Birthday- one month late

I had a fabulous 24th birthday while we were at home for Christmas. Because of the avid social lives of my teenage sisters, we spread my birthday festivities over a few days. Out to dinner one night, my activity choice (going to Agecroft Hall) one day, and cake/presents another day. Most people only get one day a year, but I was the birthday girl for 3 whole days this year- wonderful!

The most comical moment of my birthday celebrations was when I was opening my presents. I opened the gifts from my parents, sisters, and grandparents and then there weren't any left. I was thinking, "Okay Bryan, I know we talked about not spending as much this Christmas, but nothing? Really nothing?" (Yes, I can be just a little bit selfish...) Then my sisters asked if I was ready for Bryan's present and I said "of course!" Jenn, Leslie, and Bethany immediately started stripping, removing jackets, skirts, and sweatshirts to reveal my new outfit: a skirt, shirt, and necklace. It was so funny. I should have known Bryan had something up his sleeve. His presents are always so exciting, half because of what he got and half because of how he wraps it.

{ Bethany wearing my necklace, Jenn in the shirt, and Leslie in the skirt }


Martin Luther King Day Statistics

Number of papers I graded: Approximately 2,000
Number of Standards Reports I filled out: 29
Number of science lessons I planned: 3
Number of loads of laundry I washed: 5
Number of socks I matched up: 70
Number of movies I watched: 4
Number of hours I didn't wear pajamas: 4
Number of chocolate chip cookies I ate: let's not talk about that
Number of people I talked to: 3 (my husband, my mom and my sister)
Number of pages I created on a Shutterfly Album: 12
Number of pounds of delicious Farr's Ice Cream we ate: 1.78
Number of pounds of delicious Farr's Ice Cream we paid for: .886 (we love coupons)

All in all, it was a very successful and blissful day. And, thanks to all that hard work, today wasn't bad either. I love short weeks!


Last Semester!

I got this in an email from mint.com the other day. I'm not exactly sure what we were planning when we budgeted those $20, maybe books or printing costs or something? Anyway, we blew it this month. Luckily, this is our last time paying semester tuition because Bryan is almost done!!!!


Elder Trevor is Back!

After four grueling days of school/work, we headed back to Vacationland, this time in California to see Elder Trevor Martinez come home from Joao Pessoa, Brazil. We had such a great time enjoying all of the American treats Trev missed during the 2 years of his mission - Fenton's Ice Cream, In-n-out, La Costa burritos, playing the Wii, watching movies, bowling, going to the beach, and visiting with family. It was wonderful to be with Trevor, who has such a great spirit and is still on fire with missionary zeal. He is a great example to us all. It was also fun to hear his funny accent, which Bryan (forgetting that he had the exact same accent coming home from Brazil 5 years ago) calls the "drunk leprachaun." We're so glad he's back, and grateful that we could take a little vacation to enjoy spending some time with him.

The shoes of a hard-working missionary

To learn more about what Trevor taught for 2 years, go here.


There's No Place Like Home

As I unpacked on Monday I enjoyed the sweet scent of home that stuck to my clothes. I'm pretty sure that the fresh scent comes from laundry detergent that isn't the absolute cheapest available. But, it made me think of how lucky I am to have a home and a family that I love so much. It also reminded me how lucky I am to have a home here in Provo (even if it is tiny, cramped, old, and has really ugly carpeting) to come back to. I love being in Virginia with my family, but it's so exciting to come back to my little home and my little life. Sometimes I feel like I'm still playing house, even though I've been living on my own for 5 years! I'm grateful for all my homes- beautiful Virginia that will always be home, quirky Provo that has changed my life in so many ways, and whatever home we move on to next.

In the spirit of home, here are a few more of my favorite pictures from our trip. . . I keep looking at them imagining myself feeling stress-free and relaxed.

{elephant towels Jenn made to welcome us to her room}

{Stony Point Christmas Tree}

{Agecroft Hall- a house built in the 15th Century in England then
taken apart and brought to Virginia in the 1920s}

{Ty the Speed Skater- look for him in Sochi in 2014}

{my birthday "R" Pancake}

{my wonderful parents excited for a Christmas Eve grocery store run}


Top Five

Last night when I posted my books of 2009 I couldn't decide on my favorites, but after much deliberation here are my top 5 books of '09.

1. The Hunger Games/ Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins: I absolutely love this series, and can't wait for the third to come out!
2. March by Geraldine Brooks: this was recommended to me by a wonderful lady I work with and it didn't disappoint. It's the story of Little Women told from Mr. March's perspective.
3. A Painted House by John Grisham: We listened to this book on a long journey to and from California this summer. Bryan thought it was a little slow, but I loved it.
4. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows: My mom gave me this cute book which combined some of my very favorite things to read about- England, books, and WWII
5. Savvy
by Ingrid Law: I decided to read this book after reading Janssen's review. I got it on CD and found myself searching for reasons to be in the car so I could listen to this fun book.


Good Reads

Last year I decided to start reading more. In elementary and middle school I would spend every night curled up in bed with a great book. As I got older and life got busier, this precious time seemed to disappear. I'm pretty sure that I can count the number of books I read my last year of college on one hand- depressing. Once I started teaching I read a lot more, but it was all kids books, which, don't get me wrong, are fabulous, but I wanted to broaden my horizons. I am inspired by Janssen, and am extremely jealous of her speed-reading ability. My list is a mere 33 books this year, but I hope it will grow every year. Here are my books of 2009:

Chasing Vermeer
The Twits
Munich Signature
Cheaper by the Dozen
The London Eye Mystery
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks
My Brother Sam is Dead
The Wedding
Where the Red Fern Grows
Swapping Lives
The Graveyard Book
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
The Lovely Bones
The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands
Angels and Demons
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
A Painted House
When Times are Tough
Ten Cents a Dance
The Watsons go to Birmingham, 1963
The Hunger Games
True Believer
The Five Love Languages
The Time-Travelers Wife
Memoirs of a Geisha
Things I Want My Daughter to Know
Catching Fire
The Brothers
The Angel, The Shepherd, and Walter the Christmas Miracle Dog
Where Angels Fall