Thursday, December 29, 2011

Where Did the Time Go?!

Wow!  I knew it had been a little while since I last blogged, but I didn't realize that it's been three whole weeks!  (It's a little sad when your grandma calls to check on you because you haven't posted anything to your blog or facebook for a while.)  As I mentioned before, I started a new job mid-November.  This new job (teaching at the OSU Child Development Lab-Rise Program) has taken A LOT of my time recently!  Since I started, we have had a parent night and 19 parent teacher conferences (for which I had to complete assessment packets beyond any I've ever done... luckily we team teach and I only had to do packets for half of the kids).  I felt like I was in college again staying up until midnight or later to complete paperwork in preparation for everything.  That being said, I have thoroughly enjoyed being back in the classroom!!!  It's so nice to feel like my life has a purpose again.

OK, OK, enough about that.  Since I haven't posted in so long, I will be posting a few times over the next few days trying to catch up.  First up, we have some Christmas decor pictures.

For the last couple of years, we have put up outdoor lights.  Last year, we bought white LED lights that ended up looking blueish on the house.  This year, we moved last year's lights to the trees and bought multi-colored lights for the house.  I seriously love them!  (Sorry for the not-so-great picture.  I was trying to take it quickly so my neighbors wouldn't think I'm nuts {as if they don't already}.)

Sam finished this nativity scene a few days before Christmas last year.  It was so nice to have it out for the entire holiday season this year. 

After Christmas last year, I made this wreath using $4 worth of ornaments from the clearance aisle.  It might be one of my favorite Christmas decorations!

Another post-Christmas purchase from last year was this nativity set.  I honestly forgot about it until I found it while unpacking the decorations this year.  I think it is a great match with this printable featuring Luke 2: 13-14.

Here is the obligatory tree picture.  Notice there aren't any presents under it... I didn't wrap any presents until Christmas eve eve.  Who am I kidding?  As of Wednesday of last week I had only bought three gifts!  The tree skirt was my Great-Grandma's.

Last, but definitely not least, here is our Christmas card from this year.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Pictures That Didn't Make the Card

Every year, Sam and I (mostly me, Sam just plays along) have his mom take some pictures of us and the dogs while we are visiting for Thanksgiving so that I can use one for our Christmas card (we have to have his mom do it because Sam says he's not paying someone to take pictures of us and our dogs :).  I thought it would be fun to show you some out takes from the last few years.   

2009 ~ We were trying to capture a beautiful sunset.  Too bad Bella didn't appreciate it...


Here's the one we settled on.  At least Bella is in the picture...

 2010 ~ Even though Sam felt horrible and had been getting sick off and on all day, he still agreed to come outside and take some pictures with us.  Rufus was obviously very concerned about the approaching horse (yup, we have city dogs).  Bella was just being Bella.

 This picture was a Christmas card contender, but we decided to go with another one.

The winner!  I couldn't believe that she actually captured both dogs looking at the camera!

2011 ~ I can't help but laugh when I look at this picture!  If it weren't for the fact that it's a little blurry, it would hands-down be our Christmas card choice.  I like to think that I had just said something witty that made both of us laugh causing the dogs to look at us.  I'm sure that wasn't the case. 

I love this photo!  If you are ever at our house when Bella is feeling comfortable (she gets antsy when people are there), you will see that she loves to lay her head on Sam's lap!  The reality is, in this picture she is actually pouting.

This is why she was pouting... she got in trouble for not wanting to sit close to us.

Seriously, doesn't this look like a newborn pose where all of the family is looking at the baby?  I believe it was taken while we were all watching Bella slowly move closer to us.

And the 2011 Christmas card photo is...


Did you really think I would show the picture before Christmas cards went out?  (I do have to warn you that I made the cards myself this year, so expect them to look a little homemade.)

Stay tuned!  In a future post, I will be showing you the awesome gift Sam orders me every year!  Hint ~ It involves our Christmas card picture!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

What Do You Do With Pumpkins After Thanksgiving?

Use them for target practice, of course!

That's right, we spent part of Friday shooting targets including the pumpkins that I used to decorate for fall.  I'm using the term "we" loosely here, the brothers shot guns while I took pictures and read a book in the warmth of the pick-up. 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Today, as Always, I am Thankful

Today, as always, I'm thankful for...

~ our Heavenly Father who died on a cross so that we may have eternal life.

~ an amazing husband who is my best friend and biggest supporter.

~ our precious angel who we will spend eternity with.

