Archive for the ‘Holidays’ Category

Catching Up

Saturday, January 15th, 2011

Well, hello 2011! The holiday dust is still settling this week, since we only got back from California last weekend. But here we are, a new year. I wonder what the future holds.

BN is no longer a teacher, so we didn’t have to organize our vacation around the academic schedule. I had done hardly any work until the week after Thanksgiving, so I was willing and in fact eager to continue to work through the holidays. BN found me a MacBook Pro on Craigslist, and I was able to stay on top of my current projects while we were visiting our families in San Jose for a little more than 3 weeks. That worked out nicely – I had enough to do that it felt gratifying, but not so much that I had to neglect family time. On Monday, the first day back at my desk, the laptop died. It no longer starts up, except a few times randomly, and soon runs into trouble with monitor flickering and things seizing up. Oh, dear. Luckily we were able to connect it up to our old computer and get the files off of the hard disk.

It seems that iPhoto changed how they do things, so we couldn’t figure out how to get the photos that we took during the trip. We’re working on it… In the meantime, here are some borrowed from my Dad.

I made a wreath for my Mom, at Bloomers Nursery in Eugene.

I made a wreath for my Mom, at Bloomer's Nursery in Eugene.

I was so happy to get some quality time with my two little nephews. They are growing so fast!

GJW is 10 months old and totally adorable. He started crawling during our visit.

GJW is 10 months old and totally adorable. He started crawling during our visit.

JWS is 18 months. He still doesnt have much hair but so smart! He loves books. Here I am cracking up because he thought a coaster was a book and kept trying to turn the pages.

JWS is 18 months. He loves books. Here I am cracking up because he thought a coaster was a book and kept trying to turn the pages.

How many nephews in this picture? 3! My sister is expecting JWSs little brother in March.

How many nephews in this picture? 3! My sister is expecting JWS's little brother in March.

My dad drew my name for this year. He gave me a lovely ceramic bowl, two skeins of Mini Mochi, and a ticket to visit my sister in Houston after her baby is born. What a wonderful gift!

I drew my sister MA’s name, and I knitted her a sweater. It’s 100% organic merino wool, hand-dyed by Textiles A Mano.


Our visit included some crafty endeavors, too – HN and I made glycerin soap. You should try this – we worked from a kit and simply melted the soap in the microwave, tinted it, and poured it in molds. We then cut chunks and shapes, put them back in the molds, and poured more soap in. Fun, fun, fun!


My Nephew At Christmas

Saturday, December 26th, 2009

JWS is 6 months old. This was his first Christmas. We didn’t see him until Christmas Eve, because during the first week of our visit he and his wonderful parents were in Arizona visiting his other grandparents. Once he reappeared on the scene, though, the cameras started snapping.


He’s too young to be talking but he likes to communicate with his tongue. This means, Hi, Look at Me!

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We witnessed an early experiment with feeding him rice cereal.


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Christmas Eve had not a dull moment, with so many aunties

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and even Mom to give him attention.


He was determined not to miss a single moment. In fact, he refused to take an evening nap (Why would Mommy and Daddy think I’d be able to sleep with a party going on downstairs?) But, he behaved very well for the most part, and stole the show in his starring role.

Lest you think that I didn’t take photos of anyone else unless they were holding JW, here are some other scenes from our Christmas Eve party (hosted by my brother and his wife in their lovely new home.)

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I’m excited for next year – another nephew is on the way!


Christmas Presents

Friday, December 25th, 2009

Here are some highlights of the gifts my family exchanged this year.

SS, super-creative crafty mama, gave GC a handmade owl pillow and and assortment of other sleepy-time themed goodies.


GC gave HN an awesome hi-tech camera, to fuel the passion of our budding photographer. It was quite a surprise because GC hid it inside of a large box.

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Baby J got many presents, of course, from his adoring aunties and uncles. He especially liked the book about the lost mitten. It was delicious.

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GC gave RC a jello fishbowl that she had made, with blue jello and gummy candy fish.

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BN made a clever photo holder for HN. After shopping around Santa Cruz, he couldn’t find anything like what he was looking for so he decided to make it himself.

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And… MA knit me an afghan!!!!!! Tears came to my eyes as I was opening it because as a knitter, I know that afghans are like the marathon of knitting. She drew my name last year in our exchange and she worked on it all year, for me. It’s beautiful – lofty, squishy, and warm. Definitely one of the most special gifts I’ve ever received.


I did quite a bit of knitting for Christmas gifts, myself. I knitted a February Lady Sweater for SS: (Ravelry Link)

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A pair of socks for BN: (Ravelry Link)


And baby socks for the babies: My brother’s son, expected in February; JWS, currently the most-photographed-baby on my side of the family; and our little princess EAA (she hates socks, unfortunately.) (Ravelry Link)

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Christmas Pageant

Thursday, December 24th, 2009

Luke 2

The Birth of Jesus

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register.


So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.


While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.


The Shepherds and the Angels

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.

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An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”


Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.


When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 


But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.


The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.


Christmas Traditions and Other Cool Stuff

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

The Christmas Tree


The Candy House, complete with snowman, dog with bone, Santa, and Grinch/Alien


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The beaches along Highway 1, North of Santa Cruz


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The journal that BN made from scratch, with hand-batik-dyed covers and coptic binding


My brother’s self-portrait from his oil painting class

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My other brother’s new Lego VW Beetle


The fully restored Ball Machine outside the Tech Museum


Niece At Christmas

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

EAA is nine months old. This was her first Christmas. Highlights of our visits with her (and her awesome parents) included:

High-fiving Uncle B

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Taking Miss G. Beagle to the dog park


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Going to Christmas in the Park (a San Jose tradition since the 1970s)

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Drinking water out of Daddy’s glass

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Exploring at Grandma’s – under the tree, the winter-wonderland singing centerpiece, and playing piano.

