Friday, December 31, 2010

flashback friday: to margo and sean on their wedding day

I have absolutely zero recollection of writing this, but the title says I wrote it for my dear friends Margo and Sean. I was 16 when they got married, so I must have been 16 when I wrote this. 

To Margo and Sean on their wedding day:

Here we stand, hand in hand
I can’t believe this day is finally here
And through all our laughter and our tears
I have a thousands words to say
But only three will do

I’ve waited for oh so long
To find the one
God has planned for me
And nothing else can compare
With the life that we’re about to share
There are a thousand words to say
But only three will do
Baby, I love you

There will never be another face
That matches up to yours
We’ve come so far and won the race
I couldn’t ask for more
And though there are a thousand words
That I could say to you
There are only three that will do
Baby, I love you

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

"No matter how busy you may think you are, you must find time for reading, or surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance."

^quote by Confucius

Books read in 2010:

The Guinea Pig Diaries by AJ Jacobs
Wild Mountain Thyme by Rosamunde Pilcher (re-read)
The Empty House by Rosamunde Pilcher (re-read)
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (re-read)
The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands by Dr. Laura Schlessinger
The Same Kind of Different As Me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore
Blessings by Anna Quindlen
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
Twenty Chickens for a Saddle by Robyn Scott
Lost in the City by Edward P. Jones
The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards
Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
The Return Journey by Maeve Binchy
It Sucked and Then I Cried by Heather Armstrong
Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls
Dear John by Nicholas Sparks
Summer Sisters by Judy Blume
The Legend of Colton H. Bryant by Alexandra Fuller
Let Me Be a Woman by Elisabeth Elliot
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
The Condition by Jennifer Haigh
The Poet of Baghdad by Jo Tatchell
Belong to Me by Marisa De Los Santos
The Beach House by Jane Green
Mrs. Kimble by Jennifer Haigh
If You Lived Here by Dana Sachs
In the Fall by Jeffrey Lent
The Carousel by Rosamunde Pilcher
Voices in Summer by Rosamunde Pilcher
Gods and Generals by Jeffrey Shaara
Abide With Me by Elizabeth Strout
The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck

Currently in the middle of Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi

Favorite book of 2009: Tie! The Reader by Bernhard Schlink and Girl Meets God by Lauren Winner
Favorite book of 2010: The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
Kick-off book for 2011: One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez

Monday, December 27, 2010

a grown-up Christmas

Before, my Grandma Mom (what we call my mom's mom) would spend the night on Christmas Eve and we would have a big dinner and go to the Christmas Eve service. On Christmas day I would open boxes of American Eagle sweaters and dangly earrings and CDs and maybe a cell phone or a camera. I would play with my presents until 2:00 and then leave for Grandma Jean's condo in Arlington. I would happily accept money envelopes from my relatives and then sneak off to the den to watch TV or play cards with my cousins until it was time to eat. My grandma would have everyone stand in a circle and hold hands and sing Praise God from whom all blessings flow, praise Him all creatures here below, praise Him above, ye Heavenly host, praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. 

Now Grandma Mom is in a nursing home and Andy had to work on Christmas Eve. A couple of my presents this year :: a cake stand, a berry strainer, and a creamer (among other wonderful goodies). Instead of having presents to play with I had a present I shed tears over (too-small jeans). Grandma Jean passed away this year so we went to my Uncle Bill's house for Christmas dinner instead.

So you see, Christmas has changed. I receive grown-up gifts, have grown-up responsibilities, grown-up issues and trials that I must deal with as maturely as I know how. Yet, I was blessed by what a wonderful day this Christmas turned out to be. I ate like royalty, Skyped with my brother who lives in Korea, had a fabulous time talking and laughing with aunts and uncles and cousins (I no longer retreat to the kid's table), watched two episodes of Sherlock with my family and went to bed feeling like a little girl again.

Some family traditions will never change, like waiting at the top of the stairs for the go-ahead from mom and dad, seeing presents under the tree but turning into the den to open stockings first, having coffee and hot chocolate and oohing and aahing over other people's gifts, eating a huge breakfast and receiving one last gift at bedtime. 

Todd, Katie, me, Andy
we miss you John-Michael!!!
It was a Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 24, 2010

flashback friday: untitled

moral of this poem/song:: don't ever fall for anyone at camp. this is me, age 15. 

I can’t say the things you want to hear the way you want me to
And all my thoughts are dying to be free from the cell inside of me
But silence is as golden as the note that lies unfolded
The letter that will shatter everything that ever mattered in my life

I can feel my fingers shake against the curves of I love you
With every beat that my heart makes I read the lies that I once clung to
I can picture in my mind how all the words I want to find will never leave your lips
I wish I could remember something more than this

This note that you wrote will burn with all the rest of the best of our memories
I hope you are happy with the life that you have made
And I hope that you’ll be haunted with the past that you betrayed
And someday you’ll have something that you’re so eager to say
But the words you’ll never speak
They’ll leave you feeling weak
Because silence is as golden as the note that lies unfolded

The letter that will shatter everything that ever mattered in my life
Just a few simple lines to tell me goodbye
And you’re gone
I never got to say…

read the previous "flashback fridays" here

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

my favorite Christmas songs

"The Holly and the Ivy" and "Skating" performed by George Winston.
The first puts me in a reflective and quiet state. The second gets me giddy for Christmas.

