Thursday, January 31, 2013

Experienced Trampers Only

It all started with a surprise visit.

We were sitting in the middle of Social Studies one day when in walks none other than our favorite person in the entire world James. *James is our best friend that let us tent it up in his backyard, you may recall* We hadn't seen James since Adoption Day, and so it was a splendid surprise indeed!

He came baring gifts. Lava Lavas to be exact. (and in case you missed it, they are beautifully showcased in Rachel's post relating our experience to Hogwarts. Yeah, go ahead and read that here. She nailed it.) He also came with news.

"Girls," he said, "we are going on a hike on Saturday. The young men in my ward are going and I asked the bishop if you could tag along. Bring your togs and a lunch because we will hike to a beach."

And just as quickly as he came he was gone.

Saturday morning arrived and we were all ready for a little adventure. With very few details to go off of, we had envisioned in our minds a quick hike through some woods to a beautiful secluded beach where we would be able to layout and relax for the rest of the day.

The nine of us piled into James van. In this van, which is particularly large and noisy, it is hard to hear what is being said in the front seat, and yet I kept capturing words from James and Sara's conversation like, "rough trails", "rock climbing", "injuries", and "death." I chose to ignore it and focus my attention on Whitney Houston playing in the background.

Ignorance is bliss.

Andrea: "These Chacos are ready for anything! Except marriage..."

When we arrived to meet up with the young men we would be hiking with, we were finally ready to face the possibility that today may not turn out as we had originally expected. The young men leaders started filling in a few more key details.
"Stay on the trail, if you wander off you could get lost and die of hypothermia. It's happened before."
"You'll need to make sure your valuables are waterproofed for when we have to cross through the river."
"Keep your hands free for the rock climbing segments."
"Watch your step, it's very easy to hurt yourselves."

Andrea and Sara: What did they say?

And just like that our excitement very quickly turned into anxiety.

"Don't worry!" said James. "When we reach the end we can all take a picture by the 'Experienced Trampers Only' sign!"

(For the record: I am a pre-beginning level- walk around the park kind of tramper at best, just ask my brother in law Jon Wayne.)

And so the adventure began.

Thankfully there were people there to document it, otherwise I am fairly certain my family would have never believed me. (Especially Jon Wayne, who once told me I would never get married because I don't enjoy hiking. Well, you can eat it Jon. Now it will be my love of cats that keeps me from the altar! Or possibly the faces that I make in most of these pictures... Time will tell.)

And we're off!

Where's the trail you ask? Yeah there isn't one.
Brooke Multitasking: hardcore hiking whilst hardcore creepin
Take a handful of raisins and peanuts and pass it on. James knows how to keep us moving.
James: "Now it's time for some bum hiking."  
Me: "What?"
James: "I mean gluteus maximus hiking."

Not the clarification I was looking for.

Bum hiking = sliding down the really steep parts because there are not hand/foot holds
Finally made it to the river
Still looking pretty happy...
Feeling pretty strong...
And then we worked our way further up
And suddenly we were crossing rivers on rocks
And suddenly there were no rocks 
And that made me feel like this. Although I would like to just be clear that this picture was posed and I shed no tears on the trail. Just for the record. No tears.
Somewhere along the way Andrea fell, and even though she bruised her hands horribly, it was still totally HI-larious.  
Yet with all that hiking....

We somehow went from this...
To this...
And then this.
I did mention I'm not much of a hiker, right?

But in all honesty, it was one of the most fun things I have ever done. Especially when we finally reached the WATERFALL!

But, that's another story....

Saturday, January 26, 2013

It is your birthday. -Dwight

My dear sister Kendall turns 19 on January 27! And you know what the coolest part is? Today is January 27 for me and tomorrow is January 27 for her! So Kendall, for your birthday I got you the coolest present ever: two birthdays. Yeah, you are welcome.

Here are my personal reasons for why Kendall is so awesome:

1. She is hot. (These are indeed in order of importance, haha kidding...) And plus she's the only who thinks that Rapunzel shirt I made is cool. And she thinks it enough to even ask to borrow it. Hot and a great sense of fashion; a lethal combination.

2. She is one of the funniest girls I know. Also, we have very similar laughs. It is an amazing feeling to laugh in harmony with your sister. Try it. Plus, we don't ever feel the need to imitate each others' laughs and make the other feel stupid, unlike everyone we have every met in our lives haha.

3. She shares my love of horrible movies. Our favorites include Barbie (we own every single one), abc family, disney channel, lifetime... The cheesier the better. Whenever I go to the redbox and come across a romantic comedy that no one has ever heard of with horrible reviews and a title like "The Desperate Girls Society", I know who to call. This picture looks like the cover of a movie we would probably enjoy. Kendall is the lovable protagonist, Courtney is her quirky sidekick, and I'm the mean girl that gets hit by a bus in the end.

