Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014: A Year in Review

I hold my 2013 awards. I write and celebrate my 300th blog post. After dealing with some stomach issues, I decide to go gluten and dairy free. I stay on that diet for about a month before quitting. We celebrate my moms birthday with a homemade chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting.

I start doing Week of Fun again. I remember Murphy. My writing gets a little personal. I talk about dealing with OCD. I make homemade Valentine cards for my family and go out to eat for the holiday. February upholds it's title as my least favorite month when I get sick right at the end of it. My parents go away for a few days and M and I try to do all of the fun things we had planned despite me feeling terribly. We watch 3 Oscar nominated movies in one weekend. I end the month with a cartilage piercing.

I write about the proudest moment of my life. I'm really excited to welcome Spring. I have an awesome break where I road trip with Claire. E celebrates her birthday and I reflect on our sisterhood.

My life goals change once again and I buy tickets to my first ever gymnastics event. I share my top ten American gymnasts list. My dog Ruby turns 6. I talk about my deepest desire. Easter falls on a beautiful sunny Sunday. I reflect on my friendship with Claire. I turn 20 and it's awesome.

My Sophmore year comes to a close and as I prepare to switch colleges, I reflect on the passed for years. The 8th anniversary of my back surgery passes. School ends and I throw myself into writing. I thoroughly enjoy the festivities around Memorial Day.

I write my Summer Goals. Just when things are going really well, everything falls apart. I donate my hair for the fifth time. Despite my inner struggles, I want to enjoy my Summer. I write about my favorite subject: time. VBS week comes around and M and I guide a cute little group of first graders. I review another gymnast memoir.

I take advantage of the nice weather and spend many days hanging out in my backyard pool. We celebrate the Fourth of July with family and new friends. I visit NYC for the first time ever. We go on a bus tour, shop, see a Broadway show and walk...a lot. Despite what I wrote in the post, I now would like to visit again. I reflect on the worst day of my life, one year later. I have a very busy weekend. Finally it's time to head out to Chicago and I am so excited!

I have the time of my life at the Secret Classic. I have my 3 year bloggiversary! A trip the the hometown fairgrounnds proves to be a lot of fun. I talk about having faith through trials. I list my favorite gymnastics routines. I revisit my summer goals and realize that I accomplished more than ever before! School gets off to a bit of a shaky start until I end up changing my major for good.

I declare my love for Sia's music and announce that I have started a new gymnastics blog. I start boxing and love it! I visit my orthopedist and eye doctor but leave with more questions.

The month starts off in a very busy fashion. Between working out and school and Bible study, I'm almost always doing something. My short story gets workshopped and I get some amazingly good feedback and encouragement from my professor. 1989 comes out and I'm slightly disappointed. I quietly celebrate my half birthday. I get to live my dream and dress up as a gymnast for a Halloween party.

I start up Week of Fun again. I spent four days in Chicago with Claire and her family, it leaves me with a slightly bad taste in my mouth. I muse for the fourth time. I explain why I write once again. I celebrate a nice Thanksgiving and go Black Friday shopping the next morning. I start documenting my fitness journey.

Exam week causes me to go off the grid. I do a 12 Days of Christmas Series. I'm not sick on Christmas for the first time in three years and it's awesome! I wrap up the year by celebrating new years with Claire.

I was thinking today that 2014 was a really important year for me. Probably not as visible for others looking in but I really took my writing to the next level. I wrote two books over the Summer and I was told by someone who really knows that I'm a talented writer. I now know that I need to pursue this talent even if it took awhile to figure it out. I have some goals for myself for the new year but i'm not going to make a big thing out of them, if they happen, they happen. It's all in God's hands.
See you in 2015!!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

And Partridge in a Pear Tree!

Christmas morning was wonderful. I felt great (not sick!!) and my parents blessed my sisters and I with some wonderful gifts. I got a new smart cover for my ipad, my old pink one is soooo beat up. I also got a new Vera Bradley bag that I use for school, again my old one was falling apart. I got a new book and the first season of Make it or Break it on DVD. Amongst other thoughtful gifts, I was most happy to give the presents I had bought for my family. Everyone seemed to really like what I gave them so it was really special.

After we were done opening gifts, we relaxed and hung out before my grandma and aunt came over, I tried to take a nap twice but was woken up for visitors. Oh well, Christmas only comes once a year! My favorite aunt and uncle always have a tradition of coming over before we all meet up with the rest of my dads side of the family at my other uncles house. We exchange gifts and they are always so creative. This year they got me a white noise machine because they know how I hate to deal with the upstairs noise in my basement room. They also gave me a desk calender and the game Scattegories (our favorite game we've never owned). I'm so thankful for them.

