Hey all! I've been such a slacker, and I have SOOO much to talk about. We'll start with last weekend. Mark and I met up with his dad in Moab for Thanksgiving. We had so much fun! We did a ton of hiking around Arches National Park, and Mark did a lot of climbing. We almost made it to all the trails, but we were so pooped by the end we decided it wasn't worth it. Mark and I also biked Slick Rock Trail. It was probably one of the hardest things I've done physically, but also so amazing! There were some times that I didn't think I could make it. I thought I'd have to have someone come fly me out. But, we both did it! Here's a few pictures to go along, and a video too.
And onto the biking pictures...
And, a video. We had lots of videos, but they accidentally got deleted. My bad.
Howdy! For all of you who don't know yet (which I'm assuming is most of all 8 of you), I've added a link to the right of this post called Our Personal Progress. A friend and I decided to do personal progress from the young women's program in the LDS church, and we're blogging our experiences. If you'd like to read an uplifting thing every now and then, feel free to pop over there! Also, if you're interested in also doing personal progress, you can find the program requirements at personalprogress.lds.org. Hopefully it will be an uplifting experience for all! Also, if you'd like to be an author on that blog, let me know and I'd love to have you there :)
I've come to have a lot on my plate in the last little bit.
First off, I finally got a calling in my LDS ward! I'll be working with the young women as a secretary in the presidency. I'm super excited about it! I'll be in charge of the personal progress program, which I plan on doing along with the girls. It will be so good for me. SO exciting!
Next, I've been on weight watchers for a few weeks. My weight and height had put me technically overweight. I'm not saying that I think I'm fat, but I could definitely stand to lose a few pounds. So far, it's been great! I've lost over 5 pounds, and recently bought a bunch of size MEDIUM shirts! I'm so happy about that.
Also, I'm starting to get into essential oils to help with ailments. For example, I'm using one called slim and sassy (a mix of a bunch of metabolism boosting oils) to aid me in my weight loss quest. This week Mark and I went to the dentist and each of us have cavities. We're going to use essential oils to make them heal and recover. God has provided all of the things we need, and the oils I use are the purest forms of those things. So, I'll keep you posted on how we do with those.
I've also been keeping up on the biking goal I set when we moved here. This morning I biked 25 miles! Hopefully someday soon I can have a real bicycle. I'll keep you posted on that too. Thanks for checking in on me!
My heart aches right now. I wish I could be close to my family, so I could be with them through this trying time. I've mentioned before my cousin, Jake, who was fighting cancer. His story is here. He passed away about an hour ago.
Thank you to all of his neighbors and friends who were there for him and his family during these past months. There are no words to express how grateful I am for you taking care of my aunt while she struggled through watching her child die. She still needs you. They all do. I wish I could be there for them, but I'll have to rely on you.
I suppose it's time I blogged again. So much for the 3 posts a week goal...
Last week Mark's mom, Kathy, came to visit. She stayed for a full week, and for 4 days of that Mark was out of town. Lucky me!! We had a fabulous time together. Some of the things we did:
Rode the tram and took a short hike on top of the Sandia "mountains" (<- that has "" because I'm from Utah)
Santa Fe - museum, dinner, shopping
Cooked and ate delicious food
Read fun books
Explored Petroglyph National Monument
Went to the temple
We may or may not have done other things, too. But we had so much fun that I've forgotten the small details of what we were doing to have fun :)
Things have been pretty quiet around here since she left. One big fun fact is that we've borrowed a bicycle for me to ride around town for my workouts. I went 14 miles today! The bike only has one speed (it's kind of run down, and used to be a 24 speed mountain bike), so it takes a while to get anywhere. The speed it's on is good for going uphill. However, it's hard to work up speed on a nearly flat surface. Downhill is obviously fine.
One other fun fact is I may have a job by the end of the year! I'm going to the same event that got Mark hired at Sandia (the Science and Engineering Expo) at the end of October. Until then, I'll stay content with the relaxing and peaceful life I live.
Mark and I had our first ever Labor Day weekend in Albuquerque. My parents were able to come visit for the weekend - and I think they enjoyed the motorcycle ride down. They arrived on Friday, and we went to lunch at Fuddruckers (soooo tasty!). On the way back home we went shopping, and by the time we got back it was time for dinner. We went out with my mom's cousins, which was super fun, to a New Mexican place where we all got to try New Mexican for the first time.
