Sunday, December 31, 2006

December 22-24, 2006, Saturday night

Saturday night before Christmas we headed over to Riverton, IL where George's sister lives. She had made a feast fit for a king for Christmas dinner. It was delicious!! Afterwards we all sat around watching made for tv movies, visiting, and then exchanged gifts. We had a great time laughing and spending time with everyone. We hadn't seen George's family since Thanksgiving, so we were both very thankful to be able to see them again for a few days. As usual the trip was short because we had to continue on to my family.

George's dad, Tom, opening gifts. If I remember right...this was a box full of nuts. Now I know why George likes nuts so much!

Joann, George's sister, has recently made many upgrades on her home. She has done a lot of the work herself, while George and Tom have helped out as well. Now that she finally has a non ply-wood floor, her walls look pretty bare. We bought her a wall hanging. George even picked it out.

Gloria, George's mom, is unwrapping her annual Schnauzer calendar. George and his siblings have been replaced with two furry children, which I will feature in a future post. As always, we had a wonderful time. It was difficult to leave knowing it would be the wedding before we would see them again, but that is just 61 days away now!

Friday, December 29, 2006

December 22-24, 2006

George had to work Friday morning, so shortly after he got home we started our family tour by heading 350 miles up to George's parents' house. We arrived just before 8pm and were able to visit awhile before we all decided it was time to call it a night.

Saturday morning we had arranged to meet with Jeff, Tracy, Tressa, and Abi at Jeff's parents house just a few miles from George's family. We were able to stay and visit awhile and exchange gifts.

Probably one of the funniest moments was when Abi stepped backward and fell straight into a box! We didn't capture the picture when it happened, but shortly after as Tracy was trying to rescue her.

We really enjoyed watching the girls open their gifts, and just seeing some friends we hadn't been able to see in almost two months.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Christmas for two

George and I decided to exchange gifts by ourselves before we ventured out to see our families for the holidays. So, last Thursday I made steak, potatoes, green beans, rolls, and dessert. I had to get creative with most of my stuff still in storage, but all in all I was happy with how the table turned out.

We had decided to just enjoy Ben and Julie's tree in their living room, but over Thanksgiving my mother gave us a new ornament which quickly changed our minds. In the basement, where George's room is located, is also a small kitchen, dining area, and living room. I had this tiny tree in storage, so we decided to try to be festive. Next year we hope to be able to get a real tree that is taller than 3 feet.

We had agreed to purchase small gifts and save the money for a larger combined purchase...a digital camera. We love it so far. In the next few days I will post pictures and brief summaries about our various trips over the holidays. We were definitely blessed to see many friends and family.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

He's so "Smert!"

I just wanted to write a quick note sharing some exciting news in the George's world.

As required by his job he has to take an Oklahoma licensing exam. Last week the first group took it and only 6 of 12 employees passed it. George was scheduled to take it yesterday morning, so he studied several hours each night this week, and I even quizzed him over practice tests.

Well, thankfully, yesterday he took the test and PASSED! When he took it only 6 of 11 passed it, so it must be a very difficult test. Anyway, just wanted to share the exciting news (and sigh of relief!)

Friday, December 15, 2006

Family/Engagement Pictures #1

Mom was easy to please this year, well, she is always easy to please actually...but this year was especially easy and fun at the same time. With the recent additions to the family she wanted an updated family picture. George and I had just gotten engaged the week before so we took a few engagement pictures at the same time. Below are some of the 100+ pictures we took that day.

The whole gang!! It keeps growing!!

This one above is my favorite!!

Aren't they precious?

Family/Engagement Pictures #2

Our attempt to be creative. Fadraon is wondering what is going on behind him.

Another big gang picture!

Tried to change it up a bit with changing clothes.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Trip to the Cornhusker state

Friday evening George and I jumped in the car for a quick trip to Cozad, Nebraska. We had promised several we would make a trip to see them since we lived so "close" now. Well, I still don't know that Overland Park, KS is "close" to Cozad, but it is closer than it was from Illinois. We arrived just before midnight, which made the nearly 400 mile trip last just about 6 hours.

We were blessed to stay with Elder Thomas Bond and his sweet wife Sister Elaine. Friday evening we visited briefly then headed to bed for the night. Saturday morning Sister Elaine made a wonderful Southern Breakfast; homemade biscuits, bacon, eggs, and all the fixin's. After breakfast we sat around the table visiting for quite awhile, then we headed over to Brother Howard and Sister Cynthia Halbgewach's home for fellowship and lunch. Brother Jesse Halbgewachs, David and Anna Taylor, and their daugther were there as well. Once again being well fed, we visited some more, and headed back into town to see David and Anna's home. I have known David most of my life and met Anna for the first time about six years ago. They were so sweet to welcome us to their home and have some time to visit with another young couple.

