Sunday, December 28, 2008

Miracle on 1400 Foothill Drive

The Christmas season is full of amazing events, not the least of which is the manifestation of kindness and Christlike love of others all around us. This holiday season, I was the thankful and ever-so-grateful recipient of such an act.
Being from Delaware, I grew up with kids of all different races, religions, backgrounds, etc. I loved all of the diversity on the coast, and that's one of the reasons I was excited about moving to Salt Lake-its slightly more diverse then Rexburg :)
Recently Tyler and I found this store that's to die for! Its called SteinMart, and its a name-brand/designer store that sells things basically at whole-sale cost = 80% off of everything! The first time I saw it I told Tyler that that store was too snobby/rich/expensive, and I would never walk in there. Well, eventually we did and I ended up re-doing my living room from under $45, when the items I bought should have totaled over $145. LOVE THIS STORE. Anyway, Christmas Eve rolled around and I realized that since Tyler had been working crazy hours, I had just finished finals week, and since blizzards had been plaguing the east bench, I hadn't gotten Tyler anything specific from his list-aka the stuff that he really wanted. Now, Tyler has never been one to ask for much, expect anything, etc. I really wanted this to be special for him. So, he came home from work on Christmas Eve exhausted (around noon-he'd been at work since 4am) and I sent him to bed, stole the car, and ran away to SteinMart. He wanted a cuff-link shirt, and since I know nada about shopping for boys, I was in a panic. So, I ran in, searched until I found one, and then thought, "Hm. Maybe I should get him a nice tie." Dumb idea. I cannot fathom how certain ties match suits. I just can't do it. I kill at matching my own clothes, but a tie?! Game over. So, I picked two out, called his best friend in CA, sent pictures, and we decided on the one I liked the most. I also selected some killer socks from Kenneth Cole (what's with the term "reaction"? haha) and decided that it was good enough. I knew that this was going to be a slightly expensive venture, but if it was for Tyler-I could handle it.
Standing in line for a few minutes, I thanked Heavenly Father for helping me find some things that I knew Tyler would be excited and grateful for! Unexpectedly, a voice behind me said, "Excuse me ma'am, but I have a gift card and if you let me go in front of you, I'll give you what's left." Well, my mind went completely blank, and I told the young man that he could get in front of me anyway, as I wasn't in much of a rush (lets be honest: I hadn't been out of our 5x5 apt in like 4 days. I needed to stand in this line). Well, he got in front of me and we just started chatting. For some reason, my brain wasn't really working, and as he was being rung up, he pointed out that he had over $85 dollars on this gift card - The guy was buying 4 shirts. I knew he'd have money left over. When the total came, he exclaimed, "Man, I have way more left over then I thought," to which I replied, "Go ahead and keep it-its ok, really!" The young man had just quit his accounting job and didn't want his father to know, etc, and here he was, handing money out (from his father) to a complete stranger. His father had always shopped here for Hanukkah, he mentioned, so in the spirit of the season, he gave me the remaining amount on the card.
Astonished, I watched him leave, thanking him breathlessly, and the clerk just stood there with his mouth open. I handed the young man the gift card, and paid only $10 for what should have cost much, much more. I walked outside, and as though I was playing a role in a movie, looked around helplessly in the crowded parking lot for any sign of the young man, Andrew. Excitedly I called Eric back, told him everything and then rushed to call my mom. Astonished. I had no words to exclaim nor explain my situation. It took everything in me to finish shopping, go home and wrap presents, and NOT tell Tyler. Seriously, it took me everything - this is what happens when you're married to your best friend.
Blessings can come in small and simple ways. To some, like my friend Kristen, it comes in the form of $4000 in grants, a blessing to the family as she needed 5 surgeries after the birth of their first daughter. To me, it came unexpectedly, simply, and was received thankfully. I can't explain how much of a blessing that was to a poor, married college student on a tight budget-it was simply beautiful. So, count your many blessings, name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord has done.
Christmas Eve, on our way to the Hollingshaus's home


The Christmas tree and presents....

