Saturday, December 29, 2012

Family Bonding Time

Cade, Sean, Kyle, Kayla and Sam. The full line up.
Dad throwing the pigeon.

City girl or country girl?
Ready, Aim, Fire. 

My last day with my family in Missouri we gathered together to participate in a true country sport, clay pigeon shooting. Nothing like the sound of shot guns all going off at once and clay pigeons breaking into pieces to feel a family connection. This was actually the first time I have ever gone shooting before. It was quite fun actually. I was a little nervous carrying a rifle around especially when I had to load it. But I actually really liked it at the same time. I can see the appeal. However, I had a sore shoulder for the next couple of days due to the kick back of the gun. Oh well. All fun and no pain means you didn't really have fun.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas with the Family

I was so very grateful to be able to go home for Christmas and spend some time with my family. My parents moved this summer to Pattonsburg, MO. I had never been out to the new house so it was good to be there to spend time with them. I haven't been home to see my family since June so I desperately needed to spend some time with them.

The flight in was a breeze and I was so excited to have my mom, dad, Kami, Cade and my niece Riley come pick me up at the airport. Since I knew it had been a while since I had seen my niece I brougth some bribing material, princess fruit snacks. She warmed up to me pretty quick with these.

It has become tradition that when I visit home the first place we go is to Sams Club. I thought with my family moving that this would have changed. It hadn't. First stop Sams Club where We had a great time roaming the aisles and reading books. The pizza was good too.

I finally got to see my parents new house in MO. Its a basement right now as my family is building the house themselves. When you pull into the driveway you may not see the house at first. The only sign of life in the area is all the cars parked in the front. I know that in time my mom will have a wonderful yard as she is good at doing that. The house is warm and cozy inside though.

There was a blizzard that first night and day so we stayed inside for the most part of the time I was home. We played games, did puzzles, watched movies, had a snow ball fight, and ate lots of wonderful food. My mom made my favorite cheddar broccoli soup with the grandma noodles in it one night for me which made me so happy.

We made a few trips out shopping at Wal-Mart, paid a visit to the Amish country area for some antique shopping (it really stinks that I have to fly and didn't have room in my suitcase to buy more stuff) and went to church on Sunday. The choir did great and I was surprised that my dad was singing in it. Its really by default that he does since he is already on stage with the bishopric but still he tries. Go Daddy!

Its really nice being able to spend Christmas with little kids. They get so excited about it which helps make you excited for it. I have to admit that Christmas has not become my favorite holiday of late. It serves as another reminder of my singledom and that another year has gone by with no progress towards finding my eternal companion. I will also admit that I did cry myself to sleep Christmas Eve over my singlehood status that even haunts me when I go home. Single is such a heartless title.

No worries I did have some fun over Christmas. We did our usual family dinner, game night and present opening Christmas Eve. Christmas Day Santa came and there seemed to be an explosion of presents and gift wrap everywhere. We spent the day watching new movies, playing with new toys, games, working on puzzles, and of course eating all the amazing christmas treats that mom makes every year.

I'm so blessed to have the family I do and the fun we can have together. Being away from them is becoming harder and harder and I would really like to be able to spend more time with them. Who knows what the new year will bring.

Happy Birthday Jesus!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

DC Temple Festival of Lights

Its that time of year again for the annual DC Temple Festival of Lights shows. This year I took my coworker Nada to see the lights, nativities and show. I always love seeing Jenny Oaks Baker perform with her violin. This year was a special treat as she had an orchestra behind her and a special guest performer from Celtic Women. It was so lovely. The music took on a celtic theme as Silent Night was performed in Gallic and there were bagpipes. I love Christmas music and the celebration that occurs this time of year celebrating Christs birth. I also recommend bringing your non member friends to the temple to see one of these shows. They are great opportunities to help share the Spirit of Christ. 

