Tag Archives: friends

The Most Special Christmas

I talked recently about my favorite Christmas, but that post got me thinking about my most special Christmas, which was in 2006.

That fall was a busy time. My brother left on a mission trip; I was planning my wedding to my college sweetheart and filling out graduate school applications. Then, in a six-week period, my father died, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, and my brother became injured and had to return home.

Needless to say, I wasn’t really excited about the holiday. Christmas had been Dad’s favorite time of year and it just wasn’t going to be the same without him. Mom started chemo while I was taking finals. My brother was undergoing heavy physical therapy. We also had our good friends (a mom and her 5 kids) move in with us for the month of December while they were between houses. I just wasn’t in the mood to celebrate and I didn’t see how the holidays this year were going to be anything other than something to get through.

I wasn’t counting on Team Regina.

When Mom was diagnosed, some of her best friends at church created a website called Team Regina to coordinate any help that she might need during her treatment. During the holiday and after, this small group snowballed into something amazing. Pretty soon not only was our entire congregation involved, but most of our small town as well!

One woman helped us decorate for Christmas, since none of us were able to lift the heavy boxes from the basement up to the first floor. Another woman came in January to help put everything away. During Mom’s second chemo session, a lady from town came and decorated our living room pink and left us each a pink present. Other families brought meals, provided rides, knitted hats, and offered massages for Mom’s tired muscles. Someone did the “12 Days of Christmas” for us, leaving a little gift by the front door each day.

I’m sure I am forgetting other acts of kindness, but you get the idea. These families, some whom were dear friends and others whom we did not even really know, were angels on Earth. Never has the true Spirit of the season been so manifest to me and I hope God has blessed them all richly for their acts of pure charity and love.



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I have been blessed to have an experience that I know many are not able to claim: I have kept the same friends since I was very little. Growing up there was a group of us at church that did everything together: Erin, Stephanie, Diane, Ellen, and me. Erin and I, as I’ve mentioned before, have been friends since before I could walk. In 8th grade or so, Caitlyn joined our group. Years later we’re still friends, even though we live all over the country and have spouses and babies/babies on the way.

This Christmas, the stars aligned and all of us but Ellen were in town on one day. Before that, it hadn’t happened for over 2 years, when all of us came to town for Caitlyn’s wedding. So, the 27th Erin, Stephanie, Diane, and I (plus our friend Elyse, who is preggo too), along with the husbands and baby Chaela, got together to catch up.

Elyse and I are due one day apart!

Steph, Elyse, Me, Erin, Caitlyn, and Diane

And, a flashback to the past:


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Thanksgiving in Pictures

With all the papers I have to write this weekend, I don’t feel like doing a drawn out post. Quick Thanksgiving recap: I picked up my darling husband at the airport Tues. night and we spent the next 4 days celebrating with his family. My brother joined us for part of the holiday as well.

The Grown-Ups’ table

All the yummy desserts

Mark made pumpkin cheesecake all by himself! Unfortunately, it didn’t have enough time to set.
It tasted great though! 🙂

Scott (Mark’s brother) and Matt (my brother) definitely approved of the meal!

The boys promptly fell asleep

Euchre is a tradition (Kevin, Mark’s other brother, and Mark)

So is going through all the ads for Black Friday shopping! Paula is queen of ad collecting.

Mark looked nervous to hold his 2 week old cousin, Maddie

But really, he’s a natural!

I also got the chance to spend some time with my old roommates, Steph and Yevgenia.
I’m not a huge fan of the picture though b/c instead of looking pregnant I just look kinda fat, haha.

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Showered With Love

I’ve had a wonderful weekend!  I am truly blessed with amazing friends.  I don’t think I can ever articulate the support I’ve gotten during this time that Mark and I are apart and how much that means to me. I had two perfect baby showers this weekend, thrown by great friends.

Saturday I spent a couple of hours visiting some of my extended Figueiredo family, who I haven’t seen in quite awhile, and then headed to the first baby shower.  Ginny and Yevgenia threw “Baby Pedro” and me a little shower with our APO friends + Susan & Holly. It was great! Yevgenia had it at her new apartment and her fiancee Adam was gracious enough to put up with a bunch of giggling girls for several hours. :-p The shower was ducky themed. Ginny baked a ducky cake and the favors were M&Ms in little ducky boxes.

We played the dirty diaper game, where diff. kinds of chocolate get mashed up and microwaved in a diaper to look like poo and we have to guess the type of chocolate.

Sarah tried to guess the contents by smell.


The girls also tried to guess the size of my belly using string. Katie was closest and most girls cut waaaaaay too much string. It made me feel better about last year when I mis-guessed at Anne’ss shower :-p

Finally, there was the water chugging contest using baby bottles. Classic!

Chloe and Sarah sucking away! Chloe ended up winning.

Marinda placed a close 2nd.

Also? I had a surprise visitor. Amber showed up all the way from Atlanta! Well, technically it was all the way from Michigan since she’d had a med school interview there on Thursday, but still. It was so great to see her!!! 😀

The two hostesses and myself: Ginny loves to poke “Baby Pedro.”

The lovely Cleveland ladies

Yesterday my friends Abbie and Janelle threw me a shower for the girls in our public health division: health behavior, health promotion. The shower was Dr. Seuss themed and they went ALL OUT. Abbie made treats straight out of the Dr. Seuss books, for instance. For example, green eggs and ham were cupcakes with the tops decorated like green eggs.

Lindsey was excited to win the diaper game!

Then we played the Price is Right game (complete with the music!) where we had to figure out if the real price for an item was higher or lower than the price Janelle initially presented.

Abbie revealed the real prices. Janelle sure was clever…she made it very difficult! I only got 30% right haha.

Abbie and Janelle (future professional party planners?)

So again, thanks to all my friends who made this weekend great 😀

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