Friday, December 26, 2008

And so this is Christmas (My long, way too many details included, record of the holiday week.)

I could not have been more relaxed this holiday season. I guess things got done early enough that I could really enjoy myself. I was in a kind of mourning yesterday that I really have to put away the music and all the decorations and the tree (a Forgotten Carols song comes to mind). I admit, some years I am ready for the change that the day after Christmas brings, but when I go in the car and turn on the radio to find regular music, I don't know if I'll like that. This year I just wanted a few more days. But I guess it's time. But "It's a Wonderful Life" is coming in the mail today, so I guess it's not so weird if we watch that. As much as I want the season to continue, I always feel weird to keep Christmasy things going when it's finished. I like things to be over where they're over. You know, move on. Besides, Christmas always comes so fast, it will seem like no-time when it's here again.

So on with the happenings. Like I said, we were (and still are) having a very chill Christmas, and loving every second of it. We purposely didn't make many plans so we could enjoy some time together this year. We had such a good mix of family, friends, and alone time, it worked out just great.

First, I wanted to show you the pics of Wade and Iris when they opened my gift to them. I watched them on Monday. They were leaving town the next day, and we really needed something to do, so we played with the Ice Cream maker ball I gave them. It was so cute when they opened it because they had just woken up. I imagined Christmas morning wouldn't be much different. They loved it and could barely get through breakfast, they wanted to make it so bad. Of course they got bored and didn't really want to play with it (which is required for the ice cream to be made), they just wanted the Ice cream. So I started to just make it for them, until I told them that I would eat it all by myself if I made it all by myself (a Little Red Hen type of lesson) and they joined right in. Such cute kids. I'm glad they liked it.

Tuesday was spent grocery shopping, food prepping, and resting. We decided to go out for dinner cause I just wasn't feeling like cooking. I guess I had so many odd jobs in the kitchen that I was alright with skipping any meal prep that night. It's not like I had any big dinners to prepare or anything, but sometimes, you just want to be waited on, you know? We slept by our tree one last time that night.

Wednesday, Christmas Eve, we didn't have any plans until the evening, so we made our own. We loved ice skating at the National Gallery of Art in DC last year so we thought we do that again. They have a skating rink in the outdoor sculpture garden. It was so fun to drive through the city and see all the families and friends being busy together and the decorations on the streets and buildings. And we drove right past the Capitol. It's always a nice sight. There were lots of happy faces on the ice, but not too many. I felt like we had a plenty of space to have fun. We were lucky to get any pictures. I just brought our little camera, and it was pretty much dead, (since we hardly ever use it, I forget to charge it). But it would usually let us take one before it shut down. I was griping about it, but I decided to let myself enjoy the moment instead of worrying about great pictures of a beautiful, overcast, 50 degree Christmas Eve in DC surrounded by lovely monuments. Do you ever feel like pictures have taken over your life? Anyway, they were playing lovely music and it was a great way to spend some time together. KC dropped me off at home so he could do his Christmas shopping-such typical husband behavior (seriously, I was done weeks ago), but I'm not complaining. It gave me time to have a nice rest. We then headed to the Turpin's to have our traditional fondue. A few friends from Cami's ward were there too. Cami prepared some great Swiss and cheddar with and others brought plenty of dippings. It was delicious. Of course we also had our festive nog (sprite/eggnog mixed-thanks Cottrells) and I brought lime-coconut trifle for dessert (I was getting tired of winter flavors). The kids then put on a nativity play while it was read from the Bible. It was hilarious, of course, with our impromptu costumes, and baby shepherds (who like to chew on their play sheep). The friends went home to have their respective family Christmas Eve time, while we stayed at the Turpins at opened our traditional pjs from my parents. I think these are my favorite by far. I wish you could feel them. They are heavenly. They little boys were thrilled with their Wii pants, and the older boys thought their BYU hoodies were pretty cool (it isn't always pjs. Last year my mom got the girls robes and the boys blankets. It's fun when it switches up.) I can't believe our parents still do such a nice thing for us kids. I told her she could stop, thinking she might be tired of the responsibility, but I'm glad she hasn't. I always look forward to it. Thanks mom. We chatted with Lili and Jeff via web cam (she's in California with in-laws), dressed the baby like and angel and laughed a lot, and then we then watched The Dark Knight, (not too Christmasy but I had never seen it) and whoa, that is one scary movie. We made our way home to make some breakfast preparations, and fell asleep to a wonderful show, Hollywood Christmas. It is available to watch instantly on Netflix. We just found it while looking for something Christmasy to watch. It must've been made for tv or something because it's a show hosted by Jane Seymour and she takes you through all the best Christmas movies from the first ever, to 1996, when this program was made. It showed us clips from a lot of our faves, and gave me ideas for my list next year. I did pretty well this year with my movie list, but there are always more to watch. This is a great way to finish up our Christmas movie watching. I highly recommend it.

On Christmas morning I woke up, earlier than KC of course. It was such a beautiful, clear morning with a great sunrise coming through the windows. I put our traditional breakfast in the oven, and finished the show we fell asleep to. KC joined me for that. Then we gave each other our stockings. In KC's family it's a tradition to draw names, get the allotted spending amount from mom, and fill that person's stocking. It was fun to do each other's. Then we proceeded to present opening. We were delighted with our gifts from our families and each other. We felt so overwhelmed with love and gratitude. We always get showered with gifts from our family, and it makes me feel like I never do enough. But I suppose that is not what Christmas is about. So we thoroughly enjoyed everything. There wasn't one gift that won't be put to great use. We cranked up the Christmas music, and ate a delicious breakfast of pull-aparts (my family's tradition) and breakfast casserole (his family's tradition). There was no room in our stomachs for any stocking treats after that. I got to talk to Melody and Julia on her new web cam. It was great! We also gave one to KC's family. We need to get it up and running so we can chat with them too. I love these web cam things. It helps so much with not being able to see everyone who is far away. We got ready for the day, and went to see Bolt with the Turpins. It was such a cute movie. I really had a good laugh. We went to see all the great things Santa brought the boys (KC was especially excited). After some game and piano-duet playing, we went home to get ready for game night with some friends, the Reeders and Stromsdorfers. And just like the day began beautifully, it also ended that way with an amazing sunset we enjoyed as we drove. (The weather was so nice. In the 50s all day.) We ate so much good food, played some rousing games and laughed to tears. A wonderful way to finish a wonderful day. We are so blessed to have such great family and friends around us. It wouldn't have been the same with out them.

