Monday, November 26, 2012

Thanksgiving Recap

We had a wonderful, whirlwind trip to Texas for Thanksgiving. A few highlights:
  • Visiting Whitney and her little boy, Finn
  • Baking apple pie and Grandma's rolls with Mom and Hannah
  • Playing Just Dance with Hannah and Matt
  • Introducing cousin Justin to our family's craziness
  • Walking and talking with my Dad
  • Enjoying a GIGANTIC Thanksgiving dinner with Darby's extended family
  • Eating my first meal at Babe's Chicken Dinner House. Yum!
Because we went to Oklahoma City with Darby's family, I had to miss out on my annual Black Friday shopping trip with my sister. I was sad, but she understood, and I was glad we were able to see all of Darby's extended family, especially his grandpa. 

The sibs

Hannah playing "airplane" with Matt. She's very strong.
The beautiful table at Darby's aunt's house. We were able to fit 18 people around one table. It was awesome!
As always, I have much to be thankful for: family and in-laws that I truly look forward to spending time with, close friends, both old and new, a spouse I can be with 24/7 and still not be tired of. Now I'm trying to maintain that spirit of gratitude as I push through to the end of the semester. I just want it to be Christmas! I have to remember that, when I was working, I dreamed of being back in school. This is what I want to be doing. That's my new mantra. :)

Monday, November 19, 2012

7 random questions

Mica tagged me to answer 7 random questions, so here they are. (I LOVE answering random questions.)

1. Do you wear make-up every day?
No. I very rarely wear make-up. I've started wearing it a little more often now, especially if I know my picture will be taken, because I'm starting to look a little tired in my old age. :)

2. In your opinion, what is the best part of the holidays?
Playing games with family; FOOD!

3. Which character are you most like from Winnie the Pooh?
I don't know which one I'm most like, but I like Piglet the best because he (she?) is cute and pink.

4. What holiday movie are you excited to see?

5. How many pairs of jeans do you own?
6 - all Old Navy Sweetheart style - 2 skinny, 4 bootcut

6. What’s a gross fact about yourself?
My sister and I shared underwear until I was like 12. We wore the same size, so when my mom sorted the laundry, she just gave half the underwear to me and half to Hannah. We never realized this was weird until we happened to mention it to a friend and she freaked out. I still don't think it's a big deal since it was all clean, but I guess it's kinda strange.

7. What would you choose to eat as your “last meal”?
oohh this is tough because I like so many things. I think I'll go with BBQ brisket, homemade mac and cheese, spicy baked beans, grilled sweet corn, and Olive Garden salad. For dessert, my mom's brownies with Blue Bell homemade vanilla ice cream.

Now I think I'm supposed to tag 7 more people with my own questions, so here goes. The only people who I know for certain currently read my blog and have a blog themselves are my mom, Matt, Kalyn, and Whitney. But, anyone else who's reading this, feel free to answer either on your blog or in the comments. I'd love to hear everyone's answers!

1.  What's your favorite holiday? 2. When you were young, what did you want to be when you grew up? 3. What hobby would you like to take up if you had more money/time? 4. What TV shows do you currently watch? 5. How long do you spend getting ready on a typical morning? 6. What does your name mean?/Why did your parents choose your name? 7. What's the best gift you've ever received?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Illinois Bucket List

Now that it's almost 2013, it's becoming very real to me that we'll be leaving this place (hopefully for Texas!) soon. Anyway, instead of just counting down the days until we leave, I'm trying to savor our last 7 or so months in the Midwest. In that spirit, I decided a bucket list was in order. Some things are local, and some are within driving distance. As you can see, many revolve around food, of course.
  • Eat at Maize, Bacaro, Escobar's, Radio Maria, and Luna
  • Hike at Turkey Run again
  • Do a tasting at Sleepy Creek Vineyards
  • Take a trip to Michigan
  • Go to Cedar Point amusement park in Ohio
  • Visit the Spurlock Museum and the Krannert Museum
  • Go to Indiana to eat at the Beef House
  • Visit the Cracked and Crave food trucks
  • Try the gelato at Art Mart
Other C-U people: Anything else we must do before we leave? 

Friday, November 09, 2012

The Golden Rule

In the few weeks since we decided to leave our church, we've received several encouraging notes and invitations to lunch or dinner from members of the congregation. And they've meant so much to us. It's made me think back to the times I've been on the other side of the situation. I often assumed that people wouldn't want me to contact them. It might make them feel awkward, I reasoned. They might feel like I'm pushing them to come back. However, from this side, I don't see it like that at all. It's so nice to know people miss us.