After they left we got everything together and headed to my Uncle M's. When we arrived we greeted everyone and had some tasty appetizers. Man do I love shrimp. I might have filled up a bit too much because I wasn't too hungry for dinner but I managed ;). I tried to take a plate from the "adult" table in the dining room but was immediately intercepted by my aunt! Banished the kitchen "kid" table again where the average age is probably around 24...ahh well, kids once kids for life! It was still fun to eat with my cousins who I don't see very often, it was nice to laugh and catch up. Alas, I don't think a family gathering on my dads side will ever happen without someone bringing up the incident  from summer 2013. No one will ever forget that day...

After dinner we gathered in the living room and started getting together the gift exchange. This year, there wasn't too much that I really wanted. Not that the things my family made weren't impressive, there was a wine holder and a sturdy wooden shelf and photography and more. I just didn't have much use for a lot of it. Luckily, I ended up with what I wanted which was my grandma's painting . My grandma is a great artist and I have another water color of hers that will look perfect framed next to my new one. Stay tuned for pictures of my new and improved room.

After the exchange we gave out family gifts. My aunt bought me a beautiful glass beaded bracelet that actually fit me! My grandma baked some of her delicious cookies and I was more than happy to give her her gift in return. I bound my works from my creative writing class this semester. It's tradition for me to give her something I've written for Christmas and I've been doing so for 6 years. After presents we had desert and hung out. As usual, my family was the last to leave! When we got home, M watched her Dr. Who Christmas special in the family room so I retreated to the living room to watch New Girl. (That show is so hilarious, I'm watching it through for the second time).

Soon enough it was time to go to bed and finish up another Christmas. It's so crazy to have so much anticipation and buildup to a holiday that goes by so quickly. On one hand, I'm always so excited for it to come, but on the other, I don't want it to go by so fast. The balance is tricky! This years Christmas was such a good one, I was just so happy to feel well and enjoy it to the fullest. I'm more thankful than anything for my God sending His Son for us!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

2 Turtle Doves

Looking back on Christmas Eve, I think it was one of the best that I've had in awhile. I had a small scare in the wee hours of the morning where I thought I was seriously going to get sick again but I think I just ate too late the night before.

Needless to say I was up early that morning and I kept my mom company while she got ready for work and as the rest of my family trickled downstairs I began to feel better. After my mom left we put Titanic on (we'd long decided to watch it on Christmas Eve). It's not exactly a holiday movie but for some reason it feels that way to us. We hadn't actually seen it all the way through in about 3 years so it was great fun and a good time killer. As tradition had it we made those Pillsbury cinnamon rolls. Somehow, M screwed them up and they came out more as lumps than rolls. They were still tasty though so all was well.

After the movie, I went and took a shower and finished reading some Christmas books. Then I wrapped some last minute gifts and before we knew it, it was time to pick up my mom from work. Once we got home it was time to start getting ready for our church service. I pulled together an outfit last minute that was really quite nice. M had given me her present early in order to aide my wardrobe crisis so I got to wear my new vegan leather circle skirt and a white lace top. We were nearly late for church but made it just in time to take our usual seats. They had the kids come up front and be like a litle audience for the story of Jesus's birth. It was cute. To end, the whole congregation lights candles and we sing Silent Night. I think it's one of my favorite parts of Christmas to look around and see the flickering fire light and hear one of my favorite carols.

We had to briefly stop home before heading to my cousins house, I helped my dad wrap a last minute switch of gifts and then off we went. For the past three years we've been going to my aunts on Christmas Eve but that wasn't to be this year. I was really hooping that we could go back to being at my grandpa's house but then health issues came up so my cousin B offered to host at her big new house. I didn't know what to expect (I'd only been there once, right after they moved in) but it was really cozy and nice. I ate right away because I was super hungry and then there was a minor incident where I spilled some red wine on E, the carpet and the table cloth. Not my finest moment. When that was taken care of we got to mingle and relax before letting the kids (there are 4 kids, 4 and under) open gifts. It was fun to watch. Then it was time for the adult gift exchange where I didn't want anything at all but my own gift that I brought. I wound up with a pancake maker and a flashlight...yeah I was a little displeased but it's the thought that counts.

