Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Dreams for the Future


And rabbits. Specifically a French Angora.

Herb plants in the kitchen.

Vegetables in the garden.

Little ones under foot.

Being country must be a genetic trait. It pops up in the strangest places.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


If Limbo does exist, it must touch the physical realm between Christmas and New Year's. Those six days of no man's land where all the loose ends of the current year get tied up but nothing for the next year can officially be started. It's either a time crammed full of high speed stress or a lazy daisy wandering... or a little of both.

It is in this time of instantaneous yet delayed change, that my house is a mess. It seems this happens every year after Christmas. The onslaught of presents causes the need to find new spaces for everything, which triggers the need to go through closets and chuck what we're not using. Our dinning area/entryway is currently storage for piles of recycling, donations, things that need to be returned to their proper owners, and stuff for an 'out with the old, in with the new' clothing exchange. I suppose you could say it's the blessing and the curse of a small space that we can't just cram everything in.

The good news is, all this craziness made my husband realize that we really do need to figure out a workable, defined, maintained use for our spare bedroom (instead of just letting it be the catch-all room that functions as guest room, crafting room, office, library, attic, and garage). It still does most of those things but we've shifted the primary purposes around. I claimed it.

I've been trying to let it be mostly Dustin's room. Since I stay home during the day I feel like the rest of the house belongs to me and I feel it's important for someone who has to face the working world everyday to have a space in their home that is a kind of personal haven. That led to a room covered in electrical wires that may or may not be connecting anything and, bless his heart the man can be organized when he wants to be, tools everywhere but mostly just inside the door. Why they always ended there, I don't know, maybe because that's close enough to his side of the closet that they were quasi-put away. It drove me nuts, but I tried to just shut the door most of the time.

When Dustin expressed a desire for the room to be reorganized so that it wouldn't be messy all the time, I was thrilled. We finally moved the computer into our living room entertainment stand (hey, it's entertainment) like we've been meaning to since we moved here, which moved the 'office' out and freed up the desk. I asked Dustin if I could have the desk. He said yes. I asked him if he could not put anything on the desk at all, or on any of the shelves. He gave me a funny look but said yes.

I spent most of yesterday going through all my crafting stuff (yarn, fabric, thread, patterns, tools) and chucking all those odds and ends I've been saving 'just in case' but know I'll never use and reorganizing everything into boxes. It freed up about a quarter of the space in the closet and I now have a very sweet and darling space. My sewing machine can sit out and with the love seat tucked into the corner and the new lace tablecloth from Belgium my mother-in-law gave to me for Christmas, it makes me giddy happy whenever I glance in the door.

It is pretty girly. Which is what I was trying not to do, but the boy seemed pleased when he saw it, so I guess it'll be alright. Now, if I can just get my dinning area back...

Monday, December 21, 2009

New Background!

Isn't this the cutest background ever?! Just click the little ad in the top left corner to see where I got it. My sister found the site and I must say I am charmed. I wish I knew enough about html/java to make my own... hm, my sister might...

Secretly, I like the green background with the girl just sitting the best, but I wanted something a little more Christmas-y. Next month, however... *evil grin.

P.S. The dishwasher really stopped working. I have a new one now. Yay!

P.P.S. The little girl character to the left looks akin to the Suzie Q. a friend of mine drew in high school. My friend was annoyed that four of us kept drawing little doodles on everything and that she a) didn't like to draw and b) didn't think she could. So she invented Suzie Q., a simple yet cute doodle that became her drawn signature. I have the only colored drawings of Suzie Q. They are signed and stored away for when my friend becomes famous and they are worth millions.

Post Presents

I've finished all the 'items' for Christmas presents. I just a have a bit of baking to do so I can tuck goodies into the packages as well. I must admit, I'm feeling a little spent. The best I can describe it is that it is very like the feeling after a huge project for school. You spend all your time and energy (and a little bit of your dreams) planning and working and preparing this huge monstrosity and then you turn it in and... you find you have a whole bunch of time on your hands that you don't know what to do with and all you really feel like doing is sitting and vegging or just plain sleeping.

Today I'm pretty much back to the regular schedule. It's Monday so that means laundry and baking. The boy is coming home for lunch and then I may, depending on where I am in the baking, work on (gasp) my story. That will fill in all this empty time nicely. I wonder how long it will take for my brain to switch gears. I'm hoping it will be a smooth transition.

