Monday, December 29, 2008

Happy New Year!

I love starting a new year. It's so fun to make plans and resolutions. I also really like looking back at the year that's passed. 2008 was quite a year. Darby graduated from ACU, we celebrated our first anniversary, moved to Illinois, and I started my second full-time job. Along the way I got to go to Santa Fe with Darby, to Mexico for a mission trip, to Austin for a girls' weekend, and to Chicago with Darby's parents.

I'm really looking forward to 2009. It seems like the first year in a long time that I won't have any major life changes (hopefully!) 2003 I started at ACU, 2004 I changed roommates and moved to a new dorm, 2005 I moved into a house, 2006 I graduated from college and got engaged, 2007 I got married, 2008 I moved to Illinois. In December of 2009, if all goes according to plan, I will be living in the same house with the same person, working the same job as I was in January of 2009. And that's a good thing!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

We made it!

We are in Texas! And we made it only about 2 hours later than scheduled...pretty good when you think about all of the people who were stuck at O'Hare overnight. Surprisingly our delay wasn't caused by the weather: we were waiting on the pilot to arrive! They kept saying he was "on his way" for two hours. I guess by "on his way" they meant "in the shower" or something. Anyway, we're here now, and having a great time at my grandma's house. When we landed, the temperature was in the 50s, and it wasn't dark yet, even though it was after 5 p.m. Ahhh...I love Texas!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Well, Darby and I both managed to come down with a stomach bug. Woo-hoo! Actually, it's not too bad. Darby got sick Sunday night and seems to be almost back to normal. I got sick yesterday evening and am just feeling weak and achy now. We should be almost completely back to normal for our trip tomorrow. I will probably refrain from hugging any family members for a few days, though. We are supposed to celebrate our Christmas together tonight, so we'll probably just have an abbreviated celebration. I was going to make a pasta dish, but I'm thinking that doesn't sound so good anymore. I am definitely not too sick to open my presents! :)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

2 more days!

The Bad:
Right now it is -1, with a windchill of -24.
On Friday, there was a wreck on the Interstate and it took me an hour and 15 minutes to get home from work.
We're supposed to fly out on Wednesday, and it's going to be sleeting/snowing.

The Good:
We're going to Texas for Christmas! And we will eventually get there!
Highs range from the 50s to 80(!) while we're there.
I don't care at all if we miss our flight coming back. :)

Monday, December 15, 2008

A Christmasy Weekend

This weekend was full of fun holiday traditions. On Friday, Darby and I hosted a Christmas party for the young marrieds group at church. It was a lot of fun, but a little crazy with 20 adults, a four-year-old, and a 2-month-old crammed in to our living room. We only thought our house was big! I didn't get any pictures because I was too busy trying to manage the chaos. We had a white elephant gift exchange, and I got a Ped Egg. Woo-hoo! Darby got a bag full of hotel toiletries. Ha!

On Saturday, I did some Christmas shopping. Every year I vow that I will never do Christmas shopping in December again. The crowds are too crazy, traffic is horrible, and I end up getting stressed out. And every year, I do most of my shopping in November, but I always leave some to the last minute. When will I learn? It doesn't matter whether I have to do a little shopping or a lot...I will still have to fight the crazy crowds. And this year, I had to do it with a bone-chilling wind practically blowing me from store to store. So, for real, next year NO SHOPPING after Nov. 30! When I got home, I worked on my Christmas cards some. I'm through with the first batch, and hopefully will get the second batch done this week.

Sunday, my friend Katy came over and we baked sugar cookies. We were a great team. I made the dough, she rolled it and cut it out. I baked the cookies, she made the frosting. And we both decorated. Our husbands entertained themselves with Wii while we made a huge mess in the kitchen. Here's some pictures of the process:

Ready to go in the oven. Isn't the Santa precious? That was one of Katy's mom's cutters.

Naked cookies (Hee-hee)

Katy and her mad decorating skillz.

The finished products! We had to keep Katy's husband from eating them as fast as we could decorate them! We managed to save some for pictures.

Now, I'm getting really excited about going home in about a week! Woo-hoo!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

5 Things That Made My Day Today

1. Hearing the Jason Mraz version of "Walkin' in a Winter Wonderland" this morning. Too cute!

2. The label on my Clementine that said, "Kid-Sized Cutie." I don't know why, but I just find that adorable.

3. Seeing the epidsode of Saved by The Bell where Jessie gets "addicted" to caffeine pills on TBS this morning. That is classic television. "I'm so excited, I'm so excited...I'm so, so, scared!"

4. The ad for this that popped up on my Facebook account:

It's from Zales, just in case you want to get it for me for Christmas. :)

5. Knowing I have potato chips to eat with my lunch. I normally eat very healthy at lunch (to make up for the dessert I know I will eat every night), but I had some chips leftover from dinner at Jimmy John's, so I decided to treat myself today.

Sometimes it's the small things that get me through the day.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

It's all relative...

I think I'm becoming a true Northerner! When I walked out of work yesterday, I was like, "Wow! It's warm. This feels nice." The actual temperature: 40 degrees. Ha! I guess compared to the windy 20 degrees it has been, 40 degrees is downright mild.

One thing I have not gotten used to yet (and I'm not sure I ever will) is driving on ice. I slid twice on my way to work, saw four cars that had run into the guardrail on an overpass, and saw the aftermath of two wrecks. They only salt major roads here, and not even every time it's icy, because the state doesn't have enough money. Great! I just drive super slowly and try not to brake unless absolutely necessary. By the time I get to work on icy days, my hands are sore from gripping the steering wheel and I feel like I need to lie down. I think Texans have the right idea; just stay home when the weather's bad.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

We had a great Thanksgiving. My family got in on Wednesday night, and we ate pizza and played games. Hannah introduced us to the YouTube video "Grape Lady Falls," which is, without a doubt, the funniest video I have ever seen. Darby laughed so hard he cried! If you haven't seen it, go look it up right now.

On Thursday, mom and I finished making the meal, and I set the table. Everything went smoothly, except the turkey. I just bought a fully-cooked frozen turkey because I was too scared to cook a turkey myself. I let it thaw in the refrigerator for three full days, but it was still frozen on the inside! I didn't realize this until my Dad was trying to carve the turkey. We ended up having to cut off the thawed parts and reheat the rest. It was a little frustrating, but it all worked out. Here's a few picture of our table and food (well, half the food...the rest was on the counter.)

