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New Year, New You?

I've never been one for making New Year's resolutions.  I suppose it stems from the fact that I would like to always be working toward something better - better relationships, more education, fewer bad habits, new skills - all year long, rather than just sporadically at the beginning of the year.

That or I'm lazy.

In fact, this year I didn't even remember it was New Year's Eve until yesterday, when Kelli texted me and said, "what are we doing for New Year's?"  It's strange and maybe a little sad to be so busy you don't realize the biggest party night of the year is tomorrow!  That and I have a terrible cold, so my stuffy head isn't keeping up with the facts at the moment.  (I also have a relentless cough that is raping my throat.  Ouchie.)  

Now that it is actually New Year's Eve, nearly 6 pm MST, I've been thinking a bit over the past year, and it was quite a busy one.  
In 2008 I:
1. Had three different jobs
2. Met, dated, and broke up with the love-of-my-life-so-far
3. Bought the cutest house ever! (and acquired the third of three addresses in one year)
4. Bought a lawnmower, washer and dryer, and a treadmill (all things I NEVER thought about before owning a house)
5. Made my own Thanksgiving dinner, and got my first-ever full-size Christmas tree
6. Made a handful of really great friends, and
7. Became an "auntie" to Sophia Lavelle Ainge, most beautiful child on the planet!

It makes me wonder what's in store for the next 365 days...but I digress.

Back to the resolutions.  Is there a reason people have decided that the beginning of the new year is the time to get into shape, or lose 10 pounds, or quit smoking or whatever?  I understand the 'new beginning' concept, but why is it that the resolutions are always so trite, so cliché?  What would be really great if everyone could look deep inside themselves and decide to become kinder, more open-minded, more patient, more loving, more optimistic.  What a fantastic world it would be then!!

At least for a couple of weeks.  You know by February everyone's given up on their resolutions.  So have any of you resolved anything for the new year?


The List of Done and Done Nots (mmm...donuts)

Go ahead and copy the list, and then highlight the things you have done...

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a Praying Mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill 
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors (um...does Vernal count?)
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michaelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted (had it drawn.  by a class of art students.)
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in movie
55. Been in a movie (movies of Christopher and I singing the Elephant Love Medley count, right?)
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies (I like to eat Girl Scout cookies.)
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial (many, many, many times)
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt 
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car (hey, it was new to me!)
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating (ew.)
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life (of course, it wasn't just me...there were nurses and doctors there, too.)
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one 
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Talked your way out of a ticket (I think the crying helped, too.)

How have I never swam in the Great Salt Lake?  What kind of a Utahn am I??


Christmastime According to Tonya

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?  Hot Chocolate...I've never actually tried eggnog that I can remember, but the thought of drinking raw eggs does not make me feel happy.  I ADORE the new hot chocolate at Starbucks: salted caramel hot chocolate.  It's full of salty/sweet deliciousness.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just set them under the tree?  Neither - Santa sets our presents out grouped with our stockings on the couch or chair.

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white?  I had to search high and low for those big white Christmas lights this year to put on my house.  I prefer white lights on my house and tree, but I like them all except the plain blue ones.  How is blue Christmas-y?

4. Do you hang mistletoe?  If I could find mistletoe anywhere, you bet your bottom dollar I'd hang it!  I'd probably carry some around with me, too.

5. When do you put up your decorations?  Typically the day after Thanksgiving, but this year I was on call for work and had to stay home, so I put up the tree on Thanksgiving day.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish?  Dad's glazed ham, Rayma's pumpkin roll, spiced apple cider

7. Favorite holiday memory as a child?  I can never remember specific memories from my childhood.  I loved driving around on Christmas eve looking at lights, then hanging out at Grandma's with all the cousins, going ice-skating together on Christmas day, and opening our presents together.  Also our rockin' cousin Christmas party and our crazy white elephant games.

8. Have you ever seen Santa?  You betcha.  Did you know on Google maps you can track Santa's progress on Christmas Eve?  

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?  Indeed we did.  We still do, in fact.  And the past couple of years Levi has had to work on Christmas day, so we opened all our presents on Christmas eve.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree?  White lights, silver, red and gold glass balls of assorted sizes, and a few sentimental ornaments like my Bawlmer pink flamingo ornament.

12. Can you ice skate?  Yes I can, but it takes me a minute to get back into the groove after a whole year without skating.  Also, the only way I know how to stop is to run into the side wall...

13. Do you remember your favorite gift?  Honestly?  I was super excited about my huge doll house when I was little.  In high school I was super excited about my letterman's jacket.  In college I was mostly excited to be home with the family.  I get more excited about the gifts I give.

14. What's the most important thing about the holidays for you?  Spending time with family and friends, eating amazing food, not getting stressed out, and decorating with tons of lights.

15. What is your favorite holiday dessert?  I'm a fan of dessert in general, I don't recall any that are only made around the holidays.  Maybe fudge or homemade toffee.

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition?  White elephant games at the cousin Christmas party, with everyone attempting to bring the gift that will be fought over the most.

17. What tops your tree?  A silver star

18. Which do you prefer giving or receiving?  Absolutely giving.  I've always LOVED the feeling of getting someone a gift you know they will just adore.  That's probably my favorite part of the holidays, is having a reason to buy fantastic gifts for everyone.

19. What is your favorite Christmas Song? O Holy Night, The Christmas Song, Baby it's Cold Outside, Carol of the Bells

20. Do you feel Christmas is too commercialized?  Yes.  Yes I do.  I don't understand why anyone would rather be stressed out and too busy and going into debt for Christmas  than just taking the opportunity to be with people you love and appreciating the season for what it is.  


If it's dark outside it's too early to be awake.

What is it about 2:30am that makes my body think it's time to wake up?  For the past couple of weeks I've been having this problem: I wake up at 2:30-ish and can NOT go back to sleep.  Sure, I'll lay there for two or three hours, willing sleep to come back to me.  I'll get up and use the restroom because maybe that will fix it.  I turn on one side.  Then onto my belly.  Then onto the other side.  I push the covers off.  I turn back to the first side.  I pull the covers back on.  I lay on my back.  Meanwhile I've looked at the clock about 75 times.  Then I finally decide to get out of bed, but don't have anything to do.  What do you do at 5 am if you're not sleeping?

I guess you update your blog.  

Thanksgiving was lovely.  I had to stay home because I was on-call for work, but I made myself a little turkey dinner, complete with stuffing, rolls (from scratch!  for the first time!), cranberry sauce (also from scratch-delish), and gravy.  I put up my Christmas tree and got some stuff done around the house, and I only got called into work once.  It was a good day.  

Yesterday was my birthday, which was also lovely.  At work I got donuts and the girls took me to lunch.  I also took myself out for a pedicure, and mom and dad bought me a ladder and a crock-pot.  (You know you're old and lame when you're that excited for a ladder.)  I'm now 27 years old, which for some reason seems old to me.  Logically, I know it isn't old.  I realize I'm still a baby, but it feels old.  Probably because I still feel like I'm 17 and just playing at all this work/house/grown-up life.  This week I also put Christmas lights up on my house, which was an exciting adventure - climbing around on the roof like a monkey.  My neighbor was a little nervous for me, I think.  She kept coming out to check on me.  :)  She's cute.