31 December 2009

December comes to a close

With 2010 looming just hours away, I realize that I have neglected to update my blog with some awesome December moments. So, what better way to show these experiences than with pictures!


My brother-in-law retired after 20 years of service in the Air Force...





...so we headed down to San Antonio...







Although it was a quick trip for B & K, we were really glad to be able to go down and be there as Joe and his family were honored in his retirement ceremony (of course, we also get to tease him about being "retired!")


Christmas brought with it some ups and some downs. My dad was hospitalized for an infection in his leg, and I battled a sinus and upper respitory infection. Despite these downs, the ups of the season were greater.

We got a little snow...







Maddy made us smile...








We ate yummy treats...






We gave gifts from the heart...

My gift to Brian was a "Brown Bag Special" (brown bag gifts are a huge tradition in my family) containing 30 cards (1 card to be opened each day for the next 30 days) with each card depicting a characteristic or trait that I love about him:







Brian's gift to me was a "Year in Review" letter with pictures and memories describing the different experiences we had in 2009 that were meaningful to him:
(plus an I-Tunes gift card because he's just sneaky!)






2009 was filled with many fantastic days for B&K and now we look forward to a new year filled with more great opportunities to experience and memories to make.

Happy New Year!

24 December 2009

Up Too Late (a Christmas tradition)

Well, since staying up too late is really most every night of my life, I guess it doesn't really fit into the category of "Christmas tradition!"

However, the couple of nights leading up to Christmas are a little different than every other late night in my life life because I am usually putting together gifts during these late hours - as was the case tonight. And the gift I was working on tonight is awesome!

Brian and I have a tradition where one of the gifts we give each other is "A Gift from the Heart." This is a gift that is meaningful, personal, and follows a very important rule: you can't buy it.

In years past, I have had no trouble coming up with my Gift from the Heart to Brian, but it seems that the creative side of my brain has recently turned to jello and I have been floundering around trying to figure out what to do this year.

Don't get me wrong, at the beginning of November I had some stellar ideas, some big plans, actually I was planning the grand poobah of all meaningful gifts... I just couldn't get any of them going (much less finished) because of this problem I have called: TIME MANAGEMENT (I have none, therefore it is a problem).

So, here's my novel idea for next year (I'm sure nobody has thought of this yet!)....start working on those stellar ideas, those big plans, and the grand poobah of all meaningful gifts DURING THE YEAR! Yeah, right... a girl can wish it now. It's just that when spring rolls into summer, which rolls into fall, which rolls into... you got it: Christmas again, I realize I am not organized enough to get it done during the year.

And now, enough rabbit chasing ... back to my post about being up too late tonight.

Even though none of the amazingly awesome gifts I had planned earlier got done, tonight I finally figured out my Gift from the Heart for Brian and I have worked my tail off getting it done.

I loved putting it together and can't wait to give it to him!

I love this Gift from the Heart tradition, it is one of my favorite things!

13 December 2009

Sing a new tune with me!

Pause the music player at the bottom and sing along to...

Kirsten's version of "Deck the Halls"

Deck the halls with boughs of holly
(This year we'll just keep it real simple)...

Tis the season to be jolly
(Doing things that bring us happiness)...

Don we now our gay apparel
(Who needs that we'll just wear comfy clothes)...

Troll the ancient Yule tide carol
(Spending time together matters most).


This season B and I are trying to to do something together each day to help us focus on what this season is really about - family, friends, and our Savior.

So, while "Decking the halls" and putting our tree up together is one of the things we have done (and one of the things I LOVE!), it is just part of what we have included on our Days of December calendar.

The interesting thing about our Days of December quest, is that I am really finding that no matter what we do, when we purposefully take time to do something that brings us closer together or closer to others, we are also drawn closer to our Savior, and that is helping ME to find the true Spirit of Christmas in a busy world where buying gifts seems to matter most.

What about you? What do you do to find the Spirit of Christmas?

05 December 2009

Sing with me


Pause the music player at the bottom so you can keep the tune in your head while you sing...


Kirsten's Version of "Jingle Bells!"

Dashing through the door
Christmas is on it's way
the days will quickly go
laughing on their way.

