Monday, December 26, 2011

Sugar coma

I think I ate a few too many sweets yesterday. This morning I woke up with a headache and ended up sleeping until after noon. Yikes! Nutrition 101 says NOT to eat that much sugar. But they tasted sooo good. 

Protein and water are on the menu for today. And discipline to stay out of the cookies and M&Ms.

This year's priority for the family gathering was a group picture. It is a tradition that we missed last year. I am thankful that we successfully accomplished the photo without anyone having a meltdown. C helped organize the photo. Then her siblings had to have a turn. 

As I'm really analyzing this photo I feel like I should make a couple of side notes. C is standing on a step stool. She is not quite as tall as she appears here, but she is getting there. 

I on the other hand am not standing on a stool. I don't even have on high heels. But I look a lot taller than my sister. She must be slouching. 

At this point of the day, my sister went to check on the turkey that had been in the oven for a couple of hours, only to discover that her oven had been turned off. The turkey was still raw. But Super B-I-L came to the rescue and fired up the deep fryer. He stood out in the cold, keeping an eye on the turkey, just so we could have a very nice and tasty dinner. What a guy!

Hopefully, we started a new tradition for our present opening routine. Normally, we just pass them out and tear into them. This year, since we had extra time, we played a little game. The kids passed them all out and then we took turns. When it was your turn, you had to try and guess what was in the package. Of course, points were given because what says family togetherness better than a little competition.

My brother was the least excited about the game. Everyone else had fun with it. 

After you had your turn, you got to pick who went next. Little J and C kept raising their hand trying to get picked. 

I was very impressed with their patience. It was wonderful to actually get to see what everyone got and enjoy their gift with them. 

During dinner we kept the fun going with a new "card" game that my friend Kathy gave me. It is called Table Topics - Questions to start great conversations. 

Once again, my brother was the least excited about this game. Mr Grinch was his role for the day.

Mom got points for this gift. 
C got pinched for delivering the beautiful turkey that her husband cooked and carved.
I can't believe I didn't guess this one. I thought it was a book.
The worst part of it is that I forgot it at my sister's house. Ugh! And I have prime TV watching time this week.
J got this on Christmas eve. We all enjoyed playing with it during the day.

C was part of the entertainment line up. A little song and dance to celebrate the birth of Christ.

That's a little insight into our Christmas day. How was yours?

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Weekend

I have very much to do before I can zip over to my parent's house today. But before I go I wanted to wish  you a very Merry Christmas!!!

All of the words coming to my mind right now are about projects I am working on, my brothers stinky dog or stories I read on other blogs. When really I feel like I should be writing deep spiritual thoughts and expressions of love and joy.

(So please insert deep thoughts here.)


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Decorations

Nice and simple this year.

My brother even helps plug and unplug it. It surprised me that he even noticed it. It sits in the front window for all to enjoy.

The Judds brings back memories of eating lunch at my grandparent's house all during my high school years. They lived across the street from the high school and I walked over every day for lunch.


Love, love, love this blog

I have a copy of her book. But it's packed away, right along with my Christmas decorations.

Other things I wish I had not packed in the garage....

Cast iron skillet
sewing tools and thread
Shoe polish and leather lotion

That's it. Or at least what comes to mind tonight. Not too bad. However, I did go on a scavenger hunt last week to find some things that I had to have. I found most of what I was looking for. And one box of cleaning supplies that I wasn't looking for, but glad I found.


I thankful that my mail is getting forwarded still. I love getting the Christmas cards in the mail and email.

I've decided not to send Christmas cards out this year. Hopefully, I'll be able to send an official change of address letter out sometime in early 2012, instead. Plus, I still need to write and send about half of my Thank You notes from my going away party. I will get those done while I'm on break. I will! I will! I will! Someone keep me accountable!

Excited that my office Christmas lunch is at Jonah's! I rarely get to go out to a nice restaurant, so it makes me extra happy when I do. What should I wear? :)

Happy Wednesday

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Happy Commute

One of the big changes in my life has been the length of time it takes me to drive to work. I went from 4 minutes to 50 minutes. Driving is not one of my favorite things to do (unless it is a road trip with my friends). 

Speaking of road trip with my friends, one of my road trip groupies gave me a gift card to CBD. I've been saving it for the perfect item. Well I finally figured it out.

An audio drama of my favorite book series. Now I literally smile and laugh out loud on my commute. I can't wait to get on the road, so I can listen to more.

I also got Narnia
At my rate, I'll be through my 14 hours of Mitford by next week and on to this one.

After that, I better check out the library and see what I can borrow from them.

P Family ~ Thanks so much for the gift card. Just like you, these CDs make me smile :). I miss you tons and look forward to our next adventure together.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Practice Run

This weekend, I traveled south to babysit my nieces and nephew. When I got to their house, little J answered the door for me. Both of us were surprised to see a little package sitting on the doorstep.

While I make a couple of trips to bring in my bags, the kids opened the package to find a note from St. Nicholas.

