Training Sucks.

I know you're all dying to know; my drink was free again this morning.  This is the nicest burden I've ever dealt with.

It hardly affected me this morning, though, I swear I've got one foot in the grave right now.  I was supposed to run five miles last night and then eight miles tomorrow, BUT we've got a big storm headed our way tonight.  Sometime in the morning yesterday I had the brilliant idea to swap the runs and save myself three miles in the blizzard. (Because I am NOT running either of those on a treadmill.)  It was a great idea, at the time.  Even now after it's all said and done with, I'm glad I did the eight miles last night, but just you listen to how awful it was.

So first of all, Landon and I needed to interview his mom for a homework assignment last night.  I decided I would just run from our house up to hers because it should be right around eight miles and he could just meet me up there.  I didn't leave until 5:40, though and it was getting chilly out so I told him to keep his phone nearby in case I needed him to come rescue me.  I layered up, packed up and strapped on my Camelbak, and headed out.  Fast forward through the first four miles, because those were fine.  Just after hitting mile four, I started on the stretch of straight, side-walkless road up to Sunny's.  It was quite dark at this point and the street lamps had started to taper off, so I pulled out my headlamp and turned it on.  To my dismay, the light didn't work!  I switched through all of the settings frantically, thinking my battery was dead, when the red flashers turned on. (It turned out it was frozen because the normal lights worked when I went inside.)  I still couldn't see anything in front of me, but at least I had one more thing to make me more visible to oncoming traffic aside from my reflective, neon coat.  Since there was no sidewalk, I tried to stay on the street as much as I could.  The shoulder was only about a foot and a half wide and it was frozen mud, so I didn't want to run on it without light for fear of twisting and breaking my ankles.  But, when cars would come towards me I didn't have a choice but to jump off to the shoulder to stay out of their way.  When they would get close enough, their headlights would light up the ground enough that I could see the fluctuations in the frozen ground and  I could plan my steps.  But then my eyes would adjust to their light and when they'd drive past it was like when you turn off the light in your bedroom and try to find your way through the dark to your bed.  I was blind.  I'd stumble my way back onto the asphalt and keep going.  It wasn't long before my Camelbak froze and I couldn't get a drink anymore.  I stopped and took my coat off and put my Camelbak on underneath the coat.  At this point it was about 18 degrees outside and my the muscles in my legs were so tight I felt like I was running through molasses.  I was about six miles into the my run; still nearly two miles away from Sunny's. I was blind, sore and disoriented.  I was ready to fly to white flag.  I figured I would call Landon, have him pick me up and I could finish the last of my run on her treadmill.  It would only be a mile or so anyway, because it would take about 10 minutes for Landon to get to me.  I pulled my phone of the front pocket of my coat and unlocked the screen, but the second I went to hit "call" the cold was too much for it and it shut off and would flash the charge symbol at me when I tried to power it up.  Now I was blind, sore, disoriented and completely unplugged with no way of contacting anybody. AND I didn't have music to run to anymore.  I shoved my phone down into my bra and pulled my gloves back on my icicle hands and trudged on.  About ten minutes later, my body temperature was enough to make my phone turn back on. I dialed Landon's number as fast and I could and stuck it back down in my bra so it wouldn't freeze up on me again and when Landon's cheery voice picked up on the other end, all I could wheeze out was, "Come. Get. Me."  He didn't ask any questions other than where I was and he told me he would be there in 10 minutes or less.  By the time he caught up with me I was about a quarter mile from his mom's house.  I had no interest in finishing the run outside, though, so I jumped in the truck and went straight to her basement to do the last of my run on her treadmill.

When I was training for the half marathon I did last year, I remember asking my whole family to come wait for me at the finish line because it was the only half marathon I was ever going to run.  When I finished the race, I had had so much fun, I quickly forgot I had said that and immediately wanted to sign up for another race.  After last night, I remembered immediately why I only planned on ever doing one; training sucks.  And last night was hands down the worst run of my life.  Probably the most dangerous, too.  When I type it out like this, I have just been laughing and shaking my head because it was so ridiculous.  But- I did it.  And now I only have to run five miles tomorrow and I'm genuinely happy about that.  I plan on doing it in the day, though.  And I'm picking a route that has sidewalks the entire way.

Send Help

Today was at least the FIFTH day in a row the attendants at the gas station I go to in the mornings didn't charge me for my drink.  Like, I walk in there, say hello and banter back and forth while I fill my cup up with ice and fill in the cracks with Diet DP and when I approach the counter with my money the guy goes, "BYE." and waves me out the door.  And it's not just one guy! It's two different dudes and a lady who work different days and they all tell me not to worry about it.  It's been happening frequently for the past couple months, but now it's like, every time I go in. It's the nicest and weirdest thing.  Like, I want to bake them cookies or something to say, "Thanks for all the free Dr. Pepper." But I don't know, is that weird?  Is it okay to give people you don't really know baked goods?  I don't know if I would eat something someone made if I didn't know them well enough; this world is a scary place.  But I feel like I should do something nice for them in exchange.  I'm aware that I'm over-thinking this; that I should just be happy with their soda fountain generosity.  But what can you do to show someone you only see for 60 seconds at 6 o'clock in the morning on weekdays that you appreciate their kindness?  And then if I do do something, will they feel obligated to continue to give me free drinks? Isn't that bribery? AM I GOING TO BE INCARCERATED FOR THIS?

I've been writing a lot of response papers in the last few weeks, my brain is apparently having trouble not analyzing situations.

I need a nap.

RIP the Beard

Brace yourselves, people (Michelle).  Last night was an end of an era.  If we can call the last 8 months or so an era... Landon shaved his beard off.  Well, most of it anyway. 
He's been asking me for the past couple weeks now if he should shave it.  I keep saying, "I'm not going to tell you to shave your beard because people will freak out when it's gone you're going to tell them your wife made you do it."  And he laughs (because it's TRUE) and says, "Fine." and doesn't shave it.  But yesterday, he couldn't take it any longer.  He told me he stopped at McDonalds to get a caffeinated beverage and while he was in the drive-thru he decided to order a small ice cream cone.  As he was eating it, he said he could feel the ice cream in his mustache which wasn't out of the ordinary, but when he caught a glimpse of himself in the rear view mirror it was all over his beard.  And that was the final straw.  I barely got that explanation and a final picture of the beard before he was in the bathroom shaving it off.  It was like last year when he decided to cut his long (beautiful) hair, nobody could talk him out of it. 

Over the last couple weeks, as he asks if he should shave it and I refuse to give him and answer, he'd try to phrase it differently by asking, "Would you want me to just trim it? Or shave everything?"  And I would say, "If you decide to shave your face, I would prefer you shave all of it off just because I cannot remember the last time I saw your entire face."  It literally has been about eight months.  That's almost an full-term pregnancy.  He hasn't grown his beard that entire time; it would be as long as Dumbledore's if he had.  The last time he trimmed it, though, was in November right before the Marine Corp Ball.  So, at the length he had it last night was a good 3 months of growth.  Anyway, he didn't entirely take that fulfill my preference of total shave because he left one hell of a mustache on his lip.  And until that thing is gone, I'm bringing back the nickname Sexy Flanders.

