Thursday, December 29, 2011

a very long rambling post about words, firemen, and being someone's wife.

everyone is born with a natural ability of some kind. some call them talents, some call them superpowers. everyone has at least one. travis is an athlete. he's fast, he can jump high, he is coordinated and agile without trying. my mom can make a friend anywhere. my brother reed is a quick learner. i was born with two abilities that come naturally, almost as easy as breathing or some other function my body performs without me thinking too much about it. (pooping probably, since as you know from previous posts, i poop like clockwork.)

my superpowers are singing and language. i've been singing since before i could talk. it's always just been easy. my mom taught me to sing in a round with her when i was just learning to make words. i have always been able to pick out harmonies and find pitch. when i took voice lessons, everything clicked, breath techniques, projecting, etc. music brings me a great deal of joy and i'm always grateful i was born with this talent.

my other superpower has always been in words. my mom tells the story of when i was a baby learning to talk and how my understanding of english grammar was very advanced. my parents were enjoying my parroting of what they would say, so they decided to challenge me with a long word.
"say, Yugoslavia!" they prompted.
"I go slavia!" i replied.

i was that kid who knew how to read before starting school. i was writing my name in cursive before kindergarten. that geeky kid with giant glasses and her nose in a book was always me. i was reading on a college level by third grade. not only have i always been a great reader, but i'm a fast reader, something that has really come in handy for college. my mom read to me from the time i was born and always made reading a huge priority, and i'm thankful to her for nurturing this ability.

i'm not saying all this to brag. i'm terrible at a lot of things, like anyone else. math. racquetball. reading charts and graphs. understanding the NFL. keeping score in games. driving. oh, reading a map, kills me. like i stay home sometimes rather than go out and find the address of events. i'm ashamed to admit this, but i don't completely understand how to use street names and numbers to find places. having a gps on my smart phone has changed my life.

ok, but i'm rambling here. the point to all this thinking was that i have been considering the word 'wife' the past few weeks. what i really want to write about is what it's like being a fireman's wife and what i have learned from this. but i just hate the word 'wife'. ever since i was a little kid playing house, i have hated this word. i used to say, "and this is my husband" in pretend play rather than introduce myself as someone's wife. the reason i got to rambling about talents is because i was thinking about how even as a kid i used to think about words a lot. i'm sure many of you were the same way, but for those of you who aren't, that's why i can remember hating that word even as a 7 year old.

now that i technically am someone's wife, i have been in plenty of situations where i had to introduce myself as such. "hi, i'm travis's wife." at fire department get-togethers. but it still bothers me and i'm not sure why. even as a kid, i wasn't so sure about the idea of "belonging" to someone else. i didn't know if i really ever would get married and as you know i kept my last name. because i am and always have been collette charles. just because it's a western custom for the woman to take the man's last name, doesn't mean it's the only right, moral choice to make. in many places in africa, each member of the family is given their own last name. when travis asked me why i didn't want to change my name, i asked him, do you want to take my last name? of course he didn't. i asked why. he replied that he was a bodtcher, not a charles. i told him the same principle applied to me. it's a hassle and people are always confused about why my name is different from his, but it's important to me. i have always been a little funny about my name. once in 5th grade, i changed the spelling of my name to "kollette" and insisted that everyone else respect it, including my teacher.

again with the rambling.

so awhile ago i was pondering different blogs i could write that would gather large audiences and possibly make me some money. i considered a mormon feminist mommy blog, since that combines a lot of things that seem contrary to each other on the surface. obviously this would be later if i ever get the courage to be a mommy. another blog i thought about was a fire wife blog. people are always interested in firemen. firemen are universally loved, like puppies or you know, some other thing that only does good for other people. people are interested in what it's like to be married to a fireman, too, because their hours are strange and their job is more of a lifestyle. but writing a blog about what it's like being the wife of a fireman turned me off completely. because being a wife to a fireman is only a very tiny piece of who i am. being married to travis is obviously a giant part of my life. but to write an entire blog about being his wife wouldn't be honest at all.

but i thought, i could write a post or two about it. plus, he's at work now and i'm a tidtch bored and lonely. might as well make a list of why i feel that way, right? and i know that once we have kids, being a fire wife will be completely different and much more difficult, but these are things i have learned in the year and a half that i have been a fire wife.

* being married to a fireman gives you something interesting to talk about to other people.
* you instantly have a connection to the entire fire community. doesn't matter what department they work for or if you even know them at all, you're family.
* travis works 48 hours on and then has 4 days off. this means i will spend 1/3 of my life sleeping alone. unless i take another fireman husband, as my brother zane has suggested.
* i don't think of weeks as having 7 days. i am always counting down from four, from the day travis comes home until the day travis goes back to work. the two days he is gone are almost not even counted as weekdays for me, as strange as that sounds.
* i know that for the next thirty years, travis will work his share of valentine's days, thanksgivings, christmases, and 4th of julys. being a person who values holiday traditions, this bothers me immensely.
* 9/11 has taken on a new meaning for me. it could just be that i'm getting older and starting to appreciate the gravity of the terrorist attack, but watching the footage this year of those firemen at ground zero brought me to tears in a much more personal way than ever before.
* although i lived on my own for four years before marrying travis, i am adjusting to living alone in a completely different way than when i had roommates. i know that for two to three days a week, i will be killing my own spiders, taking out the trash, and checking the house for intruders alone. sometimes, this is awful.
* men in uniform are attractive. my man in his uniform is a turn on.
* being married to a fireman means that at any given moment during his shift, he can get a call. it doesn't matter if you're there visiting him. it doesn't matter if you're telling him an amazing story over the phone. the tones go off, and he has to put you second. that was really hard to get used to.
* being married to a fireman means that you worry about him. you pray that when he goes on a freeway call, no one slams into his ambulance. you pray that no one gets violent or that might get to sleep the entire night through so he won't be exhausted on his four off. you pray that people will stop drinking and driving so that he won't be in danger when he's on the roads late at night. you worry about him all the time.
* you think about having children and you worry that you won't be able to handle being a single parent 1/3 of the time.
* sometimes you feel jealous that he gets to be the hero all the time while you're home alone.
* you go to family events, or to hang out with friends, and feel like a widow. people ask where your husband is and you are always saying, oh he's at work.
* sometimes i make the effort to go out and have a good time when he's working. then i feel sad that i have had adventures without him and slightly bitter that he missed the good times.
* i feel extreme pride in him.
* i love getting to know the men he works with and feeling their acceptance.

