"Why don't you write on your blog anymore?"

I get asked this question all the time. To be honest, I'm not sure.

I know part of it was that we could never go anywhere or do anything without a little voice inside my head saying, "Oh take a picture of this! Take a picture of that! It would be a good post for the blog!"

I was ready to just enjoy the moment. To be in the moment. Not trying to take pictures of the moments.

But the thing that keeps bringing me back, is the desire that I have to share what I think, and what I feel. About anything. Not about the flowers Derek got me, or how in love we are. Although, if you dare to look back to the beginning of this blog, you might throw up.

Well instead of rambling about my thoughts and opinions (i'll let you off easy this time), I will give an update! Probably to cyber space because I don't know that there is a soul out there that still reads this thing.....because there is nothing to read. Oops.

What have the Walkers been up to?

We moved back to Utah from New York the beginning of September. I was heart broken. But now that we're here, I've come to appreciate our time we've had with family. I don't know that I'll ever get over that great city and the even better friends we created out there. They were like family, and we will always love them. BTW - I'm coming to visit in a couple of weeks! Shake Shack. Be there, or be Square. I want to hug and kiss your beautiful New York faces.

What are we doing here?

Derek is working in Real Estate development and investing in Salt Lake. He loves his work. He spends much of his time reading books on books on books and is such a hard worker. I didn't realize that when I married him, I'd be in a polygamous relationship with Derek, and books.

I decided that if I couldn't live in NY, I would work for an airline that would fly me out there whenever my heart so desired. So...I applied for a job at JetBlue a couple weeks before we moved here, had an interview days after we arrived, and started work a couple of weeks later. I love it. If you ever need a travel buddy, I'm yours baby.

Do you guys have kids a dog yet?!

As you probably have already seen, we got a dog! He's the sweetest guy. He's going through an awkward teenage phase, getting a beard (seriously, it's hilarious), his changing voice (that he is so proud of and thinks he needs to bark at everyone and everything), and some other not so cute changes that will be cleared up come his neutering appointment in March.

Where do we live?

We live in an apt in Murray while we find a home. Any suggestions on where to buy? We don't have a clue where we want to live. Somewhere between Draper and Salt Lake. Do we get a new home? Or an older home with character? A starter home? Or a house we can grow into for 10+ years? A home with a basement apt for renters? Or a home that's all to ourselves so we don't have to share walls or floors or ceilings or ANYTHING with ANYONE ever again? Can you tell I'm ready for some privacy? ;) I just want to sing and not worry anyone can hear me. And play the piano without worrying I'm disturbing the neighbors. And go to sleep without hearing conversations, or other things, that I'd rather not be falling asleep to. Ya get me?

Well, there you have it. We're back in Utah, and would love to explore Utah, food, and events with you.

Who's in?


Love More, Judge Less

Well Derek made a push tonight that I write again.
I've also been itching to say things that tend to occupy my thoughts.
Things that I should maybe keep to myself.
No, that culture thinks I should keep to myself.
But why keep them to myself?
Because that's what most people do.
We are afraid we are alone in our thoughts.
We are afraid we are just strange, that we are different.
That something is wrong with us, with our marriage, that we might be judged.

Personally, every time someone is honest with their feelings, I love them. So deeply, that I want to hug them through my computer screen and tell them they are just like everyone else. But so different because they are the only ones that have the guts to say how they feel.

Take my cousin for example. Over the last few years she has opened up about her experiences. Her most recent share here. Read it and try to tell me you don't respect her. I dare you. Then read this article about her and her husband in the Wall Street Journal.

You respect her because she is honest and real. Now imagine if we could all do that. Wouldn't we feel a little more like brothers and sisters and children of God here on this earth to support and lift each other up? Don't you think that if we were all a little more open that people would be slower to judge?

I grew up an extremely judgmental person. In fact, I didn't start thinking about any of this until 2 or 3 years ago. If someone swore, they were a bad person. If a girl wore a bikini, she was bad. Smokers, drinkers, those who didn't make it to church every sunday, or ever. They were all bad. And as a result, I was better than all of them. Right?

