Living my Dreams Through Ren

As I thought what I would post about….I couldn’t think of anything interesting to write about. It has been a really long week of work and school for Karl and me. I get up at 5:30, get ready, read scriptures with Karl, spend my day at work with crazy adolescents that HATE me. Then I get home and if we have enough time/energy we go to the gym, or don’t and feel horrible about ourselves. We eat, do homework, sit around feeling exhausted, just to pass out around 10, just to start it over the next day. Not that life isn’t happy; it is! It is just a little full right now. I was all but decided not to post anything this week when at 10:30 last night there she was; Karen. Krysta and Zac were over. We were watching Speed Racer and loving it. It is a super-fast, super color saturated thing of awesomeness. Karen was everywhere. She has just recently learned to crawl, and has become a little speed racer herself. She scooted from one place in the room to another. Eventually Karl started to drink some water from a bottle, and Ren was interested. She loves water, and she wanted some. Karl and I spent the next half hour cracking up as Ren attempted to drink from the bottle. She did pretty well, but both she and I were soaking wet when the bottle was empty and since I didn’t have any baby cloths in the house to change her into, I found a small shirt from my mission:

It was hilarious! She just scooted around looking adorable all night. I found my story!

There is nothing like having an infant wear your smallest shirt to make you realize how big you are ; ). Her mom just tied a rubber band to the back of this elegant ball gown. This picture took me an especially long time to get. Ren love to play and she kept trying to come over to me as I came around her to take a picture of her back. We spent several minutes running In circles until I finally got this one.
Then she got distracted by the mirror. She loved to laugh at my expression in the mirror, and touch the baby on the other side of the glass.

Really the shirt was enormous on her, and for a while, she and I forgot all about the movie.

I mean look at that face! She is getting so big. Karl and I were agreeing that every time we see her she seems bigger and more aware. Her hair is getting so long and her one tooth is sticking out at last! Yes I am living my dream of having a baby through my friends. Zac and Krysta are great parents. I hope I can been as cool as them someday.

Stella and Enri Got Married!

Finally, Enri and Stela got married. These two have been together since I was a missionary! I remember when they were still in the “we are hiding it” weird Albanian dating phase. Stella look SO beautiful.

Yeah, Karl and I are cute, but not as hot as Stella and Enri!

The Risto’s were one of the strongest families I met in Albania. They did nothing be serve and love. They meant so much to me, but missionaries come and go. I didn’t know if they would remember me. I stayed friends with Stella and Enri at BYU-I, but I hadn’t heard from Brother or sister Risto since I left Albania.

To my surprise as I walk over to the large group congregated out side of the temple, Motra Risto, smiled big and said, “Motra Pipkin! How wonderful it is that you came!” And it was.

Here is President Risto, Motra Hunt, Motra Risto, Elder Hunt, and in the back…one missionaries that baptized them…Cameron Sessions!
For those of you who don’t know who Cameron Sessions is, let me enlighten you:

When my dad was a kid, his best friend was Jim Sessions; Cameron’s Uncle. When I was growing up, my family spent their summers in Modesto CA because of Pipkin Trucking’s migrant nature. Several of the Sessions families lived in the area. Including Jim’s family, and Cameron’s family. We attended the same ward and even spent time each other houses for BBQ’s. I had even had a little summer fling at the age of 13 with Cameron’s little brother Paul.

So you can imagine my surprise when as a missionary in Albania I saw a picture of Cameron hanging on the Risto’s wall. When we all met up at the wedding, it wasn’t me, but Sister Risto who told Cameron the story. What a small Mormon world!
Stella’s older brother, Dionis and Ina also just got married. So mom and dad Risto had two children get married within 3 days of each other. Here they are with Betty and John Hunt.

This is everybody. Their whole family sealed in the temple, and both of their children married in the temple…to ALBANIANS! Yes! Really, it is a miracle. This could be an Albanian first.
The Hunts were there. They Served in 2nd branch while they were in Albania. I spent 9 months of my mission in that branch and we spent about the same time frame in the country. They were wonderful to members and missionaries alike. Everyone loved them, including me.
Karl was going a little bonkers so luckily President Hunt was there to keep him entertained. The specifics of their conversation is probably not appropriate for this blog. 😉

Poor John, had surgery this summer. Karl called it his robo boot. It includes everything from metal plates to a cadaver bone…they call it “Bob’s bone.” I love the Hunts!
I also met up with my wonderful mission president and his wife. They scolded me for not talking to them much at their homecoming, but thanked me so much for coming. They too, and wonderful people who blessed Albania.

