Sunday, December 31, 2006

This is my niece Ruthie, what a doll!

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Dinner at Macaroni Grill

We were so happy to meet up with Darek's brother Garlan, his sister Erin, our brother-in-law Rob, and the kids, Reagan, Alex and Vienna for dinner. They were passing through town on their way home from a skiing trip. It's always fun to get together and get caught up. We wish that we could have spent more time with them but are grateful that we got to see them at all.

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Happy Birthday Kirstin!

Kirstin is the greatest sister in the world! We celebrated her birthday with lunch at PF Chang's and we are glad that we were in town to participate in the celebration.

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We have a bad habit of jumping into the background of each other's photos...

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Shopping at the Gateway

The girls shopped (new 2007 journals! Good choice on the orange selection, Tish!)

While the boys played basketball at the Sky Box

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Good Old Village Inn...

We were so happy to meet up with some friends for breakfast yesterday. It ended up being a very busy day of eating out. Breakfast with friends, lunch with my family for my sister's birthday and dinner with Darek's family, who were unexpectedly passing through town. In any case, a trip to Utah would not be complete without a Village Inn breakfast.

Darek and his boyfriend, Darren

Jen with more of Darek's boyfriends, Wayne and Steve

Tish, Whitney and Scott

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Friday, December 29, 2006

Darek has had so much fun playing with his little niece Ruthie!

Please take note of Darek's sweet t-shirt in this picture. It was a gift from Brandon and Sarah. Nice choice!

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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

As you can see, Darek was pretty excited...

Mostly about Ali's toys!

He was so excited to play Operation

and he was an expert at helping Ali learn how to play her Gameboy

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What do you get when you add Settlers of Catan to Seafarers of Catan to Cities & Knights of Catan? A very complicated addiction!

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A sock'll do...

Darek and I failed to bring our stockings along with us this year, but his sock worked just fine for the few little stocking stuffers that were in need of a stocking.

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Christmas Eve Tradition...

My family has the tradition (as I'm sure many of your family's do) of getting PJ's on Christmas Eve. Somewhere in adulthood we switched that to sweatshirts or pajamas. In any case, every year I make sure that we observe this tradition by buying Darek a sweatshirt. This year I got him a Boston College sweatshirt and when I went to pay for it the lady told me that a second sweatshirt would only cost $10! Hence, the Harvard sweatshirt that I'm sporting! Hooray!

Darek also started a tradition the year before we got married that he would buy me a children's Christmas book every year for me to open on Christmas Eve. I got a cool one this year that is similar to Where' Waldo but it is a Christmas book and has lists of things to search for in all of the pictures. I love it! This is the sixth book of our growing collection and I love pulling them out of the Christmas decorations each year!

Darek was kind enough to demonstrate to me how the book works...please note the enthusiastic expression on his face!

Christmas Morning...

Merry Christmas (yesterday) everyone! We arrived safely and happily in UT on Christmas Eve and enjoyed a famly dinner that afternoon. Christmas yesterday was perfect! Family, gifts, treats and Settlers of Catan. I hope that you are all having a great Christmas break.

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Saturday, December 23, 2006

Death of Santa...

So, I wasn't quit sure any of you blog readers had the time, or the desire, to read my long posts describing some of the funnier Christmas moments of my strange and fantastic childhood, but as I know that at least a few of you have read them, and Kamilah was even bold enough to humor me with the request to "keep those stories coming" I have selected the next story to be included in the Christmas memories series. I warn you however, this story may be funny, but it may also break your heart, if you are indeed as tender hearted as I was at the young age of clueless...

So, I was whatever age you are when you should basically be able to figure out that the existence of Santa Claus is in reality the exisitence of the greatest hoax humankind has ever been able to pull off. I, however, being the imaginitive citizen of fantasy land that I was (and still am in many ways) believed with all my little heart that Santa was not only real, but he was more real then last year, and even more real then the year before, and so real that I just KNEW that he would bring my everything my little heart could possibly wish for.

Well, I am the youngest of four children, and therefore the last to have my dreams shattered by the knowledge that for some reason it is OK for all parents everywhere to fiercely lie to all children everywhere, to the point where we PAY old men to grow out their white beards and yell "HO HO HO" for a month in a desperate attempt to persuade our children that if they don't behave and stop hitting their sister and eat all their peas they are going to end up on the NAUGHTY list! I must admit, however, that if I were my parent, I would have held on to that leverage for as long as possible as well.

