Wednesday, December 26, 2012

thirteenth day of Christmas

"Because it's Christmas, I've been thinking more than usual about what you taught me,
about how God sent His Son to be born in a manger, to live, to teach, to die, and to be born again, resurrected, for us
I know that's true.

I've been thinking about how I used to count down to the big day. 
We would try so hard to think of Jesus, but we knew the traps
We knew the meaning of Christmas had become lost in the ripped wrapping paper on the floor. 

So we try to remember Him
On Christmas Eve, Dad would read His story from Luke in the New Testament. 
We felt good about ourselves that we'd worked so hard to remember that Christmas is about the birth of Jesus.

Then what?

On December 26th we return the clothes that didn't fit, and we begin to put Christmas 
back in the box.
In the basement. 
Or by the curb. 
We mark the day off the calendar and prepare for the next holiday and the chance to ring in the new year. 

What a shame that the day after Christmas 
just might be the least memorable day of the year.

I've learned that it doesn't matter 
how I'm living my life today, or tomorrow, or on Christmas Day, 
or how much I remember Him and His birth, 
if I don't wake up a different man on December 26.

Isn't that what He wants?

Not to simply celebrate Jesus' birth on one day, 
but to celebrate His life by living like Him the other 364?

Do we workshop the infant for a day, but not the man and His teachings all year long?
Do we put Him away with the decorations?

Or do we try to be more like Him?

That's my Christmas gift to you. I hope you get this by Christmas, but if you don't, think of me on the day after.
Now that I've reread this letter, I'd say December 26 might be my new favorite day of the year. 
I guess you could call that the 13th Day of Christmas.

Please enjoy my gift. It's the most valuable thing I have: 
December 26th."


"The 13th Day of Christmas" by Jason F. Wright, pages 235-236.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

MERRY CHRISTMAS

in case you missed it...
TODAY WAS CHRISTMAS DAY!!!!

I LOVE Christmas.
And today was even better than I expected.

Woke up early, played with the family, and stayed in pajamas. All day long.
Home videos of Christmas past.
Eating lots of food. and cookies. and candy. and food. and treats.
Laughs from past memories and [now] some new ones. Items involved: bathrobe, puzzles, baby dolls, and picture books.
The beautiful joy of giving to others.

I just love this day of the year.

AND we had a white Christmas!!! It snowed about an inch last week, but it's been so cold it never melted.
Thankful for the subzero temperatures of Chicago for once.

Most importantly, remembering the gift of our Savior, Jesus Christ. For with Him, nothing will ever be impossible. And that is a simply beautiful truth.


I wish you all a very Merry Christmas. Enjoy the time with your friends and loved ones. 

Saturday, December 22, 2012

happy heart day

[day twenty-six]
my heart

If you're reading this blog, you probably know by now that I have had a heart transplant.
Three, actually.
Today marks five years since my third heart transplant.

To celebrate, I went grocery shopping with Hayley and John, watched a movie, and talked to a few friends. I spent most of the day in an introspective mood, looking at some old blog posts, studying my scriptures, and reading my journal a bit.

I cannot fully express my gratitude to the donor family. I would not be here today if it weren't for their gift of a brand new heart. I am so grateful for the life I have been able to live because of this selfless gift. I hope to someday meet these people and their families so I can attempt to express my love and gratitude for them. 

Given the fact that I was way more adorable after my first heart transplant, enjoy this picture. It's one of my favorites; I'm 18 months old.
For all the horrifying photographs documenting the awkward stages of my life [aka after the third transplant], please click here

Thank you to every single one of you as well. I know that it is also because of your faith, prayers, and fasting that I am here today. I am so grateful for the support each of you have given me over the past nineteen years of my life.


And now for one little request:
Find out if you're an organ donor. If you're not, find out why. Some basic Google searches will show you plenty of research and fact sheets about being an organ donor. 

Become an organ donor if you can. 
You can even show it on your Facebook timeline:


You could end up saving someone's life.
Like mine.

I am so grateful for the modern miracles of medicine. I am grateful to have a body that functions [for the most part] normally. 

