Lot 48: December 2014

December 31, 2014

new year's eve!!!!!

hey hey hey it's new year's eve!! i feel like i could not write this post at all and everyone would be okay.  i don't have much to say because we all know i don't like new year's resolutions, so we aren't going to talk about that.  and i am so tired of 2014 recaps and links to posts from the past year and i am too lazy have a life and don't want to put one together.

i am just that i am excited for tonight.  tonight i got taran and i VIP tickets to a party where there are drinks, dancing and a DJ! and i am going to wear my sparkly dress. 

the thing i want to explain, though, is that there are a lot of dresses that i think are gorgeous that i would love to wear, {see pinterest board} that i can't wear because of my religious garments.  i wanted to post this video again explaining "Mormon garments" and how we are to dress modestly.  i really wouldn't have it any other way, and i do have a sparkly dress i can wear, but i just wanted to make it clear that i think all these dresses are absolutely beautiful and i would love to wear them, but i can't.  and that is just fine with me.

this year has been hard but oh so good (i got married to my love!!) but also really, really hard.  a few months of this year have been the hardest of my life.  i am so looking forward to a clean slate and a new year with fresh possibilities and fresh outlook on life.  i am so happy and so grateful for the blessings the Lord has given me.  i can't wait to see what 2015 brings!! bring it on! 
happy new years!! and i have a special treat for you tomorrow!! 

December 30, 2014

in 2015 linkup + blogger men tell all!!

whew!! i feel like i have a take a very deep breath and now that we are home from Christmas vacation.  as you saw, Christmas so much fun but i am so happy to be home!! 

i am so happy to join this linkup with juliette and amber! so here we go, predict things that will and won't happen in 2015 and then linkup with samantha for blogger men tell all!!! 

BUT FIRST!!! i want to introduce you to nicole from nicole marica!!!! i absolutely, love love her blog.  i have been following it for a while and was actually the one who asked her to sponsor me!! i wanted her on my sidebar, haha!! i love her blog design, her writing style and everything about her blog!! meet your new friend! 

Tell us a little bit about what we will find on your blog. Life? Recipes? Fitness? Nicole Marica is a lot like the show Seinfeld, it's a blog about nothing, but encompasses everything! Pretty much whatever inspires me, I'll post about, so you'll see beauty posts, book posts, recipes, and random life posts. I try to be self deprecatingly funny. I've made a ton of friends by blogging and hope to make many more!

If you could have dinner with anyone in the world, dead or alive, who would it be? This is a really tough question. There are so many great people who have come and gone for me to pick just one, so (sorry if it's hokey!) I'm going to have to choose God. Because then I can talk about all the typical stuff, get all the unanswerable questions in life (what really came first, the chicken or the egg?!?, and what really happened to Jon Benet?!?) AND then ask about all the other people I'd like to meet, since He's all knowing.

Describe your perfect Saturday That's a tough one. I'd have to say April 25th because it's not too hot, not too cold, all you need is a light jacket....just kidding! haha My perfect Saturday would consist of waking up to no chores or errands that need to be done, so I could just sit on the couch (or in my hammock if the weather is nice) and read all day cuddling with my cats with no pestering guilt telling me I needed to get stuff done.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be? My husband, Dave, and I have a bucket list item to travel to all 50 states. I'm trying to save up for a trip (many years from now!) to drive across the country. Ideally, we'd rent a RV and travel up to South Dakota (and of course visiting states between Pennsylvania, where we live, and there!) to see Mount Rushmore, through Montana down to Wyoming to see Yellowstone and Old Faithful, then back across the country to see more of the good ol US of A!

if you could give advice to your younger self, what would it be? There is way too many things I would tell my younger self if I had the chance but I think I would sum it up with this: No matter how much it sucked, don't do anything differently because you wouldn't be where you are today if you hadn't made all the mistakes that you did along the way, and where you are right now is pretty darn good.

her favorite blog posts

in 2015 i will...

welcome another nicephew into the family in april (my sister refuses to find out the sex of the baby!!!)
hopefully make new blog friends
another sister will probably get pregnant
(hopefully!!) stay at my same job
get a pet
my health will improve
be a better granddaughter and visit them more
make new blog friends.  hopefully in real life! 
make great strides in getting ourselves out of debt

in 2015 i will not

run a marathon
run anything ever
go camping
get a masters degree
eat seafood
live without my husband
play any sport everbe scared 
like small dogs
like cats
not get pregnant by choice
still not like new years resolutions

now lets get to know my man better and my friend nicole, yeah?

