Monday, October 25, 2010

I'm too sexy

Saturday was the monthly One Day Sale at Macy's. My grandma LOVES Macy's one day sales. So we went. Grandma started telling me how much she loves shopping at Macy's and saving all that money. And then she said. "Everything I am wearing right now is from Macy's." Then she started singing, "I'm too sexy for my pants. Too sexy for my shorts. I'm SO SEXY."

Friday, September 24, 2010

A Real Life Adventure

To preface this, my older sister has the most adventurous life. She's been to Morrocco and ridden camels. Worked in Athens during the Grecian Olympics. Worked at the Edinburgh festival. Gone to small New Year's gatherings with Hugh Jackman. Yes, she leads a glamorous life. So when the opportunity to sail to France with some hottie Frenchmen on a 44 foot sail boat, of course she took it. LIttle did she know it was a little more adventure than she bargained for! This is the email I received from my Linda-mom yesterday describing what happened.

"Before you read ahead, the good news is that Marilyn is safe.

She's had an adventure. I got a call at midnight, two weeks sooner than I expected to hear from her, so I knew something was wrong. She was on a satellite phone and could only talk for about 30 seconds, just long enough to give me some sketchy details. Their ship, the one she assured me was ' tight like unto a dish,' got in the path of a hurricane and either sank or was sinking. They set off a flare and were rescued by a Portuguese fishing boat. Most of my information came later when John called the Nova Scotia coast guard. The Portuguese boat is the 74-meter France Mort or something like that, but if so, the name is hilariously ironic, meaning the death of France and Marilyn's poor little French friend's sailboat. They were ploughing through 20 foot seas, which is pretty high for a 44-foot boat. High winds, rough seas, and hurricane season were just too much for them, and the sailboat was taking on water. The coast guard isn't going to meet up with the fishing boat for several days, and at that point they'll take her back to Nova Scotia. So we probably won't hear from her for another week when she gets to land. "

Can you believe that? Pretty crazy things. But my sister can add "surviving the sinking of a ship in the Atlantic" to her list of amazing life experiences.

This is so much more than she bargained for -- a daring midnight rescue at sea and a glimpse of life on a foreign fishing boat. I'm just glad I didn't ever watch " A Perfect Storm." Stay tuned for more details as they become available -- Linda/Mom

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Movie Men



Okay, so I have been watching a lot of older movies and have realized that I have a crush on a lot of actors from back in the day. Holy cow. And now they are pretty old but are still pretty attractive for their age. That’s not to say that there aren’t any attractive men these days, because there are (Can you say Cory Monteith from Glee?! Whoa baby). And these aren't including the classics like Carey Grant, Elvis, James Dean and Paul Newman types. But a little later. Except Jeff Richards...

Here are a few that I was thinking about in no particular order:

Harrison Ford: Indiana Jones era. I mean, just look at him. I love his scruff. He's an archeologist AND a man's man.


Tom Skerrit. I saw him in Parent Trap 2. I know, way cheesy and I can’t believe I admitted to watching it, but I was curious… I couldn't find a picture of him when he was younger, but still, he was pretty attractive in his middle age.


Val Kilmer: Top Gun. Wow. Ignore his sweaty body and he still has a great face. He has a had a rougher aging process, but there is no denying he was a hottie.


Jeff Richards (Benjamin Pontipee from the 1954 version of 7 Brides for 7 Brothers). I really think he was the best looking of the brothers. I am so jealous of Dorkus. Even with a weirdo name she got a hunk of a man.



Dennis Quaid: 1979. This is from the movie Breaking Away. The group I went to Mexico with got mesmerized at a hole-in-the-wall restaurant and this is what was playing on the big screen. Call me crazy, but he really did have great hair, though the late 70's took their toll on it...

Tom Selleck: Yeah. Just look at him. He is just the epitome of a man's man. He's got great hair and gorgeous eyes. And he played a guy named Quigley. Who lived down under.

So that's what I was thinking. All out men. I'm sure there are more on the list. Feel free to add your two cents :)

Monday, August 9, 2010

Wedding Wishes

I went to a few weddings in the past few weeks and they all have those things where you write a little message or whatever. I never know what to say. But my little cousin sure knew what (or what NOT) to say on Alana's thingy: "Good luck while it lasts."

Friday, July 30, 2010

Mehico Day 2

Wednesday 26 May 2010

AMAZING DAY! Had another Mehican breakfast – which is WAY too much food – but I feel like I have to eat it because they dish it for me. Then Erik from Manos Unidas (the orphanage) came to pick us up. We ran a few errands including going to see their ranch – where they had just killed and plucked a chicken who once had lovely feathers. A dog ran off with its intestines. Excuse me, it was a rooster who ran off with the entrails.
We got to the orphanage and to be honest, I was pretty nervous. At lnch I ended up sitting next to a girl who was all by herself. She was about 14. Then another came - and they spoke so fast. i couldn't understand a word! I just know they were talking about me though.
Ramon came over after and we played outside for a bit. We broke out the bubbles which were a huge hit. Ramon's little sister Paulina snuggled right up. Oh my. She is a little doll. I love her. There are about 25 kids liveing there and the "parents" are absolutely amazing. Just incredible people..
Anway, they have a bounce house which creates AMAZING amounts of fun. At one point, i clamored up to the top where I sat for a second when someone bumped me from behind and I went tumbling over and in the process karate kicked, in slow motion, a fellow VIDA member in the head sending her in slow motion sprawing on her back. Great moment.
We played a lot with the kids and boy, did they wear us out. I was definitely ready to go home. When we did, we got cleaned up and I took a lot of flack for blow drying my hair. Yes, I brought a blow dryer. Then we drove through town to find some amazing hot dogs. I didn't eat one - my tummy has been crammed with co-mida since I got here. i just got a true Mehican coke and let me just say its a bazillion times better in Mehico.
Then we went to the fair. The first thing i did was get a fake tattoo - right on my arm. It's a Chinese character that says "love," but I keep telling people it means "mother." It just sounds better.
We went on three different rides - all of which looked extremely dangerous. I was to chicken to go on the horror train ride. Apparently the horror of it was that there were a bunch of kids touching you when you went by. Let me tell you, all the girls were screaming at the guy sitting next to them to stop touching them. We met back up with everyone and I saw a bunch of lucha dora masks. I had to have one. So I found one that looked like Nacho Libre's and bought it. It's hilarious. I had it on and could not stop laughing. I bought an ice cream cone right before and wanted to take some pictures. When I was done I put my camera in my purse and mashed my ice cream cone in my purse right along with it. Nice.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Mehico

I realize I didn't post anything about my trip to Obregon. It was a blast. I had such a great time I'm going back over Thanksgiving. The good news is that my mom won't shoot me either because her family is coming to town the next week so that is when we'll have the real Thanksgiving. I kept a pretty good journal for most of it...

