Tuesday, August 28, 2012

10 on Tuesday

1. The reason that I am able to write this right now is because I went up to my Lit classroom and saw that our teacher had canceled class! Don't get me wrong, I enjoy this class and my professor, but it is always a pleasant surprise to not have class!

2. Last Friday, I ran my first PLC meeting as president. Thursday, I met with one of the sponsors and we went over the agenda, which was VERY long. Because of that, I was very nervous about how everything would go and how well I would be received. However, you will be happy to know that, after I started talking, I wasn't nervous! I would say that I did pretty well, so I have hope!!!

3. I mentioned this previously, but I'll say it again: I ran my 3rd 5K of the summer on Saturday! It was a great day for the race, minus the fact that it was 85 degrees with 85% humidity...or maybe it just felt like it! Really though, it was warm and humid, which made it a little bit harder for me...or maybe it was because I hadn't run in a week or so...oops! Regardless, I still had fun, and even better, I set a new PR by at least 1.5 minutes! Go me!!! Here are a few pictures that a nice spectator volunteered to capture for me!

4. Calc is going alright. I liked my previous teacher better, but this lady isn't so bad. We actually have to turn in homework, which has become a bit of a foreign concept for me in the past few years. I guess that it's better to turn it in and get credit for my hard work, but it's still a bit irritating to me.

5. I'm glad that I have made a new Freshman friend, because she has helped to make this past week much more pleasant! Last night, after having a not-so-great day (I'll get to that in a sec), she let me take refuge in her room! After a while, she went with me to go absentee vote at the election board and to eat supper at the cafeteria. It's always good to have a friend!

6. Yeah, yesterday really could've been better at times. Work went fine, Physics went okay, I halfways understood Calc AND our homework got deferred by a day, but it was the afternoon that left some to be desired. I started working on my new Calc homework and I felt totally overwhelmed by it, and decided to give it a rest for a while. Physics lab really was what did me in. We're talking about velocity and position graphs, which is a concept that I get, but haven't completely internalized. It definitely is a learning process. At lab, we did a project with motion detectors and a graphing program on a computer. Really, it was interesting, but the whole thing was frustrating. The lab required one person from our group to walk in front of the motion detector at the required rates. This was fine until the end when the graphs became increasingly specific and the guy didn't exactly follow instruction, which required us to keep redoing the graphs until they sort of matched up. Then, our lab teacher kept having us explain the graphs to her, since we had trouble getting our walker to do what we had to do, and this REALLY frustrated me. I knew what I was trying to say, but it basically seemed like if I didn't say things exactly how she had it in her mind, she told us that we were wrong. We knew what we had to do, but she assumed that since we struggled with the terminology, that we didn't know what to do. Ugh. That really irked me. Then, when we were almost done, a girl in our group's boyfriend, who is also in the lab, was apparently waiting for her, since I'm assuming that they carpool. The guy is somewhat intimidating, and I felt like he just hovered over us, fuming that we weren't done yet. (His group finished first, btw.) I wanted to tell him to just quit hovering over us, but I knew that it would be best to just bite my tongue. Then, after I left the lab, at the direction of a nice girl in my group, I decided to go back to my room and relax for a while. So, I got to my room, and I was greeted by my roommate and her fiance sitting in the living area planning their wedding guest list. I'm not sure why, but it didn't set well with me, so I decided to take refuge in Haley's room. After that, everything looked up, as I mentioned above. Today's a new day, so I'll just take a deep breath and move on!

7. On a bright note, tutoring is going just dandy! The Calc I students keep me pretty occupied, which is a breath of fresh air! They are struggling with the first few chapters, but I have to keep reminding them that, actually, it does get better. Thank heavens that I can have a good time at work!

8. My oldest nephew, Cody, turns eight on Friday. Eight years old! How is that even possible?! I remember him being born like it was just yesterday. He is growing up so much! I have a hard time knowing what to define him as, because he seems too big to be called a boy, but too young to be called a young man (does that make sense?). I guess I can call him my Cody! He has quite the innovative way of looking at the world, sometimes to a frustrating extent, but I wouldn't want him any other way! I'm not certain what his party plans are, but I'm sure that they will be fun!

9. This semester, it seems as though Tevis and I's schedules won't sync up and allow us to see each other between or on the way to classes. :( It could be worse in the grand scheme of things, but it is a bummer that we're in opposite buildings or floors on a daily basis. I guess that I can focus more since I know that I won't get to see him, but it still would be nice to get to see him, if only for a few moments, between classes. Thank heavens for Wednesday night church, which is our standing "date"!

10. Now that I have made it several times, I think it is high time that I share my favorite turtle cheesecake recipe with you all! I'm not sure when that will happen, but be on the lookout! I hope that you'll love it as much as my family has!

Have a fantastic week!!!

Monday, August 27, 2012

What A Weekend!

I am at the tail end of what has turned out to be a great weekend! I really had high hopes and I wasn't disappointed! So, here goes...

It all started on Friday after a marathon PLC meeting (more on that in a later post). I loaded up and headed home for the weekend for the first time this year. When I got home, I had to start my latest project.

You see, my oldest sister, Gina, had her birthday this past Thursday (the 23rd). About a month ago, her mother-in-law called my mom and told her that she wanted to have a surprise birthday party for Gina. They were already having a baby shower for Gina's brother-in-law, and she wanted to turn it around and surprise her! Of course, my mom and all the rest of us were great with this plan!

