Sunday, March 27, 2011

Spring Break

This March, a miraculous thing happened... ALL schools in which Baker children were enrolled, so kindly decided to scheduel spring break on the same week. All--that is--except for BYU, whoes nazi scheduel does not allow for such frivolities as a week off of school. Even still, that's a pretty hefty miracle when you think that there was an elementry school, middle school, high school and three colleges spanning four different states (Idaho, Utah, Arizona and Nebraska) involved. And when the fates align like that, who are we to argue with their decision?? Thus, a massive Baker family spring break vacation was planned!

The first bit of excitment during the break actually happened BEFORE the break even started. About a week before comencement of said massive spring vacay, Paul recieved a thick, white envelope in the mail from none other than church headquarters in Salt Lake City, UT! In an ever-impressive act of self control, Paul decided to wait until break to open his call, so that the whole family could witness the event. All I have to say is: Wow! Better men have fallen to such temptations!

Because of work conflicts, Rob was unable to attend the spring break festivities (Boo!) And after some minor thechnical difficulties with Skype (which, incidently, decided not to work at all), the drumroll started and Paul began opening the ominous white envelope! We were all breathless with anticipation and absolutely thrilled to learn that Paul was being sent to none other than...

Mexico City, Mexico! Elder Baker is sheduled to leave June 22 and will be speaking--much to Rob's delight--Spanish, of course! We're all so thrilled for you, Paul! Congrats!

After that exciting event, the whole family headed up to Island Park for some fun in the snow! I remember that before I left Texas, someone at church asked me "Are there really places that still have snow this time of year?!" CLEARLY, he was a native Texan. Yes, dear Texas person, there are PLENTY of places that still have snow in March! Admitedly, the snow was starting to get a little soggy towards the end of the week, but when you have 3-4 feet of snow on the ground, what's a little meltage, anyway??

The Gang

Natalie... in a rare moment of enthusiasm...Haha.

Me and my snow buddy, Lindsey.

Snowmobiling is great fun, but it's not without its casualties. Besides the overall general aching that sets in after WAY too many hours ridding (sadle soreness, anyone?!) there are other obstables--such as trees--that can be hazardous. Sylvi and Lisa--in particular--seemed to be quite adept at attracting said trees.

Yes, the snomobile IS on top of them. Here's a better view:

Luckily, no injuries. But a great photo opportunity! My dad also seemed to have a nack at attracting the trees:

Needless to say he was none too happy that I was both teasing him about running into the tree, and taking photographic evidence of the event, as he insisted it was "merely a ditch." Riiiiight. The final count: Sylvi, 2 trees; Lisa, 1 tree; Dad, 1 tree.

Little Scott also got his fair share of snowmobiling excitment, when late the first day, he did this to himself:

Yes, he DID bite clean through his lip.

It really wasn't his fault... he was riding with Paul, who can be a bit of a dare devil sometimes. No worries, though, I'm pretty sure Paul felt guilty! And lucky for us, our resident surgeon on hand stitched him up with no problems. The worst of it will be that he'll have a nice little scar to impress the ladies with!

Here are some other lovely pictures from the trip:

Feeding the ducks:

The outhouse... sweet relief burried under 4 feet of snow... and yes, I did brave the freezing toilet seat to aquire said relief. Teehee.

Me and Lisa (my snow buddy, day 2) got some air we got going over a jump! We had so much fun that we had to take a picture!

And of course, what's a winter wonderland without a few gorgeous pictures to show for it?

On the way home, Mark and Paul insisted we make a stop at Big Jud's, so they could do the burger challenge. I think Paul was mostly inspired because the last time he successfully completed the challenege, the camera broke right as they were about to take his picture for the challenge wall. Not to be defeated, he wanted to try again! This time, they upped the ante. Instead of the 1 lb. burger challenge, both Mark and Paul went for the 2 lb. burger challenge.

Although both did, in fact, complete the 2 lb. challenge, I doubt either of them will ever look at a burger the same way again. Nor do I think they'll make good on their threat to take on the 3 lb. burger the next time!

All in all? A successful snowy week, I'd say! Although next time, could we do the beach? SO much warmer!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Will the New Katniss Everdeen Please Stand Up?

