Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy Holidays!

This may not be the Holy Family, but it's our holy family.

So this whole entire last week was spent up in Idaho, basking in the glory of my family that were there. It was good times indeed. The trip up was fantastic, though doing a whole 6-hour stretch in a car does a number on the legs. We spent a lot of our time feasting on some of the best food I've had in years, nay even my life. Just look at this glory of meat and spices!

It really doesn't get any better than that for you meat-lovers out there. Trust me. Christmas presents were good. Lovetta got me a sweet Argyle sweater and some hair clippers. I got her a new popcorn-maker (read: microwave). My sister, Tania, bequeathed us a cooking legacy in the form of an America's Test Kitchen cook book and an electronic copy of my Grandma's cook book. Happiness! I drank a ridiculous amount of egg nog (nog-o'clock, whut?) and played my brains out some games of Nerts. Ahh such good times!

Joy of Cooking, eat your heart out.

I gotta say that holiday times are the best times. Food. Family. Fun. I hope that all of you had a wonderful holiday break from whatever it is you're doing. Also, I hope that coming home from the holidays doesn't greet you with a bulldozer in front of your house (like it did for us!).

Monday, December 14, 2009

You'll shoot your eye out!

So, Lovetta and I just got done hosting the Papercuts Book Club at our place for the annual Christmas party. We shared a few Christmas picture books and watched A Christmas Story (as everyone should this time of year). How is that book club oriented, you ask? Well, it was based on a book! Any excuse to watch a funny movie...

Christmas time has always been an interesting time for me. Watching that movie has only really made me realize how much this time of year has evolved for me as I've gotten older. When I was a kid, I remember totally going through the same kinds of things that Ralphie did (drooling over particular presents and whatnot). That's kind of what the holiday seems to mean when you're a kid: an opportunity to get new toys. Oh yeah, and there's that baby Jesus thing, too.

The older I got, the more my focus seemed to swap. Holidays (birthdays included) stopped really being about presents. When I was on my mission, it was nice to get things for special occasions, but it never quite meant as much to me as knowing that loved ones remembered me. I could have cared less about what it was that I got. The things I wanted were less tangible.

Now, I see holidays more as time to spend around people I love. This makes it difficult for others. Some have asked me what I want for Christmas this year. Honestly, I still don't really know. What I'm most looking forward to is heading up to Idaho this year and spending time with some of my family. Moving out here to Utah kind of gave me a slight separation disorder and I crave being around them. Beyond seeing them, everything else is a bonus.

I'm trying to turn my attention now to the only things I can hopefully make last over the years. Memories. My childhood memories are splotchy at best (ask Lovetta how well I remember some of the Primary songs). I don't remember too many Christmas gifts from yonder days. But the memories I have now of spending time with family are what I seem to find more and more precious.

I just hope that everyone has the opportunity to really focus on what I think are the most important parts of Christmas. Service. Love. The birth of the Son of God. Family. Here's wishing you a fantastic holiday, free from stress and full of joy.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

New Camera, New Opportunities

We bought a new camera! (Nikon D3000) We planned to get one when we got our tax return, but we found a good Christmas deal and decided not to wait. Now we just have to figure out how to use it perfectly. :) Here's a picture of our camera, taken by our computer. Here are some pictures of us picking out a Christmas tree with my family.Here is one of my experiments with my new control of depth of field.Now that we've spent money on a nice camera, we are determined to continue this wonderful emerging habit of documenting our lives through photography. Christmas time is full of opportunity.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Holiday Hubub

Somewhat of an inside joke. Click the picture if you want to see.

Vacation weeks have a tendency to always be jam packed full of things to do. Usually, by the time your vacation is over, you're left wondering where the time went and when will you get a chance to relax. Not so with this last week.

