Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thanksgiving Road Trip Part 2

I apologize for being a huge blogging slacker.  After we got home from our trip, I got caught up in unpacking, laundry, and preparing to head back into the real world yesterday.  I also spent a huge chunk of last night working on my blog background, banner, font, and other "important" things so I didn't get a post ready.

Back to Thanksgiving Break.  We got up Wednesday with plans to head to the Brookfield Zoo.  But, the weather had other plans.  It was cloudy, cold, and looked like it could rain at any minute.  So we changed out plans, and it was a good thing, too.  Around noon, we saw snowflakes and sleet.  That later to to all rain.  We took our time getting ready and then braved the weather to get food.  We went to Al's Beef and it was just as delicious as it had been last summer.  The Italian Beef sandwiches are to die for (as was most of the food we ate on this trip). 

The sandwich was mine, but we shared the chili cheese fries.  Yum!
After lunch we decided to catch a movie and saw Megamind.  It was a cute movie, especially since it was in 3D.  Then, we spent a little time shopping at Costco since we don't have one around it and it happens to be one of hubbies favorite stores.  They had some really nice Christmas stuff and I was planning all the neat toys my children will have.  
That even we visited my great-aunt and great-uncle.  We get to see them a couple times a year and really enjoy spending time with them.  We had a nice Italian dinner and got caught up on everything that had happened since we were together during the summer.  I always love hearing the old stories about my granddad, but they always make me really miss him.

Thursday was the big day: Thanksgiving!!  It's always an excuse to eat way too much and watch way too much football.  We did both!  We got up and caught a few minutes of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade (always one of my favorites)!!  Then, we met up with my great-uncle to head out to my counsin's, where we would be partaking in our feast.  The big adventure always revolves around the turkey, which is always fried.  One year was such a disaster that we ended up eating cornish hens from the nearest grocery store!  This year nothing horrible happened, but dinner was slightly delayed due to an oil shortage which caused the men to run to the same mentioned store to purchase more.  The men are such a hoot! By listening to them you would think that preparing a turkey was a serious science.

Try to remove giblets and deciding the next step to take!

Injecting the bird with marinade.

Dinner went off without a hitch and was enjoyed by all.  Almost everyone was semi-comatose afterward.  The women, however, did manage our traditional after-dinner walk around the neighborhood.  It was a short one because of the cold wind, brrrr!  I enjoyed the chance to see my family and enjoy being together.  I hope everyone had as great a Thanksgiving as I did.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving Road Trip Part 1

I meant to write about our Thanksgiving trip as we were going along, but I got busy and caught up in the fun!  I'm writing this post on our last night of the trip from my 31st floor hotel room in the Chicago Loop.  Such an amazing and beautiful sight with Millenium Park and Lake Michigan outside our window.  But, I'll get to that in a later post.

Hubby and I went to work Monday and left that afternoon for St. Louis.  Mom was waiting for us at our apartment so we could leave as quickly as possible.  We pulled into our hotel by the Gateway Arch at about 11:15.  The real fun began the next day.

We loaded up Tuesday morning and after a quick breakfast at Panera Bread Company, we headed to the Anheiser-Busch Brewery for a tour.  I learned a lot more than I ever needed to know about how beer is made, especially considering none of us drink beer.  The purpose for going on the tour and the best part of the tour was being able to see the beautiful Clydesdale horses.  Here are a couple quick shots I got on my iPhone.  These huge horses are magnificent!

After the tour, we headed on into Springfield, Illinois, for some lunch.  Let me just tell you that Cozy Dog Drive-In is a great stop for a quick lunch.  They are famous for their Cozy Dogs, which are not just your typical corn dogs.  They are the best corn dogs I have ever had.

This is the lunch we all shared.