Anyway, so I was seven or eight or something, and I lived in awesome Boise, Idaho and we had a white Christmas and I was in heaven! I was all about ding dong ditching holiday treats on porches, and eating psuedo-treats off the tree (please see previous Christmas memory posts for details) and building men and angels of snow. It was the Christmas all seven or eight year olds dream of! And my Christmas list was long, oh so long, complete with a request for a horse and a kitty (these items faithfully remained on my Christmas list probably until age 15. I never received these items...and yet my belief in Santa, or at least that these were reasonable Christmas gifts, was unwavering...funny the absence of such coveted gifts didn't tip me off sooner...) and I believed will all my little heart that every item on my list would miraculously fit down my chimney and greet me Christmas morning, glistening under the tree.

Needless to say Christmas morning was a dream come true (again, in my delirious joy I failed to notice the whole no horse, no cat situation), I had received every thing (basically) on my list. One would think that the exquisiteness of this morning would have embedded in my memory forever all the gifts I received, but I can not to this day recall a single one. You may think this strange, but read on and you will soon discover why only one memory of this day remains...

After my extensive celebration I settled in to enjoy my loot. I distincly remember sitting on the step leading into our living room, surrounded by gifts, my little heart floating. I believe there may have even been shouts and exclamations of gratitude to old Father Noel. I was surprised to notice that my family was slowly gathering around me, such somber expressions on their faces. No holiday joy. No smiles of dreams granted. My stomach fell. A voice among them said, "Amber, we have to tell you something..." Fear gripped me. I thought that surely someone had died! I braced myself for the news of a fatal accident, a dreaded disease, whatever tragedy was strong enough to extinguish the Christmas joy.

Again, I can not recall who's voice it was, but someone said, "Amber, Santa is not real." Shock! Denial! Utter devestation! I was RIGHT! There had been a death, the death of Santa Claus...and the death of a little girl's heart along with it! I was literally devestated! I remember protesting, "But I believed so much!" and their explanations that they had to tell me because I had simply asked for TOO much! They had thought it was better to give me one last Christmas, get me everything I asked for, then let me have it! Now don't get me wrong, I love that they gave me the Christmas that all little girls dream of (sans pony and cat) but please, the next time a kid is too clueless to figure out this sad truth on her own, perhaps consider waiting until January, February, maybe even March before killing Santa...maybe she'll forget the pain by next December...

I am happy to say however, that Santa has not died. Santa isn't the big dude in the north pole that miraculously flies around the entire world in one night and somehow slips down your chimney without leaving a single smug of soot on your carpet. Santa is the Christmas Spirit, the Christmas Spirit that makes us nicer and more charitable and more Christlike, once a year, and something we should strive to embrace all year long...
We're going out of town!!!

Hooray! We are so excited to head to UT for two full weeks tomorrow! We're looking forward to seeing lots of family and friends, eating lots ot yummy food and playing lots of Settlers of Catan! Any of you friends who are going to be in UT over the next two weeks (or already live there), we hope we can meet up with you!

It has been a super busy week, but we worked so hard and can now go out of town with no worries. I finished up all my paperwork and stuff for LDS Family Services and am now a one-job-only therapist! It's pretty great!

Packing was drama! We had to buy all our Christmas gifts to take with us since there will be no pre-Christmas shopping time when we arrive in SLC. We have a whole suitcase of gifts only! Plus we're taking all our snowboarding stuff, so anyone who wants to meet us on the slopes, please consider yourselves invited!

So, here's Derelique trying to cook up everything in our fridge so as not to leave anything behind to go bad while we're gone. He's pretty creative, combining all kinds of normally non-combinable foods. What a chef!

Looks so gourmet!

Ok, we'll keep you updated on the holiday festivities!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

So festive!

These pictures are from my walk down Charles Street last week! This is a really fun little shopping spot on Beacon Hill and I was loving the Christmas decor, especially on the lamposts!

Mmmm...yummy chocolate shop...this banner was very effective in drawing people in!

I thought this was a cute window display! So festive!

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So, it's been one of those days...

you know, those days when you are juggling three jobs and somehow miraculously find an extra hour in the middle of the day to stop by the gym for a quick spinning class, then speed home to take a quick shower before quickly speeding to your next job, only to discover on your way in the building that the building handy man was busy replacing the furnace, the furnace that was supposed to make your water hot for your quick shower before your next job, so you quickly assess your options: option A) no shower (not really an option after a spinning class), and option B) ice cold shower. Against your warm blooded judgement you choose option B, only to be filled with regret and goosebumps as you stick your head under the tap in an attempt to wash your nappy hair...etc...etc...needless to say it was a busy, cold day! But not without it's rewards as I have almost wrapped up all responsibilities with job #2 and job #3 and will soon enjoy only job #1! Hooray!

