Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Have you ever cried while reading a book? The first time I remember crying was in 7th grade when I read Where the Red Fern Grows. I get so involved with the characters in books. Of course, this character involvement can only happen in fiction. Throw in a little history, and I am in heaven! I also really love memoirs.
Nicholas and I finished reading Harry Potter, Book 6. I cried. Have you ever tried to read out loud while you were crying? It's pretty difficult, especially when your husband is looking at you thinking that it is cute that you are crying. Needless to say, we are many chapters into Book 7. I am sure there is more crying in my future.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Icy Breath

I just filled up my gas tank yesterday for the first time in over 3 weeks. Even though I drive everyday, I don't really drive that far (yeah for Rhode Island). The downside to not having to drive very far in the winter is that you are not in the car long enough to warm it up. What's worse is that you have icy breath inside the car that fogs up the windows faster than they will defrost. I read somewhere in a "being green" article that you only should leave your car running idle for 30 seconds in the morning. I have to be honest that I rarely get out of the house in time to let the car run for more than 30 seconds. It is, however, a little disconcerting when I scrap the ice and/or snow off my windows but then lose visibility while I am driving because of my icy breath!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Save the Date

May 30, 2009, 10AM

We got a save the date card for RISD commencement the other day. It is hard to believe that in a few short months, Nicholas with be graduating with a Masters in Fine Arts. There will be no school left for him (unless he decides at 40 that we wants his Mechanical Engineering degree). He has been working on his undergraduate/graduate career for 10 years.

It will be a hard couple of months ahead as he finishes his thesis, finishes his work to receive his collegiate teaching certificate, and works like mad in his studio to make his thesis work. Please pray that he doesn't get senioritis!

If you are interested in coming to the great state of Rhode Island for this momentous occasion, you can visit for all the particulars according to RISD.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Just Another Snowy Adventure

Have I mentioned that there has been snow on the ground since New Year's Eve, and it doesn't look like we will be without it for quite some time? I posted pictures of the blankets of snow we had Sunday morning. Well, it snowed again (another 4 inches or so) on Sunday night. I am posting the Sunday and Monday morning pictures of Nicholas' truck bed for comparison.

Sunday Afternoon

Monday Morning
Monday was a holiday so I went a played with my favorite 2 year twins, Jackson and Sophia. We built a squatty snowman since the snow wasn't very sticky and their mom and I took turns pulling them on the sled around the yard. It was a very nice snow day.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Casting Spells

Last year I read around 80 books. One of the first books I read was a memoir/travel book by Nicholas Sparks, and he mentioned that he reads 100 books a year. It sounded like a noble pursuit to me, so I decided to give it a go. I love books and have enjoyed the freedom of choosing whatever I wanted to read since graduating from college. So I read a wide range of books, including several series book. In college, one of my friends used to make fun of me and said that if a book wasn't old and boring, I wouldn't like it. I've come a long way, Caleb! I never thought I would read Janet Evanovich nor did I dream I would watch let alone read Harry Potter.
A couple of years ago, Nicholas and I were hanging out at his parents place and decided to rent a movie from Pay Per View. Actually, I think I was working on something, and Nicholas decided to rent a movie: Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban. I ended up watching it with him even though I hadn't seen the first 2 Harry Potter movies. We ended up seeing the 4th movie in the theaters when it came out, but I didn't really remember what had happened in the previous movie. Nicholas was pretty excited about the 5th movie coming out in 2007, so I told him that I wanted to watch all 4 movies on DVD before we saw it in the theaters (preferably in order). That is just what we did. In fact, I am pretty sure that is what we did while we were packing up Nicholas' old apartment on a short trip to Providence the July before our wedding. Then we saw the 5th movie in the theaters.
Nicholas and I had both mentioned several times that it would be fun to read the Harry Potter books. Sometime over the summer, we finally decided to do it. I ordered the first book off one of my favorite websites (, and we started reading the Harry Potter series in August, Out loud. What a bonding experience! The first book was really short (200 pages or so) and pretty much was the same as the movie. The books gradually increased in size. Book 5 was over 800 pages (in hardback)! As of today we are almost 500 pages into Book 6, the second to last book in the series.
Now, of course, we have re-watched the movies after reading the books to see what the differences are. I have to say that I enjoy the books much more than the movies. Although, I do think that the movies are very well done. There is no way the movies could include all the characters that are in the books. Now we are reading Book 6 before we see the movie, so it will be a completely different experience for us. Harry Potter has definitely cast a spell on me, and I just can't get enough of Hogwarts. I can't wait for Harry to finally defeat Lord Voldemort (I hope) and be happy living a normal (wizarding) life side by side with Muggles.
My academic friends can rest assured that I am still read "old and boring" books, too. I am working my way through "1001 Books to Read Before You Die" with only 940 left to go. I also constantly read over the book lists in my study guides from my English AP class in high school for books I haven't yet read.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Settlers of Catan

