"Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of. but do it in private
and wash your hands afterwards." --Robert Heinlein.

We've moved!

For the next two years (Summer 2014-Summer 2016) I'll be blogging our family's adventures in China at www.chinesemileposts.wordpress.com

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Scarlet Fever Update

Now that I'm on antibiotics, I'm recovering quickly. I started on amoxicillin Friday morning, and by Friday evening (with the help of the throat numbing gunk) I was able to eat actual food and not just smoothies (which I was beginning to get sick of). By Saturday morning I didn't need the throat number anymore and could still eat normal food. I can even open my mouth more than an inch in diameter.

I still have a rash but mostly I feel it as bumpy skin more than see it as a red rash. Plus it's slightly itchy. And I read online last night that my skin will peel at the end of all this. Yea (sarcasm).

This morning my face wasn't puffy and swollen like it has been the past few mornings. But once I was able to eat normal food again, I realized my tongue was very sensitive. At first I thought it was a result of me accidentally numbing it with the throat gunk, or possibly that I'd freezer burned it with all of the cold cold smoothies I'd been drinking. After more internet research, I discovered that having a sensitive tongue is just one more symptom.

I still can't:

Sneeze - Every time I start to sneeze, my mouth opens to the point where it's too painful for my throat, and the pain in my throat cancels out the ability to sneeze. It's getting very annoying that I can't sneeze.

Yawn- Yawning is still enormously painful.

I ask my kids about a dozen times a day if their throat hurts. So far no one has a sore throat. Baby X has a runny nose and is generally grumpy (but this isn't new, it's been a two year old thing he's had going on). Buddy is "tired" today and has a fever. This is how Buddy does sick. He's knocked out for a day, hard, and then he'll bounce back. I'm expecting him to either throw up tonight (which Baby X did last week before all of this strep throat/scarlet fever craziness started) or wake up tomorrow with a horrible sore throat. Princess Sparkley seems fine. Jed seems fine. I'm crossing my fingers that they all stay healthy.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Scarlet Fever

Yesterday I self-diagnosed myself with scarlet fever and today a medical professional confirmed that. Okay, so her exact words were "strep throat and a scarlatina rash." BUT, if you do any research on strep throat and a rash online, you'll discover that scarlet fever is just strep throat with an accompanying rash. It just doesn't kill people anymore, or leave them blind because we have antibiotics now that treat it.

I was pretty sure I hadn't had strep throat since high school, but the more I thought about it today, the more I became convinced that those few days of school I missed my senior year were for bronchitis. Yes, few... it was probably the only time in my life I've missed school because I was sick. That's one of the reasons I knew that this time, with the scarlet fever, it was serious, because if it had me wanting to go to a doctor, it had to be bad.

My kids, however, think it is wonderful, because I've only been able to eat smoothies. Seriously, anything else, even cold water, feels like I'm swallowing a tumbleweed. Even the smoothie hurts, but the fact that it is freezing, numbs my throat to the pain. The kids are thrilled with this (because then they get a smoothie too) and don't seem too concerned with the fact that I've been contagious and around them for two days.

According to the doctor, the inside of my throat looked like raw hamburger. I hadn't looked in awhile because it was too painful to open my mouth that wide. I was a little disappointed that my prescription for amoxicillin didn't come as a pink liquid (I LOVED that stuff as a kid) but as giant pink pills. She also prescribed this numbing stuff that I'm supposed to gargle. Now picture this, I shake the bottle, I pour the clear liquid onto a measuring spoon, it doesn't pour like liquid, it pours like honey. How am I supposed to get that to the back of my throat. The answer, I don't. Most of it ends up on my tongue, gags me, some makes it to my throat, gagging me more as I try desperately to gargle it, not swallow, not throw up, all while my throat still hurts and my tongue is slowly losing feeling. My second attempt a few hours later went much better, still not a complete success, but I only lost a little feeling in my tongue. And it is a great help to my throat when it finally makes it there.

Thursday, January 28, 2010


I've never really been a jewelry person, at least not big chunky jewelry. But I'm starting to think that I should really incorporate some cool, trendy necklaces and bracelets into my wardrobe. I'm not sure if it's all the What Not to Wear I watched at my in-law's after New Year's or if it's because of all the Bones episodes we've been watching (Dr. Brennan wears a lot of chunky necklaces, which, technically, seems very unlike her character to be so cool dressing, by the way). And I'm not really sure I can pull it off well, and without feeling self-conscious. We'll see...

