Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Wrapping up the first 1/4 of my vacation

I'm heading off to Texas just this Friday. I can't wait! In the meantime, I've been wrapping things up here. Don't worry! If I've promised to see you and I haven't yet... I'll have a couple weeks at the end of March to come and visit. :)

My mom is having me fix some of her bracelets. I've only finished one so far. The bracelet below used to just be black beads but was just a bead or two short when she wore it. After a trip to Roberts to find some extra beads, I redid the bracelet replacing beads and adding beads. This picture is obviously the final project.

Then, while I was in the swing of jewelry making and had all my stuff out, I made my niece Kaitlyn this animal bracelet. She looked so cute wearing it today.

I finished reading Journey to the Center of the Earth and was impressed by it. I really enjoyed reading it and recommend it to anyone looking for something new to read. My next reading project is Xan's thesis from BYU. It is titled, "Nautical Terminology in Old Norse and Old English Poetry." Maybe the three and a half years of listening to him talk about all this stuff is finally sinking in, or maybe it is not as complicated as it sounds. Whatever the reason, I've been able to understand it and really enjoyed it so far. I'm only on page 13 out of 80, or numbers around that approximate, but I like it so far. There are a lot of unknown words for me! Great preparation for the GRE! I've learned juxtaposition, coeval, and hagiography so far. I'm sure many of you reading this know these words... well, maybe not hagiography, that one is more specialized... but I am finding I really would benefit expanding my meager vocabulary. :)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A Variety of Topics

News of the day: Xan heard back from Harvard for the Celtic Literature and Language program and was not accepted. I admit that this one makes me sad. Imagine having to go to Ireland for a summer or longer for research... it was a beautiful daydream! But, there is a bright side of the tunnel. So far, he has been accepted into the Scandinavian programs and the countries he would end up traveling to for research are very close to Ireland. :) So, this news leaves us waiting on Hawaii (physics), BYU (physics), Texas A&M (Nautical Archeology), and Cornell (Scandinavian). Which, ironically, include 3 of his favorites.

The other news with Xan is that he has decided not to apply for Sydney, which used to be in his top 4 choices. Australia runs on a different school year. Fall semester starts in March and Winter semester starts in July. The application to apply for Winter semester isn't even due until April. He would have had to give the US schools a definite reply of whether he would be attending before he heard back from Sydney. So, he has done his scientific logic and decided to not even bother. And, I think the big hassle we both experienced with moving to Iceland has made him not want to move countries in the very near future. ;)

Last Wednesday, I babysat Crystal's 2 kids. She is the sister just above me. Crystal and Allen went to the BYU basketball game and BYU almost doubled their opponent's score. Great game, apparently. This first picture is Kaitlyn. She is the oldest and is around 2 1/2, maybe? She is sporting off her play tutu and a pair of Strawberry Shortcake slippers.

My sister also runs a business with two other women in the neighborhood. They make bows, hats, and headbands. Kaitlyn and Halle (the youngest) are very used to modeling them off. This is Kaitlyn wearing one of their new beanie hats with a bow attached. You can check out all their stuff at Angela's Acessories. They have some really cute stuff!

Here is Halle showing off one of the headbands with my sister, Crystal. Halle has one of the sweetest temperaments which is a contrast to her drama queen, champion screamer, sister. ;) Although, I think looking at the pictures, one might think the opposite.

They were so much fun to tend. We watched Curious George and ate dinner. Kaitlyn rehearsed her two favorite words "yeah" and "what". Halle just wandered from toy to toy keeping herself occupied. I really enjoyed spending time with them.

On Friday, I helped Kim, my eldest sister with the 7th kid on his way, clean house to surprise Denny for Valentine's Day. Mostly, I folded laundry. All the kids were coming home from school with all their Valentine's treats and I was very impressed with the amount of sharing that was happening. Christine (2nd grade) and Arianna (eldest and 6th grade) helped me to sort the laundry. Timmy (4th grade) showed me his anti-gravity car that can ride on the walls and the ceilings. I think it has some type of vacuum in it that helps it to stay put. Poor Gracie (Kindergarten) misplaced her bag of candy somewhere in the house. I hope she's found it! Sammy (3 years old) showed me his made up game with some Thomas the Engine Valentine cards from the box. I think it was a matching game but the rules changed too often to really tell. :) And Derrik, I think I spelled that wrong, who is around 1 1/2, is still a mama's boy and did his best to stay away from me. :) I think that is the tradition of the boy's in the family. Timmy and Sammy were like that until they were a bit over 2 years old. So, I usually just leave them alone until they start branching out to other people. Cute kid, though.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Six Months of Married Life

