It is very very VERY rare that Tyler works the 2-6 shift; it's usually either the 6-10 or the full 2-10. Tonight he got that lucky shift and we were home at the same time to spend the evening together. It was incredible, we made dinner and geared up to carve some pretty great jack-o-lanterns. We had one trick-or-treater and out of all the large candy bars and candy we had in our bowl, he picked one measly little Sixlets. I guess Batman is watching his figure. Staying in may seem boring to some, but I loved our little Halloween date night. It was perfect to a T and we both didn't want the night to end, even though we late-night owls could barely stay up until midnight to eat a well-deserved piece of chocolate. It was amazing; good-bye Choctober!



My department usually goes all out for Halloween: we decorate our area of the office, our individual cubicles, and ourselves with sweet costumes. Well, with the recent changes and scrambling, that's been at the back of our minds and I'm sure not even on some of our radars. I'm not one to get THAT much into the Halloween spirit, but everyone—and I mean everyone—has been raving about my costume from last year and I felt I had a bit to live up to. I have this sweatshirt that I rarely wear, because it is actually for running (that tells you how much I run, eh?), but it is my absolute favorite color. So I scrounged up some paper and some floss and made this pretty little thing. A pantone is a bit nerdy for a graphic designer to dress up as, but I think it turned out pretty awesome, no?



Now if you know anything about Tyler and me, we are not veggie fiends. We eat them here and there and try to incorporate them here and there (hopefully more for our future children; sorry kids). Tonight Tyler left work and called me to say he was utterly and completely craving salad for dinner. Uhhhh okay… that never happens, but I wasn't going to turn it down (we could both use more fresh veggies in our dinner entrees). We made a pretty remarkable salad filled with cucumbers, tomatoes, avocados, lettuce and croutons, topped with dressing and cheese. Yum.



The repercussions of Friday almost killed me today; I was literally doing 4 people's jobs including mine. On top of that I had to redo the same thing 5 times before lunchtime. Oy vey. Luckily I had some sea salt caramel gelato waiting for me after dinner and husband willing to listen to me blab on and on.



We had one of the weirdest sacrament meetings today. It was strange and long, but it eventually ended. After church, Tyler and I spent a little time together, but he took a break to do an assignment that was due at midnight. He was glad he hadn't put it off; it took him hours longer than he thought it would. I just killed time waiting for him to be done. In the evening we braved this pomegranate after dinner. We found a water-free way to cut it online which worked very well, and it was delicious to the taste.



I worked on my website almost the entire day, doing a couple of chores here and there. Tyler had an exam in the morning and then a full shift at work in the evening. Once he was finally home we took a much-needed shopping trip to the grocery store. I love shopping with Tyler; it makes me feel grown up, but it's also a time to catch-up, take it easy, and feel productive all at the same time.



These two little guys perfectly sum up our days today. Tyler had a dumb group project meeting today and his four-hour shift was the absolute worst. I had quite the day at work too: they terminated two people and moved one person to another department, leaving our entire department down to a whopping four people. Between the terminations and the various people quitting in the last month or so, we went from a ten-person department to a four-person department. After a long day, I took off my shoes to find this: one sock black and one sock striped, which had somehow escaped my attention for the entire day. Just chalk it up with the rest of this insane day—thankfully Tyler brought home a mini key lime pie to share. We both welcome the weekend with open arms and hopes that it never ends.



Today was terribly frustrating. Work was frustrating beyond belief, and that's all I want to say. Tyler didn't have to work tonight, but he did go and donate plasma. He needed to do it for a class project, but it took all evening long and I missed him terribly. It was nice to have him back home after hours of him being hooked to tubes and flexing his arm.



Tonight Stephanie came over to see the progress on her announcement. She absolutely loved it; she kept squealing with delight at how much she loved it (always a designer's relief). Earlier in the week Tyler ran to the store and I jokingly said "pick up some dino-nuggets," and he did. Tonight we finished off the bag and gobbled up our playful food with delight.



Well, I can't believe it, but it's here. Today was Sydney's last day and it is definitely going to be difficult without her here; we're already running low on man-power since one of our web designers quit last month, so we've been picking up the slack. Now she's leaving so it will only add more to our load, but we can handle it, I'm sure. No more silly faces from this desk, for this girl is on to bigger and better things. Way to go Ms. Butters, way. to. go.



It's no surprise that I have needed a bit of a change, a bit of a pick-me-up. Tonight Sydney came over to help me get my personal website up. She showed me how she got hers done just using Wordpress and her limited html abilities. I'll admit, having Wordpress do all the heavy lifting with the coding and just picking out a theme is a lot less daunting of a task. I'm excited to start getting my name out there and possibly picking up some freelance. It's scary, but change always is, and this is what I wanted, nay, what I needed.



