Monday, February 18, 2013

Back on Campus

As many of you know, we live very near campus and when we take walks when it's nice outside, we do like to walk down that way.  It makes total sense to us since there are sidewalks and the area is nicely lit (not like most streets near us).  The other day we were cold so we walked through some buildings and we happened through LaFollette, the largest dorm on campus that also has classrooms, 3 dining areas, and the Housing Offices on the lower level.  They have an all-you-can-eat buffet there, and man, did it smell wonderful!  We began talking about all the times we ate there, which was severely unbalanced!  Kyle lived near LaFollette and naturally ate there more often than I did since it was such a hike from both of the dorms I lived in during my two years on campus.  He reminisced about how his first year he would stop in at the buffet an average of three times a week to get an amazing breakfast all for a price lower than $4.

LaFollette Complex

Then we got this great idea:

Why don't WE do a breakfast date sometime soon and go to breakfast buffet in LaFollette?  The longer we talked about it, the more appealing it sounded!  And since we had President's Day off today (thank you Lord for built-in snow days!), we had the perfect opportunity to see our plan through!  We would sleep in really late (like we did in college), maybe shower (we didn't do that before going to breakfast in college), walk to the buffet (we walked everywhere in college), roll in to breakfast in our pajamas (we didn't get dressed often in college either), eat our way through AT LEAST four plates apiece (we could totally do that in college), and come home to crash in our food coma (happened more than I'd like to admit in college).  We might put on a couple pounds today (that happened all the time in college, too!), but it would be worth it!  Plus, we could sit at our table totally alone and make fun of the sad Ball State suckers who had to go to class today.

Well, the plan didn't exactly work out the way we wanted it to.  I mean, we made it to breakfast, but 7:00 is way oversleeping for me nowadays, so that's when I got up.  And we felt pretty disgusting, so we showered before we went.  Annnnndddd...apparently we're too adult now to go out in our pajamas, although I really would have liked to.  Plus when we were in college, we must have been pretty weathered, because as soon as I saw how cold it was this morning online, I begged to drive the car to breakfast.  We got there with more than an hour of breakfast left, which is NOT how it usually went when we lived on campus!  

And then the worst thing happened....

...I forgot how to eat at the buffet!  

Let  me explain:  when we lived there, I knew where the plates were.  Where they kept the ketchup, the syrup, the glasses, etc.  I forgot where the tray return was!  I realized when we walked in that I had forgotten all of these things!  Okay, it has been about four years since I've eaten there, but really?  I felt pretty dang stupid, but luckily Kyle had a lot more experience and could vaguely remember how the process worked.  Except for the part where he almost let me go through the line backwards.  What a meanie.

It was heavenly, though!  I still had my four plates, although the last two were only a quarter-filled, but I think it counted.  Between the two of us, we had doughnuts, homemade waffles, fruit, French toast, sausage, eggs, hash browns, biscuits, gravy, and about eighty glasses of orange juice.  And we DID make fun of the college kids who were doing homework at breakfast.  And we also got to listen to some interesting conversations from neighboring tables, one of which included a guy photoshopping a butthole over a friend's face and posting it to facebook somehow.  It was a very interesting trip.

And we ran like mad out of the buffet to make sure our meter didn't run out because we remember VERY well how quickly university police make rounds (2 minutes left...success!).  We came home and passed out to take a 3 hour nap.  My food baby is only just now settling down.  

We should do this over spring break, too....

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Batman Live

Batman Live was touring in Fort Wayne in early December.  Of course, we had to attend.  There were three showings:  two at about 7:30 on Tuesday and Wednesday (the 4th and 5th) and one at 3:30 on Wednesday.  Since it was in Fort Wayne and in the middle of the school week, we decided to both take a half-day and make it to the 3:30 showing.  Good choice on our part!  We still got home kinda late and it was a lot less crowded!  

If you're not familiar with the show (I wasn't!), it's a lot easier for you to investigate here.  Basically the show is a mix between a play, an illusion show, and a stunt show. 

We have more videos than pictures, but it takes forever for Blogger to load videos, so I'm not even going to bother.  I'll upload the few pictures that I have.  It was obviously dark during the showing, so we don't have many...

All of these "statues" were done in Legos!  How cool?  My only questions are (a) why aren't Batman's boots black? (b) why isn't his codpiece black? (c) why aren't his gloves the appropriate length?  I feel like if you were going to go through the trouble of assembling these Lego statues, you might want to do it right!  Robin and the Joker are perfect, though.  We bought a program, a mask, and a mug before the show started.  Kyle called it our "merch" (merchandise) from the show.

It was so fun to be at this showing because all the little kids came since it wouldn't interfere with bedtime.  Never in my life have I seen so many little boys running around in Batman capes/pajamas with masks on.  It was too cute!


