Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Adventures of Christmas Preparations in Virginia

December 10

I do NOT know how it is already December 10th.  That means we have been here in Chesapeake for a month and although we have been busy getting settled and learning our jobs, it does not seem possible that a full month has passed.    And because it doesn't seem possible that it is nearly mid-December, I am getting a slow start for Christmas this year - finally this week I have started to do a few things.  However, the plants here in VA have been preparing for  quite some time - see below :)

Note the round clusters high in the tree branches.   That is mistletoe and grows in lots of the trees around here.   We walk under this tree 3 or 4 times a day as we come and go from the office......and we have not tried out the mistletoe tradition yet.   Either we are too tired or too old...not sure which!!

I've noticed holly bushes growing many places around town - in home landscaping, in lines of bushes in front of Wal-Mart and this lovely speciman that is part of the hedge that grows in our apartment parking lot.    It makes me feel like Christmas and start humming "The Holly and the Ivy" just to see the bushes :)

Last Saturday we attended a service project activity for all the senior missionaries.  We were filling up goody bags so the young missionaries have a little gift bag at Christmas.....and of course we had to eat lunch after we had worked so hard.   It was fun to do something for the youngsters and also to meet some of the other couples we had not yet met.

The tall man standing in the back of the first picture is the mission president, President Baker.   There is something about his smile that reminds me  a little of President Henry B. Eyring.   He and his wife are soooooooo busy - I don't know how they get it all done.   We have a sister who is in charge of all the table decorations/place settings for meals that we do here.   I am happy to help her if she just tells me what to do but sure wouldn't do well with that responsibility because I raised a houseful of boys who really didn't care if the table looked pretty as long as there was enough food :)

Late last week I finally sat down to compose the annual Christmas poem but then had to find my way to a store to find some Christmas paper.  ( I think we get lost at least once a day back here but I do know my way between the apartment and the office/church now so maybe I'll be able to branch out a little more in the next few months.)  And, I bought Christmas cards on clearance right after Christmas last year and even remembered to bring them with me, so now it is time to let the Christmas card tradition begin!

I even have some "money" cards for gifts.   Now all I need to do is find where the money trees grow around here so I can pick some and put it in the cards ;-D

We received a package at the office yesterday and it was a nice surprise when we opened it up - a birthday gift/card from Colby's family and they even went the extra mile and sent a couple of our traditional Christmas decorations from the, that meant we needed to put them and a few others up last night.   Now the apartment is starting to look like Christmas.   

Frosty is a little lonely without any grandkids here to twist his nose around :)

The advent tree needs some grandkids to help me keep it up to date by removing a star every day, but I still smile every time I look at these because it brings back great memories of other Christmas seasons with family around.

Not much room for decorations in this tiny apartment but what space we have will remind us of the reason we celebrate.

The couple we replaced left a couple of small nativity sets.....and I'm glad we have them.   They are just the right size for the apartment.

Santa's elf, Elder Ashton, spent about 2 hours last night decorating the front window with the one string of lights we have.   He was a little frustrated that he couldn't get the lights to all turn the same way, but then we just laughed about it when I asked him if he suffered from OCD much :)

And before I end this post, I really must tell a story on myself.    While we were still in Gilbert, I was quite dedicated about going to the gym 3 times a week.  However, with all the travel, training, moving, new job responsibilities, new town, etc., it had been 7 weeks since I had been to the gym.   There is a small workout room here at the apartment complex so when we got home from the office last night I told Elder Ashton that there were leftovers in the fridge for dinner and I was going to change my clothes and go workout.   It was about 5:30 so was getting pretty dark but I found my way around the building to the workout room and entered the code so I could get in.  However, when I entered the room it was getting too dark to see anything and I started feeling around for the light switch by the door.  It wasn't on the left side of the door and so I turned to the right and could just see the shadow of an old woman really close to me.....I let out a little scream and then started to laugh when my hand hit the mirror I was looking in and I realized the old woman was me!!!!  Now - whenever you see a print of this famous painting, think of me :)

Image result for the scream

Finally found the light switch on the opposite side of the room and got a little workout in on the eliptical and the treadmill.   Need to get back over there but that won't happen tonight (too sore) or tomorrow night (feeding the young sister missionaries and have the lasagna all made and sitting in the fridge ready to heat up when we get home from Zone Conference in Virginia Beach tomorrow).

Hoping to get this little apartment smelling like Christmas goodies next week - time to make some goodies and take some to new neighbors and friends.



  1. You are awesome, Carol, and i continue to love hearing about your adventures...and making lemons into lemonade! I love that your kids sent you Christmas decorations from home - nice to ground you a little bit in your memories. Loved the story of the "old" woman in the mirror! Your apartment looks - and will soon smell - Christmasized! Thanks for keeping us up to speed with the Ashtons of Virginia!

  2. You made me laugh out loud. Hope you birthday was a good one. thanks for sending your good wishes to me. I had a good day. I bought myself a pkg of baby swiss cheese.