In any case, Fudge down, Divinity, Gingersnaps, and Peanut Butter Butterscotch Oatmeal cookies to go. Oh, and mints, I wanted to do butter mints but we'll see if that happens.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


I ask a lot out of life. I ask that it be simple. I ask that it be fun. I ask that it be full of love. I ask that it have a rhythm. I ask that it be fulfilling. I ask that it be full. I ask that it run in my time line. It does all those things at some point or another and it doesn't do any of them at some point or another.

What Life asks out of me is that I be content with what I am given when it's given. I am, at some point or another.

Right now I am knitting. I love it. It's not something I would have expected to ever love. I have always preferred crochet. The more I knit the more I find it hard to be content. I read several blogs of women who live on small farms or just run a small home that includes live stock and a garden, who have 3+ children running underfoot, who have yarn and lots of it, who show pictures of kitchens covered in flour and a pot of soup simmering on the stove, of art crafts strewn over tables and cats perched in windows. I wish these were my pictures. But they're not. Sometimes I look at what I have at this moment and think, 'yeah, this is pretty good' and sometimes I can't wait to have all those things that I think I really want.

Knitting does that, it calls me out of what I have into what could be, perhaps because it is one of the first few steps that get me there. Knitting allows me to create, it allows me to transform yarn into a garment, a blanket, a hat, slippers, a decoration, anything. It gets me more involved in providing for my family. I love that I can pour hours of time and love into an item and then just give it away. I can give my love away in an item that a person can have close when I am far away. I must learn to be content with that and wait patiently for the chicken.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Well, that was awkward.

Awkward is an awkward word. Look at it, it has two 'w's... that's strange.

In any case, the maintenance guy came today to look at the dishwasher.

He turned it on.

It worked.

ARRGH! I've been hand-washing dishes for a week! I swear it didn't work! Honest! Oh, well.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Clouds and Cameras

I'm really wishing for my camera today. There is a blustery wind blowing across the state of Ohio at the moment (I know because it's showing up in the Facebook statuses of my friends in the Dayton, Columbus, and Athens areas). With it are the most beautiful snow filled clouds. Brilliant white tops and sides with a lovely dark slate gray bottom, add to that random breaks for sunshine to pour through and a constantly blowing wind and you get a million great light and cloud shots. And AND the beautiful white bark of the leafless trees standing stark against the dark gray of the sky... argh. You don't appreciate what you have until you don't have it.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


.. are never convenient. That's what my mom always said. Although, when she said it, we were usually in a car on the side of the road with a flat tire. She would turn in the driver's seat and look at us all for a moment before declaring, "Who's ready for an adventure?" We would look at her in silence, slightly confused and slightly fearful (the tire had just gone flat). Someone might venture to say that we weren't having an adventure, there were no monsters, we had no swords. She would unbuckle us all and tell us we were allowed out on the side of the road but to stay off the road and remind us that an adventure was just a set of obstacles that the hero had to over come and that they were never, ever convenient.

All that to say my dishwasher is broken. I thought maybe the handyman would fix it quick enough that I wouldn't have to wash any dished by hand but that doesn't seem to be the case. I'm finding that I reuse dishes, particularly cooking utensils much quicker than I thought and that, while I still have plenty of plates to use, my kitchen is entirely too small to permit much procrastination in the way of cleaning. Especially since I've been trying to get in some holiday baking and decorating. The baking requires counter top space and dishes and the decorating just looks better when it is displayed with a clean backdrop.

I don't mind too much, though. A little jolt out of the regular rhythm tends to inspire life.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Butter Again

I made butter again. This time I skimmed the cream off of our farm fresh milk and beat it. The butter is sooooooo yellow. Margarine yellow. Wow. The buttermilk was a beautiful white (especially when contrasted with the yellow butter). It tastes pretty delicious, too. I'm so glad we have a herd share.

First Snow

It's the first snow of 2009! I'm so peacefully happy. There's something about snow (when it sticks to the ground without being coaxed) that makes Winter. Plus, today my friend Emily is coming over for lunch and we're putting up Christmas decorations together! It's perfect!