It was a wonderful show!  If you are ever interested in seeing it, I recommend getting a seat that isn't ground level (you can't see the air stunts!) and sit at a diagonal if you can.  Sitting completely at the side or directly in the front wouldn't give you as great of a view of everything.  Plus, the seats are cheaper!

After the show, we got some pizza at a little restaurant called The Forum right across from the Coliseum.  The drive home wasn't as bad as I thought it would be since we could take interstate the entire way.  We thoroughly enjoyed our date to Fort Wayne!

Christmas Traditions

Because both of us work during the week up until the last possible day before Christmas Eve, it's sort of hard for us to get Christmas-y since we're more concerned with the end of the semester at school (any teachers or parents with school-aged kids could probably tell you the same).  Since this is the case, a few years back we decided to do Sunday Christmas traditions.  This means we take one or two Christmas activities that we want to make sure we do and try to squeeze them in on a Sunday during the month of December.  Since it seems that it's the only time that we have time, it works out great!

Since this was Christmas #3 for us as a married couple, we have a pretty good idea of what activity goes on which weekend.  Normally we try to add a tradition each year, but it's been getting kind of full lately!  Luckily, Thanksgiving was early this year, so we had an extra Sunday for traditions.  Here's what we did this year:

  1. First Sunday after Thanksgiving (no matter if it's still in November!) we decorate the house for Christmas.  This year we decorated on November 25th!  We really do love having out our Christmas/winter decorations and seeing the house in all its Christmas splendor.  It doesn't hurt that we have a ton of Christmas decorations, so we can vary the details from year to year.  We always put on Christ-centered Christmas music while we work, too.
  2. We always try to go to the Nativity open-house and Luminary walk, which is always the first weekend in December.  Check out my birthday post for more details on this one.  This was December 1st.
  3. The Sunday after the nativity/luminary walk is Christmas card writing.  This year (December 2nd) it didn't take long at all!  I had them done in just one or two hours!  The hardest part is compiling all the addresses from relatives that have moved, etc.  I smartened up and saved our list this year.  I don't know why I didn't do that before!  I like sending the card early because I feel like I'll forget if we send them later in the month.  Like I mentioned in the last post...the closer it gets to Christmas, the busier it seems to be, so the more likely I am to neglect the cards!
    Writing out Christmas cards...
    Kyle always draws a picture and sends a funny message in the card for his childhood friend, Zach.  I don't usually get the humor, but if it makes both of them happy, then great!  I think most of the pictures/quotes are from a TV show they watched when they were kids together.  I could be wrong, though. 
  4. The next Sunday (December 9th) we tried to bake Christmas cookies.  I say tried because for the third year in a row, we failed.  Three years ago we had good sugar cookies but our icing flopped.  Last year we bought the icing ahead of time, prepared to not have the same mistake happen twice.  Then we ended up somehow making sugar crackers instead of sugar cookies.  This year we tried a completely different recipe from my mother-in-law.  The mint cookies didn't work, either.  I'm not sure what's going on!  I've made perfectly good cookies before, but over the last year all my cookies have been a complete failure.  I'm pretty sure we'll try the mint cookies next year, but if it's another fail, we're going to nix this tradition.
  5. December 16th was the day we watched Christmas movies.  We've got plenty to choose from, but the one I remember that we had to watch twice this year was The Nightmare Before Christmas.  I don't even really like that movie that much, but Kyle does, so we watched it twice.  I guess he doesn't beg to drag it out the rest of the year, so I can put up with it twice during the Christmas season.
Usually this takes us right up to the Sunday before Christmas, but we had an extra week in there, which worked out great since we spent the last weekend before Christmas in Indy with Kyle's family. 

We decided early on in our marriage that we'd spend Christmas Day at home.  Pretty much with family spread out in two separate directions, it'd be pretty easy to not be home on Christmas Day.  Especially when we have kids, I don't want this to happen!  As of right now, we sleep in as late as we want on Christmas, make an awesome breakfast (usually expensive bacon and cinnamon rolls with orange juice) and open our presents to each other and for our kitties.  It's a great day to spend with those who matter most :)

Once we have kids, I'm sure we'll figure out plenty more traditions to do, too!  Anyone have any they'd like to share?

Mah Birfday

When December rolls around, we've entered the "birthday section" of the year on both our sides of the family.  Of those family members with whom we celebrate and have parties, we've all got birthdays that are through the winter/spring/early summertime.  My birthday seems to kick everything off, and it's been particularly hard for us to find time to celebrate it over the last few years because we've just been getting busier and busier the closer it gets to Christmas.  But I love me some birthday cake, so I had to make sure we fit it in somewhere!

December was a really hard month for us (more on that later), but the celebration was pretty fun.  I wanted to keep it low-key and we invited our parents only, but since my parents were living it up on a cruise (lucky ducks) that week, my in-laws came up from Indy to help us have a good time.