We stayed and talked for about an hour more before heading home around 11. Once at our own house we chilled by the tree before heading off to bed. M and I talked for awhile before falling asleep and before we knew it, it was Christmas morning!! Stay tuned!

Monday, December 22, 2014

3 French Hens

Well we are truly almost there! Tonight I'm going to take a little stroll down memory lane and recall Christmas past.

I think my most memorable Christmas to date was when I was 6, I had been hoping and hoping for an American girl doll. Let me tell you, there is nothing like the excitement of seeing that red doll sized box under the wrapping paper! I had actually been hoping for the doll Kit but as it was her debut year, she was out of stock and my parents got me Felicity instead, I didn't care a bit! M got Molly and both of our dolls came with their Christmas outfits and books. Later that day we went over to my aunts house and I remember parading around with Felicity happily. The following year I did receive Kit and I was just as excited!

Another year that stands out was when I was 10 and desperately wanted a guinea pig. Sure enough, I found my little friend underneath the tree in a red cage. He was orange and white and I named him Pumpkin. I loved him so much! Even though he lived a (very) short life, I will always think fondly of my first pet.

When I was in 7th grade I started to get into music and wanted an ipod. I did not expect to get one but I did! I named my silver nano Metallica (not after the heavy metal band, but just because of the color) I had a strange array of pop/folk/old rock songs for a few years before I found my musical preference

Hopefully, this year will go down as one of my most memorable as well, and not because of gifts but because of Jesus and family and love :)

Sunday, December 21, 2014

4 Calling Birds

We always get together with my dads side of the family on Christmas day and we have a lot of artistic people in the family. About 12 years ago we started doing a homemade gift exchange. Now, people don't make things like pencil holders or cookies, they seriously put their talents to use and come up with some amazing ideas. There have been mirrors and clocks and mosaics and much more. I always have so much trouble coming up with ideas and this year was no exception. Fortunately, my mom had been online looking for some ideas for herself and she came across a really cool one. All I needed was two canvas, paint swatches, toilet paper rolls, and a stick! Bet you won't guess what it came out to look like!

Drum roll.....

 I'm pretty proud of it if I do say so myself! I just painted the canvas, cut the stick down to size, cut strips of toilet paper rolls and fitted them with the pain swatch pieces. Then I set everything in place with hot glue. It really only took me just over an hour and it was fun! Hopefully everyone in the family likes it just as much. Perhaps people will actually fight for my gifts for once!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

5 Golden Rings!!

Today was the day of wrapping! I wrapped nearly everything and it took about 2 hours. My sisters wrapped too. The finished product:
Featuring the vacuum cleaners cord.

In just a few hours we're having movie night with my favorite aunt and uncle. Fun times ahead and only five days until Christmas!!

6 Geese A'laying

This was actually yesterday, ah well.

I have no shame in the fact that I like to read my old favorite kids books around Christmas. For example, I borrowed all of the American Girl Christmas books and the Main Street book by Ann M Martin.

I'll also pull out the holiday BSC books because hey, once a superfan, always a superfan. What do you like to read around Christmas??

Thursday, December 18, 2014

7 Swans A'swimming

There's always that "one thing" that you just have to get over with and then the real Christmas fun can begin! For me it's working tomorrow and then working out right afterward. I need to work for money and I want to box for fitness but it still seems like a drag. Ahh well, 24 hours from now and I'm home free!!
One week until Christmas!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

8 Maids A'milking

Ahhh Christmastime. And oh to be Ruby with not a care in the world!

9 Ladies Dancing

Yesterday I Christmas shopped for 8 hours. Enough said. Here are my do's and don'ts

  1. Eat a nice hearty meal beforehand and bring a little snack like a granola bar or something. I forgot the granola bar and paid the price. 
  2. Wear comfortable shoes. 
  3. Bring a list and have some sort of game plan, nothing worse than walking around a mail aimlessly. 
  4. Bring enough money-and then some. Nothing wrong with having leftover cash but you don't want to come up short. 
  5. Treat yourself to lunch, it's a good way to break up the day and recharge. 
  1. Be too rigid. If you had an idea for a gift and it's not there, don't worry about it. You might be able to find it somewhere else or find something else. 
  2. Be afraid to go out of your comfort zone. Go in a store you never have before, there might be some hidden gems. My mom and I went into a boutique that's been there for a year for the first time and I found (unbeknownst to her) her present there. 
  3. Over think it. If you think someone would like something and that's your initial though, go for it! M and I always over analyze our gifts for each other and it only brings on stress. This year I went with my gut and hopefully it pays off! 
  4. Let yourself get tired, keep going or you'll be sure to fall into a funk. 
  5. Be afraid to call it a night when you've had enough, I still have a few more things to get but I sure as heck wasn't going to make it ten hours!
Hope this helps!

