Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Holiday Season

Alright, so it's been almost a month since I've last blogged. In that time, we finished up our final projects, took our finals, and have been on break for about a week or so, really milking it for all its worth.

We started the Holiday season thinking that we weren't going to be able to buy gifts for one another, instead focusing our money on family and bulking our savings. But this was before we sold my car. One day, during finals week, Ryan went to his parents' house to show a guy the car. This was probably the third or fourth serious showing of the car, and with no real luck so far, I wasn't anticipating anything. I was on the sofa at home "studying" French when Ryan came back from his parents' house. Only, he wasn't alone. A stranger walks in, and they're both talking about the car and printing off a sales paper or something, and before I can blink, the car is sold and we suddenly have a whole bunch of extra cash to spend. We put more than half in savings and used the rest of it to pay for gifts. I was totally okay with having a "Who-ville" Christmas, but I always love an opportunity to buy the people I love gifts.

We also got a small, but cute *fake* Christmas tree. It's not white, like we wanted it to be (they're actually quite hard to come by, surprisingly), but we love it.

There we are next to it after it's been decorated. Notice the black Power Ranger ornament, courtesy of Ryan. We bought the tree at the world's creepiest and most abandoned K-Mart in Orem. I will NEVER be going back there, it was THAT gross. EEK.

Let's see, what else? Oh yes, I made peppermint ice cream with the ice cream maker we got as a wedding present from mom's childhood friend, Jamie Kay.

 Here it is from the front. Nice, old-fashioned, wooden barrel.

 There it is with the ice in it, churning away. It wasn't nearly as noisy as mom's ice cream maker.

 Artsy angle of the fastener that kept everything in place.

The finished product after it's been in the freezer over night. SO GOOD!

Best part? I still have some a week after making it. And it's so good! I am eager to try some more recipes in the ice cream maker, maybe even trying out gelato sometime soon!

Last Monday, I participated in the Merrill's tradition of going down to Spanish Fork for the annual city-sponsored Festival of Lights. It included tons of light sculptures(?) or whatever you call those things. Just look at following pictures (taken with my phone, so excuse the poor quality) and figure it out for yourself.

A lovely castle.

A fun stocking.
The deer and rocking horse, which, if I remember correctly, was actually rocking.

There were some other, more bizarre things like a bear catching fish, dinosaurs, and things that don't really relate to Christmas, but were fun nonetheless.

Afterwards, we went to Santaquin for some huge, and I mean HUGE, scones. Think dinner plate size. I didn't snag any photos of them, so you just have to take my word for it. But they're GINORMOUS. And delicious. Overall, it was a fun evening.

The day before Christmas Eve (the 23rd to be more exact) Ryan's parents were kind enough to adopt a Lambson tradition of having a Jerusalem dinner. There were some modern twists to some of the food (such as the fluffy fruit salad that was made with pomegranates, bananas and apples all mixed together in home-made whipped cream), but it was quite delicious, especially the cornish game hens that were cooked to perfection. We finished off that evening watching "Scrooge", another Lambson family favorite/tradition.

Christmas Eve was the celebration of Stephanie's birthday. We all went up to Park City to enjoy breakfast at The Eating Establishment and window shopped for a bit before returning home so we could prepare for the evening's festivities. The evening was spent with the entire Merrill family at the grandparents' home eating delicious food, participating in a Christmas program put on by the whole family, and chatting about different things. Me and Ryan stayed overnight at his parents' home so that we could wake up early, get ready for church, and go to sacrament meeting with his family.

Christmas Day was better than I could have dreamed. It was my first away from home, and Ryan's family was so good at making sure I was comfortable and happy during it all. It was hard at times, a few tears were shed (especially when I called home and the entire family sang "Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer" for me), but Ryan was good at cheering me up. So Christmas was amazing, spiritual, and so much fun. 

I got Ryan a Nintendo 3DS, since his normal DS was on its last leg.