So yes, my project had something to do with Gina's surprise party. If you remember, I mentioned making a turtle cheesecake for Jeremy's birthday back in July. A few weeks ago, Gina made mention to me that she wanted a cheesecake of her own for her birthday. Knowing about this party and the fact that I wouldn't be able to make it home for her actual birthday, I jokingly told her that she would have to do without, while in the back of my mind, I thought about making one for the surprise party. When my mom and I were finalizing some plans earlier this week, we decided that I could make two cheesecakes, both turtle, for the party. Because of the time it takes to make two cheesecakes, I knew that I would have to do this on Friday as soon as I got home. This was great, minus one fact: Wyatt comes to our house after school, along with Cody & Kyle, which means that Gina picks him up, and there was no possible way for me to get that wrapped up by the time either of them would get there. So, my mom and I came up with our story (or we lied to her, but I don't feel like it's lying when it's for a surprise party). My story was that I was going to make cheesecakes for my boss, because she was having a dinner party and wanted fresh cheesecake, but didn't have time to make it herself or drive to OKC to the Cheesecake Factory, which is actually a halfways plausible story, believe it or not. Also, the catch was that my boss was paying me, which is why I took it on. *wink, wink*

I was almost ready to bake the cakes when Gina got to our house. She longingly looked at me preparing them when my mom chimed in and told her our "story". I'll suffice it to say that Gina was NOT impressed, because she really had her heart set on turtle cheesecake and was hoping that I was possibly making them for her. It was so hard for me to not crack and say something, because she was pretty forceful in everything she said, but I knew that the surprise would be so much better!

That night, we had a family steak dinner at Gina's house, which was when I gave her my present. My mom and I went half and half and got her a certificate for a massage, and she absolutely loved it!

This next part has nothing to do with the party, but was still a huge part of my weekend...I ran another 5K! I'll say a little more about this later, but I'll show you a highlight picture!
After the race, I came home and Emily & I started making a few cupcakes to take along. This is the testament as to how much we love Gina, because she is always the one making cakes and such for us, and she does such a great job. Also, cupcakes madden me in ways I can't explain, so I just don't make them. Ever. As the afternoon progressed, Emily, our mom, and I all reached outside of our usual tasks and channeled our "inner Gina". We frosted cupcakes with a frosting bag, we used sugar sheets to decorate said cupcakes, we (actually, that was just mom and Em) made a banner out of 12x12 scrapbook paper & cardstock, and probably a few other things that currently escape me. Although we were all hesitant as to how it would work, everything turned out perfect! We couldn't believe it! (However, I will probably still let Gina frost cupcakes...it might've been easy with the frosting bag, but that just isn't my thing.)
After I made a mad dash to get ready, Tevis arrived at my house. Since he was off for the evening, he agreed to join us for the party! My dad didn't get off work until around 4 or 4:30, so Tevis & I rode down to the lake with Emily's crew. Cody & Kyle ambushed Tevis with an almost constant stream of questions, exclamations, and various toys of theirs. I think it is safe to say that they missed him.
We got there when the baby shower was still going, so it wasn't too obvious that anything was up. It was about 6:00 or so, and it was almost time for us to start changing parties! The plan for that was that Emily was going to take Gina with her to Walmart because Cole was "out" of formula...*wink, wink* :)
Once they left, we all flew into action getting everything set up. Tevis, being the amazing man he is, took it upon himself to take six children under 9 to the park area that was up the road a little way. (Have I mentioned how much I love him lately?) Since we had no children to herd, set-up only took about fifteen minutes! About the time we got everything set up, though, the sky started to darken. We knew that there was a possibility of rain, but we had high hopes. No such luck. As soon as we had got everything up, we had to take most of it back down. That was about when Tevis brought the kiddos back and the sky broke loose. It poured. You would've never guessed that we hadn't received rain in months, the way the rain was falling down. It never fails to amaze me how crazed some people become when a storm comes in...especially when a good amount of people are crammed in a relatively small space, like a porch. I could say more, but I won't.
At about 7:15 or so, they got back and came in through the pouring rain! Here is the sequence of photos when she realized what was happening...
I realize that the first picture isn't the world's most flattering picture of her, but it really sets up the next two...Picture #3 is when the surprise set in, btw!
Then, we showed her the cheesecakes, and she almost started crying, because she felt bad about everything she said to me on Friday, and she was so excited about everything! All in all, I'd say she loved it! A while later, one of her friends from work showed up, which surprised her even more! I wish I would've got a picture of them, but I didn't :(
The rain really never stopped during the party; it just varied in degrees of heaviness. Since he had to be at church this morning, Tevis and I made the trip back with Emily's crew, also. My parents thought about staying the night at a friend's cabin, but changed their mind when the weather came up and my dad ended up not feeling as well. Had the weather actually held up through the evening, it could've been a much later night, but we were all on the road by 10 or 10:30. Honestly, I was exhausted from my race, and the fact that I had been up since about 5:30 that morning because of the race. Emily's car was the place to sleep because everyone behind the front seats fell asleep at some point in the trip. Cody & Kyle were out before we even got to the highway, Cole fell asleep shortly after getting on the highway, Tevis dozed for most of the rest of the trip, and I was definitely out for about the last 20 miles.
Nothing eventful happened today, besides all of us enjoying a lazy day at home. All in all, it was a great time, and I am so glad that the party went off without a hitch! Happy Birthday Gina, and many, many more! Love ya!!! :)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Another First Day (Sort of)

No, today's post isn't even half as detailed as yesterday's post was, but it still warrants a post...and it's a quasi-Ten on Tuesday. Here goes!

My day began with my wonderful dad bringing the Calc book of Mrs. Orr's that I forgot at home to me. He got here around 6:40 AM, which is shortly before he has to be at work, sadly. (A story for another day, there) I figured that, if nothing else, I could at least be prepared for my Calc class.

I stumbled back up to bed and slept for a while until my roomie's alarm went off. When I say went off, I mean that she has an iPhone and her alarm tone is the ringtone that sounds like a nuclear meltdown is about to happen (does that ring a bell, you iPhone users out there??), and she somehow slept through that for a couple of minutes until I got sick of hearing it and said something. (There's definitely a story in that, but once again, not today.)

