Monday, December 15, 2008


Hello! Well, we're really gearing up for Christmas . . . I've started doing cards (we'll see how many I actually get out this year), and the decorations are up. We're so excited to get to travel down to Texas for New Year's and see all of Brant's family, too! I was thinking how lucky we are to get to spend the holiday break with both families. Most married couples we know don't get to do that, especially when one side of the family requires a plane trip. :) My brother came home from Hawaii (he's at the Univ of Hawaii working on his master's degree) this past week, so we got to see him--and he got to meet his niece!

Brant's finishing up work and school these days. His classes are all done with, and he's turned in all his papers. He has a few end-of-semester parties this week, and he needs to spend some time in the graduate assistant office to get more hours in. He's also working on preparing presentations he'll be doing at some American Studies conferences next semester. Exciting! I'm feeling a lot better . . . still have a little bit of cough, but that's about it. I sorely miss running, though. I'm afraid to go out now, when I did that last time (right after I'd gotten over a bad cold), I caught the flu a few days later. Now I'm all paranoid. But I'm getting a little bit of cabin fever, I have to admit; plus it's been really warm! It's in the 50s today--so unlike typical Pennsylvania weather for this time of year!

So, here's a little of what we've been up to last week . . . Annie sure is getting cuter by the day!
I was trying to get Annie ready for a bath, but it was pretty cold downstairs, so we wrapped her up in a blanket. See how well she sits up, pretty much on her own??

I found the little knit hat the hospital gave her when she was born. It still fits! :)

Listening to Christmas music and dancing with Daddy

Our little Christmas tree is all set up. We actually haven't put on the ornaments yet. We've also pulled out the puzzles--a great Christmas break tradition!

I love this overwhelmed look Annie has here :)

Here's Annie and Brant in their church outfits. Yesterday was the first Sunday that Annie stayed awake the whole 3 hours of church. She was a little fussy but for the most part manageable. I would venture to say she enjoyed herself most of the day. :) All of our little Sunbeams are getting ready to move up to the next class. I'll miss them--they've been such a great class. Yesterday they brought in the incoming nursery kids to just a few minutes of Primary--I think there are 16 or 17 of them! Crazy!! I hope Brant and I can handle them all. And they look so little compared to the 4-year-olds we're used to teaching!

Bye for now!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

3 AM Thoughts

In 10th grade English, I read Ray Bradbury's "Something Wicked This Way Comes." In the book the hour of 3 AM was used as a symbol for all the evil and mischievousness that occurs in the early hours of the day. Well last night, Annie decided she only needed 5 hours of sleep and wanted to play from 2 - 4 AM and for some reason I am always left with the short end of the stick and it's my job to stay up with her. I brought Annie downstairs and sat her on my lap and turned on the telly. I'm not one that usually will watch Bill Moyers on PBS, scratch that, I've never watched Bill Moyers on PBS, but last night's program was amazing and I write this so that those 5 people that visit our blog, can experience the beautiful, uplifting joys of music that he featured on his show. This video is from a documentary project called "Playing for Change" ( where a film crew recorded street musicans from around the world all playing the same influencial songs (catch the double meaning in the title??). Watch it and share it with some one.

I absolutely love Grandpa Elliott who I understand is still a central figure in the French Quarter. Roger Ridley I learned past away in 2006 but his street performances attacked hundreds of people in California. Clarence Bekker is also known by the name C. B. Milton and was a popular European singer in the early 90s for the group "The Swingin Soul Machine." And my favorite was Vusi Mahlasela. After I heard his voice I knew I had heard it before. With a little searching I realized he sang with Josh Groban's newest album in a song about the South Aftrican Aparthied called "Weeping." This second song is Bob Marley's "One Love."

Friday, December 5, 2008

Happy December!

Hi there! Hope everyone is getting excited for Christmas!! Well, this has been me lately, sick and homebound for the last three weeks or so. I've had two really nasty colds, one of them may have been the flu, I'm not sure. And I'm still trying to get over a bad cough and a nose that just won't stop running. But we've still been busy around here! Here're some pictures to illustrate . . . :)

Annie learning to appreciate some semblance of tummy time without throwing a fit. :)

Thanksgiving evening, when we got back from dinner in Lancaster with my dad's family.

Our dear friends from Boston, Jared and Laura (and their little girl, Evelyn) came to visit us! We knew them in Provo, and now they're at dental school at Harvard. It was SO wonderful to see friends here! We took them around Middletown and drove down to Three Mile Island so they could take a picture by the power plant. We also went hiking then went to the house of a family in our ward, where we played softball in the cold! So much fun!!

Annie almost permanently has a bib attached to herself now. She drools so so much. :)

Filled with wonderment at the toys on her bouncy seat. She's finally come around to enjoying all the stuff we have to entertain her with. Makes me very happy--and keeps my hands free a lot more now!

Brant and our little Latvian sailor, asleep on the sofa

Hanging onto Brant's hair--very tightly!

Last week Annie and I (and Memphis) traveled down to Gettysburg to bake Christmas cookies with my mom. Annie had a great time. We were there all day and evening, and we made so many yummy treats! Unfortunately, I spent half the day lying down with a high fever and chills. But it was still a great trip.

Annie and Grandma in the sunshine

Swinging in the basement at my mom's house. Annie was totally zoned out as my mom sang Christmas songs to her. (And she lulled the dogs to sleep too!)

So Annie's new thing is her tongue. She sticks it out at everyone and loves the reaction she gets! She smiles so big and just keeps doing it. And if you stick yours back out at her, she'll study it closely, just be mesmerized. It's really cute.

When I was still sick, my mom came up to our house to help out with Annie. More Christmas cookies were baked, of course, in addition to dinner. :)

Annie was continually startled by the beater and consequently very intent on figuring out what was making such a noise.

And Memphis licked the bowl!

Brant read the most recent Harry Potter book while I was sick. Here he is reading it to Annie. She just kept staring at his mouth as he talked.

Dancing to Christmas music in the kitchen

Stealing a kiss :)

And here's a video of Brant reading to Annie. She was really getting a kick out of it, at least in the beginning.

Happy holidays!! Since I've been so sick I haven't yet put decorations up, so I can't wait to do that! We've got a lot going on these next few weeks. This weekend we'll be going to my friend's wedding in Maryland. There are also a number of holiday festivals and such in all the towns around us. So this weekend should be a lot of fun. Hope everyone's having a wonderful season!