So that's that. Christmas is done for the year, and we truly enjoyed ourselves. I will also say that I have been thinking about my Savior a lot this season. Boy, have I needed him this year. I always have, of course, but I honestly can say that he helped me survive some things I never thought I could. We owe our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ so much for what they have done for us. I'm so happy to celebrate the birth of the child who was born to save me from the tests and trials of this life. What a true miracle and blessing. I love him dearly.

So we were asked to be Mary and Joseph again in the Live Nativity at the DC Temple tonight. That is our only plan for the day so maybe I'll clean up all the gifts, boxes and wrapping paper in the living room that haven't moved since yesterday morning. Or maybe not. KC is still in bed and I think he is really enjoying that. Speaking of him, I also want to say that I have absolutely loved spending this special holiday time together. We have really had a chance to bond and create such fun memories and traditions. Of course we'd love to travel and be with more of our family, but there is something so special about just being together. Christmas day is our engagement anniversary after all (three years ago). He does so much for me, and there is rarely a complaint from him mouth. I'm a lucky, lucky girl. (Plus he got me a tri-pod for our camera that makes me very happy.) Oh, he just woke up. I better heat him up some breakfast leftovers.

So, you made it! I'm surprised I even did. But I had to record all of these delightful memories for my family, so thanks for baring with me. Merry Christmas to everyone. Get ready for a new year!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Baby face

I just thought I'd throw these pics in for fun. We had the Turpins over on Sunday for a casual dinner of leftover party ham, etc. We did have a toy room at the moment and the boys are usually a little bored here. So we thought they'd like that (of course most of the toys were theirs, but they didn't seem to mind). One toy that wasn't theirs was KC's Magnetix set that he got for his birthday a couple years ago. They went on and on about how they need to write Santa really fast to let me know they they really want some "Magnegits", or as Ethan said a couple times, "Mignats." We tried to convince them that Santa's sleigh is already packs and ready for flight, so maybe they can wait another year.

Anyway, the reason for the post was to show this little cute Janey, with the cute guy holding her. He prefers to give children kisses by blowing out, and she seemed to like that too.
Ethan thought he'd give it a try too.
I also love her deer-in-headlights look. She does have a red nose (like Rudolph) after all.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Simply having a wonderful Christmas time.

That's right. It's been a busy, but very enjoyable week before Christmas. I did a lot of babysitting, shopping, and preparing for the big Christmas shebang we invited quite a few of our ward friends to. I was a little hesitant inviting over 30 people (and that's including children) to our home, but it's Christmas so I thought, the more the merrier. We did a little furniture rearranging, toy borrowing (thanks Cami, they worked like a charm) and very little, easy food prep, and we were party ready. It's amazing how opened up our living room feels when you move the couch a little. I was worried about the kids being bored, so I set up our guest room with movies, coloring, and toys galore. I almost wanted to stay in there with them, it looked so fun. They looked like they were having a grand old time. I also set up a pack 'n' play in the office for any little ones who got tired. We were set.

The guests started to show up and the party was hoppin'. We all ate ourselves silly with the plethora of delicious party food, and enjoyed a white elephant Yankee swap. There were some really popular items out there, including a Mitt Romney talking bobble head, a Puma jacket, and although the coconut bras didn't get stolen from anyone, they still got a good laugh. My bishop, I repeat, my bishop and his wife added those into the mix. Nice. I ended up with some cologne, and KC got a little box complete with Softlips chap stick, bath fizzies, and candles. White elephants are awesome.

We then moved to Christmas Karaoke. Seriously, it was great. I chose Merry Christmas Darling, and there were many more songs that we were serenaded with, namely, All I want for Christmas is you, Merry Christmas to You, Last Christmas, White Christmas (KC's pick), Jingle Bell Rock, etc. It was was riot. Some were shy, which is fine, but we could see why there are so many karaoke bars. Alcohol would definitely add a whole new level of spontaneity to this activity.

We also had a Christmas word search, and crossword puzzle to do throughout the night. (Thanks Dad for emailing those to me.) I remember when my dad started handing those out last year, I loved it. Maybe we'll keep those on file for more Christmases to come.

After the party started to wind down and the first groups headed out, a small group of us played a few rounds of Wakee Six, and had some nice quiet conversation. We started the party at 5 pm, so our last guests left at about 10:45. How about that? A crazy fun night, that ends fairly early. Sounds like my kind of fun. As we were doing a little cleaning, we were so happy with how everything turned out. Seriously, not one complaint. Usually after a gathering like this, I always have a lot of those "next time I'll make sure to do/not do this/that" kinds of thoughts. But this time we just felt so great about so many of our friends coming over to enjoy themselves, without a hitch. A successful evening, especially with the number of kiddies and adults we had in our little home. I just loved seeing everyone have a good time.

And it now really feel like Christmas. Not that it hadn't already, I just needed that little boost to get me into that really Christmasy place. Whoa, only a few more days. That's just weird.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Enough years of working during the holiday season have passed. . .

. . .for me to enjoy holiday baking again. A few years ago, I was working at a cute bakery, and boy were we busy at Christmastime. As if all the holiday orders weren't enough, we held classes and parties for all ages. They take place year round, and usually they would decorate individual cakes, but at Christmas they made gingerbread houses. I seriously never wanted to make, roll out, clean-up, or even look at a gingerbread house ever again after that. We had to assemble them so they would be ready for the guests to decorate. For some reason, we used this terrible dough that was incredibly hard to roll out. (The sugar and molasses were cooked before adding the other ingredients so when it was cold, it was hard as a rock. I'll never know why she insisted we use that recipe.) We were exhausted, with the parties being very popular, and my boss never wanting to turn one down because of the great money she made from the parties (I think they were something like $35-$50/person for a 1 1/2 hr class, and we had an 8 person minimum). And although I respected that, I seriously was so sick of those blasted parties.

So I didn't even think about assembling any gingerbread houses since then (unless of course someone did the hard part,then I'd gladly joined in the fun). But this year, I've been feeling so relaxed being done with most of my holiday responsibilities, I felt adventurous enough to give it a go. It started out being a fun project idea for just KC and me, but I had enough dough to make a little house for Wade and Iris to decorate when I went to babysit. It was the perfect activity to do on a very rainy day. They had such pride in their creation. I loved seeing how happy they were to be a part of such an activity. Iris even said "I can't believe it" in her cute little amazed voice. I also loved they candy and sugar covered faces. Wade is using all restraint to not eat it until Christmas. I will never understand how children can hardly resist stale gingerbread and candy, though I suppose I was just like them once upon a time. Btw, just click on the pics to go to picasa if you want to read the captions.

