Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas to All

Dear Friends,
We are currently enjoying a week of relaxation and fun in Colorado with my family, but I wanted to take a moment to wish you all a Merry Christmas. We have had a lot to be grateful for this year and many blessings that have come our way. We are glad to be healthy, happy, and employed. We're so grateful for the gospel in our lives and the knowledge of our Savior and what He did for us that makes this time of year so very special. May you all have a wonderful Christmas.

The Wests

Friday, December 12, 2008

Another Crack-Up by James

So, Wednesday night we took a trip to Borders with Jake and Wendy to check out books and drink hot chocolate. I seriously have to recommend the cocoa trio to everyone everywhere. Go to Borders and get one. Now. It is the most remarkably delicious thing I have had in a long time. So many thanks to Wendy for turning me on to it.

Anyway, while we were there, this guy I passed in the music aisle turned and saw me and said Hi. Now, I know I know this person somehow, but for the life of me I could not remember what the connection was. He turned back to the cd he was perusing and I walked on toward the cafe to get that cocoa trio. But now I was disturbed. Who was that guy? I couldn't really go back and ask him... awkward. So... it just continued to bug me.

Later, James and I went to Macey's and it was still bugging me - who was that guy? I couldn't figure it out, so in frustration I said to James, "Don't you hate it when you see someone you know but then you can't remember who they are or how you know them?" James didn't miss a beat, he just said "Well, honey, if it helps - I'm your husband. We got married about a year ago?"

Oh James.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Funny James

Last night, James did something incredible and actually offered to play a game with Allison and me. True, he tried to rescind his offer, but it was too late. So we settled down at the kitchen table to play Pictionary. How do you play Pictionary with three people, you ask? Well, everyone is on everyone's team. Trust me, it's the best way to play.

The Pictionary game that we own is one that I found at D.I. It has all the cards and the gameboard and even a timer-- but no game pieces. So, being the incredibly clever person that I am, I found a quick solution by grabbing the three kings from our nativity set to act as game pieces. During game play, James demonstrated significant prowess at drawing and eliciting guesses from Allison and myself, which quickly got him several blocks ahead of the two of us.

At one point he took his little king, turned it around to face our pieces and said in a taunting voice, "Ha, ha, I'm going to see the baby Jesus before you!"

There it is folks, the spirit of the season! :) Only 18 days to go!

*edit: James reminded me that I neglected to mention that he did in fact win. So, I guess technically, his king had the honor of seeing the baby Jesus first. A whole new way of looking at the nativity.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Pictures!

The Family Talent Show:

Heidi decided she'd like to have a luncheon and talent show instead of a reception (she was going to do the reception as a joint-venture in December with her brother and his fiancee) but then they decided to go ahead and do the reception in November anyway, but they still kept the talent show! I, sadly, did not get pictures of everyone's amazing talents, as I was busy enjoying them, but I did make sure to snap a few shots.

Just enjoying the lasagna and oh-my-gosh-that-was-amazing-give-me-some-more cheesecake. No, seriously, give me some more.

Melanie and the beautiful Bella

James's talent was making balloon sculptures. He called for three volunteers to give him their orders. He got like 12! Poor guy's cheeks were so sore!

George and Anthony performed three of their amazing compositions - ditties mostly featuring delicious food - that they created while on family trips throughout their young lives.

Allison and Buffy put on a display of hand-clapping artistry that was enjoyed by all.

My talent was extremely gifted baby-hogging.

James other talent was being incredibly dashing.

The Wedding

The wedding itself was just beautiful. The Winter Quarters temple is absolutely gorgeous, and it was just so fun to see Anthony and Heidi finally tie the knot.

I didn't get any really good pictures of them coming out of the temple because my camera chose that particular moment to stop working (I think it was cold). But here's one that turned out half-way decent.
The happy couple with all the brothers. Someone tell James he looks great in that red tie. I'm hoping he will wear it again someday.
The happy couple and the girls.

