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What Is Love?

Haddaway put it well when he asked that question about a million times... I'll tell you what love is in my life.

Love is sitting in a classroom and the only thing you can think about is being finished so you can go home to him. Love means that when you are home together its like a dream... All you want to do is snuggle. Love mean kissing him is the most magical thing that has ever happened to you. Love means when you are home alone in bed waiting for him to get off late from work all you want to do is watch "P.S. I Love You" and other sappy chick flicks and dream about when he walks through the front door. Love is leaving notes for each other everywhere. Love is him cleaning up the house because you are swamped with homework. Love is him still dating you and taking you to the temple every week. Love is this feeling that burns inside of me like everything in my world revolves around him and the way I feel in his arms. Love is day dreaming about things that are real. Love is the thing that I always assumed and now know was SO worth waiting for.

And there it is folks... out in the open for ya'll to know: I'm a hopeless romantic and people called me silly, but I was RIGHT! :)

My Ideal Classroom

Recently for a school project I had to interview some of my first graders to get their points of view about the classroom environment that they are in. Since my first graders can't do the same interview process as the older kids, I had to do it like this: I asked all the kids to draw a picture of their classroom. Then I asked them to flip the paper over and draw a picture of their ideal or "dream" classroom. There were tons of X-boxes and rainbows and swimming pools and I was amazed by the creativity of all these little kids! Then they asked to see what I had drawn. ALL of them were super anxious to know what mine looked like... Well I hadn't even thought of drawing one, but they all seemed so excited that I promised that I would. So I did...

Here is my ideal classroom:

Yep that's Super Lance... nothing would be my ideal anything without him there. :) And on the bookshelf behind him are our turtles in their tank. As you can see, there are also TONS of books and my camera!

There is a picnic blanket that we will have lunch on everyday and there is our future puppy! My laptop so I can work on picture and blog, and my Ipod for music. There are also two beanbags for us to sit on.

And no classroom would be complete without an American flag :)

If only this was what my classrooms looked like everyday...

Am I a Nerd?

Yep apparently I am... I was the little girl who dressed up with thick fake glasses and a lick and stick on tattoo on my forehead every time a Harry Potter book came out since I was in third grade... I was Hermione for Halloween multiple times with a "Muggles rule Slytherins Drool" T-shirt that I made. I cried my eyes out in the last movie and felt like a piece of the world had ended when it was over. Thanks for being my childhood escape and the one that got me deep into reading, Harry. And so to add to the nerdiness, here is my patronus:

Family Home Evening

So for Monday night FHE (Family Home Evening) Lance and I invited some of our good friends over for a lesson and some fun! We had Cori, Elena, and Kacey over for snacks, which included some homemade cookies:

Lance gave a lesson about pioneers and the sacrifices that they made and the testimony that they had. It was nice... I am so grateful that they had the faith to do all that they did. I have the gospel in my life because of them.

After our lesson and a game of Taboo, we watched this new movie. We HIGHLY recommend it... Reminds you to be eternally thankful for all that you have. What a beautiful FHE!

Goodness Gracious!

Yesterday I won my first blogger award! I was nominated by Katie from Sparky
and was honored to be thought of! I was also tagged in a game where I am supposed to post seven random facts about myself. So here goes:
  1. I have never worn a pair of matching sock since my mother stopped dressing me at at eight. (except for once because my boss at work insisted that I wear matching black socks - I only did it once and then just made sure my pants covered my socks)
  2. I would like to someday own a pair of TOMS when I have a few more Washingtons in my pocket.
  3. Sometimes I am in the middle of doing something and all of a sudden I start thinking in poetry. I have to stop what I am doing and write it down before it disappears.
  4. My favorite flower is a red sunflower and unlucky for my husband, they are really hard to find!
  5. I like to pick up anything that I drop with my feet and my toes. I thought I was a wierdo until a girl in one of my classes wrote that that was why she was unique. Guess we are samers!
  6. I like the word samers sooo much more than twinners, which is what most people use.
  7. I love Harry Potter references... My friend texted me the other day and she was trying to say, "Perfect." Instead she texted, "Prefect." I got so excited lol.
Well there you have it! Seven random facts about me! And one that's not so random? I love this guy!

Cute Bathroom Stuff

Remember how I am in love with decorating my bathroom? Well I made another little craft! Here it is:

All I did was get clear soap, a clear dispenser, and some black and red pom poms and put them all together! It looks so cute! I love this invention! I want to invent some more! Like it?

