the past few weeks (a very long winded update)

True Finals Week (December 9-December 15)
The reason I say true finals week: I had taken most of my finals and finished everything before the actual finals week. We had a fun christmas party at our house on December 8 after the Christmas Devotional, but that was about the only fun I had since I was studying so much. On December 10, I stepped out of my last final of my first quarter of graduate school...six more quarters (18 months) to go! There's something euphoric about finishing finals and not only that, but doing well on ALL of them! I certainly spent a lot of hours studying and I am positive I had a lot of help, because I certainly could not have done so well on my cumulative Neuroanatomy final without all of those prayers! I picked up a delicious clam chowder lunch at Duke's to share with Debi (one of my roommates), then I took her to campus for one of her finals. I drove over to U Village and walked around some pretty stores for a while. I didn't buy a thing, but you know when you need to just decompress and just look at pretty things? That's what I was doing (along with exercising a lot of restraint due to my grad school budget). I skyped with Hope, since it was her seventeenth birthday! It was so good to see her and talk to her about her day, reminiscing about the day she was born. I laughed with my family, watched The Holiday, skyped Carly, talked with all of my roommates about how happy I was to be done with finals, and then, I didn't really leave my room the rest of the night...I was so exhausted.

The next two days, I was able to clean up around the house while watching Christmas movies, take care of random errands, drive all around Seattle, see almost all of the fun holiday decorations in downtown, go over to the Seattle Temple, and host a ward activity at our house (delicious cookies and crockpot hot chocolate + White Christmas).

On December 13, I had my windshield replaced (a little chip turned into a huge crack with all of the cold temps!), but I had to go clear down to Renton (not super far, but farther than I wanted to go). While I was there, my mom called me to tell me my brother was on his way to the ER. It was awful to be 800 miles away when my family really needed me. I called Delta to see if I could get my ticket from SEA to SLC changed from December 16 to December 14. By some small miracle (one of those daily miracles, tender mercies), they were able to change it (at the cost of some Skymiles) for me after I explained the situation. I started doing laundry and getting everything prepped to leave earlier than planned. To get my mind off of worrying about my family, I pined over Jonathan Taylor Thomas in "I'll Be Home for Christmas" with Debi and then, I roasted chestnuts over an open fire with some fun friends. A guy with a heart of gold took me to the airport, then I was off to Salt Lake City.

Once I landed, my dad and I drove up to PCMC. Before we made our way home, we took a picture of  the "U" which was lit up for the Utah vs. BYU Men's Basketball game and drove by a couple of my favorite places in Salt Lake City. Our family (minus Hope, who was at the Christmas dance) watched the basketball game, ate some Chinese takeout, and took care of poor Thomas. It was so good to be home with my family (and Utah won!). And thankfully, Thomas is doing much better now (after a lot of appointments and tests!)

Hope came home from her dance late Saturday night/Sunday morning and we chatted for at least an hour, then decided we needed to get to sleep. Being back in my home ward for church was so good. It was so fun to talk to everyone and sit with my family through church. Hope snapchatted her friends to announce I was home, then snapped a picture of me waking up from a nap. Ooooh Snapchat. We took a ride later to look at the lights and chat. After reading scriptures, we all decided to jump onto my parents bed and my dad announced we needed a "selfie" of it. Just hearing dad using the word "selfie" was enough to make us die of laughter. The best laughter in life is shared with those you love.

Crazy Week (December 16-December 22)

The week my mom and I had planned to have when I came home didn't really go as planned, but here are some of the highlights: a lot of doctor appointments and time at PCMC, Hope's wonderful Christmas choir concert, seeing Frozen while sharing a blizzard (from the best DQ in the world) with Hope, a much needed haircut from my dear neighbor, dinner and catching up with Rosie (my dear friend and roommate from freshman year) at Corner Bakery, running a lot of Christmas errands for mom at City Creek and all over the valley, helping my sister through a heartbreak and taking her to see "Saving Mr. Banks" (which made us cry more, even though it was very good), and going to Little America with my grandparents and cousin for a little lunch before she flew back to Virginia for Christmas. I always love Little America and Grand America at Christmastime. Plain and simple, Salt Lake City is magical at Christmastime. Later that night, I attended the Bountiful Temple. It was so wonderful to be back at my Temple on a cold winter night and be warmed by thoughts of the true reason of the season--our Savior, Jesus Christ. I drove around afterwards, listening to The Carpenter's Christmas album and looking at the lights. The next day, I loved the Christmas program at church, especially the sweet Primary kids singing. Hope and I took another Sunday drive later that night and I love getting to chat with her about everything and nothing. 

