Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Festival of Trees

On Monday, my sisters and I participated in Festival of Trees by decorating a tree in honor of my Mom. The planning started about 4 months ago when we decided on a music themed tree. We had a lot of fun working on the tree, and it was nice to spend the day thinking about Mom while we decorated. She would have loved this tree!! It was so elegant, classy, and beautiful.It was Margaret's birthday on Monday as well, so I made her red velvet Sprinkles cupcakes. We took a little break to eat them, and had nice red teeth and lips after that. Happy Birthday Margaret!! You are such an amazing sister, and I'm so grateful for you. I don't know what I would do without you - you are my stand-in Mom, my friend, and someone I look up to in every way. Thank you for all you have done, and continue to do for me. You're the best!!The tree turned out really great!! The pictures really don't do it justice, so if you're in the area during Festival of Trees you should check it out.The bidding on the trees began last night, and we went as a family so we could show our spouses why we've been so busy lately. Even though Steve came and helped us set the tree up (and I'm not sure what we would have done without him), he didn't get to see the final product. He was quite shocked that the mess of boxes and bags we arrived with turned into the tree he saw last night. Our tree sold for quite a lot actually, and one of the volunteers told us that it was one of the top 5 trees this year. That volunteer had actually been specially assigned to our tree to watch it and make sure it sold. Sure enough! It was pretty exciting to see people walk by it and comment on how much they loved it or how amazing it was. I can't wait to do another one!! It was so fun to be with all of my sisters through the whole planning process, and to know that the people who bought the tree will have a piece of my Mom with them through the holidays.Thanks for taking such great pictures Peter and Mary! You're camera is the bomb-diggity!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Go Cougs!

I know it's old news, but BYU beat Utah on Saturday. Steve and I were lucky enough to go, and had great seats too! The halftime band/flag girl deal was fairly hilarious. I don't know why, but I find marching bands to be so funny!! The hats, the outfits, the shoes, the flag girls that don't know how to dance and usually end up dropping their flag and messing up. I just can't get enough of it! But this halftime was extra special since the BYU and Utah marching bands seemed to get along long enough to practice for the game.Even though Steve can't stand Provo and goes to the U, he is a huge BYU fan. I think he has been his whole life! His grandma and parents talk about his obsession as a child, so I know it's not just because he married a BYU student and fan.My brothers-in-law, Dave and Chris, came as well to cheer on their Utes. I think they had fun, except for being cold. Good thing Steve was there to run back to the car at halftime to get more gear so they didn't freeze themselves out. They were good sports - even though their team definitely took a hit.I had to take a picture of the sea of people that stormed the field when BYU won, even though the announcers kept asking them not to! It was pretty cool to watch from afar. Go Cougs!!!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Thanksgiving Haps

