Saturday, December 29, 2012

Happy Little Nothings

-Hugs at the train station
-Hot cinnamon milk
-Homemade crescent rolls
-DIY scarves and shirts
-Cold December Nights (Michael Buble, anyone?)
-Christmas candy
-New clothes
-Grandma's homemade cookies
-Shirley Temples
-Sunday dinners
-New groceries in the kitchen
-A clean bedroom
-Relief Society
-No school
-New car stereo
-High bowling score of 100 (Miracles DO happen)
-Solid color jeans
-Running yellow lights
-Goals for the New Year
-White eyeliner
-You've Got Mail
-Hot chocolate
-Sleeping in
-Snow boots
-Laughing children
-Good music

I'm just a Happy Girl these days...
Can't say enough about how lucky and how blessed I am. :)

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmastime in California

Okay... so we didn't actually spend Christmas day in the big LA, but I liked the alliteration... so we'll roll with it.

This year, with Brother leaving on a mission in March and all, the family decided to take a Christmas vacation to California. I love traveling with the family. Being on the road with family always brings back some of the best memories, and I absolutely cherished the time we spend in Cali together this Christmas Season.

We spent the first night of our trip at Grandma's house in St. George to break up the twelve hour drive to San Diego. Even though the night we were in St. George I was feeling the beginnings of a nasty cold virus, I still loved being able to visit with Grandma and Aunt Debbie and her family. Ben went to see the The Hobbit with cousins at midnight, and I crashed at Grandma's house early... lots of rest for me!

We were up early the next day and we made the drive to San Diego. It was a long drive, and I started feeling really yucky. We finally made it to California. We went to a BBQ House for dinner that night, and then went to the hotel.

The third morning of our trip we went to the San Diego Temple together as a family. The temple trip stands as one of my favorite things we did during our vacation. The temple was stunning, and I loved being able to go with my entire family. It was so peaceful.
After the temple, we visited Sea World! This was our first time, and we had a  lot of fun. My favorite part of the Sea World experience was definitely seeing the Shamu show. Those whales are incredible! There were a couple of rides, and a lot of really cool animal exhibits. The penguins were my favorite! Super cute :)

Aside from the temple, the next day we spent in San Diego was my absolute favorite. We went to Mission Beach, to play in the sand and shop along the three mile boardwalk that stretches across the ocean front. 
The vibe at Mission Beach was so relaxed and laid-back, and I LOVED it. We rented the cutest bicycles and rode along the board walk for almost four hours. I admired many quaint little beach houses (think about a honeymoon in a beach house on the coast of California. How beautiful and adorable and fun would that be?!) and I fell in love with this little breakfast/cafe joint that had a view looking right out over the coastline. I am determined to go back there one day to have a cup of cocoa and watch the waves crash against the sand.
 I probably could have sat on the beach all day and watched people. I find it absolutely fascinating. I bought a new scarf at an adorable little shack on the boardwalk, took about a hundred pictures, and raced back to the bike shop to return my bicycle just before my four hours rental time was finished.
After the beach, we went to Cabrillo. We saw one of the oldest light houses on the coast of California. Apparently people often see whales migrating from the lookout during this time of year, but I didn't see any. I loved watching the old sailboats drifting out in the ocean though... and Dad showed us the distant coast of Mexico across the way. The views were gorgeous.
Then it was time for the tide pools. I was feeling pretty hammered from my cold at this point, and the weather was getting windy, so I only stayed at the tide pools for a short time. As the tide went out, we climbed across the rocks and explored. There were all sorts of sea creatures and shells that we could pick up and touch, as long as we put them back when we were finished. I found a baby starfish smaller than the tip of my pointer finger, and the family spotted many other exciting things in the pools of water on the rocks.
Days 5, 6, and 7 were dedicated to Disneyland! After visiting the tide pools, we drove to Anaheim and buckled down at a hotel just across the street from the park.

I woke up on Disneyland Day #1 feeling terribly awful. It was the worst day for my cold. I tried forcing myself to get ready for the day and about passed out... so I stayed at the hotel with Mom while Dad took the kids into the park. I was so sad, but I definitely needed the rest. I ended up sleeping for half the day. I finally made it into the park in the afternoon, but I was feeling so achy and sick that I only stayed for a couple of hours before going back to the hotel for the night.