23 May 2010
I really feel like I lost a full day yesterday. Lindsey was a crazy driver and most of us got kind of sick. We finlally made it to Tuscon around 7:30 and hopped on a bus to take us to Obregon around 10:00 or so. I got to sleep on the bus pretty well and then when we got to Nogales (border town), we all had to get off and push a button. Randomly the light would turn red instead of green and they would go through your bags. Luckily mine was green because my bags were chuck full and I didnt' want everything to spill out. I needed to use the bathroom (surprise) and discoverd two toilets - side by side - with no divider, no screen - nothing. And NO toilet paper. Good thing Kristen had tissues in her pocket and gave me some when it was my turn or I would have had issues.
I got on the bus and slept most of the rest of the trip which ended at about 8:30 or 9:00 (a.m. Yeah, it was a long drive). We got here and drove to the FAI headwuarters, ate some breakfast, and then headed off to either the orphanage or to the job site. I went to build the house and got fried crispy.
Anyway, we are building a house for a family with three boys and a baby firl. - Jesus, Rafael, Christian, and America. Their house now is unbelievable. It's made of crates, a sheet, some scrap wood, sheet metal, and cardboard. They have a dirt floor. What's even worse, some of their neighbors live in even more terrible conditions. Breaks my heart.
We are building a house out of adobe bricks and mortar. It's a tiny house, but is much more stable and has a bathroom connected. The floor is concrete. It costs only $4800 to build this house. It makes me realize how much I take for granted.
We worked for a while and went to another FAI office where they prepared us a lunch and then we put together some puzzle mats so we could take a siesta. I couldn't sleep. The floor was so hard. Everyone else woke up and we headed back to the jobsite. We finished four walls and we start the cement supports in the morning. Mixing cement is tough.

Friday, July 16, 2010

A Swallow Does Not a Summer Make

So, these random Chinese people keep posting on my blog. And one of the few that has written in English wrote that. What does it even mean?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Bumbler

Alana told me I had to post this, and sometimes I listen when she bosses me around. So we had to take Lanny to the hospital yesterday because her blood pressure was so high. They admitted her and they are taking great care of her. A LOT better care than I could give her apparently. Hence the post. Anyway, she is doing fine they just want to monitor some things. And I think they want to monitor with me out of the room. I came into the room and was holding little Baby Gabe. The nurse walked in so while I was trying to get out of the way, I turned the faucet on which scared the crap out of me. Apparently the faucet turns on by way of foot pedal thingies. Right after that, I bumped my head on the light. I gave the baby back to my mom. I think she was a little nervous. Anyway, so Alana had to pump, but then her blood pressure cuff started going so she had to straighten out her arm while the pump was still going. Well, she got this look on her face and instinctively I reached up to, you know, help her out so things weren't coming undone and falling off and such. Apparently, I made things worse and helped the undoing and falling off. So she decided that she didn't need any more "help" from me, especially becasue her laughing was making her blood pressure higher. Somehow, I got the baby back from my mom and went to give him to Alana and I guess I tried to yank her little finger clip off. That's when I decided that I would keep my hands to myself and not try to help her anymore. I think she had had enough bumbling for one night.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Ick

I just killed a fly with my bare naked hand. Have a happy fourth of July.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Baby Gabe




Little baby Gabe was born last Thursday. He is the cutest little guy. He was 6 pounds 9 ounces and 20 inches long. He has the longest little toes! I am just so in love with him. It's so weird that my little sister is a mom! She is doing great and I love to see all that she is already doing for the lil tyke. Steve is a great dad too! He is just love struck with him as well. How could you not be?! And now I really can't wait to have my own dang kids.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Maggie Baby

I have a new niece. I guess she isn't totally new, she is five weeks old, but she is the newest addition to my family. I got to see her on Saturday and she melted my little heart. Actually, she made my heart grow. Kind of like on The Grinch, how his heart grows however many sizes. Everyone was outside eating lunch and I just sat in the lovesac and held the little Mags. She just snuggled right up to me and fell asleep. It was great because there weren't a thousand fingers poking her face and waking her up. And I just got to see her and what a beautiful little baby she is.

I know no guys that I know read this blog so this won't freak any of them out, but I can't wait to have my own kids.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Missin mission letters...

Okay, so while I was going through mission stuff, I found some letters from my sister Alana. Seriously, she is just so hilarious. She tries to blame it on her pregnant brain, but I think it’s always been like this.
September 26, 2004
“Oh boy, on Wednesday at work, I had a fruit loop necklace on and this little rascal turd face named Diego, runs up to me and bites my necklace off! And the fruit loops go flying! So I get on my hands and knees to pick them up and he starts pulling my pants down! And he kept calling me “a little nerd” in his cute little Latino accent. I really like this job – it is way easy and the kids really are so adorable.
“Anyway, so ya, on Friday I asked this kid named Brett Miller to MORP (a high school dance) – You know how dad has like a million hot dogs in the freezer? Well we got 32 hot dogs, defrosted them, and put them all over his porch and said “HOT DOG! Let’s go to Morp!” Ha ha. I thought it was funny cuz I made it up. Oh and I put my name on a toothpick and shoved it in one end of a hot dog. So me and Shawna went and delivered the lovely little mess – as we were laying out the dogs, a black cat walks right up and kifes one of the hot dogs! Then it looked at us, kind of snarled, and ran off! Crazy lunatic cat I tell ya. “
Can you see why I really miss getting letters!?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Missin the Mish


Last night after I got home late, I found a bunch of things from my mission. Letters I never got sorted out, some pictures, my going home Dobra Strona (newsletter), you know, that kind of thing. I went through it, and I got really home sick. I won't lie, I even cried a bit. I am such a home body, I love to be with my family, but I miss the people who became my family when I was a missionary.
I don’t miss tracting. Or the cold weather. Or being yelled at. Or not being able to pick up the phone to chat with my friends and family. Or being able to take naps. Or my long skirts and button up shirts. But I miss having a sense of purpose. Living for others. Knowing what I was supposed to be doing with my life. My friends who have all moved on to another stage of life. Speaking Polish. Not having to impress boys. Companions. Writing letters. Receiving letters. Helping people make life changing decisions. I miss my mission president and his cute wife. Sharing my testimony a gazillion times a day. The food. Feeling like a rock star when people actually knew who we were. Train rides. Sleepovers at zone conference. People praying for me daily to find people searching for the gospel (and not a husband haha). I just plain miss being a missionary.
I am so glad I went. And that I have such a wonderful part of my life to look back on. And miss.

This is part of my MTC groupat a zone conference in Katowice. Some of these people I miss the most. From left: Starszi Cragun, Patterson, Dyer, Siostry Spainhower, Jensen, and me.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Grammy-Cakes

My grandma is the coolest rockin-est grandma. Here is why:
1. She is the best cook. She lost her sniffing senses a while back, but she still makes the best smelling and most delcious tasting food. She is the go-to-girl when anybody needs something catered. Ever tried her cinammon rolls? If not, you are missing out.
2. She wrote me lots of letters while I was a missionary. This is how they started: "Dear Pooh,..." It was awesome.
3. I was helping her cater a very busy job one time. I was running from kitchen to table and back and getting a little bit frazzled when she grabbed my arm and pulled me down so she could say, "Guess what? I love you."
4. She cracks me up. If I tease her she will say, "Come over her so I can smack you."
5. She takes care of other people. She makes dinner for little old ladies in her ward.
6. She is very thoughtful. She makes and gives gifts to my brothers and sisters that are not her grandkids. They feel like she is their grandma too.
7. She goes walking every morning. She is a mall-walker. She picks up her 92 year old friend Anna and they go walking. Cute little ladies!
8. If someone speaks for too long or their talk is too boring in church, she'll leave. And if a hymn is too annoying (Can we say, "There is Sunshine in my Soul?), she won't sing it. I am totally like that too.
9. Grandma has the best yard with the greenest grass and a little creek running along in back. There are ducks back there a lot of times and quail love it on her lot. Her flowers are gorgeous and weed free and she loves working out in the yard.
10. I just love her.

