Cherishing those we love

I feel that there have been many unfortunate sudden deaths recently.
It sure has me thinking about those in my life, and realizing I don't cherish them enough.
My uncle Robert Brinton's funeral was yesterday in AZ. We couldn't make it, but I have thought so much about the Brinton family and how hard it must be to lose someone so unexpectedly that has such a big influence in your life.
He was such an incredible and humble man. So humble that I had no clue he was as incredible as he really was. There are articles all over the AZ paper. Seriously, just look up Robert Brinton. You'll be blown away.

A few stories have really touched me.

I'm sure many of you heard of the U of U football player that lost his wife of one year in a car crash after a football game. Gosh, so sad.

Then there was the story of the young man that died in the avalanche last winter. Well his sister in law was my statistics study buddy, and it was such a sad situation. He had been married one year, and hearing about his sweet wife Molly just tore me apart. She couldn't let go of him. She completely fell apart. She wore his clothes every day and carried around a picture of him. She was criticized and told she needed to move on. How do you move on from that?!

I would be walking home from school thinking about Derek, and would start to cry. The little things didn't matter when i thought like this. I loved everything and anything he did, and wanted to cherish every moment with him.

I'm so grateful for my family, friends, and especially I am grateful for my incredible, sweet, husband Derek. I would be nothing without him. He truly is my everything. He is the most motivational, hard working, smart, honest, caring, patient, and attractive person I know. He inspires me to be my best self, to learn, and to love. I love Derek Walker with all my heart.

I think it's easy to get caught up in the little things in life, that in the end mean nothing at all. This is especially hard when relationships are hurting and feel like they will never be fixed. And often the next day things are back to normal. :p We need to enjoy the time we have with those we love. We need to remember to repeatedly tell them and show them we love them. We need to make sure they know how important they are to us. That is what is most important in life...these relationships we have and are building with those we love.

I wanted to quickly spotlight this special girl.

Meet Haley... Haley, meet my blog friends.
Now I don't think Miss Haley reads this blog, but she really has left an impression on me lately. She is such a practical young girl I tell ya. She amazed me with the inspirational things she says and does. She doesn't care what anyone thinks about her, she loves life, and she is truly herself. She is extremely smart, hard working, and caring. She just received her YW in Excellence award, is going to get it again...just because. She is spunky and hilarious, and so honest to herself and others. She doesn't follow the crowd. I love my sis.

I sang in church today with my SIL Mckenna. She's a rockstar. I on the other hand was a nervous wreck. Luckily it turned out fine. I am the ultimate mind game player. I freak myself out more than anyone you've ever seen in your life. Promise. I have sung more times than I can count, but it's been a while. I'll be singing 3 times in 2 months at all different wards. I better get over this nervous mind game I play. It upsets me more than anything.

PS...blog header designed by the one and only Derek Walker.


Nice Wife

Because I love Derek, I told him I'd watch a scary movie with him.
If you didn't know, I despise them.
He now has to do favors for me for 7 days....

But really I think he was more scared than I was. :)


I am not, but want to be.

We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.
- Winston Churchill

  1. Be authentic. Be true to yourself.
  2. Care about people.
  3. Make others feel good.
  4. Be honest and take ownership of your actions.
  5. Smile often
  6. Respect elders. Respect minors. Respect everyone.
  7. Address people by their name.
  8. Say “Please” and “Thank you.”
  9. Excel at what you do.
  10. Help others when you’re able.
  11. Put a small personal touch on everything you do.
  12. Over-deliver on all of your promises.
  13. Get organized.
  14. Do your research and ask clarifying questions.
  15. Share knowledge and information with others.
  16. Be positive and focus on what’s right.
  17. Listen intently to what others have to say.
  18. Be faithful to your significant other.
  19. Learn to appreciate and love Mother Nature.
  20. Invest time, energy and money in yourself every day.
  21. Perform random acts of kindness on a regular basis.
  22. Compliment people who deserve it.
  23. Speak clearly and make eye contact.
  24. Make yourself available and approachable.
  25. Be self-sufficient.
  26. Exploit the resources you do have access to.
  27. Be a part of something you believe in.
  28. Stand up for your beliefs without flaunting them.
I have fallen in love with this list.
It will take a lot of effort and focus, but I love these kind of people and want to be loved by people. Who doesn't?


