Saturday, December 31, 2011

The End of 2011

Well unfortunately, something has happened to my SD card, and all the pictures I took during Christmas have been erased. :(  Not to fear though, I can still tell you all about it....We were majorly blessed this year to be able to celebrate Christmas with so many people we love and care about.

Best Friend Fun
 First of all, there were some surprise visits from my best friends Amy and Erin.  Amy was stuck on the way to Hawaii, and we were more than happy to rescue her from the SLC airport.  She got to come visit our apartment in Park City, see some of the photobook projects I've been working on, and have a sleepover!  The next morning, we drove her to the airport and picked up Erin!  We took a really fun picture of all of us together with me squeezed between my two pregnant friends, but you're just going to visualize it in your mind.  With Erin we ate at CPK, went and saw the new Mission Impossible movie, and visited some of her relatives before dropping her back at the airport so she could make her way to Idaho.

Christmas with the Jones'
We were lucky enough this year to have two Christmases: one with my family and one with Brian's! Dad got out of his trip to Brazil, so he was able to come with my mom to Park City for Express Christmas.  Anyway Christmas Eve Eve, we opened our Christmas pajamas and celebrated an early Christmas Eve. Then on Christmas Eve, we celebrated an early Christmas.  Whitney and Alex came over, and we opened presents, played games, ate a delicious ham meal, popped our Christmas crackers, and watch movies.

Christmas with the Mootes
We drove down to Highland late Christmas Eve night so that we could be there Christmas morning to open presents with Brian's family.  It was pretty cool because Brian's sister Emily and her husband Lee plus their four kids flew in from New York, so the whole family was together this Christmas.  Their were 16 stockings crowded around the fireplace. :)  It was fun watching the kids open their presents and getting to meet the twins for the first time (John and Edward are 9 months, but we hadn't had a chance to meet them until now.)  We were also blessed with the opportunity to remember the true meaning of Christmas by going to church and listening to beautiful Christmas music, which in my opinion is always one of the fastest ways to bring the spirit.  We also read the Christmas story and played Christmas music on bell chimes.

Tuesday, we went snowboarding with Logan, Emily, Lee, and kids.  It was the first time we've been in two seasons.  Too bad the snow is basically non-existent.  It was still fun, but I've got bruises from my boots and some pretty sore calf muscles.  In other news, we're back in Park City!  The Christmas decorations have been put away.  We have re-arranged the front room and the TV room.  And we are ready for the new year!

2011 has been good to us.  We spent our first year together as a married couple, moved three times, survived school and work, went skydiving, and loved every minute of it!  Can't wait to see what 2012 will bring!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Santa's Gift is Going to Come in Handy!

Because of holiday treats like the ones below and more...

I'm excited to get back to Park City and put Santa's present to good use!  


P.S. With the holidays, you would think I would have more time and desire to blog, but that hasn't happened yet.  Posts to come about Christmas with the Jones', Christmas with the Mootes, Snowboarding, and surprise visits from best friends!  Stay tuned...

Monday, December 19, 2011

Our First Anniversary!

As of yesterday, December 18, 2011...Brian and I have been married one whole year!

We're pretty excited because if the first year of marriage really is the hardest, then I can't wait for what comes next because this year has been pretty dang great!  Since our anniversary this year was on a Sunday, we did most of our celebrating the day before on Saturday.  We started off by opening presents because I woke up so excited to show Brian what I got him! :)

Click here to create your own Shutterfly photo book.

For lunch we went to Cafe Rio, which was double exciting because we got a free meal!  

Then we went to see Sherlock Holmes 2.

The grand finale though was going to The Nutcracker at Capitol Theater!  Even though we were in the very back, we still had a great view and enjoyed the show.

Sunday, after church we celebrated again by eating some of our wedding cake.  It tasted surprising delicious and was still moist!

Happy Anniversary Bri!  I love you and I can't wait to spend the rest of our eternity celebrating with you!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

and our anniversary isn't even until this weekend...

When I got home from school today, Brian surprised me by taking me to a Mexican restaurant on main street!  This is a big deal because 1)  We don't eat out very often, and when we do it's usually to Wendy's or Cafe Rio.  2)  We never go in town to Main Street.  For the most part, it is too expensive and touristy for our taste.  3)  It was a school night.

