Monday, November 23, 2009

Reunion Tour '09: Renaissance Edition

When Jared and I decided on a Renaissance theme for this year's Reunion Tour, he realized right away that his part was pretty much done. Years of Shakespearean and Renaissance Festivals and my recent trip to Italy (which I didn't realize was an event research trip) had me brimming over with ideas. This was right up my alley.

Putting on 4 events back-to-back right before put me on an impossibly short timeline, but thankfully I had amazing partners that magically transformed a huge empty room into a medieval wonderland with decor, lighting, video, and design. I recruited my co-worker Julie as my partner in crime and the rest of the staff worked their hearts out to help make the event actually happen.

To our normal run of a speaker and themed connecting experiences, etc. we added a visit from William Shakespeare. Surprisingly, it was Jared who wanted to add actors. I was worried it could either been really good or really cheesy--but Jared has a sense for this kind of thing and he was a huge hit. We also had a Renaissance Feast with Henry VIII (something I've wanted to do since high school), sword fighting and jousting, and karaoke with a live band (okay that is a thematic stretch--but they were dressed up in renaissance costumes and everyone loved it!)

Jeff always promises them that we will top the year before--which is something that rings through my mind all year. And although there were snags and things that weren't quite right, it was amazingly fun and turned out better then I dared to hope.

I also now know how to spell both renaissance and medieval--so it was all worth it right? I'm currently a happy and very relieved girl---and I made up for a sleepless month last week by spending many blissful hours unconscious in my bed!

Sunday, August 9, 2009


Top Five Favorite Things About Rome

5. The Views: Looking out over a postcard cityscape with bells echoing through the streets.

4. The Fountains: I've always had a thing for waterfalls and fountains--and Rome had some of the most beautiful I've ever seen. And it didn't hurt that two of these were featured in '50's movies 3. Gelato: I've never been a huge ice-cream lover. Everyone kept raving about Italian gelato, and I'm not gonna lie, I doubted. But I soon converted, and ate it at least once everyday--coming home very disdainful of the American version. 2. Sidewalk Cafes: I loved eating outside for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I did get carbed out pretty quickly, but I fell in love with every sidewalk cafe we ate at. This one was right in front of the Parthenon.

1. Music in the Streets: People have always made fun of me that I randomly break into song. In Rome, I found a kindred city because everywhere we went people were singing. This man was a street performer who set up a boom box in the piazza, opened his mouth and suddenly I was listening to an Andrea Bocelli.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Fairy Tale Land

My trip to Italy and Turkey was absurdly helpful in helping me with a story that I've been writing (a fairy tale). It seemed everywhere we went added a place, character, or subplot. I was kept busy writing it all down as fast as I could.(Will post more pictures later. . .)

This is the castle (Sienna and Milan)

This is the staircase to the Wizard's Tower (Sienna)

Magical Blue Pools (Pumukkale, Turkey)

Whimsey the Amber-Eyed Owl (Lake Como)


Summer Castle (Lake Como)

Sultan's Palace (Blue Mosque, Hagia Sofia, actual Sultan's Palace--Istanbul)

Tombs of the Ancestors (Hierapolis)

Sunday, May 10, 2009


Yeah, it's been awhile. . .

I replaced my blogging time with writing to my mom and dad on their mission. So, in brief, here's what's been going on the last couple of months:

1. PRIMARY: I was released from Single Adult Rep and called into Primary. Not a lot of experience here--but being over the music and sharing times have been a blast, although I'm still at a total loss to understand Scouts.

2. STAY AT HOME MOM: I played mom for a week when my brother and sister-in-law were out of town.

Favorite Part: Hanging out with the girls and the funny things they would say. Also, them bringing me breakfast in bed on my birthday.

Frustrating Part: I was going to get a lot of stuff down during my "down time"--which never appeared because absolutely nothing went the way I thought it would.

3. MOAB: I went with a group to Moab to do a half marathon and did hikes the night before and the day after. Yes, I do appear to have been suffering from a case of temporary insanity, but although exhausting, I had a really good time.

4. LEAVING THE COUNTRY: I've had a trip to Italy and Turkey planned with my friend Kelsey for about a year, but it was permanently on hold because of finances. In the last month (between babysitting and work bonuses) I was able to pay off my credit card. I wasn't about to go back into debt for a trip when I was finally out, but things fell together and between a $500 plane fare and a humanitarian foundation I've been working with paying Jared and I to write a picture book for them, I finally ran out of reasons why I couldn't go. I almost cried when I realized my passport had been expired for years without me even noticing it and I'm feel a part of me that has been lost returning.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

A Baker's Dozen

I used to love telling people from outside Utah that there were 13 people in my family. Their eyes would go wide and their jaws would drop. On my mission, I would show people a picture of my family and the first question was “Are they all from one mother?” and the next was usually, “Did you have a TV?”

A few weeks ago, I had the rare opportunity of performing a family song with my 10 siblings. It was my parents speaking-in-church-before-their-mission-that-isn’t-called-a-farewell-anymore, and everyone had made a super-human effort to be there.

So, in honor of that possibly not to be repeated scenario, here is my take on the sociological effects of growing up in a big family.

1. Eating Fast: Anything good didn’t last long, so you ate it fast and as much as possible. I remember a whole drawer full of grapes being gone in under an hour.

2. No Germ Phobias: Growing up in a big family made eating off each other’s silverware, using each other’s hair brushes, drinking from each others cups no big deal. There was even a time I was okay with a communal toothbrush. (I grew out of that one. . .)

3. Singing: I was an adult before I realized why we always sang on road trips and for FHE—there was a 16 year age range and singing was one of the few things that we could all do together. Additionally, if we were singing, we weren’t fighting or asking if we were there yet. I now see it as a brillant strategy.

4. Sibling Traditions: We did what our siblings did. Mark didn’t like tomatoes, so no one younger than him did either. My oldest siblings moved out at 18 and so did the rest of us. Precedents were set for years to come.

5. Tolerance: I found it easier to relate to all kinds of different people because I lived under the same roof with someone like them. We had the computer guy, cheerleader, athlete, drama/choir kid, super-student etc.

6. Opinionated: I learned to state my opinions strongly (even more strongly than I actually felt at times). Otherwise you could have 12 people contradicting you at once. I’ve had to learn to soften this tendency in the outside world—it doesn’t go over well.

7. Independence: My parents were amazing caregivers, but it was impossible to be on top of us for every little thing, so what we excelled in, we chose to excel in.

8. Interdependence: Most of my questions and needs can usually be addressed by someone in my family—medical, computer, fashion and beauty, writing, cooking, photography, shopping tips, food storage etc. It's really great.

In spite of its challenges, being from a big family is pretty spectacular. I’m grateful to my Mom and Dad for making it possible.