Thursday, October 9, 2014

Mexico 2014--Part 10

"Wow Chelsey, you still have stuff to say about your Mexico trip in May?!?

Heck yes I do. (:

We decided on about Wednesday that we wanted to spend time in Playa del Carmen as a whole family. Bobby, Mandy and their family headed up with Erron and I to the city at about 10 that morning. We were committing to spend the entire day there. I had loved it when we went before-so I was excited. 

When we first showed up we decided that we wanted to take a trip to Walmart. The sweet rush of cool air as we walked through those doors was a present to my face. I've never enjoyed Walmart more than when I was in Mexico. We strolled the isles, Mandy picked up some sippy cups for the girls, and we looked through the alcohol isles (which was one of their largest sections) and then headed to get some junk food. As we passed the bakery the smell of fresh baked bread compelled me to take a peak. This Walmart had a legit bakery! Rows and rows of fresh baked good just sat out like at a farmers market. No plastic boxes or cellophane wrappers. Just mounds of baked bread. While I didn't want to buy any bread it was delicious to just stand there and enjoy the smell. 

I bought something a lot more culturally authentic.....Okay, I bought oreos. It was pretty much my drug of choice throughout the trip. I became known as that girl who ate probably hundreds of oreos within that 2 week span. 

As we walked through the streets, leaving the Walmart & heading towards 5th avenue (yes, Playa has a very elusive "Fifth Avenue" but there is no Saks, for those wondering..) the little girls were so incredibly miserable. The heat was really taking a toll on their tiny bodies. Mandy and Bobby picked both of them up which helped stifle the whining for a bit.


I found this beautiful car on the side of the road & just HAD to stop and snap a picture with it! It was the second cutest car I had ever seen! (The first was a white VW bug back in UT, covered with Hello Kitty). How come all the cute cars are bugs??


We then dropped off at a cheap, but delicious taco stand that Erron and I had discovered earlier in the trip. I think you could get 3 tacos and a drink for like 20 pesos, so it was a steal! They had a these delicious fruit drinks as well. My favorite was watermelon, but they also had pineapple and mango. They came in these huge waterbottles & I'm pretty sure they were just straight up fruit juice. Ahhhh it was so refreshing!







After dinner I held both of the girls, Lion King style, up to the fan that they had stationed in the corner. Their little faces were flushed red & they loved to feel the breeze on their bodies!







We walked along 5th avenue and ran into a man that would let us play with his monkey. Mandy had previous run into him & didn't realize that you couldn't take pictures without paying, so we only got a few low-grade pictures for our peso. This time we wanted the girls to play with the monkey so we all pulled out our cameras and prepared for the cuteness that would ensue.








Kaila definitely handled it better, Miah looked a little bit nervous throughout the whole ordeal. Who wouldn't be!?


Kaila also decided to get a beautiful fan as one of her souvenirs. Sadly one of the needles broke shortly after purchasing it!





And Erron attempted to take some awesome group shots of us walking through the city. We weren't too surprised that they didn't turn out too well:







We then approached a store that was selling liquor and whips. For a small price they let members of our group try out the whip. None of the girls wanted to try it out, but Bob, Kit, and Erron all tried to crack the whip. If i'm remembering correctly only Kit was able to snap it and make the authentic "whipping" noise. It was L-O-U-D!







As the sun started to set Kit, and Mandy & Bobby's families left for home, while we hung out with Bob & Kate to treat them to dinner. We had given them a "night out" for Christmas, and they hadn't cashed it in yet-so what better of a place than in Playa del Carmen? We surveyed the menus at multiple restaurants, most were highly expensive and very formal, which we didn't feel we fit it well there. We finally found a place called 100% Natural, which featured a score of entrees that were completely fresh and natural. 

We first ordered decedent drinks, all of which came in beautiful big glasses. We then moved on to the appetizers. We ordered chips and salsa and a unique cacti dish. It featured cooked cacti, along with various dips to enjoy.






