Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Life lately...

This is my life lately according to some snippets of emails to missionaries. No pictures because my camera broke. :(
About two weeks ago,  Stephanie, Sam, Jairen, and I went on a spontaneous camping trip (our second one this year) but this time Tyler helped us out with transportation. and food. and planning. We made delicious hamburgers and Steph and Sam had veggie corndogs. Tyler and Juan (his best friend) left by midnight but me, Steph, Sam, and Jairen slept up there. And I'm normally fine sleeping under the stars, I love it, but Stephanie had told me all these horrible facts about how fast bears can kill you because she's terrified of them. I kept saying "Aw, nah we'll be fine." But all night I was awake just listening for bears haha. oh man. The next day I went to church with Jake cause he lives in Provo now but still goes to the Flonette ward. we had nachos at my house and blasted fun. and then went to  Lilly's birthday party then had to pick up Marco for ward prayer... but he didn't know where he lived (he just moved there) so he kept giving us different street addresses he was walking on and then Jake's car ran out of gas. So we had to wait for his brother to come and fill it up enough for us to get to a gas station. Then we found Marco and went to ward prayer. and then I just had so much fun there socializing and talking to everyone and teasing Cierra and Carlos and then we went to Mariah's house for her birthday and watched x men but I was sooo tired. So finally Jake took me home and we sang to fun. at the tops of our lungs the entire way to Provo.
This last week:
.....I got my passport on Saturday so my papers are going in THIS WEEK! I can't explain to you how excited and nervous I am but I bet you already know since you've been down that road... haha.
So that's my exciting news.
This week has been pretty good. On Monday we had this weird date night thing for FHE where we were assigned to a date. Awkward. I know. But it turned out to be a lot more fun than I expected mainly because we did some pretty funny skits to act out do's and don'ts of dating haha. But my date volunteered for one of the "skits" so me, him, Logan, and Logan's date went into the other room and Bro Yates told us we had to play charades kind of. One at a time. We had to pretend we were trying to get the last bit of peanut butter out of the jar without any kind of utensil. And we had to make it sound like it was delicious. Whoever did it well enough that everyone could guess what we were doing would win. Well I was like "nooooo" but I went second and it was super embarrassing because I was in front of like a billion people with like my hands to my face as if I'm holding a jar, and licking with my tongue and going "mmm yum" or whatever. Everyone was laughing at me. I'm sure you can see where this is going... Apparently my date pretended to stick his finger in the jar. And Logan did pretty much what I did. Anyway after we had all gone, Bro Yates had us come back in and tell everyone what we were doing. They all burst into laughter and Brother Yates told us that he had told them we were going to demonstrate how we personally kiss!!!! Oh my gosh it was so hilarious but so embarrassing!! Super awkward haha. Everyone was high fiving me as I made my way back to my seat and they were like "whoaa Maren likes tongue" oh geez. I about died but also was laughing super hard.
Anyywwayyy. So on Tuesday me and a bunch of friends went to the Fiesta Days festivities and one of my friends (Marinda) sang the national anthem at the rodeo. So that was pretty cool! For some reason I really can't remember what happened on Wednesday haha. Then Thursday my friend, Amber from work came over to sleep over. We watched Lars and the Real Girl and had hamburgers and just chatted. It was fun! But I felt bad I was so tired haha. Friday was Jamie Lyn's birthday so we celebrated that with a fancy dinner and gmaes and then me and some friends went on a night hike to the grotto.
On Saturday my mom and I babysat these two little boys all day and my arms seriously ache from holding the baby. He cried anytime I tried to put him down. Later, I got to hang out with Breanna and Marco. We went to Coldstone and then the park. Breanna and I went into girl talk mode and Marco put up with it well but didn't say much haha. We had fun though.
Sunday, I went to Jamie Lyn's ward in SLC because she was giving a talk in her sacrament meeting. My mom and I went to support her. My dad had to teach Sunday School, poor guy. She gave an AMAZING talk all about love and it was seriously inspiring to me. She thinks I'm just saying that but truly it was. I realized that maybe I've been getting a little too easily irritated with people and I've been scared about losing friends when I go on my mission. But that talk was a great reminder that I need to not focus on myself and how I am not feeling loved or how I need to receive love or whatever. I need to focus on loving those people no matter what! Even if they make choices I disagree with or if they aren't always my friend or if I have to forgive them for things. My burdens will become lighter if I try to make others' burdens lighter. I learn this over and over. I'm sure I've told similar stories before. But it's always such a peaceful feeling when I finally realize I've been focusing on myself too much. Once I shift my focus onto the Lord and loving others, things seem much more bearable. Later, someone on Facebook posted a status about how her life and the gospel is centered on love. And I was like, I need to be that way!! Sometimes it is easy and sometimes I just forget. As I was studying preach my gospel today I found a bunch of scriptures in 1 John all about love and God's love and how we need to love each other. It just really impressed me that the gospel is so centered on love! I think that's amazing! I want to work harder at being loving to EVERYONE. I can actually love people pretty easily that a lot of people don't love. I love the rejects and the socially awkward kids. I like making them feel special and wanted. But sometimes it's harder for me to love the people I know super well who do things to hurt me or the popular kids who don't seem to need me. So I just need to work on that. I'm excited for my mission because I think it will give me a great opportunity for developing Christ-like charity and love. Anyway... this is so long... sometimes I just get chatty.

