Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Crafts

This year has been a very special Christmas because not only is it Daniel and my first Christmas together, but I've really strated to enjoy doing crafts. I got this idea for a Christmas Advent Calendar and just fell in love with it. I had someone do the vinyl lettering, I made the magnents myself and put it all together. It was so fun and Daniel and I have both enjoyed counting down the days 'til Christmas!
My sisters, mom, and I all got together and made some vinyl lettering boards. We did it as a family service project. We painted the boards and applied the vinyl lettering. The idea was that we would give these boards to people we thought needed a little extra love this Christmas season. It was such a fun project and they turned out so beautiful! It's fun to be with family!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

A Festivus for the Restivus!

This year was the second annual Christmas party at the Costelows. Daniel and I were thrilled to attend the family party! We had such a good time socializing, eating, singing, laughing at Santa Claus, and taking tons of pictures. It's interesting how much more important these events become and how much more enjoyable they are when you're married. I can only imagine the added joy children will bring to parties like these. All the cousins love each other and play so well with one another. It was so wonderful to watch them run around and create memories!
Here are some of the pictures I took from the party. Bridget, my sister who lives in Colorado, was able to fly in for the party with her son Ethan. It was SUCH a nice addition to the party! It's so wonderful to be together as sisters and family. It was nice to have Nana there also. She just had a ball when we sang Christmas songs. Erica snapped the BEST picture of her singing! It's the happiest we've seen Nana in a long time! I'm glad she can have this memory... Even if she doesn't remember it, it's still there inside her, and one day she'll be able to retrieve it!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Our First Christmas Tree

I have to start this blog with a little disclaimer. I'm really upset about this! I have envisioned this day for a long time and I was thinking of sleigh rides, hot chocolate, and jingle bells. It's our first Christmas together, after all. I wanted it to be perfect. So, we head out of the house. Monica: stomach ache, nausea, general malaise. Common to Monica right now... And NO, she's not pregnant! So, off we head to Helvetia Christmas Tree Farm, with coupon in tow for free hot apple cider! Mmmm, I can smell it now! Alas, we see the sign for the farm... followed by a CLOSED sign! What the? How does a tree farm run out of trees in the beginning of December? Oh well, let's try to find another. Just around the corner, to our surprise, another farm! Well, this was nothing like the other farm. It was a field of trees, with the man running it working out of a van... And it wasn't even down by the river! No cider. No sleigh rides. No jingle bells. Grrr... Monica: Not happy. Annoyed. We go on our sojourn to find the perfect tree. About a mile away from the car: where's the camera? In the car. Perfect! No pictures of our perfect tree before it was cut down. No pictures of Dan cutting it down! Could it get any worse? Then, we find this beautiful tree! It's full. It's lush. It's everything we want it to be... but it's very close together with four other trees. There was really only one place to cut this tree down. And as we look at the ground, we see a huge pile of poop! Some kid probably needed to poop and decided the perfect tree was the place to do it. Monica and Dan: moving on. We found our tree, and it is beautiful... but (frown) no pictures of Dan cutting it down!

So disclaimer said, here's our tree! Merry Christmas from Daniel and Monica Long! I put up the lights, and we both decorated the tree. It turned out looking really good, even though we were short supplies!
Putting the star on the tree

Daniel, so proud of his handy work
And it wouldn't be Dan if there weren't at least one funny picture or goofy moment! He really is quite funny. Makes me laugh... most of the time!
So, while it definitely didn't go as planned, it was still a memorable journey... Hey, that's kind of like our story! ;)

Happy Happy Birthday.... 3 Months Later

My birthday was September 26th and I realize it's a little late to be blogging about it. I've got out of the habit of blogging but it's time to do it again! So, about that birthday....

My birthday-day was particular hard this year. Not sure why, just was. Nonetheless, I went to the Relief Society General Broadcast with my mom and came home to a house decked out with all the corny party decorations known to man! My husband was so sweet to do this for me! It looked great! My cake... well that's another story. I don't recommend Costco cakes! GROSS. Way too much frosting! Barf... But cute, I might say.

