Saturday, December 29, 2007


My dad gave me an iPod nano for Christmas:

Today, Glorie was sitting on my lap, and I pulled out one of my earbuds (listening to "Love Song" by Third Day) and put it to Glorie's ear. She stopped looking around the room. She focused and listened. Then she pulled away and looked at me. Then she put her head down toward it again. And focused again. And then looked at me. Then leaned over to listen again. Then looked away. And then tried to eat it.

Almost 16.

Last night was one of the best nights of my life. Absolutely no joke. In celebration of my birthday, we went out ice skating and then to the Cheesecake Factory. Part of what made it so wonderful was that all the fun was with my brothers and sisters. Another part was that it was downtown -- I love being downtown. Our ice skating was down in Grant Park and then we walked down Michigan Avenue to the Cheesecake Factory on the ground floor of the John Hancock. Brilliant. I love walking downtown, so, last night pretty much took the cake.

At dinner, we played the "I Have Never..." game, and I got them all with things like driving and college. The advantages of being young...

Maybe this is strange, but at the end of last year, I felt like I was just waiting for something to happen where I felt truly celebrated. I hope that's not egotistical or prideful. Since then, there have been two nights that felt like they fulfilled that: my last Saturday night in Tacoma this summer, where girls took me out for dinner and arranged a Sense and Sensibility watching, and last night. It seriously was my dream birthday. I'm not even writing this very prolificly or trying to be all fancy with the words: it just plain was the birthday that I've been dreaming of. Going downtown, feeling fancy, and laughing a lot. =)

So the house is bustling. There are more pictures than you can shake a stick at, so expect quite a few of those coming up. January 1 is when we will actually do cake and presents at the house. Wahoo!!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas.

"Silent night...holy night...All is calm...all is bright..."

This is how I feel right now. I'm the only one on the first floor, so I'm surrounded by peace and light. Candles are spread around, flickering little flames both in the dark dining room and the bright hall. Everything is clean in preparation for more family's arrival, and the world feels in order. My house feels like a little cocoon, where craziness was just a minute ago, but now all is calm and all is bright.

My life feels put together. Jesus was born, and because He was born, we have this holiday. And this holiday is bringing my family together. Family reminds you of who you are. For me, sometimes family brings a question of who I am. Everyone else is so much older than I am, and I am often left feeling very small and wondering if what I say matches the wisdom of their words, or if my life is producing fruit that is as worthy as theirs. I'm not saying that these feelings and thoughts are justified, because they're not at all. They very much have a name, and it is insignificance. What I'm saying is that they are quite lessened this year.

I feel like I'm at a turning point. I'm about to finish high school. Next year, as I set off on whatever it is I will be setting off on, will I be half-way grown up, as if I were going to college, or will I still be a child? Or will it be half way in between? This all plays into the Christmas season because I have often thought about what it will be like to be a grown up in my family. What will it be like to come home for the holidays and talk about my job? What will that first Thanksgiving be like when I bring my serious boyfriend home? What about the Christmas dinner where I'm the one running up the stairs because my baby has woken up from their slumber?

The truth is, this Christmas day, I've been reminded that they are proud of me. Now. I truly feel like a young woman tonight. I feel so satisfied that I cleaned the downstairs for everyone to come. My brother is proud of me that I earned that 98 on the Chemistry test. My dad is proud of me because I just made dinner for the whole family. My sister consulted me about setting up her precious Christmas present for someone else. I'm so glad that I'm making rice pudding for the first time ever, something my brother-in-law loves. My heart lights up when miss Glorie-bee puts that huge smile on her face and looks in my eyes.

I'm ready. I'm ready to be who I am. I'm ready to show my family more and more of that. I'm ready to live the way Jesus made me to live. And I feel serenely happy. Like a feeling that that living is beginning in a new way, inching forward, sweetly blossoming as I sit here tonight surrounded by all that is calm, and all that is bright.

