Saturday, November 28, 2009

Welcome, Christmas, My Dear Friend

It has been tough waiting eleven months to put out my Christmas decorations. I am often confused for one of those weird people who doesn't mind Christmas music playing on the radio in August. And I certainly don't get upset when stores start putting out their Christmas items before Halloween. For me, the more the merrier. I cannot get enough of this magical holiday season that we have now officially entered. I can jump up and down and scrunch my fingers in excitement, because it is finally time.

During after-Christmas clearance sales last year, I snagged some fun things like an advent calendar (still shamefully empty of Hershey Kisses inside for each day, but that will be fixed by Monday), a beautiful Christmas wreath candle holder (please ignore the tea lights...real candles will be present by Monday as well), and Christmas ornaments galore for random apothecary jars of Christmas color. Do I need to get out more?! If you think I should "get out more" to purchase more Christmas goodies, then fine. I am game. If you think I am a little obsessed about this wonderful holiday, you are just jealous of me exuding this cheer over half of the southern United States. I love love LOVE Christmas.

Decorating the tree tonight was fun. John did the hard work of putting up the pre-lit tree (purchased for Christmas last year) then got to rest while I carefully and methodically placed the ornaments (also purchased last year...Costco loves us!). We turned on some holiday music and before long the tree was simply magical. One of the best things about this next month is needing no excuse to turn out all house lights, fire up the tree, sit on the couch with a mug of hot chocolate, and admire the beauty. It is the perfect time to reflect on past Christmases, time with family, and why we celebrate this joyous season in the first place. I feel so blessed to be able to enjoy this Christmas season (my second one with John). I will no doubt say it a million times over the next twenty-seven days, but Merry Christmas, everyone!

Turkeys and Skunks

We had such a wonderful time in Snowflake, Arizona visiting John's parents for Thanksgiving. Because John had class until 10:00 PM on Wednesday night, we were unable to leave until Thursday morning. Luckily, the weather was gorgeous for the three-hour drive. We pulled into the driveway at 11:45 AM on Thanksgiving morning, to a beautiful new porch that is almost complete! We helped finish the last fixings for dinner before eating around 1:30 PM, with Mick and Donna (John's parents), Brian and Julie (John's brother and wife), Chelsea, Dallin, and Nathan (Brian and Julie's kids), and Catalina (the foreign-exchange student staying with Brian and Julie for the school year). It was a full house indeed, but Mick and Donna had planned ahead by making two humongous turkeys, mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, stuffing, cranberries, and only five desserts. Donna must have spent all day Wednesday making cherry pie, apple pie, pumpkin pie, Reese's chocolate delight, and strawberry cheesecake. It was impossible to pick a favorite as they were all incredibly delicious. I willingly tried all of them over our two-day stay.

After cleaning up the dishes, we spent some time next door at Brian and Julie's home. They have a projector that plays their X-Box on an entire wall, so the family had a fun time playing games with life-size characters. We played lots of cribbage over the weekend, which is one of my favorite games from growing up. There is proof of me beating Mick so badly that I "skunked" him, or won before he even had a chance to turn the last corner on the pegging board. It was just a treat to play, since I rarely get to any more! Winning almost every game? Well, that didn't hurt my self-esteem, either.

Friday was a fun, lazy day. We awakened early and got treated to homemade waffles from Mick. Lunch was leftovers from the day before, and then Mick, Donna, John and I headed to Show Low twenty minutes away to watch the movie 2012 in the local theatre. It was very good and loud...I enjoyed it! After the movie we headed back to Snowflake to pick up Brian and Julie so we could have an adult date at Eva's, a scrumptious Mexican restaurant in town. It may seem as if most of the weekend revolved around food, and that is precisely what happened! It was idea of a perfect holiday! John and I are now professional tree decorators, since we helped his parents, then his brother's family with their Christmas trees.

