Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Last Four Months In Pictures

This past semester has been fairly crazy! It is my last semester at BYU (technically) and in just 2 more weeks I will never have to go to another class or take another final in my life. HOOOOORAAAY! Jon and I are doing great and loving life! See pictures below to see what we have been doing with all of our spare time.

We went to the wedding of Jon's sister, Elyse, early in October. She looked so beautiful and the day was really fun spent with lots of family.

It was also our first trip to the Bountiful temple, which we loved. The weather was perfect and the temple was amazing, as always.

Jon turned 24 on November 14! We had a wonderful day spent shopping for new basketball shoes among other delights. Then we were treated to a weekend long celebration, with parties from his family, my family, and his friends.

Our families spoiled Jon well and it was great to spend time with them and celebrate Jon.

I love Jon more than I can say and am so grateful that he is part of my life! He is such a blessing and he makes everyone around him so happy! I always love birthdays because I get an excuse to spoil him rotten and spend the whole day with him. Happy Birthday, Love!

I know that this is random, but here at Wymount, we have our own wildlife preserve. We have a family of deer that consists of three bucks, three babies, and two mamas. We got to watch the babies grow up from practically newborn and now they hang around in our backyard almost every single day. Sometimes, when we are getting ready, we can feel something watching us...and then we look out the window and see eye to eye with these deer! Jon LOVES it! time, he even stalked the deer, crawling on his stomach to get a good picture (with lots of neighbors wondering what the heck he was up to).

Then, last weekend, we took a road trip down to Arizona. Jon's other sister was getting married and we wanted to be there for support. We drove the 10 hour drive in one day, bringing Jon's sister April with us.

I loved this trip because I used to live in Gilbert, AZ for 9 years. I haven't been back since we moved to Utah, so it was a trip down memory lane. This is my old elementary school. The name is changed, but it is the same school. We used to be called the Neely Knights.

This is my old house!!! The people who live there now really trashed the place. They tore out four really beautiful trees, tore out the backyard grass and made room for their 4 rotting cars in the back. But it was still fun to go see....

We got to stop by the Mesa Temple and take some pictures. It is such a beautiful temple and the weather was FABULOUS!!! We wore t-shirts, shorts, and flip-flops to a soccer game and got a tan! We loved it. Especially since we drove home to Utah in a BLIZZARD. I hate snow.

As tradition, my family always stopped at the Lake Powell dam and had lunch and that is what we did on our road trip. Overall, it was so nice to get out of Provo and be somewhere warm. We got to stay with my aunt and uncle and with Jon's sisters. We had a lot of fun spending time with them, soaking up the sun.

When we got back, Jon's brother asked us to watch their two little girls while they went out of town! It was a crash-course in parenthood. We had to think of things to entertain them constantly. One of the items of entertainment was my hair. They thought I looked so beautiful after covering my hair in bows that they did it 4 more times. It was a dangerous game though, I have gouges all over my head from where they scraped me with the clips.

We made a fort and partied all afternoon with candy, cookies, and a Barbie princess movie.

Over the next 48 hours, we went to Kangaroo Zoo, BYU Bowling Alley, and the movie theater. It was a wild ride filled with whining, temper tantrums, and lots of fun. We even got to deal with throw up after the little one bounced too hard on a blow up toy.

They really loved this place and the slides and we spent almost two hours making them tired :) Despite the massive exertion of energy, these kids woke us up at 7:00. It was still dark and it was a holiday. Needless to say, it was an excellent form of birth control :) Jon and I were exhausted after those two days. I can't imagine it full time! Those of you who do it full time, you are incredible! I don't know how you do it!!!

Monday, November 2, 2009

The BEST Halloween Ever!!!!

This Halloween just happened to be the best Halloween I have ever had. For multiple reasons. But the most incredible part of the day was when Jon and I drove up to Saratoga Springs and were reunited WITH MY KIDS FROM ETHIOPIA!!! Cherish and Kelly are their new parents. This amazing couple adopted 7 of these adorable kids from Africa, ranging from age 2 to age 17!!! And they already had 4 kids of their own! And then Cherish's father adopted 3 more of the kids!!!! The day I got a call from them from America I shed quite a few tears and said a million prayers. I thought that if I was ever going to see them again, I would have to raise thousands of dollars to go back to their remote village. But here they are in UTAH. I cannot believe it still! What amazing, incredible, AMAZING people these two families are and what an incredible, overwhelming blessing it is to be able to see these kids that I lived with for three months (in one of the most poverty stricken countries in the world) be adopted to families that live within 30 minutes of my house into a home where the gospel is loved and taught. Dibabbe, the oldest of the girls, is currently taking the discussions! Her father, Kelly, is also a seminary teacher, and after one of his classes, she text her mom and said, "Daddy is such a good teacher. GOD is LOVE." Incredible. When we got to Saratoga Springs, the kids were already out trick-or-treating, so we snuck up on them from behind. Dibabbe was the first one that saw me and in two seconds she was giving me a life-squeezing hug. And then she cried. I can't explain the incredible feeling of love that I had for this girl and the love that I knew Heavenly Father has for her. I just know that there is something amazing in store for these wonderful kids. Overall, it was one of the best nights of my life, and with a full heart I could tell these kids that I would be back to see them as often as their parents would let me.

These are all of the kids from the Village of Hope the night that I left. Of these kids, TWELVE, have been adopted, plus three more that came after I left. There are 7 in Saratoga Springs, 3 in Spanish Fork, 2 in Salt Lake City, and 3 in Logan!!!!!!

And as a special surprise, Fayisa was there for a 2 week visit!!! He practically made the Village of Hope run while we were there. He helped to teach me the native language and was the only father-figure these kids ever had. They adored him and it was so wonderful to see him again!! Another awesome surprise is that Fayisa is also taking the discussions from the missionaries and on the night that we saw him, Oct. 31, he had begun reading the Book of Mormon!!!!! Steffanie and I always insisted that someday he would become a Bishop. At the time, he didn't know what that meant, but he knows now and laughs. I am so positive that he will accept the gospel. His heart has been ready for a very long time.

Again, what an incredible blessing this weekend has brought! I just want to hug Cherish and Kelly for forever for taking these incredible kids into their home and giving them a real chance at life. I can't imagine the hardships that this merging will bring to their families, but I am sure that they will be blessed tremendously for their outpouring of love. It is such proof that Heavenly Father really hears and answers our prayers and that He knows each of us individually!!!

Well, after those amazing few hours, the rest of Halloween can't quite compare, but it was really fun. Jon was the creative one for this Halloween and we dressed as Lumiere and Babette, from Beauty and The Beast. We had a lot of fun putting together our costumes...

Can you see the resemblance?? Haha...Jon's costume is made solely from women's DI clothing and oatmeal cans and my dress was also a DI addition...with some feathers from some white dusters I bought. Let's just say that when we got home, it looked like we had killed and defeathered a chicken! There were feathers everywhere. And they still are everywhere. Even though we cleaned up, I found at least three lingering feathers on my jeans in the car this morning.

We went over to our friends' house for a good Halloween party where we could show off our costume! By then, Jon was fully into his character. He sat like Lumiere, with his arms at right angles, for the entire party! And occasionally, he would lean forward to "sizzle" a feather on my dress and then apologize for burning me. It was so great! Thanks to the Robertsons for having us over! Afterwards, we went to Jon's parents and raided the candy and talked about their Halloween evening and then we headed to the Low's house. As always, we stayed late and talked, but we had to bolt before Andrew could put on a scary movie or Lord of the Rings or Joe Dirt :) (thanks for veto-ing, Court!). All in all, it was the best Halloween ever.