We must have been nice this year

because Santa was very good to us. Here are some of the highlights.

iPod Touches for Bryan, Jenn, and Leslie
Disneyland Money for Katie
Foot Massager for Dad
Nutcracker Family for Emma Kate
Books for Grant (a boy after my own heart)
A Bengals Jersey for Ty
A Halloween Jack-o-Lantern- with a shirt wrapped inside- for Me
A new bed for Luna (but she still prefers to sit on the love sack)

We have a family tradition of opening new pajamas on Christmas Eve. Here are they guys in their new pajamas: Grandpa got Benjamin Franklin's, Bry got Guitar Hero, and Dad got Smiley Faces. Don't they look good?


Merry Christmas to all...

"Good tidings of Great Joy"

"wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger;
because there was no room for them in the inn"

"and they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger."

and to all a good night!


I'll be Home for Christmas

In Richmond, Virginia (aka home) it snows about once a year. We get a couple inches and everyone freaks out. The grocery stores run out of milk and bread because everyone thinks they are going to be snowed in, school is canceled for days, if not weeks, and it's a regular merry holiday for all.

Yesterday it snowed approximately 1 foot in Richmond, which means great excitement and paranoia for all good Richmonders. Except for those of us that were supposed to fly in today. All flights to Richmond CANCELED. Thus we are still in Provo, pouting and bemoaning our terrible fortune.

This is most definitely not the first in my book of horrific flying experiences while traveling during the holidays. You would think I would get used to it, and even plan for it, but every year I hope that this time it will be easy and problem-free. Not so much.

Luckily we got on another flight arriving on Sunday, and we're crossing our fingers that the weather cooperates. If that doesn't work, we'll move on to Plan C. Somehow we will make it home for Christmas!


Welcome 2010

As of today, my classroom looks like this:

And, it's not just my room. Every 3rd-6th grade classroom in my school looks like this. When I was in fifth grade (in 1995) I had my first classroom with computers. There were 6 of them and they were monstrous. I'm not exactly sure of the capabilities of those machines, but I do know they were perfect for Troggle Trouble Math and the Oregon Trail. Oh, the good old days. I also remember that we used Hyperstudio (does that even exist anymore?) to make State Reports. I remember thinking how cool I was to be able to make a project like that on the computer. I'm pretty sure that any first grader at my school could make a project just like my fifth grade state project.

I love how technology is changing education. My kids are on the computer doing activities and programs for at least an hour every day. They have made some amazing projects and are continually teaching me cool things these machines can do. It makes school so exciting and modern. I'm pretty sure I would have died if I lived in the days when "school" was a one room deal with only chalk and slate- gross.


Have a Holly Jolly Christmas

Bryan's Grandma makes an amazing Gingerbread House every year for his family. This year since we're far away from Grandma we decided to try our own. Let's just say I have a much greater respect for her Gingerbread skills now. And, we even had a kit!

Working Hard

I tried to explain to Bryan that Christmas was not an appropriate time to be violent, but he was positive that the candy canes were meant to be guns. Boys...

I turn my back for one second and catch these two messing around

The finished product!

My sweet husband thought it would be funny to put a bunch of frosting on my foot without me noticing (I was really into the gingerbread.) This is me realizing that I just got gooey white goodness all over my feet and our carpet. Great.


No more Vampire movies for me

A couple nights ago I had a dream that one of my students was being awful in class. I got so frustrated with her that I bit her on her arm. I distinctly remember seeing the teethmarks (that looked quite similar to Bella's scar) and being horrified at myself. I woke up panting and sweating, positive that I was going to be fired.

My students got the nicest and sweetest teacher they've ever seen today, I was so nervous that I would snap and start sucking their blood at any minute.


Happy Thanksgiving

I hope your week is full of thankfulness, family, and turkey!


An Apple a Day

The other day one of my students brought me two bags full of apples from her apple tree. Thus, our tiny kitchen is now overflowing with red, juicy deliciousness. Since it would take until 2010 for us to eat them all individually, I've been looking for yummy apple recipes. So far we've made this and I'm planning to make this this weekend.

Any good apple recipes for us to try?



At 7:00 this morning my alarm went off so that I could make it to my 7:30 Step Class at the gym. My body requested more time in my warm, cozy bed and I kindly acquiesced. At 7:45 I realized the gym class wasn't happening but I needed some way to exercise so I decided to go for a run.

This morning was the perfect mix of chilliness and bright sunshine that only November can bring. The few colors that are left on the trees were shining brilliantly, and the rest of the colors on the ground provided me immense crunching pleasure as I ran. The air had the crisp smoky smell of Autumn.

Whoever decided Thanksgiving should be in November was a genius, because how can you not feel thankful when you are living November?

Then I came home and turned on Christmas music. . . because November also means 'tis the season!

I did not take this picture- I did not have a camera on hand during my run nor am I capable of photography of this caliber, but I wanted you to have a small portion of the experience nonetheless.


Funtober Update

So far, this month has been a complete Roller Coaster. Despite having a cold for a week, then the flu for a few days, and now another cold (I have absolutely no voice right now, tomorrow will be an interesting day if it doesn't come back!) we have been having tons of fun.

First was the long-awaited Girl's Trip to San Francisco. We had so much fun visiting and having adventures around the city. Here are some of our favorite pictures- and yes, we did plan the whole blue/white thing because we're all about being matchy.

For a great Girl's Trip Story, see here.

