Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Schprid has a face!

Today was my second dcotor's appointment since I discovered I was pregnant. Last time around, he listened for the heartbeat, but could not find it. He scheduled me to come in again today so we could check for it again. Sadly, he didn't find it. Instead, he sent me downstairs to get an ultrasound.

Ryan and I went and waited for half an hour or so, then were brought back into a dark room where a nice man spread jelly all over my belly. He rubbed the little wand all over, pressing a little harder than was comfortable. I could see Ryan at the back of the room, watching the computer screen and completely entranced. The doctor didn't say a whole lot, and between the two of them I felt very much in the dark.

Finally, the doctor chuckled and said, "It's an active baby! She's jumpin' around in there like a little monkey!" Apparently, he was having a hard time getting the baby to sit still long enough to do any measurements or get the heartbeat. Finally, he pulled the screen over to where I could see it, and I got to see my baby! It's so cute, and so little!!!

It was fun, after the tension of not hearing the heartbeat, and then waiting for the ultrasound, and thinking they might need to do it internally, to be able to see my baby and to hear its heartbeat. Wow. I have a baby!

So, apparently I'm not quite at 12 weeks yet, though I thought I was. I'm at 11 weeks and 4 days, so on Friday I'm at 12 weeks. They'll let me keep my due date, though, which is cool. I'm just excited to be done with my 1st trimester so I can relax a little bit.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


So, I was doing my homework the other day, looking up news articles that had to do with finance. I came across one that told about Utah moms (and many others) who use a website called Etsy.com to sell their handmade crafts. Curious, I checked it out and found everything from clothes to soap to stationary to frames to... well, you get the picture. It's really cool! I've been doing some research, and I discovered that in order to sell on this website, in essence to start your own cool business with a name and a banner and everything, you just have to sign up, pay a $0.20 posting fee for each item you post, and then a 3.5% fee off of what you sell. The wheels in my head are turning. You see, I recently came up with a neat crafty idea, and just finished the first one for myself. I intend to use it for awhile, see if I like it, and then, perhaps, make more and sell them. There are a couple things out there that are somewhat similar to what I'm making, but not quite as cool, in my opinion. There are all sorts of possibilities. And then, I could do other things as well, like making paper (which I've learned a little bit about from my dear friend Ronnie) or sewing, or... anything, really! Oooh... there is much fun to be had.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me!

So, my wonderful husband got up early and made us breakfast this morning. We had omelets with cheese and bacon and salsa... yummy. And then, he gave me my first birthday present. (Well, not really my first, because I've gotten others from extended family that were completely wonderful!)

He hadn't wrapped it. It was still outside in the trunk of his car. So, when he walked in with it, I closed my eyes, and he plunked it on my head. He told me that, since it fit, I had to wear it to work. I opened my eyes and discovered that I was wearing the awesomest pink straw cowgirl hat. :) Oh, it was delightful. I love it. I love birthdays. I love my husband.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Why do I do this?

For the past several years, benevolent people have been giving money to BYU for the purpose of me getting an education. The first five or six years, I wandered around from class to class, major to major, wondering where I would find some sort of fulfillment. I tried sociology, psychology, elementary education, and a few others I don't remember right now. I left school twice, once to go to China and once simply because I needed a break. Each time, I got pulled back into it. BYU became this inescapable vortex that I can only leave by moving though.

When I got my job at Heritage, I found my calling. I was outside, working with horses and teenagers, and I could relate to them. I've had several tell me I am one of their favorite staff, in a place where they don't have much reason to like anything. I figured out how to give them both structure and freedom. Not all of them like me, it is true, but I believe there are very few who actually dislike me.

Because of this job, I decided to major in Recreational Therapy. I had taken a class in this during my first stint in college, and I thought the people were wierd. The teachers, in particular, were really wierd. It didn't seem like a serious major, and I passed the class and discounted it as a possibility. Then, when I came back with the intent to major in RT, I came to grips with the fact that my teachers are, in fact, truly wierd. Often my peers are relaxed and easygoing. It is, really, a good major. I remember consciously thinking that this major was relaxed enough that perhaps studying it in school would not completely kill my enjoyment of learning.