On Wednesday, we took a trip down to Kanab with Lovetta's family to enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday. The trip was easy going and quite relaxing. We left early enough in the day that there was actually time to stretch our legs and do some chatting with the extended family before going off to bed. In fact, there seemed to be a lot of time on our hands this trip. I read half of a 700-page book during the whole 3-day trip! We browsed some of the local shops, enjoyed some really good food, and ended up avoiding the Black Friday sales while we were down there.

On our way back up, we made a side-trip to Zion National Park to meet up with Lovetta's aunt. This was the first time I'd ever been to Zion's and also the first time I'd ever met any of Lovetta's father's family. Can I just say right now that I'm so glad that I married into her family? You often hear the horror stories about in-laws, but I find her family to be quite fantastic and very agreeable. They're all such nice people! The park was great too, of course! We took quite a few pictures, but none of them have managed their way to one of our computers yet. Absolutely beautiful to see some of the falls and rock formations out there. I'd love to go back someday and see some of the other things I missed.

We rounded out the weekend by making some matchbox mangers at Lovetta's parents' house on Sunday. And when I say "we" I really mean "Lovetta, her sister, and her mother". I took some pictures, but alas, those might have to wait for another day. They're really cute! "What is a matchbox manger?" you say. Well, let me tell you! While we were in Kanab perusing their gift shops, we came across these little matchbox-looking things. They were decorated with chilis, churches, and other strange whatnots. On the inside, however, there was a little manger scene made out of clay with a Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus. We all thought that these little boxes were perfect for gifts but that the outer design choice was a little lacking in some circumstances. So, we bought some small matchboxes and painted them with angels, shepards, and wise men on the outside. Then we took some modeling clay and mimicked little manger scenes for the inside of the boxes. Lovetta's turned out wonderfully and I'll have to post a picture of it so you can understand what I mean by it.

Anyway, that's a little update on our lives for the last week. I hope your holiday week found you well and rested!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Should it Blend?

I need some advice. I thought I knew what I wanted for Christmas, but now I'm wondering: is it really worth it?
Imagine this: I'm walking innocently through our local Costco, not really planning on buying anything else, but enjoying the samples. I stopped in front of the Blendtec display, hoping for a taste of smoothie. Only, this time I listened to the presenter. Those blenders are pretty awesome. I watched that blender turn bananas with the peel and strawberries with the stems and seeds into smooth, delicious smoothies. I saw that blender turn raw carrots, onion, pepper, and tomato into a creamy hot soup. Yum! Wow! So easy! I want it!
They are about $400. After the presentation, I knew I wanted it. It wasn't until later I started to doubt. Sigh. I probably wouldn't believe it worked if it only cost $20. I love soup, and I love smoothies, and I think it would be great to be able to make my own baby food (when the time comes, that is), but is it really worth that much money for a blender? Would I really get my money's worth out of it? I have a blender that I rarely use; but, I rarely use it because it's a pain to clean and it doesn't crush the ice. The Blendtec is easy to clean and can crush just about anything. And it comes with its own recipe book.
It's funny how now that I'm the one making the money it's hard to ask for expensive things. Even if it counts as both a Christmas and a birthday present. Watch the video (or, if you're super brave, the live presentation) and let me know what you think.

Monday, November 16, 2009

To be(ard) or not to be(ard)?

So, as many of you noticed (and a few of you commented), I've started to grow a beard the last month or so. I'd say something like "I don't know how it happened," but that's a lie. I know exactly how it happened. Let me illustrate:

OK. So maybe that's not exactly how it happened. I think this might actually illustrate it a little bit more accurately...

Needless to say, it's grown on me a little bit (insert rimshot). I have this dilemma now as to whether or not I should actually try to groom it into something worth looking at or whether to shave the whole thing off completely. I was on BYU campus for various reasons today and I felt like such an outsider. Not that the students looked at me strangely or anything. (Who's that weird dude with the beard? Must be a UVU student.) Every man comes across this quandary at some point in their life. Is it worth having facial hair?

