Friday, August 31, 2012

The First Two Weeks

Monday:
I love school.

Tuesday:
Just hang in there, it will be worth it in the end.

Wednesday:
I don't love school anymore.

Thursday:
I must be crazy to be doing this. I'm pretty sure I'm going to die. Find a happy place. Move to happy place and forget school.

Friday:
Ooh - it's Friday! No classes. That's a happy place.

Sunday:
Last week wasn't SO bad. I can do this. I love school.

Yep. That about sums it up.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Pay Day

You should know that my parents HATE Nacho Libre. You should also know that I LOVE Nacho Libre...ok, mostly just quoting it. I have successfully forced my parents to watch Nacho at least twice.

Now that you understand the background, you should also understand why the greatest pay day EVER was hearing my Mom say quietly to herself last night "I wanna win!" (Said with a distinctly Nacho accent). Wha ha ha! Nacho and his sweats are taking over!!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Lost It

People say you lose it once you get engaged. I have fought hard to deny that reality. Last week - it became undeniable.

A good friend and I decided to visit another good friend at the Fair to support the booth she was in charge of. I checked the website for the Utah State Fair for admissions fees and hours of operation, filled up my car with gas for the drive to Salt Lake, and picked up my friend for our grand adventure. We talked and laughed all the way to Salt Lake. We found the State Fair Grounds with little effort and without getting lost (that's a big deal for me in Salt Lake...ok, or anywhere). Then we looked inside the Grounds. They were completely empty. No one anywhere! Wierd.

So, we called our friend. Guess what? She was at the Fair. But the Utah County Fair in Spanish Fork! Three hours and some minutes after we started our journey...we finally made it to the Fair. Oh boy. Good thing the company was awesome cuz that was the LONGEST drive to Spanish Fork of my ENTIRE life!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

A Late Apology

To any of you still reading this blog - thanks for sticking it out. And sorry for being such a slacker. I will try to be better. But you should know up front that there is a great possibility that this blog will become the diary of a Grad student - that and a tracker for wedding planning. So, I hope you don't mind too much. But stay tuned...this could get interesting.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Our Once Upon A Time


I should probably feel guilty that my blog has gone sappy...but...what can I say. Love is in the air?

Well, our story is certainly a tale as old as time ... our story starts - guess where? - the singles ward! I know, I know. I said I would never be one of those people who met their future spouse in the singles ward. It always seemed a little cheesy. But...The Lord has a sense of humor. Anyway, we met in February and became casual friends. I thought he was super cool - but when we first met I was doing full-time school and work so I honestly wasn't interested in a relationship. Luckily, or sadly...the poor guy thought I was interested in someone else so he never asked me out.

Fast forward a couple of months. This is where we had a little Divine Intervention...It was my Mom's birthday. Uncharacteristically, a friend and I decided to kidnap her for a girls night and go to dinner. As we were sitting there eating some super tasty food - in walked Placido. I thought, 'Hey, I know him. I should say hi.' So I did. Ten minutes later I came back to our table with a date for that Saturday.

Saturday he sent me a message saying he would really like to invite me to go to dinner with him. It was such a sweet way to ask - immediately I was intrigued. We had an awesome time! We laughed and joked, had deep conversation, and felt completely comfortable with one another. I think I knew after that first date - but it sure took me a long time to admit it.

For the next couple of months we continued to 'go on dates' and I absolutely loved spending time with him. The more I got to know him - the more I liked him. But I refused to admit we were dating. Honestly, this time it was my turn to think he was interested in someone else...so I profusely swore we were just going on dates as friends. Then, slowly everything changed. Somewhere along the way we fell in love. And in a quiet, subtle way we both just knew we wanted to and were supposed to get married. And poof - all of the sudden I was calling the temple and booking a reception hall.

And now there's a ring on my finger, a date in my planner, a dress in my car, a caterer on speed dial, and a whole lot of lovin' in my heart. We've made some great memories already and I can't wait for eternity to make a whole lot more!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Suprise! I'm Getting Married!

Stories are great. And everyone seems especially interested in this one. So, here it is.

We were supposed to go to the gym Tuesday for lunch. But I got a text 20 minutes before he showed up saying he wanted to talk instead. Immediately my stomach sunk. I just knew he was going to break up with me or something horrible like that. Well, he picked me up and we started driving - I had no idea where we were going until we turned up the road by the Timpanogos temple. Then I thought - 'There are only two reasons we would be going to the temple. 1) He is going to propose or 2) He is going to break up with me and knows I can't kill him if he does it on temple grounds.' I'm morbid - I know.

