Wednesday, December 23, 2009

We've moved!

Well, mostly. Some of the kitchen stuff and some miscellaneous items are still at the old apartment. We ran out of time and boxes before the movers came Monday afternoon. But don't worry, we still had plenty of stuff to fit in the truck...

This is what we have affectionately dubbed "The Room of Requirement." If you need something, it's probably in here:

Thank goodness for the extra room to hold everything! It makes living and unpacking in all the other rooms less trying. Once it's cleared out (maybe by 2011?!) I plan to make it a library/reading room, with some places for toys.

Amazingly, this move was cheaper than last time and we have MORE stuff. Here's a tip: Always go with the extra guy. It's worth it.

I'm off to do some more unpacking... more details (and photos) to come.


Saturday, December 19, 2009


For better or for worse, Fall semester is done, at least from my end. That means I can take a break from things like waw consecutives and Deuteronomic histories, at least for a little while. Maybe I'll get some fun reading done. Or better yet, maybe I'll get some SLEEP.


Tuesday, December 08, 2009

P-Dub Addendum

My friend Sarah's post describing last night's events is now up. Yay! (That sweet tea was a brilliant idea. Too bad we couldn't make it happen.)

Also, if you want to buy the Pioneer Woman's Cookbook for a friend (or two), then it is currently on sale at Amazon for under $12. Too bad I didn't know that earlier.

Plus, if you already have one of her cookbooks and want her to sign it, you just mail it to her with a postage-paid return padded envelope. How cool is that?

Enough. Just go check out Ree's glorious website. It is addictive. You have been warned.


Monday, December 07, 2009

The Pioneer Woman Signs Books

Have I told you about The Pioneer Woman?

Surely I have. I've certainly made many of her recipes! Perhaps you enjoyed one. (But perhaps I just took the compliments and sneakily passed them off as mine. Oops.)

The Pioneer Woman is otherwise known as Ree Drummond, a midwestern gal, mom to four kids, who blogs about food, photography, and her life on an Oklahoman cattle ranch. I've been reading her blog for about three years now, mostly the recipe section (I remember when she first posted that chocolate sheet cake), but her story of how she went from an uptown city gal to the wife of a rancher, "Black Heels to Tractor Wheels" is quite riveting. She's got a wicked sense of humor and a great eye for composition. Her fame has steadily grown (I voted for her to get those Bloggy awards!) and she recently published a book. Isn't this just the happiest cookbook cover you've ever seen?

See that lovely design on the brown background underneath her book? That's a t-shirt. How did I get it, you might be wondering? Well, that, as they say, is the rest of the story...

Tonight, I met the Pioneer Woman. She was at her booksigning here in Atlanta. She is just as warm and friendly in person as she comes across on her blog. And she was signing books like Babe Ruth signed baseballs while carrying on completely gracious and intelligent conversations, maintaining poise and composure with Sharpie in hand and cameras flashing. How does she DO that?

(I actually asked her if she uses Vaseline to help her keep smiling through all those photographs. She said, "No, but I probably should." And then she proceeded to execute a proper "pageant wave." I love that woman.)

My friend Sarah is probably blogging right now about all our experiences, so I will let her share all the details about how we ended up there at the perfect time and made it smoothly through the line in only a little over an hour. Sarah brilliantly researched the fact that we should show up way early and get armbands so we could go in with an earlier group, rather than getting there at the start time. Apparently, some of PW's recent book signings have lasted until the wee hours of the morning, so at least Borders was prepared.

The Pioneer Woman definitely draws a crowd. But it's also a very nice crowd. Mostly ladies, quite a few adorable kiddos, one or two lone males. We were diverse and chatty and super excited to be there. I have been to other book signings (mostly obscure poets and authors that only my fellow English majors would appreciate) and it was nothing like this. Tonight was like a big party. You couldn't meet a stranger. Perhaps it was because we all felt we knew her from reading her blog.

Upon meeting the Pioneer Woman, she made me feel instantly at ease. When my friend Sarah, her sis-in-law Vickie, our friend Shanna and I all went up together, Ethan was sleeping, strapped to my chest in a Beco carrier. The very first thing she said to me was, "You are too tiny to have such a big baby!" That is the nicest compliment I think I've received in months!

