29 November 2011

Prosocial Differences in Gender

Things that have happened:

Thanksgiving in Reno at Katie's! She is my sister.

Who: Katie, Casey, and their two boys Hayden and Corbin, mom, dad, grandma, Aunt Gayela, Nick and his lady-friend, K-Leigh.
What: Thanksgiving fun.
When: Wednesday to Sunday last week.
Where: Reno, Nevada. At Katie's. Didn't I already say that?
Why: Because I hadn't met Corbin because he was born while I was in DC. And we love spending time with family!

Now I will post pictures and let you enjoy because a picture is worth a thousand words. So now this entry may be compared to a very wordy.... word fest. My brain isn't functioning very well right now. Sorry.

One of the highlights of the trip was snuggling with eight-month-old Corbin. He is one the happiest, friendliest, well-behaved babies I know. And he really will just snuggle with you.
He's a cutie!

Another great thing we did was play games! We played Settlers of Catan (pictured above),
Apples to Apples, and Quiddler (at which I dominated).

We also watched a lot of movies. A lot. I watched 6 movies.
Seems to be the thing to do whenever we go visit Katie and Casey.

Another entertaining thing was just playing with the kids. Hayden loves Thomas trains. Above is Nick playing Thomas with Hayden. It was also really entertaining to just watch Hayden play by himself. He has quite the active imagination. And he's really good at building things- train tracks, Legos, whatevs.

Another wonderful thing about this holiday: spending the day in pajamas. Although, I'm pretty sure I was the only one that didn't put on normal clothes. Who cares? Flannel is really soft and comfortable.
Me and dad both like plaid (above).
Hmm, when you look at the preceding sentence, it shouldn't rhyme. But it does. Go English!

In the past, many children have been entertained by pulling out the Tupperware from the cupboard and spilling it all over the floor. See the image below.
Starting from top left going clockwise: Nick September 1986, Hayden November 2008, Jonathan in undated photo, me April 1991. 
But guess what? Mom does it, too!

I guess she decided to organize Katie's Tupperware cupboard. How nice of her.

And of course we can't forget the feast of Thanks! We got all your classic trimmings: green salad (there was also fruit salad [with the pomegranate on the side] , but I didn't have room on my plate the first go-around.), turkey, cranberry sauce (the good, homemade kind provided by aunt Gayela. MMmmm), sweet potatoes with just butter (they're already sweet, people! You don't have to load them down with marshmallows and brown sugar! They are my number 2 favorite.) green bean casserole (my number 1 favorite). There was also stuffing, banana cream pie, pumpkin pie, and I'm sure some other stuff but I just can't remember.

On Friday, I went to Lake Tahoe with Nick and K-Leigh. I bet you're thinking, "What an annoying little brother! Disturbing his brother and his lady friend!" But everyone else was going to Virginia City, an old, historic mining town that I had visited before. Twice. So we spent an exorbitant amount of money to go to High Camp at Squaw Valley and ice skate. The ice was thin and breaking due to the warm weather (or I was really fat from the feast the day before) and so we left after not too long. There was a little Asian girl who was skating and she was so good. The future Kristi Yamaguchi right there. (Kristi Yamaguchi? She's that really good ice skater, right?). We ate at a reasonably priced restaurant called Rosie's Cafe. I had a Baja Cheese Steak sandwich that left my hands smelling like cheese steak for the rest of the day. It was really yummy.

That evening mom, dad, grandma, Katie, Gayela, and I went to the Reno Nevada Temple. It is the first small temple that I had gone to. It was a wonderful session and there were two individuals receiving their endowment. Yay!

On Sunday after a 9 am sacrament meeting we started our long trek home. To help us stay entertained, we listen to audio books (formerly known as books-on-tape). On the way up, we listened to Carry on, Jeeves: A Wooster and Jeeves Comedy by P.G. Wodehouse narrated by Jonathan Cecil. It was very funny. On the way home we listened to Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. When we got home, we still had two discs left so we listened to it in the kitchen. I realized that I own this book (an autographed copy, no less) and went to my room to finish it up (one reads much faster than listening to a narrator). By the time I finished, they still had one disc left.

One major landmark that we drive by on highway 50 is the shoe tree. Apparently some punk chopped it down.

The chopped down Shoe Tree.

Another tree that has been designated Shoe Tree.

