Category Archives: Stories

Our First Christmas Tree

Andrew and I bought our first Christmas tree last weekend! He wouldn’t let me put it up until after Thanksgiving (“It’s not even December yet!”) so a few nights ago we were finally able to put it up! We bought some lights and my good friend made us some garland to wrap around the tree as a Christmas present. (She is always so crafty and thoughtful!) We borrowed some ornaments from my grandpa who doesn’t put his tree up anymore, and then bought a few special ones this year.

Our Christmas Tree!

Andrew wants to start a tradition of annually buying a new ornament for the tree. I really like this idea, so he picked out a dinosaur ornament and I got a cute little picture frame that has “2015” written on it. I thought putting a picture in would be a cute reminder of the year we got married. My mother also has this cute little ornament custom made for us back in July and I love it! All of my friends and family are truly so thoughtful!

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I forgot to buy a topper (oops), and I’m still searching for some stockings and other small decorations for the apartment, but those details can come later. We had some extra lights so we hung those around the door. When we turned the lamps off, we were surrounded by the colorful glow. It was absolutely perfect, listening to Christmas music while we fluffed and decorated. We munched on candy as we went and it just felt magical. Christmas has always felt that way for me and I think that’s because I have so many great memories growing up around Christmastime.

As a child, my family went to a Christmas tree farm every year to pick out our tree.  I remember running through the rows of trees and shouting “this one!” while my family criticized it. My mom was very particular – it couldn’t be too skinny or too fat, and she always seemed to find the tree that was perfect. My brothers would start to saw it and then my dad would intervene as it was about to tip. Then they would have a big machine that would trim the base and shake all the loose needles out.

After my dad had strapped the tree to the top of our van, we would get hot chocolate. They served it for free at the farm and it was always the perfect ending to the day. By that time, we were shivering from being in the cold so long and the hot chocolate would warm us all. I always hold these memories close and hope that Andrew and I can get a real tree in the future. But for right now, our tree is perfect, too.

Games from my Childhood

I was never a big gamer, whether it was computer games or video games. My two brothers on the other hand played everything they could get their hands on. There were a few games though that I loved to play, and have been reminiscing a lot about lately. They bring good memories – playing with my brothers, playing against my brothers, playing with my grandpa. All good memories :)

Roller Coaster Tycoon

This game is simple in conception, but still somehow so, so addicting to me. I remember I would come home to school and run to my computer, and play for hours and hours on end. Or on Sundays, if I got ready and still had time to play before my family left for church, I’d stick the game in and play for as long as I could. I loved this game and played it well into high school.

The gameplay is very simple. The objective is slightly different for each theme park, but it usually is along the lines of “Have two thousand guests by the end of year three,” or “Have a park value of at least $35,000 by the end of year three.” Most of them were fairly easy to beat, too, which made me like the game too because I am such a lazy gamer! If it’s too hard I quit, haha.

In the game, there are pre-made roller coasters or you could also build your own. My brothers liked to build them with half a track, then get people on the ride and kill them all. -__- I, on the other hand, was very concerned about the safety of my guests and always tested rides out multiple times before opening to ensure that they were safe.

Another thing you had to do was keep the guests happy. If they were unhappy, they would leave the park and you wouldn’t earn any money. If the pathways were filled with puke, then you needed to hire more janitors! If your guests were hungry or thirsty, you needed to build more restaurants and vending machines. Guests were very stupid sometimes, too. They would get lost and you would have to carry them to the park exit. If I was feeling very vindictive, I would just drown them to get ride of them.  D:<

It’s a pretty typical tycoon game if you’ve ever played one, and each different theme park kept the game interesting, as were the ability to customize each park you played exactly how you wanted. Writing this post makes me want to play it again!

Harvest Moon: Back to Nature

I’ve blogged about this gem before, but it was such a big part from my childhood I think it’s only fair that it gets mentioned once more. :) I played this on the PS1. It’s an RPG game about a boy whose grandfather dies and in order to inherit the farm, he must win over the villagers of Mineral Town.

Being an RPG, I always felt like there was something to do in this game which always kept it interesting for me (and why I still play it on occasion today). As expected, a good portion of the game is actually farming. Each season provides different crops that you can plant, water, and harvest.

I think the villagers in the game and all the cut-scenes that they come with are what makes the game so rich. You can pick a girl (or multiple girls if you were my brothers) to give gifts to in order to make her like you, and eventually, marry you. All of the girls had guys that like them, too, so you also have to compete with him and marry your girl first!

You also can raise livestock: chickens, cows, sheeps, and you also have a horse and a dog. You can also go fishing, chop wood, find things to sell in the forest, upgrade your tools, and upgrade the buildings on the farm. Sometimes when you give gifts to the villagers, they will give you recipes to cook with – and TV shopping is always fun!

It’s a game with a lot to offer, and a lot of different ways to play. I remember in third grade I would sit in class and plan out which crops I was going to plant, in which formation, and how much I would make by planting x amount. Then I would run home after school and put all my plans into action. What a nerd :P

Donkey Kong 

This game is impossible to not associate with my grandpa. My siblings and I loved going to grandpa’s house – we essentially got to do everything there that we couldn’t at home. Grandpa had cable TV (which we couldn’t afford at the time growing up) so he would let us stay up late and watch cartoons. But he also had a Super Nintendo which was so cool at the time. My brothers really liked Mario, but my favorite was Donkey Kong Country.

I never beat the whole game. I really only played the first three or so areas because they were the easiest to play and I could collect a bunch of bananas! I always wanted to be Diddy Kong because he was so much lighter and easier to jump with, so my grandpa would always be Donkey Kong, but he never seemed to mind. We would work together to find all the secret levels and get as many balloons and bananas as we could. And when we failed miserably, we would laugh until our stomachs ached. We would also eat tootsie rolls and skittles until our stomachs ached.

In later years I would play the Donkey Kong games on the GameBoy and even the PC, but they were never as much fun as the one for the Super Nintendo with my grandpa.

Do you have any games from your childhood that you played all the time?