Monday, 23 May 2011

james is headed to russia. . .

last wednesday my little brother, james went into the
Missionary Training Center.
He has been called to serve a mission in Russia.
The city he will be serving in is Yekaterinburg.
If you read the name of the city and tried 38 times to pronounce it, you are not alone.
i'm sure you are dying to know exactly where Yekaterinburg is, so here is a map!
Don't be alarmed by the fact that when I typed in Ykaterinburg
into google the first thing that came up was a website for russian brides.
for reals.
anyways, he will be gone for 2 years and will have to endure the cold winters of russia.
It seems like just yesterday he was a hyperactive 5 year old, running around
the house chasing my sister and I with knives.
he was a very rambunctious child.
over the years he mellowed out which was nice.
here are a few of my favorite pics with my lil bro.

hawaii 2007

london 2007

memorial day 2009

4th of july 2009

sara & ty's wedding dinner august 2009

my wedding august 2010

mission farewell 2011
here are more pictures of james and the family from his farewell
and the day he entered the MTC.

james and ali

the whole fam

james' buddies
(all entering the MTC within the coming months)

james with the grandparents

final family pic for 2 years!
logan had to work so he isn't in it :(

james & my mom right before he went into the MTC!he apparently wanted nothing to do with this rain coat.
i'm pretty sure its an old coat of my moms.
she figured she could just give him this one instead of buying
him a new one.
"everybody is gonna be wearing them at the MTC!" my mom said.
apparently everybody was because i don't think he would
have put it on if he didn't see another person wearing one.
i think he looks pretty good in it, but whatevs.
he will have to buy a pretty hefty winter coat when he gets to russia.
apparently winters there can be like -20 degrees.
that will be a big change for him considering the fact
he just finished his first year of college at
BYU hawaii.
if you want to follow james and hear about his letters home, etc.
my mom started a missionary blog for him.
if you know my mom, you know that she learned that
missionary blogs were the new "thing" that everyone was doing, so
of course she had to make him one.
i love my mom for that.
here is the link:

i know that james will be a GREAT missionary!
i am so excited for him to live in russia and share the gospel
with all of the people there.
i am going to miss him a lot, but i know he is doing the right thing
by leaving his family, friends, school & life in general
for 2 years to serve the lord.
now it will be funny every time i drive by the MTC on my way to work.
don't be surprised if you hear about me getting in a car accident
whilst attempting to see if i can catch a glimpse of my little brother!
good luck james!
or should i say, udacha!

Friday, 13 May 2011

provo canyon. . .

those of you who have ever lived in provo know how beautiful
provo canyon is this time of year.
it is gorgeous.
i love provo canyon for many reasons.
it brings back fond memories of bonfires, roller blading,running, and of
course getting proposed to.
we took wilbert & nuvia up provo canyon to the park with
the rock climbing walls.

i was not the biggest fan of the rock climbing walls.
in fact, i have never really enjoyed rock climbing.
i don't enjoy it because i'm too weak to actually do it.
the other reason why i hate rock climbing is attributed to one
of my first experiences rock climbing.
i believe i was in 7th grade. the youth in my ward went up to snowbird
during the summer to do some sort of ropes course.
they had a huge rock climbing wall. the biggest i had ever seen.
everyone was taking turns climbing the wall and
victoriously ringing the small bell at the top.
i decided to give it a whirl.
what could go wrong, right?
i soon learned that there is a lot that can go wrong while rock climbing.
first of all, let's just talk about the fact that the harness you wear
while rock climbing is perhaps one of the most uncomfortable items
of sports equipment ever invented.
second, lets talk about the fact that the person who was supposed to
be "helping me" up the wall by pulling the rope was probably
my same age and had no clue what he was doing.
third, picture being half way up the
wall and having one of the "sturdy" plastic
things you grab onto to pull yourself up literally break off
as you try to pull yourself up.

now, i don't know if this happened because i wasn't the "slimmest" 7th
grader on the block, or if it was because many
people had done the rock wall and that particular plastic thing had become loose.
i would like to think it was the latter.
therefore, i don't have the best associations with rock climbing.
nevertheless, i am slowly beginning to overcome
my negative feelings towards it.
see the following photos as proof of this achievement.

granted these photos were taken while i was literally an
inch off the ground, but rome wasn't built in a day.
i'm making progress.
the weather was perfect, and it was fun relaxing in the park by the water.
wilbert & nuvia also enjoyed blowing bubbles and climbing the trees.
it is so easy to entertain them.
i'm not looking
forward to when they get older and they aren't
as easily entertained as they are now.
in a few years they probably won't even want to be seen with us and that
will be a sad sad day.
but until that day rolls around, we are going to enjoy the time we have with them!

