Sunday, December 21, 2008

Frozen Dirt

The other day I went out to go to work and found this:

A half inch of ice completely encasing my way to and from work. It took about a half hour to get through, and the experience made me fondly remember the winters in Utah with light, fluffy, dry snow. I remember clearing the windshield by just turning on the wipers! Wow! If I'd tried that, we'd and already be on the third new pair in a month! Anyway we made it through and to work with the help of the 4wd.

But for all the trouble it causes (breaking tree-limbs, pulling down power lines, turning the roads into skating-rinks, and making raccooncicles) it is pretty, here are a few pics:

If you kick the branches they shatter, which is also pretty sweet.

Also, we put up our tree (not frozen), and here's how it looks:

With presents and everything! I must say, we did pretty good for our first tree, and it's a new experience for me to have a real one instead of fake, but the pregnant wife insisted, and what she wants-she gets. However, I'm not sure what to do with it when we're done... The only thing I've ever done with a real tree is take it out west of the lake and burn it... I'll have to do some looking.

In other news, the other night we had some friends over and made graham-cracker-candy-houses and they turned out pretty good! Tiff and I made a brown igloo.

We only realized afterward that igloos are white so we could've just covered it in frosting, but sometimes we're a little slow. Notice the polar bear? Nice, huh? Everyone else's turned out pretty cool too:

Also, today it was 0 degrees outside and felt like -23. We stayed inside with the windows and blinds shut. Church was cancelled due to too much ice in the chapel parking lot. The one time we did open the door, the icy air came sweeping in our house and it looked like we were opening the freezer, so we shut it. Merry Christmas!!!

Monday, December 15, 2008


Some of you may already know and this may be news to others of you, but we have a little announcement to make...

I feel so blessed to have a wonderfully supportive husband. Especially during pregnancy when things have been kinda rough at times. Braden has been so patient when I was nauseous during those first 14 weeks and I never wanted to make dinner. He made special trips to the grocery store to get me my craving of the moment. He even let me use his Nalgene bottle as a barf-bag on a bus ride in Japan (and yes, he still uses it...we ran it through the dish-washer of course!). And he has never complained. This is true love! I honestly don't know what I did to deserve to have my Mr. Amazing, but I thank my Heavenly Father for Braden daily.
(I had to have a plug for Braden because he really is incredible -- did you see the couch?! -- and I know he is going to be a fantastic father!)

Here's a picture of our baby at 17 weeks...

Isn't that profile just so cute?! We get to have another ultrasound in another 8 weeks to check on some stuff. We're excited to be parents and so grateful for this opportunity!
(We'll try to get more pictures up if our scanner starts cooperating...)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Project Re-upholster

If we've learned anything in our close to year of marriage, it's that we can take on the world and make it yell "UNCLE!" Our most recent adventure included an old couch, roadkill, and holiday dreams come true. We were sick of our futon in the front room, so when our home-teacher told us he had an old couch in Nauvoo, we jumped at the chance. We headed out on a Friday after work, picked up the couch, ran over Rudolph (or maybe it was Blitzen?) on the way home, got the couch in the apartment, and this is what we had:

We looked at it for a minute and said to ourselves "self, I bet we can flip this couch!" And so we did. Here's a shot of during the re-upholstery:

Tiff showing off her domesticity:

And the finished product!

Notice the detail...
The Christmas tree was not a part of the re-upholstery, but just a side project. However, it kind of makes the couch "pop", don't ya think?

In other news - I can't help but say I'm surprised by the number of people that have asked me if I kept the deer I ran over (it just cracked the bumper a little), and I don't think they were joking. I guess it didn't get tore up too bad, but still I like to think I just gave the coyotes a Christmas feast. Besides, I didn't want to mess up the couch, and dressing it in the front room probably would have gotten us evicted. Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


We came back from a fun Thanksgiving trip out to Zion National Park in Utah and saw this...

Well, actually from the plane it was just a white-out. So that picture is what we saw the next morning out our front door. Here's some more pictures of Peoria right now.

If only there were mountains here to ski/snowboard on! (But then again, I guess I'm not supposed to snowboard this winter anyway...)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Marriage = Delicious

It's mathematical fact. After two years in Venezuela and college, my tongue had become numb to the flavors of Top Ramen, chicken and rice, and PB&J. It had gotten so bad that I would often forget to eat, which explains my skinny-white-guy syndrome. However, Tiff has effectively used a frying pan and wooden spoon as a diffibrilator of flavor, and it's delectible. Pictured above is our Sunday dinner last week, featuring delicious slow-roasted beef, mashed potatoes, grilled asparagus (don't ask me how she ever got me to eat asparagus), and a homemade roll. Mmmmmmm. This week we had beef stir-fry, which was so delicious I didn't have time to take a picture before I'd already eaten it. Also mmmmmmm.