But most of all, I am thankful for the beating of my heart throughout each minute of every day.
It's a wonderful feeling.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

one more week

[day twenty-five]
bishopric
I absolutely love my bishopric

Bishop Murdock is sincerely interested in each one of our lives; the joys, the challenges, and the menial day-to-day tasks. He takes the time to talk to me, something I greatly appreciate. Fun fact: apparently he's my aunt's dentist.
Brother Johnson is about the happiest man alive. He always wears the biggest smile. Once you get him started, he will talk your ear off about his grandkids. 
Brother Rosenthal knows every single person, and he seems to know every little thing about them. While he's a little more quiet and reserved, he has the best sense of humor. 

All three of them are at nearly every single activity, as well as their wives. I have grown to love these three men who lead our ward; they truly are inspired, and I know they will drop everything to help me. 

Today was a little crazy. Figuirng out that church started at 10 am instead of 11:15 was a bit of a shocker and made for a little bit of a rushed morning. We had a combined stake meeting since there weren't very many people back from Thanksgiving break. The lessons were wonderful, and it was nice to have sacrament meeting first for once.

In our Relief Society lesson, we talked about the Footprints in the Sand poem [read it here. such an amazing story!]. I came home and was doing some research on the story, and came across this song. I fell in love with the lyrics. Enjoy.
"Footprints in the Sand"
by Leona Lewis

Hayley got her mission call in the mail on Friday, and she finally opened it today!!!! Even though I will miss her next semester, I am so excited for my roommate to serve the people of Brazil. She is going to be such an incredible missionary!

I cannot believe how fast this year has flown by. There is only one more week left of school. And then it's finals and back home for the holidays. Craziness.

back home in provo

[day twenty-four]
aerospace engineering

When I was a kid, I never thought flying could lose it's excitement.
Turns out I was wrong.

Being a college student, without a car, living 1400 miles away from home, I get a lot of air miles in.
I always end up next to the most interesting people: a couple with a cat, a seven year old wanting to know every detail about my life and the plane, and the person who snored the entire flight home. Flying is always an entertaining, but mostly stressful, experience.

Regardless. It's a whole lot less stressful than the twenty-three-and-a-half-hour drive through the thrilling states of Wyoming, Nebraska, and Iowa.

So thank you to the Wright brothers and all others who made my air travel possible.

Not gonna lie, I'm pretty excited to see the mountains again.

Monday, December 17, 2012

family photos and decorations

[day twenty-three]
my parents

My mom and dad are just about the best parents I could have asked for. They have supported me unconditionally through all my challenges. They push me to be my best self. They have taught me the importance of being an example to my younger [but bigger] siblings. They continue to teach me about the gospel and how to strengthen my own testimony.
Mom and Dad are also pretty great at expressing their creativity in gifts. They have a fantastic sense of humor, particularly past nine o'clock at night. They are my greatest examples of how to stay smiling and laughing even through the darkest times.
And they are the most adorable couple on the planet.

I love them to death.

So it's the day after Thanksgiving. aka the official start of the Christmas season.
aka Black Friday, but we don't participate in those shopping activities.

We spent most of our day putting up Christmas decorations. Namely, our snow village set, the fake Christmas tree in the family room [complete with lights and ornaments], and finishing the outside lights.

And then we took family photos. Enjoy a few of the bloopers.



PS: Christmas music is officially legal! Which means Christmas music 24-7 in our apartment.

Did I mention I LOVE Christmas?

didn't I tell you - most adorable couple right there.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

happy turkey day y'all

[day twenty-two]
the holiday season

I absolutely LOVE this time of the year.
I love the lights, the music, the wintry snow, the decorations, the cheer, the spirit of giving.
But mostly, I love the time I get to spend with my family.

Thanksgiving day was spent making food and playing games with my siblings and parents. Ticket to Ride is among my favorites. The food was fantastic, as always. Gotta love home-cooking.



Happy Thanksgiving to you all!!
And a very merry welcome to the Christmas season!

thanksgiving eve

[day twenty-one]
basketball
[sort of]

I can't count how many basketball games I have been to in my life. And most nearly all of them were for my siblings. Namely, Megan.

Megan made the high school varsity team as a sophomore this year. Going back home for Thanksgiving, I was able to go to three of her games. I guess being away from home has made me appreciate watching her play a little more.



Anyway. The point is, I am slowly gaining more of an appreciation for basketball than I really ever thought was possible. Particularly as I understand what is actually going on in the game.