We got out and sat on the grass and I had to remind him he wanted to talk. He was like, 'Oh yeah. I almost forgot.' Nerd. So he started talking about our first date and the first time he knew he wanted to be with me and the things he loved about me. Then he started talking about how excited he was to have a family together and raise them in the Gospel. Finally he said, 'So I just have one question for you. Do you really want to marry me?' Of course I said yes! He reached in his pocket and pulled out a Subway napkin. Ha ha - I love that kid. Sure enough the ring was inside. He knelt down and pow - just like that we were engaged. Jealous? You should be. He's a keeper. But I'm not sharing. Sorry.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Retiring The Running Shoes

Remember THIS post? Well...

Slowly I unlace them, my precious running shoes.
Gingerly I place them on the shelf where they belong.
But this time is different - I won't be lacing them again;
My running career has ended, my running shoes are done.

A toast to those who still run this race,
whose feet are prone to flee -
Keep running fast and far, my friends
Just know you run without me.



Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Blast From The Past

Okay - so this post was supposed to be published like...a while ago. Sorry. Slacker? Yep - that's me.

How cool is this - last week a friend and I had lunch with our 11th grade weight lifting coach. Yep - an entire decade later and we're still good friends. I'm surprised that she didn't give up on us years ago! We were nuts in high school (and still are)! Hopefully we've grown up a little since then - though it's highly doubtful. It's always awesome to see her and no matter how long it's been, it feels like we just saw each other yesterday.

I didn't realize until recently just how much I have gained from Coach: weight lifting knowledge, a disdain for running, a love of (or tolerance of) Diet Coke, an insatiable desire for knowledge and learning, an understanding that learning is hard work but pays incredible dividends, an appreciation for great literature, a sense of self-confidence, and a deep respect and gratitude for those who dedicate their lives to quality education. So, here's to a decade of learning from a truly amazing teacher! Thanks Coach!

Monday, April 23, 2012

How I Painted My Puppy

For your sakes - I wish I had pictures. But, since I don't - a thousand words will have to do. :) Tuesday I came home to work on my house for the last time (insert slightly sad sigh here). It was warm and sunny. I needed to paint the outside doors and mow the lawn so I was extremely grateful for the sunshine. I opened the front door, put up the baby gate in the doorway so the tiny puppy couldn't escape and put a towel under the door so I didn't accidentally paint the carpet

Piper thought the towel on the floor was just for her and plopped herself right in the sun. She was far enough away from the door that I didn't think twice. So I started painting. As soon as I painted far enough down the door that Piper could reach the wet paint, she decided she needed to smell it. So, naturally, she got a little bit of paint on her face and ears. I scolded her and she returned to her spot in the sun. I finished painting the door, went to put the roller in the other room, and returned just in time to see her snuggle up next to the door. ON THE WET PAINT! I pulled her off (thankfully before the paint dried and she became a permanent fixture on the front door). But her entire side was matted with white paint. She looked ridiculous! I realize it was completely my fault for assuming she could handle wet paint (duh!) and for leaving her alone with said wet paint. But still...seriously? Stupid dog!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Of Heaven And Hell

Last week I think I experienced the ENTIRE spectrum of emotions. It was an amazing yet slightly traumatic week.

Monday: I listed my house for sale.

Tuesday: Someone called to look at my house. But I wasn't ready yet. So I took a half day and finished painting and yard work.

Wednesday: My closest friend at work was let go. And to make things worse, her job wasn't eliminated ... it's been moved to me. Talk about awkward. But Wednesday I also took my final for Lab - only one more to go!!

Thursday: Signed the contract to sell my house. We close May 21st. Kinda freakin' out.

Friday: Aced my last test of the semester for lecture. Just one more class and the final - then I'm free! And found out that I passed my Anthropology class. Whoo hoo!

Saturday: Had a fantastic time shopping, eating yummy food and hanging out with my whole family! Best day eva! Also found out someone very close to me has decided to move in with their significant other. Not so best news eva.

Sunday: Sacrament. Rejuvenation. Strength to keep going. How grateful I am that no matter how crazy emotional the week is - Sunday always comes. And how grateful I am for the restored Gospel which gives me such peace and perspective. God is good - all the time!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

It's My Birthday And I'll Blog If I Want To

A few weeks ago on fast Sunday one of the sisters bore her testimony ... it was her birthday. That was tender. And she cried. Then she said, "Well, I guess it's my birthday so I'll cry if I want to". Audible laughter. Awesome!

So, I decided since today is my birthday and I don't really want to cry, I'll blog instead. Cuz I want to. So thank you for joining me for this epic post. That is all.

Friday, March 30, 2012

WARNING!

All stuffed animals be warned. This house is armed and dangerous. Picture proof below.

Notice the innocent looking dog hiding just outside the doorway...

At least the mouth she created is in the right spot. :)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

It's a Festival!

Yesterday after lunch I happened to glance out the window. On the mountain near my office there was a huge festival going on! There was a big canopy up and lots of cars and tons of people. It was a beautiful, sunny day - perfect for a festival.