Wrong. We all know, and we all say that judging is a sin. But why do we all do it?

I hated how I felt when I judged. Not because I knew it was wrong, but because it feels bad to look down on others. It isn't uplifting. It isn't inspiring. It doesn't help us to grow and better ourselves.

The more that people opened up about their experiences, their stories, themselves, and their feelings, the more I realized that everyone has a story. Everyone has a heart. Everyone comes from different situations. None of us are better than the other. We all have our ups and our downs. I learned that if I get to know someone, there is a 99% chance I can love that person. I learned that all of those smokers, drinkers, swear-ers, inactives, immodest clothing wearers, were not all bad after all. In fact, most of them are probably better people than myself.

Judge me or love me, but promise me that we can all work together to love more and judge less. Cause we are all the same, really.



Friends, steak, sticky rice, and more!

The other night we had the most fabulous meal with some of the most fabulous people. And I'm dead serious when I say the most fabulous meal and the most fabulous people. 

We learned that President Holman and Derek both served their missions in Thailand.
We were invited over for the biggest Thai feast of our lives.
We honestly thought we had died and gone to heaven.
They had all of Derek's favorite Thai food, and truly the best steak I've ever had in my whole life.
And to top it off, they had Haagen Dazs ice cream and mango sticky rice for dessert!!

That's Lucy, my idol, hiding behind the computer...

Cute kids presenting the food.
I can't for the life of me tell these two apart in primary. So we spent a good part of the night figuring out ways that I could tell them apart. 
Michael presenting his sisters. Haha!

I'm grateful for good kids like these in primary. I loved hearing "Sister Walker, Sister Walker!" all night long. Such a treat to spend the evening with them and a few other members of the ward.

I tell Derek every week after seeing Lucy that I hope I can be half the mother and woman she is someday. Anybody in our ward would say the same I'm sure. What an amazing lady.

I doubt they'll ever see this, but if they do, THANK YOU HOLMANS!! We love you!


Carnegie Hall, Vegas, cramming visitors, and decisions!

Between work for the both of us, Derek finishing up his last semester of school, and me picking up another class in search of what I want to do with my life, we have kept very busy. And you know we have been busy when we miss our usual shows throughout the week and when I haven't watched Ellen in almost two weeks! But I love staying busy. I feel like I am so much more productive with my free time when the rest of my day is filled with things.

We're getting down to the wire with having to make some big decisions. Derek will graduate in May, and our lease is up in June. We are on the hunt for where we want to live and what we both will do. Soon enough we will have news of a move to a new city, or a stay in New York City! We're getting anxious. It's an odd feeling to have no clue what life will hold for you in 2 months from now. Sometimes it's annoying, but lately it's been fun. I have learned it's all in the attitude. I used to wish we could just have it figured out already. But lately, I'm loving the adventure and living in the now.

A few weeks ago my sister and mom were in the city for a choir tour trip. I tagged along a bit and we watched her perform in various places.

My mom just can't get enough of us and came back for more Amereka (Amanda + Derek) time! ;) Except for this time she brought 8 people with her. And if you're shocked to hear we had that many guests, you don't want to know how many she wanted to bring. Ok, don't pretend. You totally want to know. Thirteen. THIRTEEN. Mean Amanda had to say no. And instead of feeling guilty like I thought I would, I was quite pleased with myself for saying no and saving us all from a bit of insanity. For those of you who don't know my mom, this might sound crazy. For those that do know my mom, it's totally normal. Back me up.

For general conference weekend we headed to Vegas with the Walkers. It was so nice to head to warmer weather. We had a blast! We got to jet ski, paddle board, go on a bike ride, watch the sun rise, watch conference, get pampered at the spa while the boys were at priesthood, and celebrate Jacobs birthday!

These boys could play football all day.

And these boys could talk Real Estate all day.


Endometriosis Conference

This is for my fellow endometrians, and those that are interested just because! PS...10% of women have it, but most don't know they have it. So educating yourself on this can't hurt.

