Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Things That Are New

Lately we have been so busy that I haven't been able to blog. Here are some of the new things that are keeping us busy:

Our new favorite hobby in parking lots is drawing eyeballs on other peoples cars. We absolutely love it, and we hope that the strangers that now have living vehicles appreciate it too. 

I've started a new (and very cold and snowy) semester. It has been ridiculously cold here and I have been freezing while walking around campus. But luckily my load (for now) is lighter than it was last semester. It will pick up in the middle of February when I add four more classes to my schedule. Here is the welcome sign to my campus all covered in snow. 

I also recently completed one of my life goals by putting my feet in the Atlantic Ocean. I'm pretty sure I may want to do this one over again, since it was January, and we did it on the coast of Maine. The water was so cold that it was painful. I don't think I will ever try and experience it again, but maybe next time I will do it at a beach in Florida.

Lately Caitlin has been keeping busy with her earring business. She recently put up a Facebook page (click on the Facebook logo to see it) so that she can start advertising more. She is really good and it's a fun hobby for her to have, especially when I get busy doing homework. 

Other things that have been keeping us busy:
  • Our callings - which we have been really enjoying with the new youth curriculum. 
  • Trying to find a practicum - if anyone has any good connections at the United Nations or other large development agencies, let me know! 
  • The Biggest Loser - which we are totally addicted to.
  • Swimming laps - our new favorite exercise
  • The branch Elders - we now try to go out with them at least once a week
I think that is just about it for things new things that we have been doing. It has been a fun and busy 2013. Hopefully we can keep busy and continue to enjoy the year!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Happy Happy Birthday!

My beautiful wife turned 24 on Monday, and I'm pretty sure 24 is going to be her best year yet. 

Caitlin's birthday is on the 21st of January, and when it falls on a Monday, it is MLK Jr. Day - and schools are closed so it becomes a holiday. Unfortunately for us, Vermont does not believe in this particular holiday, after all, the state is 98% white...literally, I just googled it. So we were stuck going to work and school. :( But... Caitlin had a great surprise waiting for her at work. Her coworkers decorated her desk with balloons and streamers so everyone knew it was her birthday. And just in case it wasn't clear enough, they made her wear a pin that says "Birthday Girl" all day long.

After work, we had a relaxing evening by swimming laps at the pool, going out to dinner (where I made Caitlin wear her pin), and watching the Biggest Loser. May not sound like a super adventurous evening, but I felt like it was perfect. Just one-on-one time with my favorite birthday girl.

Monday, January 21, 2013

New Etsy Shop!

So, Caitlin has started a new hobby since coming to Vermont. We couldn't bring a lot of our previous hobbies (like our keyboard, or her sewing machine), so she needed something to occupy her time while I did homework. Well, we found this really cool store in downtown Brattleboro that sells beads, and Caitlin started making earrings as a hobby. And I must say (no bias) she is extremely talented. Like, really, really good at making them. When my mom came into town to visit she sat my mom down to teach her how to make them as well (although it took my mom quite a bit longer to figure things out).

Now she has set up an Etsy shop to sell some of her earrings to help fund our next humanitarian trip abroad. So - if you know anyone who would like some earrings, they are a great gift. Or, if you know of someone who just likes buying earrings, you can send them here. She has just barely started with the shop, so only a few types of earrings are up - but she will be adding more. And if you want to have her custom make a pair or two for you - go ahead and send me a message. I'll pass it along and you can have your own super-cool, unique earrings. :)


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

New Years Adventures

New Years Eve can be a super exciting night, or an extremely lame one. It all depends on what you have planned - and if you have nothing planned, you most likely will go to bed early and welcome the new year in the morning. But - since Caitlin and I haven't spent a New Years Eve together in quite some time (3 years I think), I decided that we would have a fun one.

I started off by decorating our house with some balloons and banners. I had to make it feel like it was NYE, so I made sure to have fun decorations. In addition to the living room decorations, I decorated two of the three bedrooms. One was in silver and black for our NYE dance - and the other was decorated like a photo studio, complete with our camera on a tripod for easy pictures.

Every balloon hanging from the ceiling had a time written on it from 7:00 to midnight, and inside each balloon was an activity to do during the night so we could stay up until midnight. We knew that we would not be able to stay up unless we had things planned - although we still got a little tired around 11:30.

Some of the activities included taking pictures in a photo booth (you can see these on the left), playing a game, setting resolutions, learning a song on the ukulele, and on and on. They were pretty fun, but I planned them so of course I thought they were fun.

