Thursday, June 27, 2013


Our cable box died a few days ago so I was left with only Netflix to run in the background of my completely silent house and decided to start LOST because I'd never watched it before.  But I don't get it, what's so great about it?  Admittedly, I'm only about 6 episodes in...but it's so boring.  Literally nothing has happened in 240 minutes except there's a monster on the island, a nameless character who was created solely so he could die died, and they found fresh water.  Am I missing something?  Tell me it gets better...

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Good Things To Come...

"For emotional health and spiritual stamina, everyone needs to be able to look forward to some respite, to something pleasant and renewing and hopeful, whether that blessing be near at hand or still some distance ahead. It is enough just to know we can get there, that however measured or far away, there is the promise of 'good things to come'"--Jeffrey R. Holland

Let me just start off by saying that I'm sort of a brat about people posting religious things and scriptures on their social media sites.  Even when it's my own religion or I believe the same thing, I tend to skip over their statuses and blog posts thinking thoughts to myself that I don't need to recount here.  So I totally understand if this is not really your thing.

The other night, though, I was having one of those nights.  The kind everybody has once in a while...when the light at the end of the tunnel seems to be mostly clouded over, feelings of despair settle in as easily as if you'd invited them, and the clouds seemed to be lined with a little more grey than silver.  It took me a couple of hours of thinking, tossing, and turning before I remembered that I have a Heavenly Father looking out for me who doesn't want me to feel overwhelmed or downtrodden.  I looked up a talk by Jeffrey R. Holland and was moved to tears by the compassion and love he expressed on behalf of the Lord.  

This video went viral a few years ago with the Mormon community, and I loved it then, but it cut out some of his message that really comforted and touched me the other night.  It's 5 minutes long, but it's a story about never giving up and it is really really great--even if you aren't LDS.  (The best part is at 4:00 minutes I think.)  It's about God's love, and that, I believe, is always worth hearing about.  

"Don’t you quit. You keep walking. You keep trying. There is help and happiness ahead—a lot of it—30 years of it now, and still counting. You keep your chin up. It will be all right in the end. Trust God and believe in good things to come."

Isn't that great?  I love it, but the best part of the talk for me was actually a completely different section.  Elder Holland focused on the counsel found in John 16:33 to "be of good cheer".  He discussed how the Savior faced the stormy seas with the apostles before he told the waves to be still.  Only someone who has already experienced the sorrows and trials we have is justified in telling us to be calm and still in the midst of them.  When he says to "be of good cheer", it isn't some "jaunty pep talk about the power of positive thinking", but in actuality, "Christ knows better than all others that the trials of life can be very deep and we are not shallow people if we struggle with them".  This touched me because everyone struggles with trials, but in this day and age, I feel like we sometimes praise positive thinking and treat it like it's a cure-all to everyone's problems, but "we are not shallow people if we struggle".   

I loved that he acknowledged that while positivity is obviously helpful and ideal, the Lord is not asking us to always just choose to be happy.  He himself has experienced our sorrows and griefs, and he knows our pains.  What he asks us to do is believe.  He asks us to believe that there are good things to come, to understand that he will not forsake us, and to have faith that blessings will come--whether in this life or the next, they will come.  

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Can School Just Start Again Please...?

As much as I've tried to motivate myself the past few weeks, I am so inescapably and perpetually bored out of my mind right now.  I feel like I have gone full steam for 4 solid years and this is the first summer I've ever had where I'm not working or taking classes full time.  Don't get me wrong, I'm still taking some classes, and I'm working a little bit doing research, but I can't even believe how much free time I'm still left with.  What do people do all day?!

Accomplishments so far:

- Completed three seasons of Arrested Development, and am well into the fourth.
- Discovered a new nature show called North America on the Discovery Channel on Sunday nights.
- Read lots of articles about attachment styles and attachment behaviors.
- Spent hours being pensive about potential thesis options. (No physical results to show for it)
- Successfully filled the next two months of musical numbers for our ward's sacrament meetings.
- Started a new blog about marriage and family therapy.
- Committed to living within a smaller budget, discovered that's great way to feel like a failure, so made the budget a little bigger after repeated failed attempts.
- Finally hung curtains and some wall art in the living room!!
- Read 4 Harry Potter books before I burned out.
- Made numerous trips up to Salt Lake for doctor's appointments (not pregnancy appointments).
- Scheduled minor surgery for a month from now.
- Learned some basic stats from Dave for my program.
- Gone camping twice (once in horrific weather, once in great weather)
- Rediscovered the TV show Friends since it seems to never stop playing during the day.
- Seen every great movie that's come out in the past month (hence the budget disaster).
- Sewed 2 princess costumes for my nieces and visited them so much they're sick of me.
- Spent some much-needed quality time with the sun at the pool with Annie and sometimes Russ too.
- Listened to "Scream-Free Parenting" on CD and had a hard time agreeing or disagreeing with it.
- Started learning how to code from an online course.

