Hyvää syntymäpäivää! (or why it's not fair to share your birthday with christmas)

This is Christopher:

He's the coolest guy—for a million reasons. Reason #64, 376? He's so chill about his birthday.

He kind of has to share it with Christmas. He wasn't born on the 25th, but he might as well have been because his birthday falls smack dab in between Christmas and New Year's, which generally leaves people all partied out.

This year, he's more than a quarter of a century old. For a quarter of a century, he hasn't griped that his birthday presents get wrapped in Christmas paper, or that the kids in elementary school never sang him happy birthday during class because school was out and they were all visiting their grandmas out of state. I totally would have.

And that's just one of the billion reasons why he's the best, why I'm so glad he was born—and why I wrapped his present in a happy birthday bag with a picture of a cake on the front.

christmas: early morning edition

When we were younger, the kids in my family convinced my parents to let us stay up late together in the basement to play games and watch movies on Christmas Eve. The later we stayed up, the longer they got to sleep. While most of us have grown out of the i-can't-wait-until-christmas insomnia that plagued us as children, my little sister, Sophie, still gets worked up. It's kind of cute. Until 4am. Here's a pretty accurate play-by-play of my first four hours on this year's December 25th.

12:32 am
We are finally situated in the basement with an Xbox, games, many large blankets, one hyper little girl and hours ahead of us. I have a feeling I will not get to read my book tonight.

1:27 am
Sophie and I finish five games of slapjack and three games of Barney memory. She creams me in memory; all the pictures of Barney and Baby Bop look the same to me.

2:33 am
Sophie will never fall asleep. She wants to play house now and insists on feeding me my own lines. She is quick to remind me that, while I fit inside her little play tent, I'm kind of big for the door and I take up most of the space.

2:54 am
Sophie and I write winter words because (in my tired delirium) I believe that spelling is an effective way to distract a child from Christmas. We write tree, ornament, present, sownflak, star, elf, light, pajamas, hot chocololate, eggnog, whippedt cream, rudolfph, and blancket. Exactly like that.

3:04 am
After climbing into and out of Sophie's little play tent, I insist that I am tired and lie down. In an effort to keep me awake, she resorts to fart jokes and hysterical laughing. She finds the word 'toot' particularly riotous. I do not know why.

3:10 am
The boys tell Sophie that they will banish her to another room in the house if she doesn't calm down. They do not remember being eleven years old on Christmas Eve. Tonight, they get to do what they've always wanted (play video games ALL NIGHT LONG) while she has to wait another five agonizing hours to do what she wants (open presents).

3:13 am
My sister, Anne, is still asleep through it all. I'm not sure what sort of soundproof cocoon she spun around herself before she turned in on the couch a few hours ago.

3:37 am
I start to fall asleep. Sophie calls me lazy. I say it's not lazy to fall asleep at four in the morning. She shouts, "It's already morning!?" No, Sophie. Not yet.

More Good News: Econ Class Win

Nothing can top the Good News we celebrate this Christmas. But this is pretty good news.

Remember when I forgot to take a test in my econ class?

Well, I got a B+.

  ECON   210   001         Intro Ag Econ                   3.00  B+

That's good news.

the closest i get to a christmas card

This year, I planned to make muffins for the neighbors and deliver them on beautiful plates with festive Christmas napkins. I was going to send hand-written Christmas cards—some of them to Brazil to people I miss there. I was going to—well, it doesn't matter now. Most of my neighbors jumped town as soon as finals got out. And I haven't bought cards, nor collected the mailing addresses where I would even send them if I had.

I wish I were on top of things.

I am. Some things. My finals are finished and grades are submitted. My house is semi-clean. Most of the gifts are wrapped. And I haven't crashed the car in any recent snow storm. We're doing ok.

Not just ok—we're happy. We've been married for over a year now; we have the cutest nephew; we write to a missionary brother in India; we love the new apartment we moved into; we're a year closer to graduation (only two more semesters); we both love our in-laws; we have good friends; and we can't wait to curl up with a few good books during the break.

I guess that's the closest I get to a Christmas card.
I'll bring you muffins next year.

how to win: job interview edition

I just got a new job! A Quality Assurance internship at Nestle Stouffer's frozen food plant in Springville.

This time I went to the interview dressed up snazzy, not like R2D2. The guy who interviewed me said he lost my resume. With a blank slate like that I could have claimed that I was the CEO of Apple and had 40 years of experience in the field. But I decided to play it safe by not telling him anything. To kind of keep it mysterious.

Even when he said, "Tell me about yourself." I just shrugged my shoulders and said I had two more semesters left at school, and that I like food. Mysterious.

Then I turned the tables and asked my interviewer about himself. That took up the rest of the interview. As I left he told me, "Nestle definitely has a place for you." Sweet.

I didn't hear back from them for a few days, and started feeling depressed. I took a final test for Food Micro, did okay, and listened to
Mad World from Donnie Darko as I walked home in the cold evening.

The words "Hello teacher tell me what's my lesson? Look right through me, look right through me" made me really depressed. I started to doubt I would get the job. Without the job I would never be able save up the capital I needed to implement any of my business ideas. I would probably work at McDonald's for the rest of my life.

Then he called. Huspah!

I mostly take pictures so that I can blog about them. It's silly, but it keeps my camera handy. This weekend, though, I didn't take a single picture. And that's how I know it was an absolutely perfect weekend. I got so absorbed in what went on that I forgot to pull out my camera. Here are the pictures I should have taken:

Here's a pic of me with a little crowd of interesting, thoughtful people, eating pomegranate seeds, and getting ready for Finnish sauna.

Here's one of Christopher and I at our friend's hilarious stand-up comedy show. We look like our cheeks hurt.

Here's one of my friend Kate and I shopping for handmade presents at the Beehive Bazaar. She has adorable baby clothes for her nephew in her hand. And I, of course, am holding nothing but presents for myself.

Here are pictures of two different Angel Tree-inspired Christmas parties that I managed to make it to on Saturday night. In the first, I look very charitable while wrapping Legos for a seven-year-old boy. In the second, I look like I just showed up for the food.

Here's one of Christopher and I wrapping Christmas presents. You'll notice that our wrapping styles differ just the tiniest bit.

Here's a photo of my Grandpa Bennion and Grandma Dorothy, telling Christopher and I their life stories for almost three hours. If you look close, you'll see a little tear in my Grandpa's eye.

And here's a picture of my amazing parents. They get their very own post very soon.

In all, it looks like a pretty fabulous weekend. At least the Christmas tree we decorated will stay put long enough for me to take a picture.

we have $ for food again

Spending only 25 bucks to fill up our tank last week made me feel incredibly young: like I was back in high school, back when 5 bucks actually got me somewhere other than just down the street; like I could get in the car and drive anywhere in the world; like I was silly enough to take pictures to document my trip to the gas station.