Wednesday, October 24, 2012

almost there

I'm a little restless this evening for several different reasons, so I thought I'd take this time to just share some highlights and thoughts from the past year. So this is guaranteed to be long and rambling, punctuated with Instagram :) Ready for it?

My Eighteenth Year in short choppy sentences since that's the kind of mood I'm in and it's getting late and I really should be going to bed relatively soon but I'm not so yeah.

1. October 26, 2011. Saw my first Broadway production, and visited the Wachters to boot. The US touring cast of Les Miserables. Life changed.

2. November 12-23, 2011. Caught pneumonia and was on my back for eight days. Rumor has that it was a result of a severe shock, I personally think it was virus. And I would know.

3. December 7, 2011. Our sweet "puppy" Caspian died suddenly at age 2. It still hurts my heart to think of the pain and confusion of his last day, and that late emotional night of goodbyes. *shudder*

4. February 18 and 25, 2012. Participated in a piano competition and music festival. Enjoyed both, though was slightly stressed the month leading up to it. But I got a Double Superior at Festival and thought it a fitting way to round of my highschool piano "career".

5. February 25, 2012. Saw Oliver! at Covenant and now I don't think I'll ever see/listen to another cast that I could possibly like more. Spoiled. For. Life.

6. February 15-May 20, 2012. Auditioned for and participated in my first Black Box play in 12 years. The Sound of Music. Loved singing, loved acting, loved the casts, loved the show.

7. March 4, 2012. Another recital for piano. This time as part of the scholarship program. Probably one of the more fun days in that whole month.

8. March 14, 2012. We (as in all the girls, Mama, and a friend) went up to the American Girl Store in D.C. for my little sister's birthday. I felt like a little person again, enjoying the carefree "girl" things in life, and watching my sister drink it all in.

9. March 27, 2012. One year since Tommy went on to heaven.

10. April 29, 2012. Final Chorus-Sing-In as a piano student. Another wonderful evening with lots of memories made.

11. May 4-20, 2012. Absolutely insane tech week as I was in two casts and had twice as much rehearsal time, plus two wildly wonderful show weekends. AHHHH!

12. May 17, 2012. Final piano recital - my eleventh. Emotional evening, but I thoroughly enjoyed the real companionship and fellowship with my friends and family and just thanked God for my teacher and my friends as we've kept each other plugging ahead for so long.

13. May 22, 2012. Met my two dear blogging friends Elizabeth Rose and Bree Holloway IN PERSON with their family in tow. Unforgettable.

14. May 25, 2012. Senior recital for one of my oldest friends. End of decade, start of an age.

15. June 10-September 23, 2012. Bye Bye Birdie rehearsals start. Summer musical. Back to the 1950s in all their glory.

16. July 7-26, 2012. Three week mission trip to Granada, Nicaragua to live with/serve with/for missionary friends. Incredible time of spiritual growth, as well as awareness for third-world countries and thankfulness for my life. I miss it. My heart is longing to go back, my mind says wait.

17. July 27-29, 2012. Final swim championship as a swimmer. Dropped a significant amount of time in every stroke, had a grand old time, and ended the season the recipient of the Umbdenstock Award - the highest award our swim team gives out in year. Everytime I look at it I can't really take it all that it stands for, and just say, "Thank you God."

18. August 2, 2012. My cousin/big sister had a baby. Who has my name. So I feel like an aunt. Even though I'm not. Anyway. MILESTONE!

19. August 3-5, 2012. Trip to Saluda, NC to visit my grandmother where I saw a Broadway-quality (with Broadway actors to boot) production of Guys and Dolls. Best night ever.

20. September 6-23, 2012. Birdie tech week and show weekends. They were wonderful, everything I could ask for and more. The cast bonding was one-of-a-kind, and I really came away feeling like part of a team. I miss them all so much. Some of my happiest summer memories were from those two weeks.

21. September 22, 2012. Driver's License. Long awaited, two-and-a-half years in the making. Totally worth it.

21. September 24-October 1, 2012. BOSTON! Self-explanatory. To visit afore-mentioned cousin/big sister and her husband and cousin/niece.

