Last Few Weeks:
- Had a great time in Utah for Christmas. Got to enjoy some delicious food, get a haircut with Christie, see my second showing of A Christmas Carol for the holiday season, see family at the Zackrison Family Christmas party and cousin Max's wedding reception, and spend lots of fun time with family. Christmas Eve was complete with our traditional In-N-Out dinner (it was so fun to see how everyone was carrying on the tradition in their own ways!) and Christmas was long for everyone but always so great. I really do love Christmas, but mostly because of all the time spent with family.
- A week after I got there Jon joined me in Utah. His first night in town we ate at Hire's with mom and dad, Rachel and Ken, and Grandma Z, then went and walked around the lights at Temple Square. One night we got to meet up with Hillary and Scott for dinner at Red Iguana and a trip to the zoo for the Zoo Lights. In any free time we had we tried to spend time with the Wiley's which included a lot of potato chip making, trampoline jumping, and a quick trip to see Brenden on his bike jumps. The time went so quickly but overall it was a great trip.
- On Saturday we packed up the car with mom and dad and drove down to San Diego to meet William and see Zack, Ana, and Jack. The drive was painless for me, I just slept the whole time, I've trained my body well. Our time in California was even quicker. We ventured up to Irvine for New Years Eve at Dave & Busters which was kind of a let down, but I've kind of decided NYE is always a let down. Sunday was a great day spent with family after Will's baby blessing. On the 2nd we headed up to LA for the Rose Bowl game which was apparently a super good game, I wasn't paying too much attention to it. Sadly we missed the parade which I had been really looking forward to because I had been strangely sick and I didn't think I could handle the early morning and crowds. I think the game made up for missing that, though. That night we spent some time in La Canada with some of my friends and then headed back down to San Diego pretty late.
- Tuesday afternoon Jon and I flew to Florida for the Orange Bowl which was on Wednesday night (yep, I went to two BCS bowl games in one week, who knew I was so into football). That game I got into and it was super exciting, WVU scored 10 touchdowns! I'm really not that into football but even I know that's a pretty big deal. The whole day was pretty fun with a lot of activities going on around the stadium before the game, I was even able to win us 4th quarter field access by spinning a wheel at the Discovery tailgate party. In the end being on the field was not as awesome as we thought it would be since we were really only allowed in one corner and were behind the opposing team, so we couldn't really see much. By the time the game was over at midnight I was pretty exhausted. We had a flight at 6am the next morning back to DC and unfortunately weren't able to sleep any before that. Thursday it was so nice to finally get back home and I basically slept through all of Thursday.
- The rest of the weekend was spent unpacking, doing laundry, and putting my room back together in preparation for actually going back to work again on Monday. After such a long break I almost forgot I actually had a real job to go back to. Not really. I've also returned from all this traveling a little sick, so I'm trying to sleep as much as possible to get over this pesky cold/sore throat combo.
- Sunday night I was invited to dinner and games at Ben, Josh, and Ryan's house for Josh's birthday. It was a great time and always nice to see those friends, it had been awhile.
- Return to work. I need to figure out which clients I'll be on these next few weeks and where I need to be.
- Figure out when I'm going to take my next test. I was supposed to take one on the 6th after all my traveling, but yeah, I decided to just enjoy my holiday break instead of stressing about studying.
- Read with Flor Monday at lunch.
- Drop off dry cleaning. This has actually been on my to-do list for a few months now. That's sad.
- Get back to the gym consistently.
- Eat better. I just took some health risk assessment. My highest risk to my health comes from my horrible eating habits. That's not so good.
- Finish cleaning my room. It's always a process.
- I know there's more I need to be doing, almost too much to list, it's a little overwhelming.
Last few weeks: (oops, just realized this is so long... I can edit it down in the morning, I'll send as-is for now)
- It's been a whirlwind of travel, family, holidays, and of course a bit of stress mixed in there! We enjoyed our time in Utah and wish it hadn't been so jam packed. It didn't feel like there was a single free second to just enjoy. I guess that's just how life is now. Once we made it to the hotel in Los Angeles and I started working each day routine returned and we had a nice little re-charge.
- Managed to miss our flight out from BWI to SLC. I don't think we'll ever be flying out of BWI again. I think I have a 25% make-the-flight rate from that airport.
