Tag: birthdays

35 and Sundance

So I am writing you all as a 35 year old woman.  I know in the grand scheme of things it isn’t old but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t feel old.  I still feel like the same old person I was in my 20s and here I am 35!  How did this happen? 🙂

Well, I ended up having a really fun 35th birthday.  I was worried because I had been sick all week (as I reported a few days ago).  But I tried to rest up and was feeling mostly better for my birthday.  It was a good thing because I had a great experience and a unique opportunity for my birthday.

A few weeks ago Morgan over at Rotoscopers.com asked if I would be willing to represent their website at a screening for a film at the Sundance Film Festival.  I had always wanted to go to Sundance but I didn’t know they had a Sundance Kids section.  Now I will totally be going every year!  She said I could see the film and then have a chance to interview the creators afterwards.

I jumped at the chance but was also very nervous about the interview portion.  I’ve never done an interview before and worried I wouldn’t have professional enough questions.   The movie is called Snowtime and I will save my review for rotoscopers.com but I really did enjoy the film.  It’s a sweet little story about kids playing in the snow.  It reminded me of the Peanuts Movie quite a bit, which I loved.   Here’s a trailer for the film:

So I did my homework and came up with some questions that I ran by some friends who had done that kind of thing before.  I also had my camera, phone to record the interview and notepad ready to go!

The big ticket

Waiting in line for the show to start

Dog Cleo from the movie was there

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Then I saw the film and enjoyed it and they did a Q and A afterwards where the kids in the audience asked great questions.  This helped relieve my nerves a little bit.  I figured if little kids could do it, so could I! 🙂

So, I was rushed into a little green room area and I met with director Francois Brisson and producer Marie-Claude Beauchamp.  I got to ask questions for about 5 minutes and I think I did pretty well.  I will pass the link on to you guys when I get the interview written up for Rotoscopers.com.  It was so fascinating to learn about the behind the scenes of an animated film- even a small scale animated film like this one.  I enjoyed hearing about their inspiration and how they came up with different elements of the design and story.

It ended up being a really cool experience and a great way to spend my birthday.  I finished the day with a quiet dinner with one of my best friends also named Rachel.  I had tons of love shown my way, which I greatly appreciate it and heard from many of my family and friends.  I am so blessed.

I hope 35 is one of the best years yet!!

32 on 23rd

So today was my birthday and it was a great day!  As if written by a screenwriter I got a text from the builder today “Looks like your Birthday mojo has paid off and we are FHA approved!”.  Can you believe it? It’s my birthday and we get the approval!!! What a present

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I am SOOOOOO excited.  There are no words.  I am just thrilled.  So I contacted the mortgage broker and they are starting the underwriting, title, finalizing processes to get to the closing. They told me there is a 50/50 chance of closing on Friday! That means I could have a house by the end of the week!  Wahoo!

I probably won’t move until next week because the deed has to be transferred and everything else but who knows.  I could start Saturday.  Either way it is happening and the waiting game is almost over.

So what a great way to start off my birthday!

The rest of the day proved to be wonderful with a bit of a hiccup at the end but it was great.

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Good morning lazy Rachel. Took the day off work to enjoy!
at house
After getting the news went over to house to take a look and check out the new closets
basement closet
basement closet.
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my pretty master closet.
garage
garage storage
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Then I met up with Anna and we went for a cake testing for my cake at my birthday/housewarming party on February 8th. The ladies were so sweet. I really enjoyed talking with them and the cake!
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This is their inspiration for my cake. I’ve always wanted to do a custom cake so I figured why not and Up is my favorite movie so it is perfect. It will be super good and they say even better than this one. They said this one was sloppy. 🙂
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Anna and I at a cake testing. Yum!
waiting for car
Then we were going to go for a big dinner but after my voice lessons the car stalled and we spent about 2 hours getting it jumped and a new battery installed.

So that was my birthday.  Even though I didn’t open a single present it will definitely go down as one of the best.  Plus, I got a call from nieces singing me happy birthday and lots of well wishes on facebook and texts (the grandest use of facebook if you ask me).

Maybe the next entry to this blog will be on closing and moving!  Wouldn’t that be cool!

31 Year Old Breakdown

I’m afraid I’ve got insomnia tonight so to the blog I go…

So as all my facebook friends are aware I had a mini-meltdown today. (ps.  I take facebook status’s as just that the status of my life, good, bad, happy, sad, whatever.  I know others don’t look at it that way but I chose to be this real in my social media interactions).  It has been a long week with lots of work hours, and not as much exercising as I would like.  In addition, this Sunday is my last Sunday in my ward, which makes me sad and freaks me out, but also on Monday is my 31st birthday.  How you ask could a 31st birthday be worse than a 30th?  Well, last year I had just fallen down a flight of stairs and was in great pain/drugged up on my birthday. So, this is the first functioning birthday of my 30s.

