Saturday, July 30, 2011

Feel the Need for Speed

Sometimes life gets crazy enough that I just need to go for a drive.  I need to be able to go full throttle in a place with no speed limit and to mess around without worrying about crashing or rolling.  No, I'm not talking about doing doughnuts in a snowy church parking lot.  :)  I'm talking about waverunners!

Today I went with my family on our annual trip to Jordanelle Reservoir.  We try to go at least once each summer, and it's one of my favorite traditions.  We play in the sand on the "beach," swim out to the buoys, sit under our canopy to chat and eat snacks, and of course play on our waverunners.  It's an absolute blast!  And for whatever reason, today my desire to ride was much stronger and longer-lasting than normal.  Usually I'm happy to take one or two turns and be done.  But today, besides a break to eat dinner and a little stretch of time when we couldn't go out because of lightning, I was on a waverunner almost nonstop!  (I'll be feeling that tomorrow, but it was definitely worth it!)  There's something very therapeutic about driving as fast as you can, swerving all around, doing doughnut after doughnut, and getting drenched from the resulting spray.  After a great deal of stress and work and studying from the past few weeks (or the past few years!), I think I really needed that.  :)  There's just nothing like a day at the lake!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Enough with the Mermaid Already!

I have a bone to pick with Disney.  As anyone who knows me at all will know, I am a huge fan of all things Disney, so you wouldn't think I would be angry at them.  However, there is one movie that bothers me, and I'm sure many of you know which one it is (and for those of you who don't, read the title of my post again :)).  You guessed it: The Little Mermaid.  For most of my life, I have had to endure people's speculations about whether I was named after Ariel in The Little Mermaid.  I would like to make it perfectly clear that I was not named after her, and my parents even tried changing the spelling of my name so it wouldn't be confused with hers.  I can attest that it didn't work.  >:P

But there's something very specific about The Little Mermaid that bothers me.  You know how Sebastian pronounces Ariel's name as Arielle, the way I pronounce my name?  Well, let's look back at everyone's favorite scene from The Little Mermaid: the "Kiss the Girl" scene.  If you will recall, when Prince Eric is trying to guess Ariel's name, he goes through a list of possible names, some common and some completely outlandish.  Finally, Sebastian whispers, "Arielle, her name is Arielle."  And Eric's response is, "Ariel?"  Now wait just a dag-blasted minute!  How on earth did Eric get "Ariel" out of "Arielle"?  It seems to me that Disney is implying that Ariel and Arielle are two different pronunciations of the same name.  Not cool!  Don't think I hadn't noticed the discrepancy in that scene before today, but I was listening to that song at work today, and it irritated me all over again.  :)  Ah well.  I guess I'll just have to live with it.  :)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me :)

I have to say that this birthday has been one of the best.  :)  My family actually did most of the celebrations yesterday because none of us had work off today, but that was fine with me.  I received several wonderful gifts from my family, and we had peach shortcake, which was delicious!  Then today I was completely overwhelmed by all of the birthday wishes I received through Facebook, text, personal wishes at work and home, and phone calls from my amazing friends and family.  It was such a wonderful surprise to see how many people were thinking about me today and to read the kind things they wrote to me.  I got funny comments ("You are finally legal and can do ... legal ... stuff ..." by Jill or "Now that you are officially of age - you must go watch a Disney movie!" by Allie :)) and serious comments ("Hope your day is amazing ... just like you!" by Stephanie or "Happy birthday! You definitely deserve it!" by Heather or "Wishing you the happiest of birthdays and a fantastic year ahead" by Aunt Lori), and I loved them all!  What did I do to deserve such incredible people in my life?  Then my family and I rounded everything off by setting off one of those newly-legalized aerial fireworks just minutes ago.  I have always wished that just once I could be right underneath one of those, and now that wish has been fulfilled, and it was super cool!  And now I can say that I actually got fireworks on my birthday!  :)  It has been such a wonderful birthday!  Thanks to all my amazing friends and family out there who made it so wonderful!  Love you all!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Life is Good :)

So I love how basically every one of my weekends for the past several months has been so spectacular!  It makes it so much easier for me to make it through the week when I have such great weekends to rejuvenate me and remind me what's important in my life.