It's not something you can really ever ask a woman. Chances are they'll tell you to get rid of it. Baby-smooth faces are apparently just too good to pass up. Some days, though, you just want to be a rugged mountain man the likes of those in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers--one of our recent Netflix outings, by the way.

So, back to the question posed in the topic. I'll let you know how this all develops out.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Blogging is Hard

Blogging is difficult for me. Tom wants me to write a blog post about why it's so difficult. He says he'll give me a grade. (He is certified, after all.) Do you see the irony? It's a blog post, so I can utilize things like bulleted lists. Here is my bulleted list of all the reasons blogging is hard:
  1. The autocorrect in a blog post is not as good as it is in Word.
  2. My life is only mildly interesting.
  3. It is hard to explain the interesting parts of my life without trying to catch you up on all the months that I haven't been blogging.
  4. Tom makes fun of me. He discredits all of the above reasons. (And he'll probably discredit any below, too)
  5. My fingernails are maybe a little too long to make typing comfortable.
  6. I have this urge inside me to be exceptionally clever or funny or interesting or poetic or something. That makes blogging very intimidating.
  7. No one reads a journal but you. I don't really know what kind of details I should leave out or include. I want to be honest, but not sound too grumpy. Optimistic, but not fake. When I write in my journal I don't have to worry about what impression people have of me. (At least not now.)
  8. People expect a good visual. Some sort of picture that matches the post. But I really do want to do some sort of picture that matches this post...
Tom says to me, "So you have no good reasons." I think that means I get a C-.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Spice up your life!

So, tonight we decided that it would be a good time to rehash "our" award-winning green chili. I say that with the caveat, because it was someone else's award-winning chili first. We just found the recipe on the Food Network. We did get an award for making it, though. I can tell by the way that it is currently burning my lips off that we apparently used a spicier rendition of some of the key ingredients. Yes, I'm eating while I write this. What of it?

Anyway. Since we last left you, a few notable things happened in our lives. I gave a talk in church a few Sundays ago. It was exciting. And by exciting, I mean completely nerve-wracking. It's surprising after how many times you go through this experience, every time it seems like your heart will explode out of your chest. The topic was on service and the great plan of salvation. Often, I've found that I really don't put those two together, but they fit quite well.

Lovetta's sister was also in town for about a week and some days. It was a lot of fun, because we really don't get to see much of her in the year. We played a lot of games and had a few costume parties since Halloween was so close. Lovetta's kinda covered this already, but I just felt the need to pipe in and say that it was nice to have her in town.

On the opposite end of things, we'll be saying goodbye to her brother come this Wednesday. He enters the MTC to begin serving his 2-year mission for our church. He was called to the New York, Utica mission. That kid is gonna do great! And if it was anything like when I went, he's going to come back with a lot of great life experiences under his belt. We wish him the best of luck!

Substituting has been a bit slow for me for the last week. I'm not too worried, because Lovetta convinced me how awesome it will be when I substitute for four days at her elementary school. One word: nervous! All of my educational training is focus around hormonal teenagers. If a kid isn't swearing at me for making them do work when their teacher is gone, then I'm doing my job poorly. (I kid. Kind of.) Anyway, she says it's a piece of cake and it's going to be in her grade level. So, she'll end up having to debrief me on all of the lesson plans. That's in about two weeks, so we'll keep you posted on how it goes down.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Evil Red Threes

My sister Melody is visiting from California. We played card games into the night, just like old times. Except, "into the night" means something new when you have to get up in the morning for work. When we were young, "into the night" meant we could stay up until the wee hours of the morning. This week "into the night" was only 11:00. It's ridiculous how late that felt, but it was fun. I lost every single game we played. Some of it was bad luck, some of it was bad risk-taking. I made the "Sisters Team" lose 1,500 points... My team member had three evil red threes in Hand and Foot. We started a new game after that.

