Tuesday, December 30, 2008

10 years is a LONG time....

I was told I had to get my passport picture today for my trip coming up at the end of Feburary. Which wouldn't have been that big of a deal because thankfully I have been trying to get myself back into some type of normal sleep pattern and therefore making myself get up early so I don't have nights like last night where I toss and turn for 2 hours before I fall asleep... which means I straightened my hair today and looked somewhat presentable for a simple passport photo. But if I had known the day before I would've been sure to put on a shirt which brought out my skin tone and eyes as well as actually done myself up a little... yes I am a picture snob. It's a flaw of mine... one of the thousands. So sue me. But like I said, I was fairly content because I had at least tamed my beastly hair and straightened it this morning. After all it's just a passport picture right?

Well those were my sentiments while talking to the photographer during my photo sesh (that's what us model type people call a photo shoot). I stood up straight, made sure I didn't have any double chins and smiled away. He took a couple shots and then he stopped...

"this is for your passport isn't it?"

"yes, why?"

"you're not supposed to smile."

hmmmm. I'm not sure why you're not allowed to smile in passport pictures but I complied and tried to figure out a way to semi smile without actually smiling. Right. That went over about as well as a a whale swimming in a bathtub. He took one shot and showed it to me. I wanted to say "delete it and take another," like we do at home when taking "candid" shots to fill our walls with memories but I didn't want him to think I was vain, so I swollowed my pride and said "Thanks!" I thought about it and convinced myself that it wasn't a big deal, it's only a passport picture.

Ralph (the photographer) brought the pictures by later and I continued the mantra, "it's just a passport picture, it's just a passport picture," as I brought it up to our processing directorate within our building. I sat with Larry (my processor) and chatted while he went through all the paperwork. He hadn't seen my picture at this point and he jokingly said "I hope you like you picture because you'll have it for the next 10 years!" great. Thanks for the encouragement, Larry. Does the phrase cruel and unusual punishment mean anything to you? Well, it is what it is... at least for the next 10 years. Here I am, in all my non-smiling glory...

10 years of this?!?! REALLY? awesome.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year... Good Day and Good night!!

For some reason I seem to remember it taking FOREVER for Christmas to come. I could NOT wait for Christmas time. Once Thanksgiving came, there weren't many nights that I went to bed and fell straight to sleep. Visions of Transformers, GI Joes (WHAT?! I was a tomboy) and whatever the new toy out that year was, dance through my head non-stop. I'm honestly not sure when I stopped believing in Santa but I loved the idea of him and the excitement that lingered in the air during the Christmas season. Yes, I knew that Jesus was the real reason for Christmas, but come on I was a kid.... I still got excited about toys and new stuff! Christmas came and went BUT at the end of it all I had lots of new and fantabulous toys to play with so I wasn't really all that upset about the actual day ending. Plus! I was still on vacation for another week...what's so bad about that?

Fast forward to now... As of a week ago, the only reason that I could remember that Thanksgiving had come and gone was because it's hard to forget a 9 hour drive and a week spent with family. But other than that, I feel like I just got back from the Dominican (July) and am wondering where all the days went in between July and December. I got to go down to SC again to visit my parents and spend Christmas with most of my family. Love it! Going to Mom and Dad's house always brings back nostalgic feelings of Christmas time as well as an overwhelming sense of inadequacy. Mom redefines the phrase decorating for Christmas. It's like the freakin Cracker Barrel at our house during Christmas time.... I LOVE it and wouldn't feel like it was Christmas if there wasn't greenery, lights, santas, and some new home-made Christmas decor (she's like Martha Stewart, seriously) in EVERY (and I mean that) nook and cranny throughout the house. But I must admit, it makes me wonder if I really did come from this woman's womb.... my Christmas decorating consisted of strategically placing a nutcracker and a family of snowmen on my mantel. I tried counting Santas one time, but stopped at like 150 or so because all the shinny lights were making me dizzy.

For some reason a week of staying up late and sleeping in even later seems to have more repercussions now than it did when I was a kid (doh!). Christmas came and went and now I have to actually go back to work BEFORE New Years and am wondering how I'm going to get up before 8 tomorrow morning. It's almost 2009 for goodness sakes and I haven't even thought about possible resolutions. I need a pause button so I can take a day or two to reflect on 2008. I'm afraid if I blink too long, I'll open my eyes and it'll be 2010 without me even realizing that we're in a new decade.

