Sunday, November 25, 2012

Back to the Grind.

During the Holiday Break I...

-Played Just Dance 4 with the siblings.
-Slept in my double sized bed at home. (glorious.)
-Ate a delicious Thanksgiving dinner at Aunt Desriee's home.
-Was introduced to Pumpkin spread and gingersnaps. (divine.)
-Ate one slice of pie. Just one.
-Made a trip with Mama and Brooklyn to Grandma's house
-Drove through The Festival of Lights in Spanish Fork
-Played a couple games of Rumikub with Grandma
-Drank hot cocoa. (Anyone surprised?)
-Went "Black Friday Shopping" in Fairview
-Ordered a BLT at Wheeler's
-Read my new wedding magazine that Gma bought me (I'm a sap.)
-Hit the jackpot at The Family Dollar (one of only two stores in Mt. Pleasant)
-Had a nap while Grandpa watched football.
-Dyed my hair ( We're back to brown. Grandma did such a good job!)
-Got sick with the stomach flu. It was awful.

TANGENT: This is why I only got one slice of pie this year. 
I was too sickie to eat any more than that. So sad.

-Endured a very long car ride back home.
-Memorized lines with Mom.
-Recovered from the nasty stomach flu. (It was short-lived. Sing praises!)
-Slept until noon on Saturday
-Drove back to Ogden
-Went to The Nutcracker with Kyle DeYoung
-Was introduced to hot cocoa floats. (divine. again.)
-Finished all of my Spanish homework
-Started conquering my essay for Hist and Lit.

Let me just say, even though I hated being sick during the break, I'm glad I got it out of my system before classes started up again. (and auditions, and juries, and the Christmas show, and a voice recital, and a ward Christmas party to plan... having the flu during all of that would have been a disaster.)

Other than the sick part, I loved my break. I didn't realize how much I missed my family. I really needed them this weekend. To laugh with me, remind me that I'm not crazy, and give me the spring in my step that I'll need to propel me through the end of the semester!

Also, I am so ready for this holiday season. The Festival of Lights in Spanish Fork was about the cutest thing ever. We're talking twenty minutes of pure delight. We saw an advertisement as we were passing on the highway, so we made a u-turn and decided to check out this "Festival of Lights". We paid seven bucks and drove through a golf course that had been transformed into a festive, glowing, winter wonderland! (I've heard tell of a similar getup in Willard Bay. I may have to investigate that this season.) Between that and my outing to The Nutcracker on Saturday, I had the perfect kick-off for the Christmas season!

So tomorrow it's back to school for two more weeks of crazy. But that's it! Fourteen days, a week of finals, (and auditions, and juries, and the Christmas show, and a voice recital, and a ward Christmas party to plan) and then it's Disneyland! I can't wait.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thankful.

I am thankful for...
(just a small list.)

water. hugs. nail polish. jewelry. expression. ballet. tap. (any kind of dancing really). music. hymns. Choralaires. Folk Dance. musical theatre. friends. examples. hot cocoa. peanut butter. chocolate. ice cream. milk. a warm bed to sleep in. roommates. banana bread. electricity. cameras. laptops. ipods. Mom. Dad. Benjamin. Brooklyn. missionary work. the priesthood. temples. institute. backpacks. A car to drive. wintercoats. scarves. modern medicine. freedom. sunshine. beaches. travel. history. smiles. straight teeth. good health. blue eyes. long hair. freckles. rosy cheeks. pine trees. mountains. the smell of sagebrush. lotion. perfume. teddy bears. church. the sacrament. families. eternal families. cousins. grandparents. opinions. piano. babies. playgrounds. the holidays. gifts. service. kissing. the sunrise. thunderstorms. fresh snow on the ground. flowers. puppies. the internet. telephones. green grass. good eyesight. best friends. college. scholarship money. talents. testimonies. compliments. hot showers. homemade cookies. christmas lights. snow cones. acceptance. faith. patriarchal blessings. trials. safety. pets. The restoration of the gospel. children. good literature. rainbows. warmth. modern technology. the military. firefighters. police officers. doctors. teachers. leaders. church leaders. general conference. scripture study. prayer. sleep. second chances. forgiveness. strawberry lemonade. professors. home. apple juice. Mom's cooking. machine washer and dryer. crisp fall leaves. charity. The Holy Ghost. tithing. marriage. random acts of kindness. handwritten letters. quotes. tender mercies. repentance. the atonement. My brother, Jesus Christ. the plan of salvation. eternal life. God's divine love.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. Count your many blessings, spend time with your loved ones, and reflect upon what you are grateful for. Truly, what a wonderful time of the year. :)

Much love.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Tender Mercies, and Thoughts about Life.