I came home in time to go to our ward's annual trip to the Red Barn in Santaquin to pick our perfect pumpkins.

Then Dad came to visit! We decided to run the Cougar Run 5K together. Well, we started out running it together. I am by far the most un-athletic of the group, and my cold was making its grand entrance, so I encouraged everyone to go on ahead. I thought I was the smart one- I was going to have a whole cheering squad when I finally crossed the finish line! But sweet Bryan stayed with me and kept me going. It was a lot of fun.

We were so excited to go to the football game with dad. Unfortunately, we had terrible seats (3rd row from the top!) and it was a terrible game (no more on that subject, thank you), but we got to eat a Cougar Tail, and I won a free chair massage from the Sundance people before the game, and it was fun to just be together.

One more weekend of visitors, and then we're into November!


Please tell me I'm not the only one

that cried watching Jim and Pam get married tonight.

I'm hopeless.



In case you haven't already figured this out, I am a very spoiled girl. October is full of delightful and exciting events this year, and I am completely giddy about it!

#1 General Conference Weekend, which is always emotionally, physically, and definitely spiritually rejuvenating. We had a wonderful time staying with Grandma and Grandpa Rice, eating till our clothes didn't fit anymore, watching/attending Conference sessions, and visiting with various family members.

#2 In case you haven't heard, Provo is spectacular in October. I am LOVING the beautiful colors that surround us.

#3 Fall Break is next week and that means. . . Girl's Trip to visit Lisa!!!! I am so excited to see my dear friend and spend lots of time eating, talking, shopping, and sight-seeing.

#4 Homecoming Weekend brings a visit from my dad. I'm excited for him (and the rest of the family) to leave me in the dust while running the Cougar Run. We'll also celebrate Grandpa's birthday and cheer on our Cougs.

#5 Halloween is always extremely crazy at school, but hopefully I'll survive because Bryan's parents will be here visiting. We're excited to do some fun and Halloween-ish things with them.

#6 As if all that wasn't exciting enough, I start my second training class! Now I will get to go to meetings after school on Wednesday nights and Thursday nights.

I hope you get to enjoy Funtober as much as I do!


Walking around my room today I found this:

Yes, this is THE Michael Jackson, and not some unfortunate fifth grader.
Yes, Shania is 10 years old.
Yes, she talks about him/writes in her journal about him constantly (I asked her how long she had liked him and she said since she was 8.)
Yes, Joseph is his middle name- definitely didn't know that before.
Yes, we have been in school for 6 weeks and her name tag already looks this bad.

I love my job.



Cute Kirsten (who just had an adorable baby boy) tagged me in the Honest Blogger Tag. Here are the rules. List ten Honest things about myself and tag 10 other bloggers who I think are honest in their blogging.

So, Here are 10 Completely Honest facts about Rachel:

1. When we have kids, I really really want us to have a girl first. I want dresses and bows and pink and ballet shoes. I want an organized and responsible da
ughter to help me take care of the rest of the troop and to be my best friend. I'm afraid I'll be very sad if I find out a boy is coming. I'm just hoping the motherly instinct will kick in and I'll love a boy just as much. (ps, this is not an announcement)

2. I love dressing up for work, even though I spend my day with a bunch of kids. I often come home very dirty and with aching feet, but I think it's worth it. I love feeling like a professional and spending time to get ready for my day. I love that my kids notice what I'm wearing and compliment me occasionally.

3. Bryan is a much better cook than I am. When I have a recipe, I am usually successful. But he can just make things up that are completely delicious. Take tonight's dinner for instance:

4. I don't like animals. They smell, are dirty, have fleas, make a lot of noise, and scare little children (and me!) I wish people would spend more time helping other people than helping animals.

5. I like doing dishes. I love that my dishes can go from completely disgusting to sparkly clean in just a few minutes because of my hard work.

6. I don't shower every day. It took me a few years living in Utah to realize that this dry weather gives me the freedom to not wash my hair every day. Every once in a while, I'll just wake up, put on deoderant and a little body spray, get dressed, brush my hair, and go. These mornings are glorious, but by the end of the day I feel very wilty. (Do you not want to be around me anymore??? I'm sorry)

7. I love to decorate, but it stresses me out because of cost and making big decisions that will last for a while. For these reasons, all of the pictures that we own have been spread around the floor of our living room for the past week waiting for me to decide where and how to hang them.

8. I HATE to be late. I get an antsy and uncomfortable feeling because I know I am going to miss something important. I also hate it when other people are late, but I guess I can't change that so I'll just have to deal with it. :)

9. I don't like cake. Growing up we always had some variation for my birthday dessert: cheesecake, cookie cake, ice cream cake, etc. until I finally found a cake that I like: chocolate chip cake (perhaps I will post the recipe sometime.) I can eat minimal amounts of cake, but I get sick of it very quickly. It was almost tortuous to have to eat a whole piece of our wedding cake.

10. I love Miley Cyrus. When my family was visiting, we watched the Hannah Montana movie three times in one weekend. I definitely listen (and sing along and sometimes even dance) when no one else is around.

I tag Lisa, Judi, Shauna, Amy, Tiffany, Lindsay, Kali, Katie, Anna, and Ashley.


Day of Surprises

This afternoon we had Parent Teacher Conferences. For those of you who aren't teachers, this is the day we dread. It takes so much time to prepare all of the reports to give to parents. Then, you have to get all dressed up and teach a day of school. The kids get out early at 2:00, but that's still a lot of time. Then we sit there for hours and hours (2:15 until 8:30) filing families through while smiling and talking and remembering every score for every one of our 27 students and doing our very best to give parents the impression that we have it all together (I obviously do not, but hopefully I convinced them.) It really is fun to talk to all of the parents and get to be with the kids one-on-one, but it is an extremely exhausting day.

