Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A New Stage of Life

Just a few weeks ago, I was holding on tightly to 2008. Today is a completely different story - bring in the new year!

We've noticed, when hanging out with friends, that we are all in different stages of life. Some have houses and are working on those; some have children and are developing a family. Most have moved past the stage of life we are currently in: married college couple going from day to day.

I have been perfectly content in this stage. I love renting. I enjoy being able to make plans at the last minute and not worrying about what to do with the kids. My job is great and we've done lots of fun traveling. Our life is pretty simple and, despite a few short-lived longings for the next step, I have enjoyed where we are at right now. Part of me has not wanted to move forward. I am comfortable in this stage.

2009, to me, will be about moving to a new stage in life. Hubs will not be in college anymore. He'll be kicking off his career, while I take classes online to finish my degree. We will probably still rent for a while, but we'll look for a bigger place so we can add a dog (hopefully) to the family, realizing that buying a home is right around the corner. We will not stop traveling - with 3 trips already planned, we are talking about a couple more, too! Our conversations will change: we will discuss how to use our resources wisely to plan for owning a dental practice and having a family someday. 2009, my friends, seems like the start of a whole new chapter of our lives.
We. Will. Officially. Be Grown-ups.

Hubs and I couldn't be more excited for it! God has prepared us in every way for our next journey in life. I've realized that our lives will change, but we will will be the same people. We can't wait to start looking for places to live, planning for what is ahead, and living this next journey.

That is what 2009 has in store for us...what does it have in store for YOU?

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A New Favorite

I was introduced to a new coffee mug over Christmas by my brother, who happens to work at one of my favorite stores: Starbucks. This coffee mug, apparently, has not caught on to the majority of people, but Tim did a great job of selling them to his family this year.

Ta da!

Okay, I know they look a little boring, but they are amazing. Did you wonder about why there are no handles? They are double walled mugs so they do not get hot at all to the touch! Yes folks, you can now cradle your hot cuppa joe in your hands with ease. They come in brown, white, and red and are only $6.95, which is a great price for such cool mugs, dontcha think?

I received one as a gift and I purchased the other 2. When I took it to the counter to pay, the starbucks lady even mentioned that it was weird that they don't have a handle. I, the customer, had to tell her why they are so neat! I was hoping she would include an extra mug for the tip, but no such luck. I will have to wait until they go on sale to get more (yes, I'm cheap and haven't convinced Hubs that we need 3 more mugs to add to our already overflowing mug cabinet).

I Know.

I love books - just looking at a book gets me excited. There is only one Book, however, that I believe to be true in every word. There is no spin on the facts, no personal interpretation to grasp - just Truth. The Bible convicts and challenges; it brings counseling; it comforts and encourages. It is the words of the God of the universe written down for us. It is our way of knowing God intimately.

These verses are on my mind this morning and have brought me comfort.

For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth;
And after my skin is destroyed, this I know,

That in my flesh I shall see God,
Whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another.

How my heart yearns within me!
Job 19:25-27

I have no doubts that I will see God someday. I have no idea what that will be like, I can't even fathom it; but I know.

That's all.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Slow Down!

The past two weeks were a blur, so it was very nice to relax in Kansas and not think about everything that could, should, and would get done when we came back home. I'll admit that the first night home I was overwhelmed with everything. "What is 'everything'?" you ask. It's pretty much life in general, but I will save those details for another post.

