Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Another fun weekend

This past weekend was my company's annual gala. It's always black-tie optional, so since Mark already owns a tux (from teaching/conducting) he wore that and I wore a long black velvet dress with very pale pink emboridery. And sparkles. ;) I decided to splurge this year and I went and had my hair and makeup done by a wonderful girl at a salon just across the river in Illinois. She did a fantastic job and I felt so beautiful! I'm thinking I may have to make that a tradition, especially since I hadn't had my hair done since we were married! I'm hoping to post pics at some point but we didn't take our camera so I've got to wait until we get pics from everyone else.

I had an interesting thought while I was getting my hair done. It took her 45 minutes to curl my hair (it's pretty long right now) and when she was done I thought 'okay, looks great!'. And I would have been willing to stop there. But she had a bigger vision for what it could look like, and when she was all done it looked even better than I could have imagined (or done myself!). I had the thought that that's often how I view God's plan for my life. I get to a point and think 'this is great, we can stop here' but He has an even bigger, better plan than I can dream of, and I have to be patient and wait for Him to reveal that. Just like having my hair done, it takes time to get every piece of the plan in place, and time for me to become who I need to be. Sometimes I get so impatient and want to be done now--to know the final version of who I am becoming and the ways God desires to use me. But I know that when I wait I will see an even more beautiful plan and my place in it, and in the meantime, I do my best to serve Him where He has placed me.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

A wife of noble character

Last night, Mark said that I should be like the Proverbs 31 woman (Prov. 31:10-30) and get up before dawn (v. 15a). I actually do get up before dawn, but I'm certainly not very high-functioning (really not even low-functioning) before dawn.

I responded with v. 15b and said when I have some servant girls we'll discuss getting up before dawn. ;) I think that certainly qualifies as speaking with wisdom, don't you??

Monday, January 22, 2007

Weekend shenanigans

Saturday was rehearsal in the morning, ice skating in the afternoon at the outdoor rink at Forest Park, and dinner at Cicero's in the Central West End. Ice skating and dinner were with several of Mark's classmates and we had a lot of fun!

Sunday was, of course, church and then lunch with our good friends/neighbors Micah and Tiffany. I've been meaning to get myself into gear over our eating situation for the past few months, and so yesterday I started "Once-a-Month Cooking" again. This is also known as the freezer method, but the basic idea is you prepare a large number of meals at one time and then freeze them. When you want to eat, you defrost the meal and cook it. The nice thing is I spent yesterday cooking (from 2:30pm-10pm) and made 12 meals. The other 7 I'll finish up tonight (the meat is ready to go so I just need to throw the other ingredients together). I'm making a total of 19 meals, which will actually last Mark and I for a month since some of the recipes feed 6-8 people. Those recipes I divide in half so it ends up becoming two meals for us. It sounds like a lot of time (7.5h plus a couple of hours tonight) but if I spend one hour a day every day preparing dinner I'll spend 30h cooking over the course of a month!! And several of these recipes only need 10 minutes to cook, so it really cuts down on prep time during the week (and on eating out since we have dinner ready at home!). I put the link to the book I'm using in there, but I'm not sure it's the same version, and I will tell you that I do not use all of the recipes since we've tried a few that we haven't liked (someone in our family isn't terribly keen on vegetables). Since I modified which recipes we're using, it took a little longer for the prep/cooking time yesterday since I actually have to think about how much I need of everything. If you use the whole 2-week or one-month menu, the authors list exactly how much of everything you need. There are also software programs that go with several of the books/methods currently on the market and then you can input which recipes you want to use and it will generate a shopping list and prep information for the recipes you have chosen. That would make things easier, but since I'm not doing this consistently there's no reason to invest in the software just yet.

I did find a website (Cook of the Month) that lets you choose which meals you want and it automatically calculates your shopping list, the processes for preparing the meals, and the amounts of everything you need. I really like this and may have to try it next month, since I can pick and choose which recipes I want to use. Many of the recipes on this site are from the book I have, so I already know which ones we like!

I also managed to do three loads of laundry yesterday during the cooking marathon (Mark was studying). I felt like it was quite a productive day!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Winter all around

I did NOT eat the raisins!! :) (other than the first couple I tried only to discover that they were crunchy)

We had the big ice storms here last week, but it seems like a lot of areas got hit much worse than St Louis. My mom, aunt and uncle, and granddad are still without power, and the electric companies are predicting it may be another week before they get all of it restored.

I started my new workout resolution yesterday. I worked out at our work fitness center and then did some low-key Pilates in the evening to help stretch out my muscles before I went to bed. I woke up this morning with nary a sore muscle (I'm building everyone's mid-19th century vocabulary) but I'm starting to feel it now. I'll be working out again in a bit and hopefully that will loosen things up, not make me unable to walk tomorrow.

The best thing about being done with my degree is being able to go home and sew at night. And yes, I know people my age do not sew. But I do, and I love it. I'm currently working on a hoop skirt for reenacting this spring and summer. It's almost finished--I think I need one to two more evenings to get it done.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


Does anybody know if raisins go bad? I'm not even going to tell you how long I've had them, but they're crunchy. Not like dried-out-crunchy, more like crystallized-crunchy. They taste okay, but the texture's a little weird. :)

So...what's been happening with us? No, we did not lose power during any of the last few ice storms to hit St Louis, which is pretty impressive since we live in the city and we have Ameren (the electrical company who keeps getting in trouble because they lose power). However, as Mark pointed out, we lost all of the trees in the July storms AND got all new electrical lines then. See, it pays to be without power for a few days if it means you don't lose it again. :) Our lights didn't even flicker the whole weekend. Unfortunately, not true for many of our friends who live in the suburbs.