and you know that line from "Mr. and Mrs. Smith," where Brad Pitt tells 'Mrs. Smith' what he thought she looked like the first time they met? "You looked like Christmas morning," he says. Well, here's my depiction of Christmas morning-aka Tyler :)



Saturday, December 27, 2008

Cinderella walked on broken glass
Sleeping Beauty let a whole lifetime pass
Belle fell in love with a hidious beast
Jasmine married a common thief
Ariel walked on land for love and life
Snow White barely escaped a knife
It was all about blood, sweat, and tears
because love means facing your biggest fears

-I totally stole this quote off of someone's wall on Facebook, but I loved it. So it was kind of justified!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Family, Chimes, and Cimmamon Bears :)

Tonight I decided to do something festive! So, in turn with everyone around me, I decided that the best way to beat the snow-fury was to dip everything and anything in chocolate!!!!! (Even mandarin oranges-I cannot wait to see how those turn out-yumm!)
Everyone's favorite! Cinnamon gummy bears dipped in chocolate....
The site of dipping...my barbie sized oven/stove and a 1/4 of a counter which is coming up next...
Wha-la! Chocolate covered pretzels! Yum! And, just for the record, cinnamon should never be spelled correctly. If you're eating a cinnamon gummy bear covered in chocolate, the only way you can say it is: cimmomon!!

Also, since I uploaded the festivity pictures onto the mac, I discovered that we had taken pictures at my family's Christmas party! My Aunt Karen and Uncle Win hosted the shindig and a marvelous time was had by all! Here are some random shots (thanks to Tyler) from throughout the night!!
For those of you who grew up as neglected and deprived children like Tyler, chimes is a way of life in our family (aka in primary too)! There are chimes which are all different lengths, strings attached at the top (via holes at the top) that you hold, and random enormous nails to hit them with! So, you figure out the chords to songs, and write a number for every note in that chord and correspondingly write numbers on the bells that make those notes! All of a sudden, everyone gets to join in the festivities and I swear, Tyler was more excited about that then anything else EVER. Freak. What I should have gotten him for Christmas.....
Grandma Sanders and Aunt Nancy enjoying some musical madness!

Tyler and I obviously can't take non-blurry pictures of ourselves, but I think this is to my advantage. I always seem to take the dbl-chin pictures of myself when leaning back...lame.White Elephant gift-giving? Never been more exciting! My Aunt Cynthia begins by instructing everyone to start with a gift (that helps!) and then she reads a narrative about a random family who is celebrating Christmas. Well, the family's name is right and sometimes they've left certain items in random places. You get the picture!? You pass right or left depending upon what the story says and its hilarious!!!! I loved every minute of it and giggled the whole way through! When the story ends, you open the present and then, since its family, you ask if anyone wants to trade. Usually, you end up with some pretty cool stuff!
Here I am, dying of laughter-my cousin MaryAnn had to pass two gifts because her little boy kept trying to open all of them, and we seriously could not stop giggling!
Dax, Nathan, Ruth, Marissa (my little sister), and my Uncle Win, all waiting with anticipation for the next direction-we've obviously stopped to laugh at someone! haha
Uncle Bentley is entrapped by the fast moving chimes!! I didn't have to play in this song, so I thought I'd just point him out!

Our family happens to be ridicuously talented in a plethora of areas, and one in particular is music. Kelv (right) decided to give the french horn a try, while Nathan (left) watches!! It was so fun! Trying to sing over the oboe was impossible so I tried my opera voice-that sent most of us into peals of laughter, including Ruth who was plaing the oboe! Sorry-I'm such a bother sometimes! haha
Aunt Karen, leading us in the chimes-she had a mallet to "direct" you to the appropriate notes-I didn't sit close enough to find out what would have happened had I not "chimed" at the right time!!! Our family is soooo fun!

