Thursday, November 24, 2011

Yertrucken, I mean Turducken

It's been awhile.

How are you all doing?

I'm fine, thanks for asking.

In fact, I'm getting ready to eat my second meal of Thanksgiving, dessert.

I'm not sure why I've taken such a long break from blogging, I just couldn't get myself to do it, and I had a blogging-motivated husband who filled in the gaps so that we didn't lose all of our readership.

Being Thanksgiving time, I would like to tell you some of the things that I am extremely grateful for that have (or have not) happened over the past couple of months.

1. As some of you may or may not have known, my sweet mother was in a pretty traumatic car crash a few weeks ago and broke a vertebrae in her back. She was driving on the highway at night near our home and she hit (being the fourth person to hit it) a black cow. She's doing much better now, thankfully, and thanks to a cement-like substance infused into her back she is feeling even better.

I am very thankful for angels who watched over my mom and kept her here with us. I have an amazing mom, I've always known that, but I am especially grateful that she was protected and is so strong. After all, she is the strongest woman I know.

2. I gained one more nephew this month.

Someone at work sweetly asked me last week, "Is this your first niece/nephew?!" I replied, "No, this makes 15..."

My new nephew was born as cute as ever, and to make it even better, I got to go out and stay with him and his family for a week.

In addition to holding a new baby, I got to hang out with my sister, brother-in-law, and her three other children making Thankful turkeys, driving a mini-van, packing lunches, telling princess bed-time stories, making Cafe Rio dinner, and kissing new babies.

I am so so glad I live so close to my wonderful sister, who I now know is super-woman.

3. I got to come to DC this weekend for Thanksgiving with Matt's family. I love love this city. I used to think of this city as if it consisted of the Mall alone, but now I comprehend a little more the culture and expanse of the city.

In addition to the city itself, we did something epic. (That word is highly overused in today's society, but it is completely appropriate in this particular case.)

We made a turducken!....

You know, the chicken inside of a duck inside of a turkey?!

Thanksgiving wouldn't be complete without this massive amount of bird. Matt and his brother took on the feat of deboning and stuffing all three inside of each other, while his mom and I happily stuck to our assortment of side dishes.

I'll save you the goriness of the picture of them stuffing the three birds inside of each other.

I love Thanksgiving and finding new recipes and family and DC.

4. I love my job. I don't know how many of you know this, but I work with students with autism. There are definitely hard days, like any job, but I absolutely love working with such incredible kids. I once heard someone, very innocently, say that they didn't think their son had autism because he was affectionate. I must say that this is one of the hardest misconceptions for me that our society has about people with autism. I work with some of the most loving, affectionate kids that are so quick to laugh, hug, love, and forgive. I wish I were more like that.

So while there are hard days, I love being in a position where I have an opportunity to learn from, help, and love my students.

5. My husband is the most loving man on this earth. To prove this, I will give you a small example.

Every single night between the months of August and May I sleep with a rice bag...(my feet get cold ok?) and every night, even though he hates it, he puts up with it. Well, last night we went to bed and Matt fell asleep instantly, but my feet were cold and I hadn't heated up my rice bag (yes, maybe I brought it in my suitcase) and I didn't want to walk all the way downstairs to heat it up. So my kind husband, after waking up when my cold feet accidentally touched him, let me put my icy feet on his legs to warm up.

Although other proof exists, I think this small case proves my point with striking clarity that he is the most kind and selfless man and that I am a very lucky woman.

6. All of our grateful lists could go on and on and I could undoubtedly name a million things that I am so grateful for on this wonderful holiday (like my faith, my siblings who are my best friends, my youthful and selfless dad, etc.) but these are some of the things that have been happening that I finally felt the motivation to blog about.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Analytical Data Proves my Sister is the Best in the World

Normally I'm not one to brag, but today for my blog post, I would like to take this time to say that I have the best sister in the world.  This is a very bold statement, and some may question my authority on the matter.  However, in addition to having my own sister (which I have now had for almost 21 years),  I know lots of people that are sisters and lots of people that have sisters.  Because of my tremendous experience in this area, I feel that I can offer a fair and unbiased judgement on the matter.  And as though it needed it, I will prove my point-- and because I am an engineer and I believe in science, I will use quantitative reasoning.

