Monday, February 28, 2011

A Younger Me

What word would best describe me as a child? Dramatic.

At the time, I thought my roller coaster of adolescent emotions was completely normal. I thought every eight-year-old girl expressed herself in the form of hate notes.

Yes. Hate notes. The ever infamous hate notes. One of the joys of living with my parents is reliving my younger years. I was so thrilled to find out my mom has recently compiled a book of her children's achievements, newspaper clippings, clever stories and hate notes. My appearances in this book are pretty limited to the hate notes.

I would describe my childhood as above average. I had/have great parents, siblings that were usually loving and friends. But there was a fire inside me when I got angry that could only be extinguished by a hate note strategically placed under my offender's pillow.

My mom was so excited when her efforts of saving my hate notes finally paid off as she showed Jeff the examples of notes he may one day find under his pillow if he's not careful.

Word eventually got out to his family about this skeleton in my closet. Jeff's mom thought it was pretty funny and has asked me about them a few times since. After all these years I'm finally beginning to see the humor in my childhood writing rampages. So I thought I would share a few of the notes that made the book with the blogging world. And I ask for prayers that none of my children inherit my...talent.

(My favorite line is "PPS I didn't meen to scream but it's hard living with you."

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Oh Cedar. How We Missed You.

Last weekend we had our first visit back to Cedar City. It was so much fun to be back. Tana and her boys came to visit. Eli and Dirk bonded while they watched a movie. They were darling together.

This was what Jeff did all weekend -- crossword puzzles with his dad. It's his most favorite thing to do these days.
And Eli just loves his Grandma Excell! She's so fun with him and sure loves to play with her grandkids. We loved our visit. Thanks so much David and Mary!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Cutest Thing I've Ever Done

If you thought our heart dinner was good, be prepared to be blown away.

I had wanted to do something fun for Valentine's Day but I just couldn't figure out what. Abe and Klarissa came to town over the weekend and we were talking to them about their favorite vacations. They've been to Hawaii, Europe, New York and even Nebraska. They've done it all.

Jeff and I haven't had as many opportunities to go places. So I decided to start a little Valentine's tradition to make all the places we can't afford to visit come to us. This idea also helps me not have to worry about coming up with a cute new exciting idea every year. It was perfect!

I wrote up a quick poem for Jeff to invite him to our date. I have to share all these things because I'm so proud of myself. And if anyone wants to recreate our Valentine's date, I give you my blessing.

I figured a good place to begin this tradition would be France. I was worried about the outcome of my interpretation of France, but I must say I impressed myself. I slaved all day on a Julia Childs recipe for roasted chicken and a mousse cake. Luckily my mom was willing to take baby duty so dinner could be prepared and Amour Cafe could be assembled.

Okay. Please look at that awning. It really pulled everything together. Totally worth the hours I put into it.
Oh yeah, and we dressed up in prom attire. I couldn't resist after I realized I was in the same house as all my high school prom dresses and Jeff and I had never had a formal date night together. Call us cheesy, but I'm calling us romantic.

This is where Jeff tucked in my chair and I almost knocked the whole table over. Notice the sheer terror on my face.

After Jeff got situated I announced, "Jeff, the best part of all is that we can see the Eiffel Tower from our seats." Then I pulled the blinds up and there was a picture of the Eiffel Tower behind them. Too good, right?

The night was perfect. Eli decided to join us for dinner and enjoyed sucking on green beans. It was a fun getaway. I'm glad I decided to do something cute for Valentine's Day. I am usually not a fan of the holiday, but I think this new tradition might make Love Day a new favorite holiday for me.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Eat Your Heart Out

We celebrated Valentine's Day a little early. My mom and I had a lot of fun turning our whole meal into hearts. Our husbands couldn't help but roll their eyes and tell us we have way too much time on our hands when they saw our creations.
I had the idea to try and make homemade heart-shaped potato chips. This proved to be just as difficult as it sounds. My mom made fun of my first batch of potato hearts and decided she should try. Let's just say I didn't get my potato carving talent from her.

 Happy Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 07, 2011

Stories of Jeff Excell - Serendipity

After our evening at the temple, I decided to ask Jeff over to my apartment to play Nintendo 64 games with me and my roommates. Since Nintendo was his favorite Christmas present of all time, I knew it was a no-fail recipe. The group quickly dwindled to just me and Jeff battling it out on Super Smash Brothers, subtly inching closer and closer with each game. It got late and we had early morning church the next day, so Jeff decided to go home.

Sunday morning comes quick after a late night of Nintendo. I had to go to an early morning meeting for someone who was out of town. My morning grogginess prevented me from realizing the ward's Executive Secretary would probably cross paths with me on the way to my meeting.

A calling like the Executive Secretary isn't taken lightly. No, no. They have to call someone who has been in the ward for a while. Someone they know will be devoted to the early morning meetings, show up on Sundays and willing to take diligent notes. Jeff Excell was a veteran in that particular singles ward and had earned the trust to hold such a calling. A calling he took great pride in as he asked people to say prayers and listened to the latest ward hookups in the early morning meetings.

I was running a little bit late for my meeting because...well...I had had a late night. But tardiness is excusable in a singles ward as long as it's dating that's interfering with church.

As I approached the Bishop's door, I saw a dashing young man leaning against the wall. That dashing Executive Secretary smiled and said, "I dreamt about Super Smash last night."
I was still groggy so probably said something not worth trying to remember followed by, "Are you going to this meeting?"
"No. My meeting got out about 15 minutes ago."
Hmmm. It was early, but at this point I was awake enough to know there was a reason he gave up a post-meeting, pre-church nap that day to stand outside the Bishop's office.


Then there was the time a couple days later when he was texting me. He asked me what I was doing that night. I told him I had tithing settlement. Mind you, I was already on my way to tithing settlement as I was telling him this.

It was a busy night for tithing settlements. I sat outside and waited. After about...I'm going to say seven walked that dashing Executive Secretary. This was too perfect to be a coincidence. I am certain of this because I now know it takes minutes to drive from Jeff's parents' house to the church.

We chatted. He told me funny stories. Then my mom called. I will always remember this. I had told her select things about Jeff, but I don't think she knew a lot. Jeff was distracting me while I was talking to her. I told her I was at tithing settlement and that Jeff had followed me. Then she told me I was being too giggly so she'd just let me go.

I didn't think I was being overly giggly. Then I realized I was. Then I realized it wasn't bad necessarily. Each giggle confirmed I had a good time with Jeff. He was winning me over one giggle at a time.

One of my favorite things about Jeff when we were dating was how forward he was. He literally chased me. Which sounds kind of creepy but he did it so adorably. He successfully made our lives imitate all those cheesy romance comedies where the guy and girl keep "accidentally" running into each other. It was perfect and fun to have him put so much effort into spending a few extra minutes with me.

Oh Jeff Excell. My very own Jonathan Trager.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Eli's First Word

Jeff and I thought we wouldn't gush over every little thing our baby did. Well, here we are gushing. Even if Eli isn't trying to say what it sounds like he's trying to say, it's too cute to not count as his first word. Listen for yourself: