Monday, December 29

we've only just begun...

Happy Anniversary to us!
Two years - we're pros.

We hope you all had a happy Christmas. Ours was the best ever. Hands down.

Back in Vegas, back to real life.


Thursday, December 18

getting the Christmas spirit...

Note to self: Do not rely on husband to inform you about the ward choir dress code for a fireside. "Uh, yeah, shades of green and dark colors." (I was wearing a bright green blazer and brown skirt). Showed up to find the choir in black and red. To quote one of my favorite lines from "This American Life," I stood out "like a Skittle in a bowl of Swiss chocolate."

It snowed yesterday in Vegas - the biggest snow storm since 1979. Nobody knows how to drive in the snow, which made for some crazy, panicked driving by the Vegans. I took a little ride on the pride cycle - THRILLED to see the aggressive, inconsiderate drivers of Las Vegas finally have to use caution [insert evil laugh].

Mind you, it only snowed maybe 3-4 inches, but this led to cancelling the Beehive activity, closing part of the 95, calling today a snow day (it snows 3 FEET in Utah and they won't cancel school), and making December 17th the most bearable day in Vegas thus far. I turned on the Christmas tree and made Christmas cookies. And for one night here in Vegas, it felt like Christmas time.
I'm sure it will all be melted by noon, but it's lasted all morning! With all the snow on the palm trees and weighing down the wimpy desert foliage, we feel like we're living in a Dr. Seuss story.

Lastly, the Oldroyd Christmas card came this morning. Hats off to Mom - pretty good, but missing 6 sombreros.

Monday, December 15

taylor's christmas mix

Those of you who know Taylor well know that he is really into music, and could easily spend his entire salary on iTunes (thank heavens for his incredible discipline). He just compiled his 2008 Christmas mix, and though I'll try and get as many as I can on our blog playlist, many of them aren't on there. Some of the songs have links, so be sure to click on them (everyone needs to hear Sam Bush's "Let it Snow").
Make yourself some hot chocolate, pull out a box of Trader Joe's Candy Cane Jo-Jos (AMAZING), and enjoy the glow of your Christmas tree.

Taylor's Christmas Mix:
1. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas - James Taylor
2. Christmas - Blues Traveler
3. Lonesome Christmas - B.B. King
4. Merry Christmas Baby - Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band
5. Christmas Tears - Eric Clapton
6. I'll Be Home For Christmas - Nickel Creek
7. Christmas Blues - The Ramsey Lewis Trio
8. Let it Snow - Sam Bush
9. I Saw Three Ships - Sting
10. Christmas All Over Again - Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
11. Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) - U2
12. Christmas Katie - Widespread Panic
13. Blue Christmas - Willie Nelson
14. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas - Coldplay

I would add:
Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire - Nat King Cole
Santa Claus is Coming to Town - Perry Como
Silent Night - Marshall McDonald
Dona Nobis Pacem - Yo-Yo Ma
Joy To The World - Yo-Yo Ma, Dave Brubeck
The Wexford Carol - Yo-Yo Ma, Alison Krauss, Natalie MacMaster

Christmas Waltz - Oscar Peterson
Christmas Time is Here - Vince Guaraldi Trio

Any additions you would make?

Thursday, December 11

We've reached the pinnacle!

So, if you Google "Eastern European Fashion" ...

... we are the 7th site down.

We are officially AWESOME.

I found this out through, a website that gives you all sorts of random stats on how people access your blog (Google, bookmarks, other blogs). We've had almost 300 hits/visitors since Monday, with over a dozen from Europe! So I have one question: who are all of you? I assume the only people who read our blog are our moms, or those who post comments, so really...

Who are you, mystery people?

Wednesday, December 10

Sharing the wealth.

I figured this was a good picture to show for a post on budget shopping. My family has unknowingly started a tradition where we wrap one present as ugly as possible. Two years ago, Taylor was the lucky man.

