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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Counting down...

I can't focus.  I can't even come close.  Today, after work, I will get on a plane, then another plane then (Lord willing) a third plane... and I will do this:


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I can't wait!!  I am so glad I get to spend Christmas with my fiance!!


This will be the FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE that I've ever had off of work for a FULL WEEK!  I don't even know what to do with myself!


It's going to be great to be together for a full 10 DAYS!!






I'm obsessively checking weather.com because I have to connect through Chicago O'Hare and you may remember my relationship with O'Hare is much like my relationship with Interstate 95... it's rocky.  Needless to say, I'm packing a toothbrush and a change of clothes in my carry-on.


I should be comfortable.  I'm dressed like a 12 year old today.  I feel very dressed-down for work, but whatever, right?  Who says you can't produce quality television news reports in a Roxy hoodie and pink Uggs?  Not me!  I'm pretty sure our package about retailers/last minute holiday shoppers is an award winner! Ha.


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Side note about these Uggs.  Well, two.


One - they are pretty much the only thing I like about Winter.



And two - I think they look like erasers on the tops of pencils.  Don't ya think?




(Thanks mom)




Whatever happens - I know this will be a Christmas to remember!


Since I won't be going home for Christmas, I surprised my mom at the baby store last weekend and took her some treats from my kitchen which kind of became like a cookie/fudge factory this year.


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If you haven't already, you need to make magic cookie bars!


My college roommate's grandmother used to send them to her every year and I always begged for more!


Now that I know how easy they are to make, I will make them every year!








Let's see... what other random things can I throw in this catch-all post?  Let me scan my December photo folder...


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Oh, yes.  I finally got a haircut and highlights!


I really wish this didn't cost so much money because I really do love freshly cut and highlighted hair!


It's a little shorter than I had hoped, but I'm over it now.  It's fine.






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I mean, as long as I can still do this, I'm good.




I told you... I'm a little LOOPY...








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I'd like to send out a great big THANK YOU to everyone who sent me a Christmas Card this year.


I just love getting Christmas cards!  I realize it's a dying tradition, and I have to be one of the most frustrating people in your address book because I move almost every year.


But I love them, so thank you all!


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And a big giant thank you goes out to my Granny Nora (not that she reads the blog, ha!) for watching my dear Brokaw while I am gone to Texas/Missouri.


It is a much appreciated Christmas present!


Man, do I miss this face!  It is so quiet in my apartment!  The other day, I dropped some food on the floor in the kitchen and I instinctively yelled, "Brokaw!" before I remembered, oh yeah, he's not here.December08 066 


The upside is that I have seen a lot more of this little lady over the last couple of days and that has been nice!


Poor Katy just never comes around when Brokaw is there because he wants to sniff her butt and she just doesn't like that so she spends a lot of time under the bed, behind the toilet and such.


Katy, LuLu, I love you and it's nice to see your face and hear your sweet purr again!




Okay, I'm out of random pictures, so I guess that's it.  Did you guys see the water main break in Maryland yesterday that sent water rushing down "River Road?"  I mean, how perfect that that is the actual name of the road, right?  It was INCREDIBLE.  I was GLUED to the local news at work.  I was WISHING SOOOO BADLY that I was in the control room.  That is an example of exactly why TV news can't die.  We are your breaking news medium when it comes to a story like that!  Live pictures.  Helicopters.  Phoners.  Oh, it was awesome to watch those people being rescued LIVE - pulled into baskets as the freezing water rushed by.  Harrowing!  Oh, man, I love breaking news so much!!  I got high just off of watching that one!  And that was the best kind of breaking news: awesome live pictures and video, dramatic sound and best of all - no one was hurt!


Seriously - back to work now.  MERRY CHRISTMAS everyone!!



Monday, December 22, 2008

Mmmmmm....

Have y'all been to these fancy cupcake places that are popping up all over?  They're basically divine.  And you need to go, immediately.  I never knew until recently how much I lurve cupcakes!


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This is the lovely surprise I found on my desk on Friday. (thank you Malika!!!)


It was sooooo good.  My mouth is watering remembering it.  The icing was to. die. for.


So, yeah, when you see one of those adorable little dollhouse looking cupcake stores, GO IN.


