Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The State of our Car

In honor of the annual State of the Union Address tonight, I thought it only fitting that Jason and I give you an update on another old and noble, um, "institution": our car.

As you might already know, our car (a 2001 Isuzu Rodeo) has had a rough year. One of our very first posts on this blog was about our car's tires, which decided to blow out. Then the transmission failed sometime during the summer/fall (it's hard to remember now), and we had to get it replaced. Which was sooo fun. (I hope you can hear the enthusiasm in my voice. Although you probably can't. Because there isn't any).

Well, a couple weeks ago it started making funny noises. (To tell you the truth, it's been making funny noises for months. But these were different, new funny noises). It made this high-pitched whining sound, and got a little bit more jerky than normal. Then, one day when Jason and I were driving down University Avenue, it exploded.

We heard this "BOOM! GABLASHKACHOEYKINK!" from the engine, and smoke started coming out from under the hood. Jason managed to get us into the center double yellow lane, and put the car in park. He got out, and I got into the driver's seat. Our plan was to have him push us over to the side street on the left when there was no oncoming traffic. So, when there was a big space in the traffic, I put it into neutral and he started pushing. The steering was incredibly hard, and the car wasn't really moving, and so I put it into drive and it was able to move forward (even though the steering wheel was still crazy hard to turn), onto the side street and right into a parking spot that was amazingly right there.

Okay, at this point I just have to point out all of the awesome (really) things about this: We broke down and were able to park our car at 880 N - just feet from our apartment (we're at 960 N). There was a parking spot, right there on the corner, the only place we could have made it to.  There's never parking - and then to have a spot in exactly the place we needed it at exactly the time we needed it? Totally Heavenly Father looking out for us.

We popped open the trunk and found a mess. To sum it up, our serpentine belt exploded. (See below). It's supposed to look like this:



Instead, it looks like this (this is our real belt):



My sister Alyse took us to AutoZone the next day and we got a replacement belt. Then, when Jason was installing the new belt, he found one of our pulleys had warped, lost its balance, and gone crazy. (See below). It was probably what caused the serpentine belt to go bad, and also needed to be replaced. Thus, we all took another trip to AutoZone. Then, armed with all the parts he needed, Jason fixed the car!! Yaaay!



Now it's all fixed and running again (because Jason's amazing). It's still got its, um, quirks. (The gas gauge is broken [we calculate when we need to get gas based on how many miles we've driven], the odometer is a couple mph off, the brake light is always on, there's a real funny sound from the engine when we turn on the AC, and it drinks oil like its koolaid.) Our real concern with it right now is that the transmission might be failing again. It's starting to jerk again, just like it did before the bottom dropped out last year. (Not literally. That would have been too easy). So, we're keeping our eye on that.

And that, good citizens, is the state of our car at the beginning of this fine year. :)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Then and Now

Almost two years ago (April 2009), Jason got home from his mission. We were excited to see each other, and I was able to come down to California between winter and spring semesters, just a couple weeks after he got home. It was a great couple days and encompassed a lot of really important and awesome events (like holding hands for the first time since high school, and our first kiss ). (Which makes me smile just thinking about it). Anyway, it was awesome.
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One of the fun things we did that weekend was go to the park and have a picnic. We both like nature, and we both like food, and we both like each other, so it was pretty much a great outing. Jason wanted to take pictures while we were there, so we did! I'm really glad we have them now.


Aw, didn't we make such a good couple? And we weren't even officially dating yet! (That happened the next night over a game of Super Smash Brothers. Hehehe.)


Also, we saw these random ducks, really crazy looking, that I found out a year later in my ornithology class were really Chinese ducks that weren't native to the area. They're called Mandarin ducks and my teacher said they must have got loose at some point and started breeding. Random, huh?



Well, this year during Christmas break we went on another picnic to the park. We took our handy-dandy picnic basket and a blanket and tons of food and even some frisbees. We found a nice quiet spot on the edge of the lake, and ate our sandwiches while enjoying each others company and watching all the ducks again.
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And then...we took more pictures.
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And, of course, we took them in a tree. (Me and Jason's natural habitat.)


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Here's to many more happy memories to come. :)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Poof!

