Flashback Friday

Since Joshie turned 27 this week I decided to post a photo of us as kiddies for this week's Flashback Friday. Notice as children Joshie had blond hair and I had darker hair. The opposite is true today. Joshie's hair turned darker, like my dad's, when he hit puberty. I started highlighting my hair when I was a junior in high school. Before that, it was really blond on the ends and dark in the roots. It looks more natural, I often remark, highlighted than it does without the highlights, and it's true. Trust me!
So, there you have it. Another exciting insight into my life. Enjoy!

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Meet Serena or "Renie" Kidd as she was called. Born September 3rd, 1849 to George Washington Kidd and Frances Stanley Kidd, she was married twice before she died on November 6, 1924. Renie and her first husband, Wilburn "Wib" Parsons, had one son, Andrew Jackson "Red Jacket" Kidd.
Renie's second son, pictured in this photo, was named James Elias Kidd. Although she was married to James Henry "Jim" Akers when she had James Elias, he never assumed his father's name, taking his grandfather's last name, Kidd, instead. So, instead of being Amber Erin Kidd, my name should really be Amber Erin Akers.
James Elias is my great great grandfather. My great grandfather, McDonald "Don" Kidd, was one of nine children. He fathered eight children, including my grandpa, Jett Lee Kidd.
My grandpa was born on the same day, August 28th, as James Elias Kidd. My Grandpa died on March 24th, 1992 and James Elias died on March 14, 1956.
Jett Lee was married to my grandma, Reba "Reveal" Alberta Stratton (photo above). Comparing the photo of my father, standing beside her, with his thick, white mustache to James Elias you can see the resemblance. All the Kidd men look the same; full heads of hair, average height. Until my father's generation they were all slender and it seems they all share the same stance. It's so cool.
Until this week I never knew my great great great great grandma's name was Serena, which is the name of Sabes, but spelled differently. I love her anyway, but realizing that we have this in common make me love Sabes even more. I love you Sabes!
I also think its cool that Renie's dad was named George Washington Kidd. No wonder I have this thing for George's and decided on The George Washington University for graduate school. I would like to think he is very proud.
The last thing I wanted to point out is how cool it is that ALL of my family, not just my brother and I, create nicknames for EVERYONE. I think it's a sign of recognition and affection. I could never understand families that didn't do that. I have a ton of nicknames, some are better than others, but they all have awesome stories attached and give me great subject matter to share with others. If I ever reproduce, at 29 I am beginning to wonder, my children will have amazing names, like George Washington or King Solomon (a great something grandpa on the Stratton side), actually I am thinking more like Graham, Greene (family name) and Grey, if anyone takes them I will break their legs, (try having a child with a broken leg) and cool nicknames to boot.

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Happy 27 on the 27th!

My kid brother, no pun intended, turned 27 today on the 27th of November in 2007; one of the blessings of being born in 1980. Next year he will turn 28 in 2008, 29 in 2009 and 30 in 2010. How lucky is that? I would love it if I could say the same. Makes things so much easier.
Anyway, this photo was taken earlier this year just before he married Lauren Ambler. Next month they will travel to Amsterdam and Germany for their honeymoon. This will be Joshie's first trip outside the United States. We are all very excited for him.
Being the poor, lame sister that I am, this is the first kind thing I have done to acknowledge his special day. No worries! I will make up for my poor planning by sending a terrific card bearing cash gifts later this week, which is all he wants anyway. Until that arrives, Happy Birthday Harry! I love you!

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An Official Member of...

the High Mileage club. A few weeks ago my boss encouraged me to call Volvo of North America to get a 200k mile medallion for the Big V who has over 200k miles. Lucky for me, I contacted, we'll call her Donna, just in time to snatch the last medallion from Volvo. According to "Donna" Volvo will no longer be sending medallions to their loyal customers. Instead, Volvo lovers will be receiving stickers, which I think is very sad and may influence my decision to invest in a Volvo should I ever purchase a newer vehicle.
Deciding it would be unwise to apply the sticker to a dirty car, I went over to the Harbour's to give my car a bath. It needed it too. As the photo above demonstrates my car is so shiny you can see the camera and tree, photo below, reflected in the trunk. The trees surrounding our townhouse are gorgeous. I love fall!
Mamma Harbour positioned and applied the medallion. She did an excellent job. I have no idea what I would do without them. They are not only Stephanie and Sarina's parents but friends and confidants as well. I owe them everything.
Since my own father, who is an avid reader of our blog, can't see my medallion I decided to post these photos for him. Without him I would not be here. Without him I wouldn't have a Volvo and without a Volvo I wouldn't need a medallion. Thus, there would be no need for this post. See how that works? So, thanks Dad! I love you!

