The Livingstons

The Livingstons

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Our Magical MLK Weekend

We had a really great weekend over the MLK holiday. My little sister, Ann Marie, came down and spent the entire weekend with us. I love that girl so much. She is such an awesome person. We had a lot of fun talking, laughing, playing Super Mario Bros and Wii Sports on the Wii, going to Park City to watch the Halfpipe Olympic qualifiers for skiing at Park City Mountain Resort, walking along Main Street and seeing the Sundance Film Festival chaos, and just being together.

The halfpipe skiers were AMAZING! We got to stand right up next to it. The skiers would jump basically right over us. I don't know how those guys do it. I would be terrified. Greg said the halfpipe is around 25 feet high from the base to the top. He said he's done the halfpipe before, but he hasn't done anything nearly as crazy as those guys we saw on Saturday. They were doing tons of flips and twists. It was so cool. And so scary.

Shaun and Wave were actually there with us. It was fun to be together and have a good time with them and my little sister and my husband.

It was really hard to get good pictures of the guys doing their jumps because they were just moving too fast, so the pictures were really blurry. But here's a really cool picture that Ann Marie took.

Shaun and Wave forgot gloves (luckily I had a few extra pairs to give them). They did have hand warmers though. Here's them, freezing their cheeks off, on the bus from Park City Mountain Resort to Main Street.

We saw a lot of people on Main Street. We walked up to the Egyptian Theater, where a lot of Sundance films show at. It was just crazy. We did end up going to this Veggie Burger place (it's usually where the Eating Establishment is on Main Street, if any of you know where that is). I got this Southwest veggie burger that was really good. Ann Marie got these nasty BBQ "rib" veggie sandwiches. I don't even know how they do that without putting meat into them. They were pretty gross. Shaun and Greg got some other sandwiches. The best part about it was that it was ALL FREE! We didn't pay a single cent. I'm pretty sure it was just some Sundance Film Festival promotion. 

On Monday morning, Ann Marie left to go back up to Logan. After she left, Greg and I went to the Provo Canyon to walk around and see the beautiful nature. There was snow everywhere, but it was absolutely gorgeous. The weather was perfect (it even was considerably warm- like 35 degrees! Haha!). The Provo River was beautiful as well. We had a nice time chatting and walking around. It was fun.

The snow was so old that it turned into glittery sugary flakes! It was actually really pretty. Greg says that that type of snow is horrible in avalanches. It moves any snow on top of it like ball bearings. But it sure was cool!

We sure had a great time this weekend with Ann Marie and Shaun and Wave. I'm glad we could get a few days off from work and school! That's always nice! I really love my sister, and I'm so glad that she drove down. Now that she has a car, we can see each other more often and make tons more memories!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Stresses of Life

My life is extremely stressful right now. Well, let me rephrase that. My life has been extremely stressful for the past week and a half. I have had a lot of things going on in my life that have been on tight schedules. I had so much going on in my head that I finally just needed to write it all down on a piece of paper. Writing things down makes me feel more organized and in control. Here's what my list consisted of:

1. Sign up for health insurance.

I previously have been on my parents' health plan. I'd been paying them $88 a month to cover my expenses. Well, all of a sudden after the new year, my dad's health insurance jumped way up. It became WAY more than just $88 a month for me. My dad called me on the first day of school and basically said, "Sam, you need to get on your own health insurance plan. We can't keep you on ours. It's too expensive." So, I realized it was time to educate myself about health insurance. I seriously had no clue where to even begin. I had no clue what co-pay, co-insurance, deductible, etc. meant. So, I put my mind to it, and I figured it all out. My wonderful husband helped me along the way as well. I learned something about myself last week after I had officially enrolled in a really awesome plan: if I set my mind to something, focus, and put a lot of effort into it, I can figure it out! I can do hard things.

2. Finish and turn in my student teaching application, with these prerequisites before I could actually turn it in:
    a. Register for the Praxis exam.
    b. Get my fingerprints and background check done with USOE.
    c. Get my student teaching license.

This task was a HUGE one. My student teaching application is due January 15 (tomorrow). Luckily, I was able to finish it and turn it in today! Yahoo! In order to student teach next Fall semester, I had to turn in this application; it contained several different parts to it. Most of it was just plain old paperwork, but I also had to do some other things to get it done. I had to pay $150 to register for the Praxis exam. This exam is a state test that will qualify me to be a teacher if I pass. I'm sorry, but $150 is a rip-off. Anyways, I also had to pay $40 to the Utah State Office of Education (USOE) to get fingerprints and a background check done to clear me for teaching. Then, after that cleared, I had to pay another $20 to get my student teaching license. I really think Utah and BYU think I am made of money. Which is completely false.

This is my "professional-looking picture" that I had to include on my student teaching application.

