Friday, May 31, 2013

The One with Me and the Hedgehog

First a little bit of background.

Ben's dad was a lover of all animals. He found them completely fascinating. He'd get on these kicks, with one animal in particular being all the rage and he'd study and read and research until he knew everything there was to know about that animal. He did the same things with plants as well.

When Ben was in high school, his dad turned their back porch into a greenhouse. He covered it in glass and plastic and filled it with cool plants-even a banana tree! He also made a little water feature and got some turtles and lizards that would scamper around the place. Like I mentioned before, Papa's motto was, "Fear ain't a part of my life." He made that especially true when he included a baby alligator into the greenhouse mix. The kept the gator until he was 3 or 4 feet long, then they took him to an alligator farm (a place Papa frequented).

Another time, Ben's dad was out and he found a little baby skunk that had been injured. So he scooped the skunk up and took it home. The skunk absolutely fell in love with Dad and never once sprayed him.

Anyhow, when Papa passed away, Ben's sister (Heather) and her husband really wanted to make something that would remind them of Dad. Something that Dad would be proud of. So they made this:
It is the coolest thing ever. And they seriously went all out. They even put pictures of Dad around:
Plus they've got one of those white noise machines going, making it sound like there are crickets chirping. And Heather's husband is going to make signs for all the critters with interesting facts about them and their names. Cool, right?
See Dad's cool turtle shell in the background?

Here are the girls with 2 of the 3 ferrets (sorry you can't see them well).

This is one of their turtles.

This is Heather (the mastermind) holding their little hedgehog.
She was seriously so cute and surprisingly cuddly...
not at first. But she got there.

Me and the African tortoise. These are the kind that get really big
and end up weighing like 200 pounds.
Let me get you a close up of this guy...
He looked TOO real. Is that possible?
My favorite thing about him is his name: Kingsley Shacklebolt.
Perfect, right?

I think I scared her. See how's she's flailing her arms??
Heather isn't the kind of person to do things half heartedly...and the petting zoo was no different. They did such a good job. I could have stayed in there all night long!

So awesome. I'm 100% sure that Dad would approve.

Friday, May 24, 2013

The One with the Stuff


I've been watching too much Project Runway. I finally dreamt about it. The dream was complete with Tim Gunn and feelings of complete anxiety at choosing the right fabric-not too bright but not too boring.

On another note...
My dad let us bring his little moped scooter home to Rexburg with us. Just for a borrow. Which is just as well (I can't imagine it would function very well in Rexburg's crazy winters). Ben looks kinda hilarious riding it to school. I'd post a pic, but Ben already left :( Maybe next time?

On another note...
Our car broke down. Lame. Sauce. It's especially lame because I NEED a car for work. For some reason, I can't imagine my clients' parents being ecstatic about me driving their kid around town on a 50cc scooter that only gets up to 30mph if it's going downhill.

But my mother in law said, "Don't be frustrated. Life happens." And she's right. Life does indeed happen. At least I've had time to A)Train for Ragnar B)Pretend I'm skilled at refashioning clothes whilst I dream about Project Runway and C)Cook decent meals for Ben...and delicious ice cream cakes for myself.

On another note...
I got myself a library card. You know, having fun isn't hard, if you've got a library card (Ben had NEVER heard that song, which I thought was a travesty. So I sang it for him. I think he was mostly embarrassed).

On another note...
My dad sent me this article. I thought it was pretty interesting. So Ben and I had an FHE where we had to write a story about us. You know. For legacy purposes.
A pic from my story

A pic from Ben's story. The resemblance? Uncanny.

My sister in law (in this post) complained about how now that she's the mom, she's never in the pictures. I went through my pics from their last 2 visits and I hate to admit it, but she's right. I had a total of 3 pictures of her but countless pics of her chilluns. Shame on me.  Here's an attempt to make up for it (a feeble one, I might add) because let's be real: karma, karma, karma...Whitney, this is for you:

She came to the temple my first time through.
And Whitney's baby turned 1 year old the day before my wedding.
See, Whitney? You really do exist when you visit. Albeit, not very much.

I'll do better I swear!!!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The One With the Attack of the Photos

The last weekend in April, Ben and I packed up and headed down to Utah.

Maybe it was just me, but I felt like I hadn't been down to visit in FOREVER. And this trip was especially exciting for several reasons:

1. Ben and I had an ILP training meeting to attend, to learn more about our trip to China.
2. My brother and sister-in-law were coming out all the way from Kansas to visit. And they brought along their stinkin' cute kiddos (prepare yourself for a lot of pictures. When those kids are around, I can't help myself!).
3. My sister was getting married!!!

Crazy awesomeness, I believe, is the phrase to capture all the events that ensued.

