Saturday, January 29, 2011

Christmas continued

Well, it seems forever ago now, but I never finished blogging about Christmas. After our trip across the country we stopped off in Charlotte for a few days with my fam. It was a sped-up Christmas celebration because we had a conference we were headed to the 27th. We spent the 26th with my mom doing presents and having the leftover Christmas dinner my extended family had the day before. Here are some pics (of Christmas, not the food):

Please forgive the hair and makeup and tired eyes. I had just been in the car for 10 hours or so. Although tired, I was excited about my new earrings from mom!

We all got new slippers! And I haven't taken mine off since.

Thought I had more than 3 pics of this but I guess not! One of our traditions with my mom's side of the family is making (and more importantly eating) "Forgotten Cookies" every Christmas. So I was relieved there were some left over for us to have. They're these amazing little meringue cookies. Yum!

The 27th we headed over to celebrate with my dad and stepmom. We ate pancakes (my dad makes THE BEST ever!) and opened our stockings and presents. We got some clothes, gift cards we look forward to using and a really cool picture that spells out Smith with images from Charleston. Hard to explain on here. Anyways after opening presents we headed to a late lunch at one of our favorite places in Charlotte. (Hmm... I'm talking about food alot. No wonder one of my resolutions is to actually go to the gym this year!) Anyways we had a great time and here are some more pics:

That's Sadie our dog. Scoping out my presents. She already had her stocking full of biscuits and bones, but that wasn't enough I guess!

And this was when my dad opened up some UNC basketball tickets we gave him. A little surprised I'd say!

So that was our Christmas! A great time with our families in KS and NC!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Hey, let's drive halfway across the country

Ok, we will! For Christmas, we went to Kansas. Last year when we went we flew and got stuck in DC. So we figured we'd try out driving this year. We could get equally stuck, we knew, but at least it feels like you're a little more in control. So we packed up the car with all our presents and made the 19 hour trek halfway across America.

We broke up the trip by stopping in Nashville and were able to stay with my friend and former roomie Ashley and her husband Mikael. Before we left the next day, Ashley took us to a cute coffeeshop called Fido. According to the People magazine I recently read, Taylor Swift and Jake Gyllenhaal had a date there. So I was mildly disappointed we didn't run into them or anyone else famous. But hey, we did have a great time with Ash!

After that, we hit the road for the 9 hour trip to Kansas City. Although it was a long trip, it really was fun to get lots of time to talk and hang out with each other. And much to Josh's dismay, listen to Christmas music nonstop.

We spent one night with Josh's middle brother and sister in law, Ben and Alissa, who live in Kansas City. It's always so great to see them and we're sad we don't get to very often. A highlight that day would be watching Cinderella with my sweet little niece Ella.

After that we had our last 3 hour drive to Josh's hometown of Concordia. We had lots of good time with Josh's family finishing Christmas shopping, wrapping presents, doing lots of baking and having some good down time. We also spent a few days in Nebraska visiting Josh's oldest brother, Abe and sister in law Arian. While we were there, we got to see two of our nephews, Eli and Ike, in their Christmas program at church. Here's a pic of Eli doing his thing as a wiseman (he's on the left)...

A few days before Christmas, all of Josh's fam gathered at his parents house and we all got some good time together. Lots of playing with kids, more baking and playing games. On Christmas Eve we celebrated with presents and the Christmas meal. Josh started off the day by reading the Christmas story to the kids

It was a little hard for them to focus because to the right of us in this picture is a big pile of presents! Here was a pic of the calm before the storm, before the middle of the room was filled with boxes and wrapping paper!

It was really fun to watch all the kids open presents. Here are a few pics of that

Ike (with Star Trooper Mr. Potato Head) and Ella (with her new doll)

Eli, excited to get Despicable Me

Sweet little Lydia with her cooking toys

How cute are my nieces and nephews?! (I somehow had no pics of our nephew Gavin opening stuff! Sorry that is missing!) We had a great time seeing everyone in Kansas. We headed back Christmas day, stopping in Nashville again on the way back. Then we had a quick Christmas with my family on the 26th. But that's another post for another time.

