Sunday, April 29, 2007

Five Glorious Years

So, Derek and I celebrated our fifth anniversary last weekend. Yeah, I know, I lost my $20, too. Who knew, right? But, wow, what an amazing weekend! We don't usually do a date night because of various reasons (mostly scheduling a sitter around Derek's random studying habits), so it was really refreshing to be able to spend this time together. So a big thanks to Katherine for the overnight sitting and to Melody... and maybe Paul... for babysitting in the morning.

Our lovely night began at the Thousand Hills Lodge for our evening repast...

Now, I'll be honest. It was subpar. I was expecting a little more. First of all, the ambiance was certainly lacking. There was little to no decor, even though they had an amazing view over-looking the lake. Furthermore, their menu was limited and few things on it appealed to me. The food wasn't incredible, but it was good. The steamed broccoli was, perhaps, the best steamed broccoli I've ever had, though. I sent my compliments to the chef on it. I hope he wasn't offended that it was limited to the broccoli...

We also brought Xandri along for dinner (since I'm still nursing her it seemed like it would be the best idea just to have her there for the night). In retrospect, we should have just gone to our favorite restaurant and left her home with the sitter, picking her up right before we went to the cabin.

After dinner, we went back to the cabin where I had set up the OTM table (non-med students read: massage table) and treated each other to some delicious massages. I had also decorated the room a little with candles, music, LOTS of pillows and the like to set the mood (thanks again Melody for your lovely furnishings in that department). Things started getting a little amorous when we started kissing, but there's nothing like two big eyes looking at you from over on the other bed to kill the mood. It'll make you laugh, but you can't quite get back to making out until those big eyes go to sleep.

I had expected the rooms to be cramped, the decor outdated and the beds uncomfortable, much like a Budget Inn or something. So I was pleasantly surprised to discover that they were actually quite roomy and the beds and bedclothing were indeed rather comfortable. Unfortunately, I woke the next morning with a bit of a migraine. Derek offered to take Xandri into our morning sitter (again, thanks Mel!), pick up some breakfast and let me sleep it off. When he returned an hour later, I was ready to rock and roll.

So now... the fun part. For the reader anyway... We went and rented a couple kayaks for about 1 1/2 hours and paddled around the lake. It was so refreshing to be outside in the amazing weather, using our bodies (we both looked down on the lazy people reliant on motors) to propel our boats through the water and just enjoying each other and nature in general. (Lucky for us, they gave us half off the rental price for being students and renting in the morning. Love it.) We found a great little cove with a swim dock in it, tied up the kayaks and laid out for a while.

Now, you may think this was the end of our anniversary celebrations. And in all fairness, it could have been enough. But not for me! I wanted to make the ACTUAL day special. We're usually moving across the country on our anniversary and I can't recall for sure if THE day has ever really been celebrated before. SO. Calling on the brilliant planning strategies and expertise of my friend Eugena, I orchestrated a meal that I think I can claim was not only the best meal I've ever made, but the best meal either of us have ever eaten (barring the outrageously expensive and amazing meals we had at two upscale French restaurants in Georgia...).

Once again, Melody came through with some of her cool decor and I was able to once again, set the mood for dinner. Perfectly planned out and perfectly executed, all the food was ready at the same time and warm at the same time! Yeah, I didn't know it was possible either. Derek didn't actually believe that I made the focaccia bread or the dessert, a panne cotta with fresh strawberries and blackberries (which I totally forgot to take a picture of... crap!). I had to tell him three times on each of them that I did.

Anyway, this is what was on the menu: salmon al cacciatore, grilled portobello, red onions and bell peppers, rosemary and basil focaccia breads, and panne cotta. My mouth is watering even now. I never knew what I had in me. All in all, it was a fitting celebration for five glorious years. I think I may have convinced him to stick around for another five. I know his magic hands & the OTM table convinced me.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Guess what I did two nights ago....

Yes, I am 23. Yes, I spent an hour in the early morning TP'ing friends' houses.