This is part of the workings of my sweet husband. No detail was left out. He has such an eye for these things and this is when I really love his OCD because the details that most men overlook, Daniel will see.
We joke about the height contrast of Branden and Daniel. He makes Daniel look like the biggest shrimp!!!

My dad taking some picture of us. Unfortunately, my dad is probably the worst photographer known to man. While you might think I'm being rude, believe me, he knows it! Daniel was dipping me... But the picture looks like a throwdown!

A little better. What a fantastic husband I have! I love him.

And fantastic parents too I might add. They're so good to me and I love them so much. I'm so glad I could share my birthday with the ones who brought me into this world!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Crater Lake Adventures!

My sister and her family go to Crater Lake every year and Daniel and I decided to join them this year. ( I really don't know why my font is underlined, but I seem not to be able to change this... oh well). We had such a blast. We loved the weather, the lake, the fishing, the cliff jumping, the campsite, the food, the fear of bear attacks, and the company! We had so much fun, Dan cannot wait to go back!

We hiked about a quarter mile along these rocks to a prime fishing spot. We spent the entire day fishing, catching crawdads, swimming, and... hanging out. It was such a blast.

My super hot husband fishing!

If you look carefully Dan is to the right of the tree. He scaled down that face where the tree is and back up to the edge of the cliff. He didn't end up jumping off he cliff because he couldn't gauge how deep the water was. I've heard at least twice as I'm dozing off to sleep him say, "Man, I should've just jumped." He's so funny... and it's kind of adorable.

Best campsite!

The still blue water. You can see the rocks through the water. That's how clear the water is. Crystal clear!

My adorable and very sweet sister Stephanie!


Phantom ship lookout. The hike we took alone. There were literally no other hikers, which was scary because it was kind of an open area and I was so afraid I was going to see a bear! We even started to talk about what we'd do if we saw a bear.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

On our way to our honeymoon...

So, my husband cracks me up. He is so funny. I cannot remember what he was doing but he was trying to commentate something. Too bad I'm a dork, but he's legitimately funny.

This second video is on our honeymoon. We went to the High Desert Museum and while we were there, this weasel or feret or whatever it was, was trying to attack us through the glass. It was really funny, but sad at the same time.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Life is Peachy

Stephanie, Isaiah and I went to Jossy Farms to pick peaches last week. It was the perfect day to pick peaches and they were perfectly ripe. It was my first time picking peaches and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
Isaiah and I flashing some signs before our picking adventures began.

Action shot. (No, it was not posed... [Ok, maybe it was]).

The kid is stinkin' adorable and really loved his peaches. But he started to get preoccupied with the dozens of bees and abandoned his dutiful role as peach picker.

My cute sister with her peaches. Isn't she a little twit!? (I mean that in the sweetest way)

I ended up picking 51 pounds of peaches and was able to can 31 quarts of peaches, two peach cobblers, and two freezer bags of sliced peaches for yummy peach jam!!!

When it comes to my peaches, I get serious!

The joys of our labors!

Some shots from around the farm. It really was a beautiful place!