A memorial post. Many words were written on it.
My favorite: Shoe Tree lives on in our soles.

Mourning Shoe Tree.

Sooooo that's what's up. To read another view of the holiday, see Momma Linda's blog.

Random fact: I have now been to 8 dedicated temples! I hope that list will continue to grow.

Random question: Have you ever made a mix tape?

Random photo from my mission:
Weekly planning in Gaithersburg area. It's around Christmastime and I'm gorging on sweets from the ward.

☮ ♡ ☺

20 November 2011


Unexpected anger: Turning on the TV to watch pretty much the only show that you watch only to find out that the American Music Awards are on instead. Grrr.

Unexpected boredom: Has church always been three hours? I'm pretty sure that I got all meetinged-out on my mission. I miss the wonderful lessons presented by Brother Dr. Harrison in my family ward. Must endure!

Unexpected gratitude: For mom. She made and amazing dinner today for us all (and she makes dinner often) and then she cleaned it all up. And she finally finished up all the apple business (dehydrated, apple sauce, apple jelly). She is just amazing.

Unexpected nap attacks: I had one at 7:30pm today. So I had me a nap. Now I hope that I'll be able to fall asleep tonight (the time is currently... Oh, man! Is it really that late already?! It's about 15 to 11.).

Unexpected lateness: It's 10:45.

Unexpected laughter: Yesterday Caroline was over and I showed her and mom the apple breaking trick. Mom asked where I learned it and I said "On my mission." Caroline overheard and responded with the statement: "Oh. Sam (her uncle) only learned Portuguese on his mission." At this point, mother and myself commenced in hearty laughter because, let's be honest: breaking apples in half with your bare hands is waaay better than learning Portuguese.

Unexpected frustration: Portuguese: it's a really hard word for me to spell. Had to look it up.

Unexpected blessings: Going to the temple with mom and grandma on Wednesday to commemorate 63 years of marriage between grandma and grandpa.

Unexpected joy: sitting around the dinner table and being absolutely, inexplicably happy. Why? Because I'm surrounded by the ones that I love most: family.

Unexpected weather: It's raining right now.

Unexpected comfort: Making your bed in the morning is worth the investment of time. It's so much nicer to snuggle in between tight, smooth sheets as opposed to wrapping up in a mess of blankets and sheets. Try it. You'll like it.

Unexpected blankness: I don't know what else to say.

Oh look! Yet another random photo from my mission!
This is at a birthday party of a young man in the Gaithersburg I ward March 2010. We're playing spoons. Sister Patterson did a great job catching the thrill of the game on film.
☮ ♡ ☺

13 November 2011

Witty Title

I've been trying to be a diligent blogger. Unfortunately, sometimes I'm really boring and I don't have much to blog about. But mom has a wonderful blog entry about the weekend.

Before the weekend came, I went to the St. George Utah Temple with my good buddy Michael. His YSA (Young Single Adult) stake* was going and I thought that it was also my stake so I tagged along. Turns out that it's not my stake. Whoops. Regardless, I had a marvelous time. Plus, the stake presidency brought doughnuts and hot cocoa! Burned my tongue on the hot cocoa.

Anywho, today was pretty legit as far as Sundays go. I was really excited to finally attend my YSA ward, but that was not the case. We had stake conference**! This stake conference was a wee bit different. Usually we gather together in our stake center and listen to our local stake leaders, but today we had a regional broadcast from church headquarters in Salt Lake City, UT. There were 80 stakes listening to the broadcast in the Utah South and Utah East regions. We heard from
Brother David M. McConkie, First Counselor, General Sunday School Presidency who spoke about the power in priesthood quorums,
Sister Jean A. Stevens, First Counselor, General Primary Presidency spoke about listening to the counsel of prophets and then acting on that counsel,
Elder Tad R. Callister, Presidency of the Seventy spoke about establishing eternal marriages (or we could say relationships instead of marriages because the principles are the same), and
Elder Russell M. Nelson, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke about the blessing it is to have a physical body and how much Satan wants us to deface and defile our bodies because he wants us to be miserable. Elder Nelson talked about a bunch of other things, too, but that was the thing that stands out most in my mind. Why do I tell you this? To prove to you that I do pay attention in meetings. And to let you know that Stake Conference is awesome. Some have the notion that Stake Conference means that they can stay home and relax. But it doesn't mean that at all! Stake Conference is a marvelous opportunity to learn principles of everlasting happiness and to receive personal, customized revelation for you from our loving Heavenly Father.