So the story is something along the lines of late night movie night girls talking too much. I don't know how we got on the subject, but it came out that I'd never TP'd anyone's house. One girl then and there insisted that my life would not be complete, nor would I be allowed to leave Kirksville until we had performed this heinous act. Now, naturally, I'm all about heinous acts of this kind. The date was set a fortnight hence.

Movie night Wednesday began as usual. We sat around and talked about nothing in particular for about an hour. The conversation seemed a little forced--- could it be our anticipation of the dirty deed we were about to perform? Eventually we began our movie. Two hours later, at the young hour of 1 am, we began to prepare. Two of us brought out ridiculously large bags of toilet paper. We all put on our dark clothing and trooped out the door into the warmth of the night.

Perhaps I should add for purposes of background into the cruelty of our devious plan that the for the second year med students, the most important test they would take in pathology was scheduled to take place the following morning. Or something. Either way, it was half their grade.

Our targets included (in chronological order) the Cutlers (Debbie had been at movie night and offered her own house as a sacrifice); the Roos' (Tobey had been subject to several TP threats--- shall we call them warnings?--- should she fail to appear at movie night; the Aanderud's (as I mentioned, they had run out of toilet paper. Well, actually, I just didn't know who else could take it in such great humor); and the Sessions (apparently, last year's movie nights were full of late night stories concerning certain renegade acts of various second years. Jill's were supposedly the most memorable).

Now, I will say that we made pretty poor work of our first two: the Cutlers, being my first target ever, we left quickly after a loose roll thrown over the roof crashed rather loudly. The Roos' have 1 thing to toilet paper: the mailbox. No trees, no porch, no shrubberies. Needless to say, most of it probably blew away by morning.

However, the Aanderud's (pictured here), was our masterpiece. As I said, 18 glorious rolls were used and you can see from the photos what a labor of love it was. I tried to make my contributions as much of an artistic statement as can be achieved with toilet paper. In any case, it was a beautiful job if I say so myself.

The Sessions was a work in efficiency. Unfortunately, I don't have a picture, but there's was very well done given the amount of toilet paper left available to us at the end of a toilet paper night. Let me just say there's nothing quite like a motion-sensor light to send night-loving hooligans into a panic.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Cereal Party

I took the girls in for immunizations and Xandri in for her four month check-up a week ago. While she is developmentally precisely where she should be, she's not gaining appropriate weight. In fact, the doctor was pretty concerned about it. We evaluated the possible causes (she spits up more than Avril ever did, she eats every 3-4 hours and she sleeps through the night 8-9 hours). The doctor prescribed a medication for her to take to help her with spitting up and suggested I start her on solids.

I filled the prescription, but haven't used it. I decided to feed her on a more consistent three hour schedule first to see the result. I think she just needed to eat more frequently, because she's not throwing up nearly as much. Meanwhile, I also only started her on rice cereal today. No reason, I'm just forgetful. As you can see, Xandri is a little skeptical of this so-called "cereal".

Avril, on the other hand, is indeed having a "cereal party". So very aptly named. She continually asked for more and more cereal party. I coaxed Xandri into probably about three bites total. She remains unimpressed.

Either way I'm hoping that when I take her into the doctor next week that we'll see some weight gain. I worry that I'm so busy trying not to forget who I am, losing myself as a wife and mother like so many have that I'm going too far the other way and trying to keep too many personal hobbies at the expense of my kids. What a wake-up call to realign my priorities!

Flamingo Parade

We woke up this morning and found this in our front yard. Somebody also made me a delicious plate of pink flamingo sugar cookies, complete with a poem, a flamingo cookie cutter, recipe, copies of the poem and a stack of plates (and obviously instructions to pass on the parade).

It made my day.

Avril was pretty excited about the "ducks" in our front yard, too.

EDIT: Melody, you tricksy, tricksy little monkey...