Christmas Eve and Day did not feel like Christmas. I blame the fact that I got too anxious at Thanksgiving. I put up my tree and played Christmas music too early this year. By the time Christmas came, the "magical feeling" was gone. That doesn't mean we didn't have a wonderful time, though. I won't go through all our gifts or the details of each day, but here are a few highlights:

The movie we went to on Christmas Day was perfect. We I was momentarily disappointed when we found out Marley and Me was sold out at the first theatre. We did find tickets, however, to an older theatre. This theatre did not have the stadium seating we have all come to love; nor the comfy seats and up-to-date decor. No, this theatre was decked out in a retro-blue color to compliment the peeling off-white walls, the seats were bouncy, and the floor sloped. But, none of us cared because the tickets were $1.50 less than the nicer theatre and there were only about 20 people occupying the teal seats. Enough about the theatre, though. The movie was hands-down one of the best movies we had seen in a long time. Even my brother, the skeptical, pouting, 19-year-old, embarrased to be seen going into a PG family movie, was laughing and enjoying himself. In the end, there was not a dry eye to be found (even I, who never cries at movies, was bawling). A must-see, in my opinion.

The day after Christmas could not have been more beautiful and unexpected. The temperature reached 69 degrees in Kansas City and we walked the plaza without our coats! The plaza lights were pretty and the atmosphere is always fun.

The musical we went to on the day after Christmas was surprisingly good. I wasn't sure what to expect from a kids-musical titled Seussical, but it was great! We laughed and enjoyed the talents of the actors/musicians. It would be a great event for children, as adults were the minority in the theatre, and I have had one of the songs in my head ever since!

The Rook game we played was fun. I am always looking forward to playing card or board games. Sometimes, Richard and I are horrible partners, but we were on a roll and winning each round. We finally lost let my parents win the last hand.

We got back home on Saturday night. It was great to be back in church on Sunday. I hope you have that same feeling about your church. It just feels like you are home, once you are among your church family.

I can't believe 2009 is days away, but I am ready now.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Signing Off - Merry Christmas!

I'm signing off for a few days to enjoy Christmas with our families. It looks like we may have a white Christmas, but I still hope to wake up and see giant snowflakes lightly falling from the sky. Perhaps the road crews here in Nebraska will learn how to clear the roads while we are gone - (THAT's a-whole-nother post).

Merry Christmas to everyone who reads my random ramblings! I hope your Christmas is filled with peace and joy. Have wonderful times with loved-ones and be sure to keep the true reason for Christmas in the forefront: that God sent his beloved son into the world so that He could bring us salvation and eternal life with Him.

Hubs & Feather

Monday, December 22, 2008

Books & Headaches

Friday night Hubs told me to get out of the house. I go crazy when everything is quiet and he needs quiet to study. So, I bundled up and spent the evening at Barnes and Noble - alone. Now, don't any of you start feeling sorry for me, I can spend hours in that store. And, when I arrived, I realized I wasn't the only one with this idea!

I started by first ordering a grande, non-fat gingersnap latte, with an extra shot of espresso and no whip. Then, I wandered around to find a comfy chair to sit in and read. No suck luck. They only had hard, wood chairs that happened to be place in the most inconveinent of spots. But, I'm sure that having people cozy down with a brand new book is not really what they are going for. They would prefer you buy the book and read it at home. So, I cozied up on a wooden chair and finished reading my current book, Marley and Me. It made me laugh and cry.

For the remainder of the evening, I looked at books. It amazes me how many books are written on the same topics. There are some great books out there, but there is also a lot of crud. When the 10 minute warning came over the intercom, I headed back home. A successfull, relaxing Friday night.


For the past 5 days, I have had a headache. One of those dull, annoying ones. I should have known what was coming, but I forgot. Sunday, however I woke up with a migraine. I knew it before I got out of bed. I immediately went to the cupboard and took 2 advil, ate a piece of banana bread, and laid back down. I had dull pain for most of the day and finally, at about 3pm, I couldn't stand up anymore. I went back to laying down and slept for 4 more hours, only to then wake up with a quesy stomach.

Hubs hated seeing me in pain, so he braved the negative temperature and bought me some of my new favorite medicine:

Did it take away my headache? No, but it made it possible for me to move around and get things done. And finally, this morning, I woke up headache-free for the first time in a week!