I ended up getting Friday off of work, which was awesome!! My sister and I went shopping. We ended up only getting clothes for ourselves. Whoops! Here's the matching puffy vests we got at Target for nine bucks!

That night, our friends Jon and Katy came over, and we all played Nertz and Outburst. I think Jon was a little shocked at the combined volume of the Anderson women. :)

Of course, we spent a lot of time playing Wii. Here's the four "kids" playing Mario Kart. I love how Hannah and I look really into it, while Darby and Matt are playing it cool. Typical.

It was such a fun few days! I'm so glad that my whole family gets along so well and has so much fun together. And Darby just fits in seamlessly. He enjoys having my brother around as his "Wii buddy." It was a little cramped with six people in our house, but not too bad. I'm glad that we were all able to stay together and some people didn't have to go to a hotel. Now, I can't wait for Christmas!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Hurry Up, Thanksgiving!

The sweet potatoes, stuffing, and cranberry sauce are made. The apple cake is baked. The iced tea is brewed. The turkey is thawing in the fridge. The floor is swept and mopped. The fridge and freezer are cleared out to make room for leftovers. (I had to finish off our ice cream last was a tough job, but somebody had to do it!) Tonight, I'll make dough for rolls and a pumpkin pie. And, most importantly, my family will get here!!!!! I am beyond excited! Tomorrow, we'll make the rest of the sides (crunch top potatoes, green bean casserole, and "Judy Fruit" salad.) I'll set the table with my "homemade, on-the-cheap" decorations (pictures to come), and we'll sit down to eat and laugh together. Now, who will do the dishes??? :)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Tomorrow night, the Illini for Christ sponsors are hosting a Thanksgiving dinner for all the students (and spouses). We're supposed to come prepared to talk about what we're grateful for, so I thought I'd do a little thinking ahead of time. I am so blessed in that it's not hard for me to come up with what I'm grateful for; it's hard for me to narrow the list down! I figure if I post a huge list here, I won't be tempted to talk for 10 minutes tomorrow night. :)

1. Of course, the number one blessing in my life is Darby. He is an amazing husband and friend. We were extremely blessed to have a smooth transition into married life, and it's only gotten better. We just enjoy being together. Almost every day one of us will say, "I can't believe this is our life. It's so great." I am so proud of the way he has handled the pressure and stress of graduate school. He has been so careful to protect our time together, even as the demands on his time increase. I can't even put into words how much I love him and how lucky I feel that he is mine. I have been blessed with so much, but even if I only had him, I would have more than I deserve.

2. My job. It is so nice to be doing something I enjoy and am passionate about. For the past week, I've been proofreading a Children's Literature textbook. How awesome is that?

3. New friends. We have been so blessed to make friends with another young couple, Jon and Katy, at church. They come over every Thursday to watch The Office, and we try to get together at least once per weekend. They love to eat and play games (my two most important requirements in friends!) We've also enjoyed spending time with another couple from church, Dustin and Aubrey. They are fellow Texans, but sadly (for us), they are moving back to Texas soon. I'm glad we had the opportunity to meet them before they left, though. Our church has a Young Marrieds group that gets together once a month, and we've enjoyed getting to know people through that, as well.

4. Two loving families. I think most people are grateful for their biological families, but I am doubly blessed in that I can honestly say that I am grateful for my in-laws as well. One thing that I've come to appreciate more and more the older I get is how generous both mine and Darby's parents are -- with their money, time, encouragement, etc. They are great examples for us.

5. Free time. I'm not sure why, but I seem to have a lot more free time than I did in Abilene (even when I was only working and not in school). It might be because I don't have as many friends and because we don't go visit friends or family on the weekends anymore. I always enjoyed spending time with friends and family, but I'm also enjoying this period of relative quietude. I know that this stage of my life will be short-lived. (It will be over as soon as I have kids, if not sooner.) So I want to really appreciate it while it lasts.

6. A large kitchen. I always enjoyed cooking, even in my extremely hot Cedar Crest kitchen and my extremely tiny Cimmaron kitchen. Now, I cook so much more, though. It's great to have room to spread out. I hope I continue to enjoy cooking and baking as much as I do now.

7. Being a bridesmaid for the fourth time. I can't believe I haven't blogged about this yet! My "frousin" Amy is getting married to Matthew on July 11, and I have the honor of being her bridesmaid. She was a huge encouragement to me during my engagement and wedding, and I am so excited to be a part of her special day. After I got married, I realized just how important good bridesmaids are. It made me wish I had done more for Whitney and Kalyn when I was in their weddings. Amy was an amazing bridesmaid even before being married, though. I have a lot to live up to!

Well, I could keep going, but I guess I'll wrap it up here. I haven't even mentioned my old friends, my health, nature, and tons of other blessings. I am so glad that we have this season to remind us to thank God for our blessings. I do not do it enough.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Let It Snow!

We had our first snow today! It was very light and didn't stick because the temperature was above freezing. But it still snowed off and on for several hours and was very pretty. I'm sure in a few months I'll be sick of snow, but for now I'm going to enjoy the novelty. I've snapped out of my funk a little bit. It's still getting dark super early, but at least it's been sunny. (Even today, the sun came out after the snow.) Plus, Thanksgiving is coming up, and I'm super excited! When I was young, I never really liked Thanksgiving because there were no presents involved. But now I think it's one of my favorite holidays. It's such a laid-back day. I love getting and giving presents, but it's nice to have a holiday that doesn't involve buying and wrapping stuff. And since I love to cook, preparing a big meal doesn't seem stressful to me. I can't wait to see my family. I want to see all of them, of course, but I'm most looking forward to seeing my sister. I haven't seen her since May when she left for Argentina. She came back to Texas the weekend Darby and I moved to Illinois. Six months is waaayyy too long to be apart!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Easy Pasta for Long Nights

For the most part, I've really enjoyed living in Champaign-Urbana. The town is a good size, our house is awesome, everyone is friendly, and the weather has actually been really nice. But, I'm starting to see one of the major downsides to living this far north and east. It gets dark super early! I am not exaggerating when I say that when I leave work at 4:30 p.m., it is already dusk. It's so depressing! I always feel so tired. So, I haven't really felt like doing much of anything in the evenings. I usually just park it in front of the TV. (I know, not the best way to get out of a funk, but I can't help it).