I was all smiles, and Karl was just ready to leave. I will get my come-up-ence. He has a mission reunion in a month.

Fun with Cousins and Horses

It was a Wednesday or Thursday evening, and grandma called. She asked if Karl could come and help grandpa move hay for the horses. Karl LOVES manual labor so he jumped at the opportunity to flex his muscles. Grandma mentioned that Nate and Branny were coming too and I said, “I can help too grandma.” She said I could go as a cheerleader if I wanted to. Which totally ticked me off for two reasons: One, just because I am a girl doesn’t mean I can’t do this kind of work and Two: I know I am at least stronger than Nate! (love ya cousin!)

The day came and Branny, Karl, Nate, and I met up with Grandpa at the mouth of Provo Canyon and headed off with a trailor full of hay to the place were the horses are kept.
Branny was the only one who had been before, so Grandpa put him in charge; calling him the foerman. Barnny had little intrest in this role, but did his best to get everything set up the way grandpa liked it.
We started…there were 105 bails and we were 6 young adults. (Brian and his friend…Craig I think, met us out there.)
Karl personally unloaded 2/3 of the entire trailor before he took a break. He was so awesome!

Here are Brian and Nate busy at work.

As we were nearing the end, we made a few realizations:

1. Even if you don’t have hay fever, hay makes you sneeze…a lot.

2. No matter what you do, sweat, dirt and hay are not a good mixture.

Grandma was proably right…being a cheerlead would probably been more fun. Although I really did enjoy getting in there. Next time I am wearing long sleves and gloves…yikes.

A few days later, we were all together again. In lieu of our first sunday dinner, grandma decided to get all the cousins together. Every one was there.

Cam, who is living in Salt lake came. It was really good to see him. He seems to be doing really great.

Of Course the newly weds were there!
Leah did a great job at her first big extended family gathering.
Lisa was in town from Canada. We found out it is a big mistake to even hit that she may be Candian. Karl asked her, “So are the cousins with the blog from Canada?” Lisa was like, “What?!” Karl replied, “You live in Canada and have a blog right?” For some reason this made her mader, and I found myself apologizing, for him and not understanding why. There must have been some misunderstanding. As we left Karl waved bye, and Lisa called out, “you go home.” So Lisa, what did you think that Karl said?

Then of course Kelsea and Nate Rock were there. I can’t beleive that Kelsea is in college. She spent most of the dinner trying to read her anthropology homework. She looks so good.

Heather, Janson, and Mike were there. I haven’t seen Jason for YEARS, and he looked really good. We finally me Mike! Grandma love him and is always gushing about how great these two are. We unfortunatly didn’t get to talk very much, but by all accounts grandma was spot on.

It was at this point that my camera batteries died. Jared and Diana were there, and they both, again looked really good. Randy and Dannette were there. I spent most of the evening talking to them. I had never met Dannette either. She had spent some time at Ricks, and so of couse we mostly talked about my beloved Rexburg. It was great. Grandma and Grandpa sat at the head of the table, seeming to just enjoy watching thier family interact with eachother.

It was a great evening!

