Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Vacation Report - Florida

I'm happy to report that I'm in Florida. We arrived on Wednesday (wow that was almost a week ago! Time flies when you're busy and having fun). The plane ride with Elisabeth, Katelyn and Dallin was a lot less eventful then I thought it would be. The kids were good. The one thing I was kind of upset about was that the guy on the plane sitting across the aisle from Elisabeth refused trade seats with me. I tried to get the seat across from Elisabeth, but it was already gone by the time I got my tickets so I ended up right behind her and the guy across the way wouldn't trade with me and looked at me like I was requesting the most inconvenient and horrible thing. His excuse...'oh I've already put my luggage up and I don't want to move it and I would be behind it if I move.' Kind of lame. It was obvious that Elisabeth would need help, yet he didn't seem to care. But all in all it worked out. The kids mostly sat with Elisabeth and would come and sit back with me every now and then. The nice thing about it is that I ended up with an empty seat next to me.

The best news of all is that Elisabeth's surgery went well and she recovering well. (for more informaiton about what's gone on in Elisabeth's life visit her blog) She's a lot more active then you would think a girl who had a mastectomy just 4 days ago would be. She's never been one to be inactive. I love it here. Elisabeth's kids are down in Naples with Grandma and Grandpa and so it's just me and Elisabeth and sometimes Cameron. (he's currently in Alabama for an interview) Elisabeth and I have had so much fun. I got to shave Elisabeth's peach fuzzed head. It's supposed to help her hair grow back faster and it seems to be working since there's little dark stubble all over her head now. Elisabeth has been teaching me how to make cute hair bows. We went for a walk along the beach and we've been watching some chick flicks and catching up on life. Elisabeth and I are only 16 months apart and have almost always done everything together. It's been good to have a chance to really talk and have some quality hanging out time. I'll be honest...I don't want to go back to work.

My one complaint right now is I wish I had more time here. I would love to stay and help out more. I'm realizing that I would like to live closer to my family. Maybe once Elisabeth and Cameron figure out where they are going to be for Cameron's residency I'll need to find a job near by them...I'm kind of wishing for Richmond VA...it's only 2 hours from where I currently live and that would be convenient for me, but moving back west would work as well...it would be closer to the rest of my family. Family's important.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Reception - November 17th

We finally made it! For some reason the reception seemed a long time coming. There is really too much to share to know where to begin. So here are some pictures to hit the highlights.

Most of us arrived at 5:30 planning on using those 30 minutes to finish getting ready then we were told that we couldn't get in the the reception hall until 5:45pm. David and Melissa took advantage of the wait to practice their dance.One wouldn't think that 15 minutes would make that big of deal, but it did. Getting ready was a MAD rush. Both sides of the wedding party tripping over each other trying to get everyone ready in time to take pictures before the rest of the guests arrived. It was crazy. Some of the getting ready carried over into picture time.

Dallin waiting patiently for everyone to get dressed, made up and hair done.

Becky and I were put on Gift Duty. We were told that we were to make sure that the correct cards stayed with the correct gifts...

Sarah as put on Door Duty...she had to make sure everyone signed the guest book and tell folks where to go ( the place was kind of confusing)

My nieces, Katie and Chris came over to keep Sarah company at the door. They also were the official 'trash' collectors, gathering the ice cream bowls from the abandoned tables and putting them in the trash cans. They were very efficient.

My niece, Katelyn, brother-in-law Cameron and nephew Dallin on Ice Cream Eating duty...some people have it hard it's true.

Grant on Sleeping Duty...makes you kind of jealous no?

I kind of wish I was a little kid and could sleep whenever the mood hit me.

The Parents, Bride and Groom were on Receiving Line Duty...fun fun fun no?

Cutting the Cake - the official photographer has the best angle so this is what I could get :)

Throwing the bouquet - At first Becky, Sarah and I were the only ones out there...fortunately others joined us...The girl with the yellow flowers on her shirt caught the bouquet...practically ripped it out of Becky's hands, but Becky told us she's okay with that.

On 'Sneaky Duty' hehehe....we abandoned are various posts during the night to take care of one of the important traditions of wedding receptions.

