Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Reason for the Season

           It's Christmas time...the best time of the year! I am loving the Christmas music and decorations and everything else that makes Christmas time so special. But I am so glad to have reminders about what this time of year is really about. We get to celebrate the birth of our Savior and hopefully spend more time thinking about him and his life and what he means to us.

        There has been no rhyme or reason to the seasons down here in Houston! We've had 65-75 degree weather all December. I'm not complaining about that, I'm just confused what season it is. In Utah, I know it's fall when the leaves start changing color and fall off the trees. I know it's winter when it gets cold and snows outside. But here in Houston, the leaves finally started changing a couple weeks ago and there is definitely no snow. I look out my window and it looks like fall. We go running outside in t-shirts and shorts and it feels like summer. But all the Christmas decorations are telling me it's winter! Just so you don't think I'm crazy, I took a few pictures to prove my point...
Keep in mind these pictures were all taken within the same week.




    Whether the seasons here make sense or not, I hope I can remember the true reason for the season this Christmas, our Savior Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Thanksgiving Weekend

    This Thanksgiving was our first big holiday away from family. We were planning on going home but the plane flights didn't work out with Mitch's school schedule and we figured we'd be going home 3 weeks later for Christmas anyway. (Now the countdown is down to 2 1/2 weeks!) We had a great Thanksgiving weekend and made lots of  fun memories.

    On the morning of Thanksgiving, we went and played in a turkey bowl at a park with some people in our stake and we couldn't believe how nice the weather was. While our families were getting hit with a major snow storm in Utah, we were out playing football in 75 degree weather in shirts and shorts! To some people, a major snow storm may sound crazier than 75 degree weather in November, but being a girl who's grown up in Utah, this weather is throwing me for a loop. Not saying I don't love it though...

Mitch's cousins invited us up to their house for Thanksgiving dinner. They were first timers on cooking the big feast as well but everything turned out amazing! We had all the things you couldn't live without on Thanksgiving plus nine pies for 6 people. They had made apple and pumpkin pies and we just had to make our favorites...pecan and banana cream.

                                                            Could we have enough pie?

And how about some Black Friday shopping? I had been looking around for a few months to find a good deal on a tv and with Black Friday and all, we thought it would be a good time to buy one. We looked around at a few stores and finally found the best deal at Target. But...we didn't want to be impulsive buyers and buy it right then cause that's always a bad idea right? We went home, made some dinner (Mitch was starving), and looked online just to confirm we FOR SURE had found the best deal possible. We called another Target that was closer to our house than the first we had gone to and asked them if they had the same deal. They said they were sold out! We called the other Target where we had just been and asked them if they had any left. They said we have 1 left, but we're not holding it! We packed up our dinner, ate it on the way while Mitch gave me a pep talk about sprinting back to the tv. We made it to the store in a record breaking 5 minutes. I jumped out and ran to the back of the store, expecting a crowd of people staring at the tv, deciding if they should buy it, and me having to take it right out from under them. I mean it is Black Friday right? I got to the back and no one was there besides an employee. I told him we wanted the tv and he sauntered off  to check if there were any left. We were in luck! We really did get the very last one.

                       Our early Christmas present to each other. Oh and we got a dog too.
    Just kidding, we watched our friend's dog over the weekend and had lots of fun with her.

                                         We also got our house all decorated for Christmas...

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Everything I learned, I learned in Kindergarten

    Last week, I got to spend two days substituting as an assistant in the same kindergarten class. Kids at this age are my favorite. They are so funny without even meaning to be. Most of them say exactly what they are thinking and aren't embarrassed to say it. They also have a hard time paying attention or staying quiet for long periods of time. The first day I was there, one little boy named Jack, who had the sweetest little smile, kept talking and talking and was not getting his work done. There were two Jacks in the classroom so this one went by Jack S. When I heard the teacher say loudly, "Jack S. Jack S! You need to stop talking," I had to try really hard not to laugh and didn't know if the teacher realized what she was calling him. The next morning, all the kids sat in a circle and did their morning introductions where one person is chosen to go in the middle and choose a person to greet. One little girl chose Jack S. The greeting went like this. "Good morning Jack S. Let's have a high-5 day!" I had a hard time not laughing again! I'm so bad! But it really was hilarious.

