Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas at the Kemmey's: 2012

Yeah, yeah. Way late, but still nice to have on the record. So here goes Christmas 2012!

I actually had to work at McDonald's on Christmas Eve, which wasn't too terrible. We were actually very busy, so the four hours went by very quickly. While I was at work, the rest of the family headed up to northern Virginia per tradition to spend Christmas Eve with some great family friends that we have known since Gray and I were the little kids in the family. It started snowing as they were up there, but thankfully they were still able to get home--it was just the usual couple of inches here in Virginia.

Evan helping me make some Christmas Fudge!

Every year, we all get a new pair of Christmas pajamas, and we open them on Christmas Eve. We usually make reindeer food with the little kids, too. Well, Christmas Eve got a little crazy this year. We'll just say that several of the little kids went to bed crying, and pajamas were not opened up... at first. Dad did reindeer food with the boys and helped Ryan set out cookies and carrots for Santa and reindeer. Mom fell asleep in her room while all that was going down, and was grumpy because the house was a tad bit messy and the presents were not all wrapped yet. She woke up about an hour later, asked where everyone was, got mad Dad didn't take any pictures, and then she got everyone out of bed to open up pajamas. Sometimes life is a little crazy with so many people. Especially around the holidays!

Evan passed out all of the pajamas. It was a good test to see whose name he knew and whose he didn't! 

Kemmey Kids, 2012

We ended up heading to bed around 1:30 or so, I think. Pretty good this year. We are always a last-minute wrapping family. Mom wishes every year that we will be done by December 1st. I don't think that will ever happen.

Christmas morning is always a little bit rough after wrapping presents into the wee hours of the morning. But, with believers still hopping around the house, they are allowed to wake up at 7:00am. They try for about an hour to wake the rest of us up. All of the teenagers in the house sleep in until the last minute, when Dad finally crawls out from under his own covers and he forces us awake. If I remember correctly, this year, I think Dad got out of bed and got out his old trumpet and blasted it in the bedrooms. We began Christmas morning around 8am.

Harrison and Tanner 

Cute, cute Evan and I

Bryce got the Skylanders XBox game. I will never understand the fascination with video games! 

Evan got tired of unwrapping his own gifts, and was easily satisfied with everyone else's trash.

Rachel was too funny. She usually has a little gift for everyone in the family. This year she couldn't think of anything for Dad, so I suggested she just make him some yummies... he had been asking me to make them (yummies are saltine cracker toffee treat. yum.). So she made up a batch, and put them in the freezer downstairs. Because they have to be kept frozen, she created a little map for Dad in order to find his gift. Too funny.

And after a few hours of present unwrapping, Christmas 2012 at the Kemmey house came to a close. The kids lounged around and played with their presents all afternoon, and mom and I made Christmas dinner.

Friday, December 7, 2012

How the Grinch Stole Christmas: The Musical

In Richmond, the Landmark Theatre is pretty well known and they do several plays and performances each year. Last year they had "Wicked" and "The Lion King" come down. This year I heard that they were playing "How the Grinch Stole Christmas: The Musical," and after seeing one of Mom's posts on Facebook about the Grinch I decided it would be fun to take her and Bryce to see the play for Bryce's early birthday. 

Mom and Bryce before they drove down

Bryce--almost 9 years old

I went and ordered the tickets, and then Mom and I kept it a secret from Bryce up until he got down to VCU. I told him he had to come down and help me pack up my room for Christmas break, but as soon as Mom made him dress up in a nice Christmas sweater, he obviously knew we were lying and something was up. The play was on Friday night at 8, so Mom and Bryce came down early and we went to dinner. We went to the Chili's on campus and used up some of my dining dollars before they go completely to waste. Bryce thought the restaurant was weird since it was called "Chili's" but didn't serve any chili at all. Ha--chili peppers, bud, which they do have.

Bryce and I waiting for a table at Chili's--we didn't have to wait long, though, because the hostess overheard us talking about the Grinch and sat us right away so that we wouldn't be late!

Bryce with his chicken finger dinner--he thought this picture was hilarious because his eyes were closed. I told him he was just like the boy from this video.

Mom and I shared this appetizer thing for our dinner--Chili's actually has delicious chicken fingers. So juicy.

