Monday, August 25, 2008

Saying Goodbye

After a week of fun and memories, it was finally time for us to say goodbye to Matt. We went to his student branch on Sunday morning and then kind of just hung out until it was time to leave for the airport. It was really hard to say goodbye for several reasons, different for each of us I'm sure. For me, I'm mainly being selfish. Since January when I moved back in with my parents, Matt has been the sibling I've seen and talked to most often. The older we get, the less distance the four years between us seems to occupy.

I want to wish Matt good luck. I'm sure he got sick of all of the advice I gave him about college, and I know he will do such a better job at the school part of school that I ever did. But this doesn't cover how happy I am that he's pursuing his dreams with both the Army and wrestling. And while it's too much to bear thinking about the whole 7 years that Matt will spend in college (red shirt, mission, 4 years of school), looking at it day by day is really rather exciting. He has such great things ahead of him.

We love ya, Matt.

Missing Things at Home

While I thoroughly enjoyed myself in Iowa, I did miss a lot of things on the homefront. Perhaps the most difficult for me was being away from Cheerleading for so long. I had already felt so far removed from my girls because of how classes and finals and graduation had conflicted with practices, but this trip took me away during the last week of summer when the preparations really begin for football season, including the first football game. It was a big one, too. I was thrilled to hear that the boys pulled out a win and that my girls cheered well. It was still a bit of a mother-hen reaction how sad I got thinking about missing their first game.

I really feel like I need to take time while talking about all of the Cheerleading that I missed to thank Adiel. For all intents and purposes, I haven't been a coach this month. Adiel picked up more slack than she needed to, and I simply can't thank her enough.'re great, Ads.

Another thing I missed was Jessica's first ultrasound. Thank goodness for technology! Jess was able to text me a picture of my future niece/nephew. How cute! He/she is the little white bean-shaped thing at the bottom. And the hands and feet are the two white dots. Yay!

Move-in Day

On Tuesday we were able to move Matt into his dorm. Move-in times were assigned alphabetically :) That's when you love to be a Brown. Anyway, as I already mentioned, the whole ISU campus is adorable. Linden Hall is no exception. Yes the dorms are old, but it wouldn't be college without that little aspect, right? Matt's room is huge by dorm standards. Just being in dorms during check-ins, I had flashbacks to my RA days.

ISU employs CA's instead of RA's (Community Advisors and not Resident Assistants), but the whole structure is virtually the same. It was fun to read the dorm's welcome letters and to see signs posted for the mandatory Hall meeting. I strongly encouraged Matt to go to save his CA additional headaches. Oh, and when we got his inventory sheet (to account for any damage in the room at check in), I immediately filled it out and made Matt turn it in. My fellow former RA's will hear me on this. :)

It was fun getting him all settled in, and I think it made him feel like his college experience was finally starting.

Sorry for the poor quality of the video; I took it with my phone.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Ames or Bust!: Iowa Chapter

When we left the rest stop, Matt drove until we were out of gas again. We found gas for like $3.44, filled up, and I took over.I drove us into Iowa by late Sunday morning, and it was neat to see the changing scenery. Wyoming was so dull it made me want to break my neck. Nebraska was slightly more varied, being much more green. But it wasn't until Iowa that we started to see some signs of hills. I was surprised that the further we went, the greener it got, and I have to admit that I think Iowa is a pretty state.

It conveniently worked out for Matt and me to meet our parents in Ankeny. They had flown into Des Moines Saturday night and stayed at a hotel. We got to Ankeny in time to change our clothes and go to Sacrament Meeting at the local ward. It was a good meeting and before we knew it, we were on our way to Ames.

I had been taking pictures like crazy of the beautifully blue sky when I decided to take this video of Matt. That's why he's telling me to stop taking pictures at the beginning.
Finally we found ourselves in the cute college town of Ames, Iowa. I love the campus, Matt's dorm room, everything. It's all so...collegiate. :)

All in all, the road trip was fun and immensely easier than I'd anticipated. I look forward to doing it again in May to bring Matt home.

Ames or Bust!: Nebraska Chapter

After our side trip to the Lincoln Monument, Matt took over driving and drove us into Nebraska. Not too far past the state line, I took my first nap of the trip. I woke up to sunshine and humidity! Up until our time through Nebraska, we had only stopped once when we needed gas. Matt and I were both doing fine, since we had each napped and had brought sufficient snacks with us in the car, so we started trying to plan our dinner stop. Our mom really wanted us to stop and get a hotel for the night, but Matt and I saw that as a waste of time and money!

Once upon a time I claimed not to like the Summer Olympics. I don't really know why I said that other than perhaps I had never taken the time to watch them. Anyway, this year I fell victim to the Phelps fanaticism. I don't think he's gorgeous, like so many girls my age, but he's one heck of a swimmer. Plus, he doesn't look bad when his mouth is shut. :) Anyway, Matt and I knew Phelps was swimming Saturday night so we tried to plan our dinner to watch his race.

