Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas Week

We drove to Oregon last week to be with my family for Christmas. It was a really long drive, but we had a great time. Here's some of the highlights of the week:

Saturday, December 19:
We woke up at 3:15 am and got on the road. We drove straight through and arrived in Salem at about 10:30 pm. I am so proud of myself, I only threw up twice along the way. (For those of you that know me, I get car sick SO EASY. I throw up going to and from church) I made it 16 hours without getting sick, and was only sick the last few hours. Much better than I expected. We got to Mom's house and had some food, talked for a while and then crashed for the night.

Sunday, December 20:
We got up and ate breakfast and hung out with my mom and siblings all day. Being lazy and catching up. It was an excellent day. We drove up to WIlsonville in the afternoon and spent some time with my dad.

Monday, December 21:
Today we spent the morning finishing our Christmas shopping. We had everything we needed except stocking stuffers. Taney and I split up in the stores and got what we needed. I enjoy shopping, but I especially like to shop with Taney.

We spent the rest of the day in Portland. We spent a couple of hours in Powell's. Powell's is a bookstore downtown that is a square city block and several floors. We could spend all day there, but we could also spend all our money there. We set a budget before we went in, and surprisingly spent $20 less than our budget. We love that we can buy used books there and they are still in great shape.

We spent the afternoon at the Oregon Zoo. It was much different than when I was a kid, but I enjoyed it just as much. We were much impressed by the big cats and the turtles. Because it was Christmas time the zoo had a display of lights set up. they were open extended hours for the viewing of the Zoo Lights. We stayed long enough after sunset to see the lights in the dark.

After Zoo Lights we drove across the river to go to McMinneman's Kennedy School. It's an old elementary school in NE Portland that McMinneman's has turned into a pub/hotel/movie theatre. All the McMinneman's have amazing artwork. Kennedy School is full of funny restaurants and bars. They are al school themed. They have a detention bar, an honors bar, the boiler room has ben turned into a small restaurant. The auditorium is now a movie theatre where you can sit on couches and watch a movie while enjoying dinner from one of the restaurants. We sat with Mom, Matt, Caitlin, Rob and Paul in the courtyard restaurant and had a delightful dinner, and good dessert.

The most impressive part of the day was that (except for finding parking at Powell's) I didn't get lost. And since I have no sense of direction, that's quite an accomplishment. I attribute it to my expert navigators, Taney and Mapquest.

Tuesday, December 22:
Tuesday was our lazy sleep in day. Taney and I laid in bed and watched TV for a few hours. One of the perks of being on vacation.

Later in the day we decided to meet up with old friends. We went to see Heather and Johnny. Because it was the day for the Las Vegas bowl with BYU vs. OSU. They are HUGE OSU fans, so they were having a big party. Of coarse we were the only ones rooting for BYU, which made it a little awkward at times. I think it's a good thing BYU won or we could have been in a really uncomfortable situation.

Later that night we had dinner with Megan, Aaron, and their son Ryan. Ryan is 2 and quite a handful. I don't think he ever stops moving. EVER. We took them to dinner and had some peasant conversation.

It was nice to see old friends.

Wednesday, December 23:
Wednesday we got to spend some time with my Dad. We went to Niki's house to clean out some of the things he had saved when he moved out of the house. I brought all my children's books and most of my games back to Vegas. I also threw out a lot of stuff that needed to thrown out LONG ago. But Dad didn't know what to keep and what to toss when he was moving, so he kept it all. I took 2 car loads to Goodwill and we packed our car as tight as we could.

I'm sad that I didn't get to go through all the Christmas stuff. There are over 100 Nativities that I would have liked to bring with me, but didn't have room for. It's such a beautiful collection, I can't wait until I have a place to display all of them. Someday, when Taney writes a best selling novel, or I win Teacher of the Year, we'll have a house where I can display all of them. Someday.

After we finished with all my stuff in the basement we went to Abby's Pizza for Lunch. Taney loves good pizza, and he really enjoyed Abby's last time we were in Oregon. He was talking about going back for weeks before we left for Oregon. I don't think he was disappointed.