Monday, December 24, 2007

I'm brave...or desperate

It's Christmas Eve, and I am about to go shopping. I have to. For one, I just simply don't have all my presents yet; for two, Peter, Elizabeth, Amy, Glorie, and Elizabeth's gifts got here last night. Under our tree is the prettiest sight you've ever seen. Seeing her presents under there makes me want to buy a gajillion pretty, shiny presents. It's just so exciting! We'll see what happens.

There is an oven repairman in the kitchen trading stories with my dad of all the crazy stuff he's seen. Like a lady whose house was so full of gas from a leak that it could have blown up with one little spark. Or when he was on an airplane and the engine fell off. He's currently convincing me that Chicago accents do exist. And I'm starting to remember what it sounds like. Somehow, with my parents from California, I escaped my provincial sound.

Lastly, let me say that I want to be like Jesus. I was reading Colossians this morning, where it says to put on compassion, kindness, humility, meekness... And those are all the way Jesus' heart is towards us. I want to see people and love them. I want to understand people and be discerning.

A few months ago, I was with my dad at Sam's Club, and we were buying a pretzel. I hardly noticed anything weird. Once we finished, my dad pointed out to me that the girl who had been helping us had only looked at me the whole time, never at my dad. He said how she has probably been deeply hurt by men and now can't relate to them. That made me think: I want to be able to discern things like that and see those people and see their brokenness. I don't want to be scared away by their hurt and brokenness. Sometimes that's a big deal; I want to stand there and see and then care. People matter to Jesus, and I want them to matter to me.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

I'm Free!!!!!!!!

Now that my sisters (for whom this will be a Christmas surprise upon arriving) are safely on the road to Chicago, without access to the very secret-divulging web, I can announce it:

(you know the term "bride-zilla"? I look a little smile-zilla in this picture)

The braces are gone!!!!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Certain times

There are certain times when I look 80 years older than I really am.

The certain time when this is especially true is at one o'clock in the morning on days when I have (a) worn my hair down and (b) worn make-up.

Since I had my hair down, I sloppily sweep it up so that it doesn't get mixed with toothpaste, making is lay across my face in true 90 year-old hair in a bun fashion. Then, since I take my contacts out, I have glasses that are severely disfigured (in my case) that are sliding half way down my nose.

Then add in the make-up part. My lips still have a slightly pinker shade than normal because of the lip gloss; it just looks greatly uneven since everything else that was good is gone.

So, in essence, at 1 o'clock every morning, I transform into a ninety year old, badly make-upped, hair-in-a-bun lady who really needs new glasses.

Actually, I do need new glasses.


Days until Christmas break: 0

Days until Christmas: 4

My birthday? soon?: 21 days...{3 weeks sounds a lot shorter}

Annie's on the street in: 17 little days...maybe we should count the hours...

Here's a picture of a rhinoceros that looks mad. Or sweet and comtemplative. I can't decide.

17 days is 408 hours

Friday, December 21, 2007

In Honor of the 200th post...

We shall talk about all sorts of different things.

1. Today, as I eagerly looked through the mail, I found a clear envelope, and it had a dollar bill inside it. I took it out, and held the dollar bill in my hand. I asked my dad if I could have it - after I explained to him where it came from, he said that it could be mine. Aha! A dollar added to the Christmas account.

But wait! From whence did this fabric paper appear? For huh-wat purpose is it sitting on my kitchen table? (these thoughts could also be summed up in this way: Should I feel guilty if I consider this dollar bill as my own?) I read through the letters and finally found the following:

"Dear Ms. Kohlhas,
I've enclosed a $1.00 bill. It's real and you can spend it. But I hope you won't. Because I have faith in you."


Turns out, it's a letter to solicit donations for wounded veterans.

What to do? The letter isn't even addressed to me. (Kohlhas = Grandma) And, sorry, but if I did send the dollar back, it would be going back alone. "Here's your dollar back!"

Tell me - does that statement not make you sound heartless if you even think to keep half a penny of that dollar they put in that envelope? Oh dear... I'll probably keep the dollar.

2. My Merit Singers performances are over.

No more homemade cookies on Lake Shore Drive. No more riding in the personal-feeling elevator that goes right to their door. No more doorman offering to help me put my coat on. No more "Christmastime is Here." (which, personally, is just fine with me...that song isn't my favorite...)

