One blistery cold afternoon, the two bundled up and began their search. Luckily it did not take long before they settled on a lovely 7 foot tall Douglas Fir. With much excitement, they brought it home, decorated it with Christmas carols playing in the background, and the smell of homemade chocolate chip cookies filling the house. As they sat back to admire their work with the fire blazing, Alan noticed that it was snowing outside - the first snowfall of the year. What a perfect end to a perfect day.
It was so nice to have Scott and Nancy drive up from Hershey to hang out with us...we wish they were able to stay longer (like forever!) but alas real life called and they had to head back home. Hopefully they will get together more often and soon.
Lots of photos were taken so as soon soon as we manage to put them on our computer we'll post some.
After thanksgiving, Alan and Ly managed to brave the crazy crowds for a once in a lifetime shopping extravaganza on Friday morning. An experience they have decided they will never ever do again...too many people and some things are just not worth getting up at 3 am for. But it was still a fun memory...and we did get some pretty cool xmas stuff.
Sat was spent hanging out with Danielle and Brandon who drove down from Baltimore for the morning. We, along with the rest of the DC metro population, took advantage of the beautiful weather and went to the mall. We ended up at the Museum of Natural History - always a favorite with the dinosaur bones, diamonds and giant squid. In the afternoon we had a nice lunch of leftover turkey sandwiches with Rich...always nice to get to see some of your favorite people in the span of one weekend!
Anyway we are so grateful for our family and friends -- especially our friends who live relatively close they certainly have made the move out to the east coast much more enjoyable for the Lees. We love you! =)
Recent excursions have included drives to pumpkin patches, apple orchards and the local mountains to enjoy the colors of fall. Ly loves fall. The air is crisp, the trees change all sorts of beautiful colors, animals are out gathering food before the snowstorms hit...and it is perfect photo taking weather.
And despite the fact that Ly is 24 years old, she desperately wants the dancing Wall-e toy she discovered at Target. Wall-e sings and dances to whatever song is playing in your ipod and says all sorts of quotes from the movie. Oh to be a kid again. =)
Anyway last night, the Lee family rented Wall-E from the local redbox (a rather brilliant idea where people can rent any new release for $1) and enjoyed an evening full of Disney fun. We even made a special popcorn treat, which was full of peanut butter and chocolate goodness. If you're interested in how we made it, let us know and we'll put up the instructions.
Needless to say, Wall-E is definitely one for the DVD Library.
With the recent passage of Prop 8 in California, many people have made some incorrect assumptions about me and made rude statements simply based on my religion. Now I guess we can put aside the fact that I no longer live in California and was therefore was unable to vote on Prop 8 for a minute, but I feel that I should take a moment to speak out about the backlash of prop 8. It makes me sad that people think just because I am LDS I automatically voted YES (or would have voted yes) on 8. I personally know a lot of LDS people who didn't vote for that proposition. And if I were in California, I would have voted NO. I think that nobody should have the right to deny a group of individuals rights that they already had. The decision about gay marriage in California was already made before it was on the ballot.
However, the recent reports I have read and heard about all over the United States in regards to the backlash against the mormon church makes me sad. It is in everyone's right to protest (thanks to the constitution), however I wish people were able to do it more respectfully. And I wish I could understand their desire to target the LDS Church. I understand that people claim donations from indvidiuals (not the church) largely contributed to the passage of the propisition. However, just because certain people choose to donate money, doesn't mean that you should protest against any organization that those people belong to. It makes me wonder if Prop 8 had been defeated if everyone who voted against it would be converging on gay and lesbian hangouts and vandalising their property.
I would like to encourage everyone to focus their attention and efforts away from the LDS church and instead taking this issue to Congress. Marriage is a national issue - it crosses state lines and we should stand up and have it be treated as one.
Finally, I think that the church put it best in the following press release issued by the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints:
The Church is keenly aware of the differences of opinion on this difficult and sensitive matter. The reasons for this principled stand in defense of marriage have already been articulated elsewhere. However, some of what we have seen since Californians voted to pass Proposition 8 has been deeply disappointing.
Attacks on churches and intimidation of people of faith have no place in civil discourse over controversial issues. People of faith have a democratic right to express their views in the public square without fear of reprisal. Efforts to force citizens out of public discussion should be deplored by people of goodwill everywhere.
We call upon those who have honest disagreements on this issue to urge restraint upon the extreme actions of a few that are further polarizing our communities and urge them to act in a spirit of mutual respect and civility towards each other."Anyway I hope that everyone has a good day. And if we disagree, lets agree to disagree and still be friends. =)
When the results became apparent and Obama was named President-elect, Ly and Alan were very excited to say the least. No matter how you voted, you must admit that Nov 4, 2008 was a very historic night in our nation's history...and an evening to not be forgotten for quite a long time.
Here's hoping Obama lives up to all the potential and promises!
Here's hoping the right candidate wins today -- and we can have four years of change. =)
1. Alan finally got his BYU diploma in the mail...only it doesn't have his major on it. It says "Bachelor of Science" Poor guy. Did all that hard work in Molecular Bio for nothing. Ly could have used photoshop to create a more professional looking diploma and saved us the stress from last semester.
2. We had an unexpected visitor from Boston for an entire week which was lots of fun. It's always good to see your favorite people.
3. We found out that in a month from today some of our family is coming to visit -- so that's way exciting. We can't wait for the rest of you to come out and play in DC too!