KC and I just weren't getting to decorating our house, and with all the makings taking up valuable space in the kitchen, I asked Molly if she wanted to do it with me during the day. I knew KC wouldn't mind. With him being pretty busy with work, it didn't seem a priority. Molly and I had a great time chatting and giving input on various decorating techniques. It will be another fun decoration until the season it through.

I wouldn't say that I'm going to make this a tradition, for fear that it will become a burden next year if we don't have time, but I did enjoy this little activity in my spare time. I felt like a kid again. And isn't that one of the best parts of Christmas? So here's what's on display at my house. Not the greatest of creations, but it's fun to look at nonetheless. Oh, and when Wade and IJ saw this one when they came over yesterday, they thought they had died and gone to heaven with it being about 3x the size of theirs. I, however, like the one they made much better.


The front
My favorite feature, Santa.The back (I never claimed to be good at writing with a pastry bag, but this was especially hard writing at this angle.)
I made a fire pit with root beer barrels, m&ms, and toasted coconut.

And a few animals, considerably smaller that the fire pit. (It's about make-believe, right?)
I also thought some icicles would add some charm. Molly made the festive front decorations (I forgot to cut a door, but it's better that it's closed for the cold winter.) Also notice my free hand cut trees. I thought they needed to look rustic, as trees do. There you have it. I'm really loving this time of year. Now, if this incessant rain could turn into snow. At least for next Thursday.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Another year of church Christmas fun

This year my friend Molly took the Christmas program matters into her own hands. She had heard there wouldn't be much going on as far as music, etc. So she went above and beyond writing a script, and involving many organizations and musical numbers/dances (that she choreographed including swing, and ballet among others) in this little play. Everyone worked very hard (Especially molly-I think she is on cloud nine now that this is over and she can relax) and pulled off a great performance. There was even some Latin dancing by some natives (one of them being the bishop) and their wives. I sang a little ditty with some of my girls-and yes, they are all pregnant if you were wondering from the pictures-called "The Twelve Days After Christmas". You've probably heard it before, but a lot of our crowd hadn't so they enjoyed the silly lyrics. It was a great time, and a lot of work. Last year I was in the church kitchen for hours preparing. This year I managed to only have a small amount of kitchen time. It was very well prepared, so with many hands, things went pretty smoothly. That was nice.


Of course there was one little fiasco. My friend's little guy, 4 years old I think, was running and having fun only to trip and fall, at quite a speed, and hit his head full force on the metal thing on the side of the chair that hooks it with another chair. Right between the eyes. I had a front row seat since he hit the chair next to me. He was bleeding everywhere. The ward collectively watched the other two kids, while they rushed him to get 7 stitches on his forehead. Yikes! He was as good as new at church yesterday, minus a band aid covering the injury. Thanks goodness. It was kinda scary.

So, on a lighter note, KC wasn't able to join me at the ward party due to a previous engagement he had with a choir he's been practicing with for weeks. It was a Lex de Azevedo oratorio called Gloria. I haven't had the best attitude with him going to practices every Sunday for the last couple of months, but I'm glad, in the end, that he was able to participate in such a lovely program. The soloists were so so great, and all with many credentials to back the up. It was a lovely night. Molly and I went together to see our husbands, so it was a lovely evening with a lovely spirit. And KC looked pretty sharp in his black sports coat, if I do say so.Also, tonight we joined another couple, Nikki and Ben that we know from our singles ward days, to be carol singers (I like calling us that instead of carrolers because that what they are called on Love Actually that I watched today, and love so much) at a care center. Nikki checked with them and planned it up. I loved watching their faces light up, even when they can't talk very well, or can't even move. Some had requests and would even sing or clap along with us, while others just enjoyed the music. It was a great night, and Nikki had lots of yummy treats waiting at home when we were done. She also loaned me The Muppet Christmas Carol for which I will always be indebted. Seriously, Netflix, get in in your selection. Even the library didn't have a copy. I almost had to go to Blockbuster (shiver). Thanks Nikki.

So little time left until Christmas. I hope we can get all our movies watched in time. We're doing pretty good so far and I'm loving every second of it. I still have more fun times to bombard you with, but it's been a long day, and I'm ready to relax. Until then.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

I won't believe it!

I was very upset to learn this.

Especially after seeing this:


I'm sad about Eli too. I really like him. Maybe it won't really happen. It just can't. Hopefully they'll find some other junk to get rid of instead of these goodies.

Monday, December 08, 2008

A magical moment

(I didn't take this picture, just googled it. But It was just what I was looking for.)

I just wanted write this so I will always remember a cool experience we had on Saturday night.

We were going to visit some friends who have recently moved to Virginia. She is going to have her baby in a matter of days, so we were definitely due for a visit. It's always fun driving to Virgina (once you get past to crazy winding roads and know where you are going, and if the traffic isn't bad) because from our house you have to pass the Capitol Building, and the Jefferson Memorial among other landmarks to get there. They are easily seen from the highway, only a couple blocks away. I always like that reminder of our close (a few miles from home) proximity to such a historical place with such incredible architecture. But, that's not what I loved so much of about this night. It started to snow on the way there and I was a little miffed at how cold it was, but thought it was kind of festive and really made it feel like Christmas is here. After a great time of dinner, shopping and games with the Wahlquists (Hooray, I won a game of 5 Alive!), we set off for the hour drive home. The GPS decided to take us through the heart of DC to get us home, or KC manipulated the route a little to go that way. I usually avoid it at all costs, but with it being Saturday night, there wasn't much traffic, so I was able to sit back and enjoy it.

The scene was something I'll never forget. The sky was slightly orange, though it was almost 11 pm. The lights from the city made that kind of eerie color. But that, mixed with the fog created by the lightly falling snow, created the most incredible scenery. We were driving mere feet from the Washington Monument, Lincoln memorial, and everything else around them. They were lit up so brilliantly, magnified by the powdery snow, and reflected on the Potomac. I just couldn't get enough of it and was sad when it was over within moments. It was completely serene and peaceful, in a place where that rarely happens. I was happy to have that peaceful moment. I wonder if it will ever happen again just like that night?