Well, the bad news is that I'm pretty sure I was the only one departing into the great big world today to go to work (at least in my neighborhood). But, the good news is that we had a really great Thanksgiving day yesterday. The usual - too much good food, lots of time with family, and the bustle of Christmas beginning. We had quite the marathon day yesterday. We started out by going to the Nielsen's for our first "dinner" around 2pm. Then, straight from there we headed to the Grand America buffet for the Larson family feast. Not everybody was able to make it because it was sort of an off year, but we had fun with those that could come. And wow! Let's just say there was way too much food. I had trouble finishing one plate, which is saying something for me. But, I'm pretty sure Steve brushed off 7 plates of food yesterday - very impressive.Then from there we headed up to my Dad's house for some Wii bowling. I bowled while Steve played "daycare" with the kiddos (Abigail, Owen, and Cecilia). They colored and made paper airplanes...which didn't really fly very well, but it was the thought that counts, right? Then, since Steve and I are somewhat crazy, we went up to the outlet stores in Park City to do some 12:01am shopping. Steve was itching for some things at the Nike store, and I had a Gap/Banana Republic craving. We ended up getting some seriously good deals - 7 shirts for $40 - not bad. However, I still don't know if it was worth being pushed over, trampled upon, and tired. People get really into these door-busters. I've honestly never been to one in my life so I didn't really know what to expect. I don't know if it's because people are cranky at midnight, are so set on getting their cherished article of clothing, or just plain old like to push people around. It was a little different, and I probably would never do it again, but at least I got all of Steve's Christmas shopping done in less than an hour. So, now onto Christmas. Full of Mannheim Steamroller, cheese balls, and traffic near every shopping center. I really do love this time of year! I always seem to miss it when it's gone.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving! I think this is tied for first as one of my favorite holidays. I love Christmas, but Thanksgiving is so nice because it's all about being grateful. No need for presents, no shopping, just being with family and the ones you love. Since it is Thanksgiving I thought it would be fun to share some things I'm thankful for. And since Thanksgiving is on the 22nd, twenty-two things sounds nice. Here it goes (in no particular order):
1) Steve - That's probably all I need to say, and most who frequent my blog know how great he is. But, really he is the best husband a girl could ask for. All you other ladies out there really missed out. He is my best friend. We have so much fun together, and he loves me unconditionally.
2) My Heavenly Father - I'm thankful that I am a daughter of God, and that he loves me. And isn't it cool that we get to talk to him anytime we want? Pretty great.
3) The gospel - I honestly don't know how people live without it. There is so much comfort and knowledge that comes with learning the gospel. It has truly molded me into the person I am.
4) My Mom - Need I say more? She's amazing. I hope that one day I can be as great as she is. I am so lucky that I got THE best Mom for 22 years. She is the greatest example to me everyday. Most days I find myself thinking "what would my Mom say or do?" She taught us all so well!
5) My sisters - They give me so much strength and love. I don't know where I would be without them. They are some of the few people (besides Steve probably) that really get me. I love that we can laugh so hard together that we cry, and talk so openly with each other.
6) My brothers - It is so nice to know that I have great brothers who have made some pretty great decisions. They're awesome.
7) Nieces & Nephews - They are the cutest kids around. When I think about any one of my nieces or nephews I smile. They bring so much joy and happiness to our family, and I'm lucky I have them to teach me how to deal with kids. Being the youngest in the family you don't know how to change a diaper or do anything pertaining to kids...good thing I have them. My children will thank them I'm sure.
8) School - I never thought I would be thankful for school, but now I am. I feel so lucky that I was able to accomplish all that I did in school. Not just the academic lessons, but lifes lessons that come with going to school.
9) Work - Although I don't absolutely love my job right now, I'm grateful that I have one. There are so many people out there who don't.
10) Our house - It is one lucky girl who gets married to a man who wants nothing more than to buy a house. Even though it isn't a huge place, I love it! It is so nice to have a place to call "ours".
11) Food - I love food. I love to eat food. Chocolate, marshmallows, my Mom's famous roast beef, mashed potatoes, M&M's, name it and I'm pretty sure I'll like it. Maybe that's why I love Thanksgiving so much!
12) Friends - I have some wonderful friends who make really great decisions. Even though we had some wild times in high school, we all turned out pretty okay. I am lucky to have those friends to this day who love me.
13) The rain - I love the rain. I know some may think I'm crazy, but I love it!
14) Blankets - I also love blankets. Any store I walk into I check out their blankets to see if they are comfy. Needless to say, we have about 20 at our house. Technically I don't need about 18 of those, but oh well.
15) Technology - Obviously I love technology (Napoleon Dynamite song come to mind?), since I have a blog. It's great to be able to find out pretty much anything on the internet, talk to people pretty much anywhere in the world on the phone, and do math without thinking.:)
16) Books - I'm really pretty into reading lately. I like to escape my life sometimes, or learn something new.
17) Music - Obsessed. Most memories in my life include a song to go along with it. Perhaps a lifetime soundtrack is in the mix (Pedro's brilliant idea).
18) Cars - We started our marriage out with one car, and decided to buy our second after a year and a half. Now I really appreciate the convenience of having a car.
19) Primary - Serving in the primary for two years, and then going back to Relief Society, really showed me how much I loved it. And it's true, everything I needed to know about the gospel pretty much came from primary.
20) Relief Society - Yes it's quirky, and some of things that go on are hilarious (i.e. good news minute, sharing of recipes, enrichment ideas, sign-up sheets for everything under the sun), but I love it. Wish me luck on being a new Relief Society teacher. Yikes!
21) Examples - There are so many great examples that I am surrounded with everyday!
22) Thanksgiving - Even though I should really sit and think about all the things I'm grateful for more often, it's nice to have a holiday to remind me. Have a great Thanksgiving!!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Best Husband Award

