Monday, December 15, 2008

Make Decisions for Me, Please

So, I'm at a loss. I can't possibly decide. I've been wrestling with this for over a year, and now I leave it in the hands of any random stranger that comes across this blog and stops to vote.

A few weeks ago, I applied for graduation at BYU (yay, me). I applied as a Sociology major with a Political Science minor.

But as most of you know, I ended up living in Tennessee. I had a total of 5 classes left in order to graduate with both the minor and the major. The major is done. I had 2 general eds and 3 minor classes.

So here is my question. I've only finished one class since arriving in Tennessee (I'm a loser, sure, but I'm also working 40 hours a week and have a calling and its nice to see my husband from time to time). All my classes have to be done by April 3, which leaves 3 months after Christmas. Is it worth it to keep the minor? I could, easily, drop the minor, and instead of having 4 classes to take in 3 months I'd only have 2. It would be so nice, and honestly that's what I kinda want to do. But then I wonder if that minor would make a difference some day. Considering its political science, it probably never will. I have no real interest in working in politics. I just love it as a hobby. And online classes are not nearly as exciting as lectures. But maybe, my head tells me, maybe it will matter some day.

Here is the other thing: I AM GRADUATING IN APRIL. Waiting until August is not an option. My brain is entering into a post-baccalaureate phase. Thoughts of grad school and other exciting post-bachelor's-degree-married-for-almost-three-years events have begun to swirl around in my head. Come April, I must be done. I question my capability to do so if I keep the minor.

So what do you think? Keep the minor, because it will be worth something some day and figure out a way to finish by April 3. Or drop the minor, because its just a poli sci minor, and finish free and clear with much less stress, because the Bachelor's degree is really what counts (and heck, its a Sociology degree, so its pretty broad anyway, and almost requires a higher degree to do anything with anyway).

I need your brilliant thoughts.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Trim Up the Tree

This past weekend we finally got around to putting up our Christmas tree. Tragically, the past three years we have used a fake tree, and will probably continue doing so for a little while longer. First, our apartment complex doesn't allow real trees because they are a fire hazard (tragic). But also, it is just easier to use a fake tree. It was $20 and we're using it for the 3rd year (like $7 a year, right?) and never spend Christmas at our own home. We're always gone for at least two weeks. So fake it is--for now. We are both real tree people, so we'll get there one day.

Date Night: We went Christmas shopping for hours that night. And completely struck out.

When we got home (after Starbucks hot chocolate, that is) we got down to business.
Our ornaments:
Chris hanging his Cubs ornament.Our newest ornament! From our vacation in Sun Valley, ID.
Finished living room. I know, its dark. With the stuff on the sliding doors, I can't open the blinds, and we don't have any overhead lighting (Southern thing? I don't know).
So its fun to have our home all festive.
I'll be in Idaho in 10 days.
I cannot wait to see my mommy.
And daddy.
And there is snow there.
It only rains here.
Forever.
Only rain.
Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Sweet N' Salty

My husband is wonderful. He's also hilarious--even when its not on purpose. We have an advent calendar thingy that has 25 little cupboards. Each day counting down to Christmas you take out whatever is in the corresponding cupboard until you reach Christmas day (ok, everyone knows how an advent calendar works). Anyway, my dear husband was going to put something in one of the little cupboards last week. He came to me and said it was my day to open that day's cupboard, but to be careful taking my prize out.

This is what I found:
Turns out he wanted to give me chocolate, since I adore it. But the only chocolate in the house were the M&Ms in the trail mix. So he picked the M&Ms out, but they were covered in salt. So he proceeded to rinse off the salt, forgetting the whole "melts in your mouth" thing M&Ms do. So I ended up with wet, runny M&Ms.

But it was chocolate.
So it was delicious.
(Yes, I ate them. How could I not?)
~
Isn't he sweet?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Gettin' Feisty

So I've been looking at the Young Women's lesson I have to give on Sunday. Its my first one. I'm a little nervous. Young Women's is different here. There aren't any tablecloths or cute hand-outs, just straight-talk lessons and girls who need it, amazing girls who have no idea what its like to have 75% of your high school be the same faith as you. Anywho . . .

My lesson is on money management, and after a news story I read and an email I got, I couldn't help but think that UT should have attended Young Women's.

Let me explain. But I warn you, I just may get feisty.