I recently attended a worldwide endometriosis conference that was held in NYC. How lucky I am to be here! It was fantastic. They had a whole day dedicated to educating patients about endometriosis, how to cope with it, and options for getting pregnant when the time arises. There were so many things I had no clue were even an option!

We feel so blessed that there is help and support out there. How lucky that we have doctors that care and are educating themselves on these things that are still so unknown and incurable. We met so many great doctors that specialize in all aspects of endometriosis. We learned about fertility, sex, the bowels, psychological effects, pain management, and more. I never thought I could be so excited to learn about intestines. :)

Here are the amazing doctors that took it upon themselves to make endometriosis a priority in their research and careers.

These pictures were taken during the Q&A sessions that really opened our eyes and helped us to realize that we are not alone. So many others are hurt and affected by this and feel just as in the dark as we do. If you feel this way too, you are not alone! It's also important to remember that endometriosis has an effect not only on you, but your family too. Especially your spouse.

And just to clarify, I am not a doctor. Obviously. So if I use incorrect terminology, please excuse me. I'm going to share the best I remember and the best to my knowledge. I'm also here if you just need a hug or support. :)

I'll briefly go through the different topics one by one and you can pick and choose if some topics are more interesting or applicable than others. I hope I can share some piece of information that might be enlightening or answer some questions you may have for yourself or someone you know. I haven't included everything we learned, because it was so much info and might be a little much for just wanting basic knowledge on the subject. Feel free to email me at amandawalker90@gmail.com with any questions you have and I can share with you what I learned or help you research any questions you might have!

  • Requires surgical biopsy
  • Very difficult to diagnose
  • Misdiagnosis
    • Often mistaken for other disorders or diseases.
      • appendicitis
      • ovarian cysts
      • irritable bowel syndrome
      • colon cancer
      • ectopic pregnancy
      • ovarian cancer
      • sexually transmitted diseases
      • etc
  • Symptoms
    • painful periods
    • chronic pelvic pain
    • infertility
    • painful sex
    • painful bowel movements
    • urinary pain
    • bloating
    • nausea
    • constipation
  • CONSERVATIVE SURGERY (surgery without removing any organs of the body)
    • Laparoscopy
      • laser (burning), scraping, or excision
        • I had mine scraped. Most people I've met had the same (or laser). Turns out this is a very temporary pain relief, but what doctors often resort to because it's the safest option for them. It shockingly doesn't fix anything though! Your endometriosis pain is almost guaranteed to come back within 6 months to two years. I had my surgery in January of 2012, and my pain returned in August of 2012. 
        • Excision surgery is the only thing to truly remove your spots of endometriosis and to really improve your chances of getting pregnant and getting rid of pain. Many studies have shown patients becoming pregnant within two months post excision surgery.
        • It's extremely easy to miss spots in any of these surgeries. Find a doctor that cares and is going to do a thorough job!
  • Hysterectomy
    • Not recommended as first option. Only done in severe cases.