A moment of silence for the longest beard Sexy Flanders has ever grown.  But don't grieve for too long, he's probably already got a five o'clock shadow.  It'll be back in no-time.

That Girl

A part of me is wondering why leg day is on Monday.  Because Mondays don't tend to be a shining light for most of us anyway, and now I find myself having to crawl into work on Tuesday because my legs don't work.  So now Mondays AND Tuesdays are turning into a struggle. This was just a thought in my mind as I was bracing my entire body against my truck this morning as I tried to walk into work without doing the splits on the ice and dropping the 10 lb grocery bag that held the contents of the food I'll be eating today on the frozen blacktop.

Another thought was: All I do is eat.  That one popped into my head yesterday as I was preparing my third snack for the day.  Since I'm trying to eat healthier to promote the gains (I hate myself for calling them that) I'm seriously hungry like, every hour and a half.  So I bring an entire refrigerator's worth of food to work with me to eat every couple hours.  There is a guy we work with who has done the same thing forever and everyone teases him about it; it's starting to look like I'm his protege.

Along with all of the food I eat, I am turning into that girl who takes pictures of her food.  Partly, because on my other instagram account I'm getting tagged 16 times a day to show #whatsonmyplate so I need proof, partly because I need to remind myself what I ate so I can log it, and partly because I like how colorful and crisp my food is lately.
I can honestly tell you after I had dinner I dumped all of this into a tupperware without the slightest concern about color coordination.  But when I was chopping and preparing, this pleased my eyes to no extent.

So, yeah.  There's a #transformationtuesday (another endless tag I'm trying to keep up with) for you.  I've turned into that girl on multiple different accounts.  That girl who whines about leg day, that girl who won't stop eating, and that girl who takes pictures of all of her food for her instagram.

You're all very welcome that I chose to start a new account and keep all of that off your feed, because it's obnoxious.  At least I'm not that girl on your newsfeed, amIright?

Weekending is my Occupation

I keep finding myself surprised when Monday comes and I feel like I need another day to recover from the weekend, however, that is how I feel: tired and surprised about it.  But I also feel good, which also tends to be a trend.  If you follow my Snap Story, you probably got a pretty good idea of what went down, but here I am to recap for any one (future me) who is seeing this in 24+ hours from now.

Friday night, I spent 92 minutes in the gym.  I can honestly say that is the longest I've ever spent actually working out in any gym in my life.  I was feeling frustrated with my progress over the past month and especially the past week because I had gained two lbs despite my efforts in eating healthy and working out every day.  And I know, every one I've talked about it to says, "It's muscle!" or "Anything under 10 lbs is just fluctuation and you shouldn't pay attention to it." But it's hard not to.  It's hard because I know it probably really is muscle, I just can't see it.  It's hard because I feel like I've never eaten this healthy in my life and that I should either be staying where I'm at or losing, not gaining.  And it sounds stupid even when I type that out.  If I heard anyone else saying this to me, I would tell them to sit down and chill out, so I've been trying to tell myself to do the same.  Anyway, after an hour and a half at the gym, I was taking some progress photos and I found out why I hadn't been seeing any increase in muscle tone lately, it's all been behind me. On my back and shoulders.
I also got busted hard taking this mirror selfie.  Two people walked in a caught me mid-flex. I was so ashamed. But that made me feel a lot better.  Mind you, this is how I looked after an hour and a half of working out, my muscles definitely don't look like that right now. But I was stoked to say the least.
I got home that night and cleaned house while Landon was out installing the new subs he got for our truck.  He was out all night doing that, so I figured I'd treat myself to a Lush face mask and a soak in the hot tub.  To my dismay, when I walked through the door to the pool room I was met with probably at least ten other humans already in it and they all stared at the 6 foot surf that just walked in.  At that point I thought to myself, Well, they've already seen me, no point in going home now. And I stepped down into the hot tub with a cup of ice and a magazine.  I was treating myself.
The people were actually really nice, and I only had to use my magazine to shield my face from a dozen or so tidal waves their kids simulated.  Probably not the most relaxing time, but not the worst either.

I went to bed right afterward and was briefly woken by Landon when he finally drug his frozen butt into bed after 3 AM.  I knew at that moment I would be snowboarding by myself when it was time.  My alarm went off at 7:30 and I whispered to Landon to ask him if he wanted to go snowboarding, he just groaned and I left it at that.  I wanted to leave by 8 so I could get my kolaches and still be there a little before 9 because of the Sundance Film Festival that is going on right now.  Landon told me the day before I was nuts for even wanting to go to Park City while that was going on.  But I wanted to snowboard, dang it, so I was going to beat the crowds. I didn't realize that I really was, and I got the best parking spot ever and was first in line for the gondola 10 minutes before they even opened.  There wasn't any fresh snow that morning (it all came down that night) but they had groomed everything in preparation for the masses and I got to make all the first cuts on the corduroy thanks to my punctuality.

That still just takes my breath away.  It was such a beautiful morning.

I stayed for about 2 1/2 hours until the crowds were getting to be too much for a local like myself and I gave up my golden parking spot to a desperate out-of-towner.  I went home to eat a quit lunch before I saddled up in my running Camelbak and thermals to head out on a six-mile run.  I even packed myself a snack for the halfway point because I get stupidly sick if I run on an empty stomach. It was pretty warm (36 degrees) and I didn't have to layer up before I set off.  It's been awhile since I've ran that long, so I was happy when it didn't kill me.  Thankfully, the training is paying off.  It was definitely tough, though.  The race I'm doing in March is all uphill so I'm trying to train by running uphill.  I was pretty beat when I got home.

I wasn't tired enough that I wasn't going to party that night, though.  I had already made plans for a girl's night with my bestie, Jenessa and she was on her way up as I got home.  I had just enough time to shower and get dolled up before we were on our way down to Orem to have some fun.  We had originally planned to go to Comedy Sportz, but we waited too long to buy tickets and they were sold out.  So, we figured we would get some sushi and go shopping.
The sushi was incredible as always.  I took Ness to my favorite sushi restaurant and had talked very highly of it.  She told me later that when we pulled up to this little hole in the wall her expectations plummeted.  I hadn't really thought about it, but that place is pretty desolate looking.  The paint on the walls is this hideous mixture of red, yellow and blue, all of the flowers are fake and dusty, the booths are tattered and torn in places, but I've been there so many times I didn't even think about how run down it looked.  After we had eaten though, she said she only ever wanted to eat there for the rest of her life.  That sushi is to die for, people.

After Sushi, we walked around the mall for a bit.  I bought some new running pants, shirt and headband, Ness got a killer deal at Pac Sun.  And after about an hour, our feet were hurting so bad from our dumb shoes that we went to RC Willey and plopped down on the first display bed we could find.  We spent the rest of our evening there trying out Sleep Number mattresses and $4000 massage chairs.  Not your typical girl's night, but we definitely had a great time.