Then it dawned on me. The mountain behind us isn't a park....

It's a cemetery.

And my festival...was actually a funeral. Face palm.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Betcha Can't Find Me

Piper plays hide-and-seek. Seriously. She sits in the family room and waits for me to hide. Then, as soon as I say, "Okay, come find me" she jumps up and starts tearing through the house to find me. When I hide somewhere new, she runs through the whole house and then stops outside the family room door and cries for a minute before starting the search again. It's pretty hilarious. For the dog who doesn't hold still long enough to lay down on command - it's pretty impressive that she can search for me in a house full of distractions and people without getting distracted. And she is so proud of herself when she finds me! It's pretty cute. And I decided if she's smart enough to play hide-and-seek ... she's smart enough to write my Anthropology papers for me...right?!

Friday, March 9, 2012

The Sun Will Rise

The Sun Will Rise by Kelly Clarkson is officially my new favorite song. It reminds me of one of my all-time favorite quotes from General Conference:

"I think of how dark that Friday was when Christ was lifted up on the cross. On that terrible Friday the earth shook and grew dark. Frightful storms lashed at the earth. It was a Friday filled with devastating, consuming sorrow that gnawed at the souls of those who loved and honored the Son of God. I think that of all the days since the beginning of this world’s history, that Friday was the darkest. But the doom of that day did not endure. The despair did not linger because on Sunday, the resurrected Lord burst the bonds of death. He ascended from the grave and appeared gloriously triumphant as the Savior of all mankind.

Each of us will have our own Fridays—those days when the universe itself seems shattered and the shards of our world lie littered about us in pieces. We all will experience those broken times when it seems we can never be put together again. We will all have our Fridays. But I testify to you in the name of the One who conquered death—Sunday will come. In the darkness of our sorrow, Sunday will come. No matter our desperation, no matter our grief, Sunday will come. In this life or the next, Sunday will come."
-Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, October 2006 General Conference

I hope this Friday is not a dark one - but if it is, hang on. The sun WILL rise and Sunday WILL come!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

How Many High Priests...

Does it take to turn off a fire alarm? Five. And a hammer, screw driver and crow bar.

Saturday I met up with a bunch of wardies to clean the building. Another ward was having a breakfast while we were there and they managed to set off the fire alarm. Apparently no one has keys to the closet where the alarm is. And apparently it goes off so often that the fire department doesn't even bother responding any more. So...after an hour of cleaning to the beat of the fire alarm...five high priests and an elder from our ward finally took the hinges off the door. Is it sad that my Saturday morning was so boring that sitting at the church for an extra hour just to watch the guys break open the door was exciting???

Monday, March 5, 2012

Last week a friend of mine kept saying how tired she was - much more tired than usual. Every day she was so exhausted and she couldn't figure out why. Then she happened to look at the box of tea she had been drinking all week - it was sleepy time tea. BAH HA HA!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Ward Conference

My favorite part of Ward Conference Sunday:

"We would like to sustain brother So-and-so as the pianist for the Relief Society."

Followed by an audible "Huh?!"

And concluded with Bishop's comment about Brother So-and-so, "Well, that was wishful thinking on his part."

Monday, February 27, 2012

What Greater Gift

Not too long ago a close friend of mine brought her second beautiful baby girl into this world. I had the precious opportunity to visit them in the hospital, accompanied by another close friend. There was something special, almost sacred, in that hospital room. Perhaps it was the tiny spirit who so recently left the presence of her Father in Heaven. Perhaps it was the beautiful, loving relationship between my friend and her awesome husband. Perhaps it was the smile of a gorgeous two-year-old, proud to be a new big sister. Perhaps it was the quiet, deeply rooted friendship which has existed for more than a decade between the three friends who gathered there. Perhaps it was a little of each.

'What greater gift does thou bestow, what greater goodness can we know than Christ-like friends, whose gentle ways strengthen our faith, enrich our days. For worthy friends whose lives proclaim devotion to the Savior's name, who bless our days with peace and love, we praise they goodness, Lord, above' (LDS Hymns, 293).

Friday, February 24, 2012

For Better or For Worse

No...sadly this isn't a post to announce a wedding...but the title seemed oddly fitting. As I drove to work yesterday morning, I paused in my usual morning routine of rushing past slow drivers and actually took a moment to enjoy the view. The snow-covered mountains were breathtaking with the early morning sun glinting off of their craggy ridges. As I looked at those beautiful mountains, a sense of peace and calm came over me. With emotion usually foreign to that time of morning, I thought to myself, "This is it. This is my home. This is where I belong."