so there you have it. the life of the fire wife. or as i would rather say, my fireman husband's effect on my life.

travis standing in the rubble after a big structure fire last winter.
photo courtesy of

pinning travis's badge after he was officially sworn in as a murry firefighter/paramedic.

doing what a fire wife does best...
remember that time i had an identity crisis
and dyed my hair blonde...

visiting travis on his birthday while we were still dating. pretty enamored with the uniform.

foods and christmas lovin'

remember that time i said i would be telling an epic love story once a week? and then i fell off the blogging wagon? (does that metaphor even make sense here? no.) luckily, i had a good excuse: i was out living the love story. also, i was busy shopping, sleeping in, not doing homework, cooking, baking, spending time with family, decorating our house, and keeping christmas secrets.

here are a couple of pictures of my life in the last few weeks.
if it seems like food is dominating my life in pictures, don't worry. it's like that in real life too.

this chicken is my new favorite thing to cook.
just season chicken thighs, yes the fatty thighs,
with salt, pepper, garlic, onion, thyme, and rosemary
and slather with olive oil. bake until they're done.

these pictures are out of order. this is my family
on christmas eve, about to play our rendition of
santa claus is coming to town, rock and roll version.
my dad is wearing a wig.

here i am singing have yourself a merry little christmas.
if i can get the videos to upload, i will upload them.

this is the stuffed manacotti i made for the dinner party.
jeremy and liana came over and we ate and drank ALOT.
i had never made manacotti before, but it was pretty easy.
just combine about ten cheeses, including ricotta mhmmm,
and spinach and spices, and pipe it into the uncooked shells.
easy peasy.

these are the stockings hung by the chimney with care. also,
the christmas village my mom, grandmother,
and great grandmother painted.

here is the table all set for the dinner party.
i'm secretly a desperate housewife.

this is another delicious meal i cooked.
the best part? the green beans!
sunflower market has them on sale right now.
you stick them in a pan with butter, garlic, onion
salt, pepper, let them saute a bit, and then
throw in a cup of chicken stock.
then just let them hang out an cook
for half an hour.
judas priest, they were amazing!

here i am showing off my outfit on christmas morning.
no, it's not new, but i like it. we were headed to church!

standing in front of the very bright window
next to the tree on christmas morning.

so our christmas was EXCELLENT! travis was at the fire station on christmas eve, which sucked because we didn't get to make santa traps together, but on the bright side, we didn't have to argue about which side of the family to go spend the evening with. call me selfish, but i never like to budge on christmas eve family time, because i only get to see my entire charles side twice a year, one of which is christmas eve. this year, my mom's parents were also in town, so it was a family bonanza!

christmas eve also included my family singing "santa claus is coming to town" with guitars, drums, pianos solos, and me singing at the top of my lungs and doing sweet dance kick moves. (no one ever gets my dance kicks, but i still went for it.) for my whole life, christmas eve has included everyone in the family getting up and doing some kind of singing or instrument playing. music just makes it, you know?

christmas was a little rough this year because my grandpa, or as we call him, papa, was recently diagnosed with non-hodgkins lymphoma. he has lost an enormous amount of weight, and is on steroids, which make him a little hyper. this man is my hero and a world without him seems pretty impossible. to be honest, i was terrified to see him because i didn't want his cancer to be real. i stuck by him most of the night and he has a great attitude. for those of you who are the praying kind, please add him to your long lists?

ok, so on a happier note, christmas day was excellent. travis came home and we opened presents and had my grandma's cinnamon rolls. poor travis had only gotten five hours of sleep during his entire 48 hour shift, so he took a nice nap before church. church was excellent and a nice way to remember what, for me, christmas is all about. after church we spent time with our families, stuffed ourselves with food, talked to my missionary brother on the phone, and ended up watching home alone.

now for the promised love story.

a few days before christmas, travis had been acting strange.

let me back up. for the past six months, i have been looking into buying a camera. a nice, DSLR camera. i had some money saved up from selling charlie, another very sad story, and i had decided on one. travis kept teasing me about how he was just going to give me $300 bucks in a card for christmas, but we all knew he was going to buy me that camera. it has been a running joke for the past month.

well there is a flood in thailand right now where they make the filters and so production has slowed down. travis bought the camera with plenty of time to spare and was promised it would make it in time for christmas. but alas, there wasn't one to be found west of the mississippi. travis spent a lot of time "cleaning the garage" and talking to the store on the phone about my camera.

a few days before christmas, we were driving home from the temple and he got tears in his eyes. he told me that he had ruined my christmas and how sorry he was. he explained about the camera and how he had planned to give me a card with a picture of where the camera was hidden to make me search for it, and how it was all ruined. and it was "all his fault."

that he would stress over my christmas to that extent was the best part of christmas this year for me. i still don't have the camera. it won't be in until mid january at the earliest. but that doesn't matter! this is the reason i married travis. sometimes i still can't believe a person could love me so much.

ahhhh love.

sorry for the terribly long post. the once a week is back on. hope all your christmases were merry and bright!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

braggin' it up in herr.