Speaking of starting things, I'm hoping to start a new painting. I want it to hang in our bathroom. I'm thinking something floral. Any ideas?

Monday, October 12, 2009

A Perfectly Good Waste of Time

So, I'm going to write about this since Lovetta seems to ashamed to mention it in public (note: I have no shame in this matter). Before we moved into our new apartment, some friends of ours told us about their latest adventure into internet and movie entertainment. Netflix. It's a magical land of DVDs and Streaming TV, ready for your viewing pleasure at a simple $8.99/mo. We wanted in, and boy has it been wonderful.

Besides hitting a few bumps in some of our movie selections, we've been able to catch up on quite a few films that we've wanted to see in the last while. But, most importantly, we've started catching up on new (to us) and favorite TV shows that we'd been missing out on. All of this really started about a month ago when I convinced Lovetta that we should start watching the first season of Heroes that she'd been wanting to see.

Picture this. We'd just had a wonderful date night on a Friday evening filled with Maglby's and Mario Kart Wii. It's now about 10:30 at night and I'm thinking it's just about time for bed. We brush our teeth, while I sit down at the computer. Hmmm, I think to myself, this episode is only 42 minutes long. We'll still be in bed by 11:30 no problem. Not a big deal. Four hours later, we decide that it's probably a good idea to get some sleep. This was only the beginning.

Over the course of the last month, we've gone through two and a half seasons of Heroes, almost a full season of The Office, two and a half seasons of 30 Rock (that one was just me), a few episodes of Dr. Who, and quite a few movies. Next up on our playlist, for those of you who are curious, is Lovetta's chance to get me to watch Bride and Prejudice. Those of you who have seen this will probably laugh, for better or for worse. My judgement has yet to be passed.

Now, back to the "shame" issue. Lovetta has a hard time with the idea of watching 4 episodes in one day of whatever TV-show-crack we happen to be watching at any given moment. I do not. Maybe it's the difference in upbringing. She had no TV growing up; I had my fair share. Part of the reason I have no problem with it is because I know that she needs to learn to relax a little bit. She's spent too much time in her life living for school, she's forgotten how to enjoy wasting time. Label this what you will (obsessive, lazy, unproductive, unhealthy, pathetic, awesome), I know that it's for the greater good in the end. Besides, after a certain point, we'll get all caught up with these shows and have to watch them week-by-week like normal people do.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

SCIENCE! Episode 2

We're back! This time we tackle one of the supermarket's darkest secrets. How do you tell a ripe watermelon from its unripe brethren? In this three- to four-part series, we will use the INTERNET to reveal this great mystery for your (or at least our) viewing pleasure.

Movie Editing Blues

So, as you may have noticed, Lovetta and I rather enjoy making movies. Our next episode of "SCIENCE!" will be coming to you shortly. Before we get to that, though, I just had to gripe a little bit. A few months ago, we bought the new iLife '09 suite, mostly with high hopes for the new version of iMovie that came along with it. Watching the previews of it, the program seemed pretty easy to use and not as bulky as Adobe Premiere (which the both of us are used to using to some degree of ameteurity). We've since edited two episodes of our show using iMovie and have gotten increasingly frustrated with it. It isn't as intuitive as we would have liked and we often find ourselves wishing for some sort of Frankenstein's monster of the movie-making world--a little bit of iMovie and a little bit of Premiere.

The number one complaint we have for iMovie is its lack of a consistent audio/video timeline editor. Sure, you could call the "Precision Editor" a timeline editor, but it's quite lacking. Cutting clips is a pain. Lining up your audio is a pain, even if you're scaled down to .5 seconds. Considering that this is most of what you spend your time doing, we've found ourselves yelling at the stupidity of it all. Lovetta wants me to be fair now. So, to be fair, I think iMovie makes a faster finishing program for things like transitions, subtitles, ducking, etc. It makes those kinds of things easier (though less customizable).