We went out to dinner at Teppenyaki for some Chinese and then to the Nativity open-house at our church.  It's always such a good event to attend at the beginning of December to get you in the mood for Christmas.  The entire building is decked out in different nativities to celebrate the coming of Christ.  They have different rooms for different types of nativities--handmade, commercial, foreign, white/gold, and black/silver.  We loaned out three of our own nativities for the event, two of which are here:

The three wisemen that my father-in-law Gary made for us a few years ago.  They went into the handcrafted room.
The Guatemala nativity that Gary brought back from his mission trip this fall.  You could find this in the foreign room!
Minnetrista also held its annual Luminary Walk that weekend, and we decided to take Gary and Michele to see the sights!  Minnetrista holds a special place in our hearts because we got our engagement pictures taken there.  Every year they decorate the Ball brothers' mansions for Christmas and open them up to the public.  I love seeing the interesting trees because they change them up every year.  Three of my favorites:

The Music Tree

UPSIDE-DOWN TREE!  How cool is that?!
This tree was decorated by the Dance Department on campus, I think.  It was done in a Broadway Musical theme.

These were set up along the walk between the houses.  We just couldn't resist!

Telling some story or another...
It was pleasant out, but I still thought it was a little cold!
Minnetrista also has a cultural center/museum/gift shop that they open up to the public as well.  They were hosting a dinosaur exhibit!  Since Kyle loves dinosaurs, we decided to see what it was all about.

Probably my favorite picture of the night...Kyle got photo-bombed by this little kid who was trying to figure out what he was doing!  It was too funny!
Making dino prints
The dinosaur Christmas tree!

 They also have an Indiana artist gallery in the center.  I thought this painting was owl-fully cute (see what I did there?!) and I couldn't resist taking a picture of it. 

Finally, after walking off our buffet, we were ready for some ice cream cake.  I got out the biggest knife to cut it and we devoured that thing!

It was a good day.  I couldn't ask for much more!

New furniture!

So here I am on a Sunday evening with a clean house and all (that I'm willing to care about, anyway) of my school stuff done.  Downton Abbey doesn't come on for a few hours, so I've just been bumming around the house spending time with the hubs, mostly.  Then I had this nagging feeling at the back of my mind that I should update the blog.  *Sigh.  Alright, alright.

So before I do backtracking over the last few months, I'd like to update with something a little more current.

We've added some legit furniture to our living room!  Call them heirlooms, call them rustic, call them SOLID (which is what I call them)...whatever you want.  All I know is these bad boys are AWESOME.

So my grandparents who passed away last spring had this buffet/china cabinet combo in their dining room.  My mom and aunts and uncles did a pretty good job of selling or piecing up the furniture and house stuff, but no matter what, it seemed this set just wouldn't sell or fit in anyone's home:

The mirror attaches to the back of the buffet
My mom actually asked us in the fall if we wanted them.  I turned her down because I had nowhere to put them, although I truly did want to find a place for them in my house since they were my grandparents' and all.  We even had them up in Muncie for awhile to try to sell them for my mom's family, but there were no takers.  They went back to my mom and dad's house after a few unsuccessful weeks of sitting in our driveway with a cardboard sign.

Then, the unthinkable happened...

...we got a new and much larger TV for Christmas...

...a TV that wouldn't fit in our current entertainment system!

Here's what we had before:

This picture was actually taken a long time ago.  We since added ANOTHER bookcase on the opposite side to hold all our movies.
Small bookcase holding all our decorative and literature-y classic books.  The perfect decor for two married English majors!
Our new TV was too wide to fit into the old furniture.  So, back to mom and dad's I went to check out the buffet to see if it would make a good refurbished entertainment center.  I thought we could make it work!  I didn't want to split the set, so I got the idea to use the china cabinet in place of one of the bookcases, and Mom and I began to scheme out a plan to refurbish.  I spent a Friday night after school out at their house sanding all the furniture with Mom and Dad and then Kyle and I came back the next weekend prepared to paint, but Mom surprised us by having those steps knocked out!  I'm such a lucky kid :)  We distressed that night while Dad and Kyle put some handles on the buffet and attached wheels to the bottom of it to make it move more easily.  Mom and Dad brought them up to Muncie the next day and we went out to Chinese together and lived happily ever after.  

Here's the new look:

Takes up a lot less space!  Our living room looks so much bigger now!  And can you believe ALL our DVDs and Blu-rays fit into these little drawers?!  They're two deep, but they're all in there with room to spare!
I truly do love this look!  We still have space below the books, too!  The only bad thing is we had to lose the lamp.  It's upstairs in storage, but it's a bummer since our living room doesn't get a lot of light :(
I feel very, very happy with the change and it was so worth the work.  The furniture is heavy and will last and I'm glad Grandma and Grandpa's furniture came home with us instead of being sold to a stranger for way less than it was worth.  Smiles all around!