This morning I woke up feeling pretty crappy about myself. I was up until three the night before, I slept in late, and I wasn't looking forward to the day ahead of me. I was pretty emotionally wracked. If I had it my way, I probably would have stayed home watching P.S. I Love You and eating a ridiculous amount of peanut butter and chocolate chips. But I dragged myself out of the house and carried on.

At first, things didn't get much better. I was dancing around on the Austad stage in the Browning Center during Choralaires when my Playmill ring flew right off of my finger and into the empty rows of seats in the audience. I treasure that little ring, and I was really upset about losing it. I searched the aisles of the auditorium for several minutes (with the help of two extremely kind choir boys) after finally giving up.

I remember thinking to myself, "Okay. It's going to be one of those days. I get it."

And then after that I remember thinking about perspective and optimism and "the glass half-full" and all of that, and my day started to change.

Talk about a day full of tender mercies.

During the Institute Weekly Devotional, I got a message that Becca Packer from the choir had found my ring after Choralaires practice. I cannot tell you how thankful and relieved I was to know that someone had found that ring.

Various people made an effort to smile at me throughout the day. I was so happy to see the faces of many bright happy people; Brother Barlow, Brother Delozier, Kelsie Slaugh, Derek Williamson, and Mickey Larson, just to name a few.

And my phone conversations with Mom are always precious minutes sent from heaven, especially on days like today. I called Mom twelve times today. I know that Mom worries and cries and stresses right along with me, and I know it isn't always easy for her... but she's always there for me. Always. And I love her for that.

So the day just kept getting better. I re-read my Compliments Book from Bre and Addi, and I was overcome with gratitude for the amazing friends that bless my life and for all of the kind words written in that special little book. Then Daddy called me. Hearing him over the phone almost put me in tears, because I just love him so much. I received a random letter from my friend Elder Blake Merriam today. Dalen Ellsworth and Greg Ethridge sent me text messages, and their messages couldn't have come at a more perfect time. Emilie Knecht, a girl I hardly know from the choir, sent me the sweetest message on Facebook. And to top it all off, I went out to ice cream with one of my best friends, Ben Eschler.

And all of these experiences today (especially the conversations I had with Mom, Dad, and Ben Eschler) made me realize a couple of things.

1. I really can't stand girls who have their own selfish agendas. The ones who ask you about your life just so they can, "have the scoop" or "be in the know." Do people honestly have nothing better to do with their time? Leave me alone. I don't ask you about your personal life, so don't ask me about mine unless you honestly, genuinely care about my well-being. If you're going to ask me about my life so that you can know something for your own personal agenda, then don't bother trying to ask me. You are wasting your time.


2. I need to stop thinking crappy things about myself. Nothing is wrong with me. Sure, I have trials and insecurities and faults just like everybody else. But I am striving to do what is right. I have a foundation, a testimony, and a pretty strong set of standards. I'm learning about myself, and I'm learning from my mistakes. And that's okay. I should constantly be motivating myself to be a better person, but I should not beat myself up because of my imperfections.

3. Everything happens for a reason.
 
4. I need to learn how to be more submissive to Heavenly Father's will and timing. He will guide me where I need to be, when I need to be there. I can look at my past and see evidence of this. I can see His hand in my life, and I know that I wouldn't be where I am today if it weren't for my loving Father in Heaven. I need to trust that He is still there to guide me. He always has been, and He always will be. I can't wait to look back on this time of my life and see that it all happened just the way it was supposed to. Because even though it's all a mystery to me right now, I know that God knows what he's doing.
 
5. I also need to learn how to take things one day at a time. No more worrying about things that I can't control. No more worrying about things that aren't going to happen for another five months. No more worrying about other people's decisions. I need to stop focusing on all of those things. I need to focus more on MY decisions that are happening RIGHT NOW. I need to focus on the small decisions I make every single day that will eventually shape and mold me into who I want to become. Everything else will fall into place.

6. I have a whole lot of people who love and care about me, and I take them for granted far too often.

7. I have a pretty dang good life. Seriously. Even on days like today, I am SO BLESSED.

And it's just like Daddy told me, "Tomorrow is a new day."
I've had a lot on my mind recently... but I'm ready to shake it off. It's not always going to be easy, and It's going to take a lot of work; but I am going to start focusing more on the positive, the present, and the power that I have to make my life whatever I want it to be.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

New Favorite.


Feelin' a little country right now.
I wish I had a video of the dance combination I saw to this song today.
Beautiful. (ah, I love dancing!)
That's how I discovered this one. Enjoy :)

Let it snow.

The goods and bads of the season...