3. I am unspeakably excited about all those cookies I'm planning on baking for the family.

On the list so far:
  • Klockes
  • Chocolate-chip cookies with cranberries, so that they are holiday choc-o-chip
  • Snickerdoodles made with applesauce instead of butter, so as to be acceptable for the non-fat eater of our house this holiday

Anymore suggestions? Requests, Amy?

4. I love giving gifts. Yup, I do. It's so fun!

5. Last night was one of the most hilarious sleeping arrangements of my life. Rachel, Nikki, and I all slept in the double/queen size (I'm not sure which) bed. I was in the middle and received Rachel's pillow in my face a few times. In the morning I awoke to find that an extraneous teddy bear had been taking up half my pillow all night. Oh, and the dog had decided to join us.

6. I'm on winter break! I'm on winter break! I'm on winter break!!!

7. Now let's talk about font size.

8. I'm done with driver's ed (classroom) and I got the range dates I wanted! Permit is only 17 days away or so!!! Watch out, squirrels!!! (in case you hadn't noticed, Chicago seems to be overrun with squirrels)

9. There is metal in my mouth that is annoying me.

Cheerfulness to all!

Sunday, December 16, 2007


"Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears us up..." -Psalm 68:19

People, I have been borne up.

I almost lost my wallet. I almost did.
Yesterday after my performance at Merit, I went Christmas shopping with Amy and Noemi (whoop whoop! I can now say that I have done some Christmas shopping). We went to Target, and played in the snow.

After that, we checked out Carson's and Claire's. I was about to buy something in Claire's, and I went to pull out my wallet, and it was gone. I searched again. "Aaaayyyy-meeee?? My wallet's gone."

Oh dear. We thought about where it was. It could be in the Target shopping bag. It could have fallen out of my purse when I fell in teh parking lot. We decided to just get back to the car and hopefully find it there on the seat or in the Target bag. Noemi said that she would buy my stuff that I was going to buy, but I said. "No." and put it back. She responded: "Why? "you'r enot gonna get it just because you don't have your wallet?" I said: "No. I'm just freaked out. I don't want to!"

We walked through the halls of the mall, me quietly worrying, thinking about how it could be my first lost wallet and oh, why did our beautiful night have to be ruined? Amy took my arm, and tried to tell me it would be okay. They told me it would be in the bag. Amy said, "Let's pray really quick" so there we were, the three of us arm in arm, praying through the halls that even if it wasn't in the bag, Jesus would put it in the bag.

We got to the car, and it wasn't on the seat. Amy searched the bag. "Please, Jesus, let it be in there..."

It was! I think I was quite loud: "Thank you, Jesus! Thank you, Jesus! I love Jesus!!"

So, either I did put the wallet in the bag instead of my purse because I was in a hurry, or (my personal favorite) I dropped it and Jesus put it in the bag. My sister calls it translation. It happened to Philip in Acts when he preached to the Ethiopian guy. So, when it comes down to it, I am so thankful to Jesus.

We went to Noemi's house and had some mini pepsis with straws. =)

In other news, everything is so close! Just days, hours, minutes away...

How is Annie's anticipation growing?
Let me count the days...
Elizabeth, Peter, Amy, and Glorie come: 6 days
Suzy, OJ, Ariel, and Judah come: 9 days
Peterson Christmas (on the 26th): 10 days
My birthday: 26 days

Friday, December 14, 2007

The D's squared

My sister quite accurately pointed out that many days have passed since Monday, the time of my last post. Let's see...what has happened since Monday? Let's go backwards, shall we? Friday...Thursday...Wednesday...Tuesday... yep! It's Tuesday.

