::postcard:: Merry CHRISTMAS!

...to everyone! We are with my family in Death Valley National Park, enjoying a Christmas morning around the fire pit. If everything has gone well, we decorated a Christmas tree somewhere in the park and sang Christmas carols last night and this morning we're eating a Mountain Man dutch oven breakfast and exchanging stockings that we each filled for each other. I hope your Christmas morning is just as memorable and filled with loved ones. We'll fill you in on the rest of our adventures when we get back! Hope everyone enjoys their Christmas afternoon naps!


::home:: at christmastime

Last year I got a little emotional one night while talking to Chad because I felt like we weren't doing very many Christmas-y activities. I felt like we were missing the Christmas season. So this year, we've made sure to slow down and take advantage of all of the activities of this time of year. Here's some of what we've been doing this month:

Lo-o-o-ots of decorating the house...

Walks to the temple at night...

Decorating the tree with Bud & Barb

Festival of Lights with Tresspasser Will...

Christmas concerts...

Walks around town to see the lights...

Live Nativity with Bud & Barb

The one thing I really wanted to do that we haven't had a chance is to go see the reindeer up north at Thanksgiving Point (I know - what a dork!), but maybe next year. This last week we've been getting ready to go on our family old-Bethlehem Christmas out in the desert, so we're busy with getting food, decorations, camping equipment, and warm clothes ready to go. I can't wait! I hope everyone has been having Christmas fun in your neck of the woods!


::home:: the SEASON

There are several things I have inherited from my mother. Like the fact that when I smile, my little eyes turn into two little half moons. When me and sis and Mom smile in a picture, it’s just like six little half moons in a row.

But that’s not what I’m talking about here.

I’m talking about a love of Christmas.

I love that people LOVE Christmas. You hear humbugs all the time complaining about the commercialism, or the overplayed music, or the hassle in the stores, etc., but it’s obvious that people just love it. Or it would stop. It’s evidenced by the classiest displays of Christmas lights in people’s front yards to the tackiest, trashiest puke of all things Christmas on some redneck lawns. And it doesn’t matter because people love it and they’re just putting it out there for others to enjoy.

i love:
seeing family * the cooking * the baking * the Christmas music * the candles * the snow angels * the school plays * concerts * friends * the shopping * the secrets * the storefront window displays * the Nutcracker * the wrapping paper * fires in the fireplace * the snowflakes * the ribbons * the bows * the cozy homes * the ornaments * the live nativities * the lights * the Christmas quilts * Handel’s Messiah * the garlands * the stockings * the quaint churches * the snowmen * the pine tree smell * the surprise cookies on your doorstep * the red cheeks * the candies * the cookies * the frozen eyelashes * the wet hats * gloves * the tree skirts * the wreaths * the tree lights * the candles in windows * the temple lights * the open windows with trees shining through.

And I love that people “bustle” at Christmas. People don’t bustle unless it’s Christmas.


::home:: it was WONDERFUL.

Last night we had an uber-low-key celebration and it was perfect. When we got home, there was a vase full of beautiful flowers on our countertop, complete with red winter berries and thick pine. (Thanks, Barb, for the delivery!) The snow was falling thickly in our little town, so we had fun driving around and window shopping in the snow. A stop for dinner. Then home to play with the puppies. I love when it snows and it feels so much lighter outside, even in the dead of night. We built a snowman with our feet and watched the puppies leap and bound through the white stuff. (Two inches is just right for Nyabo.) Thanks, Honey, for a wonderful night.


::postcard:: Happy MARRIED Day!

...to my best friend and husband...

3 years ago, we took the plunge (much to everyone's surprise)

and tied the knot.

now we are each other's ball and chain.

and there's no one I'd rather be chained to.

Here's to 80 more years!(3 years ago, part deux of our bi-coastal honeymoon, San Francisco)


The Mo party was a success. Although we weren't big money-raisers for the cause, we raised awareness like you wouldn't believe. I think we had a total off 11 of our guys participating, though many shaved before our 12/2 party. (or earlier - familial obligations like family photos!)

I think ::chad:: looks amazing with this mo...but he refused to keep it. boo.
We played "Pin the MO on the...dude" (ahem...I won't mention who it was) and ate lots of yummy food...it may even become an annual event!
Some of our Mr/Ms MOVEMBER contestants:

Even soeur got in on the action from a distance....
And the winner...
Let us know if you want to come next year!

::home:: it's beginning to look a lot like CHRISTMAS!

(This is one of our doing students making his final run to meet his folks after his 90-ish day stay with the program - usually I don't put up student pics for *confidentiality*, but no problem here!)

It's been a long time coming, but we finally got some SNOW. And some serious snow. It's not unusual to get huge amounts out in the field where we work, but it's even falling in our little town. It makes the lights look twinkly-er, the homes seems cozy-er and my cheeks a little rosy-er.