We stopped in a little town called Ogallala and found a little bar that was playing NBC. We only chose a bar because there was literally not another tv in town. We felt a little silly ordering a Dr. Pepper and a water, and we didn't know if you tipped at a bar (thanks to the fam who answered my texts :) but we were disappointed to realize the only Olympic event on the tv was the women's marathon. Not exactly what we'd been looking for. So after dinner at Pizza Hut and another fill-up on gas, we decided to forget Phelps and keep driving.

My father, previously employed as a sports journalist before law school, was kind enough to call when Phelps raced his relay and give us some top quality play-by-play. Go USA! At a little after midnight, Matt and I stopped at a rest stop where we spent the night in the car. I'm not going to lie and tell you my back found it the most comfortable sleeping arrangement, but it really wasn't bad. We woke up Sunday morning, brushed our teeth in the bathroom, and got back on the road!

Ames or Bust!: Wyoming Chapter

After the festivities surrounding graduation were over, I packed up and Saturday morning Matt and I left for Iowa (where he starts school next week). I've always wanted to do a road trip, so I was excited for the 16 hours in the car. Matt started off the drive and in what seemed like no time, we were in Wyoming...

I know the picture is a bit small, but it's kind of hard to judge distance while thinking of shutter speeds and going 75mph. I was excited you could even see the little cowboy. :) Anyway, Matt kept driving for awhile into Wyoming and then we decided to switch.

I am not exaggerating when I say that I had been driving for SEVEN miles when I sa
w flashing red and blue lights behind me. I had been so good about not speeding (which is a feat for me, to say the least) but forgot to change lanes for a stopped emergency vehicle, resulting in a $100 fine and a tense fifteen minutes after the ticket was issued when I tried to get back into a good mood. I hate cops, and the fact that I got a ticket for something OTHER than speeding grates on my nerves. I speed every day of my life and the first time I'm good about the posted speed, I'm slapped with a fine. To make matters worse, not ten miles down the road there was a huge posted sign reading, "State Law: Slow down, move over for stopped emergency vehicles." That reminder would have been helpful a little earlier :)

Anyway, eventually my good spirits returned and despite a little rain, we decided to take a detour when we saw a sign for a Lincoln Monument. I didn't know what to expect but thought this was cute.

So Many Updates!

I guess to start off I should tell you that I'M DONE! at BYU. Well, not done as in I have my diploma on the wall, but last week I was able to participate in our Summer commencement and convocation exercises. It was such a neat experience. I still have one Independent Study class to finish, but my time on campus is over. There are definitely things about that fact that make me sad, but I feel excited to begin this new phase of my life. I'll be working more at the bank for awhile and then I'm really hoping to get into law school for next August. I feel like that's the direction I'm supposed to head, and that excites me.

During the campus commencement, Elder Richard G. Scott gave a neat analogy where he compared us, as graduating students, to plants in a greenhouse (BYU). He pointed out that in the greenhouse, the seeds are able to get the nourishment they need to grow into saplings, but eventually the saplings grow to a point where they need to leave the greenhouse in order to become trees. He was much more eloquent than I, but the message is the same. BYU was an essential time in my life but one that I'm ready to leave behind to pursue bigger and better things.

I did want to use this post to thank a few people. Initially, my mom and dad. They have helped me financially numerous times over the last four years, including allowing me to move back in this last semester. Also, they have never stopped reminding me that I'm capable of more. Thanks to my siblings for their support at the graduation. Thanks to Nic, Ashley, Tyler, and Jessica for the laptop I'm currently typing on. That means so much to me. Thanks to David, Matt, and Jessica for sitting through both ceremonies. And thank you Jen and Heath for the nearly impossible task of taking four kids to sit in a quiet arena for two hours. :)

I feel like I'm more of a Cougar than ever before. Rise and Shout!

Brown goes Brown

Now I know I told you I went brown a few months ago. Back then I just went back to my natural color, but because I'm an idiot and unknowingly used shampoo that's not safe for colored hair, the color pulled out and my highlights (and the associated regrowth) was once again visible. With graduation and everything, I wanted my hair to look decent and so my fabulous friend, Talisa, helped me out. It's darker than I was expecting and I LOVE it! Please excuse my immodesty in the pic :)

Friday, August 8, 2008

SYTYCD Thoughts

I know, I know. I never posted last week. You must have all been hating life. :) I wanted to give you a quick wrap-up of my thoughts for the end of the season.

Last week I was sad to see Chelsie and Mark go because they're so talented, but I was also very happy that they were the two to leave. The final four dancers are incredible. Of course I wish that Will, Gev and Kourtni would have joined Courtney for my ideal final four, but can you really be picky when there was so much talent? I don't think you can. So like I said, I was happy with the final four.

The choreography on some dances this week wasn't quite "Season Finale" standards for me, but it was impressive. This year was very different from last in that I knew I would be okay with whoever won. Last year I kind of felt like Sabra stole the prize from Danny, but not so this year. Cute Joshua was as deserving as any.