Meet Gleason

This is Gleason... He was my very first doll/stuffed animal ever. He has been with me through thick and thin. He has spent the majority of his existence being dragged around by little me. Now he sits on our chair and cheers me on while I do homework. Sometimes I still snuggle him. My kids are going to love him. I love Gleason.

Gorgeous Girl

This week I got to take some pictures of this lovely girl! :) She is the cutest thing ever! You just can't be around her and not laugh! :) I thought the pictures turned out wonderfully! What do you guys think?

To set up a photo session with me see the contact link at the top of the page! To enter my Fall Photo Shoot Giveaway click here and to see more of the pictures from this photo shoot click here

Meeting Elder Malm

Last week was Stake Conference for my parents (for anyone not mormon, every mormon person is in a ward which just means the boundaries of the area that you live in and that area all attends church together- a stake is several wards combined). They were having their stake presidency released, which means that two members from the quorom of the seventy come and call a new presidency. We had heard that one of the members coming would be Elder Per G. Malm who is the only member of the seventy who is from Sweden. :) This = my family very excited! So my dad decided we weould go an hour early to see if we could maybe meet him and speak some Swedish with him. But then, the night before the conference, my dad received a call that Elder Malm had heard about our family and how we speak Swedish and wanted to meet with us before the conference. AWESOME! :) So we all went (except Kaj who we all miss) to meet Elder Malm. He was shocked that a whole family from America were fluent and native sounding Swedish speakers all from my father serving his mission there. It was neat! Even Lance, who is working very hard to become fluent like the rest of my family, answered several questions correctly asked in Swedish! I have an awesome husband! So we got to meet a great Swede and took a picture with him too. So this is my whole family (parents, siblings minus one brother, and husband) with Elder Malm.

He is a very neat man and a great servant to Heavenly Father. We listened to him speak and the spirit testified to me of these truths. To familiarize you with Elder Malm, here is an excerpt from his last General Conference Talk:

In downtown Gothenburg, Sweden, there is a broad boulevard with beautiful trees on each side. One day I saw a hole in the trunk of one of the huge trees, so I curiously looked inside and saw that the tree was completely hollow. Hollow yes, but empty no! It was filled with all sorts of waste.

I was surprised that the tree could still stand. So I looked up and saw a wide steel belt mounted around the upper part of the trunk. Attached to the belt were several steel wires, and they in turn were fastened and anchored to nearby buildings. From a distance it looked like the other trees; it was only when looking inside that one could detect that it was hollow instead of having a solid, strong trunk. Many years earlier something had started the process of weakening the trunk a little bit here and a little bit there. It did not happen overnight. However, just like a young tree grows bit by bit into a sturdy tree, so we can grow step by step in our capacity to be solid and filled from the inside out, in contrast to the hollow tree.

It is through the healing Atonement of Jesus Christ that we may have the strength to stand tall and strong and to have our souls be filled—with light, understanding, joy, and love. His invitation is extended to “all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him” (2 Nephi 26:33). His promise is:

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."

The Color She Gave Me

My first day in an actual first grade classroom was quite unnerving, I'm not going to lie. I had been taught for two years what to do when you get into an elementary education classroom, but now I was actually in one. I was scared and not sure how it would go. The students were hyper and yelling all day. It was their first experience having desks and organized work because kindergarten was not so structured. Halfway through the day a little girl walked up, "Mrs. Baxter?" and when I looked over at her, she handed me a paint set. I was sitting in front of the craft corner, so I thought she had handed it to me to put away. Later that day my mentor teacher mentioned how it was cute that the little girl had asked her permission to give me a gift... A gift? I realized she was giving me HER paint set. Another teacher remarked that it had taken her a year and a half to even get this girl to say something aloud to her because she is so quiet. I remembered her whispering, "Mrs. Baxter?" and thought of the names of all of my impactful elementary school teachers. I knew that the title of "Mrs. Baxter" would not only be my name, but a title to stand for good in some classroom as I continued in my career. I looked at the paint set with new insight... almost like a treasure. "Should I give it back to her? I didn't know she was giving it me," I told them both, but they assured me that she would only be upset if I didn't take this small gift that was all she had to offer. So grinning like a child who has made off with a treasure, I left for home happy- not because I had paint, but because of the color she gave me.