remember how my first year of marriage was really hard? and how travis and i used to want to strangle each other sometimes? well those days seem really far away from where we are right now.

seriously, marriage is excellent.

ok sorry, but i'm going to have a my-life-is-amazing brag session here.

after working 200 hours in the past two weeks, travis came home and we were finally able to spend an afternoon and evening together. he got home yesterday afternoon and we had a pretty enjoyable time getting reacquainted. too much? ah well, usually is. last night we went to our neighborhood christmas party, had dinner, and were social beings. so remember how we teach sunday school to the 14 year olds? well one of them, alex, was there and needed a ride home. (freakin' love this kid; he is so optimistic and innocent. so refreshing!) so as we were leaving, i asked alex, "do you want to drive home?" he gets all excited and looks at travis, who says, "uhhh no. no way is he driving our brand new car."

don't worry, i got the keys for alex. and we gave him a pretty legit driving lesson. picture this: pitch black darkness, alex, who isn't sure which pedal does what, me in the front seat laughing,(i'm a terrible driver) and travis in the back seat, yelling to alex, "ok, that's a stop sign! wait, you have to signal before cutting off that driver! STOP HUGGING THE CURB! YOU ALMOST HIT THAT POLE!" guess we know who is going to be the push over parent when our kids are teenagers.... (that would be me.)

after making our obligatory saturday night walmart run, we went home and decided to spend the night playing cards, or more specifically, california speed. travis and i are both pretty hardcore competitors. and as i discovered, we're both hardcore sore losers, too. usually when we compete, it's in sports, travis's forte, so i always lose. we never compete in music or reading, where i'm strong. (how can you even compete in reading? ok, see who can read fastest and score the highest on this comprehension test! and... go!) (i would totally smoke ass in that game.)

so i'm a california speed demon. turns out travis, is not. at first he was keeping it cool, talking smack, "don't worry, i'm just getting warmed up." ten games later, his score was still 0, but travis wasn't the same cool cat he had been. his face was red, he had called me countless swear words, accusing me of cheating, and topped off the act by hurling his cards at me and storming out.

this behavior is coming from the man who, after me picking fights and sometimes raising my voice all year, never batted an eye. seriously, i had never seen any signs of temper, ever. (and that drove me insane, by the way. seriously, fight back!) i beat him at some meaningless card game and he turns into a beastmother. well, it probably doesn't help that i'm not much of a gracious winner. and by that i mean i love a good face rubbing more than almost anything. and for those of you who know me well, getting someone riled up is my version of liquid crack. highly addictive and so delicious.

love that man of mine!

basically, travis and i are two peas in a giant, provoking, competing, sore losing pod. if you would have told me in tenth grade biology class that someday i would be married to travis bodtcher and be this happy... ah life.

and this week he gets to be home for an entire two full days without having to work any of his 4 jobs. we're going to put up our christmas tree and definitely play some more speed. and tomorrow is my last test for the semester! stats = killed. one more semester to go!

also, travis and i were reminiscing about our love story the other day and the details are already getting slightly hazy for both of us. so i'm going to try post every week at least one story about how we ended up together. you know, to document. (brag.) so i hope you like epic love stories.

sending love your way. xo

picture compliments of melissa robbins.
we turned around and she surprised us by snapping our picture.
that's why we look so awkward and fake.
still adorable together though, amirite?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

how to interpret the universe's message to you on a day to day basis

yeah, so do you ever have those days where your life has a theme? like, your life is a tv show, maybe on abc, fox, or HEAVEN FORBID, showtime!? and in every episode there is a different theme? love, loss, heartache, possibly passing your intern tests and becoming a resident at Seattle Grace? (sorry carling, i'm writing this right after reading your blurb about the sexy kathheig on grey's anatomy. i seriously am in love with her and how she has a slight double chin, something i'm pretty insecure about in myself. but i seriously digress here...)

like i was trying to say, days have themes sometimes. like on tuesday, how the theme of my life was slightly sexual vibes from unusual subjects. so yesterday, wednesday, the theme of my life became babies. and it's carried on to this morning at the gym. i'm really hoping it goes away soon, because as you all know, i'm absolutely terrified of having a baby.

babies are a sensitive subject for most people. obviously, a baby is a wonderful, beautiful, miracle. some people want them, some people don't want them. some people are having them around others who want them and it's painful. i can't begin to imagine how painful that has to be. some people, like me, are afraid of becoming mothers. worst part of being a newlywed for me: realizing that someday soon, there could be a chance i would accidentally get pregnant. somehow, this just didn't really hit until i was engaged and then i started freaking out and researching success rates for birth controls. having sex was pretty scary, for the obvious reasons a virgin with a teensy vagina would be scared, but also because now there was this big chance, well 1% chance, that a living being would take up residence in my uterus and demand a portion of my body, mind, time, life, and identity. which absolutely is horrifying for me to consider.

(for anyone who is pregnant and reading this, please don't let my fears interrupt the truly awesome work you are doing. seriously, i don't really respect anyone more than you.)

also, i am not, and have never been, a baby hater. i love kids. i'm actually pretty great with kids. they love me. i love them. me not being ready to birth one does not make me a heartless judas priest. we all have our fears, right?

ok. back to the theme of my day yesterday. i get to my child/adoles development class and the topic is: transitioning to parenthood.


we learned all about how marital satisfaction decreases, how 13% of couples separate before their babies are 18 months old, and all the stress placed on the new couple. how they have to face their differences that have never come up in their marriage. how actually, 90% of parents feel completely polarized from their partner after their first child is born. and ok, it's psychology, you can't take those studies and make them your bible or anything. but there has to be some truth behind all that work, right? (this is the part where, if you have had a baby, it would be great for you to tell me how it was for you.)