22. October 6, 2012. Family Foundation Gala to hear Rick Santorum. Traveled with parents, sister and four church friends. Inspirational and refreshing and fun. Except for the Battle Hymn.

23. October 14-20, 2012. A crazy week of re-connecting with our friends/long-lost siblings who we hadn't see in three years. I seriously have the best twin sister and six-foot kid brother EVER.

And that brings me to tonight. The night before my eighteenth birthday. I'm just sitting here, snuggled up in my bed, remembering back to the night of the 24th last year. And NONE of what I'd mentioned above had happened yet. Some of them were probable, some were ideas, some not even thought of. But they've all happened, they make up my year, and have changed or influenced or confused or uplifted or encouraged me in some different way. And that is a blessing. I've done more artsy projects this year than I could've imagined, sung to my heart's content, and traveled to a foreign country - not to mention three solo flights. I just feel so blessed to be ME.

Speaking of blessings...this has been a year of spiritual growth and development. Starting with my baptism the week before my 17th birthday (a day going down in our church's history for the most baptisms in one day - seven, all from one family :D), I have begun to decidedly and completely claim the faith of my parents as my own. Whether it be in witnessing, or in the workplace, or at the pool, or online, or in my personal time with the Lord, I have grasped our beliefs and prayed for the wisdom and guidance to apply them to every aspect of my life. Recently I've been meditating on the work of the Holy Spirit Who is in me right this minute, guiding and sanctifying me. But also wrestling with the idea that the Spirit can only fill me as much as I am emptied. If I hold on to the sin of my old self, then I'm missing out on fully experiencing the power of God. Convicting, yes?

My prayer for this year is that I will be like the wise man in Psalm 1. As I step out more and more on my own into the world, and face the struggles that face the followers of Christ in this age, I want to be firmly rooted and strong in the Word of God.

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lordand on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish. - Psalm 1, ESV

And before I go, I want to close this post with some letters. Some "Dear 'blank,'"s that have been stewing in my mind for a couple days now. These pertain to the past six months in particular, and have these experiences have defined my eighteen-year-old self. Here's a peek at my heart this evening:

Dear Dad, you're a trooper. I just realized this week what this must be like for you - watching me drive off alone and remembering when you drove me on my first car ride home from the hospital back in 1994. Watching me grow up - dealing with work, school, friends, church, commitments, politics...trying to discern when to give me and advice and when to let me learn "the hard way." And it's not like I've made it super easy, black and white, textbook. But overall I think you've done a great job. Honestly. You've raised me well. I may not say it everyday, but I think it. I love you. Thank you.

Dear Mama. I don't know what to say. I'm eighteen. I'm done with high school. I have a job. I can drive. I can sing, play piano, and act. I can read. I can write. I know my American history. I even know Geometry. And that's because you gave up having your days all to yourself to keep me home and teach this all to me. Because you love me more than I'll ever know. I am who I am because of the decisions you made twelve years ago. And now that I'm older, you are more than my teacher and my dear are my friend. I love you. Thank you.

Dear Maddie, you're not a real outwardly emotional person so I'm not going to get all gushy here. It'll just make it awkward. But I just wanted to tell you that you are the best sister I've ever had. I cannot imagine life without you and even though we have our moments (sometimes rather big moments) I would not trade the past sixteen years of companionship for anything. You rock. Thank you.

Hey you. You know who you so I'll leave it at that. Thank you for being honest with me. I know it wasn't easy for you, and I know how it felt for me to hear it. But you changed me, and for that I'm grateful. It took you for me to realize that I wasn't just someone everyone hung out with because they had to, because they tolerated me. You really cared, and still do. I'm sorry things didn't quite turn out....but God knows what He's doing. You're awesome, and God has a special and unique plan for you, never forget that. Your friendship means a lot to me. Thank you.

Dear Kate, last week was such a blessing. More than you know. It's a rare thing to find a friend who views life through the same lens as yourself. We may not have exactly the same goals or strengths, but we are both striving to be worthy of the calling to which we have been called - both as individuals and together as sisters in Christ. You are one of the greatest blessings in my life...not sure I can even call you a friend. You really are my sister. Oh, we have so much fun, Kate. I miss you already. Thank you for all you are and all you've been to be. Steadying me when I go over the top, but still going along for the ride. You're wonderful and I love you dearly. Thank you.

