Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas pics

Overall, it was a great holiday! We are so blessed to have so many gatherings. It's hard not to complain sometimes because of how stressful it can be to put it all together. But really, we are so blessed that it's silly to complain. Oh no - we have too much love to fit it all in one day!

Our New Year's celebration has been great as well. We were able to join *two* new year's eve parties yesterday, and we were able to see so many great friends that we haven't seen in much too long. And we have one more party to join today. It's a great way to catch up what we missed in 2008, and to get the new year off to a fabulous start.

Pictures from Christmas, as promised. I'm still missing some from the gathering with my mom. I'll have to post those when I get them. (hint, hint - mom!)

Christmas morning at our place, right when we walked down the stairs - her eyes grew wide and she ran right to the tree and laid down on the ground and pointed excitedly at the pile of presents. She was great throughout all the present escapade. She was excited, sure, but pretty contained. And I loved that she was having just as much fun giving presents to others as opening her own.

Christmas dinner at our place - Toby and Catherine playing

Christmas gathering at my dad's - Catherine having fun with one of her presents - her very own baby doll stroller. She loves it!

Oh my goodness, she is so gorgeous! Is she really mine?

Playing with her other present from Grandpa Pat and her abuelita (little grandmother en espanol, my stepmom Alicia)
Pop quiz - does anyone recognize the dress? ;) (Hint: Camille, look close!)

Friday, December 26, 2008

post Christmas blues

It seems like everyone is crabby today. We're tired, either from stressing or partying... or both. And for those of us that have to work today... yuck! But still - can we be nice to everyone? Does the time of peace and cheer have to end so abruptly?

I don't think I can really say that I have the post Christmas blues. Our Christmas isn't done yet. Yesterday was a great day, but I still don't feel complete. Tomorrow we'll be traveling to Vancouver to visit with my parents. I'll feel better once I'm sitting with my mom and sister, eating Val's delicious turkey and all of us laughing at Catherine (more than likely she'll be entertaining us with her delight in playing with the puppy), and perhaps singing along with John Denver and the Muppets! And then we still have more Christmas to share after that. Does it ever end? I hope not.

Pictures to follow, more than likely when we are done Christmasing. (ooo - new word!)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Season of giving

The holiday season always makes me tear up with the good spirit that bubbles up in me. I love giving to friends and family, and I tend to make a pretty big deal about getting everything just right. The amount doesn't matter - the thought and the love is what matters.

I also cry as my heart breaks, remembering all of those that aren't as fortunate as us. This year especially, there are so many families in need. Many are concerned with getting food on the table, let alone having to explain to their children why Santa won't be visiting them. It just breaks my heart, and it compells me to go door to door ensuring that every child and family is taken care of.

If only we had the capability to do such good deeds. We are fortunate in our position, but things are still tight. But I am determined to not let that stop me. We may not be able to do much, but we can still do some. So I made a giving list. Primarily to ensure that I stick to only that, and I don't go overboard. That is only too easy to do.

- every time I pass the Salvation Army bucket and the ringing bell - give whatever change I have
- every time I go to the grocery store, pick up one extra food item and donate it before walking out the door
- donate 2 toys - one to the toy drive at work, and one to the giving tree

OK, so I did go a little beyond my plan. I got a hot chocolate for the incredibly nice man ringing the Salvation Army bell (it was so cold!). I cleared out our pantry of things that we won't use and I donated that as well. And I got a few more toys - they were on sale! I can't help it. But I didn't go completely overboard.

The best thing is that I can share this with Catherine now. I know she doesn't comprehend the situation - how needy other families really are. But she understands helping and sharing, and she had a lot of fun tossing the toys into the big donation bucket. I gave her a big hug and let her know that other children will be very happy with her helping. This is a tradition I hope to keep going with her.

