Sunday, December 25, 2011

If a Picture's Worth 1,000 Words...How Much is a Video Worth?

Today was not a typical Christmas. 

It was better.

More on that later maybe.

But for now,

We'll call it a present from me to you. ;)
(One that you can probably use to blackmail me with in years to come. ahahaha)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

'Gambling' in Seminary.

Wednesday morning, 
I woke up entirely too early. 

But it was for a good cause. 
My mom asked me to help her with her seminary lesson
and of course I did (to keep up my title of favorite child, obviously ;))

(Seminary is a church class for high school students
held each morning before their regular classes. 
The class rotates through the different sets of scripture each year:
New Testament, 
Old Testament, 
Book of Mormon, and 
Church History/Doctrine and Covenants.)

This year it is focused on the Old Testament. 

Since the class my mom teaches only has 5 students
(it typically starts at 5:30 a.m.), 
she teaches them here at our house.

Wednesday was the last day of the semester
(and therefore the last day of seminary until mid-January) 
....a party was in order :)

And how perfect that it is also

This is where I came into the scenario.
My mom asked me if I would make latkes for the class.
Latkes (potato pancakes) are a pretty typical Hanukkah food,
and though I've eaten them before, 
I haven't ever made them. 
And was it an adventure!

 The recipe I used to make them was quite simple and can be found here

While I was making the Latkes,
I was able to listen to the lesson my mom had prepared
and learned/relearned a lot about the celebration of Hanukkah.

First the class sang the "Hebrew Song"
my mom taught them in a previous lesson.
It's a song I know quite well because it's one of my mom's favorites :) 
It's called, "Havenu Shalom Aleichem" 
and it means "Peace we bring to you".
It's a pretty complicated song....
it just says "Havenu Shalom Aleichem" 
over and over and over again.

Since I know you're dying to hear what it sounds like, 
I found a recording of it on youtube...
(isn't the Internet just great?!)

(after the first 20 seconds or so, it just repeats again and 
again,  a little faster each time.)

Now...listen to the first 20 seconds again and picture 
5 high schoolers (3 boys 2 girls) singing that at 6:35 a.m.
hahaha. was a pretty...pitiful performance, 
but I'll give them credit because it was so stinkin' early.

After that, she shared with them the basic history of Hanukkah
and the miracle of the oil lasting 8 days when they only had enough for 1.

Next my mom explained about dradles.
(Que the "Dradle song," right?!)

She explained that each of the sides of the dradle
have the first letter of each word in the phrase
"Nes gadol haya sham"
"A great miracle happened there." 
She also said that in Jerusalem
they make special dradles that say 
"Nes gadol haya po"
"A great miracle happened here"
I thought that was really interesting.

Typically the dradle game is played by putting something in the middle of the table
and then each person spins the dradle and depending on what you land on it means different things.
The person can either get:
Nun= none (nothing)
Sham/po='put in one' (player must give up something by putting it in the middle of the table)

(As my mom pointed out, it's actually a form of gambling. 
"But we won't emphasize that part!" she said.
I'm sure she'll be pleased as punch to see that's what I chose to title this blog post :)
Actually, as many times as I've told her about my blog
she's still never read it, so maybe she'll never know... :))
Instead of playing the traditional way,
my mom had the idea of playing
"Scripture Mastery Dradle."
A 'spin' on the classic dradle game.

She would read a scripture mastery scripture
and then they had 15 seconds to find where the scripture was.
If they were able to find it in time, 
they would spin their dradle
and depending on which side it landed on, 
they would get a certain number of points.

(this was particularly funny because one of the boys 
had apparently never seen/played with a dradle before
so at first he was just tossing it on the table (like you would dice)
and then he saw someone spin theirs and  exclaimed "Oh! THAT'S how you do it?!!?" haha.)

Finally, my latkes were done.
I mainly get uneasy about the fact that they have a grey-ish tint, (haha)
but they are actually pretty tasty!
. . . Much too greasy to eat without feeling guilty though.
Not to mention the fact that you can just feel grease on you for the rest of the day...
4 out of the 5 students were brave enough to try them. 
They said they were pretty good.
Then I switched gears and started making regular pancakes.

It wasn't long before it was time for them to get headed to school.

After the cleanup
we were exhausted! 

...but there was much Christmas shopping to be done! 

