I am going to apologize in advance for the somewhat gruesome nature of this post.  If you're squeamish you might want to back out now.  Just sayin'.
But first, here is our lovely tree in all of its crooked-starred glory.  This tree is quite large and took me several trips to the store to get it properly lit.  I was almost ready to take down the tree and pull out our tiny pre-lit tree from last year.  But I persevered and I think it was kind of worth it.

This year we went to Las Cruces for a few days before Christmas.  Sam had to work on Christmas day, so our festivities were moved to Christmas Eve.  All was fine and dandy until Christmas Eve.  Sam had been feeling kinda crummy since he decided to get a cold a few days before, and then decided to have a stomach ache.  We went to Sam's Aunt Linda's house for dinner and Sam kept getting worse.  I knew it was getting serious when he wouldn't even eat the tamales that he has been craving since last Christmas.  So everyone else ate, Sam puked, and we took that as our cue to head home.  On the 3.5 hour drive home he tossed his cookies twice more - once while driving 75 mph down the road, which resulted in a mess on the side of my car.  Needless to say, it would've been nice for him to give me some kind of warning.  After the 2nd incident (for which I was thankfully able to pull over) it was smooth sailing and we got home with no more problems.  We decided to open gifts that night instead of waiting until Sam got home Sunday night.  All was merry and bright.
Okay, gruesome part's over.
Christmas morning I headed to church bright and early, and got ready to read part of the Christmas story out of the bible for the Primary's Christmas program.  I went up when it was my turn, got almost to the podium, and stopped dead in my tracks.  The guy who was supposed to go after me took my part! So I crouched there like an idiot and figured out what his part was so I could read it instead.  After part stealing man sat got done, I got out of my crouch, walked over to where the first counselor in the primary presidency was standing and waited for the primary to sing their other song.  I headed over to the podium again and turned back around because another song had started.  Finally, I read my impromptu part at the right time, and went back to my seat quite embarrassed.
After church I went to Mesa for brunch with my mom's side of the family.  Nothing tragic happened here, but it was pretty fun to sit around and laugh about certain (crazy) family members who shall remain nameless for their protection.
Besides all the puking and part-stealing, we had a pretty swell Christmas, and hope you did too! Bring on 2012!



For those of you who doubted my unfortunate inheritance...
Behold: my grey hair.
What did I do to deserve this?



We are wedding slackers.  We've been invited to quite a few receptions since we've been married, and we've gone to two.  In August, Natalie and Cheston got married, and we went to the Gila Valley temple for that.  It was lovely.  Nats and Cheston even had the same sealer as we did!  Theirs was the first wedding we had been to since we've been married, and it was nice to be reminded of just how special a temple marriage is.   I might have cried a little during the ceremony.  I just love the Thatchers!

This is one of only two pictures I got of Nats and Chestno.  The other one has an arm in it.  I am a really good photographer.
I love these girls!  
 This was the first time Sam and Cheston met.  I guess they hit it off because Sam didn't want to stand by me for this picture.

 Just last weekend, Wyatt and Hannah got married.  Hannah and Wyatt have been dating since before Sam and I started dating, and they finally made her officially part of the family.  They had the ceremony at Western Skies Golf Course in Gilbert.  It was also beautiful and lovely, even though T walked around the chairs instead of down the aisle and Sam's dad had his tie over his vest.  And yes, I cried a little at this wedding too.  I don't know what has happened to me.

 The whole wedding party.

During the reception, Hannah's dad got his clubs out and bought a few buckets of balls so guests could go out and hit some balls.  I even hit one after one or two swings.  And that is a big accomplishment for me.  My body has been trained to swing softball bats, not golf clubs, so it's definitely a challenge. But it was a lot of fun.  If you know anyone getting married on a golf course you should probably suggest providing clubs and balls, because it was a big hit with the guests.

And here is me and my tuxedo wearin' husband.  I wish I could dress him up in a tux every day.  He looked so good! When we got back to my parents' condo, they offered to take some pictures.  We were tired and our feet hurt, but we were good sports...
 But good sportsmanship only lasted for the first picture.
 Then I decided to try and make the most awkward face I could.  Success.

And of course Zoey had to be in a picture too.  Yes, we are those people who take pictures with their dog.  




In husband news:
Sam took the Border Patrol entry test a couple weeks ago, and he passed! We are both really excited.  We don't know when he'll start, but there are a lot of BP agents in our ward, and they guesstimate that it will be about a year and a half.  Which is fine by me, because his training will be at least 3 months in New Mexico.  Not looking forward to being alone for 3 months.