Annual Halloween Party, field trips, and thoughts

Annual Nord Halloween Party...on the Walker side was last night.
It was a blast seeing the crazy creative costumes people came up with. Some had me in tears.
Uncle Chuck dressed up as Chaz Bono. Identical twins. Oh my I wish I had a picture. If you don't know who he(she) is, you have to check it out. I'll get ahold of a picture and place them side by side. Killer. Even funnier when you know Chuck.

We went as a windblown couple.
An old friend did it and we thought it was a fun, cheap idea.
Please notice the newspaper on my right leg. It looked very real. We were just facing the wrong way. :p

Me and Z have been having fun lately. We went to the pumpkin patch and corn maze the other day. His little sister was just born a couple of weeks ago, and it's definitely showing in his personality. His new favorite word is "NO". He likes to scream to get attention. He pushes me when I get to the door in the morning. He kisses and hugs me all day long and is such a sweetie, but once mommy is around, I seem like a bad guy. It makes me sad, but everything I've learned says that's true with all kids that age. It's good practice for being a mommy and will help me for when we have kids to know that if our kids say no or push the babysitter, it doesn't mean she is a bad babysitter.

I got to babysit Rosa Saturday night. Rosa was from the daycare. I have missed her SO much. We made masks. I'm excited to babysit her again. Hopefully D can come with me next time so we can spend Saturday night together. I need opinions... is it ok to ask if "my husband can babysit with me?" It's kinda weird from going to boys being a total no no when babysitting, to it being a given that the man in your life should babysit with you.

Life is still as busy as can be. I'm still working full time and Derek is still doing school full time. When we end our school and work days, there is usually something else to run off to. We enjoy our occasional relaxing nights together, but also love our time with family and good friends.

Every time I'm with family or friends, I am reminded of how important they are in my life. I also have been especially grateful for true friends in my life lately. The more life I experience, the more I recognize who my true friends are, and I'm so grateful for them. Thank you, friends.

Hope you are all happy bloggers,

P.S. When you are feeling down, what is your go-to to help you feel better?
I think mine is piano. I am always tempted to write in my journal, but I resist cause I don't tend to write positive things when I'm feeling that way.



Hey yo everyone!
So as you may have heard, I will be attending NYU come January. It also turns out that it's really expensive! In fact, all education is expensive! Way too expensive! That's why I got a free account at Fastweb.com, you can apply for hundreds of scholarships everyday. It doesn't matter if you are in college, high school, or junior high! There are millions of dollars of scholarship money that go UNCLAIMED each year!!! Also, everyone who signs up for an account based on the link below... ups my chances for winning a scholarship through fast web. No this isn' t a "win a free ipad" thing, it is legit. You can really get free money from scholarships. Thanks!

Refer a Friend - Fastweb


(there are two options to click there, just in case one doesn't' work)


Baby Name Reservation

This to let you all know we picked the name first...
Jk folks. But seriously.
We like to joke that we have to "reserve" the names. So here goes it.

BENSON (after Great Grandpa Ezra Taft Benson)

MAE (after one of Derek's favorite bands)

These are only tentative.
Does anyone else out there think about this often?!
I love it so much.

PS...we got some NY sports apparel in the mail today. It was like Christmas for D. We love them all. Special thanks to Justin who is a great brother to always deck out D with cool hats. And thanks to whoever invented things on sale. So I can have one happy hubby.


Maybe Someday...

I've never been able to pour a bowl of cereal without it flowing over the top.
I can cook/bake anything, but give me a bowl, cereal, milk, and a spoon and I will fail.
Any tips/suggestions welcome!



Lady at Gym: Hi this is Gene, how can I help you?

Derek: Hi Gene, how are you?

Lady: Good, who is this?

Derek: Uhhhh, this is Derek. I just want to reserve a racquetball court.

