Wednesday, December 28, 2011

What to do with an old french book?

Here's the deal, I'm a Pinterest Junkie. Aren't we all a little bit of one ladies? 
(follow me on Pinterest here)
Part of what I love love love about Pinterest is all of the cute Do-It-Yourself ideas floating around. Half the time I re-pin those like a mad-woman and say, "I can make that", and then there it sits in cyberspace, untouched and unappreciated.
But not this time!

I saw some beautiful rustic envelopes made out of old book pages and simply couldn't resist. I found an old french play book that was just screaming to be put to good use! If I were a more well rounded person, I would actually know french and have read this play multiple times, but alas, I am not.
That book met the chopper.
With what little sewing skills I have, I ripped out the pages and sewed myself some delightful little envelopes!

 Though they take a little tender love and care, these babies were easy peasy lemon squeezy. In more or less steps, I:
1. Ripped out 3 pages
2. Folded one page hamburger style into a point (this being the envelope flap)
3. I sewed a pretty little border on said envelope flap.
4. Folded all the edges of the pages over (no one wants paper cuts!) and put those two pages together after sewing the envelope flap to the top of one of the pages.
Viola: envelopes.

So, it's probably easier than my less-than-helpful instructions make it out to be, but I've always been more of a look-at-it-and-try-to-figure-it-out-myself kind of girl.
I have no clue what to use them for, but I do think that they are just the most darling things I've ever laid my eyes on. 
I now have a whole new motivation for writing letters. Who needs a pen pal?!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Good, The Bad, and The Straight-up NASTY!

I have good news, bad news, and something horrendously disgusting to share.
The good news is:
Needles, actually. I found 2. Wait, whaaat? And whyyyyy were there needles in your pillow?
Let me explain. I had this pillow that I loooved more than Josh Hutcherson covered in chocolate. Does anyone remember those super cozy "Moshi" pillows? You know, the ones with all the little microbeads that lovingly shaped to every curve? Well, I've had one for years and have just about slept the life out of it, that those little beads, like the STD of packing material, started falling out into my bed and getting all up into everything! So I decided my 8th grade home economics class taught me enough that I would be able to successfully make myself a nifty little pillow case to keep all those buggers at bay. And I did! I took some old white tank tops (because who doesn't love that soft t-shirt material?) and fashioned a new ruffly pillow case. The problem was... apparently some needles slid in there somewhere. I didn't know this until I rolled over in the middle of the night and got poked in the face with a needle! Again and again and again! I don't know what's worse, having the crumbs of your favorite pillow getting in every crack and crevace of your bed and body, or being attacked with sharp metal in the middle of the night with that very same pillow!?

Moshi, I don't care what you do to me, 
I will always love you. 
(So stop trying to sabotage me.)

The point is, I've found it! MUAHAHAHAHAHAAHA
Now I, and those needles, may rest in peace :)

Also, I stayed behind after school ended to clean the apartments, which meant I was all alone. Sometimes, that's a good thing. I read, slept, walked around in my spanks, wrote, and danced. ALOT!!!!
Zumba can suck it. I like to dance :)

Now, the Bad news:
Has anyone ever read The Hunger Games? Ok, though gruesome, I'd highly recommend them. If you haven't read them, you may not understand what I mean, but lately I've been having hunger games dreams. 
Do you understand people?

I'm talking wake-up-yelling-and-sweating nightmares!
I haven't been killed in any of them yet, you know, just badly injured and viciously killing off innocent competitors. No biggy really.
Um, yes biggy!!!
People get institutionalized for this sort of thing!!!!
I've been able to tolerate it, but more recently, more and more people I know have popped up in these dreams. NOT OKAY!
Caitlyn: I'm reeeeaaally sorry for pushing you down that stairwell...
and Michael: I swear that ax was aimed at the person behind you! Why would I stab my own brother, come oooon, be a man and walk it off!
I've read that you get very abstract dreams because your brain is distrubuting multiple pathways of information at once, figuring out which memories to keep and which ones to dump in order to make more space, yadda yadda...
When these thoughts that are not usually used to crossing, cross, you get something pretty out of the ordinary. badda bing, badda boom= stabbed brother.
It's not my fault my brother just so happened to cross at the same time the Hunger Games did...

Really though, I seriously need to stop watching the trailer for that movie, or thinking about the books before I go to bed.

Oh man, more dreams like this and people aren't gonna want to live with me!

Now onto the STRAIGHT-UP-NASTY!!!
Brace yourselves. Seriously. You may never trust again.


Here's my face when I saw that suspicious little demon, while spreading some delicious freezer jam:

And here's my face when I pulled it out and realized what it was:
No wonder that bread was on sale. It wasn't even a cheap-o brand! And here I thought I was in the clear. HA!
consider this girl seeeeriously mortified. I haven't eaten bread since.
Looks like I'll be making my own bread from now on!
Anywho, this little lady is officially home! So let's see what kind of chaos we can cause in this lil town shall we?
Til next time!

Thursday, December 15, 2011


I'm not really a huuuuge fan of English. If you read my blog at all, you can attest to the the fact that proper grammar is practically non-existent, I'm as random as a banana in pajamas, and I totally lack well balanced structure to say the least. Like my personal diet of eating what I wanna eat, when I wanna eat it, I basically just say what I wanna say, when I wanna say it, regardless of the lack of intelligence that is portrayed through my carelessness for all things proper and professional.

