23 May 2010

April - Easter and My Birthday

April started with a bang (actually, it started with beasty snow on April Fool's Day morning...). The first weekend was both General Conference AND Easter! What a treat! :) We had a fun Easter dinner on Sunday afternoon with a few friends. I was in charge of making the rolls. I mixed them up right after the first session, then left them to rise while I visited Z&S. Upon returning home, I found this beauty, which, of course, inspired a resounding chorus of "It is risen, it is risen, let the whole wide Earth rejoice!"

A few weeks later was my birthday!! We celebrated by throwing a rockin' party - SavannahPalooza! Aren't the cupcakes cute? I had a lot of fun making them with R (who came to visit for two weeks! Love that kid!!). At the party, we set up Rock Band and projected it onto the side of our house. We also had glow in the dark croquet, old school Nintendo, and lots of snacks. I had a great time. Thanks to all my friends who came (or who were there in spirit)! You are all fantastic!
On the morning of my actual birthday, I hiked the Y with R, M, and J. It was a lot of fun, and it was a beautiful morning for hiking! Here is a picture of R and I when we were relaxing at the top. We were enjoying the view of Provo, seeing the Temples, and trying to find our apartments.

Here is M reenacting a near-disastrous stumble he took on the way down. It's dangerous, that hill. This was before he started playing "The Climb" on his phone. Haha, we had a good laugh at that. :)
On my birthday afternoon, I treated R to lunch at Tucano's, which was lovely. I love their garlic sirloin and the grilled pineapple. I think R enjoyed himself, too.

Other March Happenings

The rest of March, after our Vegas trip, was a lot of fun, too. Pi Day was the next weekend, and you'd better believe I celebrated! We made four pies: chocolate chip cookie, French silk, raspberry cream, and peach cream. I love baking, so it was a fun afternoon for me. And then I went to a few different parties that night. :)

Also, I got to babysit for Z&S while they went to J's sealing. We were up in Lehi, at my cousin's place, and we had a family luncheon/party afterward. It was one of the first times that Miss K didn't scream at me! Look, she almost looks happy even:
And L, of course, climbed in the dog cage and immediately began acting like a dog. It was classic. And the best part was that he was terrified of the actual dog! I love this boy!!
And, finally, the last day of March was B's birthday. We had celebrated with a fun party, but I don't have any pictures from that unfortunately. Here, you can see that we live it up classy in Provo... Everything from the balloon crown to her fuzzy slippers to the fact that she's eating the cake from the pan with her fingers. :) I love my roommates. We have too much fun.

Viva Las Vegas, Part Tres

Our last night and morning in Vegas were a lot of fun. At one point during the trip, this little stinker got a hold of my camera and started taking some pretty fantastic self-portraits. It was a great surprise when I got home and looked at my pictures! :)

The morning we left, before we headed to church, we had some fun upstairs. This is one of my absolute favorite pictures from the trip. M is so cute and spontaneous, and it was good to see her being a little bit goofy. She'd had a tonsilectomy the day before we went down, and was drugged and resting for most of the time we were there... But it led to some pretty great one-liners, including (in the sweetest little voice you can imagine), "Hey mom... One time, I was watching a movie with Marshall, and I puked." It was sad, but funny because of the way she told a story about what just happened. Anyway, here's the picture:
And here's her face looking out the window. :)
And, E, M, and I just rockin' out.
K sent us off with a very yummy breakfast (I LOVE her cinnamon rolls!), and we headed to church then home....
Before we left Vegas completely, though, we made a little detour to the Temple. I had been to Vegas a few times before, but I'd never seen the Temple. It was really peaceful and beautiful. :) And I thought it was a little ironic that you could see the whole Strip off in the distance.Overall, it was a fantastic trip! It was wonderful to get out of Provo and forget about school for a few days. I LOVED seeing my family, as always, and I'm excited to get back down there soon. :)

20 May 2010

Thursday Thoughts - On Being Assertive

I feel like a few years ago I was so much more assertive and extroverted than I am now... Maybe because I had several wonderful social circles I was a part of, I got to spend time outside the Talmage Building, I was young and carefree... For whatever reason, I could talk to people, and it was easy to meet new people and make friends. And, gosh darn it, I didn't have too much of a problem saying how I felt.

But then again, I feel like I've always been a rather quiet person when I'm in a new and unfamiliar situation. Maybe hindsight, though purportedly 20/20, is making things appear a little nicer than they actually were? Maybe I've forgotten those times when I was lonely or fearful? Maybe it's the situations I'm in right now, where I feel so weak and vulnerable, that make my lack of assertiveness seem so apparent? I don't know. I just want to be able to speak my piece (peace?). I want to stand up for myself. I want to develop the self-respect that I feel like I should have for myself. But how? Sometimes I feel like I'm falling so far behind where I should be, and I don't have time or energy to do those things that will help me grow and help me develop my abilities to communicate and to be a person worth being around. I'm trying... But I feel so lost. I don't know how. I know feelings of inadequacy can be (and have been) a great motivator, but sometimes it's just easier to let them make me lose a little bit of hope. I don't want to take the easy route; I want to stay strong....