We have been playing the Settlers of Catan game with our friends Nick and Liz for several months. Of course, anytime you play a new game with people who already know how to play, odds are the new people will not win. Well, Nicholas finally won on Friday night. Here's the recipe for success:

--Play on a Friday night after Nick and Liz have worked all day.
--After working all day, go to a spaghetti supper at church to raise money for youth group.
--Wait for Nick and Liz to put their two year old twins to bed.
--Make sure the twins know you well enough that they recognize your voice when you walk in the door.
--Drink wine and enjoy chocolate while playing.
--Tell all your funny Christmas stories to create a diversion during the game.

Mix well. Kudos to Nicholas for finally beating Nick and Liz at their own game.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Let It Snow!

We woke up this morning to huge snowflakes and a blanket of snow. The weather forecast for us was 3-5 inches total, but we had a good 6 inches at 9AM. I teach a Sunday School class for 7th-12th graders at 10AM. Our original desire to make it to the 9AM service was foiled by the surprise snowfall. We did make it to church in time for Sunday School, although I didn't have any kiddos show up. Enjoy our snow.

Let's Party Like It's 2009

Every year we are always wondering what to do on New Year's Eve. The past few years, we (or just Nicholas) have had to fly out on New Year's Day, so we haven't been too keen on partying too hard the night before. This year, we had no New Year's flights, so again came the question, "What should we do?"

Thank you friends who like to plan things! Some of my friends wanted to go down to 6th street in Austin. I had never been to 6th street for New Year's before, so we decided to go for it. Of course, you have to pay a cover price to get in that is more expensive because it is a special night. Actually, I am rather opposed to paying a cover to get into a bar/club. Ever since I turned 21, I think it's pretty silly. Besides, most places downtown that let people under 21 in are filled with college freshman/sophomores, and those days are long gone for me.

So, my friend, Ashley, did some research and found a place everyone wanted to go that wasn't half as expensive as our wedding. We purchased tickets in advance, although their advanced ticket purchase tracking system left a little to be desired. Namely, it was one person who did not follow through with notifying everyone that they actually had tickets. Fortunately, we all got our tickets in time to party.

We had general admission tickets, which meant we had to stand up. We stayed on the terrace level, looking at the beauty of downtown. We were high enough up that we could see the fireworks over Lady Bird Lake at midnight, which was really nice. We had a lot of fun dancing and people watching. I especially enjoyed watching the people in the reserved seats who had spent a whole lot more money than we did.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

My Recent Obsession

I'm obsessed. I spend hours reading magazines and searching the internet for recipes. I plan out meals before I go to the grocery store, usually about 5 a week. We have a whole shelf full of cookbooks. We got at least 4 as wedding presents and bought at least 4 more with gift certificates. Nicholas is really good at smelling spices and pairing them together. Most of the time we end up with an amazing concoction. I, however, am not an artist. I need a recipe to start with. I don't always follow it to the letter, (Sometimes I forget ingredients at the store or just don't want to buy them.) but I need a baseline.
In the Fall, I enjoyed looking for recipes for the apples, squash, and pumpkins we hand picked from the farm. That's when I started reading blogs about recipes. Oh my! I could spend all day reading least one day. After that I am sure my husband would drag me out of the house (despite the snow and 19 degree temperature reading) to get me away from the computer.
I am also obsessed with finding healthy recipes. Eating Well is my most favoritest website. I have made a least 20 of their recipes, and have only come across a couple that I don't like. They use fresh ingredients; they are (mostly) flavorful, and they are healthy. Go there and some spice to your life.
I also recently read the book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. For a year, her family only eats what they can grow themselves or buy locally. It was a great lesson in "seasons" of different types of food. Thanks to "supermarkets," we can buy anything we want anytime of the year. I used to notice when the prices of fruits and veggies would change during the year, but it is only recently that I completely understand why that happens. There are certain fruits, like bananas and apples, that have always been a staple in my diet. Living in New England, I think there is a greater gap in the prices of Fall apples and March apples since there are so many apple orchards. Of course, there were lots of recipes in the book, my weakness. If you read the book, you will have a better understanding of the "total cost" of your food (shipping costs, added preservatives, gas emissions) and will think twice about buying non-fair trade coffee.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Goodbye Christmas

I finished un-decorating from Christmas today. Nicholas got home just in time to lend a much appreciated hand. I don't usually wait this long to take down the decorations, but we were away from our apartment for several weeks. It was nice to enjoy them. I also have to say that a snow covered ground doesn't inspire the busy bee in me. I did rearrange our room on Sunday to get Nicholas' dresser out of the closet so he could use his side of the closet better. I was more than happy to oblige since it means that he will be able to access all his clothes, and not just the sweaters at the top of the pile!