For now, I guess I'll take one day at a time and try to make some sort of resolution for 2009 (stop and smell the roses? stop hurrying my way through life?....no, I need something I can measure... give me some time, I'll think of something) by the end of this year. Maybe. Christmas came and went too fast again this year but I'm starting to realize that's how life goes. I'll just have to remember that and soak up every drop of it while I can. My day is going to come early tomorrow, so as Ainsley (my niece) would say, "GOOD DAY!!! and GOOD NIGHT!!!" She picked that up from Johnny Depp, in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Nice. She is so darn cute when she says it, I just had to give her a shout out!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Wordless Wednesdays - I think not

There are too many words to be spoken today, so I'm scratching it in order to celebrate someone very special....

My MOM!! 61 years ago, God gave Gus and Jean Swanson their first little girl. I'm sure from the start they knew what a blessing she was but I bet they didn't know that she would be such a blessing to so many other people as she's walked through life. I think of different stories -the nerdy boys from hs that came up to her at her reunion and said "you were always so nice to us even though you were popular" or making dinner for a sick mother, the list goes on - that I've heard throughout the years about Mom going out of her way to make someone know they matter and I want to make sure on her birthday that she knows just how much SHE matters!

I hope you know just how amazing you really are, Mom. I can't imagine it was ever an easy task organizing 5 kid's schedules, being the head of whatever mom's clubs they had when we were growing up, cooking, cleaning, creating a loving environment for us to grow and having some kind of time for yourself to keep you sane. Oh yeah, I forgot, you too often put what you needed to the side in order to make sure everyone else had what they needed.... you still do! Of course I know part of what kept you sane was seeing us kids happy and growing, but come on a girl needs a break sometimes. And you've served your time as loving soccer, awana, and marthat stewart mom who never got a second for herself to breathe.... As we grew older, you and Dad continued to impressed the value of walking with our Creator as you had when we were little. Whether you were telling us or showing us with the way you lived your lives, it was obvious that God was the center of your life. That's probably the most important thing you could've ever done for any of us. Sure there have been hard times at different moments, but what's remained constant has been your devotion to God and yeilding to what is true.
Mom, you are so much fun! You crack me up whenever your precious Huskers are playing... What 60 year old woman knows every players full name, where they are from, what position they play and their favorite color?! Seriously. I'll never forget Marcus walking out of the bathroom at the house in VA saying, "Do you guys know Baret Rudd?" "No, why do you ask?" Marcus- "Well because there's a news paper clipping of him on the back of the bathroom door!" LOL!!!!!! I love the stories I've heard of you and dad starting a new chapter in your life down in SC. You make me laugh so hard sometimes. But please, no more laughing at dad when he falls down the side of the road picking up trash that fell out of the car... I just laughed out loud, literally, thinking about that story.

Mom and her man! (at a Huskers game of course)

Mom having fun!! She does a mean hula hoop!!

So today I just want you to know that you make a difference in my life, Mom. Whether you're making me laugh, challenging me, driving me crazy, teaching me something or just being my friend.... I couldn't imagine my life without you! Thank you for loving me so much, I am who I am because of you (and Dad). Happy birthday to you Mom! I'm thankful God knew to make me your daughter! He is so good :)

Mom and I just hangin out A loyal fan for life

I love you DESPERATELY, Mom....

Kate the great :)

Friday, December 12, 2008

First Win

We got our first win last night!!! Here is my write up for the school about the game... I will try to post these every now and then to keep you updated with the team and how we're doing! I was really proud of them last night, even though at times I wanted to yank them up by their jerseys (don't worry, I didn't)! Enjoy

- 12/11/08 Game

The Girls' Varsity Basketball team captured their first win of the seasonlast night over Holy Child at home. The score was 54-47, which brings EHSto 1-1 in conference play (1-0 in the division). It was an exciting win forthe Maroon that will lead the team into the Walsingham Academy Tournamentbefore the Christmas break with added confidence.

EHS started out the first quarter strong and ran the offenses effectivelyagainst the Holy Child defense. Rachel Hurley and Kelly Wallace stepped upand were offensive threats from the outside which spread the defense andreally opened things up inside for our posts as well. Holy Child wentinto a full court press that seemed to rattle EHS the first couple possessions. But the Maroon came together as a team and regained their composure to end the half with a 6 point lead.

The Maroon kept the lead in the third quarter but Holy Child was starting to chip away at it. The fourth quarter is where the excitementbegins!! EHS' focus for the season so far has been on relentlessly doingthe things that require only effort and playing consistently throughout all four quarters. The past two games EHS has struggled with that in the fourth quarter because of mental lapses and inconsistent play. The Maroon needed to stop that tendency in order to win the game.....and that is just whathappened.