I will say, I have gotten much farther in this major than I did in any other. I have done some very good things here.

Recently, my job changed. I am still at Heritage, still teaching troubled youth how to ride. But now, there is much more structure, I am much busier, and I feel rushed, both during the day and througout each semester. I am a school teacher, now, responsible for grades and everything. Before, I only had to write a small note on how each client did in each session, and that was the end of it. The other system had its flaws, to be sure, but I had so much more fun with the system and with the clients. Now I feel as though my job is not so much to care about but to monitor the clients.

Perhaps it is that, or perhaps it is my classes, but I am tired of it all. So far in my major, my classes have focused on not so much how to care for or relate to my clients, but how to assess what is wrong with them, either physically, mentally, or emotionally. I have learned how to do paperwork, and research, and evaluate scholarly articles. My teachers have been very kind; I will grant them that. Perhaps they believe we all have the skills necessary already to be compassionate and kind and empathetic. Perhaps they don't believe that those are not necessary in Therapeutic Recreation. After all, I have never seen a scholarly article written on the benefits of compassion given by RT's to clients, and the noticeable, clinical differences it has caused.

Quite frankly, I don't care about the paperwork. I understand that, to some extent, it is necessary. It helps with communication. It helps to know when the overall goals are achieved. It is good to know how to do which tests when. But it just seems to me that the paperwork and such should be very very minimal. The point of this whole thing should be to build confidence, good habits, skills, and relationships, both in the clients and in ourselves. I feel that I have learned so little about that. Therapeutic recreation, at this point, is neither therapeutic nor recreational for me. If I have the view that it is not fun, how on earth am I going to communicate any sort of enjoyment to my clients?

I do realize that there is more to RT than academia. Thank goodness, or it would be no better than... well, I don't want to impune anybody's taste. :) But this is my other problem. I don't plan on doing any professional work in Recreational Therapy. Beyond my internship, I don't even particularly want to get my CTRS certification, which is just a really expensive test that says, "Hey! I did school! I can therapize recreationally!" So, because I have no goal that I'm working toward, I don't have any motivation whatsoever to learn the theories and assessments.

I'm in a pickle, really.

Ah, well, I just have one month left of this class that has prompted this particular rant, and then just a few classes after that. I just don't want to hate what I'm doing every day anymore! I've done that once already in my life, and swore I would never do it again. It's only slightly better, this time, because I'm the one that got myself into it, rather than being forced by "the system." Gah.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Little Bit of Love

So, while this is not so hot-off-the-press, and several of my friends already know, I figure it's time to make the official announcement. Really, I don't know why or how people so often wait for months to tell people. Maybe when I've lived longer I'll know better. For right now, I'm just really excited.

So yes, if you haven't guessed, the "little bit of love" is about 1/8 of an inch long after approximately 4 weeks of growing. "Itty Bitty," as we refer to him/her weighs less than a gram, which doesn't explain why my clothes are already a little tighter than I'd like... Just eight months left to go!

Impressions so far: So tired!!! So tired! The repository of all knowledge known as the Internet says that my heart is beating an extra 15 beats per minute. That's an extra 20,000 beats per day! No wonder I'm so tired! Add to that the fact that I'm still working out at the barn and going to school, and when I come home at night I'm just exhausted. I think I've been working hard enough that I made myself sick. I took yesterday off completely, and today all I have scheduled is a test, so by Friday I should be doing okay again.

We're so excited, though. It'll be so fun to have a little family, to take care of a baby and to watch him/her grow and develop a personality.

Sometimes it seems completely unreal. I have a hard time believing that this is really happening. I'm gonna be a Mommy!


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Femininity? Really?