~ our two awesome dogs. (Last night, on our drive up, I was having a rough moment and started quietly crying in the passenger seat. Suddenly, two heads popped over the seat and rested on my arm. I don't know how they knew I needed that, but they did.)

~ my family. They might drive me crazy sometimes, but I know they love me and only want what's best for us.

~ the best friends a girl could ask for. You all are truly amazing and mean more to me than you'll ever know!

~ being back in the classroom.

~ the sweet little kiddos that are out there somewhere waiting to join our family.

Have a great Thanksgiving, everyone!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

What a Difference a Year Makes

Two years ago on this date was one of the best days of my life... the day we found out we were finally pregnant! Yesterday, when I realized today's date, I couldn't help but reflect on how different this last year has been from the previous six months. At the beginning of this month, we reached the year and a half mark since Aubrey's birth. Although I still think about her daily, I no longer dwell on her life/death. I am now able to talk to people about her without crying (although I often see tears in their eyes which then causes tears in mine because I feel bad for making them feel that way). And, I can now see pregnant people without feeling like I'm going to puke (although I would be lying if I said they have no effect on me).

Last year on this date, I was in no way ready to teach again. Now, I am excited to report that I'm back in the classroom doing what I love (more on that later). And, I'm eagerly awaiting the arrival of my precious nephew in March (I pray every night that my sister delivers a happy, healthy, LIVING baby).

Thank you, God, for helping this pain hurt a little less each day.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Yes, We're Those People

Disclaimer:  All of the pictures in this post are from my phone.  Sorry about the poor quality.

The other night, we were hanging out at the house when we realized that the dogs were down to two toys... and those two toys were the squeaker ball insides of  Kong toys they destroyed.

We decided, since we weren't doing anything else, to take the dogs to Petco to get a new toy or two.  Although Bella had been to Petco once when she was a puppy, Rufus had never been there.  It's not that we were concerned about how they would behave, we just didn't want to be those people (even though we totally are).  As expected, they both did great in the store.  We walked up and down the toy aisles looking at all the choices until Bella saw the toy she wanted.

It is just like one she had in the past and is the only thing in the entire store she tried to grab (even though she could have easily helped herself to the treat bar).

We started buying the Kong brand toys a few years back because most toys don't last very long when you have a Great Dane lifting a Boston Terrier off the ground with a toy (one of her ways of getting the toy from him while playing tug of war).  I love that the are not only very durable, but that they also have a squeaker ball instead of stuffing.  Bella especially loves the animal Kong toys because they have ultra soft material inside their ears.  She was so excited to take it home that she laid with it all night.

We also bought them some raw hides which Rufus loved!

All in all, it was a great outing!  Now that we've taken the leap into being those people, we might have to do it again sometime.

Monday, November 7, 2011

So I Made a Few Scarves...

Saturday I woke up really wanting to sew.  Luckily, I had a couple of scarf tutorials pinned on Pinterest, the material to make them, and the time to do it.

The first scarf I made was an infinity scarf that I've been wanting to try for a while.  I followed the super easy tutorial at H is for Handmade and couldn't be happier with the outcome.  Can you believe I scored this awesome fabric at a thrift store for $3 last week.  It was 1 7/8 yards long and 60 inches wide so I actually had enough fabric to make three scarves (which I did once I realized just how easy it was).

The second (or fourth, depending on if you count the two additional infinity scarves) scarf I made was a ruffle t-shirt scarf.  Even if you don't sew, you can make this scarf.  I bought a 4X t-shirt at Wal-Mart (because it was only $2 more than an XL and had lots more fabric :) and ended up with enough material to make two scarves.  You can find the tutorial over at Tidy Mom.  I really suggest you check it out, it was THAT easy!  I will definitely be making more of these!

The only thing I did differently than the tutorial was that I sewed across all the pieces in the back to keep them together, but you don't have to.

And there you have it.  For less than $10 and in less than an hour and a half, I have five awesome new scarves.  Well, I have two new scarves and three friends have a surprise headed their way.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Halloween Happenings

I know this is a couple of days late, but I have a few pictures from Halloween that I really want to share with everyone.  Although I had big plans of homemade costumes for the whole family, I quit about half way through the first one.  Oh well, maybe next year.  Instead, we greeted guests with a smoldering pond (we don't have any fish right now, so I didn't have to worry about them :). 

Rufus loved the trick or treaters!  This is where he sat all night.

Do you see what's on the table?  That's right, we handed out glow bracelets with our candy.  They were a big hit with the parents. 

