Sunday, April 9, 2017

Dunkingham Palace

Ring Day finally arrived! Ring Day is a big deal here. It includes cocktail dresses, high heels, all the family, photographers, etc. It's a little ridiculous, to be honest. But then again Texas A&M has always taken the maxim "everything is bigger in Texas" and multiplied it by 1000, so I suppose it's only in keeping with tradition.
My friends Haley and Marissa were there to see me get my ring. Haley got to present me my ring, and after inspecting it to make sure my name and graduation year were printed right, she got to put it on my finger. Some students invite professors or special faculty to present them their rings, or they have a family member do it. Like I said, it's a bit over the top. 
It feels so good to have this hunk of gold on my finger! I love the Aggie ring because it's so recognizable. I like to know that wherever I am in the world I can find camaraderie and shared understanding with someone who also wears this ring.

 The saying goes "you haven't earned it 'till you've dunked it." I shared my ring dunk with 5 other people, mostly from church. From left to right is Moroni, Marissa, Karen, me, Tiffany, and Kelsey.
 Marissa, Tiffany and I dunked in lemonade.
I think Moroni finished first in 50ish seconds, and Tiffany was just a second after him. I don't know how that girl did it so fast. I finished last.
Feeling excited and jittery pre-dunk.
And feeling considerably bloated post-dunk.
The name for the dunk was "Dunkingham Palace", and the theme English garden party. We spent all day making scones, Victoria sponge cakes (using Mary Berry's recipe, of course) and tea sandwiches. Everyone seemed to enjoy it!

 Here are some of my decorations.
 Everyone really got a kick out of the picture of the royal family.
Partially-failed attempt at a telephone booth door. I had originally made a cardboard cut out to go on front of the door, but it didn't work out so I had to improvise last second.

Sunday, March 26, 2017


Little Bit just couldn't wait for me to get to Michigan. Literally. Caroline had her just after I landed in Charlotte and was waiting to get on my next flight to Detroit. Unfortunately, baby Elizabeth was born under less than ideal circumstances and needed a week in the hospital to recuperate from the very traumatic ordeal of being born.
I stayed busy while Caroline was in the hospital with Elizabeth. I spent lots and lots of time with Peter, and successfully began the Aggie indoctrination process (he knows to say gig 'em when I give him a thumbs up). And I cleaned. Lots of cleaning and ordering the kids around making them clean as well. After a week of this, Andrea expressed relief that I would be leaving soon. "You're so demanding," she said. David, on the other hand, showed a little sadness that I would be leaving when he said "I wish you were staying so that you could clean the house more." 
Thanks, guys. Thanks a lot.
I got to see Andrea perform her light jig, which she did perfectly. She knew every single step, because she mouthed every single step throughout the performance. It was very cute :)
White Castle is a must for me when I'm in the north/midwest region. I wish they had White Castle down here. Its so greasy and SO GOOD.

Celebrated the big 24 and a lovely St. Patrick's Day. Caroline made this wonderful Irish meal, bangers and mash, mushy peas and Irish soda bread. YUM.
 St. Patrick's Day certainly was a lucky day for all of us. Little Bit came home!!!
 I was scheduled to leave the next day, the same day she was scheduled to come home. It was unfortunate timing but there was nothing I could do about it. But to my delight, Elizabeth came home a day early! So I got to spend a little extra time with her before I left.

Despite the grumbling I received from the kids, I really had a wonderful visit. I enjoyed cleaning. It's therapeutic for me. I liked playing mom for a week, dropping the kids off at school and playing with Peter during the day, and then picking the kids up again at the end of the day.
I loved spending time with my sister. Caroline is amazing, and I feel inspired and uplifted every time I am with her. It was certainly difficult saying goodbye to her.
It was not hard, however, saying goodbye to 15 degrees. I landed in Austin just before sunset and drove through the 75 degree countryside absolutely exploding with wildflowers and Bluebonnets. It's now reached the 80's, and it's not likely to get any cooler until October. I love Texas. And I will miss it so much when I leave.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

It's March!

 Lots of exciting things have happened in the last couple of months. I ordered my Aggie ring (ay whoop!) which I will receive on April 7th. I have not decided what I'm going to dunk it in, but my friends and I have settled on a Harry Potter themed dunk, so maybe... pumpkin juice? Too gross? Okay, Butterbeer?
Chandler got married! I was lucky enough to be asked to do her hair and makeup for the sealing, and her makeup for the reception. I don't have a lot of experience with updo's but I was very pleased with how this turned out. And she seemed pleased as well, which was the only thing that really mattered.