Saturday was a way fun day, and the one that we actually got pictures. We went on the longest tram in the world, to the top of the Sandia mountains. At the top we spent a few hours hiking and exploring around. It was probably the best view of the city! Here's a bunch of pictures from that.
This one looks like I'm climbing, but I'm really laying on some funky rocks :)
After the tram and hiking we went to the temple, where Mom and I were so hot that we almost passed out doing sealings. Because of that, we spent the rest of the night at home looking at pictures and hanging at the pool.
They left this morning to start their motorcycle trek back home. It was SO great to have them here, and I look forward to many more fun visits in the future!
Due to a happy event (yay for winning blog giveaways!) I have recently come upon a large stack of Hallmark cards. It's Hallmark's current goal to bring card giving back into society. It has since been overlooked by the communication abilities of facebook (birthday reminders) and twitter (little feel-good notes). But, as they say, one always loves receiving a piece of mail that isn't a bill or junk. Since winning a giveaway on Casey's blog, I was challenged to send out at least 7 cards to people I care about. I sat and wrote them one night while Mark was away on business. I mailed them the next day, full of love and inside jokes. I sent a couple to some good friends. I sent a couple to my parents, and as an extra surprise mailed it to their workplaces rather than their home (I'm a clever gal). I sent one to my Grandmama, whose birthday was coming up. And then I waited.
I knew the cards had started arriving when I got a text from an unsuspecting friend. She commented on some of my notes, and said she really needed the card that day. I smiled, of course, and told her I love her. She has been one of my best friends these 15 years or more that I have been reasonably socially acceptable. Her card went something like this: "Are people giving you that 'things get better with time' B.S.?" ... on the inside... "It's shopping. Things get better with shopping."
Next came the text from my dearest mother. "I've figured out your evil plan!" she says. Ha! I took her by surprise! That was my biggest hope :) Now, to see how Papa takes it... I'm pretty sure Mom hasn't suspected Papa to get one at his work as well.
A text and a phone call from two more of my friends. Can I just say how much I love hearing from them? It's hard living so far away from everyone, because they get to thinking that I don't care anymore about their day to day lives. But I do!! I love hearing about all the small little things that are happening with them.
There's still more people I hope to hear from because of this adventure, but I can't wait to post any longer. I'll bet the suspense has just been killing you :)
Also, even if you maybe didn't get a card, it's ok to text or call me at anytime. I'm truly 100% available for a "hello"!
My brilliant plan is beginning to unfold. Even my mother (Hi, Mom!) didn't know of this plan in all of it's exactness and genius. And I have Casey to thank. I am currently compiling a blog post to detail the awesomeness of my amazing intellect. Stay tuned...
Who was the cause of this atrocious deed? An angry acquaintance? A jealous boyfriend? Find out the story behind the sadness on the next episode of CSI: Birdland. Wednesdays at 8 p.m. CST on BVN (Bird View Network).
I know, I know. Probably the last thing you want is to log on and read about the weird dreams I've been having. BUT, when there's not much else going on, these dreams become the excitement in my reality. So, here goes.
Mark goes out of town on a business trip, and I fall for Kramer... from Seinfeld. This guy:
I woke up feeling guilty and really sad. Wouldn't you feel sad if you gave up my handsome fella for this guy?
Ok, now it's a war zone. Pretty much everybody in the world hates each other and we're in the middle of WWIII. Nuclear bombs are going off everywhere around me. Luckily, I can run really fast, and they're far enough away that they don't kill me, only knock me down. Then I see one headed right for me. I thought I could outrun it. I run so fast. But not far enough. Suddenly I'm a spirit, and I'm trying to convince some live girl to let me take over her body so I can talk to Mark. Then I woke up.
I helped some lady come up with the idea to put on a show - Hairspray (the musical). Except that this rendition of hairspray wasn't anything like the Broadway version. I think we only called it that so that people would come see it. It was very poorly done, and our actors were horrible. I think I snuck in and said a line somewhere in the middle of the play. My line was supposed to be funny (it was hilarious to me) but none of the audience laughed. I felt dumb and got off the stage. If I remember right, the play was about politics, and was trying to make a point/send a message. Funny thing is that in real life, I don't care much for politics and definitely wouldn't want to embarrass myself on stage just to make a point.
So, there you have it. This week's dreams in a nutshell. I hope you've been entertained! :)
Today we went to stake conference in our new stake. The messages were great, but I just have to tell you about the kids sitting in front of us.