Also, what's that blue beneath Aunt Karen's elbow? Our extended family in Orem are die-hard-true-blue-BYU fans. The BYU football game just happened to be going on during the family get-together, so we just watched it together! Aunt Karen would sometimes lag behind during a chime song because of a first down-it was soooo funny! Tyler got such a kick out of it! Here I am, too fast in action to catch in a still shot! Wha-bam! Nailed that note! (And my shirt only cost $9 at the Gap-and no, I'm not prego, just slouching to show off my holiday lbs!)

More chimes, and by the look on everyone's face, someone must have hit a wrong note...haha
Contently watching for our notes to come! This is such a fun activity, and I'm so making these for our family-well, for whenever Ty wants them, I suppose. haha

HIGHLIGHT OF THE NIGHT: Take a close look at this picture. Does anything strike you as odd? Well, Ty and I were taking Marissa back up to Salt Lake with us to stay the night, as she needed to be at the airport in the morning. Ty decideds its a great idea to get gas (super cheap) right outside of Orem, and while waiting, why not do something to stay warm?! He starts cleaning the windshield when a "bang!" shrieks across the still night air! Ty totally broke the wiper thingy-magig! It was beyond hilarious. I mean, really-how often does that happen? Probably more then I think, but it was just too much. Look at this kids face!

Oh my! I'm so happy to have found all of these pictures. Recently I've been moping about because I really would have liked to go home (to Delaware) for Christmas. However, due to recent turn of events, I find myself even happier then I could have imagined. Ty is the best thing that has ever happened to me and I find new ways that I fall in love with him, everyday. He is the light in my life!!! Just love that boy!

Merry Christmas everyone! Wish me luck! Tomorrow Ty and I are playing Joseph and Mary for his family's nativity-too bad I don't have a decent bathrobe! haha I can't wait to see what nieces and nephews play the animals-that's my favorite part!

Love to you all!!!!!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Little Winter Song

video

I think this is a cute video-its a new song by Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaleson-the end is my favorite part :) Enjoy! 
Besides, it was so much more fun to listen/watch this then it was to study for my last final! Cheers!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Light of the Season


Despite my lack of excitement about the month of December, we went to Temple Square on Sunday night to see the lights. CRAZY. Wait till a weekday-it was bonkers! We loved it just the same, and Ty even ran into a friend serving in the Temple Square mission, completely by accident-more like she ran into us as soon as we stepped into the Visitor's Center!

I can't remember the last time I've ever seen the lights on Temple Square! They were beautiful! Some local high school choirs performed in the Visitor's Center, in the Tabernacle, and of course the nativity was out for all to experience! What a wonderful way to experience Christmas. The SLC Temple is, of course, in our temple district since we're at the Univ of Utah, and let me tell you: I love it. One of my absolute, all-time (literally, time and all eternity), favorite church movies is, "Mountain of the Lord." If you haven't seen it, you need to make a stop at your local distribution center, or get online, and you'll make the best investment on the $4.50 you'll spend. It instills such a testimony of the Salt Lake Temple and I feel that it grows within me each time I visit Temple Square and the Temple.

Sunday was an interesting day: its the feeling of being content, yet knowing that something needs to be fixed, found, etc. Well, after our visit to Temple Square, I found the words, the feeling, and ultimately the Spirit that helped me facilitate a new perspective on life. I love my Savior and all that He gave for me. A beautiful season is upon us-the lights at Temple Square guide visitors all around the temple; inexpressible light can be attained within. I found this profound, just me, little me, and silently thanked my Heavenly Father for guiding me in the path that He would have me take, granted I am humble enough to listen. For this, my gratitude is inexpressible.

Our last stop while at Temple Square sets the stage for the following weeks to come-may we all look to Him and live.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

I'm getting better at being mature-I know everyone is thankful :)
Progress...that's all a girl can ask for.

One more week to go.
Bring it on.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

i hate

The Christmas season is supposed to be one of love, happiness, and cheer. Let me tell you why today, I'm none of these 3:

1. Tyler just started working 15 hr shifts at work. Yuck
2. He works nights so I said hello to him at 3:00pm today and goodbye at 6:30pm. Not remotely fair whatsoever.
3. I hate it. I hate that I've cried twice over this. I think its due to stress. I hate crying.
4. I hate missing him. I hate it so much, it hurts. Well, it hurt before I hated it and now its just worse.
5. I hate that I have to take finals on my birthday, and that Tyler won't even be home. Definitely hate that.