On a side note, I am in the process of finding a new camera. I'm considering the PowerShot G series, particularly the the G7, maybe the G9... it depends on prices. Part of me is glad I lost my old camera, I now have a good excuse to get a better one. But I'd rather not be spending the money. Oh, well. It is what it is.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Online Magazine

I stumbled across Rhythm of the Home today. It's a free online magazine devoted to the home. I'm excited to see what it develops into.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Do you want the good news or the bad news first. Well, I'll just assume you're like me and always want the bad news first...

I've lost my camera. It's gone. Poof. Nowhere. I suppose it's somewhere but it's keeping that location to itself. Which means no more pictures until I scrounge up the money to buy a new one... which will be a few months. Which is very, very sad because it's December, which means presents, which means projects, which means lots of stuff I would really, really love to post pictures of.

The good news is, it's December, which means presents, which means projects, which means I am very, very busy.

I'm attempting a handmade Christmas this year. I started out thinking of making one or two things but once my hands started making they just couldn't stop, so the handmade Christmas was unintentional. I've really enjoyed it. I've been learning new skills like hand embroidery and pattern making. It's amazing all the things you can do at home.

I know lots of people talk about making things 'in house' as a cost saving measure, less money spent, more in your pocket. That's somewhat true. While it does cost less money, it takes way more time to make everything than to walk into a shop and buy it. I ran the numbers for the Christmas apron I made based off the pattern I drafted (see last post). If you paid me minimum wage for the time it took me to make the apron (not to mention create the pattern) it comes to $41.25. That's pretty much what Mary Jane's Farm was charging and I didn't include the cost of materials. I would argue that if I was really good at this sort of thing, it would take me less time. I would also argue that the value of learning that I could draft a pattern and learning how to work out all the kinks through the production process was more than the value I would have received if I had just paid $40 for the apron and had my five and half hours of time. But that's just me.

I've also been learning how to host people. We've invited several people to celebrate Advent with us in our home every Sunday this month. It's exciting and kind of intimidating. I'm a quiet person, I don't like being around a bunch of people. But I love Advent. I love the waiting and the daily reminder of what Christmas is about and why it's the best time of the year. I really want to share that but to do that I have to get over this whole 'I don't really like being around lots of people' thing. I'm trying to keep it simple: people come over, people share a pot of soup and talk, we all move to the living room where the Advent wreath is and read the official Advent scriptures, light the candles, talk about the subject of that particular week's Advent candle and why it's important, then do whatever fits the mood: sing, talk, sit in contemplation, leave in silence, whatever. I need it to not be stressful... Christmas shouldn't be stressful. It's God's work, all He asks is for us to come and see. If our houses aren't perfect, that's okay, if our cookies aren't perfect, that's okay, if our hearts aren't perfect, that's okay, if we refuse God, that's not okay. Hm... I'm vaguely reminded of something I thought of in the car on the way to Thanksgiving but I can't remember what I wanted to say, I can only remember the feeling and mood, something about how the verse says that Jesus stands at the door and knocks and we always think about this polite little man politely knocking at the door... but maybe He's standing at that door and pounding... perhaps it will come to me later.

In any case, I've been trying to put my heart into Christmas. To be gracious and open to others, to make my gifts personal and full of effort and love, to craft and create. To put Christmas in my heart where it belongs.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


My mother and I had an adventure yesterday.

She was visiting me and brought along a 'Farm Girl' magazine, which is basically a woman's trade show in a magazine with lots of fun stories and little recipe tips tucked in everywhere. It's a lot of fun to look through and say "I can do that!".

Well, in this particular issue, there was a collection of very cute aprons. That might not sound very interesting but understand that aprons are almost ALWAYS frumpy or just plain boring. Why, I don't know. You would think that for something stereotypically worn by women they would be, well, pretty. When mom showed me the aprons, I had to have one. This one, in fact.

But then I had second thoughts. Maybe this one. It is almost Christmas, after all.

Then I saw the price and had third thoughts, which went along the lines of 'Who would pay $40 for an apron?! Why are they charging that?! But I want it!" I'll be honest, if I'd still had $40 in my personal spending (well $47 because they have to charge shipping, too) I would have bought it in an instant. But I didn't. I contemplated splitting the cost between my personal spending and 'home supplies' (it is for kitchen use only, after all) but my mother gave me that 'you're being totally ridiculous' look and I knew I couldn't do it.

So I started sketching out the apron, which is what I do for most pieces of clothing I really like, then I started sketching out what I thought the pattern might look like, googled some apron patterns to see if my pattern looked at all like those, and decided I didn't have to buy it, even though I still really wanted to, I could make it.

