here at apartment #300, the christmas season is in full swing! hot chocolate? check. christmas music? big check! (been listening to it basically since november started!)

snowflake tablecloth? check. (97 cents at wal mart, by the way people. exciting stuff!)

wreath on the door? check.

downstairs in melina and haley's apartment, they've gone all out! see the snowflakes hanging from the ceiling? and the lights on the windows?

we gotta do something like that in our apartment.
but for now, we'll just enjoy their decorations. and our wreath and tablecloth.
merry december!



i didn't even know these had been taken until just now. love you, family.


thanksgiving morning dawned bright and early this year. 8 am, we were all out of bed, getting ready to go run the turkey trot in midway. there were grumblings, and complaints, and sour attitudes from just about everyone, but in the end, everyone had such a good time! being able to run with my family is one of my favorite things :)

highlights from the race:

probably the cutest 11 year old on the planet

the cutest momma on the planet

park and i, pushing it to the end

dad looks thrilled to be nearing the finish (hahaha)

3.1 miles! we did it! together!

so whit might have finished before me.. here's the proof. also take note of my real cute color coordination. purple and orange? yum.

thanksgiving break was the best yet this year. i was 50x more thankful for everything. living on my own has given me an appreciation for my family that i didn't have before. i love them so much! it was so fun to spend time with them. now i've just got to make it through the next 3 weeks (and finals -- yikes!) and i get to go home for christmas!



yes, that's right, we're in college and we had a pajama party. the best part of this pajama party is the actual pajamas. take note.

nightgowns. footies. and silkies. wonderful! not your typical college pjs. am i right? well, each pair of pajamas in this situation has a story.

story #1: the yellow nightgown (melina is wearing it)
once upon a time, shaylee had a great-grandma named grandma schwartz. she was an awesome lady. when she died, shaylee was somehow lucky enough to inherit this yellow nightgown. and she loves it. she wears it all the time. even though nightgowns aren't exactly "in." who cares? nightgowns are way more comfortable than anything else. the end.

story #2: the pink nightgown (i'm wearing it)
once upon a time, shaylee's mother noticed how much shaylee loved her yellow nightgown. and so she bought a lovely pink one so that shaylee could have two nightgowns. and shaylee was soo happy! the end.

story #3: the green silkies (morgan is wearing them)
once upon a time, shaylee had a great-grandpa (on the other side of the family). she called him papa. he was a great man, who always enjoyed listening to shaylee and her siblings and cousins play the piano. well, when he died, shaylee inherited his silky pajamas. she loves them equally as much as her nightgowns! even though the pants are a little short. papa was a short little guy. the end.

i treasure these things i've been handed down from my great-grandparents. truly, they were both remarkable people and i feel blessed to have a little piece of them :)


thankful today

turkey day is just 4 days away! what does that mean to me? going home TOMORROW, making thankful turkeys, good food, being thankful for so many things, spending time with the fam (extended family too!), good food, running the turkey trot on thanksgiving morning, counting my blessings, snow football, good food, christmas music, thanksgiving decorations, movies, and more good food. i'm so excited! and so thankful for all of these things. let today and tomorrow go by quickly!


it's a wonderful life

my troubles get pushed to the back of my mind when i remember how great my life is. here are a few things that make up my life right now (besides studying, studying, studying and working, working, working):

dollar movies and good friends

smiles and hugs

walmart shopping trips

bunkbed couch! stadium seating for movies :)

making kool aid in celebration of *someone's* first kiss!!

and also... the fact that i get to go home on TUESDAY for thanksgiving break! it can't come fast enough, i want to go home to see my family. i miss them. happy friday everyone!


wicked kick!

let's be honest -- who doesn't love the play wicked? okay, i've never actually seen it. but the soundtrack is absolutely amazing. it describes how i'm feeling right now so well! my roommates and i have been on a wicked kick the past couple days. we rocked out to defying gravity, cried together on the bed listening to for good, and screamed defying gravity once again.

a few of the lines hit me so hard in this trial i'm going through. they give me such a boost!

"but i don't want it. . . no. . . i can't want it anymore."