I was expecting today to be long and difficult like all conference days, and it was, but it also had a few great surprises mixed in.

At lunchtime I dropped my kids off in the cafeteria then started back to my classroom. From a distance I saw a tall, beautiful girl walking into the office and I stopped dead in my tracks. This girl looked so much like my dear friend Lisa, but it was impossible. She lives in California. When the girl turned around it was my Lisa with Cafe Rio (my fav) for lunch. She had come at the last minute to help her dad with a deadline at work and decided to surprise me for lunch. It was my best lunch yet this school year and gave me the energy I needed to make it through the rest of my day.

When I finally came home at 9:00 I walked into my apartment to find that Bryan had rearranged our furniture! We have been talking about it for a few weeks. We thought it would give us more space, and maybe help our tiny apartment look new and exciting. We've been so busy and haven't gotten around to it, but Bryan must have found time today. It was so exciting to come home to a new house (kind of.)

My life is so great. I do not deserve these people.


Big Chief and the Buffalos

This morning Bryan, Roger, Shauna, Rob, and Anna ran a marathon. They finished in just 3.5 hours. They also carried a baton the whole time.

At 5:45 this morning we left for the Utah Marathon Relay. Since there could only be 5 runners (26.2 is easily divided by 5 to get 5.2ish miles each) I volunteered to be the Equipment Manager. All through the morning we cheered and passed the baton. Shauna started, and ran in the freezing cold, with Rob finishing the team off in extreme heat. They all did an awesome job and made great times. I was busy pinning numbers, transporting gear, taking pictures, keeping the time, and grading approximately 5,000 math pages during the down time.

After much brainstorming and voting, Big Chief and the Buffalos was chosen as the team name. Any questions about the Big Chief part should be directed to the Big Chief herself. Recently Shauna learned that her friend's little baby has Cystic Fibrosis, which was the cause the race was supporting. So, on Friday night we made shirts with a Buffalo on them and wrote "For Baby Tyce." I think the matchiness added to the unity and success of our group, plus we just looked really good.

Posted by Picasa


Rachel on Politics

I don't claim to be extremely political, but I am interested in politics even if I don't always understand all the issues. This week my role as an elementary school teacher threw me into a dramatic political adventure.

When I first heard about Pres. Obama's speech to the kids, I'll admit my first reaction was, "Sweet, 30 minutes of peace that I don't have to plan or worry about managing my kids." Not the most noble of reactions. But as the controversy unfolded I couldn't believe how ridiculous some people were being. Of course we're showing our kids a speech on education and staying in school from the President of the United States. I am no big Obama fan, nor did I vote for him but he is our president. He is the man that Americans chose to lead us at this time and I refuse to hope that he will fail. I think it is terribly un-American to deny children the right to hear an inspirational message from their president.

Needless to say, I did show the speech in my class today. Our district sent a letter home telling parents that we were going to show it, but that they could opt out of it if they wanted. None of my students brought a note, so we all watched together. I thought it was great. I was surrounded by my sweet children, many of whom do not have money or an ideal family situation. These kids have a difficult life ahead of them, and I'm so grateful that they could be inspired and motivated to realize what they can achieve. They were excited that the president cared enough to talk to them, and I could tell it really made a difference to them. I even got a little teary-eyed as I participated in this special event, and I felt very proud to be an American.


Biking Adventures

On our last trip to California we decided to bike around San Francisco for a day- something I would highly recommend because we had a wonderful time. I borrowed a bright yellow old bike from Bryan's parents' garage and that day the bike and I bonded. Bryan's dad kindly fixed it up and insisted that I take it home with me. I didn't feel too guilty since I am the shortest in the family by about half a foot and I didn't think the bike would fit anyone but me!

Bryan has been into biking for a while and I was always content to have it just be his thing. And I still am content to let him keep doing his extreme mountain biking all on his own. I think I'll stick to a paved trail, thank you. But I am excited for us to be able to bike together as a family.

We've been on a few biking expeditions together and I'm proud to say I've had my first biking injury. I was turning a corner and just fell over, I'm not sure really what happened. It was totally embarrassing because Bryan was behind me watching and so was this random guy on the sidewalk. But, I did get a nice scrape and bruise. I'm hoping it will leave a scar so I can tell my great grandkids about it.

{I tried approximately 500 times to take this picture in a way that didn't make my calf seem so huge, white, and disgusting but had no success. I hope I haven't offended anyone}

The other night we went up Rock Canyon so Bryan could show me some of his tricks (Rock Canyon is a dirt path so obviously I was using my feet as transportation that night.) The sunset was beautiful so we attempted to figure out some of the settings on our new camera and get some cool pictures.

{He's so fast we call him The Blur}

{Bryan popping a wheelie, what a stud}


Home Sweet Home

Today I was at school from 7:30 am to 5:30 pm so it's a darn good thing that I love my classroom. This year I got the premium location- very front of the school right across from the office. I can make a quick exit, I have two big windows, and I can easily send my kids across the hall to the principal's office if needs be. I spent many hours this summer fixing up my new room only to go into a panic the night before school started because I was worried it was too girly. But, so far none of the boys have complained so I'm sticking with it.