It is so worth finding a parking spot for!


Merry Christmas er'ybody!!



It's so hard to say goodbye...

to yesterdaaaayyyyy. Ooooooh.  Okay, enough of me singing an old Boyz II Men song in my head, right? 


Last week I took a mid-week road trip to say goodbye to my close, good, dear friend, Ann.  She's off to Thailand soon!  I am so incredibly proud of her.  What she's done to get to this point and how she's living out a dream and answering a call.  She is one brave lady and I know she will have an amazing time and do an excellent job in Thailand.  Please keep her in your prayers!  You can also follow along with her adventures on her blog.


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I will miss my Ann SOOOO MUCH!! I know we only see eachother every now and then.. we're used to living in different cities and such, yes, yes.


But something about Thailand just seems SO. FAR. AWAY. Ya know?


Well... at least with my schedule, we should be able to keep up online!


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This picture is too much fun not to post!


Some of the Grooms family, which became like family to me and Ann during our time in Roanoke, came to see her off.


Jon in a blonde ambition sandwich!


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Karin and Ann.  I know she will miss Ann lots, too!






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Ann's Aunt Joyce and Uncle Steve came, too.  They are so much fun!!  I think I may still crash their annual Apple Blossom weekend in May, even though Ann won't be there!








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This was my amazing view of Ann's commissioning ceremony.


She was so super fast with her "Hi, I'm Ann and I'm going to Thailand," that I didn't have time to snap an adequate photograph!






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So, natrually, Joyce and I made her re-enact it!!


Such a good sport...










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Okay, Thailand.  Let's talk.  You better take good care of my friend Ann and be nice to her.  She's missing my wedding for you!




Ann, nothing but love for you!!  All the best to you and I really, REALLY hope I can come visit you!!  You know I love you like a sister and you'll be in my prayers every day.



Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Grande Happiness

Starbucks makes me happy.  We all know this, yes? 


Thanks to my co-workers, I have double happiness at work this week. 


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Thank you Wendy for my adorable STBX ornament.


It is so cute.  A mini representation of the new love of my life.








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Here it is.  My love.  My ammunition.  My dream come true.


Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate.


I like it with a shot of espresso.  MMmmmmmmliciousness.  Nikole made a Starbucks run today and I enjoyed every single little sip.  I even licked the lid.  I have no shame.




In other news -- just ONE WEEK FROM TODAY I see my love!  I even love him more than salted caramel hot chocolates.  Imagine that!


Today, I'm driving down to see Ann off.  She's finished her training program and she'll be heading to Thailand soon!  I am so proud of her and I will miss her so much.  I know I'll be crying in the car on the way back.


Yahoo mail looks different and it scares me.  Good thing I have my SCHC to help me get through it.



Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Shoe Jokes Continue...

From today's White House Briefing:

 MS. PERINO:  Hi, everybody.  The shoe check-in policy and checkout policy will begin tomorrow.  (Laughter.) 


Monday, December 15, 2008

Survey Says...

I'm not much into myspace these days, but I do check it because that's how I communicate with my brother, Chris - he's in Iraq.  I saw that Courtney did a survey so I decided to copy and paste it here.  I don't really have anything to blog about today anyway, so here you go:


5 OF YOUR FAV BANDS/SINGERS
1.
Harry Connick, Jr.
2.
Michael Buble
3.
Kenny Chesney
4.
Jack Johnson
5.Nichole Nordeman

5 JOBS YOU'
VE HAD IN YOUR LIFE
1.
working for my family at various baby stores
2.
television news producing
3.coffee shop

4.babysitter

5.(that’s it!  I’ve never done anything else!)