Anyway, I haven't felt like cooking anything complicated for dinner lately. I think it's mainly psychological. I feel like it's already so late when I get home that I don't have time to make anything. It's totally ridiculous because it's only 5 p.m., but I can't seem to get my mind to grasp that. Last night I made one of our favorite dishes, and it's incredibly easy and good. I hate it when cookbooks or magazines have recipes labeled as quick weeknight dinners but they still involve lots of chopping and/or peeling. In my book, that's not quick. This recipe involves no chopping and can literally be on the table in 15 minutes. And it has spinach so you can feel like it's healthy. :)

Italian Sausage, Tomato, and Spinach Pasta Toss
From: Kraft Food and Family (Can you tell I like this magazine? Just to warn you, most of my recipes are from the older issues. They've switched to mainly advertising for their pre-packaged foods in more recent months.)

2 cups penne pasta, uncooked
1/2 lb Italian sausage, casings removed
1 bag (6-8 oz.) baby spinach leaves
1 can (14 1/2 oz.) Italian-style diced tomatoes, undrained (Or you can just use regular diced tomatoes and add basil, garlic, and oregano yourself)
1/2 cup Italian dressing
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup or so grated Parmesan cheese

Cook and drain the pasta. While the pasta's cooking, in a large skillet, crumble the Italian sausage and cook until brown. Drain. Add the tomatoes, Italian dressing, and spinach. (Don't do what I did and forget that your bottle of Italian dressing is not a squeeze bottle. I accidentally dumped way more than 1/2 a cup in the skillet. It still turned out good, but it's a little tangy!) Cook until spinach wilts, about 5 minutes. Toss with pasta. Stir in cheeses.

I made a quick cheesy bread to go with the pasta. Just cut a store-bought French or Italian loaf in half. Spread butter or margarine on top. Sprinkle on some garlic powder (or minced garlic, if you're not lazy like me), and a handful of cheese. I like to use a combination of cheddar and mozzarella. Broil 5-7 minutes until lightly browned and bubbly. Mmmmmm... And since your pasta has spinach in it, you don't have to worry about the calories from the cheesy bread. It's all about equilibrium.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Thinking Out Loud

People here are crazy drivers! Everyone runs red lights, and I mean everyone! Sometimes I'll get to a light as it's turning yellow, and I'll kind of wonder whether I should go or stop. Usually, I go and get through the intersection right as it turns red. I start feeling guilty, but then I look in my rearview mirror and see two or three cars come behind me. It's insane! But everybody just accepts that that's the way it is. When your light turns green, you usually wait a good 5 seconds before going to avoid getting in a wreck. I think part of the reason might be that there are tons of lights and not many highways you can take to avoid them, but it still seems a little extreme to me.

Yoga is awesome! I've been going to a class at the U of I rec center on Saturday mornings for about a month now. It is seriously the hardest workout I've ever done. The day after a class, I am sore in places I didn't even know I had muscles! My main reason for wanting to do yoga was to improve my flexibility (which is horrible!). I think it's working. I can now touch my toes! (Yes, sadly, I have never been able to do this.) I don't really buy into the whole spiritual aspect of yoga, but the instructor does. At the end of class, we spend about 15 minutes doing relaxation exercises (which actually do work), but then she has us fold our hands in front of our hearts and thank ourselves for coming to class and thank our bodies for allowing us to practice yoga. I usually take the opportunity to thank God for creating my body and giving me the ability to exercise. Even though the instructor's a little New Age-y, she's really nice. If you are doing something wrong, she comes over and very gently corrects you. I hate it when teachers call people out in front of the whole class (bad memories from middle school), so her approach really works for me. And she never makes me feel bad that I'm the only one in the class who can't do a handstand. I think a lot of my problem is fear because there are these really thin little girls who are able to support themselves with only their arms. I'm not very strong, but I think I have more muscle than they do. I've been practicing some at home, so maybe I'll get it eventually.
If you haven't ever tried yoga, give it a shot. Believe me, if I can do it, anybody can. If you have cable, you might even be able to do it for free. I just found out about ExerciseTV on OnDemand cable. They have all sorts of exercise videos you can download to your TV for free, and they put up new ones every month. It's awesome! Plus, this will help me justify keeping cable even after our promotional year ends. "I have to have cable for my health." :)

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake

I had a request to post the recipe for the pumpkin swirl cheesecake that I talked about in my last post, so here it is. I'm going to experiment with posting recipes from time to time. I really love to cook, and I usually cook about two new recipes per week. I enjoy getting recipes from others' blogs, so I hope some of you will enjoy seeing my recipes.

Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake
Adapted from: Kraft Food and Family

For crust:
1 2/3 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
5 TBSP butter, melted

Mix crumbs and sugar. Add butter and stir until combined. Press in bottom and one inch up sides of 9-in. springform pan.

For filling:
4 (8-oz) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar, divided
1 tsp. vanilla
4 eggs
1 c. canned pumpkin puree
1 1/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (or 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. nutmeg and a dash cloves)

Beat cream cheese, 3/4 cup sugar, and vanilla with an electric mixer on medium speed until well-combined.
Add eggs one at a time, beating just until blended after each addition.
Remove 1 1/2 cups batter and place in a small bowl. To remaining batter, stir in pumpkin, 1/4 c. sugar, and spices.
Spoon half of the pumpkin batter into the crust. Top with spoonfuls of plain batter. Repeat layers. Cut through layers with a knife to swirl.
Bake for 55-60 minutes (or until top of cake is barely set) at 300 degrees.
To prevent cracking, do not remove cake from oven immediately. Turn the oven off, open the door, and let the cake sit for about an hour. Remove to a cooling rack and cool completely. Refrigerate at least 4 hours.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

We had a great Halloween weekend. On Friday, we had about 20 trick-or-treaters, which was great! Most were older kids, though, and a lot weren't in costume. That kind of makes me mad. If you want the candy, you should at least go to the effort of putting on a costume! But I didn't want to be stuck with a bunch of leftover candy, so I went ahead and gave them a bunch. I also cooked my worst dinner ever. I wanted to make something festive, so I chose pumpkin ravioli with gorgonzola sauce. It sounds weird, but I've had pumpkin ravioli before and it was really good. This...not so much. I used wonton wrappers, and they didn't have the right texture. They also looked kind of like flesh. Darby and I tried to eat it, but we had to give up. We had a good laugh and went to Wendy's instead.

I redeemed myself on Saturday by baking a pumpkin swirl cheesecake. It was the best-looking cheesecake I've ever made. It only cracked a little! Forgive me for bragging, but I just have to post a picture. Darby said that the cheesecake was "a much better use of pumpkin" than the pumpkin ravioli.

