Sunday, January 22, 2012

Our First Christmas Part 2 & New Years

Ok here's the second part of our Christmas adventure! Told more through pictures this time:

We went to Tortilla Flats...a Ghost Town!

A pretty extensive vacinity
Check out this HUGE cactus!
Beautiful scenery! ...and us ;)

We're caged Love Birds! In front of what I think is a whore house...
See the heart we're making?
I caught Mary smiling!
Beautiful Canyon Lake pit stop

POLYGAMIST FAMILY!!! (to the right) Click on the picture to zoom in.
Why do the men look normal and the women so obvious?
Another pit stop in Superstition. Cool tree w/Indian and buffalo with houses underneath

Fun family activity, like a "Secret Santa"! We went to Goodwill (thrift store), all got $5 to spend on a present for another family member and this is what Papa Stone got. So great! 

This is a steam burn I got from opening the pot to our Christmas Curry :( It hurt for days!

This is Elder Cava (pronounced "Thava"). Loren helped prepare him for his mission while in Fiji and now he's in Phoenix! We were fortunate enough to take him and his companion out for lunch--thanks Jon and Amelia for letting us borrow your car!

Full, happy, Fijian boys :)
After Christmas, we returned to St. George and the two of us soon left for Kanab, UT. A cute town also known as "Little Hollywood" for its many Western film productions, including films with Ronald Reagan and John Wayne. 

Gorgeous desert sunset
The darling vacation home my in-laws let us use for New Years weekend! It's a historic home once owned by G. Franklin Swapp in 1912. The Stones did an incredible job fixing it up!! The before and after pictures are amazing!

A fireplace in our room--sweet!
AND nice kitchen!
We hiked to a nice spot and had delicious sandwiches

Nice view!

Loren likes to climb things and freak me out. There was a very long fall if he fell backward!

We saw an honest to goodness American Bald Eagle! But of course when we put our car in reverse to check it out again/take pictures it flew away. And dropped its dinner (a rather large and mangled bunny/jack rabbit)! This picture was taken as we were hiding in the bushes waiting for him to come back. He didn't and the crows claimed his prey.

New Years Eve with our sparkling cider--Apple Mango flavor! Mmm mm mmmm!

Pretty scenery as we drove back to St. George and then to Provo.

Now Loren and I are just doing school in chilly and now snowy Provo. More holiday back tracking updates to come! Love you all for reading my blog! :D

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Take a Seat: Our First Christmas (part 1)

I'm currently having a lie-in. Is that what British people say? Anyways, I'm sick with a sinus infection and decided that it's time that I catch up a little on blogging. This is the first blog post of the year...and in months. Whoops. I'll make a New Year's resolution to blog more often.

I always think of things to comment on or talk about for a post but I never bring myself to blog about it. Like how I want a seat in my shower. I was dying to have one as I bathed this morning and my head was pounding. I wouldn't have cared to shower but I already felt I was disgusting and sick people don't need to look more gross than they already do. So yeah, I propose that more showers include a small seat for such times. I also want to make a little shout-out to my husband Loren who has been so great at taking care of me! He fills up my water bottle often, holds me when I'm hurting and even made my favorite "sick soup" when he got home from class today! He's so wonderful! Marriage is great--single people are fooled when they think they're living "the life."

So let's catch up on our lives real quick. Most recent news, I'm applying to graduate school. I'm applying to 4 different places and am willing to go to any of them because I'm just desperate to get in. My GPA is average but our program is becoming increasingly more competitive. So we'll see where I get in :) And because I'm a 5th year senior *cough cough* I'm taking it easy my final semester--7 credits! I'm taking Humanities 202 (my last GE), swimming, racquetball and beginning sewing! I've never really touched a sewing machine or know anything about the subject so this will be an adventure. I'll post my projects so you can see what an amateur I am, ha. But don't worry, I'm not completely wasting my time. I'm also working for BYU still and volunteering with a former professor in her clinic involving Palatometry. You can check out her blog or google it if you would like to know more.

While I'm finishing up my undergrad career, Loren is only starting his. He just started his 2nd semester as a freshman at Utah Valley University (UVU) and his first he did excellent in! All A's/A-'s!! He's enjoying his current classes as well but it's hard to get in the right ones because it seems like there's a waiting list for a lot of them. Loren was working as a custodian for his school but it was the night shift and his classes started around 7 or 8:30am so I hardly saw him at all during the day. Needless to say, we arranged our schedules so we could see more of each other. After all, we still are/act like newlyweds :)

I'll work my way back through the months I never blogged about. So first comes Christmas! After a tortuously stressful finals week, Loren, his sister Jessica and I whisked off to St. George for a 2 week blissful, school-free break! We spent the first 5 days Christmas shopping, wrapping presents, preparing for our trip to Phoenix and having fun. Part of that fun was seeing Sherlock Holmes 2. I don't want to excite your expectations too much was freaking AWESOME!! Better than the first, I'd say. We even went to see it twice :) Ok, I'll stop. But go see it. Now.

After we hung around Southern Utah, we made the long trek to Phoenix. The reason we went there for Christmas is because the oldest child in the family, Danny, is doing his residency there and can't get time off for a visit. So we decided to go to him! We had to split up the party of people since there were 10 of us total. Basically the married children (Me, Loren, his sister Amelia and her husband Jon) stayed with Danny at his house while the other 3 kids and mom & dad stayed at a house they rented...which was unfortunately located about 40 mins away from Danny's. But we made it work! The view from the back porch was nice

Here's the close up of that fountain
It was once the world's largest fountain for 10 years. Pretty cool

We did other fun activities, like gingerbread man/woman making (a Stone family tradition)
Loren's creation. Possibly an alien

My creation. Can you guess that it's a zombie? :)

We hung out with some family cousins, the McCowns, at a frisbee golf park. Played some of that. Mary LOVED the swing!
Check out that smile!
Then we went to the Mesa temple to see its Christmas lights. Really fun but cold.

And we also hiked Squaw Peak on Christmas Eve.
We thought we were half-way. Pssh! Not even close!
We thought THAT was the top. Just the beginning.

Still not the top. Good enough for us though!

We didn't make it to the top. Old ladies and toddlers did and they assured me I was almost there. But I saw people literally climbing to the top. Yeah, I'm ok here. Thanks, though! The hike was fun and pretty but a little frightening for me. I can probably count the number of hikes I've done on one but definitely not 2 full hands, so to see people just hopping down this sloping mountain would about stop my heart, particularly when they were close to the edge. Also, I thought wearing Chacos was a good idea. They're meant for hiking, right? Apparently not. I got a few comments on them like: "you're wearing sandals?!" or "wow, you're brave to wear those on this hike!" And those people were right because I got blisters. Wonderful. Then we had Christmas that night because Danny had that day off. There were so many presents and lots of smiles on people's faces.
Then came Christmas day. We went to church where Jon's little brother is serving a mission--the elder was completely surprised! There were 2 happy brothers that day. And I was surprised by my former Young Women's leader Linda Abbeg, we happened to go to her ward as well! It was so fun to see her and her adorable 4 month old son :) This was also the day we saw the famous fountain. The kids didn't feel like going for a walk around the park but returned home to play games. But we didn't have a key. So we made due by having Rachel (the youngest and most petite) sneak in through the cat door!

For dinner we had "Christmas Curry," as I like to call it :) And we delivered some to Dr. Daniel Stone while he was working late that night.

I'll stop there. It's taken me like 3 hours to write this post because I keep sneezing, peeing (sorry, TMI. It's all the fluids) and taking a step back from a throbbing head. But I hope you'll return for the next half of our trip! :)