Merry Christmas Everyone!

Just wanted to take a second to wish you all a very Merry Christmas! Anthony and I begin our 55 hour Holiday Extravaganza in t-minus 4 hours and can’t wait!

Thursday, December 24th:
3pm: Christmas Eve gathering with my Father’s extended family (Dinner at 5pm)

6pm: Drive to Ventura

6:30pm: Swedish Smorgasbord at Grandma Tillquist’s house (Ant’s Mom’s extended family)

10:30pm: Drive to Moorpark

11:00pm: “Midnight Christmas” gift exchange with my immidiate familiy, complete with PJ’s, donuts, and cinnamon buns! yum!

Friday, December 25th:
1am (ish): Drive home to Thousand Oaks and SLEEP!!!!

7:30am – wake up, breakfast at home with Anthony for our first ever Christmas at home as a married couple! The gifts are already under the tree, calling my name!!!

8:45: Drive to Newbury Park

9:00am: Christmas brunch and gift exchange with Anthony’s immediate family (including our Nephew Max’s FIRST CHRISTMAS!

12:00pm: home for lunch, maybe a quick nap?

2:00pm: Drive to Palmdale for Christmas dinner with Anthony’s mom’s extended family

10:00pm: home!!!

Saturday, December 26th:
SLEEP IN!!!!
2pm: Drive to Moorpark for Day After Christmas dinner with my Dad’s extended family.

*whew*

Tired just reading it!!!
And SO looking forward to it all. Gotta start getting ready!!!

Merry Christmas!
-Jen

Book Review

Trying something new here, and hopefully trying out something else new later this week. (Don’t hold your breath tho – Holidays = Busy girl = not a lot of time for blogging.)

Just finished a really, REALLY great book. Out of 5 stars, I’d give it 4 and a half. One of those that you really just can’t put down.

Angels & Demons by Dan Brown.

I know, I know – the book was just made a movie and was secondary to The Da Vinci Code – blah blah blah.

First, I’ll have you know that I read The Da Vinci Code by shear interest before the movie was even being filmed. It stood alone on a book shelf and just invited me to pick it up and read it. I had NO IDEA at the time that it was a series, nor did I know that it was the second book in said series and not the first. But I digress…

The point is that I loved the Movie, “The Da Vinci Code” and really want to see “Angels & Demons.” But, of course, that means I need to read the book first, right? ALWAYS!

So, on our trip home from Reno over Thanksgiving, I picked it up off of the airport newsstand shelf and started reading. Instantly, I was hooked – the same way I was with Da Vinci Code. Mr. Brown has this ridiculously simple way of writing. It makes everyone from the most intellectual reader to the “I don’t read very often” type feel right at home. And history buffs/ conspiracy theorists are just clamoring for the next page. Myself included. I love the fact that while his books are TOTAL works of fiction, they are based in real, HISTORICALLY based fact. These places, these documents, these secret societies all existed or still exist today. How cool is that??? The research he must have done to keep these books true to realty must have taken years. I can’t even imagine. And here he is – writing it all out in a way that makes it all visually available for anyone. LOVE IT.

Angels & Demons is the first in a series of at least three books (possibly more – don’t know). The series follows a Harvard Professor named Robert Langdon on some pretty astonishing, life threatening adventures through ancient relics and symbols, set in modern day scenarios. Crazy as it sounds – it all somehow works. It’s even believable! This stuff could actually happen! (Possible, but not likely… I hope.)

This adventure takes us to Vatican City on the Eve of Conclave, as the current Pope has passed away and the time for a new regime is in order. But conclave and it’s ancient traditions are threatened by the Church’s ultimate and most aggressive arch enemy – Science itself – in the form of an very old Secret Society called the Illuminati. The legend of The Illuminati goes back to the days of Galileo. These men met in secret all over Rome to discuss scientific breakthroughs and theories away from the eyes of the Church. Eventually the Church crushed the group and forbade them to ever meet again. But Secrecy has always kind of been their thing, and the time has come for them to reveal themselves in a modern world as a fierce alternative to Religion.