(sad about the lack of snowflakes in ours - but we have to take what we can get when we both want to be in the pic! Can you believe this is us AT WORK? Sometimes I just love my job)

Hope everyone is having fun with their Christmas planning! I can't wait for our old-fashioned-Laura-Ingalls-camping-in-the-desert-outside-tree-with-homemade-decorations-practical-real-life-nativity-Christmas-in-Death-Valley with my brothers and sister and folks!


::home:: PROBLEM: Solved. *and only a small panic attack*

So I put up these ornaments in our ceiling while doing Christmas decorating #3. Beautiful. Then I took a shower (you'll see how they're related soon). When I came downstairs, one ornament had fallen out. When I stood on a chair to put it back in, there was a teeny tiny drop of water. I wiped it away and it came back bigger. I did it again (rinse:lather:repeat). It kept getting bigger. This little drop of water coming out of the hole I made with a pushpin. I *slightly* panicked, so ::honey:: looked at it and said no problem. We put a pan under it and the drip got faster.

So ::honey:: went out to his garage and got his drill and DRILLED a HOLE in the CEILING! Water, a strong steady stream, came out for about fifteen minutes. That's a lot of water! (::honey:: kept telling me it wasn't that big of a deal) But that WATER was in the CEILING! That's not okay, that's not right, that's not a little deal. That's a big deal! Water? Hello? BIG DEAL! So I had a little panic attack, I cried a *tiny* bit and bemoaned the fact that our ceiling was going to cave in and our house was going to fall apart. Then I went to bed because I couldn't handle anymore in one night.

The next day, I came to my senses and listened to ::honey:: We went and bought a new shower curtain and a new shower head. Turns out the old crappy showerhead was spraying water DIRECTLY out of the shower curtain and then falling directly down into the floor because the old crappy laminate floor has peeled away from the tub. So problem solved. And we have a new resolve to FINALLY finish that bathroom.

*side note: I wish I would have known what a difference an eight dollar showerhead could make. I think of all of the crappy showers I took while I was in college in crappy apts... they all could have been a completely different experience with eight dollars and five minutes. I urge you, if you are not pleased with your shower head, CHANGE IT. Easy-peasy. (Well, for ::him:: - I didn't actually do it myself.)


::home:: IN just UNDER THREE YEARS:

...and just barely...
I've been wanting to mat/frame/hang our wedding announcement and
did it this weekend...
(in honor of our anniversary in ONE WEEK!)
It's on our work-in-progress Amanda-Peet-inspired-wall.
Someday you'll see a picture of the whole thing.

::home:: because who DOESN'T need a six dollar pair of aviators?


::wandering:: mini movember

nephews trying out the stash
i love the eyebrows on #1!



My brother Ryan and his wife Camie were kind enough to invite us up for Thanksgiving at their house. My sister Jenny, her husband Casey, and their two kids came down from Logan bringing the total to ten (with one on the way). Ryan and Camie are saints for letting us run amuck in their beautiful new home. Thanksgiving turned out great. Everyone contributed food and took turns cooking. We spend some time Geo-caching and Ryan and I got to watch the new James Bond while the moms and the kids went to Move it Move it (Madagascar II). Needless to say there was a lot of light saber fights. During the day after Thanksgiving sales, Alison picked me up a light-saber. Not just any light-saber, but a Darth Vader light-saber with lights and whamp wamp and crackle sounds. I barely got it out of the package before the boys were playing with it. They kept running to the bathroom to see the lights and look at themselves in the mirror. Even Ryan was impressed (which is no small task), I suspect he might have been checking himself out in the mirror sometime during the night.
Uncle Chad from Colton Carter and Brendan's point of view

We had a great time, got lots of snuggles, heard lots of laughter, and defeated many Roger Rogers. Thanks Ryan and Camie for letting us come. Thanks to Jenny and Casey for the games. Thanks to Brendan, Colton, and Carter for keeping us entertained. And thank you Sequoia (June Bug) for being so cute and not waking up during our battles.

Happy Thanksgiving! (family photo by Camie)


::postcard:: remember my BIRTHDAY?

Well, I told you about the BIG surprise with my family coming into town, but I didn't mention any of my pressies (except my DC trip from ::honey::).

Well, after dinner on my bday, I was totally surprised with some gifts. I thought the Vegas adventure was everything! But soeur had gotten some folks (& I mean loads of folks: people she knows, I know, family, strangers on the street, etc.) to take pictures with Happy Birthday signs. You know how I love picture signs. THIS projecto totally took the cake. Soeur and ::honey:: got tons of folks to contribute and then soeur put them all together in the coolest scrapbook ever. Take a look.

(i have a million favorites in this book, but one is the pic on the left...if you look close you can see that instead of a newspaper in the blue box, it's ma birthday sign!)

So, in the spirit that the message was delivered:


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