Thursday, December 25, 2008

Home for Christmas

It's been quite an adventure being home for Christmas this year. I was basically done with school December 3rd (I had one online final, but I'm not really counting that). So I worked for a week and then decided to head home in time to catch Mom's birthday on the 17th. I flew home on the 15th. I left Orange County and it was pouring down rain. I'm not one who likes flying in the first place, so bad weather makes me even less excited about it. But I made it through the plane flight without getting too sick. Mom picked me up at the airport and we began the treacherous 100 mile drive home. It took 4.5 hours to get home because of the snow and ice covered roads, especially near Salem. Quite ridiculous if you ask me. But I guess Oregon isn't used to getting snow.
Look at the nice ridges of ice on the road

I spent the week freezing to death in my house. It was a whopping 9 degrees on Tuesday morning. Only about 50 degrees colder than the warm LA temperatures I'm used to. But somehow I made it through. I spent many hours sitting next to the fire place with a good book that first week. I'm on book number 5 since I've been home now. It continued to snow most of the week. We celebrated Mom's birthday on the 17th and I made her a delicious teriyaki chicken feast and cheesecake to top it off. It was good, if I say so myself.
Happy Birthday Mom

Thursday I made the dangerous trek up to the Portland airport again to pick Thomas up. I got to see Melissa on the way up there which was good. We met at the Lloyd Center and Dad and Laura ice skated while Melissa and I caught up. It was good to see her. It was a bit different from the usual lunch or rendezvous at the airport we get. We also stopped off at the temple and it was a gorgeous day out.
Beautiful Portland Temple

Laura at the temple

Me freezing at the temple because I didn't bring a coat home

We made gingerbread houses, one for each family member who was home. They get better each year. I particularly enjoyed Thomas' candy arch and Laura's instructions for how to eat her house. Laura decided that she could have a yard sale at first and let us eat the yard. Then the estate sale came a day or so later when we were allowed to partake of the rest of the candy goodness. As is tradition we went Christmas caroling and dropped off the houses to friends in the area. It was fun despite the snow and rain.
Thomas' house with the amazing candy arch

Susan's House

Steven's House

Mom's House

Laura's House

David's House

Dad's House

My House

Laura's Real Estate Note

This week has been rather uneventful. I've been slightly under the weather and taking naps several times a day. But I'm doing better now and just in time for Christmas. For a great Christmas Eve we made waffle cones and loaded up on all the ice cream we could eat. Nothing beats Tillamook Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream. Then we sang Christmas Carols around the piano, much to the chagrin of some boys in the family. Then the kids went off to bed. We set the rules of no one comes downstairs until after 6:00am. They worked pretty well this year. I made an early appearance at 7:00. It was a fun filled morning as the kids were excited by presents and fun. Then we settled down to play games and have a great Christmas day together.
David, Laura and Steven thoroughly enjoying Christmas

David with his new ski goggles

The Christmas tree we cut down from the backyard

My favorite picture from this trip home. Sunrise in Oregon.More Snow on the road

It was wonderful to get to talk to John who is on a mission in Argentina right now. He is doing well and roasting hot in the 115 degree weather. I must admidt that I'd rather have 28 degree weather than 115 degree weather. But it was good to talk to John since it's been a year since I talked to him. It served as a good reminder of what Christmas is realy about-the birth of Jesus Christ and all that he has done for each of us. What a wonderful time of the year.

Greenfield Christmas Party

We the girls of Greenfield decided to stick to tradition and host a big sha-bang of a Christmas party again this year. We decided that rather than try and compete with the gingerbread houses of last year that we would try something new. Jessica has this book called Hello Cupcake and we got our inspiration from that. So we decided to host a cupcake decorating Christmas party.

We all put in some time making many of the hundreds of cupcakes we had that night. We made over 200 regular sized cupcakes and over 250 mini cupcakes. Talk about a lot of cake mixes. Our house was filled with cupcakes before the party even started. Then we broke out all the frosting, candy and other decorating supplies that we had bought and almost didn't have room on the table for everything else other people brought. But we were prepared for quite a party.

Jessica so kindly bought some decorations so our little apartment could have some Christmas spirit to it. We had a nice little Christmas "tree" and a garland for the mantle. And of course it wouldn't be Christmas without a fire in the fireplace.

Then the decorating began, even before the people began to come! We got a head start on our cupcakes before other people came and good thing because the table space was soon taken up. I would say the party was a success. Here are examples of the cupcake expertise we stumbled upon.