The boxes must come down
we'll decorate tonight (NOT!)
the ornaments and shiny things
will dress our house up bright.

Oh... December Days, December Days
they fly by in a haze
the hardest thing for me to do
is to avoid the craze.

December Days, December Days
I want to use them well
if anyone knows how I can
please leave a note and tell!

So... with all of the busyness of the season how are YOU managing your December Days?

26 November 2009

I've Been Mooned!




Not THAT kind of mooned!
I'm talking about going to see New Moon...the movie!

So, here's how I was "mooned"...

The plan had been in the works for weeks...
the date was set...
the theater was selected...
the girls were notified by our "event coordinator"...
the tickets were purchased...
the meeting location and time were determined...
Finally... The Day Had Arrived!

The girls gathered...
the cars pulled out of the driveway...
the drivers made their way through traffic...
the excitement was building...
the drivers continued to make their way through traffic...
the caravan pulled into the parking garage...
Finally... We Had Arrived!

We all got into one elevator...
zipped across the street...
waited for our tickets to be placed in our eager little hands...
took a quick detour to the bathroom...
got snacks...
and found our seats...
Finally... The Time Had Arrived!

But wait... what's this... previews... more previews...
WOULD THEY EVER END!!!!!

FINALLY.... NOW it was time!

A hush fell over the theater (it was pretty much just us!)...
with bated breath we waited...
and then...
the movie began!

Of course, since I was hanging out with my grown-up friends (and some of our mothers!), we did our best to be grown-up and mature movie-watchers...

Yeah, right! Jacob took off his shirt and we all started wondering (out loud) how the heck this kid got to be so chiseled.

And then Edward took off his shirt later on in the movie and we wondered (out loud) why the heck he wasn't chiseled, at all (plus, not only could you see his hip bones, but his abs were painted on... GAG ME!).

Edward should be chiseled, he should be cut, he's supposed to be this over-the-top, drop-dead, drool-on-yourself, gorgeous vampire, and while the Edward of the books cuts it, the Edward of the movies (aka: Rob Pattinson) definitely DOES NOT.

Needless to say, as mature grown-ups, we spent quite a bit of time after the movie analyzing these points in depth, as well as discussing the overall quality of the acting, how closely the movie stayed to the book, etc. etc, all while enjoying fried gator, fried pickles, and desserts at Razoo's (dinner of the critics!).

The evening was a blast and I enjoyed a night out with The Girls!

23 November 2009

Hip Hip Hooray, it's time for a vacay!


'Tis the season of thanks, and as I have mentioned before how grateful I am for my fantastic career. Well, today I am also really grateful that I get the entire week of Thanksgiving off from that wonderful job!

I appreciate the time to enjoy the beauty of the season, to get things done around my house, to visit with friends and family, to relax, to do whatever I want!

It's day #1 of our Thanksgiving break and today I: helped a friend rearrange her classroom, had lunch with B, cleaned my house, and done laundry. Productivity feels great!

And although this is a week away from school, I am committed to spending some time on a large work-related project that is never really complete... you know, READING!

Ah, the bliss of time off in the fall!

19 November 2009

Sunrise, Sunset (NOT the song!)


Can anyone explain why the month of November seems to fly by so quickly?

For a month that is centered on gratitude, family, things that matter most, and giving thanks, it sure doesn't seem to stick around very long!

Maybe that's the answer... maybe because we spend November focusing on so many good things, time really flies!

Well, before the sun sets completely on the month of November, I wanted to take a minute to jot down some things that have filled my heart with gratitude and mattered most to me this year:
  1. SERVICE. As I have had different opportunities to serve others, I have learned the truth behind the statement, "it is better to give than to receive" and have seen how incredibly blessed my life can be as I strive to be there for others.


  2. BRIAN. There is not enough I can say to accurately describe my love and appreciation for my husband. He gets me (and loves me anyway!). He supports me. He encourages me. He listens to me. He loves me. He is my rock.


  3. FAMILY. It is an interesting thing to be a grown-up in your family - roles change, responsibilities shift, relationships stretch - and yet we all still cherish, support, and look out for each other.