I'm an English minor, you'd think I'd have earned enough experience and knowledge from having information poured into my noggin these last 3 years to be able to write something half decent, but frankly, half the time I leave a class stupider than when I entered it! I had great grammar before taking my grammar theory class, and now all I pretty much know is what I learned from those childhood classic Schoolhouse Rock songs. (You'd better be singing the conjunction junction what's your fuuuunction song right now, if you know what I mean!) 
The point is, half the time, I really find myself sitting in class, hating all things English related and wondering why in Hades I chose the minor I did.

(Yea, I'm that student. I've almost mastered the art of sleeping with my eyes open in fact! Pretty sure I've participated in some of the most expensive naps known to mankind...)
Today I received a subtle reminder why I'm an English minor.

BYU-Idaho has some excellent teachers, and some not-as-excellent teachers. Generally, it's pretty hit and miss. Everyone loves compliments, and really, by giving compliments, you have power. This was recognized by my brother Bryan at a young age. He's a smart cookie. A little too smart for my tastes, but what can you do? 
My mother was your average, everyday, home maker, mormon housewife. She made her children's lunched ev-ery-day. I don't know what triggered it, if it was Bryan's craving for better snacks, or his natural evil genius within, but he concocted a plan. Bryan started coming home from school, and raving about how delicious his lunch had been that day (as any grateful child should do). 

I can only imagine it... 
ooooh moooom, that peanut butter and Jelly really hit the spot. Mom, have you been giving us kool-aid instead of capri sun? because something is different... Mom, you've really outdone yourself today! 
Knowing him, I'll bet he laid it on thick. And you know what happened? His lunches literally kept getting better and better! Mom started buying better snacks, adding a little more here and there, and was really magnifying those God-given lunch-making talents.

Something about appreciation makes people work a little bit harder to be a little bit better. Have you ever noticed that when you are truly appreciated for something, you try doing that same thing more often and better? It's why when you know someone is trying to lose weight, recognizing that hard work can really give them the push they need. Boys: If you like getting back scratches, you'd be very wise to just raaaave whenever that special someone gives you one. 
Trust me, we're onto something. 
The point is, compliments go a long way, and I'd go so far as to say that the reason I'm still an English minor is 110% due to compliments and encouragement. 
(You all know who you are, so thank you for being so enthusiastic and supportive of my writing! Your words are power just as much as mine are.)

Back to teachers. I've had many teachers that I've very highly respected, but a few stand out among the crowd. They've stood out to me for these reasons:

-You can tell that they are not just there to teach. They are there to influence.
-They genuinely emulate love.
-These professors have always stressed knowing the names and works of each student individually.
-They've opened my eyes to something far greater than the material they are teaching. They teach about life, not just curriculum.
-They've truly been the best of the best in their field. These teachers eat, breathe, and sleep brilliance. 
-Most importantly to me, these teacher's have taken the time to personally pull me aside to give thoughtful encouragement and advice.

I've always liked writing, but the first time I truly believed I was good at it was my freshman year of college: writing fundamentals. I thought my teacher was crazy. He had us do some of the most time-consuming, yet meaningful assignments I've ever done. He drove me nuts because I could never figure out how he graded, and have always aimed high for grades. I never did learn to read this man. It wasn't until the very end of the semester that I realized he really didn't care about grades; he cared about us. He wanted us to gain something meaningful, and learn about ourselves through writing, without the penalty of a grade. 
There were days I wanted to trip this man walking up the stairs, and send all those dirty papers flying. Ooooh, his style drove me so crazy!

I wanted so badly to please him, I worked so hard, and yet... nothing. Then one day we had to do an assignment. We read a story and had to relate it to ourselves, and boy, I let it out. It was pretty raw, and rather unconventional for a sweet LDS girl to feel, think, and write, let alone turn in, and I did it. I felt kind of guilty really. That was the day. He called me back to talk to him, and I was terrified, as I always am when I do something a little edgy. I was expecting some sort of dignified advice on how I could improve, or maybe he'd slip me a notecard with the name and number of a school counselor on it.
But he didn't. 
He said "Valerie, You are a very good writer. Do you know that?"
... umm... considering you've done nothing but rip into my papers all semester, NO!
"...You really are, whatever you do in life, you need to continue writing."
I. was. dumbfounded.
I was speechless, and embarrassed as I usually am when professors compliment me, but this was different. All those late nights, all the writing I'd deemed useless, this whole love/hate relationship I had with this teacher was all worth it because of that statement. The words really aren't that special, but the fact that it was him, so highly trained, with so much experience, and such sincerity, meant everything.

This morning I went to a final for my class Advanced Writing and Critical Thinking. I loved my teacher. Though half the time he spoke far above my level of thinking, I knew he really knew his stuff. He graduated from Stanford, top of his class with honors. I'm telling you, this man could really be doing something far greater in the eyes of the world, but instead he's a teacher at BYU-Idaho, and he's made it clear he doesn't ever regret that. It's clear to me that he really grasps what is and isn't important in life. He is sweet, and always so happy. Today, he river danced on the table, just because. He's a great man. Anyways, we were assigned to write 300 words grammatically perfect. As we already know, I hate grammar. I actually became lazy and copy and pasted an exert from a previously posted blog, went to a tutor, edited it, and turned it in. It wasn't one of my most optimistic pieces overflowing with gumdrops and butterflies, but it was what I thought to be real, and he did say we could write about anything we wanted...
He handed it back, looked me in the eyes and said "I need to have a chat with you."
I can only imagine the terror on my face when I blurted out "oh no, why?"
He smile and looked at me quizically and said, "This is just very good." 

