Wednesday, December 30, 2009

it's the anniversary of our engagement!

biff and i met ice skating on january 9, 1992!  we got engaged on the ice at rockefeller center in new york on december 30, 1993.  and there are about  9,732 stories somewhere in between.  one thing for sure, we love to celebrate anniversaries!  i love a good tradition and as biff says, "if it's happened once, it's a tradition!"

we had the longest meet story of anyone we know.  it began about 2 skating seasons before we actually spoke to each other. i grew up going to a local ice skating rink named christopher morley.  before that, the only place i had skated was at polliwog pond.  my dad used to take me and my friend, suzy to christopher morley.

i started skating at christopher morley one winter, when i decided to just do what i loved.....just for me.  just 'cuz i was tired of asking people to go skating and listening to everyone say they hadn't skated in years, couldn't and wouldn't even consider it!  it was then that i realized that i had a five year old niece, who lived nearby, who would love to learn and it would be a fun activity for us!

let the skating begin!  and we did.  every thursday night.  any weather, as long as their was ice.  we had a great time together.  it was fun for me to do what i loved with a little person that i loved!  who knew the love that would follow.  love is in the air!

we skated together thursday nights and sunday late afternoons.  we talked and skated and skated and talked.  we had birthdays on the ice for my niece claire and we brought claire's little friends.  it was a great activity for both of us.  i was getting great exercise and she was learning something new to master and give her even more confidence.

again and again, i noticed a nice guy skating on thursday nights. he wore a baseball cap, a windbreaker, bluejeans and hockey skates.  he had a mustache and horn rimmed glasses.  he was good looking and in good shape.  must work at brooks brothers....nearby....he has that kind of look!

so, round and round we skated for two seasons.  and one thursday night, my niece was not able to come skating.  she had a cold.  i was disappointed but happy to get myself to the rink.  i loved skating.  i always loved skating and it was fun with friends or alone.

that night, as i finished up skating, i took  off my skates, put on my boots, wiped off my blades.....and i walked out the door and up the ramp toward the car.

it was then that my life changed forever!  biff, just a bit ahead of me, turned to look at me and said, "where's your girl?"  i said, "my girl, everyone always thinks that!  she's my niece!  she has a cold!"

apparently, biff had tried many times to talk but becacuse my attention was on claire, i never noticed!  wow!  that story could go on and on and on!  thankfully, biff talked to me when he did, because for us both, the riming was just right!  no boyfriends for girlfriends for him.  it was so nice that we met.  all i remember thinking! what a great guy!  that was so fun to meet him!.......even though i had seen him at the rink, it just was one of those things.....i wasn't there to meet someone,  it hadn't ever occurred to me.  i was really, truly skating because i loved it.....since i was little.

and so did biff!  he had been skating since he was very little and just loved it.  so, since he worked nearby, he skated there on thursday nights.

it was so much fun to meet at the rink.  we used to say "skate and date" made our "getting to know you" phase so easy and such fun.....and even claire got to meet him early on!  that was great too!
the year flew by.....he knew my favorite numbers were 123......we had talked about marriage...we had met each others parents......we had met each others friends.....we had lots of skate dates and lots of walks on the boardwalk.  we had rollerbladed to the beach when the skating season ended. we had boogie boarded together.  we had seen movies together.  we had gone to concerts together.  we had gone to baby baptisms together. we had gone to weddings together.  we had vacationed together.  we had fallen in love on the ice!

we got engaged on the ice at rockefeller center.  that story of getting engaged could go on til next year.  he did get down on his knee, on the ice....with the christmas tree at rockefeller center right behind him!  he said, "liz, we do such crazy things together..............let's do crazy things for the rest of our lives.......will you marry me?"

that's when tears began pouring down my face......happy tears......tears of joy!  of course, the answer was yes!

my life is better because of him.  he makes me a better person. we work really hard to work together.  we love each other and we try to show it everyday.  we have our bothers and pecadillos....and we talk them out.  we work together to figure out the hard stuff. we do our best to parent. we try....and try....and try.  we respect each other. we respect each other's families.  we love them.  they are the ones who have made each other who we are.  we love to be with each other.  we appreciate the others need to be alone.  we love our children deeply.  we love our own families.  we love our friends. we love each other.  we believe in each other. we support each other. we trust each other.  we are best friends.  we show our love for each other every day.