The color pink is an interesting thing. Once upon a time, it was my favorite color. Then, through various episodes of peer pressure and self-discover, I decided my favorite color was not pink, but blue. Then purple. I finally, in my later years, settled on green. It was a color of nature. It was sophisticated and elegant without being flashy. It represented Mother Earth and all things beautiful.

I grew up in the country. I learned early on that getting very dirty is part of life, that hard work and sweat are how you keep a ranch running. There were times when, even though I was dressed in a skirt and heels and we were headed off to Church, we would stop on our way there because some of our cows had gotten loose and we needed to chase them back in before we could proceed. I took to wearing jeans and tennis shoes every day, simply because they were much more practical than anything else. I had never particularly cared for my looks, either, and so it didn't matter what shirt I threw on with my jeans.

In my college years, though I lived in the city, my country ways stayed with me. This was facilitated by the fact that I work with horses 30 hours of every week. I mucked stalls, bathed horses, breathed in and became covered in dust on a daily basis. During the winter, I wore so many layers to stay warm on those days when I was outside for eight or nine hours that I looked like the abominable snow monster.

Beyond that, I rarely, if ever, got dates. I had no reason, ever, to dress up. Jeans and t-shirts. No makeup. Conservative hair-do. All things practical.

And then I got married.

In essence, nothing has changed so very much. I still work with horses 30 hours a week. I am not playing the "dating game", and my husband really doesn't care what I wear. I'm not competing with other girls to look prettiest at Church.

So why, all of a sudden, have I realized that my favorite color still is pink? Why is it that now, every Thursday, I go shopping simply because it's my day off and I can? I do my hair cute, and wear sparkly earrings, and carry a fashionable purse. For goodness' sake, pink?

But I love it. I get all excited about cute things for my house, and scrapbooking, and keeping in touch with people. I understand now why friends and family are so important. I can't wait to figure out new recipes. I love my aprons. During the summer, I wore skirts in the middle of the week for no reason whatsoever. For some reason, now, I get it. Though I still work with horses, and want to work with animals and be outside and be active, for some reason, now, it's all about being lovey and cutsey and pink and sparkly and pretty. I don't understand it, but there it is, and, I have to admit, I do enjoy being feminine.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Bouquet of Pencils

School begins. That means tuition, books, busy-ness, and stress. Ryan is taking 12 credits and I am taking 6. Small loads for both of us, but we're still quite busy. It seems that, even though we have less overall to do, there is so much to think about and work on and get done that we still don't have enough time in the day. We're both working, still, and somehow have not yet managed to get our house cleaned from when we moved in. We'll get there- each week we make progress, but it's slow going.

But books and paper and pencils and binders and all the indicators of the tedium to come also bring the joys of fall. The leaves have started to turn, and just two days ago I found myself on horseback up in the mountains with my friends. We found gorgeous meadows and bright colors and even a raincloud or two. Ryan and I have not completely stopped sleeping with the swamp cooler on, but I wear layers and long sleeves in the mornings, now, and have begun dreaming of the cozy inside evenings of winter. I look forward to the sound of rain on the roof, to coming home from work and snuggling on the couch with my husband while we read, or making hot chocolate to warm us both up. Soon I'll be able to light candles in the evenings, and as soon as I get my to-do list finished, I can again try to create the things that have been blossoming in my head.

There is something about the seasons turning colder that makes me think of family. Perhaps it is that we do so much to keep warm, and part of that means being physically closer to one another. Perhaps it is the traditions- Thanksgiving, Christmas, warm meals shared and good times had despite the cold outside. Maybe it's because it gets dark sooner, enticing people to come inside and play games, read books, or talk.

This will be my first winter to spend married. This year, when I cook warm soups and breads, there is someone who will appreciate them. This year, when I come home from work frozen from head to toe, there will be someone to wrap me up in a blanket and hold me until I get warm. This year, when the first snow falls, there will be somebody special in my life who will get excited and want to go play.

