Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 in review

This year was a moderately big year for us. Okay, it really wasn't THAT big of a deal**.

In 2011:
  • I began writing in this little space
  • Jon started attending Malone University full-time to work towards his degree in theology
  • Moved closer to Akron from Cleveland
  • Celebrated 1-year of wedded bliss
  • Took our first ever "international" trip together... to Canada (now I want a milkshake)
  • Paid off our cars!
  • Successfully completed our goal to ride our bikes 500+ miles to help combat human trafficking
It was a solid but relatively uneventful year for us. We're definitely looking forward to what 2012 has in store. How are we celebrating? We've laid around most of day and will likely be in bed by 10. I'm still miserable from this cold and Jon has to work in the morning. Happy New Year from a bunch of 20-something-year-old fogies :)

**Edited on 1/22 to mention that 2011 was actually a pretty big deal...

Thursday, December 29, 2011

worn

I've had several people mention my lack of posts (and/or enthusiastic or "typical Danielle" posts) lately.

Trust me, I know I've been a total slacker in the blogging department. I've just been super worn lately--I've had health issue after health issue for the past few weeks and it's really taken a toll on me. When I get home from work all I'm up for is laying around the apartment and commiserating with myself over my poor little life. I know--totally dramatic given all of the [much, much greater] suffering in the world, but right now I'm just physically and emotionally worn out. And cranky.

Colds have turned into asthma attacks which have turned into consecutive infections and now we're back to a cold. I'm doing my best to get healthy and my sweet Jon has been doing so. much. around the house since I've been a total slacker in that department too. I've become totally spoiled with his cleaning, laundering, and waiting on my every need. However, I'm totally over feeling crappy so I'd much rather have my health back than a personal butler/cleaning person. I've been loading myself with green tea, Robitussin and zinc lozenges in an attempt to ward this bad boy off. I'm hoping to be back to normal within the next few days or so, and therefore back to over-sharing all about the petty goings-on in my life. So bear with me and please send all of the prayers/good vibes/whatever you believe my way--I could definitely use every last bit of it.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

merry christmas!

We've had an incredibly blessed Christmas season. May we all remember the reason behind our celebrations and be humbled by the fact that on this day Jesus was born a most humble birth, sent to die for us so we could be with our Father in Heaven.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

all aboard the ugly cry train

Things are still crazy. Tonight we get to welcome home our friend, Tasha, from college for a few weeks. In the meantime, I'd like to invite you aboard the ugly cry train. I'm pretty sure most of you have already seen this video, but for those of you who haven't, drop what you're doing and check it out.
Oh yeah, I highly recommend you don't do this on your lunch break. It may result in a coworker finding you ugly crying all over your desk.

Monday, December 19, 2011

jam-packed sunday

Yesterday was jam-packed with awesome. Yeah, I said it.

First we celebrated Myles' first birthday:
Lillian is Myles' cousin
Sadly, we couldn't stay long because we had to travel to my parent's house to celebrate Christmas (a week early). It was great to catch up with some friends we haven't seen in a while though!
Lady fingers - yum!
My mom made this stocking for me when I was a baby
She made this stocking for Jon now that he's a "permanent" member of the family
Cookies my mom & sister made
Oh my
It shaped up to be an amazing early Christmas. I am so grateful for the family I have and I really need to make an effort to see them as a group more often. Today I took the day off of work because Jon is off and we wanted a day to spend together, totally uninterrupted. He's currently playing NBA Jams on the Wii my parents got us for Christmas. So much for uninterrupted :)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

breathe easy saturday

With finals behind me, I can finally take a huge, glorious breath of snowy December air.

Last night we had a Christmas party with our Real Life Group. There was delicious food, great company, and a really fun Yankee Swap (or at least, that's what Jon claims it's called). The Yankee Swap is similar to a White Elephant gift exchange except you give practical gifts as opposed to goofy ones. Jon and I walked away with a candle, popcorn kernels, and popcorn oil. Not too shabby! Here's a picture of everyone's goods, courtesy of the Tabatcher's:

We ended up leaving around 9:30 because we're old fogies. This morning we had some time to spare so I tackled the messy credenza and threw out a ton of things we haven't even touched in a year. When Jon left for work I ran out to do some last-minute Christmas shopping. I also wrapped the presents we currently have (we're still waiting for a few to arrive in the mail and need to pick up one or two more).

There's just something about wrapped, sparkly boxes that makes me feel happy. It's not even about what's inside them. It's about the neatness of it--the clean lines, lack of clutter. It really speaks to my OCD.