Premiere is just a beast to work through. While the quick, more precise audio/visual editor is nice, the fact that it allows for a lot of customization can be a turn off at times. This is why we had such high hopes for iMovie. So, we're going to do a little experiment (outside of SCIENCE!). These first two episodes will be done in iMovie. The third and fourth episodes--already filmed--will be done in Premiere. Afterwards, we'll see what we like and maybe post about it. Who knows? Maybe we'll end up using them both in our own sort of Mary-Shelley-type way...

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Of Cuts and Computers

So Lovetta and I just got haircuts about a week ago. These are our same-day haircut shots.


This is us today, after a little stylage.

Lovetta decided that she wanted to go back to something a little shorter. I did too, though you can hardly tell the difference between the before-after shot (not like hers anyway). I'd say more about it, but the pictures speak louder than words.

On to more important and fun things. Like this:

I'm gonna let Lovetta now explain the awesomeness that is now held in her hands. Take it away, babe!

He, he, he... well, it is very nice. All I did yesterday was get it set up and play with it. Tom is always on our iMac, so I'm super excited to have a computer of my own. It will be very handy for school next year. I resolve to start writing in my journal again, write letters to friends on missions, and check my email.

We bought it from the BYU Bookstore with our tax return yesterday. Apple just had their World Wide Developer's Conference where they announced their new laptops. This is a discontinued model, so it was on sale. I got a free iPod touch, too. The iPod connects to the iCal on my laptop which makes it useful for scheduling things.

I feel very spoiled. :)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


Yay! Tom and I answer one of life's most pressing questions. Do different colored Fruit Loops have different flavors? Only, due to budget issues for this video, we've substituted Western Family "Fruit Rings" for the Fruit Loops. Science is fun! And maybe I'll get better at filming and talking at the same time so the next video (this is only the beginning) won't be so focused on Tom's tie... although, it is lovely.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Your Life A Splode

That's kind of what we've been feeling like lately. Ignoring the fact that we haven't updated our blog in *cough* 10 months, things have definitely been happening.

We decided to move our blog off of MobileMe, because it costs too much. Blogspot is free. Because of this move, we no longer have picture galleries for you to look at. QQ. We'll figure something out. Although, admittedly, we haven't taken that many pictures in a while. Maybe we'll upload our watermelon-testing videos to YouTube and post those here. Definite good times. Let me get you caught up on things a little bit.

August to April: We took a lot of classes. Lovetta got a year-long half-salary internship at Westridge Elementary. I got a student teaching opportunity at Timpanogos High School. We taught. It was fun.

April to Present: We graduated, finally. Lovetta had to still teach for about a month until her contract ended at Westridge . That's over now. She has a job at Noah Webster Academy in Orem teaching first grade. I have nothing. Except maybe a lot of time on my hands. If any of you out there want to BBQ this summer, let me know. I'm all about eating meat.

Great! Now you're caught up from last August to today. Easy enough right?

Well, we're kind of at an interesting point in life and in marriage. Since both of our jobs really don't have work time during the summer, we're trying to figure out what on Earth to spend our time doing. One solution: Seven Peaks Waterpark season passes. Oh yeah! It's all about lazing around in front of a pool and water slide all summer long. While this won't be taking up all of our time, we figure that the amount of money we spent on the passes will encourage us to spend a fair amount of time getting wet and getting tan.

In other news, our apartment is a mess. Let me explain to you mathematically. Free Furniture + Everything from Lovetta's Classroom Being Stored in the Apartment + New Exercise Bike X The Amount of Time I Spend Playing Video Games Instead of Cleaning/Organizing Because I'm Lazy = No Room for the Inhabitants of the Reyes-Cairo Houshold. Follow that? At least we have a place to sleep. Eat? Not so much. I think this next week is going to be deep clean week. It should be, anyway.

Well, we'll be updating things a lot more frequently now. We have the time for it after all. Catch ya round here soon.