Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Adios, 2013!

2013 has been a great year. I don't know what it is about odd numbers, but they do great things for me. I was born on 7/15/91, graduated from high school 5/09, engaged on 11/13/11, married on 3/15 (of 2012, but it still counts!), I graduated and we celebrated our first anniversary in 2013. SO, let's hope 2014 can keep up with the odds!

Taylor and I both learned a lot and had a lot of fun in 2013.

Last year we celebrated the start of 2013 in Hawaii! I had gotten the flu after Christmas but was better by New Year's Eve, and I was so happy we were able to celebrate and not be sick.

New Year's Eve in Hawaii last year 
In 2013 we celebrated our first year of marriage! For us, the first year was a learning experience. A lot of people say "oh, the first year is just the best because you're always happy and you're still in the honeymoon stage". Well I guess we like to keep it real because we definitely weren't always in the honeymoon stage our first year! But don't worry, we had a good share of laughs, smiles, and fun moments as well. We learned and grew a lot, and we're now almost done with year 2 (which has been my favorite so far!). We're excited for year 3 (where does the time go???)! Taylor is the best roommate I've ever had :).

Celebrating our 1st Anniversary 
I started an internship with Shabby Apple at the end of 2012 and worked for them as a social media intern through May 2013. It was really neat to learn more about business and fashion production. Being a small business owner I loved learning how to use social media as a means to advertise and get people buzzing about products. This was such a fun internship, and I was so grateful I was given that amazing opportunity!

One of the emails I wrote for Shabby Apple 
After teaching in primary for about 8 months, I was called to be the primary secretary at church. This calling keeps me on my toes and always makes me have to work a little extra to stay organized. If you know me you know that I'm not the best at that, which is probably why I got this calling haha. I love working with the little kids of our ward congregation!

This year I ended my job at Allyse's Bridal (I was there for almost 5 years!), and I started my new job at the Provo Missionary Training Center as a clerk at the information desk. This desk is open 24/7/365, and there was a LOT to learn. This was a VERY hard transition for me. I went from working with some of my best friends in a bridal shop that had a real 'family' feel (with our wonderful "mother" Janet), to not knowing anyone (except Taylor--which was a big plus--as he works for MTC security). At this job you have to know the ins and outs about all MTC policies & procedures, answers to "frequently asked questions" from angry/sad/super emotional missionary moms/families, know how to answer the most bizarre and random phone calls (people often think we're church headquarters so they call with the most random "needs" and "suggestions"), and also know how to deal with a lot of confidential information and know whom you can and cannot give that information out to (and if mistakes are made with this you can easily lose your job). You also have to get used to the fact that General Authorities of the Church could call at any time and visit often (this is an awesome part of the job, but also obviously very intimidating). I felt so inadequate at first and like I wasn't going to ever be able to get all of this information down. However, Taylor was so supportive and always told me "you can do it!", and now this has honestly been the best job ever. I have had the opportunity to meet so many amazing people through this job. I've seen companionships of missionaries here who can't understand each other at all who speak different languages, but they are so happy to be at the MTC preparing to serve missions. I once worked with an elder who was from the middle of nowhere (it was the most random little island that I had never heard of), who ended up coming with just one small bag, wearing his one and only tattered suit, and arrived at the MTC a week early at 10PM and spoke no English. He was there and ready to serve. There were missionaries who never got packages or letters and felt no support from loved ones, but they were there and wanting to serve the Lord wherever He would have them. I was able to work during the Mission President Seminar in June where all of the newly called mission presidents come to the MTC to be trained by prophets and apostles. I was able to see seven out of the twelve apostles in one day that week. Being so close to them and seeing how they interact with others strengthened my testimony of the organization of the church and the men who God has presiding and guiding us. I finish working at the MTC this week (it's a student job, and I graduated so I have to say goodbye!) and it is definitely bittersweet. I'm excited for the future but so, so sad to leave. I have such an amazing supervisor. She never beats around the bush which can be intimidating, but then when she compliments you, you know she means it. She has been amazing to work under. Though we don't work in the same department, it has been so fun being able to work with Taylor. It has been a blessing to work for the church at the MTC and to be able to work with my husband. This job played a big role for us in 2013!

One of the rare times that we saw each other at work for more than a few minutes. 
{Sorry for that mini novel, but that was a big part of our 2013!}

I became a biological aunt in April 2013!
My older sister, Nicole, and her husband, Glen, welcomed Leo Eric Ellsworth to the world on April 2. He (his middle name) was named after my dad who passed away in 2007, which makes his name extra special. He definitely makes me a little baby hungry, but for now being an aunt is the best :). Click here to see his birth story (the pictures are amazing! Taken by Lizzy Jean Photography).

We had some family visit from Hawaii this summer. This is my sis-in-law teaching little Noelle how to be gentle with Leo :) 

We ran our first 5k together for the 4th of July! Not a huge deal if you're a runner, but I'm not a big runner, and I had never done a race before, so we were excited and proud of ourselves! I'm excited to have time to run more now that I'm graduated.

