I think I like Oregon..

oregon instagram tumblr amazing states
Yesterday Los Torrens arrived in Oregon in the Swag-mobile. Weird and a little strange because that’s North, and our family doesn’t really go north that often. South is Disneyland and East is everything else. Now, a family reunion brings us to Seattle for the first time… like ever.  It’s exciting and so I guess that’s why I’m writing about it.
To describe the entire drive up here would be blah, so here’s a sampler. We stopped in a little railroad town for gas and because my dad’s local history app convinced him it would be a good idea, which it was :)
We found a baseball field that Babe Ruth once played a small charity game on while he was in the majors. What a nice fellow.
Weird how deserted the place was except for the community pool right next door that was hopping with music and wet bodies. Guess that just explained itself. Wow Sydney.
Anyways, we checked the field out, the boys with their recently purchased iPods and I got our Facebook/Instagram/Snapchat-worthy pictures and headed out.
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(Mhm we’re cool)
Then Urbanspoon gave us a gem when we asked for a place to get grub. The Kailaidascope Pizzeria and Pub is a place I will gladly write my one and only restaurant review for… someday. Not only was the pizza crust and cobbler incredible but so was their mission statement. Their artsy menu was designed entirely by kids with special needs. I vow to return for more.
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Then we drove back and the whole way home my addiction to cloud porn drove me to hanging out the window and snap the cotton candy sky.
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Hotel and sleep.
Sunday.
Ever notice how states have their own certain flavors of people? Not exactly sure how to describe it, but during  Sunday School, I kept watching these kids and tried to imagine them telling someone “Hi I’m from Oregon!” It was an easy thing to imagine. They were all super duper friendly and just glowed with the spirit of Oregon. Yes.
Then later that afternoon I felt the “world shrink” when dad recognized someone from his childhood at church and we were invited to her family’s house for lunch. We learned that some of the best ice breakers are sprinkle pancakes with strawberry syrup and then playing a game of Disney Apples to Apples.
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And then came the play. It’s getting late and I don’t think I have the energy to write as much as I would like but if you ever have the oppourtunity to see Robin Hood in the Elizabethan Theate at the Shakespeare Festival in Oregon, GO AND DO IT.
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Anyways, goodnight world. To be continued…
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Just Thinking About Colleges Tonight…

march madness pick ugh

My history teacher’s a basketball buff. Today in class, he passed around a sheet along with a hat {the black silky kind, resembling that of Abe L} filled with slips of paper. On each was a college basketball team on the roster-thing for March Madness. The point of all this was to 1) have us research a college we would have never probably heard of, and 2) get extra credit points for each game won by our team during this season. I can’t say that I’m happy with leaving bonuses to chance especially because mine is ranked number #16… Southern U {now all you March Madmen groan.

march madness pick ugh
Can somebody explain the “(23-9)” por favor?!

So I got on my school’s college search website. It’s actually pretty cool how technology can help kids make educated decisions on a personal level, by comparing important factors like majors offered, tuition fees, and campus life according to how I’ve tested during

College Blog
decisions decisions…

personality evaluations.

You wanna know what my compilation came to?

    University of Oregon. Yeah… the Ducks.

I perused College options out of interest and boredom. A dangerous couple.

Then I got frustrated because, well, I don’t want to think about all that. Dorms and majors and fees  and the future…

•••

I want to pig out in my parents kitchen with friends and enjoy my schoolwork while hating at the same time. I don’t want to take my final driving lesson because it means that I’m that much closer to taking my license test… with the little bald man in the passenger’s seat with his nose hairs brushing the clipboard. I want to pick the grass in P.E. class as kids try to draw out the workout by asking stupid questions to the teacher. I want to be there when the last of my brothers graduates 6th grade. I want to watch Downton Abbey and Sherlock Holmes and think I can pull off a fabulous British Accent. I like my backpack and I think it’s funny when the person who has gum in class is suddenly the most popular. I love dem boys {or at least talking about them }. I love babysitting for really nice families. I love being sixteen.

•••

Pop-culture, technology… it all changes and so do the Youth it raises. The teens I mean. We are taught to live in a world we have not yet experienced, a world no one ban predict. So we must be taught to adapt given basic skills and then not-so-basic, which would be developing our talents. And that will determine if our future consists of a cubby-hole career or other.