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Making the most of the Christmasification

It's always so sad to me to leave a Christmasy living room with everything dark except the glowing tree when I go to my room to go to sleep. So we decided this year to start a new tradition. When we get our Christmas tree at the beginning of December, we're thought it would be fun to sleep by the it every Friday or Saturday until Christmas. KC got this tree light timer a couple years ago that makes the lights automatically turn on at about 5 pm, and shut off at midnight. So it's perfect for us to fall asleep to the beautiful twinkling lights, and not have to get out of our warm bed to turn them off. I even put the electric blanket under the fitted sheet to warm up the air mattress for us. When we wake up, we just put the air mattress back into the guest room until next weekend. I'm loving it, and I love that KC is humoring my silly ideas. So even though we are a little sad to not do our traditional Christmases in Utah with our families, at least is gives us time to relax and come up with traditions of our own. You should try it out. Sleeping by the tree is pretty fun.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Merry Christmas in 2008!

Thank you for coming to our Christmas card post! We have had another great year together with a lot of adventures. We have seen so many blessings in our lives and couldn't be more grateful for our many friends, wonderful families, and our Heavenly Father throughout this past year.

So, where to start. . .We are still living in Maryland. We moved from the basement apartment to the main floor of our little house and are really enjoying it. We live in the most beautiful neighborhood with old charming houses, and big trees lining every street. KC continues to work at his Civil Engineering firm and enjoys the many projects that keep him busy. Emily is a part-time babysitter for a couple of adorable kids in the neighborhood. She loves them and all that she is learning. One of the kids' favorite things to do is bake with her, and she loves it too.We've been able to take a few fun trips this year including a Disney Cruise with the Turpins, Williamsburg VA with our friends, Utah to celebrate both of our little sisters' weddings, and to Pennsylvania with some of Emily's family that came to visit. We plan on a lot more trips along the east coast soon in case we decide to move someday. We've loved having this house with enough space to have people over from time to time for ice cream parties, dinner, or just to play around. We are up for visitors anytime!
We are so excited to be in the adoption process. We can't wait to bring children into our home and just know it will be the best time of our lives yet. It is surely the biggest thing we are looking forward to this coming year. We can't tell you how thrilled we are. We are adopting through LDS Family Services, and are in the process of being approved. We have created our own adoption website in the meantime to get our word out. We can't wait!We have had our share of ups and downs this year, but continue to be faithful to Heavenly Father, and grateful for all that we have learned. We have definitely gained more and more love for one another and we feel we've become closer to Christ as we strive to keep the love of our Savior and Heavenly Father in our home and in our lives.
We hope you have a wonderful Christmas and enjoy the true meaning of what the season is about. We wish the best for all.
Merry Christmas!

Love, KC and Emily

Honorable mentions

Just like Melody did with her top Christmas songs list, I thought I needed to add a few more movies that remind me about Christmas. I guess I feel like I can watch these any time of the year, whereas the others are strictly for Christmas time. That's why I have such an urgency to watch them-so I don't I have to wait another whole year. So here's a few more honorable mentions.

Sleepless in Seattle
-"Harses, harses, harses."
While You Were Sleeping-I think this movie inspired all the girls in my family to love big, comfy sweaters.
You've Got Mail-There are only a few short Christmas scenes, but I love seeing Christmas in New York. And when they sing the instrument song at their Christmas party. My family always sang that together in the car before we saw that movie.
The Family Man-Kind of Christmas Carol-ish, but a sweet movie with a lot of charm and great acting.
The Nativity Story-This would be in my top ones, but you can watch this one all year because of it's importance. I just love the new one that hit theaters a few years ago.

Is that all? What am I forgetting?

Anyway, we're doing well so far. We watched The Grinch on TV last night while babysitting, and fell asleep to Holiday Inn. I finished it this morning, and I'd totally recommend it. It's pretty funny that they keep breaking out into song and dance that they just heard or saw for the first time and do it perfectly. And Bing himself sings "White Christmas". I thought it was first debuted on White Christmas, but I was wrong. Holiday Inn was made 12 years prior to White Christmas. Here are some fun facts about this song, written by Irving Berlin. Including that it won an Academy Award for Best Original Song from it's appearance on Holiday Inn. I was laughing, and swooning all the way through. It even left me with a few tears. A voice can't get much silkier than Bing's.

Friday, December 05, 2008

My Christmas to-watch list

There are so many movies that I'd LOVE to watch before the season rapidly dissapears. I thought I'd make a list to keep me on track, and to clear my head. These are in no particular order.

Elf-We just bought this for only 5 bucks. We don't buy many dvds but Christmas movies are a different story.

Miracle on 34th Street-I've never seen the old version, but I grew up just loving the new one.

Home Alone-I listen to the soundtrack in my car. It's really great music. There's nothing like a disastrous Christmas movie. Though that's how most Christmas comedies are, I think this one is a classic.

It's a wonderful Life-This one is always such a sweet reminder of what the season is about. Good old Jimmy.

White Christmas-How could I let a whole season go by without hearing, "Snow!", "Sisters", and of course, "White Christmas".

Love Actually- Cami has the edited version at her house. We'll have to watch it when we babysit in a couple weeks. This soundtrack is also a keeper. I get all warm inside just thinking about it.

Holiday Inn-I've never seen this one, or I have but it was long enough ago that I can't remember. I thought I'd add it in this year cause it's available to watch instantly on Netflix. I think I'm gonna like it.

Meet me in St. Louis-The sweet voice of Judy Garland singing the beautiful words of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," is one of the things I look forward to the most this time of year.

The Muppet Christmas Carol-Of all the versions of this lovely tale, this has to be one of the best. We are reading Dickens' version of this for my book group, so I'll definitely have to watch this one.

Pee Wee's Playhouse Christmas Special-Need I say more.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas-Jim Carry is quite a genius in this film. Good music, great cast, and lots of holiday cheer.

With a list like this we'll be doing nothing but watch movies for the next few weeks. I already have so many other things to do, and so many things I plan to do. I'll try to finagle as many of these as I can into our festive schedule as I can. Watching them always brings back such grand memories of Christmases past. And being so far from most family this year, we'll need 'em.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Oh Christmas Tree

First we had to find the tree.
It's pretty hard to do when there are so many to choose from.
Ethan was content to wait while we searched.
Then, when we found our favorite,
KC cut it down,
while Jane and I held it waiting to say "Timber."

We were wondering if we should bring home the awesome smelling branches we cute off, but we didn't.
There were also some fun things for kids there.
Jane was just happy to be in her cute, warm, furry coat.