Saturday evening we went to Mt. Zion for services. As always, they were so welcoming and we were thankful to be there with them. The singing is always so beautiful there, both George and I really enjoyed it. After church the Bonds felt George needed to experience a true Nebraska original, The Runza!!! I have to him credit, he tried one and ate the whole thing! Granted, I'm not sure he'll ever order one again, but he said, "It was okay."

Sunday we attended services at a local nursing home followed by services at Mt. Zion. Thankfully, we didn't have to get on the road too quickly so we were able to enjoy some more fellowship with everyone at church, as well as a birthday party for Katherine (David and Anna's daughter) and Brother Harold Halbgewachs who was celebrating his 90th birthday. Brother Harold is also Katherine's great-grandfather. It was so sweet to see the generations standing there as we sang Happy Birthday.

As everyone began to head their separate ways Brother Thomas called for George and I to come over to the door. The church was standing in a circle and we were asked to stand "front and center". As we took our place the church began to sing "God Be With You Till We Meet Again." Standing in the midst of everyone it made me reflect back on the last day and a half and again was so thankful for the ability to make the trip.

We headed home shortly after 3 and made it in just before 10, just in time to start another work week. We had a wonderful trip to Cozad and were greatly blessed by the services at Mt. Zion. We encourage anyone who is ever traveling through or even near there, to stop by and visit. I know they would be happy to have you any time.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Student Funnies...

As many of you know I work at an elementary school that houses 400 students K though 5th grade, including 25 children who are emotionally disturbed (ED). I see about 55 students, including about 9 ED students, for speech and/or language therapy.

Thus far I've heard some pretty funny things coming from the mouths of my students, from the youngest to the oldest, they make me laugh repeatedly. Periodically I hope to share some of the funny things I've heard. Who knows...some day I may be able to write a book!

I was reviewing opposites with a second-grade student, always starting with the easiest, I asked, "what is the opposite of cold?" She quickly responded, "hot". We continued at a rapid pace, hard/soft, dark/light, etc. Then I finally stumped her..."What is the opposite of rough?" She thought long and hard and hesitantly responded, "meow?"

Part of the assessment process includes collecting a language sample from students. This basically involves a brief conversation with the student talking about like and dislikes and writing down 25 of their utterances. One kindergarten student asked what I was writing and I gave a simplified version of what I was doing. He looked at my notebook wide-eyed and said, "I am saying all those big words?"

Lastly, a group of fourth-graders were working on learning new vocabulary. One of the words was "successful". This word brought us into a discussion of what it means to be successful. Of course most answers revolved around making money or having a family. I asked one student how he intended on making so much money. Of course I anticipated aspriations being a doctor or a lawyer, but no...he said, "I'm going to be on Deal or No Deal!"

I'm sure there will be more stories to share over the coming months, at some point I'll write more about my job and my responsibilities at Daniel Young.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Let it snow! Let it snow!

Good morning! After days of predicting a "nasty" winter storm, it arrived here yesterday afternoon. We let our students out just 10 minutes early, and shortly after, all the teachers rushed out as well. My homebound commute usually takes about 45 minutes, while yesterday I averaged a speed of 40 miles an hour, it took me nearly twice that long, but I was glad to make it home without incident.

Last night I got the call that I could enjoy the day off today, because school was cancelled. Although, I'm disappointed, yes, disappointed I can't work today because I have a lot I need to do, I am also very thankful that I didn't have to get up and drive the 35 miles of icy roads.

In watching the forecast where they are still anticipating some snow on top of the icy roads, I came across these beautiful pictures which reminded me of the awesome powers our Lord has. He controls all things; days ago there were fruits budding on trees in 70 degree weather, while today it is 18 degrees with a beautiful glassy coat of ice.

For all of you within the path of this storm and the one going to follow, please be careful on the roads.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Back to the real world...

We had a wonderful break and were able to see numerous family and friends. Wednesday evening we headed out from Overland Park and made the nearly six hour trip to George's parents. We arrived late so his parents were in bed, and we called it a night shortly after arriving as well.

Thursday morning his parents, sister (Joann), George, and I crunched into his dad's Civic and made the three hour journey to George's Aunt Marge's home where she and his cousin, Cathy, had prepared quite the feast. We stayed there and visited with various aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. until later afternoon, then returned to the Civic for the ride home. Thursday evening we spent just visiting with is parents about various things and watched a little bit of tv.

