I'm back! I flew back into Phoenix on Wed, after a week-long extension to my Thanksgiving trip (SO fun!). Right before flying back, my mom shopped from about 8 AM-1 PM to find her perfect 1st Digital Camera. That's right--the Mamma Mia is entering the world of digital photography! She'll be a pro at it within an hour...though claims to be a little nervous about it right now! The shopping trip was something we both needed, and a lot of fun to hang out together! It's not something we've done often over the past 6 years, but now that David is in school, it sort of free'd up the morning for us :)
It was sad leaving David, though I showed him on his count-down to Christmas calender when I would be back. (Cutest side note in the world: how now calls daily to read me each little book from that christmas calender. If I miss the call, he leaves me a message, always ending with "I love you...we all love you...I love you Beth!". It's the favorite part of my day! :)
I came back this week thinking it would be jam packed...and I have not been disappointed! Here's a short recap of my life the past 4 days:
Wed--after no sleep the night before, and a 2 hour nap on the airplane, I flew into Phoenix during sunset & rush hour traffic. (translation: MAGNIFICENT AZ hot pink sunset behind purple mountains, while leaving enough light to see details of the land below, and rush hour red break lights lighting up each street, creating perfect rows. It was AWESOME! I've flown over a hundred times in my life...and have not had a window scene capture my attention so fully for quite some time!) Lynn picked me up and started rushing me home so I could get to ward visits, only....we got lost. Like LOST, lost! We didn't realize it until we hit 19th Ave...but we were in Glendale! We turned around, only to get lost again. Needless to say, a 10 minute trip home took us an hour and a half. We didn't really mind though, as it gave us time to catch up and giggle :)
I came home and now made a mad dash for ward visits. So embarrassing, but I was one of the last one's there. I am so grateful Melissa had the binder full of maps in her trunk! They had passed them out and were already splitting into groups. The visits were great! I have to say, it was one of my favorite nights yet. Usually no one's home for me, but we had a lot of luck this time! I ended up companioned up with one of the new guys in the ward, Tommy Hancock. He said he was new--so any ward members reading this, get to know him! He was fun to do the visits with, friendly with everyone, and patient enough to visit 5 different houses of sisters with me (including an apartment complex we searched for half an hour, only to find out the girl had moved! I actually don't know if he was willing to serve, or smartly figured out ward visits is a great way to meet a bunch of girls in one night! Whichever the reason, I'm greatful he was willing to cheerfully drive us around for over 3 hours! :). I had the chance to drop by some sisters I have not yet had the chance to get to know, so I loved it! We finished up about 10 pm.
Thursday--Caught up on sleep, laundry, & finishing the 3rd twighlight novel (so annoyingly addicting. I had to skip ahead, skimming, just to finish it & get things done, haha :) then headed to Enrichment (after getting lost of course...thus prompting me to ask for a GPS for Xmas!! :). It was "fabulous" as Courtney would say. Bere Flores & the Enrichment Committee did an amazing job getting it organized, decorating, and provided a tasty meal! Picture on facebook to come soon ;) Night ended with cops pulling me over for a headlight being out. It ended with being sent to court, and them watching me cry in the car for 5 minutes (I thought they had left at that point. My "what on earth has happened to chivalry" side was completely ticked off when I finally realized they'd been watching the whole time. Isn't there something wrong with a society that for whatever reason, leaves a girl crying on the side of a dark road at night?? Boo on that memory!)
Friday--Cleaned, cleaned, cleaned the house. I figure since it feels like Spring time outside, I might as well get a little spring cleaning done! (Really, I just want to have a clean & organized room to come back to in January when the new job starts!) Friday night we had the ward conversion dinner. Again, great food, great company, and touching stories shared of personal conversion. It was a night I'm glad I didn't miss! I was extremely touched by the testimonies & stories of McKenzie Daniels, Steven Emmons Catherine Cantwell, & Caley Meegan. Caley gave me a new favorite quote when she said, "I had one of those coincidences in life...what are those called? Oh right, Mormons call coincidences 'Tender Mercies'!" :) haha, that was great, and actually pretty true!
Afterwards, whoever stuck around till clean up was done went to Cold Stone at Tmpe Marketplace. I love this picture--it's in the 60's, and we're all huddled around the fire, eating ice cream, in December! Only in AZ :) Nate then saved the day by replacing my car headlight & restoring internet security, all in one two-hour swoop that kept him up till 1 am! Thanks Nate!