She spent the night because it was snowing so hard, but I'm a terrible hostess and slept till 11:00 in the morning and woke up to twenty snapchats of her saying goodbye. I don't know when the last time I slept that late was, but my poor, tired body needed the rest.  I got up and made Landon and me a healthy little brunch   and got ready for church.




Landon bought me that skirt for Christmas and I'm in love with it.  It's made of the same material as those coats everyone is wearing these days, you know that ones, they kind of feel like a bunch of grocery bags stitched together and they're super warm?  Anyway, that skirt is the best piece of winter, church apparel I've ever owned.  I love it.  I'm tempted to wear it running because you can unzip the sides as far as you want, it would keep my legs so toasty on a cold run.

After church was over, Landon and I came home and turned on some football and made a delicious lunch of whatever was left in my vegetable drawer in the fridge.  I'm telling you guys, I'm really trying to eat healthy.  I want abs SO BAD.
 After screaming and yelling at the tv for two hours and celebrating in a wave of relief when the Broncos beat the Patriots, we turned on a movie and bunkered down for the afternoon.  It was my rest day and I was going to rest if it was the last thing I did.  Or so I thought.  After literally yelling for the 8th time at my Apple Watch, "STOP JUDGING ME!" when it would tell me to get up and move around a little, I finally decided it wouldn't hurt to go to the pool and do a short ab circuit.  I had to put my truck into 4x4 to get to the clubhouse because it was snowing so hard, but I did it.  And it felt awesome.  My body is so sore, but pool exercises are so low-impact it just felt like I was stretching more than working.  I needed it more than I thought.  Plus, it's always nice to pretend you're somewhere pool worthy in the midst of a blizzard.
And yeah, that was my weekend.  Now I'm back to homework and night runs.  Can't wait for Friday.

RIP

I'm so done with this week.  I gotta tell ya, I am WORN out.  I've done a million homework assignments, I'm fighting with all my might against a head cold, I haven't missed a day working out and my muscles cry a little with every movement and I had my yearly review with my bosses yesterday morning. (which is why I didn't blog.)

I'm just exhausted all around- mentally, physically, emotionally (yearly reviews make my anxiety FLARE), oh, and financially.  Because last Saturday morning, I couldn't find my Beats Wireless headphones I use when I run and work out.  I looked EVERYWHERE and couldn't find them and I came to the depressing conclusion that I had lost them between the gym and my house.  When I got home from my run and it was lighter outside, I found them on the ground right outside my truck and I was thrilled!  They had just fallen out of my lap and I hadn't seen them earlier because it was so dark. I picked them up and did a little skip because I was so happy, but I froze mid-skip when I looked at them closer and saw on the one headphone the earpiece was dangling by wires and the other was cracked all up and down.  I had stepped on them an hour earlier when I was desperately searching for them in my truck.  I STEPPED ON THEM.  Our parking lot is covered in broken ice, so I hadn't even felt them under my feet.  
I think the only reason I didn't burst into tears that moment was because I still had endorphins pulsing through my veins from my run, though I did walk sullenly upstairs to show Landon.  "I would have rather lost them."  I told him with my head hung in shame.

Luckily, I still had about $70 on that Best Buy gift card I got a couple weeks ago and $100 of birthday money I'd been hoarding since July and I was able to buy myself a new pair without breaking the bank.  They arrived last night and though I'm still mourning my other pair, I was happy to have my own again so I could give Landon's back to him.  Mistakes, man, they get expensive.
So, TGIF, am I right?

I've got big plans to get ahead on my homework today, clean my house tonight after I workout.  Definitely something that has been neglected amongst my other commitments.  And I'm going to bed at a decent time so I can get up and run 6 miles in the dark again, hopefully it's not as cold as last week.  Then, snowboarding to follow, duh.  And tomorrow night, Landon has a guy's night with his bro-ha so I'm having a girl's night with my bestie.  We are going to Sundance to star-stalk, should be a great time.  I'm so happy it's the weekend.

Wednesdays, though.

I BARELY made it work today, you guys.  I don't know that I've ever driven in a more violent storm than what I just drove through to get to the valley.  Bless the person who decided to give me a four-wheel drive truck, or else I would have died.  The blizzard continues to rage, but I'm safe and sound in our little triple-wide trailer.

I didn't even know a storm was on the way.  I ran 3 miles yesterday afternoon and was surprised by how warm (30 degrees) it was outside.  And when I was cooking some dinner afterward, Landon took Josh outside and came back in covered in snow.  I was like, "What the?! It's SNOWING?!"  I love the snow.  I will take it every day in the winter.  But man, driving in that feels like you're driving in your own coffin. Jesus, take the wheel, AMIRIGHT?!

But yeah.  I ran a few miles last night, cooked a bomb dinner, and I took a soak in the hot tub even though the sign on the door said it was closed until the 20th due to "wet paint."  I looked at my watch and it was 9 PM on the 19th.  I figured that was close enough to the 20th and I would just keep my face turned from the security cameras.  Even better, if I stayed on the one side of the hot tub, the motion sensor lights can't see me and they turn off after about 5 minutes.  I sat there with my eyes closed and listened to The Name of the Wind in the dark.  You could imagine it was very difficult to pull myself from that scene to go back and do homework for the next hour.  I'll take 15 minutes of relaxation any way I can get it, though.  Even if I have to wake up and work again after.

The dinner I made last night would have made any personal trainer proud.  Grilled chicken and vegetables with a crushed tomato sauce with garlic and oregano.  Oh, and a spaghetti squash that I stole from my mom's garden LITERALLY last October that's been on my counter ever since.  Real talk: how long do spaghetti squashes last? Because I was expecting it to be rotten when I cut into it, but it was like I just brought it home from the store.  At least I hope.  Maybe I just poisoned myself... But I digress. This meal was the epitome of health and it made me think about how far I've come.  And it also made me think of this pin I saw yesterday on Pinterest that I related to real hard:
The struggle is real, you guys.  Happy Wednesday!

Currently

Well, isn't today just the most Tuesday-y Tuesday ever.  Nothing in particular has happened yet to make it that way, I just woke up feeling it.  I think it has a lot to do with being back in school and having a substantial amount of assignments due every other day.  Last night, I literally wrote two papers for Landon to help him catch up.  Taking five classes online is definitely going to be a challenge for us.  More for Landon than me at the moment because he's working 50+ hours a week right now.  So, I'll do what I can to make sure he doesn't fall behind.

I'll be honest, though.  I don't hate it.  I've actually really enjoyed having a day planner again, and being able to check off a to-do list.  I found myself beaming at the positive marks on my assignments I turned in last week.  It's been a long time since I've had this kind of structure and even though it's a little overwhelming, it feels good.  And it feels good to be a Wildcat.
If you think I haven't made a million High School Musical jokes already, you're wrong.

But what about aside from school?  Aside from partying like a rapper on the weekends? (Rappers snowboard and eat vegetarian kolaches, right?)  Well, I've been up to just a little bit more.  I've been...

Watching: New Girl.  (duh.) On my mom's Netflix account because she's been using ours for the last four years, but her cable just gave her a years membership so we cancelled ours and she's returning the favor.  THANKS MOM. 