During one of his study breaks, Brian had found a deal where he was able to buy a $25 gift certificate to Reyes Adobe on Main Street for $2.
The food was delicious and reminded us a lot of the Mexican restaurant we went to on the beach in Cozumel on our honeymoon.  The portion sizes were huge too.  We both had to box food to take home, and while is pretty typical for me, it is definitely a first for Brian.  We left full and happy knowing we only actually spent $25 on the $50 worth of food we ordered.  Best School Night Date Ever! :)

Plus, Park City at Christmastime is kind of magical.  Sometimes I really love living in a Winter Wonderland. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

New Callings

On Sunday, Brian and I both got new callings.  He went from teaching the 9 year-old kids in primary to being the 2nd counselor in the Elder's Quorum presidency, and I am now the new primary chorister!  Holy Cow!  Talk about making weaknesses become strengths right?!?!

I am grateful for sites like this one, this one, and this one.  There are plenty more, but I haven't had a chance to look at them all yet.  What would I do without the internet?  Wish me luck, or just pray for me! :)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

O Christmas Tree!

Even though we have had it up since Saturday, I wanted to wait until it was actually December to share with y'all the magical essence of our Christmas Tree.  I. am. in. love.  Maybe it's just because it's Brian and I's first tree together, but I'm pretty sure I have never seen a more beautiful tree in all the world.  The first thing I do when I come home from work is turn on it's lights and check to make sure it still has enough water.  Then I catch myself staring at it all night long, and I feel like a giddy little girl again.  I love Christmas!  I love the season.  I love the spirit of giving.  I love the goodies.  I love centering my life more around the Christmas miracle of our Savior's birth.  

Christmas = A Very Happy Ashley

P.S.  December 1st also means that there are only 17 more days until Brian and mines 1st Anniversary!  And that makes me feel double happy. :)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

one man's trash... another man's treasure.
Look at what we found at DI!  A 16 piece gold-plated flatware set.  Just in time for Christmas!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Operation Saving Peter Rabbit

Saturday morning we were eating breakfast, when we discovered you had a new friend outside our window.  For most people this wouldn't be a problem, but we live in a basement several feet underground.  Somehow this little rascal managed to get himself stuck. 
My mom was actually in town and saw him first.  She thought he was a decoration until she saw his nose twitching.

We hadn't been home since Thursday, so we didn't know how long this guy had been down here.  I tried to feed him some celery...

The escape plan:  scare rabbit into box.

You're free bunny!  What are you waiting for?

This is my favorite picture maybe of all time.

Good deed for the day...check!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I pinned it. I did it.

So I'm pretty much a rockstar.  I pinned it here on pinterest, and then I actually did it!  So here is the back story.  Today was the first day of my Thanksgiving break.  Great right?  Except that Brian still had to go to school today. :(  So in order to fill my time... I did the laundry, cleaned our apartment, did a little Christmas shopping, and made this!  It's been a productive day.

Lessons learned...
1. Projects like this take a ridiculous amount of time (as in at least double what I had planned.)
2. When working with a hot glue gun, applying band-aids to your finger will protect them from getting burned.
3. I have inherited the Jones family back and knee problems.  I can't begin to tell you how bad my joints hurt after leaning over and bending my knees for hours on end.
4. There is a great sense of accomplishment in finishing what you start.
5. DIY projects are not always cheaper than their store bought counterparts, but they are definitely priceless.

Now all we need is a tree!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Lights at the Gateway

On Saturday, Brian and I made the trip down the canyon to go to the temple, and then we met up with our friends Kim and James at the Gateway to go see the new Twilight movie Breaking Dawn.  We were lucky to be at the Gateway on the night that they turned on their Christmas lights. 
It's a Christmas decorated golf cart!

Friday, November 18, 2011

My Gratitiude List: Part 2

My list here was getting pretty dang long, so I decided to cut it in half and start a second post to last me through Thanksgiving.  Here it goes...

November 15 - Today I am grateful for a husband that lets me read books out loud to him.  I love reading, and it is like double the fun for me to know that we are getting into a good book together.  We just finished reading The Maze Runner.  It's a Young Adult novel geared more to guys, and it's a little predictable at parts but a good read overall and we recommend it.  I think they're going to be making the series into movies soon too.