Dear Hannah, I'm not sure you realize how much I look up to you, how high I hold you. At Bible study we went around the room and shared some about the heroes/heroines in our lives. I talked about you. I admire your spirit, your enthusiasm, your godly example of parenting with your three children, you and Mr. Chip's example of a godly marriage, your patience and endurance through the trials that have come up in your life, your love for me. Hannah, you are a treasure to me in more ways that I can name. God has blessed me above and beyond. Thank you.

Honestly, my friends, I could go on. There are more stories to tell, more experiences to share, more dear ones in my life to recognize and I plan to in the next week as well. But it's late and if I want to enjoy my day tomorrow, I should turn in. I go to sleep contemplative, listening to the words of this classic praise song, which gives voice to the true desire of my heart:

I will worship, with all of my heart

I will praise you, with all of my strength
I will seek you, all of my days
I will follow, all of your ways

I will bow down, and I'll hail you as king
I will serve you, I will give you everything
I will lift up my eyes to your throne
I will trust you, I will trust you alone

I will give you, all my worship
I will give you, all my praise
You alone, I long to worship
You alone, are worthy of my praise
You are worthy of my praise

Monday, October 22, 2012

epic fail.

So I thought I was back in the blogging grove. All this extra time without school, new MacBook Air to play around with, lots of exciting things happening to merit posts, sewing projects to share, new ideas and inspirations around every corner.


Maybe I'm just lazy. 'Cause I do have lots of sewing projects that I've completed over the past...eighteen months that I could take pictures of and share. I have recipes that I've tried that worked that I could share. And my life is very interesting at the moment - lots of church and friend related stories that would keep y'all entertained, movies and shows to review. I have no idea why I haven't posted any of this stuff...or why I'm even confessing this severe case of procrastination. Guess I just need to get it out there so then I can keep myself accountable :) ANYWAY. 
So I'm going to try to redeem this pointless post by sharing some things with you all! WOW. Yeah, seriously. Not a joke. 

This has been a week of memories. Our dear, dear friends came to stay most of the week with us - we hadn't seen them in three years - and memories from six years ago when they used to live here, and from our trip to Germany to visit them almost four years ago, and memories of long chats over gmail and the phone, songs we used to sing, happy days from early teen years...all of it came flooding back. We spent hours talking, talking, talking, listening to soundtracks, singing Phantom at the top. of. our. lungs in the the bedroom, lots of Taylor Swift, Downton Abbey, and long walks over the countryside contemplating life's joys and trials and God's big picture. Oh, it was wonderful. I literally shed everything that's been weighing me down, and since none of it has come back, I'll say it was a successful week.

A word about the Taylor songs...I'm not even sure how long I've been singing her work...I'll always have a special place in my heart for "You Belong With Me" since I do remember that being the first of her songs that I heard/memorized. But over the years some songs I've grown to like more than others, and some have come to have special meaning (like "Long Live") but some I've forgotten about. So they have none of the strings attached/meanings that the ones I've continued to listen to faithfully have with them. So this week, as we reminisced and I remember some those "forgotten" songs and we listened to them, all the memories of care-free days of being thirteen/fourteen came rushing back and I was literally transported back. It's a great feeling, I'm tellin' you. So a song as "depressing" as "Story of Us" actually makes me happy beyond belief. Anyway. Just thought that would be interesting in some weird way. *awkward silence*

Oh, last night Maddie bought like twelve new now I can listen to "Beautiful One" and "You Raise Me Up" whenever I want instead of waiting for my Pandora to play them once in a blue moon :) Actually, here's Beautiful One for you all to listen to, since it really is one of my all-time favorite Christian songs.

Music really is amazing. And my Pandora station that I've been listening to for the past thirty minutes as I've been working here on this post....let's just say I'm proud of it for behaving itself today :) I mean seriously..."Your Song" (Elton John), "Sound of Silence" (Simon and Garfunkel), "Piano Man" (Billy Joel), "Circle of Life" (Lion King), "Something There" (Beauty and the Beast), and currently "Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not" (Thompson Square)....all in row???? Day made.

