April 28, 2012

Yellow Wedding

My little sister is all grown up and married. We all had such a special day. And I honestly can't remember ever seeing a more beautiful bride.

These are pictures that Steph took, but when the professional photos come back, I'll definitely be posting more.

It's always a good idea to remind newlyweds NOT to forget their birth control on the honeymoon.

Poor Ivy and Maren were sick today.

This is the face of a sick little girl trying desperately to force a smile.

Could Jamie be any more beautiful? Kamryn thinks not.

Me and my sister Jen. Um, yeah, I could really use a tan.

Jen's the cutest, so here's another with us together.

And of course, no wedding of Jamie's could be complete without a quick sign change
. . . at her luncheon restaurant.

We had a great time. But now I've gotta let my kids (and myself) recover from the long day. 
Have a good weekend!

April 27, 2012

Letters from a Xenophile

Xenophile: a person who is attracted to foreign peoples, cultures, or customs. (That's me).
If you didn't already know what a xenophile is, the title of this post probably freaked you out.

When I was at UVU six years ago, I decided to join the English Conversation Club because I'm drawn to foreigners like a magnet. Later, at BYU, I did a tutoring internship for my TESOL minor. Thanks to those decisions, I met some of the kindest, loving, most accepting, and humble people I've ever known. It breaks my heart, but I've lost contact with most of them now. They're spread out around the world, back in their home countries of Japan, Korea, Chad, Mongolia, Taiwan, Romania, Mexico, and more. If I could find them, this is what I'd want to say.

Me and Shuhei
Yes, it was nerdy to dress up like a geisha while hanging out with all my Asian friends.
At least the kimono was authentic.

We noticed each other around campus for a while before we actually met. You had that effortless style that only Japanese guys can pull off, and I wanted to be your friend. I'll never forget when you came up and said your name was Shuhei. You pointed down--"Shoe"--then gave a little wave--"Hey." I loved you for it already.
We started eating lunch together several times a week. You told me that if I had a Japanese name, it should be Sachiko, because you saw me as a "happy child." I invited you to church with me and you gladly came, even though you didn't know enough English to understand it at all. Then one day, you took me out onto the roof of the school and told me you were in love with me, and that you had been for six months. You spilled your heart and your feelings, and I disappointed you. I'm so sorry I couldn't say it back. It was bad timing. I know that I may be an unpleasant memory to you now, but I remember you in the best kind of way.

You were a Mongolian beauty. I first met you in the math lab and was more than willing to help you with your homework because you couldn't have been sweeter. You were always so warm and full of energy. I remember the time you invited me to a party and I came to your apartment wearing a boring outfit. You immediately pulled me into your room and dressed me like a supermodel in a little black dress and pointy-toed heels, telling me that I had to wear it to show of my "so nice legs." I was willing to do just about anything you asked because you were just so nice, even though I felt a little scandalous in that dress. Later, I cried when we said goodbye because you were moving to Chicago. I still think of you whenever I see the exotic high cheekbones of a Mongolian woman, and I hope you still have the zest for life that you did when I knew you.

Shuhei, Isabel, Me, Po-Han

I never knew that someone could be so clever and witty in a language they've only just learned. Every time you spoke, everyone listened because we knew it would be hilarious. You made the best Taiwanese Jack Sparrow I've ever seen. You stole the show you when you swaggered into the room on Halloween. I still remember the girls screaming and swarming you for pictures. You probably had an admirer from every country.
After I was married, I saw you at a sushi restaurant where you were working. You chewed me out a little because I didn't invite you to my wedding. I'm sorry. I didn't know how to contact you, but you were right when you said, "It's not okay."

Isabel and me

You came from Africa to create a better life for yourself. You were so graceful and elegant. Your gap-toothed smile was the best I've ever seen. You offered it to everybody without judgment. You laughed easily and were unfailingly optimistic. As soon as I saw you, I knew we would be friends. I know your life wasn't easy; you came from an incredibly difficult world, but I hope you've been able to use your goodness and strength to make it better.

Seok Hee,
I remember your contagious laugh most of all. Every time I tutored you in English, we'd laugh so much that I was worried I wouldn't teach you anything at all. The truth is, I probably didn't teach you much, but I hope you remember the fun we had. You had to make the difficult decision of leaving your wife in Korea so she could work and support you while you went to school to learn English. When Jared and I went to dinner with you and your two boys, we saw what a devoted father you were. You were thoughtful and ridiculously kind. I had warm fuzzies from head to toe when you gave me the Winnie the Pooh pencil kit that your wife had sent from Korea for me. You took me in like I was family, and I appreciated it more than you know.