Friday, August 28, 2009

On a More Serious Note: The Key to Happiness

I was reading today in the Ensign a talk given by President Uchtdorf in General Conference called “Happiness, Your Heritage” and was immediately inspired that I needed to read this talk. He states the greatest happiness we might ever have is the Happiness of our Heavenly Father. We cannot know exactly what our Fathers’ happiness is because His ways are greater than ours. However, His work and His glory is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. He then states that He is able to accomplish these two goals because He is a God of creation and compassion. So it then follows that we, as His children, might experience that kind of happiness as we create and as we are compassionate.
There is a patient in our intensive care unit that mystifies us all. In morning rounds yesterday, I joked with the doctors that we needed to call HouseMD to figure it out. No one knows what is wrong with this lady. She has been intubated (on a breathing machine) for almost two weeks now and her pneumonia has not improved. No one knows what kind of pneumonia she has, as it is not responding to our treatment. The doctors seem grim about her outcome and she will need to get a tracheotomy. Despite being intubated, this lady is almost completely awake. We usually sedate our patients who are intubated, but for her, we have not. When I came to work yesterday, she was very anxious and depressed. She was tapping on her bedrails, bouncing her legs up and down in such a way as to express anxiety. My first reaction, as many of us nurses in intensive care, is to sedate. But before I increased her propofol drip or her fentanyl, something stopped me. I started to think of all those nursing interventions I could do without medicine that might help the situation. Working in intensive care, I am often so busy with trying to stabilize that often we forget to care for the spirit of the person. I leaned over and asked if she’d like to listen to some music. She nodded yes. I then proceeded to list different genres of music, as she could not speak. When I got to classical, she nodded yes. I then went and got a few CD’s from our music collection that she might like. We started with Andrea Bocelli and she instantly calmed. I then noticed how awful her skin looked, as she is on a steroid that makes skin quite fragile. Because she was my only patient at the time, I had extra time to give her some TLC. I applied lotion to her skin and gave her a massage and talked to her. As I did this, I noticed on my monitor, her heart rate slow, her breathing slow, her blood pressure lower and the anxiety decrease. And then something interesting happened, as I did these things for her, I felt a sense of happiness come over me.
I have always felt I was a creative person. When I was younger, I loved to paint, even if I never had lessons nor was any good. It brought me happiness to create something individual to me. I also have always loved to cook. As I create meals, I feel a sense of joy because I am using my creativity for good. Cooking for others is a passion of mine. I had a friend who told me that they knew I loved them because I show my love in my cooking. Recently I have had a greater desire to learn photography. Some love to take pictures of nature, architecture and what have you, but I love humanity. I want to photograph God’s greatest creation: His children. I had this thought a few years ago about what my vision is for myself. I have been educated as a nurse and have that skill available to me to teach others. Ever since I was a young girl, I had a strong desire to care for the sick of the World. International work excited me and filled me with a sense of adventure and accomplishment. In fact, thinking of nursing in Africa got me through nursing school when I thought I couldn’t do it anymore. As I have grown in my profession, my vision for my international endeavors has shifted from caring to teaching. As the scriptures teach, give a man a fish, he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish, he eats for life. (In fact, I don't know if that's scripture or just some old adage but, oh well). This applies to international nursing. My greatest goal would be to travel the world and teach nurses in Africa how to care for Africans. If I ever accomplish this great goal of mine, I think I will feel a happiness I’ve never felt before in my life. And this just in: I'm taking a sewing class! I found a sewing class through PCC and am very excited to learn another means to be self-sufficient. I love being self-sufficient!!!
So often in life we look towards things that won't make us happy. Doing things. What I mean by that are those things that are fun but not truly lasting in their happiness. Yes, it's fun run marathons and compete or go mountain biking, but I'm not a believer that those things will sustain happiness. As President Uchtdorf so eloquently proclaims, happiness comes through creation and compassion.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Learning New Things

Canning Adventures!!!
My fantastically crafty friend Beth has long been a wonderful canner. I mentioned to her my desire to learn how to can and she offered to be my teacher. We each canned fifteen pounds of beans. At first I was really scared and intimidated by the pressure canner. But Beth needed to leave to pick up some dry cleaning and left me to man the two pressure canners, within minutes I felt as comfortable as can be and had a great time! She was such a good teacher and we had so much fun! Since the beans, I've also canned tuna. This weekend I'm canning pears and peaches. I am more excited for the peaches than anything! I really like canning. It's interesting how the things that your mom did when you were younger that used to annoy you (like canning, sewing, clipping coupons, etc) now become the things that excite you when you're older!

Here's proof that we did two pressure canners at a time. Even with two canners going, we were canning over six hours!!! Our townhouse got to about 85 degrees inside. We were sweaty!
The fruits of our labors! This is my portion of the beans. I think they're beautiful!