Here are some pictures of my home away from home. My theme this year is Fifth Grade Hits the Spot.


What a Week!

In my first full week of school I realized the honeymoon was over. My kids got a little more rambunctious and I realized just how big fifth graders are! Quite a few are taller than me, and we just can't fit all of them and their desks in our room, it's so crowded! We'll have to work on that next week, along with a few other things. :)

Meanwhile, my mom and 3 sisters came for the week. They came down one day to meet my kids and help out in my classroom, which was so nice of them. We also had a big sleepover at our apartment one night (it was extremely crowded, but very fun.) We went to a few family picnics during the week and it was great to see lots of cousins. We also watched fabulous movies like Hannah Montana and Seventeen Again. Katie moved into her new apartment, which is 2 blocks further away from us, but still within 5 blocks so we can handle it. We also made the usual journey to Park City for some shopping. It was a wonderful week, and I was so sad to see them go.

Unfortunately, my new camera didn't arrive until Thursday so we don't have pictures to document the week, but from now on I promise the pictures will be back!

Tomorrow is Bryan's last first day of school. We're both very excited for him to start his graduate program because that means there is a light at the end of the tunnel, but we're also well aware of the busy and difficult year ahead. This is just one of Bryan's books and its 4 inch thick spine is enough to make me want to break down in tears. Luckily I married a Civil Engineering genius. Go Bryan!



I've never been very good at dealing with change. Every year on the night before the first day of school (and I've had a lot of first days of school) I have a nervous breakdown. Last week I attempted to figure out why this annual meltdown occurs. It's not that I don't like school, on the contrary I have always loved school. I finally realized that I just hated to not be at home all day with my mom. I knew I would miss her so much while I was gone all day.

This year I knew I was in for quite a year. I went from a school in the wealthiest part of Provo to a school in the poorest part of the city. My students are sweet and darling, but have VERY different family lives than my previous students. In my opinion, fifth graders' greatest concern should be what color hair ribbon to wear instead of how their family is going to eat that night. But, these kids are adorable and I'm so glad I'm able to spend this year with them.

It's been tough to adjust back to a work schedule again. I miss my free time, clean apartment, and full refrigerator. But, all change has a silver lining and I know this year holds experiences that will be exciting and enriching.


Looking Forward

I must admit, I am not exactly jumping for joy at the prospect of trading in my wonderful care-free days of summer for work on Wednesday. I do love teaching, but I also love my free time and being able to do whatever I want whenever I want. I can feel the stress creeping in as I run around preparing my room and figuring out what on earth I'm going to teach these kids.

Feeling very pleased with my ability to find the positive in the midst of my stress, I told Bryan, "I decided that I'm excited for school to start because Christmas can't come unless school starts, and I'm very excited for Christmas." He wasn't as impressed with me as I was.

My wise husband said, "It's great to look forward to things, but then you forget that you're supposed to be living today. We should find something to look forward to every day so we make sure we enjoy it."

Due to construction we had a long drive back from SLC to discuss this and I decided he's right. I often spend so much time looking forward to something in the future that I waste time I have right now. Instead of appreciating the moments I have now that are slipping so fast I dream of moments to come in the future. I think it's an easy thing to do because "it's always greener on the other side." But I'd like to try Bryan's advice and find something to look forward to every day.

Today I'm looking forward to Bryan coming home from his meetings at church so we can make yummy panini sandwiches for dinner.


Chocolate Dream Cake

Bry and I just got back from a fabulous weekend getaway to visit his parents. We biked around San Francisco, ate lots of mom's delicious food, enjoyed a black and tan (best ice cream treat ever, and I am quite an ice cream expert,) played blokus, visited Dillon Beach, went to a wild and crazy soccer game, and the girls got pedicures. It was a weekend full of fun and relaxation.

On Thursday night I had a dream that Michael (Bryan's dad) made chocolate cake for breakfast. I told him the next morning and we laughed at the absurdity. But late that night after everyone else had gone to bed, Michael went out to the front lawn (so he wouldn't wake us) and mixed up a chocolate cake. When I went into the kitchen on Saturday there was a beautiful chocolate cake sitting on the table for breakfast. This is why I love these people.

ps- Our camera is broken so I unfortunately have no pictures of the beautiful cake, you just have to trust me on this one.


Once Upon a Time

I was a young eighteen year old girl walking into S Hall feeling completely scared to death. There were many wonderful girls that I met that year, but this post is dedicated to a girl named Lisa. She was everything I wasn't- tall, gorgeous, smart, athletic, funny, and did I mention tall? We had great times together that year and the years to follow. We rushed home from dates to tell each other every gushy detail, we made dinner together and chatted about the adventures of our day, we took fabulous trips to Disneyland, Hooper, and Salt Lake, we cheered our loudest at football games, had awesome dance parties, and sometimes Lisa would even play her guitar and sing for me before we went to bed. We agonized over difficult tests, and celebrated when those tests were over. I will never forget one January I had left my family after Christmas break and was coming back to a difficult semester and a terrible Utah winter. Tears flowed as I drove down from the airport. But Lisa was there to meet me on the stairs and practically carried me up to our apartment. She sat next to me all night as we laughed and cried about our fun breaks and the semester ahead of us. Lisa taught me what it means to be a good friend.

In the summer of 2007 we both married our Bryans from the Bay Area (conveniently they were roommates as well.) It was hard to know we would never be roommates again, but luckily we found apartments on the same block. We still went to ward activities together, double dated, had Just Girls nights, and visited, texted, emailed, or called to report on our day.