    Later that day, the kids were busy making Thanksgiving projects like paper turkeys, feathered Indian headbands, and homemade beaded necklaces.
I was helping Jack get caught up on his turkey when he told me in a whisper voice,"I accidentally cut the toes off my turkey. Cause I'm a bad bad maker." Oh I just love those kids! They make me smile even when they drive me crazy.

    Sometimes, I wonder if I'm any better than the kids though. A couple of Sundays ago, we were running out the door to get to church. I ran back in the kitchen to get a little bag full of skittles that were leftover from our Halloween party. Mitch looked at me like what are those for? I said they're for a little Sacrament treat ok! During one of the talks, Mitch looked over at me and there I was eating my little bag of skittles doing the "funstuf" where you have to try and find all of the hidden objects on the back of our ward program that they put there for the little kids during Sacrament.
He just laughed at me and asked me if I had heard anything that the speaker was saying. Of course I had! Mitch doesn't know how to multi-task. I do.So maybe I have a hard time paying attention or staying quiet for long periods of time too.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Date night!

This past Friday night, Mitch asked me on a date. I said, sure I'll go! What are we going to do? He paused for a second and then said the classic line... it's a surprise!... which really means I haven't planned anything yet. Instead of going out and spending thirty dollars on a nice dinner and dessert or movie, we decided to spend 38 dollars on homemade bread and jam. After not finding pectin, one of the main ingredients in jam, in a couple of stores, we almost gave up. Mitch hadn't had homemade jam in like a month and he was raised by an amazing mom who always had plenty of homemade jam so I could tell he was starting to wonder about the caliber of woman he had married. Finally, we decided to gamble and drive out to Whole Foods to see if we could find it there. We were in luck! We found the pectin and even more exciting, their raspberries were on sale and looked amazing.

We have made homemade bread only one other time together and it didn't turn out as yummy as we hoped because we kind of messed up. This time, we really tried not to mess it up, but we didn't let it raise as long as we should have so it is pretty dense, but still good.

 While the bread was baking, we started in on the jam. There's nothing like two big projects going at once. We almost ruined the jam but we pulled through. Our kitchen was a disaster, but ultimately, the bread and jam date night was way fun and worth every dollar spent!

It made a lot of jam and I guessed it would last us a year but Mitch said no way- maybe three months. If Mitch could live off of homemade jam and milk, he would be a happy boy. I'm so glad I have such a wonderful husband who spends as much time as he can with me, even though he's busy in medical school. I love him!

My Incredible Wife

Believe it or not, this is Mitch!  I wanted to take the chance to record some of the things that are the most important to me.  I'll try to make it a semi-regular occurrence.  First things first. . . .

This is my beautiful, amazing, incredible, did I mention beautiful? wife.  Kelsie.  You know her well, but you don't know how amazing it is to be married to her!  She is so thoughtful and funny and kind.  I go to bed every night and wake up each morning amazed at how lucky I am.   

Kelsie dominates life. She is always thinking of me and she does so much.  She is a star Guess-Who? player, connoisseur of all chick-flicks, championship KanJam partner, elegant dancer (she has literally brought me to tears before as she performed, as wimpy as that may sound), physical trainer, professional teacher, concert pianist, kind nursery leader, tireless cleaner (it's sad that she has to be, but I am getting better!), master event planner, huge Cougar fan, dynamite chef, and so much more.

I'm a little embarrassed to admit it, but more than once she has demonstrated that she actually knows more about sports than I do.  I remember one of the seal-the-deal moments for me when we were dating was when we were watching a BYU football game together and there was a simple lead play up the middle.  She turned to me and said, "isn't Vakapuna such a good fullback?"  Stunned.  Speechless. I just nodded my head and said, "Yes."  I had just been thinking the same thing, but never expected her to know that!  Just the other day she was mad at me for watching the Heat/Celtics season opener.  It wasn't because she wanted to watch "So You Think You Can Dance" (although she probably would have liked that), it was because Boise State was playing and she was mad we weren't watching that.  Last example: the other day someone randomly mentioned something about football and Kels turned to me and asked, "Didnt' Daunte Culpepper play for the Vikings?"  I honestly didn't know the answer.  I had to look it up on Wikipedia. Yes. He did in fact play for the Minnesota Vikings. Basically, she is AWESOME!!! 

I think this video sums up Kelsie pretty well. Listen to the random lady narrating her climb. Turn up the volume and watch her shine!

Ha Ha!  I can't watch that enough!  Every word of it is true!  Just impressive. She makes life look effortless and just amazes us all.

