Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Christmas Card 2014

December is always crammed full of events, traditions, and traveling, so it's no wonder that we didn't send out Christmas cards. But, we did put a digital one together for all of our friends and family. 
2014 was an amazing year 
From backpacking through Central America, receiving my Master's degree, moving from Mexico to Guatemala, and from Guatemala to San Diego, making earrings, job hunting, church callings and more. We are so grateful to have amazing friends and family that love us and support us in all our aspirations. We cannot wait to celebrate 2015 with as much zeal and enthusiasm that we saw in 2014, and we look forward to sharing everything 2015 brings with all of you!

Happy Christmas to everyone! And have a ridiculously fun New Year!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Month of November and Early December

Just in case you haven't talked to us in the past month, we have kept busy and enjoyed life, as usual. I figured maybe I would update the world as to what we have been doing with our lives. 

In November we volunteered at the Hands Across Borders Gala with PCI Global, where I'm currently interning. It was a fun gala filled with wealthy people who want to make a difference in the world. It was cool to see so many people wanting to reach out to the global community and impact lives. Caitlin and I worked the silent auction. We were sad because we didn't get to dress up (the event was black tie), but instead had to wear volunteer shirts. One day we will be invited somewhere instead of having to volunteer, but for now, we will gladly volunteer to help others.
 
Speaking of internships, I also accepted a job in November! It is only a temporary position, but it is great experience and both Caitlin and I are very excited. I will be leading a set of development projects for Help International in Uganda. They are a small NGO based out of Provo, Utah. So come January, I will be heading out to Uganda, and Caitlin will be joining me in February. If any of you are Facebook friends with us, you have seen that we have been trying to fundraise for her trip. 
During her time in Uganda, she will have the opportunity to work in public health interventions among some of the poorest people in the world. In Uganda, over 75% of the population live below the poverty line, and without necessary resources they will never be able to overcome the obstacles they face. If you are interested in donating to these projects, you can donate online here, or you can buy a pair of earrings that Caitlin makes here. All the money will be used toward these projects, and we have a goal of fundraising $3,000 by February. A lofty goal, but hopefully we can make it.

Also in November we went to see Wicked. I had never seen the musical, tried to read the book (not for me), and hadn't even listened to the soundtrack until I graduated from BYU-Idaho. Well, it was definitely worth the wait. It was hilarious. And hilarious isn't even an exaggeration. We were seriously laughing the entire night.  
It was a much needed date and break from the mundane. We would highly recommend everyone go to see this play. Even if you don't like plays or you don't like musicals, this one would make you happy.
After our time at the musical, we went to a restaurant to have a pazookie, and realized that it has been a really long time since we have stayed out past 10:00. Like embarrassingly long. We got to the restaurant around 11:00 and thought it would probably be closed. Well, it was a Friday night, and the restaurant was full. Little did we know, people still stay out past 10:00. We figured since we've become a couple of old ladies, everyone else did too. Maybe we'll have to stay out late again in the near future. It was a lot of fun.

Thanksgiving fell late in November this year, and we celebrated with the entire Hendrickson family. All of Caitlin's siblings came into town, and even her grandparents joined us for the week.