After enjoying our appetizers our entrees came out and we truly feasted. Kate had a dish with shrimp that was served in a PINEAPPLE! 


I had an order of vegetarian fajitas, which featured cacti (which isn't as good as you would imagine) and other various veggies. Mmmm. Bob and Erron had some sort of meat dish, I think Bob had some chicken and Erron had some fish, but I can't recall specifics. 

After we were completely stuffed, we wandered the town chatting and looking for souvenirs to bring home to our families. I found some blankets that were dirt cheap and SO warm. I wish I had gotten one for myself, they are amazing!

I wanted to find a Cuban cigar to bring back to my daddy, because I knew that he would laugh at that. (He does not- nor ever has smoked.) But Erron had to explain to me, because I obviously don't understand basic laws, that the United States has an embargo on trade with Cuba. And then it hit--that's why Cuban cigars were such a novelty. Since I didn't really want to be pulled to the side by security making my way back into the US of A, I decided against it.
Yeah, I couldn't think of a good souvenir for my father, so sadly he didn't get one...

After our shopping spree we decided to go out for ice cream. They had a Haagen Dazs just down the street and so we popped in and ordered two cups of ice cream. Each couple shared, and while we kicked back eating our ice cream with our tiny spoons in the warm weather, it dawned on us that our trip was almost complete. We shared stories about our favorite moments of the trip, and let the happy sink into our minds.


On the car ride back, looking through the van windows at the lights in the blackness outside I was filled with sadness. I never wanted to leave this tropical paradise, I wanted to be on vacation forever! As we reached our stop, we paid our fare and hopped out, on the long walk home we talked about the great night that we had enjoyed with one another.

As we reached our condo Erron and I were hot and tired and decided to run and jump directly into the lit up pool. It felt so good to be surrounded by cool water, and just float and have fun. Everybody in our group was out in the pool and we spent over an hour just playing and laughing with each other while listening to the waves crash upon the dark shore next to us.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Another Day, Another Dollar

...Except I don't make any dollars this day.

I just need to rant a little bit about my Poli-Sci teacher. Oh my freaking heck he is terrible! 

This is him, and he basically stands (or kicks back) at his computer the entire class reading off of a slide show he made consisting of text taken directly from the textbook. 

It is so hard for me to show up to this class. I feel like I could stay home and read the textbook another time and get the same amount of knowledge from it.

He's old and crazy... He just told us he has heard about "flash mobs" which are effective ways to get a group of like-minded people together and quickly trash cars and start fires. I'm dying right now! We all know what flash mobs are, right? Please Google it if not.

The other thing that drives me nuts is the fact that we have to take a quiz (online) before class starts, and it's on the chapter that we will be learning about in class. You would think that would be different, that he would want us to listen to his lecture before taking the quiz, but no way Jose! 

But whatever. I do love this class, just not the teacher. He seems like a great guy, but the train stops there. 

In any case I have been waking up excellently lately! I have had issues getting up in the morning, even if I get a full 8 hours of sleep! So I downloaded this app called "Sleep Time." And it's incredible. I don't know if it's just mind over matter, but I really think it helps me wake up at the most optimal time in my sleep cycle.

Here are the last two nights:

The yellow represents time spent "awake," the green is a period of "light sleep" and the blue is a representation of my "REM cycles."

 I really have been happy when I wake up rather than my alarm often-times interrupting my REM cycle. I made Erron try it last night, and he woke up at 6:11, but then went back to sleep. So I'm probably just a crazy person (;

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Leave of Absence

Tuesday was my last night at Target! 

At least for awhile. I am currently on a leave of absence and happy to be done with work and to be able to focus purely on my schoolwork for the rest of the semester! 

The nice thing about Target, which I've raved about to so many of you, is that Target offers you the option of taking an LOA in which you can basically take 6 months off (for family or educational reasons) and only have to work at least 1 time in those 6 months in order to keep your employment status. I really like this model because I can focus on school but when my semester is over I can work for the holidays and then continue my leave when school starts up again.