There is much to be said for Summer, to be sure. People emerge from their homes and explore the world around them. Friendships are made. Flowers bloom and the world comes to life. It is truly wonderful. For me, Winter has always held an inexplicable magic, unrivaled even by the new life of Spring. Winter means warmth, spirituality, firelight and family. For me, Winter brings to life all the deep joys of friendship, giving, and love.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Pictures to appease the masses...

So, this amazing creation was part of my "park" theme. My dad build that bridge, the stream is fabric, there are flowers and a "rock" wall and trees and flowers... that's how people came into my reception. Can I just say I love my family?

This picture is just after we were married. Kissy kissy!

Some of my favorite pictures of Ryan are when he's with the bridesmaids. In this one, they're attacking him with their flowers. On the bottom left is Ehrin, who used to work with me at Heritage and has become a great friend. She flew out to California to be there for the wedding. Above her is my little cousin Elle and her sister Alexis. Top right is my sister Hayley, and bottom right is Ryan's sister, Becky. They're fun girls.

So, I'm not sure exactly what was going on in this picture, but it looks like the moms were fighting to keep us to themselves, and we're trying to stay together, and Ryan looks like He-man- or Elvis. :) He'd give me a funny look if he knew what I was writing about him...

Shoes! Don't look now, but I have the same shoes as one of my bridesmaids. Gotta love Pay-less!

So, apparently I can't load more than a few pictures at a time on this thing, but I'll work on getting more later.

Of frozen Jell-o and Cabbage Leaves

Wow. So, here it is, June 23, two days before our two-month anniversary. Not that we have anything terribly special planned for the day. It's a Wednesday, and we both have work and Ryan has classes. What would you do for a two-month anniversary, anyways?

But holy cow! After 25 years of waiting, here I am, officially married! We have our marriage certificate and everything. Almost everything. I still have to change my name. We need to merge our bank accounts and files and the tedious paperwork of our lives. We need to finish moving in. Through all this, we're both working to finish school and support ourselves.

The wedding was beautiful. April 25th in Oakland California is a gorgeous day, as our pictures can attest. It was simple, yet profound, as anyone who has been married in an LDS Temple knows. Eveything went perfect. Nobody was late, we didn't forget anything, nobody was violently ill.

I did pull a small prank on Ryan on our way to California. After we arrived at the airport, I told him I'd forgotten the recommends that would get us into the Temple. Poor guy. He was so sweet that I instantly regretted it.

After the wedding we had the luncheon. It was fun. Simple, but fun. That night was the reception, and I had a lot of fun there. I hope my guests did. Even Ryan said it wasn't as bad as he thought it would be. We had dinner, and dancing, and flowers, and bubbles, and handcuffs... much fun. Yes, I did say handcuffs. The bishop of my home ward got up to say a few words. Incidently, he had also gotten up at my parents wedding to say a few words. At the time of their reception, he had been a police officer, so as a joke, he handcuffed them together. Tradition held, and he came and cuffed me and Ryan together. It makes for a fun story. It also makes for some fun pictures.

The honeymoon was at Monterey, CA. I got to show Ryan around the Monterey Bay Acquarium, and the Wharf, and Cannery Row. We went to Church, and spent Sunday afternoon on some rocks at the beach. Just past the rocks we saw sea otters playing in the water. We tried to get pictures of them, but were not terribly successful. We did get some beautiful pictures of the ocean, though.

The honeymoon was necesarily short. We came back to Utah on Monday just in time to start classes on Tuesday. We had classes for a week before we had our other two receptions that weekend. The first was in Sandy, UT. The second, the next day, was in Idaho Falls. Both were quite fun, though quite a bit simpler than the one in California. We enjoyed them, though. If truth be told, my favorite part of that weekend was Hawaii.