Yay! The wait is finally over! Lionsgate recently announced that Jennifer Lawrence has been cast for the coveted role of Katniss Everdeen in the new film adaptation of Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games. I have to admit that when I first discovered who had been cast, I had to refer to my good friend, Google, because in all my movie watching I'd never heard of this Jennifer Lawrence. Incidently, I was actually happy about this. Sometimes these huge blockbuster roles just go over better if an unknown actor is cast, rather than a K-Stew or R-Pat. Anyway, when I Googled Jennifer, I discovered that while perhaps a little unknown, she's not inexperienced... I felt rather flabergasted to learn she was actually Oscar nominated (where have I been??)and the reviews about her had nothing but positive things to say. Futher, the casting director said it was the easiest casting decision he'd made in his life--despite the fact that Jennifer doesn't quite match Katniss's physical description. I'm excited to see her interpretation of Katniss! In the clips I watched of her she seemed like such a beautiful, strong, confident individual, and I'm sure she'll do an amazing job with this role. Now all that we're really waiting for is dear Gale and Peeta. Any guesses as to which lucky men will land those roles??

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Little Moving Company that Couldn't Jimmer...

I'll get to taking pictures of my apartment... eventually. Every time I think about it, the apartment is a mess. Every time its clean, I, well, DON'T think about it. However, I did finish unpacking the last box on Saturday, so as of now we ARE currently living in a habitable apartment (hooray!) But sadly, still no pictures of said abode.

Also, you should know that I now hate moving companies. ESPECIALLY (but not limited to) the company that moved our junk from Nebraska to Texas, AND the company that moved our new couches from furniture warehouse to apartment. I don't want to bore you with the details as to why and how I have come to this conclusion, as I'm prepared to spare you that lenghty, drawn out discourse. But suffice it to say that when you are almost a week late delivering a person's junk to a different state, and you are a day late plus scratch-up-all-the-furniture-and-then-have-to-replace-it-again-3-days-later when delivering someone's newly purchased furniture, it tends to create some strong feelings that moving companies just might attract the most LAZY, INCOMPETENT, and UNRELIABLE individuals in the world (elders quorums not included). CLEARLY they couldn't "Jimmer"...

Anyway, moving on...

I actually had a really fun time cleaning out boxes this past week. This is mostly due to the fact that Rob and I had LOTS of help from my family to pack all said boxes, and I kept coming across things like this:
This...And this...

while unpacking boxes. I mean, how can you help but NOT have fun unpacking when you have the prospect of stumbling across a cute new note every couple of boxes?! These notes were mostly from my wonderful mom (who did a most EXCELLENT job packing up our Nebraska kitchen and was such a help during our move), but I also enjoyed seeing things like this:

written on the sides of boxes. I'm pretty sure Sylvi labeled this one, and I'm also pretty sure that it is SUPPOSED to say "tupperware"... you know, like the little plastic container thingys that hold leftover meatloaf? And, indeed, upon inspection, I discovered that the unidentified "tub-a-ware" box did--in fact--contained the missing "tupperware" items. Sylvi, I know you're embarrassed, but I got such a good laugh out of this label! Mostly because no, I didn't know how to spell "tupperware" either, and yes, I did have to look it up for the sake of this post.

My point? If you want to make unpacking a bunch of boxes a more enjoyable experience, have your family help pack!

Rob and I also enjoyed a good Mardi Gras party this week with some newly made friends:

But don't worry, no crazy, wild spurts of drunkenness were had in the making of these photos.

We've also had the chance to begin exploring our natural habitat in Houston's outer "burbs" (as in "Suburbs," people). Alas! We haven't made it to the city yet (Rob's been pretty busy with work) but during an eventful evening walk this past Sunday, I did discover a new species of bird that I would like to call a "Turkey-Duck":

Because, lets be honest, if a turkey and a duck got together and... well... you know what I'm saying... THIS is what it would look like. In addition I saw an otter for the first time:

I'm just astounded by the diversity of the wildlife here:


And lastly, I'm completely--and might I say, surprisingly--enamored with this:

And thus utterly and most absolutely excited for the prospect of this:

I heart Mia. What a talented little actress. Anyway, excited--as I was--to share the Jane Eyre love, I responded to Rob's request for a new book on tape by suggesting this. Unfortunately, his reply was: that when required to read it in high school, he bribed his sister Naomi read it for him. As an avid classics lover, Naomi happily obliged, giving him complete and detailed chapter by chapter summaries of the whole book. Thus, because he didn't want to waste all that good laziness, Rob explained he couldn't possibly read it now. During the course of this discussion, he also tried to convince me that no, this wasn't cheating, but rather, "using all of ones resources." I wonder how he'll respond to this same excuse coming from the mouth of his teenage daughter someday....