Happy Sunday, everyone. :) I have a good video for you today. It talks about looking forward, not behind. Every new year we try to do this, as we work on reaching New Year's goals that we set to better ourselves. It also happens in bigger ways throughout our life, as we look to Christ and his redeeming power to forgive us for the things we've done that we want to be clean of. Jesus Christ is there for us.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Where to get books

Let me tell you a little secret: Jason and I don't like spending money on textbooks. We seriously, seriously dislike it. In fact, Jason and I have the goal to make money on our textbooks each semester. And we usually do, or come close to breaking even. Some semesters are more difficult than others, and sometimes you just can't, but you can seriously decrease the amount of money you're currently spending on textbooks. For example, last semester I spent a total of $14 on textbooks. And that's with two science classes, two math classes, and a history class - all with required textbooks. If I had bought my books at the bookstore, I would have paid several hundred dollars. But I didn't! And I really want to share all our tips with you.

Also, I realized I probably should have written this like two weeks ago when it would have been more help to all my BYU friends. BUT, it may help you in future semesters.

So, without further ado, here is me and Jason's guide to where to buy your textbooks for BYU:

General Tips

First of all, the BYU bookstore is absolutely the last to buy your books. Seriously, the last. They always have the highest prices.

Secondly, get comfortable with older editions than the ones specified for the class. It may be scary at first to have the 6th or 5th edition instead of the 7th, but they usually work out just fine. They just have different page numbers and sometimes slightly different organization. Use your judgement, but be okay with going out of your comfort zone.


Places to Buy

The very first place you want to look is the library - both the HBLL and the Provo City library. The HBLL actually has quite a lot of textbooks (albeit, usually older editions). A lot of times you'll get lucky and they'll have exactly what you need, or an older edition. It was because I checked nearly all my textbooks out of the library last semester that I was able to spend only $14. Make sure you check them out the first day of the semester (or before) and that'll guarantee you have them for three weeks; if you can get a spouse or friend to put a hold on them as well, you'll be guaranteed six weeks of the book, and that's usually enough to guarantee everyone else will buy their own copy and you can keep rechecking it out all semester.

Secondly, go to DI. Checking out their textbook section requires patience and craning your neck at odd angles for periods of time, but it's worth it. Jason and I have both found several required textbooks there. Instead of buying a $100 calculus book from the bookstore last semester, I got an older edition for $8 at DI. I had to make sure the problems were still the same at the math lab, but it was worth it. A bit of work = money you can save.

Next, check Amazon.com and the BYU Book Exchange. Sometimes Amazon will have your book for cheaper, sometimes Book Exchange will. If you use Book Exchange, you meet the person on campus and buy the book physically from them. It takes a couple emails to sort it out, but again, it's worth it.

Another option might be regular bookstores like Borders or Barnes and Noble. The list price of your book will most likely be the same as the BYU Bookstore, but if you have a coupon from their email mailing lists you can sometimes get one or more of your books for 30 or 40% off.

Lastly, if you seriously can't find your book anywhere else, you can go to the BYU bookstore. If you need to buy a packet they're usually the only ones that carry them; but even those you can sometimes find on Book Exchange.  If they have a used copy of your book, great. If not, I feel your pain, and I'm sorry.

Places to Sell

And, one last tip: after the semester, don't automatically sell back your books to the BYU bookstore. You can usually sell them for more on Book Exchange or Amazon. Check those places out first!

Good luck!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

So Jason and I were walking across campus today...

And we saw THIS!


Yes, it is what you think it is. Our good friends Jill and Tommy, on a POSTER! They are FAMOUS! And they didn't even tell us. :)

Why my life is awesome

Monday Schedule

Eighty forty: Walk up to campus with Jason
Nine o'clock: Astronomy
Ten o'clock: Self-defense
Eleven o'clock: Cooking
Twelve o'clock: Lunch (partly the delicious cranberry muffin from cooking)
One o'clock: Infant Development
Two o'clock: Piano
Three o'clock: Intro to Marine Biology
Four o'clock: Walk home with Jason

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Third Day Thursday

Haha, sorry, I know the title is a lame pun. First I was going to write "Third day of Classes," and then I thought to myself, "No, that's boring. I should write something about it being Thursday (which, we all know, is more exciting)," and then I came up with a combination of the two that's somehow less than the sum of the parts.

Annnyway, life is going good. Today, as you definitely already know by now, is Thursday, and it is also the third day of classes. I'm actually really excited about my class spread this semester. Since Tuesday, I have been to Evolutionary Biology, Polynesian Dance, Self Defense, Infant Development, Beginning Piano, Intro to Marine Biology, and Foundations of Developmentally Appropriate Practices.