For those of you friends out there who are on a budget this Christmas, I discovered something spectacular over the Thanksgiving break, and have felt guilty keeping it to myself:

Free discount/promo codes!
or Google the store and discount code - "Deseret Book promotional code"

Mind you, not all of the codes work, but it is kind of fun trying them out, doing the detective work to find the best deal. I saved 10% off something for Taylor AND got free shipping, which ended up saving me $20 (shipping costs are ridiculous). I found 2 coupons that worked on Deseret Book (25% off, $5 off) that both worked, until I found that the book was sold out (Joseph Smith Papers).

We've found some sweet deals online this Christmas, to the point where we've found some things for $5. I see that as an opportunity to get something else for the person; Taylor sees it as an additional $20 in the bank. :)

Saturday, December 6

Lest you think that we don't have lives...

Taylor went to a hearing this past week with Judge Jackie Glass presiding. Little did he know, two days later she would be the one to send poor little O.J. Simpson to jail (bless his heart). O.J. didn't mean to hurt anybody! He just wanted to get his stuff back and just happened to have a gun on him. I think we saw the clip of O.J. pleading to Judge Glass about 10 times during last night's Jazz game, thanks to the thorough journalism of ESPN.

How about this economy, eh? Yeah, I haven't worked ONE hour this week at Anthropologie, due to the horrible economy and empty stores. I've spent more money at Anthropologie this week than I have made in the past month! This past week I got most of our Christmas shopping done, and was shocked at the empty shopping centers. Horrible.

But even with this financial crisis there were still thousands of people gambling their little hearts out on the strip. Phew! At least they're still gambling. It's a comfort to know there will always be a job available on the strip.

Having no hours this past week gave me time to prepare for an upcoming audition and get all my paperwork in to become a glamorous substitute teacher. You should have seen the orientation yesterday...

Remember some of the creepy substitutes you get in school? When I walked into the room and saw over 200 people sitting in there filling out paperwork, I scanned through, looking for a "cute grandma" sub, an "ex-military" sub, and the "I'm-trying-not-to-appear-high" sub. There were several options for each. It kept me entertained during the "Blood Pathogens" video, a graphic film (Sundance-worthy) showing how to use rubber gloves and goggles when disposing of blood. The fake accidents were amazing - old guy about cuts off his hand while cutting strips of construction paper, a teacher severs her wrist with a pair of lefty scissors (explain that one to me)... fake blood and Oscar-worthy acting a-plenty.

In other news, my article was finally published! Yeah, this picture is backwards. I've been waiting for the Fall issue of the Journal of the American Viola Society since September. It hit newsstands (er... library shelves) December 3rd. Open up to the center-fold, and you're smack dab in the middle of my article. Yes, five pages of nerdiness. I am officially a nerd, but it still feels pretty cool to be published (I was beginning to think it was all fake when fall came and there was no Journal!).

We also found a happy little Christmas tree. It took all of 30 seconds in the parking lot at the Home Depot. It may not look like Christmas down here, but at least it smells like Christmas in our place. :) It was fun to hang the ornaments that we bought in Moscow.

Wednesday, December 3

~ happy holidays ~

I love the Special Witnesses of Christ DVD, and this message seemed perfect with the passing of Elder Wirthlin and Christmas just around the corner.

We spent a perfect weekend in the Homeland. Cold Turkey Run, hiking to the beacon, JoAnn's sweet potatoes (with coconut and pecans!), movie night (The Boy in the Striped Pajamas - whoa, powerful), turkey sandwiches, Bonsai, and my mother-in-law's famous pies. Oh, and about ten pounds of the Costco peppermint bark. Thank heavens we'll be back in 2 1/2 weeks. I think I can make it.

I only took one picture. Hooray for Christmas decorating!Yes, my mom is obsessed with Santas to the point that she has a room entirely dedicated to Santas, all 150+ of them (not counting ornaments), complete with an all-Santa tree.

Off to find a Christmas tree, and believe me it takes SEARCHING to find a fresh tree here in Vegas.