Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas 2010: Black Diamond and Diamond Ring!

December 18, 2010
Black Diamond Ski Run - Riva Ridge on Vail Mountain, Vail, Colorado
One year from our first date!
Chris proposed on the same ski run where my dad proposed to my mom almost exactly 30 years ago - and it was a complete surprise!
We are SO HAPPY!
Song of Solomon 3:4

We have been traveling, planning, smiling, exchanging gifts and spending time with family ever since... and we're happily exhausted!
More details about the proposal and trip to come, but now that all of our family knows, I wanted to share our exciting news with our blog friends.
Prepare for my blog to change from The Mountain Brooke to The Mountain Millers!
June 25, 2011 is our wedding date!

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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas 2010: Drive and Springfield

Chris and I are ON THE ROAD!!!

Our last day of school/work was December 17 and we hit the road in the afternoon on December 18.
December 18th was also our one year anniversary, so we went skiing in the morning... and more about our anniversary in another post... (STAY TUNED - it was a wonderful day!)

I don't know that I ever posted any pictures of the whole-view of my Eagle Christmas tree:
This tree will stay up until I get back to Eagle in January - it was a beautiful tree!After skiing in Vail on Saturday morning, we made it to Salina, KS by midnight and today we spent some time in Kansas City and Springfield! Behold Bass Pro Shop with the Santa Fisherman!Look out, Chris - there's a goat about to butt him, and a mountain lion about to pounce!
We found some great hats...And there's an elk behind us. Life is good!We had a great dinner at Lambert's Cafe -- the problem is, I wanted a salad and my mouth about hit the floor when this HUGE salad on a pizza crust arrived in front of me. Was this a JOKE?!?!?!
Here I'm trying to smile for this picture, but most of the salad is in the hotel refrigerator right now...
Chris and I are walking on air on this trip... we've been together 1 year, we've been dating long distance since August, we are about to spend the Christmas vacation with both of our families and we are happier than we've ever been!
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Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas Party Friday


HAPPY FRIDAY - - and OH, it IS a Happy Friday!

This afternoon starts Christmas Break and a two week vacation!

This week's Party Theme is Creative Christmas or Christmas Traditions with Christy. I don't really think of myself as a creative person -- but yesterday, my braille lesson was a big hit! Oh the miracles of peanut M&Ms and hot glue:
It says:
Hi (child's name)
If you can read
this you can eat m&ms.
Do you like m&ms very
much? I like them.
SandenA closer look at Miss Sanden
Other than the Braille lesson, I'm out of Creative Topics and on to Christmas Traditions.
I always send Christmas Cards.
*If you expect to receive a Christmas Card from me, beware because a picture of this year's card is forthcoming...*I bought my Christmas cards this year from the MD Anderson Cancer Center... they have some really cute items and the profits go to a wonderful cause.I always glue a Christmas letter on the left and write a handwritten note of some sort on the right... Christmas cards take a LOT of my time in the weeks before Christmas, but its one of my traditions!

This is an interesting year for me to write about traditions because it is the first year, I will not be with my parents for Christmas Eve and Christmas Morning. I will be in St. Louis experiencing the Miller Family traditions for Christmas Eve and Christmas Morning.

The Sanden Christmas Eve involves French Onion Soup and a late night Christmas Eve Service... evidently the Miller Family Christmas Eve involves a BIG extended family get together and a Steal-Your-Neighbor's-Gift Exchange. Both traditions... both very different! :-D