Why I should be grateful and why I'm choosing not to be today:
1. Tyler gets paid really well for working in Utah-the overtime and double time (from Sundays-did I mention he works this 7 days a week?) are going to come in very handy.
2. I don't have to worry about how to afford tuition next semester (plus scholarships).
3. I don't have to worry about neglecting him when we're home and I have to study. Finals might turn out better then ever before, because, believe me: I need a distraction.
4. I have a very hardworking husband, who loves me beyond reason and choose to work nights so that he would be able to see me for a few hours each day. What a lovely troll-I want to cry when I think about how wonderful he is, but I hate it-the crying- and this is supposed to be the grateful column.
5. It could be so much worse-being separated for 5 months was looooong enough. No thank you, ever agian.
6. This season really does end :)

Regardless, I hate this. I am going to hate every minute of it, and its my party, so I'll cry if I want to. You would cry too if it happened(s) to you.

And above all, his kindness disarms me! I came home from the week of h-e-double-hockey-sticks for exams, and guess what he got me?

I just wanted a little bit of Christmas, so after he put up his grandmother's Christmas lights, he melted me completely.

I still refuse to be mature about this whole thing. I spent my entire life, so far, trying to be mature. I don't want to right now...so I'm not going to be. I still hate today.

Friday, December 5, 2008

My Baby



I want to send a shout-out to those of you who consistently blog-you make my school days go much faster and make studying that much more enjoyable! Recently there's been a rash of videos of my friends' babies, which I completely adore! Thanks for posting them guys! 
Since that's the trend, I decided to cave to peer pressure, and I decided to post a video of my baby! He's the one wearing khakis (this has to be the worst word ever to spell....ugh)! :) Enjoy!



Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Dumpster Diving Duo

This weekend Tyler went to work insanely early, came back and we just got to hang out.... We decided that we needed to go shopping for some groceries later that night, so as we walked to the parking lot, a beautiful thing caught my eye-someone had moved from our ward/apt complex, and being poor, married college students, dumpster diving is the way that I shop for furniture bargains. See, in the area that we live in, moving is enough of a hassle-forget actually throwing your stuff IN the garbage!! They just leave the stuff right in front of the bins! I took one look and decided, "Yes-I DO NEED THAT!" It was pitch black outside and the cabinet had been sitting there all day! No one else had taken it!
Tyler and I decided to use some teamwork and carry it to our apartment, but it was SO HEAVY! I am utterly useless when I laugh, and what do you think happened? I felt like a thief, sneaking away in the night with this huge white whale of a cabinet and I didn't want to get caught! That made everything funnier, and to make it all worse, the cabinet was slippery! So I laughed and tried to carry it, only to move it 3 feet before we had to put it down again so I could get my laughter under control. I ultimately bagged the idea of carrying it, so I did some reconisance: there, under the darkness of a large tree sat a dolly-a bright yellow dolly beckoning to me!! Totally ran, brought it over, and we successfully wheeled it to our apt.
Well, then comes the task of carrying it up the stairs! Tyler took the bottom and I took the top-I did better and only had to stop once from laughing! We got ready to stand it upright in the stairwell and it just kept slipping-Tyler thought he was going to get nailed in the face, then fall down the stairs just to have the cabinet land on him and ultimately die. Nothing that dramatic happened, but we struggled and laughed and got it in the door! I was going to take a picture of it laying on its side in our living room, but completely forgot-sorry! It was in almost perfect condition-these cost more then $100! I could not believe it! People need to move more often-now I actually feel like I live in a house, not a cinder-block-igloo!
As we locked up the apartment to once again head out in the dark night for the store, I held his hand and couldn't help but think that this is how newly-weds make a marriage! We do almost everything, household-wise, together and have patience (with me laughing) to ultimately achieve what we have set our minds to do! I could not have had a more wonderful experience moving furniture...who woulda thought?!!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Its 3AM....what are you doing?