I took the cheesecake to a Halloween party on Saturday night. It was for our young marrieds group at church. There only ended up being three couples who came, but we had a great time! Darby and I wore our King and Queen of Hearts costumes that we've worn about three times before. (Hey, these people hadn't seen them!) I didn't get a picture of us on my camera but here's some other pictures from the party.

Dustin and Aubrey were Barney and Betty Rubble. Aren't they cute? We did make fun of Dustin for wearing a dress, though. :)

Each couple carved a pumpkin. Here's Darby hard at work on ours. My contribution was scooping out the seeds.

All of the pumpkins. The "T" for Jon and Katy Titus; Mine and Darby's interpretation of "The Scream"; Dustin and Aubrey's vomiting pumpkin (with a very creative use of the pumpkin innards)

The weather was PERFECT this weekend. Highs in the lower 70s and sunny. I managed to get a picture of one really pretty tree. There were a lot of people out walking and I started feeling self-conscious walking around with my camera. This picture doesn't do it justice. It's amazing to see all of the bright colors.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


It was 28 degrees when I woke up this morning! It was a really sunny morning and there was frost on all the roofs, so it was really pretty. I'm going to have to take some pictures of the beautiful autumn leaves before they all turn. There are a couple of trees by our house that look almost neon. I've never seen anything like it! It's supposed to be back up in the 60s by the end of the week, so I think we still have a little bit of fall weather left. (Thank goodness! I don't know if I'm ready for winter yet.)

On a totally unrelated note, I have a sitemeter for my blog. It basically records how many people visit each day, how long they stay, and what their location is (city and state). It also tells me how people found my blog (i.e. through a link on another blog, through a google search, etc.) A lot of businesses use site meters so that they can tell how effective their advertising is and try to improve their visibility on search engines. I just do it because I think it's interesting to see where people are coming from. I've had visitors from France, Indonesia, the UK, etc. Probably my favorite thing to look at is what Google searches people do that lead them to my blog. By far the most popular is "nerdy Halloween costumes," which leads them to this post. Ha! I think that definitely fits in the category. Maybe some people will actually copy our idea. Another search that made me laugh today was, "Should I have my toe amputated?" I hope whoever was searching for that found some sound medical advice. :)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

These are a few of my favorite blogs

Cue "Favorite Things" from Sound of Music.

Okay, so it's no secret that I read A LOT of blogs. And I'm trying to get more people to read more, so I don't feel so bad :) So, here, in no particular order, are just a few of my favorites. (Now, obviously, I enjoy reading my friends' blogs to stay caught up on their lives, but I'm just including "theme" blogs in this post...ones that appeal to a wider audience).

1. Unclutterer - This blog was pretty much the catalyst for my extreme purging of "stuff" in the past year. It has a lot of inspiring tips for keeping your home and life uncluttered. Sometimes it can be a little extreme. The writers are very against "baby-clutter" and suggest that you think about whether your child actually needs a mobile. Another suggestion for clearing closet clutter is to wear only neutral colors so everything goes together. I'm not that clutter-phobic. And, really, if you have so little clutter that you can start worrying about your baby's mobile, you're probably in pretty good shape. But, all that aside, the blog is pretty awesome. My favorite feature is "Workspace of the Week" where they feature a readers' desk area.

2. Get Rich Slowly - This is a fairly new find. It's a personal finance blog with a focus on living frugally in order to save money for the future. The author's goal isn't really to "get rich" in the way we normally think of getting rich, but rather to have saved enough to retire on time and not worry about money constantly. There is also a focus on giving money to charity. The writer's financial goals really match up with mine, and he and the readers give great advice for saving money and keeping track of finances. Because of that blog, I've started using Wesabe, which is a free online service for tracking your earnings and spending and setting financial goals.

3. Smitten Kitchen - Deb's recipes are amazing, and the photography is drool-worthy. If you can look at any of her desserts and not want to make them immediately, you have more willpower than I. (Of course, I guess that's not saying much).

4. The Pioneer Woman - Another great cooking/photography site. The Pioneer Woman has actual recipes that real people would make (you know, that actually contain things like, gasp, shortening or canned biscuits). It is refreshing in the world of all-natural, organic food blogging. Plus, she is absolutely hilarious. She has several different sections of her site. I also enjoy the "Confessions" section where she writes about her life on a ranch in Oklahoma.

5. The Kitchn - Okay, this one kind of falls under the "all-natural, organic food blogging" category, but the sheer number of posts (close to 10 per day!) makes it a worthwhile read. I really like the product features and posts where they tell you what to do with all kinds of weird produce. They also do a roundup of the most popular food posts from other popular food blogs, like Serious Eats. So it's sort of like reading two or three blogs in one. (It doesn't get better than that for me!)

A couple other sites I love that don't fall in the blog category:

1. Martha Stewart - Organizing Tip of the Day and Craft Tip of the Day...awesome! Hey, if you can't be crafty, the next best thing is reading about being crafty and imagining all of the things you could do if you had talent!

2. Supercook - You put in the ingredients you have, and the site searches all sorts of recipe sites to give you recipes with those ingredients. Be careful. It's addictive. This also appeals to my frugal side. I have been known to spend hours on this site looking for something I can bring to our small group that doesn't require me to go to the grocery store. Yes, I know, it would be quicker to just go to the store, but where's the fun in that?

So, if you have a few free minutes (or hours), go check these out.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

I Love Fall

I recently discovered the most awesome website. It's called scrapblog, and you can make online scrapbooks. They have tons of backgrounds and "stickers" to choose from and everything's totally customizable. It's completely free to share your scrapblog on the web or you can have it made into a book, greeting card, poster, etc. I've used Shutterfly in the past to make books, but this is so much better because you have total control over the layout, and there are so many fun templates that other people have created. (If the picture isn't loading, try hitting the refresh button. It can be a little finicky.)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Fun Family Weekend

My mom and dad came up to visit this weekend. I was so happy to see them and so excited for my mom to finally see our house. On Friday, we gave them a tour of campus (or at least part of campus) and ate at Noodles. Then, we enjoyed ice cream, Rummikub, and watching The Office again. On Saturday, we ate breakfast at Le Peep (yum!) and went to Curtis Orchard. We were going to pick apples, but it was more expensive to pick them than to just buy them in the little store they had. But we did pick out some pumpkins, and Darby got some yummy apple cider. I made dinner and an apple pie Saturday night and then mom took me shopping. I got my winter coat. It's puffy! I love it. On Sunday, we went to church and then to lunch at Steak and Shake. It was such a fun weekend. I loved being able to host my parents for the first time. (When they came to visit in Abilene, they always stayed in a hotel since we didn't have a guest room). My whole family is coming up for Thanksgiving, and I absolutely cannot wait!!