After so long, I knew that trying to sleep much longer would be a futile effort, so I got up and started my coffee. While waiting for that, I turned on the morning news and started my morning Internet ritual...(Facebook, my blog, my email, then my student page). Eventually, I got to the last one, and, on a whim, I decided to check and see if maybe, just maybe, my scholarship money was through and I could accept my money so that I could buy my books. You wouldn't believe how nervous I was to check it, in the event that it still wasn't there. However, I didn't have to worry about that, because, at last, my money arrived!!!!!!!!!!!! I hopped right on accepting it, and I knew that I could go buy my books as soon as I got out of class.

I had a good talk with my mom while I was getting ready this morning, but I had to end it since it is generally frowned upon to carry on a phone conversation in class. Even better, I ran into my cousin, Liz, who I was really hoping to see! We decided that I would have to come over to their house as soon as I possibly could...I'm thinking next week-ish?

My first TR class is Late British Literature. My professor is actually one of my former PLC sponsors and the faculty advisor for the Literature Club that I'm involved with, so we know each other quite well. She really is an awesome lady...just as a side note, that professor is so inspiring on many different levels. For one thing, she was born with cerebral palsy, which has affected her lower extremities, meaning that she has to walk with a walker, or with some sort of support, but she doesn't let her disability slow her down, and she does the best she can to live a normal life. The bigger thing about her is her enthusiasm for her job, because she told us that she still couldn't believe that she actually gets paid to do what she does, because she doesn't consider it work. You really have to admire that in a teacher, and that is so refreshing, being that so many tenured professors tend to stagnate and lose their enthusiasm for their career. The class itself should be a wonderful change of pace for me, since this semester is so math-centric. She has realistic demands for this class, and it is nothing that I can foresee stressing over too much! Hooray for good classes!

Calc II was nothing too impressive. We continued to go over our review sheet that she gave us yesterday. After having some time for peer collaboration (my favorite part), she went on and reviewed the answers. I don't know if it'll be like this all semester, but she went freakishly slow on something that us Enidites had no struggles with. I guess this could be better than having a teacher go so fast that you can hardly write anything down? It's still hard to judge how this class will go.

After Calc, I was able to successfully get my books from the bookstore!!!!! However, it is sad to say that I only have three classes with books, but I can't fit all three books and my other things (notebooks, binders, etc) in my backpack at one time.

Yes, these are my three books, with a one-inch binder to the left for scale. No, we will not be reading everything in that massive Brit Lit book!!!

After I hefted these books back to my room, I decided to pay my neighbor, Haley a visit. She is one of the Freshmen and she doesn't have a roommate, so I decided that I should see about becoming a cafeteria buddy with her. What started as a simple drop-in visit turned into a three hour heart-to-heart. I love it when that happens! Amazingly enough, we really get each other and we have so much in common...I told her that she is my mini-me! I can't wait to see what adventures we go on this year!
That concludes my first day portion, but the rest is the usual Tuesday update...

-The rest of my day ended on a somewhat sad note. Sunday night, Gina's (stick with me here) brother-in-law's former fiancee passed away at the age of 28 from a difficult battle with leukemia. To be technical, Gina's BIL had ended his relationship with this girl almost a year ago, but it ended on relatively good terms, all things considered. She was diagnosed just after Thanksgiving of this past year, she went straight into chemo, and she was in the process of getting some sort of transplant in place to help the cancer stay in remission. Unfortunately, with her condition, her immune system was virtually nonexistent, and she fell prey to a few viruses that ultimately led to her downturn. The past few weeks, she has been on life support and 24/7 dialysis, and after much deliberation and prayer, her parents made the difficult choice to take her off life support. It is devastating to think that one year ago, she was perfectly fine (as far as we knew), and now she's gone. Tonight was the visitation at the funeral home with her family. Gina and I decided to go, even though we didn't know any of her family. It was definitely a God thing that we went, because we ended up having a wonderful conversation with her mom, who really just needed someone to talk to. It was heart-breaking, yet comforting to talk to this lady, and I say that because it's always hard to fathom losing one's own child, but it was comforting in the fact that she was so strong in faith that she had a good attitude about everything. Lots of tears all around, but, sometimes that's okay.

-Gina and I had a good ride back, especially after we made a Mickey D's pitstop and I had my first experience with a Rolos McFlurry! It was incredibly sweet and totally unhealthy, but life's too short to constantly worry those things, and besides, it was delicious! :)

-Today was Cody, Wyatt, and Kyle's first day of school. I haven't had much of a chance to talk to the boys themselves, so I guess I'll have to wait to post in-depth stuff until then.

-Now, I am sitting wide awake in my room because, although I was incredibly tired and on the verge of falling asleep downstairs about thirty minutes ago. Here's what went down: I was so tired that I collapsed into bed, relishing in the comfort of it. I was calm, and all was well in my world. I had just had a great (for the most part) day, and I was ready to sleep so I could have another great day tomorrow. I had just shut my eyes, and I was starting to drift already, when I heard a weird noise. That weird noise suddenly turned into a full-on thunking noise, and I realized that something was falling down my staircase, then I snapped out of my sleepy daze and realized that my beloved wall mirror had just taken a tumble down a flight of stairs. I was totally bummed, because Tevis and I had expertly hung said mirror last week, although I put it in a different spot than last year. When I hung it last year, that bad boy didn't budge until I took it down when I moved out in May. This time it didn't even last a week! Really?

BUT WAIT!!! It gets better!

I get down to the foot of the stairs fully expecting to see my beloved mirror in thousands of pieces and having to pick up glass shards for a month. What I found was my mirror, fully intact, and otherwise ready to rehang. Could someone explain how that even happens?! I am still amazed by that!!! However, my sleepy-time daze has now been replaced by the adrenaline rush enduced by the noise from the falling mirror. Such is life, but I don't have to pick up glass shards now!!!