"something has changed within me. something is not the same. i'm through with playing by the rules of someone else's game. too late for second guessing, too late to go back to sleep. it's time to trust my instincts, close my eyes: and leap!"

"and you can't pull me down!"

"i'm through accepting limits, cause someone says they're so. some things i cannot change, but till i try i'll never know! too long i've been afraid of losing love i guess i've lost. well, if that's love it comes at much too high a cost!"

"and if i'm flying solo, at least i'm flying free!"

"and just to clear the air, i ask forgiveness for the things i've done you blame me for."

"everyone deserves the chance to fly!"

"and nobody is ever gonna bring me down!"

i want all of you to go listen to these two songs right now. hurry. type them in on youtube. they're wonderful songs. they even made me feel better! and that's definitely saying something -- at least, right now.


turning over a new leaf

life is incredibly hard sometimes.

and sometimes, we just have to learn to let go. i'm working today to let go completely of the past. things happened. and now what's ahead of me is my future. it's up to me to make my future bright. i choose.

this trial is harder than anything i've ever dealt with. but it's times like these that i'm grateful for:
  • my support. i have SO much! it's amazing to me how many people are reaching out toward me in my time of need. many have no idea that i need their support, and i am so grateful. if you're reading this, know that i love you. i am so grateful for your impact on my life. you have touched me in ways that you don't even realize. thank you so much for your continued love and support for me. i appreciate it -- and always will.
  • my savior. jesus christ knows EVERYTHING that i'm going through. he can help me through this. i don't have to do it alone. what an incredible blessing that is! i feel so blessed -- although this monstrous trial seems overbearing, i know it's not. i am strong enough to do this.
  • my scriptures. it seems that they were written for me, especially tonight. i will forever be grateful for the way they are helping me in my life. i feel guided by their words and their correct principles.
i'm ready for a fresh start. it will be the hardest thing i've ever endured. but worth it in the end. keep calm, and carry on. carry on, carry on, carry on!


dedicated to my roommates and my best friend julia. love all you girls.

i've heard it said
that people come into our lives
for a reason
bringing something we must learn
and we are led
to those who help us most to grow
if we let them
and we help them in return
well, i don't know if i believe that's true
but i know i'm who i am today
because i knew you

like a comet pulled from orbit
as it passes a sun
like a stream that meets a boulder
halfway through the wood
who can say if i've been changed for the better?
but because i knew you
i have been changed for good

it well may be
that we will never meet again
in this lifetime
so let me say before we part
so much of me
is made of what i learned from you
you'll be with me
like a handprint on my heart
and now whatever way our stories end
i know you have re-written mine
by being my friend. . .

like a ship blown from its mooring
by a wind off the sea
like a seed dropped by a skybird
in a distant wood
who can say if i've been changed for the better?
but because i knew you
i have been changed for good

and just to clear the air
i ask forgiveness
for the thing i've done you blame me for
but then, i guess we know
there's blame to share
and none of it seems to matter anymore

who can say if i've been changed
for the better?
i do believe i have been
changed for the better

and because i knew you. . .
because i knew you. . .

i have been changed for good.



i see this little saying all over lately. 'keep calm and carry on.' i never really gave much thought to it. . . until today. with everything going on in my life lately, to keep calm and carry on seems like a pretty dang good idea. freaking out about the little things in life won't help me in school, work, or in my relationships with others.

psalms 46:10 says, "be still and know that i am god." i should probably remember that more often. i need to take a break from my crazy life and be still, remembering that i have a heavenly father who loves me more than i can comprehend and a savior, jesus christ, who atoned for my sins. what a blessing.

keep calm. be still. i'll work on it.



feeling the need for an escape, four of my friends and i planned a road trip down to st george. we wanted to surprise our friend that lives down there, spencer, and stay for the weekend. we planned to stay at some people i knew from high school's dorms. (saving money, see?)