So when I write them all out it's not that bad.  If you sort of squint and look at it funny, you can find some truly productive things in between all the TV splurging, movie watching, and pool-going, right?  I just wish I had more to show at the end of my day.  I'm used to papers and projects non-stop.  I can't really get a handle on this whole "life after graduation" stuff.  I guess it's a good thing I still have two years before I have to really master it...

Also...The Bachelorette is a lot more addicting when you're bored...who knew?

Sunday, June 9, 2013

We are such a fan of fans...

So anyone who lives in the Provo area knows it's been ridiculously hot this week.  We have a few ceiling fans in our kitchen and family room and they've been lifesavers, but our own room is sweltering by the end of the day.  We want to cut down on our A/C bill, so we decided to put in another ceiling fan.

After driving to the Lowe's in Sandy (the only one that had the model that matches our other fans) and realizing our fan was half off, we were excited about how cheap we'd be able to install it!  I had helped my dad put a fan in his cabin once, and Dave understood the concept, so we thought it'd be no problem.

It actually was no problem, except that some of the screws didn't line up perfectly so it took a lot longer than it should have (doesn't it always?).  Dave was frustrated, but I was just happy to have a fan!  It looks great and matches the dark wood of our furniture and it's super powerful.  We're so excited!  We just have to watch our heads....(we're not used to that).

Before.  conveniently there was already a sturdy metal
junction box from our existing light fixture
so we didn't need to do too much up in the attic.

Our bed served as a convenient and somewhat unstable table.

We love our Harbor Breeze fans!

The blades before they were attached (this was my job, so proud).

It's up and not falling down!

We really love it in there now.  Just wish we had a
better light switch for it.  As it is, we use the pull strings
like they're the only way to control it, haha. Baby steps, right?  

Dave's Birthday Again...

I think from the time we were born, Grandma Barfuss (my Mom's Mom) has always made it a point to make us fantastic, ornate birthday cakes for our birthdays.  She'll do one party every few months and then do multiple birthdays at the same time.  This time it was for Russ and Dave!  I wonder if she's ever gonna call it quits when the family gets too big...

Anyway, it was a delicious birthday with steak and chicken kabobs, fruit salad, a squash vegetable mix, and lemon and raspberry cakes to top it all off!  I'm just gonna photo-dump because everything was so delicious and beautiful.  Also, everyone was able to make it which was awesome!  Just missing the California family :/.  Also, I don't know what happened, but we're missing a pic of Annie and Russ.  They were there though!

Don't you love the watermelon napkins??
I took this at the very end, so it's all gone, but the lime-ade was great!
Kabobs, Vegetables, and Fruit Salad.

Sierra and Jeremy


Christi and Jim

Grandma and her sister, Nita

Adorable Riley "cheese"ing in the wrong direction.

Lemon cake for Russ

Raspberry Cake for Dave.

It was divine!
"What?  Why can't I finish 3 other people's
cakes after eating my own?"



***I know I post about these girls so often it seems like they're my own daughters, but they're not.  They're my nieces.  Just FYI :)  They're Christi and Jim's adorable daughters.***

And sorry the format is so weird.  I'm way too lazy to figure out how to fix it right now.  

Friday, June 7, 2013

To Write!

So I decided I actually am going to start the MFT blog I was talking about and I've been working on it this past week.  If you'd like to take a look, here's a link to it :)  The first few posts were pretty boring so I waited to share it until I had a couple already done.  Hopefully now that I've done some basic ones I can move on to more interesting theories.  It's not really the outlet I was looking for as far as helping me write better because I'm struggling still with what voice to use.  Hopefully I'll figure that out soon!

This week we've started some new things.  Isn't that what summer's all about?  I have so much free time, so I'm trying to come up with new projects to keep myself busy with until school starts.  Turns out I have a hard time being intrinsically motivated when I have all day to do whatever I want.

Anyway, I got a bike (a cheap, bright purple one from Wal-mart, but it works) and so I've been exercising a lot more frequently now.  (It's pretty easy to exercise a lot more frequently when your starting point is never.)  But I actually have been pretty solid about riding for at least 30 minutes 3-4 days a week.  And it's been really great.  With the weather warming up and the sun shining it's been beautiful.  Dave is getting a bike as well, but he wanted a nicer one, so we ordered it online.  When it comes we'll be able to go together which will be fun...we'll see how long it lasts.

We also started a Udacity course for computer science.  Jeremy and Dave both code (Dave's just learning) and a lot of my friends do too, randomly, so I figured I should try my hand at it.  It's really interesting and it seems just like math puzzles so I'm liking it so far.  Dave already knows most of it, but he doesn't know the specific language so he's taking the course at the same time.  The best part is it's free!

Anyway, so that, coupled with more research, exploring potential thesis ideas, and trying really hard to stop my binge watching of Arrested Development has been our week!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

To Write, Or Not To Write...

Isn't writing tough?  I don't mean the post-about-your-every-day-life writing.  Writing about deeper, meaningful, real things.  I've been told time and time again that I surprise people with my writing when I have something to be passionate about.  (I guess the caveat here is that when I'm not passionate I'm just not that great of a writer...haha) I just read through a few old blog posts and I can definitely see it.  My best writing is when I'm writing because I desperately need an outlet for my emotions.