  4. FRIENDS. I have really come to see how blessed I am to have incredible friends in my life. People who build me up, value my standards, encourage me to excel, make me laugh, boost me spiritually, care for me when I am down... this list of good that I see in my friends could go on and on and I recognize just how lucky I am.


  5. CAREER. I have been blessed to have a career where I really, truly get to make a difference. I get to help children (of all ages!) learn and discover and that is an incredible feeling of happiness in my life. Plus I am blessed to work in a great school where I have tremendous opportunities.


  6. HEALTH. I appreciate being healthy. Physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual - all forms of health that must be maintained and nurtured, and although I am not perfect at it, I am working to take better care of myself in all these areas.


  7. HOME. It may not always be 100% organized (okay, it's never 100% organized!) and my shoes may not be put away (ever!), but I am so grateful for the home that we have and for the Spirit of peace and love that resides here. Even though I am still trying to purge, sort, minimize, simplify the things that are found in our home (I have a "creative collecting" problem - you know, I get a "creative" idea so I "collect" what I need to get it done - someday!), our home feels warm, inviting, peaceful, and comfortable and I love it!


  8. EDUCATION. I am always learning and I am grateful for the opportunities that come my way to make this happen. Education comes through formal school experiences, but also through daily life experiences, and from interacting with others. I am grateful for the things that I learn in all these educational forums.


  9. TESTIMONY. I am so grateful to know that I am a child of God, that He loves me, and that Jesus Christ is my Savior. Daily life can be hard, trials can be overwhelming, things don't go as planned, and because of this I am so grateful that I know God has a plan for me. This knowledge brings me peace, even in the most difficult times.


  10. THE LORD. He loves each of us. He sees the best we can be. He is there for us no matter what. He paved the way for us to return to live forever with our Heavenly Father. He is our brother, our friend, our exemplar, our Savior, and for His love I give my thanks.

I am so glad that I sat down and thought about this list and that I took time to reflect and record some of the things that matter most to me.

The sun may be setting on November, but for just a few minutes tonight time has slowed down a bit for me and I feel a sense of peace and happiness that comes from taking time to just be thankful.

13 November 2009

Can't Get a Grip

Have no meal plan... haven't been to the grocery store since I got back from N. Carolina... need to prepare 2 lessons for Sunday... my house is definitely NOT in order... currently in the middle of several projects and other work-related tasks... my head has been pounding and I've been sick since Wednesday so EVERYTHING has come to a screeching halt...

And today I feel all the pressure of what I haven't done.

02 November 2009

I can't keep up...

... and it's ONLY Monday!!!

27 October 2009

Murphy's Laboratorium of Madness



I always liked Halloween as a kid, but I have just recently realized how much fun this holiday can really be as a grown-up.

Don't get me wrong, I love the other holidays we celebrate during this time of year, but I just clued in to the fact that Halloween is a holiday with NO EXPECTATIONS.

There are no dinner commitments, no balancing schedules, no rushing around trying to find the perfect present for someone you love. Halloween is whatever you want it to be (with the bonus of candy being doled out freely by everyone you know!).

So, in light of this recent discovery, B and I decided to host a little get-together. You know, an evening of friends, family, food, and fun. However, there was one tiny requirement for all who would attend... COSTUMES!


Fun photos from the night:




Some of the ways I spooked out our house:

What a great night!

20 October 2009

Happy Birthday, B!

October 20... many moons ago (37 to be exact)... in a cold land far north (aka: Plattsburgh, NY)... a baby boy came into the world (weighing 7 lbs. 11 and 1/2 oz and measuring 20 and 3/4 inches).... and his parents were pleased (the jury is still out on how his older siblings felt about his arrival!).

Of course, when this boy arrived into the world, times were different than they are now. Children could play in the front yard until dark, bikes could be left on the porch, and according to the boy's mother, a 3-day hospital stay for having baby #5 only cost them $7.00 (that's right, the price of lunch in our world today!).

Now back to the story of this boy (a happy, go-lucky kind of kid), who would change the world forever (sometimes for good and sometimes... well, not for good... but always with a smile!).