Becoming Adorrable

What is one thing you really want for Christmas/the holidays this year?  i wanted the bioinnovations book.  it's the stanford bioinnovations textbook.  {remember he is a biomedical engineer and so obviously he wants something super  nerdy}
Does your family generally do Christmas Eve or Christmas Day (or other sorts of) celebrations?  we open one present on Christmas Eve and always all get a movie and sit around all Christmas day watching the movies we got.  and we eat apple pie and bacon and eggs for breakfast and don't open presents until noon.
What is your favorite part about the Holidays?  being with my wife all day long  {he is just too sweet!!}
What's your New Year's Resolution?  um....i want to learn as much as i can about biomedical innovation and coming up with a good idea and learning how to get the device to market. 
Where will you be at the start of 2015?  probably in our room with you drinking martinellis.  unless there is a party you want to go to or something. 

December 29, 2014

i'm scared of everything

recently, as i have been reflecting upon this year, i have realized that i have become one big wuss.

i am scared of everything.  taking risks, trying new things, people hurting me, the future, i could go on and on and on.  i feel timid and like i want to just crawl into a tiny little shell and stay there forever, where people can't hurt me.  where i can't hurt myself.

i'm scared of mostly people hurting me, and that includes me hurting myself.  i am not good at loving myself, being kind to myself.  i am not good at it at all.  i'm scared of getting sick, of having the flu (because the last time i had the flu it was one of the worst experiences of my life, no joke.  i felt like i was at death's door) of other things that shouldn't matter.

i used to be brave!! i used to be merida!  i used to fight and be tough and stand up tall and look fear in the face and scream at it "you don't get to win!! i get to say how i feel! i get to be in control of how i live!"  but now, i don't know, i have shrunk into a tiny, small person.

so as we ring in the new year, and as you know, i don't like resolutions, i just want to do one word: FEARLESS.  i want to be fearless.  not like taylor swift's album, but fearless of the people around me.  fearless of getting hurt, fearless of the future, just BRAVE.  that is who i want to be.  that is who i am dying to be.  i used to be like that but somehow along the way, i lost that.  and here i am, a shriveled up shell, scared to come out.  

but no more!! it is time be brave, to get out of my shell, to take care of me, to be kind to myself, to not be scared of myself and what harsh and cruel words i have to tell myself that day.  i challenge myself to wake up every morning and look me in the eye in the mirror and say "i am enough.  i am beautiful.  i am skinny (use self esteem problem for me) i am worthwhile, i am enough."   I AM ENOUGH.  i have to remember that, i have to remember to brave and fearless.  it is time for me to look fear in the face and own up to it, and tell it to go away.  it is my choice whether or not i want to be scared or fearless.

and i choose fearless. 

December 28, 2014

this is not a Chrstmas recap

i know that your feed is completely cluttered with Christmas recaps.  and i am sure that you are sick of them.  i know i am.  so today is going to be more of a photo dump of sorts because i want to allow you to just scroll down quickly through everything and not have to spend a lot of time reading yet another Christmas recap. 

i'm a minion! 

flying a plane at the kid's museum

my olaf

special aunt moment as my sweet niece wanted to see aunt lauren and uncle taran's bed and then we looked at pictures and she pointed everyone out. it was so sweet! 

 i hope you all had a very merry Christmas!! 