One of the little girls was drawing on a piece of paper. Turns out she was drawing the stone tablets with the 10 commandments. How cute is that?! Then, she turned the paper over and started writing... F A... "Mom, I'm trying to spell 'faith'. What comes next?" I T H. Under that, she wrote GOD LOVES ME. Under that it was I BLE... "Mom, how do you spell 'believe'?" ...I BELIEVE IN GOD. Finally, she wrote I LOVE GOD. This mother must be doing something right with her children. Also, I should mention that this little girl was drawing and writing with no prompting from anyone else - this was all her.
Her brother was also pretty cool. He first drew a picture of Jesus. Then the Albuquerque temple. Then Angel Moroni. Seriously? What did this mother do to teach her children to do these things for fun?!
Amazing. I hope my kids are awesome like that.
P.S. For anyone reading this who may not be LDS (aka Mormon): stake conference is a meeting when several wards (bodies of saints) get together and have church meetings. More info at www.lds.org :)
I just got off the phone with my sister. It's been a while since we had a good, long talk about whatever. I love talking with her, because we always end up talking about members of our family and how much we love them. Specifically, we were talking about cousins who we helped raise. There's a special place in my heart for my younger cousins who look up to me. Just a few weeks ago, Mark and I stopped by my family reunion on the way to move to Albuquerque. When we got there, a couple of my cousins ambushed me (the sweet little things). They had felt bad that I couldn't stay and participate in the crafts, so they made some crafts for me. My sister was telling me about when they decided to make them. They heard I would be stopping by, and asked my sister what my favorite colors were so they could make something that I would love. What angels!!! I am just overcome with feelings of love and gratitude for the TRULY AMAZING family I was born into. I have THE BEST parents and siblings in the world. I have the MOST AWESOME aunts and uncles that anyone could ever have, and I was blessed with a lot of them! I have so many special cousins, both older and younger than me. And my in-laws are just as amazing! I wish you all had been born into my family so you could know what it is to be truly blessed.
I want to keep rambling on about how much I love my family, but I'm afraid that my language is not eloquent enough to express what I'm feeling, so I would just bore you all to death.
Thank you, Sister, for reminding me of how amazing our family is!
Well, my friends, my mom finally talked me into it. I always said that, "when I get to Albuquerque I'll blog more". I've made myself a liar so far, and my mother is trying to correct my evil ways. :)
Mark is enjoying his job so far. He doesn't have his security clearance yet (and probably won't for a couple more months) which means he can't really work on what he wants to work on. He's doing training and stuff, though, so that keeps him busy. By the end of this month, he will have taken 3 trips for conferences and classes. He's been to Austin and Denver, and has yet to go to Chicago.
I still don't have a job (I wish I did, but finding a job as a statistician isn't as easy as it sounds), which means that I am a stay at home wife, with no children to take care of. How do I keep busy, you ask? Well, for starters, I made some friends in our church ward who are also stay at home wives with no children. We get together every couple of days (including today, in about 5 minutes!) and figure out ways to entertain ourselves. Once a week there's a playgroup at the park for the mom's with kids, and we go crash the party. When I'm by myself, I read, practice instruments, watch tv, play computer games, play video games, go grocery shopping, clean the (small) apartment, and shop online for big ticket items that we can't yet afford. Yes, I am living the dream. I sometimes complain about how bored I get, but that's my own fault. As you can see, there's plenty to do.
Currently I am trying to learn tennis. Mark was on the tennis team in high school, so he's really good. He doesn't think it's fun to play with me (yet) because I'm really not very good. So, if you come to visit, feel free to challenge me to a tennis match! By the time you get here, I might be able to return a serve :)
Right now I'm going to set a goal: I'm going to blog AT LEAST three times a week. That means that ya'll will have to check back more and more often. It may encourage me if you left a comment so that I know you're reading.
Love and miss you, UTAH!!! (and all the people in it and wherever else you are)
As most of you know, Mark and I are in the process of moving to Albuquerque. We're very excited about this move, but very sad to be leaving our Logan home. We loved it in Logan and I wish we could live there forever. But as with all amazing small towns, there aren't the job opportunities we were wanting. So here we are, starting a new chapter in our lives. We're calling this the "Real Life" chapter. When I say "we", I really mean me because, let's face it, Mark doesn't help me write this blog, and he doesn't read it most of the time either. :)
For those of you who don't know much about Albuquerque, I'll lay down some facts for you. First off, it's in New Mexico, not Arizona. (I've had so many people say "Have fun in Arizona" or "Don't eat at this restaurant in Arizona". Too funny.) Secondly, it's at a high elevation in the desert, so it's not too hot and not too cold. The winter averages in the 40-50's and the summer averages in the 80-90's. They also say they have four seasons, and occasionally get snow. Third, each year Albuquerque hosts the largest balloon festival in the world. Hundreds of hot air balloons are launched into the sky throughout the festival, and I hear it's just lovely.