So, it was kind of tough this last Saturday when I got a phone call from my mom telling me Grandma was having an emergency appendectomy. It had perforated a while ago apparently without her knowing it, so it did some damage, but they were able to care of it for the most part. Grandma was a champ though and has had a pretty good recovery. I was able to spend some time with her in the hospital a few of the days. She had to go for walks and on one of them, she wanted to find the elevator and bust out of there. That was the only time I heard her say something about how she didn't want to be there. She just doesn't complain. She got home yesterday and has been getting up on her own and doing everything by herself. It's great! I went to see her this morning and asked her what she had planned for the day. She said "Rollerblading." I think she is going to be just fine. :)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

D.A.R.E.

I mentioned before that Emma graduated from the D.A.R.E program which is taught in schools to help kids learn how to say no to drugs and alcohol. It had been a while since I had been in my stomping grounds and everything looked miniaturized. The adults all sat in folding chairs and the pint sized kids came filing in from outside. I think they have even gotten smaller. I mean I used to be a "big fifth grader" too. Anyway, the officer told us some of the things they have been learning and then three kids got up and read their essays. The first girl was so cute. You remember that one girl who got 100% on everything and always had the right answer but wasn't annoying about it like that other girl. Her mom definitely helped her on her essay. The second kid, oh the second kid was a riot! He was the class clown, but smart too. He had me giggling to the point I had to cover my mouth because all the kids started looking at me. He definitely wrote his essay all by himself especially becasue it was torn out of a three ring binder and had all the edges still connected. The next kid was the stereotypical smart Asian. His essay was over three pages long. It was typed. And I'm pretty sure he didn't write a word of it. Pretty sure his mom did it all. Anyway, then they did the D.A. R.E. song. The actions just kill me. "I will respect myself."
video
Anyway, I was pretty proud of that little Emma D. She's such a good kid, and you know she will always be one of those kids that parents are glad their kids are friends with. Oh, and she didn't have sunglasses becasue she loaned her pair to someone who forgot them. What a little sweetie!

Old

I am going to Mehico on Sunday with a non-profit organization. I'm way excited. We had our final meeting last night and a few new people showed up. One kid walked up and I was like, "Whoa." He sat down and people started asking him about himself. He mentioned that his dad was the Bishop of a single's ward in Salt Lake but that he definitley wouldn't be going there. Without realizing he probably meant that he wouldn't because his dad was the Bishop, I asked why. He actually said that it's because everyone in the ward is so old. Like 25. Come to find out, he's only 19. I guess was that naive once, but 25 is NOT old, thank you very much. Especially because I'm 26.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Those Poor Frying People!

My dad and Linda-mom have been out of town since last Saturday, so I have been playing mom again. Inevitably when they go out of town, there is something going on over at the elementary school so i take a little time off of work and go watch a program or whatever it is. Today Emma had her D.A.R.E. Graduation. More on that later. I took an early lunch to go see the graduation, and not only did I get to see the graduation, but also the state fair. Every year the fifth graders do a report on a state and it's a big to do and they have to do a tri-fold back drop and everything. Then I guess they put them on display. Emma picked Nebraska. And I learned something I didn't know before: Nebraska has peculiar weather. This is her back drop: And this is what I learned:



Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Empathy

I am one of the most sympathetic people I know. Seriously. I can just feel what people are feeling. I mourn with those that mourn and comfort those that need comfort. People just tug at my heart strings. I think that is one of my greatest strengths. But then there is empathy. Empathy is something that endows a gift of charity. It obliterates every judgment, every grudge, every misunderstanding. It helps us truly understand a person, all guards down, because we know where they have been. We have been there too. It forges a different kind of bond with people. You don’t just feel their pain, you know and experience it too. I look at my closest friends and reflect on what has made us so close: it’s empathy.
Every time a big storm blows into town, I can feel it in my right hand. It aches and I hate straightening out my last two fingers. I tend to think I have arthritis in those joints but only feel it when the pressure drastically changes, though I haven’t seen a doctor. Two weeks ago, a big storm rolled in. I realized that’s why my hand was hurting. The pain was acute and lasted for about a week. I started worrying that it wouldn’t go away and all the implications that would involve: like having scary fingers and having to learn to write with my left hand. I complained about it to my mom and then realized what a wimp I was. Alana had been practically bed ridden for months last year because of that kind of pain all over her body. My heart hurt so much for her during that time and I wished there was something I could do for her. I was filled with that sympathy. As I whined to my mom, I realized that now I had a taste of what it was like. And then I realized that not only did Alana experience the physical pain that arthritis brings, but she also had to deal with a lot of fear.
I had been expressing wimpathy. I don’t think I could handle that! And I am grateful that she is so strong and able to handle such a difficult trial. But now I can look at it differently. Because although I don’t have a clue what it would feel like to have sore and stiff joints all over my body, I have had a little taste of the pain it involves. I have developed a little bit of empathy, and my respect and love for my little sister has grown by leaps and bounds.
I think it is empathy which draws us closer to the Savior. He understands our pain because he experienced it. And because he understands, it draws out a different kind of love and trust from us. It sort of binds us closer. At times, he will let us have a glimmer of understanding what he has gone through, that is when we are humbled and our love and gratitude for Him become more solidified. When He does that, He gives us the gift of empathy, and with it, charity.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Chicago 6 of 6: Easter time!

Boy am I a slacker. Looks like I might have run out of steam. Either that or I got busy. I think I’ll stick with the second one. Anyway, I rolled out of bed again around 8. I just couldn’t get up! Annalisa had made a delicious breakfast of amazing French toast. If you want a delicious breakfast, you should make it. Yum. I felt like a bit of a skunk because they were all dressed up in their Sunday clothes (it being Sunday, and all). But since it was Conference, I didn’t bring a dress of any sort. So I was just in jeans. Oh well.
We dyed eggs. So fun! I haven’t done that in years! I made a upper cool swirly egg. Actually, that’s the only egg I dyed. But it was fun watching Addie and Greg do it together. She is just the sweetest little girl and Greg and Annalisa are just so sweet with her. I loved seeing their family together.





Well, then conference was starting so we all gathered around the internet. It was nice that we didn’t have to go to the church or something to watch it. The internet really makes life so much easier! Anyway, that session was amazing! And Addie was so good. I was impressed by that little one ;)
Then I had to go upstairs and get ready so I didn’t have buffalo wallow woman hair, and Addie came up with me so the easter bunny could come. She seriously is such a crack up. She loved getting into my stuff. Anyway, when they were ready, we went outside. The Easter bunny had left me a basket too! Complete with Zac Efron erasers. All of my dreams came true. She was so darn cute. Anyway, we went on a hunt to find everything. Addie got hung up on putting rocks in her basket. It was awesome.

Then, when I dumped those out for her, every time she found an egg, she would open it and start shoving all the candy into her mouth. Hilarious! The hunt was taking way too long so we started making little piles of eggs so she wouldn’t have to stop so many times to open the eggs. Well it didn’t really seem to help because even though she couldn’t eat the candy anymore, she had to open all the eggs anyway. Then Greg made me find the hardest egg. It fell down in the wheel well. He just likes to see me get confused and exasperated. I’m sure I would laugh at myself too if I saw it. Anyway, I did find it, thanks to Annalisa’s subtle hints :)


When the hunt was over, we did a little bit of a photo shoot. It was fun to play with a real camera and I got a little bit jealous. Maybe one day, I will get a nice big camera with different lenses and take some nice photos. But for now, I will let other people take those pictures… which is what I let Annalisa do the whole trip. So most of the pictures, in fact, all but two, were taken by the BFF and her awesome camera. Then we went inside and watched another hour of conference and it was time for me to go. So sad! I really didn’t want to leave! I seriously had so much fun and it wasn’t like on most other trips when you are ready to go home. I wanted to be able to stay longer. Wah.
So we piled in the car and drove to the airport. We said goodbye and I lugged my 34 pound suitcase around.