We had dinner with Mom and got to spend some time with just her. That was nice.

Thursday, December 24:
Today was our first Christmas. We did Christmas with Dad today. We spent the day playing games and talking. Paul and Dad especially liked Mario Cart Wii. Paul always surprises me with how well he figures out how to do things with only one hand. Dad made a really nice dinner and we opened presents. I got a "MAJOR AWARD." Remember in "A Christmas Story" when the dad gets the big crate and it's a major award. I got a let lamp. It's a smaller size, it stands about 18 inches tall. It made me giggle. He also gave me a wonderful picture frame that with glass matting and pressed flowers. It has great quotes. I really like it, now to just find a place to put it. I really enjoyed seeing Paul and Daddy open the gifts we got them. I think I like that better than opening gifts. I love to see their faces when they see what thought we've put into the gifts. We continued to play games and hang out. It was a good day.

Friday, December 25:
This was our next Christmas. We went to Mom's house this morning for Christmas. It was me and Taney, Mom, Matt, Caitlin, Rob and Valerie. We had a BIG breakfast. We want to start a Kurth tradition of having Orange rolls on Christmas morning. We had them for Thanksgiving with the Nelson's, but every time I make they don't turn out the way Kari's did. So I tried one more time. They were not as good as Kari's, but my family really seemed to like them. Once everyone had eaten a lot and we were all ready to go back to bed, mom insisted we open presents. I think she was more excited about it than anyone else. It was cute.

We spent a good couple of hours opening presents and playing with what we got. Watching people open gifts if my favorite part. I was really excited that my sister got me willow tree people. I have wanted them for a long time. She got me the couple. The beginning of my collection of willow people. Taney got me a set of DVD's that have children's picture books being read while the pictures flash up on the screen. I am pretty excited for that. He also got me an iPod. I am pretty excited about that, too.

Caitlin got Taney a chess set that he's really excited about. When he opened it he spent about 20 minutes just looking at the pieces with his mouth dropped open. He is really excited about it. the down side is that he probably wants me to play with him now, and I SUCK at chess. I understand how the pieces move, I just don't really have any strategy. I was really glad the Rob was there on Christmas day and they played together. Now he won't bug me to play with him for a while. Here's some pictures from the week.

Saturday, December 26:
Today we got up early and drove home. It was a LONG drive, but so nice to finally be home. As much as I love having time with my family it's always nice to be home. "I never realize hoe much I like being home unless I've been somewhere really different for a while." ~Juno.

Here's some pictures from this last week. Just thought I'd share.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

So Blessed

As I was cleaning out a drawer a few weeks ago I found a list titled "Someday" that Taney and I had made when we were first married. It was a list of things we wanted/needed to buy someday when we had enough money to do so. I was surprised to look at that list and realize that now, only 2 years later we have almost everything on that list. Here's what our list included: Vacuum, Broom, Couch, Bookshelf, Ironing board, Pots and Pan set, Haircut, Car insurance, a Bike for Taney and a Computer. Things that most people would just consider necessities, or normal to have. Well, when we got married we had only $25 to our name and were still in college. So, we were those quintessential poor college students. The only thing we needed was food and each other. Now, only 2 years later we have all those things (well, except a nice pots and pans set, I still can't find one I like that's in the price range I want to pay) and more. And we barely think about how lucky we are. We think we couldn't live without those things. 

With Thanksgiving upon us, the last few weeks I've been thinking about all the things that I have and am so thankful for. I've also been thinking about that time when we were first married and all the blessings that we received, and the helpful people in our lives. Those who helped us with rent when we were just a little bit short, those who donated couches to our furniture-less apartment so we wouldn't have to sit on bean bags and video game chairs anymore. Those who became our friends, and essentially our family, when we were lonely. And those who kept us in your prayers. We are so blessed to have all the things that we do, and to have such amazing people in our lives. 

Daily I thank the Lord for all that He has given me and for the people that He has sent to be my personal angels. I hope that I never take for granted all the wonderful things and people that I have. That would be a truly sad day.