12.30.2011

It's a Christmas miracle!

I took off my adorable chestnut brown boots last night after some ice cream at Charlie's with a friend.

And look what I beheld!


Matching socks!

Christmas miracle of all Christmas miracles!

It can still be a considered a Christmas miracle even though Christmas was over five days ago, right? After all, I am still on Christmas break. So .... Christmas miracle it is!

This also just might make my 101 Most Shocking Moments of 2011 list. Speaking of which, it comes out tomorrow. As always, contain your excitement. :)

P.s. I forgot to post about Thanksgiving and our Christmas card. You can find them here and here.

12.28.2011

Did I ever tell you ...

About my all-expenses paid vacay?

My all-expenses paid vacay to Sioux City, Iowa!

Okay, so not exactly anyone's ideal location for a vacay. And okay, it wasn't technically a vacay. Buuut, it still was all-expenses paid!

I rang in the 2008 New Year while riding on a Greyhound bus.


This is Emily Kunic and I on the bus, when Linze whipped out the beef jerky. I think it is clear how I feel about beef jerky. :)

We were heading to Sioux City for the Iowa caucus. We would be spending the week prior to the caucus  campaigning for Mitt Romney.

"We" were 55 college students and graduates primarily from the school down south and some Utah Staters. :) With some being defined as Emily and I.


We sure were excited as our journey began.

That spark of excitement simmered quite substantially, however, when the Greyhound began to malfunction. As in, it began going 10 miles per hour. While on the freeway. In Wyoming or Nebraska.

I am  not even sure which.

In attempts to get the bus to go faster than 10mph, we pulled over to one of those truck stops that fix trucks {and I guess buses too!} at any hour of the day.

There was a dirty little cafe for us to wait in.

Because of the late/early hour and the number of patrons we were bringing in from our bus, they didn't have enough servers for us. So, we served ourselves.

Chance Basinger & Daren Humphries
I don't recall how much time we spent in the dirty cafe. I do recall I drank hot chocolate. It was the sorriest cup of hot chocolate I had ever had in my life. But I was just grateful to have somewhere warm to stay while the bus got fixed.

And when it did, we were back on the road. But because of delays, the 16-hour trip turned into a 22-hour trip. The 22-hour trip in which I learned I could not sleep vertically. And since we were already arriving late, instead of getting some shut-eye upon arrival, we were put right to work!

While one of the biggest responsibilities our team had while in Sioux City was making phone calls, I wasn't put on the phones right away. Thank goodness! There were no scripts for the calls we were to make! My first job was keeping track of all the phone calls we made.

P.s. This is me doing this job and this is also me on my 42-hour stint of being awake.


Sigh. Look at that demented pinky. While I only had this assignment twice during the entire week, since I was the first one to have it, it was referred to as "Mindy's job" the entire time we were there. :)

But no one could escape making phone calls.


Linze Struiskma and Emily Kunic
Teams from every campaign make countless phone calls throughout the week leading up to the caucus. On Mitt's team we call to encourage them to first and foremost: attend the caucus. We also tried to get an idea of who they were voting for and answer any questions they had about Mitt Romney. Lastly, we offered transportation to anyone who had no one of getting to the caucus, regardless of who they were voting for. 

I cannot even fathom what it would be like to live in Iowa right before the caucus. One man I spoke to said I was the 17th person to call that week about the caucus! I really think I would have my phone disconnected the week prior just to keep my sanity! I think overall, we made over 38,000 calls that week.

Another thing we did felt a lot like tracking {even though I have never served a mission, I think this is as close as I will get to it}. We would bundle ourselves up ...


And go door-to-door {by foot}, encouraging people to attend the caucus. And put in a good word for Mitt, of course. :)

Did I mention temperatures got as low as -14*?

Because they did.

And, did I mention - Iowa doesn't believe in the grid/block system so much. We had to ask for directions. A lot. Such as, "Where is Jones' Street?"

"Just east of Jackson Street."

"Uhm, where is Jackson Street?"

"Just east of Nebraska Street."

I just have three letters for you: G-O-O!!!!

In one section of the town, the streets went in the following order: 35th, 36th, 38th, THEN 37th and 39th.


It was such a monumental moment in my life to find 37th street that I had to document it. :)

Did I mention it was -14* outside?

Oh, I did?

Did I mention on occasion we would find refuge in Chili's? after being outside for hours on end?


I get cold just looking at this photograph, knowing how cold we were that day! I had never been so cold in my entire life!

For several hours leading up to the caucus we were to hold up signs on street corners reminding people to attend and, if you haven't caught on by now, as well as encouraging them to vote for the Mittster! :)

I thought our signs turned out super cute.


C'mon. It glitters. Could you ask for anything more?

