Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Finals Week

We're finally in our last week in Grenada before Christmas break. Ryan has already had one final exam on Monday, and has one tomorrow morning and one Friday morning. Yesterday was his Anatomy final. He feels like it went pretty well. We should find out the results this weekend. Last week he caught a cold, but fortunately has been feeling fine this week. However, I caught his cold on Sunday and have been trying to rest these past couple days so I can get healthy before going home.

In these past few days, I've enjoyed my last outings to the pool with friends. A couple days ago, we met a new friend at the pool . . .

One of the workers at the University Club saw this iguana in the tree above the pool. He knocked it into the water, and we watched it walk around on the bottom of the pool for a few minutes. Eventually, he caught it again and held it for us to see.

I thought it was a pretty big one, but apparently they can get quite a bit larger. It looked kind of scary as well, but one of my friends use to work with exotic animals and held it while her 3-year-old son petted it. We asked the worker if he was going to let it go, and he said, no, they were going to take it home and eat it! And he wasn't kidding! When we were there on Monday, he was eating a piece of an iguana while walking around the pool. Completely disgusting, but I guess they're used to it. Never a dull moment in Grenada!

Tonight, I made my final trip to the grocery store for this semester. It looks like our food supply will last until we leave. And tomorrow, I'm determined to start packing our suitcases and our room. I'll be babysitting Isabella on Thursday while her mom packs for their trip home, so I need to have most of mine done before then. Ryan finishes his exam around lunch time on Friday, and we fly to Trinidad at 7:00 that evening. If we had flown directly from Grenada to the US, we wouldn't have been able to get home until the following week because all the tickets were sold out. But we found a cheap flight to Port of Spain for Friday night, and we'll leave from there early Saturday morning. It turns out we will get home at 6:30pm and save quite a bit of money as well.

We'd appreciate your prayers for Ryan as he takes his finals and for our safety as we fly home. Greenville, here we come!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Deck the Halls

It's hard to believe this is already my third Christmas as a married woman. However, we've only had one Christmas in our own place, and that was the first year we were married. Last Christmas we were living with my parents before we moved to Grenada, and this year, we will be at my parents' house again for the holidays. I had so much fun that first year buying Christmas decorations and making our little apartment look festive. I've missed that these past couple years. And I have one more year to go without my own place. The good news is that we save quite a bit of money during this time. The bad news (for Ryan, anyway) is that it gives me more time to watch HGTV and find amazing ideas online so that when the time comes, I will have even more things to buy!

In just one week, I'll be enjoying my mom's beautifully decorated home and everything will be perfect. But these past couple weeks, I've been looking back at the pictures of our first Christmas and reminiscing about the good times we had decorating our own home. I thought I would share some of the pictures with you, since I don't have any current Christmas pictures to post.

The day after Thanksgiving, we got to work putting up our tree and decorating the mantle and foyer. My favorite part of that weekend was the fact that our dear friends, Dan and Brenda, came over to help us. Sweet little Carter was so good and played or napped while we decorated.

Brenda and I took many trips to Hobby Lobby finding the perfect ornaments for both of our trees. We even had a late-night run to Wal-Mart one evening to find extra strings of lights and window candles.

My parents were kind enough to let us borrow one of their Christmas trees, and it fit perfectly in our living room. After much discussion about the proper way to hang lights on a tree, Ryan and Dan took over that task, while Brenda and I organized the ornaments. I had been collecting some ornaments for the past couple years, and greatly enjoyed the process of combining my childhood ornaments with newly purchased treasures. After adding some greenery and candles to the mantle, white birch logs (brought to us all the way from NH by some sweet friends) to our fireplace, and a couple other festive touches, the living room was complete.

I wrapped all our presents in brown packing paper and tied them with different colors of raffia. Then I made name tags with the same brown paper and Christmas stamps.

In the foyer, I set up my beautiful nativity scene. I bought it in Bethlehem when we were in Israel a few years ago, and it is hand-carved out of olive wood.

On Christmas Eve, we invited Ryan's family to come over after church since his aunt and uncle were in town. I love any excuse to get out my china and punch bowl. We served spinach balls, cinnamon tortilla crisps with homemade fruit salsa, thumbprint cookies with a creamy frosting, and peanut butter cookies with a chocolate kiss.

In the kitchen, I added white lights to the garlands above our cabinets. This is my brother-in-law, John, enjoying the Christmas Eve party.

And this is us on our first Christmas Eve together.

This year, I'm thankful for the beauty of Christmastime, and that we will get to spend another holiday season with our wonderful families.
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