He was a curious young fellow (with scars to prove it)... always exploring small places (and getting his head stuck)... trying new tricks on the skateboard (and bashing open his head)... rough-housing with his brothers (and bashing open his head)... biking around with friends (and bashing open his head). In truth, it's amazing how well his head has held up!

As he grew up, this boy learned many important characteristics from his parents, his family, and his faith, such as being kind, polite, generous, loving, compassionate, friendly, helpful, determined, diligent... and the list goes on.

What he learned from his friends were important life lessons as well, such as: how to squeeze a milk container to get the greatest mess... the importance of manuevering your way into the Denny's parking lot ... games to play on golf courses... and many other such important lessons.

As time went on, this boy graduated from high school, began college, got a job at a local grocery store (all hail Food Lion!), and there he met a girl... whose life he changed FOREVER!

Movies, dinners, George Strait concerts, shopping, surprise gifts, phone conversations lasting late into the night, hanging out at one house or another (always with someone's siblings around!), the relationship of this boy (now a young man) and this girl (who had grown into her own young adult self!) grew and strengthened until after 3 years of dating, the boy proposed marriage and the girl said yes.

14 years after that wedding, the girl (now a grown woman) sits at the computer writing about the boy who has become the most incredible and amazing man she could ever know, and thanks her lucky stars for the opportunity to spend this day with him, celebrating who he is and who he continues to "B!"


Happy Birthday, B! I love you more than you can possibly know!

Love - K

15 October 2009

What causes emotion?

For the last couple of weeks my feelings and emotions have been sitting right on my shoulders and have been tossed around a time or two, causing me to feel a plethora of emotions: happiness, sadness, frustration, disbelief, anger, humility, sorrow, joy, concern, hope...

So, what is it that actually causes us to feel such a wide variety of emotion?

I know that situations and experiences cause the emotional response, but how in the world do we know (without thinking) the response to have to these situations and experiences?

I know, this post should really be titled: "Deep thoughts with K!"

While I have no idea what kind of neurons fire to cause us to feel specific emotions (it's got to be a brain thing, right), I do know that regardless of the emotions that we experience, the feelings we have, the trials we face, we are never alone.

I am so grateful for family and friends who support me, love me, accept me, and strengthen me in ALL my emotions!

And I am truly grateful for my Savior, who knows better than anyone else exactly where I am, how I feel, and what I am going through. I am also grateful that He always loves me, is there to strengthen me, and He NEVER doubts me - despite how often I doubt myself. His love is amazing!

11 October 2009

A Well-Used Phrase

You ROCK!

What is this?
  • A phrase has become part of my natural vocabulary (and includes capitalized enthusiasm and exclamation points as part of the verbal delivery!).

  • A phrase that other people often associate with me.


Where did it come from?
  • My seester (aka: Jennif) and I have used it for a long time when we talk to each other.



Why do I use it?

  • It says a lot with very little words.



How did it become a catch phrase at Church?

  • When I was called to work with the seesters of my ward (aka: the Relief Society), I expanded it's use to describe how I felt about these women as I grew closer to them and came to know them better.



And now?

  • I use it with the Young Women (where I am currently serving). After all, it is a phrase that definitely describes each of these awesome girls!

  • Plus, it's just part of who I am!

05 October 2009

Have You Ever Felt Like...

... the wind has been knocked out of your sails because of something a person said?

... giving someone a piece of your mind because they really have NO IDEA all the lengths that you have done to include everyone?

... ignoring the phone, unplugging the computer, and pretending that you aren't around so that people will leave you alone?

... throwing a fit because you are irritated beyond belief about something that you can not address, no matter how much you really want to, because it would hurt someone's feelings, and that's NOT really what you want to do (really, it's not!)?

... someone was making half-baked judgments and assuming that they "know" a better way to do something, even though they weren't there from the beginning and didn't contribute before?

... screaming at someone to "GET OFF MY BACK" and "STOP PICKING AT ME?"

Me too!

(click here for the story on the above photo)


27 September 2009

What a Day!

Change is not always easy - especially when you knew it was coming but had to wait quietly for awhile before it could happen.

