ice, ice baby

(I am currently chowing down Cheez-Its, AGAIN, while writing this post...why are they SO crazy good!?)

School has officially been cancelled for the rest of the week.

Last night was really the first time I've been out of the apt. since all of this hit, and I was really shocked by how bad it truly was. There are entire trees that have just crumbled, power lines are hanging in roadways, and the city is a lot darker than it usually is. Over half a million people are still without power (and some are still losing it!) Apparently the town I teach in is completely black. They are saying it will probably be at least 10 days before everyone has power. 2 of the other interns are without power. Justin, the preaching intern, is from Louisville and is living with his family and they have been without since yesterday morning. His mom and sisters are staying with family, and we offered him a place to stay but he said he'd go home with his stepdad and hold down the fort. Last night all of us were getting a little stir crazy so Julie, like always, was wiling to open her home. We made hamburgers on the George Foreman and played RockBand and Nertz and Wii... we were like little kids again enjoying a snow day!Shane and Meagan (guitar and drums) went home to their apartment with power, only to wake up to...NO POWER! This makes me a little nervous. Ours flickered again this morning, but so far we're holding strong! We've offered them our air bed and our living room for the time being.

I wanted to get out and take some pictures today (the roads really aren't bad at this point, don't worry), however, I did not want to spend the 40 minutes that it probably would have taken to de-ice and snow my car (It has 4 days worth of stuff on it!) I did snap a few pictures as we left Julie's last night though, and even though it is dark, you can see how thick the ice is. The first one is a picture of her back porch (there are not usually tree limbs resting on it!)So, tonight Brent and I will pray that our power will remain and will stay safe and warm (with a box of cheez-its in tow!)


a real snow day

It's day 3 here on survivor island... :)

Okay, so last night my school went ahead and called it for today. I was a little surprised because, even though it iced all day yesterday, in a slow depressing drizzle, everything was supposed to stop by about midnight. However, when we woke up this morning I was refreshed by a sight I hadn't seen in quite some time:
It was snowing heavily, the trees were coated in ice and everything has that eerie quiet that I think is one of the most peaceful quiets ever. It took Brent, after he cleaned his car for about 20 minutes, an hour to get to work (normally a 15 minute drive), so things aren't wonderful.The power has been flicking on and off this morning so I'm going to keep this short so I can shut the computer down. A lot of trees and limbs are falling because of all the ice plus the snow on top, plus there were so many loose limbs from the windstorm back in October.

So I think I'm going to lay back, finish my book and my peach tea that I just made and enjoy a TRUE snow day (and I really hope the power stays on...!)


do you REALLY know me?

Or maybe the better question is, do you really want to know more about me? Well, currently in the world of facebook there is a "note" going around that asks the recipient to write 25 facts about themself. I didn't post this on facebook, but thought I would a) use another snow day to create my list and b) post it for people who might care more than the facebook community!

Enjoy (or skim...whichever suits you best)!

1) When I was in junior high I stole a pencil from a boy I had a crush on. It had the 4-H creed on it, which I then memorized in an effort to impress the boy. ("I Pledge...My Head to clearer thinking, My Heart to greater loyalty, My Hands to larger service, and, My Health for better living, for My Club, my Community, my Country, and my World.")

2) I frequently crave McDonald's big macs, although I don't think I have eaten one in well over 3 years.

3) More people fit in Southeast Christian Church's sanctuary (the church we currently attend) than live in my hometown...times 9.

4) I have never had a job that in some way, shape, or form did not involve working with a lot of kids/ people younger than me (Daycare, Referee, RA, Teacher)

5) When I watch Movies or TV I get so emotionally attached to fictional characters. It is like I feel everything they are going through…It's draining. (This is also a reason I have a very hard time watching someone go through something embarrassing on reality tv shows, in particular the first couple weeks of auditions on American Idol. It physically hurts me for them)

6) I've been married to Brent for 8 months in a week. Also, we have been together for 5 years on Feb. 8th. ALSO, this will be the FIFTH Valentines day we do not get to spend together (he will be in Ethiopia). The only one we spent together was the very first, just a week after we "started dating," and I saw him for an hour (I wore sweat pants and a hoody) because I had agreed to babysit already (because that is what I always did on Valentines day...a tradition I continued in college!). However, Brent has written me a song for all of the previous 6 Vdays. Give and take, my friends, give and take.