So I made a mini-mock-up while my mom went to her school conference. (I'll post a picture when I find my camera).

When Dustin came home I showed him the picture and explained my predicament. I told him it was the cutest apron ever and that I was completely taken with the little patch pocket and that when I saw the bow that was there just because, I had to have it. He chuckled and said something along the lines of, "That's just like a woman. A bow with no purpose is the most important part." I wondered if I should be offended, then decided I wasn't. It was true. I wanted the bow with no purpose and there's nothing wrong with that.

The next day mom and I cut and sewed and guessed and adjusted and recreated what we believe to be a fairly accurate imitation of the very cute mary jane apron. I learned a lot through the experience.

1. You don't actually need a pattern to make stuff.
2. Mom knows lots of little tips and tricks.
3. Getting it wrong the first time is fixable.
4. I really can do it.

I'll post a picture here of the mock-up apron, again, as soon as I find my camera. It's super cute, even if it is made out of an old bed sheet that I pulled out of the trash over the summer (don't worry, I washed it). Mom says it looks like I'm wearing a butcher's apron, completely with stains, but a very cute butcher's apron. And an apron I am very proud of.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The First of October

Fall is officially here. I officially needed a jacket to run over to the grocery this morning and there was officially apple cider and pumpkins displayed at the front of said grocery. It is a beautiful time of year in more than the aesthetic sense. People are getting ready for winter. It's in the air, it's in the step of the fellow grocery shopper, it's in the bright eyes and smiles. Winter is coming and that gives everyone something to prepare for. It's a curious thing how purpose, even simple, common ones, give everyone life.

As for myself, I've started contemplating Christmas presents and even begun to work on a few. I'm making the effort of homemade gifts this year. I'm not sure if every gift will be homemade (in fact, I highly doubt it. Some people have no interest in receiving homemade gifts which rather defeats the purpose), but I do want all the ones that should be to be homemade.

I'm also pretty please that I've got enough of this housekeeping thing under my belt that it allows me to prepare for the holiday season fairly easily. Mom and I are planning and Autumn Party (which is at her house so it really has nothing to do with how I keep my own, but it does let me have the time and peace to plan). I'm really hoping my sister-in-law and I get the chance to make Christmas candy together but either way, homemade Christmas candy shall be had. (Can you tell I've been reading British writers the last couple of days? I think it's seeping into my thinking and therefore my writing.) I'm really excited to have people over for dinner parties, too. Not very many people, just six or so at a time. I prefer only having the number of people I can personally appreciate at dinner parties. I find that way we can really talk and come to understand each other, where as with large groups everyone is just putting on their public face. If I wanted to interact with peoples public faces I would join them at a public party, not invite them into my home.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

It is the first of October. Dustin and I have finally reached a point in Columbus where we have established community. Community in a city is very exciting to me. I hadn't been entirely convinced it existed when we moved here. Indeed, in some places in this city, it doesn't. People merely function beside one another. But there are pocket of community. It's different in a small town where people are constantly aware of everyone else's business whether you want them to be or not. In a city, you have to thrust your business before everyone else if you want anyone to care. Some will still not care. But there are the few that will and it is with them that you can draw close and create a semblance of that small town feeling. You just have to work a little harder at it. It must be intentional because it will not exist on accident, but it is not impossible.

So I am excited to share this season with our community because fall is so much about drawing close and preparing for the winter when you must keep warm, both in the body and in the heart. I am excited to share their traditions and rituals that help them mark life and observe the sacred. I think winter is an amazing back drop to our holiday seasons. It is in the midst of the world's death that men celebrate life. Granted, men celebrate in spring as well, but not with the same ferocity.

I am excited to share that ferocity with others.

Monday, September 21, 2009

I'm alive, promise!


Long time no see. Actually, that's not true. I do visit my own blog every other day or so to look at all my 'Blogs of Note'. I just don't always publish my own updates. Sneaky, I know. But, I find myself in need of some mental organization, which comes best when I am writing.