December 26, 2014

meet my bff caroline

GUYS.  how. was. your. Christmas.  mine was wonderful.  just check instagram.  but it also felt weird.  we didn't do any of the Christmas traditions that i mentioned due to the children.  children throw the whole thing off which is totally fine, i just felt really thrown as nobody warned me that none of any of that was going to happen.  so i just had my own celebration and did the usual traditions with taran.  which was great.  after we helped clean up Christmas dinner on Christmas eve, i declared it "us" time and we watched elf and ate treats.  actual Christmas day i took a glorious 3 1/2 hour nap while the kids napped and we watched the nativity and i got to play with and be with allll my babies, which was absolute heaven.  and the usual Christmas tradition of going out to eat at Chinese?  yeah, the wait was 1 1/2, so that didn't happen.  we will do that today or tomorrow and instead, we ate tortilla soup that luckily, thankfully, my mom had made a huge batch that had been frozen.  thank you mom.  kids throw everything off, but they make Christmas a million times better too.  i hope you all had a very MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!!!  

i have the biggest treat for you today.  well, maybe, not the BIGGEST (ttss) but a pretty darn good one.  i have been trying to get this girl to guest post on this blog for months but as she goes to stanford (stanford! i am insanely impressed by that!! that is such a good school and so hard to get into!! she must be super super smart. and she went to Oxford too, so, duh, she is) she has been super busy with school.  i seriously love this girl.  i feel like if we met in real life, we best be besties for sure.  i love that she lives this amazing life and is so real and funny and down to earth.  and she has so much personality!! that just is alll over her blog, i love it!! okay, so, deep breath because i am so excited, hereeeeeeesssssssss................ C A R O L I N E!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hi there, lovely Lot 48 readers! I'm Caroline, and I'm visiting from over at Perpetually Caroline. I hope that you aren't in too much of a post-Christmas funk, although if you are - go admire and pet all of your shiny new pressies, eh? I spent the first three months of this year studying abroad at Oxford, and simultaneously gallivanting around the UK, France, Ireland, Italy, and Spain. Don't worry - I hate myself just as much right now.
It's fitting that Lauren asked me to share a story from Europe with you guys today - I boarded the plane there exactly one year ago.
Oh, if I could only trade places with myself. Or, you know. Time travel.

 So, here I am going through all of my Europe memories. Crew-dating at Oxford (this ridiculous tradition they have, which is essentially the most outrageous game of Never Have I Ever ... but dressed up to nines), spending twenty-four magical hours in Paris with my best friend, playing charades with a French gentleman at a stoplight and realizing five minutes later all he wanted was a gosh-darn lighter, hiking up Arthur's Seat in Scotland, casually going for afternoon high tea, welcoming the New Year in Rome... as fireworks went off right in front of my face ... so many wild, amazing memories.
When my mind wanders to Europe, when I think of a favorite memory, when I recall the magic of the continent that everyone yearns to fall in love with ...

I'm in Barcelona. It's not warm, but it's far from rainy and chilly, which have been the only weather states I'd known for awhile. In fact, I didn't even need a jacket! The wonder! Fresh from sightseeing - Las Ramblas and the seaside and a couple beautiful plazas, my two beloved, beloved friends - Nick and Lauren - and I made our way over to this tiny little restaurant. I wouldn't call it a hole-in-the-wall. It's nice, with modern decor and a long line, lots of hustle-and-bustle. Nicole over at La Mia Vita had put it high up in her list of recommendations (thank goodness for bloggers!) that she had e-mailed over. We put our name down and made our way back to our hotel, which was conveniently the next street over. Serendipity. The one restaurant Nicole had said not to miss, and it was literally across the street! We settled down at the hotel bar, Nick ordered a manly Spanish beer, and Lauren and I asked for gin and tonics. Oh, boy. The best gin and tonics I've ever had, and I've had quite a few. They were huge and so very strong and we chugged the remaining third down as the restaurant buzzed us back.