Why did I have a headache for a whole week? Here are my possible reasons:

1. No BC this past week.
2. Ate too much chocolate and sweets at work.
3. Worry, stress, etc.
4. The weather. For some reason, going from the cold temperature into a warm house messes with my head.
5. What do you think?

Friday, December 19, 2008

Perfect Peace

You may already know that one of my favorite verses is Isaiah 26:3-4.

You will keep him in perfect peace,
Whose mind is stayed on You,
Because he trusts in You.
Trust in the LORD forever,
For in YAH, the LORD, is everlasting strength.

These verses have been my encouragement throughout the last 2 1/2 years, and just when I think I have worn them out, God brings them to my mind again. Lately, I have been tired and overwhelmed. It seems like there is a lot of things going on in our life that I cannot control. I don't necessarily know what to do or what to say. The apartment has been too quiet; silence makes me nervous. And despite the myriad of things on my mind, life keeps going and I am forced to try keep up with it, or play catch up over the weekend.

The thing I do know and the thing that keeps me going is that I can have peace when my mind is stayed on the Lord because He is my stength. My mind can only be stayed on the Lord when I am in His Word and talking to Him daily - which has not been happening and explains the lack of peace.

Later on, in that chapter of Isaiah, it reads:

Yes, in the way of Your judgments,
O LORD, we have waited for You;
The desire of our soul is for Your name
And for the remembrance of You.
With my soul I have desired You in the night,
Yes, by my spirit within me I will seek You early;
For when Your judgments are in the earth,
The inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.

I love the phrase, "The desire of our soul is for Your name and for the remembrance of You." We have been studying the names of God in a ladies Bible study and this month we are studying Jehovah-Shalom. Jehovah-Shalom means "The Lord of Peace." In a world full of chaos, crisis, concerns, and fears I am so thankful that I know the God of Peace - who promises peace, brings peace, and is peace - and that I can rest in Him no matter the circumstances.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Excitement is mounting!

There is so many reasons to be excited for the upcoming week and here are a few of mine:

I love Christmas and everything about it. Mostly, I love the family-time and the time of remembering Christ's birth. We get to celebrate 2 times this year and I am excited for them both!

Testing Shmesting.
Richard will be done with his final exam in 6 days. Oh man, that will be so great!

Family time.
We are spending 3 full days in Kansas with my side of the family. I am excited to just relax and enjoy time spent with them. We will carol, play games, watch movies, go to a musical, and who knows what else. Plus, mom is making chili - Y-U-M!

And then, we are heading back home to celebrate and spend the day with Hubs's family. I can't wait for that either. Mostly because I pretty much love all the presents I got for people this year and I can't wait for them to open them! Both celebrations are very different; but similar in that we will have a great time full of fun and laughter with people we love.

Sarah is coming to town tomorrow and even though I won't see her tomorrow, it is good just knowing she is minutes away. Although, she probably won't be at the other end of her email for our daily correspondance. I can't wait to see her and Brode and Andrew!

Martha and company are coming to town sometime and we get to see them on January 2nd. It has been too long since we've talked and I can't wait to see her and her boys!

Time off.
Thanks to an amazing job, I get the day after Christmas and the day after New Years off! In other words, I get a 5 day weekend followed by a 4 day weekend. Extra, much-needed time with my Hubs, friends, and family.

The anticipation and preparation makes it hard for me to concentrate on working. What are you excited for?

The Before, The During, The After

I looked in the mirror as everyone stood around, waiting for my response. "What do you think?" someone asked.

"It's so different. They look huge." I turned and saw expectant looks. Everyone was waiting for me to jump up and down in excitement, yet, I didn't know what to think, or say.

By the time I went to bed last night, I had looked at myself in the mirror enough times to say that I really do love my "new smile." It helped that Hubs was thrilled at how they turned out and had me smile every so often so he could look at them more.

