About Me

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I have two kids - a girl and a boy - and live in north-central Minnesota, land of snow and ice. Well, for 9 months of the year, that is. I work full-time for a local government, and on my "free time" I enjoy cooking, baking, hanging out with my kiddos, and RELAXING.

Friday, October 31, 2008

the problem with retail

Today I went to Victoria's Secret after school to buy some (ahem) "wardrobe items" for marriage. And oh my goodness did the sales people ever harass me. The second I walk in the store this one woman walks up to me, asks if I need help finding anything (to which I reply "No, I'm just looking.") and she feels the need to go on and on forever about some bra or another. "Oh, we just got this bra back in stock because everyone loves it. And blah blah blah and you can't see the lace through your shirts blah blah blah." Excuse me, I'm not even looking at bras (clearly!) and I told you I didn't need any help. So she finishes her speil and walks off. Whatever. I go back to looking. I kid you not, three minutes later I hear, "Are you finding everything okay?" Yes, I am, and even if I wasn't, I'm intelligent enough to ask for help when I need it. "Yes, I'm fine. Thanks." I wander around the store for a while, trying to avoid her, and when I finally select something (after looking FOREVER to find it in my size) here she comes again, "Do you want a bag for that..." to which I interrupt "No." while she continues saying, "...to make it easier to carry around?" Okay, it's not like it's a lot of fabric and weighs a ton. Let's face it, I'm not going to die of exhaustion carrying it around. Another time she told me that I could get a free stuffed dog with any Pink purchase. "They make good gifts." Yeah, I'm sure everyone is dying to have a pink dog. What a moron. She manages to leave me alone for about ten minutes while I find some other things and head to the fitting room. Some of it didn't fit right, but I wasn't about to ask anyone to grab me another size. If you've ever tried on this kind of stuff you can imagine the awkwardness that would create. Bad enough they see you walk in the fitting room with it. I ended up with one of the three different "outfits" I tried on, coughed up a small fortune for the complete ensemble, and on my way out got asked by three people if I found everything okay. Poor Darren got the worst of it when I called him after leaving the store. Worst experience I ever have had in Victoria's Secret in my entire life. And I even had a coupon for $10 off. I understand they are required to ask me if I need any help, but if I say "no" you'd think they would get the hint and leave, but apparently not. They must work on commission.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


I've been sick all day today and yesterday with a nasty stomach virus/bug/flu/whatever. Today I've consumed a sleeve of saltine crackers, a diet 7up, half a glass of apple juice, and four hershey kisses (I don't care how sick I am, I still need chocolate!). I think I'll try to eat a little something for supper tonight, maybe soup. Something light, for sure. I haven't been throwing up so I've been able to go to school, fortunately. At least I don't have to deal with the stress of missed classes on top of being sick. So anyway, researched it on the internet this morning and got some excellent advice. Stay away from dairy (oops, had cereal with milk last night) and whole grains (probably shouldn't have had that multigrain bread for lunch yesterday) and don't take ibuprofen (okay, my head was KILLING me). But now that I'm sufficiently educated I'll drink my apple juice like a good girl and stay hydrated. If I still don't feel well on Friday I'm supposed to call a doctor, but knowing me, I won't. The plus side of living on saltines and juice is that I'll probably weigh the lowest I've ever weighed in my life tomorrow morning. Silver lining. But really, hopefully I get well soon. I'm tired of being hungry but knowing whatever I eat will only make me feel worse. Those saltine crackers are sitting like a big rock in my stomach right now, and it doesn't feel so good.

Also this morning I had the pleasure of having a female exam at the clinic. Yay. Plus, as a bonus, the nurse noticed I hadn't had a tetanus booster in almost ten years. Double yay. Not a pleasant experience, overall. Now my arm hurts and apparently will continue to hurt from 3 to 5 days. My only consolation is that now I can step on a rusty nail without fear of disease. Some prize. Along with the shot came a handy informational guide about what to do if I think the shot is giving me a headache, swelling, pain, or is going to kill me. This they handed to me about three seconds before they jabbed the needle in my shoulder.