Me and Darby picking out our pumpkin. We ended up getting a 20-lb one!

Monday, October 06, 2008

My little toe causes big problems!

Okay, so I have this mole on my pinky toe. I've been worried about it for a while because it seems like it's getting bigger. When I went for my physical, I asked the doctor about it. She referred me to a dermatologist. The dermatologist told me she'd have to refer me to a plastic surgeon because there wasn't enough skin on my toe for her to remove it in the office. So today, I went to see the plastic surgeon. ("Yes, I'd like to have some work done on my pinky toe, please.") Well, actually I saw the Physician's Assistant who told me she was hesitant to do a biopsy of it because she wasn't sure if there was enough skin on my toe for her to seal the hole closed. She told me she'd take some pictures of it and show it to the plastic surgeon, but most likely it will only be removed with surgery and then will have to be sewn up with stitches. I will have to be on crutches for a few days afterward to prevent the stitches from ripping. Then she said that in the worst case scenario I would have to have a skin graft! This is insane. All because of a little mole! I'm not sure whether it's worth it to remove it or if I should just wait it out. Maybe I should just have my toe amputated. It seems like that might be the easier option. :)

Okay, on to more normal aspects of my life. This weekend Darby and I went to see Kalyn and BJ in Farmington, Kentucky. We had a great time! The Gensics have a cute little house, and we had a lot of fun talking, playing Risk, and eating Kalyn's yummy cooking! She made an apple pie with a cheddar cheese crust that was heavenly. It sounds kind of weird to put cheddar in a pie crust, but it was really good! It was so nice to see some friends from "home," and to get to lounge around someone else's house for a change.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Missing Fat Tuesday

Since I've moved here, I've been missing my Fat Tuesday girls so much! It's kind of funny, because half of them didn't even live in Abilene last year, so it's not like I'm the only one who's moved. But I've been thinking about them a lot lately, so here's a post dedicated to my best friends. I miss you girls! (The awesome photos are courtesy of Emerald; I miss taking advantage of her talent, too!)


What I miss the most: Watching her interact with children. She is such a wonderful teacher, and I got to see that ability come through at church. I would tease her about using "education language" in normal conversation, but I really do admire her dedication.
Memorable quote: "I am still convinced that one day (possibly decades in the future, but still) I will have a husband who is WAY hotter than any of yours!" ---This was written recently in an e-mail to all of us girls, and I almost died laughing when I read it. It is so typically Carolyn.


What I miss the most: Her great smile and laugh. When she gets really excited, her voice gets really loud just like mine.
Funny memory: Brittany, Erin, Carolyn and I got lost in the country around College Station. It was very late, and we were almost out of gas. Finally, we spotted a gas station in the middle of nowhere. The pumps were on, but the station was closed, so Erin had to pee behind the building. (I think Carolyn did, too!) :)


What I miss the most: Talking to her about things that excite/anger/surprise me. She can always match my emotion and gets just as worked up as I do. When we get started, we can go on for hours.
Memorable quote: "But Darby's so much more than just a brain." (This quote actually made some sense in context, but Brittany will NEVER live it down).


What I miss the most: Talking with her about our shared interests - books, cooking, spiritual issues. Kalyn is very introspective, and I always learn a lot from her.
Funny Memory: Kalyn, Brittany, Carolyn, and I took an aerobics class together our sophomore year. Kalyn and I embarrassed ourselves daily with our lack of coordination and flexibility.


What I miss the most: Her awesome story-telling ability. She is hilarious and always has me hanging on to every word.
Funny Quirk: When Emerald does not know what to say, she blinks. A LOT! With Em, a blink is worth a thousand words.

So, those are my friends. All are very different and very special. I hope that our little group remains close for many years to come.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Exciting Week!

I have had so much to be excited about in the past week:

1. The curtains and pillows Darby's mom made for us came in the mail!!

I'm not very good at photographing curtains because of the backlighting, but here they are. They look even better in person.

A close-up.

The pillows. So cute!

She also made a valance for the large sliding door we have in our kitchen, but we haven't gotten those hung yet. We love them, and they make our house feel so much homier! I am incredibly lucky to have such a generous, talented mother-in-law. Thank you, Debby!

2. I got a job! I will be working as a production editor at Omegatype Typography. They specialize in producing textbooks (mainly college-level social science books) from Pearson, which is one of the largest textbook publishers in the nation. I am very excited about the opportunity to do something I'm passionate about. I won't be writing much about my job on this blog because I don't think that's appropriate, but I'm sure those of you I talk to by phone or e-mail will be hearing all about it. This job is definitely a blessing for me; so many people have been praying about this, and I am grateful that God answered all of our prayers in this way. I start next Wednesday, so my homemaking days are coming to an end. :)

3. The Office starts tonight!!!!! I cannot wait! Darby and I got Season 4 last night. It was kind of a treat for getting a job, or at least that's the reason we used to justify the purchase. Plus, I found $15 in reward certificates to Best Buy that I had kind of forgotten about. If you have not watched this show, you must start! And don't judge it based on only one episode. It takes a little while to get into the characters, but once you do, you will be hooked. If you're not sure where to begin, here are a couple of my favorite episodes from various seasons: Health Insurance, The Convict, Business School, Money, The Fire, The Injury, Conflict Resolution. I think most of those are available on iTunes, so what are you waiting for?!?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Boredom Baking

I need to get a job for my health. When I don't have anything to do, I cook...more specifically, I bake. Here are a few of the things I've baked in the past month or so:
Cinnamon Toast Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
Double-Decker Butterscotch Brownies with Chocolate Ganache
Homemade Chocolate-Filled Donuts
Zucchini Bread (This doesn't sound too bad, but I thought the bread was dry, so I added cream cheese frosting...ummm, yeah...I need help)
Cottage Cheese Cheddar Bread
Blueberry-Lemon Yogurt Pound Cake
Peanut Butter Brownies

Now, most of this stuff has been shared with others, but I definitely eat my fair share during and after the baking. Thankfully, it's looking like I will have a job very soon. (If you want more details, call or e-mail me). It couldn't have come at a better time. I'm about to go up a jeans size!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Things I'm Loving Right Now

1. Lost - I know we're a little late jumping on this bandwagon, but Darby and I started renting the first season disc-by-disc on Netflix, and we are hooked! We only have the most basic Netflix plan, so we only get two discs a month. We figured it was going to take us a pretty long time to watch all of it, but then we realized that all of the old episodes are available online. Woo-hoo! I'm a little bit afraid how many episodes we'll watch in a row now, though.