Very good? What is he talking about? It's 300 words of I-really-just-needed-to-get-this-out-of-my-system-no-matter-how-raw-it-is word vomit!
Apparently he likes word vomit.
 (Yea, no clue what all those little markings mean... I'm sure they are important though!)
I talked to him after class and first and foremost apologized for the not-as-optomistic-as-it-could-have-been writing (after all, this is BYU-Idaho, you can express yourself, but there still is somewhat of an expectation that no one feels anything outside of our perfect cheshire smiles and sun-shiny facades.) He asked me what my major was. I told him Art Education. After kind of a strange look, I mentioned that I was an English Education minor, hence taking this class. He told me that that was good, very good. He said though my grammar may not be perfect, I was a very talented writer and that no matter what profession I choose, I should always find some way of incorporating writing, because with a little more work, he believed my writing could very well be publishable. He then told me I'm the only student this semester he's believed could have their writing published.


I may have wet my pants a little.
Maybe you just had to be there, but that compliment was huge to me. This guys really knows his stuff, and if he thinks I could actually do something professionally with writing, than I'm sure as heck not going to argue.
(oh yaaa, oh yaaa, happy dance, happy dance.)
But seriously, how cool is that?
So that is that. I'd say I've had a pretty decent morning.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

It's going down.

I gathered my materials, and bought possibly THE noisiest and messiest bagel I've ever eaten, (next time skip the toasting, apologies to the studious girl next to me...) I've found my spot, set up camp, and planted my caboose. Third floor of the BYU-I Center, unidentifiable corner, this final essay is going down. I am going to focus and will not move until this 15 pg paper is purged from my brain onto this laptop. (After I finish this blog of course:)

If anyone wants to bring me a Dr. Pepper and a Milky Way, you'll know where to find me.
If I don't come home tonight, don't come looking. I'm a woman on a mission.

I'm feeling a little bit like Emperor Cuzco in this scene:

Friday, December 9, 2011

Studying efficiency is about to go through the ROOF baby!

Look at me. I am wearing my I-AM-SO-HAPPY-I-COULD-JUST-DIE-RIGHT-NOW face!!!
Why you ask? 
Fasten your seat belt, and grab some depends because what I'm about to tell you may just knock you off your seat and cause slight bladder weakness due to excitement and mind blowing gratitude! (Seriously, I just about wet myself.)

Some people looove studying. They yearn for the thrill of picking through page after page of glorious knowledge in the library, seeking the hunt of juicy new information, and live for the sake of pouring over doctrines and expanding their understanding of character improving principles and regimes.

I'm not one of those people...
Don't get me wrong; I love learning. It's awesome! My problem is with the time consumption studying takes. Surely there is a more efficient way of using me time than slowing searching through page after page, skimming the words with my 10th grade reading level skills, frustrated with how much time it takes to answer one blasted question! Time is money!!! There is so much to do in a day, I almost feel guilty when I read for too long! And since my all knowing magic 8 ball beefed out on me, page picking is what my days have resorted to.


Mom, you've taught me so much, and have always had the answers, but if you've known about this tool and never clued me in, you are in serious trouble missy.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give yoooooou...
The LDS scripture citation index!

It's basically the coolest thing. Oh hey, I'm reading about faith in the scriptures, and I wanna see what modern day prophets have to say regarding a certain verse. I look it up in the index, bada bing, BADA BOOM! Direct quotes baby.
I'm a changed woman.

What else is the world holding out on me?!?!
Search on my young padawans, capture great gems of knowledge, you will. (You better have used a yoda voice when you read that...)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

THIS JUST IN: Our calculations were incorrect.

In fear we waited for a hurricane, when in fact, it was a flood. The rain is really beautiful until it's depth reaches your ankles, then the fear sets in. We apologize for the confusion. 

What a waste of swim lessons all those years. like all those nasty rice cereal pieces left in the milk after a bowl of Lucky Charms, you'll be seeing me floating around. Or I'll sink. From now on, I will only respond to the name "Titanic". 

Anyone ever notice that while Rose is prying Jack's cold, dead, devoted fingers from her hand, she's saying "I'll never let go Jack, I'll never let go..." (I'm just gonna watch you sink into the deep abyss. Thanks for stealing my virtue and teaching me how to smoke and spit.)  Yea, that's love. Really Rose? You really couldn't fit two on that door? Lay off the sauce. Beezy.

Swim on my lovelies.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

According to my calculations...

I'm predicting a storm in the very near future. In preparation for said event make sure to have/do the following:

[  ] Stock up on Chocolate. That's one part of food storage you're gonna get real good use out of.
[x] Make sure you pack a fresh pair of lacie panties. Something about having those just makes things better.
[x] Don't forget Big Bunny.
[  ] Finish all of your homework, sleep may start consuming a lot of your time... if you're lucky :)
[x] Have your scriptures, patriarchal blessing, and favorite talks on hand.
[  ] Go home. (t-minus 2 1/2 weeks.)
[x] Remember your routine. (ya know, bathroom floor, country playlist, call momma...) It's worked this long. Don't get a new haircut like last year. Lesson learned.
[  ] Now would be a great time to get a net flicks account.
[  ] Straws. Mom may the the only one that knows what that means.

