Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Blog of Happiness

Dear reader(s), I (Alison) regret to inform you that it has been so long since my last posting. It's mostly because nothing has really been going on (super recently) and also because Michael and I were temporarily (this thing needs spell check, oh wait, it does have spell check!) deprived of internet upon moving into our new dwelling (The Huntington Condos). This entry is being written in the stream-of-consciousness format and is officially sponsored by the parentheses ( ). You know, like on Sesame Street when all the episodes were brought to you by different letters in the alphabet. Anyway, about now would be time to insert a colorful graphic to draw in some attention, so here it goes.

As I was saying, Mike and I moved into a new complex and there wasn't internet provided in the contract. We wanted to find it somehow, but we never got around to it. Then one day, we discovered that one of our close neighbors (the signal is great) have an unsecured connection. Thank you, Osbornes, whoever you are (we really don't know any of our neighbors). Our plan is to find out who they are and then give them some sort of baked goods right before we move. Somehow that will even us out, in theory.

Wow, those people are creepy. Anyway, since Thanksgiving recently happened, I would like to make a short list of the wonderful things that make me happy. Unfortunately, this will have to wait until after finals (last one, Thursday night) are over. Too busy right now! So basically, this post was just a teaser for all of the amazingly great posts to come over Christmas break! Oh yeah! CIAO!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

My amazingly cute nephew is famous now!

Cathan Andre Canar is the star of the new book "I will go, I will do"


He is soooo cute!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A little catching up!

Due to a great discovery (finding a cord for Mike's camera) I can now get back to full, multi-media coverage of our lives. Several exciting events have happened over the last couple of months, which we will explore below!

Decker Reunion at Half Moon Bay, CA

In July, Michael experienced his first Decker Family Reunion (the image above is a classic moment from a previous reunion) when we traveled to California's bay area with the Tyler's (my family). It was an interesting experience for us in many ways. We took the train because neither flying or driving seemed like good options. It was our first time on the train and it was quite an experience! We got to spend a lot of time playing games on the train in the observation car.

That was the best picture I could find to represent that. :) Michael also read an entire book (The Kite Runner) during our trip. It was pretty cute!

The train also had a dining car and we got to eat a few meals there.

Probably what I will remember most about the train is the very unique people you will find riding. On our way back I met a French man who has been traveling around the country filming people from different regions for a road documentary. I listened to him interview a girl traveling from Sacramento to SLC to try out for American Idol. She had a very interesting life story, to say the least. Maybe I will see her on TV!

Unfortunately, another thing I will remember most about the train is the delays. We arrived 6 hours late in San Franciso! We were supposed to arrive at 6, but we didn't get to our hotel until after 1 am.
However, the next morning made it all worth it when we got to meet up with the rest of the family. It was great to see all of my cute cousins after so much time apart. We met for lunch at a lighthouse near my uncle's home in Half Moon Bay.

It was beautiful but much colder than we expected!

After the lighthouse, we traveled further down the road to Santa Cruz to play at the Boardwalk. Much of the time was spent building sand castles, burying people alive, boogey boarding and just wading in the waves.

Some of us were a little too afraid to brave the chill of the water, so we just stayed and relaxed on the beach.

Later in the evening we went to boardwalk for some rides. Unfortunately, the rides cost more than we were led to believe, so we only got to do a couple. Caleb really had his heart set on two rides, so I went with him on the roller coaster, and Mike went with him on the crazy spin-all-over ride, the Fireball! Here Mike is in line to face his doom!

The next day we went to the Redwood Forest. We went for hikes and explored nature. We also ran into the filming of a Ferrari commercial! That definitely added some excitement.
Mike really wanted to see the tallest tree in the forest, and luckily for him he got to fulfill his wish!

However, the true highlight came from a hollow tree made into a tunnel. In the middle of this tunnel, there was a small hole you could peek your head out of.

Some of my little cousins then discovered that they could fit their whole bodies through the hole. Here is a video of my brother Caleb going through the hole to demonstrate its size.

Of course, Mike then decided that he wanted to try. I was a little nervous that he would get stuck, but he was determined to do it.

After Mike went through, it made sense that I should try. I wasn't too sure I could make it due to the rather large size of my hips! However, to my amazement I got through as well.