Right now I feel like I have a million projects going on so I should list them out:

Cat cross stitch (1/3 completed)
'For Emily' written book (70 pages completed)
'Gifted' comic (5 pages completed)
learning how to keep house beyond cooking and cleaning which includes:
learning about nutrition and applying it in tasty manners
learning to decorate
learning to be economical in my purchases (something I am not good at AT ALL)
baking bread for others

Hm, that's not a million. In fact, now that it's written out, it looks fairly manageable. Although, it does amuse me that I wrote them out in the exact opposite order that I would choose to pursue them. C'est la vie. I suppose that shows that I think the most about what I least want to do which probably added to the 'I have a million things to do' feeling. FYI, that doesn't mean I don't want to write and draw, it just means it's low on my wish list.

Alright then. Today is Monday, which means it's laundry and grocery day. I think I shall work on 'For Emily' today. See if I can't knock out five pages or so. Maybe the long break will have jolted my creativity. I think I'll work on the cats as well, I'm hoping to finish them in time for Christmas.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

New Toy 2

This is Kyle, also a potential character. I love my Wacom :)

P.S. That's a flame over his hand... not a fox tail. Some skills are still in progress.

Monday, June 8, 2009

New Toy

I recently purchased a Wacom Bamboo Tablet. I love this thing. Below is the first presentable image I have created. She is called Rosaline and is a character in the comic I may or may not create in the more or less near future. The story is really choppy but has a complete story arch in bullet point draft (which is farther than most of my stories have ever gotten... okay, that's farther than any of my stories have gotten). I'm excited to see how the quality of my work improves.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Bread and... butter!

So. Butter is possibly the easiest thing I have ever made. Pour cream in to bowl. Beat. Don't eat the whipped cream. Wait until the butter separates from the butter milk (you can't miss it, the butter sticks to the beaters and suddenly there's white liquid in the bottom of the bowl), about 20 minutes. Strain buttermilk. Kneed butter in bowl of cold water to get all the butter milk out. The buttermilk will make the butter go rancid and the cold water keeps it from melting all over your hands. Salt if desired. Eat. Yum. $4.50 for the quart of cream produces $3 worth of butter + however much 2 cups of buttermilk costs. I am so making my own from now on.

Friday, March 6, 2009

New Blog of Note

While searching for a new bread recipe, I stumbled across The Simple Dollar.

I found it simply delightful. Written by Trent Hamm, the blog gives straightforward investment advice in layman's terms. Trent also gives tips on how to save and spend wisely and ways to DYI (such as the bread recipe). So far I am very impressed with how he explains the uses of money and treats the questions of his readers. The articles often strays from the bottom line and into the moral use of money. A perspective this Bachelor of Business Administration appreciates.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Baking Day

I love baking day. The apartment smells amazing and I, of course, have to taste test everything!

It seems we never have snack food in the house but both Dustin and I often just want something small. Today was the day to fix that. After my revelation that one didn't actually have to buy pre-made truffles, I began to wonder what I buy off the shelf because I assume I can't make it as well, or even at all, at home.

I decided on a cracker. Who doesn't love crackers? You can put tons of yummy things on top or just eat them plain. Originally, I wanted to make a saltine or club type cracker. In the end, I settled on a Graham cracker. Now, I hate Graham crackers. Maybe it's from all those years working in a nursery. It seems Graham crackers are the toddler snack of choice. But the blog where I found the recipe claimed these homemade Graham crackers were much better than the store-bought ones. That they would be more nutritional, flavorful and not crumble over every surface in sight. I have to say, it was right. These crackers are amazing. I had three and felt like I'd eaten a full meal. It was a strange sensation, but a good one. I will definitely be making them again.

I also made two loaves of Challah, which is usually what happens on a baking day, and a batch of very yummy and surprisingly healthy Apple Muffins. I have a lot of whole wheat flour sitting in the freezer and really wanted to use it up in something that wouldn't have that whole-wheaty texture/taste. You know the one. The one that tells you you're eating something healthy and that's really the only reason you're eating it. These turned out really well. They're definitely a breakfast food, not a dessert, but really good. The only change I made in the recipe was to cut the apple into chunks instead of shredding it. Chunks give the muffin more texture and keeps it moist longer.

I was going to make a batch of chewy granola bars but, alas, I didn't have nearly enough rolled oats for the recipe I wanted to use. Next week!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Budgie Birdie

My husband and I have started to train our bird, Spring. Spring came to us as a refugee this past fall. She was four years old at least. Her former owners kept her fed and watered but that was about it. She didn't have a whole lot of human interaction and, as budgies are flock animals, has some mental damage because of that.

