When I was maybe 4 or 5, my mom bought me a little red hardcover book with blank pages inside. I would tell my mom a story I had invented and she would write it in the book, leaving several pages blank for me to illustrate the story I had just made up. Here are two of those stories.

The Prettiest Unicorn

There once was a pretty unicorn. Her name was Emily. She liked to do lots of things. Her favorite thing that she liked to do was...
She liked to jump over this cave that was close by a house. She loved to do it so much. There was a lady who often came to watch the unicorn. (The purse-lookin' thing in the lady's hand is actually a stroller with a baby inside. And whoever knew it was possible to jump over a cave?)
But once she jumped so high that she died. The lady was so sad. (Well, that was a quick and effective way to wrap up the story).
She put the unicorn in a grave. She made the grave with sparkles to remember the unicorn's beautiful colors.

The Mean Old Girl
(possibly the greatest title of all time)

There once was a mean little girl. She was so mean that no one liked her. (I love this picture with the mean girl stomping through the door and her green hair sticking straight up.)
She was so mean that she would never clean up her room. So she would never clean up her clothes. (I like that the girl is depicted in her underwear, stepping on her clothes that she has so meanly not put away.)
Her mom had to make her bed. (How awesome is that hair?)
But soon she got nice that she had a best friend. The end. (Now that the mean girl is nice, her hair has turned from a nasty sticking-up green to long, soft, dark, locks. And the ballet move that she is doing with her right leg is incredible.)

One Year! (yes, one of those)

This is one of those blog posts that announces an anniversary, but I couldn’t resist, it was so fun to write! I loved looking through all of the pictures from when Adam and I were dating and our wedding, so this post is pretty much written for my own happiness, but if you aren’t tired of anniversary blog posts, you are totally welcome to read it (which is why I posted it). Today, Adam and I have been married for one wonderful, glorious, and incredible year!

Here is the door where I met Adam for the first time. It was kind of like a movie (Oh, how I LOVE real life moments that are just like movie moments). When he walked in and we were introduced, he couldn't seem to take his eyes off me, he just stared at me, which was kind of weird. But how cute is that? Apparently he decided right there and then that he needed to ask me out on a date.

We met right when I had resolved that I was not going to get in any serious relationships for the next several months until I left for my mission. And then Adam showed up and the next thing I knew I had somehow gotten caught up in a serious relationship. But I was still determined to go on that mission. Actually, the first time he asked me out I said “no,” for a lot of reasons, but not because I didn't like him. Luckily he was persistent and the second time he asked I said yes and I'm kind of glad I did!

This was when Adam held my hand for the first time and I realized that I wasn't doing too well on my goal to swear off boys until my mission, but maybe that was okay.

One of our first dates: scouching (nailing skis on the bottom of a couch and riding down a snowy hill-- so much more dangerous than it sounds)
The message Adam mysteriously left at my apartment to ask me out for Valentines Day.
And we went on fun dates

One week after I had my doctors and dentist appointments for my mission papers, Adam asked me to marry him and the mission plans got postponed to when Adam and I are an older couple. We got married in the Portland, Oregon temple, about eight months after we first set eyes on each other.

And we had our reception at a beautiful rose garden

And there was a live jazz band at my wedding, which was something I had always dreamed of
Look at these dashing men in their suits! I love the colors (which is probably why I picked them)
The glorious girls who introduced me to the incredible Adam Jones, plus a few more wonderful girls
And I married this beautiful, wonderful, incredible blue-eyed, blond-haired boy who is the love of my life, which is another dream come true!

I love you with my whole heart, Adam Jones!

These children that changed my life

My mom asked me this week if I think much about the 3 1/2 months when I lived in Romania, exactly two years ago this summer. I thought about it for a second and realized that I think about Romania and the orphan children I worked with not only very often, but every single day, they are continuously in my thoughts. Those children and what they taught me affects how I live my everyday life. I dream about those kids and constantly wonder about how they are doing and still cry over them when I think about what a rotten lot they were handed. Going to Romania opened my eyes, making me realize that there are some terribly sad things going on in this world.

Romania has many more orphans than many other countries do. Most of the orphans have parents who are still alive but they either don’t want to or can’t take care their children.

We worked with handicapped orphans, so they were in even a worse lot than the average orphan. Our job was to go and play with them. It may sound silly to have a task to go and play, but in order for those children to start developing somewhat like normal children they needed to have someone that would play with them. Playing teaches children vital skills so that they can function in the real world and the workers at the orphanage very rarely play with them. All of the kids I worked with couldn’t talk. We taught one of the little girls some sign language. She caught on quickly and I think she had fewer temper tantrums by the end of our being there because she could communicate with us and wasn’t so frustrated with trying to tell us what she wanted with her inability to talk. The BYU girl I worked with helped teach one of our other girls to climb the stairs, which was useful since these particular orphans lived on the third floor of an elevator-less apartment complex.

And then, do you know what I did? I left. I left to go back home and left those children in a country that can’t deal with them right now because they have so many other troubles to deal with as they still try and overcome what communism did to them. I cannot express the guilt I feel to this very day when I think about how I abandoned those children. I know that I had a responsibility that I needed to return to in the U.S. but those children don't know that, they just know that no one person seems to care about them enough to stay with them long, not event their own parents.

I can't imagine how much of a struggle it will be for those children to ever trust anyone after all their years of neglect and people leaving them. Do you see how awful this whole situation is? How terrible it is that these children are stuck in a situation where their future is so bleak? I haven't even told the half of the problem those children are in.

Here are pictures of some of those precious children. We worked in a children's hospital as well as the orphanage, so some of these children in the hospital are in a better situation than the orphans, raised much more normally. But their parents could not be with them while they were in the hospital (many of the their parents are in western Europe, working since they cannot earn enough money for their families in Romania. These children don't see their parents very often) so that is why we would spend time with them, since their parents were not there.

A horse

Mihaiti, his skin is blue because of his sickness.
Sergio, left on his potty for hours on end because he knows he will be punished if he gets off the potty before he has permission and the workers figure they won't have to deal with him if they just leave him on the potty all day. He is blind and deaf.

Marion. An orphan gypsy boy who was in the hospital for the full 3 1/2 months we were there
Drawn by one of the boys at the hospital who called us his "angels."
Bubbles are one of the greatest inventions on this earth. I cannot tell you how many kids are instantly made happy by them

Half of these kids don't have parents with them at the hospital. We had parties (okay, not really parties, we just played cards and blew bubbles, but it seemed like a party to these bored children) in some of the rooms with the kids until "the blond nurse" would discover us and send all the kids back to their rooms. But as soon as she left, the kids would creep back to where we were. We were the only entertainment they had in that hospital-- poor kids.

Her sister told her to give me a kiss as she took the picture.