ok, so after hearing all this, things that i already freak out about pretty regularly, i went to my parents' house for dinner. travis is out of town for the week, working, so i have been hanging out with my mom. well, naturally we watched the latest episode of sister wives. because we like to marvel at the idea of sharing your husband with other women. funny thing, because most of the world associates mormons with polygamy, because our church practiced it briefly in its early years. i'm lds and i would consider myself pretty devoted. but i would not be down with sharing travis with another woman. well, unless it was that pretty girl who flirted with me the other day... just kidding.

well on this particular episode of sister wives, the newest wife gave birth. at home. in her bed. without drugs. my mom, who birthed all of us without the help of drugs, was impressed. i, on the other hand, was sweating, heart rate rising, almost crying of fear. not for the wife in the screen, but for me! i don't think i can do that! i don't know if i even want to do that!

then, this morning i went to my thursday kickbox class. one woman who goes just had a baby and i have been watching with interest how quickly she has lost the weight. i'm pretty chummy with the instructor and she knows i was recently married. so today, we are doing walking lunges and i was pretty tired. i wasn't using weights like the rest of the class, because it messes up my form and hurts my bad knees. she looked at my red face and asked, "are you doing ok?" i reassured her i was fine and then she gave me this knowing smile and said, "ooooohhhhhhh i get it. well be careful."

i'm pretty sure she thinks i'm pregnant.
for the rest of the class she kind of watched me and i wanted to yell, "NO! I'M NOT PREGNANT! I'M JUST REALLY TIRED! MY BOOBS ARE EXTRA BIG BECAUSE I'M ON MY PERIOD!"

i'm a huge freak, basically.

it's just really hard to wrap my head around the idea of having a baby. travis and i have been talking about when and if it will happen. i was thinking, maybe i'll be brave after i graduate and work for a bit. maybe like next fall or something. but then we are planning to go on a cruise next january and i don't want to be pregnant on a cruise. and when am i supposed to go to grad school? how am i supposed to fit all the things i want plus create life???

i cry about this sometimes. and yeah, i'm shallow. i don't want to mess up this body i've been sculpting for the past few years. i don't want to risk my acne coming back and dominating my life. i really like my life, just the way it is. sleeping in, afternoon lovin' and a nap, late nights with friends. a clean house. being able to come and go as i please.

but there is a small piece of me that wonders. could i do it? i think i would be a really great mom and travis was practically born to be dad.

ah, but breastfeeding. that freaks me out so much.

see, maybe i'm just not ready. maybe you moms out there could tell me about your experiences and your fears? and how it all turned out?

anyway, hoping the theme of my week changes soon, before these thoughts, plus finals finish me off for good. cheers!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

new lipstick, goths, hot lesbians, and older men

today i must have been putting off a different scent. or maybe it was the new shade of red lipstick i dug out of my old makeup samples from my days of selling cosmetics. or maybe it was my ponytail and non made up face. (see, the lipstick was supposed to compensate for my lack of grooming.) whatever the case, i had an interesting time on trax today.

oh great, another trax story. jeeze doesn't she have anything more interesting to write about?

so i'm sitting there, waiting for my train, freezing my face off, when a goth-esque man dressed in the customary black trench coat walks toward me and sits down. he catches my eye and smiles and i encourage my frozen face to smile back, because i try to smile at everyone. you know, to reignite their hope in humanity and all that. well, goth man takes this as a hint to come closer. he stands up and takes the seat directly to my right. oh great. i notice that his ponytail is longer than mine and that he appears to be younger than me. he also reeks of cigarette smoke.

"hello." he says, staring at me in a way that immediately makes me uncomfortable.
"hi." i say, and then look in the opposite direction.

(being married has made me slightly awkward when talking to guys who are interested in me. as you may know, i have a history of being a gigantic flirt, and since being married, i have tried to tame that.)

"my name is ___." he says. and yes, i forget his name promptly after he tells me.
"oh, i'm collette."
he holds out a hand and i automatically reach out to shake. instead of shaking my hand, he holds it up to his mouth and brushes his lips on the top of it, so softly and quickly i don't have time to react. once i get my senses together, i put my left hand, complete with wedding ring, on top of the hand he just kissed, hoping he'll get the hint. he doesn't.
"you're just so pretty, i had to come over here and meet you." he is apparently a gallant sort of gentleman. with this, he takes my hand again, kisses it, and says he has to go meet his friend.
"nice to meet you." he says and is gone. i'm still frozen in shock and yes, a bit flattered.

then the train pulls up and i get on, sitting in the back. hoping that my share of crazy has come and gone in the form of a chivalrous goth man.

no such luck.

at the next stop, a beautiful woman boards and walks toward me. she smiles and again, i smile back. gotta stop doing that.

she takes the seat directly across from me, and again, i see that look. the look of oh hey baby, i'm checkin out what you got goin' on. i've seen this look many times before, but not often does it come from another female. she keeps smiling as she says, "how are you today?" although what she is saying is quite ordinary for one stranger to say to another, her tone of voice is suggesting a bit more. i'm still not done being flattered from goth man, and am quite shocked to find this gorgeous girl flirting with me. i also don't really know how to take it, because, although i appreciate the female form, i'm not really batting for that team. i smile at her and we chat for a minute but then i return to my book.

ok, that was weird, but now, definitely, the strangeness of today is over, i think to myself.

the rest of the train ride is silent. i get to school and walk to the computer lab to print my assignment. so far, so good. i make it all the way to the printing station before it strikes again. in this case, it is an older man, gotta be in his 60s. he is at the printer next to me. leans over, almost in my face, and says, "well hello there."

ok. real original, that line. heard it already, pal.
this "sweet" old guy proceeds to shamelessly flirt with me all the way out of the computer lab, complete with an invitation to help him support a candidate for governor. (apparently he's pretty involved.)

