Tuesday, December 23, 2008

What Happens in Vegas...

...gets posted on our blog, of course! ;)

SATURDAY: Jed and I got kind of a later start than we hoped, but we made it to Vegas by evening. After we checked in to the hotel, I called my friend, Becky Webb, to see if she wanted to go out to dinner. We went to Buca di Beppo. Yum! I even made a conscious effort to bring my camera to dinner, and then I forgot to take a picture! I was so mad when we pulled out of the parking lot to leave and I realized that.

SUNDAY: This was our "tourist" day. We stayed at the Riviera Hotel, which is on the North end of the strip, and we spent most of the day just walking from our hotel to the other end of the strip and back. We stopped at almost every major hotel on the way down, finding neat things at each one. By the time we got back to our hotel (18 miles, and almost 6 hours later), I had blisters on (the bottom of) my feet because I chose to wear my warm, fluffy boots and apparently they weren't made for day-long excursions... Anyways, here are some highlights from our walk:

Ever seen the movie Big? I wished that I could go to Italy.
Next thing I knew, I was in Italy, watching the gondolas drift by. It was either Italy, or The Venetian Hotel. They're very similar.

This is my better half, Jed. He loves me. And he was so impressed with all the planning I did for our trip. He's easily amused. Probably why he married me.

This was Jed's favorite part, a huge aquarium in the Mirage. They had tons of fish (including some Doris and a whole bunch of Nemos)!

We found some Roman artwork at Caesar's Palace. Maybe I'll get one for the living room. We could put it right next to our Indian-print rental couch.
We couldn't find any sirens at Treasure Island, so we got a picture with the rocks. A close second.

Paris was next on the tour. Someone threw a penny off the top and it sliced this guy in half. Well, maybe not, but it would have been a good story. Je me souviens de Paris.

This is the entrance to the Bellagio Garden. You can kind of see the streams of water that spray overhead as you walk under them.
These snowmen were the best part of the elaborate Bellagio Garden. They are made entirely of flowers. The white on them is white carnations. (I love snowmen)

This picture is for my mom. It's a ginormous slot machine. She loves eBay.

Back to America with Lady Liberty.
I love castles. This is Excalibur. They have jousting shows, like in the medieval period, that you can watch while you eat dinner. We didn't get to do this this time, but I'd like to eventually.
The New York skyline at the New York New York Hotel. Do you think they changed the building after 9/11? I never saw it before. Jed and I didn't ride the roller coaster this time because we rode it last time we were in Vegas, and we've got a wicked picture to prove it.
Man, pictures look way darker on here... The boat says "New York, New York, FDNY". God bless those men and women. Fire fighters are awesome.

I thought this was a cool old Pepsi wall, so I took a picture. And I knew you'd like it too, so I'm sharing with ya. "Be Young, Have Fun, Drink Pepsi"

The M&M World store on the strip. For some reason this store makes me think of New York. And now I want to go to New York. I love that city!

Once we were rested up from our excursion and I had put on three pairs of socks to cushion my poor feet, Jed and I went to the buffet at the Circus Circus Hotel (right across the street from the Riviera). Not worth $13.50 - the food was just a tad bit better than high school cafeteria food. The good news is that after dinner, we were walking around Circus Circus, letting our food digest when we came across a circus act that was about to begin. It was a unicycle rider, and he was incredible. I didn't have my camera with me, so no picture.
When we crossed the street to go back to our hotel, I ran to beat the light and popped one of my blisters (on the bottom of my foot). It hurt so bad! Jed went off to find band-aids while I hobbled up to our room. That was the worst part of the trip, hands down.

MONDAY: Before we left, we wanted to go to the Ethel M. Chocolate Factory and Botanical Cactus Garden. So we did. :) The "botanical" cactus garden was decorated pretty cute for Christmas. It's too bad we weren't there at night to see the cacti all lit up.
We ended up at the North Pole. Lots of cacti there...
Tasty.
Cute little snowmen among the cacti. :) I love snowmen, in the desert or not.