We walked over to the Landmark Theatre, went on in, and got ready to see the performance! I think Bryce was pretty excited. He was expecting it to be exactly like the movie and the book, even though we told him it would be a little bit different because it was a play and also a musical. It was funny, though, he ended up really liking it. They had a lot of special effects and what not, especially with the Grinch, which Bryce though was really cool. At one point the Grinch was in the top corner of the stage, looking like he was off the floor at the top of his cave. The props and music and everything was really nice--they had a live orchestra and band playing, which is always neat to hear.

Outside of the theatre: unfortunately they have been doing construction for ever and a day, and all of the scaffolding was still up and in the way.

Bryce before the play started in front of the stage.

Bryce and I--it was fun to dress up nicely for the play--Suzanne posted on Facebook "Dang Megan you clean up!" 

Bryce and Mom with the program!

All three of us waiting for the play to start! It's awesome how far technology has come--since you can't have actual cameras, it was nice to have the iPhone!

After the play in front of the sign--too bad they didn't have a big Grinch sign or anything, but oh well.

Another one of Bryce and me! 

We thought the play was super cute. The guy who played the Grinch looked like he was having such a great time--Mom and I were saying how awesome it would be to have a job like that where you just loved it so much. The costumes were all so awesome, too. The Grinch interacted with the audience a few times and everything--definitely a great little experience. Glad we were able to go with Bryce! Happy Birthday, Bud!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Recent Happenings

Just a few recent happenings around school and back at home! 
The weekend before Thanksgiving my Singles Ward here in Richmond had a Harvest Ball. Gray and Derek drove down for it, and I invited Kavya, too. We all had a great time! We grabbed some dinner from a little place here called Mama's Kitchen, and then we all got fancied up and ready for the dance.

So glad to have such a great and beautiful friend here at school!

 Group shot! 

Last week I went to Kavya's Band Concert here at VCU. She plays the flute in the University Band. I think it's so awesome she still makes time to enjoy things she loves despite being crazy busy and tied up with school and science classes! 

Kavya's Band Conductor

Kavya during her performance

Kavya and Me after the band concert! 

So this past weekend Kavya and I went home again. On Saturday night we all went to Goodwill looking for some ugly Christmas sweaters, when Gray found a nice pair of roller skates for $5.24! Then ten minutes later I found another pair! It was awesome! Rachel and Mom already have skates, so we spent the night skating around the neighborhood! 

And I think this picture sums us up pretty dang well...

While we were home, Evan infected us all with his nasty cold/RSV. Thanks, bud. But Bubble Guppies sure does console him.

Passed out on Gray.

Kavya and I are training for a half marathon! So Saturday we had a 5 mile run. Little did we know that we both packed the same running outfits for the weekend! We ended up having a great run, minus a nice crash and fall on my part :)

Last Day of Break

These few pictures are from the last day of our Thanksgiving Break--Sunday afternoon. It had been such an awesome and good, relaxing break. However, it was also apparently extremely tiring. While Kavya and I passed out on the couch, Dad made sure he took some good photos. It was so bad I fell asleep with my laptop on my lap, and Dad took it off and moved it to the table. He also got both Kavya and I blankets and covered us up--I guess that will make up for the embarrassing pictures he snapped of us! 

I think it has been documented pretty well over Thanksgiving weekend how peaceful and cute of a sleeper Kavya is. She falls asleep all curled up, mouth closed, looks content--she can even fall asleep looking longingly out a window.

And then there is me. Quite the picture of beauty, right? If only you knew how many ridiculous looking pictures there are of me sleeping out there. Oh well. I think the whole head back, sprawled out, mouth hanging wide open look is quite attractive these days. 

Nothing like a good weekend to tire you out.

And then we woke up from our naps and headed back down to school with Mom and Dad. Just a few more weeks to go and we are home for a month (Kavya will get to go home to her other family in Canada!).

Old Rag

A few weeks before Thanksgiving Rachel piped up and suggested that we all hike Old Rag over Thanksgiving weekend. Our (my) instant reaction was "No, it will be way too cold." A little bit later that day our friend Andrew texted me and suggested the same idea. The idea started to sound better between the two of them, and we all decided to go on Saturday. Gray, Derek, Andrew, and Shen came over and spent the night Friday night, and Kavya, Suzanne, Rachel, and I were already at the house. We woke up Saturday morning, grabbed some breakfast, and hit the road.

