30 June 2010

So long, Starkville...

Well, it's here-the big move! I can't believe it. Today is my last day at work, and tomorrow is my last day in Starkville. I don't actually think it's hit me yet--believe I'm in a stage of denial. Hope it doesn't have too many levels...

To begin with, I can't believe I've already worked a year at my job-that seems crazy to me! And I really can't believe how fast 5 years has gone by here at State. It's all a blur of football games, fun nights at the boys (now my...) house, Chi O functions, sweet memories with the girls, and a lot of time at First Pres, in addition to eating numerous restaurants that I will miss dearly...ha! And so many more memories that I can't start to reflect on otherwise it'll make it even harder to leave! Better to leave it as a blur for at least the next week or so-then I'll start to decompress all the stories, memories, and life experiences that Starkville has shared with me.

Quite possibly the scariest thing to me is not being in school once I get to Benning...Yes, I realize this makes me sound like a complete nerd (which I proudly accept), but all I've done for the last twenty years or so is go to school--what do I do now?! Oh wait, I get to take a class in the fall...life in academia isn't over yet for me! Long story on that one. Let's leave it at the Foreign Language Dept. of MSU sort of messed me up and I will now be taking my last class at Auburn, but my degree will be from State. The end.

Onto the moving saga! If any of you have been to my house in Madison, you will remember how large our front living room is. It's pretty big. Now imagine this: the entire room (and into the dining room...) is completely FULL of furniture and boxes, stacked so high that's it's taller than me! I tried to get a picture, but I just couldn't capture the scope of the madness. My wonderful grandparents/relatives/parents are showering us with furniture--the benefits of everyone being a woodworker in the family! Must...take...up...the...family...trade...I don't want the tradition to end! This past weekend the Pages came down and helped me move everything out of the Starkville house; I ended up having to make an impromptu trip home Saturday afternoon to take a load home, but it was good to see the family and appreciate the furniture store that is our living room. Brian and I are doing what's called a "DITY move" which stands for do-it-yourself. ("Yourself" in our case includes a little help from some family and friends...thank you in advance!)

Brian got to 'move in' to our house yesterday. By 'move in', I mean he's sleeping there...in a sleeping bag! What a trooper. And with no air conditioning...Really hoping that gets fixed before move-in day on Saturday, otherwise we are going to be some really hot and exhausted people! Southern Georgia in July...not really an ideal time for the AC to be broken. Especially when you live on the second floor. My goal this weekend is to get moved in and hopefully share some pictures of the outside of the house with you! I doubt I'll be done unpacking before I want to write another post.

In honor of my dear husband (still weird to think he's actually my husband now, after all these years!), I also decided to be blog-patriotic for the 4th. Happy 4th of July! Hooray for freedom. So thankful for those who provide freedom and protect us. A special thanks to all the armed servicemen/women.

Well that's about all I have time for today--onto writing a final, packing, cleaning, and spending my last precious hours in Starkville with friends!

24 June 2010

June 24 will live in infamy

Ok, in addition to ALL of the good news below, I just found out I passed my grad school comps!

About to Burst!

So I'm trying to keep my "blogging" down to once a week, but I have so much fun I sometimes can't contain myself. Especially today. First of all, I got an awesome wake-up text message from my college minister, Joey, who texted to tell me that Kate (his wife) had gone into labor! About an hour later, Brian called and told me we got a HOUSE at Ft. Benning! For both of those announcements, I was jumping around the Starkville house dancing and yelling for joy. No really, I was. No one else is home--I can celebrate, right?

Whew now that I am able to share my excitement and joy with you all, here are some more details!

Joey and Kate (and their precious son Joseph) are some of the people I hold dearest here in Starkville. They replaced our other incredible college minister team (Jon and Elizabeth) about three years ago, and it has been so wonderful getting to know them and they have blessed me so much by allowing me to become a part of their family over the years. They have constantly showered me with love and encouragement and I absolutely love spending time with all three of them. Joseph, who is now 2, is especially dear to my heart and I cannot believe I have to leave him in a week! I've helped watch him since he was around 5 months old, and let's just say I am deeply attached to him. The day he learned and said my name, I melted and have never been able to regain composure since. But, that's ok with me. :) He now calls me around and we play every sport under the sun. Thankfully he doesn't realize that I'm terrible at anything with a ball/bat/hand-eye coordination! Kate originally was due at the beginning of August, and I was a little sad that I wouldn't get to be here for the grand entrance of baby #2. Well, plans changed last week as she and the doctors realized she wasn't going to make it to full term. So early this morning she went into labor and popped out Jamison Charles (James for short!) around 11:30! So far the report is that she's doing well but very tired. (understandably so....) I'm so glad I get to meet and be with little James, even if only for a week! He's also doing well!

