit on the next row and I wound up directly behind Lari and Liz.  I didn't have that much to tell her the next day.

Some of my favorite pictures...

I had this picture hanging in my grad lab cubicle during my three years earning my MFA.  I think we made these in either pre-school or kindergarten.  I love that we all did something different with our hats.
Sara Hamblin, Me and Lariann

We played tee-ball for a couple of years. I think my parents still have that tiny mitt in their garage.  I used to call it a "baseball hand."
Lariann, Sara Hamblin, Me and Rachel (Lari's sister)
This is from our 3rd grade class picture.  We were in Mrs. Call's class that year.  I think Alex must have been born recently because I look kind of motherless.  I love that I'm wearing a nice Sunday dress and my hair looks awful.
Lari and me, 3rd grade class picture

I didn't scan very many "later" pictures when I scanned a bunch after she died so this is one from my 16th birthday party.  I love that Lari is reacting to Lauren's crazy face and that I look insane.  Seriously though, what is Lauren doing?
Brandi, Hilary, Lari, Lauren, Alex's head, me, Christina and Erin


Friday, May 4, 2012


I realize that I finished in December but today it felt real. The whole process of dressing up in the cap and gown and hood made it more real. Add in the ceremony itself, the folder and seeing your name in the program; real real-ness.

I'll tell you about the day...I slept horribly even though I didn't really need to do anything. I was just anxious I guess.  That and I still needed to alter the sleeves on the dress I was planning on wearing.  The sleeves were too long so I removed the elastic and made cuffs out of the extra fabric. (I should really use my time more efficiently so I don't feel so anxious.)

The graduate candidates were assembled in the Field House, like this:
We were sectioned off by college, by ropes.

So many people!
My hood, cap and name card
There were only 5 of us in the Caine College of the Arts.

My friend Milinda was the only other theatre MFA student.

After that we walked from the Field House to the Spectrum. I saw our old Bishop, Wayne Ashcroft, on our way over. I think his son earned a doctorate or something.

The procession of masters and doctoral candidates on the way to the Spectrum

It was kind of fun to see so many people in the Spectrum. The only times I have ever been there have been for church events and now, graduation.  James teased me that he was going to get me to go to a basketball game but it never happened.  He also suggested that the JumboTron would make a pretty cool marriage proposal.  I'm glad that didn't happen.  Those are just awkward.
Going down the hall in the Spectrum, lined with professors....
The JumboTron in all its brand new glory
My family, cheering me on.  They are all taking pictures in Section K, six rows from the top?

The commencement itself wasn't that long, apart from the fact that there were a bajillion MBA candidates.  It was ridiculous!  We were pretty close the beginning which was good and bad.  Good because we were through quickly but bad because we had to wait a long time.
Lots of people in robes and stuff...
Milinda and Me with our fancy hoods

After all of the candidates were hooded the University President stood up and conferred our degrees.  The way that it is worded made it sound like I married my MFA.  It was kind of weird.  

After some pictures (which are all on cameras and not my phone) we went to Tandoori Oven for dinner.  It was delicious, as usual.  I had something new, the Chicken Pineapple Curry.  It was very good.  Even my Dad enjoyed the food!  Success.  After that we went to Aggie Ice Cream (The Dairy) to have a celebratory scoop.  As we were pulling in the parking lot we saw a striking older gentleman with white hair.  My Dad avoided hitting him and said, "He looks like President Uchtdorf."   When his wife came around the corner we realized it WAS President Uchtdorf and his wife Harriet.  We didn't bother them but as they were heading out to their car he told us "Enjoy your ice cream."  We did, because, it's Aggie Ice Cream.  
The tiny figure on the right is President Uchtdorf, I didn't want to bother him, or get a decent picture, apparently.

And finally, last night we had a fun dinner at Louella's house to celebrate the fact that almost the entire costume shop is graduating.  After dinner Louella entertained us with her accordion.  Granted, her daughter Julia twisted Louella's arm so we could hear her play.  Did you know this fantastic lady played her accordion on the ED SULLIVAN SHOW?  It's true.  Her accordion teacher was a guy named Tony Rozance. You can see a picture of him here
She is THAT amazing.
Notice the "Lulu" in rhinestones.  It is a FANCY accordion

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Wedding dress alterations!

A few weeks ago I noticed I had received a few random phone calls from a Washington phone number.  Ignored them until the number texted me.  One of my old roommates, Annika, had referred one of her friends to me to complete some alterations on a wedding dress.  I called the mystery number and got to know Stephanie who is getting married in July in Oregon.  A half an hour later I was helping her into her dress and marking the alterations.  A quick run down of what happened:
1-Remove the train
2- Raise the hem to just above floor length
3-Take the sides of the bodice in 1"

It seemed like a pretty simple batch of alterations until I realized something: it is a WEDDING DRESS.

Wedding dresses are typically tricky due to the interior structure, multiple skirts to hem, horsehair in the hem, beading, sheer overlays...that sort of thing.  Lucky for me, this dress had it ALL.
It is DONE!
A before shot of the bodice

A process shot of the temporary hem and sheer overlay

The back, before I moved the snaps up to cover the back of her bra

Hand sewing the linings together
I ended up making a massive mistake on Thursday after our second fitting.  I had trimmed all of the skirt hems and it looked great for the fitting.  I took out the pins and then sewed the satin layer to the lining.  I had done the sewing by hand so when I hung the dress up the skirt hem looked HORRIBLE.  It was uneven and bubbling in the worst way.  I was panicking because I thought I had ruined Stephanie's dress but I couldn't figure out HOW I had made such a terrible mistake.  I unpicked all of the hand stitching and hung the dress up again.  It was still not right.  I was pretty anxious at this point because in the front it was 3" too short.  I decided to leave it alone until Monday because I didn't want to make it worse.  Yesterday I decided to really check to see what was going on inside all the layers.  As it turns out, the lining was twisted all the way around.  I untangled it and sewed it together for the last time. I was so relieved!

Hooding is on Friday!  I'm sort of excited!