This week Lisa moved to California. As you can imagine, it was not the happiest event to occur in my life. I feel lost without my BYU buddy. For the past 5 years, we've pretty much shared every big event together. But the great thing about life these days is that even though we live far apart, we can still share every big event together. I owe S Hall many thanks for helping me find one of my dearest friends.

This is one of my favorite pictures of us (note the matchy scarves!) from our Sophomore year



Yesterday I was watching Good Things Utah and saw them make this:

I decided to try it for Family Night, and of course it didn't turn out as beautiful or perfect as it did on tv, but it was pretty good. We loved that it was a cold summer apple pie to hold us over until Thanksgiving. Enjoy!

  • 1-1/2 cups cold milk
  • 1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese softened
  • 2 (4 oz.) pkgs. Instant vanilla pudding
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon, divided
  • 1 prepared 9 inch graham cracker crust
  • 1 (21 oz.) can apple pie filling
  • 2 T. toasted slivered almonds
Place cream cheese in large bowl and gradually beat milk into it until smooth. Add pudding mix and stir. Add 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and beat for another 2 minutes; spread into pie crust. In medium sized bowl, mix apple pie filling and remaining cinnamon. Spread evenly over the cream cheese mixture. Cover and chill for 4 hours or until set. Sprinkle with almonds just before stirring. Store pie in refrigerator.

{I was lazy and just put the milk and cream cheese in the blender instead of killing my wrist stirring. And, I found out that sometimes pudding is sold in 5 oz packages a little too late, so I added too much pudding (10 oz instead of 8 oz) but it was still tasty}


How to Solve Problems

Last night we were watching the news about President Obama's "Beer Summit" with Officer Crowley and Professor Gates. We heard Obama say that this was a chance to discuss their differences and find some common ground. My brilliant husband then said, "Why doesn't he just fly over to Iraq and have a beer with the guys causing trouble over there? It sounds like beer can solve all of our country's problems."


A day in the life of me

Last night we got a sweet and loving note from our landlord informing us that people would be coming today to work on installing our new 'costs $20 extra a month' internet.

Unfortunately, I let that note slip out of my mind as I went through my Summer morning routine today. My summer routine is very different from my school year routine. During the school year, I always get up at 6:30 (ish), read scripts, shower, get ready, get breakfast and lunch ready, possibly think about dinner that night, and head out the door by 8:00. One of my favorite guilty pleasures is a slow and relaxed morning routine, so during the summer I spoil myself. I spend time checking my email and blogs, watch the morning news and Regis and Kelly, clean the kitchen perfectly, read scriptures, make my list of things to do that day, possibly look up a fun recipe to try, start on a project, and sometimes I even go for a run. All of this happens before I shower and officially get ready for the day.

Today I was enjoying my morning and even started to get some work done for school so I was late in starting the 'official get ready' part. All of a sudden the doorbell rings. Let me give you a little picture of what my friend the maintenance man saw when he came in: Rachel with no makeup, hair exactly what it looked like when I rolled out of bed (not attractive), pajamas still on, teeth unbrushed. And, to make matters worse, as I let him in I trip over Bryan's bike, which we are not supposed to keep in the apartment- hopefully he won't tell. Then it turns out that the maintenance guy is an old roommate of Bryan's. He had the nerve to chat with me while I was in that state.

So here I sit a captive in my apartment, strange men going back and forth (and leaving my door open to let in all the heat!), not able to shower or get ready because they are working near the bathroom, and looking completely atrocious. Are you jealous?


A Sweet Sunday Evening

Bryan and I were craving something sweet so we decided to try fabulous Amy's cinnamon roll recipe tonight. We made the scrumptious rolls together and ate them (obviously) while listening to the wonderful Sunday mix that Pandora provided us and writing our favorite Elder Martinezes, or is it Elders Martinez?

I could do this more often.

{I thought this was a perfect time to debut my apron that I finished last week!}


New Addition to the Family

Because of an unfortunate circumstance occurring in the past couple weeks (me wrecking the Pathfinder) it was time for us to add a new car to our family.

I'm excited about our new 4Runner, but it didn't come without plenty of drama. We set our budget and started looking. Correction- Bryan started looking. I was extremely unhelpful in this department because I'm just not a car person. Thank goodness for husbands. Earlier this week we found one that we loved. It was in such good condition, had all the extra features, and was just overall wonderful. But, it was just a little bit over our budget. We tried to talk the dealer down, but he wouldn't budge, so we had to walk out of there. I was very sad, but felt good that we had stuck to our guns. Then we found another car that was also over our budget, but just by a tiny bit. We were going to get it anyway but then at the last minute the guy got another offer and sold it. Again, we were sad, but grateful that we hadn't gone over our budget. On Thursday Bryan found a car (this car) that was within our budget so we went to check it out. Even thought it's not in perfect condition like the other cars we looked at, it is a great car and I am so grateful that we could find one within our budget. As much as I loved the other two cars, I wouldn't have been able to enjoy them as much because I would have felt so guilty about spending more money than we should have. Lesson learned: budgets sometimes stink, but are so worth it in the end.

We are now the owners of what I lovingly call "The Monster." It's big and scary, and especially looks menacing with that ugly rack thing on the front (Bryan promised to remove it for me ASAP.) But I know I will be loving this baby when there's 3 feet of snow on the ground and I have to get to work. And, I know Bryan already does love it because every once in a while he'll peek at it out in our parking lot then get a huge grin on his face and say, "That's our car."


