Friday, December 31, 2010

Big Blizzard + Mike's Birthday= Snowed in!

I feel really guilty. I didn't take a single picture on Mike Birthday (Dec 26th) this year. In my deffence there wasn't much to take pictures of. We woke up and I gave Mike his first gift (his favorite cereal [Honey O's] for breakfast.) Then we went to church. We came home as the snow was starting to fall and the wind already blowing pretty good. I gave mike his second gift (a pair of fuzzy socks) so he could cozy up and wait for the storm with me. Then I made his birthday lunch. Stake, mash potatoe and sauted broccoli. We were suppose to have friends over for Cake and ice cream and a birthday celebration that night. But by 4 o'clock pm we knew there was no way anyone would be able to come. So we watch movies, cuddled and drank hot coco while the storm raged on outside... what a birthday right?

We woke up monday morning to see this.... Happy Birthday Mike, the first snow of winter was just for you!

Snow pile
The snow on our steps we had to shovel to get out of the house.
Our cars were fun to dig out. What I think is interesting was that all the wind kept snow from piling up on the cars, but blew it all under the cars.
So much snow!!
1st Street (the street we live on) had barely been touched by a snow plow
This is Summer street one of the busiest streets in Stamford. It was actually pretty drivable considering what other streets looked like.

After this storm hit we realized that it was divine intervention we didn't go anywhere for the holidays. If we went to Ohio we would have been trying to get home in the Blizzard and would have been stuck in NJ. If we flew to Utah we wouldn't have been able to fly home till much later and Mike would have lost a ton of vacation days hes been saving. And if Mike would have flown to Utah for new years his flight would probably have been cancelled. So we are greatful that everything worked out the way it it. Much better to be home in a blizzard than trying to get home in one!

Chritmas Day

I managed to sleep in till 8:30am this year on Christmas! We woke up and got on to skype with my family in Ohio. I got to watch them open the gifts I hade shipped home to them. It was so nice to be able to see family even if I couldn't be there with them.
Epps was sad to see that the presents under the tree were preventing her from hanging out in her favorite hiding spot (under the tree.)
I love to see the tree with all the presents under it. The wrapping paper is so pretty!
The BEST stocking santa has ever brought me. Complete with Eclipse on blue ray, fuzzy sock, 2 pair of ear rings and real pearl necklace, Boincy putty and some headbands! GOOD WORK SANTA!
Mike with his stocking ready to go!
Epps loves bags. So naturally she spent most of christmas morning inside this bag with all the wrapping paper. I love my little kitties!
Me with my Chritmas gifts. I was most surpised by my iPod touch and, most impressed with the purse Mike picked out for me and my ugg slippers have become permanant attatchments to my feet!
I got 85% of these DVD's at Wal-mart on black friday for $1.98. Pretty good huh? Hurry for my growing DVD collection!

After we finished opening gifts we skyped Mikes family in Utah and watched our cute nieces and nephews open thier christmas gifts. It was fun being able to watch Mikes parents open the gifts we got them.

Following all our skyping we had the tradition breakfast my family has. Egg casarole, turnovers and OJ. It was fun to make that part of our little families traditions now.

The highlight of my day was my christmas phone call with my brother Bryant who is in Brazil. My family in ohio had me on speaker phone so I listened to the conversation Bryant had with the fam and got a lot of good laughs as it almost felt like we were all together again. Then a little while later I got a seperate phone call with him. It was so fun. I love that when we've had our phone calls for mothers day and christmas that it isn't awkward or weird. The conversation flows just like we were back in high school sitting on my bed, and the time goes by just as fast. It was hard to say good-bye but made eaier knowing we would be seeing eachother soon (March 10th!!!)

As hard as it was to get off the phone I knew that this is what awaited me down stairs. Friends, good food and beautiful china.
Cynda brought her 12 sets of china over to my house so we could eat off them on Christmas. It was really cool and made the table look soo much prettier that my brown dishes from Khols!
The Christmas buffet... So much yummy food!
Our Christmas Guests
So much fun having friends to spend the holidays with.
The dessert table.
Following a serious dish wahing party in the Kitchen we got out the desserts and ate even more food. Then we turned off the lights and watch Inception on bluray on our SUPER AWESOME new samsung, LED-LCD, 46inch TV... MERRY CHRITSMAS TO US INDEED!