Cute Kate. Is it awful that I'm jealous of a 2-year-old's coat?
Just the girls. And in case you were wondering, no it wasn't cold. It was FREEZING.

The Reception

The reception was a grand old time of dancing, cake, good food, fun people. Here are some of my favorite pictures from the evening:

James trying to show my how to dance. I'm not so very good at following. Those are cherries on my dress, by the way. Awesome, eh?
George and Allison and Heidi and Anthony are all better dancers than me.
Chauncey, Melanie, and Kate grooving to the music.

James and Anthony - James's tie was a bit too long, hence it's tucked in.

Anthony, by this point, was very very tired.

Anthony and the lovely Heidi.

The West siblings minus Chauncey, who I think at this point had decided it was time to put the kids to bed.

Jamey and his mom.

The ladies at the reception. Isn't Heidi so beautiful?

The cutting of the cake. It was chocolate, which I think was a good choice.

Ok, I am sick of uploading pictures one by one! Those are the best of them, but there are more on facebook for any who are interested.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Well, I wanted to post lovely pictures of our wonderful trip to Nebraska for you all, but it seems I am having camera difficulties. I think it needs to be charged... it's tired, so it makes sense that it doesn't want to upload pictures right now, right? So, I am hoping it will be up and running soon, but in the meantime I thought it would be good to post and let you all know how we are.

Thanksgiving was massively wonderful --we even got a Thanksgiving dinner, which I did not expect. We actually made a Thanksgiving dinner on Sunday night and had wonderful Allison over, and our two awesome neighbors Maren and Duane came too. And then, after we pulled in to Nebraska Thursday evening we were offered another Thanksgiving feast by my new sister-in-law Heidi's wonderful family. Can you tell this was just wonderful? Well it was.

Anyway, so we went out to Nebraska to be there for my awesome brother in law (Anthony)'s wedding. He married a lovely girl named Heidi who I just think is great, and it was so fun to be there with them for their big day. Also it was delightful to be with (almost) the whole West clan. We talked a lot, shopped a bit, ate good food, and mostly talked a lot. Did I mention that we talked? I really think my sisters in law are just the awesomest. And I just got another one. Can my life get any better?

Our driving adventures included being lied to constantly by Karen the woman who lives inside the GPS, suicidal sagebrush throwing themselves in front of the car all the way home, a traffic jam, light snow, strong wind, and finally getting to Heber only to take a wrong turn somewhere and end up halfway to Duchesne instead of happily in Provo where we wanted to be. You gotta love it.

Anyway, I know you all just want to see pictures of the pretty dress, and the babies, and my handsome James, and me, but they are not ready yet so you will just have to wait. Suffice it to say, I had a wonderful holiday and I'm glad to be back home safe and sound at the end of it.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Stand By Your Man

So, BYU lost an extremely frustrating and horribly interception-ridden game to our rivals from the North. The game, the rivalry, the loss - it's all got me thinking this weekend about what it means to be a fan. After the game, though most of my heart was telling me it would only make me feel worse, I logged on to my favorite Cougar blog, Deep Shades of Blue, and read the many many comments of fans and detractors discussing the game. I was right, it did make me feel worse. But not really because with each comment I was reminded of the terrible game, but because I read so many comments trashing the coaching staff, Max Hall, the defense, the offense, the Utes, and anyone else that could be blamed for the so-called "meltdown." Too many people placed the blame entirely on Max Hall's shoulders and called for his immediate benching, and even went so far as to suggest quite vehemently that "any other quarterback" was better than Max Hall. And what all this led me to question was--these people call themselves fans? To me, being a fan means standing by your man - whether that man is Bronco Mendenhall, Coach Anae, Max Hall, the entire defense, offense, or the entire team. How is it going to make Max Hall play any better if we're all pointing fingers and booing him? Why do these couch-potato coaches think they can make better decisions than the real coaches who a.) know the players, b.) know the game inside and out, and c.) know the competition? Yes, I was disappointed and frustrated too, yes by the fourth interception I was shouting at Max too. But now that the game is over, I'm still a Max Hall fan, and I think he can come away from this, improve, and be the quarterback to beat the Utes (and everyone else) next year. Maybe it's a little naive of me, but I think it's better to stand by our team and buoy them up in what has to be a much bigger disappointment for them than for any of us.