Maren

Friday, July 26, 2013

Monday, July 22, 2013

California Trip: Wednesday-Thursday

Wednesday
Wednesday we went to San Francisco!! (And forgot the camera). It was fun but I enjoy the hiking and nature-y stuff more than the city. We went to Coit Tower, which I had never done before. It was pretty cool but there were so many stairs and steep hills to get to it! Then we went to China Town where we all bought too much stuff... I kept buying more and more... oops. I bought three beautiful pairs of earrings. After that, we went to Golden Gate park but got hungry so we found this little Korean place that was pretty good. Then we drove across Golden Gate Bridge which was kinda really foggy. Our GPS, Nigel, was kind enough to let us know we had reached our destination after we had crossed the bridge, turned around, and crossed again. We got ice cream at Ghirardelli's in Monterey.

Thursday (Fourth of July)
Thursday we went to Big Sur. I loved it. It was just so gorgeous. Driving along the coast is one of my favorite things and hiking was just awesome of course. We hiked to a waterfall in the forest (redwoods are amazing) and then to another waterfall that actually poured onto a beautiful beach of white sand surrounded by teal ocean. It looked so peaceful, but we were only allowed to look, so we couldn't actually go down there. For dinner, we went to a place called Rosine's and it was pretty tasty. Then we got chocolate truffle cake to go and we ate it on the beach as we watched the sunset. We couldn't do fireworks in Monterey, but in my opinion, cake on the beach is ten times better.


Friday, July 19, 2013

California Trip: Monday-Tuesday

Monday

On Monday, we went to Point Lobos state park. It was really foggy and cold at first. We sat at a picnic table and ate the sandwiches we got from a french bakery. So I was just sitting there, minding my own business, eating my tasty sandwich when BAM something dropped from the tree above us onto the sandwich paper in front of me. (Thankfully my sandwich was safely in my hand). I looked down to see a spindly, long-legged spider just chilling there. Of course I screamed and jumped up (I'm so arachnophobic it's not even funny). No one wanted to touch it, so it just chilled on my sandwich paper and I was just thankful it didn't land in my hair or something.
Point Lobos ended up being really fun. We hiked around and I decided cypress trees are simply gorgeous. We saw little otters poking their heads up and down in the ocean. They were cute! We could hear a sea lion barking but I don't think we ever saw it. We played in tide pools and watched the seals laze about on their napping rock.
After hiking, me, mom, and Jamie Lyn found a beach in Carmel. We wanted to see the sun set over the ocean. Mom started reading Jamie Lyn's book and Jamie Lyn played on her iPhone, so I was bored. I decided maybe walking in the sand to the other side of the beach might be fun. So, I did that and it was so tiring! Awesome, but holy cow it was a long beach and sand gets hard to trudge through after awhile. I went back and we decided to leave because the sunset wasn't too pretty since it was cloudy. We went and looked at fancy, expensive houses which was fun! They have such cute little cottage-looking houses with pretty gardens so close to the beach. Pretty much my dream to live somewhere like that. But soooooo expensive. We got some fliers of a couple of the houses for sale and brought them home to Dad and told him we are moving to Carmel. He didn't even believe us for a second because he saw the prices. That night Mom and I watched Hitch.