7) I had a cat named Fuzz Ball Carroll for about 15 years. I never once picked her up.

8) Brent and I moved to Louisville about 8 months ago, and it was just last Saturday that we drove around downtown to figure out where some stuff was/ what all is there/ how to get around etc.

9) Two of my favorite books in 4th through 6th grade were: Nothing is Fair in the Fifth Grade (which my school library eventually gave to me because it was a) falling apart and b)not checked out by anyone but me...over and over and over...), and Too Soon to Say Goodbye (a horribly sad story about a girl who gets Leukemia...however, the title is, I'm pretty sure, what taught me the difference between "Too" and "to")

10) I have never taken public transportation (i.e. a taxi, bus etc).

11) One of my all time favorite movies is Cinderella. To this day I still will pull out the old vhs tape and watch it if I'm feeling sick or just down!

12) One night Brent and I were in the car with our friend Justin who said something and then Brent replied, "You used a dangling modifier in that sentence." That is when I realized that my major in college/career has had an effect on him (or is is affect?)

13) We keep our books on a bookshelf that Brent made in highschool shop class.

14) I really like eating Pizza without Tomato sauce. Since my dad has acid reflux, he can't eat tomato based products so I grew up with sauceless pizza and learned to love it!

15) I really want to travel to New Zealand before I die.

16) I collected A LOT of different things when I was younger: rocks (normal), got milk ads (which I covered every inch of my bedroom with, even the ceiling), this spawned collecting anything related to cows, lint (yep...lint. I even asked for one of my family member's toe-lint one time. Mom very quickly told me that this collection needed to be put to rest.)

17) In college two of my friends and I decided that we wanted to be able to say we had been streaking... so at 1 in the morning we drove way out of town to a gravel road between two cornfields with no houses/cars/major roads in sight, stripped down to our tennis shoes, ran down the road about 20 feet, ran back to our car, returned to campus, and quietly went to bed. "I've been streaking."

18) I had a pet box turtle for about a week. I named him Yurtle. He lived in a green gardening tub in which I put grass and leaves. My dad informed me that this was no way for a turtle to live (yeah, my dad the humanitarian :), and told me I had to set Yurtle free. I wrote my address on his shell in permanent parker before we drove outside of town and released him not too far from where we later built our new home. I cried that night. (I think turtles are the only animals I like).

19) In elementary I went to my friend Lacy's house what seemed like everyday after school (she lived right down the street). Her parents specifically kept three things in their kitchen just for me: Oreos, Dr. Pepper (they were die-hard pepsi fans), and plain potatoe chips. At a wedding shower they gave me a package of oreos.

20) I played the french horn for about 6 months when I was in the sixth grade. I played the french horn because Jonathon played the french horn.

21) I hold the fourth highest career points at Maysville High School in basketball.

22) I absolutely hate the feel of caramel getting stuck in my teeth. This alone can make me put down Rollos, even though I really like Rollos.

23) My favorite Shakespeare: comedy:Twelfth Night, tragedy: Hamlet, history: King Lear (although many other plays would come before King Lear... I really dislike the Histories, but this is the best of the few I have read.)

24) I have, within the past month, had a renewed obsession with Cheez-Its. Someone please tell me this qualifies for my daily dose of calcium?