Plus, who could be sad about a busy day when you know that in just four more busy days you'll be flying across the country because it's only...

Hooray! This makes me soooo happy! This month has been flying by and I'm sad that I haven't been able to enjoy the Christmas season as much as I would have liked but nevertheless I am thrilled to see my family and hang out for TWO weeks!

Thank you to all you sweet, on-the-ball people who have sent us Christmas cards. They are currently gracing our entry way (as pictured below) and it has been fun to see recent pictures of all you beautiful people and your darling kids!

If you haven't gotten our Christmas card yet, never fear, one should be finding year, because I vetoed Christmas cards this year! Merry Christmas to me! Maybe a New Year's card...but don't hold your breath!

Finally, my hecticly busy, melted-snow-ice-water-cold day was greatly improved by my new blond roots! Sorry for the cheesy candid putting-my-hair-in-a-ponytail picture, but who could resist blogging such blog worthy blond roots! When I saw my oldest brother last Christmas for the first time in a year the first thing he did was look, with disgust and confusion on his face, at my dark hair and say, "So dark!" as if I were no longer a true Roper. Hopefully he'll recognize his little sister this year!

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Thursday, December 14, 2006

Another Embarrassing Christmas Moment
by Amberli McCoy

As a gift from my father's DNA I received an awesomely huge gap between my two front teeth as a child. When I was really young I sincerely believed that a third front tooth was supposed to fill up that gap and I couldn't figure out why it wouldn't grow in. I even remember claiming that I'd lost a tooth when Ryan made fun of my sweet gap, on the rare occasions that he actually made fun of me.

As a young child I also did not understand why the same gingerbread cookies were used every year to decorate the Christmas tree and why after Christmas did they go back into the Christmas tree decoration box? When were we going to get to eat these yummy items?

Well, one year I decided that the cookies would last no longer, they had met their fate and their fate had something to do with my two front teeth. I waited until the house was quiet, the living room was empty. I snuck up to the tree, careful not to make a sound. I located said gingerbread man and hastily stuffed him in my pocket before stealing off to the bathroom. My mouth watered as I anticipated finally tasting the burst of cinnamon spiced heaven I had been dreaming of since Christmases long ago. I pulled the coveted treat from my pocket, admired the frosted buttons, the squiggly smile. I closed my eyes preparing for the sweet reward of patience, and sunk my two front teeth into his left foot. Momentarily deterred by the unexpected texture I bit down harder. Determined not to be deprived of my treat, I bit down again until my teeth removed the sucker's little foot. Slowly I began to chew, chewing, chewing...a little waxy...what kind of waxy cookie was this? Reality slowly dawned on me as I recognized that this was no cookie at all! It was in fact an Avon holiday item, an actual Christmas tree ornament, a gingerbread man made of a waxy soaplike substance, not at all desirable to the taste.

Horrified and scared I instinctively shoved the half eaten waxy man into the bathroom drawer and exited the bathroom quickly and quietly, leaving the scene of the crime. Time passed, the soapy taste left my mouth, the traumatic incident of the fake gingerbread cookie began to fade from my mind...until a few days later, when my mother approached me. In her hand she held a suspicious looking item. A waxy gingerbread man, missing his left foot. In her curious way my mother inquired as to whether or not I knew anything of the waxy man. I stared at her with big innocent eyes and shook my head no. When she probed further I mumbled the first thing that came to my mind, "A mouse must have done it." (Please do not think that this mouse-blaming was an isolated incident in my childhood. It was in fact the excuse that poured from my mouth anytime anything was questioned, why was my room messy, who ate the cereal, how did mud stains get on my floor or nail polish splattered on my dresser?)

My mother, the wise woman that she is, told me to open my mouth. Hesitantly I obeyed. Like the last piece of the puzzle being snuggly fit into place my mother fit that half eaten left foot right into my two front teeth. A perfect match. My gap, the square teeth marks in the sadly victimized gingerbread man. This was no work of a measly little mouse, but of a mousey little girl who stole the cheap Avon waxy man off the tree and abandoned him in the bathroom cover was blown, my mouse excuse failed, the gap had betrayed me, and I was careful never to taste Avon items or any other such Christmas tree hangings all the days of my life...
On the twelfth day of Christmas...

So when we were kids my mom started the Christmas tradition of leaving gifts for someone on their porch for the twelve days of Christmas. Every year we chose someone in our ward or neighborhood and for the twelve days leading up to Christmas we would drop off gifts, one gift the first night, two gifts the second night, all the way up to twelve gifts that last night, Christmas Eve.