Friday morning I woke up early out of habit, George woke up a little later, then we helped his dad relocate his office to George's former office. A bit before noon it was time to venture towards my parent's home. Friday evening we ate dinner with my sister, Sarah, and her family, and decided to do a little bit of "Black Friday" Christmas shopping.

As always, there was a lot going on at my parent's house as they were planning to head out for a trip. Saturday morning we ran to Columbia and ran some errands for my parents, then I came home and did a little bit of stuff around the house, played with the kids, etc. while George headed over to the church to help my brother-in-law, Mike, work on the church renovations.

The church looks wonderful! There is still a lot of work to do of course, but most of the major renovation is completed and they are addressing the asthetics now. We are very excited and thankful that the church is allowing us to have the wedding there.

Lastly, Sunday we went to Pleasant Grove for church. It was a wonderful service. Elder Bill Pollard was back from being isolated after having his kidney transplant almost two months ago. At this point we still weren't able to shake his hand or hug him, but we really wanted to. He shared his testimony of the surgery and seemed in very good spirits. We continue to thank the Lord for being merciful thus far to him and his sister, Lisa, after their sugeries.

This week is full as usual. My cousin, his wife, and their two children are headed here to spend a few days. I'm looking forward to being able to visit with them.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

A time for Thanksgiving

During this time of the year we, as so many others are, are quite busy. I received an e-mail the other day encouraging everyone to think of 1000 things we are thankful for. It has really made me think over the last few days of how much we are blessed with. I can't even begin to list it all... food, shelter, work, transportation, a countless number of friends and family, etc. I just wanted to take a moment to write each of you to thank you for your love and support. So often we forget to say thank you for the little things, so...THANK YOU! We hope each of you are richly blessed over this coming holiday and are able to spend time with loved ones and granted safe travels. Happy Thanksgiving to each of you!!

Friday, November 17, 2006

I O, I O so it's off to work I go!

Finally after a month of sitting around (feeling like a bum) and waiting for my new job to start at Farmers, it began on Monday of this week. All in all the week went by fairly fast, although if you asked me at any point during the week, I'd have told you it was going by so slowly. If you've ever worked insurance before you would completely understand why it would feel as if the day was 30 hours long. We began the week talking about the basics of insurance and then went right into policy and the Oklahoma Adjusters Licensing exam. If you don't think this stuff is boring or better than an instant cure for insomniacs, get a copy of your home or auto insurance policy and read it in it's entirety. You'll be asleep before you make it through it, but if for some reason you can make it through the whole thing, you might just have a future in insurance. Despite the excitement of the first week, which was to be expected, I feel good about my job and I am excited to be back at work. I am so thankful to have found this job as quickly after the move as I did and despite grumbling a few times about waiting a month to actually start, it gave me the opportunity to get settled here in KC before starting work.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Wedding, wedding, and more wedding

Thankfully my wonderful fiance has figured all this blogging stuff out so we can keep friends and family up to date with our life now that we are in Kansas City.

George already wrote about the proposal, I can't really add much to it. It was wonderful, sweet, and romantic. We had a wonderful night that evening just laughing and spending time together. It was the first "fun" thing we had had time to do since we moved to Kansas City.

We have been engaged for 2 1/2 weeks now. So far the planning is well under way. The wedding will Lord willing be on March 3, 2007, so we only have 4 months for planning which is going to be a challenge since we are both at new jobs. Thus far it has been fun and I've enjoyed every minute, or at least close to every minute of it. Already checked off the list are the wedding dress, bridemaid's dresses, church, reception site, photographer, and cake. I don't want to bore everyone with details of it all, just wanted to share a little of what we've done so far.

We sincerely desire your prayers as we prepare for the wedding and begin our lives together.

Friday, November 10, 2006

It's official!

We are engaged! On a beautiful, crisp Autumn evening at the Plaza, Liz made me the happiest man on the planet by saying yes. I will cherish each and every moment of the night, from the outstanding dinner, waiter (Tim) at The Capital Grille to the exact spot and all of the sights, sounds and of course the reaction & beauty of my bride-to-be. I pray that the Lord will continue to bless our love for each other to grow stronger with each passing day.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

New Blog

In an effort to move into the happening world of Blogging, Liz and I have bitten the bullet and jumped into the fray. Hopefully we'll be able to make this Blog fun and informational about what is going on in our lives.