ryan

My First Elkins Christmas


Last year, Nathan and I shared our first Christmas, but we were a few days short of being married so I slept at my parents, then drove over to our condo to exchange gifts. It was so nice this year to wake up next to him for our first married Christmas.

I could go on and on about everything that we did to celebrate, include all sorts of details and go off on tangents, but then this blog would be too long for Nathan to read 🙂

Instead, here’s the summarized list of a beautiful Christmas:

  • Having a real pine tree in the house smelled festive.
  • Dinner on Christmas Eve with Ryan, Laura and Bears was tasty, relaxing, and fun to open gifts from them and Mom & Dad.
  • I’m really blessed to have such wonderful in-laws (besides giving great gifts, they’re also just great people that I love spending time with).
  • Christmas morning, Nathan and I opened gifts from each other and everything was just what we needed.
  • My favorite part of Christmas was going to church–Nathan spoke in our ward and brought the spirit to the meeting, then I had the chance to accompany my Mom who was a special guest playing an arrangement of Silent Night on the violin. Mom, Dad, Grumma, Pete, Genny, and Cat all came to our ward with us so we shared the meeting with family as well as ward family.
  • After church, we went home to wrap gifts and call Mom and Dad Elkins to wish them Merry Christmas in Texas!
  • Sunday afternoon was the traditional lunch at Grumma’s where she served lil’ smokies on an orange because we all told her it wouldn’t be Christmas without them! The great grandkids had a blast with a white elephant and then the grandkids (which includes me and Nathan) received a special book this year that Grumma made for us. I love it.
  • Christmas evening was with my parents and the entire family where we spent a long time opening presents because of the number of people exchanging gifts we got for each other. Good thing we draw names so we’re not opening even more gifts. Grumma would just love that.
  • At times, the get togethers would get really loud with so many people in one room and so many excited children, but it reminded me of something Nathan told me he’d been thinking about in preparation for his talk: that when Jesus was born, we sing about it being a Silent Night, however, it probably wasn’t silent at all up in heaven. I don’t know about you, but I’d like to think that I at least tried out for the choir of angels who sang at his birth 🙂
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Happy Birthday Hubby!


We celebrated Nathan’s birthday on Friday. He started his day by getting up at the butt-crack-of-dawn (can somebody tell me the origin of that phrase?) to get ready for another fabulous day of teaching and I am pretty sure that I made him a lunch (it’s hard to remember anything before 7:00 am).

I spent much of his birthday at home with my laptop sending emails and doing other work-y things in order to earn my paycheck. For my lunch break, I went to the store to buy dinner.

Tangent here (surprise): it’s a bit of a daunting task cooking Nathan a birthday dinner. I couldn’t let him cook his own, though, and for some reason, I just didn’t think it would be as intimate if we went out to eat somewhere. I consider myself an able cook, but I know that my husband easily surpasses me in that skill. From what I can currently tell, though, I am still competitive with him in the baking category. Phew.

Tangent done.

Back to birthday celebrations.

After work ended for the both of us, we were at home while I finished up the cooking and, after being pressed, let Nathan help out some.

Then Jennie brought her fabulous little crazies over to wish Uncle Nate happy birthday and they brought drawings for him. Beautiful little creations. The drawings and the children. And my husband.

Shortly after they left we ate the birthday dinner. The menu consisted of grilled NY steaks, mashed potatoes, roasted cauliflower and green beans with pancetta. Mmm, pancetta. I cannot for the life of me recall what we had to drink. Pink Powerade? It’s possible.

I made a total mess in the kitchen, between all of the cake making, garlic chopping, pancetta dicing, cooking, frying and waltzing.

I had all sorts of good intentions to clean it all up before the cake and ice cream party, but I didn’t quite get around to it. Instead, we just ignored the full sink as family showed up: Dad, Mick, Tracy, Emma, Abe, Jane, Kate, Ryan, Locke, Maren and Dustin. It was a good sized gathering for our little condo.

Pogi hid most of the time.