and although my nickname from my mom was little mary mix up, he doesn't even blink....when one of my life mixups occurs.  thank God that one of his greatest gifts and one of my greatest gifts is  a sense of humor.  we are serious about our lives, but our sense of humor saves us from the drama of life.  and life has alot of drama.  we trust in God.  we trust each other to look out for each other.  we are truly in love and treasure our love everyday....even when we're too tired to shout it from the rooftops.   it's the quiet that's the best......the quiet knowing and trusting.....that we are partners side by side.

anniversaries and traditions are fun.  what's not to love.....we met ice skating and got engaged on ice.....let's celebrate!  it's the anniversary of our engagement!

mixing it up a bit!

we have had a wonderful time skiing/snowboarding's so great for our family to get out together....enjoying some of the fun in life!  that's when life is good.  no mom saying, "did you do your homework yet?"..."please empty the dishwasher"......"get off the computer now!"  it certainly is good for all of us to enjoy outdoor sports and activities together.  just getting away gives us all a new perspective and a relief from our busy lives.  just us.  

mixing it up a bit....that's how my husband and i see it.  when we're out and about, with friends and seeing lots of other just seems to mix it up a bit.  we have us and that's great!  but, take us, move us, shake up the routine, mingle and meet and look at things and people with and without all of's mixing it up a bit!

we did.  since our early dating days, we always said, "we meet the nicest people wherever we go!"  it's true.  we dated, got married, had kids, had dogs.....and with each new endeavor,  we meet the nicest people wherever we go.  i think that's just 'cuz we expect to meet nice people.  actually, while we were dating and staying out in the hamptons during the summer, we found a great old,rundown,  ramshackle building that looked like it had once been a very small sailing club....maybe a beach community on the bay.  riding our bikes, one beastly, hot summer day, we wandered down a dune swept breezy lane and  the sight of the delapidated shack was a relief to both of was on the water, so we could sit on the dried out,  splintered, sunwashed dock and splash our sunburned feet in the cool water.  we sat back and imagined how it used to be.  we imagined the families who once enjoyed barbeques, beach parties and baoting in common.  we imagined the relaxed atmosphere of the location. we imagined the sunny days of summer there and the early fall as the families departed for their other lives back at home, somewhere else, somewhere that life was not as simple.

we loved that spot.  we brought friends back by bicycle. we took pictures. we laughed about what we could do to the place.  we dreamed of bringing it back. we dreamed of the days to come and the life that would be there.  we dreamed of the twinkling nights at night with families dancing to smalltime bands. we dreamed of colorful bathing suits, beachballs and keds, the sneakers. simple life.  very simple life just for people who were just "nice".  we dreamed of the name posted on the sign out front...."the nice people's club", for nice people.

we like to mix things up a bit. when we're out and about....just having fun with us and with others we meet along the way.
it's really not that corny.  it sounds corny.  we're not that corny! 

so, while we were up in new hampshire, we had to rent some skis....for us.  we stopped into the store, the one my daughter pointed out....because she saw the advertisement in a local magazine, they had great skis.....colorful skis by a name brand surfer company.  what fourteen year old girl could resist?  that was our ski stop.  they had just the right skis for us.

we saw a "life is good" store across the street in the very small summer/winter "resort" town.  who doesn't love a life is good store?  the t-shirts always crack me up.  while my husband got me a cup of coffee at dunkin donuts, grace and i ran across to do a "speed shop" ...we shopped, the salespeople were friendly and approached gently to offer help, but only if we needed it.  as we made our choices, my husband came in.  he had my small coffee with milk.  we were paying and i took a peek under the lid. "yuk", i said.  what?  it was the wrong kind. it was back coffee with sugar.  "epic fail!", as our kids would say.  my husband recoiled and said, "oh no!", he's a man who has learned the perfection of just the right amount of milk with just the right amount of coffee.  it's not that he cares.....he takes his coffee's that he respects my fragile coffee self.  with an uncanny desire to have my coffee, both hot with a capital H and just the right "color" coffee.  my pecadillos are pleasures me to know that i have friends with similar coffee pecadillos....go figure.  it more than pleasures me that my husband knows these pecadillos and loves me despite them!