Cypress trees:

Me and Jamie Lyn at the beach in Carmel with Camille's representative, Martin the penguin:



Tuesday

Tuesday was probably my favorite day so far. I woke up to my parents trying to decide what to do. My mom really wanted to go kayaking or stand-up paddle-boarding. The rest of us said we didn't care what we did. Even I said that, but secretly hoped we wouldn't go kayaking or paddle-boarding. I am way terrified of being in the ocean. Being on it or near it is amazing! But falling in or swimming in it scares me so bad for some reason. I could tell my mom really wanted to go so when we decided on that, I just went with it. We drove to the adventure place. The worker in the store reminded me of Auggie from Covert Affairs for some reason. Maybe because he was tall and lanky with thick dark hair and bushy eyebrows. I haven't watched that show in forever though so I'm surprised I even made that connection. He was so nice though! He told us that he thought stand-up paddle-boarding was more fun than kayaking so we paid to do two hours of that. We changed into wetsuits and he taught us how to paddle-board. We each got out own board, which looks to me basically like a huge surf board. The board lays flat on the water and there is a little anklet you wear that keeps you connected to it. You get on the board on your knees, so you start out kneeling and you just paddle along until you feel comfortable enough to stand up. I really didn't want to fall off, so I knelt and paddled for quite awhile. My dad was brave and attempted to stand up first. He stood for a minute, then fell into the water. That was not encouraging to me haha. Then Jamie Lyn slowly got up and then my mom did. So I tried just jumping up really quickly and it was really easy! But paddle-boarding is way more fun when you stand up. We paddled around and I kept running into kelp and boats but other than that it was way fun. Jamie Lyn and I decided to get off to go ask Auggie how much time we had left (none not get off. She hopped off and fell onto the deck with her legs in the water. We laughed and I used the boat next to me to steady myself and avoid falling. We pulled our boards onto the dock and they were so heavy! My paddle fell into the water and I started to get annoyed but I grabbed it and put it on the dock. We finally got everything together when my mom fell off her board and was a little shocked by it so she was like "I'm... I think I'm done!" so while my dad was helping her onto the dock he was like, "Maren, grab the boards!" so I got frustrated because they were heavy and the dock was scorching my bare feet. But I pulled them up and the paddles fell into the water. Which annoyed me more, so I took one and threw it (in frustration) onto the dock and it slipped to the other side and right back into the water. Jamie Lyn had seen this whole frustrating situation and just started laughing so I kind of did too. But we lost that paddle... oops.
of us had a water proof time-device) so we tried to get off our boards. Thankfully, Jamie Lyn went first so I learned how to
Auggie was really understanding though and didn't make us pay for it! We had only used 50 minutes of our 2 hours so he let us go kayaking (which technically wasn't allowed). When kayaking in a two person kayak, the person sitting in front sets the pace and keeps it going while the person in back steers. Well, I was lucky and went in front with my dad in the back. We were pro! (Well, he was and that was enough). But Mom .
and Jamie Lyn had no idea what they were doing and it was hilarious. I would have been in the same
situation though if it weren't for my dad. They would pass us and my mom, with a pained expression, would mouth "help me!" Hahaha. There was a seal chilling on this metal ball that I think was an anchor? And Mom and Jamie Lyn had no idea how to steer. You are supposed to stay 50 feet away from sea animals but they started heading to the ball. My dad asked me "What are they doing?!" and I just shook my head and laughed cause I had no idea. They kept heading straight for the ball and the seal just watched them come closer and closer with a confused expression like he was saying "What the heck do you think you're doing?" and my mom was frantically paddling just like "No! Sorry seal!!" and Jamie Lyn was freaking out in the back. They ended up hitting the ball and the seal jumped off angrily grunting. Maybe you had to be there... but it
was so funny I laughed about it forever. So Dad taught them how to steer and after awhile we headed back. It got super windy so we had to work really hard. We got all the way back and realized we couldn't even see Mom and Jamie Lyn! So we had to go back... we got out there and turns out the wind had kept blowing their kayak into some rocks. Over and over again. So we finally all made it back safely. I had so much fun though! Not sure about Mom and Jamie Lyn but I'm really glad we did it because it was like my favorite day. That night we went to the farmers market and we got to try all of this amazingly fresh fruit. I had the best mango. I love farmers markets.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

