Thursday, November 25, 2010

I'll start by saying...

Thank you Dad for being such an example day in and out of selfless and Christ like love. Thanks for helping me move over the holiday when you could have been working on your own stuff or actually relaxing.

Thank you Mom for being the one that listens to the boy drama, the work drama, the mouse-in-my-apartment drama, and everything else we talk about for hours and hours. Thank you for cooking a DELICIOUS Thanksgiving feast this week all by yourself so I could move.

Thank you Polly for helping me paint my new apartment and letting me come play with you, Ry Ry, and Emma this morning. I just love you guys so much!

Thank you Lisa for the most beautiful email. I miss you and your little red couch and the way we solved all the world's problems together.

Thank you Jeromy and Camie for allowing me to be a part of your life. It is an incredible experience to watch your little family grow up.

Thank you Breanna for teaching me so many things about the atonement and about love. You get more beautiful every day.

Thank you Jen for being my wing-woman. You are SO amazing, and I'm so happy I got to see you this fall. Now hopefully I'll see you in December too!

Thank you Lil Richard for kindly eating all the poison I left in my storage room for you. It wasn't fun to clean you up off the floor, but I'm braver thanks to you, and you are also no longer terrorizing my apartment.

Thank you "blizzard of the century" for only being a wimpy excuse of a snowstorm so you didn't totally ruin my moving plans this weekend, only made them slightly more messy.

Thank you brothers for helping me move, even if you're doing it out of your sense of duty.

Thank you home teachers, friends, and everyone planning on helping me move tomorrow. You may hate me after you move my couch, but I definitely appreciate you since my couch would be staying behind without you.

Thank you Sorenson for giving me Thanksgiving and Black Friday off every year so I always get a four day weekend.

Thank you Target for being RIGHT around the corner from my new house. Trust me, you will be as happy about this as I will be.

Thank you Chris for the picture of the pie I will hopefully be enjoying very soon.

Thank you belly for somehow fitting in every bit of the Thanksgiving meal I wanted, and now kindly quit asking for more desserts!

Thank you Brad for giving me reasons to smile all day long.

Thank you Eiko for reminding me that just because I have four wheel drive, it doesn't mean I can drive as much as I want in the snow (even though I pretty much did). It was nice to know someone was worried about me.

Thank you Libby and Sarah for being the cutest nieces ever. Can't wait to see you again. Just thinking about all the cute things you say every time I see you makes me smile.

Thank you Lord for every good, great, painful, crazy, unexpected blessing in my life. I know that I have this amazing experience called life because of You, I know that so many beautiful things are to come because of You, I know that everything in my life comes from You, and I know that my life has been more incredible than I could have ever imagined since I have turned it over to You.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Getting the most when you expect the least...

My last trip to Disneyland was not my favorite vacation for two main reasons:

1) I'm a bit of a nonconformist by nature, and on some level Disney goes against everything in me. I mean, come on... how has Walt Disney managed to create this world (or land) so fabulous that people will spend an entire year's savings to take their screaming, crying children there?

2) I had certain expectations based on being 11, not 27. So, at 11 years old, Big Thunder Mountain was pretty awesome, and Space Mountain went far beyond that. So I expected some rides that would give me a bit of a thrill. But really... at 27 my thrill tolerance had gone up significantly. It just takes more to satisfy. And I was there for rides, not an experience. California Adventure had some great rides, but we ended up there on day 2, when the park closed at 6pm for a private party. So EVERY single person in the state of California and Utah (it was UEA weekend) seemed to be in Disneyland that night. (My family would also mention that I ended up very wet and cold after a late night run on Splash Mountain... and anyone who has seen cold and wet Rachel would not need any further explanation).

When Emily decided to work at Disneyworld this fall, she really wanted the family to come down to visit. My parents committed to the trip, and I figured I couldn't pass up a ridiculously cheap trip to Disneyworld since I'd probably never go otherwise. I also wanted to go visit my sister and support her since I knew she really wanted us to go and see what she does everyday. So... I adjusted my expectations and booked my flight.

I spent 4 days at the parks with my family, and I have to admit, it was AWESOME. Disneyworld definitely has more to offer all around than Disneyland, so that helps. But really, I just went planning on having a good time with my family, and we had an amazing trip. It was so fun to just be together and enjoy everything there. Emily had planned out every day to the minute, which meant we ate delicious food everyday, we watched awesome shows each night, we rode some great rides, and we went home exhausted and happy every night. I have even overcome my slight prejudice toward Disney. I mean let's face it, Walt just got it right.

We also managed to squeeze in a few hours at Universal Studios so we could visit the Harry Potter theme park. We tried some butter beer, wandered through Hogsmeade, and visited Hogwarts castle. Awesome. (Harry Potter is another reason I have to re-think my nonconformist mentality. I refused to read the books until I took Emily to the first movie and had to find out for myself if Snape was actually a bad guy. I read the first 4 books in a month).

One of the best moments of the trip was one night when my parents turned in early and Emily and I had some good quality bonding time. I was so happy to finally have a little sister when Emily was born, and have always loved being her big sister. But sometimes I'm really glad I've been single long enough to enjoy hanging out with her as a friend and not just as the big sister.

The trip was pretty much filled with magic from beginning to end. There was even a little extra unexpected magic... but that's another story for another day...

Mom, Emily and I outside of the safari ride Emily runs.

Dad, Emily and I with our butter beer mustaches

Emily and I at the Magic Kingdom wishing well, wishing someday our princes will come ;)

Emmy and I on our surrey ride

Right outside Dumbledore's office

Of course you can't go to Disneyworld without a picture with the castle

At one of the resorts there is a restaurant called Beached and Cream. This was their famous "kitchen sink" dessert. My favorite is my mom's face.

Mom and I at EPCOT, I think my favorite park

Emmy and I outside the Hulk rollercoaster. It was pretty much awesome

One of my favorite pictures of my parents. Outside of Hogwarts

Standing in front of Everest, one of my other favorite rides

Emily Sue getting ready to take us on Safari

Another great picture of my parents at Downtown Disney

Emily and I outside the Barn Stormer (or we lovingly call it the Bronkin Stronkin... long story) with Brad who turned out to be a very charming addition to our trip.

I'd say this one is pretty much self-explanatory