Our Second

It’s been a couple weeks. We have been adjusting. A few things have changed in our home of late. First off, on the 26th of August, we celebrated our 2nd anniversary. It was weird, and awesome. When I was in the MTC, a speaker told us the week we left for Albania, that one day we would wake up, and we will have been in the country for 3 months, and we wouldn’t believe it, it will have gone so fast. The day he described, came, and he was right; I couldn’t believe it. The morning of the 26th was just like that. I looked at Karl sleeping next to me, and I couldn’t believe it. Not that two years is really even a bench mark of the time we will spend together, but I think that I can say that we are officially not newly weds anymore. (Or at least we can’t play the newly wed game show anymore.) My mom always asks, “So, how are things, are you two still in love?” I always answer yes, of course mom. Which is the truth. Our relationship dynamic is still the same, and we are still best friends. People tell us just give it time, you will want to take a break from eachother. No, not really. I would always rather be with Karl. He feels the same way. Sure we have great friends that we Not to get too cheesy, I hope that never changes. I know that we don’t have kids yet, and that will probably really change the dynamic of our friendship, but I hope not .Not to get too cheesy, I hope that never changes. I know that we don’t have kids yet, and that will probably really change the dynamic of our friendship, but I hope not.
Anywho, we went to Carino’s for dinner. For those of you who don’t know, while Karl and I were dating in California he worked as a server at Johnny Carino’s. At the time we ate there often, and every time we ever go to any other Italian place, we will inevitably say, “it was good, but Its not Carino’s. I would just rather have a Penne Gorgonzola.” We had a great time.

Here is Karl with his Penne! He loved it!
This is my baked tortenlloni. YUM!

On our way over we went to IKEA and bought a few little accents for the house. I have decided to add a bit of blue to the brown and orange. It looks good:

After dinner and IKEA we headed off to Costco…and bought something that I am not advertising on this blog. For more detail…call me.

We spent the rest of the evening together, talking about the old days…

Here on a hike near Occotillo, CA, on one of our disasterace hikes while dating in the Valley.
Bridge jumping…and yes, Karl almost lept to his doom.
Caving at the Darby Wind Caves near Driggs Idaho for Karls 22nd b-day.

The night Karl called my dad to ask him to marry me. Karl was really nervous, you can see it in his face. I was there to give him support.
And of course the best day of all…
Two years and going strong baby!!!
Let the Adventures continue.

The Weenie Roast

My feet when we first got to the site.

So when Karl and I got married, we had all sorts of hopes and aspirations to become campers. We even registered for all sorts of camping stuff. My aunt Susan was the only one who bought us anything in that area. It was a tent. Our second anniversary is on Tuesday and we have only ever set up the tent once…in our living room, the week after we got married, for 15 minutes. So although our intentions have always been good, we have never taken the opportunity to go camping, even though we have always intended to. Last night, we had the closest thing I have done to camping in a long time. A bonfire weenie roast. We have been to campfires and such in the resent past, but our location this time was so secluded a lacked things such as…seating that I had not prepared for. Our site:

Well it was rustic, with a few logs for seating and a fire ring.
Although some of the logs were a bit shady. Karl was especially nervous about this whole. He kept saying that a snake was going to jump out at any moment. I was more afraid of something like this:
That is Karl’s thumb for perspective. This thing was HUGE, and although he was found much later in in the night in a totally different place…this is what I was afraid of.
(Side story: Leah found him on the bridge on our way out, she scooped him up in this cup and brought him over for everyone to see. I was amazed by her courage when she let this 3 inch bug crawl on her clothed arm. She remained totally composed until he started climbing towards her face, and then even Leah couldn’t help but scream. As for me, I just stayed away.)

Well once seating was figured out we got started on a fire:

Brandon’s old buddy Ben, recently returned from Japan, joined us. He jumped right in and stared helping out with the fire. Branny joined in and in no time we had our fire.
Here is Leah and Sarah enjoying the extra kindling.
The problem was that it was still 90 degrees out side and we were sweating before we lit the fire. Karl was…uncomfortable:
You can’t really see it here, but his face was covered in huge beads of sweat.
Brandon was getting a little too…uncomfortable in the heat. He tried to alleviate himself by drinking some apple juice. We were all so hot most of the drinks were gone before we even ate.

Not that we weren’t having fun.
One of my BFF’s from my mission was there: Switzy!
Once we got cooking everyone was much happier.
Except Karl maybe….
We tried roasting pineapple…it was a good idea anyway.

Switzy really loved it! Well maybe just a little.
We also roasted Marshmallows and made smores with Reese’s peanut butter cups. Those were good. A few of us attempted to roast Starbursts but it was getting late and we were ready to go.

