Friday, January 22, 2016

Happy birthday, Daddy-o!

Mami makes the BEST birthday cakes ever. Thanks, Madre!
And Fiona provided the vocals for Happy Birthday. Well, we didn't make her do a solo, but she does have the best voice.

Dear Daddy,

First off, I love you. TONS.
Second, Grammy told/emailed me some CUTE stories about you as a young-un. Let's see...you were climbing waaay before you could walk. You loved to tease and play games. You were an excellent reader. of course And one time you dragged Grammy out of the kitchen to show her the sunset, saying it was BEE-YOU-TEE-FUL! Awwww I hope that my kids are just like you. And since Josh, Diego, me, Fiona, and Thomas are just like you and Mom...the odds (genes) are definitely in my favor so there's hope for the future. yay! 
I'm so lucky you are my dad. Thanks for being the best dad ever for me and my siblings. Thanks for being my go-to guy for answers to just about every topic under the sun including the sun. You are so knowledgeable and wise and frugal and I want you to know that your family greatly appreciates you.

Con mucho amor,
Monica
(your daughter who also loves sunsets)
P.S. Props to Diego for remembering both Mom's and Dad's birthday! I was very impressed when he called. 
I mean, I remembered to call too when I was in Provo. but that may have just been because I called Mom like every other day regardless of special occasions...

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Currently...

 
 singing. yo-yoing. legos. Pippin the puppy. roscas. and rose-colored glasses.

 Do you know how hard it is to take a picture of a squirmy dog? Or do his hair? Believe me, it's tough.






Speaking of rose-colored glasses...I got new glasses recently! And I absolutely love them. Which is a first for me. I usually do not like how I look with glasses at all. But I'm more confident in my own skin now. Case in point: I haven't worn makeup at all (except Sundays) for two weeks. And these purple specs are so ME. So I'm definitely a fan.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

lol

I love laughing. It's one of my favorite things. The other day I went on a date with someone who is easy to talk to and is really funny. I was smiling and laughing so much that when I got home, my cheeks hurt. It was a good time.
Also, right before my date, I went out with the Spanish sister missionaries to do some visits. On our way to the Foothills, Sister G went a liiittle too fast and the thing (that talks and keeps all the missionaries in check while they're driving) kept saying, "please check your speed."
Sister L told Sister G not to get mad at it because she heard that one of the elders started yelling at it one time and it reported him for "aggressive driving."
Remember: Don't drive angry. DON'T DRIVE ANGRY. Please tell me you can name that movie. 
P.S. I'm so excited to be a missionary. Living in Provo for two years and being surrounded by RMs (including both my parents and my older brother), I've been exposed to TONS of missionary stories and missionary advice and mission prep classes, etc.
So I'm really excited to finally serve my own mission. I can hardly wait. I am so happy that I'll be able to converse fluently in Spanish and grow (so much and in so short a time) in the gospel and learn to love the people of Argentina. I know that I will need to rely on God constantly. I look forward to all of it. The ups and downs and funny stories and challenges and spiritual growth and wearing Christ's name on my chest. Just - all of it.

tangent: I don't use "lol" when texting. I just don't like it. Hmm maybe when I return home from my mission I'll use "jaja"...WEIRD. 

SO...for my future entertainment and yours now: here's a collection of funny stuff that's happened this past week.

~ Background - Thomas went to a friend's birthday party yesterday at Wild River. This was our exchange with him when he got home.
Tommy: I went bowling! It was so fun! And I was a winner!
Us: Why were you a winner?
Tommy: I ate 4 pieces of pizza! Nobody else did that!
Us: "Ayayayay" (Mami); "Oh, Thomas!" (Fiona); "That's right, he did!" (Daddy); "Woot woot, good work!" (that was me)
I, for one, am very proud that he has a future in food-eating contests over bowling.

~ Background - I had just swiped another piece of rosca from the bread table and proceeded to eat it with a glass of milk at the dinner table. My dad calls out to me from the kitchen.
Daddy: Monica, it's really nice having you home again...I didn't want to eat all the rosca by myself.
I was on like - my fifth piece...maybe...glad I can be of service hehe

~ Background - We've been on a parks and rec kick lately. It's not a kids show at all, but Tommy pretends that he likes it. And he has also been coming up with his own jokes and puns lately. It's super fun watching as he develops his own sense of humor.
Tommy: What happens when a slide is removed from a park?
Us: What happens?
Tommy: Parks and WRECK.
hahahaha that kid is GOOD.

~ Background - Mom and I went to the grocery store and dropped by the gas station. First, she forgot that our new car has the gas tank on the right side. Normal. Because it's weird that it's different. So we laughed about it. THEN she also forgot to turn off the car.
So I laugh, turn off the car, and tease her nicely, of course. about her forgetfulness and age (her birthday was recent so she's a year older and wiser now...)
Her response: Es porque tu estas conmigo. ¡Me vuelvas loca!
She loves me so much I make her crazy.

~ I was texting my older brother...
See? He admits it. He does need me.

