2010 on rewind

What a fun-filled year this has been, so many great memories, and reflecting back to the beginning of the year, it feels like so much longer than 365 days ago.  The highlights:
-Braga flying in for New Years Shennanigans with us.  Going downtown to ring in 2010 and the boys going crazy.  Blues Hockey Game/Budweiser Brewmaster Tour/ Rams vs.49ers game; experienced a lot of St Louis in that trip.
-Jeff visiting to help us with all of the electrical mayhem in the house.  Installing recessed lights in the kitchen.  Going up the Arch and the three of us fitting in the teeny lift to the top. Awesome dinner in The Hill.  Spending two hours in the St Louis Cathedral Basilica taking pictures before going to the airport.
-Allison coming to visit.  Showing her around St Louis on her first night.  She was sick as a dog the rest of the trip.  Stayed home and watched movies the rest of her time here.
-Visiting Delaware in January.  The girls all getting so big.  First snow storm came through during visit (if they only knew what they'd get hit with the following months!), snow ball fights and snow angels and hot chocolate to help the frost-bite.  Time went way too fast.
- March Madness Sweet 16 and Elite 8 games in St. Louis. Seats 10 rows from court
- Kristen coming over over her spring break to visit.  Touring every mall in the greater St Louis area, Blues Game, Easter together with Catherine, Earl, Dominique, Paulie and Jen joining. 
- Low Key's 10-year reunion.  Roadtrip with Billy, Jordan and Lauren to Virginia, 12 hours of sleep over the entire long-weekend, so emotionally amazing, seeing so many friends whom I hadn't seen since graduation, feeling like there was never any time apart, beautiful concert, didn't want to leave.
- Branson, Missouri to visit Terry's family.  Grampa back for his high school reunion, getting to meet all of Grampa's other siblings, quality time with Mom, Dad in downtown Branson, doing a little shopping at the outlets :-)
- Cruise with Mom for a week.  Visited New York City; Boston, Massachusetts; Newport, Rhode Island; and Kings Wharf, Bermuda.  Met some wonderful people during the cruise, and got to experience so many new places.
- Mom out visiting for her birthday. Went to Cardinals game, spent day in Forest Park, lunch at Blueberry Hill, tour Bud Plant, and ate at Ted Drewes.  Good trip.
- Wisconsin to visit the Finleys.  Absolutely amazing trip.  One of the best parts of my summer.  Rented a car to drive up and it took forever, but it was so worth it.  Went to Country Music Festival and saw several amazing artists. Tried cheese curds....bleh.  Lightning storm one night, sat and watched it for over an hour on the back porch of the cabin, so peaceful and serene. Quality time with them which was needed and wonderful.  Wisconsin in a beautiful state.
- Scott visits St Louis.  Tour all over the city, such a great time together. Head up to Chicago to visit all Low Key crew that live there. Tried to go to Symphony and got downpoured on.  Back to house for relaxing, soul-filling evening.  Dim Sum Brunch with Scotts friends....YUM!
- Amazing Cardinals/Dodgers baseball game.  Front row all-inclusive seats right behind homeplate.  Met Catherine and her parents after, amazing dinner at An American Place, met Larry Forgione!, amazing meal and amazing wine, great conversation, beautiful dinner and friends
- Sara Bareilles with Catherine, Jen, and Monica.  Pre-concert Sushi and drinks at Drunken Fish, was delicious.  Great girls night.
- Billy and Jordan come to visit for a short weekend.  Out to Lacledes Landing, Morgan Street Brewery, tag along to pick up our kitchen island, "Danglin' Spiders!", Broadway Oyster Bar, Cardinals vs. Pirates game.  Way too quick visit, but always good times.
- Long weekend in Chicago with Emily.  Roam around the city to 3am our first night in town.  Cubs game. Billy Elliott play which was incredible, Billy and Jordan coming to hang out, Riverboat Architectural cruise through the city, seeing the Bean and the Faces Water-Fountain, getting some Chicago deep-dish pizza before we headed home.  Always such a good time with that girl.
- Becoming a photographers assistant for a day for Jordan.  Wedding in Warren, MO.  Learned so much from her without her really even "teaching", had such a ball together, took 1000's of pictures, got home after 12 hours absolutely exhausted, couldn't move the next day.  So worth it.  Amazing experience.
- Visit back to Delaware for Labor Day.  Mom drove out to St Louis and then we roadtripped it back to Delaware, stopped in Indianapolis and Columbus on the way.  Got to eat CRABS!!!  Didn't leave the table for 2 hours.  Got quality time with the family that was much needed, out to Susans for Labor Day Luncheon that was so nice to have the whole family together.
- Up to Detroit and East Lansing for Biz and Brian's wedding celebration.  Outdoor wedding, Biz looked amazing, got to catch up with old friends which is always good times, off to Windsor Canada and Detroit for the 4-year Anniversary, relaxing and a nice getaway.
- Our 10-day trip to California; filled with fine wine, friends, family, and fun.  Sacramento to Fresno Shaver Lake to Napa to Lake Tahoe to San Francisco to Oakland to Napa to Sacramento.  We never stopped and it was a trip I'll always remember.
- Emily visiting for a weekend, fun times per usual, spending all day in the City Museum....Amazing!!!
- Where Austin was our music city, St Louis has definitely become our food city; Andrias, 11-11 Mississippi, Sub-Zero, Drunken Fish, An American Place, Clark Street Grill, Broadway Oyster Bar, Gian-Tony's, Sakura, Lorenzos, Popeyes Chophouse, and of course Our Kitchen every Saturday for Steak Night
- All the progress that has happened with the house, so much to be proud of and happy about