3. Order my books.

The beginning of a semester is seriously my least favorite time. Not only are you going to all of these new classes and getting completely overwhelmed by the amount of work you have to do in each class throughout the semester, but you are also required to spend a fortune on books! I have this weird psychological fear of buying books, even though I know I need them ASAP. I'm just not very willing to fork over a ton of money. And believe me, my books this semester were not cheap by any means. And then, if you are trying to save some money by ordering them online, they take FOREVER to get to you, so you fall behind on reading. The joys of being in college.

4. Switch car insurance providers.

We are currently paying way too much money for our 1999 Mazda Protege (it's a beater car, for sure) with Farmer's insurance. We also just bought another car from Janet and Martha. It's a 1999 Ford Explorer, and we are really happy with it. We decided that with this new purchase, it was time to change car insurance companies. And since I have a lot of other things to worry about, I basically passed this task on to Greg, who has so graciously accepted it. He has been working on it. It's all about delegating the responsibilities.

5. Find out why the heck our Internet provider all of a sudden is charging us double what we have been paying.

I'll spare you the details on this one. It's just ridiculous. And also, Greg has graciously accepted this task as well, thank heavens.

6. Get organized with my classes and write down all of my upcoming assignments in a planner.

I use this really awesome app on my computer called iProcrastinate. It's basically an online planner, sort of like Google Calendar, but way better. Like I said earlier, writing things down helps me get organized and feel less stressed out.

There are a few other things that I have had to do this past week and a half. I've also been working 20 hours a week and will continue to do that until the end of February. At that time, I'll start my practicum, where I get to go into the public schools and start teaching a little more! I'm so glad that I am one step closer to becoming a teacher after turning in the student teaching application. I am SO excited! Life can get pretty crazy sometimes. Especially for those of us that have personalities that make us want to be super organized and on top of everything all of the time. It's a gift and a curse. I find that even though I'm pretty organized and get things done, I also get stressed out way too easily. Luckily I have Greg to keep me balanced (most of the time).

Even though life is crazy, it's also really awesome. I seriously have a wonderful life. I couldn't imagine a better one. And I couldn't imagine a better husband to help me through it! I am one lucky girl.

I am currently playing on a coed intramural soccer team and a coed intramural inner tube water polo team at BYU. We played our first soccer game on Friday and won 10-0, and we play our first water polo game tonight! Can't wait!

Monday, January 6, 2014

A California Christmas 2013

Greg and I got to go down to California for Christmas this year! It was SOOOOO nice! I absolutely loved being with my family and enjoying our time together. I miss them all more than they can even imagine. It was just so wonderful to be together. I got to see all of my siblings during this trip, except for Josh and his family and Karina. It was really awesome. Here are some pictures of the great things we got to do during the holidays!

These first few pictures are some things that we got to do before we even went to California. 

We went to see A Christmas Carol at the Hale Center Theater in Orem in the beginning of December. Greg's cousin, Cameron, was in the play. He was Young Scrooge in Christmas Past. He did amazing, and he had such a beautiful singing voice!

The three ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future.

One random December Saturday, we went up to Janet and Martha's to spend some time with them. Janet actually bought me a bunch of new clothes: I got a pea coat, some pants, and a couple of new sweaters (it was awesome!). Well, on our way home that night, we all of a sudden heard a pop in our engine. I was sitting there thinking, "Seriously? Car issues AGAIN?!" For those of you who don't know, 2 summers ago, we had some major car problems in Vegas on our way back to Utah from California. It set us way back financially and was such an inconvenience. Anyway, we heard the pop in our engine on the freeway, and then all of a sudden, the car started freaking out and wouldn't shift right. We got off the freeway and barely made it to O'Reilly's Auto Parts shop. Basically, what had happened was one of the serpentine belts had shredded but was still barely holding on for dear life, which saved our car from just altogether stopping on the freeway. We got very lucky that we made it to the auto shop. We could've easily broken down on the freeway and would've had to call for a tow truck and it would've just been a horrible mess. Well, Greg and a guy from the auto shop were out in 12 degree weather at night for 2 hours fixing our car. I seriously have the best husband in the world. He is amazing.

Here is the shredded belt that Greg replaced.

Our auto shop friend, Derek, helping fix our car. It was FREEZING!!

Greg and I made some sugar cookies this year again! Last year, we tried to make some and cut them into cute shapes, but it was basically a total failure. This year, we just stuck to plain old circular cookies. They were SO GOOD! They tasted just like those sugar cookies you buy from the store. They were so soft.

We had our annual little Christmas celebration together, just Greg and me. I love these little moments we get together. I love Greg so much.

Stockings are one of my favorite parts of Christmas. 

All of our stocking stuffers for each other.

Greg got me this really cute bright red jacket. I love it.

He also got me some boots. Which I also love.

I got Greg a spear gun. He had been DYING to get one, so I surprised him! He is so excited!