don't worry, he was the last person to make a pass at me for the day. but good grief, i didn't even do my hair today. it had to be the lipstick.

also, today's experience was far more enjoyable than a few weeks ago, when a crackhead power couple chose to sit across from me and tweak out. both of them were missing all their teeth and the woman had forgotten to wear shoes, and kept tapping me with her socked foot, then loudly apologizing. she spent the entire 45 minutes licking her face. getting hit on by a beautiful woman was easily a nicer way to spend the ride. and i'll never forget the woman last year who told me all about her drug problem, having her child taken from her, and wanting to end her life. we had a good chat that day. then there's the infamous undercover doctor i had the honor of meeting last winter. so i can't complain. and really, what's nicer than having a little attention? we could all use a day like that.

the lipstick is from clinique, and it's called 'spiced apple.' try it out, and let me know how it goes.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


holidays make me nostalgic. since i was a kid i have loved looked back to last christmas, or the fourth of july 2 years ago, or the valentines when i was 9 and we went snowmobiling in island park.

last year was my first married thanksgiving. travis and i split up the family time, eating two big meals, one around lunch and the other for dinner. we went to the mall and window shopped for a while and played games later. it was a little strange and we both felt slightly upset that we had to share the time between our families, each preferring to spend thanksgiving the way we had always done, and not with inlaws, one of whom heartily harassed me about having a baby. i admit i wasn't really feeling all that thankful, feeling more that life was changing and i wasn't sure how much i wanted that change.

the year before that, in 2009, was an exciting day because it was the first time travis would meet my dad's side of the family. i had never taken a boy to thanksgiving dinner before, and i was anticipating showing off my new boyfriend. travis and i had been dating for about six months. he had started his daily "will you marry me" routine, but i obviously hadn't said yes yet. my cousins invited travis to join their thanksgiving day basketball game and he was nervous to meet everyone, but earned their respect after shooting several three pointers. i was still dieting and trying to lose weight at the time, so i remembering eating a small amount of food, but feeling so happy that i had lost 20 pounds and that my skin was clearing up.

after spending the day with my family, we headed to west jordan to see travis's side of the family. i was still getting to know everyone, but already felt very loved and included. toward the end of the night when everyone was leaving, travis's grandpa sat us down and told us he had something important to say. he told us he was worried about how close we were getting, and that we needed to get married, and soon. you know, before travis knocked me up. to say the least, i was mortified. here i was, talking to an old man about our dangerous lust. i wasn't even sure if travis was "the guy" and his grandfather was urging us to get married. ah, that was a thanksgiving to remember.

and of course, this wouldn't be a nostalgic post without mentioning hawaii. three years ago, in 2008, i woke up on thanksgiving day and threw on my bikini. a boy who i thought was "the boy" had flown in to spend the holiday with me and we all headed to the beach. it was so strange not to have snow for thanksgiving, but honestly, i wasn't too chuffed about it. one of my roommates had "bought" a big screen tv (planning to return it after the weekend...tsk tsk...) so we could play video games and watch movies. a polynesian family cooked our turkey in the ground for us and we all pitched in for the side dishes, mashed potatoes, jello, rolls, some kind of vegetable i'm sure... and fruit. oh and chocolate haupia pie. the BEST pie in the world, from Ted's Bakery on north shore. drooling now just thinking about it.
pretty sure i packed on the final ten pounds over thanksgiving weekend that year, eating pie for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, rounding off at a whopping 150 pounds for my 5'4 frame.
worth it, almost.

but what a great holiday that was. ting shen taking endless photos of us, running around the yard with bonnie, playing apples to apples, eating erika's tye dyed rolls, playing rockband with roxanne miller, and getting to know alyssa better.

ah memories. i don't really like remembering the thanksgiving of 2007, because yet another boy who i thought was "the boy" (gosh, i dated a lot of boys back then) had just left on his mission and i was dreadfully sad. like listen to a voicemail he'd left me over and over and over and over and cry myself to sleep every night, hound the mailman for letters, refuse to go out on weekends, write 10 page letters a day, sad. but we don't have to go there.

as for this year's thanksgiving, travis is at the fire station, so i'll be heading over there tomorrow at 2pm. i'm excited to get to know the guys and their wives a little better. plus i get to spend the whole day with travis while he's getting paid to work.

life really is flying by. i finally feel like i'm at a place where, while i can fondly remember the past, i'm really enjoying the present.

i'm so thankful this year! i'm so thankful for travis and that he is mine and i am his. i am so thankful for how hard he works and how much he does for me. the other night, there was a huge mess of dishes, mostly mine. we don't have a dishwasher, so doing dishes is a horrible chore. i was dreading doing them, and told myself i'd do them after my homework was done. travis sneakily did all the dishes while i was doing stats. i'm so thankful to be married to a man who shows me he cares through these small acts of kindness.

i'm thankful for my family, for my strong parents who have always been an example of hard work and how to enjoy life. i'm grateful to have three younger brothers who teach me things and are such a joy to be around. i'm thankful that travis has a secure job and that we have a home. i'm thankful to live in a country that allows me religious freedom, among countless other things. i'm thankful for travis's family who have come to feel like my own family and all they do for us. i'm thankful for rich friendships in my life and for the adventures i have had with them. i'm so thankful for my savior Jesus Christ and that he atoned for my sins. i'm so thankful for a Heavenly Father who continues to bless me, even when i doubt Him or am ungrateful. i'm just so grateful and humbled to have this life to grow and learn and feel joy.

hope all of your thanksgivings are full of warmth, food, and good company. thank you for all you do for me! Link

Friday, November 4, 2011

i am a successful person.

i'm a successful person.
i almost always get what i want and work for.
(i am also usually pretty reasonable about what i want.)