5 MOVIE
S YOU COULD WATCH OVER AND OVER
1.
Steel Magnolias
2.
Remember the Titans
3.
Father of the Bride
4.
Sweet Home Alabama
5.
Top Gun

5 CITIE
S YOU'VE LIVED IN:
1.
Norfolk, VA
2.
Chesapeake, VA
3.
Roanoke, VA
4.
Pittsburgh, PA
5.
Arlington, VA

5 TV SHOWS
YOU LOVE TO WATCH
1 Gilmore Girls (RIP)
2.
The Office
3.Jon & Kate Plus 8

4.
Brothers & Sisters
5.
Grey’s Anatomy

5 PLACE
S YOU'VE BEEN ON VACATION:
1.
Nags Head, NC
2.
Ocracoke, NC
3.
New York, NY
4.
Virginia Beach, VA
5.
Florida Keys

5 FAV ACTOR
S MALE/FEMALE
1.
Matthew McConaughey
2.
Harry Connick, Jr.
3.
Whoever plays Bailey on Grey’s Anatomy
4.
Reese Witherspoon
5.
Tom Hanks

5 WEBSI
TES YOU VISIT DAILY:
1.
Facebook
2.
Yahoo
3.
nytimes.com
4.
​bankofamerica.com


5.politico.com


5 OF YOUR ALL-
TIME FAVORITE RESTAURANTS:
1.
Cracker Barrel
2.
Chick-Fil-A
3.
Outback
4.
Don Pablos
5.Cheesecake Factory


5 OF YOUR FAV BOOZE
DRINKS:
1.
fruity martinis
2.
margaritas
3.
mojitos
4.
I’m digging the Bud Light with Lime but it has to be very, very cold!
5.
I’m not an expert in this department!

FIVE OF YOUR FAVOR
ITE FOODS:
1.
Steak
2.
all things Thanksgiving!!
3.
fried squash
4.
blackened tuna
5.
pizza

5 SCHOO
LS YOU'VE ATTENDED
1.
Town & Country Day School
2.
Georgetown Elementary
3.
Indian River High
4.
Indian River Middle
5.
Liberty University

5 PLACE
S I'D RATHER BE RIGHT NOW:
1. in bed sleeping
2. in Texas with Michael
3. On a beach!
4. At a pool!
5. in New York



5 THING
S YOU'VE DONE TODAY:
1.
talked on the phone
2.
took the dog out
3.drove to work

4. worked on a story about the auto bailout


5.thought about writing a shopping story


5 PEOPL
E YOU CONSIDER YOUR BEST FRIENDS:
1.
Michael
2.
Ann
3.
Courtney
4.
Gretchen
5.
Tracy

5 THING
S YOU DID YESTERDAY:
1.
worked
2.
locked my keys in my SUV
3.
took Brokaw to the park down the street
4.
slept for 4.5 hours
5.
dishes


5 OF YOUR FAV BOOKS
:
1.
Brazen Careerist
2.
Wild Goose Chase
3.
Cold Tangerines
4.
A Bend in the Road
5.
A Walk to Remember



I bet those shoes end up on Ebay

By now, you've probably seen the video of an Iraqi reporter throwing his shoes at President Bush.  If you haven't, welcome back to the world.  You really shouldn't go more than 24 hours without turning on a TV or a computer, it's just not healthy.


The shoes are being held as evidence right now.  I bet they end up on Ebay where they will undoubtedly be the most expensive, dusty, size 10 Iraqi shoes, ever. 


On Air Force One on his way from Iraq to Afghanistan, President Bush took questions from reporters.  I can't resist copying and pasting part of that exchange because it is just so classic President Bush and represents exactly why I will miss covering him.  He is such a hoot!


Okay, here you go:


THE PRESIDENT: Okay, my opening statement: I didn't know what the guy said, but I saw his sole. (Laughter.) You were more concerned than I was. I was watching your faces.

Q I saw something black and round go by my face.

Q Just to see that --

THE PRESIDENT: -- his first -- other than shoes. (Laughter.)

Q -- to duck. (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT: I'm pretty good at ducking, as most of you will know --

Q You were quick.

Q -- ducking --

THE PRESIDENT: I'm talking about ducking your questions. (Laughter.)

Q So you weren't a lame duck. (Moans and groans.)


And later on.... this:


Q What's your assessment of how Pakistan is doing on that front? Are they --

THE PRESIDENT: Well, first of all, the first question is, is there a determination -- (noise on the plane) -- the other shoe just dropped. (Laughter.) Look, I'm going to be thinking of shoe jokes for a long time. (Laughter.)

Q -- (inaudible) --

THE PRESIDENT: Are you?

Q Yes.

THE PRESIDENT: I haven't heard any good ones yet.