But for now, I’m going to enjoy my life as it is. Light as a feather and fun. I’m going to take advantage of the benefits of living at home and develop those talents as well as find some new ones. Blogging, yes. You are most certainly here to stay. {As much as my parents dislike it ;) } And those pesky poopy brothers… I hope they know that the tackles and noogies are out of love. Three big buckets-full.

If there are any words of wisdom I have developed in these last few years of developing maturity they are, “Life is good, even when it sucks.”

And with that dear reader, I bid you adios. Because I have a spanish test tomorrow. Your lovely advice to teens everywhere would be much appreciated down below :)

-SJT

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“It’s about a girl who is on the cusp of becoming someone.. A girl who may not know what she wants right now, and she may not know who she is right now, but who deserves the chance to find out.” ― Jodi Picoult

The Wonderful World of Homecoming: Part 2

Happy dance, throw down a Tebow, and then meme tears of joy… HOMECOMING IS OVER WITH BABY!

After much stress, tears, and blood, the finished product came out looking like the average Sophomore work. (eh-okay)

But hey, it’s over! Who cares what place we get, we participated, got a little united and artsy, and had fun. Que slideshow.

Not as bad as I made it sound huh? We were Sherlock in case you didn’t guess, and it was definitley a challenge.

Lessons Learned:

• Osh always has caution tape

• Osh doesn’t always have refrigerator boxes

• Sherlock lived on Baker St., and no, there were no double decker buses back then

• Things get much better when you’re an upperclassman

And lastly…

• You SO cannot do this type of thing alone, it’s important to divvy out the workload to everyone willing to help, and then thrust paintbrushes in the hands of those who aren’t

My own mother has that last one perfected and she too did a “Happy dance, throw down a Tebow, and then meme tears of joy” when my brother’s school fundraiser was over. She was the boss-lady, and she too had her share of paintbrushes to thrust in order to but this baby on. Que Slideshow.

Mom, you did a fantastic job. I was a balloon of pride and I still am. I just hope that one day, I can be as awesome of a boss-lady as you. Hey, so I might just try Homecoming again next year as a funky junior! Help me will ya mother?

xoxo

I Left My Heart @ Camp Ritchie

sound of music mountains are big had

So last post, I was ready to leave for Girls Camp, and now I’m home and exhausted. Allow me to fill you in on the Oreo filling :) (Ah! Quickly before sleepy Sydney falls asleep on the couch!)

We left in cars. I with my mommy and three friends. All crammed in our little civic and making friendship bracelets.

 

We got there unpacked, boring boring boring. Well here’s what happened on Tuesday and what I wrote in my journal;

July 24th

Today I got tired of people. People are tiring sometimes, especially teenage girls, I’m tired tonight from archery and BBs, plus rappelling but also I started to get annoyed at people’s imperfect-ness. Then we had devotional. It was about a story about a town of wooden people called “Wimmiks”, who judged one anthers actions and appearances using stickers. Kinda mean huh? We do that too shockingly enough, just in a more subtle and mental way. And I realized I had been a Wimmik by thinking that my ways of sinning were somehow more acceptable than the other girls ways of sinning. Just because you sin differently from others doesn’t give you the right to judge them or get tired of them. That’s god’s job. I was humbled and bummed out. Realizing your wrong and being chastened will do that to you… but it makes us better people. But I was still left with a dry, dusty feeling that reminded me of Rango. I just prayed for some intimate inspiration. Hopefully I’ll find it tomorrow but it’s dark in our cabin and Sarah’s complaining about my headlamp light. We’re all exhausted. Thanks for listening.

-JoTo

P.S. Happy 12th Birthday Tyler!!! xoxo :)