And Ryan surprised me with a nice Camelbak water bottle, and not so much surprised me with a new Kindle Touch (we had talked about getting one for me anyways so I could stop borrowing his).

Mine is the one on the right, the red and blue one. I LOVE it!

The Kindle Touch. He got me a nice case for mine as well that has a light attached to it so I can read in the dark.

I also got a new peacoat to replace my $10 shouldn't-be-used-as-an-actual-coat coat that I've had for a year now, some nice winter boots with fur lining that are both cute and practical (they're a suede fabric, but have been treated in the making process so that they're water-proof and won't destroy the fabric), and some fun winter-styled Toms.

So I am ready for the winter weather that will, hopefully, come. We've been lacking in the snow department so far and on Christmas Day, I was comfortable without a coat, just a thin sweater. WEIRD.

Finally, me and Ryan got a nice, new TV stand from his parents! So the coffee table we've been using as a TV stand can actually serve its true purpose. The set-up is so much nicer and I actually have a place to put our copies of the Ensign and the Nativity set we got from Ryan's grandparents.

We are so blessed to have Ryan's family close by so that we can celebrate the Holidays with them without having to spend too much money on travel. I missed my family dearly on Christmas but it won't be too long before I see them!

Sorry if the post felt rushed. It was gonna be a long one so I tried to be as concise as possible.

Love you all, and Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

What We've Been Up To!

Hey blogger universe! Has it really been a month since I've last blogged? Well, to be fair, since that time it's been hectic. First block of classes ended and second block started up and I am knee-deep in French and am trying my hardest to keep my head above water. It's AMAZING, but so tough! We're getting into the specifics of the language and all the little details such as the difference between the two versions of past-tense that exist and the two versions of future tense that exist as well. It's absolutely insane, but my professor is fantastic and I'm learning so much! I'm even dreaming in French!

But lets get on to the stuff that you probably want to know, such as how my marriage is going and if me and Ryan are still as in love as ever before. Well, I can answer those questions with simple one-word responses, but I'll catch you all up in the life of the Merrills.

A waaay long time ago, I bought me and Ryan a couple of pumpkins in celebration of Halloween and we went ahead and carved those suckers.

Isn't my spouse adorable?

All the delicious guts of the pumpkin (I'm using "delicious" sarcastically...)

I remembered when me and Sarah would carve pumpkins in the past and how we would go to homestarrunner.com and find fun templates there. So that's what me and Ryan did!

He chose the "bear holding a shark" and I chose the whale.

We put towels in front of the TV, popped in "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" and started to carve. Only problem: our tools were not conducive for legitimate carving. Great were the days when the utensils given in pumpkin carving kits were actually sharp if not a little bit fragile. But I guess there were too many reported cuts and slices to fingers that the companies (or at least the company that supplies Macey's) decided to do away with those handy little saws and replace them with larger, thicker, and absolutely blunt "saws". It was sad.

Watching "Prisoner of Azkaban"

My attempts at carving the whale with my poor utensils.

Ryan's design with the jagged teeth was a little harder to manage with the crappy blades.

So we gave up that endeavor to make Homestarrunner jack-o-lanterns and did un-traced faces instead.

There's Ryan's handiwork.


But since I finished the whale design, I decided to include a picture of it as well.

They were only lit for that time since we only had our 24-hour candles readily available and never went out of our way to buy tea-lights. So they never got lit on Halloween. In general, our Halloween was filled with homework and not a lot of exciting things. Hopefully that will change next year.

A second exciting thing was also documented in my month and a half absence: Me and Ryan participated in the school-hosted Murder Mystery dinner. It was held at the lodge that BYU owns up in the mountains (eerie yet gorgeous location if you ask me) and it was semi-formal and deliciously fun!

Though I didn't get lots of pictures of it, I enjoyed getting dolled up, seeing Ryan in a sharp suit, and the two of us participating in a mystery where the actors were FANTASTIC at being eccentric and off-setting and the ambiance was elegant. I enjoyed myself immensely and I think the two of us are going to make this an annual tradition as long as we're in the Provo area.