I started reading and looked outside and it was pouring. Chicago was crying that I was leaving. It just loved me being in its city limits. So I boarded the plane. An hour later we took off. I get kind of mad when that happens, but I was mostly ok because I had a great book: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. The BFF loaned it to. I absolutely loved it!! It was so cute and I couldn’t put it down. So I was actually kind of gladd I had more time on the plane to read it. That is, until the guy behind be started sneezing. The first time he did it, I flew out of my seat it scared me so badly. You guys, I can’t even tell you how loud it was! It was like he was shooting a potato gun. The guy next to me found it more entertaining that I was flying out of my seat every time I did it. But then the sneezer started blowing his nose. He sounded like a fog horn! How can you blow your nose as loud as a blow horn? I don’t know, because I can’t even YELL that loudly. Well, so I decided to put on my headphones to try and drown that guy out, but I was still jumping out of my seat every five minutes. I almost turned around and yelled at the guy nfor being so inconsiderate and sneezing every five minutes. That’s what happens when I get frustrated with the noises people are making. Luckily, the white and peacemakery part of my personality was there to reign me in and I didn’t say anything. But man I was glad to get off that plane. I read all but 20 pages of my book. And then I finished in peace at my own house.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Chicago 5 of 6: Museum and more Museum

I know I have said this about all the days, but Saturday was so much fun. I woke up to the sound of rain and a train outside my window and the blossoms exploding on the trees. It was lovely. I think we just had cereal for breakfast and got ready for the day. We were going to take the train down town. Then we walked outside with the stroller and got everything all situated. Addie’s pants were soaked through by the time we decided it was a bad idea and we decided to drive. Even though I really love riding trains, I was so glad we decided to drive. I didn’t bring waterproof shoes and I hate having wet feet.
We had picked up a free admission into the National Hellenic museum. I was totally excited to go. I have wanted to go to Greece since 6th grade. We did a big unit on it and dressed in togas and everything. We found free parking which was awesome because we ended up paying $23 to park to see the play… Anyway, we got soaked on the way to museum. We rang the door bell and they buzzed us in. I thought it was kind of weird that we had to go to the fourth floor. I mean, if this is a NATIONAL museum, I was thinking it would at least be its own building. I had visions of ancient artifacts and lots of cool things to read about ancient Greece. Well, my imagination ran away with me and left me in the dust. It turned out to be a bunch of modern art (of which I am not a fan) by Greeks. It had a little bit of historical information dating as far back as 1974 when there was the women’s walk in Cyprus. Addie had fun running around and there was no way of losing her because we could hear her from every part of the small office space turned museum. It was still pouring after the forty minutes we spent in there, though I can hardly believe we were there that long: there was nothing really to see.

This one totally cracks me up. That is a statue of Dedalus after his wax wings melt when he flies too closely to the sun. Oh, and Addie eith pulling him down or pushing him up... I love her little crooked smile. And I am a weirdo.
We decided to get some Greek food and wait out the weather. We went to a little place called Greek Islands. It was so cute! When we were seated the BFF said she felt like we were in Mamma Mia. And we totally did! It was so cute with great ambiance. Well, I forgot that Annalisa doesn’t like lamb (she has had multiple bad experiences, which is too bad because lamb can be really good) and that is mostly in every dish that was on the menu. She found a chicken gyro and ordered it, but the waiter said that they were out of it. What luck! So she got a chicken kabob. I got a combination plate so I could have lots of different things. I loved it - Annalisa – not so much. But she was a good sport for going with me. I just love Greek food.
It stopped raining and since that museum had been a bust, we decided to go to the Field Museum. AWESOME. It was absolutely enormous! I love going to museums. I love that there is so much to see and read and learn about. And this museum was humungous. We made it to only three exhibits and there were lots more! We didn’t even go upstairs. They have the largest t-rex skeleton. Her name is Sue.


We first went to the Ancient American exhibit. I love that kind of stuff. I went to Chichen Itza when I was 12 and I fell in love with those ancient ruins. So that was a cool exhibit.


Then we went to the animal exhibit. They had practically every animal known to man, and unknown to me. Addie had so much fun when we finally let her out of her stroller. It was just so busy that she could get lost so easily. It was so fun to watch her get so excited about all the animals.
Rhino bum

Belle and I are mammals
Then we went to the Egyptian exhibit. I have wanted to go to Egypt since I was in 6th grade. Yep, we did a big unit on it too. It was crammed with people but we got to see some mummies and some other things. And we got to lie down like mummies too, which Addie liked. Annalisa abstained. But not me, somehow, I still think I am just a little kid sometimes.

We drove home and had thin crust barbecue Hawaiian pizza from Aurelio’s. Ok, I was a bit skeptical at first, but holy moly was it awesome. I highly recommend it. Greg got home from Priesthood session and we watched Stardust. They had never seen it before and it is one of my favorites. They loved it which was a relief. I always hate that I recommend things so highly because there is always a chance that people will hate it. But seriously, it’s so funny and romantic. It was fun to be able to hang out with Gregamous a little more too. Then we hit the sack. It was way too late.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Chicago 4 of 6: Naperbille and the Tivoli

So Friday was a wonderful day. Again I rolled out of bed a little after 8. Time changes always take a toll on me. And I had been eating a ton of food, so rolling out of bed makes a lot of sense. I think both the BFF and I were a little tuckered out so we lounged around for a bit downstairs. We watched more episodes of Psych. Seriously, I am a Psych convert. Love it. We went to Wal-mart to exchange a movie I brought for the BFF. I made a huge gamble on whether she had bought it or not. Good thing I’m not a real gambler. I think I would be in trouble. In trouble and very destitute.

Anyway, while the BFF was getting ready, I decided to do little Addie’s hair in French braids. She was a dream to work with. Seriously. She just sat there and let me do it. My mom fusses more when I do her than Addie did. So there we were, her in her little rocking chair that the BFF had just bought from TJ Maxx (She is very proud of the purchase, which she should be, because it is adorable. And she apparently really likes TJ Maxx (you know I had to put that in there)) and I was doing her hair in little piggies. I loved it. I loved how cute she looked afterward. I loved how she said “Thang you.” I fell even more in love with that little doll.


About twenty or so minutes from Downer’s Grove, the BFF’s neighborhood, is another suburb called Naperville. Or, as pronounced by Miss Addie, “Naperbille.” I wish you could hear her voice when she says it. So darling. We drove down there to walk around. Talk about a place dripping in charm! We walked across the bridge which reminded me so much of the bridge in Anne of Green Gables. I love that book. And then Annalisa confessed that she had finally watched the movies. (“How could you have been friends for so long and you hadn’t made her watch it?!” Greg wanted to know. BFFs are sometimes flawed).
Then we walked around the cute quaint little downtown. Seriously. It reminded me a little bit of Gilmore Girls. And Annalisa and I used to watch Gilmore Girls together. So it was doubly fun. We ate a pizzeria and got deep dish pizza. Talk about delicious. I love cheese. And I love bread. So it is a perfect combination. Besides, isn’t deep dish pizza a Chicago tradition? I know the picture makes it look not delicious, but believe you me, it really is.

