Wednesday, December 29, 2010

take you pop to work day

It was too precious, today my dad came to work with me today. Ever since I got the job, he kept saying he wanted to see exactly where I work, exactly what I do. He was a little surprised that he never went to the Archives, the research side that is, before even though his building is so close. So we finally chose a date & time for the grand tour. We met outside & I guided him through security, getting a research ID, and the lockers. Then we ventured to the main research area upstairs & it was awesome being able to show him exactly what I did & put a visual to everything I described when I first started working there. He was blown away by the beauty of the building itself & all the intricacies. Fortunately, he was able to meet most of my co-workers & could finally put a face to so many of the names I would talk about & describe. Afterwards, we went to Potbelly's for lunch-man I love that place! I thought it was so awesome ate there, because thats where we went on my first day at the Archives. Funny how things make a full circle, as today is almost my last day. I love my dad, especially how he supports me & genuinely cares about all my endeavors. It has surely been a pleasure commuting with each other for these past few months.

Sunday, December 26, 2010


The much anticipated day where its expected to stay in jammies all day & leave wrapping paper everywhere. The season of egg nog, christmas parties, hot cocoa, snowmen, ice skating, candy & cookies out the wazoo, jolly st.nick, gifts, snow, and a season of joy & giving. I love Christmas. Friends at work couldn't believe I had a playlist with 636 christmas songs. what can I say? I really enjoy my 6 different versions of "winter wonderland." Every christmas, my family & I delight in watching Home Along & our all time favorite Jingle All The Way. Such a hilarious movie with so many great quotes.
 I really enjoyed seeing this crazy bunch home for winter break

This Christmas season I loved the jenny oaks baker concert & the messiah sing-along my family went to. There really is no place like home for the holidays. I asked for the gift of checking in luggage for when I fly out to college & on the big day I gave my family a webcam so we could have splendid skype dates. And it SNOWED! magical.

I love this video. cutest nativity ever.

I hope everyone had a very merry christmas, it really is the most wonderful time of the year! 

Thursday, December 23, 2010

messiah sing-along

After work today, my dad & I met up with the rest of the fam that had been waiting for a few hours to get tickets for the Messiah Sing-Along. The Kennedy Center has it every year & apparently we've gone before, but this is the first time I remember it. After awhile of indulging in subway, waiting, and chatting, we got to out second row seats & anticipated the great concert. It was wonderful. There is something about music instruments around the holidays that make everything so magical. I didn't really know what to expect, but was looking forward to singing christmas carols, some Jingle Bell Rock & Joy to the World. Nothing like that at all. People around us broke out in their opera voices to songs like "But Who May Abide" & "For Unto Us." My favorite song that we sung was definitely "Hallelujah." So much power & intensity. In between the audience singing, there were a few legit soloists who made us look really bad. One was a male, but sung as a soprano-that was interesting. One of the conductors was great & always motioned when we were supposed to stand & sing and after to sit. However, the other one looked crazy waving his arms violently around & neglected to let us know when we were supposed to sing. It was a magnificent night, I am so thankful for wonderful music.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Jenny Oaks Baker

Every year, I look forward to going to the Festival of Lights at the Washington DC Temple Visitors' Center around Christmastime. They are so gorgeous and helps you get in the Christmas spirit & there's always great programs & lots of great activities. Today, we went to see Jenny Oaks Baker & the Winterland Folk Ensemble. She's really talented & quite popular, there was even a long line outside the visitors' center to get inside. Slightly reminded me of black friday, but wasn't that bad. We all went to make the 7pm concert, but it was already filled up. However, we were second in line to see the 8pm concert. Boy was it worth the wait! We loved our deluxe third row seats. She performed fantastic celtic-influenced Christmas songs & I was blown away with how beautiful it was to hear. It was amazing to see her three little ones come on stage with their little instruments and perform so wonderfully! 


amor verdadero

Today marks my parents' 23rd anniversary. I think they were made for each other. They both talk non-stop & compliment the others' quirks and personality. It was funny watching their wedding tape and seeing how they both still have the same laugh and smile. For their anniversary date, they went to see South Pacific, one of my mom's favorite plays, at the Kennedy Center. so precious. happy anniversary mom & dad!

Friday, December 17, 2010

stuffing by the sea

With the big return & reunion, we headed down to Myrtle Beach for Thanksgiving together. It was our first family vacation with everyone, since our trip to Spain. We were very fortunate to have 75 º weather all week long. While the ocean water was very cold, I loved walking on the beautiful sand everyday & getting some sun. Some of my favorite parts of the trip-

Hunter teaching us how to make fried chicken


broadway at the beach.
I met up with a good friend of mine & we had a marvelous time mini golfing in some mayan pyramids, exploring broadway, and enjoying some delicious DQ blizzards. I'm so bad at putt putt, but its still always so much fun.