Just before we headed down the curvy road: we're slightly blurry, but we're excited! (See Ryan's tie? He calls that his "magic and mystery" tie)

Giving our best (and not so best) mysterious faces. I'll admit, we need some work.

Overall, the past month and a half was absolutely busy. There were holidays to celebrate, French to be learned, films to be shot, edited, and put onto DVDs, food to be eaten, naps to be taken...okay, the last one is a lie. I wish I took naps, but nowadays I don't have the time for it.

Thanksgiving was also good. If you want details of that, it's recent enough that you can just call me up and I'll give you the whole spiel. But for now, I'm gonna sign out and "promise" to blog more often.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Homecoming weekend and then some

I wish I were better at creating titles. But I'm not. Last weekend was Homecoming. The entirety of last week, if you remember, was absolutely rainy, cold and miserable, except that I didn't let that get me down. I was still in high spirits. And those spirits still existed when me and Ryan decided to watch the Homecoming Parade and ride our bikes to get there. Thankfully it wasn't rainy when we went at 8am to partake in the free pancakes that were to be served at every announcer's booth (about 1 announcer every quarter mile). After doing some light maintenance (which, for what it's worth, I can NEVER spell that word!) on the bikes, we headed out with quilts in our backpacks so that we had some warmth and a place to sit for the parade. The bike up was really invigorating and we were both hungry and ready for some pancakes. Get this: the pancakes were dyed BLUE! And so, there we were, sitting by the duck pond south of BYU campus, cold and sniffly, but eating delicious blue pancakes.
Ryan partaking in the blue pancakes.
He got ahold of the camera. And I made this face at him.

BLUE! And whipped cream! Yum!

The parade was okay. All the candy they threw were salt water taffies. Love them, but it got a little old. We did get a free beach ball from a friend of Ryan's who recognized him. Woo!

We biked back, absolutely frozen from being there for 3 hours (the parade started at 10) and warmed up by doing our weekly chores: laundry, cleaning, homework...and then at 4:15 in the afternoon, I had to head to the football stadium to work my last. football. game. ever. Gasp! I wish I could say it went smoothly. But it was a bit rough. I left in high spirits, though, and now I am only employed at BYU Broadcasting.

This past week was a bit of a load. I had to film my test footage for my final documentary in one of my film classes. I emailed the author of the blog, Verbal Vomit, and asked her if I could film her as she created a piece of art (she's a fellow BYU student). And she agreed! So, yes, I've met the humorous and delightful Hannah, the creator of Verbal Vomit. And I'll be seeing her again to film the final footage this coming week. She was extremely easy to work with and I'm excited to start getting this documentary together.

I also had to film our spoof film for my other film class that's ending on Tuesday the 18th. Me and my group decided to spoof, or "swede", the film "Eclipse" from the *gag* Twilight Saga. So me and Ryan had to watch the film so I could do proper research. It wasn't as bad as I was anticipating, but it was pretty poor quality. We did that all day Thursday, from noon-6:30 at night. Yikes! But it was fun. And I'm pretty sure it'll be freaking entertaining.

My French 101 class is wrapping up this week as well. On Friday, I took two tests/quizzes in that class: one was the listening comprehension/Culture quiz for chapter 6 and the other was the oral exam for chapters 4-6. And on Monday I'll take a listening comprehension/culture quiz for all the chapters, and then on Tuesday is the final and the test on chapter 6. Yes. Two tests. In ONE sitting. I only have 3 hours to do it. It's gonna be intense, but my teacher has a lot of faith in me and said I'd do well in the 102 accelerated class that starts two days after the final. I'll be hitting the ground running when it comes to French. But it's really fun! I can actually carry a conversation with my native French teacher!