I'm so thankful for all of our friends and our family.  Here's to another year full of amazing memories with those near and dear to my heart.  Happy New Year!


Rams vs. 49ers 12/26/10

While we lived in Austin, Mom became a die-hard Texas Longhorns fan.  Now that we are in St Louis, Mom is in love with the Rams.  She calls every Sunday or Monday to give me updates, to which every week I continue to remind her that I am, and will always be, an Eagles fan (with a little side of Raiders fan for Terry's sake).
Mom has never been to a pro-sports game before, and as the Rams were in town Christmas weekend, we figured it'd be the perfect opportunity to introduce her to the experience. 
We had been stalking tickets online for the past month, and we were not having any luck.  The Rams actually had a semi-decent season this year and were vying for a playoff slot, so the Rams fans were out in full force for support.  We decided we were just going to try our luck and head down to the stadium to scalp tickets.  Mom and I dropped Terry off near the stadium to start haggling, and before we could even park and get to the restaurant to have lunch before the game, Terry had 3 tickets in hand.  And they were GOOD tickets at that. 
Our seats were 11 rows from the field on the 15 yd. line.  Great Experience!!  And the Rams won!!

seats without zoom...
Seats with zoom

We recorded the game but never went back to watch it, but if this guy was on TV, then we were too because he was up before every play!

Mom had a great time and really enjoyed the NFL experience; she's already excited for next year.


Christmas Views 2010

Snow fall Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve

I'm dreaming of a white christmas

Terry's favorite gift from mom, a wine atlas

 Christmas Morning

 Terry's favorite gift

 Mom realizing that the snowman is her gift
 mid-tear apart

 Result (she asked for Ovaltine as a gift)

The Annual Christmas Puzzle

Christmas Dinner

Rib Eye Steak, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, and Carrots and Leaks with a bottle of Cab that we got from our Napa Trip this year.

What a Wonderful Christmas!


Frank Lloyd Wright and Hanley Houses of St Louis

So glad to be back!!  As I mentioned, my mom has been in town for the past week, so sorry for lack of any updates but my time has been tied up.  We had a nice visit, and we got to see and do a lot of things, so the posts over the next few days will be highlights from the past week (as in, sorry that Christmas pics are going to go up 5-6 days after the fact). 

On Thursday, I took a half day from work and I scheduled tours for two historical homes here in St Louis.  Mom is a big history buff (I did not acquire this gene) so when I found out there was a Frank Lloyd Wright house in Ebsworth Park in St Louis, I had to set it up for us to tour.  We got over to the house at 2pm on Thursday afternoon, so I was being optimistic that it was going to be a private tour.  Turns out 12 OTHER PEOPLE were there too....and there are two tours every day.  For a 1900 sq. ft. home, it was a tight squeeze most of the way through.