P.S. I will be rehanging my mirror back where I had it last year, where it is virtually impossible for it to fall down the stairs! :)

Monday, August 20, 2012

First Day of Classes, Part I

Today I am beginning my first day of my Sophomore year of college. It seems kind of odd that I am already here, and I am over halfway to receiving the first of my college degrees. I will give you a somewhat detailed recap of my first day, so you can have a better idea of how things will be for me this semester. (Note: I will be writing this in various stages throughout the day, so if my wording seems a bit odd, that is why.)

0830: I am fully ready for my day to begin. I am dressed, my hair is fixed, and I have eaten breakfast, so I guess that I am as ready as I can be! Last night, on a whim, I decided to buy a coffee maker, so I have also had a small pot of coffee already...maybe that's why I'm so awake! (I think that if given the chance, I will become an avid coffee drinker like many members of my family...) Although it would seem as though this is the most ideal first day one could ask for, it isn't quite that, because of what happened about one week ago.

Last week, when I started my move-in process, which I already wasn't excited about, I decided to go take care of all of my administrative tasks (i.e. parking permit, ID renewal, book purchases, etc.) Things were going seemingly alright until I got to the bookstore to get my books. Because of my scholarship, this is usually a stress-free process, but that was not the case this go-round. I was told that I had to go on the student website to accept my financial aid package, a process that was rumored to take only "a couple of minutes". Because I didn't have my computer with me, I went over to Tevis's house to use his computer. When I went through the entire process, I came to find out that I have no financial aid awards. This is a problem. I proceeded to call the financial aid office, and I was told, quite rudely, that I would NOT have any money coming my way until I filed a FAFSA...something that we didn't have to do last year, but is apparently a new requirement that no one bothered to tell any of us. (Can you sense my frustration yet?) I put in a few more calls to make sure that that was what I had to do, and then, with the weight of everything that had already happened, I started bawling like a baby. Not exactly what I wanted to happen in front of my boyfriend and his family, but thankfully, they were very comforting! So, I spent that night filing my FAFSA. The one blessing of the whole situation is the fact that this is now in a digital format, which really did speed up the whole process. Also, I was able to pull almost all of my parents' tax info from the IRS website, thanks to the IRS extraction feature. Fast-forward to today, I am still waiting for my money to come through, I have no books, and I am just about fit to be tied because I HATE feeling unprepared.

Now, I will be obsessively checking my student account, and possibly visiting the lovely (sarcasm) financial aid people to see where my money is (I always hoped I wouldn't be one of those people, but now that I am in that boat; I fear that that is who I have become...oops!). My first class isn't really until 1000, but because of my position as an assistant, I will be going in at 900 to help my boss.

0900-1200: I started off by heading over to my boss's office, where I was tasked with making a few copies for her. This went fine besides the fact that I had to use the other, not-so-fancypants copier that doesn't have as many cool features because the "good" copier is currently on the fritz. Nothing too exciting there...just saying.

Physics I was at 1000, and I have high hopes for this class, especially since my wonderful boss is teaching it. Of course, we went over standard syllabus mumbo-jumbo, and we started going over a few topics (significant figures...aka "sig figs", to be exact). I have lab later today, so that should be interesting. Also, once we got into the class, we realized that half the class was in the wrong room because they switched the rooms for General Biology & Physics. I will say that there were about ten very happy people who left that room for Biology! I know lots of people in this class, so I'm not too worried about finding someone if we want to do a study group. I feel alright about Physics!

Calc II was at 1100. I will reiterate my feelings on this for you in case you forgot: I cannot understand the rationale behind the school thinking that it is okay to offer an upper math class via ITV. It is NOT okay! Material-wise, I think that I'll be golden for the meantime, but otherwise, I kind of feel like us Enidites are the red-headed stepchildren in this situation. Our teacher seems fairly nice, although she has the "gruffness" necessary for any successful math professor. Hopefully she will be responsive to phone calls/email, since that is one of our only means of communication. Oh yeah, just as an added FYI, this class meets five days/week, so it is like high school revisited. This will be good for material retention, but this is bad on the homework/burnout front. Calc II will be my life this semester...yay :( I have to keep reminding myself that I made it through Calc I unscathed, so this can't be much more terrible...I'll keep you posted.

I paid the financial aid people a visit, and thankfully I got to deal with the nice office assistant as opposed to the grumpy lady who yelled at me last week. She was very vague as to when my information would go through, but she said that it would be done as soon as they got my info processed. My thoughts are that she wanted to allow the office some leeway in the matter so that I wouldn't be pillaging their office in the event that it takes longer than expected. She had me fill out a form, which I think will expedite the process some (???). I was very polite and gracious, and not overly pushy, in hopes that that will help me in the long run...it might not, but it never hurts! I'm banking on Wednesday or Thursday to get my books, so here's hoping that that will happen!

1230: Around this time on Mondays, I will usually start my hours in the tutoring lab, but since it's the first day, it was pretty senseless to sit around for three hours waiting on nothing to happen. As an added (and totally random) note, I have greatly underestimated the power of a little caffeine in the morning! I should have tried this years ago, because I am feeling pretty peppy right now! I'm sure the crash won't be so great, but I'll figure that out as I go! :)

I think that I will have to go buy my Physics class note manual and lab manual outright. I have been told that it costs less than $10, so if I can't be reimbursed, I can live with that just so I have the added peace of mind of these absolutely necessary materials.

1400-1600: Yes, I bought the Physics papers. So I had to pay $11 for two booklets, but I feel a little better about that situation, so it was well worth it. Besides, I get to keep these at the end of the semester, so that is some consolation for the matter. After that, I went over to the science building and waited it out until lab started.

Once we got into lab, we were assigned tables by alphabetical order. Thank heavens I have a good lab group. Maybe it really is better to be assigned to a group than to just pick a group by random. Our lab today was fairly simple. We did a review of math problems, which was right up my alley! Truth be told, that lab was probably one of the better things to happen today! It felt so good to be back to solving math problems and helping others solve their math problems. That was probably one of the better ways to end my first phase of Day 1!

Stay tuned for tomorrow's update on my TR classes...I promise it will be much shorter!!!

