Thursday, September 25, 2014

surprise of a lifetime!

My aunt & I had been planning the sneakiest of plans for MONTHS and it finally all came around this last weekend. One week ago exactly actually.

During the end of July, I got a text from my aunt asking if we'd consider coming for her 50th birthday party if they helped us out financially to come. I didn't even hesitate!! Of COURSE I was going to accept...even though I felt guilty accepting something SO great and I didn't even ask James before I said yes. Haha But I would not pass up the chance to come back to Arizona (where I grew up and where all my extended family lives) for a couple of days to spend with my entire family! So away we went with the sneaky planning. James was SUCH a trooper throughout the whole thing. He is VERY much a planner (including plan B's and C's) and since we would be flying standby, you really don't get to have a plan. So I felt bad for him. Every time he had questions, there wasn't much to tell him. "We just have to wait and see!"...Poor guy. I told my dad, and my two brother-in-laws in order to make sure they'd get their wives here. Somehow my other sisters found out. Grr. But at least my mom & little sister would be surprised!

Anyway, so the day we were flying out, we found a flight that could work, but it was pretty full. So we took our chance...and we weren't let on. BY ONE SEAT. The guys at the desk were such teases, saying things like "Oooh, today might be your lucky day!" and "It's looking good!" but the man whose seat we were going to take showed up at LITERALLY the VERY last minute. And I was not going to split up with my little hubby, no way! So we got bumped to the next flight going out and left the airport. We got YUMMY lunch, did a little shopping, and of course, spent some time at James's very favorite store--Bass Pro.

Ps-Yes, James flew in his NICEST clothes so that they wouldn't wrinkle.
I, however, flew in your basic "I'd rather be comfy" clothes...yikes.
I'm sure people were giving him weird looks all day.

Ooooh Chipotle. After an exhausting morning, this was sooo heavenly.
When we got back to the airport, we were so happy not to have to check bags in (packed everything into two carry-ons) and made it to the gate early. This flight looked really promising so we were not too worried, and we were able to make it onto the next flight to Charlotte.

Once we landed, we noticed our tickets said that we were on the late flight to Phoenix, leaving at 8pm. Oh heck no. We'd spent all day in airports and on a plane, AND let me say BOTH James & I had colds. So we were pretty spent. No way were we going to get to Arizona at midnight (that's 3am our time!) so we RAN all the way across the airport to get to an earlier flight at 6:00. We crossed our fingers and asked...and made it right on. YES!

Finally, we made it to Phoenix and I was SO excited when we walked outside and there was my aunt & uncle waiting for us. My Aunt Laura came running up and hugged us and that just set the tone for the whole trip. I got SO SO excited.

We all went out for some Chinese food and to discuss how we would surprise my mom & my little sister. We were going to wait for them at the hotel...until we found out they wouldn't be there close to 11:30. So James and I went back to their house to shower and rest a little. But I couldn't! I was too excited. The plan was to tell my mom when she came that my cousin Julie (me) was sleeping on the couch and to wake her up to say hi. Here's how it went...

It was perfect!! Exactly what I wanted. She laughed, she cried, and best of all, my dad kept the secret!! So she was TOTALLY taken off guard. Poor James had fallen asleep in the other room by then so he sleepily came in and they all got excited all over again. They haven't seen James in over a year--he didn't get to come on my last trip there so they were all really excited to get to hang out with him too. I was SO excited to get to see the three of them. Every single time I thought about that moment, I giggled out of excitement. And I was not let down! It was even better than I imagined. Anyway. That was Day One. It's getting long so I'll write about the rest of the trip in another post...probably two since my aunt's party is probably enough for one in itself. 

THANK YOU Aunt Laura, Uncle Brad, and my cousin David for getting this all together. It was SUCH an amazing trip and I can't believe how giving you all are. I will never ever forget it! Love you guy so much! (And stay tuned for the next post!)

Monday, September 8, 2014

promotion? you could say that...

Random post time.

In the LDS church, we are given special duties. These are called "callings," and for the last little while, I have been in the primary working with FUN kids and an even more fun group of adults in a "presidency" as a second counselor. My second calling was to hold activity nights for these sweet little youngins so that they can complete a program called "Faith in God." Every other week, I look at their little book of requirements of things to do to finish them and come up with an activity or lesson (or both!) for each one. My favorite ones are always the ones the deal with developing their talents because we get to do fun stuff like this!

They were decorating church bags to hold their scriptures and any other things they needed at church (like things they got in their classes). I found them at the Target dollar spot and they went CRAZY! I taught them how to use a glue gun (and yes, was right next to them every moment) and gave them all kinds of things to use. They loved it! I can't wait to see the girls carry their creations in with them every Sunday! They did SUCH a great job! (And I have to say, high fives to me for the easiest earning of "Okay, you're our favorite now" EVER! Whoo hoo!)

WELL. Recently, I was released from the Faith in God leader calling and was given another calling...Primary. President. Yeah, I know. WHOA. Second counselor I figured I could handle. I'm pretty okay with following directions. But now, I am the one that will be GIVING those directions! It's intense, but I have to say...I am REALLY excited! I love those kids so much and I can't wait to teach them and learn all about them and help them grow strong in the gospel!

But I am sad because with such a big calling, it means I will probably have to give up leading the girls' activity nights. I'm actually very sad about that. They are SO much fun and I have grown to love and appreciate every single one for exactly who they are. Some of the most touching moments have been when they have confided in me about something going on in their lives-crushes, friend problems, sometimes even bullies and mean girls. Those talks have meant more to me than any other thing I have done in this ward so far. I love them SO much and their little spirits are just amazing.

I had to dedicate at least one post to tell you how amazing each of them are. I hope every member of the church gets to work with the youth at some point in their life, especially at the age. In primary. It's the BEST and you grow so much learning from them. I love you girls! I am SO happy I got to be with you every other Wednesday night this past year. You are all SUCH amazing girls and I am not going ANYWHERE! So I hope you still feel like you can come to me for anything! Gosh. Gettin a little emotional here...Okay we're good. Now let's get a replacement who will KNOCK your socks off!! :)