And when I thought it wasn't possible to be colder than I was while tracking for hours ...



It did. When we stood on those darn street corners.

P.s. While on the corner I had sister missionaries pull over in their car and ask me if I had ever heard of a man named Joseph Smith. When I informed them I had, they were super excited. Their excitement depleted when I informed them I was from Utah ... and already a member. :)

As it was time for the caucus to actually start, we were able to attend!

Standing room only.


As the caucus began, they asked us to stand and repeat the Pledge of Allegiance. I cannot recall the last time I had the opportunity to say the pledge, probably in middle school when 25 14-year-olds would just ramble it off without thinking about what it meant.

At the caucus, hundreds stood and in unison, with more conviction than I have ever heard while saying the pledge, we all spoke, "I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic, for which it stands, one nation, under GOD, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." 

There are no words to describe that experience

After a little speech here and there, the voters were released to vote. And back to our posts we went.


 As if seeing this semi-dumpy sign would be the last-minute decision-maker for anyone. ;)

Mitt won the district we were in by over 30%.

Success, I would most definitely say.

P.s. While in Iowa we stayed with families who offered their homes to us.

We were blessed to stay with Derek and Sam Memmott and their two little boys {and a baby who was in bed}.



Their kindness and generosity was second to none. They not only welcomed us into their home, gave us a place to sleep, let us use their shower, fed us, but they would also stay up with us into the early morning hours discussing the campaign as well as our lives back home. I will never forget the love they offered us.

After all was said and done, we got back onto that horrible, awful Greyhound and made the journey home to Utah!


I loved this experience more than I have words to convey. As attention is already being brought to Iowa for the caucus next week, I cannot help but long to be there. 

Iowa changed me. It made me more aware of our country. It made me determined to play a more active role in who runs our country. It made me more grateful for our country and the freedoms that we have. 

As the election year rolls around, I encourage you to also take a more active role. GET OUT AND VOTE. But that isn't even enough. Study the candidates. KNOW what they stand for - know what YOU stand for

In our country's history I do not believe there has ever been a more critical time for your voice to be heard. Are you happy with how things are going? If not, do something to change it.

You may be just one voice, but history is replete of times where just one voice changed the world.

P.s. I heart Mitt.

A lot. :)

That's all.

12.26.2011

Oh, Christmas Tree! Oh, Christmas Tree!


When I hear that song being sung, my only thought is this, "Why are you talking to a Christmas tree??"

It reminds me of that Bruno Mars song, "Grenade" where he sings, "I'd catch a grenade for you." First off, why are you dating in a war zone? Where are you that you are having grenades being thrown at you?

But I digress.

Christmas was celebrated!


After our annual Christmas Eve dinner, we played games.

I was in charge of the ... random facts game? Where I would ask crasy questions that no one would know the answers to, provide multiple choice answers annnd, that was it.

P.S. I may or may not have fed Nephew 2 the answers in advance. 

But that is besides the point.

I specifically asked some cow questions. Yup. Cow questions.

My dad and uncle grew up on a dairy farm. They worked the farm for 40 years {in fact, the uncle still farms the land and raises baby cows for people}.

I wanted to see brother vs. brother who knew the answer: How many stomach compartments does a cow have?


It played out as well as it could have: two professional dairy farmers, two separate answers. Who was right? Sorry, Dad. Trumped by big brother! Cows have four stomach compartments (D), not three (C). :)

Melissa was in charge of the Pictionary game. 


Who an guess what brother-in-law Shteve drew? The green little goblin at the bottom of the page? And then, of course, can you guess what I had to draw {bottom right}. 

We also played a little Christmas Bingo.


Which I didn't win a single Bingo or blackout with. But, I did enjoy eating the markers.

We also played the candy bar game.


Which, I didn't win a single candy bar at.

Buuuut, I 'spose that is okay because I had a bedazzled shirt on.



And how can anything be that bad while wearing a bedazzled shirt?

That's right, it can't.

Hopefully your Christmas was as merry {and bedazzled!} as ours!


Bring on the New Year!

12.23.2011

I am an adult ...

Yet, when mama leaves me home alone with all of these ...


I am still tempted to peek.

When I informed mama of her blunder she said, "You looked, didn't you?"

C'mon. I have more self-control than that ... right? :)

P.s. I always found it interesting that Santa Claus and the mom had the exact same handwriting.


Weird.

Merry Christmas Eve Eve! :)

12.22.2011

Everybody's doing it.

This is the first Christmas card I have ever been part of. 

And I am prroooud of it.

Given, I had nothing to do with it's creation. All credit is due to the fabulous Claire. But that is beside the point. :)


Didya notice how it said, "sparkle"? I love all things that sparkle.