Oh, and the weather? It's not rainy anymore. It's been absolutely gorgeous! And so, that brings me to today. I didn't do anything extraordinary with the weather. But me and Ryan made cinnamon pancakes and cheesy scrambled eggs for breakfast, I had a mid-morning power nap (I'm getting over a cold), we did laundry, and then we headed out to do some errands.

My ward is starting a sewing club and we had our first meeting on Tuesday. I went, since I've decided I need to make friends in my ward. And now I'm uber inspired to try and sew some things by myself. Our first stop, then, was Joann's Fabric. McCall's was having a pattern sale and I got two patterns for $0.99 a piece! One is an easy dress (or so it told me) and the other is a long skirt. I held off on buying fabric because, I'm embarrassed to admit, I had no idea what all the different things on the back meant. I knew roughly what I wanted, but then it said other things and I just got confused and my confidence waned. So...I'll get that next week. I pulled out the sewing machine my mom got me as a wedding present and got myself acquainted with it. Looks like I'll need to buy pins, spools, and a pin cushion along with the fabric, zippers, and buttons when I go to Joann's again next week.

The next stop was Menchie's. I had my final check, the $50 return for giving back the uniform, and some tip money waiting for me, and I needed to return the key to the store. We also had some free yogurt gift cards so we enjoyed some new flavors like german chocolate cake and chocolate-dipped banana. Yum! Then we headed to Target to finish off our gift cards (yes, we are still accumulating them!). We bought a 2-qt crockpot, some kitchen towels, a fancy ice-cream scoop, and all the ingredients to make homemade philly cheesesteak sandwiches.

When we got home, I started on the hoagies.

The beginning of the process
After an hour and a half of rising!

Once they were separated into their little mounds to make separate sammiches, we started on the philly cheesesteak filling.
The veggies! Aren't they beautiful? (the red pepper is organic)
 The steak all cut up and ready to cook in the melted butter.
Ryan doing what he does best: stirring up the meat while I get ready to cut up the veggies.

The end result was pretty good. My hoagies sunk down and became more of a hamburger bun, and we could've been more experimental/exotic with our use of spices in the mixture. But all in all, it was delicious and we have some leftovers to look forward to!

 My Philly Cheesesteak Sammich!
 Inside the sammich: steak, green and red peppers, onion, and provolone cheese on top!
 The mixture in the skillet
Ryan waiting for his to be finished broiling in our (awesome) toaster oven.

All in all, today was good for my soul. Autumn is good for my soul. I got to spend time with my amazing husband and I hope he didn't find this endless time with me exhausting. I absolutely loved it!

Until next time.

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Letter

Since having no social networking sites to distract me, I find myself drawn to my blog more and more. I do a lot more reading as well (on my Kindle app on this laptop or the physical book I'm reading), and I do plenty of cooking and sleeping so I don't feel like blogging is that much of a time waster. I've got all my homework done for the week and most for the weekend is complete and so here I sit, snuggled in a quilt made by Ryan's mom, listening to Phoenix and writing this blog post while Ryan putters around on the internet, searching for new apps or StumblingUpon new things.

A little while ago, Ryan went to go check the mail. He came back damp (since it's spitting cold rain outside) and holding a package from my parents and a letter from my dear sister, Sarah. I immediately went to open the letter since she had told me she wrote me one and I was anxiously awaiting it. Upon opening it, I remembered her words saying that it was a letter full of word vomit. But despite her warnings, I went ahead and started to read.

And what I read were some of those beautiful and troubled words I've read in a long while. My heart went out to my sister, my friend, my kindred spirit who was seeking guidance through her life. As someone who was in roughly the same position a year ago, I have the deepest empathy. I won't go into details as to what is going on in her head, but it's nothing horrible like murder (though she's written fiction about it), just normal things concerning the future.

I will admit I am sitting right in the middle of my dream life: working on an amazing film major at BYU, married to the man of my dreams who makes me laugh, and I know exactly where I want to be in five years and how I'm going to get there. And then there's my amazing sister who doesn't know what the next year holds for her. I want nothing but the best things to happen to her and I wish I had the power to control her future for her. But I don't. We all have agency so that we may earn our privilege to spend eternity with our Father in Heaven. So it's up to her and her alone (with some good insight and advice from friends/family and the promptings of the Holy Ghost) to make the best choices for the future.