Saturday, November 8, 2008


So, to be totally honest, at times life here in Illinois can be kind of, well, flat. But we took a bike ride on the trail that is 100 yds from our house, and we're beginning to appreciate the "Land of Lincoln". We ride or walk this trail fairly often, but the leaves this fall were awesome! (That clever rhyme just then was unintentional)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

In My System

You ever wake up in the middle of the night and think: "That was AWESOME!" I did last night... I was Superman.


Hope everyone had a Happy Halloween! We celebrated with the tried and true tradition of carving pumpkins.

It's a pretty good tradition, especially if we can find a green pumpkin every year! although I must admit, Tiff looks like she's enjoying the lobotomy a little too much. We also dressed up as a rogue dolphin-rodeo-rider and a colorblind explosives technician. Sadly, we forgot the camera.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Going to Japan reawakened one of my guilty pleasures in life - road signs. I know, I know, most of you were thinking "sushi" or "bowing" or "weird toilets", but seriously, if you ever stop to look at what people put out there to get their point across you gotta wonder: "What were they thinking?!?" Like how in Canada there can be a maximum of 90 trucks falling from the sky at any given moment:
Watch your head!

Or how it's illegal to have any fun at all in Yellowstone Park:

And that for some strange reason there is a clown juggling while riding a unicycle over rough terrain ahead:

But the pikachu-factor and English translations put Japan's signs over the top!
This sign is right in front of a parking stall, I think it is advising you not to ram your car into a wall after being rear-ended:

One thing I learned, in case of any Emergency: Flee Left!

What a frog, elephant, or family of turtles have to do with road construction I have absolutely no idea, but I guess they get the point across...

And if you fall in the shark tank, flee right! (look at the back wall)

(that is if you remember where that is while being eaten by sharks)

Pictured below is an actual toilet. Instructions on the water tank, but only in Japanese...

Subliminal message - "Don't use this thing you crazy American! If you do people might think it's 'normal' and we're trying to get rid of these things!!!!"

Interesting storefronts.

And before you leave, be sure to check with accounting.

Japanese accountants make minimum wage. Best to stay in America, Matt.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Japan Again!

So, we've been home for a week now, and we're finally over the jet-lag so I could sit down and coherently post some highlights from our amazing trip to Okinawa. We went to an aquarium, a castle, saw some traditional performances, hung out at the beach, hiked to a waterfall, went snorkeling (where we were almost attacked by an eel), jet-skied, went to a cheesy Japanese 4-D movie, went to a Sushi-go-round (where we ate an eel) (delicious), and had an all-around good time with Randy, Mel, Marcus, and Ethan (My brother and his family, no eels there). To anyone considering a trip to the other side of the world, Tiff and I both give it an enthusiastic thumbs up! (but stay for more than six days) It was awesome! I've got a few more pics of our adventure I want to post, but it gets kind of tedious, so these will do for now. Thanks again Randy and Mel!!!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Japanese Aquarium

One of the first things we did in Japan was to go to this awesome aquarium. We saw a dolphin show from the "splash zone" (they gave us towels to dry off afterwards - I can't believe how nice the Okinawans were), sea turtles - both large and small (too bad they weren't in the dolphin show - sea turtles jumping out of the water spinning would be awesome!), touched a sea cucumber and blue starfish, and ate lunch basking in the view of a whale shark and giant manta rays. To be honest, the food wasn't that great, but the ambiance was to die for.

These are the sea turtles. Fun fact: you can tell a male sea turtle from a female by the size of their tail.

Here are some highlights of the dolphin show, it was pretty cool, and being so close we were able to look into the eyes of the dolphins... It kind of looked like it wanted to eat me if it could only get close enough. Moral of the story - never trust a "flippin" dolphin.

Cool starfishes and a squishy sea-cucumber (we saw these everywhere when we went snorkeling)

This last Pic is Tiff and I doing our best hermit crab. Pretty good don't ya think? They had all of these marine animals made with flowers, which was interesting. Also, Randy and I had a lively debate about the species of marine mammal that looks like it wants eat me (the big one) I thought it was a big species of dolphin, Randy a small species of whale. Anybody know a marine biologist?