+ Hot cocoa
+ Wearing scarves and boots
+ Peacoats
+ The Holidays
+ Sparkly snow
+ Ice skating
+ Snuggling in blankets
+ Warm sweaters
+ Hats
+ Running the heater at home
+ Fireplaces
+ Snow fights
+ Fuzzy socks
+ Snowflakes
+ Warm baked goods
+ Building snowmen
+ Snow angels

- Scraping snow off  of car windows
- Shoveling the sidewalk
- Icy roads
- Numb fingertips
- Muddy boots
- Wet snow hair
- Feeling cold
- Less daylight

The pros definitely outweigh the cons. Mostly because now I have an excuse to drink all the hot chocolate I want (except I've recently put a "thee cups a week only" limit on myself), but the other stuff makes me happy too. :)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

D is for Disneyland.


That's right. I'm going to this place in thirty nine days.


... And Counting.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

This is what you're signing up for.

My dear future husband,
 

Please prepare yourself for the following behaviors:
 

-Dancing in the kitchen.
-Stories at bedtime.
-Late nights of uncontrollable laughter.
-Ridiculously funny faces.

-Long hugs. 
-Long prayers.
-Silly nicknames.
-Sharing ice cream sundaes.
-Taking all of the bed covers in the wintertime.
-Singing in the shower.
-Long walks in the summer
-Holding hands without any reason.
-Getting into soap fights at the kitchen sink.
-Disappearing to the rooftops to view the stars.
-Lots of seemingly unimportant tangents.
-Shameless kisses.
-Falling asleep on your shoulder.


And this is just the beginning of my list.
Love, Me.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Yes and Yes.

Mom told me that this happened on The Voice.
I had to check it out. And I love it. Have a listen, yeah?


And then we have Christina Grimmie.
Mr. Ben Eden introduced me to this one.
I'm all over it. And I love the piano at the beginning.

Mmm. Good music.
Happy.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

A Time To Remember.


Come see us tonight! We would love to have you there.
...And I sure am excited for another performance with the Choralaires.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Pet Peeve #51611

Shopping at Walmart.

Really though, Walmart gives me some of the worst anxiety. It's practically a zoo. Usually if I have to make a trip to Walmart, I try to either go late at night or extremely early in the morning just to avoid the crowds.

Also, I hate pushing a grocery cart - in any shopping situation. During my freshman year of college I struck a deal with my roommate: I drive us to the store, she handles the shopping cart. And that's how it worked, every time.

First off; if you don't hold the cart where the plastic covers the metal, you get shocked from the friction caused by the wheels. Secondly; you have to worry about steering the cart amongst all of the other shoppers... the young woman on her cell phone who isn't paying attention, the ignorant man who cuts you off, and the grandma who walks snail-pace right down the center of the aisle. If that isn't bad enough, try maneuvering a grocery cart amongst children who dart in and out of the clothing racks.

Can you say terrifying? 

Oh, and let's not forget the defective grocery cart. You know the ones, with the squeaky, wobbly wheel. We've all had them. No matter how forceful you steer the cart, it always veers to the right. Always. And then you're running into stacked cans of green beans or shelves of sugar cookies.

You know, Walmart is like some sick game of Survival of the Fittest. Just after you snag the last box of fruit snacks on the shelf, you round the corner and head down the cereal aisle. You check your grocery list and make a beeline for your next item. As you enter the aisle, you realize that there are already six grocery carts sandwiched between each other. Fantastic.
So what do you do? Leave your cart at the end of the aisle and make a dash for the Cocoa Puffs. After ducking under the Walmart employee who is stocking the shelves and sneaking behind the family of four who are arguing over Lucky Charms or Fruit Loops, you finally snatch your Puffs. You make it back to the safety of your cart, but when you return... you notice that some idiot has stolen your fruit snacks! And that was the last box, too!

And what's the deal with every Walmart being organized differently? Is the office aisle in the back, next to the computers? Or is it in the front to the right next to the cosmetics aisle? One time, I spent a near thirty minutes searching for hangers. Finally I humbled myself enough to ask an employee... only to discover the hangers I needed were gone. 

Oh, the joy.

Anyway. You get the idea. And let's face it - we have all experienced the insanity I speak of. The long lines, the screaming children, the harsh lights and dirty linoleum floors...

But now I have to leave the comfort of my quiet house and make a trip to buy some thread. At least I won't need a grocery cart for that, right?

Wish me luck. It's a jungle out there.

Deep Love and other Halloween things.

I remember dressing up for Halloween when I was a little girl. Usually the weather is bitter and cold during the holiday, so Mom would make me wear a coat and gloves over my costume.

This ruined everything.

Princesses and witches didn't wear winter coats over their silky ballgowns and velvety robes! This would destroy my costume!

...But in the end, I was always grateful to be bundled up in my winter gear after a long night of knocking on neighborhood doors. I remember coming inside with my pumpkin bucket full of treats and stripping my gloves from my hands so I could warm my fingers over the heater. 

