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 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

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 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?!!