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve morning I woke up early and we made homemade whole wheat pancakes. They were topped with heavently homemade coconut syrup given to me by my friend Shelley! Soo yummy. Mike had to leave to take some friends of ours to the airport so I continued on my baking quest. I baked probably 30 loafs of bread and 5 different types of cookies this year. However, my sugar cookies are always my favorite to decorate and eat. I think they turned out pretty cute this year.

Once Mike got home we spent time together... cleaning the house and getting ready to host a christmas event the next day. We did the unthinkable and went to the mall at about 3:30 on christmas eve... I was probably the only one there NOT doing christmas shopping. I was of course doing last minute birthday shopping for mike brithday on the 26th. It was awful thought. I went to Hallmark to get him a card and walked right out... it was soo crowded and there were no Christmas cards left eithor.

Following the mall we went to the Murphys house for a little get together with a lot of families in the ward. We had a wide variety of yummy soups, breads and treats to warm us up. And we needed the warm dinner because afterwards we headed to New Canaan to sing Chritmas carols with about 1,000 other people.
It was a really neat experience. Everyone standing around a large christmas tree holding a candle and singing religious christmas carols.
I love this boy so much!
Following the christmas carols we went to the Jensen's house for another Christmas eve party. The food was delicious... yes that is a homemade cheesecake with a chocolate gnash frosting (compelments of Ben Johnson)
All of the YUMMY food we ate!
The company and conversation was fantastic as always and we really enjoyed the evening.
We played this super fun "box" game where you have to try to open this box while the person next to you roles the dice till the get doubles, once doubles are rolled it is thier turn to try and open the box. Don't be fooled, the box is not so easy to open and there maybe another box in the one you just opened!!
Mike taking matters into his own hands. Good thing the prize wasn't fragial.
Now Moroni beating the life out of the box.
Mike actaully won the box game and a pair of movie tickets!! SWEET!!

We of coure had a white elephant gift exchange... and much was left up to interpretation of what to bring for the gift. Mike beacame an honorary graduate of Utah State University (where he did attend his first year of college.) and I ended up with a sweet ginger bread man kit!
After the party we went home and skyped family, gave each other new christmas PJ's, played some Wii and anxiously awaited Santa Clauses arrival!!

It's Christmas Time in the City

Isn't this city breath taking? I absolutly LOVE living so close to NYC. I feel like living in CT I get the best of both world. In CT I get a little more living space for my money, cleaner air, less people and "the country." But its only a 45 min drive to my absolute favorite city in this country!
The tree at Rockafella center is one of the most iconic sights of Christmas in New York City and its i beautiful in person. Especially when the angels with trumpets line the way to the tree.

Of coure we can't live this close to the city and not take advantage of all the christmas activities it has to offer this time of year. Mike and our friend Ben planned our whole day in the city one saturday. We started our day with a trip to the Met.
At the Met they have this beautiful Christmas tree with a georgous nativity undreneath. The tree it's self has beautiful angels and cherubim on it "announcing" the saviors birth. Then below you see the nativity playing out with the wise men traveling to see the Savior and the sheaperd looking up to the angels. It was extremeling moving to look about and refelect on that night. It is amazing to see something so centered on Christ in a city with so much commercial christmas in it. (You were't allowed to take pictures of the tree.... but my friend Lizzie snuck a picture when she went... and...Yes, Lizzie I stole this picture from your blog.THX!)
After the Met we took a long walk in Central park. We stoped at the statue of Hans Christian Anderson (he is one of my favorite childrens authors.)
I had to give him hug...

We stopped at Wollman Rink in central park and got some amazing hot chocolate and apple cider.
Following that we took a taxi ride to Rock center and braved the crowds to see the decorations.
Following the decoration we headed to dinner at a fantastic italian resturant in triBeCa. It was so delicious! And the ambiance was delightful with a coxy fire place a foot from our table. Following dinner we went to the top of the rock to look at the city at night. It was absolutly beautiful.
Ben and Cynda our partners in crime for the day.

How lucky are we to live so close to this beautiful city?

