Saturday, December 24

Merry Christmas Eve

(Take note of the tree skirt- I finished that yesterday and I love it!!!)

Things we love this Christmas season:
Amazon Prime (free 2 day shipping on almost everything)  how will we ever live without you?
Packages and letters in the mail
The green grass- yes I said Green- there will be no white or brown Christmas here- it looks like summer out there!  It may not be as warm but I will enjoy it as long as I can.
Our REAL beautiful Christmas tree adorned with mostly homemade decorations and a new tree skirt.
Each other- we are grateful to be together and healthy and happy.
The real reason we celebrate Christmas.  Though Santa is fun we have really been trying to focus on Jesus Christ this season.  We have made a point to talk about different parts of the Christmas story every day and read books that focus on the nativity.  It has been a special Christmas for us all.  We watched these videos yesterday together and the kids loved them.  (Though Ruby had a hard time wrapping her head around the fact that they were just actors and it wasn't the real Joseph and Mary.  She just thought they were being being video taped like she always is.  We had to explain to her that there were no cameras back when Jesus was born...  she couldn't believe it!)
Friends that we have made here that make it a little easier to be away from family at this time...
Simple traditions that are passed down- things like decorating the Christmas tree, making the house dark and turning on the Christmas tree lights and laying under it- just enjoying the beauty and wonder of Christmas.

Things we will miss this Christmas season
Family- of course.  It just isn't the same without everyone.  I keep thinking about what everyone is doing back home and wishing that we could be there too.  Luckily it won't be too long until we are back visiting.
Snow- I know I was just bragging about the green Christmas that we are having- but lets be realistic- how can it really feel like Christmas without snow?
TOFFIFEE- Cannot find the stuff anywhere.  How can it be Christmas if I don't have toffifee in my stocking?  I know that they sell it down here (they actually spell it toffifay down here) but they must not sell it in ohio.  So if anyone hears my plea- buy me a pack of toffifee and I will come and get it in January!  (while I was writing this I looked it up on Amazon- they sell it, of course, 15 pieces for 10 dollars- does that seem right?)

We would just like to say Merry Christmas.  Thank you for all you have done for us and for all the packages and love that we have received.  We are grateful for this time of year to celebrate the miracle of Christ's birth and the magic of Christmas.

Monday, December 12


About 2 weeks ago after a delicious Thanksgiving dinner with friends we hit the road and headed out to Gettysburg, PA for a little adventure.  After paying about $20 in tolls, taking the craziest windy roads ever, us all getting a little car sick (which is saying a lot for me), and Myers crying for about the last hour on and off because he couldn't sleep we finally made it.
We got into the hotel, declined the meatballs we were offered, and went to bed.
We woke up the next morning with both vigor and vim and were ready for our historically enlightening adventure.
And historically enlightening it was.
We had been told to watch the Gettysburg movie before we went, and though it was a little bit painful to get through (it is like 4 hours long), we were glad that we had.  I mean who needs a book when you can watch the movie?  Am I right?
 Meeting Abe Lincoln himself.  He really is as honest as they say....  He said I wouldn't look very good in this picture because the sun was in my eyes and my hair looked weird and I tilted my head like a crazy person.  He was right.
 Once Ruby figured out that he was a statue and not an actual person she warmed right up to him.
 The field where the famous 'Pickett's Charge' took place.
 Little Round Top  Justin and I both have a special place in our hearts for Colonel Chamberlain (he had a really big part in the movie and he seemed like a pretty stand up guy).

The Cemetery at Gettysburg  
This was where the famous Gettysburg address was given by Abraham Lincoln.

 This was how we ended up carrying Myers most of the day.  He had had enough.
 An actual Holly tree.
 Myers was pretty excited.
Gettysburg was a truly humbling and sobering experience for me.  Many men died in that battle- and though I am not American my ancestors were.  And it was a pivotal point in the civil war and a pivotal point in MY future.  And yours (lets face it- whatever happens to America affects us all).  I have great respect for those who fought and lived and died for their country, and state and beliefs.  The point that I found interesting while we were there was that no one was portrayed as the 'bad guys' and the 'good guys'  It was just americans who had died and were being honored and remembered for their sacrifice.  There was a great feeling of sadness there.  I learned a lot about American history and it felt good to increase my knowledge in that area.  We bought the cds to listen to in our car while we drove through the various sites.  It was the best idea ever.  We could decide what we wanted to see and where we wanted to go and how much we wanted to listen to.  We were able to learn lots from them and enjoy ourselves.  I love these mini adventures that we are able to have together.  It builds memories and bonds and knowledge.  All good things.  It also builds patience.....

Sunday, December 11

Our First Christmas Tree

We have been married almost 9 years now and have never had our own Christmas tree.  Never really had the need to- we have always gone home for Christmas- and when we were living in Waterloo it was normally 2 weeks before Christmas until a week after Christmas so no need for a Christmas tree.
Well this year was different since we weren't going home at all- so we headed to the best tree buying place EVER and got our Christmas tree at Brunner's.
Ruby had the job of picking the perfect Christmas tree, and she took her job VERY seriously.

She finally decided on this one.  The most beautiful tree there....

They tied it on the roof for us and we were on our way to hot chocolate and pie.  It was such a great experience and so fun for everyone.  I love Christmas.