P.s. To make up for making fun of you, Sylvi, I suggest you read Jane Eyre. As a fellow Pride and Prejudice lover, I think you'll enjoy it every bit as much as I have!

P.s.s. Spell check doesn't recognize the word "Jimmer."

Monday, March 7, 2011


And not even ashamed to admit it.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Monkey in the Middle

THIS week, Rob and I have finally taken the gigantic step into what feels like "old marriedhood," and gone couch shopping.... for NEW couches no less! Yay! It feels "old" married cause, who really has money to go couch shopping as newlyweds?! Not us! Admittedly, couches have been on our "to buy" list for some time now, but we didn't want to buy them right before we moved from Nebraska (extra baggage to move and all that such). However, now that we're safely in Texas, and because we had (literally) nothing else to do this week (our moving truck STILL has not arrived, but that's another story), we decided to go couch shopping!

Just so you know, Houston has NO zoning laws. One minute you'll be in what seems like a pretty decent area... the next... esta in la mexico!!... run down shacks and all. At first, Rob and I had the darndest time trying to find a decent place to go couch shopping. We always seemed to run into the stores whose large discount signs hung askew at one end and were manned by Jose, Paco or Amad. (Not trying to be racist here, just trying to paint a socioeconomic picture... you get the idea). Finally after a few dud hits, we found some stores we liked... and a few couches we liked. While most were your nomal hum-diggity-dum run of the mill furniture store, there was one store that sat in a class all of its own. For reasons I'll state, I seriously could not pass up the opportunity to blog about it. The store was called: GALLERY FURNITURE

Now, at first glance, this probably seems like a decent establishment, right? New paint, nice big sign, lovely modern art out front... I guess the first thing that should have tipped me off that something was off was the coral-type cage in front of the store. A coral? With hay? At a furniture store?? Did they have a petting zoo during the day? Weird. But figuring they just had some special event going on (a petting zoo to attract families with kids, maybe??) I brushed it aside.

Upon entering the store, we were greeted by a sales guy, who hurriedly hustled us around the store. It was huge! Lots of stuff to see... nice furniture to buy. A pretty decent place, I was thinking... that was, until I saw these in the middle of the store:

I kid you not. A huge cage full of monkeys sat in the middle of this store. When I asked the strange sales guy why there was a cage full of monkeys in his store, he shrugged and nonchalantly said: "They're our board of directors." At which point I was seriously contemplating the likelihood that transfiguration performed in Harry Potter was actually possible, and these poor monkeys actually WERE said board of directors, trapped under a spell by the evil sales guy. You can imagine then, that after my utter surprise at seeing a monkey cage in the middle of a furniture store, the large glass case full of these:

was not shocking in the least bit. The shareholders, perhaps?? Seems suspicious... Apparently the coral I saw out front housed ponies during the day... what the?? Am I the only one that finds this whole situation REALLY weird??

Although we did see a few couches at Gallery Furniture that we liked, the whole time we were there I couldn't help thinking that that the store was a part of some huge conspiracy I was missing out on. Like Hanzel and Grettle and the evil witch... who knew the Gingerbread house was just a trick? Or all those stone statutes in Medusa's garden... Percy Jackson and the Lightening Theif, anyone? If, in fact, the poor animals WERE real people trapped under a real life spell by evil furniture sellers, does that make me a co-conspirator for not trying to free them from the clutches of the story's wicked and coniving antagonist??

By the way, we DID happen to find new couches we liked. They're red (yesssss!) and they're being delivered tomorrow, horray!

And just because I know you're wondering, no, they did not come from the evil monkey store.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Well, what to say, what to say! So much has happened recently, and yet I feel--as many of you probably inexplicably often feel--that I have nothing to write about! Alas, I shall just have to conjure something up to the best of my ability.

Update #1: I took the bar.