~ Try making videos and playing with snapchat with a little kid by your side. It's very entertaining. Tommy's favorite is the fast-forward filter. Hilarious stuff. 
No videos, but here are some pictures of this goofball. 

I love my family.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Dear Mami,

Happy birthday!!! I am so blessed to have you as my mom. You have taught me so much and I am still learning all I can from you. I know that being a mom can be the hardest job in the world sometimes, but you rock at it. Thanks for being the best momma ever, for me and Josh and Diego and Fiona and Thomas and those two little ones in heaven. We all love you so much and are so grateful for your incredible love for us. 
I started tearing up just writing this, Mami. You and Dad are the reason that I have always had such a strong testimony about families and about temples. Because I want to be with you guys for eternity and I know that is made possible by the gospel of Jesus Christ. Gracias por tu ejemplo y tu amor. ¡Te quiero con todo mi corazon!

Love,
Monica



Monday, January 11, 2016

Hide-and-go-seek

Always a family favorite. I think it was probably THE most common FHE activity when we were young'uns.

Today, on the last round, Fiona was the seeker. She counted to 25..."23, 24, 25, ready or not, here I come!"
I hid myself in a super easy-to-find hiding spot. Behind a bedroom door. She came down the hallway and found a couple people. Then I heard her footsteps come into the room I was in. It was dark. I couldn't help it.
So I made my brothers proud. I bet the neighbors heard her bloodcurdling scream. you still love me though, right? Everyone in my family knows - usually I'M the one who is the victim of a scare, not the culprit. But Josh and Diego aren't home anymore, and someone had to do it. After all, these are acts of love. And everyone laughs about it later.

L I V E ~ L A U G H ~ L O V E

Isn't that what life is all about?









Sunday, January 10, 2016

Mad Skillz

We discovered that Thomas is the world's greatest Star Wars sound effect creator. So we wanted to capture his sound effects on video and share them. That way we will always remember how skilled he was at only seven years old.

Friday, January 8, 2016

MTC Report Date

SECOND UPDATE: Welp, I'm reporting to the Missionary Training Center on March 9th now. It's been changed before (from March 23rd to the 30th), but this time was really different. My stake president called me and told me I had the option to go either March 9th or April 20th (because of my proficiency in Spanish). So I made a few phone calls and thought about it for a bit and then decided...I want to go as soon as possible. That's what my gut has been telling me to do ever since I finally made the decision to serve a mission. So, Provo, I'm coming for you in 2 months. And Argentina, shortly after that! Woot woot!

Hermana Huston, Argentina Buenos Aires West Mission
AH!
I AM SO EXCITED.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Parks & Rec

(it's a great show)
FHE tonight: park, pizza, The Age of Adaline, and favorite scripture sharing time.

Tommy - 1 Nephi 18:23 
(he really likes the story of Nephi building the ship and journeying to the promised land with his familia.)
Fiona - Jacob 3:1
Me - Alma 26:12
Mami - 2 Nephi 32:3
Daddy - 1 Nephi 3:7



                                                        January, 4th, 2016.
                      It was rebuilt because it was burnt down in an act of arson.

Yesterday we face-timed Grammy!

P.S. Don't forget to sing!

This is random, everything I blog about is random but I found out that apparently there is a "Mexican" way to wash dishes. It's also the best way, just sayin.
My mom has always done this and I thought it was common knowledge, but apparently not everyone has this way of washing dishes by hand. See that white and green tub to the right of the water faucet? That's full of soapy water. You have the dirty dishes in the right half of the sink and you wash them (using the soapy water).Then you transfer them to the left side, where they are rinsed and then placed on the drying rack.
In case you wanted to know...that's how it's done.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

The Lord Works in Mysterious Ways


Yesterday, my mom and I drove three hours to Gilbert. We delivered homemade tamales (my mom makes the BEST TAMALES EVER. Seriously I've tried various tamales and the only ones that I've REALLY liked are my Mom's) to Mama Rush and talked with her and her husband for awhile. They are wonderful people and they raised a wonderful family. I'm so grateful Kristi was my roommate in college.
Then we went to the temple. I love being able to go through the temple with my momma.
Afterwards, we ate food at Sam's Club and then drove home. (We stopped in Gila Bend for ice cream.Woot woot!)
Note to self: when you are a mom and you are buying food anywhere, remember the people at home. (When we were ordering food, my mom decided to buy a whole pizza, that way we could take leftovers home to the the rest of the fam. Fiona especially, LOVES pizza. She's like Selena Quintanilla. (If you don't know who that is, go look up the song Amor Prohibido or Como La Flor or Bidi Bidi Bom Bom or No Me Queda Más.)