In Austin news:
Today he was extubated (Got the breathing tube removed)!  Brad and Tiff say that he is doing well, and off of the asthma medicine that was given via IV.  I'm SO happy he's doing better.  I haven't cried in about 2 days, and I think that is the longest I've gone since before he was admitted to the hospital on Oct. 15!  Thank you so much to everyone who has prayed for Austin and shown him support.  My sister Kourtney is ordering bracelets and selling them for $3 to help Austin's family with all of the expenses.  They are grey, debossed, and say "Fight like Ausitin" on one side and "Asthma Awareness" on the other.  If you want to order some, let her know.  Or, if you can't get a hold of her, just let me know how many you want in a comment and I'll pass along your order and get back to you with more info.



I love this kid.  
To read about what happened, go HERE.
To read about the benefit dinner/auction for Austin, go HERE.  The dinner has been moved to Nov. 19th, but you get the idea.
Keep getting better Austin!  One more week till basketball season, so hurry! (But take your time if you need to - I don't mean to rush you or anything.)


Some people just can't make up their minds

Yesterday I got this e-mail:

Greetings Dental Hygiene Student:

An opportunity has come available to move your start date forward with the Dental Hygiene Education Program to Fall 2013.  Moving students up on the list is based on the applicant’s qualifying date. If you are interested in beginning the program Fall 2013, please reply to this email byOctober 21, 2011, before 5:00PM Mountain Time.  Should you not respond to this e-mail by the deadline date above, you will remain on the list at your original start date.

If you no longer wish to remain on the Dental Hygiene Education Program waiting list, please respond to this email indicating that you formally decline your position with the Dental Hygiene Education Program.  Please note, declination will require reapplication to the program.

Additionally, please be sure to update your contact information.

So of course I jumped right on that and emailed them back saying "HECK YES!" (except in a slightly more eloquent way.  Gotta keep up good impressions, ya know?) and now I get to start school 3 years earlier!

For those of you keeping track (which is probably only me), this is how the waiting list has changed since April: 
  • Wait list for the program is 3 years
  • Wait list for the program is 1 year
  • Get accepted to the program and find out the waiting list is actually 5 years.
  • Surprise! 2 years!
So the question I pose is this:  Can Pima just not make up their minds?  
Not that I'm complaining or anything...



There are some things about me that are distinctly either Dodd or Bushman.  I've got the Bushman gap between my front two teeth, just like my dad and his dad.  I've got what my mom refers to as "short little Dodd legs."  Those things I am fine with.  But one thing I am not so fine with is a new discovery.
I'm getting grey hair.  I've found a few grey strands, and of course they are right in front.  The Dodds are pretty good at going prematurely grey, and apparently I am just Dodd enough to start going grey now.  At 21.  It should be illegal.  I've been so nice to my hair! I've never dyed it and THIS is how it thanks me?!
Not cool.
Now if you'll excuse me, I've got some plucking to do.


Get Comfy

Sometimes when I get comfy, Zoey decides to get comfy, too.
And of course comfy just happens to be right on top of me.




Last week I bought a book. It was a wonderful book which I finished in two days (because I was holding back trying to make it last a little bit longer. Coulda finished it in one day, but I have a tiny bit of self control).  And it was 25% off at Fry's.

Please read it. You'll be glad you did.  And then we can impatiently wait for the sequels together!

In other reading news, I'm trying to like Twilight again.  The movies absolutely RUINED the books for me. Stupid Kristin Stewart.
Speaking of Twilight... Can we please all tell everyone in the world to stop comparing it to Harry Potter? It drives me crazy! HP is an action/adventure/wizard/fantasy story. Twilight is a romance/vampire/werewolf/fantasy.  So when people compare Hermione's reaction to Ron leaving to Bella's reaction to Edward leaving, I want to rip my hair out.  It would be like comparing Pride & Prejudice to War of the Worlds.  Just doesn't make sense.  Ok, rant over.

But seriously. Make it stop.



I don't have any motivation to blog.  So sorry.  A lot of stuff has happened, and I swear one day I will post pictures of the house. But until then, I have a question for all of you....
Am I the only one who thinks this car should be driven by Mario?
I may be on to something... I'm calling Nissan to pitch them my advertising idea.