We love her even when (especially when!!!) she is being a little speddy : ).  She just knows how to make life a constant joy.  I can't tell you how many times I have found myself laughing until my stomach hurt at the dinner table or in the car.  She just brightens up every day.  You can't help but be your best self around her.  She just makes me ridiculously happy.

To the love of my life:  Thank you for being so incredibly perfect.


Monday, November 1, 2010

Family, Football, Fort Worth, Fun!!!

Fort Worth was worth the five hour drive! Mitch and I had been counting down the days till his parents and BJ got in town for the BYU vs. TCU game. Right after work, I picked Mitch up from Baylor and we got on the road. We thought at 3:30 we could beat the traffic but nope, those first couple of hours were stop and go misery. We finally got out of traffic and the drive turned out to be really pretty. We drove past ranches and fields that seemed to go on forever.We made it to the hotel and met Mitch's parents and BJ there. We had fun just catching up on everything that we had missed out on. It was so good to be with family!

The game was the next day in good old Fort Worth. We were excited to see BJ play in person instead of on TV where you can't see him sometimes. The game didn't turn out like we hoped but it was still a good game to be at. I know you're thinking, Oh a fall afternoon football game- perfect weather, perfect scenery, couldn't get any better. Not in Texas. More like 90 degree weather, sun beating down, wiping the sweat off your face kind of an afternoon football game. Still, it was a good game and we were cheering loud and proud for the Y.

After the game, we went to see the famous stockyards and street where they do daily cattle drives and rodeos on the weekend, just for fun. I loved it because it reminded me of our ranch in Wyoming and I love rodeos and horses and all that kind of stuff. We ate at the best steakhouse with Gary and Lisa, and Mitch drank his usual of about 10 rounds of lemonade. The waiter was struggling to keep up. We passed on the Rocky Mountain oysters, even though the waiter said they were selling 'em like hotcakes.  Not for us!

After dinner, we were on our way to go to a Haunted House for Lisa's birthday, but had to stop at Walgreen's to get Mitch and I some real shoes (we only had flip flops). It took us thirty minutes to find the store, find the right shoes, and find the right size (it's tough to find shoes big enough to fit Mitch's size 13 foot in Walgreen's). After all that work and tons of laughs, we pulled up to the Haunted House to find a mile long line full of teenagers. We took one look and turned right back around, running after Gary in the car in our new sneaks. We ended up going to a movie with Mitch and I sportin' our stylin new kicks or our 'house shoes' as one Texan called them. My shoes are really nice cause you can't really tell which is the left and which is the right foot so if you accidentally put them on the wrong feet, nobody will know.

We had so much fun with Mitch's parents and we were sad to see them go. Some of our favorite memories were lounging at the pool, playing horseshoes, staying up late chatting, cheering at the game, getting lost on the crazy Fort Worth roads, and laughing till it hurt. Thanks so much for the fun trip!

Friday, October 22, 2010

It's off to work I go

For the past two weeks, I've worked everyday substituting at this private school. It is so much fun and I really love my job! It is nice to be busy and to have a purpose. The teachers and kids at the school have been so nice to me and I am starting to feel a part of the school. Well, maybe not quite yet, I think they're still putting me through some tests. The nice lady who works at the front desk can never get my name right for my name tag. She had to scan my driver's license the first time to get my information and picture and for some reason, she put my maiden name as my last name. Apparently, once she's entered my last name in the computer, it can't be changed....ever. It doesn't really bother me that much, even after 15 kids have asked me why my name tag says Wagstaff when I introduced myself as Mrs. Peterson. One day I got lucky and the lady actually put Peterson on the name tag so I thought my test was over. The next day, I didn't bother to check it before I put it on so I was surprised when a parent volunteer asked me, "So how do you say your last name?" I was about to say "Oh it's Peterson....with an ON at the end, I know sometimes the en/on ending is tricky," when I realized no one would be asking me how to say Peterson. I looked down and saw that my name for that day was Elsie Gstaf. I guess I'm having an identity crisis or someone at the computer is.

I love being with kids and when you're with kids all day, you know you're going to have some funny stories by the end of the day. One day, a boy forgot his homework and after the rest of the class heard him telling me about how he left if at home but he really had done it, they all reminded him that there were absolutely no excuses at all. One boy said, "Yeah it's only if your dog really did eat it that works." The boy who had forgotten looked really thoughtful like he was trying to remember what really had happened to his homework. "Wait a second, did my dog eat my homework....I can't remember now..."