Maybe you had to hear it. But we both burst out laughing.


Utes and babes

Our first attempt at taking a picture. Creeper father like creeper son.

Derek's Uncle was sick and couldn't go to the game, so they were so nice to let us use their tickets last minute and go to our first and probably only game! We just got back. It was a blast! Pretty rough and rainy game, but so fun being there!

Our final attempt at taking a picture. Sometimes D has a hard time finding the camera...

PS: notice the curls! My hair is getting healthier, which means I am gladly welcoming my natural curl back to my head!

As of late:

We celebrated Derek getting into NYU with a late dinner at Chili's.
Terrible picture, but trying to capture the memory the best we could.

A dear friend will soon be having her sweet little girl! A few of us friends paid her a visit to keep her company for a bit while she waits for the baby to decide to come.

We thought little Carter could flirt with her a bit with some kisses and get her to come out!

Well...we're off to NYC! We are stoked! We are going to see my little brothers boot camp graduation in South Carolina, but we are conveniently flying through NY! So we are making a stop to check it out and see some living options. Hopefully we have some luck!

Until we meet again...
Much love,


The city that never sleeps

So the results are in.... And we're accepted! To NYU, that is.

It had been a couple weeks since I submitted everything. However, on my online application status page thing, it said that the application was submitted, but the process was not complete. I wasn't sure what this meant, but I assumed that once the process was "complete" that would mean that they were finished reviewing everything and the results were in the mail.

So last Friday, the online application status was officially "complete." I figured that the results must be in the mail and it should arrive within a couple days. This was good because we were planning on going to NY this weekend to look at apartments (yes we were planning on seeing apartments without even knowing if we got in or not). Well this weekend was approaching and we were getting anxious. Naturally, we started worrying about whether or not the letter would come in time. So I decided to call admissions at NYU and demand the results. I called them and asked what the deal is. They said that once the application status was "complete" they have BEGUN reviewing the application and it is typically another 3-4 weeks after that. Also I would be notified by email, not mail. OH NO DUDE (in response to the 3-4 weeks part. I wasn't too worked up about the email part. ya know email, mail, its all good. either one works. I like emails. Either one will get the message across, i can't check mail on my phone, but i can check email, etc)!

So planning for the NY trip became very difficult. We have no idea if we are even getting in and off we go spending hundreds of thousands of dollars traveling to New York...

The next day-ish (Wednesday) I have a test in econometrics. Upon finishing the test and walking out, I check my phone and notice that I have two emails. The first one was from Barry Hallsted and the subject line was "Fishing!!" This made me extremely excited. We've gone fishing with Barry a couple times and I am totally addicted. Anyways, before I open the email, I glance at the other email its from New York University... the subject line is "NYU-SCPS Admission Decision Available."

My heart starts pounding. It was like getting my mission call all over again. Except this time it dealt more with school and less with Jesus. Also, with a mission call, there's no such thing as "not getting accepted," everyone wins. Nobody gets a mission call that says, "Actually, you are not called to serve anywhere, but thanks for applying!"

I sit down on a bench outside the library. My hands are shaking as I try to scroll down on the little screen. The email just told me that the decision was available but I have to log into my student account. Trying to type in my username and password on the tiny phone and my extremely shaky hands was a very difficult experience. Also my mind was racing, I typed in like 18 passwords before I finally got the right one (I have like 2 passwords I use for all my accounts. - how did I come up with 18? I didn't. The 18 passwords comment was an exaggeration).

Finally I get into the account and click on the "decision" link. Lo and behold, this is what I found:

I was super relieved. Now the next task was telling Amanda. I called her immediately. As the phone was ringing, I decided that would be super lame to just tell her over the phone. Luckily, she didn't answer the phone, so I left some voice mail and gave an excuse for calling. Long story short, I thought long and hard all day about how to tell her. For some reason, I kept coming back to the idea of writing "We got in" on my stomach and flashing her when she got home. I know, lame idea, but I couldn't get past it. Eventually I did get past it and threw together a little scavenger hunt for when she got home. It worked out good. I thought I was clever. A little bit too clever perhaps, I had to explain most of the clues to Amanda. Either that or my clues didn't make sense. Anyways, the scavenger hunt led Amanda to the freezer where she encountered a giant paper:

Moral of the story is, we are moving to New York at the end of this year/ beginning of next year!
Thanks for being our friends.