I forgot this guy's name, but he had a great Bin Laden costume.
He was also very light.

To them all,
I love you. You taught me what it means to love without boundaries. Although we didn't often share a common language, background, religion, interests, or life experiences, we loved each other wholeheartedly. Never has anyone accepted me so readily as you all did. Your smiles still light up my heart when I think of you. You are strong, smart, innovative individuals who are bound to change the world. Though I'm sure you don't often think of me, I will never, ever, forget you. I pray that you are happy and living life to the fullest like you are meant to do. And if we ever meet again, I will still feel all the fondness for you that I did when we saw each other daily. Thank you for your wonderful contribution to my life.

Your loving friend,

Shuhei and me with Bin Laden's sign.
Gotta love English language learners.

April 25, 2012

Value & Weight

The obsession with weight and body image in our culture pushes its way into all of our lives, whether we want to participate or not. Do you talk about weight, dieting, and your body frequently? Even if you don't, chances are likely that people around you do.

I recently read an article about Octavia Spencer, the talented actress who played Minny in The Help. She said that she believes she needs to lose weight because "when you reach a certain weight, you are less valuable." Really? This made me sad for her, and for everyone who feels like this. I realize she was probably including her value as an actress, but I know that people really do associate their body size with their self-worth--and it's not right at all.
Original image by me :)
I'm aware of the stereotypes that exist toward overweight people. They are often seen as lazy, lacking in self control, and less productive. Do you believe this? Then let me change your mind with an example:

Person #1
Hardly ever exercises
Stays inside most of the day
Eats whatever he or she wants
Never gives a thought to weight gain
Cleaning the house is an afterthought
Has no self control when it comes to cookie dough
= Underweight

Person #2
Exercises regularly, often daily
Can run for miles at a time
Watches what he or she eats
Has gone for months without junk food
Cleaning the house is a priority
Keeps cookie dough cravings to a minimum
= Overweight

Embarrassingly, person #1 is me. Person #2 is my husband. Fair? No. True? Yes.

Is it possible that our bodies are not an accurate representation of our lives and habits? Do people see us and make assumptions about our lifestyles before they know the facts? You bet. That's our world. But it shouldn't be.

So . . . if the way we look doesn't accurately reflect what we do, then our weight should never be associated with our value as human beings. Never. Do you make judgments about a person's value based on weight? How about yourself? Then stop. Now. We are all equally valuable. You are valuable. The size or shape of your body can't change that.

To summarize:
1. Weight does not accurately represent habits.
2. Value has nothing to do with appearance.

And don't you forget it.

April 24, 2012

U is for University

So, it's 10:30 p.m. and I am just barely starting to write my U post. Things were pretty busy for me today. I spent the afternoon at the new City Creek shopping center in downtown Salt Lake. It was pretty awesome (and this is coming from someone who doesn't care much for shopping). The only part that was not awesome is that I spent a lot. But I had to have a cute outfit for Jamie's wedding this Saturday, right? It's not always easy when your body is in a constant state of change. As long as I'm pregnant or nursing, my body is going up or down in size. Oops, major digression from the subject at hand: my university/college experience.

When I was about to graduate from high school, I was directionless. I always knew college would happen, but I didn't know when or where or in what subject. So, I stalled a bit and decided to enroll in hairstyling college. My cousin Jen was going and because I wanted so much to be her roommate and because it just felt right (oh, and because I thought I'd be good at doing hair), I decided to head down to Cedar City and go too. It ended up being one of the best decisions I ever made. The roommates I met down there (Marci, Kristi, Kaycee) are still some of my favorite people in the world. I'd never take back the fun we had and the friendships we made. However, it was not my most responsible time, and I barely made it through hair school in one piece. Let me tell you, I did NOT fit in with that crowd. I'm pretty sure I was the least popular girl at that school. But when I walked out those doors, I loved every day of my life in Cedar City. Being able to work as a hairstylist ended up being a great way to pay for and graduate debt-free from what came next--real college.

Marci and me (the stuff we did for fun)
It seems like in Utah there are two groups of high school graduates of about equal size: those who desperately want to go to BYU . . . and those who don't want to come near it with a 39 1/2 mile pole. I used to fit into the second group. So, I did what many of those from that group do--apply to the University of Utah and Utah Valley University. I was accepted to both (because, seriously, everyone is) and was soooo close to going to the U of U. Then I met Jared, who was going to UVU, and you know, I liked him, so UVU it was.