Yesterday I went to a rodeo for the first time in my life.  I actually really enjoyed it!  The different "bucking" events were a little hard to watch---I kept cringing.  :)  But there was some really good stuff I loved watching, like the barrel racing (really cool!).  The "mutton busting" (really young kids riding wild sheep :)) was adorable!  And my favorite part was the women who were doing crazy stunts on their horses while their horses were galloping around the arena.  It was definitely worth seeing, in my opinion.  Afterwards, I got to chat with some of my friends for a while before going to bed; it kept me up even later than I should have been up, but it was totally worth it.  :)

Today, like every Sunday, has been wonderful.  I love the opportunity that I have to attend church, feel the Spirit, and partake of the sacrament each week.  I also love the chance to see my friends and catch up on what's going on in our lives.  Today I was especially grateful for that chance, since my dear friend and former roommate Holly came to our Sacrament Meeting today!  It had been a long time since I'd last seen her, and it made my day---no, my week---to see her today.  She also gave me a beautiful journal for my birthday.  I already love it, and I haven't even written in it yet!  :)  Not only was church great, but choir practice was awesome!  Because I was talking to Holly, I was late to choir practice, so most of the choir was already there when I got there.  When I walked in, I realized that there were about twice as many people there as normally attend choir practice!  And many of them had not been in our choir before today!  Those who were there can attest that I was, to grossly underexaggerate, quite excited.  :)  It makes me feel really good to have so many people in my choir; it makes me feel like I'm doing something right.  :)

So now I'm home and relaxing, and tonight (since tomorrow's going to be a little crazy) I get to celebrate my birthday a day early with my family.  Presents, cake, my favorite dinner, the whole shebang.  :)  I'm excited!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Little Miracles

People often talk about miracles as if they always have to be big to be miraculous.  For me, yesterday was full of little miracles, and I am as grateful for them as I would be for nearly any grand-event miracle.

The first miracle was that I was finally able, after nearly two months since my ear infections, to see an ear specialist for a follow-up appointment to make sure everything was in order.  With my history, it was definitely important to check.

The second miracle was that there was actually an ear specialist who performs tympanoplasty and ossiculoplasty, the two procedures I have been through; we probably could have seen any ear doctor and been just fine, but it's definitely an advantage to have the doctor understand exactly what you've had done and how it should affect you.  I wasn't able to see the specialist who actually performed my surgeries because our insurance only covered him while I was under 18, so it was wonderful to find someone nearby who could do the same thing for us.  (It turns out that the specialist I saw when I was a child and the one who I saw yesterday are the only two doctors in the state who specialize in tympanoplasty and ossiculoplasty; I'd say that's pretty miraculous!)

The third miracle, the one I am most grateful for, is that under careful examination the doctor determined that everything had healed well and was as it should be.  A hearing screening showed that my hearing hasn't changed, and a careful examination of my ears showed that the infections were completely cleared up and that the perforati0n in my left eardrum has completely healed.  The doctor reported that for a large minority of people with repaired eardrums, a new perforation will not heal on its own; to have mine do so was such a relief!

The fourth miracle has nothing to do with the first three, except that I discovered it in the midst of my ear stuff.  You know how whenever you go to the doctor, no matter what it's for, they always weigh you?  Well, between my visit to the doctor when my ears were infected and yesterday's visit, I've lost about ten pounds!  I guess the healthy eating and exercising have paid off.  And chasing kids around at work all day can't hurt in that regard.  :)

The fifth miracle is that I drove to and from Provo safely today when I went there for a Relief Society activity.  I do the drive every week, so it's not a big deal, but I'm always grateful when I make it safely.