After our lunch stop, we headed on into the Chicagoland area.  We visited with our friend, Chris, and had dinner with him before calling it a night.  What a great start to our Thanksgiving trip!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

I wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!  I am so thankful for the life I do have, even though sometimes I forget how truly lucky I am.  I am surrounded by so many wonderful friends and family that are always there for me.  Seeing all the troops having their Thanksgiving dinner in Afghanistan, made me so appreciative for the sacrifices so many have made for us to have the opportunity to celebrate today!

I hope everyone gets out today and enjoys the food, the fun, and the fellowship that Thanksgiving Day has to offer!  And don't forget to count your blessings, too!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

One of the Best Days Ever!!!!

Today was one of the best days ever!!!  Well, it was at least one of the best days I've had in a while.  Part of it was because it came as a total surprise.  Most of you probably know that I am a huge Razorback fan.  I love my Hogs!!!  I have been going to the football games for a long time and haven't missed a home game in several years.  In all those years, I've never actually met any of the players.

Well, that all changed today.  Five of the current team members (Ben Cleveland, Travis Swanson, Alfred Davis, Alex Tejada, Jake Bequette) came to my school today to talk to the fourth grade students.  I didn't know they were coming, you can't imagine the excitement I felt when I saw them.  The kids so enjoyed getting to talk them, getting their pictures made with them, and getting their autographs.  The players were so kind and patient among the five million questions.  They visited each fourth grade classroom and hung out with the kids.

The speech pathologist and I even got to get our picture made with the players before they left.  I know what a great day it was for me and I'm pretty sure it was for the kids, too.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Christmas Frustration

Since we are going to be out of town for Thanksgiving all next week, I thought I would get ahead of the game and get all the Christmas decorating done.  Hubby was gone last night and again tonight for class so I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to get started decorating.  For the size of our apartment we have A LOT of Christmas stuff.

My goal was to get started with our big pre-lit tree.  I had hubby get it set up on Sunday so that all I would have to do is decorate it.  Well, the top section of the tree decided it no longer wanted to be pre-lit.  I went to Wal-Mart after school yesterday and bought one of those light tester/fixer contraptions and spent the next 2 hours pulling out every bulb in that section searching for the bad apple.  There were none!!!!

I decided to call it quits and thought maybe I just couldn't figure out the tester/fixer contraption.  When hubby got home, we repeated the whole process and still couldn't find the bad bulb.  Our solution: we will just buy new lights and redo the top section of the tree.  If anyone has any other adivce, please let me know!!!!!

The bright spot of the Christmas tree fiasco:  our sweet Sadie Rose, who after being around this tree for 3 years hasn't lost her joy of chilling in the tree!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

It's That Time of Year Again!

It's that time of year again!  What time of year?  It's the holiday season.  It's time to start getting ready for the holidays.  To me that means I need to get around to picking out and ordering our Christmas cards.  Last year was the first year I jumped on the photo card bandwagon.  And I just want to say, I love them.  I love getting them and seeing all the cute pictures.  It's a way to see how much kids have grown, where people have traveled over the past year, and just a way to see all the smiling faces of friends and family.  So I thought I would do the same and start doing photo cards for our family.  Last year, I ordered two different sets.  I ordered a set for mom, Mike, and me to send to friends and family that we all know.  I also ordered a set for just Mike and me to send to our fiends and family.

I have been mulling over what to order and just plain old procrastinating when I saw another blog that talked about a special promotion from Shutterfly.  It was an offer to get 50 free Christmas cards if you blog about your Christmas cards.

First of all, let me say I love Shutterfly.  I love all the neat gifts you can buy.  I have a whole list made of what I want to give when we finally have a baby.  Grandparents, look out!  You will be getting photo books, calendars, and even some home decor all with beautiful pictures of your grandbabies.  While I may not set the world on fire ordering from Shutterfly right now, I know they will be a staple after we have kids.  Christmas time is the perfect time to place orders.  They are offering a lot of specials and discounts now.  I love saving money on things I want to buy anyway.  Besides Christmas cards, I will be ordering a photo book after our upcoming trip to Disney World.  I love making photo books!!!  My only problem is choosing which one!