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

More Rounded Reading

I love young adult books. I never really grew out of them when I finished junior high and high school. Then I studied young adult literature at BYU as part of my degree in English-teaching. I'm not embarrassed by my love for young adult literature, especially with the incredible books that are being written for teenagers today. BUT... I do feel like I need to broaden my reading and so that my young adult versus adult reading is a bit more even this year.

This is last years book breakdown:
18 adult fiction books
2 nonfiction books
49 young adult and middle reader books

from here

I thought that in order to even things out, maybe I should make every other book be one or the other. Read an adult book, then a young adult. Adult, young adult, etc. But I'm stuck right now because the three* library books on my nightstand are all young adult books. What to do, what to do? I guess I'll have to even it out by following these three with three adult books. Wish me luck in my quest to be more rounded.

*Pretties by Scott Westerfeld, Princess Mia (Princess Diaries IX)** by Meg Cabot, and I Am the Messenger*** by Markus Zusak.

**The never-ending series that had finally come to in end (in book X) but first I have to read book IX and I don't want to because after 8 books of Mia being in love with Michael and finally being his girlfriend, she ruined it all at the end of the last book and in this book, she has a different boyfriend. I looked ahead, and she gets back together with Michael in book X, but I have to suffer through book IX first. How junior high did I just sound?

***Has anyone read his book Getting The Girl? I'm intrigued by the title.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Letters to Famous People

Princess Sparkley has been writing letters to people since she could form the shapes of letters and try to sound out words. Mainly, it was me making her practice by writing my mom (a former kindergarten teacher) or other family members. Somehow it evolved into her writing friends and famous people... a lot. Some of her "friends" were her "best friends" from 1st grade that she only knew for that school year, and only for the 1 1/2 hours of the day that she was there as a part homeschooled, part regular schooled, student. It's been more than 8 months since she's seen or talked to some of these girls. So when she writes a letter and seals it up in an envelope, I tend to not mail them. I'm not misleading her, I don't think that she thinks I mail them. I think that she thinks that someday I'll mail them and doesn't yet know that the answer is that I won't. Her friends that are her actual best friends ... I mail those letters, and I let her send emails to their mom's email addresses.

But this famous person letter obsession... I just thought it would be fruitless. I blame her interest in it on Jed who, apparently, has mailed quite a few letters to different authors over the years, not to mention newspapers, and who also insisted that we mail a wedding announcement to George W. (who was President when we were getting married). Jed saw a letter she'd written to President Obama* one day and looked up his mailing address with PS and we mailed it. She got a letter back. It was just a form letter (Dear Student, etc.) but all nice and official looking. Very fun.

After that Presidential reply, I figured why not let her mail letters to other famous people and so a letter was sent off to Lauren Child (who writes the Charlie and Lola books, along with PS's new favorites, Clarice Bean books). She got a letter back from Lauren Child's publisher, or agent, or someone, written on fun stationary with an accompanying blank postcard for PS to use (probably for more letter writing to famous people).

This prompted Buddy to want to write a letter to someone famous. PS had him about to write a letter to Lauren Child as well when I suggested maybe he should write Jeff, the little kid (whose probably now in high school or college) from the I Love Toy Trains videos that Buddy LOVES and has for most of his life. PS wrote the letter, I edited it, and Buddy drew a picture of a GG1, his favorite train. Yesterday in the mail he got a big, padded envelope from them with a note from "Jeff" in suspiciously girly handwriting (but with lots of personal references to Buddy's letter) along with an I Love Toy Trains coloring book. He is thrilled!

So, the moral of this story, if your kids want to write letters to famous people, let them.

*Basically, she told him that she'd read in a book we have about the Presidents that President Truman met his wife in Sunday School when he was 6, just like her mom and dad.

Happy Birthday, Baby X!


It's official, my baby boy is two. It seems like he was just born. But then it seems like he's always been a part of the family. Is that how it goes with all kids?

His 2nd-4th weeks were a bit nerve-racking, and there could still be rough patches in his future, but he has been and continues to be healthy, as well as my most active and into everything baby.

