Monday, December 31, 2007

Christmas Time

Christmas day was spent with Melissa's family and then we took a drive to Spokane to visit Davin's folks. It was fun to actually see some snow for Christmas! We also managed to take a quick jaunt over to Idaho to see good friends Buck and Tamara and their 8 month old baby Kai. He is a cutie and sometimes would start laughing to himself for no apparent reason. We can't wait to see our own baby!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Zoo Lights

A week ago, Gina and LeRoy took us to Zoo Lights to celebrate our baby. This was also the first outing after Davin was done with school. We had never been to Zoo Lights before, but the Lees go every year. Actually, this was their second time going this year. We had a buffet dinner before walking through all the lights, and we closed the evening by riding on the train. We didn't see many animals, but the lights were a pretty impressive display.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

First Rental Housing Christmas Party

I took the plunge and planned the first party for my residents in Student Rental Housing on Monday night. This is outside my normal job duties since technically I am not here to foster social interaction and relationship building. I still feel it is a great need and that the community and I could benefit from having more fun interactions together. I'm tired of always dishing out bad news and taking the fallout from it! I kept it simple, provided music, cider, hot chocolate, and had some fun door prizes to hand out. Everyone brought a snack to share which worked out great since I had no idea if I'd have 5 people or 50 show up. I was worried it might flop, but the night was a success, and 34 people came! The A-frame was hopping with conversations and kids running around. It was fun to hear people meeting each other for the first time and to see two middle school age girls swapping phone numbers. So, the next time someone says this isn't my job because my community doesn't want or need it, I have some proof to back up my belief to the contrary.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Oh, Christmas Tree!

Last Saturday we made it out to Allen's Tree Farm in Oregon City to find our Christmas tree. This is our third time getting a tree from them. They have a large selection and shake and bundle the tree for you. Yes, it actually fits inside our Honda! I like putting up all our random ornaments while listening to the Carpenter's Christmas cd. We have angels and our wedding Mickey and Minnie next to Star Trek ships and an astronaut. And once again Warf announces from the U.S.S. Rio Grande runnabout, "I wish you a most honorable holiday. K'plah!" every time we plug in the lights. Now it feels like December!

Friday, December 07, 2007

No Rest for the Weary... yet

Davin's plugging away on his second to last big paper. He's already told me that we can't really go out and do anything fun until after school's over. With his nose in the books and me sacked out on the couch, we make a great pair. I have no energy to do anything, and he has no time to do anything, so we don't have much to report these days. I'm looking forward to Christmas break. Only one week left! I still work during most of the break, but thankfully work has been really slow and it will be nice to have Davin around.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Republican Debate

CNN and YouTube held a debate for the republican candidates that was pretty good. The questions that were asked were by YouTube users in the form of video question. It was very informative as to what the candidates believe and what they would support. Check it out. The also did the same thing for a democrat candidate debate.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Studer Baker

We were waiting to tell family first and that happened on Thanksgiving, so now we can publish my new blog and announce to everyone that we're having a baby! Check out updates on my new blog The Studer Baker for current baby news and pictures. There's also a link on the right sidebar. Needless to say we are very excited!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Presidential Primaries

I've been doing some research on the presidential candidates. I found a pretty good website (albeit ugly) that gives information on the issues that the candidates stand for. I'm really liking Fred Thompson. After reading Rudy Giuliani's profile he seems kinda like a liberal in disguise. Mitt Romney is in second place for me. It seems like he has made some unwise past mistakes that would make him suspect to repeat. My vote so far is Fred Thompson. If you haven't looked into this stuff. You should really do so. We need a good leader in the White House. Pray for our current leader too. And if Hillary should make it pray for her as well.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Sauvie Island Pumpkin Patch

A few weeks back we went to the Sauvie Island Pumpkin Patch with the CB youth group. This is a tradition we usually do with the Lees, so we also met up with them. The maze was extremely muddy, and of course the kids got muddy up to their knees.
When it was time for the youth group to go home, I decided to stay with the Lees for a bit longer. Gina and Addison rode the cow train, and we all went out to pick a pumpkin. Who can resist this adorable face?