Now, I've never been to Albuquerque, or New Mexico for that matter, and I have no idea what it's really like. Mark says it's windy and hot. Several people I've talked to LOVE it there. Hopefully I will love it there as well. Once we get all settled in, I'll try to remember to post pictures of our apartment (which has tennis courts and swimming pools - yay!!) and other things that might be interesting. Also coming soon: The Europe Trip. Watch out, that one will be a long one. There's a total of 8 weeks of stuff to talk about there, and LOTS of pictures. After these messages, we'll be right back.
It seems there comes a time in life where it's time to move on. We're approaching that time. Our life together has been spent going to school. In the 4+ years we've been together, neither of us have worked a full time job, or even thought about it. Now we are both interviewing at various companies and trying to start a new life. In 3 weeks, we'll both be done with school, Mark with 2 Master's and 1 Bachelor's degree, and me with a Master's and a Bachelor's degree. It's crazy to think about, but a new life begins in less than a month. Mark is currently interviewing with a company in New Mexico. I am currently interviewing with a company in California, and a University in Wisconsin. We're really hoping we can find jobs in the same city, but so far we're not even in the same states. Of course, we won't live apart from each other, but it would be nice to start jobs at the same time. Crazy stuff.
*A big thanks to Kate Pease for taking this picture (and others used for graduation announcements), and to Cory for putting the announcements together.
An email I received from the Logan Institute (a church education facility):
We have two request for interrupters.
One is from the Logan School district. They need someone who speaks Mandarin Chinese. If you are interested please call Tami Clark at 755-2337 Ext. 2.
Second, we need someone to help the missionaries interrupt Marshallese for a family they are teaching. If you are interested please call Brother Curtis at 245-3278.
The Logan Institute
I've been out of the blogging scene for quite some time now because I spend so much time on the computer that when it comes time to write a blog post, I just want to shut down the whole computer. But, it's 9:30 in the morning, and I'm still fresh for the day. So here's my update.
I graduated last semester with my masters in statistics. I defended my thesis (which, for me, wasn't actually a thesis - it was a project - but it's easier to just call it a thesis) just after Thanksgiving. The topic was characterizing influenza movement through the U.S. Pretty cool stuff, but I'm glad to be done with it. If you really are interested, there's a copy of my report in the USU library :)
The math department at USU is allowing me to teach classes for them this semester. I'm currently teaching two sections of math 1010 (algebra), and two sections of stat 1040 recitations. I love it, most of the time. I love getting to know my students and watching them progress in their knowledge and understanding of mathematics. Most of them are a joy to be around. Since I'm teaching so much, a lot of my life consists of grading, which happens to be one of my least favorite things. In order to cope, I listen to movies on my computer while I grade. Yesterday was Corpse Bride - it has some awesome music.
I'm still playing bass with the Cache Symphony Orchestra, and I usually love going. The practices are once a week, on Wednesdays, which is a day that I teach for quite a long time. Wednesdays have become very long and tedious, but I don't teach at all on Thursday, so it works out.
Speaking of working out, I tried the P90X program last year, and wimped out. I got bored always exercising by myself at home, and it was hard to stay motivated. In the second half, I would either sleep through the time I was supposed to work out, or fall asleep in the middle of the workout when I sat down to take a break. So this semester, I decided to do the P90X diet hardcore, and for my workouts do the Fun Fit Forever program on campus. So far, I am loving it. I hope to lose 20-30 lbs before summertime when....
Mark and I are going to Europe! He decided that for his last semester (which happens to be in the summer) he'd do study abroad in Switzerland. He'll be gone for the month of June. The awesomeness happens between May 15 and June 4 when we will be touring Europe together and with some friends. I am so excited to eat the chocolate, fresh fruit, and gelato that I experienced 6 years ago with the choir group I went with before. Also, I'm really hoping to see Phantom in the London theatre (which I was supposed to see before, but didn't... blasted terrorists).