Monday, December 24, 2007

There's No Place Like #202 for the Holidays

Merry Christmas Eve everyone! What will I be doing tonight? Going to work. What will I be doing tomorrow? Sleeping. But that's okay! I'm not depressed about it because my entire family (minus missionary brother) is in town for the holidays, and we're having so much fun! They arrived last Wednesday, and we played and toured non-stop until Sunday when I had to go back to work. Right now, they're on to Cheryl & Ryan's in Charlottesville. Wednesday they will all come back, and we'll play even harder until Monday!

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"Operation Christmas in the Capital: Day 1" in front of the White House

For the first time in my life I'm hosting Christmas. This year Weiler Christmas is not Tuesday, but Saturday, the 29th, when we can all be together! I've spent weeks decorating, cooking, shopping, baking, (yes you read that last one correctly), preparing, planning, wrapping... did I mention hand-making ornaments? When I decide to do something, I go 100%... or maybe my "nesting" hormones are finally kicking in!:) I wanted to make "Operation Christmas in the Capitol" as special as possible. Granted, we are lacking many of the beautiful traditions my mom has established, but somehow cramming nine people into a two-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment with FOUR air mattresses (thank you ward friends!!), countless blankets and no room to walk will surely provide a Christmas no one will ever forget.

Here's a look at some of the little Christmas merries I've been working so hard on. Obviously these pictures were taken pre-family arrival, when I could still see my floor.

HPIM3644 I ripped the idea of a "Family Tree" out of the Pottery Barn catalog. I knew I couldn't afford to buy all the store's fancy frames, so I improvised, "scrapbooking" my own!

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We lit so many candles we worried we'd burn the place down! Note the silver branches and red bow atop the mirror. (Hint: If you click on the pictures they get bigger!) It may not look like much but that little festive diddy took me forever to perfect! Until this year, our topiary has served as our Christmas Tree. We didn't want it to feel left out, so we continued our tradition of putting lights and silver balls (made by our SLC Liberty Ward primary two years ago) on the topiary. 

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A glitter candle and red berry centerpiece, a full Poinsettia, silver chargers and a velvet ribbon boasting Christmas cards from you!
HPIM3639 Opening a mailbox full of Christmas cards is for sure one of my top five favorite things about the holidays.
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Everyone was greeted with a "welcome to DC" stocking containing a Metro map, water bottle, candy cane and detailed itinerary spelling out every hour of the 12 day extravaganza!

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Food to feed Washington's army!

This is from a few weeks ago just before a holiday party. Definitely showing at 22/23 (depending on whom you ask) weeks! :) Yeah, I’m doing all this six months pregnant… what was I thinking?! Truth be told, you know I LOVED every minute!!

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Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Really people, it's just snow.

I like snow. I don't mind Winter. But I hate Winter in DC. It happened again today, just like it happened last year. The first flurries of snow fell around 6AM and the nation's capital freaked out. Schools closed, the weather department panicked and traffic was a MESS. It's as though we're all Floridians and have never seen white stuff falling from the sky. Maybe I'm bitter because school was rarely canceled when I was growing up in Iowa. Even when we had MAJOR ice and snow storms, we still went to school. Maybe I just really miss the Utah mountains and see no point in a TON of snow if you can't ski in it. Or maybe I just don't understand why DC can't get it together! You are the power city of America. It's SNOW. Figure it out. This city seems to react to snow and icy roads, instead of prevent. Plows go out hours AFTER the fact. Salt trucks wait until the city is under a sheet of ice, then they fire up. It blows my mind every time.

I now sleep with my phone ON... something I stopped doing once I entered the sleep-is-more-precious-than-gold pregnancy state. Why? Because I know at any moment the call will come from work, telling me we're going on the air an hour early and it's up to me (the producer with the first show) to make it happen with NO extra staff or writers. This sucks for many reasons. #1. So much more work for me with no help. #2. An hour earlier deadline to get my double work on the air. #3. This probably means the roads are bad (or at least drivers are sliding around on not-so-bad roads because they forget how to handle this), so I need to allow extra time to commute. Or heaven forbid, I need to take the Metro which will surely be delayed or stuck in the snow. Metro also seems to de-ice way too late. Dear Mother Nature: I will suffer through nasty winters the rest of my life if you will please let this, my likely last winter in DC doing the earliest newscast, be mild.

