23 December 2010

to josefinaangelicaclairejuarez

20 December 2010

happy birthday, sean-y

10 December 2010

if you're in Utah...

07 December 2010


So far, NC seasons are right on.
Fall lasted right up to Thanksgiving and through November. Perfect, right?
Thanksgiving is all autumn-y if you think about it.
I missed capturing the Japanese Maples around the house—
the last to turn colors (and they turned a stunning lipstick red!)

Just four days into December, and NC was ready for Christmas.
So were we—ringing in the season with a Christmas train ride, thanks to Mangums!

A real-deal steam engine, guys. And a diesel engine at one point.
And these tickets! Love tickets...

 These are all the smart people that knew it was going to be just a few degrees over freezing and that the train was an outside deal.

This marked my first time being COLD in North Carolina.
{Even through Fall, it was not often sweater-weather for me and the self-heating system that comes with the growing belly. I spent much of November with the windows open to counter the heat.}
So perhaps you can envision my get-up.
Chacos? Yes. I promise I was fine until the train started moving and wind became a factor...

 One lovely boy captivated by the Christmas NC woods.

 Another lovely boy captivated by the dark smoke of the engine.

(I couldn't help but drift back to memories circa 2002 when Ashton was smitten by trains
so much that he'd hear the engine miles away and request that we stop everything to go watch it.)

* * *
And later that day?

RIGHT outside our back door. Seriously, is there anything more Christmasy?

OK, snow on bamboo is not more Christmasy, but I couldn't get enough of the snow.
This was the view out all our windows. It seemed more snowy in real life, of course.
Visiting the grocery store that day was a hoot too. I guess it wasn't just a joke that
"everybody freaks out here when it snows." I was there for a few things in the afternoon—
in the thick of the snowfall. People were filling double-carts and the line at the register
took as long as my shopping. The cashier was an hour overdue for her break and said the store had been that crazy since 6am!

Bottom line: I'm loving Christmas in NC. Maybe it's just the fact that I'm not in the thick of finals and I can DO any Christmas-y thing I want. But maybe it's just NC...

27 November 2010


Last year, at this time, I was farther away from home than I'd ever been—
in Seoul, Korea.

This year, I was far from home again—
in a crazy place where the finest foods are prepared in trash bags:

But the cool thing is that despite the distance; despite the food-preparing-methods,

it didn't feel far from home.

Not this year; not last year.

I guess it's true that home is where the heart is. Isn't your heart most often with people?
(Really, Papá, can even YOU argue?)
And not just any people, of course, but family people—whether by blood or not.

I guess that's why I didn't even feel too far from home during Thankgsiving on my mission.
The main event of the day was not cooking nor parade-watching, but instead a
basket ball game.
(Not my choice of activity...)
But it hardly mattered—because I was simply thrilled just to be with my people;
these people that had my heart; the people that had become family.

{ This is where I would post a picture
of the people who have my heart in NC;
the people that made this Thanksgiving
"close to home." But you'll just have to
see them there because we were too busy
having fun together to snap a photo of our own. }

So, for my turn-around-the-table, this is what I chose to be grateful for:
that even though I am far from my home, 
(Meaning my Mom/Papá/Sean/Calvin/Josie/Carmen/Maya/Ashton,
& extended families & non-blood families, & even my Provo)

I feel right at home with these people. I love it here because my heart is with them!

(And let me just say this trash-bag food was perhaps the best thing on the table.
Oh how I wish we'd stolen some leftovers that I could devour right now!
That's OK, though—who ever said Thanksgiving was about food??)

19 November 2010

happy belated carmen!

Oh, and while we're on the topic, we might as well share our Gerberta gem too, shall we?

Gerb was one of my wonderful Young Women leaders.
She had us giggling every time one of us had a birthday because she emphatically sang a solo—IN SPANISH—
of the traditional Latin birthday song, "Las Mañanitas," (sorry—that link cuts off the last 3 syllables). Yes, she somehow still remembered all the words—IN SPANISH—from her high school Spanish class, I think.

For my 'Sweet Sixteenth' birthday, she changed it up a bit and sang different words to the same tune,
adding a bit of teasing which actually was more teasing my dad than it was teasing me:

a) Papá was so strict; his rule was that I couldn't wear make-up (including nail polish!) until I was 16.
b) Papá was so 'lax; he had long-ago taught me to drive and would send me to the store or to shuttle a sibling when absolutely needed, so turning 16 wasn't a big deal behind the wheel.

So with that background, please enjoy her lyrics, which I also sang to Carmen on the 13th:
(Sorry, Josie that I didn't sing it to you from my mission. Maya, don't let me forget in 2 years!)

Is it true? You are now sixteen?
And now driving legally?
Your nails can now be painted!
And a laurel you will be.

The boys (who are also sixteen)
can now ask you on a date!
But remember my advice, now:
And that's that

15 November 2010


I know, it's been a month, but I'm just glad to get these up.
After walking all over the Big Apple, we just wanted to sleep in,
but who could sleep in through Mary Deane's cuteness and Brendon's breakfast from scratch?
(Really, he peeled and grated the potatoes himself and made us hashbrown patties! Mmm!)
getting ready to go into town

Her ribbon fell out so I got to fix it. Brought back memories of many-a-hairdo on little sisters!

Like I said, the other city was all about walking,
so I QUITE enjoyed some drive-by sight-seeing.

Then Mary Deane said, "let us take you to Zaytinya!"
And we knew better than to object.
We have no pictures to prove it, but this Turkish, Greek and Lebanese cuisine was probably even better than the amazing Republic lunch in NYC. Thanks Jonses!

Then we tried walking again:
To the National Building Museum and the National Portrait Gallery.

A fairly magestic entrance, eh? Look at the very tip-top where the wall meets the roof and...

... you can see bust sculptures repeating in a line! How do they ever dust them?

The columns feel pretty big from up top...

On our way out we spotted a bird in panic...

The kids were chasing him around the carpet before he flew up to the ledge for a rest.

I don't know what my face is doing, but it was fun to see a familiar face.

And I love the layout of this print—his signature and the engraving and the old type...

I didn't know who Ben Bernanke was, but Ben K and I loved this dollar collage.


We thought this was a photo until we looked closer.

The atrium was as cool as the portraits.
We both got tired faster than we thought, so Mary Deane suggested we go home and we gladly obliged. The three of us rested together that night while Ann and Brendon carpe'd the diem.

The next day after church, we decided to do some more drive-by's
and maybe even walk some monuments before heading home.

Hello, Pentagon.

If you remember correctly, this guy was a smart man.

I really love the type and thinking about who set it. The streak stains are even fun too.

On the way to the FDR memorial, we heard a loud noise coming from one of the garbages:

Good lookin' type. Good lookin' guy.

Lincoln Memorial, here we come!

Oops; sorry to cut you out, Mr. Lincoln. I still think you're the coolest.

The cool design of this monument means you can even reflect shadows. (Ben's and mine).

Autumn colors in DC: we liked them!
A a little photoshop put us both in this shot with our new state:

It made us so homesick that we drove home.

Thank you, dear Nation's Capital. It was so nice to meet you.