Monday, November 17, 2008

All About James

What's your husband's name? James "The Devastator"... he wishes

How long have you guys been married? One year and three months

How long did you date? Debatable. According to me? two months and a bit. According to James? more like four months, because he counts when we started hanging out as dating. I do not.

How old is he? 24

Who eats more sweets? If we're in the same room, it's a tie. If he's in the room with the treats and I'm not, him. If I'm in the room with the treats, and he's not, me. :)

Who said I Love You first? I did, but he forced me to do it.

Who is taller? Some days he is, some days I am. It depends on who is standing up straighter.

Who is the better singer? We're both pretty darn bad... but James is charming when he sings, even badly.

Who is smarter? Depends on the subject. But I think I have the better grasp on reality ;)

Who does the laundry? Whoever needs clean clothes. :P

Who pays the bills? The blessed internet. Almost all the bills we have to pay go through automatically. It's genius.

Who sleeps on the right side of the bed? James, if you consider the right side to be your right if you're lying on the bed. Me, if the right side is the one on your right if you're standing facing the bed.

Who mows the lawn? The landlord, Chris! Thanks!

Who cooks dinner? Me, unless we're eating mac and cheese - James will usually at least start boiling the water for that before he gets distracted doing something else. Though, he has made several meals successfully on his own. As long as I leave the recipe and the ingredients all laid out for him ;)

Who drives? Whoever is too slow to say "1,2,3 not driving!" But James drives on Sundays, as a way to show his deep and abiding love for me.

Who is the first to say they are wrong? Neither of us are ever wrong. And we usually agree, so it works out ;)

Who kissed who first? He kissed me.

Who asked who out first? James asked me, after a few unsuccessful attempts.

Who wears the pants? We both wear pants, but I'm the only one who wears the skirts.

So there's James in a nutshell ;)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Things We Like to Eat

Ok, so I'm running low on good ideas for things to cook and eat around our house. I was thinking of cooking James, but the convenience factor just isn't there. So, I'm asking for all of your help. Every week I make these things:

Fried Chicken
Macaroni and cheese/Ramen
Little Caesar's Pizza*

These have become sort of family-favorite, staple foods of the Johansen West home, but I have learned I need a little more variety in my life. So, I would like to ask you, my friends and family, what are your family favorites? your easy meals? your meals that you are sick of? One family's staple is another family's exotic meal, so please share!

*Yes, I make it. I make Little Caesar's Pizza. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Particularly Awesome Video

This video is particularly awesome, so I thought I would share:

Thursday, November 6, 2008

NaNoWriMo: The Blog

Ok, so in addition to needing a due date, I also need accountability. . . . and feedback . . . and encouragement. Also James, rather sarcastically, told me that if I didn't share what I was writing then I was hiding my talent and displeasing the Lord. That's my husband for you. He also told me I made God cry when I voted for Barack Obama. What a man I married.

So, anyway, I did the only thing it seems I really know how to do, and I set up a blog. I will be posting each successive part or chapter as I finish it and I would love to hear from you - what you think, what's good, what's bad, what's interesting, what's boring, etc. I'd really appreciate it.

Thanks everyone!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

National Novel Writing Month

So, November is here. The first thing that means is that elections have finally come and gone and Barack Obama is the President-elect of the United States of America. I for one am pretty pleased with America's choice. James was disappointed that his candidate never even got mentioned in all the press coverage of the election despite his spectacular mustache, but we're looking into therapy, so don't worry too much.