I was just beaming. And struck dumb! How could I compete with such a compliment? Wasn't I, as the fan, supposed to be the one praising her? I think I said something lame about how I enjoy her blog. Then she said, "Was that all your milk?" and it took a second to register that she meant did I breastfeed him and all I could say was "Yup. Pretty much." Tongue-tied, I tell ya.

Still, that, too, was a compliment I couldn't beat. I tried to follow up with "And it was all from your food, too!" but that came across as kind of weird. Still, perhaps she, as a fellow mom, understood. At least she didn't shoo me away or anything.

There was some chatter about a Marlboro Man coffee mug that Shanna brought her (who doesn't like coffee?). And something about her hand getting cramped from signing all our books (we had 8 between us, but some people had that many by themselves!). Then we were gone, thanking her for coming, gathering our things so the next group could meet her. We chatted for a minute with her friends and were given these amazing t-shirts. For them, it's like residual fame. Kind of neat. And they are just as graceful and charming as PW.

And then it was over.

Afterward, we went to Figo for a late dinner. I think PW would've liked the food, minus the stale bread. I just enjoyed chatting with my friends and watching Ethan try to eat a piece of bread with his pacifier still in his mouth.

I'd like to think that the reason this collective adventure was so enjoyable for all was because the Pioneer Woman writes about and photographs what she loves, and we all just happen to love the same things.

I'm grateful I have a whole slew of new recipes to try out on my unsuspecting friends and family. Thanks, PW!


Saturday, December 05, 2009


To the victors go the spoils.

Georgia Tech 39, Clemson 34.

The ACC Championship was a nail-biter down to the final minute, but the Jackets came out on top. A few reflections before bed-time:

1. Being the punter for Paul Johnson is either the worst (if you actually like to play) or best (if you're really lazy) job in the world.
2. Josh Nesbitt is one tough dude.
3. Once again, Scott Blair proves he can be the man when he needs to be.
4. I'm glad we'll never have to play C.J. Spiller again.

and lastly,

5. Most awesome fruit? ORANGE, BABY!

Go Jackets!


Tuesday, December 01, 2009

More Than We Could Ask or Even Imagine

Ephesians 3:20-21

When I first started looking at houses to rent back in August, I had a wish list:

1. A fenced-in yard for the boys to play in.
(Here I have to go down two flights of stairs, carrying the baby and anything like balls or golf clubs or strollers along with me, just to get to some grass.).

2. An eating area that is NOT carpeted.
(We have mats down, we clean up immediately, but still I feel like the carpet around our table is disgusting. You just CAN'T get baby food or applesauce or milk or any other liquidy food product out of carpet properly without steam-cleaning all the time. And who can afford that?)

3. Three bedrooms.
(The boys will share--hopefully, but Gaines really needs an office area where he can close the door and work at night or when he is home on the weekends.)

I'd like to think I'd have been satisfied with just that. Of course, we wanted to be close to our church and still have a decent commute for Gaines.

And do you know what? God gave us a place that answered all of those requests and more!

I picked up the keys today and did a last walk-through. I ran back in afterward to take a few photos...

Our cute little 70's style 3 BR/2 BA brick ranch:

not only has an eat-in kitchen:

(This curtain seen below was left by the previous owner and the landlord gave permission to get rid of it. Suggestions for something new?)

But also has newish carpet and flooring throughout (seen here with the original tile in the entryway):

The house also comes with a 2-car carport:

a partially-finished basement, an extra living room, a den with a fireplace:

and the best part of all -- a screened-in porch!

Look at that deck -- there's a big fenced-in yard beyond:

Oh, and did I mention there were trees? Glorious trees. I'm actually looking forward to raking.

God really does answer prayers! When we move in, you are all invited over for a big 'ole party. Maybe we'll watch a bowl game?!


Sunday, November 29, 2009

Biggest Game of the Year?