4 Months & Still Smoochin'

So something happened last week... something I thought would never happen. I FORGOT our four month anniversary! Granted I was sick, overloaded with homework, making lesson plans, getting up at seven to try to fly out the door... In all of the chaos of the morning last Wednesday, Lance handed me a long thin package. I was totally confused. I opened it to find the exact Happy Deliveries print that I had been wanting so badly! He just smiled and said, "Happy anniversary Pumpkin," and kissed me on the cheek. You think he is a great husband? That's not even the half of it. I never told him where the print was from. I just texted him a tiny cell phone shot of a computer screen with the print on it several weeks ago. The picture didn't have the Happy Deliveries address or anything! He literally typed the words from the quote in on google and searched through everything until he found the print and its origin! Now that is an amazing husband! So the lovely print is now hanging in my bathroom along with my other favorite stuff...
Made these...
Made this...
JoAnn's on $6 clearance...
The happy corner of my lovely bathroom with the new addition! LOVE IT!
So I thought that was a great gift, but the little reminders of love did not stop there. Lance packed my lunch for me for my day at the elementary school student teaching. When I opened it at lunch, I almost started crying in front of my mentor teacher as I read the sweet note he had written for our anniversary... Then to top it all off I worked really hard on homework before he got home, we got the wedding cake out of the freezer, munched on that, and watched a movie. (We had heard from several reliable sources that wedding cake is basically not edible after being frozen for half a year, let alone a year, so we went for 1/3 year cake)
So there is is... We have been married for 4 months now. That is 1/3 of a year! Woo hoo! Best 1/3 year of my life. I have the best husband ever!

Families Are Forever

Took some family and maternity pictures for this adorable family recently! :) This is just a few of them!

To see more click here

And don't forget about the Fall Photoshoot Giveaway! You can enter at the above link and find details on the wall about extra entries as well!

Kaua'i, Hawaii

Now you may remember a few posts back, that Lance made a puzzle scavenger hunt for my birthday and on the note it said that my birthday gift was a trip to Hawaii. Well here it is! Our wonderful weekend trip:
The whole island was like a dream...
The waterfalls were incredible!
Lance loved this one so much that he had to give it a smooch. I was a lil' jealous. :)
And let the ooo's and ahhh's ensue...

If there is one thing to know about Kaua'i, it's that there are chickens LITERALLY EVERYWHERE! I don't know why but they are. In Costco, at the airport, on every road, there are chickens!
Took this picture for my grandpa who takes us to lunch and gives us only the options of McDonalds or Costco. :) We went to get some pineapples to bring home and to get some food so we wouldn't need to buy anything on Sunday (we arrived on Saturday).
Like I said... EVERYWHERE!
FYI, this island is where the movies Raiders of the Lost Ark, Jurassic Park, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, and several Elvis movies such as Girls! Girls! Girls! were filmed!
For dinner on Saturday night we ate at a place called Puka dog on the recommendation of several people. It did NOT disappoint! :) Seriously the best hot dog I have ever had! We loved it! Plus they have all sorts of yummy island relishes!

After grabbing our food at Puka Dog, we drove over to see Spouting Horn. It's a spot where the water flows through the rocks and shoots up with the crashing waves! Magnificent!

Awww! I would love to do a bridal shoot on the beach for someone one day!
After we saw Spouting Horn, we drove over to a little beach to watch the sun set.
And TA DA!!! We saw a sea turtle napping on the beach! They come up to get a little sun and then usually leave after sunset. This one opened his eyes to look up at me and then went back to sleep. Sooo CUTE! :)

In case anyone was wondering, we take all of our pictures by ourselves using settings, tripod, and timer. :) LOVE!
The lava rock in the ocean is so beautiful...

That night we sat on the beach next to our hotel and took some exposure shots of the stars. It was an incredible sight.

Sunday morning we went to see the falls in better lighting...
Squinty eye picture :)
Ah that's better! :)
After the falls, we headed over to church. It was fun to say, "Aloha!" so many times. :)

The church building has long french doors down the entire sacrament room so you can easily see the flowers and greenery outside. Awesome!

After church we went to see a little bit more of the island...

We ate dinner on another beach and were utterly content :)

It was also 9/11 that day... To see what I wrote about my memory of that day click here

We spent the rest of Sunday bumming on beach chairs and admiring all of Heavenly Father's lovely creations.


Monday morning we headed over to Tunnels Beach to go snorkeling by the reef. We were excited to try out all our suits and gear that we got in Craigslist for a GREAT price!

We saw a fish of just about every color combination down there!

I love holding his hand everywhere we go. The best part is, he likes holding my hand too!

So amazing to see all of those sea creatures!

