"And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places." Roald Dahl

Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving Continued...

I flew home yesterday, and today I went back to work.  Wow.  It seems like I hadn't been there in forever.  Surprisingly, my classes were still caught up and they had done all their work while I was gone, and I'm really not that far behind!  This week is going to be a big week, our first swim meet is on Thursday, so I'm looking forward to that, and anticipating being quite busy.

Here is my Thanksgiving trip recap...its long, so beware!

Thursday was great, and while my mom had much better photo's yesterday, here are some of my candid's from the day:

Here is Bailey, smiling big.

Everyone hanging out in the family room.

Jimmy and Maggie.

Cath and I.

Uncle Bobby and Maggie.

The cutest family ever.

My mom's beautiful Thanksgiving table...take a look at those center pieces...they used pumpkins, carved them out, and stuck fresh flowers into them.  So adorable!!

In the last post I showed our family photos.  This was one of the out-takes.  When we told Bailey to smile for the camera, she proceeded to do somersaults over and over again.  Such a ham.

Aunt Janet and my mom.

My dad and I.

And one last video for you...This is of Bailey.  I was so excited to see her because this time she is talking (and singing!) and she is hilarious!!  I think she was singing one of her songs and doing the dance that goes along with it.  Enjoy :)


Friday, the rest of the family went out to get some good "Black Friday" deals while Matt, my dad, and I stayed behind to hold down the fort.  It was so nice sitting in the cozy warm house while watching all those crazy people charge into the stores on the news.  Friday night, while we were all home, we celebrated my mom's birthday, which is coming up this weekend.  She got a Kindle!!  It looks so cool and it seemed really easy to set up!!  She has been not-so-subtly dropping hints for a few months that she wants one, so we figured it was a perfect gift!  It was so much fun for both of my sisters to be home and for everyone to be together to celebrate.

Afterwards, we tried the new game Scrabble Scram.  Don't waste your money on this game.  Its not worth it.  We love Monopoly Deal so much, that we thought we'd give it a try.  Nope.  Won't do that again.  But it was good for a few laughs, I think my stomach hurt all night after two hands of Scrabble Slam.  We were not very good at sticking to real words found in the dictionary.  When you play, you have to shout out the word that your spelling, so you can only imagine.  We are all loud, we were all shouting at once, and the words were not actually words.  It was funny, but as a game, it didn't work out so well.  So, we took out the Monopoly Deal and finished the night with several hands.  (and I actually won one!)

Saturday, my mom, sister and I braved the cold and took a long walk with Chief around our neighborhood.  It was about 30 degrees outside, so we bundled up.  Here is a picture. We must have looked pretty funny.

My mom put up her Christmas lights before I left, so Saturday night when it got dark we had to go outside to check themout.  She's so crafty.  Take a look.  Aren't they beautiful?  :)

Sunday, I flew home and decorated my little townhome for Christmas, but I think I will save that for tomorrow because this post is getting entirely long.  Pictures to come.  I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 27, 2010


Thursday was a whirlwind.  The house was full of people.  12 adults, 2 dogs, and one very adorable toddler.  Everyone from my family was together (mom, dad, Cath, Paula, Matt, and I) and my mom's sister, Janet, came with their whole family, Emily, Jeff, and Bailey, and Maggie and her boyfriend Jimmy.  A big group!!  We missed their older sister Katie dearly (she lives in Oregon) but she is coming back next week, so everyone will get to see her soon (they will have to send me pictures).  Growing up, it was so much fun living close to my aunt and uncle and cousins because we always did holidays together and they have three girls, almost the same age as my sisters and I.  Its even more fun as we all get older and add to the family.

We had so much fun catching up and watching the dogs chase each other around.  Bailey also showed off with all of her talking and her somersaults!!  My mom also insisted that we pose for our Christmas card picture, so I posted a few of the ones that we will NOT be using.  (I'm not allowed to spoil the real thing!)

Most of the gang at dinner.

Uncle Bobby, Aunt Janet, and Maggie

My whole family, including the grand-mutt, Chief. 
This will not be our Christmas card picture...can you tell who's not smiling?

Back row: Uncle Bobby, Jimmy, Jeff, Front row: Milo, Janet, Bailey, Maggie, and Emily.
I love this one because you can tell that Aunt Janet is trying to make Bailey smile, but it is not working. :)

I love this one of my parents.