Monday, December 15, 2014

10 Lords A'leaping!

Organizing your wrapping paper bin 101.

First, asses the situation...

REALLY BAD. E had rummaged through a few days ago and left it in even more shambles than it had been.
Next, cut away the ripped/wrinkled/frayed edges of wrapping paper to leave the roll smooth and orderly.
Put just the tiniest peace of tape to keep the rolls from unraveling.
When the bin is emptied out completely, you'll probably be left with a bunch of scraps.
After you've sorted through the scraps, vacuum it out.

Sort the contents into piles. Wrapping paper, boxes, bags and tags separated.
Finally, put them back in in an orderly fashion and take inventory. We definitely need more tags as well as wrapping paper. I think we've had those rolls for at least two or three years now! Tomorrow, we shall replenish the stock!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

11 Pipers Piping

Today I shall name some of my favorite Christmas movies!!

  1. The Family Stone: this one is an absolute must. It's the perfect mix of humor and emotion. It always leaves me with a lasting impression. Also, the score is by the very talented Michael Giacchino.
  2. It's a Wonderful Life: Classic and a must-see. It's a long film but it takes you through a near-lifetime, love it. 
  3. The Polar Express: Between the magic, the animation and the music, this one is awesome. We watch it on our bit projector screen. 
  4. Annie: I hate the original, sorry not sorry. But the 1999 remake is pretty much flawless. Alicia Morton is adorable, Kathy Bates is at her best and who can deny the strange attractiveness of Rooster?? 
  5. About a Boy: Hugh Grant is hilariously aloof and a young Nicholas Holt is adorable. The storyline goes from dark, to frustrating to heartwarming. 
So there you have it! My top five and can you believe I haven't watched any of them yet?? Never fear, The Family Stone will viewed tonight!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

12 Drummers Drumming

And so begins my fun new Christmas series: The 12 Days of Christmas!! Each day from now until Christmas I'll do some sort of holiday post. Today I'm going to share some of my favorite ornaments from my Christmas tree.

The above ornament was from my dads childhood home, it's cool to have something that continues to stay in the family.
You can't really tell what this one is but it's a glass ballerina dancing. It's been broken a few times so it only has one leg but that just makes it more impressive :)
This one is very simple and meaningful.
My mom got this in a gift exchange awhile ago and I've always thought it was so beautiful. There's definitely something timeless bout bulbs.
 This one is in honor of my first Christmas. All the way back from 1994. It has all of the characters in "Hey Diddle Diddle" nursery rhyme. I have loved this one ever since I can remember.
 This one makes me laugh because it's so very half hazard. One year we realized that our dog Ruby didn't have an ornament in her honor so I took a broken one and pasted her picture in it and scrawled her name on it. I could have at least wrote nicely!
My great Aunt gave me this a loooong time ago and it still plays the Nutcracker theme if you hit the bottom of it.
My mom had my sisters and I each pick out a new ornament for the tree each year when I was 10. This is from the second year of doing this in 2005. I always loved the way this one looked like actual dough and candy.
 My first year of picking out a new ornament. I still think this one is pretty.
Once when M and I were little my mom had this idea to do a craft to make Santa ornaments. It ended up being very tedious and involved, needless to say, my mom was the only one her finished hers. But it's super cute, right?
Behold! My newest ornament. It reminds me of a book my mom used to read me that took place in Sweden and involving some rogue trolls. I've name it Tonkus for no reason at all.
I originally had this same ornament, only the panda was being flown by blimp. Unfortunately, puppy Ruby chewed it to bits. This is the replacement but it's just as cute!

See you tomorrow! What are your favorite ornmanets??

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

If I'm MIA for a Week...

It's because of papers and finals and portfolios and all of that exciting stuff.

I'll be really jazzed when it's next Friday at 10:00 am and my last exam is over and I'm driving home. The next month of freedom stretching forth like a red carpet of possibilities.

I'm a little bummed because I have to work tomorrow from 3-7 (MY LAST EVENING SHIFT!) and I have a lot of school stuff to get done. It would have been nice to have that time to do it but ah well. I have to buy Christmas presents somehow, right? Right.

Ok, so that's that. I'm off to write some more of my paper on Americanah, having just finished my paper on Sylvia Plath.