Thanks to a priesthood blessing, a lot of sleep, and some good old Saltines and Sprite; I woke up the next day feeling a million times better. I seriously experienced a night and day difference. Now that I was on the mend, I spent the entire day at Disneyland! We enjoyed many rides and I got to better experience all of the magic! 
Disneyland was phenomenal. I adore the characters. And the rides. And I absolutely LOVE the magic of it all. Some of my favorites were World of Color, Fantasmic, the snow on Main Street, meeting Rapunzel, riding the new Radiator Springs ride in California Avdenture, riding all of the old storybook rides in Fantasy Land, the smell of gingerbread in the Haunted Mansion, meeting Mary Poppins (childhood favorite), watching the Barbershop Quartet, and seeing all of the lovely Christmas decorations!

I could go on and on and on (and on) about Disney, but we'll just say this:
It was Practically Perfect in Every Way. ;) and I loved every minute of it.

Our last day in California we went to Universal Studios. The park was all decked out Grinch style, and there were Whos from Whoville running all about the park. We rode the new Transformers 3D Ride, and that ride totally changed the meaning of 3D adventure rides. I'm pretty jumpy when it comes to 3D... but I ended up going through the ride twice, and we were so impressed by how awesome it was!
I was also forced on The Mummy rollercoaster. Scariest ride of my life. There were body limbs falling from the ceiling, dead people coming out of the walls, pitch black twists and turns, and scarab beetles crawling over my feet. 

Once was enough for me. haha.

We had a good time getting pictures with The Grinch, shopping, and experiencing the rides in Universal.
After Universal Studios we packed up and made the drive back to Utah. I tried convincing my parents to drive all the way home... but we ended up stopping in Vegas with Aunt Brenda for the night. I had a really good time visiting with her and the cousins though. On the 21st we left Vegas, made a stop at the Cheese Factory in Beaver (Squeaky Cheese and Ice cream is a must for me whenever we pass through Beaver!) and finished the drive back home.

I loved everything about the trip - even despite being sick for more than half of our stay in Cali - and I am glad we went. There's no place like home though, and I'm loving spending the holidays in Riverton  with my sweet family.

Happy Christmas Eve to everyone. :)
Much love.

These are beautiful words.

This quote... Perfection. I absolutely love it.

There is no difficulty that enough love will not conquer,
No door that enough love will not open,
No gulf that enough love will not bridge,
No wall that enough love will not throw down,
No sin that enough love will not redeem.

It makes no difference how deeply seated may be the trouble,
How hopeless the outlook,
How muddled the tangle,
How great the mistake,
A sufficient realization of love will dissolve it all.

-Emmett Fox

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Hello from San Diego!

Well, the fall semester has finally come to a close! I had more tests and papers due in the past week than I have ever had during finals. But I survived (barely!) and now I'm in San Diego with the fam. 

We're vacationing in California until the 22nd, and we are loving every minute of it! Even despite the nasty cold bug I somehow brought with me, I'm really enjoying my time with my sweet family. (Thank goodness for Nyquil and travel tissues!)

But before we get started talking about Cali, let me write a little bit about the last week of school.

Last Tuesday, my roommates and I had a Christmas Party at the apartment. We all got a couple of small gifts for each other and celebrated Christmas/ the end of the semester/ Julie Potter's move back to Idaho for her mission! We sure will miss her, but we are excited for her to serve a mission in Panama come this April!

We had lots of snacks and goodies at our party, and we had an absolute ball opening up stockings and presents. I got some adorable jewelry, orange nail polish, comfy pajama pants, a new scarf, and a lot of yummy treats! It was a lot of fun watching the other girls open their presents as well. After unwrapping gifts, we watched White Christmas and painted our nails. It was exactly what I needed in the midst of all those finals.

On Thursday, after my last final, Kyle and I went to see the lights at Temple Square. I was feeling pretty bummed because The Choralaires are going to Temple Square while I am in California, so Kyle took me before I left on my trip! (Because honestly, what would the Christmas holiday be without a visit to Temple Square?) I was so happy that I had the opportunity to go see the lights before Christmas. 

