Monday, November 30, 2009


Well, the results are in and it looks like #3 is the winner! If you still want to add a vote, please add it to the comments since blogger made me close the poll early. :-(

We had a very nice Thanksgiving (3 of them to be exact). The first was a fundraising dinner with the Christian Legal Society benefiting the International Justice Mission! I was really proud of our exec team for getting this off the ground in a single week with a full meal from Boston Market, decorations, and a raffle. (*Note to reader: If you ever decide cater from Boston Market and bless your party with rotisserie goodness, you will receive the food cold, straight out of the fridge... Not a good thing to discover half an hour before a big party). We raised enough for 2 care packages for victims of slavery and human trafficking!

Next, we had Thanksgiving dinner with Joe's grandparents in Kinsman, OH, about 2 hours southeast. As always, we loved playing with Ginger the dog, and the food was delicious! Finally, we went to Joe's cousin's house, where his mom, aunt & uncle, cousins, and their children all got together for a very nice dinner and some fun. We enjoyed talking and playing some scattergories, and of course, I was showered with love and affection by Joe's little second cousin, our flower girl!

We are thankful for so many things... for God's guidance and love, for each other, for family and friends, for a roof and food and safety, for our jobs this summer, for the opportunity to go to school even through rough times, and for so many other things... Movie nights, little getaways, visits to and from family & friends, the library's unfailing forgiveness of our late fees and excessive checkouts, the food network and its contribution to our palates and tummies, finding great deals, a second car, weddings, babies, our home group, and so much more...!

Now is time for finishing classes, studying profusely, endless pots of coffee and nights at Starbucks and the library, Christmas decorations and music to keep us warm & fuzzy, and, of course, final exams.

Speaking of music, we've been listening to Christmas music from the library and from AOL radio. Anyone have any suggestions? What is your favorite Christmas album/song/artist?

I'll leave you with a shot of Joe with the Christmas tree...

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Christmas Card!

We're picking a photo for our annual Christmas card, and we're having trouble deciding. Help us! You can either comment an answer or you can take our poll to the left! Just let us know if you do both so we don't double-count the votes ;-) You can click on the pictures to make them bigger. Thanks!! And of course, you will all get Christmas cards!

Contender Number 1

This photo was taken by the lovely Stephanie and the Thanksgiving Feast. I loved the fuzzy white chair and the green wall, so I thought it'd be fun for a pic - plus I dressed us up in hopes that we'd get a good Christmas shot! Thanks Steph!

What we like: Beautiful colors and a nice, happy-looking shot. I think we look best in this pic.
What we don't like: Indoors and not particularly 'winter-y'. And the shadow on my hair makes it look like I have very large hair. I asked Joe whether he noticed the shadow, and he said he didn't... so I asked him if he really thought my hair was that big ;-) (He did.)

Contender Number 2

This photo was taken outside a vineyard in Niagara Falls. It was so much fun to play around in this vineyard and taste the grapes right off the vine!

What we like: The gorgeous greens and the lovely memory.
What we don't like: Sorry, hon, but the sneaks aren't doing it for me. Also, that vine looks like it's about to wrap around Joe's neck and strangle him!

Contender Number 3

This photo was taken outside another vineyard in Niagara Falls that had a great view of the lake.

What we like: Love the green and the slight view of the lake. I think this looks happy and not as staged as the last pic.
What we don't like: No sneaks this time, but I still don't think our outfits are entirely flattering. I wore this jacket in last year's Christmas card. I think I've oversaturated everything because I just love the green!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Updates from the Mrs.

Wow, it's been a crazy few weeks! From both of us getting sick to a wonderful visit with my mom, to a busy school week... we've had no time to update! So, let's see... what's new...
  • We're only a week or two away from finishing classes! I say a week or two because Joe and I have different schedules and my nonprofit schedule is even different from that... Either way, we're well on our way to reading days and finals week! I really like this time of the year because I can make my own schedule, stop worrying about professors badgering me, and I can start listening to Christmas music to get me through the days! We also get to study together a lot, and with some Starbucks gift cards from my mom, we're all set!!
  • Joe has started volunteering at the Youth Jobs Partnership Mentoring program with our church. It's great to know he's getting back to working with young people again, because it's really one of his gifts and passions. I'm volunteering in the Nursery, which is a big stretch for me since I am really intimidated by children! So far, it's been a lot less scary than I thought - even when one adorable little boy wouldn't stop crying, it was the cutest crying ever :)
  • I realized that I overcalculated my required hours for the year. This means I only have to take 13 credits next semester, compared to my 18 from this semester! I am planning on seeking employment, but either way, it'll be great not to have so many classes and I'm so glad my last semester will be manageable.
  • Tonight is a lovely Thanksgiving Feast party, hosted by Julia, Theresa, Joyce, & Stephanie! (I think?) :-D What great hostesses :) I know there'll be some awesome food there. Joe decided to make Guy Fieri's Mac-daddi-roni Salad (I know... what a ... wonderful name) - all by himself! I made Sandra Lee's Cornbread Stuffing - a hit from last year - and Eenie's Famous Holiday Chesnut Soup! (Eenie being my mom's nickname.) It's my first Thanksgiving away from home and my first attempt at recreating my mom's famous, delicious soup.
  • I've gotta post a picture and mention this great recipe. My mom found a good deal on a filet tip tenderloin (I think, I don' t know my meat cuts...) and gave it to me LAST THANKSGIVING. I finally cooked it... this October. I was so intimidated that I just didn't know how to cook it. Turns out my mom was right - there's really no way to mess it up! I pan-seared it with onions and mushrooms, then cooked it through in the oven, then made a roux with the leftover juices and added some beef broth and red wine. Mmmm... It took us like a week to eat through this baby!

Maybe I'll post some pictures from tonight later on. So many exciting things are coming up... from Thanksgiving to Kalina & Mike's wedding to Christmas break and vacation! I am so ready for this insanely difficult semester to be over.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Swine... or No Swine???

The Frolicking Fells are no longer frolicking :( We both came down with something over the past few days, and we're not sure what it is! The symptoms (coughing, chills, fever, drowsiness, headaches, nausea, etc.) are quite H1N1-esque. However, I started feeling sick on Sunday night (while writing my 25-page paper on Form Based Zoning... thrilling, right?), my fever broke by Monday night, and now on Tuesday night, I only have a slight cough remaining! This sounds really short to be H1N1... either that, or I am just awesome at fighting the flu!!

Joe has pretty much been groggy-ing the day away, so I have no report from him... He seems to have a cough and chills, but he doesn't really even tell me his symptoms - he just stares endlessly into space in silence and says how tired he is. He is just not himself!

So what's the consensus? H1N1 or just a little virus?

Either way, we gotta beat this bug before my mom comes into town this Thursday night!!


Monday, November 2, 2009


Don't forget to vote tomorrow - it's a big election in Ohio! A lot of the issues are really complicated and take a lot of thought and consideration, especially for Cuyahoga County voters. This site gives a helpful, nonpartisan review of the issues on the general Ohio ballot.


Hope you all enjoyed Halloween! Just some quick pics ....

John & Kate

Our best pumpkins ever!