Before I get into Tuesday, can I just say one thing that I've been thinking of writing on here since Sunday: I have a love/hate relationship with heating vents. I mean the big heating vents, in stores, and on the sides of omnifarious buildings. (nice word, huh? I looked it up in the thesaurus!) So, anyways, here's the scenario: I'm cold. and I'm walking. But I'm cold. All of a sudden, I walk past a large heating vent, and my heart rejoices, because a huge blast of warmth hits me, and, oh, the bliss. The thing about a heating vent, though, is that it is only so many feet wide, which means I'm out of the blissful ignorance of the cold I was suddenly thrust through almost as quickly as I found myself in it. Yup. Love/hate relationship, me and the heating vents.
So. Tuesday. Tuesday started not so great. Very much not so great. Lots of other people weren't having the best day ever, or at least Miss Richert wasn't, so we went to Dunkin' Donuts instead of having just straight British Literature.

Amy and Leah matched!
Wednesday wasn't anything too momentous. We had chapel without a speaker, so we added a song, and another song, and another song and the teachers told some corny jokes, since we thought we were waiting for the speaker.

Thursday. Thursday...

To explain this picture...I went to the eye doctor. The last time I went was four years ago. FOUR years! So, my mom decided to take me to an opthamologist instead of hte normal Lenscrafters eye doctor. It was quite the adventure. They had all of these assistants who do all the testing for the doctors, and then the doctor comes in and looks at you for a few minutes. The lady tested my eyes and everything, and put dilating drops in them. This is the point of the picture. My pupils were HUGE. Back to that later. Once she put the drops in, I had to wait around for half an hour for them to get fully dilated. She said they use extra strength drops for those of a younger age, ahem, and that the dilation would last all day.

Once I finally did get in a room to see the actual doctor, she seemed to be in such a hurry. She looked at my eyes with more normal machines and lights and everything, and then she started saying that she wanted to see something in particular just because it was the first time she had ever seen me. She strapped on one of those headband lights:

and used what looked like a magnifying glass to look way into my eye. The light was the brightest light you've ever seen and it was straight into my eye, and she had me look in all different directions. At some point, I think my brain pretty much shut down on the idea of opening the eyes just to have them glared into by this light that more than slightly resembled the sun itself. She would say, "look that way" and it felt like I just couldn't make my eye obey and open for anything in the world. So she opened it for me. Anyways, bright light. Big spots afterwards. But my eyes are healthy, that's the good thing!

So, back to the dilating drops. Lasted all day. I could just imagined my brain freaking out: "why won't the eyes obey me?? Why will they not listen and contract those pupils??" Once I got back to school, people thought it was the freakiest thing ever. Those things were massive. It was such a weirdy feeling, to just not be able to focus on something. Like, I had absolutely no control over that part of my sight...pretty interesting. Of course it was so useful for trying to read the book in driver's ed. I wonder what the teacher thought of my weird blinking.

So, I tried to take a picture of it.

This morning, they were still bigger than normal. Vision's all clear, though, and I don't even need a new prescription.

OH! So then, I had to go to Driver's ed...blah blah blah...and then I had to go to music school and rehearse and then go perform at the fancy Lakeshore Drive house. That was my busy day.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Inopportune moments

The cat likes knocking my trash can over when I'm not looking. And plants. She knocked the one in the living room over twice today.

I think I might be making this certain nightly routine a habit. I've gotten quite hooked on my sister's book, which is on a cd in my computer, so I get under my heated blanket (all ready for sleep, which for me mainly means relieving my poor, tired eyes of their apparel: have you ever known the relief of getting one's contacts out??? Even if they haven't been actually bothering you; it's like a chemical that says "relax" to your entire being is released once you take out your contacts. )

back to the description: I get under my heated blanket and pick up my computer (which is also warm...I like being warm; but you know how your toes take so long to get warm when you get in bed?? Even with a heated blanket...they are still cold when I fall asleep. In the morning, though, toes that are as warm as toasted marshmallows try to keep you glued under your covers...yippee - warm toes!!)

back to my situation: I pick up my computer and read. and it's hard to stop.

Congratulations, Amy! I'm enthralled, hooked, intrigued, and all of the above. ;)

Sunday, December 09, 2007

The actual quaintness

In the true spirit of procrastination, er, I mean, Christmas-time, I added making coffee cake to the previous list of things to do today.
We had to go to the store for some ingredients, and on the way back, we were coming up to a stoplight to turn left, and the oncoming car didn't start stopping for his yellow light as soon as my dad would have liked, about which my father cleverly pointed out: "HE is a trangressor!!!" My dad makes me laugh.
So, my coffee cake. It has cinnamon in it and smells like Christmas. But let this be a lesson to you all: the consequences of procrastinating without an apron: cake batter all over me. My cat enjoyed licking the shirt, I have to say.