But before we left…we had one item of business to attend to:
This is Sarah, let us call her, Karah. She was gifted this lovely American Flag postage stamp faux fleece, mal-proportioned, blanket by her now ex-boyfriend. Lets call him Ames-Jay /piglatin. The story goes that he made this for her because he knew how much Karah loved the Constitution and the United States Postal Service. Now that they are broken up, it became necessary for Karah to incinerate this monstrosity.
Mostly it was really cool to be with my little bro-
My feet at the end of the night:

The Utah County Fair

This week I was at work reading the paper, when an add popped out at me. “Demolition Derby!” I knew we had to go. I spent the rest of the week inviting all of our friends to come with up. Dev and Sam, had other plans. Krysta and Zach, not with the baby. Brandon and Leah were in until the very last min, then bailed on us to clean their house. Yes that is our appeal. Anyway we really wanted to go so we called up Krysta and Zach and said, what about just going to the fair. They were in, and we did what you do when you go to county fair…we ate fair food.

Yes like all fair food, it was incredibly over priced, especially since I noticed that the box of Costco frozen corn dogs in the doorway of the trailer. (I saw the same box on sale earlier that day for $10. ) Yes, that is quite the mark up.

We waited for close to 40 min for our…”food”

I am still not sure that it is worth it. Although the fries were really good. Fresh home cut fried. Still $4? You tell me.

Karl hated waiting.

Although he had a huge Navajo bread before I even started my food.
We were comforted that the local law enforcement was vigilant and dutiful as they looked out for rebel Jedi threats and kept alternative weaponry at hand to defend the public.

We also visited some of the exhibits that the fair had to offer:
Karl was totally unimpressed with this honorable mentions winner.
I believe his exact words were, “That the —? This isn’t even any good!”

Judging was last Thursday…Karl thought they were rather un-delectable.
And of course what fair visit would be complete without a trip to the 4-H and FFA lambs. They were totally covered in flies. I had a close up, but it was WAY TOO close up to one of these guys bums!

Overall…I wish we could have gone to the derby.

Karl’s 24th

I love birthdays. Seriously. I love them. I love buying presents, eating ice cream, going out to dinner, and planning surprises. I love Karl’s birthday the best because …well I love Karl the best and so we always have a ton of fun. This year was no exception! His birthday started on Friday night after we got home from the temple.

Karl love to have his hair cut, so we started there:

He looks great, if I do say so myself!

Yes, I cut Karl’s hair my self. I have gotten much better, this is a picture of his first hair cut…
there was a lot of crying at the Hite house that night. But Karl is always a great sport about it. I went to an enrichment and got great training, so I am MUCH better than I used to be. I still get really nervous every time, but I am getting better, and this cut was the quickest and least stressful one yet.
We of course stayed up until midnight to ring in his birthday. I know it sounds really weird, but we had breakfast a midnight. Yep, steak and eggs, Karl favorite. I couldn’t finish mine, so Karl finished up for me.
Karl couldn’t wait to open his gifts, so he opened all of them right after breakfast.

Karl’s presents included, Munster cheese, zingers, full flavored coke, none of this diet stuff, Count Chocula., a new little fan, and the messiah series by Bruce R.
He also got cards from my grandma Denny, my mom, his Neil grandparents, and barney grand parents. His mom and dad also gave him a 6 month subscription to Netflix. (A gift given for both our birthdays.)
We did breakfast at midnight so that Karl could sleep in on his birthday. Which he totally did. It was 1pm by the time we finally got out of the house.

When Karl was a kid, his mom would take her children to a special lunch out on their birthday. Karl would always pick subway. So that’s where we went. He had a double meat roast beef six inch, AND a Meatball Marinara six inch.

After lunch we did some birthday shopping, went to all of our fav thrift stores, Plato’s Closet, etc. We both got some fun stuff.

(Karl, here, testing out alternate transportation options…he was really close to choosing this one.)
At 3, we met up with out buds, Krysta and Zach, oh, and Ren of course, and played pool!
Karl and I…trying to look like pros

Krysta and Ren looking like hotties!

Zac actually looking like a pro!


It turned out that I am not very good at pool. Krysta kicked my trash after I hit the eight ball in first. Yeah, I was bad.

Karl and Ren…I don’t know who looks happier
After pool, at around 8, we all met up with Dev and Sam at Fudruckers for dinner! We were so stuffed!