Locked Out

Last week I got locked out of the house.  It was not cool.
Here's what happened.
I decided to go get the mail.  I was feeling lazy, so I decided to go out of the front door and just lock it on my way out instead of going out the garage and having to wait on the garage door to open then put in the code to close it again.  I know.  Super lazy.  So I grabbed Zoey and the mail key and we headed out the front door.  When we got back, I discovered the door going from the garage to the house was locked.  Ugh.  I went around back and checked the back door.  Also locked.  Then I tried to pop a screen out of the dining room window.  No luck.  I headed over to the neighbors' house and asked to use their phone because of course I left mine inside the locked house.  I tried calling Sam to see if I could wake him up (he was on night shift) but no such luck because he sleeps like he's in a coma.  So we got the number to a locksmith, but when I called she said her husband was usually the one who did all the unlocking and he was out on a call right then.  So she gave me his cell number, I called, and he did not answer.  So I called the lady back and she said she'd come out and there wouldn't be a charge if she couldn't unlock the door.  (That gave me a lot of hope...) My neighbors were neighborly enough to let me wait at their house, and I got to know them a little bit.  Nice folks, and their little girl loved Zoey.  About half an hour later the locksmith's wife was at my house.  She tried the front door first, and couldn't get it.  So we went into the garage to see if she could unlock that door.  By this time, Zoey was really sick of being on her leash and just wanted to get down and run around.  I let her down and walked a little way away so she wouldn't get into the lady's tools.  That's when I looked in Sam's car.  There, hanging from the ignition, were his keys.  Go figure!  I didn't say anything for a minute because I felt stupid for not looking there before.  Then I realized I should be happy about this and told the locksmith that my husband left the keys in his car.  I think she was a bit relieved too because she was not having any luck with the doors.
When Sam woke up I told him about what happened.  He laughed.  Glad to see my misfortune entertains him.


I'm Baaaack!

After many requests, I've rejoined the blogging world.  Our house isn't quite decorated or ready for its internet debut yet, so there won't really be any pictures of it, but if you want all the details again you can head back on over to this post to read about our lovely home.
So here's a bit of what life has been like lately.  We lived without a fridge or washer and dryer for 3 days and without an oven/stove for a week.  We ate a lot of subway and rice.
We have Zoey-proofed the back yard, only to find out today that she can still get out if she really puts her mind to it.  Chicken wire is no match for her determination to be with us while we're in the front washing our cars and she's in the back yard.  She usually loves it back there though, especially because she can dig in the mud and become more brown than she is white.  
I have been a pansy for exactly a week now due to majorly bad back pain.  It's very very slowly getting better... but not much.  It's the pits.
We've discovered the master bathroom is not designed for privacy.  The shower doors are glass - not the bubbly kind where you can just see blurry stuff on the other side, but the kind that you can definitely see right through with no problem - and the little toilet room has no door.  
Our new ward is awesome (even thought it's at 7:30 a.m.).  Our first Sunday there we got invited to dinner with a family who lives just around the corner and down the street.  Big difference from the last ward, who asked us if we were new after about 6 months of living there.

I found a square M&M.  I think that is worth sharing.
We got the keys to our house (about 4 days after we had planned) and this is the only picture I got of the 
occasion.  I went alone so Sam could start packin up the U-Haul and I didn't think about pictures until I was at a stop light on my way home.  So you get two awkward hand photos in one post.  It must be a record of some sort.
On our way to the house that night, I had most of our bedding in my back seat and Zoey in the front seat.  I had to move a throw pillow up to the front seat because I couldn't see over it, and Zoey thought it was for her.  She's silly.
I got new glasses.  And wore my hair in braided pig-tails.  Notice the empty apartment in the background - It was a happy day!  It was also cleaning day, which is never very happy.  
We got done moving almost everything into the house around 9 p.m. on the 26th and we stayed one last night in the apartment.  Well we decided to take a shower because we were kinda disgusting and sweaty from moving.  We had a shower liner, but no rings to hang it on the rod. So we draped it over the rod.  It fell down about halfway through the shower.  Then we had to dry off with paper towels because we had already moved all of our towels.  Moral of the story:  Either stay in the new house or stay stinky.  Showering in an apartment that you've moved out of is not easy.
 Speaking of not having what you need, this is our bedroom window right now.  It's HUGE, and our curtains that were wide enough for the window in our apartment are just not cuttin it for the window in our room.  Plus, everything you see here is held up by thumb tacks.  We are super classy.
 Zoey's birthday was on August 5th.  She was way more excited for that bone than the picture lets on.  Don't judge me for getting my dog a birthday present. 
Wyatt, Hannah and T came for the weekend to check out the house, and we actually had room for everyone!    Ahhh, the joys of having more than one bedroom!  We also played Apples to Apples and watched Rise of the Planet of the Apes.  The movie, to me, was just "meh."  It was ok, but I wouldn't go see it again. But I think I may be part of the minority with my opinion, because there were people in the theater that were really excited about it and clapped during a couple parts... Which I found a bit excessive for a movie about apes causing chaos in San Francisco, but whatevs.