  • Endometriosis is often confused with Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • 15-20% of patients with endometriosis have it on the bowel.
  • Symptoms of IBS
    • Abdominal pain or cramping
    • Gas
    • Bloating
    • Headaches
    • Fatigue
    • Backache
    • Pain during sex
    • Reduced sexual desire
    • Urinary problems
    • Symptoms often occur after a meal, when stressed, or during menstruation
  • Symptoms of Endometriosis on the bowel
    • Painful bowel movements
    • Constipation
    • Diarrhea
    • Bloating
    • Gas
    • Alternation constipation and diarrhea
    • Intestinal cramping
    • Nausea and/or vomiting
    • Abdominal pain
    • Rectal pain
    • Rectal bleeding
  • Something important to remember is that some may only experience one or even none of these symptoms, whereas others may experience all of them.
  • 80% will have improvement in their bowel symptoms after excision of their endo
  • Those who think they may have endometriosis on the intestines... Great news! We discovered an amazing doctor that specializes and deals with specifically this! I'm so excited. 
    • Ken Sinervo, MD, MSc
    • KenSinervo@comcast.net
    • www.CenterForEndo.com
  • Egg Freezing
    • This is still fairly new knowledge, but they have found pretty great results.
    • This is a good option for those without a partner and are unable to freeze an embryo.
    • Was originally used for cancer patients before starting chemo treatments.
  • Embryo Freezing
    • This is a very personal thing for each individual, but they discussed this as an option as well as egg freezing. Studies show higher success rates with embryo freezing than egg freezing. Not all frozen embryos are usually used, so some may feel this is wrong. 
  • IVF
    • The same thing is done for all three of these, except with IVF, they implant the embryo without freezing it. This is for people looking to get pregnant now. 
  • These are all very expensive, but options that have very high success rates. How lucky we are that doctors have this knowledge to help so many start families!
    • This might seem silly, but supporting your daughters, sisters, and friends in figuring out whats wrong and how to get help is very important. In going to this conference, I think we both felt like we'd walk out with a sense of relief. I wouldn't say we left feeling relieved, but definitely grateful for all that we learned and grateful to have a better understanding of what is going on with my body. About an hour into the conference I felt like crying. I blamed it on hormones, or thought maybe I was just feeling a little tired. When the first Q&A began, the first girl got up and cried through talking. She was followed by more tears. And the next Q&A continued with some more tears. Hearing that you have a disease with no cure and no way to control it is in no way comforting. But it is comforting knowing there is help. They made it a point to talk to the mothers of girls with painful periods. They emphasized how important it is to listen to your daughters. Don't tell them "we all have cramps" or "it's all part of being a girl". They say that so often girls are told this and go their whole lives not knowing, when so long ago they could have been helped.
    • Mention endometriosis to your doctors if any of these symptoms sound familiar to you. It is so easily overlooked. The earlier it is caught, the better! Be persistent!
    • I didn't think I had enough notes about this to make it it's own thing, even though this was a big part of the conference, but this can be a very sensitive and emotional thing to deal with. They made sure to emphasize that SEX IS NOT WHAT IT'S CRACKED UP TO BE. Media destroys people expectations of sex. Talk with your spouse. If you feel better physically during certain times of the month, schedule sex during those times. Do what is best for YOU. Learn about painful sex and endometriosis WITH your spouse so he can understand where you are coming from.
    • I didn't want to make this a big deal, cause I don't like to dwell on this. Obviously it scares me, and I don't think it should be worried about until the time arises. But it is important to be aware of. So here is a list of what comes at a higher risk in those with endometriosis.
      • Preterm delivery
      • Pre Eclampia
      • Caesarean Section
      • Antepartum bleeding/ placental complications
      • Growth Restriction
      • Stillbirth

Phew! I made it. I hope you made it too. We are so grateful we had the opportunity to go to this conference. We learned so much. I hope I was able to enlighten or help somebody in any way at all. Again, if you have any questions feel free to email me and I'd be happy to help how I can! I have lots of contacts for doctors and specialists from the conference if you're interested as well.



Un-exercised talents

Those that know me well know that I love to sing.
And if you really know me well you know I love to belt.
And if you REALLY know me, you've had to listen to me belt.

I love singing. I used to sit at the piano and sing my heart out when no one was around.
Which brings me to my sad situation. (Que. violins)

Since going to college, singing in such a passionate way was not really an option unless I was ok with neighbors on every corner knocking on walls to get me to shut up. Well it's now been almost 5 years of apartment living, which also means 5 years of not singing my heart out. Some might say, just do it! Well in every apartment we have lived in since being married, which is two, you can hear through walls and floors so well that you can hear someone peeing. You can hear how their days were. You can even hear them making babies. We never knew if we should giggle or puke.

As I was listening to Wicked (yes, I still listen to that) it took everything not to let it all just come spilling out. I let out a few seconds here and there, but I just couldn't relax and sing. And it drives me crazy. No ivories to tickle, and no privacy to sing along. 