I keep thinking about what my sister, Elise, said about her experiences in Indiana. It wasn't necessarily a failure, but it led her to the path she's taking now. Much like dating, making wrong choices in men and women and career paths isn't wrong: it's a growing experience. There are people who do it right the first time around (Like me, marrying the only man I've ever loved), but there are others who try hard but it just doesn't work out. Thank goodness for the Atonement, right? There was a parable-like story in Brad Wilcox's book "The Continuous Atonement" that I loved that talked about the priests reciting the sacrament prayer and messing up. It's up to the bishop to catch those mistakes and let him know, if he doesn't know already. And he recites it again and again and AGAIN until he gets it correct. He doesn't go into the prayer with the thought "I'm going to mess it up on purpose!" No, he has the purest of intent. And that's how we are going through life. Unless we're trying to screw things up, we make decisions thinking that they're the best for us and our path.

So, Sarah, that's my public advice for you (I say public since we'll talk more intimately in the future). Whatever decision you make, make it prayerfully and you might not get an answer with "angels and trumpets"(like my sister Emily said when I asked her how to know if marriage is the right thing), but if you don't get any red flags I say that that's the best answer for you.

Sorry that this ended up so preach-y. But I suggest that you all listen to this song. I really want to use it in one of my short documentaries since, you'll notice, it has a kind of cinematic plot structure: there's the exposition, the inciting incident (where things start going crazy), the rising action (things keep building and get crazier), and the crisis (ultimate crazy moment where it's the biggest!), and the climax, when it starts to resolve. And the gorgeous ending bit would be the falling action where everything is new, a new normal. And, Sarah, this is how your life will play out in the near future. You're in the middle of the rising action right now, but your falling action will come and it will feel as good as this song.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Beehive Stories

okay, I know I just posted a blog not too long ago, but that was before I attended the screening tonight of a project my professor and filmmaker, Brad Barber, has been working on and is still working on called "The Beehive Stories". It's a project in which film students and Brad go to every single county in Utah and film a story there about a person, profession, just different lives that exist in this diverse state. We screened 5 of the potential 29 short documentaries that are no more than 10 minutes a piece and they were simply gorgeous. The soundtrack was originally scored by a brilliant musician and they all look professionally done.

So here is my shameless plug to promote these fantastic bits of life in and around Utah: http://kbyutv.org/programs/beehivestories/ Go there to watch all of the previous episodes. But if you want to see the ones I saw tonight on TV (they aren't on the website yet), each of the new 5 episodes will be airing on KBYU next week, Monday through Friday at 6:50pm MST, each day showing a different episode. I recommend watching the Wednesday and Thursday since those are my favorite episodes of those five.

I HIGHLY recommend you watch all of them. They are so simple and yet so wonderful and they've made me really appreciate my surroundings and how beautiful Utah truly is. Slowly but surely I had been discovering this by myself but these little vignettes have helped immensely in that appreciation.

Watch them! That is all.

Two Glorious Months

Hello all, greetings from the land that's had rain all day.

Yes, it's been a gloomy Wednesday. Already they tend to be my busiest day because I have class from 8am-6:40pm (with breaks in between). I have French from 8:00-8:50am (daily), then one of my film classes from 9:00-11:00am, another one of my film classes from 1:00-3:00pm and then the second half of the Book of Mormon class from 5:00-6:40pm with Ryan. In my 1-3 film class, we watch a movie on Wednesdays and since it's right after I eat my lunch I always fall asleep for at least 15 minutes. So I miss significant chunks of the exposition of the film. I enjoy the class, but I'm so sleepy after eating!

After my class today, though, I went home for an hour and baked a dozen cookies from an already made-up batch of cookie dough and made Ryan a sandwich since he doesn't get to go home before our religion class and needs food to keep him happy. So today hasn't been nearly that bad.