We went on the self-guided tour of the factory and saw lots and lots of chocolate and cream and butter and cellulite... Of course we got samples, too! :D
These sculptures were made entirely out of chocolate. We thought that was pretty cool.

On the way out of town, we stopped by the Las Vegas LDS Temple. It's a beautiful building.
After a stop at In-N-Out for lunch (we couldn't leave without that fix), we were on the road home!
Jed had to take a picture when his car hit 200,000 miles on the trip. Silly boy. :)
We stopped in St. George on the way home to see the St. George Tabernacle. It's a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints building that was built as sort of a community center when the Mormons settled in St. George. Neither of us had ever been (I don't think I'd even heard of it until about a month ago...) but it was a really neat experience.
This original, free-standing, two-story circular staircase was built by Miles Romney, my great-great grandfather. He was the building superintendent and played a large role in the construction of this great building.
The inside of this building is so beautifully constructed. And sturdy. All of the architecture is original. It's just amazing to me.
This is the view from the pulpit. Our tour guide let us sit there, and then told us that every single prophet, except Joseph Smith, had sat in that exact spot. It was so neat. We could really feel the Spirit there.
When I told our guide that I was a descendant of Miles Romney, he teared up and we had a great, spiritual moment with him. I was thankful that Jed humored me by stopping there.
Brigham Young's house was closed by the time we got there, but it looks cute from the outside. :)
We made it home late because we had to drive like 40mph on the highway because the conditions were bad. It is good to be home, even though that hotel bed was so BIG and comfy compared to ours.
Tomorrow we get on a plane headed for TEXAS!!!
MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Thankful Thursday

Here's my train of thought:
-I'm thankful that I'm not out in the snow storm we have going on here in Happy Valley.
-I'm thankful that I have a job that is indoors and I don't have to do any manual labor.
-I'm thankful that even though I don't have a degree, I have a stable, full-time job that pays well.
-I'm thankful that my job is easy. And I can do homework and other personal things while I work.
-I'm thankful that Jed has a good job that he likes and he is able to work while he's in school.
-I'm thankful that both Jed and I have working cars (knock on wood) that don't have any major problems.
-I'm thankful that we have a warm house to come home to.
-I'm thankful that we have a washer and dryer in our house.
-I'm thankful that we have a dishwasher.
-I'm thankful that Jed does all the dishes (one chore I hate doing).
-I'm thankful that we have enough food to eat, and we never have to go hungry.
-I'm thankful for our families.
-I'm thankful for our friends.
-I'm thankful that we have such a strong support system.
-I'm thankful for my warm fuzzy boots.
-I'm thankful that I have an ample amount of clothes.
-I'm thankful that I have generally good health (losing a few pounds wouldn't hurt either...).
-I'm thankful that my husband loves me no matter what the circumstances.
-I'm thankful that we have the opportunity to go to Vegas this weekend.
-I'm thankful that we have the time to go to Vegas this weekend.
-I'm thankful that we get to go to Dallas for Christmas.
-I'm thankful that I have the vacation time to get paid while we're in Dallas for Christmas.
-I'm thankful that my parents will be in Dallas with us.
-I'm thankful that we get to go to San Antonio after Christmas.
-I'm thankful for the freedom that I experience every day and for the men and women who have helped to preserve that for me.
-I'm thankful to live in this great country.
-I'm thankful for my religion and the enormous role it plays in my life.
-I'm thankful for my Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.I hope that everyone has an amazing holiday, filled with safety and good health.
Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Where In The World Is...?