4. She is crazy talented, but one of her best talents is making friends with people, which I have always thought was really cool. When she was at Nationals for Distinguished Young Women we were seriously stopped every other second so that someone could tell us how much they loved being around her. She just genuinely loves all sorts of people.If she could she would bake a cake filled with rainbows and smiles and everyone would eat and be happy *Name that movie* (Kendall you won't be able to, so it's from Mean Girls and I still love you.)

I can't for the life of me figure out how to turn it so everyone tilt your heads

5. Kendall loves dressing up and she always goes full out. You should check out her blog for some of her more impressive endeavors. The costume you see here was thrown together in fifteen minutes. Impressive right? Girl:s got mad skills. And a large dress up closet which definitely comes in handy.

6. She bakes delicious things.
7. She always picks out books for me.
8.She moved out of her awesome dorm because I couldn't sell my contract.
9. She earned my never ending love for getting water for me many many years ago, yet she still accepts it as payment to this day.
10. She is the best little sister on the planet.


Monday, January 21, 2013

Kids, Try This At Home

After having some serious family fun with the Butters here in New Zealand I felt like this game was too good not to share. Here's what you do:

1. give every player a piece of paper. They then have to write a descriptive sentence on the paper. Ex: The quick, brown fox jumped over the lazy dog.
2. They then pass their paper with said sentence to their right.
3. Now that everyone has a new paper with a sentence they did not write themselves, they have to draw a picture that depicts what is happening in the sentence. They then fold the sentence down so that only their drawing is visible and pass to the player on their right.
4. Now everyone must use the picture they were given to write a sentence that they think is being depicted. Make sense? Once you have the sentence, fold the paper over so that the next person will only see your sentence and no picture. Pass it to the right.
5. The next person has to, you guessed it!, draw a picture of what your sentence is depicting. You continue around the circle until everyone gets their own papers back, or you run out of room.

Seriously, try it. It is super fun. Not convinced???

Proof this game is HI-larious.
The sentence we began with was: 
"One day, my mom made me scrub out the toilet with my toothbrush while I sang a song."

The resulting picture:

New sentence derived from picture:
 "Harry Potter with a mullet wearing a dress told the girl to sing as she cleaned the toilet."

The resulting picture:

New sentence derived from picture:
"I'll hammer you if you do as I, oh wait sing, I'll hammer you if you don't sing. And Daniel Radcliffe."

The resulting picture:

New sentence derived from picture:
 "The stick figure tried to kill an acne-prone singer and Harry Potter with a hammer."

Awesome right?

Sunday, January 20, 2013

"You say things!" -Robin

 And now, may I present a disjointed collection of quotes and pictures to describe my week in Maths with our lovely teacher Helen. Ahem...

Helen: Come on girls! Speak up!
*I speak up*
Helen: Don't be cheeky.

Measuring for our giant- Andrea: Brooke, your forehead is a lot bigger than you think it is.

Helen: Put your mind in gear before you put your mouth in motion!

This is Jaime. He is our Giant. He has swag. Obvi.

*me completely nailing Total Eclipse of the Heart*
Helen: Can you whistle?
Me: nope. 
Helen: Well you can't sing either. 

building a rhombicuboctrahedron

*Andrea takes picture of Helen*
Helen: Do you wish to live?
*Helen looks at picture*  
Helen: email it. I can use it on my dating profile.

nailed it. almost...

Me: These flies are so annoying!
*as I swat them away from me*
Helen: Well, you know they're only attracted to rubbish. 

Helen berating my math skills in the background.

Helen: WRONG!

Andrea's super impressive, and apparently offensive, spit fountain during our rap about adding doubles.

Helen: You'd get shot for that.

The tapas we created.

Helen: bin it.
Class: What?
Helen: bin it.
Class: What?
Helen: bin it! bin it! bin it!

so proud.

Helen: What is something you struggle with? (no pause for answer) I have one for you. You lack resiliency. You give up very easily and you have a hard time thinking outside the box (continues to lecture me on how its not completely my fault, but also a product of my raising)... But that is a lovely color on you."

Lessons Learned from Helen:
-Life is cheeky. 
-Leggings are most definitely pants. 
-There are apparently many academic disadvantages that children who come from big families face. 
-There is more than one way to skin a cat (horrible expression) but Helen's way will always be the right way to do it.
-Bin it = throw it away
-I may not be that smart, but I am pretty and I look great in pink. 

I'll take it!       

Monday, January 14, 2013

"Pretty dang exciting, huh?"- Nacho

Disclaimer: The following blogpost includes no radical New Zealand adventure stories as these first couple weeks will be spent attending classes and pretending to learn things. So if you’re looking for something exciting and don’t actually care about my life, don’t bother reading the rest. Yeah, that’s right. Move along. I don’t need you.  Also, quit pretending you’re too cool to care about my life because my life rocks.
That is all.

So here I am, living in New Zealand, just doing my thing. Crazy, right? About a bajillion times a day while I’m doing some menial task like say, brushing my teeth, I think to myself, hey, I’m brushing my teeth… in New Zealand! and it makes everything instantly more epic.
My life rocks.