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Sad Blender Saga

The History of the Saga: Some of you may remember our blender saga from fall 2004. A piece broke while we were pureeing pumpkin for real pumpkin pies, but it was still under warranty, so we started the process of sending it back. I won't bore you with all the details, but it was a long, drawn-out, frustrating process to get a new blender. Finally, our new Black & Decker Crush Master Blender arrived. Black & Decker Light-Show Finale: Lately, we've been into smoothies since it's a great way to get all your fruit for the day. Well, while waiting for it to suck in and blend the last few frozen strawberries, the base suddenly started popping with flashes of blue light. Ah! Turn it off! It smelled funny after that, so we set it outside, and it was hauled off with Monday morning's garbage. Bummer. I guess these days it's pretty good that it lasted 3 years? (I seem to remember my mom's green blender lasting 20.) But I don't like the process of blending stuff when you have to blend, shake it, stop and scrape the sides, blend again, stop and stir... Why can't it just pull everything in and blend? High Hopes for Oster: After shopping around for anything but a Black & Decker, we settled on the Oster Fusion. This one looks really good (6 points on the reversible blade) and is pricier so it should be better and last longer, right? We immediately got it out to make smoothies. We threw in all our ingredients, pushed the pre-programmed "frozen drinks" button (oooo - fancy!), and watched. It started off great with the reversing blade to help reposition the ingredients, then it kicked into high gear, and... nothing. Everything was sitting there on top like it wasn't even in a blender. Unbelievable. We still had to get out a spatula and try to help get the food to the blades.... not once or twice, but at least 6 times before we had a smoothie. We tried it again last night just to be sure we didn't put in too much stuff at once. It had to have help just to blend a banana! Help Us Shop: Maybe our expectations are too high, but we want to a blender that can make a smoothie without a spatula's repeated intervention and that will last awhile... ok, and that's not $400 like Blendtec. Any suggestions?

Friday, October 19, 2007

There and Back Again... A Studer's Tale

We've been planning this family vacation for about a year and a half. My Dad says the family hasn't taken a real vacation since 1986, so this is one for the record books. Dad hadn't been to Disneyland since 1964, and Mom and Jeremy had never been. Davin and I wanted to share this wonderful place with them, and simply have time to get away, forget about the stresses and hard parts of life, and just play! Plus we're always looking for a good reason to go back to Disneyland. We rented a 2007 Toyota Sienna which made all the difference in the world for traveling 1,000 miles down and 1,000 back. This van was perfect for accommodating 5 passengers and all our stuff. It was very comfortable and versatile with lots of different seat configurations. Can I just say, I love cruise control? I know that's not a new thing, but our car doesn't have it. I also got a kick out of the automatic sliding door that could open and shut itself. But who needs 15 cup holders? If you can't afford to fly your group there and back again... rent a Sienna.

Disneyland - Day 4

Monday, October 15th was our last day in the park to pick up things we missed or wanted to do again. Here's a great shot the camera took of us on California Screaming. I love that roller coaster! This trip was Jeremy's first time experiencing roller coasters and he liked them, too, although you may not know it from this picture. We got a good laugh out of this one. Late that afternoon we took one last look in Adventureland to see if Indiana Jones was open, and it was! People said it had been shut down for at least a week, and I was bummed we wouldn't get to go on it. We hopped in line, and now the trip was perfect. I got to go on my favorite ride! I like this goofy picture of Jeremy in his new Indiana Jones hat while we waited in line. A closing shot of California decked out in candy corn. It was a great time! I'm sure this first family vacation to Disneyland won't be the last. We were happy although rubbing sore feet and longing for a long nap. It will take a few days to recuperate, but I look forward to sharing photos and watching the video to relive the memories.

Disneyland - Day 3

Sunday, October 14th started out back in Disneyland. We caught some of the rides we missed the first time around like Space Mountain which Mom actually really liked. I didn't know if she'd enjoy a roller coaster in the dark or not. We also caught Finding Nemo which is the newly re-done submarine ride. This was our longest wait (over an hour) before boarding "Scout" and looking for Nemo. Here's a great shot of the castle from a different vantage point than the traditional straight on view. We also caught the Parade of Dreams down Main Street. It was the same one from the 50th celebration, but it was still good. Davin and I split off for the afternoon and early evening to have some time to ourselves. We enjoyed shopping, rides, and dining at the Blue Bayou which is our special spot in Disneyland. The evening closed with nabbing front row seats for our second viewing of Fantasmic.