Caitlin had the idea to plan a turkey trot/family 5k for Thanksgiving, and everyone was really excited about it, so we made shirts and mapped out a course that wasn't filled with hills and we raced. During the entire race, my goal was to keep up with Caitlin (sometimes if I keep up with her, I can pass her at the end), and make sure that Lindsey didn't pass me. It was a miracle, but I stayed close to Caitlin the whole time (she beat me in the end), and Lindsey couldn't catch up! Yes!! Also, I got a new personal record for my timed 5k. I felt pretty good about that. 
Everyone seemed to enjoy the race. And the grandparents did a Granny Gobble, where they walked around the mile loop of the neighborhood with the grandkids. We put up pictures of turkeys all throughout the neighborhood that they had to find while they walked around. I think they enjoyed it as well, and everyone was completely exhausted before 9:00 a.m.
After running, we all went inside to get ready for dinner. We were all assigned a different dish to prepare, so it was a busy time in the kitchen. Caitlin and I cooked the stuffing and the sweet potatoes. I will admit, those are probably my two favorite Thanksgiving dishes, so I didn't mind cooking them. Actually, I looked forward to making them just how I love them. :)
After dinner we all sat around enjoying the 80 degree San Diego weather, and the grandkids enjoyed the dirt filled backyard. Kids are so simple. Give them dirt, empty boxes, and bubble wrap and they will be forever content. Our kids are going to seem so deprived when on Christmas they get a pile of rocks. :)
And of course, you can't end a Thanksgiving weekend without a sock sliding contest on the hardwood floors. Again, my goal was to beat Lindsey (which I did), but Justin was the overall winner.
The first weekend in December our branch was invited to attend a campout with a ward in our stake. The theme was shooting, so we camped and shot guns. It was more of a campout for the leaders of the other ward, since there were almost as many of them as there were youth. But it was a lot of fun and I'm glad that a few of our youth were able to attend. 
While I was shooting the pistols, I was aiming for a small, purple Christmas ornament dangling on a wire in the middle of the range. I thought I would for sure be able to hit it. After a few shots, however, it had not blown up. In my frustration, I unloaded a round and a half on that poor little Christmas ball. Still, nothing happened except it swayed in place. I was so frustrated that I decided to aim for a blue one. Same thing happened. I figured I had completely forgotten how to aim (had it really been that long?) and I stopped after 3 rounds at the two ornaments. Well, when I went to go clean up after shooting, the purple ornament was filled with more than a dozen bullet holes. They were a cheap plastic  rather than glass, so they could take more than one shot to them. Turns out I'm not as terrible of a shot as I thought I was. 
That same weekend, one of the young men from our Branch stayed at our house while his mom had surgery. It was fun to have him with us, although I think we might have tortured him a little bit. I forget what it is like to be 15 sometimes. We took him to a thing called December Nights at Balboa park, which is a bunch of Christmas booths, music, lights, and food. We watched a concert where the pianist didn't show up so some guy from the audience jumped up and played for them (and he was amazing), and we ate Korean BBQ. It was a pretty good night.
And it was a cold night in San Diego (we're having those more frequently now) so we bundled up before we left. We love doing Christmas things, so this was the perfect thing to do while Diego was visiting. 
Well, I think that is all that I have to share for now. I know that a lot more has happened since I last wrote, but these are the only things I have pictures of.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Alex Boye Live!

Have you ever heard of Alex Boye? He is a pretty great musical artist. Actually, he is phenomenal. He is of Nigerian heritage, and mixes his songs with an Africanized feel. Seriously, so much fun. Well... he came to San Diego this past week, and did a concert in Caitlin's parents house. How cool is that? 
It was a really intimate setting. And since it was at my in-laws house, we were there for the whole process. Him warming up, meeting his band, and even meeting other artists that had accompanied him.
This is Alisha Popat. She is a Kenyan artist who looked very familiar when we saw her come with Alex, but it took a minute to figure out who she was... well it turns out that she sings with Lindsey Stiring, and we have been using her song as our alarm clock for the past few years. How strange is that? She sang a little bit with Alex, and we were completely starstruck.
 

 Alex did two separate concerts at the house. He is Mormon, so he had a spiritual fireside type of concert, and then a super fun neighborhood concert filled with dancing and high energy singing. 
At the spiritual fireside, Clark played the piano for Alex. Pretty cool to say that he accompanied him while he sang. So amazing.

video
It was so amazing to have him over - and it definitely turned our house into a bunch of Boye fanatics for the next few days.  
Oh, and in case you haven't heard of Alex Boye, here is one of his great videos. But seriously, I would recommend checking out all of his videos - they are great! 

Monday, November 10, 2014

October on the Beach

One of the great things about living near the beach is the ability to go there in the off-season. October is definitely the off-season for San Diego vacationers, but the water is definitely warmer in September and early October, so of course we took advantage. Plus, Caitlin got a new swimsuit, so we had to test it out. :)
One of the great things about fall is the change of weather from warm to cold, but a great part of San Diego fall is that it is still really warm during the day and cold at night. It didn't even seem like October on the beach. And aren't there times when all you need is a good dose of sun? That is exactly how we felt before going out to the beach, and now we're 100% rejuvenated. 
Yeah, not much of a blog post, but I had some extra pictures that I needed to post so I didn't forget. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Dia de los Muertos, San Diego Style

The Day of the Dead is such a great celebration. Not only is it in remembrance of those who have gone before us, but it is combined with some of the spooky elements of Halloween and the cultural flare of Mexico. Seriously, who wouldn't love celebrating with skeletons, sugar, and reverent altars? 