Track Santa with your kids, your spouse, or your cat. :)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Monday Memoirs

We went to a white elephant party on Saturday at Seth & Megan's house. Jed ended up with the present he wanted (an electronic key chain that has a bunch of different games on it like Sudoku and others) and I got a book called It's Your Ship: Management Techniques from the Best Damn Ship in the Navy by Michael Abrashoff. It's a best-seller and it looked like a good read from what I saw when I flipped through it. If it doesn't turn out so great, I can always try to sell it on craigslist. :) Oh! And we got rid of the shower head! Woo!
After the white elephant game, we played a bunch of games that I had never played before, most of them revolving around names. They were super fun for a while. And then my head started hurting because the games were mentally straining. We played pictionary and my team rocked! We won two out of three rounds!

Yesterday was full of baking! I made rolls from scratch...I had to use the recipe from the cookbook we use for my cooking class, so they were nowhere near as good as my mom's, but they still turned out well. I had never made bread/rolls, by myself, from scratch before. It's really time-consuming! I also made cocoa crispy treats, banana bread, and my (dad's) famous oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. No, I was not baking for us (even though we are eating the leftovers). We are still trying to be good and lose weight. Jed and I took the goodies around to some of our friends, and I caroled. It was fun to see everyone and catch up with them for a few minutes.

Newsflash!

This is very important for those of you who are flying this holiday season. You may already be aware of this, but I wasn't, so I thought I'd give you a heads-up. If you are flying to your Christmas destination, and you have already wrapped the presents you're taking with you, unwrap them. Airlines will not let you take wrapped presents on the plane, or in your checked baggage. They will unwrap your presents. Ship them or wrap them when you get there.I don't understand how their technology is unable to see through paper-thin paper, but nonetheless your presents will be unwrapped when you pick up your luggage.

From the TSA website:
"Remember! – do not wrap gifts you're taking on the plane. Security officers may have to unwrap gifts if they need to take a closer look. Either ship wrapped gifts ahead of time or wait until your destination to wrap them."

Friday, December 12, 2008

Stuffed Lamb

Want a free stuffed animal? Buy the cheapest thing you would use at Bath & Body Works, and then use this coupon:
http://f.chtah.com/i/34/528207786/20081216_8605coup.html