And I'm over the moon because...ready for this....Maddie. Likes. Phantom. It only took projecting the entire Phantom 25 performance up on our wall over two nights for her to come to that conclusion. But totally worth it. Catherine and I of course were actually crying a couple times (we're crazy emotional like that) but I was just glad Maddie enjoyed it and understands why we love it so much now. Dad joined us for "Down Once More" till the end and was impressed is GOOOOD, folks!
Sierra Boggess....Hadley Fraser....Ramin Karimloo....would it be sacrilegious to say that I might, just might actually possibly conceivably maybe like that trio just a teensy-fractional bit better than the original cast? *ducks and hides* Just a possibility. *cautious smile* And since there's a pretty big possibility that I'll get to see Sierra on Broadway in January as Christine...ahhhhhhhhhh! 

Okay moving on before I get too worked up here.
So glad my knee socks are out of the box...just a little bit awkward since I now have a hole in my JCPenney jeans since last winter :P Penguin, anyone? And woolly bears are back! As we were walking out to the car the other day, I stepped over one of this little cuties and Maddie reminded me how much I LOVED woolly bears when I was younger. It might have bordered on obsession. While I do not feel as strongly about them now as I did then, they are still happy signs of fall and merit a picture or two *grin*

Well, well, well. Hope everyone is doing swimmingly in your little corner of the world! All my NaNo friends gearing up for a month of chaos and typing, typing, typing...all my school-laden friends counting down the days till Thanksgiving...all of you wonderful folks, all 157 of you who have followed this blog so faithfully for so long...thanks. 'Cause guess what Thursday is? Not only my 18th birthday, but my 3rd blog anniversary. Yup. Can't believe it's been that long....pretty awesome when you come to think of it, though.

A closing word from our sermon text yesterday:
“You have led in your steadfast love the people whom you have redeemed;    you have guided them by your strength to your holy abode."~ Exodus 15:13, ESV
So hopefully that *wasn't* an epic fail of a post as the title implies. The decision is left in your hands. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

so don't stress

I had an "August" post where I bemoaned the difficulties of the said month, and said I was looking forward to September. Well, September was pretty amazing. It was a month of seeking and finding, a month of enjoying life, a month of encouragement. October has tarted off a little less...easy, but still has promise. 'Cause in the words of our dear Maria, "Oh, Liesl, you can't use school to hide your troubles, you have to face them!" So it follows that if you smooth over things for a time, you will eventually have to bring them back up again. And that's kinda what October's been so far. But it's good. After all, I know:
And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. ~ Romans 5:3-5
Which brings me to something very encouraging - a new Bible study at our church. For years, even though I dearly love our wonderful godly church, I have felt that the young people/young adults group of members have been slightly neglected. But as an answer to prayer, the Lord has raised up several of our single young men and women (mid-to-late twenties in age) who have a heart for us! Yesterday was the first day of what has the makings of an encouraging young ladies study led by Sarah and Stephanie. 

Last night we talked about the Spirit, the ministries of the Spirit, and the fact that the same Spirit that was "hovering over the waters" (Genesis 1:1-2) at creation, the same Spirit that caused Christ's conception (Luke 1:35), the same Spirit that empowered Christ's earthly ministry (Acts 10:38), the same Spirit that is everywhere - there is no place He isn't (Psalm 139:7-10) is the same Spirit that dwells in us, if we are believers in Christ. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Isn't that a bit mind-blowing? I mean, MORE than a bit mind-blowing? 

I've found that idea, that the Power of the Spirit rests in me, very comforting as I've been processing my life lately. Comfort in the knowledge that God actually *knows* what I'm thinking, what I'm worried or stressed about (yes, I know, "no stress"), what I cry about at night, what wakes me up at four am every morning, what I'm struggling well as what I'm happy about, what makes my day, what fulfills me, and what I'm searching for - many of these things that I'm not even sure of the answers to myself. HE KNOWS. He knows it all. And the Spirit in me is what is working to drive me back to the Lord. Because as Pastor Keith so aptly pointed out on Sunday, the Spirit's job is to point us to the Father. The more I see myself as the weak, inadequate, sinful girl that I am, the more I can rejoice and rest in the strength, omnipotence, and purity of my Savior. And I can be encouraged at who I am becoming through Him, and how exciting life actually is for me right now, and how much potential there is in my present circumstances.
17 Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, 20 giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another in the fear of God. ~ Ephesians 5:17-21 [emphasis mine]
In other words, I'm experiencing growing pains. Not in the physical sense...yes, I'm still five three-and-a-half...but in a spiritual and maturity sense. I've had to think about things in these past two months that I didn't expect to for at least another few years. I've been humbled, honored, encouraged, confused, invigorated, and challenged. All good things, when thought through from the right perspective. And much of it is still going on. Daily. But now in light of the Spirit and the power of God at work in my life and the lives of those I love, I can take it on with strength - unafraid.