Tonight I pretty much just have cleaning and lounging around on the menu. Jon took care of the housework and all of the laundry yesterday which has left me with nothing but relaxation, full steam ahead. Oh, and I can stare at the results of Jon's artsy side and marvel at how not artsy I am:

Friday, December 16, 2011

son, i loved you at your darkest

One of my all-time favourite bands, As Cities Burn, played a reunion show last week. It helped me rediscover the first album of theirs I ever heard--"Son I Loved You at Your Darkest."

Father, hide our hearts in You
Lest we steal them back
And lay them at the feet of men
I know now that glory has not a place
Near my hands or any man

If you don't mind the occasional hardcore screaming and whatnot, I highly recommend you stop what you're doing right this second and go purchase a copy of that record. Or listen to it on Grooveshark.

My God, what a world You love
Men bury their sons
And without thought, just walk away

Their lyrics are raw, deep, and intense. So many of my angsty late-teen years were filled with these melodies.

Awake! Awake in the company of men given something to say
Give me a servant's heart and a tongue to obey
Awake! Come wind
Awake! Come thought
Tired head, take up your mat,
Take your mat and walk 

The memories. The struggles I faced. The anger I had. The anger I have.

Oh, how sweet the sound
I know it saved, but is it changing a wretch like me?
Oh my God, how sweet is the sound
I once was blind but now I just look away

I didn't mean to get all deep on you. This weekend we have a lot of [fun] stuff going on. I survived finals. I'll bring you updates soon. But in the meantime... go listen to that album!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

life events

A few posts ago I told you I would catch you up on some of the goings-on in our lives. Last weekend we went to Jon's parent's. Jon made cheddar jalapeno stuffed pancakes in the ebelskiver. His parents were a bigger fan than I, and they had all of us reaching for a glass of water.



That night we were eager to go home and cook a cornbread-stuffed turkey breast in our brand spankin' new convection oven find from Aldi.

We also had a Pyrex full of hobo burritos in the oven. What's a hobo burrito you ask? Simply cut up all of your favorite veggies, place them in some tin foil, add butter, salt and seasoning, wrap, and steam. We typically do this on the grill (thanks for showing them to us, Heather and Paul!) but we did it in the oven.

Did I mention that Sunday night was the first time we've ever had a large Pyrex baking dish explode on us? I had taken it out of the oven and placed it on the (not hot) stove. I turned back to shut the oven when I heard a large BOOM! and something heavy hit my foot. Jon and I looked at each other/around in confusion and saw glass everywhere. The hobo burritos lay in shambles. The little throw rug we have by the sink melted from the hot glass that landed on it. There is a small brown spot on the counter from where the glass burned it. Being the rock I am, naturally, I broke down in tears. Jon exiled my hot mess self to the living room so he could, quite literally, pick up the pieces. The hobo burritos were salvageable. The turkey breast was just meh. Not sure how crazy I am about the convection oven but I'm willing to give it another chance.

Aside from that, the only things that have really been happening have been finals-related. Jon and I are studying machines. He has four finals next week, I have two. Finals weeks are often paradoxical for me: I am anxious about them the entire time and dreading their arrival, but at the same time I am so stinking excited that the end is near. Right now I'm in more of the dreaded phase.

Oh, I also had my cochlear implant presentation on Thursday. On Tuesday I thought I was presenting so I woke up early to get all dolled up and eat a good breakfast. I got to school and double-checked the agenda and discovered I wasn't actually presenting til Thursday. Needless to say I didn't exactly put forth the effort to get all dolled up again on Thursday: two days in a week is simply outrageous. I did discover that my public speaking-related anxiety is just as bad as ever. The vicious cycle of turning strawberry red, voice cracking, realizing my voice is cracking so I talk faster and therefore find myself quite literally gasping for air, etc. reared its ugly head. I apologize to my classmates and professor who had to endure such shenanigans.

This will likely be my only post for a few days. I really need to buckle down and pull these finals off. I'd say it's a safe bet not to bother checking back until after Thursday...

Saturday, December 10, 2011

chocolate chip cookies

I spent a good majority of the day cleaning and preparing for finals. I still have a lot of prep to do, but I made substantial progress.

When Jon got home from work, I just had 1 request: cookies. Lots and lots of cookies.

He quickly went to work finding the "best EVER chocolate chip cookie recipe EVER!" We made them within 15 minutes after an almost-crisis (no flour!!, just whole wheat). I've already had three.


While I don't necessarily agree that they are the "best EVER cookies EVER," they are definitely delicious.