After that my uncles also wanted to go through the tree hole. My uncle Lee made it through, but all the others who tried didn't quite make it! So, Mike and Lee were basically proven to be the skinniest adult males in the family.
Also at this time, Mike got to get a little more acquainted with some of my cousins. We took a brief hike with some of the younger girls, and my darling teenage cousins Nikole and Chelsey shared their wonderful tales of adolescence with him. Basically, it was a crash course in Decker craziness!

The next day we went to a couple local beaches in Half Moon Bay to see various marine life in the area. These beaches were rockier than the ones in Santa Cruz and fun for different kinds of adventures.

One beach was full of seals coming to spend some time on land. The other had watery passages perfect for exploring.

We spent some time looking for crabs and other creatures on the rocks.

Mike and I walked from the beach to the LDS chapel for our final festivities. Along the way we found a couple interesting sites. One was a yard containing a collection of VW vehicles. Pretty sweet!

Next we saw a home for sale and speculated how much it might cost in such a prime location (right next to these lovely beaches). We figured it would be a lot more than a normal house you would find in Utah, although it was pretty old and not very big. We read the flyer and found that it was selling for nearly a million dollars! Mike mentioned that the bay area is a good location for graphic designers, but we would have to save up quite a bit more money before we could move there!

Once we got to the chapel we had some fun playing games and socializing while other members of the family went to a park to play softball. When they returned we had a fabulous dinner catered by Half Moon Bay's own "taco man." It was delicious and many family members (especially my mom) commented that they had never seen Mike eat so much food.
After dinner we had our traditional family talent show. There were many excellent acts. Our family performed a rendition of "peel, peel, peel the banana" and we were also individually represented by my brothers Caleb and Ben. Caleb sang a tongue-twist song that he learned at camp, and Ben shared a story about his experience running cross country his sophomore year. One of his ambitions is to become a stand-up comedian, and our family now agrees that this is an attainable goal.
My grandparents talent consisted of my grandpa spitting sunflower seeds at us, and then my grandma giving us a kiss with her outrageous lipstick (this is also a tradition). We then took pictures with our grandma kisses.

I am nervous because Mike has a kiss from another woman! (Just/Kidding) This picture with all of the grandchildren shows how much our family has grown (I am the oldest of 29 grandkids!).

Also at this time, I got my first chance to hold the current littlest member of the family, Jordan.

My earlier attempts had been thwarted by her brother Davin, who yelled "she's our baby!" when I tried to pick her up in the Redwood Forest. I asked if I could borrow her just for a little while, but he said, "no!" Here he is with his dad.

Although there were a couple of grumpy moments on our trip,

everyone had a good time overall.

For the final night a group of us got together in the hotel lobby for a few final rounds of "werewolf" (aka Mafia.) We had some good laughs and some good treats. The hotel served breakfast in the morning and they would leave a few things throughout the day (i.e. juice, fruit, cereal, packets of hot chocolate.) One of the cereals ran out and we asked the receptionist if we could get some more from the kitchen. She led us to the door and said, "sure, help yourselves." Oh boy, those were the magic words! It was all you can eat cereal, pastries, and drinks! :) Finally, the time came that we had to say goodnight and even goodbye :( Hopefully we will see them all again soon!
The next morning we arrived in SLC around 6 am. That was just enough time to take a quick nap before heading off to a day of work. It was back to reality for us!

Goodbye, Wymount!

At the beginning of June, Michael and I bid farewell to our first married apartment. Here is a tribute to it's memory, and a brief tour for those who never got a chance to see it. We also took pictures, but I don't feel like adding all of them right now, so hopefully the video works :)

Monday, June 23, 2008

June - a crazy month!