So yes, today I am grateful for one of the very few sports I [am starting to] truly enjoy watching; basketball.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

well hello there

I have not completely disappeared.
And I do have my 30 days of Thanksgiving posts finished.

BUT
Blogger says that I have apparently reached my free photo limit... whatever that means.
So I'm in the middle of trying to figure out how to get all my photos up before I publish those Thanksgiving posts.

In the meantime, I am working towards finals and moving out of my apartment all before next Saturday. It's a little crazy. So I apologize for neglecting the blog, but other things are taking higher priority.

Good luck with finals to all of you in school!
To the rest of you... good luck as well.

In honor of the wonderful Christmas season, here is the newest song released by the Piano Guys.

"O Come, Emmanuel"
The Piano Guys

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

twenty

[day twenty]
naps

I really wish there was a rollover plan for all those naps I refused in elementary school. I could use a few more every now and then.

But that's one of the great parts about vacation; I am usually able to get in [at least] a short a nap every day. It's a wonderful break from the craziness of reality, helps you solve all the problems of life, and allows for a bit of relaxation. And it just feels soooo good.

Monday, November 19, 2012

best is yet to come

[today I am grateful...]
to be done with high school

I went to visit some past teachers at my old high school today. I love visiting with all of them! yes I am a nerd. deal with it. I learned so much from them in my high school classes, and now as a college student they are my mentors as I look to them for advice on my future.

Other than visiting those teachers and counselors, I am beyond glad to be done with high school. I could talk about all the faults of high school for quite some time. Instead, I will focus on the positive. I have a few good friends I keep in touch with. High school was a great time while I was there, but I could not be happier to have moved on. 

Someone is credited with saying "high school is the best four years of your life."
um, that's false.

Did I make myself clear?

Basically, I LOVE COLLEGE. I'm pretty sure my four (or more) years at college will be some of the best years of my life. But I won't make any guarantees. Each day could be the best day of my life. And while it is fun to visit every now and then, I most certainly would never go back to being a high school student. ever. 

So thanks LZHS for the four years I had there.
But no offense, I am pretty glad to be off on new adventures.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

family time is the best time

[day eighteen... oh wait, that's today]
family dinner time

Our family dinner time is like no other. I didn't realize how much I had missed it until I came back home. We exchange stories, reminisce on days long gone, and basically laugh for the majority of the meal. While I do often eat dinner with my roommate or with a few friends, it still isn't quite like being together for family dinner. I love family dinner time, not necessarily because of the delicious food [though that is definitely a plus] but because of the time we all spend together and the memories we make. It is one of the best time of the day. I am so grateful for my family and all the time we spend laughing together; they are the greatest, and I couldn't have asked for anyone better.

on more of a Sunday note...
Vocal Point released a new album a few weeks ago called "Lead Thou Me On." It is absolutely gorgeous, and I highly recommend listening to it if possible. This is my favorite song from the album:

"Danny Boy" performed by Vocal Point

Only three more days until Thanksgiving!!

the piano

[day seventeen]
baby grand piano

When my great-grandfather passed away, he left my mom some money to purchase a piano. That baby grand piano is still in beautiful condition and is an absolute joy to play. Most of my years of playing piano were learned on that baby grand. I love coming home where I can practice just about anytime I want, and the piano will always be in tune with all the keys working. It's just beautiful.

After spending quite a bit of time today practicing playing through some Christmas songs, I am definitely grateful for the love of music my mom instilled in me and for her willingness to teach me to play such a lovely instrument.

I love being at home.