In my 9-11 film class, we watched our silent documentaries. After we filmed our processes, we swapped footage and had to edit someone else's process without their direction or help. So my appraised film footage was in the hands of someone else and I was left with 20 minutes of barely watchable footage. It was...an interesting experience. The first silent doc we viewed was, of course, my edited version of someone else's footage. It was interesting having people critique my work when half of it wasn't mine in the first place. But it wasn't boo-ed, and people actually found parts of it laugh-worthy (in a good way).

And now I've gotten away from what I was going to blog about originally. I guess it doesn't really matter what I talk about on here since it acts as a pseudo-journal of sorts. But as of today, me and Ryan have been married two months! I swear I won't do this counting thing much more, except for anniversaries and stuff. But holy cow! Two months?! There's something vastly different when someone asks you how long you've been married and you change from responding "one month" to responding "two months". Two is plural! I feel much more official and experienced even though we're only talking about months, not years. Not only has it been two months since our marriage, but we've now been together 6 months! That's HALF a year since I started seeing this guy as much more than an FHE goer. I can't believe that 6 months ago we started this journey. I can't believe that within 4 months of the start of that 6 months, we were married.

I'm so excited to embark on many more months (and years) with this man. We're already setting righteous goals for ourselves, getting into a healthy daily pattern of life, and amongst our crazy schedules we still have time to spare to strengthen our budding marriage and each day I feel that much closer to him emotionally, physically, and spiritually.

In fact, we're in the middle of one of our projects: both of us have given up social networking sites (Facebook, twitter, Google+) for the month of October so as to increase our productivity. I already notice a difference in how much time I have to first do the things I need to do and then have time to spare for the things I want to do. I've noticed it with Ryan as well. This act was inspired by Elder Ian Arden's talk in General Conference about time management. So we decided to do this on a whim and I haven't missed it nearly as much as I thought.

And even though it's rainy and gloomy today, the rain indicates that the weather is finally turning into Autumn weather and the fall colors will emerge and the smells of leaves and crisp air will fill my nose. Ah! I'm so excited! Carving pumpkins, drinking hot cocoa, wearing jackets and coats and scarves...I love this season!

This post was kinda all over the place. Deal with it!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Unexpected Weekend

Wow, blog, it's been forever. A month to be exact. That day I last blogged about seems so far back in time.

We've been in school for a month now. I've worked, filmed, spoken more French in a week than I have in my whole high school career, and I've learned so much about myself since becoming a wife and about Ryan, the biggest thing that we are gonna have a blast while enduring for eternity. Our apartment is one of the major sources of my happiness, how it's becoming more and more what I want in a home, and how it's all of OUR things. I love that I can walk into my kitchen and use any of the things in there and not worry about treading on roommates' territories.

We both have a good sized chunk of homework each night, but I love more than anything when we can do our own things but be in the same room. I don't need him coddling me every second, it's absolutely perfect having him there when I want to chat with him briefly or take shot breaks and we spend a few moments on the couch, just relaxing.

But speaking of school, I have learned so much in my film classes. I am loving every single thing about them: all the practical filming techniques I get to learn and apply, all of the script analysis we're doing, the different narrative styles, and then actually making films and editing them. I have three of them on my list of things to accomplish: one is a silent horror film (1-3 min), one is an action film (2-3 min, and it features Ryan!), and the last is the biggest project so far, the silent documentary. I had to get 30-60 minutes of footage. I decided to film it at Menchie's since that was the easiest place to film a physical process with a clear beginning and ending and it could be silent.

When we turned the footage in and got them back, I was named by my film professor as one of four people who had footage that "blew him away". I was blushing beyond anything at that point. But it didn't end there: they proceeded to use just MY footage to show the class of about 25 people just how good it really was-all the clean entrances/exits, all of the shots and different angles that I got, etc. I was absolutely speechless. The flattery was too much at this point. You have to understand that this guy is a documentary filmmaker himself, and an accomplished editor, basically my role model. And he was complimenting me left and right. I was so pleased. I now know that I'm right where I need to be. They didn't take me into the major out of sympathy; they saw talent. For the first time ever, I feel really talented.