starting off our adventure/the almost 4 hour drive! haley, melina, me

baptisms at the st george temple :) riley, haley, me, melina

feeding the ducks! me, melina, haley

going through "the crack!" so much fun! me, haley, riley

we visited the temple visitors' center and watched a movie on families. i cried - i love my family. melina, spencer, me, riley, haley, daniel

we met up with some old friends!! melina, spencer, jorden, me, jalen, larissa

top of the dixie rock! me, haley, jorden, melina

exhausted after our amazing weekend (with absolutely no sleep whatsoever!)

i loved this road trip because of all the things we did. we went to the temple and did baptisms, we studied for a few hours at barnes and noble, we visited my great-grandma, we fed the ducks, we went to the temple visitors' center, we played in the rocks and the dixie red cliffs, we laughed, we cried, we had fun. such a great weekend together with my friends, both new and old!



my blog is like a little piece of my mind. i write on it my happiest times and my worst times. i am so addicted to blogging that i feel like this stress is leaking right out onto this post in the form of words.

i want to go back to being a kid. in the words of taylor swift, "i wish i'd never grown up." college is great for a while, but then real life sets in and i have to remember all the crappy parts about being a new adult. money is probably the worst part of it all. i have none. and i probably won't for a really long time. and the fact that i have to earn $2000 before the end of december has me completely frazzled. literally. i feel like my life is coming apart at the seams and what can i do to prevent it? nothing. adulthood is upon me.

let's take a trip back, shall we? back to the good ol' days of being a kid. drool, who cares? dirt on your face, bring it on. you don't have to do your hair or worry about boys. or money. in fact, money was probably the least of my worries! what i was going to eat for dinner and whether or not i got a popsicle from the bag in the freezer was higher up there on the priority list than paying for tuition and figuring out how many hours a week i need to work. mommy and daddy were always there to kiss the skinned knees better and wipe away the tears. sitting in my apartment by myself crying my eyes out is not exactly what i pictured when i pictured the life of a mature adult.

can i be 8 again? instead of 18?



i love byu. have i mentioned that before? i absolutely love going to school where i get to associate with people that have the same standards and beliefs I do. it is truly an amazing place. i wish everybody had the great opportunity to be here!!

yesterday, we heard that president monson was coming to speak at the weekly devotional. we were so excited!! melina, haley, and i decided that we would go early and save seats for dana, ben, riley, and daniel. devotional starts at 11:00 am. we decided to leave at 9:00 am. plenty of time to get the good seats, right?

wrong. people actually camped out -- in TENTS! -- all night to get the best seats. so when we showed up at the marriott center (in the pouring rain, i might add, with one umbrella for the three of us), there was a gigantic line. they weren't opening the doors to the marriott center yet. great! well, we got in line, huddled under one umbrella, me in a skirt, freezing to death. we wore our backpacks on our fronts so that our computers inside wouldn't get wet. smart, right?

me, melina, haley wearing our frontpacks! :)

we finally got into the marriott center at about 9:40. when president monson finally came at 11:00, i was so excited i could barely stand it. i felt an overpowering feeling of love and gratitude for my heavenly father that i could be here, listening to the prophet, at a moment when i desperately needed it in my life. how grateful i am for the inspiration the prophet had to come speak to us here at byu. he said some truly inspired things, things i felt were meant just for me. here were a few of my favorite quotes:
  • what we do or don't do is of utmost importance
  • take advantage of the power of the atonement and our sins and shortcomings will be forgiven and forgotten
  • be thou an example of the believers!
  • faith and doubt cannot exist in the same mind at the same time, for one will dispel the other
  • set aside time every day to find out for yourselves if the book of mormon is true
  • when you choose to follow christ, you choose to be changed
  • our opportunities to shine are limitless!
  • "look inside yourself. you are more than what you have become. remember who you are. remember." --the lion king
when president monson challenged us to read the book of mormon, our friend riley sent a text down our row to all of us: "hey guys, today is november 1st. let's finish the book of mormon by the end of the month. 17 pages a day." i was totally and completely impressed by this, and felt another sense of immense gratitude for having the friends i do. friends that encourage you to do better? ... now that's a true friend.

thank you, heavenly father, for blessing me in such abundance. today has been another fantastic day. many more to come!!