Does anyone else's husband come home at 8pm and go back to work at 3:30am? Well, I can never fall back to sleep, so I'm studying. Started about 1pm yesterday and went strong till Ty came home. Hitting the good ol' books yet again....the most annoying part-I'm super high energy and in the best mood! (Right Leighanne?! haha) Good morning sunshine! (ps: I LOVE my mac!!)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

1-Upers

Ever wonder why some people act the way they do? There's a fellow student of mine who acts just like Penelope from this SNL skit. Now, I haven't ever really watched SNL, so a neighbor of mine showed this to me and I almost peed my pants. Do you know any 1-upers? Especially in church? Oh man! Everyday is a different story. 

How High is High?

Look closely at these pictures-it might be easier to click on them so that they're easier to see....
Hang-gliding thrilled me when I was driving through Utah as a child. How random is it to be on the most boring drive of your life, look up at the mountains for the 50,000th time and then see this!!!!  So this morning, I was sitting next to my living room window, talking to my dad on the phone, and LOOK WHAT I SAW!!!!! I screamed, "Dad!! Its almost like Christmas!!!!" He thought I was bonkers, told me he was going to hang up so I could take pictures....and so I did. 
We live just a few miles from Immigration Canyon, SLC, UT, and this guy is hidden in the trees-I almost thought he was going to land in the middle of the highway that takes you up through the canyon. One guy, before him, looked as though he had landed in our parking lot, which is right behind those buildings.
Look closely-these guys were still pretty high up when I took this picture, but my feet were freezing so I went back inside before they got any closer. The little kids playing in the courtyard in front of my apartment were screaming with delight...so was I. 

Saturday, November 15, 2008

GO UTES!!!!!!!!

Tyler's First Volleyball Experience with Xta:
Doesn't he look excited? haha He really is-he just had trouble smiling in concert with taking the picture.... Oh, some people's children :)
Beginning of the game...Tyler has never seen me play nor heard me at a game...don't you think he's in for a surprise?!??! HAHA
Go Kat!! Kat (#8) is one of the leading outside hitters with a monstrous number of kills from this season alone! Hi-yah! Did I mention that she's my next-door neighbor? Sweet mercy....
This is me-being quietly excited...well, quiet for me. The camera guy was right in front of us-pretty sure I'm on TV a thousand times because he would always turn around and film me screaming, "Go Utes!! We're #1!!! YEAH!!!" Interesting....
Weird face of the night...I totally smoked Ty.
Up for a serve.....go Kat! She Aced It. 
Tyler, so excited to take our picture after filming the game, for got to zoom out. Good One! Either way, still excited!
Remember the song, 'Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy?' Well this guy sure did! He was out on the floor, dancing around like a crazy fool! haha He whipped out his belt buckle at one point-all of the MUSS kids were dying. He's just groovin' and there's no shame in that...but it was totally classic. Loved it. 
Oh, and did I mention that I sat on the 10' line? 2nd Row? Life was wonderful. See that empty chair at the bottom of the picture-hence where camera-guy sat. Our Bishop and his wife sat behind us, and this gave them much amusement. Sister Jones said, "That cameraman must be an X-boyfriend or something!" Yikes...haha
Such close games...we smoked BYU 25-16 the first game, beat ourselves the next two, and beat them the 4 and 5 games.... Does this line up just look unstoppable? Feel free to agree. 
Ready stance!

Either way, Utah beat BYU and it was wonderful. Church should be fantastic this week :) haha The best part about it all was the realization that I had during the game.....
Thinking back to being single, I wondered a lot about what I would do once I was married. Would we keep having fun? Would we have anything new to talk about after a few weeks (totally not an original thought...thank you "Our Town" for that irrational train of thought)? Being our 3 month anniversary, Ty took me out to something completely FREE-my favorite type of date, and we had soooo much fun. It was hilarious-us being us, not having to explain ourselves to anyone else. And we won a free T-shirt. Honestly. Can life get any better? Sure it can, but for right now...I'm beyond content. 