well,  "we meet the nicest people.....",  a woman in the store seemed to understand  our concern.  as a local, she assured us, "go back and tell them that it's wrong, they'll give you another!"....we weren't sure.  she prodded.  why?  because she had the same pecadillo.....the coffee pecadillo.  my husband returned with a new coffee and we began to get in the car.  he said, "look what the woman wrote on your cup!".....i looked.  i laughed.  i said, "wait, i've gotta show this to the people in the store!" i ran in and showed them my cup that read, "sorry for our mistake....hope you enjoy this one!"......everyone in the store was happy to share the coffee joy and we all had a good laugh.  and off we went!

the next day, at the mountain, we were buying our lift tickets and we heard someone say, "hey, did you get a good cup of coffee this morning?"  it was our newfound, "life is good"friend, from the store.  she was working at the mountain.  we all had alot of laughs.  we introduced our friends, who would be skiing more than us this winter.  we bumped into each other again and again.  we all had alot in common.  we said our big goodbyes after three days.....just goes to show you, "we meet the nicest people..."

life is good, especially when we're mixing it up a bit!


as we like to say, time spent on vacation with our good ole friends is "a forced march through paradise!"  we have the best times together.  there are always lots of choices when we spend time together. we love them....they love us. so they say!  we have spent some of the most precious summers of our lives with them.....we have spent many fun filled vacations with them....we have spent weekends upon weekends with them.....we have celebrated many birthdays of our children together....we have spent some of our greatest family times with them.....our children have grown up side by side through the years.....we have lived through lots of family events.....we have shared in joys and sorrows......we have  been through the biggest of big..........playgroup!                  

after spending any amount of time with them, we leave with some of our greatest memories yet, WE ARE EXHAUSTED!  thankfully, for us, our friends are more of the "type a" variety, while my husband and i are more of the "type b" and sometimes a "type x, y or z"!  however, we get things done, we don't seem to have the planning and forethought as our "type a" friends.  we like to get the most out of a day......but they can do more, more, more! 

when we are with them.....we laugh about our forced march through paradise.   we tease them.  just as we are about to put our feet up, it's time to put our shoes on.   just as we are about to kick back, we get kicked in the butts.   just as we about to lay low, we are shot to the moon.........and we love it....every exhausted second of the march!

since we've had kids, our style has changed.  when we had new babies, i tried to maintain my busy lifestyle.....i was able to keep that going for a good, long time.  i lived, all dressed up, having places to go, people to meet.  i even had the car and carseats, baby "pack and plays", back packs, strollers, jog strollers and bike carts to get us there......while still maintaining my talbots matching belt buckles, hair bands and shoes.

it was when we lived up near boston, that i caught on.  i was in the museum of fine arts in boston, with a nineteen month old baby girl in a double, peg perego stroller and a three month old baby, t.j.,  being held close to nurse.  that was not the problem.....that was easy....i probably could have managed a lot, a pet monkey and a baby long as they were strapped into a stroller with a snack!  my three month old was certainly able to eat on the go, with no problem, at his drive through window,,,,,me!  my nineteen month old, grace, was buckled into her super stroller! 

life was good as we sat in the fine arts gallery,  echoing our happy sounds,  as people pondered the beauty of all that surrounded us!   most important, in stuffy, old boston, i had my personal food mart breast  covered well by one of the cute cotton blankets that my new baby boy had recieved as a gift.  incognito.....even his big sister, at nineteen months, thought he had "ho-mu-la", otherwise known as formula.

all was well in my life was full.  this stay at home mother thing was just great.  i didn't have to stay home all day.....eating bonbons and cleaning spit up!  i was able to get up, get everyone dressed.  coordinated, of course.  when i mentioned that i coordinated our clothing, my mom said, "well, why not?  you]'re the one who has to look at them all day!"  she seemed to think that was normal....after all, we did want to always be our best, didn't we?  and look our best?  of course.   as long as we all looked good were able to keep up an active life like i had before children, life must be great! look at me!  i can do it all!......kinda!

that was then......way back then.  and that day, the boston museum of fine arts security guard approached me.......that man changed my whole life....and the lives of our children and my husband!  what could a security possibly have done to change my life, you ask?  i wasn't plotting or planning a heist.  i didn't even have room in our 800 square foot condo to hang a poster from that museum, muchless an actual oil painting from the impressionest period.  he quietly stepped over to our little snack stand, where i was sitting on a bench.   he quietly, as only a museum security guard can mutter, "there is no eating in the gallery m'am." .......eating?   "we are not eating", i whispered.  t.j. was covered.  the guard, serious and sobering, stated that "the child is dispensing cereal."  yes, that's true, i told him.  "my baby has a few cheerios........but, that's not food sir!"......."that's survival", i insisted.  he chose to differ.  we put away the visible cheerios and after our food fest, we took some time to educate my budding geniuses while strolling through the remainder of the gallery.....walked to the car and drove home.