Onto even more great news....FT. BENNING! Aside from the fact that we're going to melt in the humidity into a small puddle of sweat, at least we'll have a house to cool off in! It's actually part of a huge house divided into four smaller "houses". We are upstairs, but it's in the neighborhood that I've always wanted to live in on Ft. Benning. The houses are stucco with a brick tile roof-Mexican style! Hello, of course I'm in love with it! We also have 3 BEDROOMS, if you can believe that, and yes, that is an invitation to all to come visit us! We were worried about having too much furniture, but those fears are now subsided. God's goodness and love is just so evident--especially today! I had decided to let go of the control I was attempting to have over the housing situation at Benning, and He has provided! Even if we weren't on post, I am certain He would've provided another way for us. Praise the Lord from whom all blessings flow! A new child and two new beginnings--things are promising! Thanks for letting me share my joy with you! My heart is still dancing away!

21 June 2010

Going Greene!

This weekend, two of my very first friends at Mississippi State got married-Zach and Stacey! Stace and I have been inseparable since before we even began our freshman year here at State...which is now over 5 years ago! We're are often referred to as "Stecca", due to the fact that for the majority of our time here, we were a package deal!
It was a beautiful weekend. The rehearsal was probably the most smooth rehearsal I've ever been to...it was quiet, organized, and we got done on time-imagine that?! The rehearsal dinner was at The Grill, and we had so much fun! Much thanks to the Greenes for providing us with endless fried cheese sticks (The Grill is infamous for them!). I consumed waaaay too many calories this weekend, and sitting on this couch is not helping that fact! We spent the night at Stacey's house Friday night and woke up Saturday and lounged around, munching on City Bagel (another Starkville favorite) and watching Friends! During our two years of living together, Karen, Krystina, Stacey and I perpetually had a Friends DVD in...this might be why my little DVD player no longer works! Saturday went by without a hitch; we got Stacey beautified (as if she needed it...) and headed to the Drill Field on MSU's campus for her to see her groom! After they saw each other, the bridal party endured temps upward of 100 degrees, but we survived and I cannot wait to see the pictures! I got to ride with the photographers throughout Starkville and it was so much fun getting to know them. Their work is incredible and they are such fun people! I want to be them..... The ceremony was wonderful--Jon and Joey performed it, so it was great to be up there with them for round two! We finished the night off at the Ritz in West Point with a scrumptious dinner (delicious fried chicken, Gouda mac'n'cheese, rolls, green beans --didn't eat those, of course ;)--and homemade ice cream in lieu of wedding cake. It was so wonderful to catch up with some old Chi O friends whom I haven't seen in some time--we danced the night away and then sent Zach and Stacey packing for their honeymoon! All in all, a successful weekend! Jared, Karen, and Krystina stayed in our humble abode as well, so it was fun to have some additional house guests!

Sunday morning I got baptized at First Pres....I've been planning to do this for, um, around 6 years or so?.... but I am so thankful I was able to do it at First Pres. How I'm going to miss that church and congregation! The rest of Sunday Brian and I spent relaxing some and also packing up, complete with a trip to Lowe's. He leaves tomorrow! I cannot believe June is almost over. I am here until at least July 1-have a final that day-whoo fun! Meanwhile, we're working out moving details with our parents. We're coming from about three different places, so it's going to be interesting!
Ok enough words already-I know you want pictures! Add Image
Me and the beautiful bride!
The girls side of the wedding party.

The woman of the day!

Apt. 3208. We will forever live in infamy!

So I missed about 3 hours of pictures, mostly due to the fact that I was dancing/DJ'ing. Yep, you heard me right. A few friends and I kept the music rolling! This picture is from right before Zach and Stace left...hence the flushed cheeks and disheveled hair.

As far as Ft. Benning goes, we're still waiting to hear about housing. Hopefully we'll have an answer by Thursday!

18 June 2010

Visual Update

So I'm finally working from my home computer, so I can now upload some pictures! Expect a long blog next week too, since this weekend is Stacey and Zach's wedding! I just love weddings!

Brian and I "celebrated" our one month anniversary this week--crazy! Ok we're not really into month-anniversaries, but I thought this one was worth highlighting.

Here are some pictures from what we've been up to lately...more to come!

My hydrangea! Brian gave this to me last summer, and I thought I killed it because it got too much afternoon sunlight (they like morning sun, not the heat of the day!). But lo and behold, it has come back to life after pretend-dying, then surviving all winter in the boys kitchen, where I do not believe it ever got watered! Pretty resilient plant!
Brian's birthday, June 6. We celebrated with a cookout and friends, complete with homemade ice cream cake!

