Sunday, December 20, 2009

holidays and the like

Since both of our families live in the same town, Thanksgiving just about does us in. For the past 3 years, we have eaten two Thanksgiving dinners on the same day.... not the best idea, in case you were wondering! Fortunately, they are spaced out (one around 1 or 2 and the other at about 7), but it is still way too much food! Afterwards, this is all we feel like doing:

The day after Thanksgiving, we put up our Christmas tree and other decorations. We then watched both Home Alone movies and had cookies and hot chocolate. It was a lot of fun, but it felt a little weird because it was sunny and in the 50s that day...not very Christmasy weather.

But we didn't have to wait long for that to change! The week following Thanksgiving break, the temperature plummeted, and we were threatened with a blizzard warning. We were told to expect up to 14 inches. In the end, we only got 2 1/2, but that was okay by us! The night we were supposed to receive this blizzard, Thomas and I were walking home from the rec center and passed a soccer field, covered in newly fallen snow. It was pretty much the perfect weather for playing in the snow: about 30 degrees, no wind, great packing snow... so we stopped and played for a while. We made a snowman, but since it was spur of the moment, we didn't have any accessories for him. Thomas made him a snow-nose and we broke some branches off of a nearby tree for arms, but that's about it! It has all melted now, but it was so much fun!

And then the end of the semester arrived! I can't believe how quickly this semester went by...I always feel that way at the end, but this time it seemed especially fast. And now we only have one to go! That is, I only have one to go...Thomas has one to go with this program, and then another 5 years or so. Finals week was considerably easier for me than Thomas. I didn't have much of anything due that week since most of my classes have final papers instead of tests, and they were due the last week of class. We both have had a lot of grading to finish up, and we're just about done! Unfortunately, I still need to be working on my thesis over break, so it won't be quite as relaxing as it usually is. I recently changed my topic, and I'm now writing about Harry Potter! I'll be looking at the role of prejudice within the novels, specifically with regards to race, class, and gender. I'm super excited. I just wish I'd chosen this topic in the first place; it would have made this semester a lot easier!

So Christmas break has arrived, and with it, so are most of my siblings! My brother Mark, his wife Sarah, and their adorable little girl got here yesterday afternoon, and we spent a fun evening with them making gingerbread houses, though Mark was certainly more interested in whatever football games were going on, and Sarah & Mark's house turned out pretty...creatively, due to both Mark's and Adriana's helping. :)

Here is our finished product (you can see Sarah and Mark's in the background as well):

And this was Thomas's favorite contribution:

A few weeks ago we went to the wedding of Thomas's boss at the pool, so I thought I'd include this picture of us at her reception:

And last but not least, the latest belly picture. Here I am at 16 weeks. We had a dr.'s appointment this week and everything still looks good. We have our big ultrasound scheduled for January 4th, and hopefully we'll be able to find out the gender then!

Friday, November 27, 2009

oh baby!

Now that we have told our families, we are sharing the news with everyone... We are having a BABY! It's due on June 1, and we are super excited! We have had a couple of ultrasounds already, and everything looks good so far. Here are some pictures:

from our first dr's appt, at about 9 weeks

around 13 weeks

me right after we found out, about 6 weeks

about 13 weeks

Sunday, November 1, 2009

h a double-l o w double-e n spells...

Halloween! We had a pretty low-key holiday because Thomas had to work most of the day. When he got home we had chili for dinner and watched "scary" movies (I don't like ones that are actually very scary, so we picked out some from the 50s that really weren't scary at all). We didn't have any trick-or-treaters because our apartment complex is kind of hidden, and it's in a college neighborhood, so there aren't a lot of little kids around. We didn't have any last year either, though, so we weren't counting on any. We did get to make jack-o-lanterns a few days ago, which was really fun. I made your generic scary face, while Thomas made Jack Skellington from The Nightmare Before Christmas. They turned out pretty well!

Thomas showing off his pumpkin

all lit up

Also, Thomas's play was last weekend! He did great! I'm glad it's finally over, though. It's nice to have him around in the evening. :)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

hamburger soup

It's been cooling down a lot in the last few weeks, and we've consequently been eating a lot of soup! I made this recipe for dinner tonight; it's one of our favorites!