Friday, December 9, 2011

christmas cards

We finally mailed out a decent portion of our Christmas cards this week. It was our first year sending cards and I grossly underestimated the number we would need.

Needless to say, many people we love will not be receiving a Flip Christmas card this year. We extend our deepest apologies and promise we won't let this happen ever again.

In an attempt to make it up to you, I had my fearless husband snap a photo of the final product. The back side says, "May God bless you this holiday season and throughout the coming year. Jon, Danielle and Marsala"

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

not forgotten

With the madness that is finals approaching, writing has kind of dropped through the cracks. After all, I am writing--it just happens to be medical device reports, cochlear implant PowerPoints, etc.

I have lots of pictures and life events to catch you up on, just not yet. Look for something of quality within the next few days from me...

Saturday, December 3, 2011

rearranging

I'm currently taking a quick break from deep cleaning our apartment. I'm bound and determined to get this asthma under control and I'm pretty sure the dust/cat hair everywhere isn't helping. I currently have all of our throw rugs in the washing machine, I've vacuumed, dusted, swept, and mopped, and I'm getting ready to tackle the kitchen.

Last night Jon and I played hooky and skipped small group to have quality time. We both had work-school-sleep schedules all week, so we literally spent about 3 waking hours together. We went to World Market and got our annual ornament (more on that in another post) after making ourselves ginger pad thai. When we got home we rearranged the apartment because I felt like it was too smushed.


We finally headed to bed around 10 and I was totally ready for it after not sleeping through the night for more than a week. And then I slept til 10. Bless Jon's heart for letting me--Heaven knows I needed it.


After waking up, I decided to make Jon breakfast since he normally makes it for me on weekends. On the menu: homemade hash browns cooked in bacon grease, scrambled eggs with green onion (only on mine, of course), spinach, feta, and garlic, and bacon. Delish!


Alright, there are some serious crumbs and dishes calling my name from the kitchen! Happy Saturday!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

are you having an emotion?

Last night I was really stressed out about everything I need to do before finals.

Okay, so maybe I'm still stressed out about everything I need to do before finals. But I digress.

I was freaking out and scuttling about our apartment as I prepared for bed. At which point Jon placed his hand on my arm, looked me in the eyes and gently asked,

"Babe, are you having an emotion?"

He knows how to make me laugh. Why yes, dear, I am having an emotion. I'm having a lot of "an emotion." But the sincerity in his question could only make me appreciate the fact that he took notice of my oh-so-subtle way of body slamming inanimate objects out of my path and muttering under my breath about Powerpoints and the organ of Corti. Then he hugged me. Squeezed me into his arms--the one place I find true and uninterrupted reassurance. Solace. As I work on my cochlear implant presentation for biomaterials and start to panic when my computer screen goes fuzzy and my draft goes missing, I picture that hug, those few seconds Jon spent to take notice of my emotion. And I am grateful.

responsible consumerism giveaway winner

Happy December 1!

Now for the big reveal:
Congratulations, Vivaciousgold! If you could email me at youngnotpowerless{at}gmail{dot}com I can get you your gift certificate!

Thanks to everyone who entered and who is considering giving a responsible gift this holiday season.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

last chance!

Today is your last chance to enter the responsible consumerism giveaway!

How do you enter, you ask? Simply copy and paste this link: http://www.youngnotpowerless.com/2011/11/responsible-consumerism-giveaway.html onto your Facebook, Twitter, blog, or even email it to a friend.

Then CLICK that link, scroll down to the bottom and add a comment telling me WHERE you shared it. You will be entered to win a $20 31bits.com gift card if you do so. Entry closes at midnight tonight (EST) and I'll announce the winner tomorrow.

Monday, November 28, 2011

christmas card pictures

A few weeks ago, Nikki and her husband, Jim, graciously offered to take some formal pictures of Jon and me for our first-ever Christmas card. Today she gave me the edits. I'm still trying to pick my favorite, but here are some of them:








Have you entered the Responsible Consumerism Giveaway yet? You have less than 2 days to do so!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

the thankful list

Typically, I'm not just on time for things. I'm early. Like, 45 minutes early. I kind of dropped the ball on my blessings list. Also, there are only 3 days left to enter the Responsible Consumerism Giveaway!

I have so many things to be thankful for this year. Here are just a few, in no particular order:

Obviously
Only one full semester of grad school left (!!!)

The best family / in-laws on the face of this earth

All of my basic (and then some) needs being met - roof, clothes, food, etc.