July 25th

I’m sitting in my friend’s car on our way back from our 4th year hike. In  a car? I thought you were supposed to be oblivious to all forms of civilization for a week! Yes indeed a car. So you drive down 88, past Kirkwood Ski Resort and Caples Lake, and turn into the El Dorado National Forest parking lot. Past the bathrooms, there’s a 2.5mi trail, that brings you to Winnemucca Lake. The lake could give a Polar Bear hypothermia, but it’s the journey there that makes the journey worth it. We hiked through the prettiest woods you’ve ever seen. Brother W. said, “It’s like we’re walking through a painting”, and seriously, Monet should have checked this place out. Wildflowers outnumbered grass blades and ferns sat scattered like leafy watchmen. Pine trees aren’t exactly Cherry Blossoms, but they looked really good with colorful Indian Paintbrush gathered in bushels around their roots. Fallen logs, ancient and a soft white, lie dappled with sunshine falling from the canopy. As we trekked up and up the uphill, the Pines thinned and we were in an open meadow, aka Poppy-Town. Flowers galore covered the grassy hill like a little city of colorful people. Instead of busting places in little cars and taxis, they all stood static until alternating breezes urged them to dance. We heard running water, and to our delight ran a good-sized summer stream, running the way we would take home. It ran happily over rocks and through small granite formations creating baby waterfalls. Framing the whole stunning picture stood something entirely muting. Mountains patched with icy snow, straight out of the sound of music, or even a dream. sound of music winnemucca hikingsound of music mountains are big had

It was all uphill though, and the girls were tired. I however was high on beauty.

“This is SO Pretty! Look, BUTTERFLY! Augh, I could just live in a SHACK here! Appreciate! Appreciate! Appreciate!” I would squeal pointing to a cluster of flowers or a pool of glossy water. As I was gleefully sharing my feelings, Brother W. stopped me.

“You think THIS is cool? Imagine heaven, and the kingdoms in heaven. No one can even imagine.”

I almost cried when he said that. I’m such a marshmallow. If God could craft such a beautiful place as this, Earth, then what has he crafted for us AFTER this? This is just the Basement!!! Although I may melt my marshmallow-self by just thinking about this, I have been inspired. My soul has drunk from the well of happiness. This was the answer to my prayer. This WAS the answer to my prayer.

Tonight at our fireside I learned that before you go to bed, put on your “PJ’S”.

P- Prayer

J- Journal

S- Scriptures

Cute huh?

July 26th 

Today, the boy-scouts appeared like strapping young specks on the beach across the lake and the girls turned into boy-deprived banshees. We had been at waterfront, basking, swimming, paddle boarding, and kayaking when it looked as if boys started to appear across the waves. We went mad, yelling out “BOYS!” to those unaware. We began paddling in circles, or at least trying to stay in line of sight of the boys camp, without going so far as the speedboat would have to come over and embarrassingly scold us. Turns out, the boys hadn’t sat out just to watch our girly youthfulness or wondered which of us were old enough to date… they were too busy waiting for us to GET OUT! We realized this once our final whistle to get out blew and we scrambled in shivers to the rocks for our towels and shoes. We sat on the rock overlooking the lake, cold, sad, and wet as we watched the strapping specks do cannonballs into the water and tear away on sailboats. To our dismay, scout masters don’t approve of co-ed swimming. Dang.

My journal goes on into hardly legible entries about BB guns and Crafts that clearly display my exhaustion. However, the last night, Friday night, ended on one of the best notes of my life so far. Testimony meeting. It was more than a genius’ idea to end camp with such a spiritually strengthening activity. But again it was more than even that, to another-worldly extent.

Testimony meeting was incredible.  My heart swelled with not pride, but sisterhood and daughterhood, being a daughter of God and a sister to all of these wonderful people here. I’ve never felt so close to God before, but I’m sure the altitude is a contributing factor (; It’s so easy to feel so so so spiritual at camp, because all distractions are gone. The Media, Social Networks, material possessions, CARS are all irrelevant for six days. All that’s left is kindness and love  in the form of delicious food, under the stars and in clean air that provides for the very best of thoughts. It’s more than beautiful, it’s of God. The trick is, (and it’s VERY tricky) is to bring those same thoughts home. Like maybe… in the form of a Journal.

It’s hard to believe until you’ve felt God. If you don’t know where to find him, look to little children or the wilderness. You’ll feel his embrace in the form of Life. I know this to be true. Every last syllable.

-Sydney

Oh and on the way home we stopped at the Ghirardelli Factory. (AKA the place where they make the best Hormone Replacement)

 

Utah Trip… pronounced “Yewtah Chripp”

I’ve flown on a plane solo before.  The first time was out and back to Utah when I was twelve (unaccompanied minor), the second was home from Utah, and this time was out and back from Utah ONCE AGAIN. So many things rock out in Utah… including BYU’s Volleyball Camp. I flew out a few days prior to hang with my rock’n Aunt and Grandma, then to the other Grandparents briefly, and off to camp for the kernel of the trip. It was a marvelous trip.