Disneyland - Day 2

Saturday, October 13th was all about California Adventure! We hit most of the big sites that day. The biggest surprise for Mom and Dad was the Tower of Terror. On that ride they try to mess with your mind a bit, so it makes it even scarier. We got front row seats and Mom, Dad and Jeremy were in the middle of the row for a perfect view. Mom let out one scream and then was silent the rest of the ride. Uh, oh. That's when you know it's too much, and she's not having fun. Still, now they can say they've done the Tower of Terror even if they never do it again.
After that we calmed down by taking in the fabulous Aladdin musical. What a good show! I also enjoyed stopping in the Beauty and the Beast room. I love watching it magically transform. We really had a fun day. Oh, and the watermelon picture is the only group picture we got with everyone, so there you go. We closed the day back in Disneyland and got to watch Fantasmic which Dad thought was the best music, light, and performer show he's ever seen.

Disneyland - Day 1

Friday, October 12 was our first day in the park. It was all decked out in yellow and orange with Disney pumpkins everywhere. Our first ride was Pirates of the Caribbean and from there I don't actually remember, but we did a lot of the Disneyland rides on the first day. Splash Mountain was a big hit and ended up being Jeremy's favorite ride. He liked sitting in the back seat. Davin was telling Mom and Dad that we've never gotten really wet (which is true) and don't understand the "dry is not an option" phrase they use for the ride. We've always walked away dry. He took the front seat and on the first little dip... splash! He got soaked... again and again, and finally the big plunge. He was dripping wet, and we all got a pretty good laugh. Mom and I got wet too. Figures, as soon as you say it's not that bad you're proven wrong. We stayed at Desert Inn and Suites right across the street from the east entrance to the park. What a difference it makes to stay within short walking distance! We had adjoining rooms which gave us plenty of space, and the place was clean and service was good. I'd like to stay here again.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Day 1,176

Melissa and I have a tradition. It started one night when we decided to go to Sweet Tomatoes for dinner. Sometimes, we really want to go out to eat, but we don't have a good reason, so we'll make up one ... like "We're celebrating Tuesday." Anyway, that particular night at Sweet Tomatoes we were trying to decide what we were celebrating. We decided that we were celebrating day 400 something of being married. Well, that started our tradition. Everytime we go to Sweet Tomatoes we have to figure out how many days we have been married. Fortunately, we haven't had to deal with leap year yet ... next year though. Ack!! Well, today is day 1,176, and each day has been worth it. Oh yeah, it was a good meal too!

Friday, October 05, 2007

Alternative to Oil Heat

So Davin and I decided that we needed to look into other options for heat this winter. We moved into this house mid-winter last year and in 4 months we used 338 gallons of oil costing us $920. Ouch! I guess it wouldn't have been too bad if we were nice and toasty the whole time, but we basically only ran the furnace in the evenings between 5-10pm. I froze most of the time! So Dr. Kutz introduced us to the EdenPure heater that he uses. He got one we could borrow so we've been trying it out, and it heats our big living room pretty well. The best part is that it only uses 1.263 kilowatts per hour so we figured out if we had it on 14 hours a day, it would cost us about $0.70/day. Based on what we paid for our oil I estimate it costs almost $1.50/hour to run that thing! Let's see... one hour of heat vs. two days of heat. Even though the unit is kind of expensive, it would pay for itself in 2 months. I think we may need to get one of these things.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Agape Ropes Course

The Central Bible youth staff retreat was last weekend. We went to the Agape Ropes Course on Saturday and had fun playing around on the high and low ropes. Our favorite activity was the Catwalk where we tried to cross a wet, slippery, narrow log 20 feet up in the air. I was surprised at how freaked out I was once I actually got up there. If the log had been on the ground, my legs wouldn't have been shaking like that. I got to belay Davin who did great and even walked backwards with his eyes closed! Another fun activity was the flying carpet. It was a very wobbly platform where three teams pulled ropes to get you really high up in the air... I'd say maybe 50 feet up. I assumed what people were calling a Ninja stance to keep my balance, and the teams did awesome lifting me up and back down again without dumping me off. We didn't do as well keeping Davin on the platform, but I like this shot of him high up in the trees. I enjoyed getting to know the staff a bit better. I'm not around for every youth activity but they welcome me in when I can come. Davin's got a great team to work with.