For those of you who don't know, el Dia de los Muertos started 3,000 years ago when Mayan and Aztec Indians displayed skulls to show their feelings on life and death. To the Aztecs, life was a dream and death was waking up. When the Spaniards arrived in Central and South America, Catholic and Native customs were combined into el Dia de los Muertos. 

On the Day of the Dead, families create special altars for their departed loved ones, which become living scrapbooks with pictures of the deceased, flowers, and their favorite foods. These foods and offerings are placed for the deceased to enjoy, and are said to have lost their flavor because the ghosts have sucked it all out. At the Day of the Dead celebrations in San Diego, they had more than 40 public altars all around Old Town that displayed pictures of people who, from what we could tell, had mostly passed away in 2014.

We even found this tribute to Robin Williams among the altar in the cemetery. It is really interesting how this holiday is celebrated. If we put skeletons and food on graves on Memorial Day, I think a lot of people would be offended, but it is a beautiful tradition in Latin America that helps them honor their families.

Another element to the Day of the Dead are sugar skulls. Sugar art was brought to the Americas by Italian missionaries. Since Mexicans could not afford to buy expensive European decorations, they started creating their own sugar skulls as a representation of departed souls. In Old Town, there were booths set up where you could decorate your own sugar skull. It was a lot of hard work. I'm not super creative, so I felt like this totally maxed me out for the day.

All over Old Town there were skeletons and skulls used as decoration. There were live performances by people in skeleton suits and even some mariachi bands playing. For a little bit, I actually felt like I was back in Mexico. Actually, for a long part of the day I whined about how much I wanted to go back. :) Ha ha! Maybe soon we will make a trip down to Tijuana to do some Christmas shopping.

This day was exceptional. We are so lucky to be in San Diego, and enjoy November 1 outside with such rich Mexican traditions. I just hope that people here do not keep the tradition of noisy Christmas and New Years like they do in Mexico, 'cause I value my beauty rest. :)

Monday, November 3, 2014

The Ellen Show Halloween Special

I don't know how we got so lucky, but we managed to score tickets to the Ellen show for her Halloween special! Amazing, right? We knew we had to have great costumes, so we decided to go as the Mockingjay and Caesar Flickerman from the Hunger Games. Pretty great, right? 
We worked with Caitlin's grandma and mom to construct our costumes, which was pretty lucky since I could not have done anything without some help. Caitlin made her wings all by herself, and I think we looked pretty good. :)
We drove up to the show in the morning. We had to be there by 12:30, and once we got there we basically sat in line forever, even though we had tickets. It takes a while to get into the studio, and since the taping starts at 2:30, they don't actually let you into the door until then. 
You go through a security stamp, and then get your ticket in another line. You have to give back the ticket, but basically your number guarantees you a place in the audience. 
Once you make it into the studio, you hang out in the riff raff room, where you can shop for Ellen memorabilia and wait anxiously to get assigned to your seat. This was a lot of fun since we finally started talking to the other people waiting in line as we froze in the blasting air conditioner. 
After waiting in the riff raff room for a while, we finally made it to our seats. We were pretty close to the front, right where Ellen comes out for her monologue. If you watch this video closely you can see my bright purple hair a few times. 
We were really excited to see her guests, especially since Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter) was on the show. How sweet is that? Ellen and Harry Potter! What a great day. 
And I even made it onto Ellen's Instagram page! Look real close behind the rock on the top left panel. 
It was surprising that there aren't any retakes or anything during the show taping. We actually were surprised with how quick the taping went by. And it seemed really low energy (at least Ellen seemed that way), but on the show she seems really energetic. 
The show was a lot of fun, but there are definitely things that I would have changed. I definitely would not go to the Halloween special again. It was a lot of effort to get ready, and it sort of felt like the prom, or your wedding day - a lot of energy to get ready, but not really worth the process in the end. Don't get me wrong, I really love Ellen, and will continue watching her show, but I kind of felt like it was a let down. We really enjoyed going to the taping, but definitely not the Halloween one again. 
We were also kind of sad that we didn't win anything - which sounds kind of like a spoiled kid not being happy with the money the toothfairy leaves him. But it is true. The morning show (we taped on Thursday afternoon, but there was another taping in the morning) all won tickets to the 12 Days Giveaway show, and we didn't even get a stick of gum. :( Again, I know that sounds awful, but I think since I watch the show a lot, you always see people winning things, and I was kind of hoping for some sort of fun surprise. Oh well, maybe next year we will go again if we are still in southern California.