Wednesday, December 26, 2007


As many of you know, BYU received an invitation to play in the Las Vegas for the third year in a row. Ashley and I were going to go, but tickets were kind of expensive. Well we had quite the good fortune, and Ashley won two tickets in a drawing at work. So we got her sister and brother to drive up from Arizona and go to the game. I hadn't been to Vegas since I was 17 and this would be Ashley and I's first trip together.

We left for Vegas Friday night after we got off work and started driving around 7:00 that night. The drive was suprisingly good for how hard it was snowing. We had snow for first two hours of our trip and so that slowed us down a little bit. Then we ran into the cold weather. When we got to Cedar City around 10:00 that night, it was 12 degrees at the gas station. And I thought that it was supposed to get warmer when we got further south.

We had reservations to stay at Treasure Island, right on the nothern end of the strip. It was a pretty posh hotel. The beds ended up being really comfortable, it was really easy to get back to our hotel because it was right off one of the freeway exits. That first night, we just checked in and went to bed. The next morning we got up and went to the Rio buffet. We made it in time for the champagne brunch, which included the best of breakfast, and the best of lunch. It was the largest buffet that I have ever seen. I started to walk through and saw so many things that I almost became overwhelmed with the amount of food that was there.
After the buffet we drove over to the Tropicana to see the bodies exhibit. For those of you who don't know what this is, it's pretty cool. They are actual dead people, and they dissect and preserve their bodies so that they can show different things about the body. It was really cool. You hear about the effects of a stroke, or of smoking cigarettes, but you never really get to see it. Well in the exhibit, you get to see these effects in a real body. You also get to see highlights of the different parts of the body. One of the coolest things in my opinion was to see all the veins and arteries that you have in your body. They inject a solution into the veins and then chemically dissolve everything except for that solution. They did the same thing for the artieries. So all you see is veins and arteries in the shape of a body. It was fun to see exactly how everything goes inside your body. Unfortunately, you can't take pictures, so we don't have anything to show for this.

While we were in Vegas Ashley had quite the hard time obeying all traffic laws. Normally she is a really good driver, but for some reason she couldn’t stay on her side of the road. I know, I know it sounds crazy but it wasn’t that bad. She just kept turning onto one way roads, of course she would be going the wrong direction. She seemed to forget to look for the “Do Not Enter signs.” One time she even made like 3 turns just to get back on track…That crazy girl…. I love her anyway!

Now, we get to the real fun stuff. We left for the game and got there just in time to see the kickoff. The game was not a high scoring game. BYU looked pretty good in the first half, but then at the very end, Harvey Unga fumbled on the 7 yard line and gave UCLA the ball and the chance to pull within 4 points at halftime. UCLA came out much stronger in the second half and after two 50 yard field goals by their kicker the game was almost tied at 17-16 for BYU. The game took an improbable turn when UCLA got the ball back with just over a minute left, and then converted a huge third down for thirty yards putting them on the ten yard line. With the clock winding down, and UCLA well within the the range of their kicker, it seemed like all hope was lost.

My mind instantly went back to the some of the most amazing moments in BYU history. In the last couple of years, we have John Beck connect on a last second pass to Johnny Harline to beat Utah. We saw Max Hall convert the improbable 4 and 18 when he went down field to Austin Collie. But blocking a 22 yard field goal attempt by a kicker who had been perfect so far that day, just seemed impossible. Well, with BYU, I think that now, you have to expect the impossible. After a timeout to add to the suspense, both teams lined up for the last play. As the ball snapped, the lines crashed together, the ball was kicked, and out of the crowd rose one higher than the rest. Eathyn Manumaleuna got just high enough to get one finger on the ball, and it fell just short. BYU had come out victorious against all odds.

When the game was over, we rushed down onto the field. Ashley got close enough to tough the Las Vegas Bowl trophy, and we were able hang out down on the field and get some nice pictures. The game was freezing, and almost turned into a tragedy, but BYU pulled off the miracle and made for yet another exciting finish.

The next day, Ashley and I went shopping on the strip. Ashley got me a new camera for Christmas so we were able to take lots of cool pictures to post on here. While walking around down there, one thing that we both noticed is that there was a complete lack of Christmas in Vegas. The Bellagio had their garden area dedicated to Christmas, and it even smelled like Christmas. Other than that though, Christmas was not present in Vegas. There wasn't even really any Christmas trees down there. It was definitely nice to get back in the car and have some good christmas music. Since I hadn't been down on the strip for quite a while, I enjoyed just being down there and seeing all that has changed on the strip. It seems like you could go down there every year, and there would still be a new casino.

Monday, December 10, 2007

The weather outside is frightful...

This past weekend, it started to rain about midday on Friday and didn't really stop until sometime Sunday morning. Now in my opinion, if it is going to snow, I would much rather it be a large storm that makes you want to go sledding and then curl up in front of the fire with some hot chocolate. So needless to say, I enjoyed this storm. Then we made plans to go to Kevin and Lo's house and make marshmallows and watch a Christmas movie. It sounded like the perfect event to kick off the holiday season.

Now for the past 10 months I have lived with a little extra road noise to keep my snow tires on my car that I got for free half way through last winter. It sounds more like a Jeep than a Honda, and a conversation is near impossible at 40 miles per hour. But when the snow starts to get deep, my car starts to shine. We were able to make it up the hill to kevin's house, a task that nothing short of a 4x4 or SUV is able to do. I have to say that I was quite impressed that it made it, and now that it did, I have this strange feeling of confidence when driving in the snow.

When we first got up there we all helped plow the road leading up to the house with Kevin's four-wheelers. I have never been to much of a fan of shoveling but if I had the four-wheeler everytime, I might even get excited about it. I am definitely going to have to get some of those to play with sometime in the next couple of years. After plowing for a little while, the girls decided that they needed a candy thermometer to make the marshmallows. There wasn't one at the Olsen home, but tanner's house wasn't that far away and we did have a couple of four-wheelers and a utility trailer. So the guys suited up and got ready to make the journey. I was wearing Lori's gloves, Kev's beanie, my coat, a pair of dress shoes, and my aviator sunglasses so that I would be able to see. We loaded Tim into the trailer, and made our way down the hill to get the candy thermometer. The girls had girl time, and the guys ran around on four wheelers.

Later that night we all went out and had some fun playing in the snow and taking some sweet pics. Ashley was wearing my coat, and it absolutely drowns her, so if you can't see any part of her face in these pictures that is why.
The next day, after going and getting dinner and ice cream, we decided that we hadn't had enough fun in the snow. Ashley bought a tube, and we decided to go back down to Tanner's house to have a little fun in the empty horse arena. We got all suited up in proper snow gear, got out the hand warmers and had some good fun in the snow. We started pulling people behind the four-wheelers. It was a lot of fun because you would lay stomach down on the sled and fly across the snow. It was not easy to see when you were getting a faceful of snow everytime you hit a bump but that was part of the fun. It sure was funny when you would see someone loose control of the sled and end up in pile of mud. We also slid down the hill and just had a fun time playing around in the snow.

Both nights we ended up having hot chocolate at Lori and Kev's house, and of course, it was always topped with a homemade marshmallow. That part of it will definitely have to become a holiday tradition at our house because those marshmallows were amazing. (Thanks for making the mallows ladies!) In the end, we accomplished everything that I could have hoped for with the weekend. We had fun even though the roads weren't that great, we started what what will hopefully be a great tradition for years to come. I have noticed that having Ashley around just makes everything, even the holidays, that much better.