Tonight's adventure: Quantum of Solace. 

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Boys, Battles, & My Break!


Love of My Life-Baby Got Back
This weekend Tyler and I, along with the Ground Houndz bboy crew traveled to USU and BYUI for "Dance Battles." Now, I have no clue about breakdancing or what's cool and what's "sick" or "dope." I've been immersing myself in this culture, watching Storm instructional videos, and I even tried doing a few stalls the other night (because they looked like a lot more fun then studying) and promptly fell on my face. Love it. Rach, I need you to be my personal trainer. Seriously.  

So I have a problem. I'm extremely passionate about whatever I believe in, the sports that I play, and especially the fairness and respect that must be given therein. I have ah...some repenting (maybe that's too serious of  word, but for lack of another)...to do after this past weekend. Sometimes, I find myself back in the east coast with the attitude I've been working so hard to refine. Whoops. At least I'm not the only one. But, before I ever go to another one, someone remind me to watch my mouth. 

Luckily, the girls whom I cherish and have in turn cherished me through thick and thin were there! Khia and Nancy came to experience "culture" in Rexburg on Saturday night and I could not have loved life more!! The past two months have been really challenging for me-I don't know anyone in Salt Lake, nor where anything is, and I just end up feeling ostracized. That's probably by my own choice, out of ignorance, seeing how Nancy and I have a class in the same building and I've only seen her twice on campus! I miss my friends and thanks to those of you who blog: I feel as though I can reach back through the mists of time and feebly grasp the memories-what joy. 
These two pictures are of Terry and then Tyler and Terry. Terry is from Thailand and I love being friends with him! Seriously, he's got my back and its great to have someone who's funnier then anyone you've ever met to be on your side. "You talkin' to me? Is it over there?" I think Khia, Nancy, and I wanted to pee our pants from laughing so hard. Terry-we just love you.
This is the crew (Soul Houndz) during the last round-oddly enough, we lost to a crowd vote on Friday night to a punk-upstart crew, yet on Saturday when there were judges, Soul Houndz battled 3 other crews (vs the 2 on Friday) and when it came down to the judges vote, it was 4-0 Soul Houndz. Remember that cheer from high school? "Score-board, Score-board!?" Yah. I thought so too. 
So, Tyler does these things, and I think they're called Russian Kicks. Well, after the battle was over, the girls and I decided to give it a try in Khia's living room. I jumped up in-between the two chairs and fell flat on the floor before they even took the picture! Rude!! By looking at Khia's face...I think its safe to say I'm a very amusing person. Kate-thanks for pointing out that I'm on my face. haha 
I decided to try from a safer level, and wha-la! Our successful Russian Kicks, minus our hands in the air (they're supposed to by supporting us by being on the ground...I think). Either way, hands-down-wonderful-weekend! 

Now, seeing that its Thursday, I've hit the drudge of demise. Its almost the weekend, I've had one-to-many-exams within the past 3 weeks (seriously-I think I've taken 6 or 7) and I took a final yesterday. Whew. I think I'm sublime regarding everything that needs to be done...hence the emormous pile of clean and half folded laundry laying on our bedroom floor because the laundry basket is being used to wash another two loads...and the fact that I wanted to be frugal yet now I'm learning that a good, user-friendly mop is really the way to go. Dishes still need to be put away, cleaned, and dinner started at some point. Ya know what I want to do? Take a freakin nap. I know, I know, I'll probably get the response "Wait until you have Kids!" which comes most often from my mom! Yet for right now, I'm just a little lady trying to balance things I never have before, uncertain in the steps I take, only overcome by the confidence I have in my faith, the love of my husband, and the intuition that transforms girls into women. But I bagged folding that fitted sheet. Biggest waste of time. Now, time to tackle laundry, vacuuming, dinner, and the inevitable task of studying for Pathogenic Micro, Hematology, etc. 
Any advice on how to balance? Quick and easy meals to cook? And, if you know how to fold the fitted sheet successfully, kudos to you.