The only stipulation was that you have to work for Target for at least 90 days in order to receive a leave, and so I had to wait until just last week to obtain my leave. Which made me nervous, but I DID IT. (:

And I am still plugging away with all of my 14 credits! I was nervous starting this semester that I would be overloading myself and thought that I would have to drop a class for sure, but with the help of my family and the Savior I am able to calmly take this semester one day at a time! 

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Fried.

Do you ever get so overwhelmed that you just.....stop.

And nothing can happen? And everything that does happen goes wrong? 

I'm at that point right now. I think I hit the climax about an hour ago, and I knelt down (okay, actually we just stayed sitting on the sofa, we're bad with the whole kneeling thing) with my husband and he offered a beautiful prayer/blessing over the problems I'm experiencing. 

School.

Church.

Work.

In that order, those are the things that have made me fry. I feel like the circuits in my brain are sparking with overflowing electricity right now. Yesterday was my 2 year anniversary with my honey bear, and so I decided I didn't want to do any homework on that day. 

And that's where my meltdown began, although I wouldn't experience it until about 10:00 Sunday evening.

I decided on Friday that I was going to do the majority of my schoolwork and studying that day so that I hardly had any left for Sunday. Well between mixing up a surprise for our anniversary, and running errands on Friday, I didn't quite complete the amount of schoolwork I had previously intended. Which leads me to today. I woke up, feeling the ever so familiar twist of guilt in my stomach, in consequence to my pile of studying I had saved for today. But I shook it off, snuggled with my husband & got out of bed around 11. I then got ready for church & we took off, on time for our meetings. 

I decided during church that we should leave early, and the master plan was for us to get to our family dinner early so I could work on homework in peace, and then try to do as much as I could during the evening as possible.

That didn't happen.

What happened was that Chelsey got caught up eating oreos and chatting with family, as well as finding out that I am getting another niece or nephew, and having my brother-in-law work on my virus-riddled computer. (Which was a God-send.) But because all of that ^ ^ ^ happened, my homework didn't.

And by the time we got home from our long drive in the pouring rain, I was starting to shake.

I'll skip the majority of my panic attack, but there was shaking, crying, and a brief trip outside my front door to stare at all the dead bugs near our "welcome" mat. Because that was better than staying inside my house panicking on our sofa.

Skip to prayer time, hugs from Err-Bear, and now I am here. Wrapped up in my pink shabby chic blanket, typing this incredibly pointless blog post. I think the clicking of the keys on my keyboard as I tap each one rhythmically, forming words and words forming sentences, is therapeutic. Because the pounding in my heart, and the voice in my head telling me to just quit all my responsibilities has subsided. And I am alone. With my thoughts, and my peace. 

I don't know what to do, however. I have relatively good grades, all A's, and one B+, but I feel like the fact that it's only been a month in class and I'm already slipping is a bad sign. And here I am panicking about my activity days lesson that I haven't planned out that I am supposed to teach on Tuesday when I have to leave class early to get to activity days on time, but when I'm actually scheduled to work at that time as well, and I haven't worked it all out yet. (Can you say run on sentence? Eeep!)

I think I will just take a hot shower, steep a nice hot cup of tea, and settle in to the hour or so of homework I have left. And I will do all of this while breathing deeply. I can do it, right?

Friday, September 26, 2014

9th Grade Report Card

It's about time I come clean. You know when you were little and you'd do something bad- and you'd promise yourself you'd tell your parents in like 10 years, because to a 6 year old, 16 is pretty much an adult and they can't get to you then, right?

Was that just me?

Anyways, I'd do lots of things such as sneaking into the treat cupboard above our refrigerator, eating a package of oreos while my mom was in the shower. Or waking up at 2 or 3 in the morning and spend a couple hours watching Spongebob (which I wasn't allowed to watch as a kid) or Courage the Cowardly Dog for a couple hours before returning to bed for the night?

It wasn't just me. I know I've got some relaters out there.