And all of the cousins.  We will have to photoshop Katie into this picture. 

I stole all of these pictures from my mom's computer, so I'm sure I will be posting more pictures of my own when I get back home (candids!).  I love pictures, especially at the holidays!!

** I also added pictures to this post from a few weeks ago.  **

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

This has been such a great year and I have so many things to be thankful for, here are just a few...
  • A wonderful, caring family that supports me in everything that I do.
  • Derek, who can always make me smile.
  • The health of myself, my family, and friends.
  • My great friends that have helped me so much.
  • That I have a job.
  • That I am able to travel to spend time with my family during the holidays.
  • That my mom and aunt are such phenomenal cooks!
  • That North Carolina is no where near as cold as Illinois - its freezing here!
  • and because I'm sick this year, I get to watch the whole Macy's Day Parade and relax all Thanksgiving morning (hey, I'm trying to look on the bright side).
...and so much more.  Happy Thanksgiving to everyone and I hope you are enjoying your time with your family and friends. 

I got home today around 10:30am and my mom and sister have been slaving away in the kitchen.   It smells soooooo good, I wish I could help, and I can't believe I have to wait 3 more hours to eat!  It's so nice to be home and I can't wait until the rest of the family gets here!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Time on my hands

I have a little bit of time on my hands right now, so yesterday, I started going through my pictures.  I partially wanted to do it because it makes me happy, and partially because it is preparation for a Christmas project.  Looking at old pictures makes me smile because it helps you remember things that happened, what people said, and how much you love your friends and family.

Here are some of my favorites...

...The first few are from Andrea's wedding in September.  I love how happy everyone looks.

Any pictures of Quonny make me smile...Here is my mom, sisters, grandma, and I on the porch of the cottage.
And sunsets at the breachway are the prettiest in the world.

The next one is my mom, sisters, and I at Paula's Bachelorette Party.  I love it because its in front of the Chicago skyline.
This is when Paula walked out in the dress, that would be her wedding dress, for the first time.  I love it because you can see it on her face.  

Liz and Sarah, are in the next two pictures, and they rarely take boring picture, but these are great.  You can always count on them to strike some sort of ridiculous pose or make some crazy face, and I love it.  I love them too!

Here are some of my favorites of my parents.  

This next one of my dad cracks me up.  While we were growing up, we had a dog, Zosia, and she was the best.  But she was not allowed upstairs, nor on furniture.  She was not fed food from the table, etc.  Matt and Paula have a dog, Chief, and my dad has turned into a huge softie.  All rules are out the window with the "grand-dog".  Here they are, spending quality time together.  Note that Chief is on the couch, with his blanket and Bob has nothing to say about it.  :)

Here are some of Derek and I that I like...This first one was while he was opening his birthday presents...he looks so happy!  I think he was also yelling something at me...Lets hope I do as well for Christmas...
This is from July 3rd, when we went to watch fireworks.
This is the look I normally get when I take out my camera. 
Underwater cameras are the coolest!!

Here are some more favorites in no specific order...I hope you're not getting bored yet!
Some of my teacher friends at graduation last year.

We played putt-putt in Myrtle Beach (because its the putt-putt capitol of the world).

The Nosal girls and Andrea at Andrea's bridal shower.

My sisters and I at a Cubs game for my 25th birthday.

Andrea used to make fun-fetti cakes for everyone's birthday.  They are so good.  When we did a girls weekend last August it was so fun to see that fun-fetti is still alive and well.  I loved it!  (Her pose is also priceless.)

Monday, November 22, 2010


I am home from school, yet again, today.  I had every intention of working today and tomorrow, but it just didn't work out that way.  So, here I am, sitting on my couch, trying to keep myself from going crazy.

In this post, two weeks ago, I first mentioned that I wasn't feeling well, and I went to see the doctor.  They told me it was a virus of some sort and I just had to wait it out.   I waited and while it wasn't awful, I definitely wasn't feeling like my energetic self.

Last week, after a second trip to the doctor, I was told I had mono.  I haven't heard much of that since high school, but at least it explained why I still didn't feel good.  They told me to go home and rest.  So, all weekend long I rested.  For four days, I sat on my couch, watched some movies, read my great book, and did a little school work.  I felt a little better, but who really knew, seeing as I had not ventured far from the couch.  Monday (today) came along, and I figured I would surely be able to go back to school.  I was excited at the thought of interacting with people and getting stuff done!