Better, huh? I really need to do my homework. Mmmm...I'm on the third floor, and I can smell the stuff all the way up here. Yippee!

No. way.

I just realized that 2008 is only 22 days away. KRAZEE!!!!

Shmorgasboard of quaintness

Today at church there was a candlelight service, and you know those little candles that are about four inches tall and have the paper plates around them? They burn really fast, and mine had wax all over it after burning for just a few minutes. In fact, the wax dripped down and through the little opening at the center of the wax-catcher (sounds evil, like a dog-catcher...wait a minute: are dog catchers evil?) and onto my finger. I then had a waxed finger. How bogus is that? You're right...not very. It was actually quite exciting. Side note: my dad called the paper thingy a "hoop skirt." Haha.

Often when I talk to my sister Amy on instant messenger, she tells me about her small to do list that must be done before she has to be at such and such a place at a certain time. Whenever I hear about her list, I always wish I had a list. It just seems so ordered and quaint and warm and fuzzy -- especially when the list includes tea and friends, as hers did today. If I were to make a list for myself today, I suppose it would be:
  1. Do my dialogue paper for Worldviews
  2. Do my driver's ed homework
  3. Practice Piano
  4. Search for a birthday present for my brother online (with having to ship to Hawaii, I've decided that shopping online will be the best option)
  5. Call Chloe
  6. All before 7 o'clock.

Also, just a heads up. (who knows why you need a heads up about my crazy Thursday...) This Thursday, I have an eye doctor appointment in the middle of the day. Then, I have choir rehearsal with my little choirs I direct (perhaps the last ones before our performance) and then I have to change and get all fancied up for my performance with my choir, then go to driver's ed, then go straight from driver's ed to music school then practice then go sing at the people's Christmas party, then get home at some point. I hope I don't have any homework that day. =P But you see, a day planned like that makes me excited. Having a list of errands to do makes me giddy. I'm telling you...something about an ordered to-do list of things one is completely capable of doing makes me happy.

Only thing is, homework doesn't usually count as one of those to-do's that makes me happy. Oh well.

Saturday, December 08, 2007


Slip and slide. Slippery-slidey...

Outside there is a super thin layer of ice on the road. And it's cold. I guess obviously it's cold if there's ice on the road.

So, today I was at Merit for (one, two, three...) six hours. We have a performance next Saturday, so for choir we practiced on the risers. Those things make my feet hurt. It doesn't matter what kind of shoes you're wearing, after standing on them for over an hour, my toes felt like they were about to fall off my feet.

After Merit, I had to hand Mr. Pan some papers from my mom that he had to mail, so when I walked out of the front doors, there were TWO cars waiting for me. Wow - I felt famous or special or something. :) I walked to Mr. Pan's car first, which my dad didn't understand because he didn't realize that Mr. Pan was picking up the papers, so he honked at me, wondering why I was going to some strange car.

Amy and I went to go see Enchanted. It was super exciting that we got in for free because of our report cards... the movie was actually really funny, which was slightly surprising. It was quite creative.

Now, I'm watching Get Smart. Have you ever seen it? It's quite silly, but really fun at the same time.
Max and 99...they ended up getting married. She never had another name besides 99...and he had a phone in his shoe.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Slightly famous

Well, my mouth is famous. And that's pretty much it. My mouth was on tv! Isn't that exciting?!?!?! Come on, tell me that's not exciting.


I'm getting excited. I'm starting to ache inside, because Christmas is gonna be soo good. My family. I don't think words can describe my family. But the thought of us being together makes my heart go warm and fuzzy, and I can't wait to laugh and hug and listen to the sweetest voices in the world. My sisters' voices: I can't wait to hear them through the halls and the rooms and through the protesting to a fast slip of the hand in Dutch Blitz. I can't wait to hug Ariel as tight as I possibly makes me cry just to think about it -- my Ariel is gonna be in my arms again! =)

I love that girl! :)

I laugh so hard when I'm with my family - they're pretty much the funniest bunch around. Ah, now I remember. What usually happens is the girls do somehting random or talk about something random while the guys break out the James Bond and *gasp* beer.