This morning I turned the car on to this...Steve officially wins the "Best Husband of the Year Award." Lately I have been a little obsessed with Alicia Keys - which is unusual for me to like her music - but Steve decided that I needed a little pick-me-up as of late, so he splurged on the CD. He always manages to do the sweetest things for me just when I need them. When we were dating, I had a huge test one morning for school and he somehow managed to get a note put on my steering wheel of my car with flowers on the passenger seat (with my Mom's help of course). He is good at surprises, which is good for me since I tend to ruin surprises for people all the time. I love trying to figure them out, catch them doing it, or tell everybody the surprise I have cookin' up. The CD is great by the way! It's one of those you can listen to from start to finish without getting annoyed. Thanks Steve!! I love the CD, and I love you!

Friday, November 9, 2007

One Year

In some ways I cannot believe it has already been a year since my Mom passed away, but in other ways it feels like forever. Tomorrow marks the one year anniversary of my Mother's death. With this day comes many emotions. Extreme sadness, the vivid fear, exhaustion, and anxiety from that day, relief that she did not have to suffer long. The day she was diagnosed I left work early to take "my turn" in sitting with her at LDS hospital. She had been in and out of tests for about a day, and we all felt she should have somebody up there with her. As I pulled into the parking garage of the hospital I spotted my brother, Adam, walking to his car sobbing and talking to somebody on the phone. I figured that he was just feeling overwhelmed by Mom being in the hospital, and that was that. He walked me up to Mom's room and as I opened the door a great sense of peace rushed over me. She wasn't in the room anymore, and my Dad was sitting in the dark crying. All he could utter was "it's real bad, really bad." Even with those words, I still felt peaceful. As he told me the diagnosis I literally felt like my life was a nightmare. I could not figure out how she could possibly have cancer. Things like this don't happen to my family. However, as I was being told I had this feeling that it was right, and that this truly was supposed to happen. Later that day my Mom told our family that she felt very peaceful when the doctors broke the news to her and Adam. I relied on that testimony she bore when she told each of her kids and their spouses as the months progressed.In the October General Conference this year Steven E. Snow said, "cancer is a disease of love." I could not agree more with his statement. In the 75 days of my Mother's life after her diagnosis, we shared more laughs and cries together than ever before. We talked more about the "important" things in life than ever before. I was able to serve her in ways I never thought I would. The importance of family, the gospel, and motherhood became very clear to me.One year ago today, the day before her passing, I was able to sit with her at the hospital almost all day. As I sat studying for a mid-term, I had some very spiritual experiences and discussions with my Mom. Among them was my confirmation that my Mother was going to pass away soon. I knew it. It scared me so much, and I sat in her room sobbing as she slept. But, as I sat there longer I knew that she was leaving me with so much to lean on. Amazing sisters that would do anything and everything for me, strong brothers that will be there for me whenever I need them, and a supportive husband that loves the Lord, me, and my Mother. I am blessed in so many ways, and I owe it all to her.There were so many miracles in the last few months of her life that have strengthened my testimony. Among them was our family trip to Hawaii just days before her diagnosis. All of my siblings, their spouses, and my parents took a week-long vacation spending almost every minute together. When I think back on it, if things had been timed any other way we wouldn't have been able to take that trip. I think it may have been one of the happiest times of my Mom's life. She looked so happy, content, and proud on that trip. I am so grateful that I was able to experience that with her. What a great memory I have for the rest of my life.My Mom will always be an amazing example to me of dignity, grace, class, intelligence, and wisdom. I am so lucky that I was able to spend 21 years of my life in the presence of an amazing Mother. Although it is not long, not many people are even that lucky! I miss her so much. Sometimes I still wake up and wish so badly that it was all a dream. However, I know that she was supposed to move on to her next stage of eternal progression. I know in my heart that it was her time to go. I am so grateful that I get to feel her every once in awhile. It helps remind me how close she really is, and that is such a comfort to me. Mom, thank you for all the lessons you taught me and continue to teach me. I miss you more than I thought possible. I know we will be together again and I look forward to the day when I can fall in your arms for another hug and tell you all about it! I love you Mom!!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Good Friends, Good Times