Anyway, let me tell you about my ward change first.   For those outside of the Mormon church we have several sectioned off wards (congregations) to suit certain language needs and lifestyles.  For example, there are Spanish wards to help people who speak Spanish to attend and understand church.  There is also what they call YSA Wards (Young Single Adults).   This includes any person unmarried 17-31 (can be divorced.  Usually if you have kids you are encouraged to go to a family ward because YSA wards do not have a primary for little one’s).

I have been in YSA wards since I was 17 years old and at the time the idea of turning 31 and ‘graduating’ out of the singles wards seemed impossible and yet here it is.  This April I am helping to plan our 10 year BYU College Graduation Reunion.  10 years since I finished at BYU.  It boggles the mind.   To me it is a little scary- what did I do with that time?  Did I do the right things?  Is God happy with my efforts? I believe that He is and that knowledge is very comforting.

I look back at my life and wonder in those 10 years did I do enough to help people, to serve others, to mentor children?  Sometimes I’m envious of teachers because they have written into their job professions opportunities to nurture future generations.  Working from home I have limited interactions with other people, limited chances to mentor.  I’d like to find something to volunteer for but haven’t come across the right thing for me.  I’d love to work with Big Brother’s Big Sisters but the closest one is in Salt Lake.  If anyone knows of a teen that could use a big sister send them my way.  I’d love it!

Anyway, today I started thinking about the next 10 years.  What are the 30’s?  The 20’s are so clear- college, mission, grad school, work etc.  30s are much harder to define.  What are the big accomplishments for a single girl in her 30s? Its honestly hard for me to come up with a list.  With no big things coming it is easy to ask the question- has all the big stuff happened or if it didn’t happen, should it have happened?  Is the game for big stuff over?

This left me feeling sad.  As a single LDS woman how does my life matter?  How do I contribute to the world?  What would be the lesser because I’m not here?  I do not have anyone who needs me for physical survival such as a young baby needs her mother; nor, am I a teacher who gets to influence many children and make a difference.   There are a few people that need me for emotional and other support.  My Dad told me yesterday that ‘he leans on me more than almost anyone else in his life’.  That meant a lot to me.  Its nice to feel needed.

My Dad also said ‘I know if you were gone there would be a lot of people grieving at your funeral and I think that says something’.  It is comforting to think about ways you’ve helped people and added value to their lives.  (Not that I’m dying or anything, friends.  Just an example).

This is going to sound like such a pity plea but oh well-  If any of you would mind sharing a way I have contributed to your life  it would be the best birthday present I can think of.  I would love it.

I know I can do better but I also know for sure that the Lord is happy with my life.  If I try my best he will fill these 30 years with excitement, adventure and moments that matter.

I must admit diving into this new huge mid-singles branch with nearly 600 people freaks me out.  I’m just so happy in my little ward family and I love being Sunday school teacher.  Its sad to see a change but as it is in the Lord’s hands I am sure it will be change with blessings at the end of it.  It might not be easy but it will work out.   I am so grateful that my friend Stefanie is going to join in! She is awesome and we’ve been friends since 2005. It will be so nice to have a kindred spirit to share this big new adventure with.  Hurray!

I also am no longer considered young by my church- rude! 🙂

How do you get through your 30s?  What worries you about growing older?  Do you ever fret about your legacy or lack of one? Do you worry that your life doesn’t matter like you hoped it would? I have felt all of these emotions and asked each of these questions and I am a mere work in progress at this point!

I found this quote by President Hinckley that gave me a lot of comfort (as he always did.  I miss President Hinckley sometimes). President Hinckley said  it best when asked about his legacy:

“I don’t know and I don’t care! That’s not my concern. I’m not trying to build some legacy of some kind. I’m just trying to move the work forward the best way I know how. And as I believe the Lord would have it move forward. And let the future take care of itself.” 🙂

I hope I can follow his counsel and keep moving forward with whatever the Lord puts in my path.  I am positive that will lead to peace and a recognition as a good and faithful servant  in the hereafter.

Roommate Reunion and Ingrid Michaelson

I have mentioned on this blog that my current roommate is my 30th.  Over the years I have shared apartments with 30 different women.  They have each taught me much and almost all have been positive experiences.  That said- some have risen to the top and become life-long friends while a few more have made an indelible impact on my life.  In my fantasy life I would live minutes away from all these special friends.  We would swap recipes, watch each other’s kids and be there for hugs and comfort.  Sadly most of them live away from Utah (and even the one’s that do have a life.  Afterall, we aren’t living in a Norman Rockwell painting!).  Still, my heart yearns for the friends I do not regularly see.  I miss them and wish they were here.

Lately I have felt a little lonely so you can imagine my excitement over a recent trip to California for a ROOMMATE REUNION!  One of my most prized friends/former roommates Emily Alvillar Whitman came to my sister Megan’s in Palo Alto, California and I joined her.  The three of us then had a lovely weekend of reminiscing and catching up.  It was very nice of Megan to host and allow us to sleep on her coach! The weekend was simple- nothing too flashy- but it was great to reconnect with an old friend.  Plus, I got to spend time with Megan and her family.  Seth was very nice to watch the girls so the three of us could go to San Francisco for the day. (Thanks Seth!).  We went to all the sites Golden Gate Park and Bridge, Chinatown, Piers etc.  Emily got some jewelry and we converted a magnet into a keepsake ornament to help us remember the trip.