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We also got to visit with some friends who are newly mutual – J&M met our friends M&A when they were in birth classes before the arrival of their daughters. E’s meeting with KGP got off to a bit of a rocky start but with some diplomacy on the part of their parents, they ended up getting along well.


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North Shore Thanksgiving

Sunday, November 29th, 2009

This Thanksgiving we were at Tahoe with BN’s family.

Playing down by the lake:

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Skating at NorthStar:

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Some new snow fell on Friday, so we got to go sledding. There was a intense wind, and it had whipped the snow into carved and fibrous shapes.

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Cranberry Sauce

Thursday, November 26th, 2009


Homemade cranberry sauce isn’t just for Thanksgiving dinner anymore. I love it stirred into plain yogurt, with granola, for breakfast. Anything that is good with boring regular jam would be transformed by the kick of this cranberry-orange-ginger goodness. And such a color! Magenta, where have you been all my life?

Cranberry Relish (makes about 2 cups; you can double the recipe for even more power!)
Adapted from Martha Stewart Everyday Food, November 2007

12 oz bag fresh or frozen cranberries
1/2 c sugar
1-inch chunk fresh ginger root, grated, crushed, or minced
1 orange, zested and juiced
Pinch of salt

Combine ingredients in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the berries have burst and the mixture is thick and jammy. MMMmmm.

Birthday Blessings

Sunday, October 18th, 2009

I had such a nice birthday! On Saturday, I got a packet of birthday cards & trinkets from my mom and sisters. That evening, BN took me out to dinner and gave me a pair of earrings I had picked out from my friend Esther Lee, a jewelry designer. The charms I selected are Peruvian opal, they are a bright aqua blue, semi-opaque. E gave me some additional charms when I saw her at church the next day so now I am well started on my collection.


On Sunday afternoon, I got phone calls from my sister GC, my brother JP, and I talked for more than an hour with my sister SS. Then my friend CO came over and brought me a Christmas Cactus. We went on a walk around the neighborhood and checked out the beautiful fall leaves. In the evening our friends the K’s took us out for pizza and gave me a cool blank journal that closes with a magnet. Right after we got home my grandparents called and sang happy birthday to me.

One thing I like about Facebook is it helps with remembering people’s birthdays. I got lots of well-wishes there. On Tuesday at our Bible study I got more birthday love – TR gave me a card and a potted chrysanthemum and JM made apple crisp in my honor.

I feel so blessed by all the people who gave me birthday wishes, cards, and gifts. Thanks everyone!

Rush the Butte

Saturday, July 4th, 2009

Spring of this year was difficult for me, running-wise. I was running strong, up until our trip to Utah – I was up to 4 miles 3 times a week. I felt great while we were in Utah, though some of the backpacking hikes felt very overloaded due to our need to pack in water. I was sore, but no more than usual for me on these trips. During the week after our return, I started running again – I figured I’d be even stronger after the trip and pick up where I’d left off in March. But, suddenly I would feel a tightness in my calves as soon as I so much as jogged onto the track. I don’t really know for sure what shin splints feel like but I wondered if it was a similar problem, but on the inner side of my legs, within or under the muscle. Kinda scary. I didn’t feel anything when walking, riding my bike, or stretching so I kept doing those things, but stopped running all together after “taking it easy” with short runs didn’t seem to make a difference.

May rolled around and I wanted to try running again, though I didn’t see how I’d work my way back up in time to run the Butte to Butte 10K. That was a sad thought, that I’d miss it this year… But, I just tried to focus on getting “back on track” without injury. I would run a few laps, walk a lap, repeat. I would run 3/4 of the Adidas mile trail, and walk the last 1/4 of it – once I got to the point where I was going around 4 or 5 times, I started running the Rexius portion as well – the whole trail is 5.5 miles round trip. By the week before the race, I was running the whole thing with only 3 short stops at the stoplight intersection and the halfway point where there is a drinking fountain.

On race day, it was fixing to be a hot one. I ran the whole way, except made sure to drink a whole cup of water at the 3 water stations. My time was 1 hour and 8 minutes – not my best, but not my worst, either! I was so happy to have worked past my mysterious “injury” and participate in the fun community event once again.

In the afternoon we took a drive to Wildwood Falls, a swimming hole that we had been to last summer. It’s a really neat place to swim but the atmosphere is not great – it’s a favorite place for partying teens to spill beer and scatter cigarette butts. On the 4th it was crowded but at least we knew what to expect. I was pretty tired from my race so after a “thrilling” jump (I hate jumping!) and a cooling swim (I love swimming in natural water) I sat up on the creek bank and read a book.


In the evening we rode our bikes to watch the fireworks in Alton Baker park. This year we tried something different and joined a crowd that gathered in an office courtyard with a fountain, on the other side of the river. That was exciting – people were setting off small (and some very big) fireworks on the concrete. Some were a little too close for comfort! It was one of those fountains that come up out of a paved space and kids can run through the columns of water. One little guy was taking his duties as fire-fighter very seriously – he had a fireman’s hat and a bucket and would come running to make sure the fireworks were not getting out of hand.

I wonder who designs fireworks displays? Both of the ones we saw this year (the other one was in our “backyard” on the 3rd after the Ems game) were not very well choreographed. Each burst was pretty, but they were a bit off on timing and sequence.