He needs a new blog nickname because, well, he's unfortunately not a baby anymore. Plus it's one of his New Year's Resolutions. I thought about going with Hart or Hartley, because of his special heart, but didn't really like either of those names, nor do I want to focus on the heart, since he IS very healthy right now. I'm liking the idea of Tiger, because it's not a real name (unless you are Tiger Woods,) and Princess Sparkley and Buddy don't have real names as their blog names, plus, with his heart condition, we have always joked that we'll push golf and bowling on him since he'll be unable to play any other competitive sports. But with all the bad press Tiger Woods is getting as of late... I'm hesitant to stick that name on my baby. I'll announce his new blog name soon...

*Elmo Cookie Cake courtesy of Jed... didn't he do a fabulous job!?!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Over the Top

Princess Sparkley is always planning a party. She actually sent us all emails* the other day inviting us to a dance party in her room at 1 PM. And her parties are always very elaborately planned, but not involving my help or approval. So she'll have a list of all the treats she's going to have at her party, and she'll have expectations for what our party attire should be, but all we know is we're supposed to be in her room at a certain time. Of course, on an average day, these parties pass by without us even realizing she was seriously having a party in her room.

Jed was questioning why she's always planning something and it always has to be huge. I worry that she gets it from me. I always plan over the top birthday parties for them (see here, here, here, and here). And we make fancy treats all the time. I guess the difference to me is that it's an actual holiday to celebrate, and not just a Thursday afternoon.

Her latest craft project is making this Valentine from the February issue of Family Fun Magazine. We've made these crayon heart Valentines before. And while the owl Valentine shouldn't be too difficult, (and she probably picked it because I'm currently obsessed with owls) it still seems a lot more difficult to me right now than a box of store bought Little Pet Shop Valentines (especially now that both of my big kids can write their own names), but she dreams big, so maybe I'll try to talk her into this, a little crafty, a little cute, a little cheap, and still fun.

*Yes, yes, she has her own email account. Jed set up a gmail account for her so he could send all her junk email from signing up to play Bella Sara to her inbox.

Friday, January 22, 2010


Is it wrong that I only care about the Superbowl because I plan on making an assortment of hors d'oeuvres* for our dinner that night? Not to mention we don't have cable so we aren't even going to watch it. I just like the Superbowl Party aspect of it all, and the chance to make a bunch of appetizers I wouldn't normally get to make. Yum. I've been told it's the first Sunday in February... just around the corner.

*This was one of my fifth grade, bonus spelling words.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Since I'm talking about my secret dreams here, I might as well come clean and tell you all that another one of my secret dreams is to be a librarian. I don't know if it will ever happen because it requires me going to grad school, which is more school (blech) and grad school requires taking the GRE or GMAT or something. Not to mention I'm kind of busy raising a bunch of kids, homeschooling them, supporting my husband through his own grad school experience, etc. But I love books, and I think it would be awesome to have a job where I was around books all day.

Plus, today at the library I actually came across a nice librarian (a first since we've been in Virginia). This librarian didn't shove any red cards into any of my books,* informed me that she really enjoyed one of the books I was checking out,** and told me that she too enjoys reading YA novels.

*Buddy agreed with me that this was awesome. But he's an an agreeable mood lately and has a lot of opinions. He also thinks President Obama has done nothing with his presidency so far (hmm... sound like Jed?). He also complains a lot about the traffic light timing in town (also reminiscent of everything I hear Jed complain

**Sadly, I think this was a first from a librarian. I check out A LOT of books, but I've never had a librarian comment on them at all... and they are librarians, they should definitely love to read and read a lot. They should have something to say to the library patrons.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

What DO I Write

I like to write. I can't exactly hide that when my blog address and my blog title are about writing. But Mary asked me what I write and the answer is both simple and complex. Basically, right now, what I write is a whole lot of nothing. I'm not a very motivated writer. Nor do I have 7 hours a day sitting in a classroom bored out of my mind in which to fine tune my writing skills and crank out stories like I did in high school and college.

I would like to write with the humor of Louise Plummer, Joan Bauer, Louise Rennison and Jane Austen. The brilliant creativity of Melina Marchetta, Mark Dunn, J.K. Rowling, Ally Carter, Libba Bray and Jasper Fforde. The ability to create incredible, realistic stories like Catherine Gilbert Murdock, Mary Ann Shaffer, Sarah Dessen, Laurie Halse Anderson and John Green. Be able to word everything so poetically like Sharon Creech, Louis Sachar and Jerry Spinelli. I wish I could create the suspenseful atmosphere found in books by John Grisham, Dan Brown, Lois Duncan, Joan Lowery Nixon, Lisa Scottoline and Wilkie Collins. I want to create stories that are simply fun like those by Meg Cabot, Cecilia Ahern, Amy Krouse Rosenthal, Ann Patchett, Wendy Mass, Sarah Mlynowski and Ann Brashares.