Saturday, 7 May 2011

cinco de mayo. . .

my nephew tanner turned 2 on cinco de mayo!
we celebrated his birthday with a south of the border celebration.
everyone dressed up in their most festive attire.
tanner probably
had no idea what was going on, but we all
had fun singing ha
ppy birthday to him and eating Mexican food.
tanner's mom, ashley made him a cake inspired by thomas the train!
tanner LOVES thomas.
my parents bought tanner tickets to go ride "thomas" up in heber in a few weeks.
he got a thomas hat, thomas pez dispenser, little thomas trains, a thomas
sandwich holder, and a thomas pillow.
tanner was in thomas heaven.
it was fun
playing with the toys tanner got & playing games with the kids at the party.
there was a pinata fille
d with candy, but tanner and the rest of the kids
t really hit it, so it was really entertaining watching them try.
mostly they would just get the stick and run around with it.
anytime they actually attempted to hit the pinata it was actually a little scary because
they would come within inches of smacking another kid in the head.
no bueno.
logan & i took a turn hitting the pinata.
logan gave it a few good whacks and candy went flying.
all the little kids ran around with their little buckets and collected candy.
we had a blast at the party and were glad we could be
part of tanner's 2nd birthday!

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

encounters with strangers. . .

lately logan & i have had some pretty random encounters
with some pretty interesting strangers.
the other day we
went to smith's to get groceries.
as we were leaving the
store, a tiny old
hispanic lady walked up to logan and asked him if he spoke spanish.
when he said yes, the lady started speaking
a million words a minute.
i caught bits and pieces
of what she was saying.
4+ years of spanish hav
e quite literally gotten me nowhere.
before i knew it, we were walking to the parking lot
headed for our car.
the lady was pulling this huge blue cooler that was half her size.
we got to the car and i quickly asked logan what was going on.
"we're going to give her a ride home".
i thought to myself that logan must be a genius if he
was going to somehow fit 3 p
eople and a huge cooler into the bug.
nevertheless, we
made it work.
we put the top down, and i cra
mmed myself in the back seat
right next to the huge blue cooler.
we were like two
peas in a pod back there.the little old lady just chatted away with logan in the front seat.
her name was consuelo and she was from mexico.
she sells tamales every day from her big blue cooler.
she usually sells them by smith's because it's a busy area.
she walks about 8 or 9 blocks from her small apartment
every day to smith's and tries to find a kind stranger who
can give her a ri
de home at the end of the day.
if you look real close you can see little consuelo in the right mirror.
i was trying to be inconspicuous while taking the pic.

we got to her place and logan pulled out the cooler from
the back of the car and walked it up to her doorstep.
she was SO happy that we helped her.
she hugged logan and i probably 10 times each and kissed my cheeks.
she said gracias like 50 times and had a huge smile on her face.
logan told her i knew a little spanish and that she should speak
to me so i could practice.
i graciously told her that i really didn't know anything
and made a wide eyes at logan in order to make him stop egging her on.
it was neat giving her a ride home though.
logan told me as we drove away from her place that she is
the only one over here from her familiy-the rest are in mexico.
she sells tamales and sends money home to her family.
she was a really sweet lady and i'm glad logan & i were in the
right place at the right time so we could help her!

as for another random encounter. . .
logan & i went to a surprise birthday party the other night for a friend.
we parked the car a few blocks away so we wouldn't blow our cover.
after the party as we walked back
to the car, we saw ANOTHER little old lady
walking around the car and looking at it intently.
as we approached her, she asked if we were the owners.
i said yes, but was terrified she was going to say something
like we were parked on private property & she was going
to call the cops on us or something.
i am a nervous person in general so this is just how my mind works.
she launched into telling us how cute it was and how clean it looked
and basically asked us if we wanted to sell it.
logan & i smiled as we looked at eachother.
we told her we were planning on selling it within the next year or so.
she told us that we just had to come inside and talk to her husband about it.
so we did.
they just so happened to live in one of the cutest homes
in provo that logan & i have always wanted to go inside.
we met her husband and made some small talk.
he asked if we were going to school/studying/working, etc.
we told him we graduated from BYU and he said he used to teach
there in the school of social work.
logan said, "really?? maybe you know maren's grandpa, he used
to teach in the social work department!"
the old man got an excited look on his face.
"that's right" i said, "his name was john christiansen".
the man got a slight smile on his face as he said
"not only do i know him, but i love him".
apparently this man and my grandpa had talked a lot during
the early years of this man's career as he was deciding where
to teach, etc.
my grandpa john passed away about 9 years ago, so it was neat
listening to this man tell me stories about my grandpa.
we ended up staying and talking to these people for about 30 minutes!
at the end of the conversation we talked about the car.
they basically told us to come back in a few months and let them
take it for a test drive and then we could talk about selling it to them!

what is it with my car and getting me into random situations?
i'll admit i will be sad to see it go-but logan & i need a bigger
and more reliable car ASAP.
any suggestions for what we should buy?
after test driving the cube we were really excited about
the prospect of buying one, but we heard they have a lot of problems.
i'm sure we will find a great car when time time comes.
for now we will just enjoy the time we have with the bug!
the weather is finally getting warm, which means the top can finally come down!