Kyle and I ate dinner at The Pizza Factory (so delicious!) and admired all the lights downtown. We also did some shopping at The City Creek Mall. I had such a fun time, and it was the perfect beginning to my Christmas break!! It was a beautiful night. Not too cold, and not too crowded. Ah! I just love Christmas time. I had quite the enjoyable evening. :) Thanks a ton for taking me, Kyle!

So now I'm in San Diego... enjoying the warmer weather and spending some good quality time with my family. Yesterday we arrived in San Diego after spending the night in St. George with my Grandma Paxman.  Today we went to the San Diego temple. It was absolutely gorgeous, and I'm so glad my whole family could go together. The San Diego temple probably stands as one of the highlights of my trip so far. After the temple, we went to Sea World. This was my family's first time at Sea World, and we had a great time there! Pictures will be coming soon...

Tomorrow we're visiting the beach, to go walk on the boardwalk and enjoy the sights, and then on Monday we're going to Disneyland for three days!! I can't wait! We're also hoping to visit the LA and Vegas temples before going home.

More to come on my adventures in California after I get home (with lots and lots of photos), but for now, goodnight! It's time to get some shut-eye. Let's see if we can't beat this cold virus!

Much love from The Sunny State! 
(we'll ignore the fact that it rained all day yesterday and this morning)


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Ward Christmas Party, and a Video.

In the middle of all  auditions, juries, classes, finals, and the Institute Christmas Show, I was put in-charge of my ward Christmas party... and Holy Hannah, was it an undertaking! We kept the party really simple, but between ordering food and organizing a musical program and setting up decorations... it was a lot to handle!

The night before the party, I had a couple of my planned musical numbers fall through. Monday morning I frantically rallied the Folk Dancers together and messaged all of my musically talented friends. (The show must go on, right?)

Can I just say how blessed I am? I have some INCREDIBLE friends. I had so many people offer to help me with the Ward Christmas Party last night, and I cannot thank you guys enough! (You know who you are.)

So, I pulled it off. Kyle helped me wrap presents for decorations on Sunday, Mom helped me figure out the food, My folk dance friends helped me with the program and setup, and my sweet roommates fed me and kept me sane all day yesterday while I was preparing for the event.

I think it was a success. The party was definitely simple, but it was a nice little getaway for the ward members during Finals Week and everything else that this stressful holiday brings into our lives.

I just owe a HUGE thanks to Colton Hattabaugh, Ben Eden, Ben Eschler, Brian Long, Bryan Mason, Kaitlyn East, Katie Swainston, Paige Honey, and Kyle DeYoung for helping me out!! Seriously. You guys are lifesavers!

Also a huge thanks to the people in the ward who came and helped me set up!

P.S. After the ward party, I stayed at the church with Ben, Colton, and Kyle. We ended up sitting around the piano singing and stuff, and I just had to share this video. So here's a little Christmas tune for y'all... I just love how talented and awesome these boys are.

The Update, Picture Edition.

1. My sweet brother Benjamin got his mission call last week. I drove home last Wednesday to watch him open his call. We were all so excited. He's serving in the Indianapolis, Indiana mission... speaking Spanish. Yep, we think it's random too. And SO cool!

2. This one was taken on my phone... so the photo is a really poor quality, but I have some exciting news. I made Weber State's spring musical! Jim Christian is directing The Will Rogers Follies in the spring, and I am super excited to work with him and be on the Weber State stage again! I was cast as a Follies Girl, and so there will be a lot of dancing next semester! Can't wait!

3. Last week I went to a Thai restaurant with Kyle DeYoung, Jon Smith, and Sydney Garlick. Kyle and Jon wanted us to try this thing called Pho... I was actually surprised by how delicious it was. It was kinda of like a beef soup. I'm usually pretty timid when it comes to trying new foods, but I was very satisfied, and we had a good time.

 4. Here's my bowl of Pho. There were strips of beef, meatballs, lime, noodles, spices, crunched peanuts, and other seasonings in the soup. The bowl was huge, but I managed to eat a good portion of it. I would totally order it again, if I was going to a restaurant that served it.

 5. There was a lot of rehearsing for the Institute Christmas Show last week. I didn't have my costume for the clog during our rehearsal, so I rallied the girls together and told them all to dance the clog in their bloomers with me. Us girls, we know how to have a good time.