About 6 hours later I finally got my nap in.
I intended it for be about 45 minutes...
I woke up about 4 hours later, still exhausted!
I don't understand how I was able to do early early morning Seminary all during high school
and still stay awake to do it week after week! 

All in all,
it was well worth the small sacrifice to get up early
 to get a little taste of Jewish culture.
It made me even more excited for my upcoming adventure
(and being able to learn a little Hebrew is going to be sweet). 

Less than two weeks and I will be in the land where the dradles say 
"A great miracle happened here." 
Because a great miracle DID happen there...
Though the one I have in mind has very little to do with oil.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

SPLAT. And then a Christmas Miracle.

Today was probably one of the most stressful days 
of my entire life.

I stayed up entirely too late last night
working on a Christmas present for 
my dear friend and beloved roommate, Erikka
who I will not see again for a very very long time :(
(Even though she says we won't see each other ever again, I refuse to believe it!)
Around 4:30ish (a.m) I was done and I went to sleep.
This is what the final product looked like:

Surprise! Erikka, if you're reading this...I'm going to get a real copy for you real soon :)
I still had a lot of packing/odds and ends to do 
so I knew I was going to need to get up pretty early.
I got up around 8:30 and then actually got out of bed around 9.

I started packing.
I returned some stuff to work (keys, etc).
I sent my collage for Erikka to the printer so I could pick it up later.
I continued packing.
And packing. 
And packing.
But no matter how much packing I did, 
no matter how many suitcases I stuffed
or boxes I filled,
the amount of stuff that still needed to be packed appeared to be never ending! 

Around 1:30 I started getting frantic.
My grandparents were coming to get me at 2:00 to take me to the airport
and I wasn't nearly ready.

Who knew packing would take SOOO long?! 
Obviously, this packing took much longer than the typical
I'll-just-be-home-for-two-weeks packing.
Since I won't be returning to Provo after Jerusalem 
(I'll be coming straight home to California) 
I needed to have EVERYTHING packed that I want at home for next summer!
Plus, I was trying to get mostly packed for Jerusalem at the same time. 

Just take my word for was crazy.
And stressful.

I asked Madi to pick up my picture collage for Erikka,
she agreed to do so (she's the absolute BEST!)
but of course the printer was down and they said they wouldn't have it ready until tomorrow!
(Which doesn't do me any good because now I'm already gone...)

At about 1:50 p.m.
I remembered that I still had to turn in my application 
for the Elementary Education Program.
The application is due while I'm in Jerusalem but they told me to turn it in before I left to go home. 
( 10 minutes.)

My grandparents came and by 2:10 we had the car loaded.
But I still had to go turn in the El Ed application!
I ran as fast as I possibly could to the Mckay Building.
Upon arriving, I realized to complete my bewilderment
I needed to be finger printed.

I whizzed through the paperwork faster than humanly possible.
Then I waited...
(for what seemed like forever)
for them to process the paper work, enter the information, 
and then call me back to be finger printed.
First the right hand: index finger through pinkie all at the same time.
then right thumb.
Then left hand: index finger through pinkie.
left thumb.
Then....each finger individually:
left pinkie.
left index finger.
left middle finger.
left pointer finger....
. . . .
...SERIOUSLY?! I have a plane to catch people!! 

Fiiiinally I was done.
I ran upstairs to turn in the application 
and was out of there quick as a whip.
As I was running back down the stairs...
I lost my footing for a split second.
 "Wouldn't it just be so perfect if I fell right now?"
I thought to myself cynically.
Luckily, I didn't.
I caught myself and used the stumble as an opportunity to propel myself even faster forward.

I burst through the doors, 
feeling like a rock star, all I have to do is make it back to the car
so we can get to the airport when
 I'm on the ground.  

Apparently, my over-confidence in catching myself on the stairs inside
only set me up for failure when on the stairs outside.
...So I fell. 
And I fell HARD.
I didn't take a lot of time to look around
I know at least four people saw it happen.
They all stopped dead in their tracks,
One guy letting out an audible "woah! what the?!"
Another guy was standing with in two feet of me,
struggling with difficultly not to burst in to laughter asked,
"Are you okay?!!"
I couldn't blame him....if I had seen someone do what I had just done
I would have laughed until I cried. 
No joke! 