Reading: The Name of the Wind (okay, I'm not actually reading it, but I'm listening to it on Audible). This is one of Landon's (and mine now) favorite books and we've listened to it before and I fell in love with it.  Patrick Rothfuss, man.  That dude can WRITE.  Seriously, he writes so beautifully it's almost poetic.  And the story is top notch, too.  We've been not-so patiently waiting for the third book in the series to come out, but it's going to be at least another year, so I'm listening to the first two over again.

Listening to: uggghhhh. I've got JB's "Love Yourself" on repeat.  And I don't even know why.  Yes I do.  I love it.  Someone kill me for liking Justin Bieber's music.  I credit it mainly to the fact that Adele STILL hasn't put her new album on Spotify and I've waited this long, I'm not backing down first.

Eating: Protein and vegetables.  Or at least I'm trying to eat more.  Spending all this time in the gym, ya know?  Gotta get those GAIIINNNSS. 

Working Out: I restarted Kayla Itsines Beach Body Guides.  It's a 12-week program that I did last year from October-December and I loved it.  Didn't miss a single work out.  It's brutal, but I saw some serious results.  I'm not going to post them on this blog because, hello, that's embarrassing, but I did make a new instagram account (that isn't attached to my name) with my progress photos and other inspirations.  If you're really that interested in seeing how awesome it is, let me know and I'll give you the username. Along with doing BBG though, I've been doing an extra half hour of lifting afterward and on the off days I'm training for my half marathon.

Dreaming About: Our trip to Hawaii in May.  And about the abs I'll (hopefully) have by then.  If I don't have abs, though,  I fully plan on spray-tanning them on me.  I'll have a six-pack one way or another, you're job is to figure out if they're real or not.  Also, white bread.  I dream about white bread a lot.

Laughing At: The pictures I take of Josh.  That dog... he's just not that photogenic.  But I love him.

Have a good Tuesday, y'all.


Landon's Birthday Weekend

So, I don't even really know where to start with this weekend update.  Except that I might not even get through writing it because I'm so tired.  When my alarm went off this morning, I nearly cried.  The only reason I didn't was because I had so much fun it was totally worth losing a ton of sleep over.

Yesterday was Landon's birthday and like always, it turns into a weekend event.  We've religiously gone to the car show every year because it always falls on his birthday weekend, he wanted to go snowboarding and his mom threw a birthday lunch for him at her house yesterday.  We had our work cut out for us.  I woke up at 6 am Saturday morning because I had a 5 mile run planned that I wanted to do before we went snowboarding.  It was pitch black and so foggy outside that I couldn't see three feet in from of me.  Luckily, I wasn't running on the road because I couldn't see cars until they were driving right past me.  2.5 miles into the run when I was at my turn-around point I started to realize my eyes were sticking together a little bit every time I blinked.  I took out my camera to see what was up and I found that my entire head was just about covered in ice.  So, that was a brisk start to my Saturday morning.

Once I got back from my run, I woke Landon up so we could get ready to go snowboarding.  We wanted to leave really early since last Saturday is the busiest ski day of the year with it being MLK weekend.  We got there right at nine and boarded until noon.  It has been snowing at night the past couple days so we were greeted with about 6 inches of fresh powder.
We stuck to the north side of the resort and evaded the crowds for the few hours we were up there.  Landon took me down one of his favorite natural half pipes called Cainus Lupis.  I've been down it before but I haven't loved it in the past because it requires a lot of aggressive carving in a tight space.  But the snow was so good I couldn't pass it up.  Landon is unbelievable at that kind of terrain.  He is killer at moguls too.  I've been trying to go down more black diamond runs with him this year to try to get better, and I just marvel at how aggressive he is with those monsters.  Snowboarders typically hate moguls because you're basically just doing 1-80's over and over and over and you have to be quick, and holy cow, Landon just slices through them.  By the time he is at the bottom of the run, I'm barely working up the courage to try to turn toe-side down one of them.
I love snowboarding more than anything else, but I still have so much work to do to get as good as him.  He definitely likes to take me out of my comfort zone, and that's really the only way I can get better.  But in return, I make him photograph me to prove that I'm doing hard things.  He's a really good sport about it. :)

After we got home from snowboarding, we came home and crawled back into our warm bed to eat some lunch and watch New Girl on Netflix.  That turned into a decent little nap before I got up to get ready for the night.  My dad was meeting us in Salt Lake to go to the car show us.  We grabbed some dinner at Mimi's Cafe first and my dad gave Landon some WSU swag.  He also gave him some money to go towards a new sound system Landon has been saving up for to put in our truck.  Landon thinks that I will like it more if I can get the speakers bumping like we did in our Ford that we sold a few months ago. (I'm still not over it.)  I also made out with a new WSU hoodie and hat from my dad.  He saw me eyeing them at the bookstore last week when I was up there getting text books.  Sunny asked if I was that child that had to get a present on her brother's birthday so she wouldn't feel left out.  I'm not, for the record.  But I haven't taken the hat off since he gave it to me.
The car show was rad.  Landon LOVES cars, he is reading about them non-stop and could pretty much tell you anything you could want to know about them.  So, every year that kid is zipping around the South Towne Expo Center spouting out prices and upgrades and horse power figures.  I just smile and nod and give the proper amount of ooh's and ahh's when his face is telling me it's impressive.  We stayed just about till closing time before we ran out to our trucks, said our goodbyes to my dad and fell asleep in the backseat on the way home.

Sunday morning, I woke to a text from Mariah.  She had stayed at her friend's cabin in Midway two miles down the road from us the night before and was wanting to go to church with us instead of driving all the way home just to turn around and drive back with my mom and brother.  I told her OF COURSE, and she was at my house trying on my dresses an hour later.  If you follow me on Snapchat, you have probably already seen some of our shenanigans.  I love that kid more than anything.  I try and try to convince her to move into our spare bedroom and live with us.  That's kind of like having a kid, right?

After church, my mom and brother drove up to Heber and we all met up at Sunny's house for a feast.  I love getting to have both of our families in one place and having a great time.  I especially love it when I get to hang out with Brenden AND Mariah.  We are the three amigos and we get laughing so hard.  I am so lucky to have those two for my best friends.

That afternoon consisted of eating enough food to feed a small village and watching football.  Well, some people were watching football, Brenden and Kenyon were on the ground wrestling each other for hours on end.  It's really funny to watch Kenyon try to even fight Brenden who stand at 6 foot 5.  Brenden would just kneel over the top of him and hold his arms down with his legs while he tickled him with one hand and covered his mouth with the other hand because people were complaining they couldn't hear the game over Kenyon's shrieks.  Mariah and I watched and tried not to catch and elbow in the face while we were choreographing lip syncs and climbing on top of each other's shoulders.
In retrospect, I find it funny how different mine and Landon's families are.  And when it comes down to it, the differences between our families are the same differences between us. It's a nice balance, though.  I'm lucky that I love to spend my time with either side and can have just as good of a time.  But most of all, I'm so lucky that I am able to celebrate the greatest human I know on his birthday as his wife.  He has given me everything I could have ever wanted and more.  I hope that I can do the same for him as we continue our lives together.
He deserves it.