I don't have many pictures of me before braces on this computer, and since the morning was not lacking in stress (I woke up at 7:00am. Put my head under the faucet. Had no gas in my car. Roads are slippery. People drive ridiculously. Put on make-up in the car with no heat. But, made it to work by 8.), I will show the one that I have.

The Before.

Day 1 of braces.

The during.

The After.

What do you think? Do I look like an adult now?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

In the smoker's corner

Last year, during the first snow storm of the year, I ended up parking on the top floor of the parking garage. After work, I waded through the snow and wind to clean off my car. The very next day, I paid for a reserved spot on the 3rd floor, 1 quick flight of stairs to the entrance to my building.

With the $10/month I pay for my reserved spot, I never have to remember where I parked at the end of the day (if any of you know my short-term memory, you know what an issue this can be). I never have to battle the rain or the snow or the heat. I have the comfort of knowing exactly where I will park each and every day.

I also get something extra with my $10/month. I get a car that reeks of smoke. You see, there is a sign in our parking garage that instructs smokers to smoke on the 3rd floor so that employees do not walk through a cloud of carcinogens to get to their vehicles. That is a great benefit to those who do not park on the 3rd floor. Each evening, if I don't first walk through fresh smoke to get to my car, I get in my car and am assailed by stale cigarette smoke. And, if I plan an appointment for mid-morning or mid-afternoon, I get to maneuver my way through what could only be called a smoker's lounge (since there are too many to fit stay in the designated corner), holding my breath as I quickly walk through, to get to my already smoke-smelling car.

I don't blame the smokers because they are smoking in their designated area. It is completely my fault for taking a spot on the 3rd floor. But, what I do find strange everytime I walk by is how incredibly odd it is that the people who have developed a completely nasty habit can take 3-5 10-minute smoke breaks to read their novel or catch up on the latest gossip while those of us who refrain from smoking a cancer-stick work through those multiple breaks.

I guess smoking must make a person 30-50 minutes more efficient than the rest of us.

(And yes, I do realize that I have now completely lost any readership that currently smokes.)

Tasty Tuesday - Raspberry Pinwheels

Raspberry Pinwheels

I made these and gave them out as gifts this year. I put them in mason jars with a red and white striped ribbon around the mouth of the jar to play-up the red and white theme of the cookies. Then I put an adhesive bow on the lid. (I totally stole this idea from a magazine because I am not that creatively smart). Luckily, the cookies actually tasted yummy, too, and weren't too much work. It would have been smart of me to take a picture, because I think they actually turned out kinda cute! Instead, I am showcasing the photo from the magazine.

1 1/2 sticks of butter (at room temperature)
1 8oz. block of cream cheese (at room temperature)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour (plus extra for workspace)
1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam
1 large egg
Turbinado sugar (sugar in the raw)

Mix the butter, cream cheese, and sugar until fluffy. Add the vanilla and mix. Gradually add the flour until just combined. Turn the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead 3 or 4 times. Form dough into 2 1-inch thick squares. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for an hour or so.

Take one of the squares from the fridge and lay out on a floured piece of parchment paper. Roll or form dough into a 9 x 12 inch rectangle. Hint: the dough works better if it remains somewhat chilled so don't work it a lot). Take half of the jam and spread it over the dough (don't use too much jam). Cut the rectangle 2 times so that you end up with 3 9x4 inch rectangles. Starting with the long end, roll each rectangle into a log. Cover each log with waxed paper and put back into the fridge for at least 30 minutes; OR, you can put these logs into the freezer for up to 2 months.

Heat oven to 350 degrees and line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Take the logs from the fridge and cut into 1 inch slices; place on the parchment-lined cookie sheets. Whip the egg and brush onto the tops of each roll; sprinkle the raw sugar on top. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Check out more Christmas recipes here:
Our Lives In a Nutshell

Monday, December 15, 2008

Brace yourself

Life with braces is quickly coming to an end. A date has been set for the removal and I can't say that I will miss these things. They capture food in very hard places to reach. They change colors depending on what I eat. They poke and rub. And, they give me the appearance of a teenager, instead of a mid-20s adult. The end result, however, should be well worth the past 19 months. I'll be sure to post before and after pictures.

