Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Our First Christmas

It's been awhile since I have last posted here. It's definitely not for lack of things to write about but more like a little lack of time these last few days. I arrived home to the arms of my loving husband and it's been a flurry of activity since then.

My dad arrived on Saturday. Sunday we headed to church - what better place to celebrate Christmas? Then we headed to my in-law's for Christmas Eve celebrations (where this photo was taken). We had some yummy lasagna, wonderful cheesy bread, and salad. We played "Dutch Blitz" and "10 up 10 down"... fun times had by all! On the way home we stopped at the crazy light display of the Rix place in Glendale. Intense would be one word for it... over 84,000 lights of all kinds. When we got home Dad and Husband made some Russian Tea Cookies (a family favorite) while I wrapped a bunch of gifts. Last minute, I know!

Christmas morning! We celebrate the birth of a Savior... what a wonderful time to reflect on how God chose to save His people... the Word made Flesh... a tiny baby who would grow in stature and the favor of men and change the world forever providing for us reconciliation to our Father through His birth, death, and resurrection. It's an astounding and Jaw-DROPPING event! Our family was together for the day. Husband's parents (with their dog, Daisy, in tow) came down and we had a fun breakfast and then we opened presents. Way fun! We played with some of the "toys" that we got and then, of course, started working on dinner. We had one of our neighbors over that was not able to go home for Christmas. It was great to share our lives with her a little more. Husband read Luke 2 before our meal and we enjoyed sweet fellowship and fun for the afternoon. We had pork loin, red potatoes, corn, green bean casserole, and cornbread. Yummy! I was thankful that our fridge didn't get as full with leftovers as it did for Thanksgiving! It was a great day... and there were again many moments in which I will cherish in my heart and ponder on them often.

This morning my dad left for home (Husband's parents left for Denver this morning, too) and Husband headed off to work. I am here working on laundry and other random things and you may be wondering, "Now that Christmas is over what are you going to do now?" Well...


Seriously. We leave tomorrow! I have NEVER been and now at the "ripe" (ha ha ha!) age of 27 I finally get to go and I will enjoy and remember it all! Fun, fun! We will be back Saturday some time. I love to travel with Husband and we have many adventures planned for the upcoming year!

Merry CHRISTmas all!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Hanging out in the 505

For those that don't know... the "505" refers to New Mexico. We have one area code and pretty proud of it as it seems to mark us. Which makes it slightly funny that people here are in an uproar about the upcoming addition of new area codes. When that exactly happens, I am not sure, but even I am a little sad about it. But that's what happens with growth... we experience some sort of growing pains.

So, I have returned to my home town of Los Lunas, NM (just south of Albuquerque) for a variety of reasons. One of the girls that I mentored/discipled at the University of New Mexico is graduating. I get to spend some sweet time with her and her family (flying in from West Virginia) this week. I have known Lauren since she was a "wee" little freshman and now she is blossomed into a beautiful woman who continues to live faithfully in the promises and teaching of our Lord Jesus. Another reason to return to L-town is to pick up all of my Christmas decorations that have been held "hostage" in a POD storage unit after my dad began his moving process two years ago (and the year before, after the death of a family member, we decided not to put up all the decorations). To say the least I am pretty stoked to dive into all the fun memories! I also am visiting with many fun friends (home from Iraq and friends who just want to hang out) and will try to get our wedding album processed. Oh for JOY!

In it all I am still a little sad... My sweet husband is at home while I am here. We just value him taking time off at Christmas rather than be here on this whirlwind excursion. It's hard being apart after almost 4 months of being married. We laughed because this week reminds us a little of our dating relationship. Long conversations on the phone and missing each other. It's crazy to think that we went from phone conversations to living together everyday as a married couple and the separation now is brutal. I never thought that it would be so hard, but it is. I cried as we said good-bye in front of our home. But sweet joy on Friday when I return and we get to celebrate Advent with our church family that evening. Fun things to look ahead!

More on my adventures and musings later.....

Monday, December 4, 2006

Props to Prescott

On Saturday, Husband and I drove up to Prescott to celebrate the beginning of the Christmas season. We had intentions to have dinner at the Prescott Brewery. Unfortunately, we left a little later than we had intended so we didn't have time to wait for a table there. So, we ate at St. Michael's Cafe which is also located on the Square. Anyway, after a superfast dinner we met Mom and Dad C as well as family friends the W Family at the W's home. We quickly made hot cocoa, bundled up, and headed back to the center of town, which would be the Square, to partake in the town's courthouse lighting.