The past few weeks at UT have been full of cost-cutting plans. UT claims they are "energy-saving" plans, and to some extent I'm sure they are, but mostly because energy costs so much. For example, campus buildings will be kept at 68 degrees over the winter, and 76 over the summer. No personal heaters or fans are allowed. There is also a mandatory freeze on hiring, renovations, furniture and equipment purchases. And a "moratorium" (aka: a suspension of activity) on new academic programs. In the meantime, the freshly-fired head football coach, Philip Fulmer, just got a new gig as the "special assistant to the President" of the university. He gets to walk away with his $6 + million contract buy-out and continue to earn an income of who knows how much--at least the upper 6 figures I'm guessing. Fulmer's job? "Developing and enhancing strategic relationships for the university." Really? I mean, really? I'm sitting at work in 2 jackets and my coat, wondering where my gloves went, and UT is keeping Fulmer around, after paying his buy-out, so he can schmooze people who would probably give money to UT anyway and who's money won't even leave the athletic department? Really? When my husband can't even make copies for the undergraduate classes he teaches? Really? Really?

I'm teaching a group of teenage girls to tell the difference between necessity and want this Sunday. I'm teaching them to learn to be happy without non-essentials. UT should have had a Young Women's lesson or two.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

7 Things

I used to like Hannah Montana. I admit it to few people, but I did. I still like some of her songs, but these days I can't stand Miley Cyrus. That girl is everywhere and getting too famous and dating 20 year old models.

But that's not really the point.

The point is, there is one song of hers I still rather enjoy (forgive me for this one), 7 Things. I think its catchy and the lyrics are cute.

So I thought I'd come up with my own version (in reference to my hub, of course).


7 Things I Hate About You

1. You're the good-looking one in this relationship.

2. You break my ribs when you try to tickle me.

3. You banned Celine Dion from playing in the car when you are in it.

4. You mock me for not putting the toilet paper on the holder.

5. You never buy yourself anything; you'd rather shop for me.

6. You cook dinner every night.

7. I can't help but love you no matter what.


I Probably Should Mention the 7 That I Like

1. You're smart. You say you aren't, but I read that 50 page paper. There's no denying it any longer.

2. Your ambiguous hair and eye color.

3. You put up with me, including grouchy car rides, John and Kate Plus 8, and how I always email you articles about the Penguins that I deem "cute".

4. You split Dr. Pepper with me at 11:00 at night when I claim the caffeine won't effect me and then I wind up singing "7 Things" and dancing in the kitchen--and you laugh.

5. I can say anything to you, and you always understand, think its funny, or sympathize, depending on what the said thing requires.

6. You are funny--that genuine classic funny that doesn't require sarcasm or negativity.

7. I can't help but love you, no matter what.

Ok, mine doesn't flow as well as hers.

It's the thought that counts.


Love you, babe.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Perspective

I was so grouchy this morning in the car.
So complainy.
So woe-is-me.
So ridiculous.
Then I flipped through The Alchemist.
"When each day is the same as the next, it's because people fail to recognize the good things that happen in their lives every day that the sun rises."
Funny how the Lord teaches lessons, even through Paulo Coelho.
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Monday, December 1, 2008

It's Like We Never Left

Its feels that way sometimes. You know, when you're looking forward to a trip for so long and then in a blink of an eye its gone--and suddenly you're back at work talking to endless panicked parents whose child's high school transcripts haven't been sent yet even though today is the deadline and their child is distraught because they have wanted to go to UT since the womb--the WOMB I tell you! (Don't even think for one second I haven't really heard this.) Anyway . . . today it almost felt like we never escaped Knoxville in the first place.
-
Almost.
-
We actually have proof that we did get away for a few days.
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Our drive up was a relatively uneventful one . . . except the part where we thought we were going to Virginia. I don't know how many of you are familiar with the interstates out here (oh, how I miss the simplicity of I-15), but our plan was to go up I-75, through Lexington, KY, to Cincinnati, then jump on I-65 through Indianapolis to Lafayette. Simple enough. C's mom asked us to call when we reached Lexington (exit 115) so she knew we were still alive. I was driving the first half, so I was watching for Exit 115. After a long while, I realized the exits were no longer counting up. And where did all the signs for Lexington go? So I said "Uh, C, where did Lexington go?" There were a few tense moments and frustration and I felt like an idiot and I was wondering if we were going to spend Thanksgiving in Virginia. Then we saw a sign for Louisville, KY. Turns out I turned onto (except I NEVER turned, thank you very much) I-64 west at some point. So we went through Louisville then straight up I-65 through southern Indiana and on to Lafayette. Turns out I actually did it on purpose, because with traffic the way it was in Cincinnati, we actually reached our destination faster by going through Louisville--so there.
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Upon our arrival we were met with a giant box in the living room. To our knowledge, C's entire family except his sister S would be at Thanksgiving this year. S is the last Connolly kid still at BYU. She told us she didn't feel like flying home and would just stay in Provo. All the siblings gave her a rough time for not coming out and there were even moments of anger toward her (all in love--we wanted her here). So back to the big box in the living room--turns out it contained a special guest:

video

It was hilarious. We were happy S came and C was able to enjoy his first Thanksgiving at home since he was a senior in high school--with his whole family present.