Here are eight things I learned this weekend:

1. Hubs does not eat recipes with any sort of vinaigrette as an ingredient.
2. When making a new recipe for Christmas gifts, bake a trial batch first, to make sure you don't end up with unrecognizable treats. (The second batch turned out beautiful.)
3. Cold wind comes right through our sliding glass door, condenses, and make frost on the INSIDE of our apartment. The result: heater runs nearly non-stop.
4. My allotted Christmas budget is getting slim - and I still have 7 people to buy for.
5. Hubs is sick of studying.
6. I am sick of Hubs studying.
7. I only like changes when I control them.
8. Somewhere along the past week I have lost my Christmas spirit, but hopefully a fun time with friends tonight will bring it back.

Friday, December 12, 2008


A recipe for really yummy, I mean knock-your-socks-off-can't-get-enough-of-it, spinach and artichoke dip. I signed myself up for it.

A long day ends in the best way.

Yesterday I left our home at 6:30am and returned at 8:30pm. That qualifies as a long day in my book. My entire body ached when I got home so I decided to unwind with a warm shower. I was in bed at 9:30. But that's not where the evening ends. I started out with such good intentions of a full nights' rest.

There is one movie that never gets old to me - Pride and Prejudice. I have seen it so many times and each time I watch I wonder if I will get tired of it. But I never do. it can't be just any version. It must be the A&E version. It must be the 6 hour long version. It must have Colin Firth in it. It is simply the best, mainly because it is almost word-for-word directly from the book.

I have asked for this movie for years, and for this past birthday, I finally received it (along with 30+ hours of other romantic DVDs). If you are a female; if you have a spot in your heart for romantic love stories; and if you have never seen this movie - have a girl night and watch it. You are sure to love it!

What, you ask, does this have to do with last night? Since I have discovered my new watch-movies-in-bed machine, I decided that I would watch part of this movie to "wind-down" and fall asleep. I had put it on the previous night while I was cleaning, so I knew exactly where I would start the movie back up and it happened to be one of the best parts (Mr. Collins proposes to Elizabeth - hilarious).

Before I knew it Hubs was coming to be and it was 11:30! I peeled myself away from the movie and went to bed, but today I am tortured. All I want to do is finish the movie!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Party it up!

Last Friday was my company's Holiday Party. If, when you think of company party you cringe and visions of awkward social situations pop into your head, you have never been to my company's parties.

Our Holiday Party committee starts planning in the middle of summer and so far we have not been dissappointed with the activities. Plus, the food is delicious and the people are fun. There are not awkward pauses during conversation, but maybe that has to do with almost everyone in our company speaking in front of people for a living. Even Hubs, who isn't a huge fan of attending parties where he knows hardly anyone, enjoys himself. I believe that our company owners put this party on to thank us for our hard work and we in turn thank them by having a great time.

This year was no different. The committee put together an extensive murder mystery. We watched a video and worked as tables to figure out who the murderer was. Our team didn't win, but when the prize is a t-shirt with a co-workers life-size face ironed on, you can't be too disappointed.

Abby requested pictures of the new outfit that I wore. Luckily, the photographer captured a couple of my best side... (look for the bright green).

Look really hard in the background. Yup. There I am!

Okay, so they did take one picture when I was facing the camera.


The next evening, we got together with Hubs's family and played games and watched football. It is a tradition to go to a fancy dinner, but we decided to eat in and relax this year. I dominated barely won at Phase 10 and we ordered from our favorite Chinese restaurant. Plus we took this fun picture.

For Pop and Gram

I was missing my Pop-pop and Gram last night. It's been such a long time since I've seen them (since May); and, it will probably be a long time until I see them again. I can remember when I spent Christmas with them last and it was YEARS ago.

