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.