Hurricane Hercules is predicted to hit Eastern Idaho sometime between Dec 7-Dec 17th with temperatures ranging from -10-20 degrees F and wind speeds unknown. For best chance of survival, stay indoors as much as possible, only drive when necessary. Duration of storm unknown at this time. Stay tuned for further updates.

Bring. It. On.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Food for Thought.

Tonight is pretty uneventful. It went from a whole lot goin on to a whole lot of nothin. That's not always bad, but it's sure left me alone to some thoughts...
and here they are:
1. I want a sparkly shirt. Or dress. and Shoes. Not just any shoes, but pumps. You know why? Because every girl needs a glamor dress and and some super bedazzled shoes. Because we all have those days. And on those days, I wanna have something sparkly to put on. Nothing boosts your self esteem like an accessory that says "look at me! I really am something." In my opinion, sparkling on the outside makes you sparkle on the inside as well! P.S. I'm a size 7.5-8 in heels ;)

Shoes: Mossimo Pumps (Target), Top: I wish I knew!

2. You know what I hate? When you get all dressed up and have no where to go. You know what I mean. That day when your hair is just perfect, you find the best outfit combination, and your make-up is looking reeeaaal good. It's that day when you'd LOVE to run into an ex, or wish you had a date... freak... a job interview even! Me? I went grocery shopping. No man to impress tonight.

3. I wish that once, just once, maybe I could be a reason for someone to stay. Ok, not just someone; a guy. I'm not saying that in a depressing way, just in a matter of fact way. Maybe it's only in movies that the leading man realizes no destination, job, or circumstance can replace his need for the leading lady. She rushes to the airport to try to convince him to stay, but there's no persuasion necessary! For he already made up his mind. She watches as the plane takes off, as, unknown to her, he's not on the plane at all, but rather right behind her! Yea, that really is only for movies... I'd never waste all that money on a flight I didn't intend to get on. But you get what I mean. Is it just me, or does it seems like girls are more likely to sacrifice in that sense for relationships? What I mean is, I see my friends moving, and transferring, and changing jobs all the time in order to be nearer to their guy, but I rarely see the guys taking that risk. Maybe girls are just too much of hopeless romantics... or just really stupid. I get that lives really shouldn't be put on hold for a relationship. That's probably not healthy. But in my experience with relationships, it seems like there's always something, work, off-tracks, jail, that causes some complications. I don't know... It'd just be interesting to be that person that cannot be replaced by any other offer. Think about it...
(Ok, so I've never had a boyfriend go to jail... I mean... while I was dating him that is ;) Just checking to see if you're paying attention! haha)

4. You are never too old to play dress up. Sometimes, the big girl panties need to come off, and the onsie's need to come on.

5. I have no control. Over anything really. That's fine. I'm trying to be ok with that. The key I've figured out is to not get emotionally involved in things, because emotions make you do and say some crazy things! I think when you stop caring, life becomes a little more frivolous :)

6. In my experience in the work force, I've found the easiest jobs to attain are those in regards to special needs people. Isn't that kinda sad? I really think they will hire anyone. You'd think people should have some sort of qualifications... but really all they ask for is patience and a clean drug test. It's messed up. Appreciated... but not ideal.

7.  I'm really grateful for my religion. It's just hopeful, and full of goodness and truth. Are you bored and need a pick me up? Look up "mormon messages" on youtube. I'm not asking you to be baptized, I just really think there are universal messages we all need to hear :)I promise you won't regret it.
This is my personal favorite. And this one. This one is sad, but so hopeful. And don't forget this thought.

8. I have some really good parents. Just saying.

9. Pinterest. Ladies, you should know what I'm talking about. I got an e-mail from a stranger saying that she loves my pins, and my taste, and proceeded to ask me to help her pick out a gift for her sister. How cute is that?! I feel cool :)

10. Wouldn't it be cool if there was a  device wherein we went in and came out with a physical appearance that adequately represented out inner beauty? That would be SO interesting to see. You have to wonder how you'd really look. It'd sure make dating easier! haha fortunately, I have had pretty good luck finding an equal combination of both good personality and physical attractiveness in my experiences :)

That's all. Finals are upon us. Kiss your sleep, friends, and semester goodbye.

Friday, December 2, 2011

"Oh, these times are hard, yea they're makin us crazy, don't give up on me baby."

Life truly is a complex and fragile thing that is not easily given, yet easily lost.
It balances on a paper peak, ready to blow over in any direction.
I've found sometimes the only thing we can rely on with surety is gravity and that nothing but Momma's love is absolute. (At least with my mom.)

When you think about it, I mean really think about it, it's pretty remarkable people even leave their houses, let alone not wear helmets everywhere they go, and keep their hearts behind padlocked doors.

People are remarkable. I know I've said it before, but I'm frequently reminded of it. People have a capability of being vulnerable for the things they want, forgive without forgetting, and open themselves up to being hurt over and over again with the hopes that someday it will be worth it. 