I've been thinking of doing some kind of post that talks more about Xan and I as a couple or something but, where does one start? Then I found this set of questions on my friend Genneveeve's blog. It looks like it will do the job well. I modified a few irrelevant questions. :)

♥ What are your middle names? Alexander and Marie. Although, legally, my middle name is being changed to Bybee since it is more of an actual first name to me than last. Ashley Bybee Stepp.

♥ How long have you been together? 3 years and 6 months today.

♥ How long did you know each other before you started dating? 2 years.

♥ How old are each of you? He's 28 and I am 23.

♥ How did you meet? We were both living in the foreign language student housing at BYU and I liked his roommate. He was in the Italian house and I lived in the Chinese house. Xan also attempted to tutor me in math that semester. It was like oil trying to talk to water. LOL Math is not my forte.

♥ Who said I love you first? He did the night before I went into the MTC.

♥What about pets? I have a baby ball python, Aakash. Love her! We hope to have lots more pets once we get in a more permanent situation. Cats, dart frogs, sugar gliders, ferrets, who knows! The possibilities are endless!

♥ Which situation is the hardest on you as a couple? His enormous intelligence that towers over my averageness. Most of the time it is a good thing, though. It is like being married to a walking encyclopedia who is able to give an answer faster than googling it. LOL (Clarification: in no way does he ever use it against me or look down on me AT ALL. He is simply a genius and knows more than I do about everything, including Asian stuff. A good example to explain this would be that I may play the piano better than him but he quadruble squared knows more music theory than I do.)

♥ Did you go to the same school? Same college.

♥ Are you from the same home town? No

♥ Who is the smartest? Not even a question. Him. :)

♥ Who is the most sensitive? Of course, me and my hormones!

♥ Where do you eat out most as a couple? Zupas and Burger Supreme

♥ Who has the craziest ex? I think he wins.

♥ Who has the worst temper? He's better at controlling it than me but he would win if he released it.

♥ Who does the cooking? He is the better cook but I am the student practicing.

♥ Who is more social? Me, by choice. :)

♥ Who is the neat-freak? He is teaching me to be more neat.

♥ Who is more stubborn? Mixed.

♥ Who hogs the bed? We sleep apart. (long story but the healthy kind, like the lack of a mattress or the current reason of living with an ocean between us)

♥ Who wakes up earlier? We switch back and forth.

♥ Where was your first date? We don't agree when our first date actually was. We do agree on Fall 2006, though.

♥ Who has the bigger family? He does. Good topic to ask him about if you were looking for one with a long, complicated answer.

♥ Do you get flowers often? Kind of expensive in Iceland...

♥ Who is more jealous? Me, but to a fairly low degree.

♥ How long did it take to get serious? I was ready long before he was... but define serious?

♥ Who eats more? Depends. Generally, I eat more but if Xan is in the mood, he could eat a whole grocery store and still be hungry.

♥ Who does/did the laundry? I do.

♥ Who’s better with the computer? He is

♥ Who drives when you are together? He always drives since he is the better driver unless we are driving a car belonging to one of my family members. Only then, do I drive.

So, there you have it. Feel free to ask more questions. Xan and I definitely have a unique relationship and marriage but I think it is perfect for us! I could not ask for a better husband or a better fit for me.

Getting Back on Track

I have been such a slow blogger lately. My return back to Utah and change in schedule has thrown off my blogger groove and I need to get it back. I miss staying caught up with my friend's and family's blog. I miss coming up with new things to write about. I miss reading people's comments that they leave on my post.