Regardless of the next few weeks, one of my Christmas traditions sounds simple, but I'm learning I'm unique in my tradition: I ALWAYS get and decorate a fresh-cut Christmas tree. This sounds like such a given to me -- but each year I discover more and more of my twenty-something friends and acquaintances who are single/not married/do not own a home/go home to their parents' home for Christmas, do not put up and decorate their own trees.
I LOVE ornaments and I have a big (and each year it keeps getting bigger) box of my own ornaments that I keep with me, wherever I'm living and I can decorate an entire 6-foot tree with memorable ornaments through the years.This little guy was a present from my best friend growing up, given to me in middle school. We always took her to Vail with us where we taught her to ski.This ornament was an extra ornament that my preschoolers made their parents last year.Plenty of harps adorn my tree because I played the harp very seriously for a number of years... it is my hope to someday play the harp more regularly again... it just hasn't happened in a while.
I love this Holy Family Lenox ornament my parents gave me last year -- Mary holding the baby Jesus with Joseph right beside her. It is hanging in the front of the my tree just under the star.
It is also a Christmas tradition of mine that when I wrap presents, the room becomes a MESS -- I think of it as Santa's workshop -- A VERY MESSY WORKSHOP! Lexie loves to play with the paper, ribbons and bows and I sing along to a favorite Christmas movie!
Some gifts are ready to go...What are your Christmas Traditions?
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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Best Part of My Day

What was the best part of your day?
Mine was walking into one of my schools and having the secretary hand me a beautiful Christmas flower arrangement with a simple card: I Love You!
These beautiful and fragrant flowers are from Chris and they are now in my office for me to enjoy for the next two days -- then on Friday, I will bring them home and probably give them to my neighbor to enjoy because Chris and I will leave town on Saturday.

Speaking of leaving town on Saturday, have I mentioned what my holiday travel plans are?
December 18 - Chris and my year anniversary, ski Vail in the morning then leave Colorado for Missouri in the afternoon
December 19-21 - Branson, Missouri to experience Christmas in Branson - lights, Cinese Acrobats and time shares
December 21-25 - St. Louis, Missouri Christmas celebrations with Chris' immediate and extended family
December 25-30 - Muskegon, Michigan Christmas celebrations with my immediate family and some family friends
January 1 - Greeley, Colorado COLLEGE FOOTBALL BOWL GAMES
January 2 - Eagle, Colorado and prepare to go back to work on January 3

What a busy and wonderful few weeks are ahead! These flowers are so beautiful and Chris put a HUGE smile on my face!
What was the best part of your day?
Or, if you'd rather, what are you favorite flowers?
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Blog Dates...

What's with the dates of my blog posts?

Treadmill was posted TUESDAY

The "W" in Christmas was posted SATURDAY...

This is bugging me.

Any idea why my blog is a day late on life?

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P.S. Of course, this post is showing the correct date... what is with this???

Monday, December 13, 2010


Before I forget, friends of mine is adopting a little boy from Ethiopia and they are 1 month away from bringing him home, but they have learned from the orphanage that he is very sick. Please keep Tucker in prayer.

For for the frivolous post:

I have been going going going like crazy!
I feel like I am on a treadmill, but it is an awesome, Christmas, I-Love-What-I'm-Doing Treadmill!

In the past few days I have:
  • driven to and from Greeley to spend the weekend with Chris (the trip back happens on Monday morning (a 4a-7:30a drive)
  • written, addressed and sent 100 Christmas cards (only 25 or so left)
  • baked bread
  • done laundry
  • vacuumed the family room and kitchen
  • shopped for family and friends
  • wrapped presents for family and friends (only a dent in this project is done... much more to do)
  • mailed packages to extended family
  • gone grocery shopping
  • exercised (several times)
  • gone to work the past two days - including an average of 50-75 miles of travel/day
  • made and eaten healthy dinners
  • fed the cat
All that to say, it has not left much time for blogging. And I have some really good ideas for posts too... including one of the island of misfit toys and one about nightly 10 at 10... I'm writing those titles so that you guys help keep me accountable to actually post them this week.

This is one of those AWESOME weeks where I'm so excited for this weekend to come... but I have so much to do every day of the week - and so much that I'm excited about each day of the week, that I am perfectly content for each day to pass one at a time!

Merry Christmas Craziness!
Jesus is the reason we celebrate!