Another major boost that I got this week: I applied to a job at BYU Broadcasting to be a Production Assistant. I didn't hear back for about a week or so, and then I got an email saying that the supervisor (the one hiring) wanted to see me. So we had our interview last Tuesday and it was one of the most bizarre but entertaining experiences I've ever had. We went around the entire building, moving from studio to studio, and I talked to him while we moved. Then we sat down at a set with couches and had more of a heart to heart. I communicated all the important things, but because the spot was so competitive, I didn't think I'd hear back.

Thursday, I get a call. It's the supervisor (Steven is his name). He wants me to come in to fill out paperwork. "Basically," he said, "you got the job!" And that was that. I had gotten this amazing job where I'd be working on lighting, set design, and camera crew for BYU Broadcasting. This is exactly what I need to help me in my filmmaking career. And they want longevity. So if I like it, I'm staying there! I couldn't be MORE happy! So I quit Menchie's, am trying to quit concessions, and work fits my schedule so much better than Menchie's did. Plus, more money.

Now onto what I originally wanted to blog about: This weekend. It was Ryan's birthday and I had everything planned out: we'd have breakfast with Ryan's family, have the afternoon to catch up on laundry and cleaning, and then I made reservations at The Melting Pot, Ryan's favorite restaurant. It was going to go perfect. Except I didn't anticipate that me and Ryan might just be too lazy to do something fancy for dinner. So, instead we got carry-out food from The Bombay House, an Indian restaurant, made a fun little fort out of our bed sheet, turned out all the lights, lit the lantern my mom gave him for his birthday, and watched "Back to the Future" while eating the food.

The fort in our living room!

 Inside the fort/the lantern. It's hard to see, but we used my coat rack to hold it up and it gave us light in the fort.

 Chicken curry and Raj's Chicken. So delicious!

So, after that was finished, we decided to bust out our favorite appliance so far: the mini-cupcake maker. And we made a whole batch's worth of mini cupcakes in just candle/lantern light. When it comes to lighting, we are emergency-prepared!
 The 100-hour candles, plate of cooked cupcakes, the batter and the maker.

 We did a batch in the toaster oven. Not quite as moist and pretty as the others, but still worked!

 Another angle. Look at those flames!

Ryan's new lantern. (He LOVES it, Mom!)

We just learned about lighting in my film class, and now I know why this kind of lighting is so amazing. I really want to film a period piece just so I can use this gorgeous incandescent lighting!

So that night was unexpected, but a success.

Sunday was fantastic up until I decided to give Ryan a haircut.

 All of my materials! Eeeeek!

 The canvas that is Ryan's hair. It got pretty dang long.

Side view. He was really brave through the whole thing.

I wish I could say it went absolutely successfully. But...it didn't. I was so flustered that I left significant mistakes: chunks of longer hairs, no blending from the top of his head to the side, butchered the back of his neck, and terraced the top of his head. But, I know my mistakes. And next time (eeeeeek!) I'll be sure to be more calm. Ryan talked me through a lot of it, but the next time I think we'll have him sitting in front of a mirror so he can show me things and see what I'm doing since he actually knows a lot about cutting hair.

 The finished product. He got some hair pomade to make the uneven blending look a little less obvious. So the spikes aren't my mistakes necessarily, they're the stylings of Ryan.

The back of his head. Not perfect, but I just need some practice.

Thankfully, Ryan thinks its fine and isn't too vain when it comes to how his hair is, so I'll get plenty of practice in the future. He's a trooper!

And that's it for now. I've spent way too much time updating the blog and writing this post. I HOPE that I can update more often so that I don't have to spend so much time catching all of you up. But there you have it.