- Stayed with Ken's family in Alpine Wednesday thru Sunday. They had a great setup for us, it was very nice.
- Saw Christmas Carol at Hale Center. Got my haircut.
- Prepared for the Z Christmas party. I think it went very well. It could work nicely at mom and dad's for many years.
- Final Christmas shopping on xmas eve. Met up for In n Out.
- Santa came! Sunday was a very disjointed day with transitioning between 2 houses, having a missionary call in the middle of present opening, facing just how much stuff we brought and would have to bring back, church schedules all over the place, and having 2 family dinners to attend. I can't say it was my favorite Christmas day ever. But being altogether is always enjoyable.
- Monday we met with friends for lunch and I finally found a new band at a jewelry store in SLC. They were nice enough to mail an empty box with our sales receipt to Virginia so we could avoid sales tax. Tricky.
- Took June to build a bear which was as much fun for me as for her. Played ticket to ride with the older kids. Saw Sherlock Holmes with mom and dad.
- Watched the setup of the Wiley's trampoline. Made cookies. Dinner with Ken's family at Cucina Toscana where his dad ordered 15 appetizers for the table. Wow.
- Jon arrived, dinner with Grandma Z, dessert at the Wiley's including Webb & Laurel.
- Stressed over our plans for CA and how we should get there, where we should stay when, if we should catch the parade, etc. That part of the (lack of solid) planning/stressing/evaluating trade-offs was not fun and is to be avoided in future years.
- Rented a car, packed up, embarked for CA. Got pulled over, obviously. But didn't get a ticket, phew. Arrived at Zack's at 230am.
- Played Beatles Rockband, went to the beach!!, went out to dinner with friends at a restaurant with comically large food.
- William's baby blessing. Ken commented that our family has a really remarkable ability to gather. I agree, and I love it. Glad to see everyone. Wish we could have stuck around longer chatting at Z&A's.
- Up to La Canada. Visited with the Frames and the Jacksons. Chatted with Haley late into the night.
- Skipped the parade (so so so tragically sad to me). Made it to Disneyland's Club 33! Quite the experience. Rode all the rides which were "Christmas-tized" like It's a Small World. Disneyland is quite remarkably decorated for the holidays. I think I understand why people go this time of year.
- Left Dland around 8pm, drove up to LA. Checked into our reserved hotel only to realize it was really not what I expected. Old, dirty, and not very close to the office. Called around and switch to the Omni Hotel so all I had to do was walk across the courtyard to work. MUCH BETTER.
- Spent 3 days on a more relaxed schedule where I went to work during the day, Ken worked out and golfed and explored, we met up for lunch, and rested in the evenings. It was a great re-charge after our crazy couple weeks.
- Flew back to SLC. Picked up our suitcases mom had left at a nearby hotel. Dropped off Ken's golf clubs with a friend. (Because we just can't ever make any traveling experience easy can we??)
- Arrived at BWI at 1130pm where Ken's friend graciously picked us up. So nice of him.
- Home finally at 130am. Wow.
- Dentist appointments Monday
- Buy groceries. Still haven't bought milk since returning.
- Cook dinner at home on Monday with the fresh ravioli's I bought from Eastern Market on Saturday. I hope they're still good.
- Play volleyball on Wednesday night. We've started up with the same old group which is so fun.
- Skip out on the Relief Society speed-dating-type get to know you activity on Thursday?
- Friday one of Ken's good friends is getting married in SLC. As terrible as the timing is for us, we may have to make a 24 hour trip out for it.
- Missionaries over for dinner on Sunday. Must plan and shop for meal before Thursday.
- Return to normal eating!! I don't even want to count the number of meals, restaurants, treats, etc that we've over-consumed in the last 3 weeks. It's shockingly disappointing, and just not a lifestyle we can maintain EVERY holiday trip.
- Work as though it's busy season. I have 3 months to really prove myself. It's time to get really focused. Must push through.
- Hopefully this will be a pretty low-key week! (Except for the whole travel on Friday part...)
- Got back from California. It was a very dreamy 10 days there. The weather was perfection. The cousins played all day everyday. The wedding and reception went off without a hitch. Ie Ling was a beautiful bride. William's baby blessing was lovely. He is so adorable. I love his baby smell.
- Unpacked, packed up Christmas, and cleaned our house.