Yes, his parents sent us to Hawaii for a night. Well, sortof. It was Destinations Inn, where every room has a different elaborate theme. Ours had a beautiful beach scene painted on the wall, and rocks, and palm trees, and a huge wonderful glorious bathtub, and a massage table, and a fountain, and complimentary cheesecake and Martinelli's, and a projector, and breakfast in bed. It was a wonderful night. Completely wonderful. I want to go back. :)

The past six weeks have been filled with the day-to-day aspects of getting our lives in order. We've taken back the gifts that we didn't want and organized the ones that we did. Our house is liveable, though not exactly clean. We'll get there. We've finished our first semester together and are now starting in on the second.

Mixed in with this huge project of adjusting my entire life are also the day-to-day aspects of living. Impressions? :) I wake up to a kiss and a hug and an "I love you" every morning. He rarely puts his towel away in the morning. He loves me and spoils me and does the dishes for me when I'm exhausted and can do no more, even though dishes are his least favorite thing to do. He listens to me, and understands me, and talks to me, and we share so much that is the same, and at the same time have so much within us that is different. Yet we work well together. It has been difficult for me, adjusting to this huge change. But he will hold me or leave me alone or be quiet with me or talk to me, and his every desire that comes through in his every action is that of my happiness. How have I been so phenomenally blessed?

I love living in a city that, though intrinsically connected, is not a college town. We get fliers about community activities! It's wonderful! Orem is a city not completely dependent on BYU! I love having a friend at every activity. I love that our fridge is full, and all the food in there is ours. I don't have to label my food anymore! Glorious! I love cooking for two. Last night I created a concoction of grains wrapped up in cabbage leaves, smothered in sauce and cooked for half an hour. It was an interesting dish, especially considering that I don't particularly like cabbage leaves. I made jell-o for dessert. It froze in our fridge that is perpetually too cold, despite the fact that we have it on the lowest setting. Have you ever seen frozen jell-o? It's quite amusing. There are always dishes to do, a bed to make, laundry to fold... I feel like a housewife, which I have wanted for so long. It's fun. It will be very nice when the thank-you notes are written, and I've organized and deep-cleaned everything and bought us a bed-skirt. Of course, there will always be projects to work on, which is good. It would be a shame to run out of things to do.

My current projects? Well, I've decided to sell Melaleuca more aggressively than I have been. I gave one presentation last week, and the girl signed up. Very encouraging! My goal is to make Melaleuca pay for itself, first. Then, the sky's the limit! I'd also like to write a book. I know I've been saying that forever, but this one is a completely different genre. It's geared toward girls of all ages, and is not fiction. It's about accepting yourself for who you are. I also want to graduate college. You see, as soon as I do that, I can start having babies. :) :) :) That will be wonderful. I'm so excited. Ryan is so supportive of all I want to do. He gives me ideas for my book, and supports me when I give Melaleuca presentations, and it doesn't bother him in the slightest that I may end up making more money than he does. And when we do start having children, he wants me to stay home. He wants to get us horses, and he wants me to stay at home. I am so looking forward to that. I may continue to sell Melaleuca, but that is something I can do from home quite easily.

Incidently, yesterday Ruth and Robert came over for breakfast yesterday morning. With them they brought Ruth's sister Eve, and their beautiful daughter Michelle. I haven't seen them in four years, and it was so wonderful to see them again. Ryan liked them, and they seemed to like him, which was good. They also inspired me to write on my blog again. Now that I know somebody actually reads this, perhaps I will try to keep it more updated. (Hey, Ruth? What's your blog address? I don't know where it is anymore, and I'd love to read yours!)

Anyway, now that I have written a novel and the heat is getting ever worse outside, I should probably go for my run before doing so would result in heat stroke.

Yes, I'm happy. I'm busy and tired, but happy. I enjoy life.

Live well, laugh often, love much.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Wedding Plans

Well, Friday marked our six-week mark. Six weeks until the big day. Time seems to be both dragging and flying in a phenomenon Einstein could never explain.

As it now stands, we have the Temple scheduled as well as the three locations for our various receptions. My uncle will be our photographer. I have several bridesmaids and dresses chosen for them. We know which guys will be in the wedding party, as well as what they will be wearing. (Here's hoping they all like yellow!)

