You know who I love?

These girls!

Some of my very best friends ever since high school, and some even earlier! I love seeing them every time I come back to Kansas City.


My family...

Is the best family ever!!

We all miss you and love you, Brian, and really really wish you were here. I cannot WAIT to see you soon!


Christmas 2010

Merry Christmas from Saipan!This Christmas in Saipan - Rachel is in Kansas City and I am missing her very much. The weater here is fantastic, 85°F and mostly sunny sky's. On Christmas Eve and Christmas morning my friends and I went camping on a small deserted island of the coast of Saipan.Managaha!

As the locals would say -"We ate plenty coconut".

Canons remain on the island from the battles of WWII

After a full day of snorkeling we cooked foil dinners over a fire.
On Christmas morning we woke up to a very peacful and colorful sunrise. There wasn't any boat traffic or tourists splashing around in the early morning and ocean was full of life. We spent this morning swimming with black tip reef sharks and graceful manta rays.
Matt and Amy walking along the beach Christmas morning.

After we had returned from our trip we had an fondue dinner. I have really appreciated my friends this Christmas. I have really missed my family and Rachel this holiday, but I have to admite this is a Christmas that I will never forget.


On Christmas Eve morning...

I woke up to snow falling outside my window!! It was so gorgeous.
Garrett finally comes home this afternoon and I could not be more excited to see my brother!


Home for the holidays

Today I spent the day with my Grampa and Mom in Kansas City. We dug out a huge box of old family photos, and had the best time ever looking through all of them, and talking about the people and stories. I loved it! Here's a picture of me and my Grampa riding the ski lift in Gatlinburg, Tennessee when I was little.

This is my Gramma sometime around 1950, when her and my Grampa were married. Wasn't she beautiful? She passed away this fall, and my Grampa is really missing his wife of almost 60 years.
This was a picture that my Gramma sent my Grampa while he was away in Korea in the Military, after they were married.
She wrote on the back of this picture that she made the skirt she is wearing.
This is my very favorite one! 1951- the year they were married, in Colorado Springs. They look so happy.

I hope you enjoy these pictures. As much as I'm missing Brian, I sure am enjoying this time with my family! If you have Skype, I know that Brian would love lots of calls during the next two weeks!


Oh the weather outside is frightful... no, nevermind

Brian bonding with ocean life while snorkeling at Managaha. The starfish here are this gorgeous, bright blue color.

It's HOT here in Saipan! It's the funniest thing to hear Christmas songs like "Let It Snow" while it's literally 85 degrees every day.
Passing around the same starfish for photo shoots with everyone- popular little guy!

This holiday season, we've been keeping busy with:
-studying, studying, studying
-Brian's second hiking club excursion- a success!
-Christmas parties
-putting the final touches on Christmas gifts, and mailing Christmas cards
- I've read the entire Harry Potter series in November and December (first time reading them- yes, they are amazing- but not my favorite books) in preparation for seeing the movie with my bro next week
-a little holiday baking. We made pumpkin bread last week and sopapillas this weekend for our Christmas party.
-Brian's still waiting for his bike to arrive on Saipan, which was shipped about 7 weeks ago. He's starting to fear that it's at the bottom of the Pacific.
-finishing my Taiwan scrapbook to show my family at Christmas.
These girls are just one of the best parts of Saipan- Laura, Kara, me, Amy, Liz, and Jen
Making tamales for our Mexican food Christmas party. We mixed the masa, spread it on the corn husks, put seasoned pork in the middle, rolled them, and transferred them to the steamer. It was a long process, but so much fun to try something new. A couple days later, they were ready for our party and they were delicious!
Brian trying on his Christmas gifts- I LOVE this cute guy

The boys in our group- Josh, Josiah, Brian, Grant, and Matt
Enjoying a great Christmas party with great friends. We went around the room and shared the Christmas traditions in each of our families, past and present, and had a White Elephant gift exchange.


Here we know that Christmas will be green and bright

Hello everyone, happy Friday.

In two weeks from today I will be on a plane flying to the states. This will be the first time that I have been home in a year and a half and I can't wait to give my family a hug. My gramma Wilma passed away last month, and I know that this will make it a difficult Christmas in some ways, but it has also made me so anxious to see my Grampa and Gram, and to spend lots of time with them over my trip.

My wonderful Gram and I are going to spend time doing one of our favorite things together: browsing the Nelson Art Gallery in Kansas City. I can't wait to have lots of lunches with her and for her to show me all of the new things that have been built in KC while I've been away. My Grampa and I are planning a day of looking through old pictures at his house, which I am so excited about. I can't wait to find and frame some pictures of my Gramma, who I will miss so much this Christmas, but who is healthy and happy in heaven right now.

Brian is going to be here in Saipan for Christmas (this will be the longest we've ever been apart since we've been engaged!). I am so thankful for him and how he still wanted me to go to visit the states when we found out we only have enough money for one plane ticket. I have a wonderful, thoughtful man! He will have many of our friends here who are also staying on the island for Christmas, but I also know that he would love lots of skype calls from friends and family. Also, I can give you our address here if you would like to send him a little Christmas note.

Happy Holidays from Saipan!


Saipan T-Giving

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
We had a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner this Thursday. There were about 20 people gathered for the meal at our friend Laura's parents house, so there was also a ton of delicious food. We all made traditional American Thanksgiving dishes, and Brian and I made his mom's recipe of Sweet Potato Cassarole.... it was aaamazing.

It was great to combine some of our friends' Thanksgiving traditions into our own this year. We all sang the doxology before prayer (my friend Amy's tradition in her family), and went around the group to say what we are all thankful for (Laura's family tradition). It's always tough for everyone to be away from their families for Thanksgiving, but everyone had a great time and enjoyed great friends this Thanksgiving!

Old, old man

My husband loves to climb everything :)
Last Sunday, seven of us took a hike down to Old Man by the Sea...
Can you see his profile? We explored the area, lounged in the ocean... the best way to spend a Sunday afternoon in Saipan!


Happy week of Thanksgiving!

My girls Kara and Amy above Forbidden Island

Hello everyone,
Guess what we're excited about.....


We have two Thanksgiving dinners this week- we feel very lucky! On Monday night, our small group Bible Study is having a big Thanksgiving dinner and we're bringing stuffing (yum!). On Thursday, we will have another wonderful Thanksgiving dinner at our friend's parents' house, and we're making Brian's favorite T-Giving food: sweet potato casserole (from his mom's awesome recipe).

It's always tough to spend the holidays away from our families that we love and miss so much, but we are thankful to be in Saipan. We feel like our friends here are truly our family away from home, and I'm so glad to spend this holiday with them.
The steep hike down to the island- at some points you need to use a rope.


some more DBall

Here's some more pics of the epic Dodgeball tournament last weekend :)
Brian's team won- the Huevos Grandes!


Go Huevos Grandes!!

Brian's dodgball team won at the Pacific Island's Club Dodgeball tournament on Saturday!! They made it into Marianas Variety, Saipan's newspaper.

More pictures of the intense dodgeball action to come soon :)