that's not the end of my story.....i spoke to my mom that night.  she asked me her ususal question......"what did you do today?"......i told of my adventures.  we laughed.  i described my indignant response to the security guard.  i hung up the phone.  when i kissed my babies that night, i realized that i had not taken them to the museum to educate them...haha....but, i had gone to the museum to prove to myself  that i could still do anything i wanted....even if one itty, bitty baby, who did not care where he was, as long as he had me at his disposal, did not care about fine art.......and neither did my nineteen month old baby girl.......although a perfectly intellectual little lady!   i realized i had taken them to that museum so that i would have an answer for my sweet mom.....the mom who had asked, for my whole life, "what did you do today?"

actually, it was then that i realized, my little babies did not care where we had been.   they really only cared if they were fed and clean and had some loving attention.  and that's what matters.  everyday. everwhere. anyhow. any way.

so, finally, i realized it was the, "how are you?" that really mattered......not so much the "what did you do today?" long as we were all happy and healthy and living well.....for us!

that security guard changed everything.    i slowly but surely began to prioritize, for me, what mattered.  i stepped away from a few "foofy doo doo" clubs, as my good friend called one of my womens organizations!  that security man made me realize that some of the "Foofoodoodoo" clubs really didn't matter to me, my husband or our babies!  and our lives got better and better, for us.

oh, we sure did baby ice skating.....with our little babies on the ice as soon as they could walk, maybe not even talk yet!  we walked miles with our double jog stroller, we met everyone in the world on our walks.....the mailman, the u.p.s. man, the neighbors, the store owners, the barber, the police, the fire fighters, the community.

we also prioritized our friendships.  we spent more time with people who really made us all happy....people we all had a great time!  life just got better and better!

and that's when our "type a" friends became really good friends with us.....we had slowed down....we actually had more time to spend....."quality time", as it became known, in the nineties.......we let go of some of the social groups that we found boring and phoney baloney and frankly, "foofoodoodoo"!

so,  as we changed, our lives changed.  as our lives changed, we changed.....all for the better.  and because we are more likely to be tagged,  "type b.....type x, y, z",  by our great's o.k........because, even though it's possible to make them crazy on occasion......we are not likely to go head to head trying to control andy situations......even paradise!   because of that security guard, back in 1996, we can be in paradise and enjoy any forced march we are exposed to......especially with friends.   sometimes, for us, it's great to have friends push us through paradise!  because, with some friends, we don't even have to be in paradise to have fun!   thankfully!

ho! ho! ho! it's daisy

do it all again tomorrow!


wow!  what a day!  everyone was up bright and early, dressed, had breakfast, brushed teeth, got our gear on and clomped out the a spectacular, snowy day! we all were bundled up and ready to go......all dressed up and no place to go......we were waiting for a take us from the condo to the buy the get on the mountain. as we all waited, we began to doubt ourselves and the shuttle timing. after lots of snowballs and debating our sanity, the bus arrived.....and we rumbled up the mountain road to to the lodge.....

and the fun began.  our friends, ski much more than us...they are way more experienced than us! we still marvel at our kids and how they truly enjoy one another and are always genuinely delighted to spend time together. talk about fun! friends who could easily hurdle down the hill, bombing down to the base lodge......instead, they gently meander with our family....3 skiers and 1 snowboarder......all adjusting to a new ski season and working very hard to get acclimated....just to get moving well enough to really have some serious fun.

all of these kids have been together since before they could walk and talk. the two older kids, 14, have birthdays within a couple of weeks of each other.......the boy, loyal and true to the girl, stayed with her and coached her and laughed with her and helped her push herself further than she knew she could today. certainly, as grace's mom, I know she can do just about anything when she puts her mind to it! although, instruction coming from her mom or dad can be most frustrating.....for her! more then us.

the two 13 year old boys look out for one another too. our snowboarder and his lifetime buddy go side by side, with lots of turns and twists and tumbles for our stubborn snowboarder, struggling to keep himself was a lot of work....just to keep his chin up....mentally and physically! it really was determination that kept him going. thankfully, he had lots of success skateboarding....he knows how to work hard and know the payoff.