On my first lake boating activity with the youth in my ward, I went tubing. I'd never done it before. The third time I got thrown off that inner tube, I hit the water pretty hard and had the wind knocked out of me. It really really hurt, and more than that it scared me. Not only could I not breathe in the water, but for a short time, I couldn't breathe above of the water either. 
It's not natural to feel that way.
I told myself I'd never go tubing again.
Eight years later, I finally got on an inner tube again. Just for the ride though, I made it very clear to the driver to not throw me off, because if I had anything to do with it, I would not risk reliving that painful experience.

That's the kind of kid I was. I played it safe. I've never had stitches, I've never broken a bone, in fact, with the exception of my period, I'm not even sure I'm capable of bleeding. Badly.

I'm fascinated, yet do not fully understand people who are able to jump back on the inner tubes of life over and over again. I'm envious, but just can't grasp their fearlessness. 

In regards to physical risks, I read that males are more likely to do dangerous things because they have a tendency of overestimating their abilities. They think they are invincible. On the contrary, females are less likely to take risks because they underestimate their abilities. I suppose this is one of the many divine attributes given by God that makes men and women so compatible with each other.
Though this is true for physical risks, I'd like to believe males and females have equal hesitation when it comes to emotional risks, but I have yet to find tangible proof. Emotionally, people are just so difficult to label.


I'll bet that has a lot to do with it.
Faith in yourself.
Faith in the economy.
Faith in God's plan.
Faith in others.

We had a stake conference last month, and something my stake president said really resonated deep within me. It wasn't anything really new to me, but it was something I needed to hear. He said, "Do not let fear control you." He went on to say, in more or less words, that we should not let ourselves become prisoners to our fears and let them dominate our actions. They have no say in our choices. Fear, when it is discouraging and demeaning is not prompted by the Lord. He will act as a comforter.

 I really needed to hear that. Right then, and still even right now.

Good huh? Satan will really use our fears against us to inhibit us from accomplishing some pretty incredible things I'd imagine.

Often times i've heard "faith and fear cannot coexist." They root from two separate places, one of hope, and another of discouragement. 
I've learned, more personally than I'd probably like that "fear is the opposite of faith."

Fear isn't always bad. I know this. By all means, please discourage me from messing around with gasoline and fire because I'm fearful I may get burned, but contrarily, don't discourage me from complimenting that shy girl because I'm afraid she'll will think I'm a freak.

Maybe I lack faith, and have many fears.
Sometimes don't we all?
Get back on that inner tube.
 You may get slammed pretty hard again. So may I. We won't ever forget it. For me, Eventually I'll realize the thrill makes the pain so worth it, and maybe I'll even walk away scar free.
I hope we all can do that. Otherwise, I'd imagine there is a lot to miss out on.

Hey you, whoever you are,
I'm sorry if my fears have bled into your own. Thank you so much for being patient. I know you get scared too. It has, and is gonna take time. Maybe a lot more of it. Ironically, one of my fears is wasting time. We should have some fun with that.
As one of my favorite songs says:
"Oh, these times are hard, yea they're makin us crazy, don't give up on me baby."
We're gonna be ok.

 People are scared. 
but they also are capable
Capable of hurting and healing, loving and losing, and most of all, of taking chances, and relying on faith that it will be ok.

Read the words. They're the best part.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Bars. ha. ha. ha

Guess who backed into a bar with their car T-minus one hour ago?

This girl.

Has Taco Time always had a sign there? 
Those evil little sombrero sprites specifically placed it there to jar me.
Touche, paco. Touche.

Did you know "burrito" means little donkey in spanish. 
hahaha "I'd like a little donkey to go por favor. Hold the hot sauce."

Pretty sure I knocked my brain of it's orbit and it's now floating aimlessly inside my noggin because, it really didn't phase me at all. In fact, it's kinda humorous. Maybe it won't be as funny in the morning when I see the damage.
Anywho, I just got super tired, and my head is feeling trippy, soooo I'm gonna go pass out. If I don't wake up in the morning, here's the drill:

Baboon (Bryan): You can have my less than mint condition car. Babies got back.
Michael: You are the only one who knows my FB password, change my status to "Chillin with Jesus." :)
Coco: You can have my clothes. You cannot have my Dairy Queen sweatshirt, I'm taking that with me, it wouldn't be heaven without that sucka!
Stephonovich: You can have my macbook. I'll give Steve Jobs a fist pump for ya.
Jeff: Hi :)
Momma: Make sure they put this on my headstone: "Valerie Braun, April 15, 1991-November 22, 2011 "She lived, She laughed, She looooooved Mrs. Rhodes Cinnamon Rolls."
Daddy: Your wallet is about to get a whooole lot heavier. You're welcome. (Sue those burrito B*******!) jkjk (That's burrito Beauties, what were you thinking?!)

K Later homies, It was real.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Happy Birthday Bro.

Dear Mom,
Today many years ago, your life changed forever. The purpose of your existence shifted; your ultimate calling in life was realized. You went from just a new bride, to a mother. You were the first to make your mother and grandmother. Your heart, body and soul transformed in order to bring into this world a human life, directly given by God, with His divine nature, and your (and dad's) mortal characteristics. The word "sacred" appeared to take on a whole new meaning. Today many years ago, you held an angel. (It's true, they do exist.) Within the proper, and holy bonds of marriage, you and dad thoughtfully, appropriately, and with the sanctity of love, created life. 
That's pretty remarkable. 
 He was the first person to hear your heartbeat from the inside. The first one to give you the marks on your skin, representing every sacrifice and discomfort you endured for him to be yours. 
He had dad's chin.