There was a time that they lived down the street. We could come over whenever we wanted and saw them all the time. I have some great memories at their house or on trips with them. I took those years for granted. We moved away and they get to travel all over the country and see so many great sights.

Gram is always up for playing games with me, even when she has better things to do. I've always been able to talk to her about anything and she has always been there to listen and to tell me the right thing to do. We went on some fun trips together and I love hanging out with her. I love Gram.

"Pop-pop can fix anything" is what we always say. He can build anything, too. He taught me about the center of gravity when I was building towers with blocks - I aced that section of physics. Whenever I see a train, my mind immediatly goes to Pop-pop because he used to build locomotives for GE. He was patient with us as we tagged along to help him with his projects and taught us so many things. I love Pop-pop.

So, if you are reading, Grandma and Pop-pop, I miss you and will miss spending Christmas with you. I am horrible at calling and emailing and writing, but I think about you all the time. I am planning on 2009 bringing us to visit and spend much needed time with you. Travel safe.

I love you, Heather

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Marley & Me

I laughed so hard that I cried just watching this trailer! I cannot wait to see this movie.

Hopefully, I will own one of those adorable puppies sometime in the next year.


There are a few things wrong with this picture.
1. I am not with the Cambridge Singers.
2. The Royal Philharmonic will not be there.
3. John Rutter will not be conducting - that, by the way, would be a privilege.
4. It will not be the complete work.

However, the picture provides a springboard into the topic of a local production of The Messiah.
1. A choir composed of 3 local churches.
2. An orchestra composed of the same churches.
3. A conductor from one of the churches.
4. Comprised of 5 choral pieces and 4 solo pieces.

If you have never been to a performance of Handel's Messiah, you are truly missing out. Biblical text put to a masterful music score featuring elaborate solos and arrangements. It tells the story from the prophecy of the Messiah to His death and ressurection. Usually, you will see the complete work performed at Easter which is about four hours in lenth. I have been fortunate enough as to have sung the entire work four times with some amazing artists.

Tomorrow and Saturday, however, we will be performing a smaller portion of The Messiah for the community. It will only be about 35 minutes long and will feature some amazing local solists. The best part is that it is FREE! I have really enjoyed preparing for this because it has been so long since I have sung great choral music.

Let me know if you would like more details about the performance by emailing me.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Christmas isn't Christmas without...

Everyone has things they must do, eat, see, play during the Christmas season for it to feel right. For me, Christmas isn't Christmas without...

The Carpenter's Christmas CD
To me, it is the sound of Christmas.

The smell of a real Christmas tree
I actually haven't had a real tree in 4 years! It is a must that the Christmas Tree is cut down by us at a farm. I have been improvising with a candle.

An advent calendar
See this post.

Carolling on Christmas Eve
See this post.

The Christmas Story
Read by a member of the family each year on Christmas Day PRIOR to opening presents.

A new ornament
Each year, my mom bought us a new ornament commemorating something special that happened that year. Now, I buy an ornament for us each year for the same reason (this year, a palm tree for our Hawaii trip). Hubs's family also does a new ornament each year so this tradition will be easy to carry on.

The tastes of Christmas: Almond bark covered pretzels, sugar cookies, green cookies, peppermint lattes, & candy canes.

And Christmas is not Christmas unless there is snow!
This actually hasn't happened for us in many years and it always makes me a little sad. I wish I could get myself to New York just for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

These are the main ones. So tell me, what makes Christmas Christmas for you?

Holding on.

It feels like yesterday was November 1st. How I completely skipped over the past 6 weeks, I have no idea. But here we are, 15 days until Christmas...only 21 days until 2009.

I've been holding on tightly to 2008. I want to savor these last days before 2009 changes our course completely.