Living in Utah has it's down sides - slow drivers, endless road construction, crappy pay checks, brutal winters, snow in July and only two good months of summer. But it also holds unparalleled beauty - the majestic snow-capped mountains, the red rock of southern Utah, soon-to-be 13 operating temples, the family I love so dearly, so many of the friends who have helped define me and better me throughout the years, the new friends waiting to be discovered, the grand adventures I've had, the new adventures waiting around the corner. So, Utah, I'll take your schizophrenic weather patterns and orange barrel state flowers - and I'll stick it out (for now), for better or for worse, because underneath all that blasted snow - there really is something worth investing in.

Monday, February 20, 2012

A Piper Post

I think I should get an award for posting the most dog posts in a row...sadly you can see what my life revolves around. Here are a few pics - for no real reason...just cuz. 
This is the shirt that Matt got her for Christmas.
Does this shirt make my butt look big?

Can you please stop torturing me and take this stupid shirt off?

This is her favorite place at my parents house - staring longingly at the outside...

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Ominous Interview Day

Last Friday was the official interview day for the Occupational Therapy program at the University of Utah. Let me tell you how it went down.

Step One - Herd all 70+ awkward interviewees into a conference room and spend an hour talking about the program and the field (Great information during this part!!).

Step Two - Break awkward interviewees into groups of 6-7 (The schedule varied by group here...but since I was only in my group, the rest of the steps are in order of what we did).

Step Three - Second year grad student takes group on building tour (Our tour guide was adorable. And the work load of the program hadn't killed her yet ... that's always a good sign).

Step Four - Group activity (i.e. 'You have 12 minutes to take these tinker toys and make something functional that is not a car or a truck. Ready...set...go.' Of course, as soon as they said 'not a car or truck' - the only thing I could think of was a car or truck. Thankfully there were smarter people in our group than me. Sadly...they were also my competition. Dang.).

Step Five - 50 minutes to write a 3 page personal statement (Boo Ya for the English degree - specifically the B.S. degree. This was the one part I was totally not worried about - note that: the ONE part).

Step Six - Awkwardly make conversation with other interviewees while waiting for personal interviews to start. And realize all of them deserve this just as much as you do. That realization is a killer - I really hope they all get in. The bad news? If they all get in...I don't.

Step Seven - Ten minute personal interview with two faculty members (10 minutes? Seriously! 10 minutes = not enough time to adequately convince you I'm cool enough for grad school but just enough time to sound like a complete idiot. Face palm!).

Step Eight - Spend the next month agonizing over the ten painful minutes of personal interview and hoping that somehow 70 applicants divided by 30 spots = everyone gets in. I've never been very good at math...those odds can work out, right?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A Truly Beautiful Valentine

Yesterday was the best Valentine's Day! I didn't get roses or a kiss from a special someone. Heck - there isn't even a special someone at all! But yesterday I saw first-hand what Valentine's Day, and love, are truly about.

An amazing friend of mine has stood by her boyfriend's side for the last year and a half as he has battled cancer. Their story wasn't supposed to play out like this. They fell in love. They were supposed to get married and live happily ever after with beautiful fat babies. Right? Isn't that how a love story is supposed to go?

But that's not how their story went. He got cancer. And their story changed forever. Instead of planning a wedding and savoring the giddy moments of a growing love, she gave up her entire life to be by his side every step of the way. She has slept on hospital beds for weeks during his chemo treatments. She has organized fundraiser after fundraiser, sold her car and given up everything of monetary value to raise money for the bone marrow transplant he needed to save his life but insurance refused to cover. Words cannot even begin to express the level of sacrifice, loyalty and love she has shown.

And yesterday, I went to her house at 9:35 at night. I found her in sweats and a hat, cleaning her house. She had been cleaning for hours and hours - disinfecting every inch and preparing for today. Today he will be released from the hospital. He is completely immunocompromised after an intense 3 weeks in the hospital for a full bone marrow transplant. And for the next 100 days, he will be staying in the spare bedroom of her Mom's house so she can continue to be by his side and help him through his recovery.

I hope and pray that some day their story will yet hold a magnificent wedding, beautiful fat babies and days of bliss. I hope future Valentine's Days will bring roses, fancy dinners and romantic get aways for them. But today, Valentine's Day looks like disinfectants, vacuum cleaners and washrags. Today, true love looks like sweats and a baseball cap.

"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." - John 15:13

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Dog and The Frog

I bought Piper a frog for Valentine's day. Ok - it had nothing to do with Valentine's day. It was just because I've had this obsession with finding a ridiculously huge stuffed animal for my tiny dog. And Valentine's day happens to be the perfect time for obscenely large stuffed animals. I wondered what the lady at the check out was thinking when she rang it up. I thought about clarifying and saying, 'No, I am not one of those chicks that thinks this is a great gift for a grown man.' But I didn't. Instead I chuckled to myself as I thought about 'those girls'. Anyway, Piper loves her frog - and by love I mean eats. It's pretty hilarious to watch. The poor frog's body shakes as she attacks it and slowly it disappears behind the furniture. Then Piper emerges from behind the chair, panting like crazy and plops down in the middle of the floor for a rest. Apparently attacking a stuffed animal at least ten times your size is exhausting.
The dog to frog ratio is a little obscured cuz she kept inching closer to me.