Here are the Christmas cards I think I'm going to order this year.

This is the card for the whole family.

The is the card for Mike and I.
I was going to upload the finished cards, but then decided against it in case I change my mind about what pictures.  There are tons of fabulous card designs.  You can check them out here.  Also, fellow bloggers if you would like to participate in the promotion, check out Shutterfly and register your blog here.  It is open to blogs of any size.  I'm sure you won't be disappointed in the selection!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Five Question Friday

Rules for Five Question Friday: Copy and paste the following questions to your blog post, answer them, then link up with Mama M. Come on. Join in. It’ll be fun!


1. What is the most physically painful thing that has ever happened to you? I am having a hard time with this question.  I have never broken a bone, had surgery, or had a baby.  The only thing that is comng to mind right now what a severe infection I had.  I was wishing my ear would just fall off.  That choice had to be better than enduring the persistent pain in my ear.  I have also had some really bad headaches, but overall I guess I am coming out pretty lucky in the physical pain game.  I'm  sure just about every human alive has endured something more painful than me.

2. How much sleep do you get at night?  I usually get between 6 and 7 hours a night.  I know that will change when we add a child to our family.  I have heard that sleep goes by the wayside when there are children.  I really do like my sleep, though.  I would love to be able to get 8 hours, but I find it hard to go to bed early and sleeping late isn't really an option.

3.  How long did you believe in Santa Claus?  How did you find out that he does not exist?  I still don't know that Santa doesn't exist.  I have never seen proof.  There was never a time where I was told there wasn't a Santa.  I never had "the Santa talk" with my parents.  I believe the true magic with Santa is the spirit of giving that he brings to the holiday season.  We still have presents from Santa to help us remember that spirit of giving.  I try to be "Santa" through my church to those less fortunate.

4.  What was the last movie you saw in a theater?  This has been a very busy fall with football weekends and homework so I can't really remember the exact one I went to last.  We saw several movies in the theater over the summer.  I love being a teacher so that I can fill my summers with fun.  BUT, I know the next movie I'm going to see in the theater.  We will be going to see the new Harry Potter movie next Saturday at the IMAX and I don't care how nerdy that may make.  I am super excited about it!!

5.  What do you wear to bed?  It depends on the weather.  In the summer I usually wear some type of gown because they are cooler.  In the winter I bundle up in some type of pajama pants and shirt.  I have some really fuzzy pants that are so warm and comfy.  Can't wait until it get cool enough to wear them.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thankfulness on Thursday

Whitney over at The Glamorous Life of a Housewife is doing a series of saying what we are thankful for on Thursdays throughout the month of November.

Here is my list for this week:

1. I am thankful to all the veterans who have served the "good old U.S. of A!" We have a long history of having brave men and women protecting the freedoms that we all enjoy. They deserve so much love and respect. I can't imagine what my life would be like without them. I have several veterans on all sides of my family and I salute them for their service!

2. I am thankful to live in a place as beautiful as Northwest Arkansas. I am always reminded of the beauty this time of year. Fall is such a reminder about the gift of nature God has given us.

3. I am thankful to come to work each day and do a job that I thoroughly enjoy. Kids are such blessings and a reminder of the important things in life.

4. I am thankful that I get to come to work each day and have wonderful friends around me. Enjoying the people you work with makes it not seem like work.

5. I am thankful for the family I am privileged to be a member of. I know I am never alone in this world. My family has taught me so much about love and happiness. I hope to never forget what all I have learned from different members of my family.

6. I am thankful for all the friends I have in this world. I know I am not close to all of them in the same way as in the past, but they were put into my life at the right time. As I think back to all the friends I have had throughout my life, I feel so blessed for the gifts they gave me.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Not All Bad

I know in my post yesterday it may have seemed like things are rough on the marriage front, but when I really think about it, that's not really true.  Yes, we may be going through a rough patch over all, but I can't think that things are all bad.