November 16 - Today I am grateful for my principal.  My principal Traci is just a great person.  She is a good leader.  Cares about the school, it's students, and it's teachers.  And yesterday on our early release day, she told all the teachers she wanted us to leave an hour early because of all the hard work last week with parent teacher conferences.  I was home by 3:30 and had so much time just to relax and get things done.  Thanks Traci!

November 17 - Today I am grateful for family and giving..  I have been working really hard this last week on birthday and Christmas presents that have meaning and come from the heart for the people in my life I love most, and I just finished a big project that I'm really excited about. I really truly do love the spirit of giving.  I get way more excited buying and making presents for my family than wondering what they are going to give me.  I know that I get my excitement and love for giving from my parents, especially my dad.  I've never met anyone more willing to give and who is so happy doing it.  Thanks dad for the example!

November 18 - Today I am grateful for my mission.  Brian and I got invited to go to an International Dinner tonight by one of his friends from the U.  It's kind of like a pot luck where everybody brings a dish from where they are from or where they served their mission.  Thanks to my wonderful experiences in Italy and for their fabulous cuisine, I have plenty of options and won't feel like a poser making any of them.  I am Italian.  I truly feel as if Italy has become part of my heritage.  It's part of who I am.  Missions really do just keep on giving...

November 19 - Today I am grateful for the temple.  Brian and I have a goal to go at least once a month.  It has seriously been such a great blessing.  It's amazing how just a few hours of peace and perspective can make me so terribly happy.

November 20 - Today I am grateful a husband who works so hard to be a good primary teacher to such difficult 9 year olds.  I am also grateful our nice, little, cozy, and most importantly warm apartment.  Thank goodness for a place to curl up and snuggle on a wintery, snowy day.

November 21 - Today I am grateful for my visiting teachers.  They exemplify what the visiting teaching program is all about.  In fact, they totally put me to shame, but now I am resolved to be the best visiting teacher I can be too.  I am also grateful for the delicious tacos the Mr. and I made for FHE dinner.  Yum.

November 22 - Today I am grateful for online shopping.  I've never been the best shopper because big stores with lots of choices overwhelm me.  I also get really grumpy when I have been standing up and walking all day.  Plus, I have a serious aversion to spending least on myself.  Online shopping has helped overcome at least a few of my shopping woes.  It's fast. It's convenient. It means I don't have to drive down to SLC, and it's allowed me to get most of my Christmas shopping already done.

November 23 - Today I am grateful for a job that gives me so much paid vacation.  The pay may be terrible, the moral may be low, but the one of the best things we have going for us as teachers are the breaks! I love getting Fall break, Thanksgiving break, 2 weeks at Christmas, Ski break, Spring break, and my summers off.  I love my job, but I am grateful today that I have the next couple of days to just relax and enjoy family.

Friday, November 11, 2011


Happy Veteran's Day!

So as I am a history major, here is quick look at the history of what we now know to be Veteran's day.  World War 1 officially ended on November 11, 1918.  A U.S. legal holiday known originally as Armistice Day was created to honor World War 1 veterans.  The holiday was dedicated to the cause of world peace.  
In 1954, Congress amended the holiday to include veterans of all wars and to honor all servicemen and women who sacrifice for our country.  The holiday was changed from Armistice Day to Veteran's Day.  Today on November 11, 2011, we honor all American veterans who have served and/or continue to serve our country and preserve our freedom.

I would like to especially thank my Grandpa Hurst, Papa Jones, my Dad, and my brother-in-law Lee for their service and examples!  Happy Veteran's Day!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

waterfall braid

Despite what I said here about my hair...since I'm not shaving my head anytime soon, I decided I better figure out some new ways to live with the mop on my head.  A couple weeks ago when my friend Amy, the braid whisperer, was in town for this, and she helped me figure out how to do a 'waterfall braid.'  I knew if anyone could figure it out, she could.  So here it is...without further waterfall braid...
It's a work in progress.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Super Saturday

Yesterday, I was able to go to my Relief Society's Super Saturday.  Believe it or not, I had never heard of a 'Super Saturday' before.  In fact, when I mentioned that to one of my Visiting Teachers, she asked me if I was a convert!   Anyway, it was a lot of fun.  I got to meet some more sisters from the ward, eat some yummy soup and goodies, and explorer my inner crafter (pinterest would be proud!)  So here are just a few of my creations.  I can't display them all because some may or may not be presents for the future... :)

1.  Here is my spirited BYU post it cover.

2.  And here is my new 'MENU' board for the kitchen.  I already planned our meals for the week using a dry erase marker.  Brian is stuck with left overs for both Wednesday and Thursday because I have Parent Teacher Conferences and won't be home until after 8. :(

Friday, November 4, 2011

missing my long, brown hair

Warning:  The post below is totally self absorbed and a little vain.  Read at your own risk...