the day was great....mostly achieving a level of success...certainly frustrating for our son, because he hurt his wrist …..a common snowboarder problem

we all took a break, had some lunch while the snow kept falling on a picture perfect day. t.j. and I took an earlier shuttle back to the condo...he was exhausted and aching. I was soaked and it was clear he had reached his's not often that he would pack it in and leave his good friends and fun. he worked so hard.....he really needed to lay low for awhile. we each had a shower and some mellow time and before we knew it, the others were back. laughter filled the condo. no sooner were they warmed up, filled with snacks then they were off to the pool and racquet ball courts.

after some delicious homemade chicken soup, everyone had some mellow time......hanging out, watching t.v.and laughing, then off to bed....everyone was pretty tired phony phone calls tonight!

as you may notice.....i too, am exhausted.....and need we can do it all again tomorrow!quet

family, friends, snow and skiing!

we're here! we've had a great day up in new hampshire......we haven't been skiing, as planned. it's been raining all day. we were looking out the window this morning, trying to get husband thought it was really hard rain...until he realized that he was watching ice float down the river.

we had a lazy morning...with the adults having a quiet start with lots of well brewed coffee and lots of discussion of how to spend the day. we ended up rolling with the energy in the air...the kids were all tired after staying up too late, making ridiculous phony phone's tough to be hard on them.....when we know they were harmless, ridiculous and spontaneous.....and it's something we grew up doing.

it's like growing up with television...we had a lot and today, people think growing up with I love lucy and the brady bunch and the partridge family and get smart and bewitched and I dream of jeannie and that girl and please don't eat the daisies and the ghost and mrs. muir......these were some of my closest friends....

when my 14 year old left for high school, I shouted after her, “try not to be like jan brady and sign up for every activity.....just to be popular!”....she turned and rolled her eyes....pretty much saying, with no words, "you don't have to worry about that mom, jan brady is lame!”....hey, I wanted to be jan brady! well, sometimes I really wanted to be marcia....except for when she got hit on the nose with a football and said, as it hit her, “ooh! my nose”.....the trauma was so bad that she kept having flashbacks of “ooh! my nose!”

sometimes, when something goes wrong at home, I say to my husband in a singsong voice, “ricky!”....and he'll shout from the other room, “lucy?”......i grew up with lucy and ethel's antics.....goodness, some of my greatest bits of my life have been based on lucy and ethel.......and the fun they had getting in and out of situations. for my husband, it was sheer torture to sit and watch them get themselves out of those ironic for him....he married me....lucy was my idol.

when I have some grand scheme or a plan to clean, organize, build or travel somehow without much thought of a time line....or realistic husband will either pretend to twitch his nose like samantha in bewitched or blink his eyes and fold his arms across his chest and hummmm the I dream of jeannie theme song!

and i'm supposed to reprimand these kids for a little prank call? as long as they're not playing norman in the movie "psycho" and keeping the language clean and laughing with their caller of choice.....i think it's long as they are respectful and kind.

I still remember being at a slumber party in 7th grade, waking up in the morning and making multiple phoney phone calls....on especially memorable ones was to a friends mom, who was from another country and was a little mixed up with her english........i notified her that if she was abler to sing the theme song to campbell's soup, she would win a years supply for her family! she hummed and sang the song and wow! was she proud!.....we were hysterical.......they are some of the greatest friends of a lifetime.....all in good fun.....and we still laugh about it today

after breakfast this morning, we all watched a new d.v.d together and had a lot of laughs.we had some mellow morning....just having fun with friends....who could ask for more. we all jumped in the car to see the town, have a very late lunch.......grace calls it “linner”...lunch and dinner. we came back to the condo and exchanged christmas presents and had a lot of laughs. fun kids and fun moms and dads.

and some pool time...some mom speed shopping time....some more time at the condo reading, watching t.v. and talking.....................then, to rest up for, hopefully, a snowy mountain with happy skiers and lots of fun together.

no camera is broken again! it's so hard for me to just let it go....i've been having so much fun taking random pics! I don't know how long I can last......especially with these kodak moments of the christmas season …....friends, family, snow and skiing !

fun for all!