Now, usually every year the girls go out to breakfast after Black Friday alone, but this year because all of the stores opened at different hours, early and late, all we wanted to do was sleep and the traditional breakfast had to be altered. We decided to ALL go out to breakfast--the whole family. So we hit Ryan's per tradition, while the older boys all went to Cracker Barrel. They picked us up from Ryan's, and we were on our way.

 Suzanne and I at breakfast!

The weather actually wasn't too bad--we were definitely all prepared and bundled up nicely, but we didn't really get uncomfortably cold. I think it was in the 40s while we were there, and obviously the summit was a little bit chillier--there was ice up there and everything. The parking lot was actually full, which was surprising because we figured since it was a little chilly and since it was Thanksgiving weekend, there would be fewer people. Nope.

 Such a beautiful view!

I really love hiking--it's just pretty peaceful to me. Suzanne on the other hand--well let's just say she enjoys hiking a lot more when it involves some nice attractive guys she can flirt with and that keep her a little bit motivated. Unfortunately, this hike was lacking in nice attractive guys, and therefore she and I were at the end of the pack, keeping the pace nice and comfortable :) Can't leave a sister hanging. 

Girls during one of our breaks early on

All of the guys soaking up the peace of the mountain

 Me and Kavya--this was her first hike, and I'm pretty sure she loved it!

We've done a few different hikes, but Old Rag seems to always come back as a favorite. The beginning is a little boring, but then the rock scrambles are awesome and there are the most amazing views. The rock scrambles are definitely the most challenging part, especially for all the girls in our group. Gray was calling us his "wayward babes" by the end of the hike because we just had no idea/strength to get through some of those cracks and rocks. Seemed more difficult than the first time--maybe we went a slightly different route? Or maybe I'm getting weaker...

Kavya and Derek in some of the rock scrambles
  Gray and all of his Wayward Babes--check out those hats

 Rachel and Andrew making their way through some of the rocks

Just a little bit before the summit we stopped and had some lunch. Andrew and Derek made sandwiches for everyone, which was awesome: peanut butter and banana and leftover Thanksgiving turkey. The peanut butter and banana was sooo delicious. Something about eating in the woods makes everything taste better, I'm convinced. We also snacked on these dehydrated apple slices that we have had in the basement as part of our food storage for 15 years. SO good and so addicting. Shen also had a bunch of delicious jerky and random sausage and peanut butter cups. Good eats on the mountain. 

 Please go ahead and admire this hat--it's Andrew's Dad's. Pretty sure the whole group laughed at me for wearing this, but my head/ears/cheeks stayed warm and toasty the entire hike. And at the top, the warmth this hat provided was priceless.

We reached the summit, and there was a nice, sharp breeze blowing. However, that didn't stop us from taking a million pictures. We took our pictures and were on our way. 

 Andrew and Gray

 Kavya enjoying the warmth of this hat!

 For old time's sake... Andrew and all the Kemmey girls

 Kavya and Gray

 Our group at the top! Second time we've all done this as a group!

The hike down is a little bit anticlimactic when compared to the hike up to the summit, but it is still really beautiful. I suppose you could hike down exactly the way you came, but we never do. The end of the hike is just three miles on a gravel road, but it is still really pretty.

The knife in the tree picture started two years ago with Gray and Andrew...

...and it gets reproduced every time we go!
We got the the parking lot, everyone had to pee like crazy, and then we were loaded up and headed back home. People were definitely snoozing on the way home--I think all of the girls had only had 7 or 8 hours of sleep during the past 48 hours because of Black Friday and some ridiculous late night chatting. Needless to say, it was great. Definitely glad we went!

 Sisters on the Mountain!

 One last picture of the view! So awesome!

While we were driving home from Old Rag, Dad, Mom, and Grandma were back home preparing a ridiculous amount of fried rice using the left over ham from Thanksgiving for all of us hungry teenagers and the rest of the family. Dad's fried rice is seriously SO good. They made an ENTIRE roaster pan full of fried rice--something like 15 cups of rice or something crazy, 8 onions, 3 big bags of peas, tons of carrots, mushrooms, and lots of eggs. Honestly, a HUGE portion of that fried rice was devoured--we still had a pan of leftovers, but it wasn't much in comparison to how much was actually made! Dad even made Kavya, the vegetarian, some Tofu Fried Rice, and she thought it was great!

 Dad and his pan of rice!

A close-up of that delicious goodness! 

I'm sure we will be hiking Old Rag again before we know it!