Anyway, that's my word for the evening. Hope you all are splendid and having a blessed week - whether it's school or work or parenting or just living that you are currently employed in. Do it all as unto the Lord!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

the great bostonian adventure

So, my trip to the north - Boston, MA to be specific - was a success. Farthest north I've ever been in my life, first time in New  England, but not the first time I've flown solo :) Anyway. I'm home with over 200 pictures to share - we'll see if I can condense it down a little for a blog post so I don't keep you here all day :)

I went to Boston for a week to spend time with my cousin Jessica, her husband Tom, and their brand-new baby girl. Some of you may not realize the rather large age difference between Jessica and I, since the gap has definitely "closed" over the past several years. But Jess was our favorite babysitter and "grownup" all throughout her highschool and college years.

on the left: 1998....on the right: 2012

Just so you realize how ABSOLUTELY AMAZING it is to have a cousin so much older than you who really isn't and even though we don't live in the same city anymore we're still super close. Anyway. Just for context. Onto the trip! Let's goooooo....

Day One // Monday:
My flight was early afternoon from DC, so even though the morning was spent traveling, I still had a good part of the day in Boston - well, late afternoon and supper time.
I managed to bumble the baggage check pretty effectively - he asked if I had any bags to check and I said no. Then he asked how many bags I had. Two. Which he proceeded to check and charge me for. Without thinking twice, I paid him. And then realized he was checking them and I wanted to carry them on but he'd already gone to put the cash away. So when he came back and I had to explain our mistake. Oops. But it was cash so they have to mail us a refund. AHHH. Craziness. Will I ever learn? International travel is easier, in my humble opinion. After that the trip was easy. 
we live in a beautiful country.

Jessica picked me up at the airport, and I got to see Lily for the first time! Super exciting.

I bedded down in Tom and Jessica's TV room for the week on a super comfy sofa. For the record, I can and will sleep anywhere. Well, pretty much anywhere. *hehe*

Day Two // Tuesday:
A quiet day, spent mostly at home in the apartment, hanging out and settling in - also included a little excursion out to Porter's Square for coffee at the cute bookshop/cafe.

On the way home, we grabbed middle-eastern take out - yummy!

And also started our daily afternoon teas. I think we only didn't do it one day :) Tea, shortbread, cookies, pie, was kinda different everyday. Cozy tea it.

Funny story from the day...this is *classic* me, by the way. So I wanted to buy the song "My Immortal" 'cause it's pretty and I like it. No problem with that, right? Just go buy it on iTunes, search it, find it, click buy and you're listening to it in thirty seconds, right? I go onto iTunes. "Rats, it's $1.29." Look a little more. "Oh, look! There's a $.99 version!" Buys it. Job done, saved 30 cents. Until I realize it doesn't have the harmony part that I love so much....that's in the "new" more popular $1.29 version. "Fine, fine, fine. I'll buy the other one too. I want it that badly..." *cough* Except I accidently hit the buy button on the Live band version. Yuck. Not gonna settle for that one. Finally bought the one I wanted, ended up spending $3.57 all because I wanted to save $.30. *sigh* Welcome to my life, people! I crack myself up. Jessica and I definitely had a good laugh over it :D ANYWAY. Moving on....