I took down all the Christmas decorations, but I did leave up snowmen. Thanks to Andrea, I am inspired to decorate year-round. Besides, if there is snow on the ground, I am definitely allowed to have snow people in the house, right? I remember doing Snowman art projects with my preschoolers in Texas. It is laughable now...snowmen in Texas. There were several times that it "snowed" enough in Dallas to make a snowman growing up. Nothing beats seeing a snowman in a yard surrounded by green grass.

A Christmas Story II

When I left off yesterday, we were traveling to Austin on Christmas Eve. This was a first for us--traveling on Christmas Eve. We needed to be in Austin in time for the 7pm service at church and wanted to have time to take a shower. Luckily, we ran into very little traffic, and our drive was relatively uneventful, despite some very heated debates!

Two years ago, we went to the 5pm service on Christmas Eve. It was a first for me and is the one that Nicholas' family normally attends. I was surprised that there weren't as many people at the 7pm service. I guess everyone likes the 5pm service so they can have dinner afterwards. Bo was pleased that we didn't have to sing the carols more than once during the candle lighting. We went back home for appetizers and Christmas with Laura. Thanks to Laura, we had yummy sweet breads for breakfast Christmas morning!

Christmas morning was nice. Nicholas' family takes their time opening presents. Everyone takes a turn while everyone else watches. This is a tremendous difference from the mass chaos at my family's house. In the past we have had around 13 people celebrating Christmas (aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings, grandparents). Things have changed over the past few years as my siblings and I have started getting married and having kids. Pretty soon we will be back to 13 with just siblings, spouses, and grand kids! I digress...
After leisurely opening presents on Christmas morning, we got ready to go over to Mom J.'s cousin's house in Cedar Park around 3pm for Christmas dinner. I feel blessed that Nicholas and I have been able to spend so much time with all our families the past 2 years even while living 2000 miles away!

We spent our time in Austin hanging out with family and friends, going to movies, and eating Mexican food (mmm...Trudy's, Tres Amigos, and Serrano's). It was nice to spend time with people I used to work with and people from church. One day, Nicholas and Jeremy went out to the land to help Bo build a shed. Mom J. and I perused some after Christmas sales while the boys got their sweat on.

We spent New Year's Eve downtown, but that is for another post. It took us just about a whole day to pack up our stuff. I would say we are pros. We managed to get everything in our luggage with 2 bags right at 50lbs, one bag at 45lbs, and a duffel bag stuffed with clothes. God Bless Southwest and 2 free checked bags! We only had to ship one box weighing in at 17lbs! Of course, we also had our 2 laptops and 2 backpacks packed with stuff. Fortunately, our friend that picked us up from the airport has a mini van!

Monday, January 12, 2009

A Christmas Story I

It's 5pm, and I am in my comfy penguin flannel pajamas. It is 18 degrees outside, and it is going to be a snowy winter.

This is the beginning of our Christmas Story for 2008. We flew into Austin on a Saturday. When we left Providence, it was 30 degrees. When we landed in Austin it was around 75. I wore a sleeveless shirt to church on Sunday! We had fun Christmas tree shopping with Mom J and Bo
and decorating the Austin house.
The Winner!
In front of the tree at Shepherd of the Hills
After 2 days in Austin, Mom J let us borrow her car for our trip to Dallas to see my family. It took us quite awhile to get there because I had to stop a couple of times to do some work. We got to Dallas just in time for a lovely cold front. Luckily we had packed some of our winter sweaters! We enjoyed time with my family and got a chance to see the Dellinger boys.
Nicholas went fishing with Wade and caught many fish. Wade is a wonderful cook so we enjoyed lots of yummy food, especially the fresh fish!
My youngest sister, Kendall, got her main Christmas present a week before Christmas. She is now the proud parent of a ferret ("Oreo"). Kendall still had a few days of school before Christmas break, so Oreo spent her first night in the hallway outside Kendall's door because she made too much noise!