The Lord picked you. He picked you for his plan to be fulfilled through. 
He knew that you would be tired. He knew you would get frustrated. He knew you would get scared. Really scared. He knew that there may be a point when you couldn't take any more. 
He knew your heart would break. 
But despite this, He chose you. He chose you because of your nurturing nature. He picked you because of your strength. It was your forgiveness and unfailing faith that qualified you to be Justin's mother. The Lord knew there would be no better candidate, and Justin picked you. The Lord knew what was in store. He knew how many nights you'd forfeit sleep just to watch his little chest move up and down. He knew how sacred you would hold bath time, feeding time, and nap time, and that with every moment you would only love him more. He knew you'd get peed on, puked on, and would wipe ointment on that diaper rash, and would be totally un-phased by it. He knew you would count those little toes, sooth those crying eyes, admire those chubby cheeks, and stroke that bald head, in tenderness, love, and appreciation for how great God truly is. He knew that you would recognize that such a small infant, had in store an important mission, and that you would be able to accept that it lied not only in mortality.

"The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away. Blessed be the name of the Lord"
Job 1:21

The Lord couldn't have chosen a better woman to care for him while he was away from home. 

I cannot pretend to understand your thoughts, feelings and emotions, because I've never been a mother. I've heard it's one of those things you just have to experience to know.

I'll bet he's pretty jealous of me. You know, because I've gotten to keep you this long. 
Hey mom, 
   I picked you too.
I'm pretty smart like that. Though I can't remember, I'd imagine when I was debating who to choose to be my momma, and with my genius smarts, I probably based it off of who I wanted to be the most like. I assume you had to apply, and I examined your resume (after all, I'm a pretty hot commodity!)
It probably looked something like this:

Name: Brenda Sorensen Braun
Occupation: Illustrator, full time stay at home mom.
Skills: Creative, good cook, kind, intelligent, good with people, selfless.
Reasons to choose me:
-I'll teach you how to draw.
-You'll get my blue eyes.
- I will stay up all night, and hold your hair back while you throw up.
- No matter how much it costs, or how many surgeries, I'll pay to give you a smile you want to show.
-I'll make home cooked family dinners every night.
-I won't kill you during your terrible two's, your angsty teenage years, and even though I will want to lock you in a closet between the age of 10 and 11, I will be endlessly patient.
-I'll involve you in the things I do. You'll get your own paper and pictures, so you can scrapbook next to me when I have scrapbooking parties with my friends.
-I will take you to the Spokane river, easels in hand, to teach you how to paint. 
-I'll let you bake, and bake, and bake, no matter how much money and ingredients you waste from failed attempts.
-I'll take you to crafts shows, and make figurines with you out of clay.
-I'll enroll you in swimming lessons and let you retake level 2, 3 times, or however many times it takes so you can learn. I'll sit in the hott the summer sun day after day while I wait. I'll keep on eye on you in the pool; I know you'll inch awfully close to the deep end. I also know that despite swim lessons, you can't swim. 
-I'll pull you out of the water. 
-I'll let you join, and quit as many activities as you want, while you search for an activity that you love; Ballet, Piano, Volleyball, Dance team, drama... I'll drag you to all these things when you don't want to go, and I'll be at every game, recital and performance.
-I'll give you a curfew. I will not let you go to every party. I will not let you date before you are 16. I will alter your clothes to make them modest. I will not tolerate you being mean to your siblings. You may hate me for this, but I'll do this because I care.
-I will always encourage the things you want to do. 
-I will be endlessly patient with your weaknesses. 
-I will waste a lot of money on you. probably more than your father and I can afford, but I won't ever let you know if it's a burden. 
-I will marry a man that is everything you will want in your own spouse. I promise he will take really good care of us. He will be wise, and remarkably hard working, and when I don't know how to handle you, he will. We'll be a really good team.
-Your dad... you'll get your curves from his side of the family :) But, you'll get your pioneer heritage from mine.
-I will be married in the temple; nothing will keep me from making sure our family is eternal.
-I will always put the gospel first, and I will teach you to do the same. 
-I will always listen. I will counsel, not scold. I will encourage, not pressure. I will treat you like a friend, and equal, but will be your mother regardless.
-We're gonna be happy. Oh so Happy.
"I will love you forever, I will like you for always. As long as I'm living, my baby you'll be."

So yea... I picked you. 

With that kind of resume how could I not?!
Today marks your 27th year of motherhood. You could have done bigger, and more ambitious things in that amount of time by the worlds standard. I'm glad you didn't though. I'm glad you chose to be "just a mom", and a good one at that. 
We can try our best. We can stay up all night to soothe coughs, make countless pots of soup,  fill endless warm baths, change numberless messy diapers, attend doctor appointments up the wazzu, and follow instructions to. the. T. and sometimes... the problem won't go away. 
The Lord knows us better than we can ever know.
I have a strong impression you did and continue to do everything the Lord wanted, exactly how he needed, and still needs you to.
When Justin was blissfully content, surrounded by love in the warm embrace of a new mother's arms, you passed him off to an anxious and understanding Heavenly Father. What better time? If I could choose a way to go, that would be it, so for that, I guess I'm jealous too.
(is that bulky cloth diaper I presume? I'll bet those were fun to wash...)
You know what's cool? I have a brother that someday I will get know personally, and love.
Not many people have that, It's pretty flippin sweet. 