Saturday Today was fun! I went with a friend to a lunch hosted by Indian co-workers. I've only tried Indian food once, about 6 months ago, but found it good enough that I wasn't nervous about today's little adventure. And...the food was great! After being there for about a half hour, I realized I was in a strangers house, full of other strangers I didn't know--but who all knew each other--and eating food from a foreign land. Curiously enough though, I realized I felt at ease being the odd-ball-out, and fully enjoyed the company! It actually reminded me of having people let us into their homes during the mission. I had loved visiting with people in their family settings where they feel most relaxed, and this felt no different. I thought the wife was adorable and she had such a sweet niceness to her. I was actually a little bummed realizing I probably won't have an opportunity to see them again, but did chalk their eager hospitality up to their culture, giving me a good impression of Indian people. It also reminded me of friends I had from that region back in highschool...and how much I enjoy being around that culture and those people! Thanks for the experience Jon!
Funniest thing, the host couple told me they had been an arranged marriage! I've heard of such a thing, but never met a couple with that background. It fascinated me, especially learning that they did each have a chance to "veto" the match their parents had made. If only we had such an easy system here in America! Just as I was starting to entertain thoughts of moving to India, I learned that I passed their "almost too old to marry" standard for women about 2 1/2 years ago! Yipes! Well, maybe it's good I'm slugging it out in an American system after all... :)
The lunch was followed up by a christmas shopping trip to AZ Mills, on a day probably crazy enough to rival Black Friday! The lines were so long in each store that it discouraged any 70% off discount being advertised! Fun to be among the bustling crowds though, & lots of cute kids in Xmas outfits. (I did however see a 3-D Scooby Doo game David was absolutly love, so I might just have to go back!)
After coming home, I enjoyed a quick grocery store trip with Lynn, and then an awesome Home Teaching visit. Funny enough, it was just fun to have our friends over watching, and of course making fun of, the awful hair-do they gave a lady on what-not-to-wear, looking at potential cameras to buy, pulling out Samantha to play with...until she uh-oh'd on Pearce--sorry Pearce!--and eat candy cane ice cream! A great little Christmas message was shared. Honestly though, I think I enjoyed the quality friend time to spiritual message ratio (45 min: 10 min,) followed up with a prayer. All visits should be as genuine as that! Thanks Skyler & Pearce!
As soon as the guys were on their way, Lynn and I took off for Texas Roadhouse for her birthday dinner! Yes, I know she had her birthday 2 weeks ago..but I wasn't here! I'd bought a gift certificate there about 3 years ago meaning to give it away, and always forgetting. I've been waiting for the perfect opportunity to spend it, and this was it! We had a coupon for a free apetizer & $30 to spend on steak & dessert. We had SOOOO much extra food to bring home, It was great!! By far the best thing there is their rolls & cinnamon butter. mmmm-mmm! I've gotta look up that recipe online. The steak was...I dunno, I'm a girl, I prefer fruit, cheese, and chocolate to anything fleshy. It was...a hunk of flavorless meet with onions on top. (Remind me to get the ribs next time, with extra sauce. I can't stand dry meat *crinckle nose*!) The sweet potatoe with marshmellows was awesome though! The atmosphere was a ton of fun too! Older less known country songs (though lynn and I both knew them well) played loudly, while we brushed our peanut shells onto the floor.
We made sure to take extremely flattering pictures of us kissing the Xmas fish before leaving. Isn't the world greatful Lynn and I don't drink? If these are the pictures we take purely sober...haha :) My only complaint is the place had a bit more red-neck feel to it than Texas to me...but the menu says it originated in Indiana. That explains everything! (haha, UOP joke...all our EXTREME redneck students seemed to come from Indianapolis area. Love 'em, but they were redneck! :) Follow this up with a chick flick & a new Xmas background for my blog, and it was a perfect girls night out! :)
Tomorrow starts the crazy, busy hustle of Sunday that I love so much. Monday an emissions test & a TB test for work. FHE at Temple lights. Tuesday hasn't been planned yet, except for a quick trip to Rawhide for a Cowboy Christmas (how can I skip it when it's just 5 minutes away and FREE?) And as always...I'm sure there will be more pictures to follow :) It's pouring rain outside right now. G'nite world!