There have been changes for us to deal with over the last several months that have probably contributed to the stress I am feeling in our relationship.  I would like to think that the worst is behind us.  In July, hubby started a graduate program in a school that is about 2 1/2 hours from where we live.  We thought he would work on his master's and continue subbing.  We lived in our house in Central Arkansas for the summer so he was only 30 minutes away from school.  That really made everything seem like a piece of cake.  Then we came back to Northwest Arkansas when it was time for school to start.  Hubby started out subbing, but then had an offer to become an instructional assistant at my school.  We thought this was a super opportunity, and in reality it is.  He gets to work everyday, which means more income and benefits.  Yay!  But, with this new job came a lot more responsiblities and time commitments.  Plus, he is taking 12 graduate hours.  Some are online, but he does have to drive back and forth to school 1-2 times a week.

When I look back on this, I absolutely see why we are in a rough patch.  We are having to make a lot of adjustments, but they are going to be totally worth it in the end.  So since I was all gloom and doom yesterday, I thought today I would focus on the good things in our marriage.

1.  Love-we definitely have love for each other and we say it everyday and really mean it.  I know I mean it when I say it and am pretty positive hubby does too.  It's not something we just throw around.  That daily reminder of love really helps me get through.

2.  Support- we support each other to achieve our goals.  With both of us working full time and going to school, we do support each other and never begrudge when homework has to take time away from each other. 

3.Dealing with each other's quirks.  I can definitely say that hubby is better at this one than I am.  I tend to be high strung and get upset/in a frenzy over things and hubby patiently deals with them.  He knows that is just part of who I am.  I really want to get better about his quirks.  However, I have already grown in that area.  I am more accepting of who he is.

4.  Faith-we both have faith that there are three of us in this relationship.  With God's blessing, we can make it through anything together.  I pray often for our relationship and that it will continue to strengthen.

5.  Joint Responsibility-we both take responsibility for the relationship working.  It's going to take both of us to make our relationship work and our household function.  For the most part we work together to get chores done.  I don't feel that taking care of the house or other mundane things is solely my responsibility.  We tend to divide and conquer those things.  Hubby will probably never understand how much I truly appreciate that.

6.  Together and Separate-we have never been one of those couples who has to spend every minute together to be happy.  We have also never been one of those couples where we had to ask each other permission to do something or spend money.  I know people in those types of relationships and am thankful to not have one.  I love spending time together and doing things together, but I also love a little alone time.  We always tell each other what we are doing, but more because we want to, not that we have to.  Controlling spouses drive me crazy and I am thankful hubby is one of them.

This list could go on and on, but now that I stop and think we have a lot more good going on than bad.  I am a thankful girl for that!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Marriage is Hard

I know I was told before we were married that life wasn't always going to be easy.  I also know that I just took that information and filed it away without ever giving it much thought.  Well, I have been thinking about it a lot lately.  As much as I love hubby, marriage definitely takes a lot of work to make it survive.  The honeymoon is definitely over and now reality is setting in.  There are a few areas that we are having to work harder on now than we did in the past.

When couples are dating, life seems so good and easy.  Both parties are on their best behavior and the electricity somehow make the problems seem non-existent.  While dating, you get to focus on the fun and kind of pretend the real world doesn't exist.  I wouldn't trade that time I had for anything.  But, I also wouldn't trade what we have now for anything.  During this time, it is showing me what hubby and I are made of.  What I am finding is that we are made of perseverance.  While it isn't always easy, we aren't willing to give up on each other.

Something that is really hard right now is communication.  We aren't doing a very good job of communicating with each about what we are thinking and feeling.  The odd things is that we can't communicate about the unimportant things like what to eat, what hotel to stay in while on vacations, etc.  We are pretty good about the important things in our lives.  I want to contribute this communication barrier to just being so busy and tired with school and work.  But, we need to focus on being more patient with each other when trying to communicate.  Instead, we just get mad and upset with each other.  I'm sure this is normal, but it's so extremely frustrating.

