Friday, April 30, 2010

It Paid Off

This is our kitchen table while I was writing my 25-page capstone research paper. I cleaned it up a couple of times, but it always seemed to come back to this state again and again.

And guess what. It all paid off.

When I first started off as a history teaching major, I put so much effort into all of my papers. I wouldn't turn it in unless I was fully confident about it. But, as time went on, I noticed myself feeling less and less sure of my papers. My grades didn't really change, so maybe I was just getting used to writing papers and I felt like it should be harder. But still, it's not a good feeling to have when your entire undergraduate learning culminates in the beastly 25-page capstone research paper. I know that there are much bigger papers out there (namely doctoral dissertations), but this is still a lot of writing and the longest paper I have ever written!

So, when I turned in my beast of a paper ("The Function of Miracles: Catholic and Protestant Uses of Miracles in Early Modern England"), I knew it wasn't my best paper. But I didn't care. I was so sick of papers. I was just a little hesitant to see my final grade in the class.

And then I wanted to cry when I checked my grades. I got an A-.

A-! Hallelujah!

I don't think I'm so excited about the actual grade but the fact that my paper couldn't have been half bad. History professors are pretty picky with the capstone papers, so this means I must have done a good job on it. That just makes me feel good about my writing abilities.

Ironically, now that I know this, I am planning on never writing another history essay again. And I am completely fine with that.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Graduation and Family

Last week was a very busy week in the Nelson household because RICH GRADUATED! He's officially done with school. I wish it was me, too.

Rich's parents came into town on Wednesday, and we started off our week of celebration with a meal at the Roof at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building in Salt Lake. It was beautiful, and we had a perfect view of the temple (we had a hookup).

The next day, we had a luncheon for the graduating student athletes. Again, more delicious food. And it hit me just how amazing it is that Rich has been able to run with BYU for 5 years. It has been such a cool experience for him.

Later was the commencement ceremony where they ran out of seats for the graduates. I feel like whoever runs graduation should know about what to expect every year for graduation, but they ran out of seats about halfway through the processional and had to seat the other half of graduates behind the speaker. Maybe far more people decided to walk this year than usual. I don't know.

Rich's convocation was Friday, and it was exciting up until they read Rich's name, and then it was a lot of sitting and really wanting it to be over. We did, however, get to see Sandra Bullock and Alicia Keyes walk in the same ceremony (obviously not the famous ones, but this Sandra Bullock still got the loudest applause). I think when Rich's name was called I heard a "Yeah Richard!" from the graduate section - my guess is that it was Kyle (the same yeller from the Y Awards).

We spent pretty much the rest of the weekend hanging out with Rich's parents, Cami and Ethan, and Grandma Farnsworth in West Valley. It was so weird not to have any deadlines or assignments or even anywhere to be. We had no schedule on Saturday, and I don't know if I liked it or not. We just don't know what to do now that we don't have homework.

So now Rich is graduated, he is officially done with school, and we are officially done with eating out for a while now (we ate at least one restaurant a day last week, plus pizza two nights). Now, I just have to remember how to cook.

I felt like a picture slideshow is the easiest way to show pictures from last week, otherwise this post would be way too long. Enjoy!

Monday, April 19, 2010


Rich had a pretty good race at Stanford. He almost got a PR (probably by about 4 seconds), until... he fell.

He hit one of the barriers on the last lap with his knee, fell on his other knee and on his chest and head. He popped right up and probably finished the race on pure adrenaline, still placing 4th and getting his best time of the season (8:43). With this time he's still the #2 collegiate ranked athlete in the nation. Not too shabby, eh?

But, now he's hurt. He bruised a rib (we thought it was broken until he had an x-ray today). His knees recovered quickly, so those don't hurt when he runs. Instead, it now only hurts his chest when he sneezes, coughs, opens the fridge, leans over, breathes. Recovery is not going to be fun, but he's still planning on racing in 2 weeks at Stanford and running sub-8:40. He told me that he won't be happy until he does.

Plus, he learned that he can run sub-8:40. He would have, if he wouldn't have fallen. And he can run with Hillary Bor, sure to be one of his biggest competitors at nationals this year. He was making his move and almost caught Bor before he fell. He might not have beat him in this race, but it definitely would have been close.

I just wish he could recover faster. But, there's nothing you can really do with a bruised rib. Just suffer through it. Rich isn't one to complain, so I can tell that he's really hurting right now because even climbing into the car has him wincing in pain.

I highly recommend watching the race if you didn't get to see it live, or if you've never seen a steeplechase before. The last 2 laps in this race are where it gets exciting.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


At 2:50 today, I walked out of my last class of the semester.

No, wait, of my undergraduate life.


Yes, I still have finals and one more Independent Study class to take and student teaching to conquer until I have officially graduated, but I will never sit through a class again. Not until I get a master's someday, which is not really anywhere in the foreseeable future (I need a break from school).

Rich and I are completely done with sitting in classes at BYU. This is incredible. Now, let's just make it through our finals. Hopefully by this time next week Rich will only have to worry about how he's going to get a cap and gown for graduation.

