Sunday, December 30, 2012

10 Things that Made Me Terribly Happy in 2012

One of my very favorite parts of this time of year-this peaceful week between Christmas and New Years-is all of the "Year in Review" articles that come out. There is Time's Person of the Year edition recapping people who have made a difference this year, and of course Peoples Best of 2012 issue. And I figured-why should magazines have all the fun? It's been a pretty great year around here too.

So, here it is. My very own 'Year in Review' in the form of a Terribly Happy List-because that's just how I do things around here.

(drum roll)

Ten Things That Made Me Terribly Happy in 2012

10- City Creek Opening

9- Getting a letter from my dear friend, Diet Coke
8-  A spontaneous trip to California

7-  Going down to Zions for a lovely Labor Day

6- The embracing of my love for blanket forts 

5- Watching my baby sister graduate, and move onto bigger and better things

4-The lazy hours of Summer spent with some of the best friends a girl could ask for, and the opportunity to serve that I had

3- Seeing one of my best friends get married to the man of her dreams

2- The family time that put everything else into perspective

1- The growing I did, manifest in a new form of confidence... it came from making my own friends, embracing new situations, relying less on myself and more on the Lord, saying what I mean, doing more often things that scare me, filling my life with people who are different than I am, developing my own opinions, and being just a little more comfortable in who I am exactly 

And here is what I really want to remember about 2012:

2012 was the year I fell in love with Summertime. It was the year I decided to ask life to give me what I wanted from it. It was the year I learned to focus a bit more on others and had the capacity to do so. It was the year I heard the soundtrack to my last 4 years performed live. It was the year I decided to enjoy living more, instead of just dreaming. It was the year I decided to not take the GRE, and therefore, not take the easy way. It was the year I said yes a whole lot more. It was the year I was blessed with some dear friends. It was the year I drove the gorge. It was the year I found the Lumineers. It was the year I learned to enjoy running. It was the year I embraced leopard print leggings. It was the year I fell in love with yellow gold. It was the year I ate ice cream for lunch. It was the year I hiked the Y. It was the year where I grew closer to my sisters. It was the year we got to celebrate Dad. It was the year mom showed me what it meant to be wonder woman. It was the year I learned a whole lot more about what being myself entails. 

It was a year in which I was extremely blessed and terribly happy.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Merry Christmas Darling

The big Christmas festivities around here take place on Christmas Eve. That night we go to the Child's for a wonderful dinner, games, and of course a visit from the Wise Men. As always this party was the highlight of Christmas-being surrounded by the people I love most, listening to all the laughter, and seeing the cute children experience the magic of the season.

That night we got back to the house and talked of Christ's life and birth. It was a nice reminder of the reason we celebrate, and I always love that part of Christmas. We then received the annual cozy Christmas pajamas, and got ready for bed. Before falling asleep mom always reads us a festive children's book. This year it was written by one of my very favorite people, President Monson. Even if you already know the story you should each read his new book, The Christmas Train. It was lovely.

Christmas day involved presents, family brunch, and lots of time just hanging out together in our pjs. I love the simplicity of Christmas day in the London house-no fancy dinners, no organized activities really-just hanging out with each other-eating when we feel like it, opening presents when we feel like it, and napping when we feel like it. It truly is the most wonderful day.

My Christmas was full of the things I love most. The Savior, my family, kind words and visits with dear friends, and lots of peace.

I hope yours was full of whatever it is that you love most.

PS: Here is our lovely "model" shot in our PJs. I guess we shouldn't quit our day jobs...

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Happy Christmas

"Let us make Christmas real. It isn't just tinsel and ribbon, unless we have made it so in our lives. Christmas is in the spirit of giving without a thought of getting. It is happiness because we see joy in people. It is forgetting self and finding time for others. It is discarding the meaningless and stressing the true values. It is peace because we have found peace in the Savior's teachings. It is the time we realize most deeply that the more love is expended, the more there is of it for others."

-President Thomas S. Monson, Christmas is Love

I hope you all have a lovely Christmas as defined here-one of giving, happiness, selflessness, peace and love.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas Traditions

Friday night my family participated in two of my favorite Christmas traditions.

First we went to the Dollar Tree to buy our annual dollar store gag gifts. Each year we go to the dollar store, spend $5 and get each member of our family (we include the dog here) a dollar store gem. We then wrap them and place them in the giant stocking that hangs in our living room. We don't open these gifts until Christmas night, and they are probably the most anticipated gifts we open. (Don't worry, we buy each other real presents too!)

