Time to Enjoy the Holidays

Well, we made it through the crazy week and a half of parties and such. The small "party" I threw for my literacy kids had some of the worst behavior I've ever seen. It spiraled downward when they didn't like the BRAND NEW BOOKS they received, which were donated by Disney. I guess they became used to getting what they wanted with treats etc. that they figured if they threw a pity party I'd swap them for other books. Oh well. I still got them pizza.

It was a lot of fun to hang out with Matt & Amy and the boys at Disneyland the next day. They had a blast running a muck on Tom Sawyer Island, now known as Pirate's Cove. That evening we also went to our ward's Christmas party and sang Christmas songs while enjoying good food and a cute nativity play.

On Monday at my Literacy Foundation work meeting, we got to share what our sites were like, and I'm so glad I wasn't alone in what I experienced at the elementary school. Kids have a lot of familial and social problems across the board. I am super excited to be able to do this again next semester, maybe at the same school.

The next two days were centered around the Young Women. We met Tuesday night to pack little gifts for them (homemade chapstick and sugar hand scrub) which inspired me to make fun stuff for birthdays and next Christmas too. Then the next evening we had the actual party for the girls. They each brought a treat so we had a ton of food, they enjoyed making little snowman and star ornaments, and I read a Christmas story Sister Woolf gave me. Overall it was fun and I'm glad to get to know them better. Sister Galati and I are getting to be good friends, which I'm really happy about, considering it's been difficult getting to know people. She's just like me - at home a lot of the time, wanting to have more motivation to do stuff. We're also visit teaching companions and we help encourage each other.

Throughout the week I was able to grab 2.5 substitute days, one of which was singing with kids all day. On Friday we went to Michael's work party at the Newport Beach Yacht Club. While watching the Christmas Boat Parade from the balcony, they gave each of us $1k in chips to play with. We learned roulette and played a little blackjack. We wanted to try out craps but the table was always packed. I met a lot of his awesome co-workers and their families and we had a blast. At the end of the night we were in 3rd place with the highest earnings of the night, and got to pick from the prize table. We scored a Kindle Fire! Just what I wanted! haha. I actually asked for the cheaper one for Christmas so we're going to wait and see what we get. I just wanted one of the lower grade readers because they battery life is much better and the screen is non-reflective.

Mike spotted a deal on a 50 mm lens on Amazon, so of course we got it. (I used it this Sunday, it was fantastic). Look how pretty!!

Saturday after visit teaching nearby, we went to Chino for a Burr family Christmas. I really missed seeing David & Terri a ton! It was so nice to relax and chat and enjoy a delicious meal. They spoiled us, as usual. That evening we were also invited to another church dinner, this time with Mike's home teaching companion and all of their families. Dinner was great and so was the conversation, but our eyelids were closing since it had been a long day and we went home and went straight to bed.

Lastly, yesterday we went to Ladera Ranch to photograph the baptism of a newborn I had just taken photos of the month before. The mom liked me so much the first time (and teased me for being too nice), she booked me again for this special day. We'd never been to a Catholic baptism before so it was really cool to see. I also got to use the 50 mm, which I love.

Now we're looking forward to Mike's work week being over, and going up north to my sister's house for Christmas with the Spencer side of the family. I love this time of year!

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