Well when I was in 9th grade I was told that if I got straight A's for the year, I could get a cell phone. It may have only been a semester, but we'll just say I had to get A's all year long. I'd never done it before-and I was going to a new school, so the game was ON!

All year I worked my butt off to get those A's. And each term I was successful......until term 4. The last term of the year. My last shot at getting a phone. 

And I tried so hard--but when my report card came out I HAD A B. I think it was in Latin (I was never great at language..) But I wanted a phone so badly! All my friends had one, it was 2007 for crying out loud! I was going to be in high school-I couldn't go there without a flip phone, right!? 

Right.

So I fudged my grades. I waited for that report card to come in the mail. I checked the mailbox everyday, as to be the first person to get my hands on it. About a week after school got out, on a Saturday, it arrived. As I tore it open I said a small prayer that straight A's would appear before my eyes. They didn't. There was that glaring B, looking right into my insecure, flip phone-less soul. It couldn't be.

So I got to work, doctoring my grades. I had a plan that I would scan it into our home computer and just type an A over that hideous B. Well turns out you can't just do that. Or you couldn't in 2007. So I headed over to my good friend Jeanette Smith's house, right around the corner. Together we devised a plan to further doctor the grades. The final plan was 
1. Print an extra copy of the grades.
2. Cut out one of the A's from my various other classes.
3. Paste it onto my report card, covering the B.
4. Print the grade sheet a couple times over in the printer, until the grades looked authentically identical.

It definitely took a longer than those steps sound- but a couple of hours later, I had the results.

It looked authentic & legit. I was getting a flip-phone. I was going to be "in" the in-crowd. 

As I presented the paper to my father, I could not have been prouder of myself. Seriously. Most kids would probably feel guilty, but I was soaring. I WAS GETTING A PHONE! 

My dad was proud as well, I had totally duped my old man. And what was my consequence?

The next day I told my parents what kind of phone I wanted. A Samsung Stripe.
Isn't that a good looking phone? It was tiny, and rounded, perfect for a trendy high school girl. 

And my parents headed down to the T-Mobile to pick up my phone while I was babysitting Ellie Petersen across the street as I always did on Monday evenings.

As I ran across the dark street to my house, I was filled with excitement. And as my parents handed me that beautiful box, I was ecstatic. It was finally mine. 

My parents told me that I only had 400 texts a month. Which definitely bummed me out. They insisted that I had unlimited minutes, so text didn't matter. But again, calling was so lame back then! In high school you don't call-you text. But my bummer moment went back to pure excitement. They sent me up to bed, knowing full well I was just going to be playing with my new phone for a couple hours. Which is exactly what I did.

I had completely swindled my way into getting a cellphone. And it was glorious. I definitely did feel twinges of guilt over the next few months, mostly because I was worried that somehow my parents would find out that I had fudged my report card. But they never did. And I had a beautiful sophomore year at Woods Cross High School.

I do want to publicly apologize to my mother and father for my dishonesty. It was not right, and I am sorry. It hasn't quite been 10 years, but I do hope that you will forgive me. And if not-look at it this way, my experiences will only make me that much better of a parent! Look what you've done for your grandkids! (: (: (:

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Bye Bye, Summer '14

So today is officially the first day of fall, 2014. While I'm happy for cold nights snuggling inside with a cup of hot cocoa, and the beautiful changing of the trees from green to orange red and yellow (which will last for like 2 whole weeks), I am not happy to let my summer lover leave me.

Summer is my favorite season, that's no surprise to those who know me. It's hot during the day, and warm during the night. This means you can swim all day, and spend your nights (comfortably) star-gazing outside. It also means vacations and smoothies. 

Last fall I was looking forward to my 2 week trip to the Caribbean in May. And for months, that's all I focused on. As soon as we walked into the SLC airport- daisy dukes on, Mandy, Kaila, and Miah in their tropical hi-low dresses, Summer had begun for me.