Brian's birthday

After playing frisbee in the backyard, we decided to channel our inner 7-year old and catch fireflies! Like good Girl and Boy Scouts, we put some grass and fruit in the bottom of the jar and poked holes in the top! We caught a ton too! Here's Lindsay with our prized possessions:

Last weekend we went to the lake...somehow I managed to not be the main photographer--Leigh has most of the pictures! This is before we went to dinner by boat.

That's it for now--more to come! We're gearing up for the move/Brian leaving next week, so it's going to get a little crazy!

14 June 2010

1st Annual Baby Summit

No, neither I nor any of my friends are pregnant. Just thought I should throw that out there immediately after you saw the title. Instead, a group of MSU friends have a bet going... this is something our husbands dreamed up, and as you read, you will be able to tell, due to the nature of the "baby bet", as it is entitled.

Since the majority of our husbands are terrified of a little creature called a baby, they have made a deal. Whoever has the first baby out of our group owes everyone else a case of beer. (Can you tell now what party made this bet up?...) I'm not sure if this is supposed to be a deterrent for us females, knowing that we'll have to part with some money to buy beer for the boys in the case that we get pregnant, but the boys are quite excited about it. There are bylaws that outline the type, quantity, and "due date" of the beverages, as well as when the bet is solidified (they have to hear the baby cry). Meanwhile, us females are trying to figure out what we get out of this...the boys unanimously agreed that while they got beer, we got a baby, and we should be happy about that.

All this to tell you that we've decided to celebrate this "bet" by all getting together and hanging out! So this past weekend a group of us headed to Lake Martin, where Matt's parents have a lake house. It was heavenly! It was so great to catch up with friends and hear about what was going on in everyone's lives. We spent looooong days in the sun; Matt chauffered us girls around on the boat while Brian and Allen tried to kill each other on the jet skis. Well, not quite, but that's what it looked like to me and Lindsay at least. They will beg to differ, I can assure you... The wonderful thing about Lake Martin is that the water is very, very clear, and that is something I greatly appreciate, because if you know me, you know I really do not like getting into water where I can't see the bottom, or at least see my feet. Thankfully, I spotted no fish that could eat me and we played in the water a good bit! Saturday night we took the boat and drove to a restaurant that's on the water called Sinclair's. It was packed, but we had so much fun--I've decided that I am perfectly content riding all day on a boat-it is so relaxing, and it is the absolute easiest way to get a tan and not realize it! Brian and I are really excited about moving to Ft. Benning because it means we'll be a lot closer to some of our great friends--it'll put us about 2.5 hours from Allen and Lindsay at Ft. Rucker, and we'll be about an hour away from Matt and Leigh's lake house, which means we might find ourselves at the lake again...

Speaking of Ft. Benning, Brian reports in less than 2 weeks! I kind of can't believe it! The month of June (so far) has been incredibly busy/fun/crazy. I feel like we haven't stopped going all month! We're trying to cram in as much time with everyone here before we leave, and it's making time fly...please tell time to sloooow dowwwn. We're gearing up for another busy weekend as Stacey and Zach's wedding is this Saturday! I can't believe it's here! I think we're going to have a lot of fun--just praying we don't melt all day Saturday! But considering that we're under a heat advisory until tonight and that when I left for work this morning around 7:30 it was 82 degrees already, I'm not sure how we're going to fare on Saturday...might have to get into the freezer at church before the ceremony!

VBS went well last week--those 3 year olds are crazy! I helped Stacey out for two days with the 3 year old class, and we had a good time, although they wore us out! I had two kids get into a little scuffle and when I asked one (the perpetrator) to apologize, he quickly responded with "I don't know how". It took everything I had not to burst out laughing! At night during VBS we also got to hear Dr. Andrew Purves speak, who is a teacher at Pittsburg Theological Seminary-he was great. I really enjoyed his lectures and it gave me such a better understanding of grace and faith. We've also spent some good time with Jon and Elizabeth, our former college ministers who are in town for about 2 weeks. It has been great catching up on life with them and telling crazy stories--they are full of them!

Well I've gone on for long enough now...school is going well too--I really like my class, but it's totally the background compared to everything else going on!

08 June 2010

Our First House Guest!

Brian and I have been setting up shop every since we got back from the honeymoon...which equated to more cleaning (I NEVER knew you could clean so much...and for so long!), unpacking a few of our belongings, and "feminising" the house, as the boys like to say. Which really means, it's clean, the trash is picked up, and the dishes get washed. :) So needless to say I was doing a lot of this in preparation for our very first ever house guest...Emily! While I knew she'd still claim me as a sister even if the house was a wreck, I still tried to spiffy it up for her (with help from the hubs too-made him scrub the tub...)

We had a lot of fun this weekend--we channeled our "Sally Warden" and spent the majority of Saturday setting up for VBS. All three of us have vivid memories of mom painting the Himalayas and making a "yak jacket" for one of our VBS's...the theme must've been "Around the World" or something...ha!