I am in a hair rut!  It's been a whole year since the last time that I dyed my hair a few weeks before my wedding.  Other than a few trims, I haven't done anything with my hair, and recently my hair has just been driving me crazy!!!  These days I rarely even wear it down.  Most of the time, I just throw it in a ponytail, crazy braid, a messy bun and call it a day.  It's in that terrible stage where it's not really long but also no longer shoulder length either.  I'm also not sure about the color.  I loved going brunette, but I hated the long process of going back to blonde and all the damage that came with it.  Basically, I have no idea what to do with my hair these days and just wanted to vent and complain a little bit.  I miss my hair looking like below... :( ...but my hair refuses to grow longer and hair coloring is expensive, plus a  it's kind of a big commitment for someone as non-committal as myself. ;)

P.S  On a happier note, how cute was our pumpkin snowman?!?!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

My Gratitiude List: Part 1

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, this month I have decided to 1. choose to become a more grateful person 2.  actively recognize the little blessings I take for granted and tend to overlook and 3.  share some of my gratitude with the few people that read this blog.  So here it goes....

November 1 - Today I am grateful that we put Brian's snow tires on Saturday.  Now I don't have to worry so much about him driving down and up the canyon today in the snow.

November 2 - Today I am grateful that my brother Travis was born on this day 25 years ago.  What would life have been like without my only brother? I don't know...but I'm guessing just a little more boring, and we probably never would have gotten a boat. :) For the boat alone but also so many more good times and memories, Happy Birthday Travis...I love you!
November 3 - Today I am grateful for Netflix.  It has been such a life saver now that we don't even have basic cable television.  How cool is it that in 2011, we have the technology stream movies and TV shows live from the internet straight to our HD TV's?!?!?!  Who would have thunk back in the days of Oregon Trail, Word/Number Muncher, and VHS?

November 4 - Today I am grateful to look younger than I actually am.  One of my co-workers past me in the hall today, did a double take, and said that she had thought that I was one of the students. :)  I've gotten this a couple times from other teachers.  Now it could just mean that I need to stop shopping in the juniors section and stop wearing my hair up, but today I'm choosing to believe that it means that I still look 21 (because honestly there is no way I could really still pass for a 7th grader...)

November 5 - Today I am grateful for Relief Society.  Even though the sisters in my ward are all older than me and in different stages in their lives, they always go out of their way to make me feel welcome.  Go here to see some of the fun crafty things we did together this weekend.  P.S.  I am also grateful for daylight savings time...but only in the fall...

November 6 - Today I am grateful that my Bishop asked Brian and I to give talks on gratitude Thanksgiving Sunday....I knew their was a purpose for this blog!  I am also grateful for Sunday afternoon naps.

November 7 - Today I am grateful for a husband who wakes up extra early to shovel snow and start my car, so when I leave for work I don't have to scrape off ice,  and it's already warm and toasty.  And that this isn't just a one time thing because he does this every morning now.  I love you Brian!

November 8 - Today I am grateful for Cafe Rio salad dressing.  Seriously, where have you been all my life?  I can't believe I spent the first 20 years of my life without you.  More specifically today, I am grateful for this lady here for teaching me how to make you on my own.  I can't wait for dinner tonight!

November 9 - Today I am grateful for dishwashers.  After living without one for our first few months of marriage, I'll never take one for granted again.  I'm also grateful for nights like tonight when I come home from a long day of Parent-Teacher conferences and Brian has done all the dished for me.