When we returned from Mexico, I found a job working for Target in American Fork. And the majority of my summer was spent organizing shelves, and assisting guests through the aisles.

I also met my "niece" Clara for the first time. (Technically my cousin, but because of my age and the relationship I have with my uncle Daryn, we joke about her being my first niece. She's adorable by the way, 
who couldn't love her?

The first week of July was spent up at Erron's grandparents house in Thayne, Wyoming. Watching fireworks from their front lawn, and driving through the mountains with Erron-I felt the passion of summer.


I killed 4 animals with my car this summer. Three in Wyoming, 1 bunny, 2 cats. And one bird in Big Cottonwood canyon with my aunt Missy while we left a gorgeous hike a Donut Falls. I had never killed a single animal in my life before and suddenly the month of July made me a mass murderer.

A couple weeks after our hike I was treated for Giardia, which I acquired from the delicious water of Donut Falls. I will never forget the pain and fear that came from using the restroom in the weeks following that hike.


My birthday was celebrated by calling in sick, which was a risky move on my part seeing as when I fake sick-I always end up getting sick for real. But I spent the day pampering myself-singing along to T-Swift's '22' and enjoying Chuck E Cheeses with Erron & free Rubios fish tacos to end the night. I will never forget blasting '22' in Errons car on the way home from Rubios, rolling down the windows and belting out the lyrics. I WAS 22!


A couple of weeks later I came down with strep throat. Which I believe was a direct consequence of my calling in sick for work. In which I was forced to legitimately call in sick from work, which I'm sure made my supervisors thrilled with their new hire. 

Once strep had passed, I came down with a yeast infection (Sorry-TMI) in consequence of the antibiotics I took for strep. Which was quite fun to deal with, why do I get sick so often!?

This summer I also started to get into couponing-and I am excited to keep it up! It's a skill that takes little to no work, and saves you so much in the long-term!

As Summer leaves my side, I mourn just a little bit. I will miss the times I spent with Erron lying on the lawn, looking at the sky. I will miss wearing cute clothes and not having to bundle up like a burrito. 

But here we go fall, I'm excited to have you here, lets make this a good next month!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Mexico 2014 - Part 9

The next day (26 May 2014) Erron and I had arranged to go on an LDS tour to the Tulum ruins through a company called "Alma's LDS Tours." Our van picked us up at about 8:00 am and we took a short 30 minute trip to our destination. 
Our tour guide was a super nice guy that was actually the bishop of one of the wards in Playa del Carmen. There was a cute family from Glendale California that we enjoyed chatting with the entire trip. They had a son that was just graduated from high school, and another son that was a going into his senior year.
As we were talking to the mom we found out that she and Erron went to the same mission! (Barcelona, Spain) So that spawned a whole discussion in Spanish about the area they served in and how much they loved it. (As far as I could understand...)

As we pulled up to Tulum, I dreaded getting out of the chilled van. (Have I mentioned how much I really don't like humidity??) We all piled out, and started to walk to the place where we would get our tickets. Our tour guide told us to hang around near the grass, while he went to pick up our tickets. Again, we spent time chatting with our new friends, and trying to fan ourselves dry. 

Our guide returned and we proceeded to walk through a tall rock structure that gigantic display with miniature versions of all the ruins we were going to spectate. We continued through the gate, and our guide pulled our group to the side to talk about significance of the place. As we sat along a rock wall shaded by trees, he told us all about the significance of many of the things we were about to see. He explained that the Mayans were the Lamanite people that we read about in the Book of Mormon. He also explained that there was something significant about the trees that surrounded the area. Perhaps they were hollow on the inside, but I cannot remember in great detail everything he shared with us.

He showed us that the entire ruins were contained by a stone wall,  by which the Mayans could defend the city from both land invaders as well as those coming from the sea. He told us that as we got to the wall, we were going to have enter through it (as there was no other way) and that we would note that the entrance would we really low. The significance of the entrance being so low was because they wanted everybody who entered the site, to have to bow to God. 