Quick! I've got it's arm!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Welcome Home

When we come home, James and I greet Piper the same way: "Hi Piper! Don't pee!!" (Repeat that...but this time in a really obnoxious high pitched voice...yep, that's about right).

I don't know if it really helps or not - she hasn't been having accidents as often when she first sees us. But it never ceases to amuse me how dumb we must sound. And I can only imagine what people would say if we greeted them that way...

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Worth of a Soul

I was reminded of a powerful truth a couple of Sundays ago. I was talking with my Mom about how The Lord doesn't call those who are qualified - He calls those who need that calling to learn and grow. Naturally, I thought of my mission. At one point I had a companion who didn't want to do the work. She was discouraged and frustrated. And as I focused on encouraging and strengthening her, I started to get frustrated with her. I felt myself getting upset that we were not tracting or teaching or baptizing like we should have been. I felt we were failing as missionaries because we were not bringing souls unto Christ. And I was confident that if this sisters attitude were different, we would be achieving those goals. I felt like I knew what we should be doing and how we should be doing it and yet I couldn't achieve it because my companion was holding me back. Sadly I admit, I felt it was her fault we weren't reaching our goals because she was turning the focus back on her when it should have been turned outward to the people and investigators around us.

While I recognize the pride in that attitude and have tried really hard to overcome it, I recently found myself in a similar situation with a leader and I started to feel some of that frustration creeping back into my heart. But as I talked with my Mom I realized what an amazing testimony this is of God's love for each of us individually. He didn't call my companion to serve and then get angry when she wasn't perfect at fulfilling that calling and when she didn't baptize 150 people that transfer. He understood when He called her that she needed to learn and grow. And He will take care of  those 150 people until they are found, taught and converted - even though it wasn't by me and my companion. And He was willing to do that because my companion needed to be saved and the hard things she learned on the mission were a critical piece in that salvation. And SHE was worth it to Him. Her soul was precious enough that He called her to serve instead of calling someone like Elder Holland to serve there in her stead - even though Elder Holland would have likely found 2,000 people to bring to Christ that transfer and we didn't bring any.

It isn't a numbers game to our Father in Heaven. He isn't interested in putting the person in a leadership role who will 'save' the greatest number of people. He is interested in calling the person who most needs to be saved - the person that leadership role may end up saving. Obviously this is not the doctrine of leadership and I don't mean to contradict that doctrine as it has been taught by Prophets and Apostles in any way. I was simply reminded of the profound truth that each person - individually - is truly of infinite worth to our Father in Heaven. And I am SO grateful for that truth! It certainly helps me to have greater patience with those who serve as leaders when I remember it.

Monday, February 6, 2012

A Boy's Best Friend

I heard growling. So I turned around. There was James, almost 21, kneeling on the floor with the dogs toy hanging out of his mouth and growling in unison with the tiny dog on the other end as they played tug-of-war. It was priceless - I was admittedly disgusted that he actually put her toy in his mouth - but it was nonetheless priceless. And I'm pretty sure if I had managed to snap a picture in time - someone would probably take away his man card.

She Cries

In Psychology last semester we talked about how babies have different cries - the hungry cry, the sad cry, the startled cry, the angry cry, the hold me cry ... you get the picture ... and I'm sure all of you with kids are intimately acquainted with those cries!

Anyway, I realized this morning (not because I want to compare my dog to your kids...but sometimes there really are some pretty funny similarities) Piper definitely has her own set of cries - almost all of which revolve around playing (or food) in one form or another (that's why she and James are such good buddies - they are both motivated by two things: playing and food. ;) ). Here are a few of her cries:

- You have my ball! I KNOW you have my ball! Give me my ball!! (Accompanied by jumping and sniffing you for said ball)

- Food!! Can I PLEASE have your food?! Please?? (Insert pitiful puppy eyes and head cocking)

- Hey! You aren't paying attention to me! Don't you know the world revolves around me?! (Usually just one whimper. Just enough to get you to look at her. Then she wags her tail and runs to find a toy)

- Play????? (This cry follows the cry for attention...usually because she's come back with a toy to find that you are again not paying attention to her)

- My bone! My bone! I need to bury my bone! (Insert Piper wandering through the house in obvious distress with her half chewed bone hanging out of her mouth)

- There is a person over there - I see them! But they aren't fawning over me!! There is something wrong with this picture! Please come play with me!! (She will stare at them, wag her tail, cry and then turn to look at me like 'Help. It's not working!')