Hamburger Soup

1 lb ground beef
4 c. water
1 can (14 1/2 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
3 medium carrots, sliced
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 medium onion, chopped
4 tsp beef bouillon granules
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1 c. fresh or frozen green beans
  • Cook beef and drain. In a large saucepan, combine all ingredients except the green beans; bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until potatoes and carrots are tender. Add beans. Cover and simmer 15 minutes longer or until the beans are tender.
The recipe also calls for 1/2 cup chopped celery, but I hate cooked celery so I always leave that out. I also usually add extra potatoes and carrots. It's so yummy!

In other news, Thomas's play is this week! It runs Thursday through Sunday. I'm excited to see it, and I'm also really excited for it be over so I'll get to see more of my husband! Other than that, we've just got the same old school and teaching going on. fun, fun...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


Last Tuesday was my birthday! The celebration was drawn out all week. The Sunday before the big day we went to my parents' house for dinner, then on my actual birthday Thomas and I went out to eat, and then we had dinner at his parents' the Friday after my birthday. It was tons of fun, and I got a lot of nice presents, including books, movies, gift cards, and.... a sewing machine! I've wanted one for a while, so I was very excited that Thomas and his sister Emily got me one! I'm not much of a sewer (I haven't done much since 7th grade home ec), but I've always wanted to learn to do more, and now I can! :) I've already started on a couple of projects. Here are some pictures from the various celebrations:

the cake my parents got me

Johnny believes that all pieces of cake are bite size.

Thomas is in sad need of a hair cut.

Thomas's mom left this surprise (made of Hershey kisses) on our doorstep on my birthday

My new sewing machine!

the cake Thomas decorated for me

Blowing out candles at Thomas's parents' house

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

1 month down...

I can't believe we've already been in school for almost a month! It is really flying by. I hope it continues flying by because I am so ready to graduate. The semester is going alright so far. I am taking a class on Middlemarch and one on children's literature, and I'm working on my master's thesis, which is focusing on portrayals of gender in Victorian children's fantasy, particularly the works of Lewis Carroll and George MacDonald. I enjoy all of these subjects, but the thesis especially has me feeling a little overwhelmed. Thomas is taking an absurd number of classes, including Latin, Greek, Old English, Early Christian Thought...and some other ones I can't think of. He's also been working hard in preparation for his play, which is about a month away. I'm super excited to see it! As soon as that's over, he'll begin the super-fun process of applying to PhD programs. I'll be glad once that's over and we know where we'll be going next year. I'm afraid there's not much else to has basically consumed our lives!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

frosted peanut butter fingers

Last night we went to a party for English faculty and grad students, and we were supposed to take some kind of snack, so I made this recipe that I'd been wanting to try for a long time but had never gotten around to. They turned out great, and even my mom and dad who supposedly don't like peanut butter (or in Dad's case, just don't like it in desserts) really liked them.

1 c. butter, softened
1 1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1 c. sugar
2 1/2 c. creamy peanut butter, divided
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 c. quick-cooking oats
2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt

chocolate frosting:
6 Tbsp. butter, softened
4 c. powdered sugar
1/2 c. baking cocoa
1 tsp. vanilla
6 to 8 Tbsp. milk

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in 1 cup peanut butter, egg, and vanilla. Combine oats, flour, baking soda, and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture.

Spread into a greased 15 x 10 x 1 baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 13-17 minutes or until golden brown. Cool slightly on a wire rack, about 12 minutes. Spread with remaining peanut butter. Cool completely.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter, powdered sugar, cocoa, vanilla, and enough milk to achieve spreading consistency. Spread over peanut butter. Cut into bars.

So yummy! I also wanted to mention how happy I am that we are NOT moving right now. This is the first year since either of us graduated high school that we haven't both moved at the beginning of the school year. It is so nice not to be worrying about packing up everything we own and then unpacking it all again. Of course, we will have to again next year, but I'm glad we are staying put for now!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

summer's end

Thomas has been home for 2 1/2 weeks now, and it has been wonderful! My trip to Notre Dame to pick him up was fantastic. The drive there was pretty boring but I listened to The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants on CD, and that helped it go a bit faster. It was not my first choice for a book, but there are somewhat limited options at the library and it was about the same length as the drive. We stayed in South Bend for a few days and had a mini-vacation. We went to some really nice restaurants (including this one: ... it was SO beautiful!), saw Julie and Julia (which we both really liked), and most importantly just spent time with each other. I hope we never have to be apart that long--or anywhere near that long--again!

