The One with Red & Green

Our first Christmas together was splendid! :)  After starting a new tradition Christmas Eve (Kevin whipping up a homemade alfredo), we went over to the church for the candle lighting/song singing/Jesus’ birthday cake eating  service.  Despite the fact that I ended up playing piano for the entire service having no prior warning, it was a lovely time of fellowship.  Kevin & I ventured home at its completion and opened our stocking stuffers.  We both received glowing results of our shopping.  
The next morning was Christmas!!  We woke up bright and early–our usual 6:00am and we both quite ready for the celebration.  (We had both awakened at 1am when Kevin wished me a Merry Christmas–3 hours after having gone to bed–and he tells me he attempted to sleep restlessly all night so that I might wake up and we could open presents!  *grin*)  Kevin loved all of his gifts from me–especially the extra soft & comfy robe and slippers and his new movies Batman Begins and The Dark Knight.  I will be in love with my gift from him for the next 70 years.  I have a gorgeous pair of diamond earrings that will be worn daily from now and until forever!!  (I love you, Darling!  Thank you!)  After having plenty of time for exercise, showers, and a scrumptious pancake & eggs breakfast, we pulled out of the driveway for Ashtabula.  

We had a nice drive (except for the 45 minutes of freaked out drivers due to the snow) and made it to my parents’ house by 2:30pm.  With Mom, Dad, Ash, Grandma Marr, Kevin & I present we opened the many wonderful gifts & then enjoyed a delicious ham & turkey dinner once Grandma Mary joined us.  It was great.  
Friday we had dinner with my childhood friends Elizabeth & DeeDee and their men (husband, Matt and fiance, Ryan).  Elizabeth is still recovering from her c-section on Tuesday when she gave birth to their firstborn son–Owen Matthew.  He’s absolutely perfect!  We had a wonderful time cuddling the baby and visiting with good friends.
Saturday we spent most of the day with my mom’s side of the family–her 4 siblings and almost all of my cousins.  There was more than enough good food, lots of laughs, and a great time for becoming reacquainted after months apart!
Enjoy the pictures!

Christmas Day:::



The New Proud Parents:::
Matt, Elizabeth, Owen, Ryan, DeeDee, Melanie & Kevin
We loved that baby!

Ash, Dad, Mom, Aunt Barb, Uncle Scott, & Kalie

Grandma Marr surrounded by her four kids

The One About Today

Today I get to…

…do a load of laundry.
…finish packing for the weekend at my parents’.
…decide what I should wear to the Christmas Eve service.
…bake an apple pie.
…try my hand at a lemon meringue pie.
…compile all the gifts making the trip with us.
…improve my gaming skills (I am now officially playing a pc game called Diablo II with Kevin.  I actually wanted to play with him…twice…yesterday. =D  Quality time right???  Shared interests!)
…continue my excitement to see my ever-since-birth-best-friend’s newborn baby!!!  He’ll be four days old when we get together on Friday.  Yippee!!!  Congrats, Elizabeth & Matt!!!!!
…spend my first Christmas Eve with my husband.

The One Where it’s FRIGID Outside

Bundle up, my friends, bundle up.  
Our three day weekend was quite wonderful.  Lots of quality time, too much hot cocoa, our millionth viewing of Home Alone, and a snowman that rivals all snowmen.  (See this post for a photo.)  Sunday morning was the annual church Christmas breakfast prepared by one family to all of us.  The turnout was wonderful and the food was fabulous!  I filled myself to brim figuring it would be lunch too. :D  The kid’s Christmas program went off without a hitch….er…as adorable and as mishap-filled as could be expected.  I was hidden behind an “inn” prompting the kids to sing carols on cue.  It was quite fun actually and made me realize that I am turning in to my mom.  I had a sort of “out of body” experience in that, as I was squatting down singing loudly to the kids, mouthing words precisely, and motioning to smile and sing louder I suddenly felt like I WAS my mom.  She did the exact same thing back when I was in the children’s programs.  =)   Anyways…
Marge & I sang “Mary, Did You Know?” and Kevin tells me it sounded great. :)  I really do love that song though.  Just think of asking Mary, “Do you realize that ‘this child that you deliver will soon deliver you?'”
Pastor Dale recommended that Youth Group be cancelled due to the bad wind and below freezing temperatures so we had the entire evening free.  It worked out well because Gma & Gpa A as well as Mom & Dad E & Brian were visiting for the afternoon for our Christmas celebration together.  We had a great time munching on baked goods, exchanging stories, discussing differing family traditions (that we don’t often realize are “traditions”), and opening great gifts!  
Kevin & I are getting ready to start our own traditions and are really loving our first Christmas as husband and wife.  We are spending Christmas afternoon and the weekend with my family so don’t look for too many updates too soon. :)
Merry Christmas, friends.  May you celebrate the gift of the Child and pour out blessings on those who need us this holiday.  