The car look great. I don't have any really good pictures of it. My camera died right after taking the pictures of the twins helping out. However after we finished it was attacked by Melissa's brothers and didn't survive. It looked, as David said, like someone threw up on it....but we did a good job anyway.

The parents of the groom...happy the all went well and to have their son married off to a wonderful girl :)

Good times were definitely had by all!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Vacation Report - Christmas in November

Sunday, November 16th - Christmas day in the Durtschi Family.

We decided that since most of us aren't going to be able to get together for Christmas next month that we would exchange Christmas gifts and have our traditional Family Christmas dinner. Carolyn and Steve hosted, as usual and they even put up their Christmas tree in honor of the day (that's dedication and yes their neighbors think they're weird :P)

Most of the crew :)

Becky, Sarah, mommy and I spent yesterday night Christmas shopping and wrapping gifts. I will admit we were listening to Christmas music (this is a very special exception to our "no Christmas music until after Thanksgiving" rule)

Dinner was wonderful, as usual and there was tons of food. We're getting the point that we don't really fit in Carolyn's & Steve's front room/dining room any more. Once Becky, Sarah, and I get married we're going to have to relocate.

After dinner we opened Christmas gifts. The kids were extremely excited about opening gifts. They were so cute! I think most everyone enjoyed their presents.
Katie and Chris modeling their new shirts

Katelyn showing off her new princess stuff. She loves it! She's already listen/read her new princess book at least 3 times that I know of.

Even the 'big kids' had fun opening their gifts. Becky's showing off her new apron, popcorn and hot chocolate she got for 'Christmas.'

It was so much fun. It will hold me over during the real Christmas when I'm far away from all my family.

Vacation Report - Update: Days Three & Four

It's been crazy fun the last few days. Running around doing all the last minutes things on Thursday and Friday to get ready for the wedding. The best part was making sure everyone had something to wear. We made a few skirts and swapped shirts around and made some alterations to people's dresses. That's the problem with living so far apart. One person would find the perfect shirt, or skirt and buy it for someone but we wouldn't see each other until a day or two before the wedding. But we made it work.

My brother's all married now. It's kind of weird...but I'm excited for him. The ceremony took place Friday at 1pm. It was beautiful. I'm not sure who was smiling more. Melissa was rather emotional and so was my mom. After the ceremony we took pictures. It was a beautiful day, except for the wind...it was a killer. If it wasn't for the wind it might have been almost warm. I'm sure we looked cold in the picture the photographer took, even if he told us to think warm thoughts.

Waiting for the bride and groom outside the temple...brrr

My BEAUTIFUL sisters...they look good. Becky's hair looked better before we went out in the wind. Next time we're going to use more hairspray.

Elisabeth and Grant


Align Center Sarah

After the wedding we had a luncheon with those attending the wedding. Melissa and David made a slide show of pictures from their growing up years to share with us all. There were a few interesting pictures of me...and here I thought I was so cool as a kid :)

Some nieces and nephews. They are so cute!

Chris & Grant

"Sisters...sisters...There were never such devoted sisters"

Mom and Dad with Becky.

It was a lot of fun. We got visit with family and friends. Every thing was beautiful. Now we just have the reception to look forward to on Monday.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Vacation Report - Day Two

Nov 13th: A lot less traveling today...

I finally met my future sister-in-law. She seems like a really nice girl. I wish her and my brother all the luck in the world. They were both super excited about up coming wedding. David would say periodically during the day "I'm getting married tomorrow," and would get a silly grin on his face.

Today's highlight was picture taking. We took family pictures. We had the entire Durtschi family together for the first time in forever! Grandma Maren (my great-grandma on my dad's side) was even there, with all of Aunt Bev's kids and their spouses and Grandparents Durtschi. Lots of us. Sadly I forgot my camera so I don't have any sneak-peek pictures to share, but I'll post a few pictures once we have them (if I can). I got to meet my cousins-in-law who I had never met before. All the nieces and nephews were good about the whole thing. It was hard for Elisabeth's kid's especially since we STARTED at 7:30 pm, which is 9:30 pm in Florida and WAY pass their bed time. Towards the end they were letting us know that they were a little tired. I hope the pictures turn out.

I love being with my family!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Vacation Report - Day One

Okay. So I can't promise a daily report, but at least every few days to keep everyone updated.