Halloween is more fun when you're a kid, or when you have little kids at home. Because when you're little, Halloween is about dressing up as your favorite character, getting candy from the neighbors, and walking in the costume parade at school. It's about carving friendly jack-o-lanterns out of pumpkins and watching Hocus Pocus on Disney.

I still enjoy Halloween, but it's definitely not my favorite. I don't love trying to think of a costume every year, I'm not a fan of haunted houses, and there are always one-too-many scandalous kittens wandering about at lame Halloween parties.

But each year, I enjoy a variety of different festivities. I got away with no costume this year, and I avoided the Haunted Houses... but here are a few of the fun things I did this spooky season:

Masquerade.
Picture time with Kaitlyn East and Rachel Santos

The folk dance groupies, in all of our spooktacular glory ;) Jordana Galvez, Myself, Sam Howe, Rachel Santos, Colton Hattabaugh, Jordan Smith, and Kaitlyn East.

I went to a masquerade party with a bunch of friends from the folk dance team. We met up at Bella's for dinner, and then we drove to the dance. Shopping for masks is a lot more fun than shopping for costumes. But a girl like me loves getting dolled up and feeling elegant for an evening.

The dance was held at this gorgeous old church that's been converted into a home. The old wood floors, tall square windows, and indoor balconies were beautiful. I had a great time dancing the night away with friends, eating good food, and enjoying some fun music.

Halloween Socials.
Mr. Howe and I posing for a snapshot at the PACC Social.

I attended two Halloween socials this year, both with The Institute. The first was the PACC social, held the Friday before Halloween. The Choralaires, Chorale, and Folk Dancers had a combined social at the Institute. People dressed up, we ate yummy food, played games, and I even got to teach the "Thriller" line dance at the party. There were a lot of fun costumes, and the company was fantastic. :) After the social, I went to Apt. 10 for a movie night with Dalen Ellsworth, Ben Eden, Sam Howe, Clay Orton, Emily Sawyer, and Jessica Love. It was an excellent night :)

The second social was the Folk Dance Halloween Social. Jake Sommer hosted the party, and he does a stellar job hosting and decorating! Blacklights, photos printed in negative, indoor mazes, strobe lights, and colorful decorations adorned his entire front room and kitchen. I had to leave the social early, but it looks like they had some yummy soup bowls and Halloween treats. I had a wonderful time while I was there.
Cabaret Night.
Ben and I at the Cabaret
The Alumni Cabaret Night really had no Halloween theme, but it was held the weekend before Halloween (the same night as the Folk Dance Social), and it was quite the event. I went to the Cabaret Night with Ben Eden where we enjoyed amazing music and delicious food (catered by Roosters). Special guest David Spangenthal (also graduated from WSU) talked with us about his experiences in New York and on Broadway. It was a really great opportunity for me to network with WSU alumni, and I enjoyed the company of everyone who came to the event. It was such a classy, successful night. I love AAT and my department and my professors. They're the best.

Movie Night.

I had a couple of friends over for a move night on Tuesday. The Institute gave me a platter full of fresh leftover tomatoes from our PACC social, and so I made fresh homemade salsa for our little get-together. (And pretty successful for my first time, I think). We had snacks, visited, and watched Red Riding Hood. The original plan was to watch The Village, but we couldn't get a hold of the movie. Instead, Sam Howe and I rented this movie. It was a little too Twilight-esque, but we had fun anyway. Jessica Love, Ben Eden, and Emily Sawyer were also there. I loved having them over for the evening. Gosh, I have some pretty neat friends! :)

Blind Date.


On the night of Halloween, I was set up on a blind date with Spencer, my voice teacher's nephew. I hadn't been on a blind date since high school. I was a little nervous, but I had such a great time! Spencer picked me up at my family's home in Riverton, and he took me to see Deep Love: A Ghostly Folk Opera in Provo. I didn't know a single thing about Deep Love, but I had seen the posters around the Browning Center. I wasn't sure what to expect, and I ended up being pleasantly surprised and impressed! Deep Love is a rock opera written and put together by a group of students from Rexburg. The music was entertaining, the vocals were awesome, and it was the perfect activity for Halloween. I had a nice time getting to know Spencer, too. After the opera, Spencer and I went to a Halloween party in Provo where we played Wii, ate Halloween treats, and had a good game of Farcle. It was an awesome ending to my Halloween season!

So even though some of the traditions I remember when I was little were not part of my festivities this year, I still had a great time doing a lot of exciting things. And now... November. I'm so excited for snow, winter scarves, Thanksgiving, holiday music, and Christmas! Only five left weeks of the semester. Holy cow! It's going to be a grand time.

If you want to hear some of the music from Deep Love, go here and click on the "store" link on their sidebar. I especially like the voice of Old Bones. (Listen to the first song. It's probably one of my favorites.)