Goodbye 2010

Best year ever.  Shall we recap?  Here are some of the huge highlights:
-- Got married to my best friend and had perfect receptions
-- Dream vacation in Hawaii (honeymoon)
-- Landed a job that's exactly what I need
-- Mason (little brother) went out on his mission to California
-- Alexa (little sister) graduated high school and started her first semester of college
-- Zac (little twirp) started high school
-- Two of my best friends got married!
-- Roy graduated with his Bachelor's
-- Discovered my love for cooking (OK, I started trying)

HOW?  How can it get any better?  It can't be topped.

But, I'd like to see you try, 2011.

Happy New Year!

P.S. Christmas details coming soon

Merry Birthday!

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

I'm always sad to see Christmas go.  The minutes are too quickly ticking away toward December 26th:  recuperation from all this excitement.  The birthday boy is already snoozing away beside me.  We have a long 12 hour drive back to Utah tomorrow, so I should probably be asleep too.  He's the smart one in the family.

Roy, happy golden birthday!  25 years old on the 25th!  You're my best friend and I love your guts.  Thanks for putting up with me ;-)  I look forward to all of our Christmases and all of your birthdays in our future-- loads of them! 

Merry Christmas to all!

And to all a goodnight!

Law School

The LSAT contains six sections of logic reasoning testing that determine your worth as a potential law student.  For most schools, the LSAT seems to be the biggest determining factor for admittance.

Roy has been studying his brains out for months.  He woke up every morning at seven and studied for two hours before going to work.  When he got home we ate dinner together and watched an episode of The Office {oh family traditions :-)} and afterwards he locked himself in a room to study.  Well, really he locked me out of a room so I wouldn't distract him.  He'd study until he couldn't hold his eyes open any longer.  Really, he worked hard.  And I'm proud of him.

Now that he's taken the LSAT we are just waiting on the results.  All we have left to do is apply to the schools.  We're applying to eight different places, but our top choices are BYU Law, U of A Law, and Willamette Law.  Roy's resume is all cleaned up and his paperwork is done.  All that's left is the personal statement.

Which was basically finished yesterday.

And then deleted.

It's a long story of technical difficulties and unforeseen events, but it's gone.  It was a good one too.  Roy's an amazing writer.  When we read it to my sister she said, "Oh clearly Elliot wrote that," and I told her that Roy really did!  The guy is good!

But now we just gotta hope the original can be duplicated.

Ugh, why???  So much work down the drain!  It's frustrating.  Even more for him that for me!  But we are in the same boat, right?  Whatever happens, we're in it together.  So isn't it okay for me to be freaking out just as much as he is?  Maybe freaking out a little more?

Roy, you're brilliant and we've totally got this!

Bright side: it doesn't have to be turned in for a week or so.  And we still have the notes we brainstormed together.  And tomorrow is Christmas Eve-- perfect day to start again... I guess.

Two things going through my mind with this personal statement business:

1.)  Legally Blonde.  Ell Woods and her video.  Hmmm, I wonder if Roy swam around in a... no, I don't think that would work quite the same way.

2.)  I veto personal statements and nominate Mr. Sorting Hat.  Can we just skip the papers and tests and get right to the part where you tell us where we belong?

P.S. We've been in Tucson this week leading up to Christmas!  So nice to be with the family.  Oh and back in shorts and 70 degree weather too.  :-)

O Christmas Tree

Decorating for holidays rocks.  Having skeleton stickers on the windows or colored eggs on the shelves... it just gets me in a celebratory mood.  It makes me feel like there's something to look forward to!  That it's not just an ordinary time!  We have an exorbitant number of boxes filled with decorations for Halloween, Easter, Valentine's Day... even St. Patrick's day!
One red bow with bells on it
Three strings of colored lights
That's it.


It took me a second to realize that 90% of my decorations have come from care packages from my mom over the last few years.  But she never sent Christmas packages because I always was home for Christmas. 

When living with roommates I had to buy something so I'd put the lights up in our windows and put the bow on our door.  It was enough to hold me over until I went home to the 12-foot work of art my mom always has glowing in the living room.

Roy and I are both excited to go to Tucson and put our presents under that awesome tree this Christmas.  BUT we aren't just roommates living in dorm rooms, you know?  This is our little home and we have no Christmas decorations! 

Newlywed tight budget, I know I can't go crazy on buying decorations.  Especially this time of year when there's present buying and card sending etc.  BUT I insisted on this beauty. 
It's real!  And it smells like a house should near Christmas: Piney!  I've considered bringing it inside at night so we can wake up to the smell of pine.  Then it will truly feel like Christmas time.  But instead I've just made a new little tradition: Smelling our wreath on the way inside.  We both do it.  Roy says, "for luck."  Poor guy, he's married to a weirdo that makes him sniff Christmas wreaths.