The Good and The BAD

We at "The Lord's University" have this running joke. It's called the BYU Police Beat. It's basically a list of all of the police reports for the week, and it's just embarrassing. The GOOD NEWS is that I will definitely be a highlight in the BYU police beat this week. Here's the kind of report I'm up against:
-A female resident of Wymount Terrace called in a suspicious phone call in which a man made statements with the intent of hypnotizing the student. The student said she does not remember most of the conversation, but remembers she called him her master. Police say it is virtually impossible to hypnotize someone over the phone.
-The father of a student called BYU police when he had not heard from his daughter for four days. BYU police called the student and told her to call her father.
-A blind deer was found by a resident at the Wymount Terrace. Provo Animal Control was called and they came and took care of the animal. They knew it was blind because it was running into things.
-Police responded to a call about three males with nets and a broom at the pond south of campus. The men were apparently trying to capture a duck. The officer told the men to leave and leave the ducks alone.
-An individual held a sign offering free hugs in the Harold B. Lee Library. When asked by an officer to leave, he declined to leave the area and continued offering free hugs.
-Police found a parked car with two individuals in it in the southeast corner parking lot of 2230 North and University Parkway. Police said the couple was there for “romantic purposes”.
-Road rage overtook two individuals as a female driver was driving behind a male driver and got upset. She said he was driving too slowly, and he said he was driving the speed limit. They discovered they both lived at Wymount, and after parking their cars they yelled at each other. The man later apologized for yelling at the woman.
-A student reported a suspicious individual with long gray hair and a beard inside a restricted lab in the Clyde building. Upon arrival, the officer found a mannequin in the reported location.
-A deer was hit by a vehicle on Ninth East on the south end of Kimball Hall. Police responded and reported that the deer passed away.
-An assault was reported in R Hall of Deseret Towers. One male student threw a bug on another male student who retaliated by spraying shaving cream on the male that threw the bug. Shaving cream got in the eyes of the first student and the argument quickly escalated and became a physical confrontation.
-A report was called in of an older man mumbling to himself on the intramural fields on Canyon Road. The man was gone when police arrived.
-An individual in Deseret Towers reported five suspicious men playing pool in the lobby of one of the halls. Upon investigation it was found the men were simply students playing pool with their girlfriends.
-Female students in Helaman Halls complained about a man in a gorilla suit attempting to scare students near the Cannon Center. When police arrived, there was no sign of either the complainant or the gorilla. Students complained again early Oct. 3 about a man in a gorilla mask. The gorilla has not yet been identified.
-A concerned observer reported a suspicious male in the HBLL quad at 5:45 p.m. When police questioned him, he said he was Free Running, a game where people run fast toward the corners
of buildings or other structures and attempt to climb them without assistance and flip or jump. The suspect was a 26-year old male visitor who said he’d learned of the game through You- Tube. Police directed him to go Free Run somewhere else.
-A student and her roommate were walking by Miller Field when they noticed a possibly unclothed man in the shadows. They reported that he was an estimated 300 pounds but were unable to estimate his age. He told them “hello.”
-Police responded to a call reporting suspicious individuals with red paint. It was subsequently determined that these individuals were paint contractors who were painting a fence on campus.
-A student reported a theft that had happened three weeks earlier. The student said he went into the bathroom, and when he came out his backpack was gone. The backpack contained a packed lunchbox, a fork and a bus pass.
-A student employee’s mother called BYU police after her son had not returned home from work when she expected. Police checked on the student’s workplace where they found the student was still working.
-Police received a call from the assistant principal at a private school in Salt Lake County. A fourth-grade student had told the assistant principal his dad was making a bomb in the garage to blow up the BYU football stadium. Following immediate investigation, police discovered the child wasn’t telling the truth.
-Police received a complaint about a man with a rope on the east side of the library attempting to lasso people as they walked by. The man was gone when police arrived.
-A student reported talking to a man with a chainsaw on the north side of the Wilkinson Center. The man said he was going to “cut him a Christmas tree.” Officers never found the suspect.

Now for the BAD NEWS: I will definitely be a highlight in the BYU police beat this week. Last night, I came out of my last class of the semester (Hallelujah!) and found my front driver-side light in pieces all over the ground. No note. Nothing but a bunch of my car laying on the ground. Hit and run. I called Jed and he came over, and then we called the BYU police to report it and it took the cop 30 minutes to get there. Campus is not that big... So we filed a report and now it's just a waiting game. At least I'm not up for inspection any time soon. I'm just so mad. I hope they catch the jerk/coward who did this. If you see any white sedans around Provo with light blue paint chips and maybe some scratches on the corner of the car, get the plates and let me know. Of course there are no cameras. There are just "policemen", who do nothing and are slow to respond to things. Go Cougars...

My frame isn't quite as damaged as this one, but close. And the casing around my light is completely shot.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Monday, December 8, 2008

Monday Memoirs

On Friday night, we went to my friend Cornnut's* Christmas party and had so much fun! It was a white elephant party, with fun games and good food. Jed brought a huge candy cane and I brought a foam puzzle that you put together to make a 3-foot T-Rex (it was sweet!). We ended up with a shower head that will get rid of the hard water that we don't have and a chocolate raspberry (like a chocolate orange, but raspberry-flavored). We did have some other cool stuff at one point or another... Maybe we can sell the shower head on ebay? [*Names changed to protect their identity.]

Jed and I went to the BYU Freeze Fest at Seven Peaks on Saturday night. I made a sugar cookie snowman, decorated a family stocking, drank some hot chocolate, and watched Jed play broomball on the ice. He and his team did really well and he had a great time. We left the Freeze Fest and went to the dollar theater with Amanda and Adam to see Dark Knight! So good, even the second time.