 We couldn't stop laughing about Thomas' weird Christmas pug shirt from the Dollar Store. White elephant, anyone?

Christmas Week! (December 23-December 29)

On Monday, Natalie's wedding shower was absolutely wonderful. I loved seeing dear friends and catching up with them. It's amazing to think about where we are in life, to look at all we've accomplished and the bright futures ahead of us. I truly have the best of friends. My family and I decided to go get some dinner that night at Red Iguana and it was so fun to laugh with them at one of our favorites.

On Christmas Eve, we have a huge party with my mom's side of the family. It is one of the things I look forward to all year long and this year was no exception. I love singing Christmas songs with everyone and Santa coming to see all of the kids. It is so much fun to just be together and talk with everyone. Especially, because over the past nine months or so, I've grown much closer to a few of my cousins (technically my mom's first cousins and my second cousins...but it doesn't really matter) and it was so good to talk with them face to face. When we came home from the party, we opened our Christmas jammies and we read the stories in the scriptures of the birth of our Savior. On Christmas morning, I received a new wallet, a Rifle Paper Co. calendar, a nice throw, and some new boots. but truly, it wouldn't have mattered if I didn't receive anything. I will never forget just being with my family while we sat in our living room and laughed about memories from past Christmases while listening to music. It was so much fun to just be with family the whole day, both sides of the family.

The day after Christmas, we saw The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and had Settebello's afterwards. I think it's the best movie I've seen during this holiday season (with Saving Mr. Banks as a close second or tying at first). It made me feel better about living in the moment and not having to capture everything on camera (especially since my phone died two days after I came home and I lost all of my contacts of the last seven years + photos of the last three months in Seattle...back up your phones, computers, everything!) I loved the motto of Life Magazine in the movie: 
“To see things thousands of miles away, things hidden behind walls and within rooms, things dangerous to come to; to see and to feel.” 

Natalie's wedding was truly joyous. The waffles were delicious and the company even better. Like I said, I'm so grateful for the friends and people who have come into my life during the past four years. When I came home from the reception, I was reunited with some of my Centerville YSA 1st friends (Janalee, Carly, and Tess) and we laughed until we cried while we watched (mainly talked while kind of watching) different shows on Netflix in Janalee's basement. 

Yesterday, I went to the Bountiful Temple with my dad and our family attended the Utah basketball game (We won...by a long shot! It was so good to be back on campus and in the Huntsman Center! The last time I was there, I was graduating!!). The rest of the day was pretty relaxed...we watched movies and I played the piano for a long time. Today, our neighbor gave his homecoming talk and truly it was one of the best I've heard (and not just because of his funny british accent). He talked about his mission experiences and how Heavenly Father is so aware of every detail of our lives. He talked about being better each day. I'm not even doing it justice, because it was so eloquent and I can't put it into words. But it just made me feel so very grateful. So grateful for where I've come from--the people who have helped me get to where I am today (both family, friends, and neighbors). So grateful for the experiences and opportunities I've been given in my life, especially the experiences I've had this past year--each and every one of them, the good days and the trying days. And as always, so grateful for the Gospel--to know that I am loved and known by my Heavenly Father and my Savior, Jesus Christ. 

Life is good. I leave to go back home to Seattle in a few days and I'm not sure when I'll be back here with my family, but I'm enjoying every moment with my family right now and looking forward to everything coming my way in Seattle. 

1 comment:

  1. So glad you had an amazing semester and are enjoying being home! I so look up to you for being in grad school for Speech!! Love hearing how you are doing. :)


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