Bella wasn't as excited as Rufus about Halloween, especially when the kids started getting older and the costumes started getting scarier.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Nation's Best Homecoming

Last time I wrote on here, I told you that we had another busy weekend coming up.  Well, the weekend has come and gone, so now I'm here with the re-cap.  (Add to this the fact that we had seven people stay at our house, and a neighborhood halloween parade Sunday, and you get one tired girl.)

For those of you who don't know, homecoming is a big deal here in Stillwater.  In fact, it's rumored that we have the nation's largest homecoming celebration!  In the week leading up to homecoming weekend, the university sponsors many activities including a carnival for the kiddos, painting the street leading to the stadium, huge signs depicting the theme designed by various organizations on library lawn and adding orange dye to the fountains.  One of the highlights of homecoming is walkaround.  In preparation for walkaround, the sororities and fraternities are paired up.  Together, they design and build a house dec that includes moving parts.  These giant house decs are covered in chicken wire that has been "pomped" with small pieces of tissue paper to create designs.  Many hours go into preparing these monstrosities!  During walkaround, the streets surrounding the fraternity houses (where the house decs are), are closed off.  Hundreds of people crowd the streets walking from house to house talking about which house dec is the best.  (My husband actually got to judge the engineering aspect of the house decs one year, as an alumni, this is a big honor!)

Walkaround is officially over at 9:00 when everyone is invited to the basketball arena for a pep rally type thing.  After walkaround, we me up with my mom and her friends for a little bit.

Then went down the road to watch a band.
They were dressed up as Thunder Cats for halloween... get it?!

I normally get up and go to the parade on Saturday morning, but this year I decided to sleep in a little and miss it.  As much as I wish I would have gone, I'm happy with my decision.

Before the game, we met up with the rest of the Parks' crew that was in town.  None of us had tickets to the game, so we enjoyed hanging out with each other.  That is, until the girls ditched the boys to go shopping. :)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

I Think We're Too Old For This

What, you might be wondering, do I think we are too old for?  Well, let me tell you about last weekend.  We started the weekend with a trip to Hastings (for CD's because we're old and still like CD's) followed by some yummy Swick's pizza.  Shortly after we returned home, Ben and Kim arrived for the weekend.  We stayed up talking for a little bit while the dogs played (Rufus has a huge crush on Kim's dog, Scout), then called it a night around midnight.  

Saturday morning, we woke up eagerly awaiting the OSU vs. Missouri game.  We all went to Eskimo Joe's where we met up with our friends Jen and Travis to watch the game.  After the game (which we won!), we had to check out the new Joe's Clothes.  It's very different from when I worked there back in my college days.  
That's why I love him!  He's willing to play along with my silly picture ideas (most of the time :). 

We then loaded up the dogs to go camping.  It was perfect weather for camping!  Kim and I stayed up way too late talking after the boys pansied out and went to bed early (if you call 10 early).  We woke up Sunday, ate breakfast, played with the dogs, ate lunch (Do you see a theme here?  We ate a lot of food.) then packed up.  After Ben and Kim left, Sam and I hit the bike trails.  I don't have any pictures from this adventure because Sam broke a chain a little less than a mile in so we had a to turn around and walk our bikes out.  While walking out, Sam twisted his ankle.  I felt really bad for him.

Kim is a fire master (even though Ben want's to take the credit for this one ;)!

Do you see Kim's (mansion) tent on the left?  Do you see our (shack) tent on the right?  Can you guess what's on my Christmas list?  We need a bigger tent if we plan to continue camping after we get kids ;).

Kim, the hand model, showing off her perfect s'more.

I don't know why, but this picture of Rufus makes me chuckle.

Oh how the dogs loved running on the shore!  Poor Rufus had a hard time keeping up with Bella's long legs and Scout's young dog energy.

Look at those ears!

Now, you might be thinking that seems like a fairly reasonable weekend, but we didn't stop there...  We got home from camping about 3pm Sunday, quickly showered, and jumped in the car to drive an hour to Frontier City.  For those of you that don't know, Frontier City is an amusement park in Oklahoma City.  We've been talking about going for a while and finally decided to set a date and do it (we hadn't been since when we were dating over eight years ago).  We met our friend Aaron there and had a blast riding rides (including the log flume which I was assured wouldn't get me wet), watching the wild west show, riding more rides, and people watching.  We finally headed home a little before 10 thoroughly exhausted.  

This is the only picture we took at Frontier City.  

There you have it, our crazy, busy weekend.  Our goal was to go to bed early every night this week since OSU's homecoming is this coming weekend (translation ~ seven additional people staying at our house with multiple events/festivities every day).  It's going to be a blast!