Sunday, February 22, 2015

February Happenings + Mardi Gras

February has flown by! Between my birthday (woot woot 24!), Valentines Day, starting a new job and Mardi Gras (which is really a month long party) I feel like I haven't stopped running! Which is great because January dragged on forever over here.

We decided to keep my birthday low key this year, nothing too crazy. Scott took my out to dinner to the Cheesecake Factory and then we did some shopping and I bought a fantastic purse that I'm completely in love with, thanks to mom and dad! Plus Scott bought me the most beautiful bouquet of roses I've ever seen and a little tripod for my phone I've been wanting. He's seriously the best.

For Valentines we wanted to tackle live lobster ourselves. Oh yeah. Steamed those babies up and dipped them in buttah. We came to the conclusion that all though it's extremely easy to steam lobster, it's really hard to steam them to a perfectly cooked state. And by the time you get all the meat out of the claws, it's not hot anymore. There was a lot of clean up involved and some nasty cleaning of the insides when you cut the tail off from the main body as well. It was completely fun and definitely an adventure but I think next time we're going to just opt for the more expensive restaurant lobster that's cooked to perfection!

Now Mardi Gras. I don't even know where to start with that celebration! You really step into a different world out here during Mardi Gras. And I'm completely serious about the month long party.

Here's a very small background from my limited knowledge of this holiday.
-It always falls on Fat Tuesday. This year that day was February 17th.
-It's basically a last hurrah before Lent. (Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die...)
-There were over 60 parades this year that started as early as January 6th.
-Most of the parades are family friendly. Unless of course you wander into the French Quarter at night. But really, you're just asking for it if you do that during Mardi Gras.
-Kids get out of school for the entire week.
-Most businesses take Mardi Gras off as well.
-You're supposed to eat lots and lots of King Cake. King cake is cinnamon-filled dough that's baked in the shape of a hollow circle. Sometimes they are filled with cream cheese or jellies. There are way too many sprinkles on the top and sometimes inside the cake that are the colors of Mardi Gras: green, purple, and gold. There's also a plastic baby Jesus hidden inside the cake. (Do you get it now, "King" cake... baby Jesus.) Whoever gets the baby Jesus gets luck or something, and then has the buy the next king cake. Vicious cycle. People rave about king cake. It's AMAZING. Scott and I never quite got the loving relationship with it that everyone else seems to have going. We'll see if something changes next year.
-You may start off at the parade not caring about cheap plastic beads that are getting thrown at your face, but by the end of the parade you will have been taken over by an alter ego version of yourself who NEEDS the beads and NEEDS the blinking headband and NEEDS the plastic cup and NEEDS the stuffed flower wand thing. Oh yeah, it's like a disease. People go crazy.
-Also, see that ladder box behind me in the picture of the right? You put kids up there so they're higher up and they get thrown loads of stuff. It's the popular place.

-Valentine's gets completely walked over out here. People go crazy with Mardi Gras decorations. I mean, check out this wreath?! It practically smacks you on the face as you walk by the door. And the more gaudy, the better. I've never seen so many tacky wreaths in all my life.

-At the bigger parades these guys on horses pass out doubloons. They're a big deal. You WANT doubloons.

-Everyone on a float is required to wear a mask by law. Don't ask me why, but it just adds to the mystery of everything.

Scott and I went to 4 parades this year. A decent number for a rookie beginner. We went to Mandevilles' Krewe of Eve parade one night, and then the Friday night before Mardi Gras we went down to Uptown New Orleans and saw 3 parades. There's a main parade route down there and you can literally camp out there in one spot all day and watch around 5 parades throughout the day on the weekends. The fun thing about some of the bigger parades down in New Orleans is that they have customized beads and throws. Their beads will have the krewe's symbol on it and they'll have specialized items that go with their theme. 

We had no idea what to do with all the beads we caught so we decided to make a joke of the elk antlers, showing off it's "rack" for some beads! ;)

Sorry for the long post. Mardi Gras really should have had it's own post but I'm too lazy to go back now and make another one. But all in all, I had a blast with Mardi Gras. It's so much fun and there's no way I can adequately describe it to make you understand. You honestly have to experience it in person. So start making plans for next year! Mardi Gras is February 9th!

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Snow shoeing and New Years

This is a late catch-up blog from Christmas and New Years! Scott and I were able to go home for a good week and a half over Christmas and New Years. We had some lovely snow storms! Perfect snow for snowshoeing, which is exactly what we did.

You feel like you're in another world when you're up in the mountains, trees heavy with snow surrounding you on all sides.

Some of the trees were getting pulled down with the weight of the snow.

Oh hey there hottie.

And I couldn't resist a picture of the mountains that are right in our Utah backyard. I miss that view.