Sunday, December 14, 2008

Domestic Weekend

I should be sleeping now, but I'm not.  I'm two hours past my bedtime.  I'll pay later.  But I miss watching my Steelers!  The score is still zip-zip as I type this.



I have had a nice, relaxing weekend.  Nothing too extravagant or exciting.  But it has been nice.  I have a very clean apartment that smells like freshly baked cookies.  I had an exciting morning at church - I am very much looking forward to the launch of our new location in February.  Lunch with new friends after church.


And I have chili to eat this week, and more to freeze for the new year!  This will be my last full week of work in 2008!  Wahoo.  Next week, I only have to work three days, then it's off to see my honey!!!


IMG_3180 Saturday morning, I played around with the settings on my camera.  I'm trying to learn how to REALLY use it, you know?


I really wish I had the money to buy a nice digital SLR.  But for now, I can at least use the desire to learn how to take better pictures.... to learn how to use the camera that I already have, right?


Here, Brokaw is playing with one of the rope toys his Granny Cindy gave him for Christmas.  He loves them!



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I wonder if he ever gets tired of having to be my photography subject.


Probably not.  My dog loves the attention, imagine that!


I don't know where he'd pick up a characteristic like that, can you? (*winks*)







IMG_3196 Saturday night, I modified a chili recipe given to me by the beautiful Becky Barber!



I was CRAVING chili...











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It turned out to be yum-o-licious.

Which just futher confirms... I am going to be an awesome wife.


Haha!  I am lacking in other ways, that's for sure.  But at least my man and I will EAT GOOD.


Mmmm.  If you want some, and you live where I can get it to you, all you have to do is ask.  Seriously, I will never finish all of this!  It surely has a freezer fate!


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The kids sang at church Sunday morning.  It was cute!  I was actually surprised at how many kids we had in there!


My church is made up mostly of single 20 somethings, so it was exciting to see how many FAMILIES we actually have!


There was an equal number of parents with cameras and camcorders, of course.  I took advantage of the opportunity to take a pic of them because they really were so cute!



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After church, I baked my little heart out!

Here is how I like to set up shop!  :)


I hope you enjoy my cooking pictures, I don't have anything better to do than document my little adventures, haha!











IMG_3217 Show me someone who says they don't love to lick these things, and I will show you a liar!



 

Deeeelish.IMG_3231


Cookies on deck.















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Is this Santa's workshop, or what?
















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The fruit of my labor.

Standby for yummy goods in the mail, Mom!!


I'm going to make fudge, too.  But I forgot marshmellows at the store yesterday, so I'll have to do that tomorrow.



Merry Christmas everyone!!!


Saturday, December 13, 2008

Saturday Mornings

It’s Saturday morning, quarter after six.


I woke up “late” for me on a Saturday morning… about quarter after five.


I like to get up as early as possible on Saturday mornings so I can enjoy them in all of their fullness.  Sometimes as early as 4am!


 


There is nothing else like Saturday morning.  It holds so much opportunity.  It is such a blank slate.


I am rested.  There are no expectations waiting for me.  I can wear jammies for hours and do what I want.


 


I can watch the news if I want.


I can read the paper if I want.


But I don’t have to.


I don’t have to know what’s going on, who had what interviews and exclusives, etc.


 


I can take time to smell my coffee before I gulp it.



This morning, I’m sipping Starbucks Breakfast Blend, from a small mug.


I’m in my flannel jammies, typing by the light of the Christmas tree.


In the background, there is Harry Connick Jr. singing Christmas songs and another of my favorites – the Charlie Brown Christmas album – on shuffle.


 


I have had to chase Brokaw down a couple of times.  Once to get the remote after he put the TV on the dance music channel.  Again to rescue a glass bulb before I have one less polka dotted ornament and Brokaw has another bloody near-emergency in his mouth.


But, that’s okay.


 



I feel like Saturday mornings are my restful, yet creative time.


It is usually on Saturday mornings that I write.


It is usually on Saturday mornings that I play with things like Photoshop or settings on my camera – my time to learn, but with no pressure.


 



I almost always check weather.com on Saturday mornings.


Today, it’s going to be cold.  It’s not getting out of the 30s.


I am tempted to take myself on a field trip – to go look at the Christmas decorations around Downtown DC or check out the new Capitol Visitors Center.