I really do hope your holidays sparkle and shine!

Merry Christmas!

12.21.2011

I am not a Scrooge ...

I didn't help put up or decorate the Christmas tree this year.
But I am not a Scrooge.

I was busy doing this.



Which may or may not make me appear like I am a Scrooge. Buuuut, refer to the title of this post.
I was actually doing some of the finalizing details of the auction fundraiser. P.s. We raised 700 dollars for the headstone! THANK YOU!
While I didn't lay a finger on the tree or give any input on what it should look like, I did take photograph of the roommatess laying some fingers on it.






Seeeee, I told you I wasn't a Scrooge! Scrooge would never take cute pictures of happy people putting up a litl' Charlie Brown tree {I said "little" with a British accent, that is why it is spelled that way}.
I think part of my appeared-Scrooginess came from the fact that it wasn't my tree or my decorations. Buuut, then again, it was their tree or their decorations either!
It is Jilly's tree and Jilly's decorations.
So where she was?
Being a non-Scrooge too, doing a project for finals week.
Yuck.
While I was a lump on a log when it came to assisting putting up the tree, I will take sole responsiblity of taking down the tree. Christmas night. Or if my roommates are lucky, the wee morning hours of December 26th.

P.s. This is what our tree looks like.

And this is what it will look like next year. :)

Next up, a Christmas card! To you and yours from me and mine. 

I know you are excited.

12.19.2011

Pre-Christmas

It's rough celebrating Christmas twice in one week.

But a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do.

Tonight the roommates and I began our Pre-Christmas celebration by going to dinner at Cafe Sabor. It doesn't really shout, "Christmas!" buuut, we all really, really like their Macho Nachos!

After dinner we returned to our humble abode and took turns opening our gifts with only one rule, you must wearing whatever you are given.
It got really, really hot in our house. And yes, that is a bedazzled, pink skirt!

Fun was had by all.
You will just have to trust me on it though because I only have these kinds of photos with Claire and Stabi. :) 

Jill was able to unwrap her gifts from me that she wrapped in the first place. 


Yup, that is pink, sparkly polka-dot Christmas wrapping paper.

And Stabi is a thug in what she affectionately calls her jail jammies. 


She has matching pantelones and had this top, but lost it ... so we replaced it.

A definite highlight of Pre-Christmas


And another! 



The only way this could be better if we could somehow manage to be part of the Scranton Finer Things Club. For those of you who don't watch The Office, just so you know, The Finer Things Club is an exclusive club where people meet once a month to discuss books, art and to celebrate culture in a very civilized way ... which makes perfect sense why I would be in such an elite group, no?

Following the opening of gifts we turned on A Christmas Story.

Best.Pre-Christmas.party.EVER. Just sayin'.

P.s. I have already gotten 200+ Christmas gifts prepared for others and I am not even done yet.

Sigh.

But I will eat some cake balls and feel just fine. So all is well, all is well. :)

12.18.2011

Why I am the best co-worker. Ever.

Four cake mixes and tubs of icing. 

 Five packages of almond bark. 


 Eight cookie sheets/cake pans. 

Two colors of candy melt.

 57 plastic baggies. 

 7.5 hours spread over two days. 

Only one "fatality".

 Some sparkly ribbon. 

 And there you have it; my Christmas gifts for my co-workers.

While it is no surprise I am not a domestic goddess, it may be a surprise that I can whip up a few things. Strike that. A couple things. I can whip up a couple things.

One of those things are cake balls.

The most important thing of making cake balls is to find a really good kitchen. Meaning, it's best to make them at your mom's house ... while she is out of town.

Besides finding a good kitchen, it also involves baking some cakes.


And then crumbling them up and adding 3/4ths tub of frosting per cake.


And rolling them into itty-bitty little balls.


Then you get to melt almond bark.



Once you melt the almond bark you get to dip each individual ball into it.


And sometimes you have fatalities ...


Where the cake ball falls apart in the melted almond bark.

After the almond bark hardens you then get to melt candy melt.


So you can drizzle it on the balls.  I love the word drizzle.


I drizzled the cake balls in white and red.




And then you have to hustle and clean up all the messes before your mom returns from San Jorge.


But, try as you might, she will probably return when you have one pan left to clean.

Doh.

After cleaning the mess up you can then wrap them up in little plastic baggies.



Adorned with Christmas-colored ribbons, of course. Sparkly, Christmas-colored ribbons, of course.

And make them curl so they are cute.

And be sure to make 57 of them.




And ta-da! Your co-workers have Christmas gifts from you!

And if you blog about it before you give it to them, there is a high probability they will know what you are getting them. Ho-well. 

Word and merry Christmas to the co-workers.
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