The other thing that November means, for me, is that I will be participating in National Novel Writing Month. What that means is that I'll be trying to write an entire novel before the month is over. The goal for all participants is to get to 50,000 words. I've chosen to work on a story that has been mulling around in my mind for a few years now, and I'm excited to have this impetus to really get going on it. I know you serious writers don't need these artificial deadlines and outside pressures, but one thing I've discovered about myself is that I need a due date. So for better or for worse, I will be writing throughout the month of November, and will hopefully have a finished, if not too polished, novel by the end of the month! Wish me luck.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Happy Halloween

Yay! Halloween came and we celebrated it to the fullest extent. I had a work party on Thursday, then on Friday we went to James's work party, a ward party, a West Halloween party we've decided to dub West fest, and then on Saturday to the Wilde Halloween celebration. So many opportunities to wear our sweet costumes ;) So for those of you who didn't have the chance to view us in all our glory, here are our Halloween costumes:

Here's the detail on my dress - it was a lot of fun to make and I was pretty happy with the way it turned out... I'll be wearing this one for a few years to come!
James went to school in his costume and got many comments on how awesome he looked - also some threats that his coworkers should kidnap me so James could go on a series of awesome quests to rescue me... hm....

Here's me and James at our ward party - James is so cute, isn't he? I'm sorry I can't get the size right on this picture - I imported it from photobucket (it's one our ward activities people took, so I don't actually have the file), so if you just click on it you can see the whole picture.

Here's me, James, and our little fairy Navi... I mean, Allison. Isn't she just so cute? You can't see well in this picture, but Allison's hair was all blue and sparkly... and so was Allison--sparkly, that is.

Allison, who looks good in hats, decided Link wasn't doing such a good job and decided to grab his shield, sword, and hat - and take over! She looks pretty sweet.

Here's Aunt Ann, grabbing some of the awesome popcorn balls we made, Allison, Betsey and Elna at the great West Fest!

Here's Charlotte and Laura, pausing for a picture before they head out for the evening.

Here's Brad and Shelly - Brad went as Darth Vader at Alcoholics Anonymous - he had a nice beer belly and everything.

Sadly, I did not get any pictures at the Wilde party - as I was a bit distracted by yelling at the tv during the BYU/CSU game. But there were some awesome costumes... we had Venom, a mini pirate, Jack Skellington and Sally, some crazy disco-ers, and more. Oh, BYU won, by the way. So... no sobbing this weekend. Also, the Giants won today, so it's been a good one for us Wests :)

Hope everyone had a lovely Halloween - we sure did, and I am really looking forward to relaxing now that the costumes are behind me... whew!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Decision 08

So, election day is only four days away - depending on whether or not we count today. We've been hearing about these candidates for literally years now, if you count the primary elections (which I do), so many of us will just be relieved to have a new president and get on with our lives. And so, it is down to two... but wait, is it? Ok, we all know that a third party is not going to win the election, but do we even know what other parties are running and who their candidates are? I didn't, until today, so I thought I'd share what I'd learned.

First there's a guy named Chuck Baldwin, who gets points just for being named Chuck. He's running for the Constitution party. He apparently used to be a Republican but decided he hated Bush so much (in 2000, before the whole Iraq... thing) that he left the party and has been a vocal detractor ever since. Apparently he's buddy-buddy with Ron Paul, so whether that earns him points or a wedgie is up to you. A brief synopsis on his positions on the important issues of this election is provided by Wikipedia: "Baldwin strongly opposes the new world order, the United Nations, U.S. income taxes, the Patriot Act, and assaults on individual liberties in general; he would withdraw troops from Iraq and attempt to end illegal immigration. Emphasizing America's Christian heritage, he strongly supports the gold standard, the right to keep and bear arms, homeschooling, and pro-life legislation such as the Sanctity of Life Act." Read more at his campaign website. Chuck Baldwin everybody -