But… I don’t really feel like walking around with my face hurting in the frigid breeze.



So, maybe I’ll make some Christmas cookies instead.


After I drink my coffee, hum to my Christmas music, write and play with my creative side.


 



My favorite part is early – before the sun comes up.


The daylight brings reminders of the things I need to do – pay bills, do laundry, go buy things like paper towels and windex and stamps.



I wish you all a pleasant Saturday morning!  I’m getting a re-fill now.



Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Amazing Gracyn

Finally, I'm almost all caught up!  Soon, I can go back to daily blogging.  And you'll be able to read all about my fascinating socks and how I hate growing my bangs out.  Aren't you stoked?


Over the weekend, I drove up to Baltimore for the fabulous, funny, legendary Gretchen's birthday.  It was a big one!  :)  I had to drive in the snow.  I tried being in denial that it was snow.  At first I was thinking, no, it's probably just rain that looks like snow against the headlights.  Then I saw cars coming in my direction that were unashamedly covered in white.  Okay, okay, so it's winter.  Whatever.


It was a fun trip because I got to see some of my favorite peeps and even though it was so cold my face hurt walking down the street, it was a lot of fun!  There was really good food from a great restaurant in Little Italy, CUPCAKES and... let me introduce to you for the very first time on this blog.....


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Mini Jordan!  Yep, that's right.  You've heard of Air Jordan.  But this is mini Jordan.


Baby Gracyn!  This tiny little girl is so sweet she will melt your heart.



Don't be scared just because she's a month old and throwing up gang signs!


She is such a cutie.  And a real sport!  She barely makes any noise and is such a happy little baby girl!


Jordan looks AMAZING.





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This was the hand-off ceremony.  Gretchen and I must hold each baby that is had for us surrogate style and smile! :)



Doc needed some love, too.




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Gretchen said Gracyn looked like a glow worm when she was all swaddled for bed.




Spot on!









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Gracyn all thugged out eye-patch style with her ever so appropriate cupcake hat!



I wish I had a cupcake hat!





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Jason and Keith.


Nothing but love.


Twue Wuv.





  



Brokaw's Big Bite (updated)

No, there's not a new special on hot dogs at 7/11.  This is about the bloody situation my dear puggle got himself into over the weekend.  Bloody as in gross, actual blood, a "scene" if you will (bust out the yellow tape!) not bloody as in the British cuss word, I would never! (*winks*)It was Saturday morning.  Early.  I was in the living room, enjoying nice warm coffee, a fresh Saturday morning Washington Post and GMA weekend when I realized that Brokaw wasn't near me.  And he was quiet.  This is NEVER good.  I remembered seeing him go into the kitchen.  There's nothing he can get into in the kitchen without making noise.


So, I peeped around the corner to check on him and I found this. **Warning - it's kind of gross -- if you can't stand the sight of blood, don't say I didn't warn you.  Don't go passing out in your cubicle at work and blaming me or my blog. Don't sue - I don't have anything anyway!


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A little more background... he had been chewing on a rawhide twist.



Don't worry, Ben - not the one you sent him!








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This is the wide shot of the scene.  Don't mind Brokaw's embarassing Christmas shirt, hahaha.  I don't make him leave the house like this, I swear!  Not anymore...


His injury has nothing to do with his shirt.


Want a closer look?  Yeah you do, those of you who watch those crime shows or hospital shows and don't turn away during the gross parts!


December08 009  Note the smeared blood all over the place.  On his paws, even!


He was obsessively licking his bowls.  I don't even want to think about why because it was probably because he liked it. (yucko!)


I rushed him to the bathroom, doggie ER style and cleaned off his paws.  They were fine.  I noticed his mouth was still bleeding, and that's when I diagnosed him.


He cut his tongue!  I think he must have been chewing on it along with that rawhide.  So, I doused him with Hydrogen Peroxide, applied pressure.... and in the end, he was fine.  The bowls went in the dish washer, I oxy-cleanified the carpet and we are just a couple of survivors!  Note.  He did not injure himself by licking the chipped place on his food bowl.  I know that's a little ghetto, but whatev.  That happened years ago and I haven't bought new doggie bowls.  Don't even accuse me of being a slack dog owner because we all know this is the most spoiled dog in the history of the world.