So this almost makes up for not having a Christmas tree.  We debated for a long time whether we should get one.  But in the end, it didn't make sense to go buy one to enjoy for two weeks and then not even be there to enjoy it the week leading up to Christmas or for the actual day.  Sad, but practical.

So yesterday I got home from work and started getting ready for Roy's office Christmas party.  Work-casual... so I was trying to figure out what I had in my closet that would fit that description.  But walking between our bedroom and our bathroom I saw a weird bulky shape taking up half our living room.
Can you believe it?  Roy surprised me with a Christmas tree!  At his work they decorate with some trees and the boss decided they didn't want this one anymore and gave it to Roy.  He even gave him lights, garland, and some ornaments too!!! 

As you can tell, it's a beast of a tree.  Roy had a hard time shoving it into the back of his car and apparently had a hard time standing it up in our living room too.  It kind of looks like a Grinch tree all bent up like that, doesn't it?  I like it!  It's standing between the couch and the TV.  I guess we won't be watching TV for a while, but it's so worth it to have a tree!

It's really Christmas time now! :-)

Thanksgiving Ketchup

Not the cleverest pun ever invented, but I had to do it.  So here's the catchup:

CHAPTER ONE: It Was a Dark and Stormy Night...

We were leaving for our Thanksgiving holiday in one day, and we hadn't packed.  In fact, I hadn't even gotten out of bed for the day.  I had my laptop overheating and burning through the bed sheets while I raced to finish my final capstone paper for my senior course.  Oh not a big deal, only the essay that determines whether or not I learned anything in college and can graduate with a degree in English.

It was due at five o'clock in the evening and of course I had procrastinated.  Honestly, I can't focus on writing a good paper unless there's some kind of life or death deadline looming in the dangerously near future.  Don't worry, I hadn't left it just to that day.  (Not like the essay I wrote about in my previous post, which I miraculously pulled off a B+ even though I failed to remember any rules in grammar while pounding it out.  I'm such a thief.)  

In this senior course we've been supposedly working on this huge essay all semester.  :-)  So really I just had some tweaking to do.  So that's why I hadn't moved from bed.  I wouldn't have eaten either, except that Roy brought me a little breakfast in bed before he left for work.  He's always making sure that I'm remembering to eat these days.

So at about 1:30 in the afternoon, I was nearing the end.  I was flipping through the stacks of library books piled along the foot of our bed, looking for usable quotes, when I got a text message.  It was from the emergency text message system set up by BYU, which I'd never received before.  Basically if there's a shooting or a building is on fire, we will get a text that tells us what's going on and what to do.  

You can imagine the little fluttery panic that started up inside when I got one of these emergency text messages.

It said:
Severe Weather Warning:  The National Weather Service is warning of a winter storm today that will far surpass anything that we've seen, probably for the last several years.  The combinations of snow, extreme cold, and possibly damaging winds will make travel extremely hazardous.  The storm will begin in the north and move south, hitting Salt Lake City later this afternoon.  Please watch the weather reports and be prudent in your travels.

Oh man, the power's gonna go out!  Roy's bike might get blown away!  We might get snowed in and wont be able to leave for Oregon on time!  

But hey-- I had a paper to write.  So I pushed those storm thoughts from my mind and kept plugging along.  At almost 2:30, I was finishing up my work cited when I got a second emergency text message:

BYU campus will be closed today at 3 p.m. and tomorrow except for essential services.  See for further information.

This was followed by another message from the National Weather Service.  That was followed by freaky images from The Day After Tomorrow flashing in my mind!

Never mind mind making it to Oregon, we weren't going to make it through the night!  Power lines are going to come crashing into our windows!  I'm going to open the back door and then freeze right on the spot with my eyes open!!! 

Keep in mind, I had no concept of snow days.  This whole thing sounded seriously scary.  They were closing down a whole college campus!  They never did that in Rexburg!  This thing was going to be bAd!  Oh, and not to mention that there was no way I could dress and get to the library to print out my paper and then sprint across campus to my professor's office to turn in my paper by 3!  

I shot my professor an email to make sure she was aware of the situation, and then I threw a sweatshirt over my PJs a a hat over my crazy bed head.  I sprinted out the door with my flash drive and drove like a man woman!  Wait, I meant mad woman.  

3:06... I arrived on campus.


There was a steady stream of students flowing down the hill, so I was going against the tide for a few minutes with three grocery bags full of library books.  About halfway up I decided it wasn't worth checking.  My professor would have to be understanding.

When I got home it was eerily quiet.  There wasn't even the slightest breeze.  I thought of the phrase, "The quiet before the storm."  Oh man!  My first true natural disaster!  On my way upstairs I picked up Roy's bike and hefted it into our apartment.  Just in case.

