Sunday, January 23, 2011

Make new friends... But keep the old

I have had the privilege over the last few months to get together with some long-time dear friends. The latest visit inspired me to document some of the joys of friendship - because let's face it, where would we be without good friends?

This first picture is of Allyson and Jacque - two friends from AZ - and myself. I've known these girls since sixth grade (a very awkward time for anyone, but especially for me since I had just moved from across the country). There were three other girls in our group of close friends: Jessica, Kyle and Katie. Although we each had different strengths and personalities, we shared the same standards and values (a rare and fortunate circumstance to be in). This picture was taken just before we went our separate ways for college.

Some of my favorite memories with these girls are:
- high school dances. Yes, we were those girls who did over-the-top 'creative' asking out, hours of planning, clothing coordinating, menu selecting, etc. One time we rented an island (we were totally insane) for our dinner location prior to the dance. After we thought of the idea we wanted to check it out and see if it would work. We borrowed Kyles parent's fishing boat and sailed away. None of us knew what were were doing of course, and somewhere in the middle of the small lake the motor died leaving us stranded with nothing to row with. These were pre-cell phone days mind you. Hours later (at least it seemed like hours) we hit shore and agreed to fork over some cash to rent a real boat & driver for the actual date. It was hilarious... but not at the time!
- STASH. Somewhere along the way we created this little name for ourselves... had t-shirts made that we wore with our dirt-bags and even wrote songs about. The letters stood for something, but I can't recall what. ; )
- Girls camp. All I can say is Camp Lo Mia can't be beat. When I moved away from home and found out that girls in other parts of the country were camping in tents, sleeping on the ground, building fires and cooking their own meals for girls camp I was shocked. How did they get anyone to go? We had it good! We slept in cabins, enjoyed hot showers, and had our meals prepared for us (yummiest cinnamon rolls ever). We visited the craft cabin, the humanitarian cabin, learned basic guitar lessons, played 'big booty' for hours, sang songs, hiked in the beautiful white mountains, performed skits and had dance parties every night, went snipe hunting, told 'Mona' stories and most importantly bore testimonies in the 'sacred grove.' Putting on Camp Lo Mia was no small task for the leaders (I appreciate that now that I'm older) and it was something I looked forward to every year almost as a 'retreat.' I really hope I never get called as a YW camp director here in Utah because I would have a hard time sporting a good attitude about roughing it.
At the beginning of January I was spoiled again, this time with a get-together with my freshman college roommates; Terra, Jocelyn and Amy. It had been several years since we were all together and our visit flew by way too fast. None of us knew each other before college. We came from four different states, and four different lifestyles. We hit it off pretty much immediately though, and I still consider these gals some of my closest friends even twelve years later. Anyone who knows me well, knows what a stubborn, ornery person I can be at times. I consider it a success if I can make it through the day without offending someone. And college was no exception! So to still be tight with my college roommates after all these years says something about what saints they are.
Some of my favorite memories with them are:
- Snowboarding with Terra: Terra is from CA, and I'm from AZ. Needless to say, the climate at Ricks College was our arch nemesis. We decided to 'embrace' the bitter cold and ice that we despised so much and signed up for a snowboarding class. We were bussed up to Targhee once a week and hit the slopes with serious awkwardness. We laughed so hard we cried (or was it the other way around?). Terra was also the 'mom' of the apartment. She ironed our clothes (even if we didn't want her to), cooked well balanced meals and gave the most sound advice. She's still the first person I call when I'm in a pickle. Terra was in the RS presidency, a creative genious and a lifesaver when I sent away 'my missionary.' The most sensitive and understanding person around, I don't think I (or my frozen nostrils) would have lasted up at Ricks without her.

- Eating frosting straight from the tub with Amy: Amy, the other short roommate besides me, had a passion for reality TV even before it was mainstream. She'd sit on the couch with a tub of frosting and watch real-life surgeries without getting even a little grossed out. Amy was also the only roommate with a car, so we relied on her to take us grocery shopping once a week, and to Idaho Falls occasionally when we just HAD TO GET OUT of Rexburg. Amy was musical, thatrical, sweet, funny, genuine and slow paced; I could count on Amy for a laugh whenever I was down. The only thing about Amy that I didn't like was her Mickey Mouse alarm clock, which ticked so loudly you could hear it from the parking lot. It wasn't long before that clock mysteriously disappeared... hmmm.