  1. My sister is 10% happier than other average sisters
  2. The standard deviation of my sister's beauty is 6.7 less than any other sample (n>500) taken from the general population of sisters
     3. My sister is not crazy (This is just binary)
     4. My sister has 2X the cooking ability of standard sisters
     5. My sister laughs 8.6 louder at my jokes, than other sisters
     6. My sister is in the optimal athletic region-She runs 5k's like they're going out of style. (See plot below)

7. My sister is majoring in Public Health which means she gives a care at a rate of 9.3 cares/min vs. the current sister-industry standard of 4.6 cares/min (that's almost 2.1 times faster)
8. My sister has the shiniest golden blonde hair that is equivalent to the sun in lumens (3.75×1028 lm, ya that's a lot of lumens).
9. My sister is 4.69 more spiritual than regular sisters, but cries -2.6 less (If her ox died, I'm pretty sure she could bring it back just like that girl in Legacy or was it Oregon Trail?).
10.  My sister goes to 11.

Anyone who has actually met my sister knows of her sheer awesomeness, but sometimes it's nice to have the numbers to back things up.  Anyway, to my lil' Sis---I luv Ya.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Cowboys and Aliens Movie Review/Congrats to the Inlaws/mmmm....Bacon/Hanging out with dudes/Nicole Please Come Home Before I Go Crazy

This weekend Nicole has been out in Utah for her parents 40th wedding anniversary--congrats Roger and Lynne'. I must say it's a major achievement. I, on the other hand, stayed back to watch the homestead and feed the plant. It has been a real throw-back to the day of the single-life surviving off of chips and salsa, things that can be grilled, and bacon. (The salsa has actually been homemade because our tomato plant is making fruits non-stop.) Last night I hung out with two other guys who's wives were also MIA. We first went to a Columbus Crew (MLS) soccer game. We won. At the end of the game Clint said, "who wants to go see a late movie?" My gut reaction was, "whoa, 10:30 is my bedtime pal, I should probably be getting back." But then I thought, if I go back, what am I going to do...nothing. So I went to the movie.
We went to see Cowboys and Aliens. The plot goes something like this...there are some cowboys who want gold. Then some aliens come who want the gold too. The aliens kill the cowboys. Then Harrison Ford comes, and some Indians come, and they kill the aliens together. As shallow as this plot sounds, I think there's a greater metaphor. I think what the movie was really about was a guy who wanted to make a movie with cowboys and aliens in it at the same time...because that would be awesome. Actually, all joking aside, I think it really does teach a valuable lesson: nothing unites two races that hate each other more than hate for a third, even less-desirable race.

Weekends like this are really good for me though. Because as much fun as it is hanging out with other married guys, watching intellectually stimulating movies, and eating bacon, it's not as much fun as hanging out with Nicole. Which makes me really think how glad I am that I'm married and how excited I am to make it to year 40 and beyond with her. Anyone who knows Nicole (if you're reading this blog, chances are you do) will understand what I'm talking about. But just in case you need a refresher, here are my top 10 favorite things about her:

  1. She is the most beautiful woman I know
  2. She has an unlimited supply of love and compassion for others (mine usually runs out much faster)
  3. She's 100% dedicated to the gospel
  4. She loves to meet new people and make friends
  5. She love to cook really great food and try new recipes
  6. She's an extremely hard worker
  7. She's got style
  8. She's very goal oriented and driven
  9. She will be a fantastic mother (NOTE: This is not any sort of an announcement or something--just a general statement about the future I.E. we are not pregnant, or for you hipsters, are not planning on buying a dog.)
  10. She's really the most Christ-like person I know
So, in short, I lucked out big time.

