Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Let it snow...

No, it's not snowing in Provo.  Not a lot, anyway.  About as much as we get in Medford which is less than noteworthy after living in Utah for the past four years.  Wow, four years already.  It's good and bad at the same time, but Provo is beginning to feel like home.

Anyway, although it's not snowing outside, it is snowing in our apartment.  How, you might ask?  Lauren and I sat down, turned on some Christmas classics by Burl Ives, Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Michael Buble, and other wonderful artists who ushered in a little extra Christmas Spirit into our home.  Then we made snowflakes.  Only a few.  Our plan was to hang many of them around the house, but after Lauren and I started making them (and after Lauren saw the quality of my snowflakes, which look like paper snowflake scraps compared to hers) we decided to make just a few!  Not much progress has been made on my part in snowflaking since elementary school.  All in all it was a fun time to do something productive with our free time.  

Free time?  Yes, free time.  Granted Lauren is working in the mornings and I have football, but we have ALL afternoon to do whatever we'd like!  Life is so funny.  During the school year we literally are going 100mph from one assignment to the next, tests, papers, projects etc.  Now that we have all the free time we wished for, we find ourselves sitting on the couch, scratching our heads, and thinking harder about what we're going to do this week than we did on some school assignments.  It's good, though, to think of good creative ways to have fun without spending money, sitting in front of the TV, or doodling on the computer.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas Tree Day

The Stalemate ends with me!  I can’t take it anymore.  Ryan and I have been passing the buck back and forth for days (being the author of our new blog post) and the Christmas tree escapade is too funny not to share.  But first, a little background. 

Every year growing up in the teen years, as soon as Thanksgiving Day ended, I stocked up the CD players with the family favorite Christmas Cd’s starring:  Andy Williams, Donny Osmond, Dan Fogelberg, James Taylor, Mannheim Steamroller, and of course, Eric’s favorite Alvin and the Chipmunks.  I would then carefully take down the everyday d├ęcor and replace it with every single decoration we had accumulated over the years (no matter how much Christmas clutter it turned out to be.)  After carefully organizing our Family Snowmen according to height (poor Anna hehe) I moved on to the next order of business- the Christmas tree.

Now, Christmas Tree Day was quite the event.  First we had to make sure mom, dad, Eric and I didn’t have a church meeting, volleyball practice or piano lesson to go to (which usually meant we had a time limit on our Christmas tree picking), and after rounding up the gang into the car we made our way to the tree farm found on the quaint little street called Madrona Lane, where we lived years and years ago.  Every year it was the same, give or take the few where we decided to be adventurous and cut down our own, and every year I had specific Christmas tree standards that had to be met. 

After grabbing our orange flag (to wave our location for the tree cutter) we made our way through the muddy fields, weaving in and out of forests of trees.  Some were plump and round, others tall and slim (aka skimpy) but my tree had to be 12 ft tall, extremely bushy and with minimal holes.  To me, the Christmas tree was what made Christmas, Christmas.  We could have every decoration in the world, with all the right scents, a lit-up house and typical holiday foods, but without a tree, Christmas wouldn’t bring the same feelings of excitement and anticipation. 

Sidenote.  Every year followed the same pattern.  Dad or I would find a tree.  Mom would think it was too big.  Eric would stand by ready to wave the flag.  Dad and I would say we neeeeeeeeeeded a big bushy tree.  Mom would eventually agree, she’s a trooper  :)

After loading/unloading and positioning the tree just right in front of our three windows in the Family Room, it was time to decorate.  With Christmas music blasting, mom would wrap strands and strands of colorful lights around the tree while Eric and I unwrapped our Christmas ornaments.  We receive an ornament every year with a different inside joke accompanied with each one (thanks for the dancing chickin dad) so with each unwrapped ornament brought a different, usually happy memory. 

All in all…I just love Christmas trees, so after the suspenseful buildup I will now share R&L’s Christmas tree…adventure?

We had set aside Tuesday, December 6th as the only feasible day where we could have enough time to pick a tree, buy a few decorations and get it all set up before we had to dive into our studies once again.  So around 4 o’clock we set out for Springville, first to the Walmart (gasp! we usually don't I promise, dad, if you are reading) and then to the farms we were told would be set up close by in various parking lots and fields.  After purchasing a few necessary items, a mediocre tree stand and a few tree accessories, we started our tree farm scavenger hunt.  The first one was directly across from the Walmart parking lot, convenient! The little cluster of trees was advertising “$20 Trees!” so we were excited to save a buck or two.  Like out of a movie, we were led to the $20 tree area where parts of trees and groups of limbs were set together, nothing resembling a tree.  Ryan and I looked at each other and tried not to laugh.  That’s a bait & switch marketing tactic if I’ve ever seen one! After we perused the rest of the trees ($40-50 a pop), we quickly jumped into the still-warm car and made our way to the next “farm.”  Just a repeat of stop #1.  But we were cold, and tired, and hungry, so we found a less than decent $25 tree, stuffed it in our trunk, and made our way to Lowes to pick up some lights.

Long story short.  Since this story is sooooo much longer than I intended, Lowes had Christmas trees.  Beautiful ones.  Perfect and lovely.  $24. Needless to say…we were pretty bummed.  But somehow, it still managed to be the perfect Christmas Tree Day.  We turned on some tunes, wrapped the tree in white lights, added my treasured ornaments and made our first Christmas memory. 

Now, we look at our tree with feelings of pathetic love and laughter.  It is such a sweet, helpless little tree and we are glad it’s in our home.  We love it. 

The End.

P.S. just remember, if a tree farm fails you…go to Lowes.    

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Aloha from the Rainbow State

The past few days have felt just like this picture.....warm, peaceful, and relaxed.  The football team was lucky enough to get an all expenses paid trip to Hawaii for 4 days, with the finale being our game against UH today at 2:30.  We've enjoyed warm mornings in the cove swimming with sea turtes and all other kinds of exotic ocean creatures.  Our afternoons are usually spent in meeting rooms or on the practice field preparing for the game.  The evenings start with a Hawaiin style dinner/Lu'au and added free time.  It really has been such a nice break from the cold, windy winter in Provo along with the hustle and bustle of a climaxing semester.

Despite the island spirit that has swept the team, for me this trip has also been filled with lots and lots and lots of biochemistry.  It's bitter sweet when you are sitting on a lawn chair in a luxurious hotel suite overlooking the beach in Hawaii and studying for a biochemistry exam!  Almost seems like an oxymoron.....Hawaii in December and study in the same sentence...

Biochemistry, though, pales in comparison to the other aspect of this trip that has limited my experience. Waking up, moseying down to the beach, and laying out on the lawn chairs isn't the same when you're alone.  Having Lauren by my side during this trip would've truly made it a taste of paradise.  I used to enjoy cruisin' around with the football guys and acting big and tough, but now I just want to stroll along the beach hand in hand with Lauren and enjoy the smells, sights, and sounds of the ocean.  Knowing Lauren is home alone, doing homework in our  perma-chilly basement and eating little meals throughout the day makes me want to play the game and get outta town so I can get back to her ASAP.  I can't wait to see her...