Friday, December 31, 2010

New Years

2010 was a half and half.
I feel like my year really started around July and it was peachy from then on.
I went places, got certifications, moved across the country, made new friends and made some good decisions.

2011 is going to be amazing.
I know it.
I already have plans to start the year with some incredible people.
My resolution for 2011:

take more risks 

and I've already started - and it's terrifying
Have a happy and SAFE New Year!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


I love reality TV.
But this is just too much.

These beautiful girls compete every week for a surgery from their "wish list". If you win a challenge, you win a surgery. Every week one girl is eliminated and loses the chance for surgeries and a dream wedding, all expenses paid.

When they are eliminated, the host says,
"Your wedding will still go on, it just won't be perfect"

Awful! Perfection doesn't come from extravagance, it comes from finally marrying the man you want to spend your life with. I hope we don't see more shows like this - it's really scraping the bottom of the barrel.

I will try to abstain from watching.....

Today Was a Great Day

I'm loving this break!  I'm sorry about all the photos I'm posting, but I'm loving having the free time and being able to take them!  Here's why today was a good one:

We took some pictures of this lady

Logan was lovely

and dinner with friends

have I mentioned that my friends have beautiful babies???

and tomorrow shall be even better!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas Indeed

My sister - the ultimate one upper :)
I just cannot compete with her!

Meghan's reaction to finding out that Maria will be going to ROME on her mission!
She will head out on March 16th.
Meghan Skyped with us from 11:30am-2:30pm our time, 2:30am-5:30am China time

Those are the flags of China, Chile and Italy. Five kids on four different continents - how did my parents get so lucky? :)

Friday, December 24, 2010

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Crazy About Cow

My family is a little bit crazy about our animals. We have four cats and a dog - oh, how I love them.

Today my mom called down the stairs,
"Rachel, you should come see Cow!"
"What's he doing?"
"He's sitting in the window sill.  It's as pretty as a picture!"
"I'm taking it that you want me to bring my camera upstairs and take his picture?"

Oh, how I love him.
And my crazy mom.

Christmas in Utah

Love the kitsch

Hyrum Main Street

My mom makes treats
(use this to stir your hot cocoa - yum!)

The neighborhood

the Chocolate Cafe....

....with amazing friends

Amazing friends make amazing babies


All I want for Christmas is family, friends, good food and warmth.
Wishes granted!

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Year My Sister Became the Favorite

Granted, Elisabeth has been in the running for favorite child since she started providing my parent's with grandchildren, but she really clinched the title last year.

Our dad is obsessed, yes obsessed, with John Wayne.  I think he owns at least 3/4 of the movies that The Duke made.  He starred in 142 movies.  Yeah.  Anytime I visit mom and dad's house I can guarantee that dad and I will watch at least one JW movie (my fave is Big Jake).

Last year, Elisabeth got my dad this-

Yes, that is hanging in the house.  
Elisabeth is the ultimate champ.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Mom's House

Being home is great!  I love being surrounded by the decorations that I grew up with.  My mom l.o.v.e.s Christmas, therefore we have no shortage of decorations - check it out

My mom makes these nativities out of popsicle sticks and clothes pins.
Click to enlarge, they are darling! 

My mom's good friend, Margo, painted this several years before she passed away.  Isn't it gorgeous? I love the sweetness in the little shepherd's face

A few years ago my brother, Taylor, made this manger and my mom displays it every year now.  Last year our old sock monkey slept on the place of honor

So happy to be home!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Mocktails and More

Friday night we got all gussied up and went to a mocktail party.
(great excuse to wear fishnets!)
My hair was MUCH cuter in person.  Boo.

What babes, I love these girls!

Some of our fabulous friends

For a while, we (me, Kayla, Devon) struggled with getting to know people.  We are all very social and happy, but we couldn't seem to crack the friendship code around these parts.  Times have changed and we are very happy with all the new friends we are making.  We feel so incredibly blessed with the good people we get to associate with.

Life is a party in DC, come visit me and find out for yourself!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Getting Festive

I have been kind of bah humbuggy (yep, just made that up) this year.  I just have a hard time getting into the Christmas spirit when life gets busy and I detest most Christmas music.  Sue me.

But, I'm finally starting to feel it.  Maybe it's because my lovely roommate Devon finally broke me down or because I've been blaring Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas is You", but I suspect that it's because I'm about 47 minutes away from landing in Utah.  Yep, blogging from the plane.  Woot.

I get to see my little loves in a few days.  When you're an adult (ew) Christmas gets so much better when you get to see the little one's reactions. I guess I should probably go out and get them some presents :S  Slacker!

If you're traveling this weekend or anytime soon, please be careful! 
And - Merry Christmas!

Happy Christmas, UK Rachel!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Best Friends

(nothing to do with the post, I just like this picture)

On Wednesday night I was on the way to Hannah's house and the friend I was with asked for the info on Hannah and her hubby, Neal.  I replied, "Hannah is one of my best friends, blah, blah, blah" (except I didn't say blah, blah, blah, I went on and on about the McMillan's wonderful qualities and what qualifies Hannah to be best friend status).

He said, "You seem to have a lot of "best" friends".

In fact, I do.  I've been thinking about this and I realized that while the word 'best' signifies one person, thing, etc, I am not content with labeling all my best friends as just good friends.  Nope, not gonna do it.