Then, as we all know I ALWAYS have room for ice cream. So we went and got gelato. I can’t believe I thought I was living before I tried that gelato. I had it before, but I must have forgotten about it. If you have never had gelato, you haven’t really lived. And I would hate to waste my life. So I will be eating more gelato. We walked around a bit more and after Addie decided that she was ready to go home, we went.

We puttered around a bit more at home and then headed off to Trader Joe’s. Seriously, why can’t we have a Trader Joe’s here? Probably because I would waste all my take home pay on chocolaty things I would probably scarf down while I was reading and not really enjoy it… That’s why.

The whole time I was in Chicago, Addie had a fascination with looking through all my things. I was tired after Trader Joe’s (or was it before? I don’t remember…), so I decided to lie on my bed and supervise while she was going through it all. Then Annalisa came in and we started talking. Addie decided that coming up on the bed with us was more fun so she grabbed a book and came on up. She has become a regular parrot repeating everything she hears. Annalisa said something to which I replied, “Whatever.” Still looking at her book Addie just said, “Whatebber.” I love little kid lisps! And I think that became a catchphrase for the rest of the trip. Probably the rest of my life. Oh and just one more funny thing about Addie. She was wearing the cutest little dress. Annalisa had to change her diaper and before she could get the new one on her, Addie jumped up and ran away with her dress tucked up in her little cheeks. I am laughing about that as I type. It just reminded me of Calvin and Hobbs.

So, have I mentioned that the BFF is a magnificent cook? Well she is. And she made dinner again. It was a delicious crock pot roast on sandwiches. I couldn’t find the recipe on the cooking blog, but there are tons of other ones on there. And by the way, they are having a giveaway, so you will want to go on over there anyway. Mcconkiemenu.blogspot.com. It was heavenly. And filling too.

Greggamous put lil’ Addie to bed and Annalisa and I headed over to the Tivoli movie theater. Oh. My. Heck. This is not your run of the mill mega-plex folks. This is a real old fashioned movie theater with one screen. It has the chandeliers and the medallions on the ceiling and red velvet curtains and red velvet seats. How I love red velvet seats! It makes for a real movie experience! Even if we hadn’t seen a show and just went and sat there for an hour and a half, I would have loved it. But we did see a movie: Percy Jackson and the Lightening Thief. Now I know I have said that I am a sucker for a series, but I have not yet read Percy Jackson. Which I think is a good thing because then I had nothing to compare the movie to. It was entertaining but really had a lot of holes, but if you are looking for an entertaining ‘tween fantasy, then by all means you should watch it!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Chicago 3 of 6: Polish Food and Cantigny Gardens

I forgot to mention yesterday that I got about a million phone calls regarding the sale of Beyonce posted on KSL. Mean April Fool’s joke. Alana and Steve will get theirs. We all have a year to plan it. They put up my brother’s, two of my sisters’ and my car for sale, another brother’s pugs, another brother’s dog, and my dad’s chickens for sale. The chickens got the most calls…

Anyway, I rolled out of bed around 8:00, which felt like 7:00, which is earlier than I get up on regular days. I was sleepy. But the BFF and little Addi-kins had been up for a long time. We fancied a work out so we went to the local YMCA. It’s actually a gym. Did you know that? I didn’t. I thought it was a place where they hold scrabble tournaments and other such things. But no, a gym it is. And a gym with state of the art equipment. I couldn’t figure out how to get my treadmill to start because there were so many colors and buttons to push, but I think I preferred it to my own gym… As I was walking (I blame it on a bum knee that I can’t run, but maybe I just hate it?), I read more of The Hunger Games. Seriously, this book had me all wrapped around it’s little pages. Now reading and walking is not dangerous like eating and reading, well, as long as it’s on a treadmill and not actually walking anywhere…
We got done at the YMCA and headed home, got cleaned up,and headed off to a store called Michaels. Guess what they had? Polish stuff! I was so excited! I grabbed a bunch of Kubus, zurek soup, milka chocolate bars, princessa bars, pierniczki, delicji, and some other things. I seriously was a kid in the candy store. I have the best BFF for taking me there. Oh and by the way, today is the four year anniversary of my being back from Poland. Anyway, then we went and got some delicious sandwiches from a sub shop. I can’t remember what it’s called but boy howdy they were delicious! We met Greg (the hub) at his school and ate with him. He likes to hassle me. Addie was so cute running around and playing with him and I realized that the BFF has the cutest little family I have ever seen. She and the hub really are a perfect match. They just complement each other perfectly. And they are such great parents. That kid will always know how much they love her, and each other at that.

Anyway, Greggy-Pants had to go to class so we went to Target to find a sweater of Annalisa’s that I coveted. Didn’t find the sweater but I walked away with a different sweater, a hat, shirt, and Sherlock Holmes (I love that movie!). I tend to buy a lot of stuff when I’m on vacation… But it was in my budget!

Well, then we drove out to Cantigny Gardens. Um, hello! It was so beautiful! It was the estate of Robert McCormick who was an editor and publisher of the Chicago Tribune. He left his estate as a public garden and museum so everyone could enjoy it. Nothing was blooming, but there were trees everywhere and the grass was so green. Gorgeous. Addie had a great time too. We let her out of the stroller and she sat down on the path and started making piles of rocks. She’s such a hilarious little kid.
We walked after a bit around a little pond. Addie was standing on the ledge when Annalisa told her to get down. Then the BFF picked up a stick and walked over to what looked like a mushroom growing in the water with pond scum skirting it. She started poking it and I leaned in from the path to get a better look. It was pretty squishy and I really wanted to know what it was. So I told her to flip it over. As she was trying to turn it, she realized it was a dead animal. So disgusting! I screamed and beat feet out of there with Annalisa and Addie trailing behind me. I have never been an animal lover…

Well, we were getting tired and it was time to head out. Addie was plumb worn out. See?

We got home and made dinner. Sweet and sour chicken. Divine! We had a really fun time at dinner, put Addie to bed, and Greg went downstairs to study. So of course the BFF and I HAD to go get ice cream at the parlor around the block. I ALWAYS have room for ice cream! Besides, we had to walk there, so that cancels out the bad things, right? We came back to the house and watched a few episodes of Psych. This is one of my new favorite shows. It is just perfect for me! I love crime shows, I love slap stick humor, and I love Shawn and Gus. Besides, they have about a million movie references so it’s a perfect fit. If you haven’t watched it, watch it. You just might love it. I was really tired so of course I fell asleep. And then I woke up telling Annalisa that I, in fact, was not sleeping, to which she replied that she never accused me of sleeping. I incriminated myself. So we decided it was time to go to bed. We got ready for bed, I shut my door pretty loudly apparently because it woke up Addie. Sorry Annalisa and Greg! But then I was wide awake after that, so I read the rest of The Hunger Games. I was gripped till the very end. And then I had really weird and gory dreams. But reading the book was worth it.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Chicago 2 of 6: Walking and the Theatuh

Wednesday morning I woke up to my alarm clock set for eight. Annalisa had been up for quite a while. I felt like what I would imagine hangover would feel like. Me no likey. But the sun was shining. It was such a gorgeous day! So I went downstairs where Addie was laying on the couch watching her “show.” She was shy. And she was scared of me at first. The BFF was busying herself in the kitchen making the most delicious German Pancakes. It was like eating fluffy heaven. The BFF and her family have a cooking blog: McConkie Menu. The homemade stuff she made while I was there is all on there. If you want to spice things up in your dinner and food and dessert life, you should go there. She is an amazing cook. I practically had to be rolled out of her house when she was taking me back to the airport…

Well, The BFF, and her name is Annalisa for those of you who don’t know that, had an appointment that morning so we decided to walk. Seriously, the weather was absolutely perfect. And the neighborhoods we walked through were downright charming. They weren’t the cookie cutter neighborhoods we get out here. Each house has its own unique character. It made me want to keep walking and walking. Not only that, we got some great conversation in, and that made me want to keep on walking.