The One where it’s White

Today is the first SNOW DAY Kevin & I have had since high school!  We are stoked!!  Well, I don’t actually have a snow day since yesterday was my last day working at the office, and Kevin decided last night that driving to Wayne in the forecasted blizzard would be suicide, but officially seeing “Wayne State University” listed at the bottom of the newscast among the 300 other closures was WAY exciting.  So here we sit.  Happy.  Cozy.  At home.  Together.  On a Friday.  With nothing to do.  
I still got out of bed at 6am, worked out, fixed us a pancake breakfast, showered, changed our bed sheets, did a load of laundry, mopped the kitchen floor (first time since thanksgiving…yuck!), and prepared Christmas gift packages to be mailed and/or given this weekend.  
I’m looking forward to…today.  Saturday (which is semi-officially designated as “our” day).  Sunday which includes a Christmas breakfast at church, Eccles/Arvidson mini-Christmas in the afternoon, and of course youth group.  Next week.  (I get to bake pies and prepare for Christmas in Ashtabula.)  Our first Christmas together.  Going “home” together.  Seeing family together.  
Basically, it’s all good.  
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ps.  After posting the former paragraphs this morning, I decided to add to this post by telling the world that I just had the greatest time of my life!!  My husband and I are currently sipping on hot cocoa (Starbucks mix if you must know…) and warming up after spending an hour and a half perfecting the most amazing snowman EVER!  


The One Where I’m Thawing

This post is for you, Grams. :)
It’s cold outside.  It deserves to snow around here.  Alot. I WANT A WHITE CHRISTMAS.  I cannot handle not living in the snowbelt.  *sigh*   Oh well.  We’re supposed to get 2-4 inches tonight.  But will it last?  Probably not.  But I hope so.  
Tomorrow night is the church Open House we are hosting at the parsonage along with the Kaufmans.  I’m assuming there will be lots of people and I know there will be lots of amazing food.  Between Pam & I we’re serving teriaki meatballs, Velveeta salsa dip & chips, cheese & crackers, crab dip & crackers, lots of my homemade cookies, pumpkin & zucchini loaves, quiches, mini cheesecakes, punch, coffee, hot cocoa, etc.  We shall see how Melanie does with working all day then scurrying around to prepare for the crowds arriving from 6-8:30. :)
Also, I’m obessed with the Food Network.  Just thought I would put that out there.

The One with the Work Week

Today is my day off.  Monday was really rough.  I hated my job.  Tuesday was…ok I guess.  Wednesday was much much better.  Thursday was rather enjoyable.  I’m kinda sad I have to say “goodbye” to my two [60 something year old female] coworkers and the consumers [the mentally disabled] we serve.  Highlights of the week include:  

…getting a mailing of 200 out by 10:30am on Monday.
…realizing that we had forgotten to include a donation slip in each of those 200 envelopes but moving on.
…realizing on Wednesday that the 2nd half of the 200 letters had the completely wrong letter in it and not knowing for sure which homes those wrong letters were sent to.
…starting the mailing all over again on Wednesday.  Being proud of my speed and accuracy.  Then being informed that the apology letter was never printed to be included in the mailing of 200 and having to unseal all 200 envelopes.  
…pack, seal, stack.  unseal, unseal unseal. repack. reseal, stack, repeat.
…being told I’m totally worth the money they’re paying me. =D  
…being told they’re not sure what they’ll have me do next week because I’m so super fast I got everything done this week.
…having to forcefully inform my forceful boss (who happens to be a good friend of mine) that I will NOT eat whatever calorie loaded treat she buys me from McDonald’s at 9am.  There were goodies everywhere.  As if I don’t already struggle with saying “No” she bought me a cinnamon roll on Tuesday despite my rejection of her offer.  I ate it because I didn’t want to waste it.  But I took drastic measures on Wednesday and it worked. :)  Also, I refused to eat fast food every day for lunch (even though it was bought for me) and started packing.
Friday=frosting cookies. showering (the first and primary goal at this moment).  preparing for the big open house we’re having on Wednesday.  I don’t know what else.  But it will be full.  

The One with zzzzzzzzzz….

up at 6am tomorrow.  going to work (going to work!?).  baking literally dozens and dozens of cookies.  Christmas shopping.  90% off racks at Kohl’s.  attending one of our teen’s band concerts (per her invitation *grin*).  surprising her with flowers (per Kevin’s thoughtfulness *big grin*).  tired.  bed time methinks.

The One in Brief (not of the underwear sort)

.printer won’t print.

.reruns=sometimes exciting.  sometimes annoying.

.lots of presents already wrapped and under the tree.
.why wouldn’t this lady with obscenely long hair let What Not to Wear cut it?.
.baking is the best.
.molasses sugar cookies.
.dozens of sugar cookie cutouts.
.mint chocolate chip cookies.
.my first attempt at biscotti…coming right up.
.temporary secretary job starts Monday. subbing for the jury dutified secretary.  6 hours a day.  4 days a week.  two or more weeks.  bonus finances.!.
.missing hanging of the greens. sad day. 
.husband won’t be home until late.  professors can be irriating.

The One with the Bulbs

To those of you who will truly appreciate seeing pictures of our house transforming into its Christmas outfit, I wanted to share with you.  Make sure you realize, however, that these pictures do not do the actual scenery any justice.  In which case you are all welcome to visit any time.  My baking skills have vastly improved as of late so if you want the full treatment, warn me a few hours in advance. =D  
our gorgeous new Baldwin piano