Monday, April 16, 2007


This Saturday Derek and I went to the temple for the first time in far too long. It was our first time to the Nauvoo temple (which is the temple district we are in). I can hardly describe how grateful I was to be there. I think lacking something so vitally important for so long really makes one appreciate it all the more. From the minute I walked up the steps and in the door, I was on the verge of tears. I wept more than once while we were there.
Now, I don't know if the reason was because it had been so long since we'd been to the temple in general and it was just a relief to go, or if it was the Nauvoo temple itself, but I couldn't stop thanking the Lord for the unbelievably precious blessing of the restored gospel, of the temples and their ordinances and of Christ Himself and His Atonement.

As I gazed around at the beautiful, elegant, simple decor, the lovely art on the walls and just the peaceful, worthy architecture I was moved to tears a number of times. It was just such a relief to be able to be in such a heavenly, peaceful place, apart from the cares of the world. I don't know if I'm simply more aware of the distinction or if I've been placed in more trying circumstances lately or if the world and the Church are growing farther and farther apart so much that I can see it, but in any case it was so refreshing to go and feel the Spirit and reflect on the gospel and blessings offered us.

The funny thing is, we weren't able to do a session--- we arrived just a little before it started and Derek realized he'd left his recommend home. By the time we got it sorted out, the session had already started. Due to babysitting circumstances, we didn't have time to wait for the next one (they're hourly), so we opted to do some sealings. Others seemed concerned that we hadn't been able to do a session, but I was more than happy with what we were able to do. What a precious reminder of the covenants we made to each other and to our God! My love and appreciation for Derek only deepened in the knowledge that we are both worthy in God's eyes.

It was exactly the refresher I'd been needing for the past few weeks. I feel sustained and strengthened. Thank God for His temples!

Summer Classes Offered (Men's)


Class 1
How To Fill Up The Ice Cube Trays --- Step by Step, with Slide Presentation.
Meets 4 weeks, Monday and Wednesday for 2 hours beginning at 7:00 PM.

Class 2
The Toilet Paper Roll --- Does It Change Itself?
Round Table Discussion.
Meets 2 weeks, Saturday 12:00 for 2 hours.

Class 3
Is It Possible To Urinate Using The Technique Of Lifting The Seat and
Avoiding The Floor, Walls and Nearby Bathtub? --- Group Practice.
Meets 4 weeks, Saturday 10:00 PM for 2 h ours.

Class 4
Fundamental Differences Between The Laundry Hamper and The Floor ---
Pictures and Explanatory Graphics.
Meets Saturdays at 2:00 PM for 3 weeks.

Class 5
After Dinner Dishes --- Can They Levitate and Fly Into The Kitchen Sink?
Examples on Video.
Meets 4 weeks, Tuesday and Thursday for 2 hours beginning
at 7:00 PM

Class 6
Loss Of Identity --- Losing The Remote To Your Significant Other.
Help Line Support and Support Groups.
Meets 4 Weeks, Friday and Sunday 7:00 PM

Class 7
Learning How To Find Things --- Starting With Looking In The Right Places
And Not Turning The House Upside Down While Screaming.
Open Forum .
Monday at 8:00 PM, 2 hours.

Class 8
Health Watch --- Bringing Her Flowers Is Not Harmful To Your Health.
Graphics and Audio Tapes.
Three nights; Monday, Wednesday, Friday at 7:00 PM for 2 hours.

Class 9
Real Men Ask For Directions When Lost --- Real Life Testimonials.
Tuesdays at 6:00 PM Location to be determined.

Class 10
Is It Genetically Impossible To Sit Quietly While She Parallel Parks?
Driving Simulations.
4 weeks, Saturday's noon, 2 hours.

Class 11
Learning to Live --- Basic Differences Between Mother and Wife.
Online Classes and role-playing.
Tuesdays at 7:00 PM, location to be determined

Class 12
How to be the Ideal Shopping Companion
Relaxation Exercises, Meditation and Breathing Techniques.
Meets 4 weeks, Tuesday and Thursday for 2 hours ! beginning at 7:00 PM.