It seems strange that something so dreaded and so unwelcome in my life was over so quickly. In a matter of three short days (which I realize, yes, is quite long for a single exam, but is still quite short in the scheme of things) my entire existence for the past three years (give or take a few months) was reduced to my performance on one simple exam. And yes, that "simple" exam contained over 12 hours of writing essays, performance tests and 6 hours of brutally hard multiple choice questions, it seems strange that my past three years of life are resting so solidly on the completely unpredictable pass/fail ratio of a three day exam! Yikes. I will know on May 13th whether or not I passed. For those of you thinking, "So long?!" I echo your sentiments, although I understand that with over 1,500 people in my testing room alone (not to mention the other room full of occupants and 5ish other testing sites around the state of California) I think I understand the length of time devoted to grading. For now, I'm trying to enjoy the blissfully free feeling of my pass/fail ignorance while adamantly praying I will not have to face that exam for round two (or three for that matter!)

Update #2: Drove to Texas!
Ignore the fact that Rob and I (okay, just me, really) were unable to capture the beauty of both ourselves and the "Welcome to Texas" sign in one picture. At least no one can say we didn't TRY to capture that moment! Also you should think about ignoring the not-so-stylish, I'm-traveling-so-haven't-showered-greasy-windblown hair I'm sporting. Not cute. In fact, why I'm even posting this picture is kind of a good question. Comic relief, perhaps? Anyway... we drove to Texas. Actually the trip started in Utah, which happened to be one of the snowiest days of the year. Which is obviously due to well-known Murphy's Law that states: what can go wrong will go wrong. As a result, we ended up taking the southern I-70 route from Utah to Nebraska to avoid the wintery I-80 Wyoming road conditions. Its a route I don't recommend taking if at all possible. The 11-12 hour drive took us an unanticipated 16-17 hours to complete. Ugh. Google maps SO lied. Anyway, in Nebraska we packed all our junk into a moving truck (which thankfully, we did not have to drive), saw friends, played with my sissy Lisa and began the track to Texas. The drive from Nebraska to Texas was slightly more leisurely... we splurged and did the 14 hour trip in two days instead of one. Heehee. On the way down we frequently eyed the car's temperature reading, which steadily crawled upward the closer we got south. Temperature upon arrival: 80 degrees. [Sigh].

Update #3: Moved into New Apartment.

Rob and I both bore the hopeful jitters of all those who decide to rent an apartment online, sight unseen. We were optimistic that all would be well, considering the apartment was only a year or so old and we were the FIRST tenants EVER!! (A first for me...I've lived in many ghetto student housing complexes where I more likely than not the one thousandth tenant). Thankfully, the apartment is, well, perfect. Soft, squishy carpet, brand new paint, very shiny new black appliances and even a security system to boot. Yes, we were quite pleased! In fact, the only thing I do NOT like about the apartment is the proximity to the freeway, which can be a little noisey in the master bedroom sometimes. But I'm sure with time, even that will fade into blissful background music. Rob--who originally questioned my selection--has since recanted his doubt and placed me in charge of finding apartments for the little sales reps that will be coming out to work this summer to work for him. I would send pictures of said amazing apartment, but owing to the fact that we were forced against our will by Rob's "Boss Man" to get to Texas two days early, the moving company was unable to accommodate the accelerated schedule and all our stuff has not even arrived yet. I would feel bad posting indecent pictures of our apartment's nakedness online and hence, the "where I live" pictures will have to wait until a later date.

Update #4: I'm reading a Book.

I usually devour books. Even in law school I found that despite my busy schedule, I still couldn't make books last long enough. I just went through them like candy. Or chocolate cake, which I probably eat more of. Any-who, bar study was different. In law school, you generally knew what what kind of effort you did and didn't have to put in to pass. The bar?? You never know if what you've done is enough. As a result, most bar preparers probably kill themselves OVER-studying (at least that's what I'm hoping I did... it would be tragic to learn that all that effort was actually LESS than required...) And as a result of THAT, I didn't read nearly as much. I was book starved. Thus on my trip to California, I read two books. I am Number Four (which is, of course, better than the movie, even though the movie was still quite good), and The Forgotten Garden, by Kate Morton. I'd never heard of her but after Googling the book I realized that she has actually published quite a few books. I am happy to report that I have LOVED the Forgotten Garden and will probably check out other titles she has written. There are no swords or dragons in this book, so any action-hungry guy will probably be sorely disappointed. But for those of the feminine persuasion that enjoy a good mystery, this is your book! Anyway, here's to hoping that with my new found freedom stretching across the horizon, I will soon have more books to blog about!

That's all for now! The highlights of my recent life wrapped up into 4 small updates! I'm sure there is more, but for now, that's all I can think of and as the sun is setting, I'm finding I'm a little chilly sitting out here on my Houston porch. Guess it DOES get a little cool here now and again ( :