25) In my closet in my room at home I have a bag CRAMMED full of old letters and notes from my early teenage years. I was a huge note passer in junior high (on any given day I probably passed at least 7 or 8 and got at least 7 or 8 in return! I also wrote letters religiously to friends that I had met at church camps over the summers, and there were about 5 girls that always responded to these letters. I'm guessing there are probably well over 700 notes/letters in this bag! Yikes!... and I still absouletly LOVE getting notes/letters :)


snow daze

Today I welcomed with wide open arms my first official snow day as a teacher (a licensed teacher that is, as I had several snow days back in OC as a student teacher). At 6:30 when my alarm went off I turned on my cell phone and noticed that I had a text message. I don't text frequently so I opened it up and sure enough it was a teacher that I work with and the message said: "Enjoy your first official snow day!" I jumped out of bed (okay, that's a little ambitious...I slowly and lethargically rolled my body out of bed), and looked out the window:
(No, don't squint, it is not still snowing in this picture...it stopped snowing at about 10 pm).

I went back and reread the text message (because I really don't trust my brain that early in the morning). The teacher who sent it likes to mess with people, so before I trusted the text I clicked on the local news. Sure enough: No School. Hmmm. I wasn't going to complain. I crawled back in bed, turned off my alarm and easily fell back asleep on this cloudy Monday.

We are supposed to get about 1 to 3 inches tonight, so everyone says it is a safe bet we won't have school tomorrow. I'll keep you posted.

So after sleeping in I made pancakes for Brent and me (he didn't have to go in until noon since he has volleyball league games on Monday nights). He devoured four and I barely ate two (This is a phenomenon to me: to watch men eat pancakes. I don't understand how that much batter can sit in their stomach and yet they feel the need to eat more! I eat one bite and am filled to the rafters it seems...Brent did feel pretty disciplined though that he stopped himself at four?!) I then lounged, read, balanced our checkbook, shaved my legs (trust me, it needed to be done), and then headed off to the gym/church. I worked out for about an hour (and could then barely walk down the steps to leave the building...so don't be too impressed), and went over to the cafe at the church where our friend Meagan works. She may or may not have given me a free white mocha (depending on who is reading this), and I read there for awhile. I then returned home to set out some ground beef for the burgers I plan to make tonight and then I will settle in for an all new Jon and Kate Plus 8 (have I mentioned I'm addicted to this show/family -- I figure it sounds less creepy if I say show...AND I'm really excited because they are moving into their NEW house tonight! :)

Hopefully I will watch the snow begin to fall outside, will hear the cries of the panicking all around, and will fall asleep with the comfort that I will probably get to do this all again tomorrow. Bliss.

***For those of you that did have to suffer and go to work on Monday I in no way, shape, or form meant to patronize you or belittle you by publishing this post. This post was only meant to inform you of how I spent my day...and just remember, I will reap the results of this day in JUNE!


a creating sunday

Yesterday we decided that we would dedicate today to our creative sides. We felt like we had been watching too much tv recently, and so vowed to keep it turned off for today.

To start the day I tried a new dish for lunch. I didn't get the recipe from a cookbook, but improvised as I went and made some very delicious fajitas. Green pepper, onion, red pepper, chicken...and then I added rice in order to stretch it out and we now both have lunch for tomorrow! It was delicious too!

I saw a canvas in a store that I really liked a month or so ago, and had been wanting to try to recreate it. So, after lunch I sat down with my vision in mind. Here is what I came up with:
(*I may repaint the "Family Rules" part sometime, as I'm not very happy with that lettering, but I was pleased with the rest)

When we were home for Christmas, Brent borrowed the book Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain from my dad. He has always enjoyed sketching and so he has been devouring this book (Yes, I said devouring...Brent! Devouring a book!) As he reads there are several different tasks and drawings that it asks you to do, the first one was to draw a self-portrait while looking in a mirror. Brent set up in the corner of our dining room and I didn't hear a peep out of him for about 2 hours. The finished product (Of which I was very impressed):
Another one asked him to draw a picture of his hand, and again, I was blown away by the end result: I don't know what he's working on right now, but he took a break, ate some cereal, and is now back at work! I'll keep you updated on his creations!

We did take a time out earlier in order to cut his hair, but I consider that part of a creative day :). I also consider our next adventures creative: Making ice-cream sundays! But after that I hope to settle in and read a good chunk of (one of) the current books I'm into: Traveling Mercies, by Anne Lamott.