Everyone knows I’m a bit of a klutz. I tripped over a huge tree limb, okay it was a good size branch that went catapulting into Annalisa’s ankle when I was done with it. Don’t worry. She could still walk, though I think it left a good sized bruise. But she forgave me, it’s just her nature. Which is good, because it is my nature to be clumsy and hurt people.

Addie started warming up to me after the appointment. She even held my hand while she was sitting in the stroller while I was walking beside it. It made my heart melt. She wasn’t shy after that. We went to the library and then passed by a donut shop. How can you walk past a donut shop? I can’t. So we went in. And we got fresh donuts. I honestly don’t know what is better than a freshly made donut.

We got home and were pretty tired. We had stayed up way too late and we had just taken a really lovely long walk. So we collapsed on the couches and Addie kept poking the BFF in the eyes. “Don’t close your eyes! Don’t go to sleep mommy!” We put on one of her shows and she snuggled up with me on the couch so The BFF could take a bit of a nap. She deserved it. Plus, I love Anastasia. Who doesn’t love that Demetrie? I know I do. Then Addie kept poking me in the eyes. “Manda. Don’t close your eyes. No sleeping.” But I was tired. And everyone knows what happens when I watch movies…

We got cleaned up and dropped Miss Addie off at a friend’s and we headed downtown. Chicago is such a cool city! I loved it!

We ate dinner at a place called Corner Bakery. Oodallaly. Delicious sandwich and great salad. I love both of those two things and I love it when they are sold together. It really makes for a perfect combo. Then we passed by Garret’s Popcorn. Oh. My. Heck. If I could marry any popcorn, I would marry that popcorn. It was amazing. I got the caramel macadamia nut. That was like eating sweet crunchy heaven. We continued walking and finally came to H&M. I absolutely am in love with H&M. I would marry that store too. Sad thing was, I wasn’t really feeling the shopping spirit. But it was so fun to look around, even if I wasn’t going to buy anything. I miss H&M. Darn Utah won’t be getting one anytime soon I don’t think.

Then we went to the Theater District and stopped on the way to get some more popcorn to take home. So many theaters! It was so fun! And I loved all the hustle and bustle of people walking around and looking around too. I might like it in a big city for a little while sometime in my life. It just seems so fabulous and different from my slower paced suburban life. And then we were there, The Cadillac Palace Theater.

I had my hands full. One with an empty water bottle and the tickets, the other with my empty popcorn bag (I was walking and eating. That’s dangerous too). Anyway, I emptied one hand and then realized I had thrown the tickets away. “Oh no! Oh no!” Then the BFF realized what happened. So typically me. Hil-arious. I started rummaging through the trash, which was hard, because when I laugh really hard, I close my eyes. Going through the garbage with your eyes closed isn’t the best idea. Gross. I finally found one of them but the other had vanished. And then some genius reached around me and threw some trash in the can. HELLO! Can’t you see I’m digging around in here?! I finally found it. It was relatively clean, as clean as it could be after being chucked in a trash can.

So we headed for the bathroom and I looked around and saw just how beautiful the theater was. It was amazing! Chandeliers and medallions on the ceiling. Lovely gold leafing and amazing plaster work all over. Red Velvet chairs. I loved it.


I washed my hands and we took our seats. I was giddy as a school girl. I love the Theatuh. Beauty and the Beast started playing. It was great! I can’t believe the talent some people have. Oh, to be able to sing. What would I give? We thoroughly enjoyed the play. The music and dancing were great, though I was rather disappointed at some of the sexuality they sneaked in there. I mean really? Beauty and The Beast sells itself. It doesn’t need the “help” of sex appeal.

The play ended and we headed back to the car. It’s a good thing the BFF isn’t directionally challenged like I am. Or we might still be looking for the car. We drove around the city and looked at some of downtown. We saw the huge fountain and Lake Michigan and some famous buildings and Millenium Park. We tried to find Oprah’s house, but we didn’t try very hard.

Since Annalisa left on her mission, we have compared ourselves to Oprah and her BFF Gayle. Annalisa is Oprah because she is fabulous and can pull of great parties and things. She has this great sense of style and what is glamorous. And I am Gayle, the awesome loyal BFF. And we do awesome things together, like drive around Chicago and go to the Theatuh. And that is why I said something about Oprah.

Then we drove home from the city and talked some more. Somehow, we never run out of things to say. That’s what is so great about the BFF. I just have so much to tell her. I’m pretty lucky that the BFF is my BFF. Not everybody is lucky enough to have that kind of relationship with someone. It gets me though a lot. She gets me through a lot. We kept talking and went to bed late again. But I think it was worth it, I didn’t want to run out of time to tell her everything I wanted, or hear everything she wanted to tell me.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Chicago 1 of 6: The Flight and First Night

My highly anticipated trip to Chicago came and went so quickly. Truly, I would have to say that is was one of the best trips on record. And I realize that is a lot of trips. It was the perfect mix of lounging around and running around. And there is just something about spending time with the BFF. She is the best. Instead of trying to cram everything we did in one measly little post, I will do one post for each day I was there. It really was just the best vacation. And I want to relive every moment. If you don’t want to relive it, I wanted to warn you. :)

I went to work on Tuesday, my flight didn't leave till 4:57, so I had to go to work. Working when you have the anticipation of something super awesome ahead of you is the pits. I was so excited. My legs were shaking I wanted to leave so badly. Finally 2:30 rolled around and I bolted out the door. I drove home and realized I hadn’t eaten lunch and I didn’t want to buy anything at the airport since it is legalized robbery to purchase anything there. So I packed myself a little lunch/dinner “snack.”

This is what was in my purse:
A baggie chock full of strawberries
A peeled orange
A baggie of pretzels
A baggie of cheese to eat with the pretzels
A baggie chock full of grapes
A peanut butter and jam sandwich
And probably some more stuff that I don’t remember

I know. That is a lot of food. It was like a stinking buffet. And my purse isn’t that big. It was overflowing. I couldn’t even zip it up. I have always wondered what women put in their huge hand bags. Now I know. They put food in there.

Craig took me to the airport. He’s a good chap. My duffel was packed pretty tightly. It must have weighed over twenty five pounds. But dang anyone who would try to make me pay $25 to check it. So I hauled it to the gate. And guess what? They didn’t make me check it. They put a lovely pink tag on it and carried it down to the belly of the metal plane for me. Nice. I had a bit of time to kill so I started reading the book that has been recommended to me time and time again. I decided to take a sabbatical from my reading sabbatical and started reading “The Hunger Games.” All of a sudden I heard someone speaking another language. It sounded very slurred. And then I heard a word I recognized. And then another. It was Polish. I stopped reading and started listening. Polish is dang hard, I decided. I could understand everything he was saying, but there was no way I would be able to carry on any sort of conversation with him. He saw that I was eavesdropping and asked me where I learned Polish. He asked me in English. So I told him, in English. It was a nice little missionary moment.