A christmas party or four

Well, this post won't have any pictures which is lame. I'm so bad at remembering to bring our camera to stuff so now I'm kicking myself that I can't document it. The end of the semester was a flurry of Christmas parties, as usual. First, we had our staff Christmas party. Our staff team had a potluck dinner and white elephant gift exchange. The best gifts this time were a geek clock, which had equations for each number (like square root for 9 for 3:00). We ended up with that one. Lindsey's gift was also great. She photoshopped Miles' (our campus director) face into a Jonas Brothers picture. One of his daughters ended up picking that one, which made it even more awesome. So that was Christmas party #1.

Next we had the servant team over for lunch. The servant team is a group of students that lead specialized areas such as Evangelism, Community, Conferences, etc. It got a little tight with about 18 people over at our place, but we had a fun time playing games, eating great potato soup Josh made (thanks to a great recipe from his dad!) and gorging ourselves on chocolate chip cookies (thanks to another great recipe from Josh's mom!).

Party #3 was our Bible study party. Since Josh and I both lead senior bible studies, we decided to join forces and do a combined party. There were about 20 students there, which made it really fun. We played games and had some good desserts. Including the Nutella brownies that one of my girls made which I am now obsessed with. Wow, I really want to go make some now but have neither brownie mix nor Nutella. And also it's 10:30 at night. I digress. Party #3 was fun and we really love those students we get to work with. And one more side note, they were SO sweet to us and gave us a gift card to Cheesecake Factory as a Christmas present. We can't wait to go and were just so blown away by how kind and generous they were to us.

Our last party of the Christmas season was with our small group at church. I don't think I've blogged about them yet, but we are so blessed by that group of people. It's a group of 5 couples and we've really enjoyed getting plugged in with our church that way. We had some good time to hang out with each other, enjoyed more great food and had another white elephant gift exchange. There were lots of movies that got exchanged and we ended up with "Changing Lanes." Anyone seen it? Guessing if it got traded it might not be that great, but we'll see!

So imagine seeing pictures of really good food, me laughing playing the Fishbowl game (its like charades and catch phrase) and weird gifts. It was a great way to end our semester and kick off the Christmas season!

Christmas Card

This year we decided to take our picture on campus for our Christmas card. A senior in Josh's Bible study took the pics for us and they turned out great! (Thanks Scott!) Here were a few of our favs...

And here was the final product...

OBX half-marathon

Blog world, I have abandoned you! I think all my posts have begun with me apologizing for not blogging in so long. But two months?! That is ridiculous. (Full disclosure, it took me so long just then to figure out how to spell ridiculous.)

Anyways I'm about to make multiple posts in the hopes of catching you up. So here we go with the first one. As I mentioned, you know like a YEAR AGO when I last posted, Josh was about to run a half marathon....

And, he did it! I could not have been more proud. 13 miles in just over 2 hours! But let me back up. We headed down to the Outer Banks the Friday before (the race was on Sunday, Nov.14). We got a big beach house with a bunch of friends and went to a really good restaurant once we got there. Saturday was a lot of lounging around, watching football and resting up for the big race. Even those of us that weren't running had to rest up. Come on, we had lots of cheering to do :) We did manage to pull ourselves out of the house to hit up the outlets though!

Saturday night we had a dinner full o' carbs to get the runners ready. And Sunday morning at 6am we headed over to drop off the runners. Josh and 5 other friends (plus about 7000 other people!) ran the half marathon.

So here's where the day got interesting. We dropped the runners off and split into 2 cars of "spectators" to drive to different points along the race. First we drove to mile 3 and cheered them on. After that my car decided we didnt want to chance missing them crossing the finish line because we heard we had to take a detour to get to the end point. So we drove the way we thought we should be heading for about 15 minutes until we started wondering where all the other cars were. We finally stopped and asked if we were going the right way. Nope, we weren't and had to hightail it back the other direction.

All that to say, we got to the finish line about 10 minutes before Josh crossed it. We had already missed some of our other friends. But I was SO relieved I got to see Josh finish.

It was such a cool moment to see him run across the finish line! I'll be honest, I even teared up some because I was just so proud of his amazing accomplishment. It was a great weekend with friends and Josh did a great job at his first race. He said he might even do more in the future! As for me, I'll keep spectating.