So, I have not made any updates in the past month. It has been a difficult month for us. However, I am now getting to the point where I can see how what is always said about trials is true. They can either destroy you or they can be an opportunity to grow. The problem is that it is often very challenging to take the first steps towards growth when you are in the depths of despair. Some of you reading this will know what I am referring to, and some of you will likely be very confused! To those confused, do not worry; I am not going to go into details here but I could share more in a private conversation. I remember a story for some talk or article that I have read or heard within the past couple of years. It related a dialog between a mother and daughter, when the daughter was about to be wed. She said, "Mother, it is so wonderful. I have come to the end of my troubles." In response, her mother said, "yes, it is true, but you just don't know which end." Life is very interesting; it is definitely an adventure, and I have decided that it is usually impossible to predict or foresee its path. Nonetheless, we are all here travelers.
Well, moving on, things are really starting to brighten up. I got (another!) new job recently. I think it will be a good opportunity for me and so far it has gone pretty well. It is a little bumpy, but hopefully will get better with time. I have been working as a teller at Utah Community Credit Union for about a week and a half now. I am working at the Pleasant Grove branch where one of my good friends from high school, Lindsey, is the assistant manager. It was through her that I found out about the opening and I am very grateful for her help! I think it will be fun working with her, but also a little weird because she will now be my boss while I am used to her..... not being my boss. :) Anyway, it is kind of funny to see her take on her different work persona, but it is also fun to see how successful she has become in such a short time! (Meanwhile I am still just trudging slowly through school working odd jobs from time to time!) Anyway, it seems that the company really believes in treating their employees well so it will be a great change. In addition, I am looking for another job for the morning because this one is just part-time in the afternoons. Also, I am starting on an online class that I basically need to finish within a couple weeks to help me get into the teaching program for my major. So... I will be a very busy girl for the next month or so! As a result, I may not post again for some time.... or I might.... but either way I am grateful for anyone who might be reading this and I appreciate your friendship and support!

Friday, May 30, 2008

50 years!

I realized that I forgot to mention an important milestone in the Tyler family. This past weekend my grandparents celebrated their 50 year anniversary! It is really amazing to think of all they have done and what a great example they have been for our entire family. They were both the first in their families to join the church after they were married, so really all of our lives would have been totally different if it wasn't for all of the great and inspired decisions they have made. Mike and I both argeed that they set a great precedent for us. We set a goal to make it 50 just like them, and after that I don't think eternity would be very far away!
We had a great time celebrating this weekend with them. My grandmother and her sister were married together, so my great-aunt and uncle, Janis and Eddie, came from Texas to visit along with their family. Their daughters both have young toddlers and it was fun to see them. On Saturday afternoon we hiked to a beautiful waterfall and spent some time at my aunt and uncle's house in South Weber. Sunday we had a casual dinner at my parents, and then Monday night we had a beautiful dinner and program at Carvers steak house in Sandy. Unfortunately our family was a little late for that because we were trying to finish off a slide show/video for their 50th. However, it turned out great and we were able to catch the end of the festivites. Congrats to Grandma and Grandpa Tyler!

Another update for Chelsea :)

My good friend Chelsea pointed out that it has been awhile since I have posted. Just because I think so highly of her, I decided that now would be a good time to write... hehe. Basically I haven't written because we don't really have much to report. Right now we are in a waiting period for many things. First, I am still waiting to be hired for a new job. I have done a couple interviews so far, and I have at least one scheduled for next week. Hopefully I should be able start somewhere by the end of next week? Anyway, once I finally start training somewhere new there will be an announcement.
Secondly, we are waiting to see where we are going to be living for the next year. Our contract at our current residence, Wymount, ends on June 4th. So, we will begin moving out and doing the final cleaning probably tomorrow! I am a little bit sad to leave Wymount, it has been a pretty good place for us. However, we felt that it was time to move on and look for something with a few more modern conveniences. :) We weren't too excited about spending the summer with no A/C. We are also looking for an apartment with a dishwasher and washer/dryer in the unit. Yesterday I found an AMAZING deal on pretty much the apartment of our dreams, but we are not sure if we will get it because there were several other couples interested as well. So, I won't go into too much detail about it so I won't get my heart any more set on it before we know! If we don't get that apartment, we will most likely move with my parents for a month or so to save some money while we look for something else we can get really excited about. Before we move out of Wymount we will post some pictures and maybe video as a final tribute, and so those who haven't ever been to visit us can get a look at our first place!