I love love love love love George Winston. His version of "Jesus, Jesus, Rest Your Head" is incredible too but I couldn't find a good youtube video of it.

I walked down the aisle to this one:

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

the joy of my heart

"Your statutes are my heritage forever; they are the joy of my heart. My heart is set on keeping your decrees to the very end." Psalm 119:111-112

Sunday, December 19, 2010

December's little pleasures

1. Ornaments- I started the tradition of buying an ornament each time we travel or go somewhere special. I have one to commemorate our engagement, several from our honeymoon, my travels with Laurel, etc. etc. Of course, sometimes I buy them simply because they are pretty. I do have a few corny ornaments but I like to keep the tree classy. Here's one of my recent buys from Pier 1.

2. Casey in the snow- how could you not love this face?

3. Christmas parties- Read about ours here.

Party at the West View house (where I lived junior year)
there were 12 of us and 11 of us are spooning.
the loner is my friend Kristen, who isn't much a of a snuggler
(but really it should be Amy b/c she complains about it more)
annual Shiloh party
this was junior year again...eww my braces!!
I was trying to look like a candy cane in my
Goodwill jumpsuit...womp womp.

4. Presents under the tree- all of Andy's presents are wrapped and under the tree but he hasn't bought me a single gift! My fault- I totally failed to produce a Christmas list for him this year. Normally I have a list a mile long. I think I'll ask him to get me a couple presents to unwrap and then shop together for the rest of my gifts. Here is something I found today that I'm going to ask for:
earthenware elephant from Z gallerie

5. Extra snuggles- Andy has had extra time off this month because his personal days expire at the end of the year. We've been staying up til the wee hours of the morning watching 24 and then crashing on our new flannel sheets. Snuggles are the greatest.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Christmas Party!

I had wanted to throw a Christmas party since our first year of marriage and I decided earlier this month I've got to make it happen! So I did.

The vision: Festive decor, low-key atmosphere and a simple menu

The invite: I used and after a long deliberation I chose this template. Six out of the eight couples we invited were able to come and I hired two girls from the neighborhood to watch the little ones in our basement.
The menu: 
Bbq/mayo/brown sugar dip for smokies
Cranberry-covered goat cheese roll from Trader Joe's
Sausage and cheese balls (brought by friend)
Cucumbers, carrots and celery sticks (brought by friend)

Coffee and hot chocolate
Brownies cut into stars and Christmas trees w/ cookie cutters
Maple leaf cookies from Trader Joe's
Cake pops (unexpectedly brought by the babysitters)

I bought green and red colored candy from the bulk section at Martin's
to set out with peanuts for easy snacking throughout the party.
This menu was incredibly easy to prepare and everything
turned out perfectly.

The decor: 
My Santa from Kohls is extra cute
inside the berry wreath

the tiniest manger scene ever
-they're all ornaments-

I fell in love with this little guy at first sight.
He was $4 at an antique mall in KY.
I think he and my grandmother's chair
belong together.

ornaments hanging from my shutters, chandelier and curtain rod

I meant to take a pic before the food was consumed...
oops! I used a card table for the dip, cheese, chips
and crackers. I had the smokies, sausage balls and desserts
set up in the kitchen. 
The party itself:  I decided to leave our dining room table free to create more space to eat. We started dinner at 6:30 with the girls eating at the table and the guys eating in the living room. At 7:30 everyone gathered together for two rounds of The Newlywed Game, hosted by our friend Matt (he played the theme song on his ipod... he's our church's resident game show host for a reason). At 8:30 our guests w/ kids headed out and those remaining stayed to play Screw Your Neighbor (not what it sounds like).

The best part? No stress. It was amazing. Somehow I managed to get the whole house sparkling (minus our bedroom) and prepare for the party in barely a day's time. AND I didn't cough or blow my nose once during the party. Now that is success.

Friday, December 17, 2010

flashback friday: Beckah's song

A couple days ago I decided to start a weekly post where I will share some of my writing from high school.
Read the first one here.

Most of my poems and songs are from someone else's perspective. I wrote this my sophomore year for a guy friend who had just been broken up with by his girlfriend. This song is for Beckah.

Note: that line about strawberries in the last verse is KILLING me. It's supposed to be obvious that they share a memories of strawberries together because he kisses strawberry ice cream off of her mouth during a date. This is the hard part about sharing my old writings...I want to edit them!