Not too much different has been happening the last couple of weeks, but here's a quick summary:
--No news on the adoption front, but we won't have much to report on that until the middle of February when we redo our medicals. So I'll keep you posted, but it won't be for awhile.
--My sister came up two weekends ago and had lunch with us. It was great to get to see her! We don't see each other a lot and it was good to reconnect for a few hours.
--We've started rehearsals for the Wash U medical school spring musical. Last year a bunch of students decided to put on a musical and it was a smashing success with "Guys and Dolls". This year we're doing "Damn Yankees". The cast has been rehearsing since the fall, but the pit orchestra just started. The music is a TON easier than the music for G&D, and we've got a lot of the same people back from last year. We had a blast in the pit last year (although we don't actually have a pit and last year the drum set was on the stage...) and it's great to see everyone again. Mark is once again conducting and I'm playing french horn with the possibility of clarinet on a few songs--we're still working out some instrumentation.
--This past weekend we received free tickets to see "Dancing with the Stars" on tour. It was awesome!! I don't watch the TV show at all, but it was so much fun to watch live and the cast seemed to have a lot of fun with it.

Thursday, January 04, 2007


I completely forgot to mention the great lunch we had on the way out to Colorado the Saturday before Christmas. We met up with Beth and Steve who are also in the process of adopting from Ukraine and are using the same facilitator. We just happened to be driving right through their hometown so we arranged lunch. It was a lot of fun and great to get to meet someone I've only known through emails and phone calls. :) I'm sure I'm going to remember other random things about the holidays that I forgot to mention, so there may be a few days of this backtracking.

It has been quite a transition coming back to work after a week off. I was excited and ready to come back to work on Tuesday but it seems to be sapping my energy and I've been sleeping a lot at night. Not a bad thing, but interesting. I have signed up for a Pilates class at our fitness center at work and I'm trying to get back into doing my Pilates CD at night. I really like Pilates and I can tell a difference when I'm doing it. I'm not big into the weightloss thing but I would really like to do some toning.

I'm hoping to get some pics from Christmas posted soon. You can see all of the fun Mark and J had sorting Mark's old GI Joe collection. :)

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

A new year

Sorry for the long lack of posts. I tried to post over the holidays and wasn't able to access our account.'s the update. :)

Mark and I spent Christmas in Denver with his family. As some of you may know, Denver received a pretty good snowfall the Wednesday before Christmas, but our drive out there the day before Christmas Eve was sunny and uneventful, and we didn't even see any snow on the ground until about an hour outside of Colorado. We did lots and lots of eating with his family over the weekend and then decided to drive to his parents' cabin in the mountains west of Colorado Springs for a day. We drove out there with his parents and three dogs (two cars, thank goodness!) on Wednesday to find very little snow. We spent the night there and then had a four hour drive back (should have been two) due to another snowstorm deciding to hit Colorado. That afternoon, Thursday, "they" (whoever they might be) closed I-70, which was our route home. Closed as in "put big gates across the highway so you can't get on it", not just a recommendation not to go that way. :) Not a big deal, since we weren't leaving until Saturday.

So Thursday afternoon and evening we watched our nephew J who's 6. We took him to dinner and had a great time at Fazoli's. Then we went back home and watched Narnia, skipping one scene that I felt was way too violent for a 6-year-old. Friday, Mark and J built a snow fort in the front yard and then we all went sledding in the afternoon. I haven't been sledding in a long time and it was so much fun!

Friday night: I-70 was still not open, and all of the other highways north and south out of Denver were also closed. Around 10pm we decided we weren't going to be leaving on Saturday, so we stayed up late playing the board game Fireball Island. Mark had played it growing up but I had never seen it before, and he beat me quite soundly in two games. Saturday we went and visited family, and still I-70 remained closed. At this point we were getting a little worried, because I needed to be at work on Tuesday. We tried to find flights home for me that didn't cost a month's salary. Nope. Sunday we went to church with Mark's parents, and lo and behold, Sunday afternoon "they" opened up I-70. We opted to wait to leave until Monday morning and just do the drive in one day. Other than about 100 miles in western Kansas that was absolutely awful, the rest of the drive was a piece of cake and we got home late on New Year's Day. I, of course, had to get up and go to work the next morning. :)

The latest rumor from Ukraine is that the SDA director and several deputies have resigned, possibly due to a change in their government similar to what just happened with our Congress. The resignations have not been confirmed, so we'll see what happens with that. In the meantime, happy new year!! :)

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Free things to do in St Louis

Feel free to add your own in the comments and I will edit the posting!

St Louis Zoo
The Muny (go to "Planning your visit" to see info on the free seats)
St Louis Art Museum
Anheuser-Busch Brewery tour
Cahokia Mounds State Park (Admission is free but a $2 adult/$1 child donation is suggested)
Grant's Farm ($8/vehicle for parking)
Laumeier Sculpture Park
Purina Farms
Public libraries with lots of activities
St Louis Science Center
The Magic House (free family nights every third Friday of the month)
Eckert's Country Store and Farms in Belleville, IL (there are three farms and some events have an admission charge, so check the website)
Missouri Botanical Garden (free to StL city/county residents Wednesdays and Saturdays before noon)
The Basilica
Union Station
St Louis Symphony Orchestra (go to Ticket Services then Special Discounts)
The Jewel Box in Forest Park (Admission if $1 but free on Mon and Tues before noon)
Shakespeare Festival