Overall it's been a rough week, I'd say. Tomorrow is my busy day, and then Friday will be a snap, so I really only have to get through one more day this week. I can't wait for the weekend, even though I get to spend it studying for an exam and writing a paper. Last big week before finals though. I wish it was over already.

Monday, October 27, 2008

busy weekend

We were really busy this weekend, so it went by FAST. Too fast...I can't believe it's Monday already! At least it's almost over, and tomorrow is Tuesday.

Friday we met in Brainerd for dinner at Applebee's and to pick out a grill--his parent's wedding gift to us. So that was fun. Then we headed to my house to feed the animals and get the mail. My mom and Blair were gone to Tennessee so the house was cold and dark and lonely. I was afraid I'd either freeze or get abducted, so I stayed at Darren's house Friday and Saturday night. Anyway, after checking up on things at home we headed over to his house and baked a pumpkin pie! My idea...I really was craving pumpkin pie all week so I wanted to have some. His mom had some frozen crust so we didn't have to make it (fortunately) and it turned out really well. I think his dad ate about half of it, and the rest of us had the other half. :) We watched a movie and stayed up pretty late, so we slept in on Saturday for a while. Got up, made breakfast, played some cards, and then went to the casino to pick up our wedding cake samples. We were supposed to get lemon and marble, but we ended up only with marble. It was SO good, though, I don't even care that we didn't get lemon. Here's Darren tasting it. Yummy...

Darren really wanted to sit in the hot tub so we went to my house to fill it and get it going. Took forever because our pump is really slow and we hardly have any water pressure. Then my mom said if we were cold we could get the wood stove going, and Darren was bored so we did that. Way more work than we thought it would be, but we did finally get it going. We made some chicken tortellini for supper which was crazy because the recipe was absolutely insane...never heard of cooking it in a pressure cooker, but that's what it called for. (We didn't do that, by the way.) It turned out pretty good. I think we both liked it, even though it took a long time to make. I also make banana bread and rice pudding, so it was a baking/cooking weekend for us.

On Saturday we went over to Blair's house to make a list of things that needed to be done before we moved in. It's mostly just little things like toilet paper holders and light fixtures and rods for the closets, but there is some clean up work to be done outside, too. Only 89 days until we get married. It was three months on Friday, so that was kind of an exciting day for us.

Sunday my mom and Blair got home so we spent some time at my house. We got to sit in the hot tub since it had warmed up and my mom put the chemicals in. That's something to look forward to on the weekends, now. Love the hot tub! After that we went up to our first premarriage counseling session with my pastor. Darren was really nervous and kept saying we were going to fail, but it went really well. We did a relationship class this summer and for our counseling we're pretty much going to be going through the book/DVDs we used then. I'm excited because I really liked them this summer and it will be fun to focus a little bit more on them and talk about them more together. We didn't really do that this summer.

We went to Darren's house Sunday night and carved pumpkins! I was really excited because I haven't done that in years! I think Darren and his sister were slightly less exicted, but it was still fun. We played some 500 with his parents and then went to bed too late. It was hard to get up this morning and drive to the cities. The roads were kind of icy and there was snow on the ground when I left home this morning, so I think winter is finally upon us...ugh.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Remembering Dad

My dad died five years ago today. He was duck hunting in North Dakota with my uncle and another man. The boat tipped somehow and it was too windy to swim it to shore. My dad and uncle sent their friend in with a bunch of decoys and he made it. Then my dad sent my uncle in with the last bunch of decoys, and he survived only because the first man was able to help him when he got to shore. My dad was in that water for about six hours before he passed out from hypothermia and drowned.

This day means a lot to me and my family, and while I usually think of what happened during the last few hours of my dad's life and how he must have felt to know he wouldn't make it, I think of some of the good times I had with him, too.

He loved to play games with us. We played this one basketball game where he would say something like, "If I make this shot you kids have to clean the playroom." And he'd make it, and then we would have to make the same shot to cancel it out. Or we could try a new shot saying something that we wanted, like a new toy. My brother was our saving grace; otherwise my sister and I would have ended up cleaning all year long. We would play Monopoly and he was so intense and had the worst luck. My sister would end up with a big monopoly or all the railroads and he would hit them every time around the board. It's a wonder he even liked to play it. He was a mastermind at Clue; he had such a good memory and won pretty much every time. He would take my brother, sister, and I on in baseball (his favorite) and he would win every time. We would each take a turn hitting, and then when it was his turn at bat, he would get three hits to try and score a run. He could hit it so far it would take us forever to get it and tag him. He played baseball in high school and actually had his two front teeth knocked out by a ball, so they were fake. He could never eat corn on the cob because of that--always had to cut it off and eat it with a fork.