Then we tied it up on the car and took it home.

We put it up that night.

We put lights on a couple days later.

And we finally decorated it Tuesday night.

While in the decorating mood, I took care of a few other decorations we have, with the Christmas music blaring.

I even wrapped some presents. My back is feeling all the present wrapping today. I also worked on our Christmas cards.

It's amazing how Christmasy it feels when the lights are one while all the other lights in the house are off. (Looking at the picture makes me think it needs a garland/ribbon/filler of some sort. Maybe if I get around to it.)
I love having a front window to be able to see the tree from the outside.

So, like I've said in posts past, we been Christmasified! There are a lot of fun things I want to do this season. Hopefully we get to a couple of them.

*Pictures at the tree farm are courtesy Cami and her mad skills. To see the rest of the pics from our Christmas tree outing, so see them at her blog.

Monday, December 01, 2008

12 worst Christmas songs (according to some weird source)

I had a good time reading this list. I really laughed at the number 1 worst song (Cami, I thought you'd appreciate it). But I do whole-heartedly disagree with number 2. It's one of my faves.

Alternatively there is a best list, which I'm confused about. I don't know how official either of these lists are, but I only know a few of the "best" ones and the others look ridiculous. Maybe it's a joke, or maybe I have some new songs to learn.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

The good, the bad, and the ugly. The fun the festive and the yummy.

Here is my unnecessarily lengthy synopsis of our eventful weekend.

We planned out our Thanksgiving this year to go as smoothly as possible on all parties involved. Usually I haul a trunk full of stuff (food, kitchen tools and supplies, etc.) to Cami's as early as we can get ourselves there, and start preparing. I usually like the idea of a busy kitchen with Christmas music and hubbub on Thanksgiving. But it seems something always gets neglected or forgotten in all the business (remember my sad croissants last year?), and I don't always get to fully enjoy the culinary magic that comes with this feasting holiday. So this year, I merrily volunteered to make the meal, and have it ready by noon for our company to show up and enjoy. I like to have meals as early as possible, so I forced this upon my guests. I hope they didn't mind.

The good: The food prep could not have gone more smoothly. Like I said before, I bought most of my groceries on Friday, I did a tiny bit or shopping on Tuesday, and one last minute trip on Wednesday, all with hardly a line to stand in. I love that. Anyway, I did as much food prep as I could on Wednesday. I wanted to do a lot more including the table setting and furniture rearranging, but I was pretty burned out. I actually thought I was getting sick and had to sleep/lie down for a lot of the day. I was feeling achy and weird. But when I woke up from my nap I was feeling much better and ready to start my checklist. I even got the turkey all ready to just pop in the oven (we don't stuff our turkey, so don't worry, the stuffing wasn't in there all night). I woke up bright and early Thursday, but was not rushed at all. I turned on the Christmas music and got to work. As soon as I put the turkey in, everything else was last minute stuff. So I was able to leisurely get myself and everything ready and even sit for a few moments (and I needed it. I forgot how much working in the kitchen challenges my back.) to enjoy a little of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. KC was a great helper, and it was a fun morning together. This picture is me stuffing sage rosemary butter under the turkey skin. If you can handle getting your hands in there, it's so worth it.
The Yummy: The guests arrived with some delicious additions for the table of food, and we all sat down for a great meal. Even the kids sat for a while at their little table. I loved having the Turpins and the Cottrells in our home. It's nice to have a place this year that can accommodate everyone. We had everything from apple sausage stuffing, to macadamia nut crusted sweet potatoes, and of course our favorite pretzel jello. We ate ourselves to our fullest with the traditional feast. I'm relieved to say everything turned out quite well. We relaxed for a moment or two before we headed to the Turpin's for dessert, cheese ball, and games. KC and I did as many dishes as we could so we wouldn't be overwhelmed when we got home, and then joined everyone. We had a great time perusing the black Friday ads, and played some low key games. When we decided we were hungry again, we tried to eat some dessert and snacks. I was seriously hurting. Too much food. Also, thanks to Cami for letting me steal these pictures.

The bad and the Ugly: A while after dessert during another game, KC told me he was feeling a little weird. I was so full that I was feeling sick, so I thought that's what he meant. But he said no, it was that distinct sick feeling. After a while he said we better go home. So we started on our way and he asked me to stop at a rest stop to let the nausea pass. After waiting a few minutes, we went on our way again, but we didn't even make it home before that plastic bag I keep in the car came in very handy. Poor guy got rid of his whole day of Thanksgiving food. I was all of the sudden freaking out that he had food poisoning. But from what I heard, no one else was sick, so looks like he had a stomach bug. He spent the next few hours after that back and forth to the bathroom. How awful for my poor KC. I was so happy to see him sleeping peacefully after that hard night. Hopefully he's not completely against thanksgiving food now. We just had leftovers for dinner so I think he's okay. It took him a couple days to want any, but he's trooper. I hate to see him in such misery. I'm always so relieved when those episodes are over. A similar thing happened to me last year. What is our problem?

The fun: On Friday, I was itching to get out of the house. KC was still recovering, so gave him some choices of foods to try to eat and headed out for a little shopping. I usually avoid places where I know crowds may be present (i.e. the mall on Black Friday), and I guess I felt so cooped up from cooking for a couple days straight and dealing with the flu that I was willing to take my chances. I'm so glad I did. I went to an outdoor mall and it was so fun to see all the cheerful faces and hear the fun music. I got some great deals, and actually had some nice conversations with some friendly strangers. There were hardly any lines since I went around 8:30 am and the early morning rush was over. I also got a couple big pots of poinsettias for only 99 cents each at Home depot. Nice. And don't worry, I snagged a copy of Pee Wee's Christmas Special on sale. Oh how I love that show. Here's a little clip. Maybe it will help you see why I love it so.
You may not love it like I do, but this has been part of Christmas for as long as I remember, so I'm proud to own it and to be able to watch it every year, even when I don't get to go to my parents' house for the holidays. Anyway, we relaxed for the rest of the day and we decided a movie would be fun. We saw Four Christmases, and though a little questionable in parts, it was a good laugh. It was mostly just nice to get away from the busy weekend to enjoy some mindless entertainment. Then we just relaxed some more. Our theme for that day I guess.