There are probably hundreds of writers I claim as my "favorites" who I haven't mentioned above. And most of these writers could fall into just about any of the categories I placed them in. Mainly I love to write. I would love to be successful at it.

If I had all of the free time in the world with which to write, what would I be writing? I'd love to work on a book, but for someone who has wonderful ideas that never make it past the introductory story set-up stage, a book seems like an unreachable goal. Right now, I'd like to finish one of my story ideas, if it ends up book-lengthed... extra fabulous.

What type of book?? I wanted to be a children's book author and illustrator when I was a child. This dream died when I discovered that I can't draw. Nor do I feel confident enough in my writing to be able to pull off a fabulous story in so few words. As I grew older I wanted to write young adult mysteries. This dream died as well because I've come to believe that in order to write a successful mystery or suspense story, you must be extra clever and smart. I don't think I fall into this category. I can see myself writing something along the lines of a coming of age, teen novel like those by Sarah Dessen and Joan Bauer. I also really enjoy contemporary chick lit, but knocked up a notch so it has more substance than just being chick lit. Something along the lines of Ann Patchett or maybe Nicole Krauss.

Until then... I'll just imagine my future as a successful author whose book was just picked by Oprah. :)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Princess Sparkley's Room

Buddy and Princess Sparkley have been sharing a room for almost three years. While Jed was off from school over Christmas, we took apart their bunk beds and moved Princess Sparkley into what was Baby X's room, and Baby X in with Buddy.

Princess Sparkley and Buddy's room in August when we first moved to Virginia.

Baby X's room in August (plus boxes and boxes of books, outgrown baby clothes, framed pictures, storage, etc.)

Princess Sparkley's new room.

Buddy and Baby X's room has a few more things still in the works.

How we're spending our time

Remember this pile of books:

It now looks like this:

Thursday, January 14, 2010

My first Blurb book

Yesterday my first Blurb book arrived via FedEx. So exciting!! I have a family blog that is mostly just pictures of the kids and funny stories about them and I decided that I needed to actually make it into our family photo album. Since digital cameras came on the scene, I almost never order prints of our pictures. I order really good ones, or favorites to frame every now and then, but we don't have photo albums full of them (in a box in our Harry Potter closet with all the other pre-digital camera photos). What we do have is an external hard drive we had to get in order to house the thousands of pictures we've taken in the past 6 years.

But back to my Blurb book. A few months ago I saw down, downloaded the Booksmart software from the Blurb website and got to work. It is time consuming, although I think I'm getting better at it. The book that came yesterday was my family blog from 2007. I just picked a random year to begin with, so I'll need to go back and do 2006 and then 2008 and 2009. Eventually I plan on scanning in all our old pictures and recreating an album for each year we've been married. This is one of my New Year's Resolutions and while it may be a slow process, eventually I'll get caught up and it will be much easier to only have one year to worry about at a time.

Here's what I learned:
  • Stop making picture collages because I don't want them in my Blurb book
  • FIX the red eyes before publishing them to my blog*
  • Keep more accurate dates. Or blog about it right after it has happened.
  • I might splurge and order hardcover, although I don't think I'd do it now because I want all of mine to match.
  • Blog about more funny stories, not just pictures.
  • Scan in more of the kids' artwork and stories.
  • Don't skip blogging about stuff that I'll want to have in my family photo album.
  • The colors I pick on the computer aren't going to be quite the same as when it shows up in print. I chose a pale blue for my cover and it's more of a lavendar.
  • The pages of the printed book are about the equivalent of a children's picture book. If I was rolling in dough, I'd have more than one Blurb book printed so the kids could have one to look through all they wanted without me worrying about the pages getting torn, wrinkled, smudged, etc.
Here's a sample of my finished product:

*I thought I had gotten rid of all the red eyes, apparently not.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Jed made me watch the dvd that came with our hair clippers today. I ran upstairs scared when they introduced "the mushroom" cut and explained that it was a cut that was great for both boys and girls. The end result, Buddy got a sort of decent, non-buzzed haircut. And Baby X just got a long buzz. I hated to buzz off all of his cute hair since it was so traumatic (for me) last time, so I tried to keep it long enough to put some gel in and comb to the side or spike. He did wonderfully, but wasn't going to sit still enough long enough for me to attempt a little boy, non-buzzed haircut.