Since he's been home, we've both been working a lot. Thomas has been back at the pool, and I kept working at Hy-Vee til the beginning of last week. I applied to be a substitute teacher this year, and I was lucky enough to start subbing on the first day of school, which was last Wednesday. Our old drama teacher Mrs. Clark had to have surgery a few weeks ago and is not supposed to be working yet, so I got to sub for her for a week, which was great because subbing pays better and is more fun than working at Hy-Vee.
Today is our first day of school, which I am not at all excited about, but it is my last year, and that is extremely exciting! This semester I am working on my master's thesis (which is focusing on depictions of gender in Victorian children's literature), taking 2 other classes, and teaching one section of freshman composition. I'm also going to continue subbing on the days I don't have class. I think that sounds like a pretty full schedule, but Thomas is taking five classes, teaching a section of freshman comp, rehearsing for The Importance of Being Earnest in which he'll be starring this October, and continuing to work a few hours at the pool every week. I consequently doubt I'll be seeing much of him, but seeing him at all is going to be better than this summer was!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

2 weeks to go!

I haven't posted anything in a while, but that's because not much has been going on. Since Thomas left, I've been working a lot but not too much else. Our trip to Notre Dame last month was a pretty smooth one. The campus is incredibly beautiful. Thomas has been enjoying his time there, but his class is extremely hard, and I think he's more than ready for it to be over. After I got back from taking him, I started work at Maritz, which is a call center that does phone surveys. I only lasted there three days because it sucked so much. I am now working back at Hy-Vee again, and any time I get sick of it, I only have to think about how terrible Martiz was to be glad about my situation. I've got less than a month left at Hy-Vee before school starts, and then Thomas and I will both be teaching freshman composition at Truman again. And in about a year, I will hopefully have a real job and no longer have to work at crappy part-time places!

I have recently been reading Susan Cooper's children's fantasy series The Dark is Rising. It was one of Thomas's favorite series when he was younger, and he and I each picked out a series for the other one to read. He read Anne of Green Gables, and I'm reading this. I'm currently reading the 4th book (out of 5). I am really enjoying them! It is especially fun to notice things in them that Thomas talks about a lot or is still interested in and realize that reading these books when he was little is where those interests started.

A few weeks ago I found out that my brother Hyrum and his wife Kim are expecting a baby in December! I am excited to be an aunt again. This will make 11 nieces and nephews. Yay!

As of yesterday, Thomas has been gone for a month. I am going to pick him up 2 weeks from tomorrow. I am so excited that he's almost finished with his class because I am going crazy from missing him so much! This is the longest we've been apart in over 3 years. Just 15 more days...

Thursday, June 18, 2009

flat tire!

Today I had an least, that's one way of putting it. I just got hired at a new job (doing market research over the phone, oh boy...fortunately, I only plan to work there until school starts. I think I can take just about anything for 2 months), and today I was there for training. Halfway through the day, the lady training us got a note that there was a gold Malibu in the parking lot with a flat tire. Uh oh...

I was very surprised by this news, due to the fact that I had driven to work with no problem or sign of having a flat. I also had basically no idea what to do! Normally I would call my dad for a problem like that, but my parents are out of town (for my grandma's 90th birthday, which is this Sunday). Thomas's dad is also out of town, in France, and his mother is out east somewhere. I couldn't get ahold of Thomas because he was subbing at the middle school today as a para, and when I called the school and asked to speak to him, whoever it was that answered said probably not because paras move around the school all day and they weren't sure where he was. It was incredibly frustrating. Fortunately, my little brother Johnny was able to come pick me up. The only other option I had left was walking to my parents' house and comandeering their van. I left the car there because I am absolutely clueless when it comes to cars and wouldn't know the first thing about changing a tire.

When Thomas got off work, we went and got his friend Brian, who actually has changed a tire before, and the two of them put on the spare tire and got the flat one patched. Apparently it had a piece of glass stuck in it. I am so glad that we were able to get it taken care of and didn't have to buy a new tire. And now we actually have experience changing one, so hopefully the next time it happens we'll be able to take care of it.
2 days til Thomas leaves. Sadness!