I'm so incredibly grateful that, at least at this point, I don't have to repeat the surgery I went through when I was ten years old.  I'm grateful for the wonderful medical technology of today which has allowed me to hear better than I would have otherwise.  I'm grateful for medical insurance that makes it financially possible for us to access that wonderful technology.  These are the little miracles in my life, and though I don't always show proper gratitude for them, I hope I will better remember to always do so in the future.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


So in the infant room at the daycare where I work, there are a couple of toddlers who are still officially part of the infant class because that's the best way to keep each class in the correct ratio.  One of the toddlers is particularly attached to Jen, my coteacher.  Every time she leaves the room, he starts crying until she comes back in.  He doesn't do that for me, but it doesn't bother me too much, because Jen has been there longer, so obviously he would be more attached to her than to me.  Or at least that was how I used to feel.

Then today, another teacher in the center, Brittney, came into the infant room so that Jen could go home.  As usual, the toddler started crying when Jen left.  We were soon able to distract him, and he was in a pretty good mood until Brittney left.  Then he started crying again!  Well wait just a minute here!  He'll cry for Brittney, whom he hardly knows at all, but he won't cry for me, even though I've been working with him for nearly two months?  That's just not fair!  Oh well.  I guess I can't have everything.  :)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Hard to Find, Harder to Lose, Impossible to Forget

Let me share with you a few quotes about friendship that really speak to me.

"A friend is someone who knows the song of your heart and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words."
"A friend is one who believes in you when you have ceased to believe in yourself."
"A hug is worth a thousand words; a friend is worth more."
"A friend is someone who knows all about you and loves you anyway."
"Everyone hears what you say; friends listen to what you say; good friends listen to what you don't say."
"A friend is someone who reaches for your hand but touches your heart."

Why all the quotes about friendship?  Well, the past two weekends have reminded me of how wonderful my friends are and what a difference they make in my life.

Last Saturday, I was able to attend Leah's birthday party.  Leah is one of my best friends from high school, but we have seen very little of each other since we both graduated and began attending separate universities.  Last Saturday was the first time I've seen Leah personally in several months, possibly a year or more.  Seeing her again soothed something inside me that had been aching to see her for a long time.  We promised each other that we would make an effort to see each other more often, and I hope that happens.  But even if it doesn't, I was so glad I was able to see her again then.

Then last Sunday, I was able to spend a great deal of time with my friend Lisa.  Originally she was going to be one of my roommates in the fall, but now she's planning to go on a mission, so I won't have the privilege to actually live in the same apartment with her.  However, we have been able to spend a lot of time together when I have visited Provo for church, and I've even stayed over at her apartment before, which is always fun.  We had a blast playing music, talking, laughing, and just enjoying each other's company.

Then I spent the evening in the company of another dear friend.  We attended a fireside together, and then I visited her apartment to just talk for a few minutes.  She listened as I talked about some of the struggles I'm going through and was able to offer me some comfort and perspective that I really needed.  This same friend had also previously obeyed some promptings she had received, and her obedience had blessed me at that time just as my time with her that evening blessed me.  Spending time with those two friends made my Sunday so incredibly wonderful; my friends are some of the biggest reasons that I look forward to Sundays with such anticipation.

This weekend has only served to add to my gratitude for wonderful friends.  This time, I spent my Saturday and part of my Sunday mostly in the company of Jill, who really is going to be my roommate in the fall.  :)  I got to get to know her family a little better, see the new Winnie the Pooh movie with her (as the two of us share a passion for Disney movies, it only seemed right that we should see this together :)), and stay up late into the night talking to her about anything and everything.  I have also discovered something through Jill: you know you have a good friendship with someone when you can be in a car together on the way to whatever event (church in this case), say almost nothing to each other the entire trip, and still have the silence be completely comfortable.  :)  I'm really looking forward to being her roommate in the fall.  We'll see how long it takes for her to get sick of me when we're actually living under the same roof.  ;)

But that's the great thing about good friends.  They know all about you, spend a great deal of time with you, and despite all your quirks and weird eccentricities (and sometimes because of them), they still love you and want to be your friend.  That's how I feel about my friends, both the ones I've mentioned here and many others who have blessed my life beyond anything I can express.  I hope I am half the friend to them that they are to me.  To all my friends out there, thank you for your friendship!  I love you all!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

I'm Going to Grad School!