Needless to say, the air seemed warmer, the world was just a wee bit ... spin-ny, and we were giggling like mad. We were seated at the very first table - right next to the bar, right behind the hostess stand. A charming fellow of a waiter stopped by with a wink, a pitcher of sangria, and a gorgeous accent. We ordered tapas plate after tapas plate. Pan con tomates, papas bravas, delicious little croquettes, cheese plates, ham plates - we went a little crazy. Ravenous, we ate and we ate and we ate, laughing all the while. Not a crumb left on the table, we decided hey! Live a little! So Nick nicked (ha!) a couple of menus from the hostess stand, and we ordered a whole 'nother feast. A caramelized goat cheese with roasted vegetables, a juicy steak, some more jamon.

After dinner (and this was a Spanish dinner, so it was like 11pm), we wobbily wandered around the corner to gaze at Gaudi's Casa Batllo, all lit up in its glory. A breeze through the air, an accidental stumble here and there. Adequately awed, the three of us made the short walk back to our hotel, arm-in-arm. 
...where I walked head-first into a glass panel in the elevator.
...and then not ten minutes later, we all fell off the bed from laughing so hard at playing 2048 and ripped napkins, and goodness-knows-what-else.

That evening, and our entire time in Barcelona, really, (the speechlessness at La Sagrada Familia! the beauty of Parc Guell! those cheap fruit smoothies in La Boqueria!) is something that I'll hold forever dear. And to all of you, I say - book a trip to that gem of a city as soon as you possibly can! 
see?? isn't she the best?? now go follow her blog right now!! 

December 25, 2014

remember remember


how is everyone's Christmas going??  mine is going GREAT!!! i am so happy to be with my family and am so happy to celebrate Christ's birth.

as i have written before about my feeling for the materialism of this holiday, now is the time to remember the true meaning of today.

as i was reading the Christmas story in the Bible last night, it occurred to me that i hadn't done everything that i had wanted this season.  i feel like a bit of a hypocrite. i should have given more; not presents, but service.  and spread the message of the true meaning of Christmas more.  this morning, i felt so ashamed and so embarrassed that i had trouble finding my presents under the tree.  presents shouldn't matter, i am so blessed!!! all i need is my family healthy, preferably happy and my husband.   i have that and that is all i want.  taran is my greatest and best Christmas present.  yay to it being our first Christmas together!!

my chance isn't over to share my testimony and spread the true meaning of Christmas.  i can still share my testimony of the Lord and thank Heavenly Father for sending Jesus to us many many moons ago.  today is the day of Christ's birth.  it is the day that the Savior of the World, my Savior, my Lord, was born.  so today, i am going to say a prayer.  a prayer of thanks to Him.

Dear Lord,

i thank thee for all the infinite amount of blessings i have.  i am thankful for my amazing husband, for sending him to me, for his sweet nature, his forging nature and pretty much everything about him.  i thank thee for sending our family 7 beautiful and healthy babies and are blessing us with another one in april.  i am thankful for my family, my loved ones whom i can go to whenever i need help.

i am well aware that every air i breathe i owe to thee, and i thank thee for the chance to be on this earth, a chance to become more like Thee, and a chance to serve those around me.  i am so blessed.  i am grateful for a sharp mind, a mind that got me an excellent job.  i am grateful i was only unemployed for one month.  i have had such hard times in my life Lord, impossible times in my life, and thou has stood by me through each and every one of them.  i have never felt alone, i have never felt without comfort.  Thou has been there for me every single step of the way throughout my life, and for that i am eternally grateful.

i am grateful for the gift of the Atonement, that thou can suffer for our sins, our heartaches, our trials, anything we need to give thee.  that is a priceless, priceless gift that i hold so dear.

i love thee so much Lord.  i love thee more than anything.  happy birthday, Lord.  i love thee so much.  and i thank thee for these blessings thou has given me.


and in the spirit of prayers, i absolutely love this song.  it really is a prayer and so moving.  enjoy and MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

December 24, 2014

our Christmas traditions

i can't wait to share with you my Christmas eve traditions and i am so glad that i get to spread it like wildfire in the #blogmas14 linkup with tay and ash!

these are pictures from two years ago, last time we were all together as a family for Christmas.  i can't believe how tiny all the babies look and how many are missing!! we have 7 now!! in these pictures, there are only 4!!! 

guys, i know the above graphic looks terrible with the red and the green, but i just couldn't resist.  