Before I go, however, I wanted to throw a picture or two up here of the noodle-pizza that I posted the recipe for last week. I made it and thought I'd photograph it so you could see what it looks like (strange...but good!)
I know it's not the healthiest thing to eat, but don't worry, I served it with green beans (a staple in our house!), and pears. (And don't worry, those are almonds on the beans, not some weird discolored growth! Yikes!)
I also took a picture of another recipe I tried from the 5-Ingredient cookbook: Party Bread. I waited until a loaf of sourdough bread was on special, and we LOVED it! I'm thinking it's a must for our superbowl party next week! I'll post the recipe if anyone is interested, let me know!
Okay-- back to a lazy, productive, creative, relaxing Sunday. (Just so I don't feel guilty, it is snowing a little bit, and before I go to bed I probably will flip on the local news to see if school is canceled or delayed...you know how they get around here!)

What about you though, if you had a day to turn off the TV and be creative, what would you do?



Okay, I'll reveal the correct spelling of the words mentioned a couple of days ago:


Several of you guessed correctly :) Sorry I don't have any fun prizes! I'll keep my eyes out for some more challenging misspelled words (I mean, I see several everyday, but they aren't always that clever ;)

I hope to post more this weekend. Stay in touch.


the 8th grader whisperer

For some reason we have been receiving the National Geographic channel for free this month. Which, don't get me wrong, Brent and I have been totally pumped about. There are some very interesting shows on this channel and just today Brent was able to watch a special on air force one. Sweet!

If any of you are familiar with this channel you may be familiar with the show: The Dog Whisperer. If you aren't familiar--let me brief you: Cesar Millan is the dog whisperer and goes into homes where families are having problems with their dogs...he walks through the door and can get any dog to obey in a matter of minute it seems. Even the most aggressive pets are calm in his presence.

It is a little surprising that I like this show, however, I feel that if I watch it I can have a pocket full of tricks in case I am attacked someday (which I just feel deep down I will be, it's true).
But why else am I interested in this show? 9 times out of 10 the problem is not with the dog it is with the owners (surprising? absolutely not). So really, Cesar trains the "humans" (he refers to them as that which cracks me up), to be the "pack leader." Their dog needs to know they are in charge. However, the pack leader must also always remain calm, even when being assertive.
The other afternoon after watching an episode I told Brent that the same principles really apply to me and my students. I must assert my power and leadership as the pack leader, and remain calm even when they are being hyper-active (some dogs even pee themselves when they get too wound up about something, luckily I have not had this issue yet in my classroom). Typically dogs lash out and are aggressive when they a) do not know who the pack leader is or b) feel that they are the pack leader. Same with my students. So I keep things in order. :)
There is one technique though that Cesar does that I have yet to try: when a dog is lashing out or being hyper he authoritatively puts his hand out, stands over them and stares them down. I think it would probably work, but I'll stick with just giving them "the look" from my desk or near by vicinity :)
So, whether you have dogs or children or students...just be sure to let them know that you are the pack leader (and check out the dog whisperer sometime!)


a strange sighting, a spelling game, lost?, and some recipes

Piqued your interest with the title? Just what I hoped to do. So with no further adieu (just realized that I'm pretty sure this is a french word that we use all the time...it's always interesting when you write something that we say so often and it looks strange, or you realize it's not even a word: for instance-- gonna.)

A strange sighting:

I'm hoping that you all are familiar with the cartoon character Maxine. If not, here is a picture to remind you: Okay, got her in mind now? Well, I was driving home today and when I got to our apartment complex I saw an old woman walking her dog who looked just like Maxine! And as I drove past she slowly turned and scowled...so I'm thinking it probably really was her!

A spelling game:

One of my students turned in an assignment today with this word in it:


Now, the game is that you have to figure out what that word is. Welcome to my world! And one more just for kicks and grins:


Granted, I had context clues to help me out, but please try...it will be fun (and make you appreciate what I do :)


Does anyone watch the show Lost? Unfortunately I got SUCKED IN at college (and watched 3 seasons in about 3 weeks). The premier is on tonight and Brent doesn't follow the show, so I'm just wondering who I can talk to about this!?

