On Christmas Eve we all drove over to my sister's place in Orem to hang out at night. We ate food and played games and stuff until late. My Uncle Paul's family came over with their cute little half-Venezuelan half white kids and they sung us Christmas carols. After we took turns reading various verses of the Christmas story (which my nieces played out with their little toy nativity scene) and had family prayer, most of the family got into bed. I got all dressed for church and ran off with Smurf and Rascal, to Carrot's house so that we could all go to midnight mass in Salt Lake. When we got to Carrot's place, she was on the phone with some old mission comp and still needed to do herself up, so Rascal and Smurf and I headed up to the Cathedral of the Madeline where Carrot was supposed to meet us later. We parked in some LDS chapel's parking lot and walked towards the cathedral. The cathedral bells were echoing throughout downtown Salt Lake and it felt really magical. Unfortunately, when we got to the cathedral, they shut the doors on us and on a whole bunch of real Catholics (including all these dressed up little Mexican families with their babies, it was really sad) who were a couple minutes too late! We decided God wished us to be Mormons.
Carrot came to pick us up and suggested we do the next best thing when the Catholic church shuts you out....become Anglican! So we went to St. Mark's, a charming (yet much smaller) Episcopelian church. Carrot said it is her favorite in Salt Lake. We made the end of the service, which was really beautiful. Smurf almost choked to death on the powder incense stuff that the priest was waving around, and that was pretty hilarious. Carrot pointed out the Tiffany windows inside the church and we looked around for a bit. I really loved the whole thing. I've decided that if I ever have kids, we are going to hit both LDS church wherever it lands on the week of Christmas as well as midnight mass on Christmas Eve. It's good to just take in and respect other people's culture and traditions. Also it's good to remember how much reverence other people have for God too, and that we don't corner the market on that.
I got home sometime around 3 AM and went to sleep for a couple of hour. Christmas was awesome this year. I have no idea why I got placed in the amazing, perfectly quirky and simply wonderful family that I got, but I did.
We all got up and checked out the loot Santa had brought us, showing it off from youngest to oldest:
Kylie (my youngest niece until April) with one of the first of about a million Ariel Mermaid/Disney Princess things she would end up getting. Their basement is like 2 feet deep in mermaid and princess stuff right now.
Krista with a book she got. She is amazingly smart and very sophisticated for her age
My sister Lyndee and some kind of girl bag thing.
Little (but actually pretty huge) brother Alex, with a tie pin. He sort of gets jipped this year for presents because he'll be going on his mission in the summer, so no one got him anything cool...just new white shirts and ties and church books.
Me with a pan. I guess I needed a pan. It's cool though because I got tons of really really cool stuff from my family as well. Like this incredible hiking backpack that my dad got me. I know its good if its from my dad because he makes an extensive research product out of anything he decides to buy to make sure he gets the very best one. Also my big brother got me a sweet hammock. My big brother never gets stuff I say I want, but always manages to pick out the coolest presents. This is the same brother that got me a longboard for my birthday. He has some really awesome taste. I'll definitely be using that hammock this summer.
My older brother, John. He got some movie passes in his stocking. A sidenote about John: I ended up telling him about my SSA issues a couple weeks ago on the way home from a family Christmas party at my cousin Marie's house. He was a lot cooler about it all than I had expected. We parked near my apartment complex and had a good long talk in his car. I always thought John would be the last sibling I would tell about all my issues, but it turns out he was the first. He's a good big brother. He told me about some of the issues he is dealing with that I didn't know about before. It's amazing how human everyone really is, and how we all deal with all this really heavy stuff but can still get together and have Christmas and open presents and be happy.
This is my big sister Lois pulling something out of her stocking. Lois is the sister I posted about once before. Sometimes I think I'm too black of a sheep for my family. If that's true, Lois is too perfectly white for the rest of us. She's amazing, and I love her.
My oldest sister, Amy. She is a mom and gets mom stuff a lot now...like napkin holders.My brother in law, Jared. He gets dad stuff, like cords and wire in his stocking.
We got the rocking chair in the right side of this picture as a surprise for my mom for Christmas. She had been eyeing it for a long time, and every good Grandma needs a rocking chair. She loved it. Couldn't believe her eyes, in fact.
My dad and Kylie. :) We always say my dad is a turkey. I don't really know why, it means he's pesky or something, but he got this smore Christmas ornament (they are all the rage right now I guess) with a marshmallow that has a turkey tail on it. My big sister got a pregnant marshmallow ornament and my mom got a Grandma marshmallow with a big blue grandma hat. They had everyone sort of giggling. Yeah, sort of silly, but it was Christmas...and it was great.
Kylie helped a lot of people open their presents and stockings. She was a pro. Here she is helping my grandma. I look up to my grandma a lot. She has a lot of class and grace and quiet wisdom that she has very diligently earned. I got to know her a little better over the break. She kept asking me about how I was doing. I talked to her about getting horrible grades at BYU and how I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with my life. She was very supportive about me going to Alaska and maybe just travelling around for a while. She said I was young and assured me everything would be okay and that I should figure things out while I'm not yet responsible for other people really. Also she was very concerned and interested in what I had to say and seems willing to be supportive of whatever I do. It's wonderful to have people like this in your life.
Fast Forward to New Years Eve:
Brown Sugar and Robb (a coworker at Los) and I went up to Salt Lake to party and ate at this really chic, cozy little "authentic" Japanese restaurant. They had little tables and tatami mats and real Japanese waitresses and everything. Awesome. I love finding little places like this. Note to self: I have got to wander around Salt Lake more. ATP and El Veneno! I think El Veneno looks like a different ethnicity in every photo I see of him....
ATP taking pictures of stuff with his fancy camera.
Robb uses his napkin to go stealth ninja.
Brown Sugar is like, "you all are crazy..."
We go outside in freezing Salt Lake for the last 15 minutes or so of 2006. I'm getting pretty pumped at this point...
Fireworks...cool! And then midnight comes and...
Pinetree plants a giant smooch on Brown Sugar as well as this random girl who was looking for someone to kiss at midnight!!! She had asked us earlier if one of us would be her midnight kiss, but little did she realize who she was talking to...AtP and El Veneno just sort of looked around nervously and Robb was probably wondering why none of us were going for it. I surprised her big time at midnight with a giant kiss. We put on a good show for her friends who were going nuts. I tried to get pictures kissing both of them, but neither turned out. This is the best one we got, from ATP who was still shooting photos with his camera. I'm glad he caught this milestone achievement on his camera.
New Years 2006/2007
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This is me explaining what had just happened... Sorry I can't get the sound to work...
After the big scene in downtown, we headed to El Veneno's place where we watched some comedian guy on his computer, and then Brown Sugar, Robb and I headed back to Provo. It was a fun night.
It's the middle of the night right now on January 3rd. I meant to write some deeper stuff in addition to all my goofy pictures, but I'm too tired, so I'll have to postpone that for another day. Goodnight.