 After shopping at the Dollar Tree we got our class on and headed to Temple Square to enjoy our annual dinner at The Roof. For those of you that haven't been, the Roof is a fancy restaurant on the top floor of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. The entire west side of the restaurant is windows and it looks out directly on the Salt Lake Temple, and all the beautiful Christmas lights. This dinner is something we look forward to all year. Let me clarify-the dinner is wonderful but the mint chocolate cake is what I look forward to all year. Thanks Dad for footing the bill. Maybe someday we'll all be able to afford our own.

After that we enjoyed walking around Temple Square to look at all the lights and nativities. I always love Temple Square, but there is something truly magical about it at Christmas time.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Accidently Sitting on the Floor

A couple weeks ago was the big BYU vs Utah Deseret Duel basketball game. In my family this means that Dad has to "work"  and go to the game, let them feed him delicious food, meet some great coaches and hand out a trophy at the end.

Talk about serious perks to a job!

For the rest of us it means tagging along and watching Dad shine. Lately it has also meant suprisingly getting upgraded to some sweet seats (remember the football game?). This game was no exception. My parents had floor seasts for the big basketball game, so I went down and said hi to them. We then realized that their was an extra seat and it was quickly offered to me, if I wanted it.

Obviously it was an easy decision.

The rest of the game was spent enjoying the view, falling even more in love with Brandon Davies, enjoying way too much free candy, and hanging out with the parents. It was fun to have this opportunity on my turf here at BYU, and to teach the parents all about the ways of BYU basketball. And how many college kids really get to sit in fancy floor seats at their school?

 Thanks so much to DFCU for the extra ticket, Dad's job, and always helping me when I can't remember my debit card pin number. Thanks to BYU for another great game, for making Graham Canyon ice cream and for sharing wonderful seats with me. Last, but most importantly thank you Brandon for being attractive, and a good ball player (in that order).

P.S. Even Brandon was excited about winning the Duel. See!

The cooler under my seat with a candy bar and two bottled waters
Half-time treats. Popcorn, candy, ice cream, Diet Coke, and... a canoli? 

My favorite picture of the night... Dad fighting the obstacles to get back to his seat, while the board chairman (far right) looks on in amazement.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Often the things I express here are of a superficial nature. This is partially, I'm sure, because I can be superficial.  However, it is mostly due to my lack of confidence in my ability to fully and completely express my thoughts exactly as I feel them. It's as if I'm afraid I won't be able to fully say what I feel, and if I can't express what I truly feel, well then as I writer I come up sub par. I'm not sure that all who write share that fear, but for me the fear of not being talented enough to fully express what I would like to can be paralyzing.Today though I'm humbling myself enough to write what I have been feeling, and thinking the last day or so.

The shooting. That's probably what it will be known as for quite some time. Throughout the day while I contemplated fully the effect of what had happened my heart broke. News reports kept coming in, pictures of the victims, speeches, names. With each new piece of information my already broken heart shattered, and the more confused I became.

I was confused because it is incomprehensible to me that someone could perform an act of such evil. Such evil we have never, as a nation and as a world, seen before. This act had no motive. No twisted logic. No understanding. It was simply someone, who I am sure had been suffering in ways I can not comprehend, performing the most evil of acts, against the most innocent of people.

I'm overwhelmed at the level of evil that exists in the world today. I am saddened by it. I'm scared because I know that it is only going to get worse, and that there are many more who will suffer. I am nervous to someday bring children into a world where so much evil exists.

My life is based on a few principles, and every aspect of my life is controlled by them. If my principles were different this is where my thoughts and emotions would end: sadness, fear,apprehension. I, however, have something that eases these feelings, and calms my troubled heart. It is one of the principles I guide my entire life on. It is the sure knowledge that God loves his children.

I have a testimony of much more than that, and those various other things I know also bring me peace at this time of pain. However, the knowledge that God loves his children heals my heart in a way that nothing else can.

God loves his children. He loves me. He loves you. He loves each of those children who died. He loves the ones who survived. He loves their parents, their teachers, their janitors and lunch ladies, their garbage man, their neighbors, their mailman and their cousins. He loves us all. This means that he also loves the shooter. He loves his mother. He loves his father. He loves his family. God loves every single one of his children. No matter what.

I can't explain why this horrific thing happened, or why innocent children and good people are suffering so much. I can't explain the power of infinite love God has either. All I can explain is that God loves his children. He loves them because they are his, they are part of him, they are created by him. This knowledge, although it does not take away the evil in the world, makes the evil endurable.