Monday, September 24, 2007

A Princess Castle and a Nintendo Wii

Sounds like a great party! Yesterday, we celebrated Mom's 54th birthday. I had a lot of fun making her princess castle cake. It took me about 3 hours to build and decorate. Mom said she never had such a fancy cake before, but you're never too old for a princess cake. We're going to Disneyland in just over 2 weeks with my family and it will be Mom's first time! Needless to say, she is very excited... especially about seeing Cinderella. We also introduced my family to the Nintendo Wii. It was a big hit and even Grandpa got in on the action. He bowled 133 which beat Davin's best score so far. Then Dad got up to bowl. The Wii is so completely foreign to him, but he sure caught on fast and bowled an amazing 188, lefting us all in the dust. Watch him and Aunt Marcia in action below. (At one point you can briefly see Mom in the background. She just finished putting up her princesses for display above the door.) It was such a fun afternoon. I think I know what we'll be doing at the next family gathering.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Blue to Brown Belts

Davin and I tested for our brown belts on September 12. We have now left the intermediate and entered advanced ranks. Melissa going through her 6 forms - white through blue. We got to swing our staffs around for our weapons form. Stand back! Can I just say, Davin is amazing at his jump reverse chop kicks! He loves the jumping kicks, which will be helpful in the advanced ranks. We had 100% on our board breaks - front kick, side kick, ax kick, and spinning heel.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Being a Good Student Wife

One of my married tenants asked me if I was ready to not see Davin for awhile once school started. At the time I was thinking I may see him more since he's not an 8-5 person anymore and will be home at various times during the day. Well... I know what he meant now. Poor Davin's been busier than ever! He's in class 15 hours a week, working 10 hours in IT, doing Jr. High ministry at CB, and the homework is so insane that every spare minute is spent in the library until it's time to come home and go to bed. At least the library's in our backyard so he's not far away, but it's weird having him gone so much. We're going camping with the youth group this weekend so Davin's freaking out a bit about how he's going to get his paper and 80 pages of reading done for the first of next week. I wish I could do some of it for him. This is taking a bit of adjustment, but it's only for a season, and now is definitely the best time to do this. I'm trying to learn how to best support him. I think I'll try following "The Good Wife's Guide." That should do it! (I tried this one day, put on a dress and my apron, had dinner waiting and the table set, talked in calm, soothing tones when he arrived, and asked him about his day since it was more important than mine. We enjoyed a good laugh, but I think he liked it!)

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Starting Cemetery ... I mean Seminary

I started Seminary this week. After one week I'm in syllabus shock. I'm enrolled in the MDiv in Theological Studies program at Multnomah. It's been interesting to be back in school. I think I'm going to enjoy my ethics and history class. The teacher seems to be well educated in the areas and seems like a fun person to learn from. I hope that seminary doesn't actually send me to the cemetery.

Wii had fun.

Melissa and I got a Nintendo Wii last Sunday. It's pretty cool. Melissa even likes it. Unfortunately, since I have started school I haven't had much time to play it, but what I have played has been pretty fun. Melissa has played it more than I have. Each person that plays the Wii can create their own character called a Mii. Melissa has been testing the fitness of her Mii the last few days. It has you play a few games and based on how well you play the games your Mii is given and age. Her Mii is 30 right now ... mine is like 45. I'll have to work on that. :) Anyway, it's lots of fun, and the great thing is that a lot of the games are family oriented and more than just sit on your duff games.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Street of Dreams 2007

Davin and I went to the Portland Street of Dreams to check out this year's mutli-million dollar home show. It's always such a treat to see these vast, beautiful houses. Our favorite was the Pinnacle, which you can see in these photos. It had a fairytale quality to it with it's stone turret and a moat-like lilly pond out front. Of course it was immaculately decorated and outfitted with all the latest technology. We loved the stunning dining/kitchen area as well as the downstairs theater room with the "wet bar" that's bigger than our condo kitchen. It's still for sale at $2,700,000, but we think we'll save our millions for something else. Still, you could have one amazing party here!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Carcassonne Master Game

We finally got all eight expansions for Carcassonne! The last expansion we needed (the Count) was ordered on Monday from Funagain and arrived a few days later in time for our weekend game. We met up with the Lees, who introduced us to this game, and played the ultimate round of Carcassonne. It took three hours (partly because we were playing with the little known baby expansion, which adds unexpected interuptions to feed, change, and entertain the little Lee). The Dragon didn't see much action, cut-throat Towers was toned down with all the other expansions, and the King made a huge difference when the points were added up. We thought the massive 50 point city decided the game early, but not so. An affordable alternative to Catan, you should add this one to your games! The Final Scores: 240 Melissa 222 LeRoy 144 Davin 135 Gina