i like to believe that if you work hard enough for something, you will eventually have it.

obviously, there are many things you can't have right when you want them.
i waited 10 years to have clear skin, which was something most people with acne would kill for.
having to wait for what you want most is awful, something i'm sure we can all agree on.

but it kills me, kills me, to play this waiting game with our house.

we work our butts off, remodeling, cleaning, remodeling more, yardworking. people stop by all the time and take our fliers. we have showings about once a week, which is a huge tease. then last week, we had someone call for a second showing, which is great news. they wanted to come back and see it again! maybe they liked it!

so we waited all week to hear back from their realtor, who just couldn't seem to find the time to call our realtor back. every day without an offer from them is like a balloon deflating more and more.

i am a successful person. so trying to sell our house and failing over and over is starting to destroy me.
and yes, i have heard people say not to take it personally. that you just have to wait it out, someone will come along and it will be the right fit.
yeah, i know this is part of the deal of selling your house. and i'm sure i sound like a whiner, not an adult. (which i don't feel like either...)

my motto of working hard to get what you want doesn't fit right now and sometimes i hate growing up and realizing things like this.

you know?

you're only going to get this joke it you're a pinterest junkie who has also blog stalked provo mormon mommies.

so for the past couple of months, i have been just a teensy bit obsessed with pinterest. "no really," i would say to travis, "it's not a waste of time, because these are all crafts i plan to do."


well, two months later, i can finally say,
Linki actually created something i found on pinterest.
and i'm proud of it.

ok, so this exact cake wasn't on pinterest, but the idea for pressing the chocolate chips on the sides was what i found on pinterest.

it's a strawberry chocolate chip cake, with chocolate coconut frosting in the middle and then just homemade chocolate frosting everywhere else. and pearl sprinkles. my mom and i spent a nice sat afternoon putting this bad boy together.

and yes, i did all the little swirlies around the edges. (!)

happy 20th birthday liana bodtcher!

now to move on to more trendy projects: cake pops!

then i might just move to provo and have 8 mormon babies.

(sorry, but i have lived in utah almost my whole life and i am happily mormon, so i think it's only fair for me to poke fun at provo because i have had to endure their reputation and ruining of my home state for my entire life. minimal offense intended.)

Monday, October 31, 2011

a fairly decent hallow's eve

i usually don't like halloween. i have never been that person who gets dressed up and goes out. i'm not big on parties, even back when i was hot and single. it seemed like every year i ended up hanging out, playing guitar, eating candy, or whatever.

today was no different. i went running, cleaned, did homework, went to class, and had a pretty average day. travis is at work, so we weren't doing anything together.

yet, i still had a pretty decent day.
here are some reasons why:

1. a lot of guys dressed up as girls for halloween up at the university of utah. and i'm not talking just stuffing the bra. their costumes involved shaving of legs, high heeled boots, acrylic nails, eyeliner, corsets, and gorgeous wigs. the gay guy in my class today, i couldn't tell he was a man. his curves looked real. (and pretty nice, for that matter.) it was impressive.

2. seeing adults wearing masks, painting on bloody bruises, and sporting mad eye moody costumes.

3. listening to an old, toothless, black man singing, "ain't no sunshine when she's gone" on trax. he had a very nice voice.

3. this:
i have pretty high expectations for holidays. and it's because my mom has always done crazy things like this meatloaf hand she cooked for dinner. she had the table beautifully decorated and we drank ginger ale with fresh lime from her nice crystal glasses. she invited me over for the carnage and it even tasted great.

4. doing stats homework ALL NIGHT. why would that be part of a good day, you ask? because i almost started sobbing about 6 different times from frustration, but in the end i figured it out and got a good grade. this stats class is really teaching me how to stick to something difficult. every time i do homework, i consider dropping out of school. not just as a joke, but throwing away 5 years of work and money just so i don't have to do this one math class. and every time i finish the work and understand, i get a little more confidence. tackling weakness is so empowering!

5. visiting travis at work today. going to the fire station is always a good time. the guys he works with are so easy going and friendly, always playing jokes on each other. travis had a little teeny fire he got to put out today, so he was in a great mood. i do love that man. :)

6. i turned in my application to graduate next spring and everything is right on track. i can't believe i only have to register for classes one more time! (until i get that master's... eventually.)

another halloween come and gone. hope yours was > mine.

(yeah, i threw a tiny piece of math in there. it's not so scary after all.)

happy halloweener!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

homesick. well, more than usual homesick.

it's sunday night. the night all college students dread. you have to finally pull out those books and pull up your word documents and deal with everything you put off since thursday night. because tomorrow is monday and shit's due. 'n shit.

and i might be in a swearing mood tonight.

i just finished an assignment i should have been working on for the last month. don't worry, i did it all in one afternoon. now i have a stats quiz looming in my near future.

being a student when you're married is NOT a good time anymore.

being a student when you live in a dumpy house and have old couches that have who-knows-what embedded in their cushions, dirty kitchens, and crowded refrigerators. THAT'S where it's at. it's always a party, there are always people around to meet, to flirt with, and to distract you from your piles of homework. a roommate has always baked something gooey and warm, and there's always a pint of ben and jerry's in the freezer to help you out.

being a college student while being married = a freakishly clean house, (clean enough to have a showing at any moment) a gorgeous brand new fridge that you get all to yourself, but it's costing an arm and a leg and you don't have any food inside until wednesday when the husband gets paid. being married to a fireman = a LOT of alone time. and i gave up ben and jerry's a long time ago. it might be a lot easier to stop going to school and get a job to help pay for that freakishly clean house.

plus in the past seven days, travis worked a grand total of 112 hours.
96 of those hours at the fire station.
that's four days and nights of alone time for moi.
and travis and i saw each other for a whopping 45 hours in the past week.
including sleep.
that's like your average joe's normal workweek.
basically travis is my full time job.