Scaredy cat.

The cake turned out nice and moist (everyone’s favorite word) although according to Abe, it was “really rich.” Some of the kids washed down their cake and ice cream with popsicles.

Eventually, Kate went and found Pogi who surprisingly was happy to play with her and the feathered stick she waved about for him.

Little Locke made the most noise. He must have realized that it would take a lot of effort to be heard over the older children. You have to really fight for attention when there are Campbells around.

Eventually we said goodbye to family only to meet up with many of them again on Sunday night for dinner at Mom and Dad’s and more birthday cake. The family sang a rousing happy birthday (as always), we enjoyed red velvet cake, and then everybody took turns telling Nathan all of his amazing qualities.

At first, I thought it was a strange family tradition which we started only in the last few years. We go around the room and each person says something nice about the birthday person. Seemed like forced compliments, right? Turned out, though, everyone was actually sincere (with only a few random jokes tossed in for the sake of balancing out the cheesiness), and we’ve kept up the tradition since then.

I wonder if it surprises my parents ever that their kids actually like each other. Thinking back on all of the fights, punching, kicking sand in faces, broken bones, stitches, and banisters yanked out of the wall, it might seem a bit surprising.

Anyway, I loved hearing what everybody had to say about the birthday boy. Sometimes, my family really is quite nice.

Happy Birthday, Nathan! Lucky me to be married to such a young hottie.

Day 4: Is there anybody out there… like me?*


Today’s “Build a Better Blog” task required me to analyze a top blog in my niche.

My niche?

Is there any other blog in the world in my niche?

I was stumped.

So instead, I started scanning through my friends’ blogs. I heart my friends. I heart their blogs. These are some of them (in random order):

Mama’s Boys – Linds and I became friends our senior year of high school, but we went to school together since kindergarten. It’s sad that we missed out on all of those years of friendship we could have had, but we made up for it, possibly all in one weekend that involved squirt guns, walkie-talkies, cell phones, undercover gang patrol cops, and an accident.

Phabulous Phippens – Mine and Karen’s friendship came and went because she came and went moving to and from Utah and always back to the same school from elementary through high school. This included a short stint in a musical, getting in trouble with the typing teacher, and attempting to sing in choir first thing in the morning. When I have kids, I’ll expect to call her frequently for advice.

Shanny’s Life – Shannon and I also went to school together since kindergarten and became almost friends in high school, but REALLY became friends as roommates our freshman year in college. That happened because I leaned over in Calculus, senior year, and said, “Hey, I need a roommate and you’re going to BYU. What’s your social security number?” (I also follow her husband, Clark’s blog, Bethletard. It’s a good one.)

The M’s – Sabrina shares her blog with her husband-how cute are they? And again, she’s a friend who I went to school with since kindergarten, but didn’t really become buds until senior year. Are we noticing a theme yet? However, we do have some moments of connection prior to that, including hiding in a garage with baby quail (sometime in 3rd grade, perhaps), and having Calculus study sessions in my basement where we rewarded ourselves with playing some type of wrestling game on the N64 after.

my little adventures… – Meghan, Meghan, bo Beghan experienced the Larrie friendship curve. This is where it takes some time before she realizes my quirks are actually endearing and then decides that we should spend Valentine’s Day eating Thai food with our Korean friend and then bake mountains of chocolate chip cookies while listening to Outkast. Can you believe they allowed such unruly behavior at BYU? Thankfully, the friendship curve doesn’t seem to be a bell curve; no sloping down yet.

Scattered Starlight – English majors UNITE! Somehow, Katie and I never got to know each other during our tenure as English majors at BYU, but we became friends afterwards, thanks to my sister-in-law, her best friend, Genny. Now we get to connect in a myriad of ways, from reading each others’ blogs to twittering back and forth or posting on each others’ Facebook walls. Yep, we’re TIGHT.

v1.2 – “Kaakun” was in a BYU ward. I have no idea how we became friends because there are many, many holes in my memory from that year of school. However, I do remember him and Rachel playing the “state game,” his commentary during mine and my roommates’ ice skating finals, and drawing on his apartment window in the middle of the night. Since then, there have been Vegas weddings, broken beds, and vomiting at Crown Burger. Sweet, sweet memories.