John Wayne Schulz

I have to put this in a post for you guys. This is the clip of my adopted brother, John Wayne Schulz. I have talked about him a lot on this blog, but I don't think I've ever explained how this cowboy, U.S. Marine and spectacular human became such an important part of our family.
Back in 2007, my brother Brenden left on his LDS mission to Omaha, NE.  His first day in the MTC (Missionary Training Center) he met John Wayne and when they were all getting to know each other Brenden found out that he was also a team roper, they were best friends from that moment on.  They served in the same mission for the next two years and stayed in contact for years after.  John would fly to Utah to visit and Brenden would go to Texas time to time.  Fast forward to August 2014 when John made to move to my mom's house to go to flight school here in Utah.  Having him live in our home has been amazing.  He has done so much for our family and for our hearts.  He has an incredible spirit and his love for his family, God and his country is so contagious.
He's was on American Idol on season 10, but it came down to him and Scotty McCreery.  Scotty was kept on the show and ended up winning that season.  John was able to see that as a blessing because his sweet mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and only lived a few months longer after he came home.  He decided to try out one more time for the final season of American Idol and this is his audition (grab some tissues):


I am so unbelievably proud of this cowboy brother of mine.  He seriously is one of the best people you will ever meet.  He is kind, hilarious, genuine and so so talented.  Having him live with my family for the last year and a half has been the absolute best.  He brings a light into our home that warms you to your core.  There is never a dull moment with him around.  Or a quiet one for that matter. This guy is destined for amazing things and I'm so happy that he has been able to share his gift with the world. I know his incredible mama is smiling so big and is so proud of the amazing man he is today.  

There ain't a person who's met him who doesn't love John Wayne Schulz.

When You Don't Waste Your Wednesday

I'm lucky to be alive this morning after the most treacherous commute thus far into the winter.  My alarm went off and the weather said it was snowing, but when I looked out my window it was not.  I should have listened to the app though, and left early because when I got on the freeway it turned into an absolute whiteout.  The plows weren't out yet, you couldn't see the road, cars are wrecked right and left.  All I could do was turn on my 4x4 and drive slowly.  That is until the plows got the memo and about wiped me off the road.  I followed directly behind them for over a half an hour and it was snowing so hard that I nearly followed them off an exit because I couldn't see anything.  And of course, once I dropped out of the canyon and into the valley, the snow stopped all together.  That looks real great when you're 25 minutes late for work because of the "snow" that appears to be non-existent.  Ah well, I made it in one piece and that's all I care about.

Last night was great.  I got myself to the gym around 5 pm and worked out for just over an hour.  It was awesome to have access to actual gym equipment and not have to rely solely on the body weight exercises I've been doing. I mean, I still did those for a half an hour, but I feel like I will be able to make some great strides in my strength training days.  Also, my freaking biceps looked massive when I was done last night.  And by "massive" I mean, "probably normal for most people, but holy crap my arms have never looked like that in my life."
And every night I say a prayer that when I wake up, my abs will finally show their face.  One day, people. ONE DAY.  After I finished working out, I pulled out my new fitness journal I found at Target yesterday when I went there to buy a day planner.  I usually write down a little about my workout on the fitness apps I use, but the way this journal is laid out? I had to have it.  I'm a little (a lot) bit of a journal addict.  I have to stay away from that section when I go to any bookstore because Landon says I'm not allowed to buy anymore until I use the ones I have.  Which is really saying something because Landon never tells me I can't buy things.  So no one tell Landon!
Once I got home from working out I continued my project of cleaning out my closet.  I started on my dresser the other day and can I tell you how great it feels that I can shut my drawers without have to shove the clothes down as hard as I can?  It's amazing.  Last night, I took on the daunted task of the top shelf in my closet and everything hanging.  I got rid of SO much.  I also found a total of $9.45.
NONE OF THAT FITS ME ANYMORE.  And then I did that trick you see on Pinterest that says to turn all of your hangers backwards and when you wear something to hang it up normal and at the end of the year which ever articles of clothing were still backwards, get rid of it.  Because there were some pieces that hold sentimental value and I keep telling myself I'll wear them again, but if the hangers aren't turned at the end of the year I'm going to donate them.  I feel like I've lost 100 lbs. 

I got most of my homework done for this week too.  I was so productive yesterday!!  I'm hoping it turns into a habit, because I'll need it with school, work, and exercising in these coming months.


Trolls.

Yesterday was crazy, you guys.  I had to leave work early so I could meet my dad up on campus to get all my books and sort out some scholarship details.  I haven't ever really walked around Weber's campus before and I will admit I felt a tiny bit of sadness that I wasn't actually going to be attending classes there.  It made me miss the college life, and I had to seriously refrain from buying all of the Weber State hoodies in the book store.  My Amazon wishlist is full now, though.

My sister met up with my dad and me to get her books, pay her tuition and hang out with us for a little bit.  I figured while I was on campus I would get my student ID card so I could once again have access to any student discount offered and not try to pass off my old UVU card with my maiden name on it as current.  Mariah and my dad needed a new one too, so we all went in the back room, stood in front of their full length mirror and tried to make ourselves look pretty.  Especially myself since I had been cleaning my entire lab earlier and was covered head to toe in dirt, I hadn't blow dried my hair that morning, and I was rocking a pretty gnarly pony tail.  When it was my turn to take the picture, my dad jumped behind me right as they took it and the picture was hilarious.  I'm sitting still with a smile painted on my face while this blurred body is flying through the air right behind me.  I asked if I could use that for my ID and they told me I could since I wasn't really going to be on campus, but my dad laughed and told me to take a new one.  I did, reluctantly.  I still think that would have been awesome.  I think that makes me official now, having a student ID.  I'm a Wildcat!
Can I just tell you how much I love hanging out with that kid?  She is SO funny.  I was laughing non-stop with her yesterday and I am so sad I live so far away because I just want to spend all of my time with her.  I had to follow my dad to my cousin's house to get a text book to use for the semester, but we had to take Mariah to her car first.  She just bought this little BMW and I hadn't seen it yet, so I hopped out of my truck to go look at it really fast before we left.  I was like, "Mariah, it's so cute!! I just want to go cruise the boulevards with you!"  And she was like, "We should!! Is you truck running?"  And I was like, "Yeah..." and she yells, "WELL YOU BETTER GO CATCH IT."  I died.  It was such a stupid joke, but it caught me off guard and I laughed SO hard.  I'm laughing really hard again as I'm typing this.  What a troll.

After I got home, it was almost six and dark out.  I'm on a tight training schedule for another half-marathon coming up in March though, and it's a tough one so I need all the practice I can get.  Even though I was tired from such a long day and it was 1 degree outside, I bundled up and put on my headlamp to log a few more miles.  My legs were frozen solid when I got home,  It's so funny, my core is always hot when I get done running and I'm usually sweating but my legs can't seem to stay warm.  I put on sweats and a bathrobe when I came inside and even after cooking dinner and doing some homework I was still shivering.  I tried talking Landon into going to the hot tub with me, but he didn't want to make the walk over to the clubhouse so I decided to draw a hot bubble bath.  I've never actually taken a bath in this house before because our tub is so shallow, but it was enough to warm me through.  I rubbed some aroma therapy lotion on my feet and legs and put on some wool socks.  I was so relaxed I could have fallen asleep right there.  But before I went to bed, I went downstairs and started to foam roll my legs.  That is the best worst pain ever.  It hurts so bad while you're rolling, but feels so good when you're done.  I yell and cry the whole time and Landon loves to tease me.  Especially when I'm taking photos for my other instagram account.  Exhibit A:
What a troll.