During the past few months I've realized how important friendship is. I am lucky enough to have some great girlfriends in addition to great sisters that will always be my friends! This picture was taken at my wedding, and we failed to get a picture last night (we'll have to do a better job of that next time). Paige, Alisa (aka Post), and I got together last night to catch up over some yummy food at Jasmine. Post just got home from her mission in Los Angeles, and Paige just got married about a month ago, so we had a lot of catching up to do. It was just like old times. You know how there are just friends that you can pick right back up where you left off? It is like that with these girls. Even though we've all grown up a little and made some big jumps in life it's like we are still 17 and in high school again. So much fun! I really feel lucky to have them in my life and to be there for them too. I feel honored to be their friend. They are such great girls that I look up to in so many ways, and continue to learn from. Some of my greatest memories of life have them in it. I didn't really become friends with them until the last couple years of high school, but it feels like we've been friends forever. I feel like Heavenly Father knew I would need them in my life for the rough times ahead and I am grateful to have them. Thanks for such a great time girls! I can't wait to do it again.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Go Jazz Go

The Jazz definitely didn't know that Steve was at their season opener last night, because if they had known they would have won. Steve is a SERIOUS Utah Jazz fan! He's got the old school Utah Jazz beanie, the alarm clock, the blanket, the teddy bear, the stickers and posters. You name it and Steve's got it. When we first got married and I saw (and heard) his Utah Jazz alarm clock I was a little worried (not really, but I discovered he was a fanatic). And he's not a fair-weather fan either. Win or lose he absolutely loves watching them play. So, last nights game was very exciting for Steve to go to. They played the Houston Rockets, and if you remember the end of last season the Rockets sort of had something to prove. Unfortunately they proved it a little more than the Jazz. But, it was still a fun game to go to. Steve also gets to wish he was playing and live vicariously through the players, since basketball is out of the question for him now. They even have a new frozen yogurt joint in the Energy Solutions arena called Red Mango. We tried it out and let me tell you it was yummy. If you get a chance you should definitely give it a try! Not only was it just exciting to be there for Steve, but you know what a new basketball season means...? New basketball shoes for Steve to check out and envy. So far he liked quite a few, so let's hope that list shortens or disappears. Let's also hope that last nights game isn't telling of the season to come. Go Jazz go!!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Parades & Pumpkins

Well, Halloween...was. My oh my. Why does it seem that if anything is ever going to go wrong, it goes wrong on a holiday. I'm pretty sure there is some rule written somewhere about that. Like, if there's going to be a family feud it has to happen on a holiday, just so we remember it? Not that that occurred necessarily, but you know what I mean. I won't go into the strange details of all of that, but I will share all the fun, exciting, and happy times we had this Halloween.First, I went to Matthew's school parade to help Margaret out with the kiddos (and because I wanted to leave work early). Matthew looked great! You can pick him out of the crowd from my previous post. He wasn't really into stopping for pictures, but it's all good.Then Steve and I went back to Margaret and Dave's house to eat dinner, and hang out. And Steve got to carve this...He did a pretty good job, eh? Eyebrows and everything! He'll be a great Dad to carve pumpkins with because he gets so into it. Nice work Steve!The kiddies went trick-or-treating after dinner. Don't they look so excited?!Will got to go too...sort of!Steve's pumpkin outside in all its glory. We loved the light inside the pumpkin because it changes colors. Thank heaven for QVC!:)We had a really great time at Margaret and Dave's house! It's always pretty exciting to go to a house that has a lot of kids trick-or-treating because it's so much more fun. Thanks you guys!! We really had a blast!