I am so grateful for-
my crazy family
new friends
old friends
a healthy body
the gospel
sunday naps
cold water
my primary class
the metro
my job
book of mormon
AND a delicious Thanksgiving dinner together.

black friday.
We strategically planned our shopping extravaganza and set out on our adventure at 11:30pm, Thanksgiving day and didn't return until 11:30am friday. Thats right, we shopped for 12 hours straight. We went to two outlets, target, a local mall, wal-mart, and costco. I got a few really nice things at ann taylor loft, some great gap finds, and a new camera at target. That place was INSANE. Lines wrapped around the store and at 4am I didn't appreciate boxes being poked into my back while standing in a line for an hour. But it was totally worth it. I don't want to go shopping anytime soon.

family photographs.

I love chasing the seagulls

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

boody is back

Five weeks ago today my older brother, Hunter, returned home from his mission. He served a full-time two year mission in the California Roseville mission-right near sacramento. Its difficult to describe exactly how excited and thrilled we were to reunite and have the boody clan back together again! I don't think anyone was more psyched than my mom was. She started a countdown when he had 150 days left and got more & more anxious as the days started flying from 50 to 5. It was such an anticipated day for us because during these two years, we've only talked with him four times on the phone, on christmas & mother's day-in addition to the weekly e-mails and letters back and forth. We were able to meet two families that he got to know very well that visited the D.C. area, which was awesome. He could send stuff back with them & we were comforted knowing how well he was being looked after. I am so proud of my big bro. He's always been a wonderful example to me, but even more while he was in CA. I am so thankful that he could have so many excellent experiences and strengthened so many people. An amazing family that we know really well were so kind & were able to see him twice, and surprised him at his last Sacrament meeting as a missionary in California.

The day he returned, November 9th, we ran all over the place getting ready. Yellow ribbon on the trees, "welcome home" banner, balloons, ice cream cake, and posters made. In all of our rushing around, we got to the airport a tad late. On the way, his friend called and asked if we were close-they had been promptly waiting at the airport for half an hour. I wish we were better organized & had been waiting for him, but what do you expect with seven people dashing to get into our sunday best and being so excited? We finally arrived & saw his flight had landed, but no baggage claim had been assigned. We met up with the buds, Piero & Brian, and stood around idly while waiting for the other caravan to park. I double-checked the board with all the flights & noticed a baggage claim was assigned. Adrenaline rushed through my head while Grant, Rex, Mckay, and I ran to the claim. There standing with his luggage at the empty carousel was the much anticipated Hunter. I was quite confused. We were the ones who were supposed to be waiting, with the signs and balloons in hand, not the other way around. What happened was that his flight landed, the one time it would've been wonderful to arrive late. There at baggage, were Pierro & Brian to meet the missionary. "Hey guys, where's my family?" haha oops. Regardless, it was incredible seeing him! He looked taller, and his voice & even laugh seemed a bit different. I think the biggest shock to him was how big Grant was. He was only four when Hunter left and all of the sudden he's this big six year old boy who reads, writes, and says the most adorable things. Clark also really seemed older and is slightly taller. 

Straight from the airport, we headed to our stake center where we met with the Stake President. It was incredible hearing Hunter bear his testimony to us and to spiritually see how much he's grown. Afterwards, he officially got released from being a full-time suit-and-tie missionary. Once we got home, we marveled at his enormous tie collection & his super nice new Nikon camera. It was funny how we followed him around the house, curious as to where he was going & what he was bringing out to show us. We broke out the ice cream cake & enjoyed it with our Aunt, Uncle, and cousins that stopped by. Its like getting to know someone all over again, we talked and talked while looking through hundreds of photographs to select what ones to show at seminary the next morning. We got so caught up in everything that he didn't get to bed until 3:30am, wednesday. Just an hour and a half later, we all somehow woke up & headed to early-morning seminary where Hunter & another missionary talked about their experiences. He spoke first, with the California flag and posters from he previous night displayed. I listened intently as he described all the people he got to know & his favorite things about his mission, accompanied with pictures. Those first two days home were crazy busy.
On Sunday, after a few days to settle back home, he spoke in Sacrament meeting at church. It was similar to speaking at seminary, but in more depth. I cried with joy, but also loved when he was describing how much he loves his family and the appreciation for all the support and when he especially thanked my mom. He said, "mom, thanks for your letters each week, although some things I could care less about." During several of Clark & Rex's basketball games, she would report the score every few minutes and the points they would make. She is  one of the most supportive people I know & made good friends with the mailmen at the post office. Good friends & more of our extended family were able to come and welcome him home. 