He was a hard worker. He built our house and laid our wood flooring by hand. He drove bus, he worked at a bait shop/gas station, he worked at Scamp, he worked at an auto body shop, he did anything he could to provide for us. We never had much money growing up but I never realized that until later in life because I always felt cared for. He did so much around the house it was hard to pick up when he was gone. I remember the first Christmas. Dad had always put the tree together and ALWAYS complained about what a pain it was. And then he was gone and someone had to do it. I've put the same tree up for the past five Christmases, but it's not too bad since he color-coded all the branches. :)

He hated messes. I'm a lot like him in this way, only not as crazy about it. :) Everything had it's place, and if it wasn't there, boy was there trouble. He was ultra-organized, a perfectionist, and a little bit of a pack rat, but only because he held on to things with sentimental value. He was super paranoid about being on time. He actually had two alarm clocks that he would use every day.

He loved his friends and family. I never saw my dad laugh much unless he was with friends or family. He was a jokester, but he did it in this sneaky way and it was hard to catch him unless you were paying close attention. He was always out to get you when you least saw it coming. That's a side of him I never got to know very well--I wasn't old enough, I guess--but I hear a lot about it now from aunts and uncles. He would give the clothes off his back for you if you needed them; he was generous that way.

He loved to hunt. We have a safe full of rifles and shotguns that are rarely used, two shell loaders that sit untouched, and rubbermaids full of hunting clothes. Someday my brother will take them all, but for now they sit as reminders of what once was. He hunted deer, grouse, pheasant, duck, goose, and shot crows with his friends for kicks. One summer they shot 200, and we actually have a video of the 200th one they killed. Most women don't understand or appreciate when men love to hunt, but for me, it's all I've known. My entire family is that way, and I wouldn't change it. My dad died doing something he loved, and to me, that's better than any other way to go.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

back in the swing of things

Back to school today. Not exciting. My only consolation is that it's Wednesday and there are only two days left of this week. Next week will be hard. Ugh, don't think about it...at least now that first quad is over I no longer have 8:05 or 11:20 class on Monday, Wednesday, Friday. Which also means no chapel on those days! Yay. Since I live off-campus and don't have a class until 12:40 MWF (chapel is 10:30-11:00) I'm not required to attend those chapels. So that's REALLY nice. Basically on Monday and Friday I'll be on campus from 12:40-1:45 for my one class. Wednesday's I work at 8:15 until class (except for chapel time, so I really have a nice long hour break since I don't have to go to chapel). Now only Tuesdays and Thursdays will be evil. Well, MWF's aren't really a treat with Business Ethics, but they're better than Corporate Strats and Auditing. Especially Auditing. Ugh, kill me now.

I haven't lost weight in FOREVER so today I did 50 minutes on the eliptical while watching The OC. Yeah, go ahead make fun of me for watching that show, but I like it. Espeically Seth Cohen. SO freaking funny. One of my roommates freshman year actually gave me a big poster of him (whatever his real name is...Adam Brody maybe??) and hung it up on my wall. I didn't think I liked him THAT much, but it was nice of her to think of me...I wonder what ever happened to that?

So today I saw (gasp!) snow. Yes, it's true. Okay, maybe it was more like tiny-sleety-frozen-ice-balls, but they were white and it wasn't rain. Ugh, winter. Not ready for it. Well, I am if it means that it's January.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

possible wedding songs

Here are the songs we're thinking about for during the ceremony:

A Moment Like This Kelly Clarkson
When You Say Nothing At All Alison Krauss
It's Your Love Tim McGraw and Faith Hill
Lost in this Moment Big & Rich
Bless the Broken Road Rascal Flatts


wedding stuff

Today was a day of accomplishment. I got a TON of wedding stuff done. I called my friends to tell them their bridesmaids dresses are in, I emailed the cake lady and narrowed down my cake selection, emailed the woman I need more Pampered Chef registry insert things, got more registry inserts from Target, called and scheduled an appointment for alterations, called the woman who will play piano, found songs for my soloist to choose from, totally figured out my favors, including pricing (they're 45 cents each), and bought shoes (for $20!) and jewelry. So, busy day. I was so excited those shoes were so cheap--I got them for half off. The heels are a little higher than I wanted, but it was hard to find closed-toe shoes. I don't want any snow coming in them... I'll probably have to find another pair of flats to wear at the reception, though. I have this one pair at home that will probably work. Oh, I also ordered my guestbook today through David's Bridal because the white and cornflower one was temporarily out of stock for six weeks online. It won't get here until the end of December! My dress came in three weeks, but my guestbook will take two months. Weird...

Oh, here's a picture of the favor. I think the bell adds a lot. I was standing in Michael's and there was this book with ideas, so I copied it.

I'm in the process of trying to create guest lists for showers. I can't decided whether to do a personal shower or not...tough call. I don't want people to think they have to buy a gift for a personal shower AND a regular shower. Hmm...but I would like some "personal items" because I don't really have any. Well, I have one that I got at Victoria's Secret because a friend (my soloist, actually) talked me into it. So can't decide on that issue. Plus, who even gets invited to a personal shower? I don't have that many friends. I guess it could be more low-key chill. I'm totally about that.

How ironic is it that last night I had a dream it was my sister's wedding? We were walking to the church and it was a LONG walk in the rain. We were under these storefronts but we were still getting wet and she was getting really upset. Her updo was totally falling down and when we got to the church we ended up in this dark random attic room. I had to help blowdry and recurl her hair (and I specifically remember asking for a diffuser) and I kept telling her it would be okay. Strange.

Today is the last day of fall break. Back to school tomorrow...ugh.

Monday, October 20, 2008

fall break

One more day of freedom before it's back to school. I can't believe how quickly fall break went by. I spent a TON of it at Pres Homes, so I got a lot of my volunteering done. I could finish it tomorrow if I wanted to, but I don't think I'm that motivated. I'll probably just head there for three hours or so. I've been there for 17 and a half hours since Friday after class, so I feel like I haven't really had much of a "break" but I guess it'll be nice to have this over and finished with. I have six and a half hours left of my forty, so I'm almost done. I still have to write a paper about "what I learned" but I'm not seeing that as being a lot of work. Unfortunately with all my volunteering I haven't gotten very much homework done so I'll be doing quite a bit of that tomorrow.

The wedding plans have kind of taken over my life recently. My aunt, who is also my personal attendant, is ultra-organized and sent me this monster list of questions, so now I've been thinking about those and trying to get more things organized. I did manage to make maps to the church and reception (took a while) on my computer last night, so the invitations only need to be assembled and addressed. I am still waiting for some addresses, though. Before she sent me that email I thought I was getting pretty close to being done, but I realized the only things that are done are like the five big things, and now it's time for the million little things to be taken care of. Ugh... Three of the bridesmaid's dresses made it in, so I'm having someone pick them up from David's Bridal in Duluth. I'm glad they're in already because some of them need to be altered. One of my bridesmaids is pregnant, so you can imagine she'll be needing some adjustments. :)

My uncle took me out to dinner at Fortune House, and it was good. I had the tangerine chicken--a little too sweet, but still tasty. I think I could eat Chinese every week and not get sick of it. We never had Chinese growing up. My mom didn't like it so I always assumed it was gross. (She didn't like Mac 'N Cheese either, so I should have realized the truth...) I was a freshman in college before I ever tried Chinese...what a loss of 18 years. I've made up for it now, though.

Darren's parents are buying us a grill for our wedding present. Yay! Darren loves to grill (another yay) so I'm hoping that means he'll help out with dinner a lot. I'm helpless in the kitchen. Well, I can bake. But that's bascially it. I do make a mean fried egg sandwich, and I can make anything that comes in a box but if it doesn't have pictures with the instructions (think hamburger helper and you'll understand) it's beyond me. Darren's mom is going to give me "cooking lessons" (his idea, but not a bad one!) before we get married so I'll know how to make all his favorite things. I guess some women would be offended by that, but I'm so desperate I'm only thankful.