so a lot of times it seems like the college party is over and gone.

don't get me wrong. I appreciate SO much that travis works hard to pay for our many expenses and my tuition. he is tired all the time so that i don't have to work while i'm in school. travis is basically the best.

just sometimes, or rather, most times, when i'm alone at night i remember what it's like to have a rip roaring social life and people around me all the time. i really miss living with girls, as strange as that is. i miss the constant party and giggling about inappropriate things. i miss those girls who got me through breakups, crappy dates, bad test scores, and getting a little fat. i miss my suu roommates who stashed tequila under the sink and went to the gym with me. i miss those hawaii girls and our bus rides, beach trips, and adventures.

i should have appreciated it more.

and i know if i'm not careful, i'm going to go through my entire life saying that about the past.

in a few years, when my quiet house is full of lively toddlers and babies, i'll probably look back at this time of solitude and peace with longing. it really seems to be the hardest thing for me, to just live in the place i am currently and enjoy it.

oh this life thing we do, it's harder than we think it will be sometimes.
but we always get through it.
so i'm going to go deal with the present, and do that stats homework.
and hey, living without roommates allows me to focus better and my gpa is pretty damn awesome. :)


Thursday, October 13, 2011

vegetarian sexcapades

it's autumn.

i'm in slight denial.

i keep believing it's going to be 95 degrees again and that i still have time to go to the pool and bake my skin to golden brown.

but the crispness of the air and the changing leaves are unavoidable. and it gets dark at 7 and the sun isn't up until 7:30 in the morning.

plus it does this!:

yes, i'm aware my roses need trimming and weeding. iris grove, 
our neighbor, reminds me all the time.

but on the other hand, we did go to a gorgeous fall-themed wedding this week at Sundance Resort. the leaves were all changing and the ceremony was held in a room with giant windows and mason jars with candles inside hanging from the rafters. the groom was a fireman travis works with, the one who was his mentor during the cadet program. their wedding was intricately planned and very fancy shmancy. i could barely pronounce what was served for dinner. (some kind of apple glaze over rack of pork.)

anyhow, it was great fun to see all the fireman in actual dress clothes, although they still acted like overgrown children for the most part. (something travis tells me is part of the job description and something i really love.) when it was time to eat, they seated all the fireman in the back of the room, naturally, and i didn't know most of the people at our table and we were easily the youngest. i picked up the dinner menu, noticing a vegetarian option. travis likes to tease our sister in law who is vegetarian, so i showed him the menu and said, loudly, "oh look travis, you can have your vegetarian dinner option!" and i may have taken a tone suggesting that vegetarians are ridiculous. (which isn't at all what i think, but i was trying to make travis laugh.)

travis's eyes got big and he flicked his gaze to the older couple sitting next to me.

little did i know, i had been seated next to the new battalion chief and his wife, who are, you guessed it, strict vegetarians.

and they had definitely heard my witty little comment.

fast forward to last night:

i recently found out that one of my good friends is pregnant! we stopped by their house to congratulate them and found that her inlaws had stopped by too.

in the midst of talking nausea and sex of the baby, her mother-in-law goodnaturedly joked that my friend had informed her the possible conception site of the baby, a place that could be considered inappropriate by some. i already knew about this, and figured everyone else in the room did, too. so i said the place out loud.

oh don't worry.

i'm sure her father-in-law really did want to know about their risky sexcapade.

after all, what is family for, if not to be extra close to one another.

turns out my foot in mouth syndrome hasn't healed up yet.

i think i'll just start hanging this picture in breast reduction clinics all over the salt lake valley.

happy fall time!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


here are some pictures from the past few weeks. charlie bear is growing at the speed of light! he us getting so big that when he accidentally runs into me, he knocks me off balance. he's a ton of work, but also pretty good company.

got meself a hair trim and some bangs. always nice to have a bit of change and freshen up the hairs.

my dear friend alyssa entered an essay writing contest at byu and she won! she invited me to be her guest of honor at the homecoming ceremonies where she read her essay. then there was a fancy shmancy luncheon with all the byu bigwigs, where she received a check for $1500! inspirational!

liana is such a great example to me of being truly committed to religion. we try to hit up the temple every friday afternoon. here we are standing in front of the jordan river temp.

after the women's conference a few weeks ago. i do enjoy being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

what a difference a year makes

remember last year? when our flowerbeds looked like this?
those horrible bushes? and crazy weeds? overgrown everything?

seriously, why were those weeds growing in the lawn?

things look a bit better this year. a fellow fireman hooked us
up with some sod for the random missing lawn parts.

my mom helped me plant starts and bulbs last fall and
i spent hours of my summer mornings weeding and pruning.
also, murray city gives away free mulch every friday afternoon,
which helps the beds look finished and keeps the weeds down.

these flower beds still have a long way to go, (hopefully someone else
will be taking care of them) but they were a great learning experience
and i'm pretty darn proud of myself.