As Christmas draws closer, let us all be reminded of helping others however we can, even if it is only in prayer. Let us pray for those that may not have everything they need or want on Christmas, but that they be filled with love and peace for everyone around them.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Winter wonderland

We've been attacked by winter! And I fear it's partially our fault. Last Saturday we took our annual trek to the mountains to kill a few trees for the sake of decoration. We ran into a giant winter storm, and apparently we brought the snow back with us! The roads are covered in snow and ice (though kudos to the Tacoma DOT for keeping the main roads drivable) and it is COLD! It's not supposed to get above freezing until Sunday... maybe Monday. More snow is expected over the weekend, but then it should be warming up and turning into rain for the duration of the week (note for those expecting to travel in our area next week).

But then I feel pretty silly about complaining about this weather. We got (gasp!) 2 whole inches of snow and (gulp!) it's below freezing. My Aunt Karen in Lake Tahoe is reporting 2 feet of snow with temperatures below zero. Now *that's* winter!

Catherine loves the snow. We made a giant snowman last weekend when we were up playing in the snow, and now every time we talk about getting bundled up to go outside she exclaims "play snowman!" She scoops up snow with her large mittens and tosses it up in the air - or eats it. Big surprise - my girl that will eat practically anything you put in front of her loves eating snow. Oh well.

Stephen was trying to teach her to throw snowballs. He would give her a snowball and tell her "throw it at mommy!" She got the point, but she has her own way to do it. She walked over to me and dropped it on my foot, and then looked up at me with a huge grin.

OK, enough talk - pictures!

Pictures of Catherine bundled up, playing in the snow last weekend:

The rest of the snow-playing gang, with Busty the snowman

The beautiful Christmas tree farm that we visited when we couldn't get up the mountain far enough

Our backyard yesterday morning:

Catherine playing in the snow in our neighborhood:

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Back to "normal"

I just finished my final exam a couple of hours ago. I'm sitting here in my living room, the laundry is going, and I'm surrounded by a mountain of bills and other things that have been neglected in the last few weeks.

So, it will take a little bit, but I should be back to normal. Now I get to start unpacking and settling into our new house. And catching up on planning, scheduling and organizing that it seriously overdue. And decorating for Christmas. How did it become December suddenly?

Over the next few days I intend to find some time to catch up on updates and stories of what we've been up to. But for now, back to laundry and bills.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Back online! Yes!!!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Catching up

We haven't had internet yet in the new house, in case you're wondering about the absence. While I had a second here at school I thought I'd give an update.

We are out of the old house. Not officially as we haven't handed the keys over yet, but our stuff is all at the new house and the old house is cleaned and ready to be given back. Thanks to a continuing stream of helpers, we managed to get it all done. Now it's a matter of sorting through the chaos at our new house. Fun.

I never was able to find a home for my cats. All of the possible last minute leads were dead ends, and every single no kill shelter within a 50 mile radius was full. (thank you for your recommendation though, Camille. It did give me one more place to check, but they were full too) My mom has stepped up to save my cats, because I couldn't bear to take them to the humane society and not know their fate. For her sake I hope that it is just temporary, so we are continuing to find them good homes. Thanks again, mom, for saving me that unbearable heartache.

Catherine is feeling better and has really taken to the new house. She's sleeping through the night and seems to know where things are better than I do at times. She loves climbing up and down the stairs, and she's quite good at it! She and Toby have been having so much fun with the empty boxes. Toby will jump in them and on top of them and tip them over with him inside of it. Catherine like to put her toys in a box and then dump the whole box out and start over.

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving - a small gathering over at Jen and Phil's. My favorite part was that my mom came up to join us. So we fell into our mother-daughter Thanksgiving traditions. We cooked a bit together to bring food over to the feast (my stove/oven works! yea!). We poured through shopping ads to plan our attack the following morning. And we woke up at 5am and shopped for nearly 6 hours until we were about to collapse. It was great, and I wish we could do it every year.

My class is nearly over. But that means that I'm in crunch time. At PLU we called it "dead week" - the week before finals. So I have 3 tests in the next 8 days. Don't be jealous.

More soon... I'll need study breaks and we'll have internet up soon.