We also had some fancy drinks. :) My family always had Shirley Temples on NYE, so we made some of those, and then we had sparkling cider to toast and cheer as the ball dropped at midnight. And now we are living it up in 2013. Can you believe how fast time goes by? Kids who were born in 2000 will be teenagers this year. That does not seem right! Anyway, here's to an amazing 2013!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Once There Was a Snowman

We have gotten a lot of snow recently. So what do grown-ups do when it snows? They make snow angels, sled, and build a snowman, of course. 

Our snowman turned out really good. We were going to build a bigger one, but it got dark really fast outside, so we opted for a mini snowman. 

It had been a long time since we played in the snow. It didn't really snow in Provo last year, so the foot-plus of snow that we got here gave us what we missed out on. 

We don't really have any big hills at our house, but this little one made a perfect quick sledding hill. The only problem was that we didn't have any sleds, so we just slid down on our slippery snow clothes. 

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Harvesting Time

Not many people know this, but this past week I was in the hospital donating bone marrow. It has been a crazy adventure to get here - but I figured this would be the best place to tell the story, so here goes. 

I hate donating blood, but I do it because I know I have good blood, and may as well help other people, right? I thought the same thing about bone marrow - but then when I got on the website, I realized it cost $30 to join the registry (doing all the testing and stuff). So I decided that my college budget didn't allow for that, so I put it off for a little longer. 

Then when I was living in Houston on my internship, my friend Allison taught me of the importance of bone marrow donations, and I resolved to join the registry. Flash forward 4 semesters, I was still not on the registry - but through my connections in BYU-Idaho Service Activities, I found out I could join the registry for free on campus. So I did the proper testing and joined the registry in January 2012. Perfect. I had done my part. 

Then in November I received a call, or an email (I can't remember which) saying that I was a match for a 34-year-old woman with leukemia. They asked me if I was still interested in proceeding with becoming a donor, and without hesitation I agreed. Then came weeks of blood tests, physicals, and other medical tests to make sure I was an EXACT match for this woman. It was a really long process, and it took 3 trips to Boston (which is about 2 hours away) to get everything squared away - but it couldn't have worked out more perfectly.

I donated on January 3rd, which gives me almost 2 weeks to recover before going back to school. I was only on the registry for 10 months before they called me (only 1 in every 100,000 on the registry are found to be a match). It was perfect timing because my semester was ending and I had the time to donate. Also - this is perfect because in a year or so, I wont be eligible for donation due to travel/work outside the country. What a lucky experience. There was no way I would have turned it down. 

Caitlin and I drove to Boston on the 2nd and stayed in a hotel across the street from the hospital. I had to be there at 5:30 a.m. and didn't think that driving 2 hours that early in the morning would be very good. :) The doctors and medical staff were amazing and the surgery went very well. I was discharged around 6:00 p.m. It would have been earlier, but they lost my clothes, and I really didn't want to go home wearing a medical gown. 

I remember really weird things from the hospital, but I'm not sure if any of it was real, or if I had some very vivid dreams. I'm pretty sure I dreamed up the operating room. It looked like a cross between my campus and a really sterile hospital. But when I came out of anesthesia, I was certain that it had all happened. 

I'm still a bit sore, although I'm doing a lot better than they described. I've been up and about every day, and I've only taken tylenol for the pain. They prescribed oxycodone, but I don't like the side effects, so I'll stick to they tylenol. Caitlin is super helpful, and made me a care package for Friday when she had to go to work. It had magazines, movies, and everything I needed to take care of myself while she was gone. She has made everything really easy.

People keep telling me how amazing it is to donate bone marrow - but I never really saw this as being amazing for me. I was more focused on the woman who needed to receive it. Yes, I am in pain and I had to spend a day in the hospital. But could you imagine going through leukemia and having to wait to see if someone is willing to donate to you in order for you to survive? I am extremely grateful to have been that mach for her. If you have the opportunity - join the registry. You could help save someone's life. Don't worry about the pain or discomfort you may feel. You would give it for someone you know and love, so why not give it to someone that is known and loved by other people? 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Christmas Came and Went

Christmas was a bit slower for us this year. We don't have any family close by, so we relaxed and had our own Christmas. We had the elders over for breakfast - and it was a lot of fun. We told them to come in their pajamas. And Elder Sutherland skyped his family while he was over. He went in the MTC the same time as Lindsey, but since he didn't learn a language, he had been out in Massachusetts for a week already. 

We didn't bother getting ready for the day, and actually sat around in our pajamas until about 2:00 in the afternoon. Quite the lazy day. But we did the usual: open presents, eat a ton of good foods, and talk to our family. 
Caitlin opening her ukulele

It was a very fun and relaxing day. And at the end we went to the movies to see Les Miserables. We don't think we'll make that a Christmas tradition - watching a movie at home would be so much better.