2. Fiber One Caramel Delight cereal - I know the name is a little off-putting, but this cereal is seriously sooo good. It tastes kind of like Cinnamon Toast Crunch, but it's much more grown-up and healthier (I think!)

3. Top Design - I had never watched this show, but I happened to catch the first episode of this season, and I am hooked! The interior design assignments are extremely hard; the designers are all prima donnas; and the judges are horribly mean. It all combines for great TV!

4. My Kitchen Aid Cake Decorating Set - I got this as a wedding gift and had yet to use it. I finally pulled it out this weekend to pipe frosting on some cupcakes. Oh my gosh...I am NEVER frosting cupcakes without it again. It seems like it takes forever to spread the frosting with a spatula, and it never turns out looking good. I spent literally five minutes frosting 2 dozen cupcakes with this thing, and they looked WAY better than usual.

5. Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte - It's baaaack! We've been having lovely fallish weather here, so it's perfect timing. I enjoyed one this afternoon. Yum!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Our House is a Very, Very, Very Fine House

That title's for you, Mom! (It's a song she used to sing to us when we were little).

Before I show you the long-awaited pictures of our house, I have some exciting news. Darby got a Teaching Assistantship for this semester! That means he gets a full tuition waiver and a stipend. We are so excited! We were able to cancel all our loans for this semester, and, more importantly, we got to go out to dinner! :) We are so thankful that God provided for us in this way, and it definitely takes a lot of stress off both of us. Now, on to the pictures...

The Living Room

Here's the view as you walk in the front door. We just got the couch and chair from Ashley. The chair is a glider recliner. It is soo comfortable. We are going to get an end table to go on the left side of the couch eventually. On the right-hand wall is a big window. I will post pictures once we get the curtains that Darby's mom is making for us. The living room opens up directly to the kitchen. I like the open-floor plan. The door you see in the background leads to the garage.

Here's the other side of the living room. Darby got the TV with his graduation money. It's awesome having such a huge TV and cable. We probably enjoy it a little too much :) The shelves were already on the wall. which is why it appears there's a vase on top of the TV. Oh well!

The Kitchen

The table also belongs to the owners. It's not my taste, but it was free. The door in the back leads to the laundry room. I love having a washer and dryer! Laundry doesn't even feel like a chore any more. There's a big sliding glass door on the right that leads to the backyard. We have a nice patio and yard. I didn't take pictures because the lawn is pretty overgrown right now. Eventually, I want to get patio furniture, so we can actually enjoy sitting outside. All in good time.

This is the centerpiece I made for the table. I combined a couple of ideas from Rachael Ray and Martha Stewart. I have to be pretty creative to decorate with almost no money.

Here's a closer view of the cabinets and appliances. There's a Lazy Susan cabinet in the corner. which is awesome! I have so much more storage space than in our old apartment. I love cooking in this kitchen. I could probably still fill up a kitchen twice as big, though! Most of the decorations on top of the cabinets were already there, but I added a few of my things.

The Study

This is the view as you walk in the door.

In between the bookshelf and the desk is a window. I need to get a valance for it, so I didn't take a picture of it. Darby mainly uses the desk for his schoolwork. In exchange for the desk, I got...

A scrapbook closet!!! There was a nice-size closet with built-in shelving that was perfect for my little workspace. I just set up a TV tray as my desk, and I move a chair in when I want to work. I love it because I can leave stuff that's in progress out and just shut the doors.

The Bathroom

Pretty much your standard bathroom. We do have A LOT more counter space than our old bathroom, which is nice.

The Bedroom

This is the view as you walk in the door. Both dressers belong to the owners of the house. We really don't need that much clothing storage, especially with the...

Giant Closet! You can't really tell from this picture exactly how big it is, but it could almost be another room. It's awesome!

Here's our bed. We have basically the same set-up as our old apartment. I still love it!

Here's a close-up of the "art" I made. It's six pieces of coordinating scrapbook paper in a Wal-Mart Frame. Take that, HGTV!

I did not include pictures of our guest room because it's still kind of crazy. We have an inflatable Queen-size air mattress that we get out for guests. When we don't have guests, Darby uses the room to play his guitars, so they stay out most of the time. It's a good arrangement for us, but I haven't found a way to make the room look like it's not just a junk room. I'm working on it.

We both feel so lucky to get to live in such a nice house. It is definitely a HUGE step up from our apartment in Abilene. It actually feels like a real grown-up home. There are definitely some things we would change if we owned the house, but overall we love it. This spring, we're going to concentrate on improving the flowerbeds and yard. I'll post pictures of the outside once we get it in somewhat decent shape. I'll also continue to change the inside, especially once I have money to decorate. Having a house is so fun!

Friday, September 05, 2008


When I woke up this morning, it was 58 degrees. The high today is 72.

I just have to brag a little before our freezing temperatures start and all you Texans are laughing at us!

I promise I am going to post pictures of our house pretty soon. We've been a little lazy in getting all of the last details done. I have a real aversion to hanging things up, but I finally sucked it up and got most of the frames up this week. Darby's mom is making curtains for our living room, so I'm going to wait until we get those to take pictures of that room. (Not that there's any rush, Debby! We're just so grateful you're doing that for us!) We're having a couple from church over tomorrow night, so that should encourage me to get the house in perfect shape. Some pictures to come next week!

Monday, September 01, 2008

I'm mean in my sleep

Last night, I had already gone to sleep by the time Darby came to bed. This is a common occurrence, because I generally go to bed pretty early. I always leave his lamp on for him and have no trouble falling asleep with that light. He usually comes in pretty quietly, but I'm a light sleeper so I almost always wake up. I either get really scared or I smile at him and stretch like I'm a little baby. Last night, however, I was evidently in a bad mood.

He came in, used the bathroom, came out quietly, got in bed, and turned his lamp off. I said, "Uhhh...why do you always have to be so loud when you come in!" He said, "What? I wasn't being loud." I said, "Yes, you were. You always come in here flushing toilets, slamming doors, and turning on lights." At this point he just started laughing because while he had flushed the toilet (obviously), he had not slammed any doors and definitely had not turned on the bedroom light. I said, "I'm always so quiet in the mornings when I wake up before you." So, of course, he had to tease me this morning when I was getting out of bed and accidentally woke him up. He said, "I don't know why you have to be so loud - putting your glasses on and getting out of bed. Uhhh..." I guess I deserved that. I have no idea why I said that. It definitely does not bother me that he comes to bed late, and I always go right back to sleep when I wake up. Maybe I have some unresolved anger. Hmmm...