Tyler and I were on cloud nine today as we ended up sitting with one of our nursery families during sacrament meeting. The middle boy of the family (who is currently in nursery) wouldn't let Tyler put him down on the pew for the meeting. The oldest girl of the family was in nursery with us last year. Tyler looked through books with Enoch while Regetta and I took turns drawing on each other's "chingernails" with crayons. Regetta also kept asking me to tear her white drawing papers in half—I'm so glad I did because they ended up being portraits of Tyler and I. Can you tell which one is me and which is Tyler? I'll give you a hint… I'm apparently bald.



I did some chores and then went over to Lynchland to fix some of the chalkboards I did for Suzanne that had decided to flake off. After helping with that and going over some more things she may need for that chalk-themed event, we got into some summer of sewing activities. I started a quilt back when I was 13 or 14 made of all the shirts from my middle school days. I sewed all these squares together one summer and then never finished it. Suzanne has been so kind to help me finish it. As we laid out my quilt and went over the various ways to finish it off, I couldn't help but laugh at how unmatched some of my seams were. Clearly I never would have made it on Project Runway, let alone as a pioneer.



I found out today that Sydney is quitting; she got a job with the Sundance Film Festival doing their outdoor environmental signage for the event. I am super happy for her, but I'm left feeling a bit gutted. Her leaving is making me rethink what I am doing with my life. I've been feeling stuck for a while and tonight was spent reflecting what I can do to get out of this rut. I'm just glad this week is over.



Tyler and I are officially halfway through Choctober and I feel like we're doing a pretty darn good job. Tonight we celebrated by eating birthday cake golden Oreos, golden Oreos, vanilla ice cream and a future Lynch family favorite, strawberry bread. Tyler has had his fall break this week and has been cleaning and cooking up a storm and I am loving every minute of it.



We have almost been married for two years and we still hadn't been to one of Peter's football games until tonight (worst siblings much?). We drove to Hunter High to watch a not-so-little-anymore Peter play some pig skin for the ol' Huskies. Hillcrest was behind when we got there and the scoreboard never really seemed to favor them. It was a cold one tonight and I was a feeling a bit sick because earlier today I had some Thai food that clearly was not sitting well with me. Well, with a little luck and a few color shouts, we'll get 'em next time.



Tonight I stayed way late at work and ended up chatting with Sydney after work. She told me tonight that she is looking for another job—I was a little taken aback. At the same time though, I don't blame her; things are getting a little worse and worse here, especially for her. I'm not sure how I'll do this job without her, but I know she's not happy. The thing that scares me most is she is such a great designer and a persevering go-getter that I know she'll find a job sooner than later. I'll especially miss our talks in the parking lot as the clouds change and the sun goes down.



Today the 2013 winter catalogue we shot back in August came from the printer and was spread throughout the office. This was one of my favorite catalogues: the concepts, the bags and the jewelry. I can't believe that this was my eighth catalogue—time has certainly flown by. It seems like yesterday we were shooting this with the planes, trains, and automobiles, and now it is October and we are planning our 2014 spring shoot. Wow.



Tonight Bryan came for a visit (we sure do love when he comes for a chat) and of course he brought some games to introduce us to. One of them was this one, Love Letter—the smallest game I've ever seen. We all won at least once and then we moved onto the next game, Small World. I, of course, was out first and sat back as the two boys duked it out—of course, Bryan won. We then spent the evening cooking up a haystack storm and enjoyed our meal watching Portlandia on Netflix.



Holy jam-packed day Batman! We started out the day over at Lynchland for lunch and it was packed from then on out. Mind you it was an authentic Hawaiian lunch provided by a young girl in the Lynches' neighborhood (and her family) who is fundraising with yummy island-food-making talents (um, yes please). After that we went to a matinee of Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2 and boy howdy was it a side-splitting cinematic experience. After that we made the short trek over to the local Burger King, for today they were giving away free satis-fries—they're just crinkle-cut fries, but they're still delicious. After dinner and a hilarious encounter with those robotic drink machines it was time for some Desert Star delight. They were showing The Hungry Games (how appropriate) where I saw a co-worker before the show and Nicole interacted with the cast more than once. That's what you get when you sit on the front row. Show after show, meal after meal, I wish every Saturday was this jam-packed with goodness and laughs.