No. 7 Georgia Tech Falls to Georgia

Well, I've been waiting for -- nay, dreading -- the inevitable heartbreak that each football season brings to Jackets fans. Maybe we already had it back in September down in Miami? Maybe Paul Johnson can stave it off completely? But of course, the inescapable cannot be escaped (duh!).

The loss to the hated Bulldogs at home definitely left a bitter taste to the Thanksgiving weekend. Not just the loss, but the combination of bad things that led to it. Like the fact that UGA's star receiver sat the game out, but it didn't even matter, since they ran and ran and ran the ball -- and our defense couldn't do a thing about it. Or the fact that Josh Nesbitt got hurt and didn't play the entire second quarter. Or the fact that our 76-yard completion for touchdown was almost immediately answered by UGA's 75-yard touchdown run. But of course, the cruelest heartbreak was when Georgia's kicker, who had been perfect all night, missed the field goal that would have put the game out of reach, and Tech began their final drive with about three minutes left, with victory tantalizingly within reach. In a stroke of extreme irony, the drive ended when our usually consistent/frequently amazing receiver dropped a pass, and Tech turned over the ball on downs.

Now, in most seasons, the conventional wisdom is that the UGA game is the biggest game of the year. A loss to the Bulldogs typically leaves Tech fans to ponder which crappy bowl game we'll be headed for (not the blue turf!!!), and then we begin turning our eyes towards basketball season (Tech's looking good so far, btw).

But this is the Paul Johnson era, dangit! We're playing for the ACC Championship next weekend. If we beat Clemson, we're going to the Orange Bowl. That'll go a long way to wash that bitter taste out.


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Raise the Song of Harvest Home

We sang this glorious old hymn, "Come, Ye Thankful People, Come," in church this past Sunday. I've probably heard it before, but I'm not sure if I'd ever paid attention to the words until now. The phrase "harvest home" just struck me as the perfect metaphor for the day when we will be united with Christ at his coming to establish the new heavens and the new earth -- the idea that all the harvesting will be done and we can abide with Him in eternal Thanksgiving for His ultimate provision. I also like that the emphasis is on the Lord as the one who is doing the harvesting, not us. I especially appreciated the reminder to pray that we "wholesome grain and pure might be." Repentance comes before renewal.

Come, ye thankful people, come, raise the song of harvest home;
All is safely gathered in, ere the winter storms begin.
God our Maker doth provide for our wants to be supplied;
Come to God’s own temple, come, raise the song of harvest home.

All the world is God’s own field, fruit unto His praise to yield;
Wheat and tares together sown unto joy or sorrow grown.
First the blade and then the ear, then the full corn shall appear;
Lord of harvest, grant that we wholesome grain and pure may be.

For the Lord our God shall come, and shall take His harvest home;
From His field shall in that day all offenses purge away,
Giving angels charge at last in the fire the tares to cast;
But the fruitful ears to store in His garner evermore.

Even so, Lord, quickly come, bring Thy final harvest home;
Gather Thou Thy people in, free from sorrow, free from sin,
There, forever purified, in Thy garner to abide;
Come, with all Thine angels come, raise the glorious harvest home.

Hymn Text by Henry Alford, 1844

This Thanksgiving, remember that Christ is Lord and we are to thank him for His goodness. Our weapon is worship! By praising the Risen Savior at our feast, we boldly proclaim that "All the world is God’s own field!" Perhaps you could start a new tradition of singing this hymn with your family. :) However your celebrate this Thanksgiving, may you have a wonderful holiday and celebrate gladly around your tables with family and friends!


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Walks with Waterfowl

The past several weeks we've seen some glorious fall weather.

To take advantage of these beautiful, blustery days, we have been taking walks near the pond at our apartment complex.

Usually, we go on Thursdays after handing out cookies to the school kids. Cookie Days interrupt our usual naptime, but I know these apartment events will be ending soon, so I like to think I am finding ways to enjoy them as a family rather than rush through and just get the job done.

One day, I finally remembered to bring some bread.

Quite a gaggle of geese have occupied our little patch of water, competing with the dozen or so ducks who can usually be found here year-round.

Once the bread ran out, Jacob shared his Goldfish crackers. He can be so thoughtful.

