Tuesday, December 2, 2008


It is interesting that I seem to only post about major holidays.. but alas here I go again. I spent this year's thanksgiving in Seattle with my roommate Ariel and her extended family. This was the first Thanksgiving away from home, and I was reminded of little Tyler when I played with the younger kids, and when the adults would all sit together and joke about something random. I missed my family a lot, but still managed to have a blast in Washington.

First of all, I guess I will explain who all was camping out at the Nielsen home. These were the relatives of Ariel's mom's side.
*Dad=Craig, Mom=Sheila, brother=Chase
*Uncle Kirt, Sheila's younger brother, lives in Rock Springs, Wyoming
*Aunt Sondra & Uncle Kay, Sondra is Sheila's older sister, live in Twin Falls, Idaho
*Colin, Sondra's son, finishing up at BYU-Idaho and then flight school
*Becky, Sondra's daughter, married to Lance, have 3 children: Cooper(7), Lilly(5), and Clayton(2)
*Adam & Daniel Young, Adam has known Ariel since the EFY days, and is close with Sheila and invited to Thanksgiving with the Nielsen's as well

All right well that pretty much covers the 16 people that sat at the extraordinarily long table for Thanksgiving dinner. It took me a while to memorize everyone's relationships with each other, but i finally got it.

Ariel and I started out the weekend by leaving for Ogden on Tuesday afternoon, dropping off her car at her great-aunt's house [Aunt Annette & Uncle Howard, something else I memorized] and then met her Uncle Kirt to drive the rest of the way to Twin Falls, Idaho. There I met the rest of the Idaho crew, had dinner, and spent the night at Aunt Sondra's house before waking up at 4:30, yes 4:30 in the morning to take the 9 hour drive to Issaquah, Washington with Kirt and Colin in Kirt's truck. The boys teased me about only being awake for one hour of the nine hour drive, and while that is sort of an exaggeration... it's not by much. I mean when you're not going to be doing any driving, what else is there to do right??

When we finally arrived first in Washington, we took showers and chilled while everyone else was arriving. The family took it upon themselves to put me under the spotlight for a while and make me the butt of a bunch of jokes, but I just soaked it all up and joked along back with them.

Then the big day arrived. We woke up early once again, this time at 7, and Ariel, Colin, Lance, Daniel, Adam, and I went to Redmond to play in a football game with some friends of Daniel's from his mission. [Daniel served in Seattle...] Or to be more specif
ic, Ariel and I sat on the sidelines with Adam [who injured his back & neck in a car accident] and watched everyone else play. Or, to be even MORE specific, we sat outside for 10 minutes before walking back to the car and watching the rest of the game from the warm confines of the family Expedition. [It was COLD ok??] When we came back, we helped out as best we could with setting the table and making the final food preparations before the meal was finally ready at 3 o'clock. And it was a FEAST, that's for sure! Then after everyone winded down from the festivities, everyone gathered in front of the big screen tv in the bonus room for the traditional showing of National Lampoon's Chrismas Vacation. I had never seen this movie before, but pretty much every member of this family could quote the entire thing word for word! Then they started quizzing each other about random facts.. like what color Clark's sweater was in this certain scene.. or what was the similarity between the presents on the boss's desk at the office... I wasn't sure if I was supposed to be following the storyline, vigorously memorizing quotes, or noticing all the random facts!!

Then Friday Ariel, Kirt, Colin and I went to the Bellevue Square mall. It wasn't an intense shopping trip or anything, just a reason to get out of the house I guess. And boy, there are some weirdo's that live in the Seattle area, not gonna lie... Also, the Asian population is about the same ratio in Seattle as the Hispanic ratio in Phoenix.. Just a random fact.

Friday night was the night of going to the CRAB POT. This is a restaurant in Seattle where you can be served an assortment of potatoes, corn, sausage, mussells, shrimp, and crab legs that are literally dumped in the middle of your table! You are each given a fashionable bib and advised to dig in!! It was quite an experience, especially as I took the liberty of myself beheading and unshelling my shrimp before i ate them.. as well as pulverizing a crab leg before consuming the tender meat that lay within. It was a bit unnerving to be honest, but at least I can say I did it!!

Then on Saturday the men woke up early to go shooting somewhere and do other manly things.. while the girls stayed home and primped for the nutcracker ballet! We made the trip to the beautiful theatre and took pictures with statues in the lobby before taking the opportunity to enjoy the fantastic ballet itself! I wish I could dance like that.. and lift my legs above my head.. ah well I will just settle for watching other people do it I guess!

[Adam trying to prepare the straps for the four-wheeler to be tied to the trailer... Don't worry, he got it on like the 5th try.. by using his teeth!.... And me with my Dr. Pepper of course]

[From L to R, Becky, Lilly, Ariel, Me, Sondra]

After the ballet we rushed over to Chase's playoff football game. Issaquah High School won 31-13 and next week go to the state championship! We had fun showing our boisterous support, and shortly after we got home Kirt and Colin left to make the long trek home. [Too early!]

[Uncle Kirt. He made me gut laugh multiple times throughout the week with his crazy facial expressions and hilariously sarcastic comments.]

[Colin. I saw a lot of this guy, and he's really great! He was the favorite uncle in Becky's kids' eyes and had a lot of fun playing with them. He's way easy to talk to and just fun to be around!]

Then Sunday the rest of the Idahoans left early in the morning which left the natives and the non-relatives to sight-see in Seattle. We went to Pike's Place Market with all its touristy goodness and visited the ORIGINAL Starbuck's coffeeshop.

[In front of the fish market where the workers throw fish to each other when someone buys something. They also randomly throw a fake fish into the crowd on occasion, kinda freaky not gonna lie..]

After our tourist desires were satisfied, we went back to the Nielsen home, relaxed in the hot tub, and watched a movie together before calling it a night. Then a plane in the morning and back to Utah.. kindof a bummer after the exciting weekend, but reality always inevitably catches up with you.

I can't reiterate enough how FUN this year's Thanksgiving was. Ariel's family is CRAZY and i love it! Also, I am SO grateful to Ariel's mom for all the hard work she put in to make this vacation completely amazing! She is so generous, and I owe her big time!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


All right so I am finally motivated enough to create my first post on this blog after looking over my mom's and sister's detailed entries. Hopefully I will be able to give at least some insight into my busy life at BYU, and here is the start.

A couple weeks late in coming, but I dressed up as a black girl for Halloween this year [alter ego=shanaynay] and spent the first portion of the night at work. [I am a hostess at TGI Friday's.] I got to dress in my costume along with other waiters who donned their hockey gear, or goddess attire. I must admit that I scared a few customers with my outlandish appearance.. I received a lot of double takes and outright stares in my direction.. It at first made me a bit self conscious but I just had to learn to laugh it off and just enjoy the crazy night it turned out to be. At a certain point in the night, a guy that was coming in to be seated turned the corner, and when he saw me, completely bowled over in hysterical laughter for about 5 minutes. Yeah, I can have that effect on people..

My roommate Ariel and her date Brian decided to dress up as a nurse and a messed up patient. They pull it off quite well I might add. Then my date Aaron and I "attempted" to portray a black couple. I personally think we failed miserably, which is made evident by the ghastly line on Aaron's neck from my too quick job of covering him in black girl foundation.. But at least we had fun with it right?

After Brian and I got off work [Brian is a waiter at Macaroni Grill] the night's activities consisted of getting into costume, getting our groove on at a rockin' dance party with some other friends, and finally IHOP for a late meal. I had a blast this Halloween, and love playing a random character and going all out for it. In closing, I just want to send a shout out to all my soul sisters out there.. "Hey girl, heyyyy!...."