What will you do the next day?

Two years ago, after all of our wedding festivities were over Bryan and I were heading back to Provo. My brother-in-law asked me what I was going to do for the next month until school started. I told him, unpack and organize our apartment, go through the changing my name process, set up my new classroom, start planning for the school year, run errands, cook dinner, etc. After listening to my long list he said, "So, what will you do the next day?" (At that point I hadn't had very much experience with brothers so I didn't know what to do, now I would know to slug him, or at least try to convince Bryan to give him a nice bruise.)

I spent that month doing all of the things on my list and staying very busy. I even felt like I could have used a few more weeks before school started (doesn't that always happen?)

I'm back in the same situation- 1 month (actually a little less) until school starts and it seems as though I have oodles of time. But I feel like I am always busy- whether it be getting ready for school, church stuff, writing those brothers on missions, grocery shopping, other errands, laundry, taking care of car/insurance stuff, cleaning my apartment, or making dinner. Don't get me wrong, I have plenty of time to read, work on my sewing skills (basically non-existent), play with my new computer, blog, and visit family and friends. But there is never a time when I really feel bored or lazy because there is always so much to do!

I can see how it's difficult to be a stay-at-home mom. Even though I always feel busy, I hardly ever feel like I've accomplished everything I needed to do that day. And I can't even imagine throwing a baby into the mix. I think my productivity rate will go down by about 97% when I have children to take care of as well. The other thing that's frustrating is that I feel like all I do is spend money without contributing to the family finances. But I guess we just have to look back on our days and appreciate the things we were able to do. Clean clothes and a full refrigerator are necessary for a family to function, even though they may seem small. And that's why we're in families anyway, so we can all use our own time and abilities to help each other make it through this wonderful life.


Tonight's the night

that all my dreams come true. My true love is taking me to see my other true love:

(i hope things don't get awkward)

I know all the true fans grabbed their wands and dress robes and went on Tuesday night, but some of us have work. Okay, so maybe I'm not included in that category, but Bryan is and I didn't feel good about making him work on 3 hours of sleep. So, in exactly 12 hours we will enter the theater for the moment I've been dreaming of. I can hardly wait.

While I'm on the subject of exciting things, Provo School District kindly traded in my old, decrepit, and frustratingly slow iBook for a brand new MacBook yesterday and I'm loving my new friend!


Unlucky or Lucky?

On Monday morning I got in a car accident. It was terrible. It's taken until today for me to get up the nerve to write about it. Other than some scrapes and whiplash, I walked away just fine, and so did the other driver. Our car wasn't so lucky though- it's a goner. Calling my husband to tell him that I wrecked his car was probably one of the most unpleasant things I've ever had to do. He was so sweet though, he just kept saying 'I'm sorry, I'm so sorry.' And I kept thinking, 'Isn't that what I'm supposed to be saying??'

After I got home that afternoon I sat on the floor sobbing uncontrollably. I felt so bad about wrecking Bryan's car, I felt so dumb that I got in an accident, I worried about all the money we would have to spend, my whole body ached from the impact, and I kept reliving the accident in my mind over and over again. I felt completely alone. Then I looked up and saw a picture of the Savior on our wall and remembered Elder Holland saying, "One of the great consolations of this Easter season is that because Jesus walked such a long, lonely path utterly alone, we do not have to do so. His solitary journey brought great company for our little version of that path."

It was then that I realized that I was alive and unharmed. I know I was being looked after that morning because it was a miracle I wasn't injured. I could wallow about what a nightmarish experience it was, or I could realize how blessed I am. It took a very unlucky event for me to realize what a lucky girl I am. Lucky to have a wonderful husband, supportive family and friends, and a Savior who never leaves us alone.


It's the little things

that made our Virginia trip BIG

Glittery painted toes

Gilmore Girl’s Marathon until 2 in the morning

Realizing that Mom, Katie, Jenn, Leslie, and I are all the same size- when did my sisters grow up on me???
Eating pizza and homemade Shirley Temples out on the driveway for dinner

Watching the cute kids enjoy playing the sand
Taking an early bike ride with Bryan through the peaceful wildlife reserve by our beach house

Playing a huge game of Uno that left everyone in tears from laughing so hard

Sitting on the beach enjoying the sun and sharing the gossip we learn from all the magazines we brought


Looking out at the beautiful Potomac River from Mount Vernon

Watching approximately 500 hours of Michael Jackson coverage

Boogey Boarding and playing Ooga Booga in the waves
Playing a huge family game of baseball- during which I caught the ball to get my brother out

Taking cheesy family pictures on the beach

Setting off fireworks on the beach and praying that dad doesn’t blow up his hand

Watching Bryan teach my cousins how to surf

Learning, Practicing, and Performing the “Hoedown Throwdown”

Visiting the puppies and watching cute Chloe try to sneak one into her mom's purse
It was a wonderful trip, I'm sad it's over, but happy to be back.



is the number of years I have been married to my best friend. I am grateful for the wonderful adventure these years have been, and the eternity of years to c0me. Happy Anniversary Bry!


Small Miracles

I'm in Richmond still enjoying air you can not only breathe, but truly drink in as well as green green green all around me. But tonight Richmond provided me with an unexpected treat that I will most likely never get to experience again.