Under normal circumstances, I would have laughed too.
But these were not normal circumstances.
I had a plane to catch.
I did not laugh.
I didn't even smile (weird! I know, right?!).
I inhaled a barely audible "I'm fine thanks." 
And. I RAN.
Adrenaline pumping, 
hair raging,
I ran all the way back to the car.

...Finally we were off,
about 40 minutes behind schedule.
It was now 2:38. We had an hour's drive ahead of us,
and my flight was scheduled to take off at 4:00 p.m.,

The odds were looking grim.
My grandma said that she'd looked up other possible flights
and since I was likely going to miss mine,
the next one was leaving 6:00 a.m. the following morning.
She suggested that if I miss the flight I spend the night at my Aunt an Uncle's in Bountiful
and then take the flight early the next morning.

 Now, there is something you should know about me:
I am not a crier.
As a matter of fact,
my roommates often tease me about my heartlessness/lack-of-crying.
Granted, there have been times in my life when I was 'more prone to cry',
but recently this has not been the case.
However, as stated previously,
today was not a normal day.
And so the tears came
...and came they did indeed.
Just as I was ready to admit defeat and positive I was going to miss my flight
I got a text.
Huh? That's not a number I have in my phone...
"SWA Flight 2003 from SLC is delayed. The new departure time is 4:20 PM. Flight times are subject to change. Please check airport monitor for update." 
A Christmas Miracle.
You may say it was just a mere coincidence,
but it was more than that.
I know it was more than that.
It was a tender mercy.
Heavenly Father was looking out for me. 

From that point on...the day got a million times better. 
I made it to the airport just in time.
Checked my bags (they were each 47 pounds...another miracle!)
Went through security (there was no line...that never happens) 
and got to the gate just as the B 1-30s were starting to line up. 
(I was B 27.)
Even though I didn't have time to shower and I looked quite scary...
even though I lost my lucky penny when I took my boot off before going through security...
even though my arms were losing circulation and felt like they were going to fall off because my backpack was so heavy...
even though all I had eaten the whole day was a few chocolate chip cookies from my home teachers (thanks guys!)
even though I had to throw away my favorite pair of scissors because I forgot they were still in my backpack...

It was a GREAT day.
A miraculous day.

It only got better when I had the privlege of sitting next to the most adorable little boy and his mom.
(Who I randomly found out is twins with a girl that works in Helaman...gotta love connections!)
Pictures are necessary:

Sadly I couldn't find my camera so I had to take pictures on my phone...Obviously he was shaking his head. Lol.

Even though it has been extremely stressful, 
today was a wonderful day. 

I am so grateful for the knowledge I have that Heavenly Father is mindful of each of us.
I am 100% convinced He was watching out for me today.
Now, I am home.
And SO happy to be here :) 
 It is truly a Christmas Miracle. 


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Putting Family First.

My church calling for the semester was
Family Home Evening Group Leader
...more affectionately known as "Mom." 
Hahaha. Okay, no one actually called me 'mom'
...that would be weird.

Since the semester is now over and I will no long be in this ward...
I thought I would just post a few pictures 
from the fun times we've had as a "family"
this semester :) 

Monday November 7th

For one of Madi's classes,
she had to do a "mock family ritual"
and write a paper about it. 
I had the genius idea to make it into our FHE activity.
The family tradition that she wanted to re-create is her family's tradition 
of acting out the nativity story and then having hot chocolate. 
Even though we did this in early November...
it was fun to get into the Christmas Spirit a tad early :)

Obviously, the angel needed to be glowing :)

since we didn't have costumes we had to improvise, I especially loved Bryce's jacket-turned-turban.

I look extra creepy/weird/unusual/strange in this picture, but I still thought it needed to be posted.

I don't know why I think all of these pictures are so funny but they are.

Monday, November 21st

Another memorable FHE activity we had 
was when we went to Madi's family's house in Midway.
It was a great night filled with
Boxers or Briefs (calm's a Apples to Apples)
much laughter,
and of course...
watching Madi's world famous commercials
(from when she was little). 

Disclaimer: that is not my "manly looking hand." It is Dallin's :)

Everyone's expression in this picture makes me laugh. looks like my head is a helium balloon and Madi is holding on to my hair to keep me from floating away. hahaha.
Monday, November 28

 Our next outing was supporting our "Dad" in his hockey game!
Nate plays in a city league here in Provo
and usually his games are Monday nights after FHE 
but it worked out that he had an early game 
and we were able to go support! 