Back to School

As I mentioned yesterday, Landon and I are back in school.  We are taking online classes from Weber State University where my dad teaches and the rest of my family has gone.  Landon and I are going to get our degrees in Professional Sales.  That was not my original plan when I started going to school 7 years ago, but that plan took an unexpected turn and ended up not being the path I wanted to take.  I've been standing on uncertain ground as to which path I did want to take for the last few years, but the clock is ticking so I've decided to go the way I am because I think this degree will open a lot of different opportunities for me.  I can also do virtually the entire degree online, I can keep my current job, stay in Midway, my dad will be able to help me a lot along the way because he teaches this program, Landon and I are taking the exact same classes, AND my tuition is all but free.  So here we go.

Honestly, I'm excited.  I have had a lot of people asking me why I'm going into this if it isn't my passion.  And I don't ever really have an answer for them because as far as a career path goes I haven't quite figured out what my passion is, exactly.  Aside from all those reasons I just mentioned above, I think Sales is a pretty versatile field to go into.  What career out there doesn't have something to do with sales?  And even if I don't get a job as a salesperson, which to be honest I really hope I don't, I will be learning people skills, customer service skills, negotiating, marketing, problem solving, psychology and so many other things that I think will transfer to just about anything I could want.  At least for right now, anyway.  And if down the road I figure out something else that I want to do that requires additional education, I can always go back to school, right? Right.

And I lose the family discount when I turn 30, so now is the time to go back.

Winter Weekend Traditions

What a weekend.  It was the last weekend of freedom for Landon and me for the foreseeable future because guess what- today is our first day of school.  That is right, we are back in college!  I can use student discounts again in any opportunity given, I can tell people I'm going to school now when people ask me what I do so I don't have to try to explain to them what I actually do (because no one gets it), I get to stay up late writing papers, cramming for tests and writing lame excuses to the professor as to why I wasn't able to submit my homework in on time. Oh wait, that last one I can't do anymore because 4 of the 5 classes I'm taking this semester are taught by MY DAD.  He definitely won't buy the "family emergency" excuse.  That means I have to use my time wisely and actually do my homework instead of binging on Grey's Anatomy all night like I did the last time I was in college.  That's fine though, because I'm going back to school for the purpose of an education this time and not for a social life.  That's both exciting and depressing to me at the same time.

This weekend was great though!  Friday, I got home from work and promptly crawled into bed with the intention of taking a 20-minute power nap and getting up to work out.  Three and half hours later, Landon walks through the door and I'm still in bed, watching Netflix on my phone.  I spent the next hour trying to compromise with myself into how I would make up for missing my workout over the weekend.  In the end, I told myself to quit being such a lazy crybaby and do my workout at 9:30 pm.  Which I did.  And Landon rewarded me by driving to Cafe Rio and bringing me home a sweet pork salad.  We ate our dinner at 10:00 and watched more New Girl.  I mean, how much more exciting can we get?!

The answer is quite a bit, actually.  I woke up early Saturday to run 4 miles in the frigid morning air, came home and froze Landon out of bed with my icicle legs and we got ready to go snowboarding.  Landon and I have the best Saturday traditions in the winter.  It starts with me working out, then Landon packs our snowboards and gear in the truck, then we drive to our favorite little breakfast joint on Main Street.  It's called Dotties, but for the longest time we thought it was called, and still refer to it as Kolaches.  Their big sign outside says, "KOLACHES" really big and underneath in much smaller writing it says, "Dotties."  But they serve kolaches there, which are basically stuffed homemade rolls.  My favorite ones to get are the turkey sausage, egg and cheese and the vegetarian that is stuffed with spinach, sun-dried tomatoes and mozzarella.  You get two kolaches and a drink for $6.  I get my usual Diet DP and Landon usually experiments with their specialty drinks.  This weeks was the Voo Dew.  It consisted of a mixture of Mountain Dew, Monster, a shot of lime, and vanilla half and half.  I would never order that for myself because I just can't seem to justify drinking my calories, but I did steal a few sips and it was SO yummy.  After we stop there, we head to Park City to shred.

We got up on the mountain around 10:30 and stayed until 3.  It snowed the whole day, but there wasn't any wind so it wasn't miserably cold and we had great snow all day long.  We had so much fun, I can't get over how lucky we are to live in the gorgeous mountains and get to play in the whenever we want.

After we got home from shredding we showered up and went down to Orem to spend a bunch of gift cards that we had gotten for Christmas.  Or at least tried to.  I'm not great at shopping and I'm in the middle of purging my closet and drawers so I don't want to buy things that I don't absolutely love.  Landon has no problem spending money though.  My work gave me this sweet Bose speaker for Christmas, but I already have one so I returned it to Best Buy for $200 store-credit.  My problem is, though, that there really isn't anything I want at Best Buy.  But I found the kitchen appliances section and wrapped my arms around a Ninja blender.  The blender Landon and I bought when we got married barely works and we've been dreaming about the day when we would have a nice one.  Well, Saturday was that day.  And yesterday I made us smoothies like I was a chef at a 5 star restaurant.  I didn't follow a recipe and I should have because I ended up making literally two liters of strawberry smoothie.

After shopping, we grabbed some dinner at Red Robin where I desperately tried to pretend like the lettuce I substituted for a bun tasted as good.  We watched the Cincinnati Bengals shoot themselves in the foot and showed ourselves the door when they lost.  We turned on New Girl (shocker) and fell asleep halfway into an episode and I had to drag Landon up to bed at 2:53 am after I nearly rolled off the couch and scared myself awake.

Our church time was changed from 9 to 11 so we got to sleep in plenty and as I mentioned before I made us smoothies and pancakes for breakfast while Landon folded laundry and watched football.  After church I made Landon come on a short winter hike with me in the snow because the sun was shining brightly through the clouds and I wanted to be outside.  The hike turned out being much longer than it usually takes me in the summer due to the couple feet of snow we were trudging through and we were starving by the time we were done.  So we made a quick taco dinner and binged on more football and New Girl.  Are you surprised?
How about that for our weekend usuals during the winter though, huh?  Snowboarding, food and football.  I absolutely love it.  Landon and I live such a good life and have so much fun together, it's the best.  So pause for a second and think about that before you ask us when we plan on having babies. ;)

Applegeddon

Well, you guys?  I'm sitting here at my desk, just- exhausted.  Emotionally and technologically.  Yesterday, an event occurred which I will now refer to as: Applegeddon.  I made a huge mistake and my world iPhone came crashing down on me.  I will tell you my tale, so that maybe in the future, it will save you from making the same grave mistake.