 6. The Institute Christmas Show opened last week. We performed Friday and Saturday... and it was such a blast. Here is one of my favorite numbers this year. A Dutch number called "Chillibatanz" with Ben Eden.

7. I was in Folk Dance AND Choralaires in this year's show... so I hardly got a moment to catch my breath. There were many quick changes happening backstage, but it was so fun to be involved with both groups this semester. This was one of the only moments I had to capture a photo backstage. This is Paige Honey, who was the only other girl doing both Folk Dance and Choralaires with me.

 8. Last Saturday a group of Choralaires made an early-morning trip to the Bountiful Temple. Let me just say, it had been far too long my friends. I've missed the temple! Not having one nearby over the summer was unfortunate, and I need to be better about going regularly. I loved being surrounded by these wonderful people in such a beautiful place! What a great start to my weekend.

9 and 10. I spent the majority of my weekend with these boys. Kyle DeYoung and Joe Favero are both in Choralaires with me this semester, and we had SUCH a great time this weekend. Kyle, Joe and I drove to the temple together on Saturday. I love spending time with both of them, and I love their hip glasses! ;) During the last show, they made a sign and waved it around backstage in the wings while I was dancing on stage. You can bet it made my entire day. :) What sweet guys. My family took the three of us out to ice cream after the last show, and it was the perfect ending to my weekend.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Happy Little Nothings

-Finishing my fall semester juries on a high note.
-Noodles and Co. with Tanner Rampton.
-Finale of Once Upon a Time with my #10 boys.
-Folk Dance Christmas social.
-My adorable new blanket from Sister Delozier.
-Bryan Mason's Oreo "cookies and cream" cookies.
-New calling in the ward.
-Phone call from my best friend Brittany Hathaway
-Seeing my family at my voice recital.
-Seeing Colton Hattabaugh, Kyle DeYoung, and Ben Eden at my recital.
-Dinner at Denny's with Kyle and the fam.
-The sweetest text message from Katie Swainston.
-The miniature Christmas tree set up at home.
-Receiving an extremely nice message from a professor.
-Hazelnut hot cocoa with whipped cream.
-Dove raspberry chocolates.
-Being asked to sing in the family ward Christmas Program.
-Disneyland in two weeks.
-Listening to awesome music with Kyle.
-Driving home today to see my brother open his mission call.
-Being stopped on campus and getting asked for my number.
-Rehearsing for the Christmas institute show.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Playmill White Christmas

Mom and I went on a mini road trip yesterday to see The Playmill Theatre's production of White Christmas in Idaho Falls. I loved the show, and the trip was definitely one of the highlights of my week!

I woke up Saturday morning for 6am dance practice at the institute, and then I rushed home afterwards and got ready for my day trip with Mom. She picked me up at my apartment in Ogden, and then we were off! We stopped at the Sinclair to fill up (and grab a little snack) and then drove to Idaho Falls.

Two-and-a-half hours later we were pulling up to The Colonial Theater to pick up our tickets for the matinee show. When we walked into the box office, I was so surprised to see Miss Maggie all dressed up and ready for her performance! (She's the directors' youngest daughter.) Maggie quickly directed me backstage to see the rest of the cast.

I saw Alex backstage, and I saw Rivkah and Heidi in the girls dressing room before the show... and it was such a fun reunion! Nobody from the cast knew I was coming, and I loved seeing everybody's surprised faces!

Mom and I grabbed lunch at Jimmy John's, and then it was time for the show! When I arrived at the theater I saw Maggie, Heidi, Rivkah, and Alex again as well as Jon, Roger, Hannah, Jake, Scotty, Eliza, and Bryson! There were so many hugs and hellos that were exchanged... and I cannot tell you how elated I was to see each one of these people!

The show was fantastic. It was my first time seeing White Christmas. I've never even seen the movie! The costumes, the dancing, the singing... everything was so cute and so festive! I loved every minute of it. During intermission I couldn't resist buying a piece of Playmill Peanut Butter Fudge... and it was even more delicious than I remembered!

Being at the show yesterday filled me with so many good memories, and it reminded me of how much I love The Playmill. I love those people SO much, and I didn't realize exactly how much I've missed them until I got to see them again.