Next up, there's Robert Lawrence "Bob" Barr, Jr. representing the Libertarian party (more disgruntled Republicans). He apparently was one of the leaders of the impeachment of Bill Clinton. He has been called "the idol of the gun-toting, abortion-fighting, IRS-hating hard right wing of American politics" which is quite a title if you ask me. However, he, like Chuck above, has been vocal against the Bush administration and, like McCain, has earned himself the title of "Maverick."About Iraq, he has said "The next president should commit to a speedy and complete withdrawal from Iraq, and tell the Iraqi people that the U.S. troops will be going home." He apparently wants to repeal the 16th amendment and do away with income tax in favor of a Fair Tax. He opposed the national bailout bill (he seems to be against government meddling all together). Campaign slogan? Liberty for America. To read more about him visit the official campaign website. Ladies and gentlemen, Bob Barr and his wicked mustache:

Then there's Cynthia McKinney. You know, Barack Obama gets all this press (some say good, some say bad) and attention focused on his race. Sarah Palin gets all this talk about her being a woman and headed (possibly?) for the White House. Well get this... Cynthia McKinney is both black and a woman - and her running mate (Rosa Clemente) is also a woman. So there. They represent the Green party, and apparently at one point McKinney led an effort to try to impeach President Bush. She wants an orderly withdrawal from Iraq and supports human rights legislation. Read more about her at her official campaign website (which I am sad to say is not easy to navigate). Here she is everyone, Cynthia McKinney:

Whew, only two more to go. Did you know this many people were running? So, next up we've got Ralph Nader (again) running Independent. He ran for president in 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, and now again in 2008. He apparently wants to end the policy of pre-emptive war, supports a rapid withdrawal from Iraq, and favors cutting the "bloated military budget." He favors the Fair Tax system, and he wants to adopt a Wall Street securities speculations tax. As for the environment, he wants to adopt a carbon emissions tax and promotes exploring solar power before nuclear power. He's two years older than John McCain. Read more about the campaign here. Ralph Nader, everyone:

And, last but not least, Charles Jay of the Boston Tea Party (which I have decided is the best name for a political party ever). He is also apparently courting the Ron Paul supporters - his campaign website claims "Ron Paul Revolutionaries Welcome!"Apparently when he ran in 2004 with the Personal Choice Party, his running mate was an adult movie star. Not a former adult movie star, a current one. His website stinks and so does the Wikipedia article, so I can only sum up his platform through the platform of his party: "The Boston Tea Party supports reducing the size, scope and power of government at all levels and on all issues, and opposes increasing the size, scope and power of government at any level, for any purpose." Also they want to get out of Iraq and reduce the national debt. His lame website can be found here. So there you have it, folks Charles Jay:

What I see in common, among all the candidates except John McCain, is that everyone wants out of Iraq and what I see in common among all the candidates is no one likes Bush. They sure do know how to appeal to the current American. So, who am I voting for? Let's just say that despite the awesome name of his party and the zombie-esque nature of his campaign slogan from 2004, it will not be Charles Jay.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Colorado Trip

Well, for those of you who were confused about Thursday's post, the (uncontrollable) sobbing had to do with BYU's extremely poor showing in the game against TCU. There was not a moment of enjoyment in the entire game - not for me, not for the players. It was a beat down. Not fun. But I still love my Cougars, and I still think they're an awesome team and can pull out of this slump. So here's to next week, next game.

Luckily, the horrible TCU game did not ruin my weekend, because I had a trip to Colorado to look forward to! My brother's youngest son was being blessed this past Sunday, so James and I took a drive out to spend some time with them with that as an excuse. :)

We had an absolute blast - the kids entertained us with lots of goofy songs, many silly stories, and various hilarious games. Saturday after a delicious breakfast of pancakes, we headed out to a pumpkin patch where we saw lots of farm-type animals, ran through two corn mazes, and picked out two perfect pumpkins which we were to use later in the Great Johansen Pumpkin Carving Contest.