^^my mom two years ago with all her grandbabies.^^

^^daddy and oliver, in this picture he was barely 6 months old.^^

^^we will possibly take a visit to santa this year, but as you can see, the kids hated it and think santa is the devil.  i have no idea why this is a universal thing with kids.  no idea^^ 

 i love this picture.  you can see all of us from two years ago.  my aunt, my grandparents, and all of us children with our husbands (i wasn't dating taran yet, so he wasn't there).  we have this tradition where we play chimes.  and it is absolutely hilarious.   we get out the box with all the chimes and the sheets of music that says what number of chime plays when, and we simply cannot get it right.  we are a musical family.   we all sang growing up, my dad is a guitarist, you would think we would be able to get the hang of this.  but no.  it is always a disaster.  but i kind of love it because it always ends up being really really funny.  

on Christmas eve, my mom makes a big dinner that includes honey baked ham, stinky cheese potatoes, green beans and this absolutely delicious 3 layer jello that is to die for.  i love it.  

after dinner, we sing Christmas carols around the piano while my sister Jessica plays.  we all took piano growing up, but she is the best one and is the only one who stuck with it.  we used to go caroling on the back of a hay bale and we would go knock on doors and sing carols, the whole neighborhood.  we haven't done that in a while and i don't know why we stopped.

after carols, we get to open one present.  and it is always matching pajamas!!! us 4 girls (remember, i have no brothers??) put them on, and we take pictures.  they always end up being awkward as we try to be sexy. 

then my dad reads the Christmas story from the bible, i take hot chocolate orders, we eat Christmas cookies which include: molasses, sugar cookies, jam thumbprint cookies, and brownie cookies, and peanut butter bars with chocolate topping.   

then we read one Christmas story from the basket of Christmas books and then off to bed.  we always leave the Christmas lights on alll night long.  

having Christmas with the kids is the best.  two years ago, they got that lego table above, and thought it was the coolest thing ever.  but the dads really liked it too, and spent a lot of time throughout the break building things with their kids.  ha

Christmas morning, we all have decided a time to get up.  we gather in my sister's room where she reads us Christmas stories while my parent's put the finishing touches on things.  all of our rooms are on the top floor and the tree is downstairs.  then we line up in age order at the top of the spiral staircase that drops us right down at the tree.

we are not allowed to go down the stairs until we hear the dancing santa.  it is this dancing santa doll that plays "rockin' around the Christmas tree."  then we rush down the stairs, my dad is always filming, and we open stocking first.  then we open the presents.  my  dad watches us all open his presents and sits  in his red chair.  he gathers his presents and then when we are done, we gather around him and watch him open his presents.  i think this is meant to be, he doesn't want to be distracted by his gifts and he just wants to watch our joy as we open our presents.
first of all, i totally thought i wasn't going to be able to link up with tay and ash tomorrow but then my friend delivered a present with this recipe attached!! holiday link up win!! tell me if the drink is any good! 

 two years ago, my amazingly talented sister jessica made these dinosaur jackets for all the kids!! they were so cute!!

look at those faces!! i can't believe how much they have grown since then!!

i absolutely cannot WAIT for Christmas this year!! i can't wait to see all the kids faces light up.  my mom told me the other day that she went a little overboard (not surprised) and is just giddy with grandma excitement to spoil all 7 of her grandkids.  and i really can't wait to see their excitement!! that is what i am really most excited about.  

merry Christmas eve!! i hope you all have a wonderful day tomorrow! 


December 23, 2014

"the Christmas spirit"

first of all, i totally thought i wasn't going to be able to link up with tay and ash tomorrow but then my friend delivered a present with this recipe attached!! holiday link up win!! tell me if the drink is any good! i have a lot in store for you! two linkups and the way that you can have the Christmas spirit all year long!! 


and now!! i joined the sequin notebook for a holiday card swap!!

i swapped with alyssa, who you see on my sidebar as "alyssa goes bang!"  

this adorable card sings!! but it wasn't annoying because you had to press it to sing.  a major plus! 

and the envelope was so cute too!! i had so much fun trading with alyssa and getting to know her better!! i loved the card she sent me too! 