My colors are yellow and purple. I want to have the feel of a big open field of wildflowers. I want to have dancing and food and much frivolity. We do have a couple of problems with that- the first is that the receptions will be in the cultural halls of our churches. It doesn't lend itself to a big open field feeling. The other is that people don't tend to bring frivolity to wedding receptions. Everyone wants to wish the bride and groom happiness, which means the bride and groom and wedding party have to stand, for an hour or more, and shake hands and smile as a mind-numbing amount of people parade by. They leave their gifts, grab some food, and sit down wondering what to do next. How, pray tell, can I encourage people to dance and have fun?

Saturday night was my first Bridal Shower. It was a Tupperware party, and let me tell ya- that's a good way to go! I was given many gifts by the Tupperware lady herself, and instead of traditional gifts, everybody put money into a pot and I get to spend it all on Tupperware, which should last me 30-40 years! Beautiful!

Right now, my Mom is in my apartment, sewing my wedding dress. Yes, that's right, she's making my wedding dress. And it's going to be beautiful. There will be lace, and ties, and patterened chiffon, and inserts... the works. She's having to alter the pattern in a few different ways to make it fit my body, my style, and the Temple, but she's amazing and can do things like that. :) I'm getting a wedding dress!

We've also done engagement pictures already, and are currently working on doing invitations. We have the best paper in the world! My friend makes paper, and can put almost anything in it. We're adding alfalfa hay and purple and yellow confetti. I love it! It totally works with the theme. Actually, it sortof inspired the theme. She had told me that she makes paper, and when I saw the examples, visions opened in my head. It's wonderful!

Let's see- we also have an apartment. It's part of a four-plex in Orem. It has two bedrooms, a decently sized living room, a good kitchen (except for the lack of a dishwasher) and washer-dryer hookups in the bathroom. Woohoo! I can do laundry in my house! His parents are giving us a washer and dryer for a wedding gift, along with a bed, couches, and a chair which his mom just wants to get rid of. I completely love my in-laws right now!

Thoughts and feelings:
First and foremost, I can't wait to be married, just because it will be so nice to not have to say goodbye at night. Ryan is completely wonderful, and I fall more in love with him every day. At the bridal shower, people were asking me things about my husband. :) I liked it. It felt natural, and normal, and good and right. The whole thing, the whole idea, is becoming more real to me. I am getting married. I am a bride. I will be a wife. I will have a husband. I get to spend eternity with my best friend.

Monday, February 25, 2008

The Proposal

Hello, Friends!

Welcome to my blog, first of all. It's nice to have you here! I apologize for the sideways pictures. That's Ryan, and I'm not savvy enough with computers to know how to turn them right-side-up. In these pictures he's showing off his new hat that he got for Christmas. Can I just say- I like this guy a lot? :)

I've been promising everyone the story of Ryan's proposal, so I'm writing it here where I can add in all sorts of mushy details. :)

For those of you who don't know, last November I started dating one Ryan Roberts. He's in my ward. We'd had a few fun conversations over the summer, but he had a girlfriend and so we had both sortof looked past each other. Then, one day in October, we talked again and I discovered that he had broken up with said girlfriend, and, in one of the greatest miracles of my life, he started looking at me as someone to ask on a date.

Well, one thing led to another, and at the beginning of February he proposed. This is how it happened:

We are both quite busy, what with work and school, and neither of us is terribly good at planning dates. So on Thursday, we were sitting on the couch, trying to figure out what to do with our weekend. We finally settled on going to an early movie after I got home from work. "Then," he announced, "I want to go on a walk with you." I must admit, right there I figured he had something up his sleeve, because, while we have been on several walks before, who plans a walk a day in advance? But he'd said before that he wanted to date for several months before proposing to a girl, so I didn't let myself think that it was anything terribly serious.