But my very favorite cry is the 'I'm SO excited to see you!!' cry - accompanied by profuse tail wagging, jumping up and down repeatedly and lots of puppy kisses. :)

Friday, February 3, 2012

Hmm...

Is it bad that I bought a new planner ... and the only dates written in it have to do with Piper?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT!

For Christmas I bought my brothers the Pass of all Passes - thinking that as two teenage boys they would love being able to go to Seven Peaks and Trafalga and all that jazz for free all summer long. And it would encourage sibling bonding since they could go together, right?

Well, before the Christmas break was over, my parents and I were totally jealous of their super cool passes and all the stuff they got to do with them. So we bought one for each of us as well. We spent that first week going to Trafalga and playing mini golf, taking my Mom laser tagging and a few other fun things. But the options are still a little limited until March when we can go ice skating and May when we can start going to Seven Peaks.

But, one of the perks of these passes is that you get into a couple of Grizzlies hockey games for free. One of the free games was on the 19th and my Mom and I decided that would be a great mother-daughter bonding opportunity. -I interrupt this story to comment how freaking awesome my Mom is! Some moms get pedicures, facials or go to chick flicks with their daughters (which is fine for them) but my Mom and I bond over sweaty men beating the crap out of each other with hockey pucks and big sticks. AWESOME! Resume story. - Well, we got there an hour early and told the nice lady at the ticket office to give us the best seats she had left. Obviously she didn't read the "Pass of all Pass holders get the crappy seats in the upper bowl" memo because she gave us FRONT ROW seats!! That's right! So front row that you felt like you were literally sitting on the ice with the players front row. So front row your legs fell asleep from the cold front row. So front row you had to hold on to your soda when they smashed into the glass or it would have ended up all over you front row. Here are some pics and videos for your viewing pleasure. Sorry for the crappy quality - they are just from my phone. I would have brought the camera if I thought we were going to be on the front row!


Smile Mom. This is for posterity.

Yay for Zamboni's! I've loved these crazy things since I was little - they are the only good thing about ice.

Play Ball ... I mean Hockey

Griz was harassing my Mom. Better document it.


Monday, January 30, 2012

The Mason's Temple

The final piece of the Robert Burns Night 2012: The Mason's temple in Salt Lake and assorted tidbits!

One of the Association members is a member of the Mason's so he was able to give us a full tour of temple - which was incredible! There are so many architectural styles showcased beautifully throughout the temple. My favorite room was probably the Auditorium which has amazing acoustics and a gorgeous night sky complete with working lighted constellations in the dome (please note that this building was built in the 1920's so the fact that you can stand anywhere in the auditorium and be heard because of the original acoustics...that's pretty freaking awesome!). But it's hard to pick a favorite with so many amazing rooms to choose from! It was by far the highlight of the evening!

After the tour, we had a delicious dinner of perfectly normal food (including strawberry short-carbs...we couldn't decide on strawberry shortcake or shortbread...so we just stuck with what we knew...carbs. :) ). I did not eat any Haggis - even though they claimed it was the best Haggis in all of Utah. After dinner we enjoyed a fantastic evening of Robert Burns poems, songs and prose. And we ended with the traditional singing of Auld Lange Syne. It was a great night and I am so glad that Mandy invited me to come with her! It is a tradition for sure!

Oh, and I won 56.37 lbs of Chicken in the silent auction. Can you say 'Chicken themed' dinners for a very long time? Tamales, Tinga, barbecued chicken, fried chicken, grilled chicken, chicken nuggets...I wonder how many chicken nuggets you can make with 56.37 lbs of chicken? Guess we'll find out!!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Got Haggis?

On the 21st I had the awesome opportunity to go with my wonderful friend Mandy to the Utah Scottish Associations annual Robert Burns Supper. I have a few stories...so I think I'm going to break it out into a couple of posts. Hope you don't mind. Not like you really have a choice. :)

Mandy asked if I would be willing to bring the Haggis up from BYU. Yes, the Haggis. If you don't know what Haggis is...don't ask me. Google it. Or click on this handy link but try not to lose your lunch. Now we went to our first ever Robert Burns Supper up at Utah State last year - where I tried Haggis for the first (and last) time. It actually wasn't too bad - but after you read the link above, you might understand why Haggis and I are not exactly friends.