I feel as though I should start with some history. I hate dogs. I hate how they smell bad, bark too much, make messes, get in your face, cost money as well as a lot of trouble. But about a year ago, our very good friends the Dials' chocolate lab had puppies. I was out in Provo, so I only got to see pictures, but these pictures melted my heart. And, apparently they melted the hearts of my parents, who had previously felt the same way I did about dogs. My family bought a puppy and we have loved welcoming Luna into our family. She is a crazy and adorable little dog.

Well, tonight the Dial's dog went into labor with her second litter and they invited our family over. I got to watch 2 of the little puppies enter this world and hold many of the 8 puppies. It was such a cute and amazing thing to watch. My favorite event of the whole night was when the mom had a puppy and they were wiping her off with a towel and passing her around for everyone to hold. The mommy dog started going crazy looking around in the towels for her puppy. It was so sweet to watch her immediately love this puppy and want to take care of it. We put the puppy back by its mom and she started licking and cuddling it. So precious.

Life is truly a miracle. It's amazing to me how all creatures have been created to fulfill their own purpose and find joy in doing so. Tonight was a reminder that Heavenly Father knows and has planned for every little detail on Earth. It's so great to know we're being looked after and taken care of by a wise and perfect Father in Heaven.

*This picture is not the puppies we saw tonight, this is from http://www.iler.com/labs/images/April2009/newborn2.jpg. I'll try to take pictures if I see them again before I go back to Utah, but this is just what they looked like, cute huh?


Why My Dad is Great

Tuesday: Mom is gone at Girl's Camp. Dad is home with just Ty and Bethany for dinner. He makes spaghetti which means that he cooks some noodles then puts cold sauce on top of them. Proceeds to tell me that he will give Bryan his spaghetti recipe for when I'm gone.

Wednesday: Dad picks me up at the airport after my late flight arrives at 11:45 pm. We chat on the way home and he lets me eat the sandwich he had been saving in the fridge because I'm starving. He goes to work at 7am the next day.

Thursday: I pick Katie up at the airport at midnight, Dad waits for us at home and stays up to talk until 2 am. He's back at work at 7am the next day.

Friday: Dad drives up to Girl's Camp, spends all night with dirty smelly grouchy girls playing Big Booty. We figure it is his 15th year of going up to Girl's Camp on the last night- he's a champ.

Saturday: Dad brings dirty smelly grouchy girls home from camp and spends hours unloading all the cars- our 2 cars and a few others- and cleaning everything. Takes the family out to dinner then participates in the Anderson family High School Musical dance party.

Sunday: Dad sits with us at church- a rare and fun treat! He grills shish kabobs for dinner and even frosts his own cake because he's the best froster in the family.

This is why I love him- he's patient, he's fun, he's crazy, he's helpful, he's thoughtful, he's talented, he's the greatest dad in the world. Happy Father's Day!



Occasionally Bryan and I, like all newly married couples, discuss names for our future children. It usually goes like this- I give a few names that I like and ask Bryan what he thinks. Bryan tells me, "not Abby because the dog next door was named Abby, not Madeline because I once knew a really annoying girl named Madeline, not Spencer because that is old-fashioned." I smile sweetly and remind myself I'm the one going through the 9 months of misery (am I allowed to say that?!?) and thus I will use the pity that I'm sure will develop in Bryan's heart to convince him of whatever name I choose. Then Bryan says, "what about Hezekiah??" And the conversation ends.

But, there is one name we can agree on, have agreed on since before we were engaged. Among our other children (none of which whose name will be Hezekiah) we will have one special child named Miguel. His full name actually is Miguel Pecos Fernando de Soto Martinez. Miguel will be our Mexican child- his diet will consist of beans and rice, he will only speak Spanish and wear sombreros, and he will only listen to mariachi band music. The rest of our kids will be mainstream American kids wearing the latest fashion from Justice and eating corn dogs and french fries, but special Mexican Miguel will be our very favorite.

You have to have some fun if your last name is Martinez, right?

Some faithful readers thought this was an announcement. Alas, I am not pregnant. This is all hypothetically speaking. Sorry for the confusion. When I am pregnant, I'll be really obvious about it. :)



I feel like when many people hear the word in-law it sends a shiver down their spine. When I got married I thought, “I already have a lot of family to love, I have no clue what I’m going to do with all these new people.” I also knew that no one could ever replace my family.

I quickly realized that I married into a top-notch family. Bryan’s parents are thoughtful, kind and generous. His brothers are wild and crazy, funny and talented. And, Amy is the most creative, gorgeous, and sweet sister-in-law I could have asked for.

It is a terribly difficult thing to join a new family- the concerns of finding your place and the fears of giving up your own family are very overwhelming. But, as we enjoyed our California adventures this week I realized that I now feel completely comfortable with my new family, and I haven’t lost anything with my ‘old family.’ I discovered that it all boils down to spreading the love. Sometimes I feel like I only have so much love to give- that if I start to love someone new it means I have to give up or decrease my love for someone else. But the great thing about love is that it is infinite. And, the more love you give, the more you have to give- it’s the one resource that increases as we use it!

So, I'm happy to say that I have the two best families in the world.


Ready. Set. Go!

If all goes as planned, Summer Adventure 2009 will begin in just a few hours. We're hoping to get an early start on dear old I-80 so we can get to California by early afternoon-ish. After a busy week of moving into a new classroom, taking both cars to get oil changed and safety/emissions inspections, cleaning the apartment, doing a ridiculous amount of laundry, having an enrichment activity at my apartment, a little scrapbooking, a lot more reading, and many other exciting activities, I am ready for vacation!