Last Thursday, the ducks and geese avoided us, though we came bearing a boutiful harvest of old bread. The birds were probably just full from someone else feeding them earlier in the day, but I secretly wondered if they despised us for the pervious week's meager offering.

This time, will they remember how we cast the bread out even when they didn't swim our way? Gentle reader, we shall keep you informed.


Monday, November 16, 2009

Tampa Bound

No. 7 Georgia Tech Runs Over Duke to Clinch Spot in ACC Title Game

2009 ACC Coastal Division Champs

First things first: I really need to stop watching the opening quarters of Tech football games. Saturday was a prime example: In the waning minutes of the first quarter, the Jackets were down 10-0 to the Blue Devils. Say what?!? But as usual, Coach Johnson made some adjustments, and GT was in business. After an 83-yard kickoff return, Tech scored the first of seven unanswered touchdowns for the day. Jonathan Dwyer rushed for over 100 yards (as usual), and Josh Nesbitt passed for 195 yards and 2 TD's -- on just 6 completions. Six different Yellow Jackets scored touchdowns. And our backup players went in for pretty much the entire fourth quarter.

The win earns Tech a spot in the ACC Championship Game down in Tampa on December 5, most likely in a rematch against the Clemson Tigers (but they aren't locked in just yet). But the real game of the season is in two weeks: after a much-deserved week off, the Jackets host the hated Bulldogs from Athens.

In the polls, Tech remains at No. 7, since none of the teams above us were kind enough to lose this weekend. Alas.

One last thing: curious about what Coach Paul Johnson will do on a given 4th down? Here's a handy tool.
Now you too can call plays like Paul Johnson!

Go Jackets!


Monday, November 09, 2009

"I Play to Win"

... says Coach Paul Johnson, after the Jackets eked out a 30-27 overtime win against Wake Forest.

Of course, the description "eked out" hardly does justice to Johnson's bold call to forego the game-tying field goal on 4th & 1. Granted, Johnson usually goes for it on fourth anyway, but the Jackets had not had much success with it on Saturday: Tech was 0-4 on 4th down conversions going into overtime. A gusty move, but it paid off when Josh Nesbitt muscled his way forward for the first down. He ran in the winning touchdown on the next snap.

Wake Forest definitely played a heck of a game. After watching them nearly upset Miami last week, I knew they would give us a hard time. Plus, we had a few dumb penalties on crucial plays that kept the game closer than it should have been. But the Jackets prevailed.

With the win, and a few upsets in the top ten, Tech moves up to No. 7 in the polls. Next up: a visit up to Duke, where a win clinches the Coastal Division and sends the Jackets to Tampa for the ACC Championship. Duke should be an easy win, which is enough to make Tech fans everywhere start sweating: this is the point in the season where a Tech team on the rise typically has the rug pulled out. But then again, Paul Johnson plays to win.

Yeah, I just won the game.  Can you tell?


Monday, November 02, 2009

Better Late Than Never

So, we didn't exactly celebrate ON Halloween this year.

Jacob fell asleep before 6 p.m. on All Hallows' Eve, due to a fun visit with his Aunt Amy and Uncle Mike, so we stayed in from the trick-or-treating.

Ethan DID manage to partake of some costume fun:

And enjoyed some GT football with his dad:

The costume didn't have legs, so he was soon extricated:

And then proceeded to try to eat the pumpkin that Nana and Papa had brought us:

Failing at that, he did manage to remove the stem!

Then, the day after, since it was such a beautiful fall afternoon on All Saints' Day, we carved the pumpkin.

Only one day late, right? I wonder what the neighbors thought: had Daylight Savings Time gotten us REALLY confused?

At least Jacob didn't seem to notice the discrepancy.

We removed the yucky insides.

As Jacob would say, "I smell something."

Daddy helped carve the face that Mommy and Jacob drew.

Jacob was very proud to use his "scooper" all by himself.

At least Jacob got to wear his $1.72 Old Navy 2009 celebratory shirt. I bought it BEFORE Halloween. Really, I did!

Ethan watched safely from inside, free from pumpkin innards and sharp knives.