We still have a few things to do, but we are making progress!  We now have ceiling fans in the den and our bedroom, which is awesome.  My parents are coming on Sunday to drop off some couches, a treadmill, a bunch of my stuff, and (if it doesn't rain) my piano!  We are loving life and owning a home of our own.  Now come visit why don't ya?!




Who are these people and why do they look so happy to be packing?! I think they are pretending, because let's face it - packing sucks!  If they're not pretending and they really do love packing and moving, they are more than welcome to come finish packing up here and then move all our crap for us.  Then maybe they'll be awesome enough to stay and UNpack everything.
These people just became my imaginary best friends.
Maybe if I wish hard enough they'll come and save me from my packing woes.



I've been teaching primary since September. Honestly, I've had a pretty hard time with this calling because it kind of prevented me from knowing a lot of people in my ward.  I'm not the most outgoing person, so in the year that we've been in our ward, I have hardly been able to get to know anyone.  I started out with the sunbeams (the group of kids who are 3 and 4), and when the beginning of the year rolled around, I just stayed with the same little group of kids.  There were 4 kids in the class to start out with, then about 3 weeks after I started teaching, one little boy moved away and there were just 3 little girls.  In May, one of the girls moved and I had 2 kids who would come: Sakura and Ana.  There were about 3 times when I went home early because I didn't have any kids show up.  Then about halfway through June, a new little boy, Gavin, moved into the ward, and about 3 weeks ago, we got a new little girl named Charlotte.
Class time is pretty routine.  We make links for a scripture-reading chain, say an opening prayer, I teach a lesson and hope that they understand some of it, say a closing prayer, then we color and have Scooby Doo fruit snacks.
Well, because we are moving, today was my last day teaching primary.  I was really excited this morning when Sam and I were getting ready for church.  Then, when the 1st counselor in the Primary Presidency announced to all of the primary that it was my last week, I got a little sad.  I'm pretty sure none of the kids (even my own class)and only one or two of the teachers knew who the heck the 1st counselor was talking about, but I have to admit, I was pretty sad that I was leaving my little class.
When the kids were coloring, I told them today was the last time I was going to be their teacher because I was moving.  They asked me where I was moving, and if I was moving because I got married.  They all said they would miss me, and I told them I would miss them too.  Gavin said he'd miss me to Heaven and back, and Charlotte said she'd miss me to infinity and beyond.  They asked who their new teacher would be.  Then Gavin said, "So no more Scooby snacks?"  I'm pretty sure this got them more upset than the fact that I was leaving.  Oh well, at least I did something that made them like me!



Leaving it behind

Sometimes I catch myself thinking of all the things I'm going to miss about where we live.  The list is as follows:

  • Close to pretty much everything (the mall, Taco Bell, Target, the path in the river, etc.)
  • The huge mirror in the bathroom that doubles as 3 medicine cabinets.
  • Cleaning doesn't take very long.
  • Carlos aka Zoey's favorite person besides Sam.  It's true, she loves Carlos more than she loves me.
And that's about it.
More often than sometimes, I catch myself thinking of all the things I won't miss about where we live:
  • Laundry closet (it will be nice to have a whole room just for laundry)
  • Close to a road, which equals people who are competing for loudest car or motorcycle in AZ driving by at all hours.
  • Dog poo.  Everywhere.  Sometimes Zoey tries to eat it because she is yucky.
  • Garbage.  Everywhere.  Sometimes Zoey tries to eat it because she is yucky.
  • The pool that is usually murky and closed.
  • Walking by sunbathers at the murky pool.  Awkward.
  • Not being able to ride my bike as often as I would like.
  • Every single person I walk by wanting to play with Zoey when it is obviously time for going potty, and not playing.  They just don't seem to understand.
  • Humongous roaches that come with the humidity after a rain.  One got inside somehow and was crawling around the ceiling in our room like it owned the place about a week ago.  I feared for my life.
  • Having to take the pup all the way to the grass to go potty.  I can't wait for a doggy door - it's at the top of our list of things to buy for the new house (equally ranked with a fridge, oven, washing machine and dryer).
  • Zero space for anything.
  • About 3 feet of counter space in the kitchen.  Not even an exaggeration.
  • Living on top of another person's home.
  • White walls everywhere. So boring.
  • Vertical blinds.
  • Only having one window and the sliding glass door to the balcony to let sunlight in.
  • The fact that the only way to the only bathroom is through our room.  Not visitor friendly.
  • Assigned parking.
  • Limited parking if husband is in the assigned space.
  • Tiny parking spaces.  The passenger side of my little car has some scratches from living here that I am not happy about at all.
  • Sharing a wall with neighbors.
I guess you could say I'm excited to move.