Monday, December 27, 2010

End of Year Work Dinner

(I know I'm really behind on this)

On Friday Dec 10th we were able to attend Mike's end of year dinner. I always look forward to these dinners every year. To find a festive outfit to add to my wardrobe, get all dressed up and attend a nice party. When I get there though I ask myself "why was I so excited for this?" I'm surprised that with my fairly outgoing nature that I feel so awkward in these situations. You know the situation where you know 8 people in the whole room, are being introduced/re-introduced at lightning speed to person after person, all of which you are expected to remember. Almost everyone has a nice cocktail in hand and your ginger ale with ice seems a strange choice. And the people you do know and could carrying on a conversation with are busy visiting with others.
The good news is we have some friends in our ward that also work with Mike and attend these event as well. After dinner we were able to get together and visit for a while, which was my favorite part of the whole evening!

Nicki & McKay, Mike & I, Dave and Liz

Until we meet again PA Party!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Do You Have Room

We only have about 30 minutes left of Christmas Day and I feel I need to record some of my feelings before the Christmas season passes. This year I tried really hard to focus on the Savior and his birth, ministry and resurrection. I did my scripture reading from the 4 gospels and listened to the religious christmas songs. I taught a lesson to all the YW on the true meaning behind the symbols of Christmas and how they relate back to Christ. I was able to sing "Oh Holy Night" in our ward Christmas program. So I had a lot of really great opportunities to thinking of Christ and the real meaning of Christmas. But boy did I get caught up in the commercialism and stress of the holiday seasons and I hope it to be a lesson for next year. From Thanksgiving on I was focused on finding the right present for everyone on my list, baking bread, making christmas cards (which I still haven't sent out to everyone yet...), doing Christmas activities in NYC, baking every type of cookie and what I was making/bringing for various Christmas get togethers. I simply did TO MUCH! Because of that I really feel like I got cheated out of Christmas. As I was wrapping Mikes gifts the other night, I was watching the Grinch and Cindy Loo asks her dad "Don't you think it's all just a bit much" and he responds "NO! Christmas is all about the presents sweetie." I looked at Mikes growing stack of gifts and felt a tiny little ping of sadness. Sure I was trying to keep Christ in Christmas but still even then I lost my way and it became all about the gifts, baked goods and get together...

Luckily I noticed my mistake and tried to correct it. My amazingly talented friend Corinne sang this song to the youth at mutual this wednesday and it really touched my heart. I have the video of it posted below and it is worth your time. But if not, here is the chorus.

Do you have room for the Savior
and do you seek him a new
have you a place for the one who lived
and died for you
are you as humble as a shepherd boy
or as wise as men of old
would you have come that night
would you have sought the light
do you have room?

That really made me think about my relationship with the Savior. Have I done my best to give him "room" in my life this year. Have I done all I can to have sought his light? And am I as humble as I should be? It was a lot to think about and process, but I have made a resolution to seek him more diligently this coming year AND next Christmas to simplify all that I do. Just spend my time focusing on how I can serve as the Savior did.

Another Christmas song that was in my mind a lot was the primary song "Picture Christmas"

Picture a stable in Judea

Picture a sacred, silent night

And can you hear the angels near

And see the star so bright?


Picture the little baby Jesus.

Think of his life and words so dear

Sing praise to Him; Remember Him,

As you picture Christmas this year

The lyrics like all the Children's songs are so beautifully simple. I was able to spend a lot of time on Christmas eve thinking about the first Christmas Eve when Christ was born and the new star shown and the angles sang.(I hope I was one of those angles who announced the heavenly birth!)

I'm so grateful for the gift of the Savior that our Father in Heaven gave to us so many years ago. I wish all of you a Merry Christmas. I hope you were able to focus on Christ a little better than I did.


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Corinne's Baby Shower

Last Saturday while Mike was taking his test I was helping with a baby shower for one of my good friends. Corinne and her husband Allen are expecting there first baby in January.
(Doesn't she look great for being 7 1/2 months pregnant?)
(These are my pride and joy. Many, many hours of hard work went into crafting these ornaments we used as favors. I think they turned out great and everyone really seemed to enjoy them!)
One of my favorite things at the shower was the Hot Chocolate Bar.
The decorations turned out lovely, Lizzy did an outstanding job. The food was a brunch theme and it was delicious!
The christmas decorations really added to the event.
Opening gifts

These ladies put in a lot of hard work to make the shower perfect. Seriously, they are both extremely talented!

It was great to help make Corrine's baby shower a success. She deserves it!