It has been wonderful to have Hunter back home and the way that he brings us all together. He's helped us realize how much more we need to share responsibilities in keeping a family of eight sane & more organized. We've tried to help out with chores more and the phrase "step up" is echoed throughout the day. He's working like a mad man & loves exercising during his lunch break. His mission has made him a better brother, man, son, and future father. I am so grateful for missionaries and all the dedication, time, and love they put into their work.

Monday, December 13, 2010

working girl in the city

Today marks my 16th week of working at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. woah has the time flown by! In the middle of August, my friend Audrey asked if I was interested in a Research Assistant position where she worked over the summer. Needless to say, I was, and she forwarded my resume to her supervisor.  The interview went splendidly and I got the job! My supervisor, Karla, briefly told me about the union research I was going to be doing and the logistics of working for the Center of Economic Population. Most people get confused by the two Archives entrances, the Research side is on Pennsylvania Avenue, where I work. And the side that has the Declaration of Independence and many other important documents, is on Constitution Avenue. Also, on display is a rad civil war exhibit that our team checked out. I guess that makes sense, the Constitution exhibit on Constitution. My friends got a little confused when telling them I work at the Archives, so I started calling it "the non-nicolas cage entrance." 

My first day was August 23rd, amidst the humid city weather. Everyday, I have to go through security and show my research card before going upstairs to the main research area. All of the security guards are really friendly and gobble up left over treats we sometimes have. That day, I got issued a research card. Before going upstairs, everything has to be put in a locker right after security-very little is allowed upstairs in the main research area. The elevators have a mind of their own, so I usually take the stairs to the second floor. My card is swiped when I walk in & I head to the back to where our team has reserved two clumps of four desks. 

I was first trained on the scanner, where we carefully scan Surgeon Certificates from each soldiers' pension. After making sure each cert is easily legible, the scans are saved and sent to an office in vienna where the surg certs are entered in the computer. This is what a typical stack of pensions that need their certs to be scanned looks like.  Its always fascinating to stumble upon a really ancient photograph of the soldier, some when he was alive, some of his funeral. One soldier had a checkbook in his pension, its neat to compare that to what we use nowadays. After a few minutes in the research room, you start to notice how FREEZING the room is. It felt refreshing in the summer, but now its just plain mean. After awhile, I got used the constant chill, but not before getting a minor cold a few times. 

A few weeks after I started, we added six new researchers to our CPE staff. I really enjoy everyone I work with. I'm the youngest one by far, the other day we were talking about what we remember from the 90's & I think being born was my biggest event. We laugh, tell stories, eat, and celebrate together. We've celebrated Halloween, Boss' Day, co-workers' Birthdays, and have our Holiday party this Friday. For Halloween, we each dressed as a different decade...
Fahad-1910 newsman
Christine-1970's disco



Jared-1860's Civil War Soldier


Sarah-1950's housewife






Karla-rosie the riveter


Yes, I was a flower child & pulled it off quite nicely:) My favorite part of the day is when we put whatever we're doing on hold & grab each other for lunch time. When it wasn't so windy outside, we'd eat either at the Navy Memorial(right across from our building) or at the Sculpture garden. Once we made our way outside it was like my skin was being awakened and started to de-frost. Now that its a bit colder, we take advantage of the "we the people" cafeteria downstairs. I've never once bought lunch, but was treated to my favorite sub at pot belly's on my first day and delight in pizza we order on occasion. 

In a nutshell, we collect the field data of union soldiers from the civil war that gets used in a huge project. We're just a small piece of it, the University of Chicago uses our data and compiles awesome power points. We imput information about soldiers, e.g. his wife/widows' name, childrens' date of birth and names, death date & cause, and his pension rulings. Of what we do, is similar to an assembly line. First we work on the regimental books that were kept during the war, that are listed by company. The reggie books will indicate where the soldier was from and his previous occupation. My favorite to read is "gentleman at large" or "teamster." Next, those names are put on a list separated by their company. We index those soldiers using foot note, but also sometimes have to use old school micro film. We write out three layer carbon copy pension request slips that include the Invalid/Widow/Minor/Father/Mother's application and certificate numbers. From filling this out, we can tell what type of pension it is and if they received it. Many soldiers had an Invalid pension for themselves, and when they passed away, their wife would apply for a Widow's pension. When we receive the pension, a researcher will input the data unto a program that has multiple screens, or pages, that have fields for different residential addresses, battle names that the soldier fought in, and much more. The researcher will tab off all the surgeon certificates to be scanned. Once scanned, the pension gets returned. This information is sent to specific offices that optimizes our data collected.