When we got home, we were treated to a delicious dinner of chili, after which the kids watched Land Before Time and we got everything ready for the GJPCC. Carving was a lot of fun, though the kids only dug out some of the guts and then advised Christian on what their pumpkin ought to look like - Ainsley. Much confusion ensued when the kids kept asking why Daddy was cutting them up (since the pumpkin was like them). Finally we were able to convince them that the pumpkin was not in fact Ainsley, it was Jack Pumpkinhead (thank you Return to Oz) and the carving was able to continue with no further distractions. Beck was the judge of whose pumpkin was the best, and very diplomatically declared that they were both good.

The blessing on Sunday was a wonderful experience and I was reminded how grateful I am to have the priesthood in our family. I'm grateful for such honorable priesthood holders as my Dad, my brother, and my husband, who are able to provide these beautiful blessings for our family. I was also reminded how much I want one of my own little critters. Well, all things in time.

Here are some of the best pictures from the weekend... all the rest I am posting on Facebook, so you can go peruse them there! :)

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Getting Ready for TCU

Seriously one of my favorite parts of BYU games. Actually, I don't think there is a part that's not my favorite. Definitely looking forward to tonight's game against TCU.

To read more about BYU's haka, visit this wikipedia article.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Tagged by Mom

Yeah, I know I just did it and yeah I know tags are a bit silly, but I'm bored and Mom sent this to me, so here goes:

8 Favorite TV Shows

1. Chuck (best show ever)
2. Monk
3. Psych
4. Lost
5. Heroes
6. Fringe
7. Friends
8. Scrubs

8 Favorite Restaurants
1. Gloria's Little Italy
2. Bangkok Tokyo
3. Beto's (now Rancheritos)
4. Burger Supreme
5. California Pizza Kitchen
6. Tucanos
7. Shoots
8. Wendy's

8 Things that Happened Yesterday
1. I cleaned the kitchen.
2. James and I got horribly lost getting to Emily and Ryan's.
3. James and I had a delicious dinner when we finally got to Emily and Ryan's (Butternut squash ravioli and stuffed peppers. mmmm).
4. We watched Chuck.
5. Our neighbors asked us to listen to their baby monitor while they ran a quick errand.
6. Evan (the baby) woke up.
7. I got to play with an adorable baby.
8. I made banana pudding.

8 Things to look forward to
1. Seeing Christian and Jen and the kids this weekend
2. Anthony's wedding in November
3. My Halloween costume
4. West Fest 08
5. Final installment of the Mistborn trilogy - out today! (James is bringing it home for me! Happy day)
6. BYU vs TCU this Thursday
7. Having a clean house...someday
8. Breakfast

8 Things I love about Fall
1. Trees changing pretty colors
2. Football
3. Wearing sweaters
4. Halloween
5. Thanksgiving
6. Pumpkin pie
7. Pecan pie
8. Did I mention pie?

8 Things on my wish list
1. For James to get the internship he wants
2. A home of our own
3. Leather couches ;)
4. A fambily
5. To have a clean office/craft room that's actually usable
6. While we're wishing, I wish for one of those machines on star trek where they would just tell it what kind of food they wanted and it would magically appear. I mean, scientifically appear.
7. And a holodeck, too.
8. And... one billion dollars.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Band of Horses

So, a long time ago my friends Brad and Shelly introduced me to this band, Band of Horses. I listened to it at their house and liked it - they even gave me a coupon for a free download, which I of course promptly lost, - but I never really followed up on it. Til this morning, when I went over to youtube and watched a bunch of their videos. And they are awesome, and so I would like to share one of their videos with all of you. Not only do I really like the song, but come on, this video is hilariously quirky. So here it is, enjoy! (Jen and Christian, I think you two will especially like this band) Please though, someone tell me who they sound like! They are really reminiscent of someone, but I can't figure out who it is.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Verdict Is In

Thanks for all your suggestions and votes... it got me even more excited for my costume. James pretty much overrode everything though when he decided he would be Link! Yay, a couple themed costume! It makes me so happy. So for the rest of the month I will be working away furiously on making my Zelda costume and James's Link costume - anyone have a long blond wig hanging around that I could borrow?