Unfortunately, my body had other plans for me today and while at swim practice this morning, I fainted.  It scared me enough to go home and call the doctor.  After explaining my new symptoms, they took another (closer) look at my test results and realized, oh yes, that I also have strep throat.  Not what I wanted to hear, but it explains why I am not getting better, and even better than that, it is treatable with something other than "rest".  So here I sit, hoping, wishing, and praying that I will feel better soon.

With the meds, I am hoping that I am feeling good enough to travel home on Thursday...and the doctor Ok'd it (and I am not supposed to be contagious)!!  Because even though I am 26 years old and fully capable of taking care of myself, its so nice to think that my mom will be around to take care of me in just a few days.

Gosh, I am such a baby!!  So there's my update.  I have no exciting pictures to show, and I'm sure no one would want to see them.  I hope you all have a wonderful week!!!

*Shoutout* - Thank you, Mom, you helped me so much this morning!  I know that you would have much rather slept in, but talking to you made me feel so much better.  I love you!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Illini @ Wrigley!

Today is a very special day.  My two favorite sports teams, unite.  The University of Illinois, Fighting Illini are playing football against Northwestern at ... here's the best part ... Wrigley Field!!  An even better part is that as I sit this, watching the game, the score is currently Illinois 34 to Northwestern 24, with only 1:44 left in the 3rd quarter. Woooooohooooooooo!  An Illini victory at Wrigley - wow.  This is amazing!! (I'm aware, it's a little early to be celebrating, but I've got faith.)

To prepare, they actually painted the famous "Wrigley Field" sign PURPLE!!  Ew.  Now, I know Northwestern is technically located a lot closer to the ballpark than Illinois, but come on.  There are a lot of Illini fans in Chicago!  Never-the-less, the Wrigley sign, is purple today.
Here is the sign normally...

And now, the awful (but thankfully temporary) change.

Paula lives about two blocks from Wrigley Field, home of the Cubs!!  She got to go to the game today and at about 4:00, I got this picture sent to me, via text...
Wow...Its packed!!  I'm so jealous that she got to go!

The last time anyone played football at Wrigley, it was 1970, just before the Bears switched to Soldier Field.  This is the first collegiate football game at Wrigley since 1938 when DePaul University used to play there.  All in all, this is a pretty special day.  Hopefully they won't wait another 70 years before playing another collegiate game and I will get to see one in person...hopefully.

Either way, it has been so much fun today watching my favorite Chicago attraction all over the TV.  Its even better that Illinois will most likely win (its 41-24 right now!!).  I will, however, be making sure to do a drive-by next time I'm in town to ensure that the trademark sign has changed back to the beautiful RED I know and love.

Maybe, just maybe, the Illini's win will turn the Cubs luck around...you never know...they're due for a winning season :).

FINAL SCORE:  Illinois 48, Northwestern 27 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  And that makes us bowl eligible!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Couch Sitting

I'm still sick and they say the only thing that will make me better is rest, so here I sit.  On my couch.  I've watched a movie, watched almost everything on my DVR list, and answered every email I've been avoiding (almost every email).  At first it was nice, to sit down and relax but slowly I am getting more and more stir crazy.

Today, however, I have something to do thanks to my wonderful boyfriend.  He surprised me last night with this...

Its the third book in the series.  I've read the first two books and they are incredibly complicated mysteries that hold my attention and result in me not being able to put the book down. The character development is really vivid and I haven't found a book - or series, in this case - this addicting, in a long time. I've been waiting to buy the third one until it comes out in paperback, or until I go home (my mom broke down and bought it a few weeks ago).  

Yesterday, Derek told me he had a surprise for me.  I had no clue what it was.  He had remembered me talking about this from a while ago and he came home with my book!!  He wanted me to have something to do while I am sitting at home.  So, I will now grab my coffee, turn of all electronics, and curl up on the couch with my new book.  Reading is something that I love to do, but rarely have time for during the school year, so this is a nice little treat!    

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Happy Birthday Matt!

Today is the birthday of the coolest brother-in-law in the world .  
Happy Birthday Matt!!  

I hope that you are having a great day and Paula and Chief are treating you well.  Can't wait to see you all!