I recently got a new iPhone 6s Plus when they were released late last year.  I sprung for the 128 gig because with my 32 gig 5s I had to download my pictures to my computer monthly to free up space.  Out of habit, I plugged my phone into my laptop yesterday to purge my photos even though I have a luxurious 85 gigs remaining.  I just wanted to tidy up a bit in my camera roll, but at the same time not delete things forever.  So after I had dumped my photos, organized them in iPhoto and deleted a portion of them off my phone I decided I wanted to put some music on there.  That music being Taylor Swift since she is the unicorn that cannot be found on Spotify.  Well, this was the first time I had plugged this phone into iTunes and a notification popped up on my screen saying something along the lines of, "Would you like to restore Whitney? Or set up as a new iPhone?"  Now- I get a notification daily telling me how many weeks it has been since I backed up my iCloud, and I always ignore because my phone is backed up on my computer (or so I thought) and I don't want to pay for more iCloud storage.  So when it asked me that I figured "Whitney" was my 5s I had backed up, so I chose that. HOW WRONG I WAS.  I left my office to do some work really quickly and I came back to find my iPhone WIPED and restored with all the information that exists on my old iPod Touch.  My iPod TOUCH, you guys.  From 2013.  All of my Photos- gone.  My apps- complete disarray.  I sat there, dumbfounded.  I looked at my co-worker and stumbled over the words as I tried to explain to him what I had just done.  I wasn't in a complete panic because I had literally just uploaded all of my photos to my computer so those weren't really lost.  But I went to text Landon about it and came to find ALL OF MY CONTACTS MISSING. And that was when I started to panic.  I had my photos, yes, but all of my contacts were gone.  All of my notes that I had saved on Notepad- done-zo.  There were so many other things besides photos that I realized were valuable to me and I had wiped them from existence! Apparently, I had nothing worth saving stored on my iCloud. No thing.

My co-worker and I started Googling furiously to find a solution, but we both knew-we knew what I had done.  And then it hit me.  I still had my iPhone 5s in my purse because I've been meaning to wipe it clean and sell it in the classifieds.  It still had everything besides the last two months on it.  THERE WAS HOPE!  I ran to my truck and dug my little phone from the bottom of my purse.  I ran back in and sat very still in front of my lap top.  I was afraid.  This was my only chance and I was so scared I was going to do the exact thing I had done to my 6s.  We Googled some more until we were sure of what we had to do.  I slowly plugged my 5s in, I removed the check mark from "Restore iCloud" and clicked "Computer Backup." And watched silently, not moving a muscle as it backed up the information on my 5s to my iTunes.  I then, plugged in my 6s and asked it to restore latest back up and my phone lit up with a familiar screen saver.  My apps were back in order.  All of my contacts I had on my phone before and MORE were there.  We did it.  We dug my phone out of it's grave.  I nearly cried.

After much rejoicing, I looked down at my new Apple Watch I had gotten for Christmas and realized it wasn't paired with my phone anymore.  It didn't shock me and I went into my bluetooth settings to repair it.  Only, my watch wasn't showing up in my bluetooth.  I went to the app and opened the "pair" screen and it wouldn't sync.  I was confused and annoyed and I continued to fiddle with it until I finally Googled how to fix that as well.  The only answer I could find on the internet was to erase the settings and reset it.  Now, I have only had it for 2 1/2 weeks and I really don't have a lot saved on it other than all of my work outs and runs I've been on since I got it, but that stuff is important to me! I didn't want to lose the better half of a month's information I'd logged!  By this point, my day at work had come to a close and I decided to leave it for later and try to unwind after all the stress I'd been through in the past two hours.  When I got home, I thought it had finally synced up with my phone because it was showing the weather again, but apparently it was only because I was on wifi and I didn't figure that until this morning. I went for a run, grabbed some dinner, binged on some New Girl episodes with Landon and dragged myself to bed.  Well, this morning I realized I wasn't actually paired up with my phone and watch and I finally decided to ask Apple for help instead of Google.  I got set up in a chat with a man named "Bill."  He was kind and listened to my tales of woe and told me he would try to help me.  After asking me to try different things with no success, it came to this:
I had pretty much come to terms with the fact that resetting it was my only option, so I wasn't shocked or upset.  Besides, it was only 2 1/2 weeks of info I was losing, not years worth.  And I think Bill was happy that I wasn't one of those impossible angry customers who blame him for every problem they have ever had and their parent's divorce.  I've worked customer service, I know what that is like.  I thanked him for his help and proceeded to reset my watch.  In the grand scheme of the past 20 hours, I think I came out ahead.  When things decided to go bad- they went well.  And like a phoenix, I have risen from the ashes.  And in the words of Schmidt from New Girl:

"Without ash to rise from, a phoenix would just be a bird getting up."

Mariah's Homecoming Part II

So, after picking Mariah up from the airport, taking her to the church to have her released, we finally got home around 11:00 that night.  This was the moment we had all been waiting for because we had a surprise waiting for her.
My mom got chickens last year, I don't know if I ever mentioned that here because I hardly blogged last year, but she brought home 5 baby chicks. Then she, Johnny and Brenden worked really hard building a chicken coop for them in the backyard.  We all made a pact not to tell her about it so she would be surprised when she got home.  We knew it was going to be the middle of the night when she would see it for the first time so they decorated the whole coop in Christmas lights.  When we walked in the door, Mariah was immediately greeted by Josh and Tukae. And listen, none of us thought Tukae would live to see her come home.  That dog is blind and deaf and randomly falls down quite frequently.  He has been in our family for 16 years and he is the best dog in the world.  So we were all so excited to see him freak out over seeing Mariah again.  BUT- like I said, he is very blind and very deaf so he didn't know who the heck she was. haha! He was just excited we were all home.  My mom asked Mariah if she would put the dogs outside, and she opened the back door to see our Christmas coop in the back corner.  She did a double take and was like, "What the?!"  We all laughed as she stumbled through her surprise, "Is that a dog house? Wait. Is that a chicken coop?!  Do we have CHICKENS?!"  And she began to jump up and down and ask if she could see them.  So we trudged through the snow so Mariah could meet the girls: Conna, Mary, Susan, Hellen and Roxanne.  She was beyond delighted and she loves to go out and see them in the morning to gather eggs of many colors.

You would think we would go to bed after that.  I mean, she had traveled for 20 straight hours, but no.  We took off on a Slurpee run at 1:00 AM to a 7eleven two towns away.  My mom has been on the hunt for a banana Slurpee and has yet to find a location that has it.  Landon asked her what candy she had missed the most and almost before he was done asking her the question she said, "Reese's!"  So Landon being the gentleman he is took it upon himself to buy her the biggest Reese's cups known to man.  She was so excited and I still think she is working on finishing them.