Okay, first of all I want to say that Polynesian Dance is a workout. Before we started the class I had visions in my head of all of us standing on the beach in grass skirts with soft Hawaiian music playing and us gently waving our arms and swinging our hips. Not so, my friends. Not so. It is hard stuff. I don't know how the islanders make it look so easy! Our teacher is this wonderfully cheerful Hawaiian woman who is always smiling and laughing, and I like her a lot. But man! We're starting with Hawaiian dancing (we'll also cover Tongan, Somoan, New Zealander, and a couple other countries) and you have to crouch down the entire time, doing tons of different foot movements while your legs are like, "What the heck are you doing! Stand up! Stand up! This hurts!" I'm in the class with Jason, my sister Alyse, and Alyse's roommate Lars, and I think it's going to be really fun. Plus I'm going to have buff legs.

Secondly, I think Self Defense is going to be awesome. I'm almost scared to take it, but that's why I need to take it. I really want to know how to defend myself in case I'm ever attacked. Our teacher seems really great, and the stuff we went over yesterday totally makes sense and is already helpful. I'll totally post new things I learn from that class on here as I learn them.

I'm also very excited for Beginning Piano. Again, I really like my teacher (I'm noticing a trend here...). She's a masters student in Piano performance and has been teaching this class for two and half years. I'm taking piano because I took lessons when I was a lot younger, but I quit in middle school and now I want to improve. I'm okay at the basics, but trust me, I have lots of room for improvement. So I'm excited. It's a small class with just 16 people (because our classroom only has 16 pianos (only sixteen pianos? what am I saying? that's a lot of pianos)) and every piano (actually, they're super nice keyboards that totally look like pianos) has headphones that you wear so that you can hear yourself, and you can hear the teacher, but no one else can hear you so they can't hear you mess up. That's definitely confidence building. Our teacher said that this is a good setup for adults to learn piano, and I can see why. Less pressure, but you get the same amount of practice.

Evolutionary Biology also seems like it's going to be really cool. It's the capstone class for my major (Integrative Biology) and today (and all next week) we'll be talking about how evolution fits in with our faith and what we believe. It's all very interesting. I'll probably have a post on that too.

Foundations of Developmentally Appropriate Practices is a class where we learn how to appropriately teach/interact with young children based on their developmental level (i.e., how you would interact with a two year old vs. a three year old vs. a five year old). Our teacher totally reminds me of Robert De Niro's character from Stardust - you know that captain man? His voice is a bit higher than most men's and he gesticulates with his hands a lot (I think because he teachers preschoolers) and he even looks like Robert De Niro. I like him a ton. Seriously. He seems like the nicest man ever.

Anyway, that's pretty much all my classes for now. I still haven't been to cooking or my evolutionary biology lab. But yeah! I'm excited for this semester.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Family Pictures

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When we were in California last week we were able to take pictures with all of Jason's family. It's the first time all of the siblings have been together in like 7 years (and, if you count the spouses, the first time everyone's all been together) and it was awesome! We went to Yorba Regional Park (you might remember it from the frisbee post a couple days ago) and took these pictures right before the sun set. Now we have pictures of everyone all together! Yee-haw!

Here's Michael and Shelley,


All the brothers!


And all the girls!

James and Aubrey

From left to right: Tyler (Jason's younger brother) and his girlfriend Sarah, Tiffany (Jason's older sister) and her husband Jarom, Jason's parents Diana and James, holding Tiffany and Jarom's daughters Aubrey and Mikayla, Michael (Jason's older brother) and his wife Shelley, and me and Jason.


All of the siblings and their significant others!


The Saubles


Tyler and Sarah

Tiffany and Jarom

Happiness!

The First Day of my Last Semester

I approach this day with apprehension. Today is the first day of my last semester. When that last week of April comes, I will graduate from BYU.

I just don't know what to think or how to feel about that. To tell the truth, I'm a bit nervous. I've been in school my whole life since I was four, (that's eighteen years! It's all I've been doing for eighteen years!) and now I can count the number of months I have left in formal education on one hand.

Part of me is relieved, because I won't have any more projects, any more papers, any more tests. My time will not be promised to a classroom chair; I will have freedom to organize my days as I wish.

And yet…school! What else have I ever done but school? In many ways, school is what defines me. It's what I'm good at. It's what I'm used to, it's what I know.

And in four months, I'll be done.

One thing I discovered yesterday, though, is that if I think about it slightly differently, I kind of get excited for April. I tell myself not that I am graduating, but that summer is starting. Summer, the dream of every elementary school child. Summer, the days of freedom and sunshine and choosing exactly whatever you want to do.

So, in four months I graduate.

And then I will begin my summer.