Since I've Been Slacking

I thought I'd give you some tips on cool/free stuff!

Free Christmas music downloads, one every day until Christmas: HERE.

Free $10 Restaurant.com gift certificates for you to give to others; you can give up to 3 each day: HERE.

Elf Yourself, a classic Christmas tradition: HERE.

An article with links to coupon sites online: HERE.

Also, here are a few redbox free movie night codes:
BREAKROOM
SNSDVD6
MCDMEDVD (Only good at a McDonalds redbox)

11MOMS4US (Expired)
11MOMS4UA (Good only Sunday, Dec. 14)
11MOMS4UN (Good only Sunday, Dec. 21)
11MOMSFUT (Good only Sunday, Dec. 28)
11MOMS4UA (Good only Sunday, Jan. 4)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Happy Birthday Amanda!!

My good friend, Amanda Nielsen, turns 23 today!! Amanda is my oldest friend (we've been friends since we were in kindergarten) and I have so many good memories with her. I hope you have a great birthday, Amanda!!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Wednesday Weigh-In

Back on track!!

243.8!!!

The Road To Hell

...is paved with good intentions. Jed and I really did have good intentions to go to the Provo Temple last night, but it didn't happen.

After my appointment with the Honor Code office... (Remember this post? And this one? - Yeah, both Jed and I were turned in for "lying". Jed had already done his time and it was my turn. The counselor said it would more than likely just be a "warning". Phew!) Jed and I went to Jiffy Lube to get a crack in my windshield fixed and to get his safety/emissions done.

My car was done fast, so while we waited for Jed's car, we went to DI because Jed needed to buy a computer hard drive for a school project. Luckily we found one (they are really rare at places like DI), but not before a lady came and sat in the rocking chair next to me, looked around really awkwardly, and then proceeded to nurse her baby under a nylon jacket that kept falling down. Any time someone would look at her, she'd stare them down, like they were in the wrong for wondering what the heck she was doing. I really hope she didn't get that jacket off the rack...but then again she is nursing her baby in a public store, on a hand-me-down rocking chair. Anything is possible with this woman.
Oh! Not only did we get the pleasure of witnessing nasty baby lady, but we also got to be serenaded by this family of Mexican children playing a video game the entire time we were there. I'm pretty sure the volume was up full-blast. When a lady asked one of the employees a question about the gaming console, the father of the children pipes up "Oh, no, it's not for sale. We brought that from home." What?!? 1. Why would you buy a gaming console without owning a TV? 2. Why would you make it a family night at DI? 3. Why does DI allow people to just hang out all night, playing on their stuff? What's next? A concession stand?

We went back and paid for Jed's car, but left it there while we went to Sam's Club (Yes, I know. Costco is much better, but Jed already had the membership before I met him.) to get some things. By the time we left Sams, we were in starvation mode, so we bypassed getting Jed's car and made a beeline for the house. Jed made spaghetti while I whipped up some cheesy biscuits. (I had to make them for my cooking class anyways, and they were delish!) By the time we ate, it was already 8:15 and we still had to eventually pick up Jed's car and go up to campus for some homework before the building closed at 10.

So now I am making a public goal: Jed and I will go to the temple on Thursday.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Catch-Up

I felt like yesterday's post needed a day of its own, so I didn't post this yesterday.
This is what we did with our Thanksgiving break:

On Thursday, we woke up and went shopping. We weren't eating until later, and we didn't have anything else to do. Plus, there was something on sale that day that I had been meaning to get for Jed anyways. And we didn't get up early or anything (surprisingly they still had it and I was able to get it!). Don't hate. Thanksgiving dinner was already explained - look at the post below this one. It was incredible.