Quick update. I've been able to see a lot of my friends and for the most part, it has been really nice and relaxing. I miss Xan. My ADHD usually helps me in this area because I am easily distracted and I almost feel like I am in a dream. Just kind of floating around, seeing old friends, catching up on things, and just going from one day to the next. There are a few occasions where my ADHD makes me dwell and hyper-focus on the fact that he's not with me... but I just try to distract myself again. :) The internet makes things a lot easier. There's Facebook chat and Skype for phone calls. While I miss him and can't wait to get back to Iceland and be with him again, I must admit that I am still really enjoying my time here.

Xan is still hearing back from graduate schools. He's heard back from 4 so far. Here's a chart of the progress. Yes: UCLA, Berkeley, and Bloomington (Indiana). No: Yale N/A: Harvard, Hawaii, BYU, Texas A&M, and Cornell. He has decided not to apply to Sydney since they are on a different school year system and he would have to give the US schools an answer before he would find out whether he was accepted into Sydney. The application isn't even due until Spring. Berkeley has e-mailed him and asked him if he would like them to fly him out to visit the campus. I know, right? From Iceland! That visit will take place sometime in March. I hope closer schools do the same thing. Like BYU flying him out here to Provo (preferably near the end of March when I'm back in South Jordan) or Texas A&M (preferably while I am in Texas with his sister). The chances are slim, but hey! It's still fun to think about the possibility of being able to see him a bit sooner.

The only other news that I can think about at the moment is that I will be leaving for Texas this Friday. I'm really excited to see Xan's sister and her family. His parents are there visiting right now and I think we have a couple of day's overlap so I should be able to visit with them, too. I am also excited to wear shorts and flip flops. I came home to rediscover all of my cute shoes, mostly for summer use, but there were a few for the winter. It is so much fun to have variety again! I only had 2 functional pair in Iceland. One pair of black and one pair of brown sneakers. :) I think I am developing a fettish for shoes. Hopefully, I will be able to contain myself and be happy with the few various pairs I have now and not go overboard. Although, someday, I would love to have a closet of awesome shoes. But, until Xan and I start having an income and no longer live off of a loan, I must contain myself.

I have pictures from this last week that I will try to get uploaded and posted soon. Until then, I will be going through my list of blogs and catching up on everyone's news. This might take a while...

Sunday, February 8, 2009

My first week of Vacation

As my last post informed, I had a cold for the first half of the week. The good news is that my foggy head cleared on Thursday and I was able to go run all the errands that I've had to do.

On Friday, I drove down to Provo and went out with Heather, in the picture below, Brandon, and Joe. There was sushi and some great tv entertainment. It was a lot of fun to be out with my friends again that I haven't seen for a while.

Saturday afternoon, I went out with a different group of friends to Burger Supreme (awesome place!) and then they introduced me to the coolness of Sub Zero. Here is Alysa. My favorite roommate!

The kind assistant allowed me to take pictures of her making the ice cream. They put in the cream and flavors...

And then they pour nitrogen whatever onto it. (xan isn't here to ask.) LOL

It looks like a futuristic movie scene.

She mixes it all together one last time and then you get ice cream!

We enjoyed sticking our hands into the vapor. It was cold!

This is Shay with the finished product.

Feeding it to her husband, Kory.

And here is Kember and I. I haven't seen her for ages! After Sub Zero, I went to find my friend's new salon space in Lindon. She dyed my hair and gave me bangs! Love 'em! There's a better picture at the end of the blog.

After my haircut, I headed of to Hugh and Kristi's place for their annual Groundhog's Day party. We watched the movie, at goodies and caught up. From left to right, Anthony, his wife Angie, Jessica, her husband Arthur, and Ben.

Here are the hosts, Hugh and Kristi Spackman.

And as mentioned before, a better picture of my haircut. I still have to train my bangs to do what I want them to do but I hope to get the hang of it soon. :)

Next week is full of even more adventures!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Back in the States

Well, folks. I made it back to the States alive. I caught a cold while sight-seeing which thankfully waited until after I made it to my parent's house for a few hours before showing me its full force. Safe to say, I haven't really done much my first two days here. But, I am feeling a bit better today and now have to catch up! :) Let's hope I get everything done!

Update on Xan. He has been officially accepted into UCLA and Berkley. Those two were for the Scandinavian Studies program, if you recall. We are still waiting to hear from the other eight he applied to. :) He's having much better luck this year than last. Yay!