Of course, you can't be a family unless you make an amazingly ridiculous and embarrasing sign for whomever you're cheering for, right?! :) 

We met before to make the sign..but it ended up taking longer than planned :/ and missed almost the first half of the game. (Sorry Nate!)

Look! There's Nate! ...somewhere...

This is possibly one of the funniest pictures I have ever been a part of. It's hard to tell on the picture, but because Steven was holding one side of the poster so high (up to his chin), and since Madi is...significantly shorter than the rest of us :), she had to hold it much lower. hahaha. We were all laughing pretty hard. (Though, again, the picture doesn't show it.)
We took pictures while waiting for Nate to come out....but apparently we were waiting in the wrong place, since he never came!

. . . So we went back to his apartment and put it on the wall for him. It fit perfectly above the couch.

Tuesday, November 6

Oh boy oh boy this next one is rather exciting! 
Steven had the great idea to go to D.I. (the local thrift store) 
and pick out the best/worst possible outfits we could find
and then model them. 

Sadly, D.I. closes early on Mondays so we held it on a Tuesday instead
and only Madi, Nate, Steven and I were able to go. 
However, it was still "tons and tons and tons of fun";)

We each drew a name that we had to pick out clothes for.
After a few attempts
(someone kept getting their own name)
we all got someone else.

Nate chose for Steven.
Madi chose for Nate.
I chose for Madi. 
Steven chose for Me.

this was our "runway/model" walk.

and a few more...just because.
this was the pattern of the skirt Steven chose for me. It. was. HOT. (I mean that in the "attractive" sense of the word...not the literal/temperature sense.)

He also picked out these shoes for me. Which was especially funny because I've never worn high heels before and I had absolutely no clue how to walk in them. Keeping my socks on with them was my own personal touch ;)
Yup. We are rockin' it.

Monday, December 12

And now, 
for the finally. . .
What better way is there to end the semester, 
than to take family Christmas card pictures?! :) 
There were many, but I made a little card with the best ones! 

Overall, it was a GREAT semester,
I'm going to miss my family dearly! 
But I'm also very excited for the adventures that await me in 
the Holy Land! 
(20 days!)

Friday, December 2, 2011

Save the Drama for Your Llama.

Two years ago, 
I heard about something that BYU students do every year called
"Llama Caroling."

It was a friday night, those two years ago, and I didn't have much to do, 
so I decided, what the heck,
it's LLAMAS! 
And I went. 

It. Was. Fantastic. 

Llama caroling two years ago. Fun fun times.

Caroling? Collecting Canned food to give to the poor? LLAMAS?!
What could be better?!

Sadly it didn't work out for me to go last year
so I vowed I wouldn't miss out on the adventure this year.

And boy oh boy was it an adventure to remember.


"Carollama" as it is now called
has become much more organized in the last years.
They are an official club and you have to buy tickets and everything.

I found out that my friends from home
Alexi and Katelyn were going to be there. 
That just made me want to go all the more! 

We met at the Law Library parking lot to pick up our Llama
and buy our tickets. 
[getting the tickets was an adventure of itself!
They wouldn't give me and Katelyn the discounted price
because we weren't on a "DATE"! What the heck.
Lucky for me Katelyn used her persuasive (law school) ablilites
and they ended up giving us the deal after all :)]
We waited in the parking lot for about 40 minutes before we left to do the caroling. 
Somehow I ended up with the reins of one of the Llamas and we quickly became best buds.

Can't you see how much he loves me?! :)
That's when I learned a few things about Llamas:
1. Llamas have extremely thick fur. 

2. Llamas have horrible breath. 

3. Llamas like being with other llamas.

4. Llamas are very good at listening, 
but not very good at following directions or communicating. 

5. Llamas LOVE me :)

The evening was off to a great start. 
It was cold, but after last time I was prepared and came quite bundled! 

The problem began just as my group was leaving the parking lot
 and somebody TOOK MYYYY llama!!! 
I'm still not entirely sure why...
but because of that horrible twist of fate...
we got stuck with. . . the alpacas.