Am I sounding extra bitter today? Well, that's because I've only given you the tip of the iceberg. SOMEONE HIT HARLEY ON THE FREEWAY! We've been married four 1/2 years. In that short time we've been in FOUR WRECKS! Only one was our (my) fault. This was the first accident for Fergie, our NEW car, which makes it especially frustrating. Fortunately, the damage to our car was minimal. Purely cosmetic. But she'll never be "a perfect new car" again. She's been "wrecked." Resale value just took a nosedive. It was 100% the other driver's fault, but apparently, she wouldn't admit it at first. She told Harley she "doesn't remember sliding into him..." even though her car was NOT DRIVABLE after she hit him! The police didn't come (too busy dealing with every OTHER crash on the freeway) so no report was filed. And of course, Harley, being the nice guy that he is, gave her a ride home, and they totally bonded. This had me very worried she would turn the tables and try to blame us somehow. However, it appears her insurance company is cooperating, and now we just have to deal with the hassle of getting a rental car and fixing Fergie.

Did I mention the humble pie (sorry Mindy and Jeff) Harley tasted during all of this? When I arrived home this morning I told Harley DC was in full-fledged winter freak-out mode. I pointed out it took me an extra 40 minutes to get home. I warned him I slid a bit myself on the Beltway. I begged him to be careful and take the Metro. What did he do? He made fun of me. That said... I'm so glad he's okay!!! I realize this could have been so much worse!

1205070846a Scratches and scraps on our perfect car.

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Just for memory sake: 13 months ago, when Beyonce died.

Monday, December 3, 2007

90% Boy

We had our first real ultrasound appointment Friday! We were so excited. The experience was kind of disappointing and frustrating, partly because the baby was in breech position so they couldn't get a good gender-defining shot. The technician told us she was "80% sure" it's a boy. Of course, this 80% business is not good enough for me, so I sent the pictures straight to my own, personal radiologist: Kaveh Soleimanpour (helps when your BFF marries a hot shot doctor). He examined the photo and says it's "90% a boy." Loving that extra 10%! Thanks Kaveh! This may just make you his unofficial Godfather!

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The controversial gender photo
The face we'll love regardless!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Food, glorious food!

I expected Thanksgiving to suck this year. We're a million miles from family. I worked normal hours the entire week and had no time, energy or skill to even think about making a real Thanksgiving dinner for two. I was doing my best to ignore the holiday (hard when you're in the news and the holiday is "what's going on") and be content with reheated Mac & Cheese for dinner. Instead, I woke up at 10pm Thursday night to this:

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Harley spent three hours slaving away in the kitchen cooking a full holiday meal with all the fixin's! I couldn't believe all his hard work for just us. Too bad the meal went seriously under-appreciated as I had 10 minutes to scarf it down and run out the door! We've been enjoying leftovers for days.

HPIM3618 Note the TWO pumpkin pies... made from scratch!

And by "enjoying" I really mean it! Food tastes good again! I've gone from detesting everything to craving anything. Last Sunday I wanted cake. Pillsbury confetti cake. The kind with the confetti INSIDE batter and INSIDE the frosting. So I baked an entire cake. Harley's not much of a "ghetto cake" (aka cake out of a box) kind of guy, so he didn't have one bite. We forgot it existed when the home teachers came over, so we didn't offer any to them. Can you taste where I'm going with this? I ATE AN ENTIRE CAKE BY MY PREGNANT SELF IN ONE WEEK! This is what the cake looked like yesterday, only seven days later:

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And yes I polished it off! I was going to post some new prego pics, but now that I've confessed my sudden binging habits I think I'll hold off. You'll be less likely to judge.:)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

No Big Deal... Me & Melinda

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It's strange but since I've gotten pregnant my job has taken this drastic turn for the REALLY GREAT! This could have something to do with all the celebrities who've graced our show recently. I told you about Boyz II Men here, but did I mention Tom Cruise?!?!?! Yeah, didn't get a picture with him... didn't even meet him actually... but I can now say Melinda Doolittle and I are tight! Well, maybe not "tight" but we chatted for a good 15 minutes in the studio last week! She was so nice. I love American Idol peeps because they are not yet spoiled by fame. She's exactly what you'd expect her to be... super sweet, really down to earth and extremely humble. She was in town to have dinner at the White House (she and Laura Bush became besties during a recent trip to Africa). She told me all about dining with the President (apparently they feed you VERY little), how she stressed out about what to wear and how she just about bawled mid performance of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" with the National Children's Choir. It was like talking to a girlfriend. She really impressed me because she was so appreciative to our staff and so grateful for "all God has blessed her with." Go Melinda! The world needs more famous people like you!