 We headed home (after hot chocolate and pie) and decorated it with the 5 ornaments that we had.  We had to buy lights on our way home but didn't get enough (as you can tell in this picture).  I headed out later that night to get more.  We have since strung cranberries and made many more ornaments to adorn our tree...
How many other people have Rapunzel decorating their tree?

Thursday, December 1

Random Randomness

It is my birthday today, and since it is my birthday I get to do whatever I want.  So I am just going to post a whole bunch of random things that I have been thinking about lately or that have happened to me recently.  Things to remember as I get older (as my memory goes...)

1. Random acts of kindness, however simple, really do brighten a person's day.  Remember that time about a year ago when someone I didn't know bought me that wallet?  I think about that ALL THE TIME.  And every time I think of it it makes me feel good.  Recently I was grocery shopping with the kids by myself (which was my first mistake...) and I was loading the groceries and the kids into the car when a lady passed by and asked me if she could return my cart for me.  Such a simple thing, yet it has left a lasting impression.  I really didn't want to return that cart (though I would have) and she saw a need, a simple need, and she filled it.
2.  Accept these simple acts of kindness with kindness and gratitude.  Recently the kids and I decided to do our own act of kindness for our neighbors.  We were waiting for a ride somewhere and were outside playing while we waited.  It was garbage day and everyone still had their garbage bins out, now hauling the garbage bins in is probably my least favorite thing to do, so we thought that we would bring some of our neighbors bins in.  The first house went well so we headed to the second house.  We were met half way by a very bleary eyed neighbor who was a little suspicious.  He couldn't be convinced that we were just doing something nice for them.  He thought we were campaigning.  Because I always see a woman in her yoga pants and 2 kids campaigning... (but that is beside the point...) I left after our brief conversation feeling awkward.  But I learned that it is ok to be grateful.

3. I just learned about this Beauty Redefined campaign.  I think it is a really great thing and I hope that I can raise my children to feel good about themselves ALWAYS.  And to know that the media should not define what is beautiful and worthwhile.

4. I found what I think is the best Christmas advent that I have ever seen.  I saw it on Delia Creates.  It is the box advent on there- Every night I will fill it with something we will do or read or get the next day.  Every day is different and I don't have to do too much prep.  I just sit down for a few minutes the night before and determine what would be best for us to do the next day.  I love it.  And I know Ruby will too.

5. We are going to get our first Christmas tree ever.  Not because we don't celebrate but because this will be the first Christmas that we spend just us.  It is exciting but if I am being honest I am already missing family...

6.  I have been super busy making presents and ordering presents online... One of my favorite things about living in the USA is the shopping.  I have gotten so many amazing deals.  As an example- recently I went to Old Navy when they had a special for 75% off all outerwear and I had Old Navy Bucks.  I bought 2 winter coats for me, 2 for Justin, a pair of running pants, 2 skirts and a maxi dress all for 60 dollars.  I saved 350 dollars that trip.  It was amazing.  I felt like an extreme couponer and was on a 'shopping deal' high for days!

7.  You've had them fried, scrambled, hard boiled, and poached but have you ever had them baked?  One of Justin's many experiments- but this one went wrong.  Very wrong.  Baked eggs are a no go.  Weird, hard, inedible outer crust and weird texture.  The pictures say everything.

We look happy here- its all a ruse.
You eat them and that film is left behind.  In this picture I'm using my teeth to scrape the egg out of the film...  classy I know...  It's a little creepy but cool at the same time...  They tasted fine but like I said, they had that weird film.  I would never recommend baking your eggs...

8.  I love pinterest.  Such great ideas all in one place.  What could be better than that?  I am making this for our christmas tree skirt.  I will also be making all of our decorations- since we have none.  I can see a lot of our advent activities being based around making decorations.  I am thinking of stringing fresh cranberries as garland- does that even work or do they just go bad?

9.  I am grateful that there is no snow on the ground for my birthday.  It was my one birthday wish- and it happened!  Ruby and I are definitely having a little disagreement about snow.  She claims she loves it and she CANNOT believe that I don't.  She is constantly trying to convince me that I like snow.  It makes me laugh.

10.  Two things that can always make me feel better- a clean house and exercise.  A clean house always feel better than a dirty house.  If ever I feel super lazy or gross I know it has to do with the state of my house.  So I 'get up off of that thing and (clean) till I feel betta' (that is a real song- it doesn't say clean it says shake it- does any one else know what I am talking about?  I don't know what song it is but I think it is pretty widely known.)

11.  I love INSANITY.  The work out.  Justin and I have been doing it for 4 weeks straight.  It is just good to have a common goal and motivate each other and do something together.

12.  Justin meet Justin.

Justin took this picture at Elder Beerman (a department store here) with a Justin Bieber billboard.  It made me laugh because he came in the car trying to convince me that he met the Biebs.  Not only is the flash bouncing off of J.Biebs but he is looking a little flat AND I watched him take that picture through the window of the store.  It was awesome, especially for all the people watching the 30- something year old taking a picture with the fake Justin Bieber.  I love that man of mine...

I am now 28 and have embraced it surprisingly easily.  I look forward to what is to come in this life of mine.


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