I Love My Hair

I absolutely love my new hair. Kellie colored my hair for me to a very rich dark brown. The box of color said dark chocolate. I absolutely love the darker color and with the gift of hot rollers from my friend Megan Arnett, I have to say I look hot! Also thanks to Paris So for the hair flowers. I had never put flowers in my hair before but it perfectly with my dress. Come on boys, I'm pulling out the stops for you. JK. This is all for me.

Christmas at the National Harbor

Jenny Ellen, Kellie and I paid a visit to Jenny Ellens favorite place in DC, the National Harbor. The tree there is pretty magical. The tree is set to light up with music. Its a musical time. We also enjoyed walking around the Gaylord Hotel that is always a magical winter wonderland. Later on in the evening we went out for dinner at Cafe Rio and then went back to my place to watch Elf and color my hair.

Scottish Holiday

My dear friend Becca Raines and I wanted to celebrate her scottish heritage by attending the Scottish Parade in Old Town Alexandria. The weather was nice for December. The parade was fun. Lots of men in kilts, scottish dogs and of a course a special guest riding in style. Let the Christmas festivities begin!

Carnival Conquest of the Carribbean

I finally took a real vacation this year. And what a vacation it was. I went on my first cruise with my cousins Lieza, Amy and her husband John, Rodney, his girlfriend Sherri and three boys James, Alex and Nick. I haven't really been able to spend time with my cousins before so it was great to be able to get away for a week and spend time with them. 

The trip first started with a night in New Orleans. I was so excited to be able to go back to the place of my birth for the the first time. I actually really liked New Orleans and would love to go back. The people were very friendly there and I loved the culture of the area. We traveled down Bourbon Street for Dinner on Saturday night were I had some amazing gumbo. Sunday morning we walked around the French Quarter and at beignets at Cafe Du Monde. They were Amazing!!!!!!! I loved the French Quarter. Its kind of like Old Town Alexandria. The St. Louis Cathedral was beautiful. I really wish I could have spent more time in New Orleans but we had a boat to catch. 

So the highlights of the trip are first the food. I ate so much amazing food on the trip. Cruises really do live up to the expectations of food. The boat decor itself was amazing. The rooms were named after impressionist artists. All the walls, tables, embellishments highlighted the works of the Monet, Manet, Degas, etc. It was beautiful. 

We spent four days at sea enjoying the pools, art auctions (yes I bought some art), outdoor movies, games, and shows the boat had to offer. I even took some time to sit in the sauna overlooking the water. There is something so peaceful about lying around naked looking at the ocean. We really got into playing Nertz and spent the last day at sea playing cards. We enjoyed all of the comedy shows and musical shows the ship had to offer.

Our dining staff. They sing and dance too!

Every night there was a towel animal waiting on our beds.

 Our ports of destination were Jamaica, Grand Cayman Island and Cozumel Mexico. In Jamaica we took a tour around the island, hiked up a waterfall, and ate an authentic Jamaican meal that was tasty. In the Grand Cayman we walked the streets enjoying the many shopping venues available to us. They really like their diamonds there. In Cozumel we took a taxi to a coral beach to enjoy the sun and ocean air. There were gigantic fish that came to swim with us. 

I'm so glad I was able to spend some time with my cousins and the relaxation was well needed.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Wonderfully Wicked!

I love going to the theater and don't know that I can say that enough. There is something so magical about seeing a live show that somehow takes me to another time, another world, another place where magic, love, tragedy, joy, pain etc. can happen. I love the thrill of dressing up and going to a theater. In the area I love going to the Balitmore Hippodrome to see shows. The theater is really cute inside and I have never been disaapointed with a performance there. I've also discovered the partial view seating which has completely changed my world as far as the expierence of live productions is concerned. Being so much closer to the stage and being able to see the facial expressions of the performers has given no meaning to many of my favorite shows.
One show I absolutely love to see is Wicked. My friend Jenny Ellen had never seen Wicked before I couldn't very well let another year pass in her life without her experiencing this wonderful performance. I mean the music alone is enough to make you want to sing along with Elphaba and Galinda. Who doesn't want to Defy Gravity, become Popular, and find a lifelong friend For Good?