Saturday morning we started off at the local farmer's market...ok, this is a HIDDEN TREASURE! First, we bought three loaves of bread from a super-chatty woman. Lemon-blueberry bread. Can anything taste more divine? Don't think so. I also landed half a bushel of peaches for $4 and 3 zuchinni and 4 squash for $2!! $2-isn't that insane?! I'm going back. The rest of Saturday we spent our time transforming the church into a Big West ranch, complete with a corral entrance, built by Clay, Brian, and Brian's new tools, refrigerator boxes painted into stone walls, lots and lots of bandana-themed posters, and of course, hay, saddles, lanterns, and cow balloons. Yes, cow balloons-they're awesome. And Clay and Cameron (youth pastor/children's minister) ordered about 30 million too many plastic longhorn cow skulls, so we put them everywhere. We're totally into this ranch-theme...

That night, we had a group of friends over to celebrate Brian's birthday! He turned 24 on Sunday, but we had some friends in town Saturday so we decided to celebrate then. Emily and I made a mega-dinner...BBQ pork, sauteed zuchinni and squash (I think I'm spelling zuchinni wrong...), a massive fruit salad, chips, and ice cream cake! (my specialty, simply because it's so easy!) We nearly had a fiasco with the BBQ pork though...I bought a whopper Boston butt and had to chop off the top of it in order to get it into the crock pot. Next, mom always put some kind of juice in hers so that the meat doesn't dry out. I put in Cran-Grape juice-sounds good, right? Well, we come home from about 6 hours up at church and decide to check the meat--always a good idea, right? Well, I stick a fork in it and pull it out of the crock pot...and it is entirely PINK. Like, think raw salmon pink. Well, I first thought, "how did I screw up a crock pot meal?!", then started thinking of how much it was going to cost me to go buy barbecue...Emily suggested cutting it open, in case it cooked on the inside-thank goodness she did, otherwise I would've trashed this hunk of meat! As it turns out, it was cooked...the juice had dyed the outside pink! So note to self-do not use grape juice, as it is very deceiving and might potentially give you a panic attack.

Other than that, the party went off well! The weather cooperated and even gave us a lovely cool summer breeze, so we spent the whole night outside--it was wonderful! Sunday we made birthday cinnamon rolls (straight out of a can-yep.), went to church, and then the girls went to the pool while the boys watched baseball. Pretty American weekend, if I do say so myself! We had a lot of fun and we've started a busy week now--VBS is all morning, and at night we have a speaker, so we go to either listen to the speaker or help watch the kiddos (AKA, play on the front lawn).

As for old news, my comprehensive exams went pretty well! (At least, I think they did...) It took me 5 hours to finish them, but thankfully I had a lunch break in-between, so that helped to break it up. We also had our end of the year celebration at youth, which was a lot of fun...complete with dodgeball, a cookout, and lots of sweet stories and kind words. I'm going to miss First Pres so much!

I've figured out how to add pictures to this, so next time, maybe I'll have some to show you!

And now, if you're crazy enough to still be reading, I figured I'd share my super-easy, crowd-pleasing, ice cream cake "recipe"--it's hardly a recipe. More like "unwrap, place, freeze, done", but here goes:

(You can tailor this to how many people you're expecting, but I usually feed carnivorous, voracious boys, so I make a lot...)

1. Go to Kroger
2. Buy the following:
24 pack of mini ice cream sandwiches
tub of mint chocolate chip ice cream
chocolate syrup
large/deep casserole dish
24 mini ice cream sanwiches
tub of vanilla ice cream
carmel/butterscotch syrup
toffee/butterscotch pieces
large/deep casserole dish

3. Go home.
4. Assembly time!
Now, you can either opt to make a two layer or one layer cake. Two layers=deep, delicious fun, One layer=it's still delicious, but with less calories, sugar, and all that good stuff.

1. Unwrap and place ice cream sandwiches in the bottom, covering the bottom of the pan.
2. Drizzle chocolate/caramel/butterscotch (or all three...) on top of ice cream sandwiches. (depends on what type of ice cream you get). Sprinkle on the toffee/butterscotch pieces.
3. Next, put down a layer of ice cream.
This could be your stopping point, but if not...
Repeat those three steps!
4. Place in freezer and let sit for at least an hour, longer if you did two layers because you've got as much as a sweet tooth as me.

If you really want to go into a diabetic coma, you can ice the last layer of ice cream with cake icing. Disgusting? No, actually it's delicious. But you will be incapacitated after eating it, so beware. I saw someone ice it one time and then I tried it too...pretty darn sweet. Almost too sweet for me. But not quite.

If you make this, people will think you're an amazing chef, able to pull off the unique feat of making an ice-cream cake. Little do they know it's so easy!
Happy eating!