We finally made it to California after a 9 hour drive. We got there the Friday before Christmas. We were seriously so excited to be there. It was like 75 degrees every day. It did get pretty chilly during the nights, but it was nothing compared to Utah weather. 

My dad's hair. We always joke around with him and say it looks like a toupee. My mom and I ended up giving him a haircut because it was getting a little outrageous. 

My dad also is one of these types of people. You know, the kind of person who wears socks with sandals. Yep, that's my dad. And I love him.

My parents were taking care of my brother, Brian's, little French Bulldog while he and his family were on a cruise for Christmas. Her name was Chloe, and she was about 4 months old. She was so much fun!

The day after we got to CA, Ann Marie and I played in our high school's alumni soccer game. We got to see a lot of our old high school teammates. It was a lot of fun! We played against the current Varsity team, and we kicked their butts.

I love my little sissy!

We went down to Little Corona so Greg could go spearfishing and Ann Marie and I could enjoy ourselves on the beach. It was an absolutely beautiful day. There seriously is nothing prettier than this.

Greg, getting all ready for his first spear fishing experience of this trip!

Ann Marie decided to take some really flattering pictures of herself on my phone. And now I'm putting them on here for the world to see.

My little spear fisherman :)

Christmas Eve was such a nice night. We went over to my grandparent's house (a tradition) and saw a lot of my family. We did a gift exchange and Greg and I got two throws and a movie gift card. It was awesome! It was really nice also talking to my brothers and sisters. 

Christmas morning was really great. I think I get just as excited as a little kid. Greg accidentally left an alarm on, and it woke us up at 7 am. And then I couldn't go back to sleep so we went downstairs and woke Ann Marie up. We usually do stockings, then open presents, and then have a big breakfast. My mom made cinnamon rolls and pumpkin pancakes. It was really great!

I got my dad the movie "New York Minute" with Mary Kate and Ashley Olson in his stocking. He HATES this movie. We used to have it, and every time we'd get in his truck, we would turn it on and watch it. He ended up just getting so tired of how dumb and cheesy the acting was, so one day when we turned it on, he ripped it out of the DVD player in the truck and threw it out the window as we were driving onto the freeway. It was kind of hilarious and sad at the same time. Anyway, this Christmas, I decided to help him relive that glorious movie. He was laughing when he saw it.

My cutie on Christmas morning. My mom got him that new jacket he's wearing.

Opening gifts.

We got my dad those goggles for when he goes spearfishing with Greg. Of course, he had to put them on in the house.

The missionaries from my home ward came over for breakfast on Christmas day. They were really excited to play Foosball. Ann Marie and Greg creamed them so many times.

Sisterly love again.

I love Greg!

I decided this Christmas that I don't care about having a white Christmas anymore, even though it is pretty. It's all about having a 75 degree warm Christmas.

Later on Christmas day, Davy and Kelly came over with Chuck and Lucy. I love that family! We exchanged gifts and had a nice time being with each other. Greg and I played hide-and-seek with the kids for a while. They are seriously soooo cute! I love my nieces and nephews!

My parents got Chuck this Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles toy that you can hit and it pops right back up at you. He and Lucy LOVED it!

One night, we went shopping for a suit with my mom and dad. You can tell how excited some of us were to be there...

One evening, my family and I went on a bike ride at the beach in Huntington. It was just a perfect time with my family. We even went to eat at Ruby's on the Huntington Beach pier. That is my favorite place to eat. It was absolutely beautiful down there that evening. We all had such a good time together.

My cute mom.

My cute sister.

The bike I was using was pretty old and messed up, so Greg and Dad had to spend some time fixing it.


A few days later (I actually think it was New Year's Eve), Greg and I went to the beach with my brother Greg and my dad. While Greg Lee and my dad were out surfing, Greg (my husband) and I played soccer on the beach. We eventually got a boogie board and went skim boarding. It was fun!

We played a lot of games with my family, including Dominoes and lots of card games.

New Year's Eve was really fun. The missionaries came over again to play Foosball and try to win. I don't think they really succeeded... Haha.

We had a few people over that night.

Happy New Year from the Livingstons!

My good friend, Jake, and I.

Our last day in California, we went out to the desert with my dad to go dirt biking for a day. It was seriously SO fun!!! I was so incredibly sore afterwards (and I still am).

The beautiful desert.

I love my husband. And I love that he loves to do the things that I love to do.

We did some other fun things while we were down there as well: we saw Steph, Anth, and their family; we had a fun time cooking things and spending time with my aunt and cousins; we played many games; we went to Yogurtland (my mom's favorite place ever); we went to the beach several times (and Greg got to surf and spearfish several times!). We really did have such a good time!

We were pretty bummed to leave home and come back to reality here in Utah. We actually just started school and work again today (Monday, 1/6/14). But we really did enjoy ourselves while we were with my family. We always have such a great time with them. I miss them all the time, but I'm so glad we were able to spend time with them! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!