The Festive: Saturday morning, after I did some Young women stuff, and KC did some work stuff, we met up with the Turpins to go cut down our Christmas tree. We drove through the beautiful Howard County, passing some gigantic and gorgeous houses on acres of land, to the tree farm. We had such a fun time hunting down the perfect tree with the little boys. We got a pretty full tree. Maybe we're just so excited to have enough space for it that we went a little overboard. Well, I love it and I love the smell. I hope it lasts this whole month. We'll decorate it soon, when we have time, but until then, I just love is as greenery in our living room. I'll post more pictures of this outing later. We ended the day by watching Dan in Real Life. I love that show. It's crazy that Christmas is here!I'll take a moment to write about how thankful I am for so many things. My sweet and enduring husband, my warm home, my extremely supportive family (including in-laws!), my loyal friends, and my loving and forgiving Heavenly Father and his son Jesus Christ. There are so many little things I take for granted every day. I have so much to be happy for. For all these things, I am truly thankful. Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

To make up for my lack of pictures

I thought share our indulgence the other night. I was seriously craving one of those huge sugar cookies with pink frosting and sprinkles-Granny B's I think-so I came home from out dinner out and went promptly to the kitchen. Thanks Lori, for the dough recipe that doesn't have to be refrigerated before being rolled, cut, and baked. I needed these bad boys right then. And yes, they were (and still are) as good as they look.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Tidbits

I just found out that we are in the middle of National Adoption Month. How about that! Maybe we'll get some good vibes or something. Hopefully a lot of those older kids in foster care, etc. will get placed in homes. What a nice gift for them and the families right before Christmas.

Also, I don't delve much into the Twilight hype, whether it's about the literature, the author, or the film (not that I don't have opinions). But I have to say I am getting a bit tired of it. It's been on every news program, morning show, and in regular conversations/blogs non-stop for the past week or more. Seriously, is it really that good? I might see it someday since I did read Twilight ages ago (I only halfheartedly read the next one and stopped there), and I did enjoy the new story and ideas the book had. It was a nice brainless activity I suppose. But I'll definitely wait until I don't have to sit in a theater of hundreds of giggly fans. That's just not me. And just now on Regis and Kelly, they were talking about the ever-loving movie, and a woman from the audience was reading it that moment and assured Kelly she would love it because it's all "vampires and sex." Hmm. . . Aren't you glad there are a bunch of little girls seeing with with their moms? What a warm and fun family activity. Quite frankly, I usually get annoyed with most frivolous things that get a lot of hyper-fan publicity. Remember this post? Twilight just happens to be one of those. (And I'd be lying if I didn't say I was a bit glad it only got 44% on rotten tomatoes.)

On a lighter note, I woke up so happy this week with the traditional feast to look forward to. I always love cooking for Thanksgiving, if it's not hectic and I feel prepared, that is. My grocery shopping was done last Friday, and I'm feeling pretty good. I made the decision to, instead of making some new things, make all the basics as good as I know how. I feel like I always take on too much trying to make Thanksgiving new and exciting, leaving the traditional dishes in the dust not getting the attention and love they deserve. And it makes me feel like my new ideas turn out mediocre as well. We're also taking a break from the turkey fryer. I do love a fried turkey, but it's quite a bit of work and $$ with that costly peanut oil. And there are so many great roasted turkey recipes out there I love. So, looks like we're going back to basics this year. That's my goal at least.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Sorry, but there's nothing we can do about it.

I've been told this several times today about one situation or another. It's actually quite humorous that with every call, I received the same answer. In some of the circumstances, it was a relief, while in others, it was just plain annoying. Here's the haps:

  • Our water has been tasting a little off, like moldy or dirty, for a week or two. I have talked to others in the county, claiming they found the same thing going on at their house. I even filter my water, and can't enjoy it unless I add a little lemon to it. So I called our waste management (or something) people, leading me on a wild goose chase of about six phone calls, each person claiming that "this is the number you should be calling." Finally, when talking to the right person, she just told me that several people have complained about this, and they do every year since it seems to happen when winter arrives. I haven't noticed it until this year, but she acted like it was just how it is, and there is nothing we can do about it. Looks like we'll be going through a lot of bottled water, which I usually only use in dire circumstances. I guess this is one. Annoying, but we'll live.
  • There was an unfortunate turn of events in my kitchen this morning. I simply wanted a bowl of cereal, so I reached for my favorite little Pampered Chef Prep Bowl. As I tried to unstack it from the rest, not one, but all of them came out of the cupboard toward me, one of them landing on one of my favorite Corelle plates, taking both of them to the hard and unforgiving tiled floor. It was a mess. Glass broken like I'd never seen. Into smithereens. Dust. And two of my favorite pieces no less. I am a little neurotic about having complete sets of things, so with two of my sets incomplete, I went promptly making calls. Corelle plates are known for being chip and break resistant, so I thought they have a pretty good warranty. I read up about it online, figured mine broke under replaceable circumstances and gave them a call. Turns out there are only a couple ways to make it eligible for replacement. If it comes to you broken, or if it mysteriously breaks on its own. What is the freaking five year warranty for anyway? I didn't use it as a weapon, or use it to pry anything open, I didn't put it in the oven or on the stove top. It simply fell off the counter, and that isn't good enough for them. For a single salad plate, it will cost over $12.00, with shipping. Not too bad, I know. But still an annoyance.
  • Now, Pampered Chef has always been good to me as far as returns, and replacements go. In fact, one of these very bowls had broken before, and it was a very simple procedure getting the replacement. So I called Molly, a Pampered Chef consultant and friend, and asked her what steps to take. She said that all I need is my receipt and I'm good to go. So, during one of my last returns, I sent my receipt, being too lazy to copy it, with the item for verification. And I can't find any of the other paperwork. I know it's around here somewhere. So she basically told me that without that, there is nothing I can do. I think I'll search around some more, and make a couple calls. I know this isn't an emergency, but I want my whole set of prep bowls, dang it.
  • I went to the dentist a month or so ago inquiring if I needed to get my wisdom teeth out. I had felt a little more pressure than usual, so they took this fancy Panorex x-ray thing. I'm pretty sure I'd had that before, so I'm pretty sure I asked them if it was covered. Or they should've told me that it's usually not, or something. But I just did as I was told, and then we got the bill. About 100 bucks for that since my insurance doesn't cover more than one of those ever 5 years or something, and I guess I didn't have my records from my previous dentist sent. They also said they needed a current x-ray to send to the oral surgeon for when I see him for my wisdom teeth. So no weaseling out of that one. I know, again, it's not much money, but still a blow. I just paid it right then on the phone, and am washing my hands. Nothing I can do about that one.
  • I thought I'd save the best for last. My car, along with a recently burned out headlight, is sporting a new sound since it's been cold. I don't like weird sounds in cars. So we took it in. I hate taking it in as well. You never know what their gonna start saying you need, and how much money you'll have to throw down. But we trust our new place, so we left it over night for them to check it first thing this morning when it's nice and cold, and the sound is the loudest. It seems to go away as the car and the weather warm up. So I called them up, and he simply said that it was the power steering pump that when cold lets a little air in it making this weird sound. He said his wife's car does the same thing and it sometime happens in the cold weather. Nothing serious or life threatening. Just a little obnoxious. But I can stand sounds if I know I'm not in danger because of it. So he was very kind and said it was fine and ready to pick up. He also looked at another simple, non-scary thing I asked him about (a loose gear shifter thing) and fixed it, no problem. It almost sounded as if there was no charge. Maybe there will be, but I'm sure if he does charge us, it won't be nearly as much as many car fixes seem to be. So this is one of the times I was kind of glad I was told there was nothing I can do, cause it means less money for me to pay.
So that is my long and drawn out saga about my day of phone calls, let downs, and surprises. It could be a lot worse, so I'm not complaining, just thought it was quite coincidental.