Here's the thing - we're no longer in middle school where the unspoken rules are very strict about best friends.  You can only have one.  Period.  Now, I realized that each of my best friends deserve the distinction because they are the best at filling a need in my life.  Certain friends are best at making me laugh, giving advice, keeping me grounded or just listening. 

Thanks best friends, you fill all the holes in my heart the best way you can.  I am a lucky girl, indeed.

Have a fabulous weekend!

"If all of our misfortunes were laid in one common heap whence everyone must take an equal portion, most people would be contented to take their own and depart."

- Socrates

Thursday, December 16, 2010

As an animal lover and a lover of all things baby - this makes me happy AND sad!  
Merry Christmas!
A hunter and his friend were sitting in a tall tower stand near Highway 7 early one cold December morning. Suddenly, a huge buck walked out of the brush and over to the corn they had spread in the small clearing.

The buck was magnificent, a once in a lifetime animal. His rack was huge.

The hunter’s hand shook as his mind was already counting the Boone & Crockett points. Moving quickly, the hunter carefully aimed the Leopold scope on his .300 Win Mag at the unsuspecting buck.

As he was about to squeeze the trigger on this deer of a lifetime, his friend alerted him to a funeral procession passing slowly down the highway. The hunter pulled away from the gunstock, set the rifle down, took off his hat, bowed his head and then closed his eyes in prayer.

His friend was stunned. “Wow, that is the most thoughtful and touching thing I have ever seen you do. You actually let that trophy deer go to pay respect to a passing funeral procession. You are indeed the kindest man I have ever known and I feel lucky to call you a friend.”

The hunter shrugged. “Yeah, well, we were married 37 years.”

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Everyday I look around and I know that this is right, that this is home.
I'm grateful.

Blogger Give Back - TOMORROW!

Don't miss out on this AMAZING opportunity to help a family in need and to score some amazing stuff. I can't wait to look over the merchandise!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Post About My Trip #5 (last one, I swear)

This is the "few photos, all facts" post.  If you ever plan to travel to Ireland, you must know:

-Their journalists don't mince words like ours do.  Ha!

-Red heads are non-existent.  We didn't see a single redhead!  Kate was the only one and she's not even Irish.  I thought it a bit tragic

-Americans definition of sweets and the Irish definition are on opposite ends of the spectrum.  Our first night we got hot cocoa and poured it out because it was not sweet all, we thought the machine was broken!  No, they just don't use much sweetener.  That's probably better, but for ladies with our strong sweet tooth's (sweet teeth?), we had a hard week of withdrawal.

-I will only rent a car in Europe again if I never have to drive.  Also, when I'm the passenger I would prefer a strong punch on the face or a 1600mg Ambien.  Seriously, either way, driving or passenger, is terrifying.  Especially on the TINY back roads.  Meaning, all of Ireland except Dublin.
(picture from the death chair, i.e. passenger seat)

-We didn't see any overweight people!  Yes!  Of course there were your typical plump older folks but no one with that obese look to them.  Congrats Ireland!

-Everyone was super friendly, especially when we laughed at ourselves, they seemed to get a kick out of that.  Even when we didn't understand their accents and we just nodded our heads and slowly backed away, they were absolutely delightful.

-There are sheep EVERYWHERE!!!  Just roaming and eating.  Each one has a spray painted dot on them to help the farmers keep track of whose is whose.  They were so cute, but scared us when they decided to grab a snack by the side of the road.  No, we did not contribute to Irish roadkill.
(check out that cute pink bum)

-Foreign money always feels like play money to me so I spend it without thought for consequence....sad face....
(Top Shop - yes, I miss you but I have my new wallet and purse to console me)

-At a restaurant/pub in Killkenny we met an old (super cool) guy who struck up a conversation with us.  Somehow we started talking about beef.....yeah.  Anyway, I mentioned that we both are pescatarians  but that I would eat my parent's beef at Christmas because they raised it yada, yada.  He then said, "oh you're a country girl!  You should move here and put these boys in their place, they need a good country girl to know how to handle them".  I love him.  Seriously. I couldn't bring myself to break his heart and tell him that I am far from a country girl so I just went with it.
(that very restaurant)
(so cute)

-Everything except for restaurants and pubs closes at 5pm.  Everything.  It's eerie.  

-Their radio stations provided these songs and these songs only during the entire week: "Only Girl in the World" Rihanna, "Just The Way You Are" Bruno Mars, "Firework" Katy Perry, "Forget You" CeeLo Green, and some weird techno song that would say "Barbara Streisand" every few seconds.  We did a lot of channel surfing.

-The Irish are very proud of their heritage and I LOVED IT! 

-On Thanksgiving we heard over and over on the radio, "Happy Thanksgiving to our American friends!  Call or text us with what you're thankful for!"  I loved it!  I didn't hear or see and anti-American sentiment over there (it's always a concern).  They are just fabulous.  Love

There really are old forts, cathedrals, castles, etc all over the place.  You can see them from the freeway even. Ugh, why is America so young?!?!  Kidding, I love home :)

(both pictures taken while driving)

-Most of the menus I looked at had their food providers listed.  Um, hello "Food, Inc" dream world!!!!  So amazing!

-Most of the homes have been named and that name is displayed on a plaque on their fence.  What would my house name be?  Hmmmmm.....

-Every town was SO colorful!  They are teeny, cute, unaffected by expansion and are just darling.  I think we both kept waiting for the bubble to burst, but it didn't.  They actually live and work in the most quaint and beautiful towns.  I adore Ireland.

I'll be back.  Say it like the Terminator.