Jed went in to work on Friday morning and I went over to the Keays' to let their dog, Rusty out. While I was there, surfing all of their glorious TV stations (we only have basic cable), Anne of Green Gables came on! Talk about memory lane. I only got to watch the first two 'episodes' before Jed got there, but it was good! We went and got Jed's car looked at. His brakes haven't been doing too well and we're trying to eventually sell the thing. Justin, Amanda, and Tommy came over to the Keays' and we played the Wii for a while. We were in the middle of Wii bowling and I realized that Jed and I hadn't been bowling since our first date. So we all picked up and went to the bowling alley. Super spontaneous. Super fun. We went for shakes at Sconecutters afterward. Good times.

On Saturday, I woke up to Mario theme music. Jed was playing MarioKart on the Wii. We bummed around all day, until Jacob Garrison's wedding reception. I was so glad we got to go because my friend Summer was there. I got to talk to her for a while and catch up. It was so good to see her. We had to leave the reception a little bit earlier than I would have liked because I had a surprise date planned for Jed and me. Something neither of us had ever done before. A Murder Mystery! It was...interesting. I kept getting discouraged because I was running in to roadblocks and couldn't think of who to ask and what to ask them. But after Jed and I joined forces, we figured it out and won gift cards!!

Jed rediscovered cinnamon-sugar toast on Sunday. I made my yummy crock pot stroganoff recipe and we salivated over the smell all day. We watched D2 after dinner, and went to bed.

Yesterday we did a temple walk (up and around the big hill) and went grocery shopping. Nothing too exciting to report about. :)

Monday, December 1, 2008

Thanksgiving

I wish I had taken the time to write about this earlier, but this Thanksgiving was by far the most humbling Thanksgiving I have ever had.

Jed and I went up to SLC to have Thanksgiving dinner with my mom's side of the family. My grandpa has apartments on his property that he rents out and he brought one of his tenants with him to dinner. Her name is Mariama Kallon and she's from Sierra Leone, West Africa. I didn't get to talk to her much at the dinner table because she was at the other end, but after dinner, we all gathered in the living room and she told us her story. It was inspiring. It was unreal. It was miraculous.

Sierra Leone was in the midst of war for a long time. In the seventh year of war, the rebels attacked Mariama's village. The rebels approached her house from the back and her family (mother, father, brother, sister, and her) ran towards the front door. Her parents never made it out of the house. Mariama and her siblings heard their parents being shot to death behind them, but they had to continue running. Eventually the rebels caught up to them and captured her brother to enlist him in their forces. (She later found out that they had chopped off his arms because he refused to join them, and he died as a result of the blood loss he incurred.)

Not too long after her brother was taken, she and her sister were captured, along with several other women. After they were raped, the women were lined up to have their legs cut off, five at a time. Mariama's sister was one of the first ones to lose her legs, as Mariama helplessly watched. She prayed to God that something would happen to stop the rebels. There were only two women in front of her when the rebels got word that the UN was coming. They gathered up their weapons and ran away, leaving Mariama with one of her legs (she didn't tell us about losing her leg, but I read it in an article I found online). She had been saved by the grace of God, and the power of prayer. Mariama's sister died from blood loss, just as their brother had.

Mariama found refuge with some friends and they invited her to church with them. There were no missionaries in Sierra Leone at the time (if I remember right, it was because they were taken out because of the war), so she learned of the Gospel from her branch president. She walked three miles each way to his house, barefooted, three times a week and was soon baptized. She received a hygiene kit from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and when her house was burned down by the rebels, she used the kit to keep herself and others clean while in hiding.

Eventually she went back to her village and decided that she wanted to serve a mission for the Church. Most Africans do not leave their country, let alone their continent. She got called to the Utah Salt Lake City Temple Square Mission. She was the first African to serve on Temple Square. Mariama now resides in Salt Lake and speaks all over the country, telling her story and spreading joy to everyone she meets. She is such a sweet woman and definitely an inspiration.

We took pictures with her, but not with my camera, so I'll have to see if I can get a copy. I am so glad that I was able to share Thanksgiving with this wonderful woman. It was an amazing day and one that I will not ever forget.