Friday, June 12, 2009

rilla, fighting irish

Today I finished reading the Anne of Green Gables books for the zillioneth time. They just never get old to me. I read them for the first time in high school and it always makes me a little bit sad that I didn't read them when I was little so I would have had that much longer to enjoy them. The last book in the series, Rilla of Ingleside, is possibly my favorite. It takes place during World War I and it is just such a sad, beautiful book! I cry and cry through the whole thing. Rereading them reminded me of one of my favorite quotes, from Oscar Wilde: "If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all."

There is only about a week left until Thomas leaves for Notre Dame. I am going to be so sad to see him go! We have had a beautiful summer together so far, and I am going to miss him terribly. I will fortunately have plenty to keep me busy, between a job, getting as much as possible done on my master's thesis, and working out... Hopefully the time will go by quickly!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

first anniversary

Sunday, the 24th, was our first anniversary! I really can't believe it has been a year already since we got married. The time has flown by!

To celebrate, we went out to dinner on Saturday night at the Pear Tree (which is a FANTASTIC restaurant about half an hour from Kirksville). We got all dressed up and had a really nice time.

On Sunday, Thomas had all kinds of surprises in store for me. He complains that it is hard to surprise me, but he did an amazing job of it! In the morning, he made me breakfast and surprised me with a beautiful bouquet of purple and white flowers (our wedding colors). It included roses, lisianthus, and carnations because, as he explained, roses represent love, we had lisianthus at our wedding, and carnations are the traditional first anniversary flower. Sometimes I wonder how I found such an amazing guy!

He had also prepared a scavenger hunt for me, which took me all around town to important places like where we got married, where we had our first kiss, our first apartment, etc. At every stop he had left the next clue with a flower, so I also ended up with another bouquet! The last clue led me out to Rainbow Basin where he was waiting with a picnic lunch, which included sandwiches, watermelon, raspberry lemonade, and my favorite ice cream. It was such a wonderful surprise, and I had a ton of fun going on the scavenger hunt. He is too cute!

We spent the afternoon at a high school graduation party for some family friends, and I thought we were done with the anniversary part of the day....but I was wrong! When we left the party, he acted like we were going home but then kept driving past our street. I was at first confused, but then thought we were probably going stargazing or something. Wrong again! Thomas had reserved us the same hotel room we stayed in on our wedding night last year. It is such a great room, complete with jacuzzi and big screen HD TV. Last year, we got there so late and were so exhausted and had to get up the next morning to rush off to our wedding brunch. We were kind of bummed we didn't have time to appreciate it at all, so he decided to give us another night there. I couldn't have been more surprised! We had the best time.

But lest you should think that he didn't get anything out of this anniversary, I gave him a collection of zombie movies and literature, which, while not the most romantic gift, is exactly what he wanted. (For those of you who don't know...Thomas has quite an interest in zombies and has developed various contingency plans for how to survive the "zombocalypse.") It included the new novel Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, "the classic regency with ultraviolent zombie mayhem!"...basically a combination of our interests. :) Pretty silly, but you should have seen the look on his face when he opened it!

I couldn't have asked for a better anniversary! Thomas spoils me so much! :) We have had a great first year of marriage, and I am looking forward to many more with him!

Friday, May 22, 2009

summer lovin'

School finally ended 2 weeks ago, and we couldn't be happier about it! We had a couple of very hectic weeks before it was over, with all of our major papers due plus grading all our students' research papers. But we made it through...and both with 4.0s, so we are pretty pleased about that!

Thomas went to yet another conference the weekend before finals week. He stayed with some of his family friends and had a great time going to all the different presentations. He also got to spend time with his aunt and cousins and my brother Matt (and got thoroughly beaten at Smash Brothers).

Since school has finished, we haven't really done anything, and it has been wonderful! We still get paid from Truman for our assistantships at the end of May, so we decided to take some time off before working this summer. I can't remember the last time that I didn't have school OR work, so it's pretty exciting. We have been spending a lot of time reading, catching up on Lost, and spending a lot of time outdoors because the weather was so nice (but it is starting to get too hot..bleh). It has been fantastic!