Someone left their phone there and we've yet to figure out who's it is. So if you are missing a phone maybe it's at my house.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

USC vs. Stanford

So about a month ago Heidi called me at work on a Friday and said she had won the ticket lottery for the USC vs. Stanford game and asked me if I wanted to go with her. Of course the answer was yes. How could I miss that. So this past weekend we made the trek up to Stanford for the game. Shana had decided she was going to go with us even though she didn't have tickets and just hang out while we were at the game. So she had to work on Friday and there was this James Bond birthday party that we just couldn't miss on Friday night. So we decided to leave on Saturday. Well Shana didn't end up coming with us, which turns out to probably be a good thing as you will soon see. We got a little bit of a late start, leaving LA almost 10:00am. Heidi drove because my car is not the most reliable piece of machinery right now. So we're driving up the 405 and just before we get to the 118 there is a sign that says freeway closed at 118. So we didn't really pay that much attention until we get to the offramp for the 118 and there are cones across the 405 and we are forced to take the 118. So we turn the radio on and realize that there is a big fire in Sylmar and the freeway is closed. So I quickly called Sara to see if she could get any info on where the freeway was closed until. Turns out it didn't really matter because there was only one detour we (and everyone else trying to go on the 5) could take. We ended up taking the 118 to the 23 (which by the way is really a one lane road, not a highway) and then taking the 126 back to the 5.
View of highway 23. Yes even the trucks had to take this beauty.

I got to see parts of California I never wanted to see and really would like to never see again. This detour is definietly not the scenic route. So this detour which turned into 2.5 hours made us just a tad bit late. After we got back on the 5 there was much rejoicing in the land when we found an In-N-Out just waiting to fill our stomaches and erase the memories of one lane roads from our minds. Heidi having a little too much fun washing the windows at the gas station.

To make up for lost time Heidi was going slightly over the speed limit which was all nice and dandy until those patriotic red and blue lights showed up out of nowhere. And it was just before we were going to get off the 5 too. That put a damper on things. But thankfully we made it up to Stanford and even found the stadium. We didn't have directions on how to get to the stadium and it was pure luck that we even found it. The sad thing was that it was already half-time by the time we even got there. But due to this unfortunate turn of events we were able to get a sweet parking sport which was I'm sure reserved only for Stanford fans paying lots of money, but it was halftime and they had stopped patrolling the lots by then. So we got a parking spot right by the stadium and FINALLY made it to the game.
Never were stadium stair such a welcome sight.

Their new stadium is confusing by the way. You have to go up stairs to get in, but then our seats were in the bottom tier so we had to go through the crowd and go downstairs in the stadium because there were no stairs to go down outside of the stadium. Kind of confusing. But we got to our seats which were kind of in the corner of the endzone but pretty close to the field. After kick someone little students out of our seats we settled in for the second half of the game. This was the shortest game in the history of football. The second half only lasted an hour. Good thing it was the good half. It would have been better had Stanford not scored a last second touchdown while everyone on the field was walking around not knowing which teams was even supposed to be on the field.
Yes this score is wrong because they couldn't make up their mind about whether the touchdown should count or not. This was at the point when the last touchdown didn't count.

But USC was very much victorious. The final score was USC 45 Stanford 23. After the game we met up with Mike and his family who were in town for the game as well. We went to dinner at Chilis after trying to find food at the Stanford Mall which by the way doesn't have any food in it. That was a lot of fun. Then Heidi and I proceeded to get lost on our way to the Fjeldsted's house, family friends who we were spending the night with. But finally after two phone calls for directions we made it to their house. Both of us were exhausted and after saying our hellos promptly went to bed. The next day we went to church with the Fjeldsteds. As we started the car the check engine light went on. Can our luck get any better. After taking with Trudy we decided to risk it and just drive home. We took the 101 all the way home as to not have to go through our detour again. And there are more towns on the 101 just in case something really bad were to happen with the car. (Which by the way, I still don't know if there was anything wrong with it). Yes we made it home safely with no other mishaps. The check engine light was on the whole time, but I guess that doens't really matter. The 101 is a much prettier trip than the 5. Suggestion for anyone driving up north, take the 101. It may be longer, but it's way prettier. So it was a nice drive on the way home, with good scenery and just time to relax and get out of LA. We even had to break out the Christmas music a little bit early for lack of other more Sunday appropriate CDs. We pulled into LA about 8:00 and we greeted by the smoke filled air due to several fires that had burned while we were gone. So far from being the relaxing weekend I had hoped for, it was an adventure. But Heidi and I both decided we think it's best never to go on vacation with each other again. It was our ridiculously fun weekend, with the emphesis on ridiculous.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

3 months in 3 seconds

So it's true, I've been slacking off on my blogging duties. Somehow they just haven't fit into the 24 hours in each day. So what's happened since the last time I wrote...