At first I didn't mind so much,
I thought the alpacas were kinda cute, 
but it didn't take long for me to learn the truth about Alpacas:

1. Alpacas are just sheep that are trying to pass as Llamas.

2. Alpacas are bitter at the world that they aren't llamas, and take their anger out on everyone.

 3. Alpacas are really just a sad excuse for Llamas.

Don't let their cuteness fool you. Those animals are out of control!!!
We decided to go to a neighborhood not too far away, 
but trying to haul those things up 9th East with car headlights coming directly at them 
was not happening. 

(I really can't blame them though, I'm sure it's tough to be an alpaca (refer to #3 above.))

It was a struggle,
[It didn't help that cars would honk at us...
I don't understand why people think honking at the animals is going to help the situation...]
but after much effort,
 we were FINALLY able to cross the street into residentials
and then the little demons calmed down a bit.

(I would love to have been in the car,
driving down 9th East, minding my own business, 
when out of nowhere I see a group of 5 college students
walking across the street dragging two alpacas behind them.

The next hour or so was pretty fun. 
We went house to house, 
singing Christmas songs and asking for canned food. 

It's amazing how excited people get when they open the door
and low and behold there is a LLAMA. 
(but then they realize it's actually just an alpaca and they get disappointed. 
haha just kidding. Usually they don't know the difference and are simply overjoyed.) 

Sadly, not many people were home. 
But we sang to them anyway.
Well, to their empty houses.
I'm sure they still appreciated it :)

Eventually, it was time to take the Llamas 
(excuse me, Alpacas...ugh. i'm still bitter. WE GOT GYPPED!)
back to the trailer, which had been moved to the Marriot center parking lot.

Shrimpy alpacas who wish they were llamas.

Apparently, the guy in charge had had a great idea:
Advertise Carollama by standing outside the Marriot Center
and pass out fliers!
(to the people coming out of "Christmas Around the World".)

It seemed like a pretty reasonable request at the time . . .

We were waiting for the show to end and for the masses to come out when disaster struck.
I was standing there, holding the leash/reigns? of the brown alpaca
(the one that is even more out of control) 
and next thing I know, I am being launched through the air 
by a crazed alpaca and slammed smack into the back/shoulder area
of a random guy that was standing a few feet away from me! 

 This was not a little bump we are talking about.
This was full on nose-and-mouth SLAMMAGE into his shoulder. 
It. Was. Hilarious.
The absolute worst part? NO ONE else saw it!!!
I was practically throwing myself (literally...with the alpaca's help) at a stranger
I was dying laughing. My eyes instantly watering because of the impact and
there were NO witnesses. 
Sad. Sad. Sad.

A short time later:
We are standing by the exit doors
with our Llamas, 
(this time i ACTUALLY had a llama,
they left the crazy good-for-nothing alpacas at the trailer)
fliers in hand, 
ready for the masses to exit the Marriot Center,
when this lady comes outside and she is clearly. . .
"anything but excited" to see those lovely little llamas.

She tells us we need to leave "NOW." 
I try to find the guy in charge to tell him that this lady is quite perturbed,
(no no, perturbed isn't nearly strong enough...'livid' would be more accurate)
but when I find him he doesn't look too concerned.
He just goes on his merry way, inviting people to learn more about Carollama.

That is..

until the police showed up... 

I was seriously dying laughing.
The police were too.
Well...the assistants.
The "head honcho", however, was not laughing .
He did not seem like the "laughy type."
He took everyone (yes, everyone's) I.Ds and then kindly pointed out that
"Dogs aren't even allowed on campus without a permit, and llamas definitely aren't."
I kept laughing.

Since I didn't have my I.D card on me,
I had to be "interviewed" by one of the assistant's.
He wrote down ALL of my information
 (including address, telephone number and major)
I felt like a real, bona fide criminal :)

But hey, It was worth it.

he was showing his teeth for the pic ;)

"We are innocent!"

PLUS. If I'm gonna have a record--it doesn't get much better than
"possession of llamas on BYU campus with out a permit" :)

PS My nose still hurts from being flung through the air by that deranged alpaca and hitting guy's shoulder...

PSS In all honesty, I don't think we can legally be held responsible for this misunderstanding. I was merely following the direction that was given and did not know I was breaking any laws. For the record, If I HAD thought I would get into serious trouble I definitely would not have been laughing. 

PSSS. Now I just have to keep my eyes pealed for anything in the "Police Beat" about llamas! :)