The closest Jacob got to wearing a costume:

Jacob pointing at the gorgeous full moon:

Apparently, full moons make Daddy go crazy...

Enjoying our belated holiday family fun!

We even roasted the pumpkin seeds using this Martha sweet 'n spicy recipe. Not too shabby, but I think next time I would use more cinnamon and less cumin.


Tech Football Update -- Halloween Edition

Yellow Jackets Rally Past Commodores, 56-31

So the first half was definitely more trick than treat: even though the offense started strong, the Tech defense allowed Vanderbilt -- Vanderbilt!! -- to put up 28 points before halftime. Thankfully, the D pulled it together and allowed the Commodores only a field goal in the second half. Whatever Coach Johnson said in the locker room to whip them into shape for the remainder of the game worked. Which raises the question -- Coach, can't you do that before the game, instead of making Tech fans suffer for the first half? Just sayin'.

On the positive side, the Tech offense put up some big numbers on Saturday. As expected, Nesbitt personally carried in a couple of touchdowns, but the pleasant surprise was that he passed for 193 yards and another pair of scores. Jonathan Dwyer had a record 186 yards rushing, including three touchdowns of his own. The Yellow Jackets had a combined offense of 597 yards. The moral of the story -- Georgia Tech can put the points on the scoreboard! Now we just need our defense to consistently prevent our opponents from doing likewise.

Fun fact: the Commodore who caused us the most grief on Saturday was Warren Norman, who Allison taught at Chamblee High School. Norman was particularly devastating on kickoff returns (including an 80-yd return for TD), demonstrating again how much work the Jackets still need on special teams. It's always a bad thing when your kicker has to make a stop. Granted, it's always fun to see what crazy thing kicker Scott Blair will do each week. (You might remember his touchdown pass in the Clemson game on a fake field goal.) This week he forced Norman to fumble a kickoff return and recovered the ball for the Jackets.

With the win, Georgia Tech creeps up to #10 on both the BCS and AP standings. Next week: at home against Wake Forest, where a win will bring us one step closer to the ACC Championship.



Tuesday, October 27, 2009

the autumn leaves and the falling love

This past blustery Saturday morning we went to help some friends with their pumpkin carving contest...

Jacob always had keys at the ready in case something needed to be "locked"...

We tossed around the pigskin while setting up...

Jacob found a "very hungry caterpillar"...

and Ethan fell asleep on his Momma's chest...

We cheered on the Yellow Jackets...

Gratuitous picture of our happy Ethan (maybe he heard we won the game?!):

All the while hosting a Fall Fest at our apartment complex, complete with free food, free DJ, and decorative leftover pumpkins graciously provided by our friends...

I heart October.

On the docket tonight...pumpkin carving!


Monday, October 26, 2009

Weekly Jackets Update

Sure, I'm a day late, but there's so much to report! For starters,

No. 11 Yellow Jackets Win at Virginia for First Time Since 1990, 34-9

Even in their less successful seasons, the Cavaliers have been a perpetual thorn in Georgia Tech's side. This year, the stakes were much higher, as Virginia led the ACC Coastal Division going into the game. The Jackets had a few miscues in the opening quarter, in large part due to the wet weather up in Charlottesville (and apparently the field was still recovering from the U2 concert in Scott Stadium a few weeks prior). At halftime, Tech led 13-6. However, upon receiving the ball at the beginning of the third quarter, the Jackets launched a mammoth 18-play, 10:47 scoring drive that pretty much broke UVA's will. Check out the look on Al Groh's face:
Exhibit A - the demoralizing effects of Georgia Tech's offense

Therein lies the insidiousness of Paul Johnson's offense: when you can have possession of the ball for over 42 minutes in a game, it's pretty dang hard for your opponent to regain the lead.

But wait, there's more. With Miami's loss on Saturday (thanks Clemson -- maybe we'll see you again in Tampa), Tech rises to the top of the Coastal Division. If we win our remaining conference games against Wake Forest and perennial ACC whipping boy Duke, we're going to the championship game.

Tech edges up a notch to #11 in the BCS this week, holding steady in the same slot on the AP poll.