Here's the before:

And the after:

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Star Wars

I don't think I saw all three of the original Star Wars movies until I was 20 years old and for part of one of my English education classes at BYU, I had to observe a teacher in her classroom. I was assigned to a teacher at American Fork High School and while I was there, one of her classes was learning about the hero journey and in order to teach that, they watched all three movies. Since then, I've seen the three newer episodes like every other American, although I either saw them at home on dvd, or at Movies 8 in Provo for $1, not six times in the theater in the opening week after camping out all night... like some people I know.

My in-laws raised three boys (and one girl) in the 1980s so while we were there last week and Jed was unpacking all of their books and arranging them on bookshelves, our kids came across a lot of Star Wars picture books. My kids are now experts on the plots of the movies and want to know how old they have to be to watch them.

They've known about Star Wars for years because our Kansas cousins start with three boys ranging in age from 12 to 9. It has become of even more interest to them because now that we are in Virginia, our 8 year old Virginia cousin just got to watch the PG movies earlier this year after years of waiting to be deemed old enough by his parents. Buddy loves playing Star Wars on the Wii with his cousin, got a Star Wars game for his Leapster and has a lightsaber (what little boy in America doesn't), but really has no clue what it's all about. He's currently driving me crazy because Baby X is asleep in their room, and his lightsaber is under his bed. Princess Sparkley is upset because she has a Polly Pocket she can pretend is Princess Leia, but we sold a lot of her Polly Pockets on ebay last year, and now she doesn't have any boy Polly Pockets to be Luke Skywalker.

What's funniest, is that they act like they are the experts on Star Wars when in reality, their dad grew up when Star Wars was everything to little boys. And knowing his brothers, I'm sure he's spent days of his childhood doing nothing but play Star Wars.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Home Sweet Home

We are home from our week and a little bit in Ohio with Jed's parents. And let me tell you, 23 degrees here feels so much warmer (how is that even possible) than 3 degrees in Ohio. Our drive home was without incident. There was no bad weather. And the snow was in the trees, not on the road. The only problem was that it was a 9 hour drive and NO ONE fell asleep. Jed and I were helped along by Vanilla Coke. But none of the kids slept. And I spent about three hours trying to keep everyone quiet so Baby X could fall asleep. But he never did, the little stinker.

Pictures from the road on the trip home. It was absolutely beautiful... especially since the road was dry.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Five Guys

I don't want to join in their war (A Random Stranger for In-N-Out vs. Ordinary Housewife for Five Guys), I just completed one of my New Year's resolutions and I wanted to cast my vote.

We ate at the Five Guys today in Columbus, Ohio with Jed's parents. It was yummy. It was a great burger. It definitely challenges some other burgers that are out there. It knocks fast food burgers out of the picture. But it doesn't compare to an In-N-Out Double Double. Sorry to all you Five Guys lovers out there.

This is especially sad for me because I have at least two Five Guys locations in my town. And the closest In-N-Out Burger location is approximately 2,200 miles away. But yea, because I can cross one New Year's goal off my list.

Friday, January 08, 2010


This boy is in desperate need of a haircut. This picture was taken Christmas day and in the last few weeks, it's only gotten worse. He's got A LOT of hair. And it doesn't like staying combed. It now reaches his eyelashes. But there are two, well, three problems:

1. Jed doesn't want to cut it. He just wants us to comb it frequently. And invest in gel stock.
2. Baby X is not a fan of getting his haircut.
3. Last time we buzzed his hair all off, it was traumatic for me.

This is after his first buzz cut, last February just after he turned one. He just looks like such a different kid!! He's had haircuts since this... but we haven't ever buzzed it again. So we need to trim, not buzz, and we have to convince him to sit still for it.