I find peace for the future in the love of our Heavenly Father. Although this love doesn't mean evil things wont happen, it means that evil will not be eternal and that I will never have to face evil alone. Neither will you. God loves his children and for me right now, that is enough.

This, and this have made me cry this weekend. I hope you find peace in them as well.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Classy Christmas

When I was probably 8 or 9 my sisters and I were busily playing at my grandparents house. As we were getting ready to leave my grandma came into the room and told me she had something she wanted to give me. As she opened a green velvet jewelry box a beautiful strand of  pearls was revealed. She explained that when she and my grandpa were dating he gave them to her, and that now she wanted me to have them.

That is the precise moment that I fell in love with pearls. From then on I have associated pearls with the purest love, and complete classiness. It was more then falling in love with the pearls though, it was the self-realization that I could own pearls. It was at that moment that I realized-" I'm the kind of girl that will wear pearls." My grandma gave me much more than an old strand of pearls that night. She gave me a glimpse into the kind of girls she thought I was, and therefore the kind of woman she knew I could be. One with class.

Luckily, classy is something easier to become when you associate with people who have that same goal. That is how the Annual Classy Christmas Party came about last year, hosted by some of my most classy friends. It was simply an opportunity for all of us poor, exhausted college students to take a break from our finals, dress to the nines, and celebrate together this most joyous of holidays.

Friday night was the Second Annual Classy Christmas Party. It surpassed my expectations, and will go down as one of my favorite holiday memories. It was a night full of so many of my favorite things-delicious food, sparkling china, the green dress, Christmas music, laughter, some of the best people I know, and pearls. Of course I wore the pearls.

Some of the classiest people I know.

The girls of 231. That's right, this beautiful girl is officially moved in!

The food was absolutely delicious... thanks girls

The night ended with hand washing 60 settings of china and I have to say that pajama/kitchen cleaning parties are my new favorite. A big thank you to the Pitcher family for letting us invade your home, use your beautiful china, and sleep on your love sacs. Also thanks to the girls of 897, for being some of the best party planners I know.

A very classy Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

*pictures all stolen from facebook, or from the iphone.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

All I Want for Christmas Is...

To have this song on repeat all the time.

As if I needed another reason to love Jimmy.

P.S. Lots of times when I do fun things I forget to take pictures about them and no one likes a blog without pictures, so then I never blog about them. Luckily I have friends with cameras and a knack for being cute. Friday was one of those times that someone cuter and more prepared would have blogged about-enter Ashley! Check it out here.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Post Where I Prove What a Nerd I Am

The other day I had a few minutes to kill in an area of town I didn't know to well. I saw a Barnes and Noble though and decided to peek in for a minute. The smell of books enveloped me immediately and  I found so many books that I simply want to devour.

And then it hit me...

I can. 

Next semester I'm only taking 7 credits, and then I'll put on a gown, throw a cap in the air, and 3-5 weeks later I'll get a paper saying "oh hey nicole, that whole college thing-you did it!"

Not that I have been prohibited to read for pleasure during my college years. It's just that I suffer from guilt sometimes when I am reading anything other than scriptures and textbooks. Almost like my inner goodie-goodie 14 year old is reminding me that we didn't work so hard all these years to not spend all our available reading time on our textbooks in this final stretch.

But hey with only 3 classes left (after I survive another week and a half)  I'm pretty sure there will be some room for reading what I want to. Oh! That thought makes me positively giddy.

Also can I just say that I have this weird desire to read biographies right now. Presidents, fashion designers, classic pop culture icons (I'm looking at you Audrey Hepburn) for some reason I want to know all about these people. So if you have any suggestions please send them my way!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Christmas Trees...

I wrote a very lovely, witty post about the 4 (yep 4!) Christmas Trees I had the pleasure of decorating this season. I wrote about how lovely Christmas trees are and about how magical a dark living room, lit only by twinkle lights on a tree look. And then I had a nice photo montage of my trees.

And then for some reason I accidentally deleted the whole thing.

Oh gosh. And now, well with papers to be written, and quizzes to take, and all this Christmas cheer going around  I don't exactly have the energy or the time to bust out my cuteness or my wit (if it could even be argued that I possessed those things in the first place) and redo my previously lovely post.

So instead, for the sake of my future self, I present the 4 trees that  I adored decorating this year.

And there you have it! Christmas trees all around!