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Best Day!

Last weekend Harley and I had the BEST DAY! Maybe it was so great because I actually slept almost eight hours on a weekend (an anomaly now that I'm prego). Maybe it's because I had the most delicious grapefruit for breakfast. I'm telling you, the tart fruit never tasted so good! Thanks, Sarah, for the suggestion! Maybe it's because for the first time ever I wore maternity pants and a maternity top at the same time! (Until now, I've only been able to talk myself into one at a time.) It was a little strange, but very comfortable!

Any of these things would have made the day "great," but what made it the "best"? Behold the Shenandoah Valley!!!

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We didn't have time for it. We didn't plan for it. We just threw caution, to-do lists and all obligations to the wind, and headed an hour and a half south to enjoy the highly recommended Skyline Drive. Before we left, we made some rules to ensure "best-ness."

Rule #1. No discussing anything stressful. We both have a lot on our plates right now, and it's easy to only talk money, jobs, future, plans, needs etc. when we see each other. But not this day! No intense or complicated topics allowed -- only fun, inspiring ones!

Rule #2. No same old music. We grabbed old CDs we hadn't listened to since our dating years and rediscovered them. Sometimes rediscovering old music is better than discovering new music! Shout out to The Kinleys (and to Jessica for introducing us) and to Celine Dion! Gag if you must, but Harley and I fell in love to Miss Celine's "A New Day has Come." I know Sara understands this fabulous courtship soundtrack!:)

Rule #3. No buying food. Only a picnic lunch would do. Funny how a sandwich and an apple has never settled so well.

The drive was beautiful. Unfortunately, the leaves weren't "peaking" like they usually do because of the drought, but it was still breathtaking. The "best" part: spending a relaxed day together... just the two of us.

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P.S. Monday wasn't bad either... because no big deal we had BOYZ II MEN live on our morning show! That's right, Fox 5 scored them BEFORE Good Morning America and the Today Show. You saw it here first people. Check it out! (Scroll past the interview... it gets a little long, but watch the performance... totally takes you back to junior high!)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Livin' in an Amish Paradise

Last weekend we took a great trip to Amish Country with Mindy and Jeff. It was wonderful! We stayed in this quaint town, Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania. It was right next to Intercourse, that's right Intercourse, PA! We shopped in food, quilt and handicraft markets. We toured an Amish house and farm and rode in a buggy! I am fascinated by the Amish people! It was so interesting to learn about their religion and lifestyle. I really respect them. We enjoyed delicious apple cider and tried to get excited about very fermented homemade Rootbeer. We found great little places to eat; we got lost; and we even crashed a Renaissance Fair (that had nothing to do with the Amish). We went to the "Field of Screams" and most of us enjoyed a haunted hayride.:) The drive was beautiful, and we were all quite enchanted with Lancaster County. It was a great way to celebrate fall!

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Yea for the Amish and their fine work!HPIM3517
Lunch at Haydn's Zug... great little restaurant with pewter dishes (not seen here)... recommended to us by a teenager high on pot.

HPIM3523 Yes, I'm from Iowa and grew up in the cornfields, but I was still impressed with the large pumpkins!

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Best friends prego together... so fun! Remember how Mindy is one week ahead of me but I'm looking huge in this picture???!!
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Jeff likes to pretend he's prego too... mostly so we'll stop bossing him around.
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All hail the queen!

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They couldn't resist.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Friday-Overs... almost over?

Harley and I just realized we haven't spent a Friday night in our bed for nearly a month! First it was a camp-out with Harley's JHU peeps in Harper's Ferry, West Virginia. It poured rain 80% of the time. Good thing we had the Tent-of-All-Amazement to keep us dry (thanks Wannacott family)! Highlights of this adventure include watching Harley blow up our air mattress with his mouth (our pump died), and eating a hot dog and actually thinking it tasted good (something I hadn't experienced in about 15 years).

HPIM3429Unlikely trio: me, a hot dog and a smile.

HPIM3443 The Wannacott Tent or The Hilton?

Then we spent a weekend in New York City visiting some of our favorite people Jeff and Mindy. We also saw Peter while we were there. We didn't do much... which is exactly how we wanted it. The boys played video games; Mindy and I just talked. An entire weekend inside "The Octagon," simply chillin'. Their apartment building is so fancy! Doesn't it look like a hotel? We always think that when we visit!