In other "news," I am trying to get some reading done for fun since I have a little more spare time this summer. (warning: this will not be at all interesting to some) So far I have only finished one novel, but hopefully I will improve after I'm not so busy with job hunting and moving, etc. The first book I read was Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway. Supposedly it was one of the greatest war novels of all time. However, I was not really that impressed. It was okay, but nothing earth shattering. Now I am in the middle of reading three different books, hehe. The first is Beloved by Toni Morrison. It is a Nobel Prize winning novel set around the time of slavery. I haven't really gotten far enough to make a judgement about it, but hopefully it will be interesting. After I finish Beloved, I also want to read two other books by her which are kind of a series. Jazz set around the great migration, and Paradise set around the civil rights movement. The theme bringing the books together is basically examining three major events in black history, and specifically how women were affected by the movements in society at these different times. As a warning, none of these books are "G" rated! (not even close!) Anyway, with the Hemingway and Morrison books I am trying to get a better background in kind of the standard "classics" and scholarly literature. At the same time I have also been reading some more recent hits just for fun. I am about halfway through New Moon by Stephanie Meyer. I read Twilight a couple years as one of 30 different young adult novels I had to read for a class. I was a little disappointed in the writing quality after hearing rave reviews from different people. It was kind of fun to read, but definitely not "great writing"... oh boy! Anyway, it is extremely cheesy and over-dramatic, but I am actually enjoying reading New Moon. I'll select a few highlights from the book so far so those who aren't familiar with the novel can get a feel for it: I think the narrator's first description of her boyfriend is pretty classic, "I couldn't feel anything but despair until I pulled into the familiar parking lot behind Forks High School and spotted Edward leaning motionlessly against his polished silver Volvo, like a marble tribute to some forgotten pagan god of beauty," .........for reals? I think the quote speaks for itself without commentary. A couple chapters into the book he breaks up with her and leaves because he decides it's not safe for him to be with her ( he is a vampire). Pretty much this completely ruins her life and makes her very existence absolutely meaningless. The next pages pass October, Novemeber, December, and January--totally blank--because her life is now empty without Edward. What a great message to send young girls! If your 16 and your boyfriend breaks up with you, you might as well die! Yikes! Then whenever she thinks about him even many months later she feels like this, "it was a crippling thing, this sensation that a huge hole had been punched through my chest, excising my most vital organs and leaving ragged, unhealed gashes around the edges that continued to throb and bleed despite the passage of time. Rationally, I knew my lungs must still be intact, yet I gasped for air and my head spun like my efforts yielded me nothing. My heart must have been beating, too, but I couldn't hear the sound of my pulse in my ears; my hands felt blue with cold. I curled inward, hugging my ribs to hold myself together." Dang girl! Melodramatic much? Anyways, the books have been very successful and there is a movie about the first book coming out soon. Could be interesting.

Well, I think this post is long enough for today. Hopefully we will have some good news to write about soon!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Substitute Teaching

For the past week or so I have been substitute teaching while I look for another long-term summer job. Sometimes it is extremely crazy, but for the most part I actually like it. I first started subbing about 3 years ago when I came home from Idaho. Since then I have just subbed at random times when I had available days. I do all different grade levels and classes. These past few days I have subbed for a high school math class, junior high English and geography classes, sixth grade, first grade, and special-ed kindergarten. So, as you can see, I get a little taste of everything. I'm currently attempting to major in English Teaching, which means I will be certified to teach English in High School or Junior High when I graduate.
If I wasn't going to be teaching High School, I think I might like to teach elementary school. The kids are so cute. I think around second grade would be the best age. They are old enough that they aren't so hard to teach, but still young enough to be sweet and lovable. (Once they get to about fourth grade that starts to go away for some!) Another fun thing about younger kids is that they usually actually like their teachers. They will even develop affection for you if you are only there for one day! These are some of the drawings and cards I have gotten from the kids I've taught in past years:

These are all pictures taken from pages of my scrapbook
This is what I look like, apparently.

I'm really not sure what this is supposed to represent, but it was for me. :)
You can't really see, but underneath the black crayon it says, "I like you Miss Tyler"
Mickey Mouse without a nose, still pretty good though, right?
This note is probably my favorite. I had a fifth grade class that I taught about 5 or 6 times one year because the students asked for me to come back. One of the last times one of the boys gave me this letter,
" Dear Miss. Tyler,
Thank you for substute teaching in our class. I don't know about anyone else but I think you will become a good teacher if thats what you want to do if you aren't alwady. have a good day.
from Alexander Carlson"
It basically warmed my heart.

So, pretty much, it's things like that which make teaching worth it, even when you get a few classes which are absolute horrors! Unfortunately, I doubt I will get very many "I love you" cards from students teaching high school. However, I ultimately decided to go for high school because I think I would enjoy teaching a more advanced subject matter. Also, a lot of teaching in elementary school is just disciplining the students and getting them to behave, which isn't too fun for me. I'd rather just stay at home and have fun with my own kids! If I have to discipline students, I would rather have them be high schoolers who really deserve it when they get in trouble (supposedly they should be able to act like adults). Anyway, that is basically a glance into the mysterious world of substitute teaching!