After the show, I saw everybody once more. I got to do a little catching up with my lovely friends and congratulate them on a great performance. I also ran into Brooklyn and Lauren, who drove up from Provo to see the Saturday night show.

I absolutely LOVE my Playmill family. I am so thankful to have them in my life. They love me and support me, and even though I hadn't seen them in a couple months, they were genuinely happy to see me... and that meant the world to me. 

I was so excited to see each of their happy faces. Hannah was so cute with her baby bump. Heidi looked great with her curly hair. Scotty is still one of the sweetest people on the face of this planet. Bryson was so awesome with his million-dollar smile and his big hugs. Alex's voice made me melt. Eliza's dancing kicked-butt. Maggie was absolutely adorable on stage. Jake was out there rockin' the concessions, just like he always does. Roger did such a fantastic job directing. Jon and Riv were as sincere and amazing as ever. Brooklyn was wearing the cutest skinny jeans. Lauren still called me "B", and it made me smile...

It was so good to see every last one of them. :) They are some of the most genuine, loving, accepting, artistic, talented, amazing people I know.  I have learned so much and grown so much during my time knowing them, and I'm so grateful for each of their examples!It was so refreshing to see them, and it reminded me why I love to do what I do.

After the matinee it was back to Utah so I could get home in time for the Folk Dance Christmas social. I really didn't want to leave so soon, I wish I could have stayed even longer.  (What I really wished was that I was up there performing with them!)

I raved about Playmill to Mom the whole way home (she loved the show too). I absolutely enjoyed being able to have quality chat-time with Mom all day long. I'm so glad she came with me!!

So all in all, it was an amazing day. Looking in hindsight, I realized even more how awesome the summer was, and how much I took for granted.

... Let's just say I'm looking forward to auditioning again! :)

I loved having my very first Playmill experience as an audience member.
It was so fun to be a part of all the Playmill traditions from the audience perspective.
Great job Playmill, it was a show well done!

Gingerbread Houses

Last Friday night I went to Kyle DeYoung's house for some gingerbread-making greatness! Kyle had never made a gingerbread house before, so we went all out... and it was so much fun! 

When I got to The DeYoung's home, we had a delicious dinner (thin crust pizza, salad, and Rootbeer floats. Yum!)  and then we cleared the table and got to work on our adorable little projects. Kyle had made the gingerbread the night before, and then on Friday we made the frosting and assembled the houses.

We had various candies for our decorating party... Mike N' Ikes, Lifesavers, Andes Mints, Sprees, pretzels, gumdrops, gumballs, sprinkles, licorice, and peppermint candies (just to name a few.)

I had some trouble getting the frosting into the squeeze tube so that I could decorate my house... but other than that, I think I managed alright! In the picture above, my house is on the left and Kyle's is on the right.

Didn't they turn out cute?? We are practically professionals, if I do say so myself!
Here are more pictures from the evening:

Putting our houses together with white frosting...
Please note the music player on the right. 
What would a night like this be without some Christmas tunes?

 Meet Chipp the Snowman. (And yes, his name is Chipp with two P's.)

A project such as this requires deep focus and concentration...

And here we are with the finished product!
I love that the workspace got noticeably messier throughout the pictures
Also note Kyle's gingerbread man. Best ever.

I had such a fantastic time creating our gingerbread houses.
We managed to ship my gingerbread house safely to my apartment without it breaking.
Now I have a festive little work of art on the kitchen table.

Thanks for the fun night, Kyle!


I was going to blog tonight. And clean the kitchen floors. And start my homework. And redo my blog header. And write a letter to my best friend. And practice my pieces for juries. And clean my bedroom. And about a million other things.

Yeah, that's not happening anymore. I'm clearing off all of the junk on my bed and setting it all at the foot of my bed. I'm changing into the comfiest pajamas, wrapping up in my new blanket, and I'm going to sleep.

Forget about everything else. Sometimes it feels good to just come home and crash. Sometimes that just needs to happen.

But there's a lot of good stuff coming up. Blog posts of recent gingerbread-house making, road trips to Idaho Falls, and folk dance Christmas socials are all in the works.

So I'll be back soon, and next time I'll have something more exciting to say.
Sweet dreams. :)