So anyway, my brother Ryan and I usually ended up being the ones that had to run up to the door step in the middle of the night to leave the gift to be discovered the next morning. One year we decided to do the twelve days of Christmas to this nice old man who always sat on his porch and waved to everyone who passed by. He lived close by but my mom would still drive us around the block to his house and park a few houses away so we could be all sneaky and run up to his porch without detection. The first night went smoothly, we were able to deliver the first gift without any suspicion. We thought we were really clever and sneaky the next day when we passed by his house and waved to him as if nothing was going on. So sly...

Night two and three were successful and Ryan and I were certain that our plan could not be foiled. By this time we thought we were functioning like a well oiled machine and stopped being as stealth and sneaky as we had previously believed necessary. Apparently about this time Mr. Nice Waving Man also became curious to know who was leaving him gifts every night. Little did we know that Mr. Nice Waving Man was somewhat of a sneaky, stealth spy himself...

Night number four came along and we were feeling pretty confident. My mom drove the car a little past Nice Man's house and let us out to run back to his porch. Being the hilarious little kids that we were Ryan and I immediately exited the car in full 007 mode and started acting like some kind of crazy little spies, running from car and car, hiding behind bushes, jumping over obstacles with our stealth catlike reflexes, checking out our surroundings then waving our accomplice ahead.

Anyway, being especially hilarious myself I decided to go totally crazy to make Ryan laugh. I ran out in front of him doing all sorts of spastic spy moves, carrying the gift in my hands, and I remember specifically running low to the ground the with my head down and spinning around cars and mailboxes. Due to my spastic efforts to be sneaky I failed to notice that Ryan had aborted the mission and run back to the car leaving me alone freaking out like a crazy little kid trying to be a sneaky spy. I continued running up the road in full spy mode with my head down, panting like a wild woman, clutching the four gifts in my scrawny arms. Before I knew what was going on I noticed two big black boots standing dead ahead, impeding my run down the side walk. Startled and shocked out of my fantasy land I looked up in surprise at a man standing before me. Paralyzed with fear I found myself staring face to face with Mr. Nice Waving Man. I just stood there...and looked at stealthness whatsoever!

Finally, I broke his gaze and furiously hauled back to the car. I jumped in the back seat only to find Ryan and my mom absolutely dissolved in laughter! Ryan had seen the dude half way up the block and bolted back to the car undetected. I, on the other hand, had been taking my role as a 007 spy far too seriously and had not only failed to notice Ryan's absence, but I had hopelessly and pathetically failed to noticed the nice man's presence! I was mortified and never thought we would stop laughing. Not only did my mom and Ryan die laughing at me as they watched me spaz out all the way to the old man's house, but what's even worse is that the old man watched me spaz out the whole way down the sidewalk! Seriously, could I be more of an idiot???

Needless to say we sped out of there like a bat out of Hades and didn't come back until after midnight to deliver the gift. I'm pretty sure I was extra careful every night after that and we weren't the ones slyly laughing the next time Mr. Nice Waving Man waved at us as we passed by...

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


I went running today which was FANTASTIC! It has been a while due to the weather and being sick, but it was pretty great today. And never fear, I did indeed bring my camera a long...yes, the word dork should have just entered your mind, because only dorks take their camera running with them.

Anyway, I ran across this bridge from Cambridge to Boston. I always try to sprint across this bridge and seeing as it is almost 400 smoots long (I have no idea what a smoot is, I just know that the smoots are marked on the bridge and half way across it says "half way to hell" which, if you are attempting to sprint it like me, is an accurate statement) I never make it the whole way. But the skyline was gorgeous today and I love running across this bridge.

So then I ran down Commonwealth Ave. which is usually much pretty than this picture shows since the trees look so sad and naked right now. However, most of the trees are lined with Christmas lights so at night it is still beautiful.

I eventually arrived at Colpey Square where I met Derelique for lunch! We went to a yummy place called The Parrish Cafe that changes its menu each year to include the best recipes of the best chefs in Boston. Good idea, no? This is the John Hancock building at Copley Square. I love that it reflects the clouds in the sky.

Then I ran through the public gardens and down Charles street to the bridge back to Cambridge. It was pretty great and I was so happy to be outside.

So, Darek always tells me to save some of my pictures so I'll have something to blog about the next time I'm blogging, so I guess the rest of my pictures will have to wait until tomorrow (or perhaps they'll only have to wait until later tonight depending on whether or not I'll be able to sleep) In any case, good night and sweet dreams friends, thanks for stopping by! Posted by Picasa