- Met with a seventh furnace salesman and will likely commit to buying a furnace tomorrow.
- Enjoyed some really warm days here in DC. The kids have been out riding their new two-wheelers almost everyday.
- Went thrift shopping with my co-librarian Lyndsee. I found several great skirts.
- Picked up Ie Ling and Blake from the airport, took them to Shake Shack for dinner, and dropped them off at their new place in DC.
- Took Mei Li to a roller-skating birthday party. Talk about a blast from the past! Limbo? Macarena? Mei Li had a rough time learning to skate, but I admired her bravery and persistence. Many times she told me to let go of her and she could shuffle along for quite a while without any help from me.
- Started watching Sherlock with Steve. Watch it. It's wonderful.
- Took Mi Na to nursery for the first time today, and she did great. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it will continue to go well.
- Steve goes back to work. Tax season begins.
- Start running again.
- Finish A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. I love this book so. much.
- Blog, blog, blog.
- I would love to have Sunday dinner with Rachel and Christine. We'll talk.
- Thank you, Z sisters, for being such good, kind, generous, and loving women. I am learning so much from your examples. I love you all.
This Past Week:
- Two days after Christmas, after I got fully sick from all the stress, prep, and lack of sleep that goes into any successful Christmas extravaganza, I got in the car and drove to Atlanta, all by myself, to go visit Liz! It was the best after-Christmas present ever. We didn't do much at all. We mostly sat around, played with her baby, ate some great meals, and just laughed and talked. I guess we did run together every morning. That was fun! Anyway, hadn't seen Liz for over a year. It was the best to get to spend so much time together again. Her baby is super cute too!
- After my trip, I came home just in time to celebrate New Years Eve. Got together with a few families and rang in the new year with fondue and games. This was the first time that all FOUR of our kids rang in the new year with us. It was fun, but was it worth it? There were so many tears during the day on Sunday. Turns out going to bed at nearly 1am is super rough when you are 6.
- Finished "Little Women" and started and almost finished "The Wednesday Wars". I need to go sew something so that I can get through the final hour. I think next up will be "On the Corner of Bitter and Sweet". I'm excited!
- Changed to the 11am church schedule! Hallelujah. Even better, I delayed the big Primary class switch over for one-more-week. I knew we didn't have all of our teachers back in town, and it just felt like we needed one more week! Best decision ever!!
- In the spirit of closing out 2011 and welcoming 2012, a look back to appreciate the highlights?! A full year living and being settled in North Carolina. Our week in the Outer Banks makes me think that NC is one fabulous place to live! This was the year of substitute teaching. It's become more of the norm than the exception. It's kind of fun to have a little job. It might possibly be the best job to have when you still have a house full of kids in school. I ran a marathon! At long last, after four years in retirement and suffering through injuries, my stars aligned and I was able to complete another marathon. I'm so glad I got that done in 2011. Finally, as I was making my calendar for 2012 and looking back through my pictures from '11, I see that we went to DC lots, and had almost monthly visits with all or parts of the VA crew. I love that. I'm so glad we are close enough to make that a regular part of our year. And of course, a mention to our Summer Road Trip 2011: Gettysburg, Hershey, Cooperstown, Niagara Falls, Palmyra, D.C., Atlanta. It was epically awesome, as my kids would say.
- Just trying to recover from it all. The kids went back to school yesterday. They'll have piano this afternoon. Since Sunday, I feel like I've been running piano practicing boot camp. Trying to make up for the the weeks of Christmas when we didn't practice! Why does it have to be so much work to have your kids learn an instrument? I somehow thought it was going to be easier. I've turned down subbing jobs everyday so far. I just don't feel like things are under control yet. Bathrooms need cleaning, piles of laundry need to get folded and put away. The dining room table is still piled high with Christmas gifts that haven't been put away yet. I just need to focus on the domestic side of my duties right now.
- Back to running. With Liz's help, I was able to run those three days in Atlanta, and I've run twice since being home. It's finally starting to feel easy again. It's so hard when running falls off the list of priorities to climb your way back to the "easy" point. I hate it when running is hard!
- I really have lots of cleaning to do. I feel like the whole house needs an overhaul. Too bad just thinking about it makes me feel tired!