Monday, September 26, 2011

must read

after writing that post last night, i realized i forgot something vital.
this book is the bible of all things skincare and makeup.
the skin care business makes billions of dollars
off of fancy packaging and advertisments.
don't be sucked in! do your research and know what
you're putting on your skin!

i used to sell lancome makeup at macy's.
i made a pretty decent commission.
after reading this book, i couldn't sell the skincare anymore.
because it's full of fragrance and oils that are bad
for skin and just mask the problems.
i would refer my customers to clinique or este lauder.

seriously, read the labels of your lotions and face washes.

it will help!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

being brave

about a month ago, i became myself again.
i used to pride myself on a my ability to say what was on my mind.
then i got married. and worried all the time. what did people think about me being married? (they didn't care.) what if i offended travis's family when my opinions were different, and they frequently are. was my dad proud of me? did my mom think i mooched off their food too much and that i should grow up and cook more?

i stopped being brave. i started keeping things bottled up inside instead of just saying them out loud. i assumed that people were thinking the worst of me all the time and became very defensive. i stopped defending my beliefs and myself.

surprise! i became very unhappy with myself.

for about 5 months, i even lost the ability to sing in my high range. (which has never happened except for once when my confidence was shaken for a week.) every time i tried to go past a D, my voice cracked. i thought i was going crazy. turns out my ability to sing is intimately tied to my confidence and self love.

well, after i spoke up to that woman on trax, something inside me just kind of, broke loose.

a family member harrassed me about never coming to events. instead of apologizing, i said what i thought.
i went to church today without wearing any makeup.
i said what i thought to that ex boyfriend who blames me for everything and writes ridiculous songs about me and then plays shows where everyone knows what he is talking about. (i promise to tell this story soon.)

and i am now posting my pre-accutane pictures for all the world (the 20 people who read this blog) to see. plus, if you suffer with acne, maybe these will help you figure out how to treat it.

before i started accutane, nov. 2009

also, my face was a bit more round 20 pounds ago.

if you've never had to deal with acne, this might seem silly to you. but waking up every morning to find giant red erruptions, is very depressing. i have had acne since i was in 6th grade. the boys in my class used to chase me around, yelling for me to pop the pimples i had on my chin. in 7th grade, a boy told me to get some clearasil. this harrassment doesn't go away as we get older.
i have washed my face every night since i was 12 years old without missing a single night.
i have tried every over-the-counter cream, miracle bursting facewash, useless topical prescription, chemical peels, proactive, $50 bucks a pop makeup counter-false-hope there is.
once, i even went to a very shady "second hand shop" in sugarhouse and bought pills that supposedly cleared up your skin.
the instructions for the pills were in chinese.
i still have no idea what i put in my body with those.
when i went away to college, the acne doubled. tripled. sharing a room with a gorgeous girl and her flawless skin didn't help my insecurity. i used to get up earlier than anyone else so i could apply the chockloads of foundation to hide my skin.
i used to sneak down the stairwells (most people used the elevators) to go tanning to burn the zits off. (that doesn't work, by the by.)
once, a group of people who lived in our appartment complex were going hiking. i was invited, but my skin was extra bad, so i said i was busy. my roommates cooked a big breakfast for the guys, and they were all in the kitchen having a great time. i had to pee, but didn't want to have to face anyone without makeup on. so i laid in my bed, clenching my parts so i wouldn't pee the bed. because i had to wait for them to leave before i could use the bathroom.
i have declined countless adventures i so wanted to do: hikes, dates, early morning sunrises, star parties, swimming, working out, running 5Ks, anything involving red-eye flights, and you get the idea.
when travis and i were first dating, he invited me to go play raquetball with him in the morning. i said maybe, and then when he called me to confirm our date, i ignored his 3 phone calls. because i didn't know how to say, "sorry, i have oozing pimples and huge pores, and i just don't feel comfortable letting you see them in all their red glory. i only value myself if i'm pretty, so how on earth could you ever love me?"
he wouldn't have understood then.
in fact, i used to only kiss him when it got dark, because i didn't want him to see my face after the makeup had been rubbed off. he honestly thought that i didn't want to see him while we kissed, because i didn't find him attractive.
i have a million of these stories. having acne is really hard. i knew i could never get serious with a guy until it was gone, because there was no way anyone was seeing me without make up on, which by the way, used to take me 45 minutes to apply.
then a miracle happened. i decided to finally just take the plunge and get on accutane, internet horror stories be damned! there is a lot of hype about accutane causing depression and much damage to internal organs, but it is just hype. i promise. i had never found a derm who actually listened to me, until i met mark pulver. i told him i was so tired of acne, and he suggested accutane.
it's intense. you have to take monthly pregnancy and blood tests. (because if you get pregnant on accutane, your babies will be born without ears.) your skin dries out until it cracks and bleeds. your ears scab. you scalp peels. you sunburn easily. you have to put aquaphor on your lips literally every 15 minutes, otherwise they chap and burn.
worth it.
plus the packaging is hilarious.
after the first month, my skin was already doing better. by month 3, all that was left were scars. by 5, it was gone.
it changed my whole life. i wouldn't have been brave enough to go to the gym and lose 30 pounds. i wouldn't have married travis. i wouldn't go to the pool, early morning classes, late nights with friends, etc. it even makes a simple thing like a haircut easier. (when you have makeup on, the hair sticks to your face. the water from the shampoo smears get the idea.) my entire life is easier. i am so grateful that i was able to take accutane. it's amazing to be able to look at yourself in the mirror and not worry about the lighting making your skin look worse. it's amazing to be able to not wear makeup and to go to the grocery store without being afraid of running into someone you used to know.
if you struggle with acne, don't be scared off by internet stories about accutane. i can tell you, it works.

also, it's really nice to be back to my old self. i never thought i would EVER show anyone these pictures. it's really empowering to just be honest, yeah?

:) if you have any questions regarding skin care or accutane, please email me:

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

pitchas and a few words

hanging out with my beautiful friend.
and my lazy eye.
but seriously, liana is mah rock!

watching my brother's kickball game with my puppy

sometimes travis does this with his hair after he showers.
it's amazing.

another one of travis in his handsome v-neck.

jeeze, another one of travis. how adorable is he in his fishing gear?

my daddy

rock climbing in american fork canyon. i'm getting braver.

started a new semester of school and found some high waisted pants.

my charlie d00d.

picked huckleberries in island park and then had wholewheat huckleberry pancakes. mmmm

been working on my guns

trimmed my baby's face hairs

livin' it up and getting dirty

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