4. We finally went to the National Archives (the place where Ly has been dying to go since we first moved here), yet for some reason it wasn't nearly as cool as Ly thought it would be - and we went home highly disappointed. Although on our way home we did stop and get an ice cream from a street vendor and Ly was seriously almost attacked by a bird carrying a piece of a pretzel. It was traumatic.
5. Palin. Seriously?? There are so many things wrong with her and her ideas that we think we shouldn't even waste our time discussing them. Although Tina Fey's SNL appearance was fantastic.
In addition to all the paperwork, during the 1st week at the NIH, Alan got completely lost several times. One day he got lost in the clinical center and spent 20 minutes stumbling through several construction zones, two patient surgical wings, and one abandoned cafeteria kitchen before finally finding an exit that wasn't an alarmed emergency exit. A few days later, Alan boarded a shuttle he thought was bound for his lab building, but much to his surprise, the shuttle exited the NIH campus, and drove 20 minutes away to another city before returning back to the main campus (stay away from the green line!).
After all the difficulties of orienting himself at a new workplace, Alan finally feels comfortable getting to and from work. He has a desk (but not a trash can, the purchasing department won't accept orders until October), an NIH email account, and a phone number. He is learning about the cancer stem cell projects that he will work on and is excited to prove that those cells really do exist.
In honor of his birthday, Lyanna put together the following lists:
The Top 10 Things I Love about My Dad:
1. The way he folded my blanket when I was little just right with silky side up
2. The way he calls me every few days just to check up on me and make sure I'm okay...even after I got married
3. The fact that all my friends voted my dad to be the "cool dad"
4. How easy going he is
5. The way he makes me laugh
6. How he used to make me lunch everyday I was in school.
7. How hard he tries to give me what I want/need
8. How when he shaved his head he chased me around the entire house trying to rub it on me...and I was 22 years old.
9. That he has put up with all my crap for 23 years
10. How much my dad loves me
Top 10 Things I've learned from my dad
1. Sometimes it's okay to just let things go
2. It is important to be able to go with flow
3. Work hard, Play hard.
4. You should always give everything 110%
5. It is okay to fail sometimes
6. Hugs are important
7. Family is the most important thing in the entire world
8. Take advantage of every opportunity
9. Always do what you say you're going to do
10. Make sure that the loved ones in your life know you love them everyday
Daddy I love you lots! Happy Birthday and I hope that the next 50 years are better then the last!
This move has been hard work. Alan has been such a great help because he pretty much packed up the Lee's entire house by himself. With the help of some awesome friends (yay for the Jones family and for the fact that they will be close) Alan managed to load all of their millions of boxes into a cube thing and then waited for the people to come whisk it off to DC. Ly's usual habit of procrastinating prevailed and she learned that she couldn't pack her entire house in 20 minutes despite insiting that she could. Luckily the infamous Dr Dickie came to the rescue with his towel wrapping expertise and box packing skills.
Tomorrow the Lee's will be in Yellowstone for Lyanna's first real camping experience. That's when the adventure will really start.
Claiming that she can’t actually help move boxes due to her recent shoulder surgery, Ly has been doing everything possible to avoid packing them. And anyone who knows anything about her knows she has a ton of stuff. In fact, it may be argued that out of all of the possessions in the Lee household, 90% of them are Ly’s– things like bags of pandas, boxes and boxes of crayons, markers, prismacolors, papers...the list goes on. Alan plans to have a serious discussion with Ly about the fact that a single human being does not, in fact, need to own hundreds of Crayola crayons.
For the better half of June and first part of July it was quite easy for Alan to forget that he actually has a spouse in the flesh because she was never around. And while Ly wishes with her entire heart that she flew to China for a whirlwind tour of the Giant Panda Reserves, she was instead in Utah Valley working. To be quite honest, Alan doesn’t even know what Ly does all day at the office but he knows that she works a lot and is on the phone a lot and goes to a lot of meetings and gets mad at people when they change logos and drives a golf cart around campus when it isn’t broken. While most of these things are slightly correct (Ly is in fact afraid of driving the golf cart on the road), she did spend a lot of time managing the new Utah Valley University brand in preparation for the unveiling on July 1st.
June 30th was the “UVUphoria Grand Celebration” which consisted of tours of the new digital learning center (which is awesome, if you live in Utah Valley you should go check it out…it even has a café), a huge concert (there were country people singing so Alan of course did not make an appearance), a fireworks extravaganza, a dance, and a countdown to UVU (aka midnight July 1st). Ly got home late that night (early that morning) and was gone again the next morning before Alan even woke up. July 1st was even better. The official ribbon cutting ceremony of the new library was in the morning and hundreds of people came to see a bunch of Who’s Who among political, religious and community leaders endorse UVU and give mini speeches.
After that event Ly came home and proceeded to sleep for the next week.
When she woke up Alan reminded her that they leave Utah in less than 2 weeks. At which point, she began to stress out about how in the world she is going to move her crayons across the country without them melting in the middle of July.
But seriously people if you have a suggestion about that let us know.
We liked it so much that we'll probably end up keeping it.
In exactly one month from today, the Lee family will be relocating to Washington DC!
You might be wondering why we are moving across the country. Well, Alan got offered an awesome job at the National Institute of Health (NIH) located in Bethesda, Maryland. He got a two year fellowship working in a lab researching cancer stem cells. Needless to say, he is very excited (and a bit nervous) for this new opportunity. Lyanna knows that her husband will be an NIH Fellow Star.