In this story, the Illuminati is back, and they are out for revenge!!! I won’t tell you what happens – You’ll have to find out for yourself. All I can tell you is that you NEVER see the ending twists coming, I don’t care how many times you think you know. I found myself saying, out loud, “What??? Wait a minute – how is that…. huh???” And then reading on and saying (again out loud) “ohhhhhhhhhh. I get it.” And this happened more than once.

It really is a very well written work of fiction and I highly, highly recommend it. The Chapters are numerous, but usually very short, so it is an easy read. The short chapters are a tool Brown uses to cut from one story line to another n order to keep you abreast of all the information you need to know to keep putting two and two together. It is also convenient for when you need to put the book down for a minute or two to walk the dog or eat – telling someone “just one second, I need to finish this chapter” really only takes another minute or so on average.

So now, I’ve read Angels & Demons. Looking forward to watching the movie. I am also re-reading The Da Vinci Code (which makes LOADS more sense in the first few chapters, now that I know what the references to The Vatican mean to the story). Once I finish it this time around, I fully intent on going out and purchasing “The Lost Symbol” the third book in the series. I simply can’t wait to find out what happens to Langdon and the absolutely riveting half fact/ half fiction adventure.

What are you still sitting there reading this for? Go read the book!

-Jen

Another Day like any other

Hi Gang!

Sorry it’s taken me so long to get something up here. It’s been 2 weeks! Yikes!

Life has been so busy at home and at work lately, that blogging totally feel to the wayside. Work this week was crazy due to a HUGE computer crash we had. Lost a lot of data that we had to recover by re-entering it all back into the system manually. Not so fun. And on the home front, preparing for Christmas, seeing our families, and trying to start our own traditions has taken up almost all of our time. What time isn’t taken up has been devoted to CherryTree. We are up and running on Etsy.com (cherrytreethreads.etsy.com) and I’ve loving it all. Life is pretty good, tho! Well – mostly…

I’d like to take a moment and say a little prayer for my Aunt Lynda, who passed away one week ago, today. She fought a ridiculously tough battle with breast cancer for the past 15 years, and even though she passed away due to the cancer, I’m proud to say that she actually won that fight. She rode the wave of borrowed time for longer than any Doctor predicted. And she lived up every moment. She had 3 kids – all married – and 9 (nine!!!) Grandchildren. She traveled and worked right up to the end, and I couldn’t be prouder of her defiance. In her son’s words at her memorial: “Cancer certainly did not define her.” She was a trooper and a wonderful woman who will be missed.

A Prayer for my Aunt:
BROKEN CHAIN
β€œLittle knew that morning that God was going to call your name. In life we loved you dearly, in death we do the same. It broke our hearts to lose you, you did not go alone; for part of us went with you the day God called you home. You left us peaceful memories, your love is still our guide, and though we cannot see you, you are always by our side. Our family chain is broken and nothing seems the same, but as God calls us one by one, the chain will link again.”

Life is so crazy. My mother always told me, “If you want to make God laugh, then make a plan.” She, as always, was right. Plans go awry. My Aunt’s passing was just another example. We thought she’d be here to share Christmas with all of us. So as the holidays approach, I’m not making plans, so much as I’m trying to make opportunities for memories. I plan to have my camera with me every second (much to Anthony’s dismay) and fully intend to document our memories here on my blog.

I’ll do a blog about our Thanksgiving Traditions (hopefully) this weekend. I have so many pictures to share with all of you. I also have to do a blog on my friend, Danica’s Wedding. Then, coming up is Christmas Tree Hunting, Christmas parties, and our Christmas Traditions, followed by our trip up north for NYE. Lots to come.

It is odd to not be coming up with something new to be Thankful for every day and writing about it. Truth be told, I don’t have the time right now to do that. But I definitely think about these things every day. And I’m thankful for all of you who read my ramblings!

Work is going well. I’ve had a hand in two new toy lines that will be coming out in early 2010. Can’t wait to show them to you. Dog Lovers out there, get ready for some cool stuff!!!

I promise to do my best from here on out not to go more than a week without blogging. Keep up with your blogs too! I love reading them. I want to hear all about your holiday traditions.

Have a great evening!
-Jen