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A Great Way to Conclude 2007

At the beginning of 2007 I inquired, "2007 Lucky or Unlucky?" Well for two of my dear friends, it has been lucky indeed. Melissa Sue Jenson will marry Chris Davies, the brother of my former mission companion (Kimberly Davies) on December 1st. Melissa and I were roommates for three years at BYU. The first time I met Chris, I was serving as a missionary on Temple Square. I remember thinking he would be a perfect match for Melissa. That was seven years ago. It's amazing so much time has passed and instead of living in Utah, we are all living in Washington now.
Looking at their announcement it's evident they are in love. There relationship was not rushed or forced. They are like two pieces of a puzzle that fit together. They just work and its a miracle these two people found each other and fell in love. I congratulate them and wish them a lifetime of happiness. After Melissa marries Chris on Saturday I will be the last of the "core" to marry. It was always a toss-up who would be last. Now we know.
On December 21, Desiree will marry Chuck Syme in the Salt Lake City Temple. Although I swore I would not be a brides maid again, I agreed to be in Desiree's wedding. She is like a sister to me and I wouldn't miss her sealing for anything. After Desiree's wedding I will be the last female in the Richmond ward to marry. I don't mind being last though. It's comforting to know all of my friends and even my brother has found love; companions they can confide in and rely on. Best friends they can dream with, cry with and laugh with for the rest of their lives. With less than a week before Melissa's sealing I decided to post these announcements to congratulate each of my friends on their luck this year.

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A Tuna Christmas Surprise

Yesterday following an enjoyable afternoon with Kate (thanks Kate Kate for spending the day with me) at the National Gallery of Art, Joy called and invited me to join her for an evening at the Warner Theatre. Apparently, Joy scored the tickets when a coworker was unable to attend at the last minute. They couldn't have been better. Our seats were located on the second row, next to the aisle. Arriving early we were delighted when two men in suits joined us on the second row. As Joy and I were discussing Russel Crow's acting abilities I overheard the gentlemen seated next to me discussing with the preservation of a historic church on Thomas Circle. Immediately my attention was diverted away from Russel Crow and on to Brutalism and modern architecture.
Never shy, I excused myself and politely joined their conversation, never dreaming of the results that would follow; a discussion on everything from historic preservation to environmental science to documentaries to early Washington history and architecture. Needless to say, we also could not have asked for better company.
Our conversation was interrupted only by the show we had come to see; A Tuna Christmas. The gentleman sitting next to me enjoyed the show so much it was his third time seeing it. According to him, it is the second play in a trilogy about the citizens of Tuna, Texas. Following the first Act, I could understand why he enjoyed it so much. I loved it! Joe Sears and Jaston Williams were incredible; transforming from one character to another with perfect ease. The residents of Tuna were witty with huge southern accents that made my heart ache for home. (Allow me to insert a disclaimer here, Texas is NOT the SOUTH! Thus, their SOUTHERN accents were a not an accurate representation of Texans, but I am sure the Texans will forgive Sears and Williams. I graciously have.)
A Tuna Christmas, is a production worth seeing. An evening that will lift the spirits, kicking-off the holiday season in a delightful and amusing way. Thanks Joy for giving me A Tuna Christmas surprise I will always remember!

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Pre-Turkey Day Fun!

Tuesday evening my roommates, Cat and Ames decided to host a pre-Thanksgiving Elementary school style party. Instead of eating Turkey and mashed potatoes we had turkey meat balls and tater tots. It was a lot of fun as you can see from the photos below. Ms. Anne, pictured above, was one of the many guests who participated in the gum-drop turkey assembly. Here she is modeling her turkey.
In addition to Anne, Joy, Tess and Kate came to the party. It was so good hanging out with Joy and Anne again. It seems like forever since we've all been able to sit down and talk. Tess was a great addition to the crowd and we had a lot of fun taking photos which are accesible on Facebook. This was one of my favorites, taken by Anne, of course.

Melissa, my new roommates provided entertainment for the evening. In addition to playing the guitar she sings and writes her own music. If you haven't enjoyed a performace stop by and sit for a spell. I guarantee you won't be disappointed.