As soon as I resolved everything with the paper {now due the next class after Thanksgiving} I called Roy.  What should I do to prepare?  My hubby grew up near enough to the sea to have ferocious waves constantly eating away at the asphalt in their neighborhood.  They've had plenty of natural disasters and he'd know just what to do.

Following his instructions, I found all the flashlights and put them in one place.  Okay, all we really had was a headlamp, but I thought that would do.  Then I ran around unplugging everything.  Then I got a call from Sydney, who is living up in Rexburg.  She said it had been snowing BAD for three days straight.  It wasn't looking good for our Thanksgiving trip.  I started packing anyway.

Good thing I did, because you know what?  We got a half an inch of snow that night.  If that.  It was a little breezy, but nothing strong enough to rattle the doors, much less pick up a bike.  Roy and I had hunkered down, ready to watch a movie on my laptop, and kept peeking out the window to watch the non-existent storm roll in.  It was very disappointing.


Although I still have yet to experience a real natural disaster, Roy and I were really stoked we were still able to go to Newport.  And we were glad we made it there alive.

We picked up Roy's cousin, Melissa, from Salt Lake to make the trip with us.  She drove on icy Idaho roads while trying to make phone calls and flip through packets of papers.  Haha!  She was surprising her family by coming up with us, so she didn't take off work.  Probably dumb of us to have her drive.  BUT, she did a good job and we didn't crash.

Seventeen hours later, we crept into the Buckmaster house and fell asleep.  

We woke up to Thanksgiving!  Which, as I predicted, was different than what happens at my house.  I didn't spend all of my time hiding from a kitchen full of chefs.  And it was different from my Thanksgiving in Scotland too.  There wasn't any haggis.  

Laura cooks all morning in her kitchen and then brings it to the bigger feast.  She was in charge of rolls, cheesecake, fudge, etc.  She taught me how to make her world-famous fudge.  Basically, throw in enough sugar and butter to induce a coma, cook it over the stove, and then let it cool for a while in a pan.  It was amazing, and for some reason everyone at the dinner was complimenting me.  Really, Laura works the magic, I just followed instructions.

I also got to make whipped cream.  It might not sound like a big deal, but I got lots of good tips from Laura and Becky.  There are tricks to the trade!  I also set the table.  A relief to stick to my traditional Thanksgiving role.

Jay and Sue and a bunch of their kids and grandkids were there.  Laura, Dennis, Kirsten, and Kelsey were there.  The Robison family (close friends of the Buckmasters) were there too.  It was fun!  And I especially liked how every single little kid at some point said, "Hi Elliot!"  The fact that they recognized me without my wedding dress on made me really happy.

The food was amazing.  I had a criminal amount of mashed potatoes.  After we cleaned up a little we sat around and talked until we had digested for long enough to get our legs to work again.

The next activity was HARRY POTTER!!!!  Who wasn't looking forward to this?  Should I even say anything about it?  Haven't you seen it?  If you haven't, you are living under a rock.  Go see it.  It is good.

CHAPTER THREE: The Rest of the Highlights
-- Woke up to rain pattering against the windowpane every morning.
--Took Millie, one of the greatest dogs ever, on a walk on the beach with Kirsten and Roy.
--Kirsten got Roy and I addicted to an Android app called WordUp.
--Played Rockband with the whole family and discovered that Laura rocks at the drums.
--Went to the Tillamook cheese factory with the girls and Roy.  {And ate the best ice cream in the world there!}
--Spent lots and lots of time in that old bookstore that Roy and I love.  So glad that the Buckmasters all like books too!  Flashback: The day after our wedding Roy and I went there and bought an amazing Washington Irving book.  I'd also been in love with an old 1870s children's book, so we hid the little book behind a huge stack, hoping that it would still be there whenever we came back.  It was still there this time.  Roy and I bought it to add to our collection  :-)
--Made Mexican one night, under Laura's guidance.
--Did some Christmas shopping and then wrapped them secretly.
--Went with Kirsten and my hubby to pick out a Christmas tree for the family.  We got a good one.  Then I put up the tinsel while Kirsten put up the lights.
--Funny story: when Roy and I were driving around we passed a homeless looking woman on the street corner with a sign that read, "I'm Hungry, Please Help."  Ever since I've met Roy I've found that I always end up in weird situations with this type of people.  I could tell stories.  But I'll stick to this one. Roy handed me a few Nature bars and I rolled down the window to offer them to her.  The woman gave me a big, pink smile and said, "I can'th eath those!  I havth no teeth!"  The light turned green and as we drove away she shouted, "Thanth!" and cackled.  It was a true cackle.

Fun times and a fun Thanksgiving vacation!  Glad we're alive.  I have yet to pull Roy's bike out of our living room and lug it back downstairs.