We boarded the plane. It was tiny and squishy. Luckily, I had a small little Asian person sitting next to me. He looked like he was about 12. But he was studying, like, chemical engineering stuff, so he must have been in his twenties. I cracked open my book again and I couldn’t put it down. I was so engrossed that we landed in Chicago before I knew it. And guess what else? My purse was empty. Yeah, I ate ALL of that food. I’m just glad it was mostly healthy things. I was stuffed like a Thanksgiving turkey. But I was reading so I wasn’t paying attention! So I learned not to read and eat. It's dangerous.

Well anyway, I waited for my pink tagged bag that really probably should have been checked. I had to walk a lot farther in this airport and my arms were getting tired. I stood by the curb and the BFF said that she would be there in a minute. I was little cold so I put on a little zip up hoodie. Then I saw her, face forward, driving right passed me. I picked up my bag, started running after her, and dialing her up. She thought I was in terminal three. I was in terminal two. She pulled over and I said I could run to catch up. I looked like a crazy person and I was running out of breath. Plus, it was getting hot. The hoodie was a bad idea. She said she was right in front of the yellow Hertz bus. I saw the back of a bus and stopped running. My legs were wobbly like jello jigglers. I love Jello. And then I saw that there were five buses all lined up. And the Hertz bus was the first in line. Needless to say, I was dripping sweat by the time I caught up to the car. And there she was laughing at us both. But I was laughing too. We drove home and we were like two hens just clucking away. We just talk so much. And then we got home and talked some more. We didn’t go to bed till 1:30. I felt bad because she has little Addie that gets up early as can be. But we just had so much to say! I hit the pillow and slept like a rock. It was a pretty good first day. And it was funny.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Baptism

I get in reading kicks every so often. I read and read and read some more. And then I get sick of it and won't read for a really long time. Like one summer I read all of Harry Potter and The Anne of Green Gables Series(1-4) and The Work and the Glory Series (1-6). Apparently, I really like seriesess (how do you make that plural?!). And then I didn't pick up another book until the next summer. Well, I am in one of my reading sabbaticals. I have a total of six books at work, but I haven't cracked one of them open since November. Just like reading, I go on journal writing kicks. Which I am glad I do, because it provides me with some great entertainment.

So when I am on my book fasts and feel guilty not reading, I go through my journals. And I find the most hilarious things, like this little gem:

2 August 2005
So today we had a downright successful day. We taught four lessons before lunch. We were feeling pretty good. And then Sister Michaelson got bit by a dog. It was a fetching horse!... We taught Tadeusz and it was so amazingly funny!! We invited him to Tomek and Benjamin's baptism on Saturday and he asked if they were going to be naked. So we told him of course not which he challenged with, "Why not?! Jesus was!"

So there you go folks, Jesus was naked when he was baptized. I hope that's not too sacriligious...

And by the way, I know I always give too much back information. You really didn't need to read about my reading habits. But that's just kind of what popped out!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Anna Marie

This might be a bit of a sad post, so if you are feeling a bit emotional and in a public place, you might want to hold off and read it another time. Today is the ten year anniversary of my sweet sister Anna's passing. She was 15. It is amazing how much time flies and life changes, but stays the same. Sometimes it feels so recently that we were putting a masking tape line down the center of our room to keep mark our territory. And then it feels like a whole life time has passed without my friend.

I remember exactly what I was doing ten years ago this weekend. The 18th was a Saturday, the day of my junior prom. Bubba Bollinger, the zany kid, asked me to go with him. We were pretty good friends and he was way fun to goof around with. That week we had been moving to our new house. Anna was so excited and had been pushing to get everything moved in. The nice weather helped with the move too. She came home sick from school with what we thought was a bad cold on Thursday and had been lounging in bed since then. Saturday morning, I walked into her room to ask if I could use her red fleece vest and I knew she would say yes because she was kind of sleepy. And she did say yes. And then she asked me to get her some chapstick because her lips were so dry. I got it for her, told her thanks and ran out. I didn't realize that would be the last time I would see her in a conscious state.

I went to the day activity and dance and had a great time. Such a great time, in fact, that I didn't get home till around 1:30. I walked into the house where amazingly, everyone was still up. Spencer had three of his friends over and they were all just chilling talking to Alana and Craig. They asked me how it was and if I had a good time. Then Craig told me that Anna was in the hospital so I needed to get changed so we could head over to Primary Children's. I ran upstairs and put on my blue polo with some fleece moose pajama pants my mom had made. Spencer's friends left, we got in the truck and started driving. Craig was pretty somber and then he told us that Anna was in a coma. I didn't recognize the seriousness of what he had said until he said "People die from comas." I started to panic and started crying a little bit. We got to the hospital and I walked as fast as I could through the halls. I remember specifically feeling like Sally Field in Steel Magnolias when she rushes to the hopsital after Shelby is taken in. We weren't able to go see her right away. She was in the ICU and only a few visitors are allowed in the room at a time. We had our own little room to wait in which was a really good thing because she had two sets of parents, my grandparents, and Spencer, Alana and me all there. I got to go in and see her. I was so scared. I still didn't understand what was going on though. She had an iv and a respirator and all sorts of tubes everywhere. But she was so still. So still. I kissed her and left so someone else could have a turn. I went back into the room they had for us and we waited.

Then came in the social worker. I was so mad. I didn't want that woman there! What was a stranger doing in our room?! Then Dr. Bohnzack, Anna's specialist for years, came in with another doctor and sat down by the door next to the social worker. He was hesitant, but said finally, "There is nothing we can do." Pure chaos broke out in the room. People were yelling. people were crying, but the worst of it was seeing my mom collapse into Craig's shoulder. I can't imagine the pain she felt. I pretty much just melted in to the corner in a silent daze. I just could not believe it.

Anna had a disease called Lupus which is a disease that destroys the immune system among other things. She had been diagnosed when she was in 2 grade, I think. Many times it affects just the joints, or just the organs, but it affected both for Anna. She had rheumatoid arthritis that badly affected her knees and hands and she had had a condition called water on the heart which weakened it as well. I didn't realize how painful things were for her. I had always been healthy. She had been hopsitalized twice before for different things. I figured that this time was kind of like the last times. But it wasn't.

It turns out she didn't have a cold after all. She had pneumococcal meningitis. As I understand it, she had a severe chest infection which sent infection throughout her body. With her lupus, her immune system was working against her. The infection made her brain stem swell and cut off circulation to her brain sending her into a coma.

The rest of my siblings came to the hospital. We huddled together on the floor outside our waiting room crying, and fell asleep. I remember waking up with two of my sisters laying on me and seeing my new bishopric. The chaos seemed to lessen. They were such a source of support, love and strength and I knew things were going to be all right.

Different extended family members came and went as well as close friends. Everyone was in a state of disbelief. Heck, sometimes I still can't believe it happened. The doctors kept running test after test. They were wonderfully patient with us. I remember her cute little pregnant nurse. She was so nice and just wanted to help us get through this. Sometime in the afternoon, they got all the sisters and both of the moms to help wash her hair. They had a tube running out of skull so there was some blood. I was glad I got to help.

