Saturday, October 23, 2010

Rain, Rain, Go Away

So much for the cornmaze tonight. I was really looking forward to it......

One of my favorite Halloween traditions here in Utah is Cornbelly's Cornmaze. It's a great fall festival for families, but they have plenty of fun stuff for college students and adults. They also have a hayride around the cornmaze and pumpkin patch, hot cider, games, haunted attractions, and, of course, the cormaze. I love it! Since we're in that weird stage of life where we're too old to trick-or-treat and don't have any kids of our own to take yet, it's a fun way to celebrate Halloween. If the weather's good, hopefully we'll make it there next week - stuck right in between carving pumpkins, throwing our Ward Halloween Party, renting a classic Hitchcock film, and celebrating Ross' birthday (on Halloween). It's a rough life.

In other news, I've been juicing, counting calories, working out daily, and my jeans are slipping on easier these days. I'm excited. A lot more on that later.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tender Mercies

Yesterday and part of last week I was dealing with a huge design project that had lots of pitfalls and was basically falling apart in my lap - just one of those "The Devil Wears Prada"- type work days. I held back tears at one point thinking how my boss had potentially lost trust in me and over-worrying about my position and my abilities. But then I left work, and as I drove on my way to the store I felt the cool fall air on my face and listened to a Christian Rock station. A song came on about pressing on and enduring because there are good things that wait for those who have faith. I was reminded that my Heavenly Father, who is God over all the earth including my job, is completely aware of me, knows my full potential, and that this one job is just a blip in my life and eternal progression. On the drive home from the store, the sky was pastel blue and neon pink against the mountains, an evening fog was gathering in the valley, and it was breathtakingly beautiful. That feeling of gratitude carried me through the crazy traffic and grocery trip all the way until I could finally be home at 7pm. It didn't erase the need for me to run errands after a stressful workday, but I felt so peaceful and empowered as I continued on, albeit tired, to do it. 
Just the other night, Sam and I were lamenting the long and arduous process of finishing school, both what it took for me, and what he has ahead with Medical School and just feeling very inadequate. He had been doing a lot of homework over the weekend and spent nearly 12 hours on campus yesterday just going to classes, taking two tests, and finishing a paper, and he really didn't know when he would have time to do the studying he needed for an upcoming genetics test. After prayers of faith, sure enough, today he took that test and he got a 96! It really is a huge blessing considering how little time he was able to put into it with all the other work he was doing, but I know it was because the Lord is watching out for us. Even when things get tough, so very tough, he will always consecrate our efforts and bless us even beyond what we can give.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Homecoming Weekend

Boy, what a week! Sadly I have no pictures of this weekend yet. My camera died early Saturday morning and I was just too busy to think about it. I always kick myself for that. But, I will steal some pictures from my mom's iphone and share them with you later on.

Friday night was our Ward Luau, which was actually a pretty big success. Due to weather concerns, we had to move it from outside in our quad to the basement meeting room under the D-building (or "the bunker", as I like to call it). We decked it out as best we could, served real Kahlua Pig and Hawaiian food, and listened to Hawaiian music. We had a ton of people come and it seemed to be really fun for everyone. After the last people had left and the last bit of rice was vacuumed from the floor, Sam and I sat together silently in the two remaining chairs just finally enjoying being able to breathe. Finally some respite.... until our Halloween party. I'm actually really excited for that one, and the D-Basement in all its dreary glory is a great venue for an awesome Halloween party experience.

My mom and dad came into town on Friday night and took us for some really yummy frozen custard at Coney's after the Luau was over. My dad was a yell leader at BYU years ago and they came back for Homecoming for him to march with some of the yell leader alumni in the Homecoming Parade and cheer at the game during halftime.

Isn't he cute? It still fits him!
On Saturday morning we watched the Homecoming Parade. It's not a big parade, but it was still really fun to watch. I can't believe I never took the time to go when I was still a student. My dad looked so cute cheering with the cheerleaders in his old yell leader sweater. I'll definitely have to post a picture of that one!