My Summer in Pictures

Being that school is starting today (more on that later), consider this the highlight reel from this summer with pictures of some of the adventures I went on! Enjoy!

Here is me with my Chermack cousins and Mimi when Jake was in the May Fete Court. Just for the record, this is my favorite picture of us! :)

Here are Gina and me shortly before doing our first 5K...notice the calm, unfrazzled looks on our faces!

This is my triumphant finish line picture!!! (No, I didn't run that hard for the entire race, but I wanted to beat the ladies behind me!)
Me posing with my medal :)

Here was the day Cody, Kyle, and I went to the park for our picnic...gotta love Cody's hand heart!

Check out Mimi in her snazzy new car! :)

Andrew was channeling his inner ninja with some leftover blood institute Coban!

Second finish line picture! (I'm not in a dead heat this time...)

Splash pad day! The boys somehow coerced me into joining them...they proceeded to soak me!

My 4th of July Rice Krispies...I'm pretty proud, if I must say so myself :)

Here are Emily and Cole having fun at Andy's birthday party

I got a good picture of me with the birthday boy :)

On his actual birthday, here is Andy sitting in his beanbag chair, with Barry/Beary (his teddy bear whose name he actually picked out), and his "speedboat" cake :)

Lastly, here is Symphony, blowing out her cupcakes at her party!

So, there are quite a few gaps in what happened, but, for the most part, here is a better view of my summer!!!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Ten on Tuesday

1. So, last week at this time, the one thing that was just fine in my life was the fact that I had all of my move-in plans all nailed down. It was great...note the key word "was". Like they say, you plan, God laughs. On Friday, we were informed that we have to help with the move-in process, which changed move-in by a good two days, which is quite a bit of time when you're moving. Needless to say, I wasn't very excited about it, but thankfully, my roommate and I got a new plan worked out, so I guess that it'll be what it'll be. Later, I will be heading to town to work on deep-cleaning my room, but I probably won't start moving much until tomorrow or Friday. Also, I've found out that I pretty much have to be in town every day for the next few days, so it looks like I might want to stay in town one of those nights only for my gas tank's sake. I am slowly, but surely getting my better attitude back, but it is still an uphill process. It will get better! It will get better!

2. Tevis is finally home!!!!! You don't know how happy this makes me to have him back! He has been visiting his dad for the past three weeks, but he finally made it home on Saturday afternoon. I got to see him for the better part of Sunday afternoon, and it was great to be with him again!

3. I got my hair cut on Saturday. This isn't particularly interesting, but it was a definite highlight of this past week. After everything went haywire last week, I finally came upon something that went right from start to finish! It really was the pick-me-up that I needed. It turned out just fine, and, even better, I was able to mostly recreate it last night! That makes me even happier!

4. Today, Shea, Tonisha, and I will be having our last lunch together before Shea goes back to Norman. I think she's moving in the next couple of days, so she really doesn't have much time left here. I'm sure that it will be a great time, so I can't wait!

5. The last few days my mom and I have been watching Cody & Kyle during the day. We have had some good times together. What has been the best part, though, were the things that we have talked about. On Friday, the boys and I were out watering the cattle, and they were picking at old locusts hanging from the tree. For some reason, it triggered a thought about the Exodus story, so I proceeded to tell them the condensed, off-the-top-of-my-head version. Cody knew it pretty well already, but Kyle really wanted to hear about it. He loved the story! Yesterday, we ended up discussing the Trinity during our lunch of pigs in a blanket, which was a hit in itself. Thank heavens that Cody attended Catholic school for three years, because he knew quite a lot about it. We really have had quite the spiritual conversations during the past few days, and it makes me happy to be able to tell them about these things. Oh, the little moments!

6. I have been back on the running wagon in the past week! My next race is in eleven days, so I definitely needed to get on that!

7. The biggest reason that I have been able to accomplish my running goals in the past week is that we have finally been blessed with cooler weather! No sizeable amounts of rain, but, by golly, we have cooler weather, so that will suffice until we get the downpour we've been waiting for! The past few mornings have been in the 60s and 70s, and the afternoon highs have been in the mid 80s to low 90s. Woah! That is nearly unheard of for this time of August, but I'll take it! The only thing left on our list is a good rain, and I know that it will be here one day!

8. Have you been able to watch the Perseids meteor shower? I have! Thanks to a reminder from a friend, I remembered to head out on Sunday night to watch a few. It was great! I was only out there for about thirty minutes, but I still saw at least ten to fifteen meteors. I would've stayed out longer, but I was starting to fall asleep, so I figured that I would just go to bed then. I wish that Tevis and I could've watched it together, but we both had to go home. However, I happened to see a big one before I left his house, that he supposedly didn't see, but it still made me happy! He assured me that we could watch all kinds of meteor showers later on, so that also made me happy! I think that there will still be a few meteors in the next few days, so there still should be some chance to see some if you haven't already! :)

9. Last night, Wyatt told me something interesting. He told me that he didn't want me to marry Tevis. Where this came from, I really don't know, but he randomly came up to me and told me that he didn't want me to marry him. After some coercion, he managed to tell me that he didn't want to share me with him and that he was afraid that I would forget about him if that happened. I assured him that, if that were the case, I would never forget about him, and that he wouldn't have to worry about sharing me. After that, he changed his tune and told me that I could marry Tevis...when I was older. I told Wyatt that if that was what he wanted, then he was talking to the wrong person! A totally random conversation, but it was cute nonetheless!

10. As a random last thought, I really didn't watch much of the Olympics last week...again. I did watch most of their coverage of synchronized swimming and rhythmic gymnastics, and some of the track stuff, but that was about it. I did luck out on Sunday, and I caught the last part of the men's basketball gold medal game. It was the only game of theirs that I was able to watch, but, even so, I loved watching them take the gold! Woo-hoo! No, I didn't watch the closing ceremony, but life goes on.