UVU campus
While at UVU, I had so much fun, made incredible friends (more on that in another post), and was a really good student. The only problem was, I still couldn't decide on a major. UVU wasn't the most academically diverse school. After getting my associate degree there with a 4.0, I decided to apply for scholarships. UVU said they'd like to give me one, but they had "insufficient funds." BYU, on the other hand, offered me a full tuition scholarship. So, once again, fate seemed to make my decision for me. I married Jared about two weeks before starting BYU, so I fortunately didn't have to worry about curfews, having a male in my bedroom, and such.

Um, are you still reading? Sorry, this post is long and rambling. Well, anyway, at BYU, I changed my mind about a few different majors, couldn't decide, chose one, changed it, blah blah blah. Then I attended my first linguistics course and it was a perfect match. I loved the world of language it opened up to me. If you haven't taken linguistics courses, you have no idea what you're missing. I honestly believe that phonetics and other linguistic subjects should be required classes starting in sixth grade or earlier. It. Is. Beautiful. And no, it's not about grammar and correctness. In fact, true linguists frown upon grammar nazis. They know that right and wrong is arbitrary in the world of language and that all languages deserve equal respect. So, after a bunch of lovable classes with names like phonology and morphology and theoretical syntax, I graduated from BYU in Linguistics with a minor in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages)--wordy enough for you? My only regret was that I graduated with a 3.9 GPA and not a 4.0. Awful, I know.

Me and Salena, one of my faves from BYU
So, all in all, I loved college. It was great. SO much better than high school, as I'm sure most people can attest. Oh, and you know what the best kept secret is? Go to hair school first, see how miserable it is, and then regular college afterwards will be a complete breeze, plus you'll be able to pay for it. You know what's too bad though? As much as I loved my degree, I'll never find a career that really lets me use it. Alas, doing what you love is great, but it doesn't always pay, does it?

April 21, 2012

Sign Scrabble

*Warning: This blog post is rated PG-13 for bathroom, sexual, and ridiculous humor.*

If you haven't learned this about me by now, it's time you know: I'm a little crazy and I find humor in the unconventional. My whole family fits this description, really. We have something of a tradition in my family of playing "Sign Scrabble." It's pretty easy. You just find one of those signs with moveable letters; then you change it to your liking. Now, remember, since we only have the limited availability of the letters on each sign (because we don't believe in stealing), the results are often questionable. You'll see what I mean.

We've got pictures of some, but not all, unfortunately. But I solemnly swear they are all true. To avoid being the victim of strange google searches, the text will be shown as images. And to avoid incriminating anyone (is it a crime?), I won't say who actually changed each one.

Sonic is an easy target:
Don't you wish all fast food joints were so honest in their ad campaigns?


Just spreading public awareness.

"Now hiring days" + other words becomes
When the Atkins diet was all the rage.

"Free smiles" + other words becomes

Something about "cleaning large queen mattresses" becomes

Fast food restaurant:
Why is it such a trend to bash the French? And admitting animal abuse. Not cool.

Many places:
 They make it too easy with Santa around Christmas time.

 Pirate O's:

A Harry Potter theme night:
Yes, spelled wrong. You've gotta work with what you have.



"We celebrate dancing" becomes:

Yeah, for some reason Satan is a favorite.

They left this one up for about a week. It must have helped business.

Again, I bet it helped business.

Fat Cats Bowling:
This one is legendary in Provo.

Gives a whole new meaning to "Spoons 'n Spice"

Christian Bookstore:
Satan again.

 Arctic Circle:
Apparently the employees at Arctic Circle don't know what sub-par means because it remained like that for weeks.

Street fruit vendor:

. . . Because they never stop us from having fun.

What's your favorite? Or do you hate them all? Share your opinion!

April 20, 2012

Recife, Brazil

Jared served his LDS mission in the beautiful city of Recife, Brazil about 12 years ago. He was lucky enough to go back a few years later to visit. 

2004 Vacation

I love the atmosphere and energy of this one.

The beautiful Nany Felipe and her cute son

Recife LDS temple

Jared in Porto de Galinhas (Chicken Port)

Jared's Mission

My favorite (the picture and the guy)

A Beatles hat and a monkey . . . what more could a guy want?

Looks like an Instagram filter, but it's just good old-fashioned film.

Look how skinny he was! A little malnourished, perhaps?

I want to go. Doesn't it look like fun?
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