We're heading out to California to enjoy our last week with Elder Chad Martinez. We're going camping for a few days, going to the temple and Fenton's (my mouth is already watering) and of course his Farewell and Open House. I'm looking forward to the time together, but not the saying goodbye part. The good news is that Chad is the last Martinez boy so from now on we only have reunions, and those I really like!

After our California trip, I'll be home for about a day and a half to unpack, do laundry, and repack. We'll also drop Chad off at the MTC- but just at the curb since we're not allowed in anymore :(

Then I leave for the Virginia part of my summer. I'm going home for 3 whole weeks! First a couple of days babysitting while my mom and the older girls are at Girls Camp, then a few days of just hanging out, then Bryan will fly out (yea!) and we'll go on the Rice Family Beach Trip. We haven't had everyone come for a few years now, so it will be interesting to have ALL of us. That's 39 people including some very loud teenage boys, triplet three year olds, and my crazy uncles.

I love summer! And, I'm so grateful we get to spend so much time with family.


School's Out for Summer

The last day of school left me feeling overwhelmed with a medley of emotions. Luckily, I can deal with all emotions in one simply way- crying. I will be totally prepared when puffy, red eyes become the latest beauty craze.

Of course I feel happiness, or make that elation, at the glorious free summer ahead of me. I'm looking forward to lots of reading, sleeping, being outside, scrapbooking, traveling, and catching up with family and friends. I'm sure at some point I'll miss my excuse for why I'm not on top of the laundry, dishes, shopping, cleaning, etc. But, for now I'm really excited to finally get those things done!

My excitement is contrasted by a deep sadness. I'm not going to be at Canyon Crest next year and it was even harder than I thought it would be to say goodbye. I read Dr. Seuss's "Oh the Places You'll Go" to my kids and completely lost it before I even got past the title page. I am full of gratitude for the experiences Canyon Crest has given me- the wonderful friends who have helped me through and taught me so much, the amazing families who are so generous and kind, the adorable and hilarious students who make me smile every day.

The exhaustion from nine months of handling 26 fourth graders has definitely caught up with me. I will enjoy not having to talk all day, and not having to run around a classroom (in heels!) trying to make fractions exciting. I'm also full of hope that I made some difference for these kids. Maybe they learned long division, or they found a passion for reading, or maybe they just learned how to spell Martinez.

I regret to admit it but I am still feeling frustration and confusion at all that has happened this Spring. After hearing that I would most likely not have a spot at C.C., I was relieved when I was later told I would be able to stay. I was assured over and over again that I was going to stay only to have a bomb dropped on me at the end of April. There was no spot for me. I jumped back into the job hunt and very luckily quickly found a job at another school. One week later a spot opened up at my school. For a couple hours I thought I could maybe go back on my commitment to the new school, but that didn't work out. So, here I am.

My Mary Engelbreit calendar provided me with a perfect quote for May, "Life can only be understood backwards, but must be lived forwards." Though it seems like a cruel joke right now, I know there is some reason for the drama and stress of these past couple months. I know that someday I will look back and be grateful. In fact, I already am grateful. I have learned valuable lessons, and I know there are many more to learn. For now, all I can do is keep living forward, and try to stop all these tears.


How to not cook dinner

by Rachel

Monday- Take a trip to Costco around dinner time. Costco at dinner time = samples + pizza
Tuesday- Go to a Ward Barbecue
Wednesday- Go out to dinner (Magleby's) with friends to recover from a very intense School Community Council Meeting
Thursday- Attend a fancy dinner at Riverside Country Club honoring one of your students that won an essay contest
Friday- Party it up at the faculty end of year celebration at Los Hermanos


Books on the Go

Sometimes I wonder what my family did before the Harry Potter series. It's one of the few things that we ALL enjoy- from my forty-something dad to my six year old brother. Once a stick is picked up, it automatically becomes a wand used to send expelliarmus towards another member of the family. We have the toys, the costumes, the books, the movies, the coloring books, and any other kind of memorabilia Warner Brothers has thougt up.

But one of the greatest things about Harry Potter is listening to it on tape/CD. We have every single book either on tape or CD and it is an Anderson family addiction. Bethany can't go to sleep without listening, Leslie listens while she is doing her homework, and we cannot go on a road trip without at least one book. The soothing and miraculous voice of Jim Dale has prevented us from strangling each other many many times.

In the past year, my love of listening to Harry Potter has caused me to enter into the realm of listening to books on CD. It all started last summer when I had a lot of time on my hands when I was all alone. The tv got old pretty fast but I needed something to keep me company (this is where you insert the Bride Wars quote about not being able to be alone with your own thoughts.) So I started listening to books and I became hooked. All summer I listened and when the school year started, I didn't want to give it up. I don't have anywhere near the time to listen as I had before, but I do have the 15 minute drive to work and then back home as well as some brainless grading time. It makes me so happy to relax and enjoy having a good book read to me. So, if you have never listened to a book on CD before, please go try it, you may find that you have been missing one of the most delightful things this technological world has to offer.


Summer Lovin

The beautiful weather this weekend demanded that Bryan and I get out and enjoy.

On Friday we went to the park to enjoy the four main food groups of Summer-

corn on the cob,

watermelon, and ice cream
*no picture, ate it too fast.

On Saturday after running five quadrillion errands we hiked to Stewart Falls.

{Please be impressed by the rainbows in the waterfall}

And now I get to enjoy watching You've Got Mail while Bryan writes his talk for church tomorrow.

Life is sweet.