We didn't go to bed that night until nearly 3 am.  Johnny flew out from Texas to see her get off the plane and watch her face when she saw the chicken coop for the first time, but was flying out to Arizona the next morning.  So we wanted to spend as much time all together as we could until he comes back.  I had my work Christmas lunch on Friday so I went to that for a couple hours and returned home to everyone barely waking up and getting ready for the day.  Now a lot of time, newly returned missionaries have a hard time adjusting to normal life.  They go from having a strict, set daily schedule and coming home to no schedule at all and it is a bit of a shell-shock for them.  So we made it our goal to make sure Mariah didn't feel idle and useless.  Once I got back we went to Salt Lake City to walk around Temple Square and grab some lunch at the City Creek Mall.  That ended up being the perfect thing for her to do.  There are a ton of sister missionaries in Temple Square and Mariah talked to pretty much all of them.  When you are on a mission, you wear a name tag that says, "Sister" or "Elder" (or in Mariah's Spanish mission, "Hermana") and then your last name and you go through the next couple years going by that name.  So when a pair of the missionaries had been talking to Ri Ri for a few minutes, they asked her what her name was and her eyes filled up with tears and she squeaked out, "Hermana Border." and then of course we all started to cry.  There was only a handful of moments like that over the next couple weeks, but for the most part she is excited to be home and getting back into the swing of things.
We walked all around well into the evening when all the gorgeous lights were on.  If you ever find yourself in SLC around Christmas make sure you hit up the lights in Temple Square.  You'll be blown away at the beauty.  We finally left because we were WORN out.  Well, Mariah wasn't.  She is used to walking 10+ miles a day, we weren't.  What she wasn't used to is how cold it is right now.  She came from 100 degree weather and 100% humidity to 5 degree weather!! She's been bundled up for weeks and she still coughs every time she goes outside because her lungs have no clue what has happened.  

On Saturday, her best friend was getting married and asked Mariah to be a bridesmaid, so she was gone all day.  I took the opportunity to hit the slopes.  A friend of mine that I had gone to college with messaged me on instagram and asked if I had a pass to Park City.  I told her I did and she gave me her  number to hit her up when I was going next because she needed more friends to ride with.  So I shot her a text before I left and we agreed to meet up at the top of the Bonanza lift.  When she boarded up to me I thought to myself, wow.  She looks so different.  We got on the gondola to head to the other side of the resort and I pulled out my phone to sneakily look at her instagram.  Turns out, this girl who messaged me was NOT a girl I went to college with and was in fact a total stranger.  I mean, we follow each other on IG, but I had never met her in my life.  I had to stifle my laughter at first, but we ended up having a lot of fun together and I won't be surprised if we end up going again.

But yeah.  That was the first couple days she was home.  There are still many stories to come.  Don't be surprised if my sister is all I talk about for the next little bit.  It's just the best that she is home.  She is so loved.

Mariah's Homecoming Part I

So, that last post, huh?  I kind of left you all hanging with, "BRB Mariah is coming home."  And no follow-up.  Well, I'll give you a little taste today and continue to do so over the next few days.  Because I'm caught in the middle of scholarship applications, work and trying to drink a lot of water.

You guys. She is home.  She is HOME.  I can hug her and call her and text her and snapchat her.  It's like I haven't seen her in 50 years and then at the same time it's like she never left.  She is beautiful and happy and half the time I don't know what she is saying because she is speaking Spanish.  That night was incredible.  Waiting at the airport, watching her flight on the screens and anticipating her walking through the doors was about all I could handle.  That and waving the Paraguayan flag, because you know, we're that family at the airport.
And as we had been anxiously waiting all day, we had no idea how close we came to not actually getting to see her because she was almost held in Cancun for another 24 hours due to having a knife in her suitcase.  We were getting pictures of her in Paraguay carrying around this huge knife because she was using it to cut up mangoes while she walked everywhere.  So my mom sent her a pocket knife to carry instead so she wouldn't end up cutting herself on accident.  She didn't think when she packed it in her bag that it would be a problem.  And it wasn't in Paraguay or Panama City.  But when she went to change flights in Cancun it showed up in the X-Ray and they grabbed her suitcase and opened it up to search it.  BUT- she only had a few minutes until her flight left and all the other missionaries left her because they didn't want to get stuck in Mexico until the next flight 24 hours later. Mariah said she started to panic and then started to cry, and the small, Mexican lady pointed at her and said, "No!! You do not cry!"  As she started tearing her suitcase apart desperately trying to find whatever it was that flagged them.  She found the pocket knife, threw it to the side and furiously started shoving everything back in the suitcase.  Mariah said she cringed a little knowing the treasures she was bringing home were breaking, but at the same time was desperate to get on her plane.  They started running down the terminal and the lady was yelling, "EVERYBODY MOVE! GET OUT OF OUR WAY!" as they sprinted all the way across the airport.  Mariah got there right as they closed to door of the airplane and the woman yelled, "OPEN THAT DOOR!!"  And Mariah jumped inside as the door closed behind her.  I will never know who that woman was, and can only imagine what she looks like and sounds like, but I will love her for the rest of my life for getting Mariah on that plane home.

When her plane landed in Salt Lake, we waited like crazy people at the ropes as the passengers came through the frosted doors.  Each time it wasn't them, the people were greeted with an overwhelming, "Ahhh...."  Which is so welcoming, I'm sure.  As more of them came through, they started to say, "They were in the very back of the plane.  They'll be the last ones out."  and, "They're coming, don't worry!"  After what seemed like an eternity, the doors slid open and Mariah pushed her cart of luggage through and we all started to scream.  My mom and I jumped the ropes and ran to hug her.  She was wearing a beautiful, hand-made shirt with colorful flowers stitched all over it and her hair smelled like the rain forest.  Her shoes were falling apart and full of holes, but the smile on her face and light in her eyes could have lit the whole world.  I held her in my arms and never wanted to let go.  And for a moment, I didn't think I was ever going to.

After hugging her and crying and laughing for a few moments, Security noticed us behind the ropes we weren't supposed to cross and they shooed us back behind them and she was met with the rest of our family and her best friend.  She went from person to person hugging and laughing and being blown away and how grown up our little cousins are.  Johnny was waiting patiently for her to make her way to him for his hug.  Now when you are set apart as a missionary you aren't allowed to have any sort of physical contact with the opposite sex that isn't family aside from a handshake.  But Johnny- he is Brenden's best friend, he lives at our house and I refer to him as my brother because he really IS part of our family.  It hadn't even crossed any of our minds that he wouldn't get a hug from her.  But she is a rule follower and she walked towards him with her arms open and at the last second only gave him her hand.  It was hilarious and totally unexpected.  I will remember the look of surprise on his face for the rest of my life.  And as she moved to the next person, he dropped his sign and pouted.  And it was amazing.  We still laugh at the video clip of it.  
Once she was released as a missionary she jumped up from her chair and gave him a huge hug and all was well.  

And now the gang is all back together.  It's amazing.  I spent the next two weeks at my mom's hanging with her, going shopping, working out and partying.  And I'm going through withdrawals again now that I'm back at work, but just being able to text her is the greatest. UGH, I'm so happy.  I will continue with our shenanigans over the next few days so stay tuned. 


**this has nothing to do with Mariah coming home, BUT you guys should TOTALLY tune into American Idol tonight because Mr. John Wayne Schulz up there is going to make an appearance.  Let him woo you with his silky smooth cowboy pipes, you won't be sorry.  That is all.**
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