I've never been good at proofreading.

So sorry about all the obvious typos in my previous, and all my other posts. Sometimes I just miss the dumbest things. I wish I could overcome, but for some reason, those mistakes keep slipping through the cracks. I'm reminded of this post I wrote long ago. Hopefully my readers will forgive my laziness.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A true inspiration

I think everyone who goes through infertility feels like they have gone through so much, and learned so many things along the way, that they could write a book about it. It's like you've been forced into a different life so gradually, that it becomes second nature to speak this new language, or have all these procedures. It happens in so many little step,s that when you look back you realize just how much you've changed and learned. An evolution of sorts. That's why there is so much literature on the topic. I thought reading a book about other peoples' experiences might be therapeutic during this tough time, but with the vast amounts of literature out there, how is one supposed to choose? Enter KC, casually looking through the endless shelves of books at the library. He brought the book Unsung Lullabies to me, asking me if I had mentioned it before. I had, and even had it on a possible Christmas list last year, but sort of forgot about it. I was thrilled that he found this book that I'd heard such raving reviews about, and seriously couldn't wait to crack it open (I made myself finish my book group selection first, otherwise I would've lost interest being so involved in my new find). Little did I know what an impact it would have on me.

When struggling with infertility, you hear about many many people who have gone through the what they call that same pains as you. It's not always pleasant to hear what others have to say: "My friend couldn't have kids for 10 years and then finally got pregnant." (Yeah, that's not too encouraging though it might seem to be.) Or, "My brother has been trying to adopt for 4 years with no luck." (Just fyi, if you have to start a story with "I probably shouldn't tell you this", then you probably shouldn't, even if you feel like that's the only way you can contribute to the conversation.) I don't blame anyone for saying these things. And I don't want people to be afraid to talk to me. I used to be, and still am in their position, knowing nothing about any given situation that someone was going through, and probably saying the wrong things, trying to avoid awkwardness that comes with saying nothing at all. It's a tough position for all parties.

Yet some people are very encouraging with the stories of a successful IVF, or seamless adoption. I love to hear those stories (but I also get very jealous that someone has had success and I haven't yet-something I am trying very hard to overcome). But the point is, no matter what anyone else has gone through, my story is completely different. I still feel alone even with the dozens of stories I hear about people "like" me. This book made me truly realize that what I am going through has been dealt with before, and although that doesn't mean I have less of a trial, it still helped me realize that someone had come out on top, and gave me great instructions on how to do it. It took this book and these authors to do that for me. For some reason it was different than random stories I hear from people around me.

The people in the book sharing their experiences, however, were completely honest in stating that they will be affected for the rest of their lives from this hardship, for better and for worse. That also helped me. I keep thinking that this will all be in the dust one day and forgotten, but at other times I don't think it will ever go away, and I wonder how to deal with it for the rest of my life. It was like they gave me permission to feel whatever way felt best to me at any given moment, and deal with it accordingly. Nothing was right, or wrong. It just is what it is, and that's okay.

It was as if someone had taken the thoughts out of my head, conversations with KC, and words out of my journals as I read. Even thoughts and feelings that I didn't even realize I had. It validated me like I never thought possible. I could honestly take one out of every five sentences in the 260 something-page book and tell you something about my personal experience that related. My mom even read it, and I was so touched by that. When she called me exclaiming how much more she understood about us, and what we are going through, I felt such a surge of relief, like from this point on I'm not nearly alone as before.

I have had my book as a constant companion for over a month, reading, analyzing, crying, feeling upset, and feeling so comforted by the words that were written. I felt like as long as I had it with me, I could get through anything: surprise (or accidental-those are the best) pregnancy announcements, baby showers, or even just chatting with my friends since kids are an inevitable topic among people my age. I don't become upset at anyone in particular in these situations, it's just that what others view as simple, everyday things, are very difficult for me to make it through sometimes. And I hate that they sometimes feel like they have to hold back conversations for fear of hurting my feelings. I'm just feel stuck. I want so much to be involved in what it seems everyone and their dog is talking about, but instead I find myself either sitting there with a stupid smile on my face as I hold back the tears, or trying to relate by talking about my nieces and nephews or the kids I babysit. It's just not the same. But I do care deeply about the things my family and friends are going though, so I make myself ask the right questions, or do the right things, even if I feel like it's scripted. I don't want to deprive myself of these times, or let my friends or family down by not supporting them in their exciting or difficult times. So I keep the book nearby as a reminder that what I am going through is a real part of my life, and I'm not upset all the time for an invalid reason, but a real life-altering trauma that I need to deal with. And it reminds me that I can try to live my life normally under these circumstance, even though I feel like a science experiment, or a charity case most of the time.

If you are, or know of anyone who is dealing with any stage of infertility, and want to know what they are going through, what they need from you, or even what to say, this book is a must read. I can't say it enough. It's like my infertility bible. I'm not telling anyone they have to read it, or to read it as a ploy for me to receive pity, but just the opposite. Especially for those in the throes of this heartbreaking, and courageous time. It really can open your eyes, and instead of giving (or wanting) pity, or not knowing what to say to your loved ones, you can truly know the deep dark thoughts and feelings that they are enveloped in. And come out with answers and lifted spirits.