So thanks mom!
 Thank you for making ours an eternal family.
Thank you for never giving up.
Thank you for being able to accept the lord's blessings, and let them go when necessary, and for always being an example of patience, and faith.

Hey Daddy! 
This all applies to you too. 
You're kind of a big deal.

Sorry I'm not home right now! If I were, "I'd make you a cake or somesing" (you have to say that in a pedro mexican accent...)
Anywho, I should probably get back to that homework stuff... gotta pull those grade up otherwise you're gonna kick my butt.
I hope you have a great day :)
Love you!
Sincerely, Valerie

Monday, November 7, 2011

If you see my reflection in the snow covered hills, well the landslide brought me down.

I won't lie; today was rather meloncholy.

Feet were cold.
Minutes inched by.
Sidewalks were wet.
Hair was uncooperative.

People were missed, words were misunderstood, hearts were confused.
Nostalgia  filled the air.

Oh, mirror in the sky,
What is love?
Can the child within my heart rise above
Can I sail through the changing ocean tides
Can I handle the seasons of my life

Well, I've been afraid of changing
'Cause I've built my life around you
But time makes you bolder
Even children get older
And I'm getting older too

Stevie Nicks, You say it sister.
I think of my daddy when I hear this song. He's a big fan of Fleetwood Mac.
I'm a big fan of him.

 Contrary to the melancholy:
Tummies were filled.
Naps were taken.
Laundry was folded.
Scriptures were read.
Calories were burned,
and last time I checked, I was still very blessed.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Not much to report, so here's a craft!

I don't have anything particularly weighing on my mind, besides the usual, so today I'm gonna share a long overdo craft! It's easy peezy lemon squeezie, and I just thought it turned out dreamy. (I'm such a poet, catch that?) Now, this isn't the most original thing in the world, or by any means the hardest, so enjoy!

I call it the Lacie Days Lamp shade. 
Here's the scoop: The lamp: $2 thrifted. I love me some thrifting!  The lace: $2 on sale at a fabric store. Super glue: $1 (dollar store= beautiful thing) Total=$5 

I would have made a tutorial, but who needs to?! You glue lace onto a lamp shade!!!! So pretty and so easy; two of my favorite things :) 

Speaking of pretty, I'm a little Heidi hungry so this weekend I'm gonna trek to the ends of the earth (aka provo) to see this little lady. 

What an angel.
I told my brother and sister-in-law that they make great babies and should try making more. I have great advice right? I don't know if they truly appreciate my genius. ah well. All in due time :)
Anywho, if you need me, that's where I will be :)

Please hold the snow. 
Love, Valpal

Monday, October 31, 2011

Color me happy.

Halloween weekend is pretty much the biggest party weekend on any college campus. It's a time where you can be whoever you want, and for most people, that means a less modest person than they are (aka Slut-tay). Anywho, We had to do sooomething, after all, the options appeared endless, so to D.I. we went, without a clue of what we'd come out with. 
Breanne found a red jumpsuit that we couldn't resist and from there we brainstormed. What to be? I heard some girls walk behind me looking for overalls. They were going to be construction people. "Sexy" construction people. Someone else was looking for nerdy gettup. "Sexy" Nerd gettup. We began running out of ideas, but whatever we decided to be, apparently it had to be sexy.

We refuse. As much as I loooove to fit in, this was just too much. And alas, we reached a conclusion.

Can you say "sexy can I"?
That's right. We became crayons. But not just any crayons: Sexy crayons. Can't you tell? I don't know if it was the make-up, or the figure flattering clothes, but we were down right irresistible.
Ya know.... we just aim to please the people.
And this... This one's for America!
Needless to say, it was going dooooown. 
So we went to a dance party, those are fun right? 

Costume: $10, Ticket to get in: $5, compromising your morals: priceless?

Seriously, it was a blast for the first little bit, but after seeing enough grinding, skin, and the lack of garments where I'm sure some should have been worn, we were out. Which is fine, the cops came a shut the place a few minutes after. Gay. 
On a brighter note, for every 20 sick-nasty costumes we saw, there was an awesome one. My personal favorite: the pac men.
AND we found a fellow crayon. Rock on girl, rock on.
I ran into an old friend from high school who surely isn't old enough to be in college! He basically made my night.
Then we went to Horkley's, the gas station who in undergoing a recent name change to become "Great Scotts". 
If you take a picture there and post it on their facebook page, you get your picture on the wall. Life goal right there. Done.

And that is how we roll.