In an effort to surprise Tyler back with a non-chocolately food item, I made another Aussie meat pie. I feel super Martha Stewart-y when I make these pies (I bet it's just the act of rolling out the dough), even though I buy my dough pre-made and that's the most tasking part I'm sure, if it were from scratch. Tyler got home from work just as the pie was finishing cooking. His work had thrown a murder mystery party for the Halloween season, but he was working a shift during the party, so they bought pizza for all those employees that couldn't attend. I was a little jealous of his pizza treats and then I remembered that I now have an entire meat pie to myself. Oh yeah, yum.



Today felt especially tough for some reason, going without chocolate and all. Luckily I have an amazing husband that brings me home a present to ease the hardship. A resident at his work gave him a doughnut that they didn't want—knowing doughnuts he knew that it would probably be some sort of chocolately goodness. But hot dog, it was a maple bar doughnut and it was a delightful one at that. Thanks for sharing Tyler, you're just the greatest of greats.



Last week I emailed my sisters wondering if they would like to go in on a little idea I had for my pop's big ol' 57th birthday. This photo was taken at Aubrey's wedding this summer and I completely adore it! We don't really have a recent photo of just the four girls and my parents; I also love our faces and the joy that exudes from this captured moment. In the email I asked if anyone would want to go in on getting this printed up big and framed for our dad's office. Everyone agreed. Over the weekend I had another brilliant (last-minute) idea to do a virtual birthday card for him since my siblings and their families are scattered about the country. My new brother-in-law loves to put movies together and I knew everyone had some sort of video camera, so we filmed our thoughts and love for our dad (you can see it here). Tonight he opened the picture and watched our little film (he teared up which was the sweetest thing ever). I love you Dad and I hope your birthday was as great as we hoped it would be.



Remember how I was just talking about our nerdy homage to things we love? Well now we would like to introduce these cute little Pokémon tees into the family. These were on super sale a couple of weeks ago and we just couldn't pass them up—especially since Pokémon in Japanese are called pocket monsters (knowing that always makes me squeal with delight). We got four T-shirts and they miraculously fit the both of us and they are so super soft. Getting these and our magnets in the mail have definitely brightened our week.



I like to think that Tyler and I have pretty great taste; we've made it a goal to have a slight homage in our house, one way or another, to all the nerdy things we're into. (Parks & Rec, facial hair, LOST, Spongebob, Robots, etc.) A couple of months ago we came across a kick-starter project that one of my new favorite illustrators was participating in. He was offering nerdy Nintendo prints exclusively through this kick-starter for thenerdybomb.com—we just couldn't pass them up. It was a bit of a larger package, but it came with great perks: they threw in an extra print of Nintendo villains at the last minute and we got to choose two magnet/button packs. We now have homages to Harry Potter and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Aren't they so cute? We got them in the mail over the weekend and we had plum forgot about them because it has been so long. One day I'll blog about our Nintendo prints… that is, when we have wall space to tack them up.



Conference Sunday tradition is to wake up and enjoy the first session of General Conference at home and then go to Grandma and Grandpa Duncan's house for lunch and proceed to watch the second session together. We arrived to find my uncle Dale and his family, Nikki and Spencer, and my aunt Kaylynne and uncle Don. I brought a salad and Aubrey brought cake pops; my grandma had never had one before and she was quite intrigued. This was the first time we spent Conference Sunday without my Grandpa Duncan. It was a bit strange; in years past he would always ask us what our thoughts were on what had been said by the leaders of our church. Then he would go on to give such a profound insight on an overall theme he had observed and blow your mind with his wisdom. When we first arrived, I was in the entryway with my grandma and she pointed to a photograph on her buffet and said, "This is what I think he looks like right now." It was an old black and white photograph of my grandpa in his late 20's looking as handsome as ever. I turned to her with a smile to see her eyes welled up with tears. We embraced, crying, and both expressed how much we miss him; she is a wonderfully strong woman and I am proud to be a descendant of this beautiful 92-year-old.



Conference was amazing today; we missed part of it because Tyler had a group meeting in the morning for school and I overslept. We did watch the second session while making waffles (a B&T tradition), and since we aren't eating chocolate, we put vanilla pudding and strawberries on them—a new favorite for sure. In the evening we went over to Lynchland for a quick meal of spaghetti and meatballs before the men were off to the priesthood session. Nicole didn't have to work for once, so the girls went out for a treat: Yogurt Stop on Highland Drive by Ream's—best. place. ever. Like many other places, they had frozen yogurt and ice cream and you could pick your mix-ins, but the thing that floored me was that they have boba drinks. I haven't had one of these since we were in Cabramatta and Tyler took me to Happy Cup. Suzanne was so kind to treat me with this drink and I am still reeling that we have boba drinks here (apparently Ocean Mart in Sandy has them too; what?!) right in my very own backyard. After the session the boys went to the traditional B&D Burger for fries and shakes and took my dad along with them. Tyler got a blueberry cheesecake shake and brought some home to share. When the men arrived at Lynchland, we girls were hard at work getting Nicole's quilt ready to be pieced together. Quilting is fun, but it sure involves a lot of math—boo.