Holy Child amped up their press in the fourth quarter and the Maroonpanicked for a few minutes. Long enough to allow Holy Child to take thelead. BUT our captains, Kelly Wallace and Breanna Jones did the best job ofthe season so far, leading and bringing the team together to regain their composure. EHS recovered their confidence and recaptured the lead bybreaking the press together as a team and setting up our half court offenses. Another key to EHS' win was controlling the boards, one of our goals for the game. Mary Foran led the team with 13 rebounds andBreanna Jones tallied 11 as well! Offensively, EHS was led by Jones with 23 points, along with 7 different players scoring for the team and the guardsdoing a great job finding the open player as well as feeding the posts. Defensively, after the Maroon regained the lead, Holy Child was held scoreless in the last 2:15 of the game, which was a enormous team effort!

This was a great win for the Maroon! It was our best effort as a team andeveryone contributed on and off the court. The team showed signs of growthand grit. The game was up and down, but they never gave up and most of allthey came together believed in each other! Please congratulate the girls for a well fought game!! The Maroon's next game will be at the Walsingham Academy Tournament. EHS will look to carry this momentum with them as we travel down to Williamsburg before the break.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Visions of John Legend danced in my head

Today is one of those days that as an adolescent, you wouldn't be able to sleep the night before. We have a game tonight at home and it's our first league game of the season! We're 0-3 right now but I'm hoping we turn the corner tonight. And if season league opener isn't exciting enough... I will be going to the John Legend concert after the game!!!!!!!!

For those of you who don't know about John Legend or my love for him, you obviously don't know me well. If you have spent any amount of time traveling with me, it's inevitable that you have heard this man's voice playing through my stereo. His voice is smooth and at the risk of sounding over dramatic, a part of me melts when his genius hits my ears and then resounds through my soul. I remember hearing "Ordinary People" for the first time on the radio and I thought to myself, "who sings this and when was it made? How have I not heard this song before??" I had mistaken his oldschool sound and soulful voice for song from the real R&B era, when people use to actually sing to real music... but I knew that it must've been a new song because I had never heard it. When I found out that he was a young semi-new artist and this was in fact a single from his NEW cd, I was hooked! I HAD to get this man's cd and when I did, I wasn't disappointed. As a matter of fact, John Legend has not let me down yet. I have loved EVERY cd he's come out with and am like a child the night before Christmas everytime he drops another album.

Unfortunately I have missed him in concert almost everytime he's come to my area (I saw him in concert with Common in Baltimore...amazing). And I thought I was going to miss him again because I had a game tonight. I didn't think anyone would want to go a little late and go after the game so I chalked it up as another missed oportunity. BUT I was wrong (thank the Lord)... I have a friend who loves John Legend almost as much as I do and bought a few tickets for the concert. He asked if I wanted to join him and I told him I had a game so if I came it would be late and I didn't want to make anyone late to the show. Sad. BUT because he shares the same affinity for John Legend that I do (he says J.Legend is his man crush... lol), he decided he would wait for me so I could go too!! How awesome is he?! Very.

So JC, this blog is for you and it's dedicated to you and your awesome opening-act-sacrificing-self!!! Thank you :)

Friday, December 5, 2008

Fantastic Fridays - New gadget

It's Friday, and it's been a while since I've blogged on a fantastic Friday... or at least it feels like it's been a while. Last Friday I was with the fam down in SC and it was a lot of fun... here are a few pics from the week down there....

At the dock so Cooper could take a dip in the lake...

Poppy and Laura

Grammy and Andrew

The whole gang

While I was down in SC, we went to the Verizon Wireless store. I ordered my new Blackberry Storm and I just received it last night!!! Wooo hooo! That's pretty fantastic if you ask me. I'm realizing that I have a little bit of figuring out to do in order to be able to use all the functions and capabilities this thing has. It's amazing! I feel like I have a hand held computer... which I basically do. I'm slowly figuring it out... but if anyone has a "Crackberry," as users often refer to it, and has some tips... I'm all ears!

Today I will be figuring this wonderful little device out... I've been waiting for it to come out. And it has finally arrived... That makes today, a Fantastic Friday!!! :)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Wordless Wednesdays - Holidays

There's nothing like a warm cozy fire when it's cold outside. Sitting by the fire always reminds me that Christmas is just around the corner :)