Needless to say, I'm excited for the day when we don't share walls in every direction so I can pound those keys and sing until my fingers and vocal chords ache. Or have a car so I can be one of THOSE drivers that looks like they think they are on stage with over 10,000 people singing along and applauding like you're the greatest singer to walk the earth.

Check out these cuties and how music moves them.


Spring fashion

I feel like winter has had it's turn.
It's time for Spring to say hello and stay a while.
I catch my mind wandering to thoughts of picnics in Central Park, BBQ's on the island, kayaking the river, sunglasses and sandals, and most of all, no more dry skin and hair! My goodness. I don't know if the transition from Thailand was the kicker or what, but our skin, lips, and my hair have not been very nice. Dry dry dry. 

While designing throughout the day, I've lately been peeking at warm weather pretties and other accessories. These are some favorites. A bit out of my price range, but a girl can dream right? Or thrift and shop for cheaper look-a-likes. 

Loving sandal wedges lately. They are more comfortable and easier to walk in!


Had a Michael Kors obsession the last couple of years. Loving their new watches! Especially this one.
Michael Kors

Cute casual summer dress.

What are your warm weather must haves? Any other Michael Kors lovers out there? 


Knicks game

Since moving to NYC we've become Knicks fans. We've talked about going to a game over the last year but didn't get around to it until this month! I searched for the cheapest tickets I could find and jumped on them. It was fun! But we would say that the atmosphere was much less thrilling than the Energy Solutions Arena. We think it's the low ceilings. And the fact that the fans are all in the dark maybe? Regardless, it was a fun MSG experience!



Superbowl party

We've made some new friends, and they are absolutely great! There is at least one student in each couple, we're all poor, and most of us are from the West Coast. We are building relationships that feel like family away from home and we love it. We decided to invite a couple over for the Superbowl. Then it turned into two couples. Then a couple that originally said no, changed their minds and decided to come. Then last minute we invited a neighbor boy that was recently baptized. Then it just turned into a big party in a little apartment! It was a blast!

I made some enchiladas, others brought drinks and food, and we talked and laughed the night away. Let's be honest, there were only a couple of people that actually watched the whole game.

Spelling Ravens. Obviously.



We recently returned from the greatest adventure of our lives. Thailand was incredible and we are already anxious to go back. We backpacked to all corners of the country by train, bus, and airplane. I ate things I never thought I'd eat. We did things we never thought we'd do. What an eye opening, incredible experience it was.

Seeing the members tear up when "Elder Walker" walked in the room was a feeling I'll never forget. Watching the current Elders look up to him and value his opinion. Being served by these people who have close to nothing. It has changed us forever and was an experience we'll never forget.

I have also never felt so hideous yet so beautiful. I'd be covered in salty sweat, my hair like a lions mane, and Thai kids and teens would flock to us and photograph us like we were celebrities that just stepped out of a shiny black limousine. Not only would they take pictures of us, but they would wait in line to take pictures with us. We couldn't help but giggle and pretend like we were really all that great.

I hope you're ready for the biggest picture overload of your life. 

But before we start, let's have a moment of silence for all of the many pictures that were lost. Pictures with members, pictures of after church parties, videos of the sweet members waving hello and having fun, a bbq with all of Derek's favorite members and friends from Thailand, pictures of an elephant walking over me, video of the elephant pretending to step on me with Thai school groups screaming and laughing because I was from New York. I may have said a naughty word and shed a few tears when I discovered they were gone. Heartbroken is the only word to describe how I feel.

........................................................... Ok, you can turn your music back on now and get back to reading. Thank you for joining me.

Ready. Set. Go.

LONG NECK VILLAGE. They're Christian! I never knew!

ELEPHANT TRAINING. We made great new friends!

JAMES BOND ISLAND. Or as the Thai say, "James Bone Island"


Phew! You made it! I hope you aren't too overwhelmed. And to think this is only a glimpse of our pictures. Thanks for being excited with us. It was an experience of a lifetime and I wouldn't have chosen to have it with anyone other than my best friend. We can't wait to go back!
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