Spring has finally become comfortable in her new home and we like to think that she's warming up to us, too. She acknowledges the fact that we're alive, which is more than she seemed aware of when we first got her. She also seems interested in what happens outside of her cage, which is an improvement. At first, you could almost drop a book right next to her cage and she wouldn't even notice. I think never being taken out of the cage for the first four years of her life caused the "world" to become a cubic foot.

She loves running water. She sings to the dishwasher, she sings to the sink, she sings to the shower. She has begun to sing to Dustin. He'll whistle a three note ditty and she attempts to whistle it back. She even 'practices' his whistles when he's at work during the day. It's really the cutest thing. She is mated to the small bell in her cage. She spends hours snuggled up with it and 'preening' it. Sometimes they get into lover's fights and that's always a hoot. Especially, when the bell wins. :P

She will sit on your finger and feel safe when she's there, it's convincing her she wants to get on that's the problem. I have brought her out of the cage on my finger twice out of I don't want to tell you how many attempts. She'll eat off your finger but not out of your palm.

Training will be a slow process. But for a four year-old, pretty-much-wild bird, that's kind of a given. How to cause a five inch creature it should care about the world and accept two towering giants as the flock it's never had? Patience, lots of patience.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


I just finished my first ever pair of crochet socks! See and admire!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Dream Log


I've decided not to post it.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Dustin and I had dinner with new friends last weekend and, after an amazingly delicious homemade ravioli dinner complete with winter vegetables, salad, and bread, we were served homemade truffles. Did you know you could make truffles at home? I most certainly did not. It was just one of those things that someone else made and you paid for.

But no more! A good friend and I decided to try our hand at the ancient and revered art of chocolate making (we used pre-made chocolate. Sorry, we're just not cool enough to roast and press our own chocolate... yet... Hey, Sarah...! ;) ).

These beauties are what we ended up with after several hours and ounces of chocolate. We now know what mud-pie making is really training children for.

Note: The tray was full when we were done, but Sarah was entitled to her half. :)

Friday, January 16, 2009


I curled my hair today. For those who don't know, my hair is baby fine and bone straight (with a slight whip to the right at the bottom) and such information is exclaimed by every hair stylist I have ever been to ("Wow. Your hair is so straight! Wow, and it's so fine, too." almost verbatim or in the other order every time). I spent 1.5 to 2 hours on this and used probably a half can of hair spray and it's already starting to fall. BUT it was beautiful (and still is even if it is closer to my shoulders instead of my chin).

Monday, January 5, 2009

Happy New Year!

The Christmas season is nearly over and a new year has begun. Wow. What a year... and what an end.

I spent a week or so at my in-laws as nursemaid. Gram had her shoulder replaced right after getting cataracts taken out of her eye so not only did her arm hurt so much to induce cussing (something she doesn't normally do), she couldn't bend over either (something about blood pooling in the recently cut eye and making it explode). So I got to be her arms, her legs, and her alarm clock (Gram, have you taken your eye drops? No? Gram, have you done your exercises? Yes? Gram, you really can't wait to take the pain meds. I know don't like them but do you remember that crushing pain two hours ago? Yes? You think trying to wait 2.5 hours instead of 2 won't give you the exact same result it did last time? Well, tough, take it anyway.) Really, that woman is impossible to take care of. She's very stubborn and likes to think she's Wonder Woman.

However, that didn't last long because not three days after I came to take care of Gram, Gram went to the hospital to take care of her aunt who has various heart problems and tends to freak out when left at hospitals alone. I was not permitted to come. So I stayed at 'home' and helped my mother-in-law wrap about a million packages for various needy families. I now understand why my husband tries to cram way more tasks than humanly possible into a time frame. He gets it honestly. I also got my hair cut and this past Saturday, I cut Dustin's.

After some confusion about Christmas times we had Christmas day with my family. I had a good time. It was nice to be home. My sister absoultely loved her present. I got her a huge stuffed bunny from

I love her gift to me. It's large (1500 pieces, I think) fairy puzzle. She said it took her two weeks and she hated it because all the pices look exactly the same. I believe her.

To top the whole trip off, my brother and his girlfriend are now engaged! I'm excited :D Even if they're not getting married until 2011. :P

But now we're home. Very glad we're home.

Note: Those are my feet to the left of the poster.