Hopefully, we all have a great week, and maybe, just maybe, we'll get the rain we've been waiting for!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Grape Sherbet!

As promised, here is the famed grape sherbet recipe! A few years ago, my mom was looking through a Country Cooking cookbook just to see what great recipes it might contain. It just so happened to be in the summertime, and when she saw this recipe, it struck a chord. It is incredibly easy to make, seeing as it only has four ingredients, and is oh-so refreshing on a hot summer day! Enjoy!

1 3/4 C. Grape juice
3 Tbsp. Lemon juice
1/2 C. Sugar
1 3/4 C. half-and-half cream

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients. Pour into the cylinder of a one-quart ice cream freezer; freeze according to manufacturer's directions. Allow to ripen in ice cream freezer or in refrigerator freezer for 2-4 hours before serving.

Yield: 1 quart

Recipe Notes:
-We have found that one quart goes pretty quickly, especially when sharing it with the whole family, so we usually double or triple the recipe to fill up the ice cream freezer canister, which works just fine.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Ten on Wednesday

1. This past week has been full of people celebrating all kinds of exciting things. First and foremost, Scotty & Emily celebrated their 9th wedding anniversary, and their 11th anniversary of having known each other. They had a great night out, while my parents and I tended to the boys for them for the evening. On Saturday, Tevis's little sister, Symphony, celebrated her 3rd birthday! (More about that in a sec...) Finally, on Sunday, my friend Audra and her husband Zach celebrated their sixth (I think) anniversary, and my friend Abbey's daughter, Maggie, celebrated her 3rd birthday! Congratulations all around to everyone!!!

2. As I mentioned above, Saturday was Symphony's birthday and party. Since she has recently taken to mini-golf, her mom decided to have a birthday party for her at Putt-Putt. Thankfully, her party was earlier in the morning, because by the time it was over, it was unbearably hot outside. We all had a wonderful time, and enjoyed some fun times mini-golfing. Also, no one wanted to keep score, so it was all the more fun! Symphony got all kinds of awesome presents, including a sand and water table, princess dress-up clothes, a mini drum set, sand toys (from me), and a few other things that currently escape me. She loved all of her presents, especially her dress-up clothes, which she put on as soon as she had opened them! Even though Tevis wasn't there, I still had a great time with his family, who were all in a quandry as to when he would be home. With any luck, that will happen this weekend, and it can't come any too soon...I miss him a lot!!!

3. This past weekend was the tax-free holiday. I did find myself a few bargains at the running store and at a consignment store. Also, I got Cody's birthday present at Old Navy, which was a total madhouse on Saturday. If it hadn't been for the fact that I was already in town, I probably would have skipped that trip and just sucked it up to pay more in a few weeks. However, I was already in town and fairly close by, so I powered through and got some good deals! Honestly, I think the worst part of the whole excursion was the parking lot, because I almost got run down by a massive Ford pickup twice. Because of that lovely happening, I decided that I would end my trip there before I lost my sanity! Sometimes it makes you wonder if these things are really worth it...just saying!

4. I had supper with Shea and Tonisha on Friday evening. We enjoyed a nice supper at the Sidewalk Cafe on the square. It was a good thing that I happened to be running way early, because I noticed that their sign said that reservations were suggested, and none of us thought to make a reservation. I decided to go in and get a table, which ended up being the only one available for the meantime. I enjoyed a nice supper of tortellini with crab, scallops, and shrimp in light lemon sauce. It was a tad more expensive than I had hoped, but it was well worth it! Unfortunately, our times of getting to have fun outings like this are coming to an end, since Shea will be moving back to Norman in a week or so. Even so, we are enjoying it while it lasts!

5. So this past weekend was the school retreat that I had mentioned earlier. I wish that I could give you a wonderful recap of everything and say that I feel refreshed and ready to go for this coming year. I wish. It didn't have the greatest start, because our bus broke down twice on the way out there, and we had to wait about 45 minutes for another bus to come get us. From there on out, I can't say that it got much better. I won't go into specifics, but suffice it to say that I was generally unimpressed with most (not all) of the people and the events of my time there. I am having a bad attitude, and I really need to change that, but that is kind of a struggle for me right now. I guess I have a week or so to shape up, so hopefully that'll happen for me, and I can give you a better report as time goes on.

6. I met with my roommate last Friday, and we got some things squared away. I enjoyed meeting with her and catching up. I am hoping that we will have a good year together and generally be good companions in this coming year. Oh yeah, there is a new tidbit about her that just came about this weekend...she is engaged. I have come to the conclusion that if someone wants to become engaged, all they need to do is be my roommate, because I am currently two for two on that front...just saying. I should start by saying that I am very happy for her, and I am not jealous or trying to be a total downer about this, but it does make me hope that she will not be preoccupied by this, because I know that we will be having lots of other important obligations, school-wise. Let's just hope that we will still have a great year!

7. Yesterday, I saw on the college website that they have class information posted. I was able to get a sneak peek at what is to come in my classes. I will be taking Calc II, Physics I (with a lab), Late British Literature, and Bowling (one of my PE classes). This adds up to be thirteen hours, but I know that it will be very intense. I can't say that I am overwhelmingly excited about any of these classes, but I hope that I am pleasantly surprised. I guess that we shall see! Like I said before, I am in desperate need of an attitude adjustment!

8. I haven't quite been keeping up with the Olympics like I had been last week. Oh well, that happens. Now I am enjoying watching the track competitions, along with the finals on the gymnastics front. I was pretty impressed by the men's high bar competition last night, although it was a bummer that Johnathon Horton didn't quite make it on the medal stand to represent the USA. Even so, it was a big night for the Dutch, who got their first gymnastics medal last night! The women's balance beam was surprising. It seemed like everyone was tired and losing focus, because there were quite a few falls and missteps. Also, I was hacked off at the judges who almost cheated Aly Raisman out of another medal, because she honestly looked like she had one of the better routines of the night. Thankfully, the tiebreaker went in her favor last night, because she definitely deserved it. Lastly, I would like to say that I wish you could watch the events and hear the background noise, but not the commentators. I could do without them putting in their two cents most of the time. Oh well, such is life!