Things I learned?

• One can have church on a mountain

• Water tastes twenty times better once you realize how good over hydration feels

• All dogs are puppies at heart

• “The Office” never gets old, as well as British “Who done it?” shows. (thank YOUU Netflix!)

• Little recycled clock-compass men are adorable

• Salt Lake isn’t that far from Provo

Saying “Goodbye” is hard

• The friendliest horses are males

• Mountain Air makes for a gorgeous sunset

• BYU is pretty quiet during the summer, until the camp kids come

• BYU truffles are the best in the world…. topping Lindor shockingly.

• Volleyball is nothing more than being uncomfortable in the squatting position, or awkwardly smacking a ball over a net. Tough stuff man.

• Guy coaches are an utter blast

• You don’t have to be some athletic god to play @ college level

• Missionaries love Hi-Chew

• A mob of hungry teenagers can be dangerous

• Seven Peaks is a rip-off ($10 for a plastic doughnut)

• The Cafe is not in the least

Saying “Goodbye” is hard

• Advil can prevent painful misery

• Ice Cream and twelve hours of sleep in a dark Utah basement is the best recovery

• “Crazy for You” is the all-time best American play the U.S. has ever seen. Go see it.

• Do all your wash before going home to make unpacking a synch

Saying “Goodbye” is hard

• Sometimes the best friends aren’t roommates, but strangers on plane next to you.

• Temple Run is depressing

• You haven’t felt statehood pride until you’ve flown over California as a Californian.

•  Saying “Hey guys I missed you!” is really fun.


Guest Post from MonkeyBrother #1: Middle School Advice?

Hello everybody, it’s brother #1.  I’m the awesome one in the family.

Now you all know my sister from somewhere, I don’t know, maybe because this is her blog.  I would also like to shout out a big “HI” to my grandpa, who is probably wondering what the heck is going on.

A few days ago I was in sixth grade until the summer came, and now I’m officialy a seventh grader.  My big sis thinks that I’m going to die in there, but between you (as in everybody reading this) and me, I know I’ll turn out okay in one piece. Now if you have any advice you want to share with me about middle school/jr. high, I would be happy to hear it. Leaf a comment down below.

[Edit: SJT repeated this question on Yahoo Answers and got some pretty sweet advice there too! Thanks again guys for all the tips and wisdom!]

A Wise Señora Once Said…

“Cause that’s the way I was brought up. You gotta treat all people the same, no matter what skin color… no matter what religion. They all got the same heart, ya know?”

-Abuela O.

(Envision with a faint, 76-year-old Tex-Mex accent)

We just finished anatomy in Biology. Ever wondered exactly how you swallow? *Cough!*Peristalsis*Cough!*  Well I did, and a lot of other body questions were answered this week. I know know what happens when “Johnny Eats a Cheeseburger”. (Essay) But I am here to testify, WE ALL HAVE THE SAME HEART! (Literally!)

“But Sydney, I learned in kindergarden that no two people are the same, WE’RE ALL UNIQUE!”

 (Sorry. Cheesy dialogue.)

Nope! Only some parts of your body are truly unique. Your skin prints, your brain, and other picky organs. Everything else can be found everywhere else. Brown hair will be brown hair, blue eyes will be blue eyes from Zimbabwe to Juneau. Then of course you allow for mother nature to step in and stir her soup further. Genetic disease, freckles, deformities are their own type of unique, but I don’t swim in the deep end. If Mother nature could just be satisfied with the consistency of her tomato bisque, then one could say that all humans are born with the same heart, because we’re all programmed to be human. (Unless you’re a genetically altered golden lab with spectacles reading this).

So maybe it’s politically incorrect to say “we all have the same heart”, because we don’t. Birth defects, accidents, heart disease, smoking… but we’re all human, and at one point had the capacity to have the same heart even if it was at the zygote stage.

Summary? Sure.

Treat everyone equally, we’ve all got the same heart.

I know it’s tough to do. Especially when it’s your dorkie-squash of a little brother interpretive dancing to Andy Grammar.

But you gotta keep your head up, OH-oh,
And you can let your hair down, EH-eh,
You gotta keep your head up, OH-oh,
And you can let your hair down, E-eh e-eheh.

 Enjoy what’s left of today and thursday guys! (TWO MORE WEEKS AND THIS FRESH-MEAT GETS SOPHTER!)