I could really go on all day (or longer) about this topic, and this blog really is a good place since I hate monopolizing regular conversations with it (like sometimes happens, and I always leave feeling so awkward and rude), but that is for a later date. This was just my review of a book I'll probably read over and over again, reaping the benefits every time. It has put me in a different place than I was before. Not that it is the secret to happiness or anything, but it was what I needed, at the time I needed it, and I think that is why it had such an impact on me. I'm here in this place, and since there is only so much I can do, I might as well get as much out of it as I can. It was true blessing from my Heavenly Father. He only gives us as much as we can handle. I'm truly surprised I've made it this far. I know he had a hand in that. And it's with little inspirations like this simple book.

Ahh. Finally got that all out.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

We are nerds. . .

. . .and we know it. You will see as you view the slide show just how dorky sisters can be when they get together. There's something about being completely comfortable with your company, and knowing that whatever you do or say doesn't matter because those people will love you no matter what. I think that is the main thing I took away from this weekend.

I'll start by saying that the slide show you are about to watch, should you decide to, is pictures taken with both Cami's and Melody's cameras. So there are a lot of baby Jane shots (which are so cute), and other shots of Cami's photography skills or whatever.

So we'll start with Thursday night. They were scheduled to land at about 10 pm in DC. It was fun staying up to wait for them, but hard to wait the entire day. And to make matter worse, their flight from their layover was delayed over two hours. So the plan that Cami and I had to surprise then at the airport (instead of them taking the metro conveniently in the airpot) was down the tubes, and KC and I just went to pick them up at about 12:30. Good thing they were on Utah time and it was 2 hours earlier to them. It was hard to go to sleep with so much to talk about and wanting to just be together, but we finally did.

The next morning, Friday, we got up and got ready together. (There's something so fun about getting dressed and ready in the morning with people to talk to and get advice from. It always seems we wear someone else's clothes when we are together cause it's just more fun.) We made our way to Cami's house, and promptly went to the Mall where we of course had a great time buying things we did, and didn't need. We went back to Cami's for siesta time and to re-watch The Office for some laughs. We headed to the store for the makings of loaded nachos. It's a bad thing for me to eat nachos with everything and fresh salsa. I can't stop. So after we were sick with our stomachs stuffed to the max with the delicious junk food, we very excitedly played a few games and laughed until our stomachs hurt some more, like we always do. Amber stayed to sleep at Cami's and Melody came along with KC and me.

Saturday morning, I think we all had a little hangover from the night before, so we took it easy in the morning. The weather was weird being all 70s and raining. Melody and I went to get dinner stuff (her first time at Aldi, I'm so proud) and of course Target. It's so much more fun to do the regular things with different, people, ya know? The other girls came over, we made delicious sandwiches, and decided to take a little trip down town to DC. It is very close to my house after all. After FINALLY getting to a parking garage, we went to Ford Theater that happened to be closed, bummer. So we thought we'd just go see an IMAX at a Smithsonian museum or something. We got to a corner, something like Pennsylvania and 12th, only a few block from the White House, when we were stopped on all sides by police not letting us cross the streets. All kinds of sirens and bulletproof cars with different flags mounted on the hoods passed us. And they just kept coming. KC told us later it was the G 20, coming to discuss some economic issues or something. Pretty cool to witness nevertheless. While we were waiting to cross, merely blocks from our destination, the wind started to feel the eerie way it feels before a downpour. I warned the girls of what was to come, and not soon after, the giant raindrops were upon us like crazy. We ran into the nearby drugstore, keeping cute little Jane in mind. We bought some garbage bags to wrap our valuables in, and decided to head back to the car. It pretty much stopped raining, but we were done anyway. We rested a little at my house, did a little dinner prep, and headed to Cami's for dinner. The boys were already there watching some intense BYU game or something. We enjoyed pasta with homemade turkey spinach meatballs (soon to be in EE), and had to go on an ice cream run. The key lime pie ice cream was awesome. KC, Melody and I left a little earlier, being exhausted from our long day. We tried to stay up and watch a fun old movie, but sleep got the better of us.

So, we had big plans on Sunday. I suggested we go to Philadelphia, with that being on mine and KC's list for this fall. Amber and Melody were very excited to run up the Rocky steps, and I REALLY wanted a Philly cheese steak from Geno's. We found out from the guy behind us in line that it was the best of the best. We knew it was famous, but we were glad to have a seasoned Geno's eater confirm it. So we walked up to the window and ordered our "wiz wit" (that's the lingo for Cheese wiz with onions, the best way to have it) and thoroughly enjoyed them in the car, due to the bitter cold. We saw Liberty Hall, the Liberty Bell, walked on some charming and quaint cobblestone roads, and last but not least ran up the step of the museum that Rocky himself climbed during a dramatic scene in the movie (that I have yet to see in full. I know, I know, it's crazy that I haven't yet). This is where the extreme nerdiness came it. Amber, the craziest of us all had us laughing so hard with her energy and giddiness. She is quite a character. We all took our turns, Melody and I going together, and took a lot of embarrassing movies and pictures to prove it. It was an event to remember. We rested a lot on the 2 1/2 hour drive home, but had a nice warm pot roast and veggies ready for us in the crock pot when we got there. A great meal after a long day in the cold. We couldn't help but watch a few really funny SNL clips on hulu, including The one I have posted below, that we couldn't help but sing constantly because of the fact that we were all together, and sister, like it states in the song. I guess watching ridiculous things online is one of our favorite pastimes. Lili must have done it to us. We so wished you were there with us. Maybe you could've found more for us to laugh hysterically at. Anyway, we left exhausted once again, and went straight to bed. It's never fun waking up and getting ready the day fun guests have to leave. But their flight didn't leave until the afternoon, we we had time to grab a bite at Panera, and go to Target, yet again to get last minute items. I took them to the airport in DC, passing the beautiful monuments that are so close to the freeway. It's always nice to remember how close we are to such a historical place. We said our goodbyes, and though this usually involves a lot of tears, we were gladdened by that fact that Cami and I are planning to come there in a couple months. In fact, last night, I purchased my tickets to arrive at the end of January. It was seriously the cheapest tickets I've seen in so long. I'm staying for a long time with no plans, so it will be so much fun to chill together all over again. And this time with more people that I dearly miss.

So, sisters, I am so happy to have been able to have fun with you guys. There's really nothing like getting together with family and just laughing to tears. I miss you so much already. Cami and I will see you soon, so look at all these pictures with fondness until we take another 200 when we come to see you.