California Trip: Saturday-Sunday

For the week of the fourth of July, my family was lucky enough to go on vacation to Monterey, California. When my parents ask us where we want to go on vacation, we generally don't care where as long as there is a beach. This was our second trip to Monterey, and it was just as awesome as the first and even slightly warmer. So that made me happy. I kept a journal-ish type thing, mostly so I could remember what to write to Steven, Braden, and Camille about the trip, but also for my own records. I drew some pretty awesome pictures... (not) but I might include them in here. Also, we took some real pictures so I'll add those as well. Here is what I wrote about Saturday and Sunday of our trip:

Saturday
Saturday, I woke up at 6:00 am and we drove. And drove. And drove. Thankfully, I slept most of the way. I always wake up by the time we get to Nevada... and then I wish I was tired enough to sleep some more. Nevada is one of the most boring states to drive through. Just sage brush and dirt for miles. We tried to distract ourselves from the boredom by listening to a podcast on This American Life. When we got to California I was so happy. I love how beautiful it is! We ate at Chili's for dinner and I actually couldn't  eat a full burger and fries (which is really strange for me). Our condo is nice but the driveway is so steep! Every time we drive up it, I'm grateful we didn't slide backwards and crash into the road. Mom, Jamie Lyn and I watched the Truth About Cats and Dogs. But I fell asleep (surprise, surprise) so I need to watch the rest sometime.

My depiction of Nevada vs. California (I know, I know, I'm such a good artist...)





Sunday
Jamie Lyn and I sleep in the same room here and she said I sleep talk! I must have been stressed out or something because I don't normally... I guess I just mumbled incoherently and then I'd say "okay."
My family likes to visit different churches on our vacations. Sometimes that leads to some really interesting things... and some very strange people. This time it didn't so much though. We always go to sacrament meeting first and last year's choice was really strange, but this one was a pretty normal ward.
Then we attended a Catholic Mission Mass. I had never been to one before! It was very cool and really interesting. The choir was beautiful and I enjoyed that we sang more than listened to speakers haha. After mass, we went into the little gift shop and found interesting items like Holy Granola which probably wasn't worth the 15 bucks it cost. After that we went to the beach!! It was kind of cold there, so I just laid on our beach blanket and got warmed up by the sunshine. I love the sound of the ocean, and kids screaming and laughing while they jump in the waves, and the sand! I freaking love sand and I don't even know why. But this sand was so beautiful, white and soft. I fell asleep because I was exhausted and content. We went home a little later, and I still felt
exhausted so I slept right through dinner and kept sleeping for like 4 hours. I woke up feeling really sick but needed to eat and shower so I went out into the living room. I thought I just felt sick because I was still waking up. My family all went to bed, and I expected I wouldn't be able to sleep for awhile since I had napped so long. But I went back to bed and slept all the way until 9 the next morning. I felt so much better, so I guess I really needed it!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Oh these lazy hazy crazy days of summer...Part 3