Tonight was Tyler's mission reunion up in Salt Lake City. His mission president and his wife were gone last year, living back in Australia, and ended up having a sort of impromptu reunion while I was in Nashville that summer, so I haven't seen them since our wedding. It was so good to see them; I love talking to them and hearing their praises of Tyler and what an amazing missionary and assistant he was. On more than one occasion both President Scruggs and Sister Scruggs, separately, pulled me aside and told me an instance in which they relied on/admired Tyler while he was out in the field. Both tonight and the first time I met him, President Scruggs told me that Tyler was his favorite missionary, even though he's not supposed to have favorites. I just beam with gladness at what a catch I've snagged to spend the rest of time with. Also, tonight Sister Scruggs made the most amazing chocolate cookies (according to everyone that walked into the kitchen), so we snatched up two to put into our freezer to enjoy come November.



One of the greatest things we brought back with us from Australia, among all the candy, sweets, and souvenirs, is a recipe for meat pie. Shaunee made a meat pie while we were there and it was absolutely to die for. I honestly couldn't stop talking about it. I insisted she give us the recipe and to my delight there wasn't much to it. When we got back, during one of our many grocery store trips we bought the supplies to make a delicious meat pie. Tonight I decided that since we can't have all that lovely chocolate we brought back from Australia, why not put all that Aussie barbecue sauce we brought back to good use? I surprised Tyler tonight by making my first meat pie (of many I'm sure). It turned out amazing and it's safe to say that we aren't really missing chocolate tonight.

Aussie Meat Pie:
1 lb. ground beef
1 bag frozen vegetables (I just used peas in this one)
Australian barbecue sauce (or just American will do, I guess)
Garlic Powder
Italian Herbs
2 sheets puff pastry

Brown ground beef and drain grease. Add frozen vegetables and heat on medium until cooked. Add ketchup and barbecue sauce until it reaches a sloppy joe consistency. Add spices to your liking. Roll out puff pastry sheets to fit your pan (you can use a 9x13 cooking pan). Place one sheet on the bottom of the pan and add meat mixture. Place second sheet on top of mixture and fold the two sheets together along the edges. Cut a center slit for heat release. Bake* in the oven at 350 for about 20 minutes.

*This was a little bit of a trial and error. I kept checking it every once in a while and I think I ended up turning it up a bit towards the end. Next time I make this, I'll have to keep better track of the time and temp.



Today in celebration for one of our co-workers we dressed all in white, wore white leis and had white decorations. The joke was that she is married to an ethnic man and between her white family, white dogs and white cats, he always says he's surrounded by white. She definitely got a kick out of it when she walked in and saw the decorations. By lunchtime I was feeling quite queasy and decided to stay behind from the birthday lunch (even smells were getting to me). By mid-afternoon I couldn't take it and decided to work the rest of the day from home. Day one of Choctober is done and it was harder than we thought: Tyler usually eats chocolatey cereal in the morning, grabs a granola bar for the road (which has chocolate in it) and when he is feeling like he needs a push at work to get him through, he has a cup of hot cocoa. Dear me. Also, once my co-workers got back from lunch, Caroline brought me back a mint chocolate brownie (my absolute favorite) unaware of my upset stomach. On my way home I dropped of the brownie to my parents' house with a note to my dad saying happy early birthday.



This morning I woke up to an impromptu invitation to a dinner with the girls tonight at Texas Roadhouse after work. It was instigated by Stephanie with other invites extended to Mandy, Megan, and Becca. I hesitated to go because Tyler and I have made a pact that we would not spend money on eating out until 2014. I ended up going, since just because I'm not eating doesn't mean I can't enjoy the company and the free bread and water. I showed up after an optometrist appointment nearby and ended up still beating everyone. Megan didn't end up coming, but the company was still great. Stephanie was so kind to offer part of her gift card to pay for a meal for me. I ate the sides but saved half of my pulled pork to share with Tyler. At home I got straight to work on turning the pork into a delightful pulled pork sourdough sandwich with sweet potato fries. Tonight while we (he) dined we read something on the internet about not eating chocolate for the whole month of October… Choctober. We decided, for some reason, to give it a try. No chocolate and no eating out? Tyler and I are in for some real self discipline.