I’ve come to the conclusion that New Zealand is the perfect place for me. Why’s that, you say? Well I will tell you why’s that, alright? jeesh, calm it down…

The Top 5 Reasons Why I love New Zealand (this week):

#1. They have pink cars here.

love at first sight

You don’t have to be a Barbie, Sharpay Evans, or drive a spray painted junker. Cars here are pink! Completely respectable, average, everyday cars; pink. I love it. and also I want one.
#2. Tim Tam Slam.

While it didn’t originate in New Zealand, this was indeed the birthplace of my new love affair. Tim Tams are plentiful here, as is Milo, which is the best for an authentic experience. Here’s what you do:
            1). heat up some milo.
            2). bite both ends of a Tim Tam. doesn’t matter the flavor.
            3). stick one end of the Tim Tam in the milo. suck the milo through the Tim Tam like a straw. 
4). When you feel the cookie getting moist, you have to shove it in your mouth before it disintegrates into a pile of nothingness in your milo.
***it is not abnormal for this to cause copious amounts of stress. be fast and efficient- get the cookie to your mouth at all costs. don’t screw it up. you will regret it for the rest of your life and it may affect your children.***

I've included a video of my first Tim Tam Slam. It's not super interesting because I made the fatal mistake of not biting the end off enough (I apologize to my future offspring for their future emotional issues  this event caused). But anyways, this is mostly for Andrea to show her what a know-it-all she is. "It's better when you do it right."

#3. I’m already done with my Literacy course.

first day of school

You know how in Provo you go to a class every week for a whole semester? Well, in New Zealand you go for about a week and call it good. By Friday I will also be done with my Maths course. Bliss.

#4. The boys here pay me way more attention. And they dance better, too.

Clarification, by “boys” I really mean my studly host brothers Bowen (13) and Hyrum (9). They're the best. If I had a little brother I would want him to be just like them. Oh right, I have Bryan. Awkward… jk he doesn’t read my blog anyway, so I have free reign to make fun of him as much as I want. But serisouly, these boys are crazy presh. I’ll let my pictures do the talkin’ so y’all can see what I mean.

 We got a tap on our window and opened it to find Hyrum with a note that says, "hello!"

 Sometimes Bowen sends us warnings in the form of paper airplanes. Always looking out. 
"Hyrums planning on scaring yous again. (mostly Kylie)"

 They show up at our door in fancy outfits made of pizza hut boxes....

...And go out of their way to make us laugh. No real explanation for this picture. 

Another note: "How's your homework going?" It's the little things, am I right, ladies? 

And in case you're feeling a little jipped for the lack of Bowen in these pictures, don't you fret because I saved the best for last.

#5. The cats are plentiful.

I named her Big Red

I have seen six so far!

That's all for now. Love yous!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

"I bet their house is made of Gummy Bears. I'm just saying, it'd be nice." - Agnes

So on Saturday, my fun-filled days of being a homeless little orphan came to an end because guess what Saturday was?!


We woke up and packed up our quaint little tent/home, put on makeup for the first time in ages, and tried our best to brush out our improperly washed hair. There was a buzz of excitement as we nervously discussed what our new futures would hold; nice families? big houses? a real bed and shower perhaps?! The possibilities were endless!

No more tent!

Will you be my mommy?

James drove us down to Erika's flat in Auckland where we waited nervously like puppies in a kennel for our new owners to arrive. It was nerve-wracking to say the least. But good news...

I have a home!!!

And it is beautiful. I share a room with my dear friend Brooke and we have a beautiful huge bathroom right next door. With a shower. My hair was quite pleased. As was my B.O.

Our host family is the Butters. They have 13 children! My brain is having a hard time comprehending having double the amount of kids in my own family... that would be pure insanity! Only 5 children are still living at home. Well, technically 6 as their daughter Crystal and her little family live in a little connected apartment to the house. We haven't met all of the family yet, namely our new parents, because they are all in charge of/attending EFY this week.

But the best part? 

We have a new pet. 

We call her Taya. 

She does lots of tricks!
For instance, she shows up in our room and quickly grabs any and every object we have left within reach:

She also likes to show me how to work my computer (it turns out all you do is press the keys really fast and hard and a game should pop up. Who knew?):

you can't see her trying to push my hand away here
But her best trick? She does makeovers! Thank goodness, because apparently I was in desperate need of one:

Me: Taya, how am I looking? Taya: Not beautiful.

That's the face of relaxation and comfort right there

That last picture is super awesome because Brooke was able to capture Taya explaining to me that I just need to keep my eyes opened as she jabbed bobby pins into them, and then it wouldn't hurt. She's even demonstrating it for me and by the looks of it she almost had me convinced...

Drum roll please....

The Final Product!
Oh yep, that's heaps better. Daaaang.
She does tricks, she's adorable, and she's even house trained; So yeah, I think we'll keep her.