2008 was great! Fun trips with my Hubs; great times with friends; good friendships built; growth in my life and relationships. We have become comfortable with our life, our jobs/school, our community. And there are still great times left in 2008. I can't wait to spend time with my family for 3 WHOLE DAYS! None of this quick weekend stuff.

No. I'm not dreading 2009 - I'm excited for it. It will include many fun trips - Atlanta, Hawaii, and one still to be determined. It will include a visit to my grandparents in Texas. It will include lots of changes in our life and adjustments that will surely cause us to grow and learn. (More on this after 2009 gets here).

When 2009 comes, I will be ready, excited, and will face it head on. But, I will live these last days of 2008 to the fullest - just living them without anticipating the future.

It won't be easy, the rest of the month will pass by quickly:
December 11: Messiah performance
December 13: Messiah performance
December 15: Flock Christmas Party
December 18: CRDTs Test for Hubs
December 19-21: Finish Christmas Shopping
December 22: Boards Test Day 1
December 23: Boards Test Day 2
December 24: Travel to Kansas
December 25-28th: Kansas
December 28: Clabaugh Christmas
December 31: New Year's Party!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Five for Friday

1. I do believe DayQuill is one the best medicines ever invented.
2. Zinc really does lessen the severity of cold symptoms.
3. Lysol gives your home a nice hospital smell.
4. Infomercials are the only thing on network TV at 1am - you'd think they could at least play some old re-runs or something.
5. Hubs is taking his last final as I type!

I (obviously) have a cold. We have my company's Holiday Party tonight and we will go. No matter how exhausted, stuffed up, and sick I feel. No matter how red and raw my nose is. I will wear the new outfit I bought for this party and we will have fun.

PS - I watched another movie on my laptop last night. So awesome!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

A New Discovery

I consider myself a faily intelligent woman. For instance, I can tell you where your sternocleidomastoid muscle is; or, tell you how many carbons are in a benzene ring. I can explain how carbohydrates are digested; or even tell you how many sharps are in the key of A. Those things, I can handle. The simple logics of everyday life, I seem to have trouble with.

So, how it took me 2.5 years to discover that I could watch DVDs on my laptop while Hubs studies, is beyond me.

For two and a half YEARS, I have had to forgo watching TV, let alone DVDs, while Richard studies. We picked our apartment particularly due to the beautiful office for him to study in. It has glass, french doors leading in from the living room. We didn't realize, however, that these glass doors would not block sound at all. So, if I have a TV show to watch, I mute during commercials, and sit really close to the TV when it comes back on so that I can keep the volume low (sacrificial love at its finest, is it not?).

Last night, I popped in our latest Netflix to watch and heard a reminder from the office to keep it low. I mentioned that I wish edI could just hook some headphones up to the TV and Hubs said, "Why don't you just watch it on your laptop so you can use your headphones." He said this so causually - duh.

Genius of an idea, dontcha think? Wait, it gets better. Not only can I watch DVDs at a normal volume, but I also can watch them from the comfort of my own bed. It might have taken 2.5 years to make this connection, but you can better believe I will be making it worth my while for the next 3 weeks of studying.

Forty-five minutes later, Hubs found me under the covers, headphones on, DVD playing, sound asleep.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The countdown is on. The tree is crooked. The presents are beautiful.

My mom had a great big advent calendar that hung on the wall. It was made of fabric and she attached 3 pieces of candy to each day until Christmas. We loved that thing.

When I moved away, my mom bought me a really cool advent calendar from Starbucks. It is a reusable one, so I got it ready this weekend.
There are 2 pieces of candy in each box. Each morning, you pull out the box, take out the candy, and flip the box around to start a picture.

We bought this Christmas tree for our first Christmas together. It is perfect for our little apartment since it is tall and skinny. After taking this picture, I realized the tree is pretty crooked, especially the star. The real problem, I think, is the star. It is too heavy for the tree, but I loved it and bought it anyway.