The ILP meeting (a 2 day deal) was kinda longish...but it was very informative and it got me super excited about  teaching (we're leaving in like 3 months, people!).

We got to go hike Bridal Veil with (almost) the whole crew.
Me and my hiking buddy. I wish I was as glam as she is.

Eric and Ezra went the crazy route. But they made it.
And, surprisingly, the leader wasn't Eric.

The girls kept asking me to take more pictures. Such models.

Leslie and Oak.
Unfortunately, Ben had to leave on Sunday night to get back to work and school. But I got to stay in Utah and keep hanging out.

On Monday, Whitney and I threw Heather a pretty awesome bachelorette party, if I do say so myself.
Cute, right?
 On Tuesday, we headed to Salt Lake. We went to the new interactive children's exhibit at the Church Library. The kids loved it.
Scarlett mauling the cute sound-making, egg-laying chickens.
Fishing off of Nephi's ship.

The girls loved the fun Latin dancing game they had.

Outside the temple.
 After that, we headed to Sweet's. It's a candy factory in SLC that gives tours. My first favorite thing about our tour was that they give out a LOT of samples. My next favorite thing was that our tour guide asked me in a sugary sweet voice, "And how old are you?" I told her I'm 22. She looked shocked and said, "Oh! You're older than I am!" She wouldn't look me in the eye the rest of our visit.
See what I'm saying? Scarlett's gone crazy with sugar!
Georgia LOVED her hair net. She insisted on wearing it the rest of the day.
What a fashionable little diva!
That night, Ben surprised me by coming back a day early than we had planned. I was so excited! And I bet he regretted it once he saw what our wedding-related task was.
Yep, we spent probably 4 hours making a huge pile of tissue paper pom poms.
 In lieu of a wedding breakfast, Heather and Matt opted for a rehearsal type dinner. At Tucanos. You can't go wrong there!
Are you getting an idea of who my favorite little people are?
I love Love LOVE these girlies.
Thursday was the BIG day! The ceremony was so beautiful, and I just can't say how happy I am for Matt and Heather.

Let's be real, people. I NEVER in one million years would have guessed that my sister would be marrying Matt Bonner, but I could not be happier with it. I love them both SO much and I'm way excited for them!
This was the only picture I got of the bride and groom.
I fail! So sue me!

Another one with my favorite chiquitas.

Doesn't my sister make such a pretty bride?

Oak loved Ben so much the whole trip.
 I think it's cause Ben looks so much like Spencer.

Us. You know. In front of the temple.
 For the record, it is SO much easier being a bridesmaid rather than being the bride. Yes, as a bridesmaid you do a lot more of the setting up/taking down/running around like a chicken with your head chopped off...buuuut the role of the bride is way more stressful in the long run.

I'm awful and didn't take any pictures at the reception. Just believe me when I say that it turned out beautifully.

The sad part was that it took a full 2 and 1/2 hours to set up...and it all came down in less than 30 minutes.

Georgia practically swam in the mound of glittery ribbon
left over from the chair ties. I bet she's still finding gobs of
glitter under her arms and in between her toes.
Returning to the real world was rough, let me tell you. But soon enough we'll be heading back to Utah for wedding #2: Kyle and Natalie :)

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The One With the Book

I found an a.m.a.z.i.n.g book that I think everyone should read.

It's the kind of book where, while reading, you think, "Why am I such a whiner! I have everything to be grateful for and nothing to complain about!"

Which, I think, is a healthy notion to consider every once in awhile.

It's called Heaven is Here by Stephanie Nielson.

The story is about how the author and her husband were in a terrible plane crash. They both survived, but Stephanie suffered from burns covering 80% of her body. She was put in a drug induced coma for 3 months because the pain was literally unbearable. When she woke up, she had to go through dozens and dozens of surgeries. She had to relearn how to do everyday tasks (one of her goals was to be able to brush her own teeth). She had to learn to love herself despite the scars that cover her whole body.

Oh, it is such a good book. She really let the Savior heal her, spiritually and physically. She learned so much about beauty, patience, endurance and love.

It's summer, right? You've got time. Go read it! And then tell me what your favorite books are, so I can go read those (cause I have time too).

But if reading is too daunting at least watch Stephanie's story on Mormon Messages here.

Here's one of my favorite paragraphs from the book:

"I have accepted myself in a world that does not accept me, because I have learned--and more than any of the lessons of my accident, this is the one I wish I could teach everybody--that our hearts matter most. Your heart matters most, so be gentler and more patient with yourself, and their heart matters most, too, so be kinder and more compassionate to others. It's a beautiful heart, not a perfect body, that leads to a beautiful life."

Word of caution: I cried myself through a good 50% chunk of this book. Consider yourself warned.

P.S. This is my 100th post. Go me!