So, I turn to you... How do you develop self-confidence? How do you become a self-respecting woman? How do you realize the beauty that others claim to see in you? How do you stand up for yourself? How do you develop those qualities that command respect? I just... I don't know.

Blah. I feel like I just word-vomited all over this post. Sorry. Just some things I had to get down in writing. Still feel unsettled. I'm still planning on finishing up Vegas posts, and covering some fun things from April. :)

17 May 2010

Vegas, Part 2

On Saturday, we had a lot of fun hanging out with cousins, relaxing, getting some homework done (okay, so that wasn't the fun part.... [except when I helped M with his math stuff - I'll admit I had fun with that]), baking, and going to the Hoover Dam! And, yes, we did make jokes about it for the whole dam time. Because I'm still 5, apparently.

Don't worry about how E is just awkwardly holding my elbow in this one. It ain't no big thang...

While we didn't take the dam tour, we did ride on the dam elevator and the dam escalator.
And we went into the dam gift store, where they have the best dam gifts around. The marquee was a little creepy though...

Vegas, Part 1

So, back in March, a few of us decided to get out of Provo for the weekend. I drove down to Vegas with E, M, and J, and we stayed with our fantastic cousins (Love you, K!) for two nights. Friday consisted of a lot of driving, which means a lot of singing (loudly, and out of key...), drinking Dr. Pepper like it's going out of style, and making jokes about and admiring the Virgin River Gorge ("Well, shoot, for being the Virgin River, it certainly gets around... Heh heh heh..."). Those who weren't driving got to relax between my squawking, and they even got some good reading in (Hunger Games, anyone?). When we arrived, we went out for dinner at In 'N' Out, and then headed to the Strip to experience fabulous Las Vegas.

M and J are enjoying their yummy burgers:

Our first stop on the Strip was the Bellagio. We walked around the gardens. We took ridiculous pictures like the tourists we were. M turned into a fearsome beast around the giant tiger. You know, the usual.
Also, J decided to try out some modeling for us... I think he could go professional!
And, of course, while we were there we HAD to see the fountains. They are by FAR my favorite part of the Strip. I think I could just sit and watch them for hours... Here are E, me, and M waiting patiently for the next show to begin....
After the Bellagio, M, J, and I walked around for a bit. We stopped at Monte Carlo so we could witness J being a dirty sinner outside of Provo. High roller that he is, he came out on top! That'll teach 'em...
We also stopped at a few fun places like the Coca-Cola Store and the M&M Factory. J just can't resist that darned green M&M.
After that, we drove down to the Venetian so J could see it. It was awesome inside, and the light really did feel like natural light!
Then we headed north to the older part of town. We swung by the world famous Chapel of the Bells, so J and I could get hitched, Britney-style. Or, you know, so J could pull a quick one on his mom...
Our last stop of the night was Fremont Street. We wanted to see a light show, but nothing too interesting was happening. M and J both got a chance to rub the magic lamp, though...
And, finally, a little pride for the good ol' Mountain West. I just had to take a picture of my true blue Cougar banner! :)

Hey Stranger...

So, it's been awhile... I have no excuse other than that graduate school is soundly kicking my trash.

I finished up Winter semester in a crazy whirlwind of papers and projects, with a little bit of rocking out and a lot of caffeine. Several family members came to visit, and Spring Term was well underway before I even realized it. Even today, I'm realizing that it's about halfway over, and I still feel like I don't know what I'm doing with my life. Rock on.

I am TAing for College Algebra this term, so that's a new experience for me. It's a lot of math that I haven't done for a long while (6+ years for some of it), and it's kind of nice to get back into it. I still LOVE working with students and helping them understand. But sometimes there are drawbacks. Like this morning, when I spent 5 and a half hours talking about exponential and logarithmic functions. And I didn't really think anything of it. And I found parts of it fun and exciting... That's when you know you're so far gone that you cannot conceal your nerditude. Nerdocity. Nerdiness. Whatever.

I'm also endlessly plugging away at my thesis proposal and data analysis. It's like the project that would never end. It goes on and on, my friend... And it's only just beginning. However, if all goes as planned, I should be finished and graduated by next April. And what I do after that is beyond me... That's what faith is for, right? :)

Anyway, I'll be adding a few more posts later today, with pictures to boot! How exciting! I'll try not to be too much of a stranger. :)