9. For the past few years, my parents have been getting peaches from a family farm in Colorado that comes to Oklahoma a few times in the summer to sell them. They are always delicious and taste so much better than what you can usually find in the stores. Yesterday, they came to Kingfisher, and we designated a family friend to pick some up for us and Mimi. We came out of the deal with three boxes of peaches, and I am pretty impressed with them! There are some that are literally softball-sized! They have great flavor, and nice texture. Soon, we will have to freeze some of them, but I know that they will make great pies, cobblers, and snacks for the future!

10. On a final note, my mom made our usual summertime treat of grape sherbet yesterday! It is one of my favorite treats, and it is so refreshing in this endless summertime heat. I will probably be posting the recipe soon, so be on the lookout for that!

Here's hoping that everyone has a good week!

Friday, August 3, 2012

The Second Year!

Two years...that's how long it has been since I started this blog. I can tell you one thing, it doesn't seem like it has been two years since I have began this great venture, but, somehow, it has.
As I did last year, I went back to my original post just to see what exactly was happening in my life, and it was relatively similar to how my life is now, in a few respects. However, it amazes me how much my life has changed since then. (Here is my anniversary post from last year.)

As far as the similarities go, it was excruciatingly hot, I was preparing to go back to school, and I was babysitting my nephews. Now, it is still hot, I am still getting ready for another year of school, and I still babysit my nephews. Okay, so the similarities are vague and somewhat of a stretch, but it works!

Let's recap a few of the highlights from this past year of my blog!
-I finished my Freshman year of college. What a ride Freshman year was! I experienced my first time out of the walls of Pioneer High School, and what a difference that makes! I experienced dorm life (sort of), I had my first roommate experience, and I met all sorts of new people (good and bad). I had all sorts of fun times with Carissa, and later in the year, Tonisha! I also had my first real encounter with Calculus and ITV...unfortunately, those two coincided. :/  I had kooky professors, stern professors, and a few fun-loving, interesting professors. I did all sorts of activities for PLC, including attending our president's investiture, meeting the regents, and going on a Segway tour of Bricktown. (Somehow that last one just doesn't seem to fit, but it happened!)

-I have a new nephew! At this time last year, adorable little (well, actually, he's big now) Cole was still just Baby Moody. I had no idea that we would have another ornery little boy to add to the mix. I absolutely adore him! (I have to post some pictures soon...it has been much too long!) He is now 7.5 months old, and is a whopping 31" long! (Yes, you read that right...he is that big!) He is on the verge of walking, and is babbling away! He can wave and somewhat say "hi". Yes, Cole was definitely a highlight in my life!

-I ran my first 5K! Actually, I have now run two, and I am getting ready for my third in about three weeks. Well, I say getting ready, but I'll honestly say that my workout program has gone by the wayside because I like sleep too much to wake up at 4 AM to find "cool" weather, and I don't want to get a heat stroke at 9 PM, like I almost did the last time I tried that. Life goes on. More than running the races, I had my first ventures of not having a "mandatory workout" (aka Athletics hour). I realized how much more of a priority that you have to make it, when it's all on you. I can't say that I was consistent, but I can say that I made a conscious effort to stay active. I had pretty good luck in both races, and, even better, I accomplished something off of my bucket list! I can't say that a 10K is anywhere in my foreseeable future, but I could be wrong...maybe I'll do that in this next year!

-I experienced my first time living away from home. So, technically, I lived only twenty-five minutes from home and I went home every weekend. That happens. Even so, it was the biggest adventure I've ever been on. It was also the first time that I lived in that close of proximity to a bunch of people my own age, which was definitely different to me. Like I mentioned before, I had my first time living with a relative stranger. Thankfully, I had a wonderful experience with that...here's hoping that this next year will go at least half as well as last year did! Carissa really was one of the best people that could've ever entered my life, and I don't think she'll ever understand how much I appreciate her for that. She was perfect for helping me make the transition from being a naive high-schooler to a college kid. Now she is married, and hopefully enjoying her new life. I really need to call her up sometime...

-I experienced new cultures and surroundings. If you would've told me at this time last year that I would be relatively knowledgeable about the Mennonite culture, and live with a Holderman Mennonite, I would've either freaked out or said you were crazy. Turns out that it is a religion very rich in tradition, which I have gained a better understanding of. Not only have I attended a youth volleyball game with them, I have also attended a wedding. Wow. I also took to attending church with Tevis, who is of a different religion than I. Not only have I attended, I have grown to deeply enjoy the services and the people I have met there. Even better, I think that it has helped Tevis and I to deepen our relationship by having a new common bond, and an excuse to spend time together at least once a week.

-Oh, Tevis...I really enjoyed living close to my boyfriend for once in my life. I loved the fact that we could literally make plans at the drop of a hat, and it wouldn't be a big deal of logistics. Not that he minds driving out to my house, or I to his, but still. We really got to just spend more time together, which was my favorite part. This past year was the year of us knowing each other better, and I am hopeful to see what this next year will bring!

-I made a few technological advances, which aren't too noteworthy, but are big for me! I started texting, and I got my first iPod! I have to say, now that I can text, I love it! Technically, if it wasn't for PLC, I still might not have this feature, but that's how virtually all of the communication is done, so that was a must. My iPod was one of the best birthday presents I have ever received! I get so much use out of it while running, going on trips, or trying to fall asleep at night. I love it!!! (Thank you Gina and Emily! :) )

-I got my first job! This was probably my biggest milestone! Okay, so it isn't a job with benefits or paid vacation, but it's a start for a college kid! I sort of fell into tutoring, but I did enjoy it for the most part. There were a few days that left me happy to go back to my room for the day, but, overall, I loved the feeling of purpose I had with that job. It reinforced my knowledge, and, most of all, my desire to pursue teaching as a career. The best thing I learned from my job was how to better interact with people of all sorts. I helped all kinds of people in my one year as a tutor. I learned that out of all of those people, no two people learned math the same way. Each time, I would have to explain something in a slightly different way, but usually I would find something that would help the person. That is definitely something that I can carry over to a future career in education, and something that I must remember. Now, I am in a different position as a student assistant. I will tutor some, but I really get a hands-on look at the behind-the-scenes world of a math professor. My boss is awesome, and I can't wait to see what all I will learn from her during this year!