you're a good man

[day sixteen]
my little brother

This kid is too cute for his own good. I was excited to see him in his middle school musical, but being a middle school production I didn't expect much. 
Nathan earned the lead role in this year's production of "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown." 
I was completely blown away. That kid is so talented, so energetic, and just so gosh darn adorable. The whole musical was incredibly well done, but I have to admit, Nathan was by far the best one up there. Not that I'm biased or anything. The musical had zero plot line, but it was quality entertainment and so much fun to watch!
warning: lots of pictures coming your way
or you can just skip to the end. your choice.
the opening number 
"I'm standing up!
I'm sitting down..."
"she's looking at me"
*puts bag over head*
"I've always wanted to be called 'Flash'" 
"It isn't on the ground, it isn't in a tree"
"Hey Lucy. Happy Valentine's Day"
"nothing echoes like an empty mailbox" 
"I've always been stupid at spelling and numbers" 
"if I start writing now, when I'm not really rested it could upset my thinking, which is no good at all."
"dear pen pal, you won't believe what happened at the baseball game today" 
"Happiness is anyone or anything at all that's loved by you"
Along with being the cutest Charlie Brown there ever was, my little brother is the best
Nathan always gives me the biggest bear hugs when I am home. He's excited to see me and to play games with me. He's just a little sweetheart. All the girls his age absolutely adore him [as made quite clear after each performance]. He is brilliant in math and just about everything else he works at. He always brings a smile to my face.
Nathan's taller than me now and holds it over me. But that's ok. I will always be his older sister. 
I love you little brother! 

ps: the internet at home is crazy slow, so I will have to post all my videos once I get back to Provo. sorry about that.

home for the holidays

[day fifteen]
surprises

A few weeks back, I got a call from my mom asking if I wanted to come home for Thanksgiving.
Basically, I would have had almost an entire week and a half off of school. And it would be kind of boring to spend all that time in Provo. Plus, my little brother got the lead in his middle school musical [more to come on that], and it would be great for me to come and watch him perform.

Tickets were purchased, and we decided to make my trip a surprise for my little brother. We were all able to keep this a secret for so long, and now I finally get to surprise him!!

Three hours in a plane, an hour in a car, ninety minutes at an oasis, and another hour car ride later...

I AM HOME!!

I cannot wait to see Nathan's face in the morning when he finds out I'm here!
Not to mention the next nine days I get to spend at home. That's pretty great, too.

[so since I am doing this post like four days later... here are the pictures of Nathan's reaction. I can't get the video to load, but maybe I will post that later.]

Friday morning I woke up at about 5:30 am and made myself slightly presentable [knowing full well that pictures would be taken] before heading downstairs to the kitchen table. At 5:55 on the dot, Nathan got out of bed and was walking around upstairs. We heard him come down the stairs, and he walked in with barely-open eyes. 
Nathan: "wait, Lauren's here."
me: "hi Nathan"
Nathan: "when did you get here?"
me: "last night"
Nathan: "what are doing here?"
comes to give me a hug

disclaimer: this was taken before six in the morning. please don't judge Nathan's eyes barely opening or the fact that neither of us are dressed and we all basically look horrible. it's the surprise of the moment that matters.
He was a little more excited after school when he was actually awake. 
Best. Surprise. Ever.

missionaries

[day fourteen]
missionaries

I have mentioned this before, but I love missionaries.
When President Monson announced the new age requirements for missionaries, I was so excited I nearly started crying. It is one thing to see the Church move forward, but to be a part of it is such a neat experience.
With over thirty of my guy friends from freshman year on missions, I have been on this kick for writing letters to them all. I never knew writing letters could be such a blast! Or such a perfect excuse to procrastinate homework... Each missionary has such incredible experiences wherever they are serving, and I am inspired by their diligence and obedience.

With the changes in age for girls, several of my closest friends have started their papers, submitted their papers, or have received their calls. Tonight I had the amazing opportunity to go to Brooke's apartment after class to watch her open her mission call.
Stover sisters reunited!!!
so it's not the best picture... whatever.
pardon my lack of fashion. boots with a dress doesn't really match, but I was going for comfort on a cold day.
don't judge. the important part is Brooke with her mission call!!!!
Not only did I get to see most of my friends from our dorm hall, but I was able to see Brooke receive her call to serve in Brazil. It's difficult to explain, but the Spirit is so strong at such events; you know that this person will be an incredible missionary, and the place on that call is exactly where they are supposed to be sharing the gospel.

Along with Brooke, ten of my other friends [and one of my cousins!] received their mission calls tonight. They are going to places as close as Montana and Washington state, and as far as the Philippines and Ukraine.