They ran a final test around 4:30 p.m. on Sunday afternoon to see if she could breathe on her own. She couldn't. They brought my entire family in to have a few minutes with her. They all crowded around her touching her, but I couldn't do it. I just sat in a chair toward the foot of her bed and watched. The automatic doors kept opening and closing, opening and closing. And all I could do was sit there in silence. She was prounced dead at 4:58.

Craig took us home and it started to snow. Kind of like it did last night. My mom said she thought the weather was fitting, that it was right that people weren't outside playing while we were hurting so much. I tend to agree.

The following week was filled with visitors bringing comfort and expressing love and support for my wonderful family. I watched moves. A lot of movies. And Alana and I started sleeping together. The viewing was held the following Thursday. It went for an hour and a half longer than it was supposed to, but people just kept coming. I felt like my family were the ones giving comfort this time. The funeral was the next day. The church was packed and even the stage was filled. It was nice to see that so many people loved her and honored her by coming. I was glad that that week was finally over.

I often used to try to think of the things that Anna would be doing if she were alive. Like, "Oh, she would probably be at BYU right now." And "She would probably be serving a mission right now." But none of those things make sense. She was never meant to do those things. She left this life at the perfect time in hers. At the funeral, my mom read a poem she wrote called "So Much Joy." In it, she thanked Heavenly Father for the time she was given to spend with this wonderful girl. She didn't curse God and ask why. She simply thanked Him for the time.

So this weekend, we are remembering the life of my sweet sister. We celebrate the life she lived and the time we had to share with her. But that is not all we are celebrating. That week in our lives brought my family closer together than any other time. We started telling each other "I love you" whenever we saw each other. We hugged each other every time we left the house. We spent more time with one another. And we definitely loved one another more.

So if you ever wonder why I am so obsessed with my family and am so adimant about spending time with them, you know that it's because I understand that family is what it is all about. That time is so fleeting, and building relationships with family is the most important part of this life. Relationships and knowledge are the only things we take with us. So I hope you all take a minute to realize how blessed you are to have the family that you have, and tell them each how much you love them. And that you thank our Heavenly Father for the time we have together.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Jordy Pants and MJ

Jordan and Miranda are flying out to their new home in Brazil today. I'm way excited for him to have this great opportunity, but I have to say that I am going to miss him so much! It was tough when he did his study abroad in Argentina last year, but that only lasted for three or four months. This time he will be gone for three years. Talking to people on a web cam is a lot different. But that is better than not talking at all.
Jordo is pretty lucky. He has gotten to tick off lots of the things he has really wanted to do in the last little bit. When I was 15 or 16, we took a cousins trip to California and ended up at Point Lobos one of the days. He decided back then that he was going to propose to whomever he would marry there. And he did it last August.
He has wanted to get married for a while, and he did that in November.
He has also always wanted to live abroad for the first few years of married life but was worried that most girls wouldn't like that. Good thing Miranda-Jayne is so adventurous, cuz he got his wish!
Jordan is a total stud and a great friend. It will be fun to hear about his adventures in Brazil Who knows, maybe I will have to go on down there and see what it's all about. Besides, Brazillian men are H-O-T. This was the last time I saw Jordo in the flesh. Flesh is such a weird word.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Groupie

Ok, so I am totally feeling like a groupie. I went to another Vocal Point concert on Saturday. And somehow we ended up with front row tickets... Loved it. And I am still in love...

Monday, March 1, 2010

Saturday

Alana is five and a half months pregnant and things don't sit well with her right after she eats. Or gets in the car. Or walks around. Or ever. Well, we got in Beyonce to head to a baby shower for a family friend. We got on the freeway and were just cruising down the road, when all of a sudden, she got a sour expression on her face and started to roll down the window.

"Don't. Do. It." I said.

But did she listen? No. Luckily it wasn't very much. But poor, poor Beyonce.

We got to the shower. And you all know how baby showers are. Everyone talks about when they were pregnant and the things that happened to them. Boy did I get an earful. Things I never knew...

Usually there are little toddlers toddling around and this was no exception. The cutest little chunk of a toddler wandered over while I was chatting with her mom with a half eaten chocolate covered strawberry in her mouth. I didn't get one of those... Dang. Anyway, her mom looked down at her and said, "I thought we were out of those! Wait, where did you get that? Did you get that out of the garbage?" The mom looked at me, cracked up, and said, "You know, I'm just not the kind of mom who tells her kids 'Don't eat out of the garbage!'"

I was cracking up so hard. This will have the healthiest immune system known to man. Man, I haven't been so entertained in a long time. But Beyonce still needs a shower of her own.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Snowboarding

My sister Alana is amazing at snowboarding. She used to be sponsored. I don't really know how that works, but she practically has a retail store full of gear. She gave me a board for my birthday a year and a half ago. It is sweet! It has what I like to call Ninja Turtle bindings. They are bright green and yellow. They are awesome. Well, I went for the first time about a month and half ago. I stunk it up, man. I still can't kneel because the bruising was so bad. Hurty. I kept catapulting forward. Like cartoon catapulting. Way hurty. On my final run down the mountain, I flipped forward so hard that I hit that lower bone. The one where it makes you want to throw up if you hit it hard enough. So I just lay there in the snow. And I cried. And then I was done.

I went again on Monday night. They have a great deal for night skiing on Mondays: half price. Which is great. Because full price for night skiing in negative bazillion degrees would not be worth it for the beginner that I am. My legs got really tired and my fingers were like little otter pops. But they didn't taste good like otter pops. I got a lot better though and went down the mountain only falling twice on my last run. One of the spills was great. I supermanned it but ended up on my back, which means I did a full somersault. Hurty, I know. I wish I could have seen it. I love slapstick humor. Must be all Three Stooges I watched with my dad as a kid. Who knows. Anyway, I really had a good time. I think snowboarding is something I could really like. Especially on half price Mondays.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Hurricane: Pronounced "her-ih-cun"

This last weekend we went down to the old homestead. And by old homestead, I mean my dad's hometown in Southern Utah. Not like everyone who reads my blog has never heard of it, I mean, it's like my favorite place in the world. Anyway, we had a ball. My cousin Bryce got home from his mission so that was a great excuse for us to head on down. We went out to the "Flat" and saw some of my uncle's animals. He and his sons are really the only ones left that do any farming. And they love it.
Here are some of the cows. I just think cows are so cute. Just look at them! And they don't smell nearly as badly as pigs or chickens. Now those are animals that can put out a stench.
This is Uncle Wynn's turkey named Obama. I don't really know why he is called that. Maybe because he is brown? He is vicious though, apparently. He chases ya around. And being chased by a giant turkey is never fun.

We did a little shooting. I was super excited to bring my Red Ryder down, but since I was rushed getting out of town, I forgot him. Sad sad day. But I got to shoot the .22 anyway. And I keept hitting the target. Then my cousin's hub who is big into hunting said I had good shooting form. Yeah, my head got a little bigger

Jordy's birthday is on Valentime's day but we celebrated it the night before. Mostly because Sunday was for Bryce's homecoming glory, at least that is what I am thinking anyway. Which, I didn't get a picture of. I'm not great about photo documentation... But I love the kid. Fresh off the mish kids are the best. And he did a fantastic job. Oh to be recently returned once again rather than almost expired!

We also did some ball tag on the four wheelers and Bryce was on his little motorcycle. We had a blast!
Thanks to all the Hurricane-ites who made it such a great time!




Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Udder Paradise

If I was a cow, this is where I would want to live. Wouldn't you? This is my uncle's place down in Hurricane, Utah. Just look at that view!