Sunday, September 15, 2013

Summer's End... Angels come in all shapes and sizes...

I have had quite the eventful summer. It has been full of fun, family & friends, cooking/baking, weddings, and strengthening relationships, and learning.

I have been in my ward now for almost a year. I absolutely love my ward, and am so grateful that I ended up here, and that Elyse and I decided that we would go to separate wards. Not because we needed space... but we needed space! We both thought it would be good to separate our identities a little, and give a chance for others to get to know each of us as individuals. I was leaning a bit to heavily upon her for my social existence... I still kind of do, but not as much as before. Now that I am not able to comfortably lean upon her to get to know people, it is all up to me to reach out to others in my own ward and social sphere... maybe sign up for institute again!?

Luckily for me I was called to be a sunbeam teacher. This has been the sweetest most uplifting calling I have had. I get to spend time with little rambunctious 3-4 year olds, full of personality, who also have so much love and goodness about them that they give freely. Every week I am blessed by their love and absolute acceptance of me. It lifts me up and helps me get through my week. This calling has been one of the Lord's tender mercies for me. He really does care, and helps me. Angels come in all shapes and sizes!

Cutest sunbeam class ever!
My sunbeams goofing off during our lesson!

In July I had the opportunity to be one of the Leaders at girls camp. I was in charge of the food. (Of course!) As we were working together to make the camp experience memorable, fun and spiritual, I was able to make some really wonderful/remarkable friendships. My definition of who I can be friends with has changed in part because of this. Each leader is at a different place in life, and have experienced so many different things. As I got closer to these amazing women I felt strengthened and inspired. They made me want to rise up and be better... to stand in holy places and be not moved! I am grateful for them and the lessons they taught me and love the shared. During camp I also was able to spend some time with the girls, making crafts, helping with the faith walk, playing with marshmallow guns, and hearing their testimonies in their actions as well as in word. I had a hard time remembering names. I really wanted to know each of the girls by name, and as I prayed about it I knew somehow I would be able to learn them all. I was able to help the girls come up with one of their cheers for  devotional, and during that time I was able to write down their names and associate faces with names.... I got it down, and was able to call each girl by name by the end of camp. Even in small and simple things, the Lord is aware of us and willing to help us when we ask. I am so grateful I did ask, and that he answered.

A few other things happened in July. Among them I had a birthday. I turned 29. The oldest I have ever been!!! haha! Cheesy... yes, I know! But I did determine that I wanted to make this last year of my 20's the best year ever. (so far so good!) I want to get everything organized and figured out... mentally, spiritually, and physically. I've made some goals, and I am working on accomplishing them. They are of a more personal nature, and there are a lot of them, so I won't share them all. But some of the goals I do have are to be more socially active, aware of others, and to make some new friends.
That's a good start right!!!

Me at 29! I hardly look it right?!
Another July happening, or happenings, are that I was able to work on and decorate some incredible wedding cakes, for some incredible people. I made a cake for Reyna, my new cousin-in-law.... I don't know how that works exactly, but she's incredible, funny, and cute. We'll keep her! Her cake was simple white tiered cake with purple ribbon. Another cake I did was for my Beautiful cousin Annemarie. Her cake is my favorite of all time....(that I've done) It was elegant, classy, and so much fun to do. My best one so far! It was incredibly awesome to be able to be a part of their special day's and to put some of my baking/decorating skills to good use. I want to be able to do more of this... I love and miss baking.

Reyna and Joseph's Wedding cake!

Wedding cake at the Provo Library
Reception hall

My Favorite Wedding Cake so Far

Close up of the back

Reflection of cake

More of my favorite cake

The whole enchilada 

Early August my family us "Odd Todd's" we had a shindig- or our very first family reunion. There was some swimming involved, good food, (duh!) a few bees, some sun, a few roller-coasters, a soon to be sister-in-law Jenifer, (congrats Michael!) a cute belly bump, (my nephew to be) and a whole bunch of laughs and giggles.... Hopefully not to many tears! haha! I know I had a good time, and I am so glad that we all could get together and spend time with one-another. I HAVE THE BEST FAMILY EVER!!

Michael and Jenifer
ELYSE! Need I say more?
Kyra and My mom, being silly at Lagoon

Taylor and Kyra on a ride at Lagoon

Amber taking me to the BEST burger Place EVER!
The end of August, and the end of my summer I was able to hop a plane (which isn't my favorite thing at all!) to Maryland to spend some time with my BEST FRIEND Amber before she got married. She is my favorite person ever... well one of them... :) She took me to this awesome burger place that had the most awesomest of awesome burgers EVER! Okay, so at first it didn't really sound super great, but after the first bite I was hooked, LINE and SINKER!! Even before I was done with it I was craving it! And CURSE it all, this was her plan all along, I know it!, I can only get that burger in Maryland.... boooo! sad face! The best I can do is try to recreate it. So there will be a burger making extravaganza in the near future... 'cuz I'm STILL craving that burger. She also took me to a few cupcake shops, some bakeries, and an incredible chocolatier/truffle place. Those chocolates were amazing, shiny, beautiful, decadent, and oh soooo good! The cupcakes were tasty too! I also got to spend some time (like 5 hrs) in  Wegman's where she works. What an INCREDIBLE grocery store!

Angel Cake's
These cupcakes were soooooo good!

The Perfect Truffle
(and they were!)

I really had the time of my life during this vacation! I was able to help her with a lot (more than I thought I would) I'm so glad I was there. I am so grateful that I sucked it up and made it to my best friend's wedding. I was able to get to know her parents, Eric (her Hubby), and Madison (My new friend that I'm stealing from Amber), so much better. I've officially yet unofficially been adopted into Amber's family... I'm okay with that, cuz she's the same with my family! BEST beginning of my vacation ever!!

DC Temple
Amber and Eric
Amber, her Grandma, Eric
(I love her Grandma!)

After all the wedding shenanigans, I was dropped of at the bus to New York. (Thanks Madison!) In New York, I was picked up by my good friend and former bishop, Stephen Weber. (who I think in another life was a race-car driver!) He really liked driving in New York.... crazy I know! I spent the rest of my awesome vacation with him and his wife Evelyn. (Who I adore!) They took me to the institute/church building for Yale campus where he works. They also took me to Boston. I was able to see some incredible history sites, and yummy bakeries! I loved spending time with them, and cooking with Evelyn. We made a beautiful tasty paella, and a Watermelon salad. It was perfect! I think Paella is one dish that gets better every time I make it. Thank you Evelyn and Steve for making my time out east so special and memorable!

(That I made with Evelyn)
View of Boston From the Harbor

I had a really wonderful and memory-making filled summer. I've made good friends, strengthened family and friendships, and have so much more to be grateful for. It's been a great Summer... now onto a fantastic fall!

Lemon cupcakes

Elyse's Birthday Cake
Butter Lemon Raspberry Filled cake

Wedding Cake I made for a client: Emelia