And finally...the long awaited....or not...I don't know....RECIPES

For a wedding shower I received a Taste of Homes Five Ingredient Cookbook (from the Blythes). I have made a ton of recipes from it and most of them are SO easy and very yummy. Here are a few:

Bacon Wrapped Chicken
6 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
1 carton (8 oz) whipped cream cheese with onion and chives
1 tbs butter
6 bacon strips

Flatten chicken to 1/2 in. thickness. Spread 3 TBS cream cheese over each. Dot with butter and sprinkle with salt; roll up. Wrap each with a bacon strip. Place, seam side down, in a greased 9X13 baking pan.

Bake, uncovered, at 400 for 35-40 minutes or until juices run clear. Broil 6 in. from heat for 5 min. or until bacon is crisp.

Noodle Pepperoni Pizza
(This one sounds strange but is really good...and SUPER easy)
4 packages ramen noodles (Cheap!)
1 tbs olive oil
1 cup spaghetti or pizza sauce
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 package sliced pepperoni (I use ham)

Discard seasoning packets from noodles. Cook noodles according to package directions; drain. Heat oil in 10 in. oven-proof skillet. Press noodles into skillet, evenly covering the bottom of pan. Cook until bottom of crust is lightly browned, about 5 minutes.

Pour spaghetti/pizza sauce over crust. Sprinkle with cheese and pepperoni. Broil 4 to 6 in. from heat for 3-4 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted. (You could top this any way you wanted.)

Taco Puffs

1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 envelope taco seasoning
2 tubes large refrigerated biscuits
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

In a skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat until beef is no longer pink and onion is tender; drain. Add the taco seasoning. Cool slightly.

Flatten half of the biscuits into 4 in circles; place in greased 15 X 10 X1 in. baking pans. Spoon 1/4 cup meat mixture onto each; top with 1/4 cup shredded cheese. Flatten the remaining biscuits; place on top and pinch edges to seal slightly. Bake at 400 for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

One "puff" easily filled me up (and Brent too!). You could even make your own dough for this recipe, or use smaller biscuits. I used smaller biscuits and made about 7 puffs, and saved the left over seasoned beef for fajitas the next day! (These are also good with a little sour cream...for you healthy eaters out there ;)

Well, that about covers everything I needed to talk about...and now I'm hungry and am going to start supper! Don't forget to give me your guesses for the words!


from the mind of me

A few things I want to get out:

#1. If you have been following my blog at all you have read about KTIP that I have been going through since the school year started. This internship-on-steroids is ridiculous and luckily I only have 5 more observations. I really feel okay about where I'm at with this and it has just been a thorn in my side but not a huge hurdle (I was well prepared by Northwestern). However I DO have a little problem with THIS: As of NEXT YEAR there will be no more KTIP due to budget cuts!!! WHAT?! Are you KIDDING ME?! If it is something that is the first to go with budget cuts it CANNOT be nearly as important or as FORMATIVE as they think it is. When I found out I may or may not have asked, "So we're done, right? I don't have to finish?" To which they all thought I was joking (mind you they get paid to put in their hours with me...which did I mention is FIFTY out of class hours PER SEMESTER!?)

I'm done.

#2. We got an inch of snow...you would have thought the world ended.

#3. Today at school we really focused on the Inauguration. I thought this was cool that we had a special schedule that allowed for the students to watch it live. I had never been able to watch an inauguration because I was always at school...anyway- I'm currently listening to the Albert Mulder program and he is discussing not only the events of today but how as Christians we respond to having a new president. Very good. You can probably listen online. One thing he said that sticks out to me is that everyone keeps saying that race shouldn't matter...he said: "Race should matter in the right way."

#4. My fingers are really cold. Does it make sense that even with the heat OFF for 2 weeks in December our electric bill was relatively the same amount? We've decided to keep our temp. low anyway though.