I am so grateful for the missionaries and their examples to me and to those they serve. Good luck Elders and Sisters; you're going to be amazing! Go forth and serve.

busy days

[day thirteen]
busy days

You know those completely crazy days where you feel like you're going to lose your head and never find it again because it's buried deep in those clothes you just shoved out of the way to clean your room for cleaning checks and then you are forced to give up on any amount of homework because it just isn't worth trying to do it all without a functioning brain and you end up just doing something completely mind-numbing until you can actually go to sleep so you can try again tomorrow?

Luckily, I don't have those days too often. But when they do happen, I am suddenly extremely grateful for sleep, good friends, and a mom who taught me the importance of time management. I get more done in those insanely busy days than I ever thought possible. I am much more appreciative of the time I get to spend sitting down to eat dinner, and I look forward to having everything checked off of my to do list at the end of the day.

Now to carry that productivity into the next day...

Monday, November 12, 2012

day twelve

clean laundry

I absolutely despise doing laundry. 

First you have to sort the dirty clothes, then pack all of the sorted piles into your little laundry bag. 
Then you must carry the overloaded laundry bag without cutting off all circulation from your hands while avoiding dropping said bag into piles of snow and slush on your way to the laundry room. 
Then once you open the door, you have to drag the bag down the steep stairs of death before you finally reach the laundry room.
Once you get there, you hope you have your laundry card, detergent, and dryer sheets, otherwise it's another trip back to the apartment to retrieve the items while you pray that no one takes the machines you are hoping to use. 
Load the laundry, pour the detergent, set an alarm for when the load should finish. 
And then insert the laundry card to pay ridiculously high prices to simply clean your clothes.
Find something to do while you wait for the washing to finish, then return to the laundry room.
Now you have to transfer the dripping wet clothes back to the laundry bag to drag them across the room to the dryers. For short people [like myself], you hope that there are bottom dryers available. I was not quite that lucky today. 
Throw all clothes into the dryer, add a dryer sheet, set an alarm for when the load should finish.
Once again, insert card to pay a ridiculous amount to dry the now-clean clothes.
Return to activity while yet again waiting for the dryer to finish.
Come back to the laundry room, load the [hopefully] dry clothes back into the laundry bag, hope you reached all of those dry clothes in the very back of the dryer, and proceed to carry the again-overloaded laundry bag back to the apartment without dropping the clean clothes on the snowy ground
And then fold them all.

It's quite the process.

But it is a fact of life, and then when it's all folded and put away, I feel totally accomplished. Plus my clothes and my room smell wonderful. And today it wasn't too horrible since Devon was doing his laundry at the same time, so we hung out in between the washing and drying loads. even the worst chore is better with friends. So despite the frustrating process of getting it all done, I am always happy to have my clothes nice and clean.

other ways I spent my time today:

Family Home Evening at Lowe's Extreme Air Sports [a.k.a. a great big warehouse full of foam pits and trampolines and climbing walls]
Hayley the trapeze artist
Devon the flying man
Hayley flying through the air
Making snowflakes with Hayley while listening to some fabulous music


Now it's off to bed and on to the next day!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

happy sunday

Christ's Atonement

Recently I have been reading "The Infinite Atonement" by Elder Tad R. Callister. It has been an eye-opening experience as I have more fully studied the atoning sacrifice of my Savior.

I know Jesus Christ not only atoned for my sins, but he suffered each pain, sickness, and emotion that I will ever experience. He knows exactly what I am going through. My knowledge of that simple fact has carried me through countless trials. Because I know my Savior was willing to endure so much pain simply for my sake, I know without a doubt that He truly loves me. Even with all my mistakes and imperfections, Christ and my Heavenly Father love me enough to have provided a way for me to return to live with them someday. Words cannot fully express my gratitude to my Savior for sacrificing so much, even His own life, for me.

I just wanted to share a few quotes from the book that I absolutely love:

  • President Gordon B. Hinckley: "When all is said and done, when all of history is examined, when the deepest depths of the human mind have been explored, there is nothing so wonderful, so majestic, so tremendous as this act of grace."
  • President Howard W. Hunter: "As we come to understand [Christ's] mission and the atonement which He wrought, we will desire to live more like Him."
  • "The atoning sacrifice was designed to motivate us, to draw us unto him, to lift us to higher ground, and ultimately to assist us in becoming as he is."
  • C.S. Lewis: "[Christ] has infinite attention to spare for each one of us. He does not have to deal with us in the mass. You are as much alone with Him as if you were the only being He had ever created. When Christ died, He died for you individually just as much as if you had been the only man in the world."
  • "One does not speak lightly of the Atonement or casually express his appreciation. It is the most sacred and sublime event in eternity. It deserves our most intense thoughts, our most profound feelings, and our noblest deeds. One speaks of it in reverential tones;  one contemplates it in awe; one learns of it in solemnity. This even stands alone, now and throughout eternity."