The point of telling this story is to share that there is power that comes from doing good.
I woke up at 6am this morning and I remembered my dream. In my dream, things that occurred this last summer were being brought to my recollection and somehow, I was organizing a talk in my head as I slept. It was the WEIRDEST thing. I mean, I've come up with talk ideas in some unconventional settings before (like during runs), but I've never done it LITERALLY unconsciously before.
So I woke up, got out of bed, and began writing down everything that came to my mind. And now I have a pretty good start to my farewell talk, which I won't have to give for another three months. So I'm pumped that I already have a good basis for it. I'm sure I'll be able to tie in my ideas with whatever speaking topic I'm assigned. I feel so prepared and I love it. Woohoo! That is what I get for going to the temple yesterday.

Oh, another example of a blessing in my life recently, is the part-time job I just got. Originally I didn't have a plan for what I was gonna do here at home for THREE MONTHS before my mission. It was a problem. I was just gonna hang out with my family and do some baby-sitting. But then, a miracle happened and I got a job at a dental office as a receptionist. It's all thanks to a lady in my ward (she was one of my favorite seminary teachers EVER) who offered me the job because she needed someone to help out temporarily since one of her office managers is undergoing chemotherapy.
All I can say is...Heavenly Father works in mysterious ways.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Eliza Kaye

Happy happy birthday to this beautiful human being!!!

Throw-back to our camp counselor days.
Since this was only after one week of being acquainted with each other, we're obviously kindred spirits. 
FACT: Eliza loves everyone. She is so genuine and so good. I hope she enjoys her birthday very much. Because she deserves the best.  
Thanks for being so awesome, Eliza. I love you and you are totes go-lo. Never forget it.

Friday, January 1, 2016

ROADTRIP

Right after Joshy and I finished our finals, we drove all night and met up with the fam in Snowflake. Then, we drove through New Mexico, Texas, and Oklahoma to get to Kansas, where we stayed for our first couple nights. (Well, Mom and Dad drove this long stretch because they rented a van. So Josh and I didn't have to take turns driving because it wasn't allowed.)
A&W root beer in ICE COLD glass mugs is BOMB.




                
I discovered a love for children's pop-up books.

Hustons always keep their promises.
Elder Huston wrote the Taylors this note and it stayed on their fridge for a year and a half before he got off his mission and was able to fulfill it. And we introduced them to the Tim Tam Slam. Woot woot!







 We joined in on their Christmas tradition of opening a present (a book) and reading it every night leading up to Christmas. Tommy did the honors.

I don't have a picture for this, but I need to mention it. Joe's Kansas City Barbecue (formerly OK Joe's) is AMAZING. Their spicy barbecue sauce is the best sauce I've ever had and I now have a new standard for ribs too.

   
We visited the mission office and met Josh's mission president, who wanted to take a picture with Josh. I loved hearing people thank my brother for his service and tell my mom and dad they should be so proud of him. We are ALL so happy and so proud of him. 






 











 Fiona was amazed by this toy. Have you ever seen one before? They are pretty cool.

We look the same.

 The Visitor's Center

Right across from the LDS Temple Site is this spiral building. I actually don't know if it's a temple or a church, but it's owned by the Community of Christ. Interesting architecture huh.


We had Thai food courtesy of one of Joshy's investigators. He was very kind and fed us a ton of food and he told us a bit of his story. He and his family had to leave Burma and live in a Thailand refugee camp for years before he was able to come to the United States and help members of his family gain their own freedom too.


This is another member family that we met. They fed us spaghetti and bolillos and gelatina.
By the end of that day, I was STUFFED.




Having all boys is Josh's dream.

 
We also visited Liberty Jail and talked with the sister missionaries that were there. It was really cool to feel the Spirit present there.




 I love Nativity scenes.





Next stop:
 

 










 












I could tell the families and the people we visited genuinely loved Josh and he loved them. And I know that love brought them all closer to Christ. I look forward to experiencing that on my mission.

 














We stopped to play at this park once or twice.
Isn't it beautiful??



Our last stop was the Callahans. They sing like angels.
Check it out:
It was so fun to sing with them. I think we ended up singing every Christmas hymn in the hymn book. Apparently whenever Elder Huston would eat dinner with them on his mission, they would sing too. It was wonderful.
 
We were very blessed this trip. The weather was perfect traveling weather the entire time. (And the very next week there were tornados and snow storms and floods in the states that we had just been in.) We did get a flat tire once, but my dad and Josh fixed it in a jiffy. We were very grateful to Heavenly Father for our safe travels.  


So. Much. Time. In a car.
Ew.



Then Christmas at Grammy's. Tommy is the only one who got presents from Santa. The rest of us got one thing from Grammy and we got to travel. It was a little different than previous Christmases, but it was stellar. We got to experience all the highs of a mission because we got to eat good food, and feel the Spirit, and we had a very high success rate with the people we visited. It was wonderful.

When we visited more relatives, Mom was a big hit with the baby. She always is. #bestmomaward

 Isn't Easton such a cutie??


Then we drove HOME home.
  
That was a great roadtrip. So many good memories.

P.S. Fun fact: Joshy and his comp broke the all-time record for number of proselyting materials handed out in one month in the Missouri Independence Mission. 
Previous record: 329 
New Record: 401 
Yeeeeeeah!