Dear J, C & J ~
As I was doing a practice run before Christmas eve, I accidently dropped a bag in your area. Can you ask your mom and dad for permission to go looking for the things that were in the bag?
If it is dark outside, please bundle up nice and warm, stick together and use your flashlights.
According to my inventory that bag had the following items inside:
A popcorn bowl
Recipe cards with a mini rolling pin
Gift box shaped like a tree
Angle Candle holder
Magnetic Christmas frame
Our Christmas book
Charlie Brown Christmas book
Three goodie bags
Happy Birthday Jesus pencil case
Four glitter stars
Thanks for your help!
Merry Christmas and God’s Special Blessings~
St. Nicholas 

As Big J read the note out loud, the other two looked over her shoulder. It took them a little bit to realize what it meant. They asked their mom and dad if it was OK. When they got permission, they started jumping up and down. Just silently jumping up and down. Pure excitement. 

The next several minutes were spent rounding up their needed supplies: warm clothes, flashlights and a bag to carry the items.

The night sky was filled with a beautiful full moon. It was cold but not too cold. We trekked around the yard and hunted for about 30 minutes, collecting our treasures.

(The black nose is from school. It is part of his Clifford costume.)

They were very careful to follow St. Nicholas' directions and stick together.
They found "the most beautiful" stars hanging in the bushes.

The Our Christmas book landed on the basement door.
Some of the things were in the trees, on the picnic table, swing set, fence post, and porch. It was a miracle that nothing landed on the roof or really high in the trees. Amazing, isn't it!?!

They were very proud of themselves that they found everything. We even had to go knock on the neighbor's door to tell them about our adventure.

While the girls and I made a special snack, little J got busy decorating the Christmas tree box. 

We enjoyed the rest of the night, eating popcorn, drinking hot chocolate and watching old Christmas cartoons.

Fun memories!

On Saturday, my brother stopped by the house to join us for a quick snapshot. My parents needed it for their Christmas card.

Happy Tuesday!

St. Nicholas may have gotten his inspiration from this

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Happy Birthday

It is this special lady's birthday!!!
Happy Birthday dear friend!!!

Back in the day when our schedules were a little bit more free and our responsibilities were a less important, a group of girls started a fun tradition of going out to dinner for our birthdays. We referred to it as the Birthday club.  (I know, very creative name, isn't it. Just wait until you hear what we now call our group of friends.)

At the time, the group was pretty big. We got to go out to eat a lot! The group flowed and ebbed as people got married, graduated from college, moved home, moved away, accepted new jobs, had kids, etc. But there became a core group that stayed together. We now refer to our little group as The Girls (I thought you might be amazed.)

The Girls are a very special part of my life. We live on two continents and in four different states. Over the years, there were points in time that we were in three different countries and maybe 5 different states. And yet, we have remained close friends.

What's our secret? Jesus Christ! He is the tie that binds. (name that tune)

We do work hard to stay in contact with each other. Emails, phone calls, blog posts, road trips, plane trips, and the occasional lunch date are priorities for us. 

Back to this special lady's birthday. She happens to be celebrating a special little # for this year's birthday. AND it just so happened that two of the out of state girls were going to be in town on the same weekend. So of course we planned a dinner together. And added on an early birthday celebration for J.

We surprised J with a special scrapbook. 

It was full of memories from the past ..... yikes, I don't know how long. Let me think about this. It is probably 20 years. Is that possible??? Someone correct me on that! Please!

Anyway, I thought you might enjoy seeing some of the photos that are in the book.
 Look at those young ladies. I wish I could remember what was written on the post it note.
It probably said "Can guys and girls just be friends?"

I believe this was on a road trip to Champaign. No that can't be right. That's J's apartment couch in the background. Hmmm....I wonder what fun adventures were going on for that gathering.

My 30th birthday, rock climbing adventure!

J & C's wedding

Then another J wedding :).

P's wedding in Chicago.

K's wedding in Champaign

A little get together when international J was home for a visit.

This photo is taken at Union Station in New York City. J and I went on a mission's trip to Bill Wilson's Sidewalk Sunday School in Brooklyn. That was an adventure, wasn't it!?!

 Then a few year's later, we went out to CA! The only mission work we did on that trip was our own personal evangelizing, or maybe better described as rejuvenating.

And a trip to downtown Chicago.
And to Wisconsin.

I believe this is the one and only picture with the whole Girls Group. Since this picture was taken, the group has grown by two baby girls and two baby boys. And will soon add another baby.
The husband's rarely show up in our group photos. I wonder what it would take to get all of the girls with their husbands together at the same time? I'm not even sure if mine or E's wedding would make that happen. What do you think girls?

 A rare night with no kids and no husbands. I miss the ole' days of playing Dutch Blitz. This was a calm game night compared to our younger days. 

Just simple nights out together.

Happy Birthday J! I am so thankful for my first invite to the Birthday Club. It is how we became friends! It has been an awesome adventure with you! Blessings to you for a wonderful ___th year!
Love ya!

*** These photos are not in chronological order. So stop trying to figure out the hairstyle changes ;)