So when Mandy asked me if I could bring up the Haggis...I stemmed the instinctual urge to vomit and said yes. Why? Because I love Mandy. Here are a few of my thoughts about the warm-reekin entrails as I drove to Salt Lake with a backseat full of them in a snow storm:

- BYU has the BEST transportation containers ever! Thick plastic and sealed completely - no smell, no nausea.
- Haggis doesn't sing along to the radio very well.
- It would be highly entertaining to get pulled over with Haggis in the car - inducing vomiting in the police officer would likely get you out of a ticket.
- Driving solo is always a good idea with Haggis in the car. How do you explain to your date that the backseat is occupied by ... guts?
- And finally, getting in an accident with Haggis in the car would definitely end badly. How would they know if those were your guts strewn all over the road or the main course of your dinner? That's a distinction no one should ever have to make.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Working Ouch...I Mean Out

So I'm pretty sure it's a good thing I'm going into Occupational Therapy. Too bad I won't be done with school this week though - I'm going to need some serious rehab just to be able to get dressed after working out with Melanie at the gym this week. She is kicking my trash!!
(P.S. Melanie is my personal trainer. She is REALLY good at her job...which is painful.)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Road Trip! - The Temple Part

My Mom wanted to go to the Idaho Falls temple while we were there last weekend. So, we got up early and headed over there while we left the gaggle of cousin's getting ready. Just as a side note - Idaho is COLD! Walking up to the temple I lost all feeling from my toes to my nose. And I am pretty sure my brain froze. I told my Mom that just because there was no snow and the roads were safe didn't mean we were supposed to come visit Idaho in the winter. BRR!

But what better contrast to the frozen outside than the warmth and Spirit of the House of The Lord. And what better refuge is there than the temple when visiting family we adore but who don't live The Gospel. It was a really neat experience. We did Initiatories and, among many other thoughts and impressions, I was again reminded of the amazing love our Heavenly Father has for each of us and His willingness to forgive us as often as we seek that forgiveness. I am grateful for the temple and for the promised blessings we find within it's walls. And I am grateful for a Mom who always leads out in living the Gospel and helps me to be where The Spirit is so that I can be taught and uplifted. She is truly my inspiration and my greatest friend!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Road Trip! - The Not Piper Part

You gotta love Idaho Falls. And my family. My cousin, K had a date on Friday night. They went to Jaliscos for dinner. She left at 7:00 and we showed up at the house a few minutes later. We all decided to go out to eat too - all 7 of us crazy, loud family members. Guess where we went for dinner? Jaliscos. Guess where we sat - close enough to spy on them on their date. And we interrupted them to make her give us a hug since we hadn't seen her in ages. Yeah, we're just cool like that.

Oh, and my cousin's are blond to the core. During dinner, my cousin H told us her woes about going on vacation to the Dominican Republic next week. She has to buy a suitcase. But she just can't bring herself to 'commit' to a suitcase. Note: H lives with her boyfriend. Living with a boyfriend is acceptable commitment. Buying a suitcase - inconceivable. And I thought I had commitment issues.

Then she told us about her sister, D, who is going on vacation with her. D was putting in for days off of work and kept trying to take an extra 4 days off before they left. Apparently it takes 4 days to pack for vacation. And apparently not having a paycheck for an entire month is not enough motivation to pack the day you leave.

On Saturday, D came home in the middle of the afternoon. She was standing in her room with her purse on her arm, her waterbottle in one hand and her phone in the other and eating a cookie. Her sister said, 'What are you doing? Are you going somewhere?'. To which she responded, 'I was going to take a shower - but then I found a cookie.'

Sometimes I just roll my eyes at them. I love them dearly, but sometimes....

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Road Trip! - The Piper Part

This past weekend my Mom and I took Piper on her very first road trip. We went to Idaho Falls to visit my aunt and cousins. This dog LOVES car rides - so I didn't think it would be too bad. And really it wasn't.

On the way there, she sat on my lap the whole time. She stared out the window and wagged her tail for seriously the entire four hours! My Mom was super sweet and set up the back seat like the doggy Hilton. There was a tarp on the floor so Piper could have her food, water and litter box down there - just in case she needed them (and my Mother says she hates this dog. Right. I'm so not buying that!). The first time I put her back there, she got in her litter box and then jumped right back out and gave me this look like, "Are you kidding me!? How the heck am I supposed to use that when the whole freaking car is moving!?!" Then she proceeded to scratch at the back of the seat and cry because she was too little to jump back into the front seat. As pitiful as it was - it was pretty funny.

She did great at my Aunt's house - she didn't get eaten by the cat, freeze in the Idaho cold during the night, or attack their lab. In fact, she and the lab were buddies and got along great! And she was in love with all the new people who were more than willing to scratch her and let her give them kisses. I swear - that dog thinks she is a people. And that the world revolves around her. Sadly, it might.