For those of you who may not know who Frank Lloyd Wright is, he is considered by most authorities to be the 20th century's greatest architect. The American Institute of Architects recognized Frank Lloyd Wright to be "the greatest American architect of all time." Here's a short biography about him.  We weren't allowed to take pictures inside the house, but I did find a few photos on-line to give you an idea of the inside. It was a really unique experience and it makes me want to see more of his work.

Floorplan (Two overlapping parallelograms) 

 Leading into the kitchen from the living room

There were three of these light fixtures in the house, all based off of the hexagon

The house that we toured was built for Russell Krause and his wife, thus dubbed The Krause House. The entire floorplan is based off of a parallelogram, in that everything (except for one singular wall that came to a 90 degree angle) in the entire house is either a 60 degree or 120 degree angle.  The countertop edges, every end-line of brick that was layed, and every seam on the floor were angled. Even both of the beds were not square, but rather one a P-gram and the other an oblong hexagon.  

At 5pm, I bought us tickets for a Christmas Candlelight Tour through the oldest house in Clayton (which is a suburb in St Louis), the Hanley House. Martin Franklin Hanley built the Hanley House in 1855, which sat on their families farmstead. 

We assumed the house would be small, as it was built so long ago, and although we were surprised to find that the rooms were quite spacious, it had 11 ft ceilings, and two stories, the tour had 25 people jam packed in rooms with 5 candles max (to simulate a christmas back in the time when they lived there); to say we were squished like sardines is an understatement. 

One of the rooms while the herd was in another

To be honest, this tour was more of a laugh factor for us than a history lesson; they had an amateur string ensemble of people over the age of 60 where some played as though they were trying to die (pictured below), there were at least 10 little kids whose parents drug them out to this old house so of course they were running and pushing through everyone in an attempt to keep entertained, one of the ladies who was there to supervise the rooms to ensure no one touched anything was snoring asleep in her chair, Kris Kringle came through at one point and gave lemons (seriously?!) to all of the children because that was considered a wonderful gift in their time. 

It could have been nice in theory, but it was just very poorly organized.  Hopefully mom will find more historical information about it online so it won't be a complete waste. 

 Nice start to the trip.  And be jealous of my mom's holiday vest. 


Heads up, fingers crossed, and Happy Holidays!

My mom is in town for a week, so may or may not have time to update things on here as often as I would hope.  That being said, I hope there are many stories that come out of this week to entertain you with when I am actually able to spend a little time updating. 

This goes without saying, but I hope that you all have a very Merry Christmas.  I wish we were able to celebrate with each and every one of you, and I'll keep my fingers crossed for everyone that Santa brings them everything that they asked for (and that a few of you get out of getting a stocking full of coal). 



With presents comes.....


The "rule" for the past few years with us has been that we will only get presents for each other that fit in stockings.  Therefore, the majority that were wrapped were for my Mom, who will be out here visiting through Christmas.  While we watched the Raider game, I wrapped the usual suspects, and then tried to get creative on a few. 

Rudolph (ok, it doesn't look nearly as good as This One, but it's a good effort, and mom will think it's hilarious)

This present took Terry (YES, Terry got involved, as it needed a little engineering help) and I a good portion of an hour making it work.  He still looks like an angry snowman at this point bc his carrot nose fell off and we still hadn't stuffed the corn-cob pipe (that Terry constructed) in his non-existant mouth, but he is quite adorable on the fireplace now with his little handmade scarf and twig arms and penny buttons.  I wanted to make him a top-hat, but Terry was quite convincing that the Raiders hat was more appropriate.  ;-)  I'll take pictures on Christmas day as Mom is opening it.  I can see it now though, she isn't going to want to tear into it for her gift. 

Did anybody get creative with gifts, or was it all bows and ribbons to make them festive?


One Year Blog-iversary

Kinda crazy to think that I started this little puppy up a year ago already!  Granted, I guess I did miss a month or two there at the beginning in my self-loathing / lack of interest phase (and so many fun things happened during that time too, ugh!).