C helping to set the Thanksgiving feast

Beautiful Conn sisters ready to eat



Mandatory self-taken picture

Sammie doing what she does best--looking cute so you'll give her human food

Post-dinner nap time

On Thanksgiving night we pursued a little trivia.

Memo to me: never play Trivial Pursuit against C's dad, who knows ridiculous amounts of random information that no person should really know, especially when the said Trivial Pursuit was made 5 years before you were even born.

On Friday we participated in the long-practiced ritual of Black Friday. We went to a store called Gordman's, which is a fun clothes store, at 5 am. It was a little insane and I don't plan on ever doing it again, but it was the first time either of us had done such a thing, so it was a fun experiment. We were home by about 7:30 and I proceeded to sleep until 11. Then we saw Twilight (see previous post) and after that we headed to the mall--for a long time. After dinner, we made it back to Gordman's and finished the night around 9:00 at TJMaxx.

Saturday we got time to relax. In the morning we took some family pictures (see below). By lunch time I was back in my PJs and planted on the couch, where I would remain until I went to bed (for the record, I did get up to get enchiladas, and ice cream, and to visit C in the computer room where he was working on his 50 page paper). Me and various mixtures of his sisters watched a whole day's worth of movies: Rocky IV, Harry Potter 5, Persuasion, and Cinderella Man. It was a nice relaxing day--exactly what I needed before driving home on Sunday.

When we woke up on Sunday morning, we were greeted with this:

I think Indiana was giving me a little gift to remember it by.

The snow was beautiful and a welcome sight for an Idaho girl--except we had a 7 hour drive ahead of us. The trip home was slow, and I actually watched a truck roll over in front of my very eyes, but we made it and it was so nice to get back to our little home.

It was a great holiday and I'm so happy we decided to go and grateful for C's parents for providing such a great Thanksgiving!

But now I'm back and work . . . and it's like we never left.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

I'm Actually Quite Surprised . . .

because I loved it.
I didn't think I would, but I did.
I even want to see it again.
It was nice that they stuck almost exactly to the book. Granted, they had to omit a lot of extra character development (like the Cullens) because the a movie can only be so long, but they did a really good job of giving you the 'gist' of every character.
That was nice. But I said I loved it, remember?
Some reasons why I loved it . . .
1. First, I bought the casting. I didn't think I would. The books are describe everyone in a way that allows you to develop your own perception of each character, which is why everyone has their own perfect 'Edward' in their head. I didn't think I would buy into, let alone approve of, any of the casting for the movie. But the actors did such a good job that I loved them all. While they don't (and never could) measure up to my imagination (especially my beloved Carlisle), all the actors fit the bill quite well and I wasn't disappointed with anyone. They biggest weakness in the casting in my opinion was Jacob. He was too cute. His smile was too white. Jacob was supposed to be more rugged, in my opinion. Maybe they'll do that in the next move, after his big "change".
2. The music. I loved the music in this movie. It was very outside-the-box and "mystic", if you will. The music went perfectly with the way the film was made and worked very well with the story itself. My sister-in-law actually gave me a copy of the soundtrack and its not my 'usual' music. But I love it. I especially love the song at the end, when they are dancing at prom. So romantic.
3. The thing I loved the most was the way the movie was made. It was a relatively low-budget film, and the production was . . . . artsy. That's the only word I can think of. It was artsy and mystic. It didn't look like the basic Hollywood-produced teeny-bopper film. The cinematography was also unique, and brought in some interesting shots. I loved that the filming and production itself was the way it was. It fit the book and the story so well. (This might not make any sense, but watch it and you'll know what I'm talking about.)
It wasn't perfect (is any film adaptation of a book every perfect?) and it had some weaknesses (Jacob's hair) and even 1 or 2 (or 3 or 4) corny parts, but all-in-all, they did a good job with a book that so many of us hold dear.

P.S. We had a great Thanksgiving. Tales to come at a later date.

Monday, November 24, 2008

I Am Grateful

I am grateful for eternal families.

I am grateful for brothers . . .
like him
and him
and him.
I am grateful for family the used to be 'his' family, but is now 'our' family.



I am grateful for family that used to be "new" family, but is now just family.
I am grateful for Sam, because she is family.
I am grateful for parents who lead, guide, and walk beside--even now.