Hope you enjoyed my thoughts for the evening!

In other news, there is a girl.
A girl.
Who works at Panda Express. And I'm going to ask her out. I'll let you know how it goes because I know how interested you are in my so-called love life. Ha.

And I have employment!
Well, temporary employment, but employment nonetheless and it pays well. I'm going to be doing secretarial work at a local investment firm for a week while the investor is out of town. Yay! Stuff to do!

Oh look! Another random picture from my mission!
This is on a P-day at the National Mall! My best friend, Isie, wanted a picture of me kissing the Washington Monument. So I humored her.

☮ ♡ ☺

*A stake is an ecclesiastical and administrative unit of the Church, almost always covering a geographic area, composed of several wards and/or sometimes branches (congregations; wards are larger than branches). Administered by a stake president.

**Stake conference is a semi-annual meeting of the members of a stake in which both general and local church leaders are sustained and leaders give stake members counsel and instruction.

03 November 2011

November News

Perhaps I should start out with "October Olds" as I haven't posted for a minute.

Halloween was spent in Temecula with Damian and his family. It was fun. I have no pictures because I didn't take my camera, but I'm sure Tandy will get them on her blog before too long. I ate lots of food. Mainly candy. Their kids are super cute.

Good times.

Anywho, this weekend was spent up in Grand Ol' Vernal, Utah for Teagan's (my cousin's daughter) wedding. Mom, dad, Grandma L, and me loaded up the bed of the truck with Dutch ovens (dad was doing the food for the reception: Dutch oven cobbler. Yum!), luggage, and boxes of Christmas gifts (it almost resembled Santa's sleigh), and drove the 7 hours to Vernal. Too long.

Many of Grandma's posterity lives in Vernal and she decided that she needed to take up a bunch of gifts. She amazes me, that woman. She gets all her posterity a gift for Christmas and has all their birthdays and names memorized. You may think that that's no big deal. But it is. It's a huge deal. Grandma has 8 children, 34 grandchildren (of which I am the youngest), 77 great grandchildren, and 44 great-great grandchildren. And add in their spouses, too. That's a lot of people.

We were joined by Nick, his lady friend K-Leigh (not actual spelling), and aunt Gayela. They helped with the preparation and serving of the Dutch oven goodness. Mom, dad, Nick, K-Liegh, and I slept in a 5th Wheel-toy hauler of cousin Scott's nicknamed The Ramada Inn. That thing is huge! Its ceilings are taller than the ones in my house! I wish I had a photo to post. But I don't.

On Saturday morning before the wedding, Mom, dad, and I went to a session at the Vernal Utah Temple. The temple was the Vernal Tabernacle and was converted into a temple in the mid-90's. It is a smaller temple, but the session we were in was packed because there was a couple being sealed for eternity. Yay!

Me at the Vernal Temple.

Back to the wedding details: Teagan is very country (I think everyone in Vernal is...) and so was the decor. Living in Southern Utah, I have been to my fair share of country themed wedding receptions and have been appalled by the amount of hay bales. But Teagan did a very good job with color scheme and decor.

The eating area.

The cake.

The servers LtoR: Dad, Me, K-Leigh, Nick. Sorry it's a bit blurry.

The happy couple during the ceremony!
We sat on the front row and had a nice view of Trevor's back.

The "shoes" Teagan wore to her wedding. You go, cowgirl!

On Sunday morning we decided that we would go to sacrament meeting with someone whose ward meets at 9am (we have enough family in Vernal, there's bound to be someone assigned that time) and the winner was Monica! So we went to church with her. And there was no heat in the building. I was cold. I am usually cold (just shake my hand and you will see what I mean) but I was shivering. I was in my coat (the mustard yellow corduroy one. yeah.) and I had a scarf. And I wore a hat. I wasn't going to wear the hat, but I was shivering so bad that mom put it on my head. I pointed out to mom while I was sitting there shivering that we drove by three chapels to get to Monica's chapel and I bet that all of them had working heat.

It was a good weekend.
I love weddings. I love weddings more when I don't have to serve food or bus tables.
I love seeing family. I don't love driving 7 hours in a truck with very hard seats.

I just realized: last weekend I also spent 14 hours in a car going to/from SoCal. Gross.

☮ ♡ ☺