Beckah's Song

Remember nights in Old Town, Alexandria?
Eating ice cream like we were kids again
I smiled at your messy lips
That begged me for another kiss
Drowning me in strawberry sin

My heart can’t stand this loneliness
Every night I make a wish
On the star that we named after our favorite TV show
I guess I should go home
Wait for hours by the phone
Missing the sound of “I love you”
(I love you…)

Remember how we’d stay up late
Going out on crazy dates
Or staying in and making out
On your Hello Kitty couch
Even with the lights turned out
I couldn’t keep my eyes off of your mouth

Remember when our star fell from the sky?
You hugged me tight and then you said goodbye…
Next time you eat strawberries
I hope that you will think of me
‘Cuz thinking about you makes me cry inside

Thursday, December 16, 2010

it may be freezing cold, but at least it's organized

Last week I would have paid you to not open our freezer door. It was that scary in there.
Problem solved, thanks to two clear plastic bins and two plastic bowls that I already owned. Now everything is organized into groups (frozen fruit, veggies, meals, etc). I will probably replace the bowls with clear bins in the future to create more space. 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I just want to make a difference

My parents are getting a new computer and asked me to go through the many songs, poems, IM convos and school assignments that I had written and saved over the years.  I'm going to start posting "Flashback Fridays" and I'll share with you my teenage heart. Here's a taste of what's to come:

from a senior year English assignment:
I want to be a homemaker and raise my children in a stable home.  I want to be remembered as someone who loved life and put her all into everything she did.  As my gift to the world, I will be an example of a successful wife, mother, and person in general.  I don’t plan on being a superhero.  I just want to make a difference to the people around me.

I still want those things.

Monday, December 13, 2010

birthday necklace

Andy has called me his puzzle piece ever since we met five years ago. I was so delighted to receive this necklace from him for my birthday!

I bought the rest of my presents myself starting back in October. I love having a December birthday, but it's hard to wait for cute cold-weather clothes/shoes. I also knew I'd have presents to open from my family, and they did not disappoint!

Despite being sick on my birthday, it was still a special time. Three of my girlfriends took me out on Thursday night to Byers Street Bistro in Staunton and my parents treated Andy and I to see "Oklahoma!" at the Arena Stage in D.C. last night. It was a knee-slappin', boot-stompin' heck of a show and we loved it.

Sure, I spent most of the weekend under multiple blankets with "Reading Lolita in Tehran," but if it weren't for the sinus infection I'd say that's a pretty great birthday!

Friday, December 10, 2010


I had a loverly time in Kentucky last weekend visiting my friend Laurel and her husband Steven. We consumed many hot drinks while watching snow fall and we laughed and told stories and reminisced and cooked together and I was happy. 

The drive is seven hours without stopping, so I was in the car for a good 7.5 hours. I am ever so grateful for the DVD player in the van and I listened to You've Got Mail on the way there and Juno on the way home. I also compiled a playlist right before I left (which explains how the songs don't always flow) and now "Cosmic Love" will always remind me of falling snow and leafless tree-covered mountains blurred outside my car window.

Magic Perfume by Charlyne Yi and Matt Davis 
Comptie d'un autre été : l'apres-midi by Yann Tiersen
Lovin' Arms by the Wood Brothers
Cosmic Love by Florence + the Machine
The Cave by Mumford & Sons
I and Love and You by The Avett Brothers
Sweetest In The Morning by Jill Andrews
The High Road by Broken Bells
Is It O.K by Serena Ryder
All for Love by Serena Ryder
Have You Ever by Brandi Carlile
Losing Heart by Brandi Carlile
The Funeral by Band of Horses (remember this from the talent show in My Life as Liz?)
No One's Gonna Love You by Band of Horses
Is There a Ghost by Band of Horses
Two Weeks by Grizzly Bear

Thursday, December 2, 2010

last night

Me + champagne + lighted candles + Yann Tiersen + dishes = married life.

I kid, I kid.
(but that is what happened last night)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

oh hey

Andy's brother showed up to Thanksgiving dinner wearing a white t-shirt that he had written on w/ pen: "%@#& Toothpicks" (except he used a word instead of symbols), which means my brother in law read my blog. 

I got to spend Friday and Saturday at our family's cabin w/ our co-owners and their two kids (Steven was my best guy friend growing up and I will always think of Joanna will always as a little sister), and we drove around the lake and climbed rocks and played pool and all of a sudden we were kids again- building forts and naming groups of rocks- and we were teenagers again- learning how to drive on the gravel roads and blasting The Wallflowers with the sunroof open and our hands out the windows making waves in the wind- and I felt more alive in those moments than I ever have in my life. 

I completed a crossword puzzle for the first time AND I finally taught myself to sleep on my back, which means I can pretty much conquer anything now.

AND, to top it all off...I discovered Photo Booth on my mac. Where have I been? I know. It's sad.