After we finished, we went back to the hotel, showered, checked out and headed into town to look around until it was time for us to head to the airport. We bought some amazing island fruit to try. Starfruit is DELICIOUS! You eat it as is and you don't have to peel it or anything.
Lovely shell wind chime :)
We also had coconut milk! Lance has had it a lot from when he served his mission in Brazil, but it was my first time tasting it. It wasn't too bad!
Cute clothespin hula girls :)
Lance being a dolphin :)
All over the island they have signs for "Shave Ice." Not "shaved," but "shave." So we had to try this infamous shave ice... well worth it! Especially with the ice cream scoop underneath!
Oh and see my lei? Everyone kept asking where I got it because it is hard to find real handmade ones like that. Well, Lance and I had driven past a little house on Sunday that had a painted sign saying "Flower Lei for $5.00." Then on Monday morning when we were driving back from Tunnels Beach, we went back to that house and got one. Gorgeous flowers and the little lady that made it was so cute.
They have the neatest hair flowers!
Playing around in the gift shops :)

There were ocean paintings everywhere!
Life sized Lincoln Logs! Awesome!
After we got our Fridge magnet (we collect them from everywhere we go) and some hair flowers for me (yay!) we went back to the beach... It's kind of the best part of Hawaii! This picture basically sums up my husband's personality!

He's such a hunk!
Just spending some quality time with Pinky. He is our dollar store blow up flamingo that I brought with us. :)

Just about anywhere is a good place to slow dance :)
This is our friend, Herman. Lance waited for him to come out of his hole and when he saw Lance taking his picture, he froze and you could almost hear his little crabby brain say, "Awww crap." He was cute!
We also saw a baby sea turtle in the water!
There it is! So cute!

And not pictured is me clamoring up onto a big tree that had fallen over into the ocean, scraping my leg on the wipe out part, falling off into the water, getting sucked under a wave, and then smashed by another one... I wasn't supposed to get wet either. Lance was on the other side of the log when it happened so he couldn't get to me very quickly. He said his heart sank and he was so scared for me when he saw me fall. The whole way down I just thought, "I look so stupid right now." Ha ha oh well... After I changed into dry clothes in a bathroom and used paper towels to dry off, we found this little place called Bubba's Burgers for dinner.
We had an excellent dinner wathcing the ocean from the patio. :) We would highly recommend this place as well! After we ate we headed over to drop off the rental car and take our flight home! We were so lucky to make both the flight there and back home on the first try. For those of you who don't get why, it's because we have free flights since Lance works for US Airways, BUT we can only fly standby. This means that if the plane is full, we can't get on. So we were blessed to be on both the flights we wanted!
Anyway it was a wonderful trip and I will leave you with a paper I wrote about it as a quickwrite for my Language Arts class:

Have you ever been to a place that seemed to steal your mind away? Have you ever been to a place and even when you left it, you could never get it out of your thoughts? I have. I went to Kauai, Hawaii. Now I am back in Mesa, Arizona, and yet, all the things that I saw, smelled, heard, and felt in Hawaii are still lingering in my mind. It’s as though they want to fill my brain and never let go. Kauai was undoubtedly the most sensory place that I have ever been to. My eyes were overwhelmed at the dream-like scenery that they took in. There were waterfalls tumbling down from mountains that reached beyond the clouds, flowers of every shape and color bursting forth in bloom, and the bright blue ocean ebbing and flowing in every direction. The light of the sun sparkled in my husband’s eyes entrancing me. My mind relaxed as the intoxicating smells of mango, starfruit, pineapple, coconut, and ocean air filled my nostrils. It was as though God had taken all of the best air freshener scents in the world and doused that whole island with them. As we drove around all I could hear were the sounds of the exotic birds calling to each other, the ocean waves crashing against the shore, and the ukulele music that all of the richly cultured Hawaiian people love to play. I felt as though the sun was trying to kiss my skin, rather than trying to fry it, like it does in Arizona. I felt fish swimming curiously around my body as I swam in the ocean holding my husband’s hand. I felt sand squishing through my toes as though it wanted to wrap around every part of me and just love me. I felt the water reaching up to touch my feet as I lay on the beach as if it were begging me to come and play. I fell in the water as little waves crashed down on me trying to make me stay. The palm trees almost seemed to reach out of their way to pull a blanket of shade over me. It seemed as though all of my senses were simply captivated by that enchanting place. I am truly thrilled, looking forward to the next time that I can visit that wonderland again with my husband.

P.S. Don't forget to enter my Fall Photoshoot Giveaway on my Facebook page for Freckled Lemonade Photography :)