She has the ability to captivate her audiences, as seen here in this photo of Cat and Reed. Notice Reed appears to be deep in thought. Wonder what he's thinking about?

Following Mel's performance we congregated in the kitchen for more photos. I couldn't resist taking a photo with every man there. Anne took this photo of Slade and I. Although I think he's a total goof-ball, the more I get to know him the more real he becomes. Plus, he's from Louisiana and who can resist a man from the South?

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Also From the Weekend

Saturday night I attended the annual Langley Talent/No Talent show. Although I have attended the Langley Singles ward for almost three years this was my first appearance at the Thanksgiving dinner and show. I was a little apprehensive at first but the concluding performance by the Olney Boys made the entire evening worthwhile.
This photo was taken after their performance, where I snagged a t-shirt. In true groupie-style I got each group member to sign my shirt. Some of my favorite signatures read, "Amber, you are so hot- Tim" or "I love you-Scott."
Since moving to Washington I have longed to see Teddy Roosevelt island. Sunday morning a friend drove me down and we walked around before church. It was lovely. The leaves were gorgeous and the foot traffic light. The perfect way to spend a Sunday morning. Since we had to rush back for church I was not able to take as many photos as I wanted. Thus, an additional trip is in order. Hopefully, there will be plenty of opportunities for many more.

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An Interesting Lesson on Preparation

This was written on the board during a Relief Society lesson on the importance of preparation two weeks ago. I was amazed that none of the other class participants seemed to notice. I love how the word "do" is emphasized in the inquiry, "Who can I do now to prepare?" This question is something I have pondered since the lesson, and perhaps long before, but the answer totally escapes me. Perhaps one day I will find the "who" so I can "do," in preparation for whatever life has in store.
Just a wonderful quirk that added a measure of humor to an otherwise serious RS lesson, further enhancing the experience.

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Something Worth Seeing

Although Brett and I had plans to see Lars and the Real Girl last weekend, I saw it with Rae Rae and Kate instead. Brett totally pooped out in true Brett fashion. Men.
I have to admit, I was expecting a satire but instead discovered a sweet, inspiring story about acceptance and the importance of community.
Ryan Gossling's performance was perfect and by the story's conclusion even I considered moving to Wisconsin despite the snow and freezing temperatures.
A must-see movie for the holidays; definitely a story that will warm your heart no matter how cold it is outside.

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Happy Birthday Baby!

It was not so long ago, no matter how much you disagree, that you came into this world, a happy, kicking, naked baby. Your father told me last night that before you were born, you had a vivacious personality; bumping your mother's tummy constantly for attention.
Although I know you'd prefer to forget the day I couldn't resist. We don't have to discuss your age, although in my book you're still a spring chicken. Looking at these photos it's nice to know in all your unmentioned years you haven't changed much. You are still the happy, smiling babe you've always been. And...
you share that happiness with everyone you meet. You have a gift that is rare and wonderful. I am so grateful Heavenly Father blessed me with you, my dear friend. I have no idea how I would have survived graduate school and adjusting to life in Washington without you. I love you, Steph and hope this day marks the advent of an incredible year filled with wonderful memories you will cherish forever.

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The Power of a Well-Written Letter

Several weeks ago I saw The Jane Austen Book Club in theatres. Although the film was less than impressive, I was reminded, and have been pondering this truth since, of the power a well-written letter possesses.
I have received many letters throughout my long twenty-nine years. Some have brought me joy, others hope, and a few sadness.
While serving as a missionary I wrote a man who was serving in the same capacity; as a missionary. I was on Temple Square in Salt Lake City and he was in Honduras. Although we had become acquainted during my junior year of college our friendship blossomed and grew at an impressive rate as we wrote to one another. Eventually his letters became more ardent and following his lead, so did mine. I was fortunate to receive mail every day and each day I anxiously awaited word from "my missionary." His words could encourage, inspire and comfort me, completely altering the course of my day, often transforming it from bad to good or from pleasant to wonderful. Even now, when I am feeling a little low or unloved I read his letters and cherish the love he expressed for me during that time. I would give anything to have copies of the letters I sent to him in response but it wouldn't surprise me if he threw them out after our relationship ended.
Since Ben, I have dated a few men who wrote songs or poems for me. One man I really cared about used to write notes, which I keep in my journal, but since college I have not met a man who understands and values the importance of a well written letter. Some may argue, "email has replaced letters," and that is fine for them but I still relish receiving a well written letter through the mail. Something personal and tangible. Something I can cherish and re-read a thousand times. Something I can keep for future posterity; something real.
In this modern age of convenience let us not forget this truth; there is power in a well written letter. Don't believe me? Just write.