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

New Friends and Good Food

Darby and I have been enjoying the kindness of people at our church in the form of free meals. Since I am currently unemployed, we have not been eating out much. It's hard because we both love trying out new restaurants. So here we are surrounded by restaurants we've never been to but unable to visit them. (Poor us! Believe me, I'm exaggerating quite a bit. I do realize how lucky we are to have a great house, go to a great school and still have plenty of money for groceries and other necessities).

BUT, our wonderful church has rescued us from our sentence of eating at home. Two Sundays ago, a couple took us to Noodles and Company. Wow! That might be my ideal restaurant. All of the entrees are pasta of some sort (macaroni and cheese, stroganoff, Italian dishes.) Definitely not for those on the Atkins diet. I think it's a chain, but I've never seen it before. Do they have those in Texas?

Darby went to a wedding in Abilene last Thursday and left me alone for several days. :( Our church really stepped up, and I had three different invitations to lunch and dinner while he was gone. Plus, I worked at the "Great Giveaway" (basically a huge free garage sale) at church and ate breakfast and lunch while I was working. So I only ended up eating 5 of 10 meals alone while Darby was gone. I really appreciate the kindness of everyone at church. They turned a weekend I was dreading into the best weekend I've had since we moved here.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Fun at the Dentist

I went to the dentist here in Urbana yesterday. I've had problems with a particular tooth for YEARS. It all started after I got a filling when I was about 16. Ever since then, that tooth has hurt on and off. I had two different dentists look at it, take X-rays, do all sorts of bite tests. No one could ever figure out what was wrong. I finally convinced myself that I was crazy and that the pain probably wasn't related to the filling at all. It must be just a coincidence. About four months ago, I woke up with a horrible pain in my jaw and was hardly able to open my mouth. I didn't have dental insurance at the time, so I decided to just wait it out. After a few days, the pain subsided to a manageable level. Since then, it's been hurting off and on. I decided it must be related to sinus pressure, since it seemed to get worse when my allergies were bad.

In June I got dental insurance, so I decided I'd get it checked out after we moved. I made the appointment and right after that my gum swelled up A LOT! Darby was shocked when he looked at it, as was the hygienist. The dentist here did 18 different x-rays, which is torture for me because my mouth is so small that it really hurts to bite down on those separator things. But, the x-ray clearly showed that the tooth that had a filling seven years ago was dead. So, I get to have a root canal next Wednesday! I'm not looking forward to that (the procedure itself and the cost), but I'm glad that I finally know what's wrong and hopefully I won't have any more problems. I just don't understand how two different dentists couldn't see that there was a problem earlier.

Monday, August 18, 2008


Darby and I had a great trip to Chicago with his parents a couple of weeks ago. I really like the city (at least the downtown area). It's very clean and pretty, and the views of Lake Michigan are amazing. It might have taken Seattle's place as my favorite big city.

View of the skyline and Lake Michigan

We got passes to go to five different attractions: the aquarium, the planetarium, the Museum of Science and Industry, the Field Museum of Natural History, and the Hancock Observatory. All were definitely worth it. The aquarium was probably my favorite. It was HUGE and had all sorts of cool fish! Plus, there was a dolphin show in this beautiful amphitheatre with a view of Lake Michigan, which was awesome.

We did all that stuff on Tuesday and Wednesday with Darby's parents. We also ate really good pizza at Pizzeria Uno, one of the cities' oldest pizza places. It was so nice of Darby's parents to take us and pay for everything! We were planning on going to Chicago anyway, but we definitely wouldn't have gotten to do as much if we were footing the bill! We had a great time with them, and they were troopers about me and Darby dragging them all over the city looking for restaurants we had read about in our guidebook. We all definitely got our walking in!

On Thursday, Darby's parents headed out for Wisconsin and Darby and I went back into the city for a little more sightseeing. We went to Millenium Park, which has tons of cool statues. One of them is called "Cloud Gate" and is basically a giant bean-shaped mirror that you can see yourself in:

Darby and I are the big dorks taking a picture of ourselves in the center.

Then we went to the Art Institute of Chicago. Wow! That place was HUGE!! There were tons of paintings from all different eras. Probably the most famous one they have is "Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte." It was cool to get to see it up close. After we had about as much art as we could take, Darby and I headed to lunch at Heaven on Seven, which is a Cajun restaurant. It tasted authentic to me! After that, we got on the train back to Elmhurst (where we were staying) and drove back to Urbana. It was a great break from doing nothing and we're excited to go back and explore more.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Same Old, Same Old

I have a whole new respect for single people who move to a new city. It's hard for me being here without any friends or family, but I have Darby, which makes a HUGE difference. If I didn't have him, most days I would not interact with anyone. Of course, I guess it could also be argued that were I single I probably wouldn't have moved somewhere without being enrolled in school or having a job first. Still, I think it takes an incredible amount of courage to live on your own in a new place, so props to everyone who's done that. I can't say whether I would have been strong enough to do the same.

I'm starting to go just a little stir-crazy. I've been watching a lot of TV and spending a lot of time on the Internet. Part of it's my own fault. I could do more productive things, like reading, organizing, or scrapbooking. I just let myself get sucked in. But, the church that Darby and I have been visiting is having a young marrieds get-together tomorrow night, so we get to interact with other people! We are both SO excited; it's pretty funny. It is kind of nice how much we look forward to church now, though. I always enjoyed going in Abilene, but I never got excited about it like I do now that it's our only opportunity to talk to people and meet potential friends.

Monday, August 11, 2008

My "new job"

Today, Darby and I went to open a new checking account, since Champaign-Urbana has no Banks of America (weird, huh?) The very nice woman who was helping us out asked for my occupation. And that's where the fun began.
Me: "Well, um, I'm looking for a job."
Woman: "Okay, but I still need to put something down."
Me: "Should I give the title of my last job?"
Woman: "Well, is there a general field that you'll be looking in?"
Me (racking my brain for a word that describes a job suitable for an English major who doesn't have a teaching certificate): Uhhhhhh...
Woman: "Why don't I just put homemaker?"
Me (laughing nervously to disguise my complete humiliation): "Sure."