Karl got a 3/4 pound Southwest burgur. It was huge…but he ate the whole thing.

This is my 1/2 pound burger, that I didn’t even come close to finishing 1/2 of!

Krysta and Zac were good sports, they don’t eat a lot of meat, so it was a bit much for them, they look so happy though, you would never know. They were total champs about it!

Dev and Sam…drinking milkshakes.
Then at about 11, we headed over to Krysta and Zach’s house, where Krysta had bought an amazing Marie Calender’s Chocolate turtle pie…no one could eat it. We were all too full. We light some candles and sang happy birthday! We’re joining a gym!

New Socks

When Karl and I were first married we shared socks. In fact we have continued to share them until just recently. At first we just bought two big bags of white tube socks and white ankle socks. We also had bunches of “butt rubby” or black business socks. The arrangement worked out fine until the elastic would start to stretch out and the heal of the sock would be near my mid-calf. Or until I would loose one of Karl church socks and he would have to wear mismatched socks to church. We forgot the problem with the arrival of summer I didn’t wear socks. Then winter rolled back around, and it wasn’t that big of a deal because my mom bought me some ladies business socks which I wore through the season. Now summer is back and I am on an exercising mission to loose weight. And running around with black business socks, ladies business socks, or huge old ankle sock became a bit of a problem. Well on Saturday, Karl’s 24th birthday, three weeks shy of our 2nd anniversary, we did it, we made the big move…we bought real live his and hers gym socks. I wear a size 9 and Karl wears a size 13. It is about time. The funny things collage kids do to save a buck.

An Impromptu Missionary Reunion

Another Day, another gathering.  I have not been able to attend any of my mission reunions because of timing and the fact that we have been living in the great white north for the past two years.  I have lived in Provo for three and a half months now and have seen more of my mission companions than I have in those two years.  It has been wonderful.  Today was Motra and President Clayton’s homecoming talk. The meeting house was full of all of these people:

President Clayton and Motra Clayton are on the left hand second row from the bottom.  He has white hair, with a yellow tie, with his wonderful wife in yellow next to him.  The rest of the group is a hodge podge of Albanians and return missionaries.  Most of my friends are with me in the upper right hand corner, but there are several kids, including Couple Missionaries, that are good friends also.  

 Krysta Lee Cox Whitmore, Ledija Beshku, Sheana Switzer, Nicole White Moultier, Lorena Baboci, Remington Brundage Richards, and of course chubby old me.

These are my girls, my MTC companions, Switzy, Pippy, and Bardha!

Another delightful part of the day, I saw my other mission President and his wonderful wife, President and Motra Colton.  They look just the same, happy and wonderful.

A table of wonderful Albanians!  Ridi, oh, it was great to see her! Lorena, and all the girls!

The Best of Times, and the Worst of Times

We made it. Karl and I survived our first weekend apart from each other. What in the world would separate a love like ours? These people:

Brandon and Leah Pipkin

Zach and Danielle Hite

YES. That is right, our brothers got married on the same day. This is why it was the best of times and the worst of times: Everyone loves a wedding, and no one likes to miss one. I can only report on what I have personally experienced. So the pictures on my blog will be from my brothers wedding. Karl will post stuff from Zach’s wedding on his blog…See the link on the left side of the blog, labeled Karl.

To be honest, I was pretty miserable the whole weekend. My mom keeps telling me to focus on the positive, so rather than reherse all the horrible things I had to do and work through this weekend, I will focus on the happy times,

my little brothers wedding.

We were all together for the first time since before my mission! It was so wonderful! Mom and Dad even stayed an extra night to be with all of us longer.

I was with my wonderful mother!
My stellar and supportive dad, always a treat to see.

My hot but geeky little sisters.

Maryn and her AWESOME bangs. And jewelry!
Lionel and Randell’s walk off. Lionel won, obviously!

Seeing my wonderful dad! Also seeing him in a matching tie! (The man on the left is Leah’s dad, Ron Reigns, the inventor of the snickers ice cream bar.) I just love my dad! It was so good to be with him!

Sisters…yes brandon and leah have red hair on both sides…their kids are doomed!
and of course…a new sister! Leah, Welcome to our family!