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Mother Land

So we had a busy June. We spent most of June in Pennsylvania, Utah, West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee, NorthCarolina, and Kentucky. During the month of June I also rode my bike 3x
went camping 2x, built a backsplash 1x, Gained +1 sister, got on National TV 1x, and probably also gained some weight.

Here are some pictures to back up my alibi...

The bridge on the way out of Ohio.

A campsite in Virginia.

A Tennessee caterpillar.

A pig ride in North Carolina.

Our garden after being gone for 2 weeks.

My muscles out in the woods.

Grandpa got a 4-wheeler.

Nicole and Niece.

Riding the lift at Sundance.

Again on the lift...

We went hiking in the mountains...

Dressed like twinners...

Decorated a car with...
  • Balloons
  • Streamers
  • Confetti
  • Saran Wrap
  • Chocolate Sauce
  • Tin Foil
  • Hot Dogs
  • Soda Cans (full)
  • More Confetti
  • Dolls
  • Markers
  • Ladies' Dainties
  • Nerf Guns
  • A few other things
Actually I'm going to take another minute on this one because I am particularly proud of it. My younger brother, of course, knew ahead of time that we were going to decorate his car, but we were only "allowed" to do the outside (as if one's permission matters in such circumstances, like asking "Can I pull your unconscious body from this burning car?"--It doesn't matter what the answer is, there are just certain unwritten rules in life that transcend personal preference--Nathan gets confetti in his AC vents, end of story.) Anyway, Nathan was less than willing to give us his keys at the reception. Foreseeing that he would be an unwilling accomplice in his own demise, we decided to take preventive action. While in the shower, we took his keys to Walmart to make a copy. Unfortunately, because Nathan's car posses slightly more advanced anti-theft technology than Super-Beast (the car requires a special chipped key to start instead of just a screwdriver), we could not get a copy made. So plan-B was even better. Eric also drives a Mazda, so using some voodoo off the internet (very similar to left-right-left-right-up-down-a-b-select-start, but with car doors and the vehicle ignition), we reprogrammed Nathan's car to accept Eric's key fob. The best part of the whole experience was when Nathan realized that we had not just decorated his car, but that we had somehow decorated the inside of his car as well.

...Then we cleaned up....

We went karting also...

Anyway, it was a very successful month. But we're really happy to be home, although we're really sad to be out of vacation days.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Look Mom--I'm on TV

If anyone is interested, this spot was a filler segment during one of the last Indy Car races talking about race car aerodynamics. I did the computer simulations at work (TotalSim) that they used. I was pretty excited...

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Food, Farmers Market, Drive, Build Something---repeat...

For anyone who isn't aware, it's May---but it's pretty much already over. May was a busy month--we got to spend a lot of time seeing family, eating good food and building things. So I would call it a success. Here is what we have been up to:

Removed a our old flower bed/thistle hatchery/public eyesore and planted grass...

Built a much more environmentally friendly* "square-foot garden" complete with $50 dollar dirt and a trap for the rabbits (*Actually in regards to the rabbits the garden is not a friendly place, in fact a hope they feel a sense of foreboding and hostility when they come and eat the sweet potatoes). But we have peas, squash, rhubarb, strawberries, tomatoes, white onions, green onions, hot peppers, lettuce, broccoli, carrots, and something else...

Then in honor of our future guests (that's foreshadowing) we built a bed (we're talking the whole shebang here).

Then we went to Ill for James' graduation. He's now a lawyer. I'm still figuring out who I'm going to sue first to take advantage of my 'friends and family' discount.

-We were fortunate to find a hotel room. It had a nice resort-y yet quaint lock-the-door-so-a-man-who- thinks-he's-his-own-mother-doesn't-come-in-and-stab-you-in-the-(cold) shower type feel.
Those who are truly design conscious will notice that this room takes design queues from the clearance racks of each decade since 1965. Now before any of you say, Matt you're a cheap jerk. I want to point out two things: 1. Because it was graduation, we were lucky to even have a room...Motel 6 was charging $183/night that weekend. 2. I did splurge and go for the extra space and get the room with two beds and a tv with a remote.