Though I cannot fully comprehend how or why, I am so grateful to Christ for what He suffered in the garden at Gethsemane. I know He loves me, and I know that He understands exactly what I am facing. I am grateful that He was willing to make up the difference in my imperfections to allow me to return to live with my Heavenly Father someday.
My favorite painting depicting Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane: "Oh My Father" by Simon Dewey

In other news, here's what we've been up to this Sunday evening:


Hayley: researching delicious meals via Pinterest while studying Spanish
John: writing a letter
me: just finished refilling meds and about to do another blog post
All while we enjoy some freshly baked cookies.

Have a lovely week! Go jump in a pile of snow or leaves or whatever you have. Just enjoy this happy time of the year outside for a bit.

And [as always] remember to smile!

story time

I have been pretty great at doing the thirty days of Thanksgiving. But I haven't really told you stories from the past two weeks about life. So without further ado, here are a few highlights from life [mostly in chronological order]:

  • Hayley and I like having movie nights. Most recent films were Letters to Juliet [fabulously cheesy] and National Treasure [forever one of my favorites].
  • Harrison invited me to a group date cooking competition his building hosted. After cooking and enjoying the meal, we played Apples to Apples with his roommate and his date. It was super fun!
  • After picking me up from aforementioned activity, John, Hayley, and I all came back to our apartment to watch Avengers [which was an awesome movie by the way]! Well, John and I watched it. Hayley sort of slept through most of the movie...
  • Grandma and Grandpa Hyde came to town!! I spent a few hours with them at Target [see microwave post] and then Cafe Rio for dinner before they headed to the basketball game with my cousins.
  • John and Hayley's friend, Scott, joined us for a Sunday dinner [see picture below]. We played some games, went to ward prayer, and watched Scott perform some card tricks while Hayley was continuously stumped by each one. 
  • I Skyped with Rachel to discuss boys life. I can't believe she could will be out here next year!
  • Last Sunday, John and a friend joined us for taco night and we watched the CES fireside by Bishop Gérald Caussé. It was such a great fireside!!
  • Stayed up past midnight to complete my winter semester registration. I will be taking the second half of New Testament, Missionary Preparation, and two history classes.
  • I studied hard and earned a 92% on my New Testament midterm!
  • I have almost finalized housing plans for next semester.
  • Hattie and I met up for lunch at the Cougareat on Wednesday. Gosh that girl is awesome! I have missed being in the same hall as her.
  • I hung out with Devon quite a bit. Cosby Show, grocery trips, piano in the lounge, Wii games, and How to Train Your Dragon are just a few of the exciting things we've done.
  • Hayley and I talk in Spanish, and I attempt to help her study. Good thing she has native speakers to help her out as well!
Five of my amazing friends have received their mission calls in the past week. I am so excited for each of them!! It's amazing how fast missionary work is progressing! By the way, all of them are girls. So far I have friends going to:
    • Jacksonville Florida
    • Minneapolis Minnesota Spanish-speaking
    • Porto Alegre Brazil
    • Madrid Spain
    • Billings Montana
I cannot wait for some of my other dear friends to get their calls in the coming weeks!!
  • We had a Relief Society activity on Thursday to learn to make a super easy pumpkin cheesecake. Only five girls attended, and one of the guys in our ward joined us. It was super fun, delicious, and I got to make some new friends.
  • Shopping adventures of the last few days: I went to Kohl's with Devon to help him find some snow boots, thermals, gloves, and a hat. That was entertaining. Then yesterday, Hayley and I went to Gap to use a coupon we had. That girl made me try on a few things I never would have touched. Also made for an entertaining experience.
  • Brooke was able to get me tickets to Divine Comedy, so Friday night, Devon and I went to the show with her. absolutely hilarious. I haven't laughed that hard in so long!! There was a BYU-based Mulan, Dobby and Jason Bourne, body language tips for guys and girls, and so much more. Such a great show! And free glow sticks. That was pretty awesome, too.
Yesterday was an adventure. Hayley's friend, Scott, [same one as before] decided to come to Gap with us, but he needed to move his car. Upon searching, we discovered his only set of keys were locked inside his car. For almost two hours, the three of us were outside with two wire coat hangers and a few butter knives trying to unlock the door. Needless to say, it was freezing and absolutely hilarious.