Sadly, work that day went late. I called him after I had finished teaching my classes and we still had an entire barn to clean. I told him that the movie might not work, and he told me that we'd actually been invited to go play games with a couple of his married friends, instead. That sounded fun, so after I got home and cleaned up, we went to go see Nathan and Esther. The four of us just ended up talking in their living room for about an hour. It was nice. They were fun. They built a small rocket in their living room and we watched it go off a couple times. Engineers. Go figure. :)

As we left, Nathan reminded Ryan of a tarp he'd wanted to borrow. We all went down to Ryan's car and he pulled out the tarp for Nathan. I thought nothing of it, really. Boys borrow tarps, I guess. Anyway, we went back to the apartment complex for the long-awaited walk. We both made sure we had coats. (After all, it was 11:00 at night in the middle of winter!) And so, bundled up as we were, we went out on a walk we had been on a few times before. We went up close to the mountains, and wound down through some residential streets. I don't remember much of what we talked about that night, but the conversation was easy and friendly. As we reached the top of Seven Peaks Boulevard, we stood there for a moment looking at the mountains. "Shall we go on an adventure?" he asked. "Sure," was my witty reply.

We walked a grand total of ten steps through the snow and there, behind the cement pilings which denoted the end of the road was: the tarp. It was all folded up, and I was, admittedly, slightly confused. "Oh, look what we have here!" Ryan said, unsuccessfully acting surprised. He reached down and pulled a bouquet of flowers out of the tarp. He gave them to me, and I gushed and did the girly thing. It really was very sweet. I liked it. He asked me if the flowers were okay, and I said, "Yes, they're beautiful!" "I have one more question to ask you," he said. I looked up at him, and he asked, "Chelsea, will you marry me?"

Well, after telling myself so firmly that he was not going to ask me anytime soon, I must admit it took me off guard. I hugged him, but only replied, "I think so." I'm sure we kissed, but I must admit, I don't really remember at this point...

Anyway, we started walking back home, but twenty feet down the road, I sat down in the middle of the street. Can I tell you how wonderful he is? He came and sat right next to me. We sat there and just talked about things for a few minutes. I told him I was aware that I had not given him a straight answer, but I wanted a little time to think about it. He told me he understood, and he was completely okay with it. I'm not sure how long we would have stayed there, but our posteriors started to revolt against the cold asphalt, so we stood up and walked home, all the while talking about options and making small decisions like when we would like to get married. (We agreed that the sooner we could get married, the better.)

That night as we talked and prayed together in my apartment, I knew that I would agree to marry him. It felt right. But I still wanted some time to wrap my mind around it, so I didn't tell him at that point.

Okay, this next part requires some back story. I'm sure most people who read this already know that I work at Heritage Schools, which is a treatment center for troubled youth. I teach them how to ride horses and, though at times I complain about the way things are at work, I completely love what I do. And my favorite horse there is Elemeno. He is my baby, and has been from very shortly after we bought him. He's beautiful, and smart, and willing. I've spent hours and hours and hours working with, training, riding, feeding, caring for, and learning about that horse. We had many fun times together.

Well, on Christmas Eve last year, he was found laying down in his stall with his leg swollen from hip to hoof. We had no idea what had happened to him, but we took him to the vet, who gave us some antibiotics and other medications to give him. We did everything we could for him, but he just kept getting worse. He wouldn't put weight on that back leg, and the infection in his leg settled down near his hoof where it burst out of his skin. It was awful. It looked like his leg was rotting off. Along with the medications, we also had to wrap his leg to keep the exterior wounds clean. We took him to the vet several times, and on the last time, he came up with a new treatment. See, El couldn't put weight on his leg because there was scar tissue built up around his tendon which prevented it from stretching it the way it needed to. To fix that problem, we put him on painkillers, slathered his leg in something like Bengay and soaked it in hot water and epsom salts to loosen the tissue, and made him walk for 10-30 minutes every day. This treatment would essentially encourage him to put as much weight as possible on that foot and thus stretch it out in such a way that he would eventually be able to use his leg again.