Day Three // Wednesday:
the start of my "daily routine" with my new little cousin. While Jessica got ready for the day, the two of us would hang out and "play" and snuggle. She didn't really know me at first, but by the end of the week we were friends ;)
In the late morning, we headed out to do the art museum. Turns out, Jessica and I do museums the same way: fast. We looked at the guide and saw that the special exhibit "Art of the Americas" included some Singer Sargent paintings that we (my family) studied for art study about two years ago. Actually, those of you who were following my blog in 2010 may recall I used the painting "Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose" as my blog header for a while. Anyway. So I wanted to see those. And there were some Renoir and Monet paintings in another gallery too, so we decided those are what we'd look for ;)
we got kinda lost at one point (it's a BIG museum) and ended up in the contemporary art section. It was actually pretty interesting, although a couple pieces were a little creepy. This neon sign was fun, though.

Lily and Monet on the left, original study from "Carnation, Lily, Lily Rose" on the right

We also had lunch at one of the food spots in the museum. The food was *very* good - and they actually gave us fair-sized portions for the price we paid - always appreciated. And while we were sitting eating, I realized that all the lit "exit" signs were green. Since when are Exit Signs green???

In the afternoon, it was a little dreary so we snuggled down and watched The Lorax, which neither of us had seen before. It was hiiiilaaaarious. That little Zac Efron character is classic. Anyway. We enjoyed it :D

Day Four // Thursday:
This was the first of our two sight-seeing days. Lots of walking. And with all the crazy cyclists, it felt like Nica all over again. :) The picture below is my foot up against the gold horseshoe marking the route of William Dawes - the fella who finished Paul Revere's ride after the latter got caught. One of those, "Wow...he was *right here* in this spot" moments. Love those.

the train station. we rode a lot of trains. And I got to be there for Lily's first train ride ever. Pretty neat.

Beacon Hill. With it's original buildings and authentic gas lamps. 

Brick, brick, brick!

Love the diversity of the doors. This was my favorite contrast - dignified wood and chic pink.

Annnnnd....THE BOSTON COMMON. You have no idea how long I have wanted to be here. And it's beautiful, and sunny, and peaceful. I actually would move to Boston just to be able to visit the Common whenever I wanted.

Cemetary where Revere is buried, and then lunch time at the Barking Crab with Tom

See those boats? After lunch we decided we weren't really up for going into the North End of Boston, where the Old North Church, the Tea Party Museum and all that historical stuff is. So we went home. Well, when I looked up on the map where exactly Fish Street (Johnny Tremain) is today, Jessica and I realized that that's where those boats are. We had literally been five minutes away. Oh well.

This picture is for Ms Julia. Because I'm still chuckling about when Mr. Rob and I stood the loading patio at Burnley and made her yell at us for standing too close to the edge and putting ourselves at risk of falling. :) If you can't tell what the picture's of, it's a seven foot drop off the concrete wharf into the bay. Kinda cool and kinda scary at the same time :D

After lunch, we headed home (to the train station) via the Public Gardens. Another beautiful spot with a special place in my heart.

Reason? Make Way For Ducklings.

Picture of the week! Lily and I with the famous Mallards. And Lily's sweater is bunched up and making her look like a linebacker :P

Day Five // Friday:
I don't exactly remember what all we did on Friday. I know we stayed home in the morning and watched Gnomeo and Juliet - very cute and fun since Jess hadn't seen it before.

I'm pretty sure this is the day we went to go pick up the CSA vegetables, and the one thing we *definitely* did was Lobster For Supper. Important. I have never had lobster before, so Tom was eager that I do it while I was in Boston.

Right before we were about to eat, my iPod starts buzzing and singing and jumping around. I look over to see I'm being Face-Timed by my family...crazy bunch that they are :D

While it wasn't my favorite thing I've ever eaten, I did thoroughly enjoy it and would have it again for sure :D The method of consumption is very similar to that of crab, which I love and am quite familiar with, so getting to the meat was no problem. Of course, Tom bashed mine with a sledge hammer so I wouldn't have to do all work (okay, okay, it wasn't a sledge hammer...) but still. :D

Day Six // Saturday:
Relaxing stay-at-home snuggle day. Love those! Tom had to go to a business meeting in the morning, but when he came back in the afternoon, we watched Cars 2 and then went out to dinner at the lounge where Bettina (Tom's sister) works.