Today I was released as the president of the women's organization at Church, where I have served for the last 2 and 1/2 years (plus 2 days!), and have been tremendously blessed in my experience (visit my other blog here for more of my thoughts).

It's a little hard to say goodbye to this responsibility. Not because I like to be in charge, but because of all the amazing experiences that have blessed my life as I have worked with some of the most incredibly righteous, charitable, loving, Christlike women I have ever known.

I am grateful to know that even though my time to serve in this organization has ended at this time, I am still a part of the Relief Society and the Relief Society is still a part of me, and I will continue to cherish the relationships and friendships that have come into my life as a result of serving in this organization.

I also know that as I move forward into the new opportunity I have been given to work with the Young Women in our youth program, I will continue to find my life filled with rich blessings. They are an AWESOME group of girls!

I truly know that the Lord is aware of who I am and what I have to offer. I also know that He will walk beside me and bless me as I do my best to serve Him well.

After all, He loves me... He loves us all... unconditionally... without end.

23 September 2009

Ahhhh... cool, crisp air

All I have to say is YEAH for cool, crisp air! It's one of the things that I love most about fall!


Other things I love about this time of year...




And this year, I am really excited to "get my spook on" in October!



Check back to see how that goes!


Now the question is...how long have we got until the cool, crisp air changes?

Who knows... this IS Texas! So, I'm taking advantage of this cooler air and snuggling down into a nice warm blanket tonight (dreaming of ways to "spookify" my house!).

P.S. Any great and budget friendly ideas for "spookification" are welcome!

14 September 2009

Attention Mr. Dust...

Mr. Dust,
You and your friends are a nuisance!

Somehow you keep finding ways to sneak into my house and plop yourselves down on any visible surface you can find.



Take note... you are NOT welcome!

I know your agenda. You wait until everything has been thoroughly cleaned, then you watch for the cleaners to be put away, and as soon as the closet door is closed you and your friends breeze your way in and start covering things again.



Take note... this is war!

I hereby declare that you and I will continue to be engaged in an ongoing battle (after all, you are stubborn and vindictive), but I will fight you on a regular basis.



Take note... this is MY house!

So, Mr. Dust, you and your friends may be persistent, but this is MY house so...

BACK OFF!!!

04 September 2009

Boston Pictures (yep, they're finally up!)

28 August 2009

Who am I?

I am a girl who has:
curly hair...
fingernails that grow quickly...
legs that are shorter than I wish...
and toes that are "weird" (according to B).

I am a girl who loves:
chocolate...
reading good books...
surfing the net for good ideas that I can't get done...
and spending time with people I love.

I am a girl who has been blessed with:
a good education...
opportunities to visit great places (like Boston!)...
a great career as an educator...
opportunities to serve the Lord.

I am a girl who has:
an amazing husband (but he has weird toes too!)...
a sister who is teaching herself to sew (right now, as I type)...
the CUTEST nieces and nephew in the ENTIRE WORLD...
and an amazing family.

Finally, I am a girl who is trying to:
lose weight...
be a little more patient...
give 100% to all that I do (but can't always)...
recognize that I am still learning and growing daily.

Oh yeah...
I am a girl who hasn't blogged lately (sorry, D)...
and hasn't posted those Boston pics (sorry, Sharla)!

So, that's who I am.
I'm glad to be me!

23 July 2009

Back from Boston

Pictures and info coming soon on our most fantabulous trip to Boston, where the weather was awesome, the food was delicious, the sites were incredible, and we had the chance to spend time with Brian's aunts, uncle, and cousins.

Too bad that reality has returned (along with the laundry and the chores!).

But, pictures will be shared - there are some great ones that would just be too selfish to keep to myself!

09 July 2009

Happy Birthday to me!

What a great birthday I had this year! I was overwhelmed by how many people even cared.

Thank you to everyone for making birthday #34 a day in my life that I'll always adore!

Thoughtful gifts:



Dinner with my family (on Sunday):


Maddy entertains us:


Dinner with the Murphy's (on Monday):

06 July 2009

The Smallest Things...

... Matter Most!