This morning I woke up at 5:00, an hour before my alarm was set to go off, and I knew there was no way I was going to go back to sleep.  My stomach was too full of butterflies.  So by 5:30 I gave up and just got up to get ready to go and take the GRE.  I had been told that I needed to arrive "at least a half hour before the exam."  So, expecting to have to sign in and then twiddle my thumbs for a half hour before beginning the test, I was a little surprised when I was checked in and taken back to the room to start immediately!  Pretty sure my heart skipped a beat or two.  :)

Well, I went through the test, and as I finished each section I felt like I was doing pretty well, though I really didn't have any way to tell.  Finally, the test was over, and I had the option to either see my scores and have it sent to the college(s) of my choice or cancel the test without ever knowing what I got.  So I held my breath and chose the "view scores" option.  When the next screen popped up, I read it, dismissed it as "not my score," and prepared to move on to the next page to see my real score.  Then I did a double take.  "Wait a minute...Is that my score?...Is...Is that my score?!"  That was essentially the thought that went through my head at that point.  Then I had to work really hard to keep from laughing out loud.  Let's just say that I will not find it difficult to enter any Speech Language Pathology program where the GRE score is an important factor.  :)  So I guess all that hard work and studying paid off.  I'm not sure I'll really believe I got the score I got until I see it in the mail in a few weeks.  But hey, when that comes I'll be able to celebrate again.  :)

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Welcome to Our Family Time

My uncle Matt claims that "a family reunion is a weekend in which you attempt to relate to the people you're related to."  However humorous this description is, I believe that for my family it is inaccurate.  It has a negative connotation that would not at all match up with the incredible weekend I've just experienced.

This weekend was the first time in about ten years that nearly every member of my extended family on my mother's side was able to be in the same place at the same time.  That means that I spent the last two and a half days in the company of 40 some odd incredibly awesome people in one of the most beautiful places I've ever been---Fish Lake, a location that has a lot of history for my mother and her family.

We all arrived at different times throughout Friday afternoon and evening.  There were very few planned events besides dinner, but we all had a wonderful time just greeting the people we loved---some we'd seen recently, some we hadn't seen in years, and some (spouses and young children) we'd never met.  My sister immediately attached herself to Manning, the youngest member of the clan, and throughout the entire reunion she was rarely seen without him.  :)  We roasted hot dogs and marshmallows and caught each other up on the latest news.  A great start to a great weekend!

For my brothers and father and a couple other people, Saturday started out with an early morning trout fishing trip.  We caught a bunch of perch and one splake trout before calling it a morning, but we decided to troll in to the dock to give ourselves one more chance to catch something.  That didn't yield any luck either, so we started reeling in our lines so we could go the rest of the way into shore.  Just as I started reeling my pole, I got a strike!  A few minutes later, I landed the biggest rainbow trout we caught that trip---talk about a last-minute fish!

The majority of the day was spent playing games and going on perch fishing trips (unfortunately, the fishing wasn't great, so we didn't get to have quite the fun time with the kids that we'd hoped, but I guess that's life).  Somewhere along the line, my cousin's two-year-old daughter decided that she liked me and totally attached herself to me.  She even chose me over her own mother!  That was a little surprising, though I wasn't complaining!  :)  Then we played survivor games which were totally hysterical.  Picture a line of adults attempting to relay an orange through the line by holding it under their chin and passing it from neck to neck.  :)  After dinner, we had family pictures (quite the adventure with twelve little kids to attempt to keep still!), Christmas in July (courtesy of my grandmother), and a viewing of some excerpts of my mother's family's family videos (so cute!) to finish off the day.

Today was a simple and perfect end to the reunion.  We all packed up our stuff before attending church at the Fish Lake lodge.  Then we stopped by my mother's cousin's cabin to have lunch before saying our goodbyes.   My sister and I already miss the kids who were joined at our hips.  :)  I sure hope that we can have more opportunities to see our extended relatives soon, but whether we do or not, I will cherish the memories of this trip forever.