Family blogs: life of laina – I’m so happy my brother married Laina, for many reasons, one of which is that she blogs and it’s consistent, unlike her husband, Thane, who recently started up again on his blog, My Separate from Wife’s Blog. Nobody else in my family really blogs so I adopted my sister-in-law, Tracy’s family: Aimee, internal conversations & ramblings of aimee heffernan; Scott, Vote of Die Blog; and Ryan, The Idealistic Investor.

Tiffanie – I am a fan of our story. We met briefly during the ’99-’00 school year when she visited my roommate from Kansas. Then, I ended up in that same roommate’s wedding party where her best friend from Kansas, Tiff, did not. Seemed odd and so I was hesitant to talk to Tiff because I was the bad guy in this situation. Then, many moons later, she moved to Salt Lake and we ended up in the same singles ward. I went up to her and said, “Are you from Olathe, Kansas?” Who’s heard of Olathe and who can pronounce it right? Me. That’s who. Oh-lay-thah.

Two of my roommates who weren’t actually roommates: Nichole-The Audrey show, and Leslie-The Collyafaces. We lived next door, but both apartments got along so well, we would have knocked down the wall that separated us if we could. Now, I just stalk them via their blogs where they post pics of their adorable little girls.

A Day in the Life of Clancy – I knew Clancy when I was younger, but she was always the big sister. Instead, I spent all of my time running around with her little sister, Lacy-climbing cherry trees, rollerblading down Harrison (from 1300 E to 1100 E), doing art projects and playing Nintendo. However, today, Clancy and I go rollerblading down Harrison. Wait. No, we don’t because she doesn’t even live in Utah. Instead, we just stalk each others’ blogs and hit up the jokes on FB chat. It’s a beautiful relationship.

Norton News – Amy and I rocked the basketball court (and sometimes the bench) in high school. I miss her motivational speeches tailored just to me and my emotional rollercoaster ride that was high school sports. Then, she motivated me through a summer of door-to-door sales by sending lengthy emails. Now, she’s got an adorable little family, house, life, etc. It’s fabulous.

View from the Bushes – Every time I read the title of his blog, I think of a peeping tom. However, Ross is not… as far as I know. He’s the former coworker who I initially judged by appearance (longer hair, scraggily beard) and then got over that and realized he was an English major turned geek with the sharpest wit in the department. He moved on to bigger, better things than our web dude at work and now I have to stalk him via his blog. And we have Facebook. Too bad I only got one date with his brother-he would have been a catch.

My sister blogs. Oh wait, no, no she doesn’t, otherwise I would have included it in the family section above. But once, her roommate tried to set up a blog for the two of them: Merphanie. That lasted long. The other roommate, Kasi keeps up the blogging on her own site: Kismet of Kas. Also, I follow Martha’s blog, MOSTLY MARTHA. I’m pretty sure we’re both Mrs.-Lake-trained writers.

I know-this list is getting very long. I skipped over some people because they haven’t blog very recently. (Or because I don’t want them to know that I read their blogs regularly, mwahaha.) The rest of the blogs that I follow are written by people that I do not know… AT ALL.

Here’s a quick list of SOME of those: almost literary, Normal Mormon Husbands, The Art of Over-Thinking, Why Mormon Girls Stay Single, Lifehacker, Mashable!, Seth’s Blog, etc.

Okay, I’m tired of adding hyperlinks so you’ll just have to guess what all the other blogs are that I follow. What blogs do you follow?


*When I started typing this subject line, I was singing in my head, Pink Floyd’s Is There Anybody Out There? There’s not much to sing, though. Basically, while writing the remainder of this awesome blog post, I was repeating over and over in my head, “Hello, hello, hello” fading out.