Next week: a Halloween night visit out-of-conference to Vanderbilt, where the perfect option will make the Commodores horrifying season even scarier.

Go Jackets!


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Movin' On Up

No. 19 Jackets topple No. 4 Virginia Tech 28-23

In the end, Beamerball was no match for the perfect option. GT's defense finally stepped things up, as evidenced by the fact that the Hokies had only scored 3 points at halftime. Granted, the Jackets had only 7 on the board after two quarters, but the offense erupted in the second half. It was awesome. Josh Nesbitt is out of control, in a very good way.

With the win, the Jackets move up to #11 in the AP poll. Additionally, GT appears at #12 in the first week of BCS rankings.

Next week: Virginia, currently in the lead of the ACC's Coastal Division. These guys are a perpetual thorn in our side, so a win at Charlottesville would be huge.

Oh, and no major home victory would be complete without a frenzy of goalpost destruction, as seen below. If only we could have been there in person for the mayhem...


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The B-I-B-L-E, that's the book for me!

Wednesdays are my new favorite day of the week.

Last month, at the prompting of a friend from church, I joined a Community Bible Study, where I get to participate in a year-long study with a group of local women. This year's topic is Genesis.

Now, I've read Genesis multiple times and even sat through a year-long sermon series in college, but I've never quite studied it like this. Perhaps it's because I haven't been part of a real inductive Bible study in many years, but I am loving this format. Even if I don't answer the questions on the day assigned, I enjoy going through the text and really thinking about the answers without using a commentary (we save that for after each week's lesson). And it has been fun to talk about what I'm studying with Gaines, since he provides some interesting seminary-inspired thought-provoking topics. Especially since he's taking Hebrew this semester!

Jacob, meanwhile, gets to go to a small class with other "older 2's" (3 of whom are named Jack!). He seems to delight in learning all about the Bible and prayer. Ethan apparently enjoys crawling on the nursery floor with other babies and taking long naps.

The first month was a bit hectic, as we all adjusted to actually being somewhere on time with all our gear in tow. Ethan took a few weeks to get used to being without me for 2 hours, but the last few weeks have been wonderful. Today, even, they let us drive up under the covered part and drop our kids off with a volunteer for a few minutes while we parked our car. That was a huge blessing on this rainy day. It saved me from walking all the way from our car to the front door while holding Ethan, Jacob's hand, two bags, and an umbrella.

The best part of my day? Talking to Jacob in the car afterward and hearing all about what he learned and did in his class. Usually he mentions the animal crackers and the pink slide, singing "Jesus Loves Me," holding a rope with the other kids to go out to the playground, something he made that day with "gloop," and his teachers. This afternoon, much to my pleasant surprise, he started singing a song I'd never heard before, and I found it on the internet just now:

Fuzzy caterpillar climbing up a tree.
He wiggled short, He wiggled long
He wiggled straight at me

I put him in a box and covered with a lid
But when I opened up the box
A butterfly instead!

Now I could never make one
Not even if I tried
Only God in Heaven
Can make a butterfly!

It's amazing, but he knows almost the entire song by heart and was "teaching" it to me on our drive home. Apparently, there are also finger motions that go along with this song, but when I tried to imitate him and took one hand off the wheel at a stoplight he said, "Drive, Mommy! I'll do it first and then you can learn it." He's safety conscious, that one.


Monday, October 12, 2009

These boots are made for walkin'

We have gotten quite a bit of rain here in Atlanta over the last month. Yes, there have been unprecendented floods and yes, I do get tired of being stuck indoors. However, there is just something about a rainy morning that I adore, especially in the fall. The best part about rain is enjoying it while fully equipped:

While my parents were travelling from Maine to Cape Cod they managed to make time for a trip to the L.L.Bean store. A few days later, a package arrived in the mail for Jacob, just in time for another wet Monday. He was so ecstatic, though, he couldn't wait until it rained to try on his new yellow rain boots, so here he is looking quite pensive on our porch on a Sunny Saturday:

I'll try to get an appropriate rain-shot today, since we are again under a deluge.

Rain boots, where have you been all my life? I think I need a pair of my own. Doesn't everyone?