Taylor took the OAT  (optometry school admissions test) in July 2013. He put a lot of effort into studying, and it paid off as he scored in the 95th percentile! I was so, so proud of him. He is currently finishing his optometry school applications! We'll know where we'll be living for the next few years in just a few months!

Being the wife I am, I made him pose for a "before" picture before he left to take his test 

Tay super happy after getting his score, telling his dad how it went
We took a "quick" trip to Hawaii in August (quick being about 2 weeks, but for the time and money it takes to get there we like to stay as long as possible!). We love spending time with family there and giving Taylor some time at home before we came back for school. Read about the trip here, here, hereand here.

One of my favorite days in Hawaii this trip

Our nieces and nephews minus two 
WEDDINGS: I had lots of friends get married this year! All of them I consider to be my best friends! My friend Matt got married to Amanda in May. I've known Matt and his twin, Rob, since high school. My old roommate and BFF Lauren got married in July, and I got to be one of her bridesmaids! It was such a beautiful day with a gorgeous reception. My best friend Andrea (whom I've known since I was like 8) got married in August to Nathan, after he flew around the world to propose to her while she was in Thailand. On that same day, my friend Scoty (also from high school, and best friends with Matt & Rob) got married to Larissa. And last, Matt's twin Rob got married to Hallie in October! Their wedding day was amazing. Their sealing was wonderful and their reception was so creative. It was so whimsical and had a 'bountiful' feel. I'm so happy for all these people, and I'm so excited for the rest of my friends to find their special people one day!
Matt's wedding day 
Lauren's wedding day (see her wedding here)
Andrea's wedding day 
Also Scoty's wedding day 
Rob's wedding day 
In September I opened my second Etsy shop, INKH. Designs. I love making invites so I decided to share that love with others! You can see some of the work I've done for friends here. I'm up & running again with Just Buttons & Bows as well. I'm excited to work on expanding both shops in the coming months! If you or any bloggers you know would want to review a bow, let me know!

Of course among all these events we had all the holidays and traditions including celebrating the 4th of July with the Nielsens (Glen, Nicole, and Leo were in town!), dressing up as Guess Who characters (from the classic game), Thanksgiving at my mom's house (and some Black Friday shopping!), and Christmas in Provo this year!

Taylor & I both worked on Thanksgiving morning during the Thanksgiving Devotional. Elder Nelson was the speaker. 

Christmas morning 2013. Read here about it. 
I'm honestly super antsy to find out where 2014 takes us (literally). I end my job this week and I don't have another lined up (yet), so I'm hopeful to find a way to help our income while Tay finishes school! We have family coming in town to celebrate our graduation when we walk in the graduation ceremony in April. We'll hopefully find out soon where we'll be going for Tay to go to grad school. This is the first year together that we don't already have a full plan (last year we knew we'd just be working and in school, and the year before we knew we'd get married and spend the summer in Hawaii).

So cheers to 2014! I have a post coming up about 2014 goals (I give up on the word "resolutions" because who keeps those anyway, right??).

Happy New Year to you and yours!
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Saturday, December 28, 2013

Why I Went to College

After attending my last class ever!!! 
Since graduating a week ago, this is how my conversations have gone with people:

ThemWhat did you get your degree in? 

MeEnglish language

Themoh, cool. so do you want to like teach or something?

Meno, not really. I don't have a lot of exposure to teaching, but from the little I've had, I'm not super interested in it. 

Themoh, ok. So are you going to grad school? 

Me: no, I've never felt like that is something that I should or need to do. And I have no desire, so I don't think I would be going for the right reason.

Them: well you never know, maybe you'll change your mind. 

...no, I probably won't. But no, I don't think I wasted my degree either.

(OR, one time I got: soo, why did you go to college?)

       Don't worry, if you're one of the people whom I've had this conversation with, I'm not offended! It's just true--I don't know what I'm doing with my future. But I do have long term goals with Taylor, and I know I'm on the right track for them. 

      If you know me you know I'm a "well-rounded" person. No, I'm not trying to sound stuck-up, I just don't know how else to word that I just kind of have a lot of random interests, hobbies, random work experience (let's just say the Missionary Training Center and Shabby Apple both reside on my resume, and I have a minor in dance--which has nothing to do with my major), etc. That being said, I really don't have an exact "next step" because I don't know.

      Again, if you know me, you know that I am probably the farthest from being a feminist that you can get (you can start throwing stones now, but I would gladly accept the stones while wearing an apron and cleaning my house). My whole life I have loved anything domestic: cooking, cleaning (really, I really love cleaning. It's weird), baking, sewing (loooove sewing), crafting, etc. I personally have no issues with "traditional" gender roles in the home because that' personally what I wanted to be. My whole life I've known that I want to be a mother and a wife above all things. Now, before you start gagging thinking I'm a typical Provo Mormon girl, let me explain.

       I 100% value the idea of having a mom be in the home. I place a high value on being a stay-at-home mom because of personal experience. However, I also 100% value education and being prepared educationally and financially for the future. 