Temple + Neighbors + Headache

I'm here because I was a very diligent, blogger, then I wasn't, and now I wanna be.
So I am going to tell you about 3 things, plus a few.

It's officially fall. I know you all know this, but this picture makes me want to feel little crunches under my toes more than anything.
I am an ASL interpreter at the temple and I absolutely love it. If you have never been to an ASL session, you should go to one, and be filled with a love for the gospel and for signing. It's incredible. I feel so blessed to be able to take part in such a neat calling.

We have neighbors that we have never successfully hung out with. They are wonderful. Do any of you other married couples have a hard time getting together with other couples? D's bestie and his cute wife live one apt complex away and we have never
hung out with them. It's so pathetic. But we love them all, and have not given up hope.

I have a crazy headache. Becoming a migraine. I am feeling grateful for all those headaches that are nothin' compared to these suckers.

I am very much looking forward to the day I have a window above my kitchen sink, to hang these beautiful and unique floral arrangements in. I LOVE this idea. I look forward to having a little kiddo to go on walks with, to pick flowers with, and to give the flowers water with before they are thirsty.

Also...if you're thinkin' about getting married, think about this for a bit and make sure this rings true to your heart. Cause feelin' like you can't live without someone is a beautiful thing. Feeling like half of your heart is truly with someone else is a crazy thing. I love being in love.

My dreams are calling me...



Just for the health of it

A year ago, we'd eat anything. Fast food didn't bother our minds, or our tummies one bit. It satisfied us greatly in fact. We looked forward to a quick stop by the good ol' wendy's value menu.

Today... the sound of greasy fried fast food is repulsive. We don't quite understand what changed or why, but it happened, and it's a good thing for our hearts, ourselves, each other, and our children. Sometimes I wish I didn't think so much about things I ate or didn't have so much guilt the rest of the week after enjoying a delicious burger, but it happens, so we may as well go with it, right?

Learning to eat right has been tricky. Cooking is quite the task. If any of you have tips, recipes, or advice, please share. We've been into the spinach shake deal lately. It's actually delicious. You should try it out!

Handful of frozen fruit (no sugar added)
Handful of spinach
Scoop of Whey Protein
Few spoonfuls of Natural Original Flavored Yogurt
One banana
Estimated amount of soy milk/1% milk

Before the cruise, Amanda worked up to a 5k. She was determined to get to a half marathon. The cruise interrupted all desire, motivation, and habits that were just created. So worth it though. But now she's back, in black (Pink actually), and ready to get workin' again.

D was interrupted by pneumonia, and had doctor's (wife's) orders, to rest until better. Well guess what ladies and gentlemen, he's better, and he's back, in black (white actually), and ready to get workin' again.

Our main goal is no excuses. We can come up with a million. The hardest step to take is the first one out the door, but it's all worth it. We feel so much better when we are eating right and exercising. Skinny feels better than chocolate tastes. Is that how that goes?

A special thanks to our inspiriation to take car of ourselves goes to Biggest Loser.

Wanna be healthy D & A


Sometimes my mind thinks, and wants to do it out loud

  • I'm feeling really sentimental lately. I really should not write when I feel that way. But here I am anyways.
  • Derek is a killer cook. He made this Thai dish called Pad Thai. It was delicious!