Going back and reading that first post this morning was very entertaining.  I remember it was approaching my first Christmas away from any family...just the two of us.  I was in a city with no friends (Terry not included in that statement...he gets the best friend superlative), and I just felt very alone and disconnected.  Phone calls were great, but repeating the same stories over and over and over again was getting old.  Just recently before this, I had stumbled across Young House Love (which now I am addicted to), and thought that maybe it'd be a fun idea if I started up a way for the family to not just hear what we were up to, but see it as well.  Also, Alexa and I had started talking a lot about books, so I thought that could be a fun way to keep in touch with her since she's also quite savvy on the computer too! 

Looking at the goals I originally set for the blog, I think that I've kept very true to the original intention.  There's always a house renovation going on, I now consider myself to be in the "Insiders Club" for things to do in St Louis, I have made a little progress in posting about the books I've been reading but to be fair I need to keep up a bit better with this, and we've certainly done our share of traveling this year.

I'm really enjoying the blog right now.  You all have certainly given a lot of feedback, and it's always appreciated.  Looking forward, I am going to stay true to my previous goals, but I'm going to change it up just slightly. 
Change up #1: I realized that I constantly mention friends or family members on here, but to the friends and family members on the other side of the country, they have no idea who I'm talking about, or at least don't have a face to the name.  Let's just say I've got plans in the works for this very small group to get to know each other a little better.  :-)
Change up #2: I've realized (I guess "realized is the wrong word as I've always known it, just not to the degree as the blog has proven) that food and wine are quite a substantial part of our lives.  Terry's passion for cooking (case in point: we started discussing what we....mostly he, I'll be honest... were going to be making for Christmas dinner over a week ago and it's been back and forth to get to the final menu ever since) and our appreciation and continously acquiring knowledge of wine means that I'm going to focus more posts about it.  I'm proud of Terry's talents and while a few of you have been here to taste it first-hand, I want everyone else to see what the fuss is all about (and maybe get tempted to come try too!)

This is as good a time as any to send my virtual hugs and love to each of you.  Thanks for being interested in what's happening in our lives and all the crazy things we get ourselves into.  It's comforting knowing there are so many people who care about us, and it makes being all alone out here a little less-so.  I hope we keep things entertaining through the coming year!


The Grade Is In...

For my first semester of Anatomy and Physiology:  I earned an A-!!! 

I've been stalking the website since I finished my last final (this class has a lecture portion and a lab practical portion with three exams in each throughout the semester) and grades were finally up last night.  I knew that I didn't do so hot on my 2nd lab practical (got a B) and my 3rd lecture exam (got a B), so I was fairly confident I would have an A- or a B+.  Yay for the higher grade!!

I will certainly be taking advantage of the downtime between now and when the second semester starts up mid-January, but what exciting news! 


Officially finished holiday shopping!!!

This may be news to a few of you, this may be a well known fact to others, but it's a true statement none-the-less: I Hate Shopping.  There, I said it; feel free to be disgusted or throw stones, but I've tried and tried to enjoy it and to no avail.   The only shopping that I mildly enjoy is grocery shopping, and even that sometimes is a little much. 
Then, this modern miracle was invented that has completely revolutionized (ok, my dramatic dial is a little high right now, but bear with me) shopping for me; the internet!!  I fought the whole online-shopping thing for a while, making excuses that what it cost in shipping was too much and I'd rather Scrooge my way through the crowds. 
Then I started realizing how much of a process the whole debaucle is:
-driving to the mall, dealing with traffic
-circling 20 minutes to try and find a parking spot
-getting evil eyes from someone who felt that the parking spot should have been theres
-walking into the mall and feeling guilty for not dropping money in the Salvation Army bucket and that poor person is wiggling around shaking that bell meanwhile freezing to death
-going to get your first gift on the list to find out it's sold out (bc this is bound to happen...you know it's true)
-trying to walk through the maze of people who are either in the same frenzied shopping zone that I'm in, or the ones that are just there to mozey along and be in the way (for the record, why is it that people know which side of the road to drive on, but yet you get them in a mall and 50% walk in the "oncoming traffic" direction...baffles me)
-walking anywhere near the vicinity of the food court and you get attacked by the asian restaurant man with chicken samplers
-while in the food court, can't find a table to sit at to eat your food you've just stood 10 minutes in line for, so you stand (at this point probably with two or three bags) on the side, out of traffic, and people still run into you
-walk around a bit and finally find a bench to sit down on, then someone comes and sits next to you that is convinced you want to know their life story and will not let you get a word in edge-wise to tell them you are not interested in why she gained 45 lbs from weight watchers or why her son stays up crying for his daddy when he's never met the good-for-nothing before (ok, so maybe this one is just me, but it has happened more than once at the mall and so I do not sit down on benches anymore)
-pray to high heavens that you do not run into or step on any of the hundred stray children running and squealing through the crowds unsupervised
-finally decide to leave, check your list twice, get out to your car (which someone has been stalking behind you with a give-room of about 6 inches to claim dibs on your parking space), put the key in the ignition and suddenly realize that you forgot that one gift that you didn't write on your list because you were so sure you would remember it, sit there for 30 seconds cursing and trying to decide whether or not to go back in through all the previous mentioned bullets to get said item, the car-stalker starts honking their horn after 31 seconds to make sure that you are alive and moving out of what they now consider to be their spot....