Don't know if you can see the packages under the tree, so here's a close-up:

Sarah taught me to wrap presents last year. Not just wrap presents, I could put paper over them and tape them up. But, she taught me to wrap presents so that they are pretty. Last year, I started with a pretty easy patterned paper, but this year I have the "ho's" to line up. Hubs was impressed with my new found skill. Hmmm, Mom, I wonder what this present could be.... :)

Wondering what our apartment looks like, outside of my beautiful closet from this post (it isn't that lovely right now)? You can get a little glimpse from the few photos, but I hope to take you on a tour of our abode in the near future - most likely AFTER I have cleaned.

Monday, December 1, 2008

A funny...

Hubs just called.

Me: What are you doing?
Hubs: Chuckling.
Me: Why are you chuckling?
Hubs: Because someone wrote a permanent message on the Brita water pitcher.
Me: Oh yeah...

Let me explain. I went to the fridge this morning to pour myself a glass of cold water. As I lift the pitcher, water pours all over the floor. Noticing the sharpie on the counter, I wrote on the pitcher, "Do not fill the water to the brim," cleaned up the water, and went on my merry way. Later, it dawned on me that I had written it in permanent marker. Oh well. It will be a funny reminder in the future.

Was it worth it?

A recap of Friday, November 28th

1:15am: Wake up. Is it time yet? Nope, go back to sleep.

2:15am: Wake up. Did I miss it? Nope, go back to sleep.

3:00am: Get up. I haven't slept at all anyways.

3:30am: Tell Hubs goodbye. He says, "I can't believe you're actually doing this."

3:50am: Arrive at Younkers. I am not standing in line.

3:55am: Get out of car and stand in line.

4:20am: Stand in line to check out.
4:25-4:40am: Call Ruth about 10 times to compare shopping experiences.
4:45am: Battery dies in phone. Realize I'm going to have to go back home to charge it.

5:05am: Finally check out.

5:15am: Home. Plug phone in. Lay on couch for a 30 minute nap.

6:50am: Wake up. Jump off the couch. Grab phone. Leave.

7:00am: Arrive at mall.

7:30am: Not feeling good. Naseau. Headache. Can barely concentrate on shopping walking.

7:35am: Buy pretzel and coke. That should help.

7:45am: Pretzel and coke didn't help. Sitting on the floor at the mall, on the phone with Dad, wondering if I am going to make it.

8:00am: Decide to try one more store.

8:30am: Head home. Lay in bed.

9:45am: Leave with Hubs for another mall.

1:00pm: Start fading fast. Need food.

1:30pm: Leave the mall. Eat Chinese food for lunch.

2:45pm: Full and ready for a nap. Head to a football party.

7:45pm: Home, at last. Quickly change into comfies and heat up leftovers for supper.

8:30pm: Fast asleep on the couch.

So, are you wondering if it was worth the exhaustion, sickness, grungy feeling, and time? I went through my receipts - here are the totals:

Regular price: $1,154.96
Price paid: $596.01
Minus giftcards: $215.00
Total spent: $381.01

Top savings of the day was a $180.01 savings on 1 item! Besides the one little episode on the mall floor, we really had a lot of fun. The bargains were contagious and we did get most of our Christmas shopping done, plus a little shopping for ourselves using up some leftover giftcards.

Ups and Downs

Up: Watched some of the Macy's Day Parade. Make fun all you want, but I like it.

Up: Spent some much needed quality time with Hubs.

Up: Had a great Thanksgiving Day in Council Bluffs with Hubs's family.
Down: Had a giant hot flash for the entire day.

Up: Got lounge pants as a free gift at one of the stores. Oh my - my new favorite pants.

Up: Got some great deals on Black Friday including my outfit for the many Christmas outings over the next few weeks.

Up: Decorated the house for Christmas.
Down: Hubs snapped a picture of me decorating for Christmas.

Up: Hubs has his final Final this week, ever.
Down: He has to study for it all week.