Current Obsessions

Grey's Anatomy
Pina Colada Eegees
Doing my hair like this
Teal & turquoise (this one is getting a little out of hand... I just bought a teal loofah. And I'm seriously contemplating/ begging Sam to let me paint the door of our house turquoise.)
The Daybook
Checking my email about 175947 times a day to see if there's any news on the house.
All things Harry Potter
Little Big Planet
Planning decorating the house
Procrastinating any sort of packing.
Making banana bread (4 loaves in 1 week)
Daydreaming about what life will be like in the new house
Worrying about buying every single appliance for the house



Auto Correct

This morning I had this conversation with Sam via text message
Me:  Yo
Sam:  What's up
Sam:  Wanna do me a favor and go get my keys that I locked in my car at Denny's and then meet me at 7:45 Ishmael tonight to hand them to me?
Sam:  Oh and Ishmael was supposed to be ish
Sam:  Smart phones are so awesome :)

Dang you, auto correct.


Viva Las Vegas

To celebrate one year of marriage, we headed off to Sin City.  The morning we left, Zoey could tell somethin was going on, and she might have acted out a bit.  And by acted out, I mean pulling most of the toilet paper from the roll and dragging it into our bedroom...
 And then tearing it up.  She must have known we'd be dumping her in a kennel for 5 days.  

We have a knack for finding the slowest restaurants in the world.  The slowest Jack in the Box is located in Benson.  The slowest Denny's is in Las Vegas.  We waited for our food for a long time, so I busted out the camera to pass the time.

 I think it's safe to say that Sam wasn't as upset about the wait as I was.  Note his happy (angelic?) expression versus my bored and pouty look.
 We stayed at the Luxor.  Our reservations were for the pyramid, but we got put in the tower.  I was kinda bummed at first, but I got over it.  This is looking out of our room's window and to the right, which accounts for the bad quality.
We went to see X-men while we were there.  Good flick.

Front of the Luxor

New York, New York

The Chandelier club.  Crappy quality because I forgot to take the camera off of night mode when we went inside.  Whoops.

Vegas Temple

I tried to take pictures of the temple while we were driving away. Failure.
After our session in the temple.

The whole time we were in Vegas we tried to avoid eating anywhere on the strip because we figured it was more expensive.  After we went to the temple, we decided we wanted some kind of Chinese food for dinner, and I spotted a restaurant with some some words in an Asian language and then some words saying BBQ Buffet.  It wasn't too far from our hotel so we went and changed out of our churchy clothes and headed back to the buffet.  Mistake.  This was not your average Chinese buffet.  All the food in the buffet was raw, and there were little grills on each of the tables.  We paid about $23 bucks a person (so staying away from the strip wasn't beneficial) and it was not good.  And there was a catch to the "all you can eat."
Unfortunately, Sam did not notice this HUGE sign (or any of the smaller versions when we walked in), so he kept going back to the buffet for more stuff to cook, and I kept getting more and more worried that we were gonna get slapped with a $20 fee because we weren't going to be able to eat it all.  Once I pointed out the sign to Sam, he got a little worried too.  We had a lot of food, and not much room in our tummies.  Plus, I was still grossin out about the whole fishes on the buffet, and wasn't too keen on eating anything else from that joint.  Luckily, our waitress brought our check and there was no charge. Phew!

We stopped by Hoover Dam on our way home and I took some pictures while Husband parked 10 miles (ok, maybe like 200 yards...) away to avoid paying for parking.  
It was pretty cool... Pretty similar to Glenn Canyon Dam at Lake Powell, but still pretty cool.

We had fun.  But we decided if you're not into drinking, clubbing, constantly walking through a cloud of cigarette smoke, free porn on the side of the road, or gambling (which we're not), Vegas is kind of overrated.  We were kinda bums the whole time, but it was nice to get away from the dog (sorry Zoey...) and just have some time to do nothing.  Here's a piece of advice:  Don't go on vacation when you're in the middle of buying a house.  You won't want to spend any money so you'll just be a bum. 

I have a video of the fountain show at the Bellagio... I just have to get it from the camera to the computer, which will take some extra effort.  Plus, I suppose it deserves its own post because it was pretty much pretty awesome and possibly my favorite part.