Saturday morning, we woke up to a cold rainstorm. I checked the weather to make sure no snow would be coming, and it looked like our drive home would be fine. We left around 11:45 AM after a nice morning visiting with family. Since we haven't traveled this year because of school, we decided to go all out and stop in Payson on our drive home to eat a burger at a local restaurant. It was fun to do something so spontaneous! I must have been hungry, because it was the best Philly Cheesesteak I have ever had! We made it back to the valley just after two and proceeded to unpack from the trip.

We really enjoyed our time with family. We don't make it to Snowflake very often. If the weather was as nice as this visit, we would go up every weekend! It was wind and temperatures in the low 60s. For this time of year, it was incredible! Thanks for such a great Turkey Day!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Never Moon a Werewolf

This afternoon, T'liese and I attended the world-renowned movie, New Moon. After waiting in line for three hours last year for the first movie in the Twilight saga, we thought a better day and time would suit our purposes this time around. We first had lunch in the food court of the Arizona Mills Mall. It's a ghetto facility, but definitely half-way between our two houses and most convenient. I love getting half a sandwich and a small Caesar salad from Paradise Bakery. What? That includes a free chocolate chip cookie? Well, OK...if you absolutely insist. As you can see, it's a good thing we got there early because of the killer crowds. We had to beat a few ladies up to get decent seats. It wasn't pretty. Luckily, T'liese carries brass knuckles in her purse at all times (and apparently my weapons of choice are Mike 'N Ikes, Milk Duds, and Swedish Fish). The knuckles helped give us the edge in finding (and keeping) good seats. Just because we are cheap and refuse to pay more than the matinee price of $7.00 doesn't mean we don't care about the view.

And what a view. I have never seen so many vampires, werewolves, and other mythical creatures without shirts for such prolonged periods of time. It was, how should I say, delightful? Shocking? Terrible because I am ten years older than Jacob Black? Just numbers, I assure you. Apparently, he likes older women.

Don't be confused by my ramblings. I am very much still a proud member of Team Edward. If you read the books, you understand why. Shirtless or not, I still prefer the sparkly Cold One.

Monday, November 23, 2009

T'liese Celebrates an Undisclosed Age

We had a lovely evening at the Friend's home last night to celebrate T'liese's birthday. She married into such an incredible family, and they wanted to be in on the fun of wishing T'liese a happy new decade. Joe gave a speech about his family meeting her for the first time three years ago, and they said he was crazy if he didn't snatch her up. We had cake and ice cream and visited to catch up. Because three of the five women present were expecting babies in the next few months, lots of war stories from the delivery room were also recounted. Hearing stuff like that just makes me happy I am not in the same boat!

We had a great time, as we always do when we get together. Happy Berfday, T'liese!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Successful Day of Baby Showering

The baby shower came and went. Lots of women got diabetes while in attendance (it's how I gauge whether a party was successful or not). There were all kinds of goodies to eat, and lots of gals who enjoyed chit-chatting! It was so fun to get together to celebrate a baby on the way!

We showed up early to help Anndalyn get the rest of the decorations and food ready. She has such cute ideas, including her present to T'liese of an apothecary jar full of "eggs" which were the clothes and onesies tied to look like little bundles. They were adorable, Her home is so gorgeous, and the good news is they said I could move in downstairs! I could deal very well with having to use two convection ovens!

We had about eighteen giddy women in house, and we all enjoyed rubbing T'liese's belly and asking about potential names for her little boy. He will be here in February. We can't wait!

Since T'liese's birthday was just the next day, her husband, Joe, devised an ingenious plan to surprise her with a beautiful birthday cake during the shower! I was in on the secret because I brought the cake, and Anndalyn let him into the garage with his truck so T'liese wouldn't be suspicious! It was perfect! All of a sudden, Joe walked in carrying a birthday cake! We caught T'liese off guard, and her reaction was so much fun!

T'liese, Happy Birthday to you. And we can't wait until your little one makes his presence known! I am making an assumption from knowing his parents, but he has no choice but to be wonderful!

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