**this post was originally posted on the straight arrow, but i wanted to post here as well!!**

the saying “the holiday spirit” or “tis the season of giving” is something that has always kind of bothered me.  i never understood why this time of year was the time to give.  shouldn’t we be giving all year round?? if the “holiday sprit”  is being kind and neighborly.... why aren't we doing that always?  why do you only do it from november – december?? it doesn’t make any sense to me.

“tis the season for giving??”  i feel like every single charity really gives at this time of year.  that is completely just my assumption, i could be wrong, and maybe it is just that they get a lot of publicity around this time of year, but everyone is always giving clothes, donations of goods, etc this time of year.  it makes me want to scream what about the rest of the year?!?!!  do the people in need suddenly get homes and clothes and food the rest of the year??

that is why is love the song don't save it all for Christmas Day by Celine Dion so much.  it talks all about giving throughout the year, and not just on one day.  i love this song. 

it is pretty much the same for me for new years resolutions because i believe that you should be working and improving on yourself constantly, all year long.  so today, i wanted to give you some ideas of how to give back not just this time of year, but all year. 

always, always try to make the "new person" feel welcome.  we have all been in this position.  whether it be the first day of a job, or first day at school or at a book club or something.  i always try to make that person feel welcome.  i talk to them, try to get to know them, and make sure they feel like we want them there.  my coworkers did a great job of this as i started a new job two months ago by pulling pranks on me daily! (she says sarcastically??) but no, i think that was their way of welcoming me to the group.  it was fun.  they also took me out to lunch on my first day and all tried to get to know me.  that was wonderful and so kind.  i immediately felt like i was part of the team.

bring treats to neighbors.  you never know when someone is having a bad day.  a little treat and a little kindness can go a long way to brighten their day.  my husband and i went around giving a chex mix to our neighbors, and even though only one of them was home, i like to think they felt grateful and served.  giving loving service is always my motto.  help them when you can.  make sure they know you, unless they smoke pot and always have parties, then you might want to stay away (or not.  maybe they are lovely.  but from my experience, they aren't...) but that's the problem: everyone deserves kindness!! 

buy a meal for a homeless.  in college, i did a documentary for my film class on a homeless detox center.  it was the most eye opening, rewarding experience of my life.  these people are homeless or of very low income, and crash at the center to detox and kick start their recovery.  it showed me that homeless people look scary, yes.  but they are just like you and me.  they are human beings.  they are usually good people who need help.  they need love.  true, a lot of the money you give to a homeless person they will usually buy on drugs or alcohol (this i know from my documentary) which is why i like to buy them a meal instead.  that way they don't use the money for something else.  make sure you are in a good part of town, maybe have a strong guy with you?? but most of the time, these are kind people who are down on their luck.

babysit for free.  yes, for free!! having all older sisters who all have more than one child, i can tell you that they FOR SURE need a night out, away from the kids.  but usually what stops them is they can't afford a sitter.  do it for free!! let them take some time away from wiping diapers, whining children, and a messy house. whenever i babysit, i always like to clean up once i put the kids to bed.  i did this so often at my sister's house that once when i didn't have a chance to do their dishes, my sister and brother in law came home and my jokingly said BIL said "what's up lauren? you didn't do our dishes and watch our children??!"  hahaha, so you can see i do try to clean up the kitchen when i sit.  the  feeling of a clean kitchen feels soooo good and if the parents come home to sleeping babes and a clean kitchen, wow!! that would blow them away!! 

whatever holiday you celebrate this season, keep in mind that Jesus was the Savior of the World, and this season is a tribute to Him.  i spend all year long trying to be more like Him.  when we serve others, we serve Him.  and even if you don't believe in God, being a good person is what you should strive to be anyway, so why not give all year round??

happy holidays!! and in my case, Merry Christmas!!