We started walking up a long stone staircase, and we finally came to the point where we were to enter Tulum. Erron had to crouch down quite a bit in order to walk in, whereas I didn't quite have to bend too far to enter. However as I was walking through, a bug (we assume a carpenter ant) crawled up onto my ankle and bit me. The awe that I was experiencing a moment before, entering into this historic city, was completely taken away. My foot went numb and I cried out as I grabbed Erron to help me walk. We got into the city & all I could think about was if I was going to be okay. I just wanted to sit down somewhere, but the tour had to continue. We were with a group, and were only scheduled to be there for a couple hours. I think Erron was taken aback by the beautiful structures around because there wasn't any cottling, of any sort. More of a "suck it up" attitude. I was pretty bugged, but determined to make this trip a memory I would treasure forever!

 I took these pictures when we got home and I was able to rest my leg. It wasn't numb anymore, but dang! That bite hurt for DAYS.

As soon as I made the choice to enjoy my time no matter what, I snapped back to what was happening with the tour. Our guide showed us from where we stood what many of the buildings were. He showed us an altar of sorts that was in the East (where the coast was). And he pointed out another altar in the West, where on certain days of the year the sun will line up perfectly in the eastern altar, and set perfectly in the western altar. 

We continued to walk around reading and learning from our guide about all the buildings we were seeing. My favorite building was the temple of light. It is built so perfectly and precisely that every year, on April 6th, the sun will pass through the window on the Eastern side (as it rose) and illuminate the inside entirely! Erron brought up an amazing thought when we were learning about this. In the LDS faith, we believe that Christ was born on April 6th, and that was also the day the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was organized. So how cool is it that while the light and truth of our church was being restored to Earth, the temple of light was being illuminated? 

The next temple that I enjoyed learning about was the temple of the descending god. 

Here, (above along the top of the lower tier it depicts the life of Christ. I don't exactly remember the order, but pretty much it tells the story front-wards and backwards, I'll have to look into that to refresh my memory. 



The next temple I loved learning about was El Castillo (The Castle) temple was the main one located on the highest point of the city, and I believe was the tallest as well. They think it was also used as a landmark for sailors. The thing that intrigued me the most about this temple were the symbols that were represented on the front. There were three panels located along the top border of the temple, you had the the almighty god, the descending god, and a blank tile. When the Spaniards invaded the city of Tulum, they asked the people why they left the last tile blank. The response they recieved was "because it isn't a god that you can see, but you can feel him." Guys, they tiles represented The Father, The Son, and The Holy Ghost! How cool is that!?

Here is a plethora of the same pictures, because tourist stuff yo.






There were iguanas ALL over the place, they were like squirrels here in the U.S.A, except even more. And of course they just mosie around like they own the place....which yes, I suppose they do.

We paid for the cheaper package, which excluded a trip to a cenote, so our tour guide left us to spend some time of our own while he took the rest of the group on their adventure. Our package included an hour of beach time, but Erron and I took one look at the overcrowded beach and thought why would we go down there when we have a beautiful (nearly) private beach back at our condo. So Erron and I wandered around the city a little more, and after we had read all the plaques, we decided to head out of the ancient city, and head down to the real town where our ride was going to pick us up. And of course who could pass up a ($10, totally reasonable) photo opportunity with a lizard of this size:





Well, as you can see I clearly passed that photo opportunity up, but Erron was so brave to like cuddle that thing!

We then found a delicious vendor selling coconut ice cream. Like literally frozen sugar, coconuts, and cream. It was HEAVEN. We went back for seconds. I mean it was only like $8 a cup, so again, totally reasonable! (;

Our guide came back, bought us some delicious Subway, and we chowed down on our way home in the chilled van. On the ride back our tour guide also showed us a stone souvenir he was selling. It was a replica of an artifact found in Mexico quite awhile ago.

This video explains it pretty well:


And for $20 we were totally in! It's such a neat piece, and I don't know if it is actually Lehi's dream or not, but it's impressive nonetheless!