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On Sunday we enjoyed spending time with my family for my grandma Wagner’s birthday party.  She is such a wonderful woman and loving example in my life.  I will have to write an entire post about her someday.  Emily was a good sport and seemed to enjoy herself at our family party (sometimes being at someone else’s family function can be awkward.  Thanks Emily!).

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On Monday it began to rain and then Tuesday it was torrential downpour.  I don’t think I have ever seen it rain so much in Northern California.   It was so bad that on Tuesday the rain made the battery short out while driving Emily to the airport (after visiting the temple).  We ended up putting Emily in a yellow cab and then Seth came to my rescue.  Hopefully the car won’t sustain any permanent damage.  If it does I will feel awful.

We made some cute crafts on Monday.  I am a volunteer for festival of trees and as such we are each responsible for creating 8 gifts that can be sold at the festival.  For my gift I am making long sleeve t-shirts with Christmas symbols on them.  I hope they turn out ok.  It’s kind of complicated how you make them but basically you cut out a stencil out of freezer paper and then you iron on the paper to the front and back of the shirt.  Then you pain the shirt with textile paint.  Once the paint has dried you set the paint with the iron.  If any of you have cute and inexpensive craft ideas for the festival let me know.  It has to be something that does not require sewing or knitting.

Anyway, it was a wonderful trip and I hope we do it again.  It is important to reconnect with friends. You never know when you will need them or they will need you.  I believe that people are put in our lives for a reason and that we will be accountable if we throw people aside as if they are worth nothing.  Relationships are worth sacrificing for and certainly worth preserving.  Why is I seem to be in the minority in this view?  It seems so logical to me!

One last comment is on Friday I went to hear Ingrid Michaelson sing at a concert in Salt Lake.  She was a great performer with a beautiful voice.  What made it more exciting is the tickets were only $15 plus fees!  Anna and I went and it made me all the more grateful that she is here.  I’m so glad that we are not only sisters but that we have so many common interests- even enjoy the same concerts.  I am sure the time will come when she is busier with friends and school but for the moment we are spending a lot of time together and I love it!  The only downside to the concert is it was standing room only. With my foot condition it is hard for me to stand for hours (I told Anna that I am not as young as I used to be! I’m too old for this stuff!).  I am not sure how I am going to get through the Regina Spektor concert at the same venue but somehow I will figure it out.  It is worth it to see such amazing talent and spend time with my sister.  I can’t wait to hear Regina sing!

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Anna’s Present

I know it is not good to brag about oneself, but let me just say I can be a great present giver.  In fact,  a few years ago my brother claimed I was a bad present giver and I made sure to give him the best present ever- nice strategy Ben! Maybe it is because I don’t have that many presents to give, being single, but I treat it as kind of a game to win or lose at.  My dad was always a hard one to buy presents for (and still is) and so I learned to probe deep for ideas and to try to give from the heart. I have a long track record of giving the best bridal and baby shower gifts- including the longest ahhh! at all of the baby showers I attend (trust me, if you are having a baby then you want me at your shower!).

This last month I was faced with a gift giving dilemma.  What to get my about to go to college sister Anna. She and I are very similar, and she is coming out here to BYU (my Alma mater!). Naturally,  a number of possible gifts such as gift certificates to the theater or a cookbook came to mind.  I also thought of things for her apartment, to help study, or a keyboard practice music on.  All of these gifts would have been fine, but I wanted something more personal.  As is natural, she has been somewhat stressed-out about the beginning of college (even though I know she will do amazingly well).  It is a big change, and as I very well know big changes are scary.  It means saying goodbye to some family, her high school friends and California. (although, she pretends like she is dying which is not true either.  What drama!) I began to think- what could I give her that might be comforting and provide real guidance? Then it came to me- a survival book, full of the advice  I would have wanted when I was in college!

I gathered materials and made the book out of 5 by 7 scrapbooking cardstock and then printed out all kinds of quotes, study tips, Provo restaurant recommendations, coupons for meals/rides/clean room, suggestions such as attending BYU athletics and more.  It ended up being 24 laminated pages with a binding and stickers as illustrations.  Of course, I ended the book with a letter of congratulations and encouragement.  She’s such an awesome sister, and I feel privileged to know her.  In many ways she makes me feel complete and understood in my family- something I often didn’t always feel while growing up (does any teenager?).  I love chatting with her, getting excited about David Archuleta, singing our favorite Broadway songs and giggling over the Office, Glee or some other show.  I am so grateful for all she does for me, and I hope my little present actually helps increase her happiness while at school and provide real concrete guidance when she struggles.  It will be like having her big sister in her pocket whenever she need’s it.  (Of course, I will be here in real life as well- just around the corner- despensing hugs, laughs and sister-filled fun). Good luck!

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