AHHHHHHHHH (that's me screaming from insanity)

but then.....  Ahhhhhhhhh  ...that's me with a nice relaxing breath as I scroll through holiday bargains, free shipping, gift ideas I never would have originally thought of, all while sitting comfortably at home.  I think I feel my Christmas Spirit coming back.

Merry Christmas to all.....your gifts will be arriving in 5-7 business days.....with lots of love and joy. 


Snow in the Lou

Saturday night into all day on Sunday, we got our first snow fall of the year!  This was supposed to be the weekend to fly back to Delaware for the annual Christmas Party, but weather-wise, it seems like we made a good choice in staying in St Louis.  Flights were delayed and cancelled all over the flight board, which is never any fun!
Our view Sunday morning

Tried getting a picture with the tree and the snow out the window...ehh

It was still coming down good at this point

After asking 20 times, Terry finally gave in and we went driving around to see the christmas lights and the snow.  Can't you tell how thrilled he was?!

The snow was beautiful, but the wind was awful, as you can kind of make out from our Fresno State flag in the front of the house being whipped around.

The news crew is saying that theground should stay covered with snow through Christmas as it supposed to stay below freezing for the next 2 weeks.  I'm Dreaming Of a White Christmas!! :-)


Christmas Cookies!

Hey Family....Spoiler Alert (even though I would assume you'd be expecting them).  Saturday was Christmas Cookie Extravaganza 2010.  I didn't start nearly as early as I wanted, but I got sucked into my current book (My Life in France by Julia Child) and so I enjoyed the early morning sitting by the Christmas Tree tucked in a blanket reading.
When the fun began though, I had all the empty plates set up for their cookie goodness.  Dominique (David's cousin who lives here in St. Louis) came over to help....it's always more fun baking cookies with someone! 

I started with Chocolate Covered Pretzels...mmmmm.  (and they were incredibly easy to make with a double boiler.)

Cocoa and Regular Sugar Cookies

Dominique :-)

Our favorite tasting sugar cookie

Our favorite designed cookie

Mmmmm, Peanut Butter Blossoms

Mid-way through the day

Terry came home and took posed shots of us.....Please don't mind my hair trying to dive into the bowl...it was just for pretend :-)

Yayyyy, Cookies!!!

Terry's just snnnnnaaapppping away

All in all, the day was so much fun.  We had a really fun time making all the cookies, we only messed up on a few recipes and it was just reading the wrong recipe from what we were originally intending to make, so it was just one more batch of cookies, no biggie. 
All the cookies we made were:
Chocolate covered pretzels (that kinda counts)
Molasses Gingersnaps
Chocolate Chip
Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip (my favorite)
Mint Chocolate Chip
Oatmeal Raisin
Peanut Butter Blossoms
Gingerbread Cookies
Plain Sugar Cookies
Cocoa Sugar Cookies

Who's coming for Cookies 2011??