Monday, February 28, 2011

Number 21 and Counting!

I'm an aunt again!!! It's about stinkin time my family brought another baby into this world. The Lord knows I'm not bringing any down, any time soon! Phew!
Little Forrest was born on Sunday, and I couldn't love him more. I'm just so jealous of the rest of my family who has already met him! The sweet spirit of his was anxious to come to earth and start his life and came early, so he's spending some time resting up in the hospital until he's a little stronger. By the time I get home, he'll be nice and strong, ready to be held and cuddled and kissed!! I am counting the days. And he's not the only wee one that will be waiting! My other sister is having her baby within the next few weeks! And then on top of that, one of my BFFs is having a baby, too! Babies galore! I'll be surrounded and couldn't be happier about it.
Babies. Babies. BABIES!!!!:)

Saturday, February 26, 2011

A Very Special Weekend

Well, I think I've rested as much as I can, just in time for a semi-busy, and very important weekend. I spent time in my bed since Wednesday night to Friday afternoon, sleeping as much as I can, trying to kick this nasty cold. I can't remember the last time I had such a bad cold accompanied with coughing, blowing my nose every five minutes so that it's now raw, a sore throat that felt like it was on fire the first few days...ugh. I'm definitely on the mend, but I'm still congested and am gonna need some time to fully feel back to normal.

On Thursday, despite feeling quite miserable, I had a ticket to see The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway. I bought the ticket weeks ago through NYU, and I've been wanting to see this show since I was probably 12 years old. I grew up in a household where the music of Phantom was played so often that I know nearly every word to every song. I fell in love with the music then, and can't believe I saw it for the first time just now. It was about time. So, I got myself out of bed, put on some nice slacks and a sweater, packed my bag with travel packs of Kleenex, cough drops and water, and took myself to the Majestic Theater in Times Square. Luckily, I had a seat next to a wall, so I could turn and cough or blow my nose (which I only did during applause or loud music, to be respectful of others). I knew my seat wasn't going to be that close to the stage, so I brought binoculars (yes, I own a pair, knowing I would never have close seats to any show), and I'm glad I did! It was so great to see the whole stage from afar, but then to also get to see the characters' faces up close added to the whole thing. Phantom is such an old production, or long-time running, that I wasn't as impressed as I thought I would be. I think if I saw this musical back when I was younger, it would've been more impressive. Don't get me wrong, it was still amazing. I'm so glad I got to go, finally.

Yesterday, I also got myself out of bed and dressed up for a very special occasion. One of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Elder David Bednar was here, live and in person, to speak to the single adult population of the church. Lots other people that don't necessarily fit that category also showed their faces, naturally. Who would miss it!? He is such a powerful speaker (as they all are). Elder L. Whitney Clayton of the Seventy was also here to speak. I should rephrase that, though. Neither of them really came to speak to us, but rather, they opened the evening up by saying they were not here to give talks, but to have a Q & A session instead. That was the rumor going around, so I kinda expected it. I guess that's Elder Bednar's style he is known for. It was pretty cool to hear sincere questions, ones that I would've asked myself, given that I fall in to the same age group and state of life of others in the room. And Elder Bednar said he likes doing these Q&A's with our age group, because the questions asked are usually genuine and sincere. Afterwards, he and Elder Clayton stayed to shake everyone's hand that wanted to. They probably stood up there for an hour, easy, and shook hundreds of hands, mainly because they care that much and know how much it would mean to everyone there. I got to shake both those brethren's hands, and to Elder Bednar I told him I appreciated what he said about church being about the Sacrament. My comment was in response to his comment to a question regarding the people who fall into the "mid singles" category of the church. A girl stood up and basically asked him, "what about us?". She stated that she's had friends who have stopped going to church because they don't feel like they fit in anywhere in the church, post Singles ward era. I loved Elder Bednar's response to her, which was basically summed up in my comment to him. Church is about the Sacrament. It's not about who is going to be there, or what I should wear to catch someone's attention. To me, the core issue I have with Singles wards is just that--they create this false sense of what church is about. Have I been grateful for the instant group of friends I've had, anywhere and everywhere I have moved? Yes. Have I felt comforted because I have been surrounded by people who are in the same stage of life that I have been in, because I feel like I can relate to them in many ways? Yes. But is that why I go to church? No. I go to church to learn the gospel, to be strengthened, to take the Sacrament and renew my baptismal covenants. I will soon be "aging out" of the Singles ward phase in my life, and I am not worried one bit about feeling like I do not belong. I belong because I am a follower of Christ.

Today is another great opportunity to dress up and attend something very special. My friend who I met back in November, when he first started coming to church to check out what it had to offer him, is getting baptized. I had the special opportunity on a few occasions to talk to him about the gospel, one on one. I could tell that he was truly and sincerely seeking to know the truth. I'm so grateful that I was able to share with him my thoughts and feelings on the gospel, and so grateful that we've become friends during his conversion process. And I'm so excited to attend his baptism tonight. (p.s. I also got to witness my friend shaking the hand of an apostle last night. My friend asked Elder Bednar advice for someone who is about to get baptized. Elder Bednar told him two things: 1. Don't get mad--people will do stupid things, but don't get mad, and 2.) You're an agent, not an object, which he spoke about that night. We have the power to act, not to be acted upon. I thought that was a pretty cool thing to witness).

And tomorrow, as usual, I'll have another chance to dress up and attend something very special. It happens each week, and I couldn't be happier about it. I get to attend church and partake of the Sacrament, which is what all of this is all about.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Three Strikes, I'm Out

I'm pretty sure this is the third time I've been sick in the last four months. That is WAY TOO MANY times for me. I used to only rarely get sick, so this winter has been out of control. I found this image to depict how I really feel about it (Mom, I know you have a sense of humor).For real. I was talking to a cab driver the other day and he said the blizzard that happened over Christmas break was the worst he'd seen in 15 years!!! 15!!! That's insane. Well, my sickness I blame on being in and out of cold weather mostly, the nasty cold wind last weekend, and maybe I don't always get enough rest or adequate nutrition. I'm always busy with either my internship (i.e. as of late, visiting my clients at hospitals a day or two after they've given birth and to discharge their newborns from the hospital), and school (evening classes make for really long days), and church-related outings (church itself, an awesome institute class), and social outings (birthday parties, etc.). Needless to say, I'm very much looking forward to graduating in three months!!!! That's it! THREE months! It's hardly believable.

I have a vacation planned post graduation/pre moving back to Las Vegas. I'm going to spend a week on the beach in North Carolina with a bunch of Mormon singles. It's the famous, annual, long-time running "Duck Beach" vacation. I heard about it last summer, as it was the talk of the town for a bit. I didn't ever think I'd go. I had high hopes for my celebratory graduation trip--two weeks spent exploring Europe or a 12-day Mediterranean cruise. Yeah. High hopes. But when I thought about it, those trips would be a bit pricey and may take more effort than I'd like. This beach trip is just what I need. It's inexpensive, relaxing, someone else is organizing it, and there's a built-in social aspect to it all. And besides, here's the house I'll be staying in and it's surroundings:Yeah, I think I made a wonderful choice. Now if May 27th would just get here, already! I'm waiting impatiently.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A Tragedy

I'm being reminded lately of how precious time is. Last night I found out my niece's adorable little dog, Todd, drowned and died yesterday. A tragic event that no one could've predicted. He was just a pup, only two years old. My heart aches for my niece and the rest of the family. And I LOVED that adorable little thing.
I spoke to my niece on the phone after I found out, and she pointed out how it's kinda crazy how attached you can get to an animal. But it makes sense, too. He will be greatly missed!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Heat is On!

These warm days must be just teasers, but it is too warm outside today for my big puffy sleeping bag coat!
The birds are out AND are even singing! You know it's a beautiful day when the birds are singing. It's fact. And the forecast for the tomorrow is a miracle.
I was very afraid of February and she was nasty in the beginning. But I think now she's trying to make up for her behavior. Bring on March, please! And make it beautiful.

The End is Near

Okay, I admit it. All I can think about lately is the end of student life as I know it and everything that will follow. There are a lot of big changes coming up in my life; turning one year older and what that means to my religious culture-based social life, obtaining a master's degree, celebration of my accomplishment via vacation, moving back to Las Vegas, beginning my career. All in that order. I'd say those are some huge changes, no? HUGE. Sure, I'm nervous, a bit anxious, but also excited. I have so much to look forward to.
I saw this advertisement on the subway yesterday. It's funny how the company used that quote to encourage change or to state the change is a good thing, and it is. But I actually read it as, maybe I need to stop changing (i.e. my environment) after this New York chapter in my life. I've been thinking that way ever since I got here, when before, I always was always thinking, "Where should I move to next?! What's the next adventure?!". So, the fact that I've pretty much been homesick (in varying degrees) throughout my entire time here, I am confident in my choice to move back home. And after last night, it's official. June 2nd, baby!! Mark your calendars!!!:)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

All You Need is Love

Well, I'm a few days late, but I had a great Valentine's day. I worked at my internship by day and went to a singles Mormon party by night. I wore red tights and a gray skirt with a pink patterned sweater. I warned my roommates, I was going to be obnoxiously Valentines-y with my outfit. It was cute and I got a few compliments. It was a fun party and I saw some old faces and new and some in between. I handed out these adorable Valentine's cards to a handful of friends and the reactions were priceless. Each person was so flattered and grateful for their hand-delivered, old skool-style valentine. The cards were space-themed with little old-fashioned cartoon kids on them, with sayings like, "I don't like space between us" or

"You're out of this world! Be mine!". They were a hit and I'm glad I could make a few people feel special.:)

Friday, February 11, 2011

Oldies But Goodies

I snagged more old photos while I was home last week and wanted to share them. My parents are gorgeous, no?! I'm just sayin'.
And then...the best thing that ever happened to them happened...ME!!!! :)It's the truth. Just like it's true that I'm my grandpa's favorite granddaughter. :)
Speaking of grandpa, I miss him a whole lot. I'm kind of having a hard time (no surprise, there). However, I am fortunate to have received some very special keepsakes of my grandparents'. While most of the keepsakes are being stored at my parents' house for now, I did bring a few items with me.

First, my grandpa's travel bag. I love it! It's exactly what I'd pick out for myself:
Second, access to an original classic:
This is FOR REAL. An original Simon Says game from the 1980s! And it's in mint condition! Amazing.

And third, a special little reminder of my grandpa's choice for a best friend for as long as I knew him:
The adorable, fluffy and white bichon dogs I loved so much while growing up (namely, Angie, Tiger, and Max).

There's much more dear to my heart waiting for me in a box back home (thank you, mama). I look forward to getting to enjoy them all real soon.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

That's MY grandpa!

This was July 2009. I think it was my mom who loved the beat of this song (she obviously didn't listen to the lyrics. i love you mama!) and put it on for the kids to dance. Well, more than just the kids danced! Meredith, as usual, was dancin' it up and my grandpa joined her! I'm so glad I caught this on video. I'll cherish it forever!!!

My Family Tree

It was good to be with my family last weekend. I'm grateful I live in a day and age where a massive ton of metal with wings can transport me safely across 2000 miles of land so that I can be there to "mourn with those that mourn, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort". I had the opportunity to visit my grandparents' house a few more times and reminisce my lifetime spent there--slumber parties with my cousins, annual family Christmas parties with pinatas and gift exchanges, fluffy white dogs to pet, stories told of war and faith, an endless supply of pistachios, and lots and lots of unconditional love and attention. I tell you what, I've had it real good. I've been blessed with an amazing family.

I had fun exploring lots of old photographs my grandparents had on their wall all these years.
These are my great great grandparents, Otto and Louisa on their wedding day, November 17, 1885:

And this is their son, my great grandpa Richard and my great grandma Gladys, on their wedding day, July 2, 1919:

They had my ever so handsome grandpa and below is him and my sweet grandma on their wedding day, April 14, 1946:

Last, but not least, are my gorgeous parents, in their engagement photo in 1968:

It's pretty neat to see my ancestry lined up in wedding photos. I'd say I come from a pretty fantastic line.