Tomorrow will be filled with errands and volunteering and homework. I love errands but not so much the other two. I have a list of wedding stuff to do this week and I'm going home this weekend so I need to get ahead on my homework a little, so I'll be busy busy tomorrow. I've kind of relaxed the past couple days during my non-volunteering hours, so it's time to be productive again. Ugh.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

It's feeling like fall today

Okay, so it's been a month. So much for me being better about blogging. Oh well...

Um, first off, let me just say this: it's cold. Winter is breathing down my neck and I'm not happy with it. Today my accounting professor told a funny joke: "In Minnesota we have three seasons: June, July, and winter." Haha, how true. The fall colors are gorgeous though. I actually think fall and winter are the prettiest times of the year. The trees are so pretty in fall, and then in winter when there is a fresh snowfall and the branches all have snow on them...okay, maybe winter isn't so bad. Except for the freezing temps.

Tomorrow is the last day of school before fall break, and I'm way excited. The semester is half over already! Woo-hoo! Hopefully the next half goes by as fast as the first. Unfortunately I'll be spending my fall break doing my community service volunteer work (40 hours required for 0 credits...give me a break) but at least I won't be sitting in Auditing. The only bright spot. It'll be nice to just get a big chunk of service in and be done and not have to think about it anymore, too. I have 16 hours done so far and my goal is 20 over my four-day weekend. Glen and Danette are going up north for the weekend so I'll be here by myself Friday night, Saturday, and Sunday. I may as well volunteer. Darren has drill this weekend up in Hibbing so I wouldn't even get to see him if I drove home.

I've been trying to be better about spending money lately so I (finally, after years of talking about it) created a budget for this month. I haven't really made any of my goals, but this first month is kind of a rough draft to figure out what I spend and where. It definitely makes me more aware of my poor spending habits. Although I did get gas today for $2.59! Only put in $10 though because it's probably about 10 cents cheaper in St. Anthony, and I'll be there tomorrow. It's always cheaper there, so unfair.

My brother, sister, Darren, and I went to the Vikings game on Sunday, and it was really nice to see a win. It's WAY more fun being there than watching it on TV. I haven't even watched the Vikes yet this year, but I still had a great time. I'll try to upload a picture but it never seems to work out well. Oh, success!

Wedding updates:

-The flowers are completely taken care of--I sent in my deposit and don't have to think about them until closer to the wedding. Still stinking expensive, but I guess that's just how it is.
-Laura agreed to sing at our wedding! Darren didn't want to have one of the older ladies from my church sing so I asked one of my former roommates, and she said she would.
-Invites have arrived at my house and only wait assembly and addresses. I'll try to hit that hard over Thanksgiving break and hopefully we can send them out the end of November/beginning of December.
-We're meeting with the cake lady next weekend to discuss options and such. I think we're just going to do a small tiered cake and about a million sheet cakes, so it should be simple enough. Darren is supposed to be looking at toppers with me, but we haven't yet. I'm having a hard time finding one I like. Maybe I'm just being too picky, but I really want a nice traditional one and they all seem really weird.
-We bought our airline tickets to Grand Cayman for March, booked a hotel before we get to the time share, and Darren found a super cute B&B up in Duluth for our real honeymoon. I'm excited for it. We still need to rent a car for Grand Cayman.
-I've been thinking about hairstyles and will probably go and do a trial run over Thanksgiving break, since I'll have time then.
-Oh, a couple weeks ago the bridesmaids and I went up to Duluth and they all got their dresses picked out. I had everyone choose their own style and it worked out really well. Two of the dresses should be in here pretty soon and the other two won't come in until December! How crazy is that! It only took a couple weeks to get my dress. Which needs undergo major alterations, but that's another story...

It's amazing how quickly time goes by. Even though I feel like Darren and I have been engaged for forever and January is taking so long to get here, it really has been going fast. He got home from Iraq a year ago yesterday, and it definitely doesn't seem like it's been a year. So much of my life has changed, it's crazy. It's all been good changes, but two years ago I never would have pictures myself here. It's funny how life is like that.