Class 13
How to Fight Cerebral Atrophy --- Remembering Birthdays, Anniversaries and
Other Important Dates and Calling When You're Going To Be Late.
Cerebral Shock Therapy Sessions and Full Lobotomies Offered.
Three nights; Monday, Wednesday, Friday at 7:00 PM for 2 hours.

Class 14
The Stove/Oven --- What It Is and How It Is Used.
Live Demonstration.
Tuesdays at 6:00 PM, location to be determined.

Melody sent me this via email. I've already signed Derek up for Classes 2, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, & 14.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


So here are the fruits of my first egg-dying experience here in Kirksville.

Well, ok, to be more correct, they are the fruits of my friend's at my first egg-dying experience. She did a good job, didn't she?! No, I actually don't have a picture of my own. I "borrowed" this one from sweet Melody's blog (maybe if I add in flattering adjectives she'll look past my thieving ways). Mine were pretty cool, too, I think. Not this cool, but yes, cool. I love spring. I love Easter.

I also did my first "big" dinner-- yes, four couples complete with guests and children. It was one of the funnest Easters I've ever had (Ok, it probably is the funnest). Everyone brought delicious food, you know, deviled eggs, dinner rolls, cakes, salad. Plus I made my first ham (ok, I stuck a pre-cooked ham in the oven. It was a little too salty if you ask me. Maybe if I glaze it next time it'll turn out better.), funeral potatoes and a new asparagus dish. I'm still deciding if I liked it. I think the vinaigrette was a little too strong and I over-cooked it a little. But it still turned out all right.

("You can't have that! That's a coconut cake!"~Agnus Skinner, The Simpsons, somewhere in Season 8)

We ended up with a little Easter egg hunt for the four kids who were mobile (only two of them probably really appreciated it), which was a lot of fun to watch-- especially when the two oldest, one being Avril of course, would snatch eggs away from the babies who are just crawling or walking.

Either way, it was great fun with great friends. I love developing these new "domestic" talents-- like hosting dinners and celebrations. I'm not honestly very good yet, but I am getting better. I didn't grow up in a "hosting" home, so I'm kind of flying by the seat of my pants. (Where does that term come from?!) So with practice, hopefully parties at my house will become the most coveted gatherings and people will eventually rave over getting invites to our get-togethers!
I'll keep practicing. I'll get there.

Life Explained

I got this in my email. It cracked me up...

On the first day, God created the dog and said:
"Sit all day by the door of your house and bark at anyone who comes in or walks past. For this, I will give you a life span of twenty years."

The dog said: "That's a long time to be barking. How about only ten years and I'll give you back the other ten?

So God agreed.

On the second day, God created the monkey and said:
"Entertain people, do tricks, and make them laugh. For this, I'll give you a twenty-year life span."

The monkey said: "Monkey tricks for twenty years? That's a pretty long time to perform. How about I give you back ten like the Dog did?"

And God agreed.

On the third day, God created the cow and said:
"You must go into the field with the farmer all day long and suffer under the sun, have calves and give milk to support the farmer's family. For this, I will give you a life span of sixty years."

The cow said: "That's kind of a tough life you want me to live for sixty years. How about twenty and I'll give back the other forty?"

And God agreed again.

On the fourth day, God created man and said:
"Eat, sleep, play, marry and enjoy your life. For this, I'll give you twenty years."

But man said: "Only twenty years? Could you possibly give me my twenty, the forty the cow gave back, the ten the monkey gave back, and the ten the dog gave back; that makes eighty, okay?"

"Okay," said God, "You asked for it."

So that is why for our first twenty years we eat, sleep, play and enjoy ourselves. For the next forty years we slave in the sun to support our family. For the next ten years we do monkey tricks to entertain the grandchildren. And for the last ten years we sit on the front porch and bark at everyone.

Life has now been explained to you. Now go forth.