A job that gives me relative free reign to try to develop new medical devices

The numerous friends that share both our best and worst times with us

One rambunctious babe that loves to cuddle at night and wake me with her whiskers

Chipotle

The ability to freely share my thoughts, including ones about religion and politics, in this little space without being persecuted

Humidifiers, cough drops, and slippers


Access to amazing healthcare that can take care of my asthma, infections, and general health

--------------------

I never cease to be amazed by the blessings God pours into this lowly, sinful life of mine. To me, it is the ultimate picture of grace.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

ebelskiver

Sorry for neglecting you for a few days.

Before jumping into anything at length in this post, have you entered the Responsible Consumerism Giveaway yet? If not, click here to do so!

Our Thanksgiving and Black Friday were great. Thanksgiving was spent in Youngstown with Jon's Mom's side of the family. The food was great and the company was a blast. We had a 45-minute conversation about farting. You know that's true family.

After leaving Youngstown we headed home briefly then met up with my sister at the Aurora Farms Outlets for our big Black Friday tradition. Jon and I walked away with 2 shirts from the Banana Republic store for a total of $11. We're such spenders! Sadly, our tradition was a bit a lot shorter this year due to the fact that I'm still not operating at 100%.

Friday morning Jon had to work and I headed to the local Urgent Care to make sure this whatever-I-have isn't bacterial. It's not. I walked out with a prescription for some steroids for my asthma... that I still need to get filled. After laying around all day Jon got off work around 3 and we headed to my parent's to celebrate Thanksgiving. Again, the food and company were amazing. We had to get family pictures taken. Jon discovered that I get my trouble making from my mom and sister. But then in the car he decided they get their trouble making from me.

I'm not going to lie--despite being sick, this Thanksgiving has been one for the record books. Especially because Jon made stuffed pancakes for breakfast in our new Ebelskiver pan this morning.


Now I need to clean our apartment, do laundry, and finish up this biomaterials paper draft. Expect a post about what I'm thankful for in the coming days (or weeks or months... whenever I get around to it).

Thursday, November 24, 2011

responsible consumerism - GIVEAWAY

Happy Thanksgiving! Today I'm particularly thankful for a full day with my husband. My official Thanksgiving post will come later because today I really wanted to focus on responsible consumerism and throw out some ideas for presents you might want to consider this holiday season.

Lately I've been really into the idea of 'ethical consumerism' which is the principle that you only purchase items that were made ethically (read: not made by children in sweat shops or forced laborers who are unfairly--if at all--compensated). Don't get me wrong here - I am in no way an overall ethical consumer. I am a work in progress. But in terms of gifts, there are some really great options out there that are beautifully made and for a great cause. I have items from two of the following suppliers, and I added items from the remaining suppliers to my mental list of future purchases:

1. Haitian Creations Purses and Jewelry
-These products are made by Haitian women who are part of the Heartline Ministries program that works to empower Haitian moms and provide them with the tools they need to provide for their family. Your purchase will directly benefit its creator, which includes a label in the bag with the artist's name. I have a large purple bag from HC and I love it.

2. Sseko Designs Sandals with Exchangeable Straps

-These products are made by young women in Uganda to fund their education. Sseko (pronounced say-ko) hires young secondary school graduates for nine months to earn money that goes directly towards their university education--they will go on to be doctors, lawyers, politicians, writers and teachers that will bring change to a country divided and ravished by a long war. I was given my first pair of Ssekos with three different straps for my birthday and I ADORE them. There are all kinds of ridiculously cute combinations you can make with them.

-These products are made by women in India who are rescued from forced prostitution seeking to rebuild their lives. The proceeds from your pajama purchase will provide fair-trade wages, savings accounts, and holistic recovery care. Plus they are adorable and super comfy.


-These products are purchased from a group of Ugandan women to empower them to rise above poverty. The women who craft for 31Bits are given English, finance, and vocational training, as well as AIDS and health education and provided with community groups. Their jewelry is gorgeous and definitely on my 'to purchase' list.

Now onto the giveaway:
In the spirit of responsible consumerism, I will be giving away a  31bits $20 gift card on December 1. How can you enter this giveaway? Simply share this blog post on Facebook, Twitter, your own blog, or via email and post a comment here telling me where you shared it. You can earn one entry for each of the 4 aforementioned 'share' methods. Entry will close at 11:59 pm EST on Wednesday, November 30. I will select the winner using a numbered Google doc spreadsheet with your name corresponding to a number and the website random.org. Check back on my blog on December 1 to see who the winner is. Good luck and happy ethical consumerism!
--Update: The winner has been selected. Find out if you won here.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

nerd alert

Since I'm swamped with both work and homework today, I just thought I'd share with you a fun little diddy. A science diddy.