Of course, not everything has been perfect during this past year. There have been bad weeks, stress, and some untimely deaths, but I guess you have to take the bad with the good. Overall, I have had a relatively good year blogging, and I can't wait to be back in a year to examine where I have been and what I have done! Thank you to my readers for taking the time out of your life to read my ramblings, and I appreciate all of the feedback I have received! Here's to the past year and to another good year!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

10 on Tuesday

1. Last night, I finished the Hunger Games trilogy! Mockingjay was slower than the other books, but overall, the ending was nice. One part made me mad, but, other than that, it was great! Thank you, Debra, for letting me borrow it!!!
2. Andy's birthday party was this past Saturday. We had chicken, mac & cheese, and veggies for supper, with his Thomas cake, Jeremy's cheesecake, and ice cream for dessert. The highlight of all the presents was the John Deere pedal tractor that Gina and Jeremy got Andy, which he already received before the party. That was probably a good thing, because everything else would've paled in comparison with it! Sunday was Andy's actual birthday, so my parents, Emily's crew, and I all went over to see him then for leftover cake and presents from Gina and Jeremy. Another highlight was a beanbag chair, which was actually in the form of a chair. However, what really stole the show was the singing Chuggington card he got from Gina, Jeremy, and Wyatt. I love the fact that he got all kinds of new toys and clothes and gadgets, but his favorite thing was a $3 card! Happy Birthday, Andy!!!

3. Jeremy's birthday is actually the day after Andrew's, so we somewhat celebrated it on Saturday. Because he loves chocolate and cheesecake, I was assigned the task of making a turtle cheesecake for the festivities. I am such a perfectionist when it comes to making cheesecakes, but I was pleasantly surprised by how this one turned out! No cracks, and everything went together great! The ganache went on smoothly, and it looked even better when it came out of the pan. It was a great recipe, and I just might have to share it soon!

4. On to my current semi-obsession: The Olympics! I was pumped about watching the opening ceremony, but I really didn't get to watch the whole thing. Emily invited us out to supper that night, so I missed most of the first half of it. I'm not sorely disappointed, because I can always look it up on other websites if I really want to see it. From what I have heard, it was good, but I still am in awe of what Beijing did four years ago...just saying.

5. How about the parade of nations? I made it home to see the better part of that, and I was impressed. Usually, that is my least favorite part of the ceremony, because it drags on FOREVER, but they kept it moving! Also, I loved the background music they had going...the athletes weren't marching in, they boogied in! :) It was great to see the Thunder's "Big 3" in the herd of US athletes, especially James Harden! I loved the ending with Paul McCartney leading the mass singing of "Hey Jude", which is one of my favorite songs by the Beatles. (I may or may not have been singing along with it..)

6. I have yet to see the US men's basketball team in action. I am guessing that it has something to do with the fact that it is aired on cable networks or at obscure times. Either way, that needs to stop, because I'd love to see that...guess I'll add that to my online video list!

7. Out of all the things I've missed, Olympic-wise, somehow I've seen all kinds of rowing and cycling footage. Really? Last night, I started getting into the whitewater kayaking (I think) event. Those guys make it look incredibly easy...I know that it isn't. I loved watching the Czech and Slovak teams whip up on everyone else! (When the US isn't doing so hot, I default to cheering for the Czech Republic and Slovakia, which is my heritage)

8. It was depressing to hear about the US men's gymnastics team. I was pulling for them, especially since they had so many Oklahoma ties, but I suppose that things don't always go how you want them to. I really got into the team competition between China, Japan, the UK, and Croatia. Of course, China won by a landslide, but how about the dramatic ending between the other three teams. I loved the Cinderella story with the UK, who won their first team medal. It was cool to see Princes William and Harry in the crowd, cheering them on. I felt bad for Croatia, who had a medal, but then didn't, because the Japanese coach had their score overturned. No matter what, hooray for the host team, who made history!

9. US swimming has been pretty good, but nothing as spectacular as it was in Beijing. Although Michael Phelps broke the all-time medal count, I feel like he hasn't been as "on fire" as he used to be, but then again, I think he's just having fun before he retires, and I don't blame him for that! Women's swimming is doing well, especially Missy Franklin. There's still a couple more days of swimming left, so that'll be interesting to watch!

10. I'll end on the high note of US women's gymnastics...they totally rocked it!!! Poor Jordyn Wieber didn't make the all-around competition, which is dumb, because she is just as good as anyone else, but no one asked me. I really have a soft spot for this event because I have a fond memory of watching gymnastics at the Atlanta games in '96. I had it in my heart that I wanted to be a gymnast, so much so that I took it upon my three-and-a-half-year-old self to attempt to vault off of my parent's bed...until my mom heard the racket I was making and put an immediate stop to that. I also somersaulted through our hallway/living room and flailed through the living room after watching floor exercise. Oh, what could have been...but anyway, it was great to see the US women clean house in the team competition! They look like they really work well together, and it couldn't have gone to a better group of girls!

11. I love the unity that there is during the Olympics. Everything else seems so irrelevant when the whole world comes together for a single purpose. Hmm...

12. I always tear up a little bit when I hear our national anthem at the medal ceremony. I take it for granted sometimes, but there's something about the moment that makes it sounds so beautiful. U-S-A!  U-S-A!  U-S-A!