 Today I'll admit I was a little off... I don't know if it's because I got 4 hours of sleep, ate nothing that's first ingredient wasn't sugar or  high fructose corn syrup, or forgot my happy dose, but yes, I was kinda wiped.
Lemme tell you about halloween.
Some things that made me smile:
-Seeing a female professor from the back and thinking "dang, sister doesn't know how to use a hair brush.. " Seriously, she looked like she stuck her hand in an electrical socket... then I saw her from the front and realized she was dressed up as professor Trelany from HP. Ohhhh.... right. I guess you're less of a freak than I thought...
-I made treats for extra credit in a class. Though I was up til the weeee hours of the morning, they were dang easy, and flippin good. Thanks Nabisco for your contribution to my grade.
(Double stuffed oreos dipped in white chocolate almond bark, a green apple sour candy ring, junior mints. YUUUUM!)
Look Mom, they are eyeballs! I'm so prepared for those elementary school Halloween parties I'm bound to be suckered into someday.
- Someone knocked at our door. We yelled "Come iiiiin!" no one came... "come iiiiiin!" ..... nothing... "COME IN!" ...Nothing. We open the door to find ourselves face to face with... a door. ... what the?! There was a sign that said "knock for candy". uh... okay. Knock knock knock. Our home teacher swings it open, in a ninja costume, and offers candy. Now that's what I call trick or treating.
-I found this picture I took my junior year of high school. It still makes me laugh a little...
That's high quality education right there. (it's supposed to say "no food, drink, backpacks, beepers, or phones. Parents with infants please use quiet room")

And there she is in a nut shell. A pretty uneventful Halloween, but in some cases, I guess that's good. 
Til next year!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Meet Brenda

Look at this little Gem I found in my phone.

This is Brenda. My manager Chris named her. I meant to make her a facebook page but never got around to it. Anyways, We sure do love her.
It was a long night at Dairy Queen.

What took you so long to write?

Hey You. 
It's been a while. 
You've sort of disappeared the last few months, but it's about time for you to come back.
You need to come back.
I can't do this alone anymore.
I heard it was cold where you went, and that you were scared sometimes. I'm glad you've decided to start endeavoring home; that home inside yourself where you are comfortable again, and happy, and whole. I know it's been kind of a tough road back.
I also know that's an understatement.
It may still take a little while, but I'm glad you are trying. I wish it were warmer here, but it's ok, we can keep each other warm. Mom sent hot chocolate :)

Ya know that phrase you often think about that goes something like "If you treated others the way you treat yourself, would you have any friends?"... I really want to be friends again. I miss you. 

I'm telling you this because I care:

It's time to forgive yourself. I know it's hard, and you wanted this so badly. I know you think it's all your fault, maybe it is, but you need to stop beating yourself up. He says he forgives you. You need to also. 
Stop feeling so guilty. You cannot change the past.
Call your Mom. She worries, and will always love you, even at your worst.

Just because you made a mistake, and it hurt pretty bad, doesn't mean you don't deserved to be loved by anyone. You do. I know you are still scared, but put yourself out there again. You've been broken X many times in the last year, if it happens again, you'll survive the same way you always have.
This. won't. kill. you. unless. you. let. it. But you won't, Mom taught you how to be strong. Dad taught you how to be smart.
Don't shut people out.
You aren't a burden.
 You have people who love you, let them help. keeping things bottled up isn't good for you.
Do you feel like crying?
It's ok to cry. You'll feel better, plus your roommate already thinks you have overactive tear ducts. She's used to you by now.

Don't be upset with God due to what has transpired. He knows what is best, even if it takes a while for you to see what's in store.
Be confident. You're parents didn't do too shabby of a job mixing their genes together to make you.
It's one of your best features. Dad and Dr. Ellingston worked hard to pay for and fix that mouth of yours.  Plus, I think that's what attracts people to you.
People like happy people. If you want to keep the friends you have, and add to that list, you need to be the happy, and confident person I know you are capable of being.
Stop telling yourself that you are going crazy. You are more stable than you think. Don't create a self proclaiming prophecy regarding yourself that you don't like. Your mentality has so much power.
You aren't an inconvenience.
Eat healthy.
These things are good for you. 

Listen, this is going to be hard to hear:

He still loves you. Try to believe it.
Just because he is moving on doesn't mean everything you had was a lie. 
He still means what he said.
Stop reminiscing on how happy he made you. Live in the present, not the past.
I know you love the same music he does, but maybe you need to take a break from that stuff. Especially the songs he used to play on the guitar.
Go back to Country.
Stop imagining your future with him. It's time to delete his baby pictures, your children won't look like him. Stop planning what you are going to do for birthdays, anniversaries and special occasions. You're  just going to make it harder.
You will probably never live in Chile, or learn Spanish. Accept this.
It's time to put on your big girl panties.

I know it's gonna be hard, but learn to be open to love again. It may hurt again, and again, and again. That pain is real. It will always be real. 
Don't think you are alone. 
You aren't the only one who breaks down in private places. If you keep trying, eventually you will find someone who will make it not hurt anymore. When you find them, don't drive them away, because you deserve them.

You are blessed. So blessed. 

He's cute right? And so nice... Don't dismiss him too soon,and don't scare him away. You are more of a catch than you like to think. You have something to offer.
Give yourself, and others a chance.
I know sometimes you don't want to listen to me, but always listen to the leaders you know and love:

 "1. Forget not to be patient with yourself.
2. Forget not the differences between a good sacrifice and a foolish sacrifice.
3. Forget not to be happy now.
4. Forget not the why of the gospel.
5. Forget not that the Lord loves you."
-President Deiter F. Uchtdorf

I'm sorry I haven't treated you the best in the past, but I hope we can get back to where we know we can be. We can do this. 

Mom sent us this link.

We'll get there someday too.

Don't give up. 
The savior didn't. It's gonna be ok :)
See you soon.