Christmas Eve was spent with the Greenhalgh clan for their traditional Christmas Eve dinner and family time. Maybe I'll post about the amazing family crest that Michelle painted for Scott and I later. We definitely had fun putting together a New Orleans package as our gift.
Christmas morning we hid from Santa with the Croslands. My niece Evelyn, who is almost 3 now, was just dying as she watched Santa deliver the gifts. She really wanted to get out from under her hiding spot and say "hi" to Santa.
I honestly love that tradition from my moms side. Whoever started it is a genius.

This new year we spent with the Crosland side of the family. We have a tradition of playing games, eating wings, chips and dip, pineapple slush, playing Just Dance on the Wii and then lighting Chinese lanterns as the New Year rings in.

Well, resolutions have been made and some have already been left on the wayside. I tend to get a little carried away with list making. But I think I've figured out which ones are the actual important ones to me verses the excessive, "these sound like a good idea" ones.
Cheers to improvement!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Swamp Visit

Having people come visit us out here is the best. Mostly because I miss seeing family but also because it gives Scott and I the excuse to go do things we haven't tried before! Tamara and Shannon came and stayed with us last weekend and Tamara really wanted to hold a gator so we found a swamp tour to try out.

It was gorgeous out there. Not a normal Utah fall mountains gorgeous but a Louisiana swamp gorgeous that can only really be appreciated in person. The only downside was the fact that we were doing a tour in November which meant that there were no really big gators out and about. When it gets cold they basically hibernate.

Gator on a log! He's trying to warm up, it was a chilly day.


The water was perfectly still and this tree had the most amazing Spanish moss.

We did see quite a number of birds on our little swamp tour. Isn't this guy so picturesque?

Behold, the gator! She was a little baby one.

This is the only picture of all four of us from the entire trip. How pathetic is that?

Our tour guide was this awesome guy who knew everything and anything about the swamp. He actually lives in a swampy area called Lafitte that is south of New Orleans and he is Cajun. It was so interesting hearing about his life and how he was brought up speaking French and living in the swamp. 

I'm definitely planning on going on another swamp tour in the spring when the weather warms back up and the big gators are out! Friends are always welcome too. :)

Wednesday, November 12, 2014


I thought finding a job was going to be really easy for me out here. In my mind I was going to immediately get a job at the sports medicine and orthopedic clinic that's literally three minutes up the road from where we live. It was going to be great. It turns out that my job field is very limited up here, not a lot of jobs, and many of the places want an x-ray tech who is also certified in CT and has worked at least three years. I had only worked a year and a half with my license before we moved. And in order for me to do CT I would have to go back to school and probably commute an hour to go to a teaching hospital.

I'm done with school. I payed off all of my school loans over a year ago. I don't like CT. 
I never heard back from any other job I applied to. I even applied to random stores like Barnes and Noble and Hobby Lobby but I'm over qualified. 

I took the job hunt pretty hard. I felt like I was suddenly a worthless tech who no one wanted. They didn't know me but they knew enough apparently to not want me. 

I finally decided to just start doing some volunteer work at a hospital to help keep me busy and maybe get a foot in the door. 

Best idea ever.

I chose to help out on a couple of the patient floors answering the phone, patient call lights, helping out where I can and also working on the comfort cart. Oh yeah. I take this cart around to every single patient and pass out coffee, tea, juices or water. It's actually really fun and people here in the south are the best. "No thank you sugar." "Thanks so much sweety!" "Oh thank you baby." They really do call everyone and anyone things like that. 

I was also introduced to the radiology manager on my first day who told me to bring her my resume and she would look into things for me. There's a hiring freeze right now though at that hospital which is a bummer but she totally gave me a hug when I gave her my resume. That's how friendly people are here!

Now I should have realized this but for some reason it didn't cross my mind, but all of the volunteers are at least 70 years old. And then there's me, little young looking me who they all think is 18. The old volunteer men like to make the joke that I brought down the average age of the group to 50 now. I've had a couple doctors even do double takes at me, they have a confused look, "Wait, why isn't your hair grey?! Why are you volunteering? You're not 80!" They're normally really impressed actually when I tell them I'm keeping myself busy with volunteering until I can find a job. Just the other day I had a surgeon sitting by me and we went through the routine about why I was volunteering and how I'm a certified rad tech when suddenly he pulls out his prescription pad and writes me a "letter" of recommendation to take to another hospital! It blew me away! He also told me he was going to talk to the radiology manager again for me.  I'm grateful for kind people like that in this world. 

I took his prescription to the other hospital and talked to the HR department. They only have an opening for an MRI job so no luck there. But I'll keep looking. The HR girl was completely confused about the prescription letter of recommendation. haha It was so great. I doubt she's ever seen anything like that! 

I don't know when or if a job will come out of all this, but I'm enjoying my time volunteering. It's good to socialize with all these people of different backgrounds. I love the southern black women, all of their "mmhmmm!" It's just fun to make some friends. My favorite is an old lady named Margaret who is a volunteer and trained me on the comfort cart. She's a retired nurse from England. Her mother was a nurse as well and a midwife! (If you've seen the tv show Call the Midwife, then you know that I was dying to find out that her mother was one of those women!) She's a hoot and her England accent is the best thing to find in the deep south. I love it.

Anyways, I'm glad things are happening the way they are. I know it wasn't how I wanted but guess what? Heavenly Father knows way more then I do! So I'll just keep going along with his plan.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Oklahoma Camping

Yes we did drive seven hours through three different states to go tent camping this past weekend.
Scott got wind of a great river to fly fish in and he had to go. I think it's a safe bet to say that it's the closest place to go fly fishing around here. But it worked out perfectly.
Scott's friend from BYU who was also in the masters program with him lives in Oklahoma City now with his wife and little girl so they drove four hours and met us there for a couples camping/fishing trip. We were in an oak forest and it was so beautiful. I absolutely loved it. It was great feeling like you were up in higher elevation and stepping on solid ground with running rivers that aren't brown and stagnant and have potential gators in them.

We had quite the number of critters that visited us. First was a woodpecker. I have actually never seen a woodpecker in real life. Watching him made my face and neck hurt. He was going to town on that tree though and it made me think of the movie Fox and the Hound.

This little frog decided the handle of our cooler was a comfy little spot.

There was a stray cat that would come hang out with us in the evenings. It looked young, not even a year old and was really friendly. It was a pretty kitty and hung out on my lap in front of the fire. Scott wouldn't let me take it home. :( 

There was also a fatty raccoon that would come to our table every night as well looking for food. He got rocks thrown at him and then our food promptly got put away in the cars.

I don't know how to fly fish so I just hiked along the trail next to the river while Scott was out being a fisherman.

 Best catch from day one.

Day two I stayed back at camp with Kara and her little girl and we explored there while the husbands went to tackle the river again. It was a frustrating day for them with either no fish or little baby ones.
But then this happened... bam! Best catch of day two!
He's very proud of this beauty. It was almost 20" long.

Don't ask me what it is about mushrooms but I just think they are so interesting. (Hence the mushroom photos...).

We had a great time. It was definitely on the chilly side and I was always wearing at least a couple jackets but we managed just fine. I would never go camping this late in Utah though. Cold!
It was fun seeing our friends again too. We love doing things with them! 

A word of advice though. Don't go camping over daylight savings weekend. I don't know about you but I can never sleep in very late while camping. And Sunday we woke up around 7:15 am but in all reality it was now 6:15 am with the time change. Gross, so early!

The only downside of this trip was I started getting a cold right at the beginning. It wasn't bad but in the middle of the last night I woke up and could not breath at all through my nose. Had a little bit of a panic attack there trying to sleep and breath through my nose like normal. The stupid head cold at least waited until we were leaving to make a full blown entrance making the car ride home absolutely miserable. Paper towels are about the quickest way to make your nose raw by the way. I finally figured out that folding it up and getting it damp with cold water felt awesome on my poor raw skin.

But now we're back home and I'm making full use of cold medications and the neti pot along with heaven sent keenexes.

Every time I get a cold I feel the need to watch You've Got Mail. Anyone else in that same boat?

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Pumpkin Carving

I love pumpkin carving. It's my favorite thing about Halloween. Scott on the other hand, hates basically every aspect of Halloween, including carving pumpkins. :( Don't be fooled by him smiling in this picture, he was actually mad because I was taking a picture instead of opening the door. 
But, being the gracious husband that he is, he finally agreed to carve one pumpkin. 
I just find it funny that he had to find the largest pumpkin in the bin to carve.

Have I told you that we have an awesome ward? Well, we do.
We got together with two other families in the ward and all carved pumpkins. It was so nice to be with friends and have a big group carving. That's how it always was for me at home so I'm glad this year Scott and I could get out and be with friends from the ward.

Scott's pumpkin. If you aren't familiar with hunting items, it's the Browning symbol.

This year I felt like going for a classic Halloween image.

Here's some of the other pumpkins carved. Don't you love the puking pumpkin and the pumpkin eating someone... haha classic.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Cheap-o Decor over here

I've had some spare time on my hands you might say and our apartment was seriously lacking in seasonal decorations. Granted it still is because my decor is tiny but I finally finished my last Halloween embroidery! 
I love them. The witch silhouette is probably my favorite.

I kept seeing different leaf garland projects on pinterest so I combined aspects and wound up with this little guy. I like him too. 

So yeah, they're small but it makes the apartment feel just a tiny bit more cozy and well, lived in I guess.