Caroline (of course) flew down for the wedding, so I got to spend a little time with her. Luckily, Little Bit (Caroline's nickname for baby number 4) is expected to arrive during my spring break. So end of next week I fly up to Michigan to be with Caroline again! Can't wait to see her and the kids!
I took a random day trip to Seattle end of January. As I was waiting in the Salt Lake baggage claim for my luggage to arrive, I got a phone call from a friend in Seattle telling me about this crazy dream she had where she introduced me to one of her guy friends. He happened to be flying in that weekend to visit, so she called me and rather jokingly asked if I wanted to fly up to Seattle for a blind date.
I had planned on joining my dad on an epic road trip from Utah to Los Angeles in his vintage VW bus, but Dad decided to tow the bus instead of driving it (which is not NEARLY as epic or exciting). So I took Heidi up on her invitation and I flew to Seattle the next morning. We had a fun time walking around the city which was sunny and clear. I don't know why, but each time I've visited Seattle (which is, granted, only 2 times) it's sunny and beautiful!
Ellenos greek yogurt is a MUST when you visit Seattle. We snacked as we walked around the famous Pike Place Market, we watched the water for bit, we ate at Dick's burgers, and then went back to the apartment to watch a movie.
Nothing came of the introduction, but I am nonetheless very happy I flew up for the day. I really do love the pacific northwest. And it was great to see my friend again!

These are some of my very best friends in College Station. Hannah, the one in the very center, is currently serving in the Salt Lake City East Mission. I went to her endowment in San Antonio a couple weeks ago. What a beautiful temple! Now I just need to visit the Lubbock temple and I'll have been to all the ones in Texas!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

"Happy Christmas, Harry"..."Happy Christmas, Ron"

I delved into the world of Harry Potter this Christmas. It's been several years since I read the series, and for some reason Christmastime always reminds of Harry Potter, so I felt it was time to visit my old friends Harry, Ron and Hermione.

Also, I really needed a break from textbooks. The weeks between Thanksgiving and finals were brutal. I'm thankful for Rusty and my friends (especially Christina who stayed up until 1 a.m. editing my behemoth of an anthropology paper the night before the due date) for keeping me sane during those stressful couple of weeks.

I've been in Utah for two weeks now. I haven't had a break this long in YEARS! It has been the most glorious break ever. It has mostly consisted of shoveling snow, unpacking boxes and bringing in new furniture, time with kiddos, many episodes of Fixer Upper, and 5 1/2 Harry Potter books.

We spent a quiet Christmas Eve at the house, and a very white Christmas morning at Gared's parent's cabin in the mountains. We had a delightful time watching everyone open presents. I almost wished Christmas hadn't been on a Sunday this year, with all the snow we got I was so tempted to go sledding!

Thursday after Christmas we went to temple square to take family pictures and watch the Christmas lights come on. It was a bit cold, and everyone could only handle a few minutes outside before we had to escape to the visitors center. Prime lighting though, I was pleased with most of the shots I managed to grab.

William, the little goober, makes the funniest faces. He also snorts. Hahahaha...
I'm very much looking forward to 2017. This is the year I graduate! I'm starting the process of applying for jobs and masters programs. I have zero clue where I'll end up, which is a rather thrilling thought. I could end up anywhere! Utah seems likely for the short term, as that's where a lot of the jobs I'm interested in are located. But grad school and long term...? It's a mystery!

Looking at my goals for 2016, I think I did alright:

1. Read 5 new books: Check. Nicholas Nickelby, Secret Life of Bees, Lady Susan, Mansfield Park, Young Victoria. The Help.
2. Go on double dates with 6-10 dudes: Partial check. I asked 4 guys out on dates.
3. Summit 1 new peak: Check. Forgot the name, it's somewhere in southern Idaho.
5. Run a 5k: Pfffft no. I've had half-marathons and 5k's on the list for like 5 years now. I'm lowering the expectation to just "some kind of race" this year.
6. Cross something off the bucket list: No, but not for lack of trying! This year I wanted to see a Moose. I spent time in a couple states that have plenty of Moose. Never saw a single one.
7. Attend one community cultural event: Check? I went to the community theater? I attended a couple football games. A&M has it's own culture after all...
8. Submit one photo to a photography contest: Nope.
9. Vote: CHECK

New Years goals for 2017:

1. Read the LOTR series
2. Read at least two other pieces of good literature
3. Summit 1 new peak
5. Ask a guy out on a single date
6. Learn Toccata and Fugue in D Minor on the organ
7. Participate in some kind of race/contest
8. Participate in a cause/movement/service organization

Good luck this year, everyone!