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Brokaw totally milked the injury for all it was worth. (total typical male, right ladies?)


Here he is laying on my clean, warm laundry!








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Presh.












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This was the next day.  Yep.  That tongue is as good as new!





 















Christmas Decorations



The visit to the White House inspired me to finish putting up my own decorations!  I thinned out my Christmas decoration collection considerably last year when I was living in the shoebox studio apartment.  So, I don't have a lot now.  But, the simplicity is nice.  


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I am an equal opportunity kind of gal when it comes to Santas.


Skinny Santas.  Fat Santas.  All welcome here.






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I used to make it up to NYC almost every Christmas season and buy myself something new from the NBC store.  Don't you love my mini 30 Rock?













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IMG_3052 IMG_3048



I don't know what happened to my poor little red ornament tree.


It has a hernia.  I tried to fix it, but it turns out I'm not a very good hernia fixing surgeon.


Christin - note the bulbs.  Didn't I steal that from you?  Or was it Becky?  I don't know, but my sister does it now, too!  So, it's pretty much universal.



Monday, December 8, 2008

I'm Dreaming of a White (House) Christmas...

Last week was First Lady Laura Bush's final reveal of the Christmas decorations and food for the Holiday Season at the White House.  I was fortunate to get to cover it, once again, for work.  I really LOVE being at the White House and I jump at the chance to get over there any time I can!  I'm snuggled in bed, trying to tackle all of this blog catching up... so I may get to just pictures, no stories... if that happens, I'll fill in the blanks tomorrow...


IMG_2905 Meet... the press!!











 


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She's such a lady!







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It was really touching when she told us how much she's going to miss the staff of the White House.



She almost started crying while talking about the florist.









WHChristmas08 085 Here she is showing us the White House Christmas cards.


I got mine today!  It cracks me up that it always comes with a Crawford, TX postmark!


It's very pretty and on the inside, is Matthew 5:16:  "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."



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Beautiful tables in the East Room.







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A beautiful tree in Cross Hall.












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This is THE tree in the Blue Room.  A little crooked, yes, I know... sorry about that. :)





The theme this year is "A Red, White and Blue Christmas."  The tree has ornaments designed by artists all around the USA.


If you want to see your local ornament, you can click here.  (You'll have to know your Congressional district, if you don't click here.)










 


On our way out, we all posed for Christmas portraits by the infamous tree!


    WHChristmas08 026WHChristmas08 029WHChristmas08 027WHChristmas08 006WHChristmas08 030      Haha... it was like picture day at school or something!


Now... let's talk about the FOOD! (this wasn't even ALL!)


WHChristmas08 024Lobster Salad with Fresh Cucumber, Radishes, and Chicory


Smoked Salmon with Potato Pancakes and Chive Crème Fraîche



Herb-Crusted Lamb Chops with Madeira Sauce

Cauliflower Gratin

Shaved Virginia Ham with Plum Marmalade

Cheesy Stone-Ground Grits


Holiday Reception Desserts

Brioche Bread Pudding

Coconut Cake with Seven-Minute Frosting

Chocolate Gingerbread Cake with Chocolate Glaze

Pumpkin Pie with Whipped Cream

Yule Log

Lemon Layer Cake with Fresh Blueberry and Raspberry Topping

Pecan Pie

Red Velvet, Devil's Food, and Strawberry Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting

Pecan Pralines

Chocolate Truffles **(my favorite!)

Blueberry Cobbler

Fresh Long-Stemmed Strawberries with Chocolate Dipping Sauce

Barney, Miss Beazley, and Kitty Cookies

Star Cookies


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This is the annual giant gingerbread/white chocolate to scale White House!



It's made with more than 350 lbs of white chocolate and 125 lbs of gingerbread!


(whoa!  totally sounds like one of those shows on the Discovery Health Channel or something...)



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I saw a plate and glass and fork that someone left behind in the Green Room.



Seriously, how ghetto do you have to be to leave your stank dishes laying around the White House?  C'mon people!






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Eric took some questions in the Briefing Room.












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And I sat in Helen's chair.




But I played nice!






That's a wrap!