I love working downtown. I love all the sights, smells, and sounds of the city and soaking it all up everyday. I love when the seasons change & how beautiful it looks for Christmas. I love how seeing Obama's huge motorcade zoom by our building isn't a novelty anymore. I love that Transformers 3 filmed just blocks away. I love the bulky sneakers with the business suits. I love commuting with my dad and how we do a fist bump as he walks in his building and I hurry along for three more blocks. We get lots of bonding time, while walking the mile from where we park to the metro. The train ride isn't too shabby, 35 minutes I enjoy whatever captivating book I'm reading-all while listening to marvelous music. I love getting to know everyone at my dad's job while hangin' in his office, before we head home. I love how flexible my job is & how we jokingly fire each other.

But, most of all, I love this man.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

mi computadora

Three months ago today, Labor Day, I bought myself my very own mac book pro. Man I'm in love. I was able to enjoy the student educational discount, and the back to school event, in which I got an itouch. I set an entire morning aside to venture to the Apple store and pick out my baby. I was even more excited waking up on that morning than I am on Christmas morning, I was that psyched. I picked out the model I wanted and for a bit more mulah, a 32gb itouch ipod. The store didn't have the printer I wanted, free after rebate, so I ordered it online.

I was in awe the moment I pressed the power button. The welcome screen itself was so marvelous, I only wish I knew I could've re-played it. I read the owner's manual, customized everything under system preferences, and became slightly obsessed. I just love that I learn something new every day & how easy everything is-especially iphoto. I was concerned about how long it held a full charge & made an appointment at the genius bar. It felt strangely similar to the two week check-up appointments, like my little brother's I remember going to at the Pediatricians' with all the immunization shots and tears. Everything was hunky dory, I was relieved it was a healthy, virus-free mac. I've put it to great use and its been very helpful to my family as well. I love all the applications, and even have made two birthday picture slideshow dvds with imovie. 

There's just something about buying such an electronic solely on months & months of saving that makes me appreciate it so. Happy 3 month anniversary!  

Thursday, December 2, 2010

climbing up the ladder

Upon turning eighteen, I was anxious to wrap up my Personal Progress that I've been working on since I entered the wonderful Young Women program. There are eight values, for which each six experiences and one big 10 hour project needs to be completed. Quite a bit of time, 80 hours to complete the projects alone, in addition to the required experiences. For the projects, I was able to use things I was already doing, from participating in my school's DECA chapter, helping out at the polls last year, completing my college applications, and being co-president of my school's Environmental club. For the experiences, I chose to do things like serving a member of my family for a month, planning my family's menus, shopping and helping to prepare meals for two weeks, and much more. It was a huge accomplishment finishing the program that I've been working on since I turned twelve. I wear my new medallion with pride and appreciate all the work it symbolizes.

With graduating the Laurel class (oldest group of Young Women), I was kindly welcomed into Relief Society. At first, it seemed a bit overwhelming as all the women are a bit older, but everyone is so friendly and there are plenty of fun activities. I was happy to sit next to a college gal closer to my age for my first RL lesson, since my mom's helping out in Nursery. We went to a delicious pre-Thanksgiving dinner where they taught us how to prepare tasty appetizers, the best part was sampling them right after they were demonstrated. It was a great night with my mom, its always great learning new things together. My favorite part of RS is the Visiting Teaching program. Each month, a friend and I take turns giving the lesson to a wonderful woman who is such a delight to chat with. I've loved getting to know her really well & am so thrilled for the little peanut to arrive!! Also once a month, I am visit taught by a good friend of mine, she's such an excellent example to me & I love how much we just talk and talk.

Within a few weeks of entering RS, I got asked to be a Primary teacher for the CTR 4/5 class. There's eight wonderful kiddos in my class and I love teaching them every week. They say the cutest things & are also really smart. Last week, with talking about Thanksgiving and family living further away-they started talking about Skype, most of the kids aren't even six years old! I love getting to know them more and more every week and the little snippets of their lives they talk about. I'm trying to think of a nice Christmas gift I can put together for their parents, but a little more unique than a homemade popsicle stick frame picture to come:) Can't believe how soon Navidad is!!