Jessica and I sauntered out to Porter's again in the morning for coffee, croissants and muffins. I also picked up two birthday presents (gotta keep the siblings in mind wherever you go!) - so all in all, very productive.

my pumpkin spice latte (oh, how I love seasonal drinks!) and Jessica and Lily getting ready to watch Cars 2. We realized as the week closed, that the only movies we'd watched were The Lorax, Gnomeo and Juliet, and Cars 2. Yes, all animated. Tom's response, "Well, 'cause that's all we watch anyway." Truth. Very funny though.

Another favorite picture of the week. This was at the restaurant :) Love my cousins!

Day Seven // Sunday:
Sunday was lovely and quiet. We went to my cousins' lovely old historic church, and I really enjoyed the Episcopal liturgy - something I grew to love during our brief stay at St. Stephen's, and wonderfully familiar from my fifteen years growing up in a Presbyterian church. Afterwards we had brunch with close friends of my cousins, who are also Lily's godparents.

The rest of the afternoon was spent watching the Patriots football game, snippets here and there of the Ryder Cup, and whatever other football games were on - and talking and eating and hanging out, drop in visits from Tom's parents and friend Melissa, napping and resting, and all that good stuff that comes with lazy Sunday afternoons.

Day Eight // Monday: 
My last day in Boston. On Sunday evening, Tom asked, "So girls, what are you doing tomorrow?" We had no idea. Jess asked if there was anything left I wanted to see. Deep down, I still *really* wanted to go to the North End, and since there'd be no harm in suggesting, I did. And turns out, it would work perfectly! So we spent several hours wandering around the North End of Boston - and I got to see all those historic spots I've read about for soooooo long. Definitely worth it.
The day started with a train ride (Lily slept) and a quick little look around Boston's theater district. Turns out they have a Paramount theater too!

Tucked away near the Paramount is the gorgeous Boston Opera House...told Jessica that someday I want to preform some place where people come 'cause they have season tickets, some place fancy like this. Somedayyyy.....

Next stop - first historic one: the Old State House, and the site of the Boston Massacre.

I think I look too happy to be on the exact spot of such a tragic event. *wry grin*

Fanueil Hall, where both Tom and Jessica were sworn into the bar. As well as John Adams, John Quincy Adams, Daniel Webster, and Frederick Douglass. Pretty neat, I must say!

I thought Charlottesville was the only spot with "Art in Place". Guess not...we just had to take a picture of ourselves with the Big Noodle Sculpture. :) The first official "Flat Lily" shot of the day.

Lunch in historic Quincy Market. I got a bagel pizza. So making this at home!

Modern day Commercial Street...known to our history buffs and Johnny Tremain-lovers as "Fish Street". Yup. The real place.

The approximate site of Hancock's Wharf. Hi, Flat Lily!

Flat Lily at Copp's Hill. Which actually doesn't really have any major historic figures buried here. Just the place itself is historic. Still cool, though.

And this is the Old North Church.
" if by land, two if by sea, and I on the opposite shore will be, ready to ride and sound the alarm..."

This was neat!

With the Revere statue and in front of the Revere House. Hi Flat Lily!

Delicious cannolis from Mike's Pastry. Of course, the whole time I was thinking "What do you mean, Obi-Wan Cannoli?" :P

Playing with a very perky Lily at the train station on the way home

I still can't believe my cousin has a baby. So COOL! 

And before we headed off to the airport, Jessica and I enjoyed our cannolis (we'd saved them). Mine was supposed to be mint chocolate chip, but it didn't taste like that. It was good, just not mint. About halfway through it, I decided it tasted more like Yoplait Key Lime Pie - after I'd gotten that squared away I could enjoy fully :D

My flight home was uneventful. Dad picked me up that night when I arrived, and then I actually got to drive home alone in one car while he drove a rental. So that was exciting.

That was my trip to Boston! A full week, very relaxing, and definitely helped reduce the acuteness of my PSD from Birdie, especially since Jessica is an amazing listener and very patiently listened to all my stories from the past few months and gave me wonderful advice and encouragement. Love you, Jessica! I feel very blessed to have you for a cousin.

 Thank you SO much Jessica and Tom for having me up and sharing your baby with me :) It truly was a blessing, and I throughly enjoyed all our conversations and discussions throughout the week. Can't wait to see you all again in November! xoxo