Monday, December 31, 2012

Leading Up to the Big Day!

Loren and I spent this Christmas (break) at home in Orem. If that sounds boring, I can testify that it wasn't! Loren finished his exams a week before I was finished working at the high school. Last day of school (and days leading up to it were a Winter Wonderland)!

 When school was out, we ran some errands, like going to BYU to fill out some transcript order forms. It was weird being back on campus and not feeling like I belonged...


After finishing school and our errands, we felt it appropriate to take a trip to Middle Earth to be with Bilbo and the gang ;)

All the while during our Christmas break, I accomplished little bits and pieces of my many grad school applications. I have one check and one paper to fill out then I'm finished! This is what I looked and felt like while doing all the tedious apps

 Of course we had some fun in between! If you know me at all, you know I can always fit in some fun ;)
J-Dawgs cutie

Christmas ornament shopping at the mall. We had success at Macy's, go figure. And lucky for us, they were 70% off--score!!

And we just had to stop at Chik-Fil-A for their chicken biscuit breakfast! I miss chicken biscuits like no other since living out West.

Taste buds and tummy were overjoyed ^_^

That night we decided to splurge and go watch this fantastic movie! Definitely worth going to see! Great story, characters and voices, and take home message :)

After the movie, we walked over to Iggy's. A few weeks ago, my work had a Christmas party where I won a $25 gift card to Iggy's! (Have I mentioned that I love working for Timpanogos High? They're so generous to the faculty that I never want to leave!!) For dinner we got cheese fries (so sinfully good; I'm sure my arteries are still clogged!), sandwich and a burger and only paid 18 cents extra. Oh yeah!

 Christmas Eve was so wonderful that it felt as great as Christmas Day! I got a Christmas card and letter from a good friend in high school, Lindsay. She hand-wrote me a letter updating me on her life and the lives of our close group of friends. I was so delighted to receive the letter--who does that these days (minus if you're a missionary)? The fact that she would take the time out of her busy law-school driven life to do that for me was really touching, worth way more than any boxed up present. After that, I had a brief run-in with Afton, Kaylynne and Rob Wallace from back home who are visiting family in Utah. We talked outside only for a few minutes but to see my old "family" was a joyous occasion :) 

THEN, to top it all off, I got to Skype with my BFF Sister Candice Thomas!!! The snow had been coming down literally all day that I was worried to make the drive out to her family's house in Bountiful to Skype "in person." So we figured out that I could be on Skype with her sister while Candice was on Skype with her mom. Bingo! At first she didn't know what to talk about. So we did a lot of talking for her :) But after a little bit she told us some stories and she was herself and not in missionary mode haha. I took some screen shots to commemorate the occasion ^_^

I told her to smile but she moved back and looks like a scary ghost

She couldn't hear us...haha

Isn't she adorable?

 I didn't take up the whole time she was on, I promise! Ample time was spent talking to the family. Unfortunately she's forgetting all her Japanese!! And some of her English too ;) Can't wait til she's back in America where she can be re-educated :) It was so great to see Candice and to get to talk to her. It was one of my favorite Christmas presents. 

 That's all that happened leading up to the Big Day! Of course we snuggled, watched movies, watched the snow pile up, play games and more in between ;) Christmas Day report to come soon!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Thanksgiving '12

For Thanksgiving, we drove down to St. George to spend time with Loren's family. Once we got there Wednesday afternoon we chatted with the family a bit and then took Mary to the park since it was so beautiful outside. I think she enjoyed herself :)

Later on we all played Dice, when Danny and Bri (Loren's brother and his wife) drove into town from Phoenix! After dinner we played Beyond Balderdash--such a hilarious evening! Shame you can't capture those family time moments but it was a cherished night :)

The next day, Loren, Papa Stone and I went to Kanab (small town close-ish to the Grand Canyon and Lake Powell) to clean their vacation home before another family came into town that day. It was a B-eautiful day!

After a few hours of traveling and cleaning, we made it back home to help out making a dish or two. Here's the lovely newlyweds fixing the mashed potatoes. Check out the muscles on these two! ;)

After a yummy meal, we played Mexican Train dominoes! It was a really close game, well not for me, but half the group was neck and neck!

Poor Loren--I made him change into his nice clothes for Thanksgiving and pictures. He was a good sport and doesn't he look dashing? :)

The next day we said hi to Loren's old boss who's going on a mission with his wife to Bulgaria! Then we hung out to "play" with the family's chickens!

Making sure the chicken didn't poop on him, hehe.

The lone white chicken!

Along our trip, we made a short stop at Cedar Breaks National Park. I've never been so it was an adventure :) It was a gorgeous day, albeit brisk and windy!

Luckily for us, there was a couple there at the same time so we took pictures for each other. I like those making "deals."

These were our "model"/we're enjoying nature pictures.

This is a picture that I took, turned Black and White and somewhat, actually very amateur-ly edited, and submitted to a Utah BW contest on Instagram. No luck getting picked. Oh well.

That Saturday night we had a date night with our BFF couple, John and Eva Fisher, who are visiting since their relocation in June to West Palm Beach, Florida for his job. We got delicious Zupas (take out, since we left their baby with her parents--first time they've gone somewhere without him! Big step!) and played a game called Carcassone. Think Settlers of Catan but without resources to make things. It was fun but I'm not the best at strategy games. Although our third time playing I got second! 

Eva and her cute niece, who's the spitting image of the adorable young daughter in We Bought a Zoo.

Sunday came around and we went to Eva's home ward so that her son Keith could be blessed. Loren was invited to be in the circle, which was so nice. Here's the pair of them now! Loren will make a cute daddy some day :)

After another round or two of Carcassone, we talked and said our good-byes. We'll see Eva again in May--yay!! As we were heading home, we saw these awesome lights! I love Christmas!

And that's a wrap! Our Thanksgiving was short but so fun filled! I loved about every minute of it!  The only down side was my cat allergies from the weekend turned into a cold/sinus infection that lasted the whole rest of the week! :( I even stayed home from work one day because I couldn't shake it and didn't want to get the kids in my class sick; although they might have exacerbated the illness. Staying home was really helpful to getting over it and it turned out great for me because my co-worker said it was a day from hell. Glad I missed out on that! ^_^