To Do in Twenty-Ten

Things to do in 2010:*
  • Eat at Five Guys
  • Create and order prints of Blurb books for my family blog for 2008 and 2009, (I just ordered 2007). Next year (2011) I'll have to back up to pre-blogging days and recreate a family history/journal for 2006, 2005 and 2004. THEN, after that, I'll have to start scanning in pictures from my pre-digital camera days. Maybe I should speed this up so I actually REMEMBER 2001 by the time I'm creating that blurb book.
  • Be able to run a mile without stopping.
  • Learn to quilt, resulting in making Buddy's new blankey.
  • Read 15,000+ pages. Include more classics, adult fiction and nonfiction.
  • Get fit. I'm happy with how I look and I'm happy with the size clothes I wear. I just could be more toned and fit.
  • Use coupons.
  • Start a book club for Princess Sparkley.
  • Finish writing something.
  • Be less sarcastic with my kids.
  • Be more crafty and hands-on with my kids.
  • Plan homeschool lessons in more detail.
  • Visit a museum (or historic site) in Washington DC at least once a month.
  • Teach Buddy to read well.
  • Teach kids to ride bikes without training wheels.
  • Teach Princess Sparkley to sew.

*These aren't my official, complete list of new year's resolutions, just some of them.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Baby X's New Year's Resolutions

  • talk*
  • get a new name on Mommy's blog

*Baby X has delayed speech. Not as extreme as Buddy had it, but it's there.

Buddy's New Year's Resolutions

  • Read level three books.*
  • Learn to ride his bike without training wheels.

*He wanted level five, but I wanted to make sure it was a goal he could reach by the end of the year.

Princess Sparkley's New Year's Resolutions

  • Write a letter to a friend each week.
  • Memorize a poem each month.
  • Sew something with Mommy.
  • Have a more positive attitude.*

*I encouraged her to add this one.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010


Growing up, I was an avid journal writer. Now, not so much. But since I was a kid, every few months or to start out a new year, I'd write a journal entry about my favorites. It's always fun to see what changes and what doesn't. For instance, me, circa 1990, had New Kids on the Block as my favorite singing group. NKOTB doesn't make the 2010 list.

My current FAVORITES*

TV shows:
30 Rock
Arrested Development
CSI (in this order, Las Vegas, New York, NCIS, Miami)
What Not To Wear

Music Groups:
The Killers

Dustland Fairytale by The Killers

Chippy Peanut Butter cookies
Pretzel/Rolo/Pecan creations

Book: (if I had to pick just one for right now)
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Hugh Grant

Tina Fey

Webkinz game:
Jumbleberry Fields

Card Game:

Kid Game:
Go Nuts!
Pass the Pig

Favorite Ice Cream flavor:
Peppermint/Candy Cane



restaurant hamburgers

Salad Dressing:
Good Seasons Zesty Italian

*I'm just listing whatever comes to mind right now.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010


Did anyone else watch Seaquest DSV with Roy Scheider and Jonathan Brandis in the early nineties? I had a slight crush on Jonathan Brandis (come on, I was 13 and boy crazy, not to mention, I have a little soft spot for sci-fi, hence my later obsession with The X-Files). It always started stating the date, 2018, or something. And in the early nineties, that seemed so far away. And the show was all futuristic. Now that we are in the twenty tens, 2018 doesn't seem so far off, and that's freaking me out a tiny bit.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Twenty Ten

So what's the consensus, are we saying two thousand ten, or twenty ten?

Sunday, January 03, 2010


We're in Ohio visiting Jed's parents in their new home. They moved from St. Louis right about the same time we moved from Kansas this summer. It is cold here. COLD. I've been living our first Winter in Virginia thinking that it was going to be about as cold as Kansas was, but now that I'm back in the midwest (Ohio is the midwest, right?), it seems uninhabitable. When we checked the weather before leaving Virginia, it was 30 something degrees. We checked the Ohio weather and it was 14 (feels like -2). Then we went to a local hockey game last night, left the arena at about 11:30 PM and it was so cold it knocks your breath away. I'd forgotten that about Kansas winters and so far, I haven't experienced it quite the same way in Virginia.

We took the long way home from church today hoping to spot a bank with a time and temperature display. In Kansas, it seemed like every bank in our town had a time and temperature display. Here, we finally found one at a bait and tackle shop of some sort... 18 degrees at 5 PM. Maybe they don't want people to know how cold it is here, or they'd all leave. Although that didn't make anyone leave Kansas and it was just as cold and colder.

So while my California family rubs in that they had a 70 degree Christmas, and find it unbelievable when they call and I tell them it isn't that cold, just in the mid-40s, (which to their California blood, might as well be below freezing), I'll just focus on these things:

It looks beautiful when snow is falling.
It looks beautiful when you wake up after a snow storm and everything is so silent and blanketed in white.
The leaves actually change color in the fall.
I get a white Christmas.
And this spring, we'll get to see the cherry blossoms in DC.
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