Scott prying the door open with butter knives while Hayley maneuvered the wire coat hanger to catch on the lock button. We tried multiple methods for forever, but to no avail. Hayley and I finally left, and Scott and his dad were able to get it open a few minutes later. 
Of course, there have also been all the little things. Like homework, laundry, visiting teaching, cleaning the apartment, talking to family, cooking, and meeting new people. And sleep every now and then.

But here are the two biggest events:

1. I am officially declared a history teaching major.
Now I have history pre-req classes to work on besides my generals. Should be a blast! 

2. It SNOWED!! I may have mentioned that before, but I'm super excited so I'll say it again. And I actually have pictures to show now.
outside our apartment. the people next door built a snowman!! 
view outside our window right after the storm 
find the Y on Y Mountain!!
and the view from the parking lot. GORGEOUS!!!
I love snow. and mountains. so this is just perfection.
And that's basically my life. 
The end.

tenth day

extended family

I got to see my grandparents about a week ago.
Last night, my aunt and uncle took me out to dinner with all of their adorable kids before the football game.
My other aunt dropped off a few things that I have been storing at her house. like Christmas lights!
My cousin has her papers in, and hopefully her mission call will be coming this week.
I get to visit with even more extended family tonight at a cousin dinner.

Even though my immediate family isn't right next door, I can always count on my extended family members to step in when I need a little extra help. or if I need to see cute kids or eat a delicious meal. 
I absolutely love all my aunts and uncles and cousins. They have helped me through so much, and I am so grateful for their support and optimism.

And now on a completely unrelated note, 
here are a few things that I think are just adorable.



And a little snowy inspiration:

Friday, November 9, 2012

let it snow

snow

I really really love snow. like a lot.
Today was the first big snow storm of the season, and I am so excited!
It's the perfect excuse to have some mint hot chocolate while curled up on the couch to just watch the flakes fall.
Snow falling makes listening singing along to Christmas music even better.
You get all bundled up and go sledding, build snowmen, and have snowball fights.
so. much. fun.
Also I got a string of Christmas lights today! And snow makes today just about the best day ever.
Snow means the holiday season is even closer. Which means happiness is coming.
I just love this time of the year.

In the absence of pictures, please enjoy the first [of many] holiday song on the blog!


Happy first snow everyone!!

you will survive. I promise.

happy eight day

provo YSA 77th ward

Tonight we had a Relief Society activity. And although only like five people attended, it was still great to get to know the people who were there.
Sister Rosenthal (the first counselor's wife) taught us how to make a wonderfully simply pumpkin cheesecake. Deliciousness.
Anyway.
My bishopric is fabulous. Each one of them has taken the time to get to know every single member of the ward. They are at every activity and put aside several hours a week for interviews and other business. Basically, they are awesome.
The people in my ward are just fantastic. Everyone is so welcoming, and I have made some great friends. And while they may not measure up to freshman year, it's still a party all most of the time. It's been such a great experience.

[throwback thursday]

I have been going through my old pictures that I have on my computer. And now I'm just kind of obsessed with how adorable we all were ten years ago. wish I still was that cute... oh well. Enjoy my sentimentality.

mommy and me 



Yeah I really wish we could just stay adorable.

ps: if you got the blog title reference, you are my new best friend.
pps: I am beyond excited for Christmas.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

music, dreams, and patriotism

music

I really like listening to music.
I turn up the tunes just about any time of day.
cleaning, studying, doing laundry, procrastinating, writing blog posts

And yes, I did break out the Christmas music. 
please note that I waited a month longer than I did last year.
Christmas music puts me in the best mood ever. 
[I am so excited for the holidays. It really is the most wonderful time of the year.]