#5. If you remember the pictures from my post after Christmas you remember a picture of a monkey in a cape (with a remote!). Well, this (albeit cute, right?) monkey makes a horrible squawking noise when you hit it. I had it leaned against the mirror in our bedroom last night and we were laying in bed when it fell over...and squawked! Brent jumped out of bed, I shot up, and my heart rate shot through the roof. (Aunt Linda, I may have cursed you at this point).

#6. What am I going to make for supper?

Okay, wrapping this up. If you made it this far you realized that I didn't really have anything to say today...just rantings and ravings. Tomorrow I hope to post some excellent recipes that I have been trying recently. They all have 5 ingredients and are a snap to prepare (and they taste great!) So stay tuned....tomorrow will be better...after all, tomorrow is another day. ( Name that movie?)


These are a few of my favorite things...

You know the song: When the dog bites, when the bee stings, when I'm feeling sad, I simply remember my favorite things and then I don't feel so bad....Enter nuns and mountains and it really is a great song!

This weekend as I was getting ready for our date night (We went to a nice Italian restaurant and ordered something completely wrong--we split it-- that neither of us really liked...but still enjoyed ourselves), I was looking around our little apartment here and realized there are many things that 1) I just absolutely love or 2) Make my life a whole lot easier or a combination of both of those. I decided to compile a list of these items so when, as the song says the dog bites, I can return to this list and "not feel so bad!" :)

In no particular order:

1. Our apartment (which includes washer and dryer hookups)
2. My Yankee Macintosh candles, of course. 3. Bare Minerals makeup
4. Date nights with my husband.
5. Brent sleeping. 6. My rice bag.
7. The dishwasher.

8. Burt's Bee's lip shimmer chapstick 9. My bread machine.
10. This cookbook! (thanks Blythes....I use it a lot)
11. Finding notes around the house like this one on the mirror.
12. Our couch that was such a steal.
13. Old books
-My old copy of The Grapes of Wrath that mom and dad gave me last year.
- The Unhappy Hippopotamus that I got when grandma Schoon moved out of her apartment! 14. These banana/peanut butter/ carrot muffins that I make quite a bit (a recipe I got from Carrie) 15. Our Britta water pitcher.
16. My awesome cookware (we had just had fajitas! yum!)
17. Our duvet cover
18. My "Katsma" hoody that says "Eagles Basketball" that Renae gave me (wearing it right now)
19. Our red table and chairs that grandma and grandpa refinished
20. Sharpie Pens 21. Dove (dark)chocolate...with messages on the wrappers 22. My new digital camera from Brent. 23. My plant that I've had since my Junior year of college- Renae and I named it "Regina Phalange" (And I'll stop at number 23). I'm sure there are many other things that I could add to this list, but there were so many things that I felt I take forgranted daily that I wanted to recognize here on my blog! :) What would be a few of your favorite things around the house if you had to list them?


pictures...and then some

Today I have been furiously cleaning, unpacking, laundering, unpacking...you get the picture. This week Brent and I decided we would not even attempt to unpack as we were so tired every night after work. We instead left mounds of the remains of a wonderful Christmas vacation, and stepped cautiously (especially in the middle of the night).

However, I began to lose my mind, we told some friends to come over, and alas...I'm not in college anymore and just couldn't live like that! :) Yesterday Brent had the day off and did a WONDERFUL job of picking up our living quarters...taking the Christmas tree down, tiding up, putting our TV on a new TV stand that someone donated to our cause... and I walked in speechless. Thanks Brent. You're awesome. So when I came home from work yesterday I just worried about finishing up a few dishes, figuring out what to make for supper with friends, realized we had no food, made a quick list, ran to the grocery store, cooked a (delicious, I might add) supper (recipe to come soon it was SO good), and enjoyed the evening with friends.

Today, however, after a wonderful morning of sleeping in (Brent unfortunately had to work), I realized I had a bout 4 loads of laundry to do, a kitchen to clean, bills to pay, and....our bedroom where unfortunately a lot had been dumped and our suitcases still were left packed. So I dug in. And I am finally drying the last load of laundry (Speaking of which, how long should it normally take to dry a load of laundry? I feel like our dryer takes FOREVER).