  • We think our children (ants in ant farm) are drowning and so full. We read the directions wrong. They have seemed a little slow and miserable. Poor guys. We'll feed you less. We promise.
  • I'm still feeling a little confused and lost lately. I don't know what I'm supposed to be doing with my life right now. Hopefully we get good news this week we've long awaited to help out a little.
  • I made these cupcakes for a baby shower I gave to a friend. They were red velvet with cream cheese frosting and a berry freshly picked from the garden on top. I was so excited about it. I've wanted to make cute cupcakes forever. Cute right?!
  • I LOVE stripes lately
  • I have started reading normal books again since finishing school. I love being able to read!
  • I ran into my cousin yesterday who I've wanted to see for forever! She looks beautiful.
  • You know how it's easy for Mormon's to judge easily (usually judging other mormons) without knowing anything about the person? Yeah well I catch myself doing that sometimes, and I don't like it. I want to stop.
  • We went fishing again yesterday. I'm obsessed. It's so peaceful, I feel so close to God being out there on the lake while the sun is coming up, and we love that time to be able to just talk with my Dad and whoever else joins.
  • I'm excited to have kids. To dress them in cute clothes. They better wear them. Jk.
  • It was fun waking up this morning to it being light outside.
  • Conference just started. I love this weekend so much. It feels kinda like New Years every six months. I feel so inspired to be better.
Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

I want to know your story and be your friend

We (Derek and I, and the Walker in-laws) are part of a newly found "Jacob Foundation", founded by the Walker family. We had our first project last week. Hundreds of polo shirts, purchased, brought to salt lake, given to anyone who wanted and needed one. It was a very touching experience. We pulled up outside the homeless shelter, and they all gathered around very interested, very anxious to get a shirt for: court, looking for jobs, or just to feel good about themselves.

I wanted to sit with each one and ask them to share their story. I wanted to ask about their family members. Their childhood. Their dreams for the future. Many of these people were typical homeless people. But one family in particular has sparked many emotions and thoughts. They looked just like you and I. I would have guessed they were there to serve, just like us, until I saw what they were carrying. The mom looking young, sweet, blonde hair in a bun, glasses, shorts, tee-shirt, flip flops. Dad in jeans, tee-shirt, tennis shoes, buzz. Three children looking between ages 3 - 7. It looked as if they were walking away from their recently parked car. Mom and Dad both carried two sleeping bags in hand, and the oldest child carrying the last of the 5 sleeping bags. Heading towards the shelter to stay the night. They turned away from us as if they were nervous or they may know us. They seemed ashamed and embarrassed. But all I wanted to do was to give them all a big hug, take them to dinner, and pay next months rent for them. Oh if only we could do more. Completely heart breaking. For reasons I don't completely understand, this really hit home. I don't know if it's because I saw them as a completely "normal" family who just couldn't make it enough to pay the power bill, instead of instantly judging them as a drug addicted alcoholic homeless beggar.

Who am I to judge? Who am I to even give a title like "drug addicted alcoholic homeless beggar" to someone I don't know. I don't know your story. I don't know what you've been through.

I know this is getting novel like, but bare with me. Tonight I was doing what girls do during priesthood. Shopping. Well I wasn't actually doing much shopping, more just lusting after all these beautiful clothing items and jewels I would love to dress myself in. And watching the other girls shop. Confession: I would have shopped a bit more, but I had a small splurge lately. You know that deprived feeling? Yeah, no bueno.

This hurting family I don't know, but holds a special spot in my heart, came to mind. I have so many things I don't need. We are SO blessed. As I watched all of these wallets pulled out and all of these things that no one NEEDS paid for, I wondered if there were a way to pull the world together to sacrifice that one thing they only WANT really bad, and give that money or even that item to a sweet boy, girl, mom, or dad who would be eternally grateful for that one tie to go to a job interview in, or that cute bracelet to dress up that outfit they wear every day. I know this is not very likely, I just can't stop thinking of some way to help this family get back into a home. And thinking about the millions of others in this same position.

This family will hold a special spot in my heart, and forever be a reminder of what is most important in life. I don't need all those things I would LOVE to have. Now I'm not saying it's not ok to shop, cause boy is it too fun to shop and buy things to make us feel pretty, but if there was a way for us to sacrifice just that one bit. I wish I could do more.

I will re-check in the morning. I can't keep my eyes open. I could have said some really cheesy and stupid things that don't make sense. If so, disregard, and we'll be back in the morning when I can focus. Night, xoxo, and may peace be with those who are less fortunate.
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