I realized that I do this a lot. I assume that everyone else operates differently from me. I have such a hard time initiating plans with acquaintances. Won't they think it's weird that I'm calling them? What if they don't want to spend time with me? But when I think about how I would feel if an acquaintance from school invited me to do something, I realize I wouldn't think it was weird. In fact, I'd be happy. 

I've always viewed obedience to the Golden Rule* as not being mean to people or helping people when they ask. And I'm (generally) pretty good (well, not horrible) at those things. But, so often I don't give people the things that I would like to receive from them. I don't make a phone call, extend an invitation, give a gift for no reason, go out of my way to give a compliment. I really want to be better at imagining how I would feel in a certain situation, so I don't have to wait until the tables are turned to know how to respond appropriately.

*This reminded me of a recent funny story.
Darby: (out of nowhere) Do you know the Golden Rule?
Me: Of course. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
D: (barely suppressing a laugh) No...he who has the gold makes the rules.
(cracking up) Have you ever heard that before? It's hilarious.
Me: Uh, yeah. It's a really old joke.
D: (practically crying from laughter) I know, but I just think it's so funny.
Me: ???

Monday, November 05, 2012

October Books

Not too much reading this month. Falling asleep immediately when my head hits the pillow really puts a dent in my reading time.

7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker
I loved Interrupted, so I was excited to read another book by Jen. This is written in a very informal, almost blog-like style that is quick to read. Jen embarks on a 7-month journey in which she radically simplifies 7 different areas of her life: food, clothes, possessions, media, waste, spending, and stress. At its core, the project is about getting rid of excess so we can focus on what is truly important. In month one, she decides to eat only 7 foods for the entire month. It is understandably very difficult for her. But the fact is, that is how much of the world eats. I think we often forget that we have an embarrassment of riches. The choice of what to eat is a huge luxury. This book was at once hilarious and inspiring. I highly recommend it.

Heroes and Monsters by Josh James Riebock
One of the strange things about reading on the Kindle is that it's not easy to read the book description. You have to be connected to Wi-Fi, so it's not a matter of just flipping the book over and reading the back cover. Since I often read books well after I've bought them, I sometimes have no clue what the book is going to be about. That was the case with this one. I thought it was fiction, but it is actually a memoir of one young man's spiritual journey. So, I was really confused for about the first half of the book. It's a strange book, full of metaphor and symbolism. What differentiates it from many other "Christian" books is that it is quite honest about the struggles of faith. Josh makes it clear that it is not an easy road, but it is a worthwhile one. The writing is a little disjointed at times, but ultimately it is an insightful look into what it means to live the full life God has called us to.

The Mismeasure of Man by Stephen Jay Gould
This is a book my language assessment teacher recommended I read and comment on for my comprehensive exam. Gould explores the history of mental testing in the 19th and 20th centuries, exposing the fallacies that lay behind early intelligence tests (which heavily influenced our current standardized tests, such as the SAT). It's crazy to read about the way "science" was used to prove inequality between races and sexes. It definitely caused me to question all of the things we accept as truth today. The chapter on factor analysis is a little dense, but otherwise it is very readable. I recommend it to any teacher. 

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Engagement Fiesta!

The wonderful Mica and Harrison got engaged a couple of months ago. Somehow, Mica and I schemed up a taco night engagement party. Really, it was just an excuse to have a party, I made beef and chicken tacos and others brought all sorts of yummy sides and dips. It was a great time. I really enjoy hosting parties, but I'll never do it without some sort of excuse. This was a great one.

Mica made her own cake. Kinda sad, but she volunteered, and she's the best baker of us all. It was delicious.

Sweet little Korean baby, Ji-oo. Melt my heart. This was after they took off her full-body fuzzy jumpsuit. I was about to die from the cuteness.
Ester and Sun Joo during our rousing game of Scattergories. Darby laughed until he cried, so you know it was a good game.

Mica, Jin, and Cass
This is a horrible picture, but I just think it's hilarious how I am completely focused on my ice cream, totally oblivious to anything going on around me. I was glancing through my facebook pictures the other day, and I realized that there are many, many pictures where I am in the background chowing down. Awkward.
Jin, Cass, and I got HarriMica a couple of two-layer games: Boggle and Bananagrams. Here they are showing off their teamwork skills in opening presents.
It has been great getting to know Mica and Harrison over the past couple of years. They are a great couple, and I can't wait for their wedding victory tour!