Okay, I promise this is the last of these posts! But I can't fail to mention that I got to hang out with my amazing best friend, Stephanie. I have mentioned her in past blog posts like when we went to Moab, and when she got married, and when we went tubing at a lake and laughed so hard we couldn't even walk straight after. She's been my best friend for ages and we've been through a lot and helped each other through some crazy stuff. I'm so grateful to be lucky enough to have her for a friend! But anyway, she was so nice and came over the Friday after my birthday to celebrate with me. We planned on her sleeping over just Friday night (which actually I don't think I was supposed to do since my room wasn't clean yet... but my parents had mercy on me since it was my birthday. Thank you!!!) but she ended up staying the whole weekend because it was more convenient transportation-wise. I am so glad she did because it was AWESOME! We went to the Riverbottoms and just played down there a couple of times. We ate candy and nachos and talked about what's been on our minds and got super hyper. We went to a bonfire with some of my Spanish Fork friends. We don't get to hang out a lot because of distance and busy-ness but this was like old times. So thank you for making my birthday week so much better, Stephanie!
Here are some pictures from our Riverbottoms adventures:
I did Stephanie's hair and I was so proud. I can't even do my own...
Here is the top view.
Stephanie wanted a picture of my hair in the sunlight (it goes reddish) so I helped her out.
We found a dandelion as big as my face!
Not sure why but I love this picture.
So prettyyyy
We got so hyper we started taking pictures of the weirdest faces we could make. This was one of the less frightening ones...
I just love this girl!! :)

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Oh these lazy hazy crazy days of summer...Part 2

I've spent an awful lot of time playing at the Riverbottoms this summer. I love to take off my shoes and just walk up the river in my bare feet.

I went on a little picnic there with Steven and Lily and Kari.

Lily and Kari enjoyed playing with my camera
Steven playing with his camera
Lunch time
So cute

Monday, July 8, 2013

Oh these lazy hazy crazy days of summer...Part 1

So I have a lot to write about!! I have been slacking off on blogging because I have actually been really busy. I took an English class Spring term and LOVED it. Also got an A, so that's a bonus. I've been working a lot (now full time), hanging out with awesome people, and I went on vacation to California last week (which I will write about in a different blog post). So here is my life lately according to my camera and facebook photos... Like from the beginning of summer til recently.

 I have gone to Comedysportz in Provo several times with some wonderful people.
I think this picture is weird because all of our eyes our glowing from the flash... vampire eyes?

I proposed to Daniel at temple night... after he proposed to Katie... he said yes! Mostly I just like my outfit in this picture.


Can you tell he's thrilled?

Here we are breaking up while I hold billions of napkins... but really this was at ward prayer. I brought treats and these were the leftover napkins.

 I hiked up to Bridal Veil Falls for the first time, with these lovely people. (And a few others not in this photo). It was fun but kind of traumatic because a little girl got hit by a rock that fell from the waterfall... she ended up okay but it was scary!

 I've played at the park lots. Here, Jake and I are owling (like planking but owls...) while Joe falls off.

 For Caitlin's birthday we got frozen yogurt and I learned how to keep a spoon on my nose for the first time. (I'd really never been able to successfully do that before)

A few weeks ago I spent almost every day hanging out at Steven's house because he needed company since he got his tonsils out and because he leaves on his mission next week! So I'm glad I got to hang out with him and his cute sisters so much, for at least a little while.

Kari playing dead man with Steven and I on the tramp

Sophie and Kari, my new best friends
Me and Kari
Grumpy face. Please stop taking pictures of me, Steven.
So cute!
I think that's enough for one blog post. So, more to come later in part 2!