At the camping trip this weekend, we talked about how the blogosphere has turned into a big, fake, competitive place to make lots of fake, competitive friends and pretend your life is more exciting or instagrammable than the next girl (or guy).  Such a shame, really, when I think about why I started my blog.  I was in a serious rut a few years ago.  I needed help.  I was depressed (not clinically, but mildly) and missing my best friends on missions and needed a place to express my thoughts and emotions.

This blog did so much for me.  It completely transformed the way I looked at the world.  All of a sudden, I was looking for things to be happy about so I could write something positive.  I wanted to put my best self forward for the world to see, and I'll admit it was not one bit about becoming a better writer.  It was all about seeing the little things everyday and realizing why life was beautiful.

As that part of my life passed, though, I started to care a lot more about my writing.  I don't like posting about mundane things that don't make people think.  Unfortunately, what start out as aspiring ideas and concepts for my blog usually turn into "I just have enough time and/or energy to photo dump and do a bit of journaling so we remember our lives in a few years".

I'm sad that I don't have better things to write about, but recently I've thought that maybe I can change that.  I've learned so much already just this summer about relationships, family theories, and emotional skills that have been proven to predict marital satisfaction.  And the coolest part is that they can be learned, practiced, and implemented at any point in your life.  They will always help!  I'm thinking I might start a new blog where I can write about all the fascinating concepts I come across and my thoughts about them so I remember them in two years when I graduate and start doing therapy completely on my own.  What do you think?  Is that pretentious?  Or would that be something interesting to read?  Maybe I'll just make it private so only I can see it but I'll still have an archive somewhere, you know?

Camping in Provo Canyon...

We just got back this morning from a quick one-night trip to Provo Canyon where we camped and essentially did the same thing we did 2 weekends ago, except this time Sierra and Jeremy were able to come!  They actually found the campsite!  I can't tell you where it is because we aren't 100% sure it's actually legal and it's so awesome I want to keep it to ourselves ;).  It was like camping in a beautiful meadow with the river just a 30 second walk away.  Oh, and there was a random cement block conveniently in the middle of the spot.

Annie and Russ cooked bacon, pancakes, and eggs all on
this stove in the morning.  Such champs.

We tried to use our portable grill to help the cooking go faster
but all we got done was the sausage--it wasn't a stove.

I didn't take good pictures of the site, so this is the best you get. 

Craig making a fire while we made breakfast.


Oh yeah, and there was a snake slithering in
the grass when we lifted our tent up....nbd.

So Jeremy had to catch it.

Dave's 26th...

May 31st is Dave's Birthday, but we were going camping Friday night, so we just did presents at home right before we left for the canyon.  I was shocked to realize that we actually had two different kinds of wrapping paper in our house and some ribbons to make them look pretty.  Happy day :)

I'm sorry, I just can't seem to figure out my camera yet.  They're all just a little blurry.  Working on it.

Meat thermometer for the grill!

I thought the tulle ribbon was very apropos for the gift inside.

New grill plates!  Thanks Mom and Dad Penrod!

I just love this wrapping paper :)

He was not surprised at all...totally guessed these
shoes he's been wanting forever.

Isn't it beautiful?

I think so!

Memorial Day 2013...

Usually I'm home in California for Memorial Day because I generally take springs and summers off to work at home.  Our family generally does the whole barbecue, pool, and sometimes fireworks on Memorial Day thing, but this year I obviously didn't go home (seeing as I'm married and all...) so I was a little sad.  Luckily, Christi and Jim generously gave Dave the grill they hadn't used yet from our grandparents for his birthday!  We were so excited and after a couple days of scraping, soaking, hosing down, and eventually giving up and just buying some new parts, we had a fully functional barbecue!

We invited everyone over for Monday night hamburgers and hot dogs and it was a blast.  Dave made these Bleu Cheese Burgers and he said they were great, but needed more cheese.  The barbecue worked great!  We were stoked about it and also slightly relieved.  

Christi, Jim, Tori, Riley, Jeremy, Sierra, Annie, and Russ were all able to make it so it was a great night with great food, a little bit of relaxing in the sun, stovetop s'mores, and a couple rounds of Bang! to finish the night off. (Bang! is Jim's favorite card game...and I don't actually know if the exclamation point is supposed to be there or not...)  Enjoy the pictures!

Watermelon, deviled eggs, and an assortment of burger fix-ins. 
Not pictured:  Potato Chips, Pink Lemonade and Water,
and Christi's delicious pasta salad is just barely cut off here.  

Probably the ugliest deviled eggs I've ever made,
but they were still delectable!

Bleu Cheese on the left, Dave was so proud :)

The rest of us missed the memo about the green...

A little sunny...
Our oak kitchen chairs passed for outside
 chairs...we need to get a patio set. 

Just missing the girls and Jim :(

Riley was so so so cute!

Then we spontaneously decided to roast s'mores over the stove!  So good.