      It has always been my plan to get a degree. I have never known what exactly I wanted to "be" when I grew up, but I knew I should get an education after high school. To be honest for half of my college career I thought I wanted to be an editor. I love grammar, I love knowing all the "rules" of language, and I love words. However, the more I learned about editing, the more I learned I didn't want to be an editor. So I wasted all my time, right? Because what else does someone who spent 3.5 years studying language do for a living? Good question! 

     I'm honestly really happy and proud that I have a degree. I have no idea what I want to do with it yet, or if I will ever work with it. I'm actually really interested in using my minor and starting a little kid dance program. We'll see if that happens. But again, I don't know right now. 

    I've decided that I want to be more concerned with who I want to be than what I want to be. I thoroughly enjoyed studying my major and my minor at BYU. I met awesome people, I learned so much, and I completed (what was for me) a very hard task of getting a degree. So while I don't know what exactly I want to do next in the job-field, I know that I have gained a lot of experience the past four years that will help me in my long-term goal of being a mother, and it will also help me to continue to try to be a loving and supportive wife to my sweet Taylor. 

     In the end, I want to be a good person. I want to continue striving to be a faithful member of my church. I want to be a good wife. And eventually I want to be the best mom I can be to my kids when I have them. I don't feel like I wasted my time or money at BYU just because I'm not necessarily continuing on exactly where I left off. I know that everyone has a different path to take in life. I think it's wonderful that so many people, particularly women, have a set plan educationally and career-wise from the get-go. But I've learned that's not how things are going to play out for me. And that's ok! 

     So, that is why I went to college. Because education is important. Because you never know what will happen in life so you should always be prepared for the unexpected. Because I enjoyed college, and I was able to meet my husband during college. Because "Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection."

So that's why I went to college and got my degree! And that's all :) 

Enjoy the rest of your holiday!!! 

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Thursday, December 26, 2013

Um, Hi....(3 months later)

Let's just say one of my New Year's Resolutions (even though I think they're really cheesy and cliche since most people don't even follow through with the m) is to be better at blogging! I envy people who blog consistently and have exciting moments in life documented because it's so easy to look back on! I really want to get my little blogging act together!

SO. Basically the whole semester went by since I last posted. Haha, oops. I intend to go back and insert posts. We'll see. 

But first and foremost, MERRY CHRISTMAS (yesterday), and HAPPY HOLIDAYS and HAPPY NEW YEAR!! So much to celebrate! For this reason, we used a less traditional saying on our Christmas card this year (I stole the saying from one of Costco's cards!):

Our Christmas card 2013!
{DISCLAIMER: All photos on this post were taken on my phone, which apparently was having problems. Sorry for the horrible clarity :)}

We've had a really fun week with a really nice Christmas day yesterday! On Monday Taylor was so sweet and took me up to to SLC for a fun little Christmas getaway/celebration that I graduated (yes, I finished! More on that later). We took the UTA FrontRunner up, thinking it would be nice to give our car a break, and it would be convenient. Normally, that would be true. However, we failed to realize that it was the last Monday before Christmas (hello, Family Home Evening activity!). The train was PACKED. We still had fun though. We stayed at the Marriott in Downtown SLC so we got to just walk around and look at the lights, eat dinner, then walk around Temple Square some more! The whole week before I was going to bed at the earliest 2AM (thank you finals, Hallmark Channel Christmas movies, and sewing projects) so it was really nice to just relax. Our room overlooked the Salt Lake Temple. Gorgeous!

 On Christmas Eve we had a traditional Danish meal with the Nielsen side of my family (a tradition I grew up with), got some pictures with "Santa" (my uncle and aunt have the coolest holiday job!), and my sisters and I did our annual Christmas performance for my grandpa. It was so nice to be with family since next year we'll be living who knows where for Tay's grad school.

One of our traditions is to eat a Danish rice pudding and try to find the whole almond that's hidden in it. Taylor got it this year! 

At Dinner! 

We found this photo of my dad around the same age as my brother. Crazy how genes work! 

Christmas was just so fun. My mom got all the girls matching leggings (normally we get somewhat ill-fitting flannel pants--every manufacturer sizes them different!), so these were a hit! We all slept at my mom's house on Christmas Eve, which started out as a tradition where all of the kids would sleep in the same bedroom (we're all too big now!). Following tradition, we all watched the Living Scriptures movie of Christ's birth before opening presents. As I get older I realize how funny that movie is because they try to make it so that kids know what is happening, so the dialog at parts is really funny. But it was a good reminder of the true meaning of Christmas and our Savior.

The only boys...lounging in the guest room while all the girls took their time to get up on Christmas morning 

Our whole lives our parents made us line up in age order as we walked in to see our presents. (sorry for the blurriness..) 


We all gave and received lots of fun gifts! 

Oh yeah. I GRADUATED!!!! I just finished my last semester ever at Brigham Young University. It feels exciting/weird/awkward/awesome, etc. I will walk in April with Taylor when he graduates! I got my bachelor's degree in English language, and my minor in contemporary dance. I am very excited to be graduated! However, then comes the inevitable question: what's next?? Well, you can read my next post. And no, I'm not pregnant :).
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