A little over a week ago, a tornado hit Kirksville, which fortunately didn't affect us or any of our family members, but it hit just about a mile from my parent's house, so we are very fortunate that it wasn't any further south! It hit a car dealership and a lot of houses on the north end of town. We went to check out the damage, and it was pretty intense. I'd never seen that kind of damage in real life before.

This Sunday is our 1st anniversary! I can't believe that it has already been a whole year! We are going to the Pear Tree tomorrow night to celebrate, and I'm not sure what we're doing on our anniversary itself, but I believe Thomas has some secret plan cooked up... I'm pretty excited. He is such a good husband! I am lucky to have him :)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

peanut butter chocolate dessert

I made this recipe a month or two ago, and it was pretty much amazing! However, I don't think I'd make it again unless we were having a bunch of people over because it made so much and was so rich that we couldn't eat too much at a time. Also, I think that either layer by itself would be really yummy if you didn't feel like making the whole thing.

20 Oreos
2 Tbsp. butter, softened
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. peanut butter
1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 carton (16 oz) Cool Whip, thawed
15 miniature peanut butter cups, chopped
1 c. cold milk
1 pkg (3.9 oz) instant chocolate fudge pudding mix

Crush 16 cookies; toss with the butter. Press into an ungreased 9 in. square dish.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, peanut butter, and 1 c. powdered sugar until smooth. Fold in half of the cool whip. Spread over crust. Sprinkle with peanut butter cups.

In another mixing bowl, beat the milk, pudding mix, and remaining powdered sugar on low speed for 2 minutes. Fold in remaining whipped topping. Spread over peanut butter cups. Crush remaining cookies; sprinkle over the top. Cover and chill for at least 3 hours.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

new car

About a week ago, Thomas and I purchased our first car! Neither of us have ever owned a vehicle before, so we are really excited to have one and not have to bum rides off of people anymore. It's a 2005 Chevy Malibu, and even though the color was not my first choice, we are really happy with it. It is in really good shape, and we got a pretty good deal.

My friend April's birthday was a few weeks ago, and she decided she wanted to have an 80s themed party. We had a lot of fun dressing up for it...80s styles fascinate me. You can't see it in the picture, but I was also wearing my sweet pink high top Chucks and black leg warmers.
On Easter, we found that the Easter Bunny (aka Thomas's mom) had left us a surprise outside our door!
We had Easter dinner with Thomas's family and family friends and then had dinner with my family the following day. Both evenings were enjoyable, and we were especially grateful for a day off of school (which we spent car shopping).
Thomas spent the latter part of last week in Wisconsin at NCUR (the National Conference of Undergraduate Research). He is obviously not an undergrad, but he presented a paper from an undergraduate class. About 50 Truman students presented at the conference, so they all drove up together. Truman paid for travel, hotel, and food, which is nice (Thomas really likes going to conferences, but sometimes they can get pricy). He had a really good time.
We only have a week and a half left of school (not counting finals...but neither of us really have finals anymore, just papers). I'm so excited for this school year to be over. It's been a really long one. I've only got one year left til I finish my master's and then I'm done forever! My summer plans include working a lot (though I'm not sure where yet), beginning to work on my master's thesis, and trying to get back into shape. Thomas will be spending 7 weeks at Notre Dame taking an intensive Greek class. I am sure going to miss him, but it will make him more attractive to PhD programs, which he'll be applying to in the fall. Right now we're just hoping to survive the end of the semester and all of the work and grading that come along with it!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

our apartment

We moved to our current apartment in August, and we love it! It was quite an upgrade from the apartment we lived in when we first got married, which was basically a glorified dorm room (at least size-wise). Our only complaints are the lack of dishwasher and washer/dryer in the apartment, and it could use a little more storage, but other than that it's great, and our rent couldn't be better. I thought I'd give everyone a little tour:

living room

view from the other side

dining area
kitchen (with all of our awesome appliances we got for the wedding)
hallway through kitchen to bathroom/bedroom
bathroom--pretty basic
bedroom (please ignore the unmade bed...but do take note of our sweet closets, both of which are twice as big as the one that we had before)
more views
There you have it! In other news...there isn't much to report. Just school and...more school. But only 1 month left before summer break!
Thomas being ridiculous on St. Patrick's Day :)