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Friday, December 10, 2010

The "W" in Christmas

Growing up, our newspaper carrier used to include some sort of Christmas story with our paper on Christmas morning... I never forgot this one:

The "W" In Christmas

My son, Nicholas, was in kindergarten that year. It was an exciting season for a six-year-old. For weeks, he'd been memorizing songs for his school's "Winter Pageant."

The time for the performance came and I filed in 10 minutes early, found a spot on the cafeteria floor and sat down. Because the public school system had long stopped referring to the holiday as Christmas, I didn't expect anything other than fun, commercial entertainment - songs of reindeer, Santa Claus, snowflakes and good cheer. So, when my sons' class rose to sing, "Christmas Love," I was slightly taken aback by its bold title.

Nicholas was aglow, as were all of his classmates, adorned in fuzzy mittens, red sweaters, and bright beanies upon their heads. Those in the front row-center stage - held up large letters, one by one, to spell out the title of the song. As the class would sing, "C is for Christmas," a child would hold up the letter C. Then, "H is for Happy," and on and on, until each child holding up his portion had presented the complete message, "Christmas Love."

The performance was going smoothly, until suddenly, we noticed her; a small, quiet, girl in the front row holding the letter "M" upside down... totally unaware her letter "M" appeared as a "W".

The audience of 1st through 6th graders snickered at this little one's mistake. But, she had no idea they were laughing at her, so she stood tall, proudly holding her "W." Although many teachers tried to shush the children, the laughter continued until the last letter was raised, and eyes began to widen. In that instant, we understood the reason we were there, why we celebrated the holiday in the first place, why even in the chaos, there was a purpose for our festivities.

For when the last letter was held high, the message read loud and clear:
"C H R I S T W A S L O V E"

He still is.

Merry Christmas!

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Thursday, December 9, 2010

Christmas Party: Music and Movies

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Christmas Music and Movies... what a great topic! There are many of both that I love and help me get in the Christmas Spirit!

There are SOOO many wonderful Christmas songs/cds - especially the classic songs and classic singers (Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole)... but I want to highlight a newer Christmas CD that remains one of my all-time favorites.

The Christmas Shoes is a great song, but I also love Christmas Carol, and Sing Noel... these songs sing Christmas to me.

Other sounds that get me in the Christmas mood is the cd of Mona Shores High School Singing Christmas Tree: The Tallest Singing Christmas Tree in America -- and I sang in it 3 seasons.The choir is HUGE, music is beautiful, the students work so hard, the discipline to participate in this spectacle is intense... and the memories are priceless!

For the movie I'd like to highlight tonight, again, I'm deviating from my Classic Christmas Favorites. Within the past few years, I have come to love Borrowed Hearts and Twas The Night Before Christmas.Borrowed Hearts is a holiday romance about faith, trust, romance and love. My roommate and I watched it last night by the light of our Christmas tree with Lexie curled up beside us on the couch.As a child, I loved Twas The Night Before Christmas -- the cartoon and I've found that as an adult, I love it as much if not more. I know all of the songs (of the 22minute VHS) by heart and it really nourishes my child-like faith as I wrap presents, decorate my tree, re-read the Christmas story and prepare for Christmas with family."Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!"For more Christmas movies and music, visit here.

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Monday, December 6, 2010

Hallelujah Chorus

What a great video. Thanks, Aunt Pat!

Okay, so why is this YouTube video so big on my blog when my YouTube video from a few days ago fits perfectly? I don't like cyberspace blog issues!
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Flying Colors!

Just taking a quick minute to pass along my good news.
I passed my Braille Test with...I earned 92/100 on the multiple choice part and 100% on my braille transcription part! I am so happy all that hard work and studying paid off!

Thank you for all your prayers throughout that process - the WEEKS and WEEKS of studying, the pre-test anxieties and the actual test-taking. Thank you for walking with me through this process.Happy Monday!
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