While in Champaign, we played hide and seek...a lot. I know most of you are thinking "Why did you post a picture of a bare floor?" Well if you look closely, you can see the faint outline of a person that resembles a small boy...I know...tough to see, but he is there. Needless to say, our games of hide and seek were epic and quite challenging.

Then, the weekend after that we spent the weekend with Nicole's brother and sister and her parents at our house. We took a day trip up to Cleavland and went to their giant farmers market. We had some good food including but not limited to bratwurst, cupcakes, falafel, strawberries, blackberries, pizza, and apple fritters the size of your head.

After that we went to Kirtland, OH to the temple there. I mentioned to a few people we know here that aren't associated with our church that Ohio was once a Mormon hotbed and they were all pretty surprised. But just for proof...we went to go see the sights.

Then this weekend my parents came into town. So to celebrate we wen to the farmers market and ate chicken, brisket, pizza rolls, and these things---Omega Cakes....dark chocolate balls filled with cake and some sort of cream that is made from fat.
We went to our favorite antique store in the Short North...
We bought some flowers at the farmers market...

Then we took the old wood from our flower beds that we removed this week and built a plantar box out of them.

Then on Sunday we grilled an entire chicken. It was really good. The secret is to shove a can of soda up its cavity.
I'd like to note that Nicole and I now have a butcher. That's right, a shop dedicated to just meat. I've stopped by a number of times now and picked up steaks, burgers, brats and now a chicken and have not been disappointed yet. The prices are surprisingly competitive and the meat is much fresher.
This is what my mom looks like as a raw chicken.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

As Washington as it Gets

It's been a long time since we've posted anything. Maybe I feel like I've got to have something good to post about. Maybe I feel like my writing doesn't cut it, so without some fun event to post about it's not worth posting.

We've been good here in Ohio though- beautiful sunshine this weekend. Matt and I even ate outside yesterday at the North Market. Yesterday morning we went with our ward (the people on this link all describe what a ward is) to do Meals on Wheels. We delivered hot and cold meals to a lot of people in Columbus. I was expecting a different demographic, I think, but they were all elderly men and women who needed some extra help with meals. They were all so grateful and appreciative. Many wished us to drive safely and thanked us for our time. It was a lot of fun to do together; I think we'll try to do it again in the future.

Over President's Day weekend we drove to Eric's, Matt's brother, in D.C. We had one of the best weekends we've had there, shopping, cooking, eating out, going to Mount Vernon (for free, I might add. Happy President's Day.) and hanging out. I have to say, at Mount Vernon I felt something more profound for George Washington than I have before. I really felt grateful for his life and his mission, and I felt that he truly was a righteous man, doing what he knew he was supposed to do.

We did miss, however, George's surprise birthday party. I bet he was really surprised.

Eating the biggest burgers ever.

My burger was that big.

The wreathlaying ceremony at Washington's tomb.

Real marching band from the 18th century.

The view George had of the Potomac River from his spacious veranda.

Can you picture the President peacefully lounging in his backyard?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Departure of Super-Beast

Some of you may remember when that loveable joke-ster, friend, and loyal companion Super-Beast entered our family unit last year. Well, it pains me to say it, but on Saturday, Super-Beast left our family to go take care of an 18 year-old community college student. I will miss the old radio that only got one channel, the toy gorilla that was somehow magically affixed to the dash board that won't come off no matter what, and the sound it made in the morning since the muffler rusted off.

Super-Beast the Day he came to our family

However, this is not meant to be some sort of mopey, dreary, mourn-fest for what was and what might have been. No, this is a great day, because today I introduce to you, Son of Super-Beast. Son of Super-Beast is a 1995 Nissan pickup with 4wd and fuel-injection with almost no rust herpes. We've already been driving SSB around in the snow and been having a great time. SSB still isn't pretty, but follows his father's motto of 'git er done'.

Son of Super-Beast together with Super-Beast on sale day