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Possible blog titles.

In the order they occurred:

--Thank you Random Budget Guy!
--Did you see that girl with the mohawk eating the giant pickle?
--Don't worry folks! It's just a little shot in the shorts.
--You should have seen my Mom at the Depeche Mode concert in Paris.
--Mint flavored beans? I don't want to go there.
--Oh. my. Lord. That's the Holy Grail of Food! Quiet! It may run away!

These are just a few highlights from our weekend. I'll leave you with a picture of how we roll.

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This is how we rock and roll!

Writing this from the SLC airport where the guy next to me is having a loud conversation with his wife about the bill from the ditch digger. Let me tell you, I'm happy I don't work for that guy!

I stayed up all night last night and I'm exhausted this morning. I'm not exactly sure how I'm going to pull it together to be a normal human tonight--but I'm sure I'll manage! I'm looking forward to the energy of a city again. Last night I was talking to Charlie and he noted to me what a vast area DFW is. I can't wait!!

Concert tickets are printed, flights have commenced, the car rental rendezvous is arranged and we're ready to rock Dallas!

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Tomorrow morning, bright and early, Gwen and I leave to go watch these guys in Dallas. The only thing that could improve this trip would be Boo with me! I'm so stoked to go to a show. Seems like ages since I've been rocked to my core by bass. Mmmmm.

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Georgia on My Mind

This week I have been updating my resume trying to prepare it for submission for two federal positions in my field. One is with a local agency and the other would mean re-locating to Atlanta. Each position has their perks and deficiencies. I would love to remain in Washington but the Atlanta position pays more. I would be thrilled with either position and pray constantly the end result will be satisfactory. We'll see.
However, I have been thinking a lot about the time I spent in Atlanta and what it would mean to return. The Gwinnett History Museum housed in the historic Lawrenceville Female Seminary was the first place I worked following graduation from BYU. It was a terrific building with a great history but could not provide me the professional opportunities I desired.
The building below is the Lawrenceville historic courthouse. I love early American courthouses. Did you know the idea of a courthouse located in a downtown square is a strictly American concept? Did you also know Larry Flynt was shot just outside this courthouse? That is why Mr. Flynt is in a wheelchair now.
It was in the first Lawrenceville courthouse that Worcester was tried before the case went to the US Supreme court. The case is known today as Worcester v. Georgia and was the second Supreme court case heard by Justice John Marshall in regards to federal Indian law.
I used to give tours to school groups of all ages walking them from the Seminary building to the courthouse. Choosing a volunteer from the crowd I would have them stand at the bench or sit in the judge's chair. We would even "swear-in" a witness. The children loved it.
This month four years ago, I invested my days decorating the historic courthouse and Female Seminary for the holidays. My favorite project was making a Victorian kissing ball that I hung in the Seminary entrance. Although it never brought me luck it was a lovely addition to our Christmas decorations and a tradition I would love to begin in my home one day. Lord only knows when that will be.
Facing an uncertain future with multiple opportunities, it's nice to know that no matter what happens, whether I stay in DC or return to Georgia, I have friends in both places whom I love, great shopping, and many things remaining to experience.

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Since my computer sporadically connects to the wireless router for brief moments, I have not been able to blog frequently. Having a free Saturday and since Ms. Julie (photo above) is moving I decided to catch-up.
In case anyone doubted, and you know who you are, I do cook. I also bake. Rae took a photo to document my virgin experience of making popcorn balls, a treat I thoroughly enjoy but have never mastered the art of. This is me, in my xxl Georgia t-shirt, thanks Ron, stirring the goo that cements the popcorn into a ball shape.

Once the goo was finished, we poured it over the popcorn, separate bowl, and formed the popcorn into balls. The balls cool best when placed on wax paper. I was so excited I took a photo. They were a hit at the work party, thank goodness.

Making popcorn balls with Rae was nice because it had been awhile since we spent quality time together. Rae is moving next Saturday and with our crazy schedules who knows when we will see each other again. One love Rae and I share is popcorn. Whether it's loose or in balls (I know that sounds bad) popcorn is a meal I can enjoy anytime of day.

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