Nov 12th: Today was a day of traveling. I left about 7 am DC time and landed in SLC about 3 pm DC time. Overall it was a painless experience. The best part of the day was seeing all my family. Elisabeth and her family landed about 30 minutes or so before me and we all when out to lunch. Mommy, daddy and Sarah were there too. Elisabeth's kids are so so cute! I can't believe how big they are. After lunch we stopped by Becky's work to say 'hi!' and then finally went home.

Being home was rather short lived :) Since we got home about 4:30 or so and then left about 5:30 to head down to Spanish Fork to visit a little more with Elisabeth and family. They are staying with some of Elisabeth's and Cameron's friends for freshman year at BYU. We had dinner together and then just played about. Good times had by all.

After dinner and play we came home and we found David here :) YAY! We put on a fashion show of what we're going to wear to the wedding (well mostly my mom did, since she's the one that matters most.) We finally went to bed about 1 am DC time. SO tired! It was a long, good day.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Enjoying the beauty of Fall

Mel needed to get out of the house...working on a master's thesis for too long isn't a good idea. And being the dutiful roommate that I am, I dragged her out of the house to go enjoy the beautiful fall weather. Of course a last minutes excursion wouldn't be complete without making Reed come with us as well. We headed out to Fort Marcy. The afternoon was brisk, but beautiful. I love this time of the year. It really is one of my favorites. Here are a few attempts to capture on camera the amazingness that is the changing seasons.

While we were taking pictures this lady walked by with her dogs and offered to take a picture of all of us and we figured, hey why not.

Fungus growing on a dead tree. It's amazing how pretty Fungus can be.

Walking off into the sunset....kind of.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Presidental Election - Voting

Everyone was freaking out about long lines and machines breaking down for the voting today. They were worried that it would take hours and hours to vote. That in mind we made a plan in our office to have a 'morning voting shift' and 'afternoon voting shift' to make sure our office would be covered. I was in the 'morning voting shift' and decided that 7 am would be a good time to go get in line.

I got ready and drove over the Longfellow Middle School and expected to see a line, which there was, but nothing to write home about. The hardest part was finding a place to park. Finally I just parked up the street and walked back to the school. I was accosted by campaigners the minute I got close, from both the Republican and Democrat parties. I guess they want to give the wavering voter one last chance to decide who to vote for. Honestly...

The wait wasn't bad...45 minutes start to finish.

Here are some things I learned from my voting experience

1. You can make some great friends waiting in line. I met one of my neighbors I never met before. We had a great talk about the area and what we liked or didn't like.

2. My Grandpa Larsen was right, if you go to the front you'll find a parking space. After I got in line I saw that the front row had an empty space I completely missed or may have come available after I left, I'm not sure, but I will tell you 3 more came available during the time I stood in line and not a single car came all the way to the front to use them. See...Grandpa was right. It always worked for him I don't know why I doubted.

3. Your vote does Count and voting makes you feel good. One of my coworkers received her citizenship last year and was extremely excited about voting and then someone told her that her vote doesn't really count and kind of explained the electoral college. She was really put out and felt that it didn't seem to matter if she voted or not, but it does. First off for the electoral college it counts. the Electors of each state can technically vote contrary to the popular vote of the state, but they rarely do, therefore you vote helps to influence the popular vote of your state and ultimately the election of the President and Vice President of the USA. Second it counts because how it can influence you. Voting (hopefully) makes you more aware of the issues/platforms etc of the politicians and more concerned/consciences of the out come. Wear that "I Voted" sticker with pride. I know, cheesy, but I feel that involvement, even in this small way, in our political system is important. It made my day to be able to vote (again cheesy, but true)

Monday, November 3, 2008

Halloween '08 - "The Best Halloween EVER!"

My friend Reed has daubed Halloween '08 "The Best Halloween EVER!" and that my friends is because we had the most awesome costumes ever. Reed and Brian came up with the idea to be Mario and Luigi and then Cat joined them as Princess Toadstool. But was that enough? NO! We had to find some more Mario Brother friends to join the fun.

We ended up with a Bowser (Darin Poulson)

A Magic mushroom (me)

and Flower Power (Melanie - see picture of Bowser)

The trauma of putting all the costumes together was totally worth it when all was said and done. Here's the final product of Reed's Halloween vision