Being his "mom", I had learned how to do all his medications and treatments. That Saturday, which was the day after Ryan had proposed and I had so nicely left things undecided, I went in to work. There were just two of us there that day; we didn't need many people there for the Saturday shift. I helped with barn chores for awhile, then did El's treatment. I had worked him pretty hard the day before, and he was understandably very sore, so as soon as I was done I took him to his stall to let him rest. A few minutes later, the other girl that was working with me told me that his bandage was coming off. I grabbed some tape and went to fix it. I opened his stall door to find him laying very peacefully on the ground. He seemed happy enough, but lying on the floor two feet away from him was his hoof. It had completely fallen away from his bone.

It was quite a shock to see it, actually. I walked away and told the other girl to go look at it. When she came back to the office, she said, "We have to put him down, Chelsea." I knew that, but facing the fact is awful. We called our boss, but couldn't get ahold of her. She had left for the weekend to celebrate her anniversary. We called in a couple of the other barn girls, and the vet, and I called Ryan. Of course I was crying when I called him. Poor guy, he had a tense few seconds there, before I told him why I was crying. He was very sympathetic, and offered to come in to see me. I told him no, and he told me to come over to his apartment when I got home.

The vet was really good. He helped me with El, who was so good. We had to load him into the trailer before we gave him the shot, otherwise we would have had a very hard time getting the body out of his stall later. He stood right up, and went looking for hay, and had a bright, healthy look in his eye. I asked him to load into the trailer, which he did. It was heroic, really, given that he only had three legs. He never balked, or resisted or tried to get away. He was confused when we asked him to turn around in the trailer. We'd never asked him to do that before. But he was willing and did his best. I stood there while the vet gave him the first shot, and I stayed until El lunged backward, which is a normal reaction to the drug. I saw his eyes start to glaze over, and couldn't stay any longer. I walked away and let the other barn girls deal with it. I was told later that it was good that I walked away, because it took him about ten minutes to die, and was hard to watch even for those who were not so attached to him.

I helped bring the other horses in for the night, then left the other barn chores for the other girls. I was emotionally exhausted. When I went home, I didn't bother to clean up. I went straight to Ryan's apartment, still dirty and smelly and with my face red from crying. Ryan just held me and let me cry and talk on his shoulder. He was so good to me.

When I could finally talk about other things, he told me that my roommates had mentioned to a few people in the ward that he had proposed, and that most of the ward probably knew already. I was glad that I'd known the night before that I was going to tell him yes, because I was in no condition to think about anything seriously at that point. "Well, then, we better make it official. Yes, I will marry you," was my reply. That time we did kiss, and then I cried some more.

So, the proposal itself was very sweet. The weekend in general was awful. But I'm so excited to marry him. Time is flying, but somehow not quite fast enough. We have a thousand things to do for the wedding, and all we want to do is be married.

Let's see... I suppose most people haven't really met him, so let me tell you a little bit about him. He's 23, going to BYU, and majoring in Electrical Engineering. He likes politics, and carving, and camping, and skiing. He loves to be outdoors, and has a decent seat when he rides horses and is looking forward to doing endurance rides with me after he builds me a barn and gets me some horses. He is kind and gentle and at the same time knows his opinions and holds to them regardless of peer pressure. We can wrestle and joke and plan and cook and read and do puzzles and walk and talk so well it's amazing. Somehow he says all the right things and asks all the right questions, simply because he is who he is. And he loves me. Remarkable as it is, he completely loves me.

So, we're getting married on April 25th in the Oakland Temple in California. We're having a reception in California that day, and then spending the next few days in Monterey. Spring classes start on Tuesday, so we'll be back for that. That Friday will be our second reception in Salt Lake, and the next day we will have our third reception in Idaho. Our colors are purple and yellow, which I never thought I would pick, but visions opened in my head, and everything clicked. It'll be fun, though, for a spring wedding in California.

Anyway, I'll try to post pictures of the wedding and festivities and all. I love you all, and hope you have enjoyed this story in my life. Keep in touch!