My cousin was able to get super cheap Dallas Stars tickets off CraigsList, so we attended our very first professional hockey game. It was amazing. Despite the fact that the Stars have had a terrible season, the game was filled with every possible scenario. There were about 10 fights (2 sets of back-to-back fights); it was very high scoring in the first two periods. The game went into overtime when Columbus tied with 1:30 left in the 3rd period. Within the first 15 seconds of overtime, Columbus scored, but didn't get the point because the shooters skate was in the goalie's area. With no more scoring in overtime, we saw a shootout and were perfectly placed to see Dallas shoot. Dallas made their first and third shots to win. The final shot was something that the movies would love to copy for the big screen. Our first pro hockey experience was top notch!

We drove to Sulphur Springs to see my Grandpa. He is 79 years old, can barely hear and amazes me every time I see him. He is definitely a fighter!

Grandpa and his dog, Pedro
We had "Christmas" with my family on December 22nd and drove back to Austin on Christmas Eve. We had delicious home cooked Texas brisket for our Dallas Christmas dinner. On our way back to Austin we had brunch with my best friend, Brenna, and her boyfriend, David. It was great to see everyone, and it was sad to leave before Christmas. It's really hard to share holidays and family time when you are married!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Christmas in New York

It is no secret that we are fond of New York City. It is "the" place to be if you are an artist. I came to the realization recently that I have been to NYC more times than I have been to Boston. One is a 3 hour drive and one is a 45 minute drive, but who knows when we will have the opportunity to enjoy "The City" again in our lives?
In December we embarked on our last NYC adventure of 2008 to see the Rockettes famous Christmas Spectacular. We had tickets to the 9:30PM show, so we decided to spend the night. I found a reasonably priced Holiday Inn Express in Queens near LaGuardia airport. Our trip was perfectly timed at the end of a rough week for Nicholas. Earlier in the week he had turned in the first draft of his thesis, had his final critique for is studio class and turned in a paper for another class. It was a blessing to spend some much needed quality time together.
We checked into our hotel, and were very pleased. It had been recently renovated. The view from our window was "The Projects," and the nearest subway stop was about 2 miles away. Luckily our hotel provided a free shuttle to the subway, and picked us up when we came back from Manhattan. I highly recommend them as a reasonably priced (AKA: not $400/night in Times Square), clean place to lay your head at night. Complimentary breakfast is always nice, too.
We rode the purple line into Manhattan on Friday evening. We had decided to just walk around and enjoy the Christmas lights. The tree in Rockefeller Center had been lit for 2 days, and I was anxious to see it in all its glory. It was pretty cold, so we enjoyed stopping in at a little sushi place for dinner. They brought us hot washcloths to warm our hands when we walked in! Dinner was yummy, and we continued to make our way to Rockefeller Center.

There were a ton of people there taking pictures of the tree and ice skating. The tree was enormous and beautiful. We were very pleased with the wonderful pictures we were able to take. We decided to move along to Radio City Music Hall and maybe enjoy the lounge areas before our show. We found, as we arrived more than hour before our show, that people were making a line. Nicholas thought it was absurd that we should stand in line when we already had tickets (and assigned seats). Nonetheless, we were happy that we got in line when we did because it went around the block.

We finally got inside around 9PM. Nicholas was "randomly" searched on our way in. We decided to forgo the $10 drinks and made our way to our seats to enjoy some pre show music. The chandelier has 10,000 Swavorski crystal snowflake ornaments on it. We had taken a tour of Radio City Music Hall in March, and our tour guide had raved about the Christmas Spectacular Show. We really enjoyed the show and Christmas in New York!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Riding the wave

What better way to ring in 2009 than break down and start a blog? I was getting tired of keeping track of who I send travel log updates to, anyway.

After 3 glorious weeks in Texas for Christmas, we safely made our way back to Rhode Island, the land of snow. It's shaping up to be a snowy winter. We missed the first two snows of the season, but there was snow on the ground when we landed.

This is us waiting to be picked up from the airport.
Check out the snow in the background.
Nicholas started his wintersession class at RISD on Wednesday. He has been working on finishing his teaching portfolio (Curriculum Vitae, Teaching Philosophy, Sample Course Descriptions, Sample Syllabus and Schedule) so he can apply for teaching positions for the Fall. He will be be applying for jobs, working on his thesis, taking his one wintersession class, attending workshops for his Collegiate Teaching Certificate, and spending time with me for the next 5 weeks. I know in writing it sounds like a lot of work, but it is nothing compared to the semester! The Spring semester starts in mid February, and he will be back to a full class load, thesis meetings, lots of studio work, blowslots, and thesis show planning.

We are supposed to get 4-8" of snow tonight. Yeah snow! One great thing about being in Texas for Christmas (although there are many things) is the after Christmas sweater sales! Stay tuned for our first new snow pictures of 2009. Here's what it looks like outside right now: