Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Who Are You? A Topic for Each Week of the Year {Week 6: Grandparents}

Week 1: Birth
Week 2: School
Week 3: Hobbies
Week 4: Birthdays
Week 5: Childhood Home

6. What were your grandparents like? Do you have any special memories of them? Do you remember any stories that they told you about themselves or your parents?

My mama's parents:
June Tippetts Newman was always the typical, sweetest old lady. I have some of the best memories of visiting her and my grandpa in their home in Lehi. Grandma Newman was the gum lady. She had a little container full of gum, and kids in the neighborhood would knock on the door simply to get one little half piece of gum. One of my favorite memories of Grandma Newman is when my mom and I went with her to visit my cousins in Illinois my freshman year of college. We spent a couple of days in Nauvoo, and on one day, I had a terrible headache, which put me in an awful mood. At one point, Grandma turned to me and said, "Oh Lindy! Put a smile on your face for the whole human race!" I was most definitely not amused at the time, but it always makes me laugh when I look back on it. It is just such a Grandma thing to say. She is always looking on the bright side of things and never wants people to be upset. She has been diagnosed with a form of Alzheimer's the past couple of years, and it has been very sad to see the grandma I know and love disappear little by little.

William Newman was one of the best men I have ever known. He and Grandma Newman served three missions together. I was able to go visit them with my parents when they were in Kirtland, Ohio. We spent a few days in Kirtland and then drove up to Palmyra with them. I was eleven, and I loved the very personal time I got to spend with Grandma and Grandpa and my parents. Grandpa Newman was the bow-tie man. He never wore a regular necktie; he always wore bow ties. He also did the best Donald Duck impression, and he was the best at sneaking up on you with a surprise tickle attack. I could never sit next to him without getting tickled. One of my very favorite memories of him was when I had a project for my eighth grade science class. Grandpa was an electrical engineer and could build just about anything, so when I found out I had to build a catapult, I knew who I was going to for help. My mom and I spent four hours in Grandpa's garage, where I "helped" him build my catapult. In all reality, I did absolutely nothing once he got a hold of the project. My catapult may not have thrown my tennis ball the farthest in my class, but I can guarantee that it was the highest quality of the bunch. Grandpa never did anything halfway. In 2005, Grandpa Newman passed away from liver cancer. I still miss him a ridiculous amount.

My daddy's parents:
Mona Archibald Brown. I always remember Grandma Brown for holidays. My siblings and I are the only grandkids on that side of the family, so we spent (and still spend) nearly all holidays at their house. Growing up, birthdays and Christmas were always a big deal. Grandma Brown's birthday is on December 22, which meant that we spent a lot of time at their house the week of Christmas. We would go over for Grandma's birthday, again on Christmas Eve for our big celebration, and then again on Christmas Day to open presents. While that has mellowed somewhat, we still spend Christmas Eve at Grandma and Grandpa Brown's house. Grandma makes stockings for every person in the family. She even had a new one for Andrew the Christmas after we got engaged. She also gets white elephant gifts for the exchange that we do every year. To this day, it does not feel like Christmas until we go to Grandma's Christmas Eve party.

Boyd Brown can be described as a crotchety old man. But we all kind of love him for it. He likes to argue with people, and it's usually kind of funny, until it gets out of hand. Which happens on occasion. Grandpa smoked forever (like 50 years or something) before finally quitting cold turkey. Before he quit, Grandma forced him to go outside and smoke his cigars on the patio because she didn't want the smell in her house. Grandpa would sit outside and smoke for a bit, and then he would store what was left of his cigar between a couple of bricks outside their door. I always thought that was funny. When my siblings and I were little, he convinced us all that an angry badger lived under their house. It made me perpetually terrified to go in their basement. He also had lots of fun popping his dentures out at us. When I was little, Grandpa liked to introduce me to foods he thought I would hate. He gave me dill pickles, fully expecting me to make a funny face and spit it out. Instead, I ate the whole thing and still love pickles to this day. Grandpa has emphysema from all those years of smoking, so he now needs a constant supply of oxygen. When he's at home, he just uses a really long tube that he trails with him wherever he goes without having to drag a tank with him. He has frequently gotten his great-grandkids tangled in his cord, and when he's sitting on the deck, we have to make sure we don't shut the door all the way. That has been the birth of many "don't kill Grandpa!" jokes.

I feel incredibly blessed that I still have three of my grandparents alive today. I know not many people can say that at 26 years old. I also feel blessed that both sets of grandparents lived close by so that I could make countless memories with them. And I'm so grateful to know that I will have the chance to be tickled by Grandpa Newman again one day.

This is probably my favorite photo of Grandpa Newman. Mostly because that's me he's holding.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Who Are You? A Topic for Each Week of the Year {Week 5: Childhood Home}

Week 1: Birth
Week 2: School
Week 3: Hobbies
Week 4: Birthdays

5. What were your childhood home and neighborhood like?

I really loved where I grew up. I grew up in Magna, as I'm sure I've mentioned before, and I spent the first 18 years of my life in the same house. I shared a room with my sister until my oldest brother went on his mission, which is when Chelly took over his room and I got my own room. Then when Chelly went to college, I moved downstairs to her room. There was one major reason why everyone wanted that room: it was huge. For a bedroom, at least. It served as our family room for years until my parents put an addition on the house and added a much bigger family room, which was much needed. I remember my mom jumping on the couch in the old family room when John Stockton hit the three-pointer that sent the Jazz to the Finals for the first time. There wasn't anywhere else for her to go.

The major reason that room wasn't the greatest was because it didn't have a door. We would hang a sheet up sometimes, and for a while in high school I had door beads hanging there. The other bad part was the spiders and the bugs. The room was in the basement, and only about half the basement was finished. The unfinished part was the creepy part that was filled with storage. And spiders. Spiders that would usually make their way into my room. I have no idea how many spiders I killed down there.

The main quirk about our house, I think, was that we only had one bathroom on the main floor. Six people had to share that bathroom, and it got interesting at times. In order to free up space, Chelly and I would get ready in our rooms instead of standing at the sink in the bathroom. My parents didn't put a second bathroom in until the summer before I moved to college, so none of us really got to take advantage of that.

My neighborhood was a fun neighborhood. Growing up, I had so many friends on my street, and we would spend the summers playing around together. There were the Colemans, the Barretts, the Barnetts, the Lemmons, and the Robertses. Each of those families had at least one child around my age that I palled around with. Then there were the other families in the neighborhood that weren't on our street, such as the Behrmanns and the Ledbetters. We would all get together and ride our bikes or play softball on the stretch of lawn between the Lemmons' house and the Barnetts' house.

One of my favorite memories from our neighborhood growing up had to do with the Barnetts. Clifton was one of my very best friends growing up, and I would play at his house all the time. In fact, the one time I broke a bone, it was while jumping on his trampoline. (I did a front handspring and bent all the fingers on my right hand back enough that I broke one finger and sprained another.) I would play Super Nintendo at his house all the time. Corinne and Jennings were like my second set of parents. In fact, my family's emergency evacuation plan was to meet on their lawn. Every summer evening, Corinne would sit on her front porch while Clifton played outside with his friends. Inevitably, other parents would come out and talk to Corinne, and there was a definite feeling of camaraderie in our neighborhood because of that. We'd all be out until it got dark and then go home for the evenings.

I would also spend a lot of time at the Colemans' house, mostly to play in their backyard because it was so big. And they had a cool swing set/playhouse that Andrew and I loved to climb all over. Though I think the coolest thing about their backyard was the old rickety wooden playhouse that a previous owner had built into the wood fence. Sometimes I wonder if we should have been playing on it at all; it probably wasn't the safest thing in the world. If I remember right, it didn't even have a ladder, so we'd have to figure out other ways to climb in. Andrew and I would make up adventure stories and act them out in his backyard. I always got really sad when Paul or Penny would stick their head out the window to call Andrew in for dinner.

When I think about those things, it reminds me of what a great environment I had growing up. I had lots of friends to play with as a kid, and we were always roaming and creating our own adventures. Our neighborhood was relatively safe, which allowed us to explore all of it.

L to R: My cousin Dustin, my brother Matt, and my Dad. The portion of the house on the left with the garage is the addition. The brick portion is the original house. But mostly I just thought this picture was fantastic in so many ways and I wanted to share it.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Should We or Shouldn't We?

In 2007, I went on a ridiculously awesome vacation with my brother and sister-in-law. We spent ten days exploring New York City, and it was amazing. I loved every second of it. And then I didn't go on another vacation until 2012, when I went to Disneyland with my family. I had so much fun on that trip too, and it was so ridiculously nice to finally have a real break from work. I had coworkers who would ask me why I never went on vacation.

And then Andrew and I got married and went to Hawaii for a glorious week. And then we decided on a spur-of-the-moment trip to Universal Studios Orlando where I fully embraced my nerdiness (and enjoyed every second of it). And then we booked a cruise for our anniversary, which is coming up soon (and oh my gosh I can't wait!). And all of this has simply fueled my wanderlust. I just want to travel all over the place.

And now we have three more trips to consider:
  1. San Diego. It looks like I'll get to go for work, which means my flight and at least a couple of nights at the hotel and some food will be covered by my company. So all we'd have to pay for is Andrew's flight and maybe a couple more nights in a hotel. And seeing as how Andrew has never been to San Diego, I think he really should go with me.
  2. Washington. Andrew's 10 year high school reunion is this year, and we're trying to decide whether or not we should go. Rather, I'm trying to convince him that we should. It would be really fun, and I'd love to see Washington in a month that isn't super cold and miserable.
  3. Disneyland. My brother and sister-in-law are planning a December trip to Disneyland, and they've invited us to go. I think it would be an absolute blast, and I have always wanted to see Disneyland at Christmastime. I've heard it's amazing.
So here are the arguments for not going:
  1. I work for a ridiculously awesome company that has offered (basically) unlimited vacation time. But while I don't have to worry about accruing hours, Andrew only has a limited number of days off, which he tries to use judicially. I can't blame him for being concerned about using up all his PTO.
  2. We are trying to get into a house, hopefully sooner rather than later. And despite living on two incomes, we are by no means rich, meaning it will take some saving in order to cover a sizable down payment and the closing costs without becoming house poor.
And here are the arguments for going:
  1. As DINKs (dual income no kids), we have room to play. And as soon as we start popping out the babies, we will have to pass on a good portion of these kinds of opportunities. I want to take advantage of this benefit while we've got it.
  2. These are relatively inexpensive trips, especially to San Diego and Washington. And Disneyland is far enough in the future that we have all year to save for it.
  3. How often are we going to have opportunities like these? There are real reasons to go other than that we just want to go and have fun (which isn't a bad reason either). The San Diego trip will cost half as much as it normally would, we have family in Washington we could probably stay with, and we would get to watch my nieces and nephews experience Christmas in Disneyland.
  4. We can make Disneyland our Christmas present to each other. It's not like we have kids who would need some sort of Christmas morning awesomeness; we could just have a couple of small gifts under the tree and call it good.
So what do you think? Should we go, or shouldn't we? I'm trying to convince Andrew we should, but maybe viewpoints from other people will help me out.

I love San Diego. So much. It's gorgeous there.
I would really, really love exploring Seattle when I'm not freezing cold and wet.
Just look at it! How magical is that?