Modge Podge

This is going to be a lot of random things in a single post. Because I said so. First of all, here was our Christmas tree. Yes, I know it's the end of January. But here it is anyway. Admire it.

Next, look at this gorgeous sunset I was lucky enough to get a picture of: (This was sometime in December.)
And now a funny picture of Austin trying to deflate the air mattress in Texas: (it would've been funnier if I could've gotten my camera out sooner)

Next, here is pictures of me and my haircut: (Note: I am not photogenic. It looks better in person.) (Thanks again Hay for cutting it. I love it.)

Okay, stay tuned. I'm going to post about New Years and my resolutions. (Better late than never as I always say.)


Best & Worst of 2008

Another year has come and gone. By the raise of hands, how many thought 2008 went by extraordinarily fast? It was definitely an interesting year. It was the year of record high gas prices and oddly low gas prices, rising tensions in the Middle East, proposition 8, housing market crashes, stock market crashes, economic recession, and bailouts. The year Bill Gates stepped down as chairman of Microsoft, Michael Phelps became an American hero, and Barack Obama was elected the first Black president. 2008 saw the death of Presidents Hinckley and Faust, Heath Ledger, Charlton Heston, Arthur C. Clarke, Michael Crichton, George Carlin, and Paul Newman among others. I said goodbye to my Great Grandma McNeil and Austin’s Great Aunt Mary Ellen. I said hello to new friendships, a new niece, and the summer sensation of Dr. Horrible. Dear friends moved away. Jobs were lost and found. Yes, it seems change was the big theme of 2008.

Thinking about all of the many things that happened last year led me to a desire to recap my own experiences with 2008. Without further ado, I present to you my Best and Worst of 2008. I’ll start with the Worst as I always find it easier to deal with the bad to find the good rather than the other way around. Plus, it’s always good to end on a positive note.

Worst of 2008:
My heater doesn’t work during the winter and I freeze.
It costs $500 to fix it.
I hate the snow. It snows the end of March.
Heidi and Aaron move away. (Good for them, bad for us.)
Brett & Charlotte move away. (Good for them, bad for us.)
Austin loses his job.
Austin car breaks down and we have to get rid of it.
I make a huge, tiny mistake.
I get an eye infection.

Best of 2008:
We buy a mattress topper
We fix my heater.
I get LOST
We go to Texas for President’s Day Weekend and Christmas.
Heidi has her baby, William Aaron.
We celebrate our birthdays.
We become friends with Charity and James.
We go on vacation to Vegas.
Austin finds a new, better job.
Brittnee and Matt get married.
I work out every day for a few months.
I get a raise and start working from home.
Austin and I write a play.
We go camping with the Wests.
We celebrate our two-year anniversary with a trip to the spa.
Lily is born.
Tyler and Cheryl treat us to Chef's Table for watching their kids.
Austin gets two stories published in a college journal.
We get pregnant!
We discover Thriving Ivory.
We join a book club.

The Rest:
We make tin foil dinners with the Wests.
I get my wisdom teeth taken out.
We go to a college reunion and Summerfest.
We go to Thanksgiving Point.
We visit with the Beckstroms.
We go to a rodeo.
I babysit my nephews for a few days.
We go to a haunted house with Brittnee and Matt.

I now look forward to 2009. The year we welcome our first child into the world! May this year be as good, if not better, than the last.


Christmas Vacation

Christmas has come and gone but you get to read about it again. This year Austin and I went to Texas to spend Christmas with his family. I was excited to see his family but also felt a bit strange about being away from my family on Christmas for the first time ever.
We flew out on the 21st after Austin had finished his finals. (He did pretty well. Way to go baby!) My parents generously drove us to the airport, and we arrived in plenty of time. There were no complications or setbacks. It was actually quite empty for this time of year. We had a relaxing time while we were there. The week consisted of visiting with family, including both sets of grandparents who came and left at different times; playing Shanghai (I won twice.); watching Psych (a funny TV show friends have been trying to get us to see forever); seeing Alice perform in The Messiah (which was much longer than I thought it was. Apparently there’s more to it than the Hallelujah Chorus); visiting Brett and Laurie and their twin girls (Austin’s friends from childhood); going to Cici’s Pizza with Ammon & Lynette & co. (where Lynette won 2 prizes from the crane game after zealously spending quarters); going to the mall (where I bought Sephora eyeshadow with Christmas money); going to dinner at a Mexican joint (where I got delicious taquitos); going to the Houston Museum of Fine Art (which was pretty cool; we saw almost everything in a few hours. I particularly liked the impressionist and expressionist painting I saw, especially Matisse); and enjoying Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. (I also spent much time staying up and sleeping in. I read two whole books while I was there.)
Christmas Day in the Beckstrom family consisted of getting up early, eating breakfast (including Alice’s famous egg dish that was made by Austin this year), and having the missionaries over. I received many wonderful gifts from Austin this year including Firefly (the complete series, which isn’t much as it got cancelled), The Prydain Chronicles (a book series with 5 volumes that I read and loved as a kid and continue to love as an adult. If you haven’t read them, I suggest doing so.); a guidebook to the Prydain Chronicles; a book containing short stories about Prydain; Legend (80s fantasy movie with Tom Cruise); The Black Cauldron (old Disney movie loosely based on one of the books in the Prydain series which I have actually never seen); jewelry; small tape recorder (so I can record my thoughts and my songs); Tiny Toons (which I received as an early present); new slippers; Coco (Colbie Caillat CD); and a new DS game Professor Layton and the Curious Village (which I have already almost beat).
From Ammon and Lynette I received Girls and Boys (Ingrid Michaelson CD) and Kirby Super Star Ultra game for the DS (which is a port of the game I loved on the SNES system). From Alice and Mark I received a Wii (to be shared with Austin); a ladybug swaddler for Squiggle; and a rocker/glider that I get to pick out for the nursery. We also received money from his grandparents, an appreciated gift. (Some of this money went to my new wonderful eyeshadow.)
Thanks to my Beckstrom (and Valantine) relatives for the Christmas gifts! They were all wonderful! (And thanks to my husband who always spoils me.)
Austin and I were glad to spend time with his family, particularly Ammon & Lynette (and kids) whom we haven’t seen in a long time and won’t see again for a while. We much appreciate Austin’s dad for flying us out there so we could spend time with the family. We enjoyed our stay very much and will miss you all until we can see you again!
Austin and I returned home very late Sunday night (actually it’s more accurate to say very early Monday morning). Once again, security was easy to get through. We did have a half hour boarding delay that caused us to be a little late getting in. My parents picked us up and drove us back home. Thanks Mom & Dad for the ride. We really appreciate it.
My parents generously offered to let us come over for dinner Monday night. This was much appreciated as we had no food in the house. After a delicious dinner (taco salad for me, just tacos for Austin), we opened some presents from my parents. My parents got us this great utility vacuum with several attachable hoses. I was excited for this as it will be perfect to clean our car! I have already thought of several uses I want to put it to. Mom also got me some fuzzy socks and nice perfume. Thanks Mom & Dad!
Austin and I were very spoiled this year as we also received presents from Troy and Jen (who got us two new fun games: Othello and Tri-Ominos); HayLee (who got me a great pair of comfy slippers); and Brittnee and Matt (who got us Partini, a party game I’ve been wanting to try out). Thanks everyone!
I hope everyone had a very merry Christmas. Since I’ve already had the pleasure of reading all about your Christmases, it sounds like you all did.