Phew!! christmas was wonderful. Of course, Christmas is always a special time for giving and's just that now that our kids are older, we can only hope that this year's surprises will delight our teenage recipients. Some moments of the pre-Christmas frenzy are a relief....our kids are more clear on their desperate need to have their own laptop or a trip to Disney....apparently, our children are the only children in America who don't have their own laptop.....and the only deprived children in America who have not been to Disney World. For the first time ever, I am grateful that our children no longer believe in their dreams are a little bit more realistic.....they know they can ask and hope for the best....i mean, why not give it your best shot?

Our kids are really good kids who dream big. I say why not....since they've been born, the world has been on a technological rush.....while waiting for me to go into labor, my husband carried a beeper! That was the extent of our techno world.....a beeper , a house phone and a giant 300 pound gorilla of a computer, which, we were so grateful to receive as a hand me down. When we were starting out, we were more concerned with the babies comforts than my computer literacy. My husband had a computer for seemed to be somewhat extravagant for us to buy a computer when we hadn't even bought a new sofa yet. Priorities.........that's how we've looked at things since we have been together and thankfully, I notice our kids are catching on!

They see so much out there. Their friends, stores, television ads, magazines and general hype create the “need” for all of us. Ever since my niece turned us on to the show “hoarders”, I realize the excess that we have.....stuff that mattered at one time, that is tossed aside today. It's been very interesting to look differently at wants and needs, even as the economic downturn has affected so many.....once again, I site my trickle down theory. Of course, the change in economy affects all of us.

I think, for us, it is a great time to teach our kids about how hard people work for what they have.....we certainly have done our best to show them in our family and our world that we live in......they are beginning to catch on..... I admit, I'm not one to be chicken little, running around, saying the sky is falling......i do want our children to be aware that life is not just about stuff! We all love stuff....we also have to learn to value the stuff we have, think of what stuff other people need, truly need, that we take for granted. I think we have worked at trying to give our kids an understanding of priorities.

So, this Christmas season, we had a lot of discussions about wants and needs, realistic and ridiculous. Christmas isn't supposed to be the lottery! It has gotten way out of control for many. I'm relieved to have this economy to help us get real about my own needs and wants.

Really, after having a few years of loss....loss of special, loving family members.....there is no stuff worthy of replacing them. And not enough stuff in the world to give me more than the beautiful memories.......because it's just stuff!

I have always been the sentimental girl. I love and treasure some of the jewelry and photos of family from long ago, but as I get older, I notice that if I'm not selective about what stuff to keep and what stuff to let go of, it all becomes a pile of junk......just a bunch of stuff that is too big too mean anything but a headache, for me...the sentimental one.

I realize that I have to help our kids to realize what really matters to them......and that's a hard concept at any age. Somehow, I'm finally catching started a few years ago, for me. I realized that I would only buy clothes if they were colors and fabrics that I love.......that eliminated about 90% of stuff I like in stores. It really didn't help that I grew up with a mom working at saks fifth avenue and that I followed in her footsteps! Clothing, clothing everywhere......the next new thing that arrived with each seasons delivery became the next wasn't ever about wanting and since that was our mom and I justified every purchase. I was in a store when I began labor with my first child......only the beginning of labor, but if it had been up to my mom, I would have had my first baby there....but that's another story!

So, we concentrated this year on quality versus quantity and of course, had some fun stuff for our kids as well. They had a great Christmas...we did too....they were happy to give and happy to get. Everyone loved quality and the quantity didn't matter. We all had time to enjoy our family, our gifts....we took our dogs for a splendid walk on the beach, with snow.....we had a white Christmas.....and a fire in the fireplace.....some Christmas music and some Chinese food! Even though we have 2 ovens in the kitchen, neither one worked!

For the second year in a row, we have received a bonus Christmas present. Our friends invited us to ski with them in New Hampshire! Not only are we thrilled for the invite for the day after christmas, but we are excited to have more memories created....they last forever......and that's the best gift!

We're here in New Hampshire! We had a fun ride up here and we're with our friends.....I have my new laptop! It might rain tomorrow and we don't care cuz (sorry.....I'm not a gangster......should say because!) we're with our friends, who we treasure way more than any of the gifts we received!

We also have Christmas gifts to share with our friends....and we always have lots of laughs over those....I'll have to report on this giving and receiving fun for all!

and, on a technological note, my camera broke tonight.....even Steven,....i got my new laptop.....but I broke my will follow sometime!