Oh, and I found out where I am student teaching. Westlake High School in Saratoga Springs. It's not what I was expecting, but I'm excited. Two of Rich's great friends teach there, so at least I'll know someone on my first day of school, right?

Also, I passed both of my Praxis tests (teacher certification tests, I had to take two on the same day - history and psychology). It's a relief knowing $200 didn't go down the drain.

Finally, Rich has a HUGE race this Thursday at Mt. Sac. Pretty much any big name in the steeplechase is going to be there, including past Olympians. It's going to be broadcast on Flotrack. Here is a link. He races at 6:15 (Pacific time). Should be great!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Picture Update

Rich and I have actually been pretty good at taking pictures lately, so I wanted to put a few photos. This post is long, so I understand if you only look at the pictures.

Scholarship Banquet
I just have to say that some people are amazing. Rich has been able to have an athletic scholarship because someone, Henry Marsh (former BYU runner who still holds the BYU record for fastest time in the steeplechase), is paying for it. And he's not the only one. This banquet was for both donors and athletes. These donors are paying for at least one athlete's entire tuition. That is so amazing to me, and I know Rich and I really appreciate that. Someday, when we have millions of dollars, we want to pay for a scholarship, too.

General Conference
On Easter Sunday morning, Rich and I drove up to Salt Lake to go to General Conference. Well, not really. We ended up watching a broadcast of it in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building because we didn't have tickets. We mainly went so I could see my former roommate/best friend for life (after Rich, of course). She's on a mission in Salt Lake right now (yes, she went from being in Provo for 3 years to a mission in Salt Lake). SLC missionaries are allowed to see friends and family in between sessions of Conference, so we met up with her (and her sister who's at BYU, her parents from Kentucky, and her grandparents from New York who all came to see her). It was fun to see her. I can tell that she is an amazing missionary.

Easter Dinner
Rich and I didn't really know what we were going to do for Easter until the day before. My mom was in Kentucky visiting our newest niece (Lola Grace Kirtley, born to Carrie and Ryan on March 16), so we didn't think we would be having dinner in Ogden. But, my Grandma Fredrickson knew my dad would be all by himself, so she had dinner at her place. My brother Tyson and his wife Krystle came with adorable baby Khloe. She is so stinkin' cute, and she's getting so big. My brother Skyler and I fight over who gets to hold her (he's going to be a great dad someday - he just needs to find himself the right woman). Dinner was delicious, and I think my dad really appreciated the company.

Jazz vs. Thunder
Rich has been wanting to go to this Jazz game all season so he would be able to see his two favorite players: D-Will and Kevin Durant. We went with a couple of his teammates and their wives and Skyler because he loves the Jazz. Rich's favorite Christmas present was a green D-Will jersey from Skyler, and he finally got a chance to wear it. (I am sporting Rich's brother's Stockton jersey from sometime in the '90s.) It was a really good game, intense at the end, but the Jazz won!

The Y Awards
I didn't know there was such a thing as the Y Awards until I married Rich, and I didn't know how big of a deal they were until I went to them last year. This is where BYU Athletics gives out different awards for athletic performance during the year. The school pays for presenters and nominees to get dresses and tuxedos. It's a big deal. Rich was a presenter this year, and he did a really good job (even though his friend Kyle made him laugh by whispering "Hi Richard!" to him while he was on stage). There was one award that kind of made me upset, though. I think that Kyle Perry, the whispering friend, should have won male athlete of the year because he was the national champion last year in the steeplechase. That's kind of a big deal. But, instead, Jimmer Fredette won it, making it his third personal award this year plus being a part of the team of the year. I have nothing against Jimmer - he's actually kind of my hero. But Kyle was a NATIONAL CHAMPION! How often does that happen?!

So, that's enough pictures for now. In other news, Rich is GRADUATING in a week and a half. That's so crazy! He has two more days of class and three finals until he is done with school. I'm jealous. But then, I'm pretty much done with classes, too. I just have student teaching in the fall, and then I will be able to join him in the land of the graduated. Hallelujah!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Athlete of the Week

Every week, the Mountain West Conference names an athlete of the week in different sports. For this past week, Rich was the track and field Athlete of the Week. Here is a little writeup about it.

Excuse me, Co-Athlete of the Week. He shares the title with Air Force's Justin Tyner.

The MWC loves to use "co" when giving titles. For example, during this past cross country season BYU freshmen Jonathan Nelson (endearingly called Little Jon by his teammates) should have gotten Freshman of the Year for the MWC after the conference championship race. BYU Coach Ed Eyestone pointed this out to the MWC, but they had already awarded the first trophy to someone from New Mexico (we don't really like New Mexico). To make up for their mistake, the MWC sent Little Jon his own trophy. And it said "Co-Freshman of the Year."


So lame that Coach Eyestone sang "Co-Freshman of the Year is Gay" to the tune of Miley Cyrus's "Party in the USA" in his end-of-the-year song. A nice touch.

Anyway, Rich is Co-Athlete of the Week. And that's pretty cool. Apparently, he's a pretty good runner. We're looking forward to a great season.