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The Octagon

Last weekend Harley and I stayed at Bar-T Ranch for a ward youth leadership retreat. We stayed in yurts... something I didn't even know existed! It was fun getting to know the youth and other adults in the ward, even if I was freezing most of the time!

HPIM3464 Harley trying to entertain the youth

Our three-week stint of "Friday-Overs" have been great, but they've led me to two conclusions: #1. No wonder I've been so tired lately (and so negligent of my new blog!) #2. I'm really over S'mores. This weekend... Charlottesville to visit Cheryl and Ryan! After that the visitors come to us (yea for Sarah and Eli)!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Miss Taggart Goes to Washington

HPIM3418 I'm so lucky! Jessica came to visit again last weekend! This time she was here on important family business, but I got to steal her for an entire Saturday. It was typical time with Jekyl Diva. There were laughs, tears, totally random moments with strangers... we even squeezed in some unexpected shopping. I can't wait until the next visit. March, right Jessica?

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Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Egg McMuffin

You're looking at my morning staple. Two pieces of ham, two eggs, three pieces of cheese smooshed between an everything bagel. I probably shouldn't call it an "Egg McMuffin," for it is neither muffin nor of McDonalds... but for some reason, that's just what I call it. And I eat one every single morning.

Okay, maybe not every morning, but just about. Most of you know I'm not exactly a gourmet chef. I'm doing a lot better in the kitchen lately (thanks to easy recipes from many of you!), but I'm still pretty unmotivated when it comes to providing food for myself, especially at 7:30AM. It is at this time of day I am starving. Having worked all night with no food break I am pretty much ready to eat my hand when I get home. My 7:30AM meal is my "dinner." It's the biggest meal I have in a 24 hour period. I make the Egg McMuffin because it's quick, easy and very filling. I really do consume one most Monday-Fridays. Sometimes I branch out to cereal, leftovers or a cinnamon raisin bagel with cream cheese, but usually I just go with my staple. It's that easy. I'm that lazy. I'm that much a creature of habit. Heck, let's throw in low maintenance! That's right, I'm that "low maintenance" when it comes to food! Oh and did I mention I find it delicious?!! Today is my one year anniversary at Fox. (I promise the next post will have nothing to do with anniversaries.) I would say for the last year I have eaten an Egg McMuffin 95% of weekday mornings. Amazingly, I'm not sick of it. Harley, on the other hand -- who introduced me to the breakfast treat -- wants to hurl every time he looks at it. I just remind him: "Honey, this is me being low maintenance."

Friday, August 31, 2007

I Like My Life in Gaithersburg

One year ago today Harley and I moved to Gaithersburg, Maryland. It's been a big, and I'll admit kind of hard, year for us. We had a great life in Utah. We lived really close to family. We had wonderful friends, and we really liked living in downtown Salt Lake City. For us this move was "the big one." The move most young married couples inevitably make at some point. We moved 3000 miles across the country to a place we'd never been. We didn't know a soul. We didn't go home for ten months. In the beginning, it seemed nothing worked out. From a car accident to Comcast drama (HATE that company) the transition was not smooth. To top things off, my new job was really intense and demanded about 60 hours/week. The title page for my journal last year read: "I Hate My Life in Gaithersburg." It was kind of a joke, but kind of had a lot of truth too.

Well, what a difference a year makes! Many friends have told me it took them a year after "the big move" before they felt settled and really happy. Now that it's officially been one year I can honestly say: "I like my life in Gaithersburg"! I feel settled here and when returning from a recent trip, this place even felt like "home." Most importantly, I think I finally know what I'm doing at work!;) (This is KEY since I blame 90% of my first year stress and struggle on my job.) Harley is half-way through grad school, and I'm really looking forward to our second year here. Knowing me, I'll probably "love my life in Gaithersburg" when it's time to go!
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The Major Move Team

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Jim and Harley did a great job packing (there were only a few casualties).

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First meal in our new apartment.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

It's a blog, blog world

Call me "mad" but I'm joining it! I've always been a little late jumping on new technology /trend bandwagons. It took me years to convert from tape cassettes to CDs. Apparently, I was the last person on the planet to join Facebook. And somehow, both my husband and I are surviving without iPods. But the day it took me the same amount of time to check more than a dozen friends' blogs as it did to read a day's worth of personal emails, I knew it was time. Maybe it's the best new way to keep in touch. Perhaps it's the perfect venue to share pictures. Or maybe, just maybe... the real motivation for me is to have my own voice to compete against Harley's constant plea for pets on his blog. Attribute where you will... I'M IN!