Sidenote: I told Brent when he called earlier that while I was writing bills and licking stamps etc., I was not bitter about all the payments we had to make but instead I was truly grateful for the blessing we have in our ability TO make payments.

Okay, so today hasn't been too eventful and yet I still took up 4 paragraphs talking about it (do I have too much of my father in me? :) So, since I still need to do "the big" trip to the grocery store (and I think it's high time I shower as well) I will leave you with some pictures of our wonderful, 2 week, not long enough, trip home to Missouri!

The few pictures I took before Christmas day and Christmas morning I don't have because...Brent got me a new digital camera! So I was able to give Micah her camera back (thanks so much for lending it to me for so long!). When I opened it there was already one picture on it (below). He was VERY excited to give me this camera! It is a touch screen too! So hopefully I will be better about putting pictures up. One quick note: Brent and I were trying to decide how we want to do gifts for each other (since this is our first Christmas as a married couple), and we decided to follow in the wise counsel of a couple I had the privilege of getting to know while at school (and the privilege of babysitting for their great son!) Carrie said that they follow this poem when buying each other gifts : "Something you want, something you need, something to play with, something to read." We set a budget and stuck with those four things...and had a lot of fun doing it. (Something I need is below...a very cute and comfy pair of brown heels...nice work, Brent!)

After Christmas morning at my house we headed to Grandma Ann's and Grandpa A.J.'s for Christmas with my dad's side of the family.
Brent and Charlee were both pretty entertained by Toy Story 2... We then headed over to Brent's house for Christmas with his family. We gave all the boys a little Louisville Slugger bat and a Southeast Christian soccer jersey! (Hawkins threw the ball up into Dawson's face right as I took this picture...and then laughed hysterically.)

The boys usually stick pretty close to their uncle Brent when he is around!

Hawkins got a new "grain bin" and we had fun "loading" the semi trucks (with air-soft pellets!)
Beta was a trooper through all the ruckus. (And who would have thought I would have ever have grown to like this dog? )We later went to Grandma Pat's and had a Christmas get together there...complete with a game of scategories in which I probably got a little too competitive and even called Grandma Pat out :)
And, of course, Tippy wanted to join in on the fun!We also spent a significant amount of time with some of our favorites, Paige and Torri...and their Wii fit!

And then... a few days before new year's some of my great friends from college called and asked if it would work for them to come spend New Year's eve with me...OF COURSE! They were there for less than 24 hours but it was such a fun time to catch up with these friends...and mom made enough food to feed a small army! :)
With our sparkling grape juice waiting for the ball to drop!
He's fancy...

A wonderful surprise arrived the weekend after Christmas...AUNT LINDA and UNCLE ALAN! One day they just pulled up the driveway (when Micah was visiting...which I don't have any pictures of...what?) It was so great to see them again! Thanks for making the trip...it was way too quick in my opinion! (Here is dad giving them directions through the country...sorry!)
Unfortunately she also brought this little guy...a flying monkey that makes noises. You can imagine that Brent AND my dad had a little TOO much fun with this thing:
The boys and Dennis came over to shoot some revolvers. Even Hawkins got in on the action!
The last weekend we were back we traveled down to Joplin for the wedding of some college friends. We were able to stay with a family who came to mean a lot to Brent while he was in Joplin, and what a blessing it was to be with them again. Here is Brent with their youngest, Ella (who would not smile for a picture!)When we finally got back to Louisville and entered our long-abandoned apartment, I walked in the bathroom to the below sight. Apparently these little seeds/leaves had fallen through our vent! Gross.

That was probably more than you expected to get, but for those of you who razz me about putting up pictures, there you have it. There was of course so much more that did not get documented, but hopefully this gives everyone a glimpse into the time I didn't spend blogging :) It's definitely hard to get back in the swing of things here but.....

there is my dryer!

...duty calls.