I moved to a new apartment. My cousin Danielle moved to LA and I moved in with her, Sara and Jessica at the Greenfield house. It's been quite nice even though I miss the shenanigans of the Missouri house at times.

Between work and school starting a majority of each 24 hour period is all but gone. But I guess it's my own fault for taking classes, working in the clinic and on the research study all while thinking I could possibly have some sort of life outside of that. Ha.

Prop 8 calling and other activities have taken up much of Saturdays and evenings. And USC football has filled in the Saturdays where Prop 8 has left a few minutes.

We had a death in the apartment. Poor Josephine our fish finally went the way of the earth. She was pretty much fraying at the fins and was no longer her golden color. So I guess it was best for everyone.

I guess technically there was another death as my trusty computer of 4 years decided it had had enough of my abuse. Without sufficient warning it just started turning off in the middle of being used. So I was forced to replace it with a better behaved one.

We also had an adopted pet for a couple of days. Oscar our really cool but slightly scary looking spider that took residence on our porch. I told him every day that he was fine being on the porch but if he even thought of coming in the house, death. He listened and stayed outside. He ran away after a few days of enjoying our porch.

Halloween has come and gone and was a recycling project for me. Some of you will remember the rainbow from last year's group Halloween costume. Well I was orange and couldn't let all those good orange clothes go to waste, so was an orange crayon this year. It was the best I could come up with in an hour on Friday before the party. I wish I had pictures to document this, but my camera conveniently ran out of batteries as soon as I turned it on. So until someone posts a picture on facebook and I can steal it there will be no pictures.

I think that pretty much catches people up on my life for the most part. Maybe I will find another occasion to blog and the time required to do it in close proximity of each other in the near future.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Tujunga Narrows

Ok so a few weeks ago we went on this hike in the Angeles National Forest. And because I have just experienced my two week summer I somehow took time off from blogging about it. But here are a bunch of pictures from our adventures.

Heidi and Shana found a car that had gone off the rather steep hill we were descending.

We used ropes to go down the hill and also to come back up in the end.
Everyone taking turns coming down a slipper rock.
(I think my favorite part about this picture of Jacob's face.)

Shana going down the side of the mountain.

The whole group at the bottom of the mountain just before we were to start "hiking" through the stream that would take us to our water slide destination.

The water wasn't really cold I was just making a funny face that ended up getting caught on camera.Shana and I decided to warm up before our major cliff jumping. The following pictures show our synchronized cliff diving experience.

A sample of the lovely river that we hiked around and swam through.

Dane, ever the show-off, doing a back flip into the river.

Our destination--the water slide. The scary part was that it looks like you are going to hit the rock on the other side when you are looking at it from the top. But it was a blast. It might have taken me a minute to get up the courage to go down, but it was worth it. It would have been better without the water up my nose, but I can't have a perfect first run I guess.
Heidi going down the slide.

Heather going down.

Eddie going down.

Lilia going down.

Me going down.Everyone after they had gone down the slide. We were all waiting on the other side of the water hole for everyone else to go down.

The scariest part of the trip by far was this ladder. I'm no fan of heights but man this was something else. The rungs on the ladder were too far apart for someone with a short stature like me and then someone started climbing up at the bottom while I was still in the middle. The result was scared Julia standing on a ladder with it shaking and me shaking but somehow making it to the top. Needless to say, I did not go down the slide again because I did not want to face the terror of the ladder again.

Shana, being the crazy person she is, decided that jumping off the 53 foot cliff into the water would be a good idea. So she jumped and as you can see she is in a rather tucked position. This was not the position of choice to enter the water in and she got a bruise about the size of the back of her thigh on one side and another bruise on the other leg. It was not a pretty sight. She was literally in shock after the experience.

We did not end up taking the long way home through the fire road since Shana wasn't doing too well and I had a wedding to catch later that night. We went back the way we came and waded through the nice river all over again. The climb back up the hill was not too bad, but was definitely a climb. Thankfully someone had put ropes up so that we could climb back up the side of the mountain.

When we got to the top we jumped into our cars and headed out. Shana was pretty much out of gas and we were in neutral all the way down the mountain. But we made it to the gas station and then home. It was an exhausting adventure but one that I would be all for doing again.