See this guy?:
{Image Source}


Does he look smart to you? He is. Well, he also isn't. His name is Alessandro Volta and he invented the battery. Pretty smart, right? WRONG.


Count Volta was the first guy to document auditory perception as a result of electrical stimulation (think cochlear implants). How did he discover this phenomenon? He took a 50V battery stack, connected some wires to it, connected conductive metal rods to the other ends of the wires, and stuck one rod in each ear at the same time. He reported experiencing a "boom within the head" followed by the sensation of a sound similar to that of "boiling, thick soup." According to the literature I read this in, "he immediately terminated the experiment and did not repeat it." I can't say I blame him.


Special Edit: Make sure to check back tomorrow for a chance to win a $20 gift card to 31bits.com!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

scattered

This post will likely be scattered true to my end-of-semester brain.

I keep having camp dreams. Some are good, some are bad. Some bring back the good old days but most just remind me of the fact that I am too old to ever be a camper again. Anyone who was an avid camper growing up can probably relate to what an awful realization that is.

In theory, I get to see this girl on Friday, rendering my heart excited:


Jon's still sick/miserable. I feel awful/helpless. Is this how it feels when your child is sick?

Did any of you see that episode of How I Met Your Mother last night? I literally yelled, "AHHHH!!!" for 60 seconds without pausing at Robin's revelation.

Adoption has been weighing very heavily on my heart lately. Jon's not quite at the same place so I'm viewing that as God telling me to throw on the brakes. That doesn't stop me from staring longingly at the Summit County Family and Children Services webpage at least three times per week though.

Our friends, Nikki and Jim, took some photos of us to use for our first-ever Christmas card. I harassed her last night for a preview. Not gonna lie, I am SO STOKED for the rest of the pictures. In the incredibly unlikely event none of them are Christmas card worthy, I might resort to this:
"Wishing you Jon's joy this holiday season"

Monday, November 21, 2011

phaedra

I'm probably only operating at around 80% today, so bear with me.

I feel horrible as I've infected Jon with the whatever-this-is bug. He's miserable. Please pray that he feels better by Thanksgiving!

In unrelated news, the near-disaster laptop episode is not looking so good. I can use my laptop still, thankfully, but only when it's plugged in. The second I unplug the power supply it makes this dreadful nieeerrrddoo sound then fades to black. So tragic. I've since contacted Squaretrade to see if it's covered under my 3-year warranty, but I think it should be.

This week I am particularly missing this girl:
I nearly died from laughing when I looked at our 'friendship' page on Facebook.

We were supposed to have a Skype date this weekend but illness and long walks ruined that. Wanna know my favourite Phaedra story?

She, Faye and I were taking a summer class (Philosophy) and found ourselves on the steps of Wishnick Hall during break. I noticed a caterpillar hanging from its silk on a tree, and being the inherent biologist I am, I grabbed a tall stick to try to get it down so I could examine it more closely. Alas, I was too short, so Phaedra said, "give me that stick, I'll get it down."

What follows next is tragically hilarious. Phaedra succeeded at getting it down alright--she took a running head start and whacked that little guy like he was a baseball. I've never heard a small, living creature make such a dreadful noise. We were all cracking up / I was sad and she said, "I don't even know why I just did that!" I wish I could tell you that was the most outlandish Phaedra story I have. It's so not. But that's why I love her.

The moral of the story is: if anyone can make the distance between Seattle and Cleveland much shorter I would be ridiculously appreciative.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

every which way

I swear I haven't given up on this little space of mine. Truth is, I've been very sick and therefore have been incapacitated and now I'm playing a lot of catch-up in other areas of my life.


Plus, Titi Candi stole our camera at Jon's birthday dinner on Sunday and without pictures to accompany my thoughts my motivation to write drops substantially.

I jest about her stealing it. Kind of. :)

In the meantime I've had a near-disaster with an almost-destroyed laptop that contained the only copy of the huge biomaterials paper I've been working on. I've gone through three boxes of tissues in five days. Jon bought me flowers. I've made eggnog fudge. It feels good to be finally getting out of my sickly haze and as soon as I finish up my biomaterials paper you will hear more from me about the going ons lately.


Flowers from the husband
Eggnog fudge from Pinterest
Jon really likes the fudge. It's a bit sweet for my liking, but if you have a big sweet tooth I'd recommend the recipe.