What's the big deal, you ask?

How often, these days, do you see public school children lined up on courthouse steps singing Christmas music. Not just music but Christian carols like Silent Night, O Holy Night, Away in a Manger, etc. To hear the birth story of Jesus from the book of Luke spoken from those same courthouse steps...It was a time to cherish. Then everyone was invited to sing along. At this time all the lights came on... many of the perimeter trees had been decorated, a special Christmas tree in place, the statehood tree standing proud (Prescott used to be the state capital), decoration on the courthouse itself, and a gazebo all added a warm glow and a touch of "down home" to the chilly weather and a touch of Christmas to the heart.

The birth story of Jesus proclaimed from public steps without a riot or protest... it's unfortunate that it has become a rarity but continues to happen in Prescott, AZ every year on the first Saturday of December. I have heard that the ACLU is trying to get it be stopped at some level... but somehow the city finds a way around all the "legal-ese" - for which I am thankful!

After the lighting we walked to a the Sharlot Museum and experienced some things that we might have seen (and might not have seen) in an 1886 Christmas. Luminarias lit the pathway which was quite nice to stroll through with my sweet husband, family, and friends.

Good times had by all.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Thanksgiving 2006

This is the first Thanksgiving that we celebrated as husband and wife. It's interesting to think that last year at this time I was in Austin with my friend, A, cooking for a bunch of her friends. Husband and I were just beginning to speak on the phone... now we are married! God is so good and we have much to be thankful for.

My Papa flew in from New Mexico to celebrate with us, my in-laws drove down from Peoria, and our fun friend Julius joined us as well. Many people were shocked, astonished, and even encouraged to find out that I was going to take on the "challenge" of making this special meal the first time as a married woman. I guess my thought was, "Heck, why not? I'd really like to and it means people will be in my home!" I am always a little off with trying to get it all out at the same time piping hot... this year it finally worked out! I just dove right in and I think it all came out just wonderfully!

The morning was met with baking two pumpkin pies, one in the traditional way and the second with an experimental walnut topping. (The walnut topping was met with rave reviews and second helpings!) Julius brought a pumpkin cheesecake from CostCo... it's quite good... especially if you are a fan of pumpkin AND cheesecake. We had quite the assortment of pumpkin goodies. I even had some pumpkin bread (with dark chocolate chips) later in the evening!

Later, Husband put the turkey on the rotisserie that is on our grill. The turkey was rubbed down with olive oil, kosher salt, fresh black pepper, thyme, tarragon, and sage. (Ah! So, good and juicy!) In the kitchen, a green bean casserole (with a twist, the best I have ever had) was being made along with dressing, corn on the cob, crescent rolls, gravy (made by Papa), and a mashed potato (yes, real potatoes) casserole-type dish (which was handy because it's a make ahead recipe which Husband put together on Wednesday afternoon.) The house was filled with a wonderful aroma! My mother-in-law brought corn bread to add the spread... it was awesome!

As a new household, Husband and I realize that we have traditions that we bring from before we were married. However, we also want to create traditions that are new and unique to our family. Before the dinner Husband read Psalm 136 which almost had me in tears as I looked around the table and remembered all that God has done in my life and before I ever took a breath. His mercy endures forever. Then we went around the table and talked about the things that we were thankful for this year. They were moments that I will cherish in my heart. We prayed and then dug into the bounty that our Lord provided for us. Over dinner we talked about things from our childhood that were "staples", good or bad, that were part of the holiday meals. It was pretty funny at times.

After we were thoroughly stuffed with turkey and pumpkin we enjoyed conversation and coffee in the living room. As the evening wore on we watched "Deal or No Deal" (yes, I think we are all fans) and then "ER." Soon, everyone was gone, except Papa who is staying with us, and we all went to bed pretty tired but fully satisfied with the day.

Today, we had plans to possibly venture out to Cost Plus World Market and then maybe to the top of South Mountain. Unfortunately, Papa is quite sick (while the rest of us are all healthy) and we are all at home... Papa sleeping, Husband and I on computers goofing off, and I am also taking in some of my favorite football games... Texas A&M vs. #11 Texas (A&M won! whoop!) and now the Colorado vs. #22 Nebraska (I am wearing my Colorado shirt, but know that Nebraska will win and they will probably win the Big 12 Championship... I am okay with that, too. I would cheer for Nebraska... except they are playing Colorado... I love the buffalo.)

Tomorrow, we hope to go to Cabela's... we will see how Papa is feeling.