I feel so lucky to have work! It makes the days and weeks go so fast. Mitch is already taking his second block test next Tuesday! Mitch and I are loving living in Houston, especially now that the heat and humidity are bearable. It just keeps getting better and better out here in Texas.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Witchy Witchy.. Screamy Screamy..Happy Happy Halloweenie!

Things are getting a little spooky around here...We're keeping our eyes open for anything.

This tree is actually a spiderweb tree with real spiderwebs in the branches and on the cloth but because of our ceiling fan, it looks more like we got toilet papered. Those dang kids!
Lisa sent us the dress up your monster stickers and the Halloween card. Thanks!
We made some sugar cookies during an afternoon off. I got some cute cookie cutters shaped like Frankenstein, a black cat, a witch hat, a ghost, a pumpkin, and a bat and put them to work.

I love Halloween! It reminds me of my Grandma Evy. She loved Halloween too. She would dress up like Bony Legs and scare all of us half to death. I had nightmares of her for years..maybe still do. Once in a while, after the family Halloween party, Bony Legs would choose a lucky winner and would hide in that person's closet for a little extra scare when they got home. Sometimes when I'm looking through a dark closet, I imagine I'm seeing a black cloak with fur around the hood and my heart starts pumping fast. I can still hear her famous Bony Legs cackle and see her scary eyes and her hands rubbing her little pet skull as she told one of her very scary tales. I miss her and her fun traditions so much. She and my Grandpa made our family what we are and I am so grateful to them for that. She made Halloween one of our family's favorite holidays (or least favorite, depending on how scared you were of Bony Legs).

Thursday, October 7, 2010

There's No Place Like Home...

Oh how I wish home was only a click of my heels away. I was lucky enough to go back to Utah last week for my cousin Devin's wedding. It was so fun to see my family and friends and the beautiful fall leaves and the cool nights and everything that I had been missing. Mitch couldn't come with me because of school again so I made it a short trip. (Note from Mitch: It wasn't short to me!!!!)

I had told my little sister Natalie that I was coming in on the day after her birthday but had secretly changed my flight so I could be there for her big 15th birthday! When she got home from school, I was hiding in her room and surprised her. She was so confused and asked me, "Are you...wait were you...was this always the plan?"
We had so much fun together and I was so glad I made it for her birthday. She is growing up so fast and is such a good girl. She even drove me around while I was there! We went out to dinner to California Pizza Kitchen and kept the night interesting for everyone else around our table with Rex and Rich yelling for more pepperonis all night. Our waiter was glad to see us leave I think. 

I woke up early with Nats to do her hair and makeup for her game later. I was so excited to see Nats in action cheering at a volleyball game. She was such a good cheerleader and it looked like a fun group of girls. 

We got to help the Meiers get ready for Devin and Mia's reception which was at Tuscany and was so beautiful. Mia made a lot of her decorations which was fun to see.

The wedding dinner was pretty much a stand up comedy show with all of the Meier boys up on stage. It was at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. I sat next to my cousins Jake, John, and Judd who are all living together down in Provo. I tried to talk them into getting married soon so I could come home for another wedding!
My cousin Brooke and her husband Cj are applying to medical school next year and we are trying to get them to come to Baylor with us.

Devin and Mia lucked out with warm beautiful fall weather and such a fun night. They had jump rope, dancing, gelato, a great band, and everything worked out perfectly.

One thing that I just had to do before I left Utah was go up the canyon. Minds, Brady and I went mountain biking up Millcreek canyon and it was just what I needed. The leaves were changing and it made me wish that Houston had some mountains of their own.
I also got to go to Mitch's little brother's football game on Friday night. Of all the things that I did in Utah, I think this one made Mitch most jealous. He hates missing his brother's senior season. Greg played amazing and scored two touchdowns! One of them was off a 49 jet play. I don't know exactly what that means but I memorized it so I could tell Mitch later cause I knew he would squeeze every detail he could out of me. I sat with my mother-in-law Lisa and her mom Helen and it was so fun to get to chat with them and catch up on all the family stuff. I love them!
As hard as it was to leave Utah and my family, it was good to get back to my other home in Houston and see Mitch and all of our friends here. I guess there really is no place like the home where I'm supposed to be, Houston.