- Physical Therapy from Jocelyn: The resident track star, Jos, kept us connected with good looking guys and sports injury remedies. One time I tore every ligament in my ankle, spraining it so badly I had to wear a walking cast and crutches for three months. Jos insisted I plunge my foot/ankle in a bucket of ice to help with the swelling. I have never been in so much pain in my life. The injury didn't even compare to her 'ice torture' but she held me down, sat on me, and made me suffer it. And... she was right; it worked! She did feel bad about the incident and later carted me around on her back when I got sick of the crutches. Jocelyn despised dresses (she even cried when we dolled her up for homecoming). Her diet consisted of raw hot dogs, Saltine crackers with Chiz's brand ranch, and mountain dew. She studied psycology, which was perfect for her because she was (is) such a good listener. Jos is always fun and down to earth, and has the most contageous laugh.
I've had so much fun documenting these memories, and hope all my friends - old and new - know that they're loved and appreciated. I've been so blessed to have the most amazing people in my life at just the right times. I hope I have been able to recirpocate even a little of the friendship to others that I receive from them.

Happy Birthday Clara

Clara turned FOUR on the 9th (I'm a little behind writing about it). We had a family celebration Sunday, some more celebrating on Wednesday (her 'real' birthday), and then had a little friend party at Monkey Island on Saturday to finish off a full week of fun! Here are some things we love about Clara: - She's always up for a dance party - And believe be, she can boogie! Her favorite dance song is Tiao Cruz's 'Dynamite' but she calls it 'Ae-Ohh' - She loves to sleep in - Chase is on the early to bed early to rise schedule (always has been), which is fine now that he's old enough to take care of himself at 5 am without assistance. But Clara enjoys staying up late and sleeping in 'till a more convenient hour. - She's a devoted hand washer - I'm not saying OCD (yet), but we have to do regular Aquaphor treatments to re-hydrate her hands due to all that scrubbing. At least she's clean! - She remembers every detail of her dreams vividly - and likes to share them with us each morning. We get the biggest kick out of them! - She loves her Sunbeams class and singing primary songs - She's lucky to have wonderful Sunbeams teachers. When she comes home from church we're always surprised at how much she remembers and can share with us from her lesson. She is often singing primary songs around the house during the week too. Right now she's into 'Follow the Prophet' - She usually runs errands with me without complaint - "I'm a shopper girl" she says as she grabs her purse. We might be in trouble with that one in the future. - She snuggles when she's tired - With all the energy she has balled up inside we rarely get cuddle time, but when she's tired it's a whole different story. - She loves Pedecures - One of our favorite mommy-daughter things to do together. I love to see the different color combinations of nail polish she comes up with. - She is great about giving compliments - Clara will often come into my bathroom when I'm getting ready and compliment my shoes or my skirt or my hair etc. She also likes to give positive comments on Chase's art projects or tell Brian that he's the fastest runner etc... - She is affectionate - At least twice a day (always out of the blue) she says to me "close your eyes and lean down because I have a surprise for you" and then she comes and gives me a kiss on my cheek and says 'I love you.' It's pretty much my favorite thing, and I hope she never stops doing it! - She loves dressing up - Clara likes to change her clothes frequently, and when friends are over it's always a dress-up party. Although it results in one crazy mess of a room, it's still fun. - She is a great eater - Besides pickles, there isn't much that Clara won't eat, and she's always up for trying new things! Yay! We love you Clara, and can't wait to share another wonderful year with you!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Chats with Clara

"Mom, I ate my cupcake all gone! Can I have desert?"

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Christmas in AZ

The first few days of our visit to AZ were sunny and warm. We went to the zoo, spent lots of time outside at the park, skate park, on walks, etc. Christmas day was also incredible! Thanks to Skype we were able to connect with all our far away family. We even met some long lost family members (second-third cousins?) for the first time! It was really fun for me to do the traditional Christmas activities that I've grown up with since as long as I can remember, and share them with my kids too. Unfortunately the good weather didn't last forever, and it got so cold it SNOWED on us (yes, in AZ)! We had taken the kids to Apache Junction to an old mining town - it was super fun - but hadn't expected the frigid temps and definitely not the snow. What a memory. Another highlight: the AZ science center. The trips lowlight: the kids got sick (seems to be an AZ tradition in our family) for most of the last week we were there. We replaced some of our original plans with games of battleship and guess-who, watching movies, taking naps and relaxing. I had planned on taking Brian on a two-day getaway to Sedona, but with the kids getting sick it ended up to be a shortened version. There was no shortage of fun though. We went on the 'Pink Jeep Tour' (awesome!) and hit one of the hottest restaurants in AZ: Cafe Elote (wow) while Oma & Grandpa Paul tended the sick kiddos. The 11 days flew by and we can't wait to plan our next visit!