Wednesday, January 22, 2014

A Special Day

Alles Gute zum Geburtstag, Tanja! Happy Birthday! Today is our dear friend Tanja's birthday, and we wanted everybody in the world to know she's awesome. My former roommate in the Foreign Language Housing, Tanja has constantly been there for Jason and I throughout the years. She has played a hundred roles ranging from language teacher to matchmaker, from babysitter to incredible European hostess. We miss her in far away Germany, but appreciate how she keeps us connected through her periodic blog comments. Tanja, we hope your birthday is ausgezeichnet, wunderschoen, and lovely!

Tanja and I near her home in Friedberg, Germany

Tanja holding Brooklyn McCall on her first day in the world.

Brooklyn's very best newborn photo is in Tanja's arms.
Happy Birthday once more, and thanks for being such a great friend.

Today is special for a different reason as well--it's my parents' anniversary.  Unbeknownst to them, I went snooping through their wedding album today and got friendly with the scanner.  Enjoy this trip all the way back to 1977!

Cathy Ann Wells and Kay LeGrand Andrus, long before they ever dreamed of becoming NomiAnn and Papa K.

My parents were married in the Idaho Falls Temple, a year after my Mom's becoming a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  These photos were all taken at a reception in New York--much closer for her family.

Cathy and her little (but taller) sister Alison.

Kay with his new brother-in-law, John (Jay) Wells.

Loving gazes from the newlyweds.

Also in love, even after many years.  These are my father's parents, Garda Doman and Thomas Andrus. 

Here's my father dancing with the mother of the bride, Helen Riddoch.  While my grandma Helen passed away when I was eight, my father has always described her as very elegant.

Dancing with his daughter--here's my Grandpa John Wells with his now-grown girl.

Mother and daughter--Cathy and Helen.  (Sorry about the blurry photo.)

John Wells with Alison.

John and Helen dancing.

Time for cake!

Off to build the future. (My Mom sewed the outfits.)  :)

Now for a lifetime of happily (and a few not-so-happily) ever afters.  But the important thing is, my parents have pulled through it all together.
Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad.  We love you and appreciate your supporting us through thick and thin.  Even though life is crazy busy at the moment, we hope you'll enjoy your special day.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Christmas 2013

Having trouble sleeping (plenty of house stuff on the mind), which makes this the perfect time to finally catch up on Christmas.  Why?  Because photos make me happy and photos of family make me happier still. 

Christmas this year was amazing.  After much anticipation, Callie, Adam, and Zoe flew in from Washington.  We never anticipated that my Uncle Jay, Aunt Janet, and four Wells cousins would drive all the way from Long Island to join us as well.  More than a decade ago (gosh golly, gee whiz, it's actually been closer to two decades!), we surprised them by showing up on their doorstep one Christmas.  My Mom had been so homesick that we decided to hop in the car and drive to New York at the very last minute.  With no time to plan for a pet sitter, we simply brought our cat and hedgehog along.  (Yes, hard to believe we owned a kitty--not the most brilliant choice for our family.)

I remember how excited everyone was right up until the moment we pulled into the driveway in Long Island.  Through the upstairs window, we could see the silhouettes of two adorable Wells girls bouncing on their beds.  Callie and I couldn't wait to jump out and bounce with them.  My parents, on the other hand, were nervously whispering about how maybe they should have asked or at least given a little bit of warning.  But hey, it was an awful long drive back so we unloaded and rang the doorbell, pets and all.

Well, turn around is fair play.  If you ever want to feel loved, open your front door to be greeted not by the UPS man, but by a crazy/courageous family who just drove two days to see you.  Christmas will never feel sweeter.

A photo of our fearless carolers who arrived singing "Rudolf."  Janet was the star.

Gregory took a close second with his Santa beard.
I'm sure Jeanette would want me to mention, however, that she was the one brave enough to actually ring the doorbell.
Before we dive into Christmas, we can't forget Uncle Adam's December 24th birthday.  We celebrated with dinner out at Biaggis.  Sourdough bread and Ghirardelli chocolates...sounds like Callie's got a special San Franciscan trip  in mind!
The Wheeler family thought Adam needed a new shirt.  Had we known Uncle Jay was going to be close by, we would have purchased two!

No Christmas Eve is complete without Christmas stories and a sing-along.

Eli took his role as jingle beller quite seriously.
Callie lightened things up a bit.  :)
This year, it was Callie and I who read all about Jabez Dawes, the Boy Who Laughed at Santa Claus.
Katelyn played the guitar...

...while Nette, Alesia, Talia, and Zoe snuggled on the loveseat.
With a babe in her arms, NomiAnn found this silent night to be quite sweet.

At last, Christmas morning!  Time for everybody to line up at the top of the stairs.  Talia doesn't seem to like waiting...
I suppose that's better.  Santa left a very small bag of sweets in their stockings, but just the thought of candy was enough to send our Tally Wally off in a tizzy.
Zoe settled into Jay's lap, and it was time to open presents.
NomiAnn made some absolutely amazing clothes for Brooklyn's Kaya doll.
Much to his delight, Eli got all sorts of new trains.

He also loved his "Planes" book and remembered right away that it was Uncle Jay who first took him to the movie.
Reading with Alesia and Gregory
Callie shows off a new puppy frame while Papa K keeps his usual post as the trash collector.
We gave Jason a football in the hopes that he'll take us to a Huskers game.
I'm not sure what the ornament is, but Gregory's amused.
Oh look, more T shirts!  "The Library: A Great Place to Get Checked Out."

The kids all got matching shirts from the Shake Shack.  Love 'em!
Eli was pretty pleased with his new undies.  Gosh, we've come a long way since last Christmas when we traveled to Phoenix with his potty seat.
Oh, and another great book.   Goodnight, goodnight, Construction Site!
The kids and I had a blast shopping for mugs at Goodwill for the Wells family.  At least the chocolates weren't recycled. 
Be careful Jeanette!  The gifts are taking over.
Jason models his minion lunch box...
his Lego book...
...and his lens mug.  I'm never sure what to think when my husband's cuter than I am.
The kids' big gift from us this year was a Wii with four controllers.  I've never been a big fan of gaming, but we've been struggling to find ways to exercise in the winter.  We caved in and bought Just Dance for the kids and Zumba for me.  It's been a lot of fun--we even had my Mom dancing a couple days ago.  We hope to keep all our games active.
Callie reads a special card...
...while Zoe ponders why she must suffer through the yearly ritual of the Christmas headdress.
When shaped like a holiday cracker, Christmas packages just need two to open.
Callie and Adam put together a lovely "name frame" for the Wells family.
She also gave them a game so awesome that we both accidentally purchased it for them.  Katelyn thought it was pretty funny.
Uncle Jay joins in the conversation.
Wow, more train stuff!  NomiAnn made off like a Craigslist bandit, making Eli a mighty rich railroader.
NomiAnn checks out her new KitchenAid mixer.  You can see Talia modeling her new boots and hat as well.
Christmas wouldn't be the same without Papa K's Noel pin.

Happy grandparents.
The only person not particularly happy was Annika.  The poor babe was so sick!

I'd dreamed of Annie gleefully tearing into every package, but instead she flopped like a rag doll.
Fortunately Annika was a good sport and suffered silently.  Just like Zoe.
The antlers of shame.
Hope everyone had a wonderful (and not overly demoralizing) Christmas!