I really love singing along to classic Disney songs, country music, EFY albums, and great road trip tunes. Every song has a memory behind it: seminary drives, family road trips, late-night dance parties with sisters or roommates.
That is part of the power of music.

Music is yet another reason to smile.
It puts me in a better mood, helps to bring comfort, and even makes me think.
"Music is what feelings sound like."


and now for something to make you smile:


just keep on dreaming and don't lose hope :)

lastly a short anecdote from today:

I was on my way home from class a little earlier than usual [our professor let us out rather early today] and was enjoying the crisp fall air and sunset colors on the mountains. Then I heard our national anthem playing. At first I thought it was just the marching band practicing and kept walking across campus.

Then I realized every other student was standing still with their hands over their hearts. They were looking towards the administration building where the flag was being lowered [please pardon me as I'm not positive of the proper term to use here]. It was quite a remarkable sight. A rather crowded college campus was completely still as our national anthem was being played and the flag lowered. Most students headed back to their activities once the song finished. But several remained standing as the guard finished taking down the flag. 

After a long election night and seeing so many negative posts about the election, it was a beautiful display of patriotism and faith in our nation. 

remember:
look for the good in each day
don't ever stop smiling

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

a political post of sorts

united states of america

I am incredibly grateful to live in this country.
The Founding Fathers are just a few of my heroes. They sacrificed so much to build the United States. I am grateful for their foresight and leadership in creating our nation.
The Constitution is incredible. The authors of that document were, without a doubt, inspired by our Heavenly Father.
I love the First Amendment, for that freedom of religion granted to all in this nation allowed the restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to come to pass.
I am grateful to live in a nation where I have the right to vote for my leaders. I am grateful for the educational opportunities that are available. I am grateful to those who have sacrificed everything, even their lives, to protect this country. I am grateful for the rights I enjoy, for many in the world cannot live each day as I do. 

via
now if you all will humor me for a moment.

Here in the United States of America, we enjoy so many privileges. 
However, we often view those privileges as basic rights that are taken for granted. 
We aren't actively involved in our local government. We don't raise our voices against issues we have opinions about. We say our words without thinking of the consequences. When major problems arise, we place the responsibility on the heads of our government and expect them to find solutions and fix the predicament. 

It just doesn't work like that. As Americans, we simply cannot expect the government to take care of every part of our lives. We need to take responsibility for our own actions. We need to stand up for what we believe in. We need to be informed on the issues the country is facing. We need to be involved in our communities.
We elected our leaders; now we need to help them out.
I heard this the other day and found it rather thought-provoking:

Long story short: we need to do our part to help our president, governors, mayors, and other leaders to fix the problems that the United States faces. It's our responsibility as citizens of this great country.

While I may not believe in a certain leader's policies or ideals, I do believe in my country.
And we have great things in store for us.

#goamerica

And that's about as political I will ever be.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

day five (a day late)

sisters
I have these two younger sisters.
Both of them are taller than me.
Both of them are smarter than me. most of the time at least.
They both surpass me in every single way.
They are the best.

at Cannon Beach. approximate ages: Megan (1), Lauren (5), Rachel (3) 
we played with dolls all. the. time. we even had a birthday party for them.
approximate ages: Rachel (4), Lauren (6), Megan (2)

I miss our late-night conversations and being completely crazy with them.
They tell the funniest stories. usually involving boys, of course.
We have the greatest adventures. 
And there are many more to come.

like I said. we always played with the dolls. and the baby brother, too, of course.
approximate ages: Rachel (5), Lauren (7), Megan (3)
and Nathan is a few months old.
fourth of July bike parade in our grandparents' neighborhood in Oregon.
They have supported me through everything.
Hours of endless card games in the hospital.
Working on homework together and collaborating for assistance.
Singing on the way to seminary to stay awake.
Inside jokes, family dinner conversations, texting every day.
They keep me smiling.

at a cousin's wedding. I have no idea how old we are here. 
one of these things is not like the other... Disney World family reunion.
approximate ages: Rachel (7), Lauren (10), Megan (6)
My sisters are two of the greatest friends I could have ever asked for.
And now Rachel's about to graduate high school while Megan's going to win over the heart of every guy she meets.
I can't wait to see what life has in store for the two of them.
Love you girls!
so does e.i.n.s.k.