- Looking ahead to 2012, my big goal (after I buy an iPad), is to start saving up for a month long trip "Out West". I need to start getting serious about setting aside hundreds of dollars with great regularity so that we can get the tickets soon. We're going to try to do it all. Spend a whole month, including Utah, Oregon and Colorado at the very least. The kids are super excited!
- It might also be in 2012 that we start to learn a little bit more about the Air Force's future plans for Major Earnest. Will it be right back to Colorado, or will there be another detour in our future? We try not to think about it too much, but we might hear something from them by the end of the summer?!
Here is a real-life display of what happens when I systematically ask every person in my family to please take my picture. Everyone but Huck groaned and complained and shot without even looking - no focusing, no 1,2,3, no check to make sure it's good before handing the camera back. Huck was excited but I'm not sure he's quite got the hang of it yet. Oliver thought it was super funny to turn the camera around and snap himself instead. Even Scott was unable to deliver a decent photo. So back the mirror in the basement I go. Pitiful.
Past few weeks:
- Christmas is over. Got all the decorations packed up on Monday 1/2 in time for cleaners to come on Tuesday. It felt so good to have everything clean and organized and starting to get back into a normal routine
- So sad to say goodbye to Rachel & Ken and Christine & Jon - Huck still asks every day where you all are. Please come back.
- Spent New Years with the Kendricks - low key dinner & a movie. It was great. Left the kids home alone - with a friend for each of the boys, plenty of snacks, and silly string. We sort of regretted that decision when we walked in the door to the mess, but I guess that's what New Years is for.
- Got a good start on a big looming work project last week. Starting is often the hardest part for me.
- Caught up on Groundloop and household finances - I managed to get a bit behind so the red power bills were threatening me. Time to set up auto-pay I guess.
- Did all my Christmas returns errands. Found out Jack never got our gift - guess I missed the backordered email. Sad.
- Made OB appointment for me (I'm 19 weeks and haven't been checked at all yet - oops) and dentist orthodontist appointments for the kids.
- Bought new garments that actually fit over my belly. Much more comfortable.
- Sorted through the huge stash of maternity clothes from Ana. There is tons of great stuff here, but we have got to make some serious cuts ladies. Not sure I can do it alone - might require some photo/email system or a skype call or something?
- Did a pretty good job getting the kids to bed at reasonable times all week. We had gotten way off schedule during the holidays and that was taking it's toll on all of us.
- Lots of facetiming with the Earnest kids on the new ipad. So fun to see a glimpse into their daily lives.
- Used our xmas money from Mom & Dad to get a new painting from a local artist Frederick Stephens - found at a gallery in Park City. I'm excited to be working on our living room art gallery. We'll see how well I can execute my vision.
- Move Huck out of the crib into a regular bed in June's room in preparation for baby's arrival. Focus on getting both he and June to stay in their beds all night. That means I'm committing to take them back to bed every time they try to crawl in with us - which is the much harder option than just scooting over. But I definitely need to get it solved before the baby comes. I cannot even imagine anything worse than getting up in the middle of the night to take care of a baby and having a toddler to care for too. I know it will happen still, but I must take some measures now to decrease the problem.
- Laundry. No way around this one. Maybe it's time to hire a laundry helper? Does that exist?
- Meet with the new head of Downtown Provo Inc to see if they can help us raise funds for next year's Rooftop Concert Series.
- Brenden Orthodontist appointment. Uh oh.
- Work deadline is looming. Must focus. As soon as I'm done blogging.
- Cook a few decent meals. Figure out some good snacks that I can eat. I AM ALWAYS HUNGRY.
- Get the boys outfitted for their first day of snowboarding lessons on Friday. We got a tiny bit of snow this weekend - hope the snow quality's not too pitiful
- Keep working on potty training Huck. He spends pretty much all his time at home naked, and is fully trained that way, but hasn't made the transition to pants just yet. I am encouraging and helpful but am really leaving it mostly up to him at this point.
Highlights from 2011: I feel pretty blah about everything these days so it's hard to think of highlights. I guess I'd say for me it was the Rooftop Concert Series, our east-coast trip, and my solo get-away to be with family in Richmond.
On the horizon for 2012:
Biggest thing will be a new baby in June, or as Scott & June are convinced - 2 new babies. Also looking forward to another east-coast trip to hit DC. Will this be pre- or post- baby? That is the question. Looking forward to getting my hormones back in check and feeling less blah all the time.