Plus, we look like each other! What could be better?

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

On second thought

Now I do have a joyful snow picture from tonight. =)

Winter Joy

Today when I walked out of the store, I purposely left my hood down and watched the whiteness fall around me. Then, I was rewarded. A pretty little snowflake (well, it felt pretty) landed right on the tip of my nose. I love snow!!!

The more Christmases I go through, the more I think I love Christmas. It's so exciting! The sparkling lights everywhere are so enchanting, and the snow is just so perfect when it first falls. Have you ever thought about people who have Christmas with no snow?? (or you might be pity extends to you) That is such a sad idea to me! Snow nad christmas are an extraordinary pair.

I think it's wonderful that God put something pretty with all the cold, or else I don't know how we would handle it. As winter started, it made me moan inside, because I just get tired of feeling cold for no apparent reason. It's so hard in the morning to get in the car and just be cold. You're just COLD. And you don't really know "cold" until you live in Chicago during the winter. Once the snow comes, though, it's like the coldness has been validated, and it's all worth it.

As of December 4, 2007, I don't mind Chicago winters. In fact, I believe I may be able to say that I like a Chicago winter. A few days ago, that would have been sacrilage. Now, looking at the snow sitting in the branches of the tree outside my window, it's bliss.

I don't have a picture from tonight of me enjoying the falling snow, so this picture from last year involving happiness and snow will have to do.


Saturday, December 01, 2007

Big Break

I just saw a commercial where a girl looked infinitely happy, was wrapped up in a pretty blanket, and plopped down on the couch. I thought "That is the look of someone who has nothing to do."

Also, you know that guy who does the infomercials for Oxi-clean?'s sad that I know that. Well, I'm convinced that he should have lost his voice by now, because whenever he is selling something, he sounds like he's yelling...that's a long time to be yelling. for the break that isn't a break from homework or a break in the Oxi-clean man's big break! I will soon be the next biggest thing on the Chicago 10:00 news (my Dad's sure of it). The story:

This morning, I went to my orthodontist. And I waited. (While I waited, I thought about what I'm gonna do with my life...again) I waited a half an hour before she was ready to see me. Now, I went in unsuspectingly, but as I sat down, I noticed that across the way from the chair I was in, there was a guy with a massive camera, in the patient and the orthodontist's faces while their work was being done. I wondered what was going on, and then I saw that the new lady standing around had a tag that said "abc" in the black circle -- quite familiar...and quite exciting.

I lie there going, "I hope I'll be on tv!" When she sees me, and goes over to tell her camera guy, "That one! Let's do that one!" pointing to me. Wahoo! Exciting! She told my doctors, "don't do too much yet." Soon the guy was all up in my chair-space with the big camera, hurrying around to get the different angles.

Once the doctors were finished looking at my teeth, the news lady was asking me how long I've had braces and told me that the teeth looked great. Then she said, "Get a shot of her cute smile!" =] So...awkward! I didn't know what to do. I just started smiling straight at the camera...the guy told me I didn't have to smile yet. He said when he counted to three, I should smile. I have to say, though, once he counted to 3, I smiled for ten or fifteen seconds straight - maybe longer. Meanwhile, the doctor and the reporter would say "She's so cute!!" =]

THEN, once I sat up from the actual work getting done on me, she rushed over and asked, "Can we ask you a few questions about blah...blah...blah..." Questions? For being on tv? Sure!! So, I had to hide a microphone under my shirt, and she asked me questions about what I thought about having braces and whether or not I had thought about having the invisible ones... well, my answers were kinda slow, so, I don't know about those, but. we'll see!

And side note: hearing the word "final" from the professor is a good thing; hearing the words "this is a disaster" from my doctor isn't so much a good thing. But it's not really a disaster...I could get them off soon!!

Off to bed - here I go.