Here are a few more things we are struggling with right now:
* patience
* compromise
* attitude and tone we take with each other

While this sounds like everything is bad, when I really stop and think, it really isn't.  To me this is just another phase as we grow in our relationship with each other.  Before, we may have just ignored any type of conflict and now we are really trying to work through them.  I feel confident that we are going out on the other side with a stronger relationship.  I know we can't do it alone, but with a lot of prayer we'll make it!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Five Question Friday

Rules for Five Question Friday: Copy and paste the following questions to your blog post, answer them, then link up with Mama M. Come on. Join in. It’ll be fun!


1.  If you have any talent and turn it into an occupation, what would it be? I would love to have an eye for decorating.  I love to walk into pretty places and always wish I could recreate them on a budget.  I think it would be so much fun to help people decorate their homes in ways that really brings out their personality.  But, I also think that making your home perfect for you shouldn't cost an arm and a leg.

2.  Would you rather have a house at the beach or a cabin in the woods?  I can't believe I have to choose.  It all depends on the time of year.  Spring and summer I wouldn't trade anything for a house on the beach.  Being able to wake up and hear the sounds of the ocean, on my could anything be better.  During fall and winter a cabin in the woods would be amazing!  Seeing the leaves change colors and fall off, snow on the ground, how beautiful.  To me, that sounds like a good Ozark Mountain Christmas.  I can't choose.  I won't, you can't make me.

3. Is there any meaning/reasoning for the names you chose for your child/children?
  We don't have children yet, but do have some potential names.  The girl name is one we just like, which is a miracle that there is a name we both agree on.  Actually, I picked the name out and he had one request about it, which I could totally live with.  The boy name is made up of names from both sides of the family.  Again, I picked the name and hubby didn't object to it.  Yay!  Who knows this could all change when we actually are having a baby.

4. What is your guilty pleasure?


 I love these things.  Actually during the holidays, I am totally addicted.  It's a good thing that this peppermint bark is a limited edition or I could be in some serious trouble.  There like Pringles, you can't eat just one.  I try to keep a limited supply so I don't go too far overboard.  Yummy!

5. Do you live in a house that is deep cleaned or straightened?
 I definitely live in the world of straightening for 99% of the year.  I do get impulses to really clean a couple times a year, but most of the time is just too busy or tired for deep cleaning to get done regularly.  It would be nice.  When I grow up and get rich (ha ha), I would hire someone to deep clean my house on a regular basis.  But, for the mean time, I am happy with my clean and straighten method.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Thankfulness on Thursday

I know last week I said I was going to do better at blogging this week, but as you can see that didn't exactly work out as planned.  I was home sick with some kind of stomach bug on Monday and Tuesday and have spent the past two days just getting caught up.  However, I felt it was really important to post today.

Whitney over at The Glamorous Life of a Housewife is starting a series of saying what we are thankful for on Thursdays throughout the month of November.  My first list will be brief because I am so tired, but they are completely heartfelt.

1.  I am thankful for my hubby!  He puts up with me through the good and the bad.  And he does it all with very little complaining even when I deserve to be complained at.  He is very supportive in helping me meet my goals.  He is truly my perfect match because I don't think anyone else could handle me quite like he does.

2.  I am thankful for my mom!  She is truly my best friend.  She has always been there for me from the start.  She has always been my biggest fan and continues to be so even though I am "grown."

3.  I am thankful to live in the U.S.A.  I love the fact that we have the right to vote and make decisions about our country.  I love the life we are allowed to live.  I love our freedom.  I love the principles our country was founded on.

4.  I am thankful for the deeper relationship I have formed with Christ this past year.  I have been reading the Bible more and in a much deeper way.  I truly feel that I am not alone in any of my endeavors and that I need to be giving back to others.  I'm not where I want to be yet, but I will always be a work in progress.