Later in the day, my mom, Ross, and I did some shopping at Target, and I hugged Nie Nie. Yes I did. We were wandering around one of the decor isles when I saw her cute little son, Ollie, run past. I turned the corner and sure enough, there she was! (It's really not that coincidental. I've run into her before and we live in the same town.) I spent 5 minutes trying to decide whether to leave her alone or just talk to her. I mustered the courage to do the latter. I didn't introduce myself, I just told her that I didn't know when I would get the chance to tell her again and that I think she's awesome and that I love her. She then gave me a hug and told me how she is always grateful to hear that. When I think about it, who wouldn't want someone to randomly tell you you're awesome and loved? Yeah, I'm a stranger to her, but I wasn't weird about it. I was just telling the truth in a very friendly, casual way. I think a lot of people would kill for that kind of affirmation and encouragement anytime you could get it. I carried a big smile around for the rest of our shopping trip.

In the afternoon, we went to a lovely little Alumni Tailgate party at the Alumni Center, which is so beautiful. There was a tent out on the patio overlooking the valley where they served yummy BBQ fare and BYU's famous mint brownies. We schmoozed a bit with alumni both old and young, and then they headed out to the game while I headed home for a bit. I was looking forward to the game, but the thought of cleaning and shopping not getting done, not to mention my sick Samuel trying to finish homework was a good reason to stay home. We still won, thankfully!

After the game, we braved the traffic to meet up at Malawi's Pizza. Remember La Jolla groves? It's owned by the same folks, (I wouldn't mind if they created a monopoly on all Provo restaurants), and very very good. Imagine a modern-Serengeti themed experience plus great service plus fabulous pizza plus the fact that they donate a nutritious meal to a child in Malawi with every meal sold. Not to mention, they make an effort to make their food healthier and more natural. I love that. The general manager even came out to meet us when they served us an extra salad and insisted that we get two dessert pizzas on the house for the trouble. What a nice guy. Seriously, if I haven't made it clear, check out La Jolla Groves and/or Malawi's Pizza. You'll be glad you did.

Yikes, this was a long post. Sorry about that. I have a tendency to write a novel when I write about my life. To sum it all up, thank you mom and dad for coming to town and showing us a great time! It's been a long time that I've laughed so hard as I did when we all went out. I'm glad I only have to wait until Thanksgiving for my next hug from dad and girl's trip and life talks with mom. Also, thank you mom for the incredible juicer! I can't wait to make all kinds of healthy fruit and veggie cocktails!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Busy Busy Busy

No, really. I know that life is always busy, but it feels like we've had some kind of commitment every single weekend for awhile and will every weekend for awhile, not to mention the daily grind of often-stressful projects at work and always stressful school for Sam. I guess it's cool; better to be busy living life than taking it easy and not doing much to improve oneself. Here's a quick summary of some of the things going on:

The last weekend in September we finally celebrated our anniversary! Nothing special, we decided in the long run that we didn't want to spend too much money, so I let go of my inner drama queen that craved something unique and awesome and we just went out to a nice dinner. We went out to a place in Provo that just opened up in the Riverwoods called La Jolla Groves. It's owned by the same folks who own The Chef's Table, so we knew it was going to be good. The ceiling is covered with a "grove" of artificial lemon trees. Cute, no?

Sam enjoying our artisan cheese and fruit.
Good food, great service, beautiful atmosphere, and not too pricey. You should check it out for your next hot date.

We also stopped to buy Sam's present - a pasta roller. He's been dying to make healthy, homemade pasta for months with our own pasta roller and he is so happy to finally have one! He's my little chef. It's just one on a long list of fancy kitchen gadgets that we hope to furnish our fabulous future kitchen with. (That was a lot of f's wasn't it?)

Then, this last weekend Jennifer came to visit with Ethan! It was a bit crowded in our one bedroom apartment, but it was fun to visit with Jennifer and play with Ethan out in our apartment complex playground and try to make sense of his almost-talking.

Friday night we went to Sam's mission reunion for the first time. This one was a big deal, because his old Mission President is finally back, so there was a huge turnout and it was definitely the one to come to. It was so weird to run into some of his old companions and mission friends that I had only seen pictures of or heard about for years. What was also weird, (but mostly fun), was having them remember me as his then-girl-back-home and being excited to see us together and married.

Then, Saturday and Sunday, of course, was General Conference. Wow! What a pick me up at a time when I'm so inclined to mope about being stressed. I love coming away from Conference with a renewed sense of hope and gratitude for all the things I have. The Gospel has such an amazing power to comfort, encourage, chasten, and uplift.

Stuff this week: wrapping up a big design project at work, parents coming to town Friday, helping throw our Ward Luau Friday night, and Homecoming tailgating and football game Saturday. (Too bad it won't be much to watch. Watching the game live will be fun anyway.)