November 10 - Today I am grateful to be a teacher.  On days like this where I have to spend from 8:00-3:00 away from my classroom in professional development unpacking my curriculum,  evaluating assessments, and writing enduring understandings and essential questions, only to return to my school for Parent-Teacher Conferences until 8:00 P.M, I have to remind myself that I actually enjoy teaching.  I love the 90 minutes a day that I get to spend with my students.  It makes all the rest of the "stuff" seem a little bit more worth it.

November 11 - Today I am grateful for the blessings of the temple.  One of my great friends Jessica is being sealed today to her husband Wes for time and all eternity.  I am so grateful that families are eternal and can be together forever.

November 12 - Today I am grateful for a clean apartment, stocked refrigerator, soup and grilled cheese on a snowy day, and for the warm oatmeal butterscotch cookies that Brian just made for us!  It's adding up to be a pretty great Saturday.

November 13 - Today I am grateful that in a little over a month church will start at 11 instead of at 9.  I'd go to church no matter what time it started, but I'm not going to lie I'm excited for an extra day to sleep in.  Maybe I'll start actually doing my hair for church again...

November 14 - Today I am grateful for my health.  I went to the doctor today for my annual physical and everything looks good.  That combined with all the Grey's Anatomy I've been watching recently has really made me realize how awesome my healthy body is and how frequently I take for granted the miracle of good health. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

let it snow...?

I guess now that it's November that means goodbye fall...or at least I think that's what Mother Nature is trying to tell me...

Here are some pictures from the windows outside my classroom.

Happy 11/1/11!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

This weekend we got to celebrate Halloween by going to a barn costume party in Provo with the Mootes on Saturday. Then on Sunday we were able to carry on the tradition of the Jones family "Spook Dinner"  celebrating not only Halloween but also my brother Travis' 25th Birthday!  I got him a copy of "The Hunger Games"  so that he can read it before we all go see the movie in March.  We also decorated pumpkins!  Thanks Whitney and Alex for having us all over!

Tonight, Brian and I are going to sit back, relax, and watch some of this in honor of Halloween.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

One Wedding and a Football Game

This weekend was filled to the brim with good times.  Thursday and Friday were dedicated to the wedding of one of my best friends Kim.  Thursday - we got our nails done, rehearsed the wedding ceremony, and enjoyed a delicious rehearsal dinner.  Later that night we put together flowers and decorated cupcakes until Kim, Renae, and I had all become delirious. :)  But in the end all our efforts were rewarded.  Kim made an absolutely gorgeous bride!  As can be seen in the following pictures.

In other exciting news, after a mini miracle, Amy and Lorrin were able to make it to Utah, and Amy was able to be a bridesmaid with Renae and I.  We had so much fun together and loved seeing Amy's definite baby bump.  Hooray for babies!

Former roommates Jenny and Cherish also made it to the wedding.  Weddings tend to make great reunions.  Cherish is also expecting a healthy baby boy!

Saturday, we met up with Renae and Robert again for the BYU vs. Idaho State football game in Provo.  I haven't been to a game in SO LONG!  It was a lot of fun.  We won. And it made me feel like a young college student again. 

Today was our regional Stake Conference, and it was such a spiritual boost.  Elder Bednar spoke about testimony and conversion and the character of Christ in such a powerful, clear, and simplistic way.  Testimony is the knowledge we know to be true as witnessed by the spirit, but it is not enough for us to endure.  We have to be converted to the Lord Jesus Christ.  Conversion is CONSISTENTLY living what we know to be true.  As we gain a testimony and become converted, we are promised that we will never fall away because living a converted life helps align our character with the character of Christ.  Pretty amazing doctrine!  So basically it was a great, but exhausting weekend.  UEA break went way too fast, and now I'm a little bit bummed that I have to go back to work tomorrow.  It's ok though because wonderful memories were made and shared with good people.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Kim's Bridal Shower

Last Saturday, Renae and I through a bridal shower for Kim with the theme: I've Fallen For You.  It was a lot of fun, and I wish I had found time to take pictures (Kim took a lot, but she's kind of busy these I'm probably not going to see them any time soon.)  Kim is going to make such a beautiful bride!  I can't wait for the wedding on Friday!

Here are some of Kim and James' Engagement Pics

I'm kind of really proud of this invitation...

I don't get much more creative than this! 
(The cards on the favors say James and Kim: The Perfect Mix)

And thank you pinterest for this idea!

Now it's time to start planning baby showers...