And I'm grateful for him.
And this.
And here.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Grown-Up Christmas List

Wowzah. I'm so sorry for being such a Debbie Downer yesterday! I'm not sure what that was all about. I wrote it in a few moments of emotion and before you know it it was up there for all the world to see! Hazard of having a blog, I suppose. Its funny though because I tend to get over things quickly. Last night I posted that just before 5 and then got off work and had a good hour-long work out. I felt a billion times better after that and was in a great mood. Unfortunately, during my moment of emotion I had a break at work and called and told Chris all my "problems". So 2 hours later after my workout he had been worrying about it all afternoon and I had already gotten over it. I saw him and could tell he was upset and I was like "What's wrong?". I know, really perceptive of me.

Anyway. I am SO excited for Thanksgiving in Indiana and SO excited to go to Idaho in December. Those are very happy things that I'm looking forward to.

Moving on. Have you ever heard that song (I've only heard it sung by Mariah Carey) called "Grown Up Christmas List"? She talked about how as a grown-up she wants peace and happiness and love, blah blah blah. Its a really good song, actually, and its been in my head (even thought I try to kick it out because NO Christmas music before Thanksgiving!), but it got me thinking. Chris and I have both really struggled to put together Christmas lists this year. For me, its gotten to a point where all I want is Christmastime. Not presents, just the season--because I LOVE Christmas and December 26th is the most tragic day ever. That's why this year all I really wanted from my parents was plane tickets home--and that's what we got (Thank you, Mom and Dad!!).

But there is something else that comes along with a "grown-up"Christmas list--the desire for things you can't have/can't ever afford. Here we go, its picture time.

My "Grown-Up" Christmas List~~

1. Christian Louboutin heels. Aren't they gorgeous? They go for around $1000.



2. Honda CR-V. My dream car. Not super fancy, but perfect just for me.

3. A trip to Germany during Christmas to see the Christmas Market.
This is where C served his mission (Munich) and
I really want to go and see where he spent 2 years of his life and
had so many experiences and memories.
And he LOVED the Christmas Markets.

And while we're there, we'll go see this, because it was in his mission too
but he never got to see it.

4. A trip to Bora Bora with my hub. This is my all time dream vacation--in a little
hut with glass floors where you can see the fish underneath you.
5. One of these for C
and one of these for me.
6. And if you give an E a puppy (or 2),
she is going to need a yard to go with it.
7. And what do yards come with?

What's on your "grown-up" Christmas list??

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

It's About Time

So I haven't really had the best day. The phone won't stop ringing at the office and I've been the only one answering it because who knows where S**** has been all day or who she has been talking to on her phone ("Girl, he's all up in your business!"). Most days I seriously don't care, other than the fact that I still feel like I am flying by the seat of my pants in this job sometimes, but today I was tired and grumpy. And it smelled like stale coffee. Gag me with a wooden spoon. I'm really a typically happy person, so I've been wondering all day whats wrong with me today (other than the tired and coffee smell thing, that is--and NO I'm not pregnant, and NO its not that time of the month).

Then it hit me.
And here we have Idaho.

I'm homesick. Horribly, tragically homesick. It only took 3 months, but I'm finally there. I think its because its cold outside, but it will never snow. Its because last night I told Chris it will be weird to see real mountains again--because I couldn't remember really what it was like to be surrounded by them. Maybe because I have never spent one single Thanksgiving in my entire life away from my mommy and daddy, and this year I'm doing exactly that (not that I'm not excited for my first Conn Fam Thanksgiving, but you know what I'm saying). Or maybe it was the Christmas music playing in Walmart last night. Since when did I spent Christmastime in Knoxville, TN? I heard "I'll Be Home for Christmas", and I will be home for Christmas (I cannot wait!!) but not until then. And then I'll come back and won't be home again for who knows how long (except hopefully in April for graduation, but other than that I mean). I was really good at being a big girl so far from home, but I tap out--at least for today.
So, to make things infinitely worse, I picked a few pictures of things I'm missing. Good therapy, I know.
BYU. Isn't she pretty? And Y mountain. And mountains. This is home, too. And its weird that its been so long since I've been home.

A very T Fam Thanksgiving. Remember last year how fun it was to do Christmas card pictures, T Fam? Ha ha. This picture perfectly displays how "fun" it was. If only I'd gotten a picture of B on his cell phone.

Family. Yeah, my hubby looks sexy in this picture, I know. I miss my brothers, even the one who's not in this picture.

Rocco's cooking. My dad is a master in the kitchen. He and my mom are quite the Thanksgiving team. Every Thanksgiving I wake up to burning eyes because my dad is chopping onions for his famous stuffing.

My mommy. I love her.

Temple square Christmas lights. We will be coming West for Christmas, but I'm not sure we'll be there long enough to make it to Temple Square. Its truly the most beautiful place in the World at Christmas time.

For the Record:

Things that save me

1. C

2. Working out when I don't have a cold or mysterious foot bruises.

3. Penguins games online

4. A blog where I can vent and post pictures nobody but me wants to see.