I admit it - I'm a girl who likes gifts. I pretend that I am better than that and that I don't think material gifts are important, but get real... I.Am.A.Girl. Don't we all like gifts? (if you Are.A.Girl and don't like gifts, keep it to yourself!).

But sometimes, although I like material gifts, they can seriously be trumped.

Like when your husband (who you started dating when you were much hotter at 16 than you sometimes feel now that you just turned 34) turns to you in the car while you two are running errands, smiles at you, and says with a look of total sincerity and love says:

"Your hair looks really cute."

And.Then.You.Melt. because you know you have married The.Perfect.Man. and you know that this is just another example of why you love him with all your heart (plus, he's super hot!).


29 June 2009

A Day Away

So, Brian planned this secret day trip. He wouldn't tell me where we were going, but he kept dangling the carrot of "I have a secret, na na na na na na!" (He didn't actually say that, but it wasn't hard to tell he was thinking it!).

It is really hard for me not to try and find things out ahead of time (I mean REALLY hard) and he knows it. But... I was determined.not.to.bug.him. And let me tell you... IT.WAS.HARD!

Especially when I learned that people at work knew, my sister knew, my mom knew, his mom knew. I mean, come on... this was pure TORTURE. But still... I.DID.NOT.BUG.HIM.

And then, it started to bug him NOT to tell me. He wanted to, oh, he wanted to! So, the night before, he offered the chance for clues!

Here's what I got:


  • "You'll want to take the camera"

  • "Be ready to leave by 8 am"

  • "Wear whatever you want"

  • "We won't be in the Metroplex"

  • "We're going West"

That was it... my clues. And as luck would have it: I GUESSED!!!!

We had a fabulous day together, planned with thought and care to be something I would really enjoy and be interested in, by my AWESOME husband who knows me better than I think I know myself. He is totally a ROCK STAR in my world and I am just a groupie!

The slideshow of our day is on our other blog called: Don't Blink (click the name to check it out).

24 June 2009

Where, oh where, are we going!!!

All I know is that B has secret plans that he has been cultivating for about a week now. He told me to look at the calendar (originally for this Thursday) and let him know what I had going on, which at the time was... NADA. Then, he made me keep the day clear and when I asked why, the answer I got was... NADA!

Now, instead of Thursday, we're going somewhere, but I don't know where, tomorrow.

Tomorrow is a milestone day in our family, it marks the 1-year anniversary since we lost Brian's dad. Without knowing how to really spend the day, I'm glad that we have something planned that will bring B and I the opportunity to spend the day together. Doing what? I dunno!

But right now, knowing that I CAN'T HANDLE SURPRISES, B wants to know if I want the opportunity to guess where we are going...but I have to get off the computer to make my guess.

So, "night night" blog world - I'm off to guess!

K

P.S. Stay tuned to discover how we spent the day.

10 June 2009

14 Years!

ImageChef Word Mosaic - ImageChef.com



Today we celebrated our 14th anniversary with an evening out together, and just like it did 14 years ago (as well as several, if not most, of our anniversaries since then)... it RAINED!

We were totally oblivious to the rain because we were watching "Angels & Demons" starring Tom Hanks.

Out of 5 possible B&K stars, here are our ratings (and since we are such big movie goers, we know you were wondering!)...

B = 3 stars

K = 3.5 stars (mostly because I'm a fan of Ewan McGregor!)

It was when we came out of the theater that we became aware of the rain (and laughed that once again, on June 10th, "raindrops keep falling from the sky.").

Thank goodness that Palace 9 has a great next door neighbor where we could spend some time avoiding those raindrops...

Barnes & Noble... definitely a stop on our anniversary and yes...books were purchased!

Actually, I just finished one of the books I bought last night and it was FANTASTIC! The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society has been added to my list of favorite "grown-up" books. Thanks for the rec, Lalalaleesa!

When there were just a "few" raindrops falling from the sky, we walked a couple of blocks to eat some Mexican food at...

By the time we finished dinner, the rain had stopped (for a moment) and we were able to get back to the car.

We had a great time! But then again, we always have a great time when we're together!


B&K = Building a great marriage to last for all eternity!

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