Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Gobble Gobble

This year we get to spend both Thanksgiving AND Christmas back in Virginia. I am over the moon about this to say the least. As much as I love being with my husband and love my job, it is so difficult being away from my family and friends so I really cherish when I get to see them.

We drove down to Virginia on Thanksgiving morning. It was a really special time, almost my entire extended family was in town.

Mom with her son-in-laws...
Dad and my brother Jeffrey...
My sister's family, Jason, Julie and Madison!
My brother Joey, his girlfriend Jeni (my nephew slept through dinner!), and my cousin Kelly... 
Mom's family, Grandma B, Grandpa B, Uncle Robert, and Uncle Connie...
Great Grandma Connie, Great Aunt Nina and Uncle Connie (again!)... 
Uncle Barry with my cousin Peter and his girlfriend Erin... 
Aunt Carole with my cousins Nicholas & Zachary... 
I am so thankful for all of these people. So blessed to be able to see them as often as I do. And to top it off I was home for my most favorite meal of the year!

But my favorite photo of the weekend was this...
It makes my heart melt to see how much my sister loves her daughter. I am so happy for her. Thankful that she finally has what she has wanted for so very long.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Clown Car

That was my apartment this weekend. A little like a clown car. Full of a lot of people (for a 1 bedroom apartment), a lot of stuff (we don't pack lightly in the Stein family), and a lot of laughs.

Because on Friday, they came to visit where we call home for my birthday...
my Mom
and Dad

and they surprised me by bringing my sister, Julie, and my newest niece Madison, all the way from NYC!
along with her two dogs.
Althought I literally HATE clowns... I loved the clown car feel of this weekend with my visitors and all the love they bring.
Happy Birthday to me!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

So Lucky

Last night my family told the waiter that it was my birthday, and they brought me this to celebrate. 
My husband (whom I think doesn't remember things) says, "That is just like our freshman year of college. Remember when I brought you cheesecake with strawberries and sang you happy birthday?" Oh wow! I was turning 18 and was spending my first birthday away from most of my friends and family. But he was there. And has been ever since.

How did I get so lucky?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

My Dad, The Marathoner

This weekend was ridiculously busy, driving over a thousand miles in less than 2 1/2 days! We began by making our way down to Richmond, Virginia to support my Dad who was running his first marathon.

After a lovely drive through the scenic byway of Maryland, West Virginia, and Virginia, we met up with my brother Jeffrey (who is in school at VCU) and my parents for some carbo-loading at the Olive Garden in the former capital of the South!  
Then we were off to drinks with my college roommate, Courtney, whom we were staying with for the night. Miss you lady!
Saturday was the big race day. Dad was ready to go after months of training.
Once he was off, we drove all over the city to be at as many spectator locations as possible to cheer Dad on! I made all the signs with the help of both Courtney and Jared, thanks guys!
(Story behind my sign... When I would think I couldn't accomplish something Dad would tell me about Bela Karoli and Mary Lou Retton and say "You can do it Mary Lou!" I knew he would get a kick out of the sign and hopefully it would help him keep running.)
At 4:20:18 Dad finished his first marathon. And we are all so proud of him!
It is amazing to see the mind over body in action. Watching people run a marathon really shows that you can do most anything you put your mind to. My Dad is amazing! I love him so much and am so proud of him.... but lets not keep running any more of these. It was a little scary to see how fragile the body is after pushing so close to the limit. How about just some half marathons?

Well, since Dad was so speedy, Jared and I had just enough time to jump in the car and head down to Carolina to catch the Hokies play one last time (in person) this season.
After another great Hokie win, we headed over to The Land of Syd and Ben for the night. Laura is one of my oldest friends and I hadn't seen her since last Christmas, it had been way too long.
One of the hardest things about living far far away in the Midwest is it makes it tough to see everyone when I would like. Eight months ago, Laura had her second child, a baby boy, and I hadn't met him yet. :(

We had dinner then stayed up late catching up and drinking wine. Not many pictures were taken, since we were busy talking non-stop. But we did get a good one of our "niece" Syd and "nephew" Ben. So happy for you Lo!   
By the time we got home on Sunday, I was exhausted! Can you imagine how my Dad feels?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Early Birthday Surprise!

When I got home from work today I saw that this had come in the mail...
A package from my bestest from far far away! Actually, the future since she lives on the other side of the planet.

Inside was an early birthday gift for me and I couldn't wait eleven more days to open it.
It was a very lovely surprise! Thanks Natalia! Miss you so much and can't wait to see you in January!!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

First Snow

Yesterday we had the first snow of the season here in Ohio. Yep, in November. We live in the snow belt, right off Lake Erie. And when most people get flurries around here, we get something like this...
Hey, if it is going to be cold, at least there is snow! I have a fabulous pair of North Face boots to wear and my husband lit a fire...

So we snuggled in for a day at home laying like broccoli!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Catching Up with October

Back in mid October we had one of our more traditional football weekends, which also happened to be Homecoming for Virginia Tech. We went to Jared's old fraternity house to start off Game Day.

It was a little sad since Sig Ep is moving on campus (like Alpha Phi did soon after I left) but it sure was fun to walk through and remember all the crazy parties and late nights where we spent entirely too much time.  Ah, the memories!
And even though none of my roomies or sorority sister's were in town, our time was full of tailgating with some great old friends...
and new! I just happened to meet Tyrod Taylor at TOTS and snapped this pic!
But this has to be one of my most favorite parts of every visit to Virginia Tech...
Go Hokies!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Second of November

Today is a special day. It is not only the birthday of my youngest brother, Jeffrey, but also my husband's. They are 10 years apart... November 2, 1979 and 1989. 

Jeffrey and I have a special relationship. I am the oldest child in our family and he is the youngest. We are 10 years apart as well, to the month. Some would think that this makes it hard to relate to each other. I couldn't disagree more. I feel like I have always had such a special bond with him. We can talk about anything, even though he is a tough one to get to open up. I know that he knows I am here for him... always. 

In my mind's eye he is about 7 years old, the age he was when I left for college.
And even though he is all grown up "officially" today, I still can hear him yelling "GG!!" with excitement when I came home on visits from school.

Happy Birthday Monkey!!

And Happy Birthday to my husband, Jared!! I have now known you for over half our lives. I love that I knew you when I was taller than you and we were just friends. I love that you taught me how love was supposed to feel. I love that I got to marry my best friend. I love that I feel like we get closer every day and we still learn things about each other we didn't know.

I love you always.

Your birthday gift arrived just in time and I hope you like it. (Yet another Virginia Tech football jersey!)
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