The ride home was much more exciting. She must have worn herself out cuz she passed out before we were even out of my cousin's cul-de-sac. And she stayed passed out all the way to Brigham City! Sleepy puppy. In Brigham my Mom and I switched and I drove the rest of the way home. Mom wasn't such a huge fan of me trying to juggle the dog, who was now wide awake, and drive at the same time. So she made Piper come sit with her. That was a success - NOT! Piper is just a little bit attached to me and her place in the car is on MY lap. And she just.can't.handle.it when she's not on my lap. So for the next hour, she and my Mom were locked in an epic battle of wits - Piper trying desperately to outsmart my Mom to get back to my lap and Mom trying to keep her restrained on that side of the car. And dang that dog is smart. She would sit there all nice and quiet, she would even look out the window on my Mom's side and pretend she was perfectly content to sit with Mom. Then, as soon as my Mom let go of her she would turn lightening quick and bolt for my lap. Mom would catch her and sit her back down and it would start again. At one point my Mom had her hand on Piper's chest and Piper stuck her nose between Mom's hand and her chest and pushed - like she was pushing my Mom's hand away. It was hilarious. And finally when she couldn't win, she would lay her head on my Mom's arm, look at me and sigh. Yep - my dog is a drama queen. But all in all, I would call her first road trip a smashing success!

Monday, January 16, 2012

A Serious New Year Post

I had the opportunity to give a talk in my ward on New Year's Day. That was an awesome experience. Really. The topic was, want to guess? Resolutions. From my previous posts...it might be obvious that I struggle in the application of the principles learned from preparing my talk. But, there were a couple of points that I came across that I absolutely loved and wanted to share.

Resolutions, goals and covenants are not so very different from each other. They are all commitments and they all require action on our part. Preach My Gospel has some amazing quotes on goals: “I am so thoroughly convinced that if we don’t set goals in our life and learn how to master the techniques of living to reach our goals, we can reach a ripe old age and look back on our life only to see that we reached but a small part of our full potential. When one learns to master the principles of setting a goal, he will then be able to make a great difference in the results he attains in this life” (Elder Ballard, quoted in PMG, pg. 146).
“Goals reflect the desires of our hearts and our vision of what we can accomplish…Goal setting and planning are acts of faith” (PMG, pg. 146).

Goals are awesome! And so are covenants! But making them, though it is an act of faith, is the easy part. It's keeping them that is the hard part (especially keeping them longer than January 31st....unless you're cool like me and don't even bother making them at all! Please, no comments on my obvious lack of faith.)
 
As I started thinking about keeping our covenants and being 'covenant-keepers', I naturally thought about The Savior and His Atonement. In the Council in Heaven, The Savior entered into a covenant with our Heavenly Father to come to earth and complete The Atonement in our behalf (see Moses 4). And we have His testimony about fulfilling that covenant: "For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent; But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I; Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit—and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink—"
 
And here is perhaps my favorite verse in all canonized scripture: "Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men" (D&C 19:16-19).
 
I am forever grateful that The Savior was a 'covenant-keeper'!

Friday, January 13, 2012

New Year's Resolution

My New Year's resolution for 2012 is to make New Year's resolutions next year.

Aim low & you reach your goals.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The First Cut

So, I know that the rest of the world doesn't really care. But today I made the first cut. Yep. That's right. I got an official invitation from the University of Utah to come on February 10th for an interview day.

That means I have to manage to not say something stupid, act stupid or trip on anything in front of the people I am trying to impress - each of which is a monumental feat in and of itself...so I'm not sure how I'm going to pull off all three in one day and for an entire day. But, if I do manage to somehow pull it off - I might actually make it in. But, at this point, I think that is actually more terrifying than not getting in!

(P.S. Inspite of my sarcasm and boasting...I just have to put a plug in here that I fully acknowledge that getting in to grad school - even making it this far - doesn't happen unless it is supposed to. The Lord is in the details. And He is guiding my life as He always does. He is opening doors that otherwise would remain shut indefinitely. I am profoundly grateful for that. And incredibly humbled...yes, humbled...by the responsibility that brings. I just hope I can rise to the challenge.)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Reliving the Mission

I was talking with my Mom (who shall remain nameless) the other night and she was reminiscing about her mission and the film strips they used as missionaries. Then she said, quoting the introduction to Man's Search for Happiness: "Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives." Need I say more? Best laugh ever.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Obligatory New Year Post

So I think 2011 can be summed up best by Chris Cagle: "Scars heal, glory fades and all we're left with are the memories made. Pain hurts, but only for a minute. Life is short so go on and live it." We'll stop there because 2011 certainly wasn't lived because 'the chicks dig it'...that would be awkward.

But this year definitely taught me that scars, both external and internal, do heal; that the glory of this life will fade - but the glory of a righteous life will live forever in the hearts of those you touch. It taught me that memories made and relationships cultivated with good friends and family members are some of the greatest privileges and joys of this life. 2011 brought a share of pain - but it really does only hurt for a minute if we turn to The Savior. This year, perhaps more than any other, I have become keenly aware of the frailty of life. But I have also found courage in that awareness - courage to take a chance, to live life a little more fully and to take the first step into the darkness of the unknown, trusting that The Lord to guide one step at a time.

So here's to a great 2012 - let's hope it will be even better than 2011. And thanks to 2011 for all the great lessons, awesome adventures and wonderful friends!