I really never dreamed I'd be a homemaker before I had children, but I guess that does describe my occupation for now. I have put some applications in for some pretty promising jobs, so hopefully this will be a very temporary occupation. But, hey, so far homemaker involves watching a lot of Olympics and reading, so maybe it's not so bad. :)

Friday, August 08, 2008


I am watching the Opening Ceremonies as I type this. Wow! Those drummers were amazing. I love the Olympics. And the timing couldn't have worked out better. Since I'm still looking for a job, I'm home all day to watch the events. My favorites are gymnastics, volleyball, and diving. But I'm going to try to branch out this year and watch some different events. Maybe badminton? :)

We had a great time in Chicago with Darby's parents. I'll post more about our trip when I get pictures from Darby's mom. Naturally, I didn't take many. (That seems to be quite a theme with me).

Monday, August 04, 2008

First Impressions of Urbana/Champaign

Green everywhere!
Beautiful parks

No Blue Bell ice cream :(
No parking around campus (where a lot of the good restaurants are)

Darby and I went up to UI today. Whoa! It is huge. I thought, "I'll just go up with Darby to the Science Building; then I'll wander over to the library." way was I going to be able to find the library. As far as the eye could see were science buildings. And of course I hadn't printed out a map beforehand. I could have wandered around for a while, but it was too hot. Luckily, I spotted a Starbucks :) We did get to go in the Engineering library, which was about as big as the ACU Library, which serves the whole campus, not just one department. We're not in Kansas anymore!

It's a very beautiful campus, though. I wanted to take some pictures, but seriously the humidity made me not have the energy to lift my camera (well, that and maybe the fact that I was inexplicably alert from 4:30-6 a.m. today.) Plus, I didn't want to be the country bumpkin taking pictures of the big college!

We're going to Chicago with Darby's parents tomorrow. Woo-hoo!

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Hello from Illinois!

Well, we made it, thanks to a lot of help from our parents. We learned an important lesson: whatever size U-Haul you think you'll need, get one size bigger. We had the U-Haul totally stuffed, and the back of my car was piled so high that I couldn't see out the back. Plus, we had to put a few things in the back of my Dad's truck. It all worked out, though, and amazingly nothing got damaged. I am so grateful that our dads were able to go with us to help us load and unload. The move would have been so much harder, if not impossible without them.

We are settling into our new house in Urbana, which we love!! The house is only two years old, and it's just so cute. Plus, it's so much bigger than our apartment, and there's plenty of storage space. I just keep walking around saying, "I can't believe we live here!" I'll definitely post pictures once we have everything set up. We've made a lot of progress, but we still have a lot of work to do. Luckily, we live about 1/2 a mile from Wal-Mart, so our frequent trips don't take up too much time :)

We went out to eat last night at a really good pizza place near campus. They have Chicago-style stuffed pizza. It was huge! I could only eat one slice, which is very strange for me. Right now we're at the Urbana Public Library using the Internet. Our Internet is going to be hooked up on Wednesday. Urbana is a cute little town. There's some really pretty old houses downtown and lots of parks. Illinois is much, much greener than Texas. And everyone was right: there's A LOT of corn. There's a huge cornfield right by our house. It reminds me of when I was little because there was a cornfield by our house in Hewitt, too.

Well, I better get back to work. We miss all our friends and family in Texas! I'll post more on Monday when we have Internet.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Well, tomorrow's our last day in Abilene. This week has been bittersweet. We're very excited about moving to Urbana and settling into our new house, but it's hard to say goodbye to everyone in Abilene. I'm not particularly attached to the town itself, but I sure have made a lot of good friends here. I had my last Book Club meeting on Thursday; went out to eat with my aunt and uncle Saturday; Darby and I went over to our friend Aaron and Laura's house to play a game on Sunday; I hung out with Erin and Em last night; and I went out to lunch with my Student Life ladies today. That's a lot of goodbyes! Plus, tomorrow night is our last night at Westgate. That's going to be hard. We love all the people at Westgate, and we've just recently started to get close to a lot of the young married couples. I know we'll find another good church in Illinois, and I'm sure we'll make new friends, but it's hard to say goodbye to all of the great friends we have here.

My mom came in today to help us finish packing and cleaning. It's so nice to have her here. She and I watched 27 Dresses tonight while Darby was hanging out with a friend. A chick flick and pints of Blue Bell ice cream with my mom...pretty fun night! Both of our dads are coming in tomorrow night. It's really happening!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

T Minus 7 Days

In exactly one week, we will be on our way to Illinois. It's so crazy! The last month has gone by so quickly. We're both busy packing, finishing stuff up for work, and squeezing in last-minute visits with friends.

Here's a couple pictures of the mess that is our apartment. (I took these pictures several days ago, so it is MUCH worse now).

The holding area. We now have about 25 boxes stacked in that tiny area of our living room.

The Goodwill pile. It has also grown considerably. I just want to make one trip, so I'm waiting until the day before to make a Goodwill run. (If you see something that you gave us in this pile, please do not be offended; we are pretty brutal in our paring down!)

The mess is kind of stressing me out, but I know it's only temporary. We're actually doing really well on our packing. We packed up almost the whole kitchen last night. That's always the most difficult room, so I feel good about our progress.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Fat Tuesday Reunion!

All of my Fat Tuesday gals got together at Lake Travis this weekend to spend some time together before Kalyn and I make our big moves to the Midwest. We stayed in a condo on The Island on Lake Travis, which was so nice. We spent a lot of time talking, swimming, and, of course, eating. On Friday, we went to downtown Austin and walked around. Then we headed over to The Oasis for dinner. If you ever are in Austin, definitely eat at The Oasis. It was such a beautiful restaurant; the view of the sunset was amazing, and the food was really good, too. It was a great relaxing weekend, and it was so much fun to spend time with all the girls. We're definitely going to make the reunion a yearly thing.

Google Maps definitely failed me on this trip, though. Erin, Em, and I were riding down together, and I looked up the directions for us. I thought some of the roads looked kind of small, but I figured it would be fine. Well, we ended up on this tiny country road for about 25 miles. Erin was driving, and she has a big fear of getting stranded on a country road, so she was really nervous. It was getting dark, so that added to the tension. But, we made it out, finally. The map was correct, but we looked up another route for the way home. It was a much better road, and MUCH faster. So, lesson learned...if the road looks tiny on the map, it is tiny.

Em, Kalyn, Carolyn, and Erin

Carolyn at the Austin Museum of Art. They had a little family room where kids could make their own art projects. So naturally, we had to participate.

Me, Erin, and Carolyn being dumb at the State Capitol.

Me, Erin, and Brittany at The Oais.