Tuesday, December 14, 2010

being back at Gordon.

DISCLAIMER: the below post is about working at Gordon and how much I enjoy it. This does not mean that I did not enjoy my other jobs and it certainly does not mean that I did not enjoy the people I worked with. In fact, the people I worked with at my other jobs are FABULOUS and are still people I keep in contact with, miss dearly and enjoy seeing. I am more or less reflecting on my current situation.

That being said...I've been back at Gordon since July and never really posted about how much I have appreciated this opportunity.

1. The Christian Environment.
I work at a place where we pray before every staff meeting. I work at a place where we pray for each other. I work at a place that educates students with a Christian education that I benefitted from myself. I work at a place that seeks to glorify God above all else in the missions we are working towards. What a blessing to be working at a place like this. My favorite thing about being a student at Gordon was the idea of "freedom within a framework of faith." What a cool slogan. Okay, I'll admit, I never understood that until I had graduated, but it's something Ry and I talk about often. Gordon let us grow and explore and challenge our way of thinking on a daily basis...but within the framework of faith. Within the idea that the Bible is truth. Within the framework that God is who He says it He is. And now, as an employee, I'm finding that I'm being stretched and taught by the people around me in the same way. It's kind of neat and it's always exciting.

2. The people.
I work at a place that is so full of SO many amazing people. I wish I could fully explain this statement, but every day I'm amazed at the people I get to interact with, whether it be my boss(es), my co-workers, professors or students. I work for/with people who are constantly encouraging and people who make me want to be a better person. Also, we have become friends with so many different people that we wouldn't otherwise be friends with if I didn't have the opportunity to work at Gordon. Example: I just was driving back from an exercise class (that I wouldn't have been at had I not gotten the job at Gordon) and had a thoughtful conversation about the idea of Election and the statement "faith is a miracle." So wonderful.

3. Coaching.
When I tell you there are few things that bring me greater joy than glorifying God through soccer, I'm not lying. I love it. It brings more joy to my heart than I can explain. Soccer is a gift from God and being able to share that passion with my players is so exciting to me. And now that I work on campus I get to see my players and maintain relationships off-season so much easier than when I tried to coach when working full-time at another job. I love it and am so thankful that I get to be a part of coaching at Gordon again.

4. The transition.
What a neat time to be working at Gordon. I started not long before the faculty/staff meeting that Jud and Jan (the president and his wife) announced that June 30, 2011 would be their last day serving at Gordon College. So bittersweet. The more I've learned about Jud and Jan, the more I like them. But it's also exciting to be a part of Gordon going through this change and the search to find a new president. I will definitely miss Jan's story telling - one of my favorite things as a student, and one of the things I've gotten to hear a little more of as an employee through a few small interactions. But, change is exciting, and it will be exciting to see what God has in store as Gordon moves forward.

Those are just a few things. And not everything at Gordon is perfect. But it is exactly where I'm supposed to be right now (duh, God is sovereign and works these things out). It's so exciting and I love being there. What a blessing to be back working at a place that helped shape me in so many ways...and now I get to work towards giving that to other students...so great.

Monday, December 13, 2010

a beautiful disaster.

Disclosure: This blog is about food, yet again. It's not my fault, I swear. If you'll kindly notice, the two people from my family that blog ONLY blog about food*. It's in my blood. I can't help it. I've tried changing, but it's not worth it. Life is just not as fun without delicious food and wonderful people to share it with.

Last weekend we were going to make a Peppermint Fudge Cake I found in Bon Appetit to bring to a friend's house for a nice holiday dessert. We didn't end up needing it, but I had all of the ingredients (mostly just the whipping cream) that I needed to use, so I attempted (yes, attempted means I failed...) the cake this weekend. Well, everything was going fine and dandy until I had to remove the cakes from the pans. As usual in the Dumas household, they stuck like glue. Bummer!! I didn't know what to do, so I took them all out and cooled them in hopes of piecing them back together into some form of cake...and quickly realized that there is no way that cake would ever resemble a cake. SO Ry suggested I make a trifle....and oh a trifle I did make, thanks to the inspiration of the cake. I pulled all the parts from different recipes:

Layer One: Peppermint White Chocolate Mousse found on Epicurious.com (Bon Appetit)

When I whipped the cream to fold into the white chocolate/cream mixture I added one tsp. of peppermint extract. OH - I opted for this mousse because it was much quicker than the mousse suggested in the original cake recipe...

Layer Two: Chocolate cake found on Epicurious.com

This cake was light and fluffy and REALLY tasty. It would have made a great cake had I properly prepared the pans...but I still haven't figured out how to do that. Oh - this made way too much cake for the trifle and we have an extra layer and a half...but again, this was an unintentional trifle, so that's okay.

Layer Three: MAJOR CHEATER ALERT. I didn't have time to make real chocolate pudding, so I used a box. SHHH don't tell jaq and dodd, the wonderful friends who shared this dessert with!

So I layered those twice and topped it off with some peppermint whipped cream:
1/2 cup whipping cream, 1 TBS confectioners sugar and 1/2 TBS peppermint extract.

WOAH. maaaaaaajor mistake turned into one of the most delicious desserts I've tasted. I love it when that happens. And the real reason I'm blogging about this is so that I can find the parts of this trifle when I go to make it again :)

*My Uncle's Blog: http://mealsfromtheroad.blogspot.com/
My Cousin's Blog: http://fortheloveoffoodandmyfather.blogspot.com/

Sunday, December 12, 2010

so much fun happening here:

So it seems like we've continued to go non-stop since soccer season ended. Every day has some sort of activity planned, but that's what keeps life fun!! This weekend started out Friday evening with Erin, Jake, Lindsay and Warren in Newburyport. Newburyport is a cute little ocean town about 45 minutes from us. The first and second Friday night's in December they do a Christmas celebration and the shop sstay open late and there's a ton of people...so we ventured out, thanks to Erin's excellent planning (I'm glad we have a friend that actually does the planning, otherwise we would never do anything...I'm terrible at finding cool things to do!). It was great - a bit cold, but fun! Ryan tried some caviar at the jewelry store:

And then we kept walking and saw so many people carrying bags of popcorn, so we set off on a mission to find the popcorn...and the insurance agency was making kettle corn in the street! DELISH:

we wandered, listened to carolers and music and laughed. it was so nice. Then we went back to Warren and Lindsay's and played a game called Quelf. Oh my gosh. I nearly peed my pants laughing so hard at some points. This is the game of random..example: erin drew a card that made her have her thumbs in her mouth the whole game and when talking she had to have her thumbs in her mouth while touching her shoulders. Ry had a card that made him laugh any time someone else did. Jake had to annouce every time he had a question by raising his hand and saying "excuse me, i feel a question coming on..."...and it goes on. It was just a fun and relaxing Friday night.

Saturday was a nice day as well. Ry got up with Beans and let me sleep an extra hour when he came in to wake me up with the scent of a dutch apple pancake wafting in with him. Yes, he is an amazing man. He went off to the gym and I got to go on a coffee date with one of my players. One of my favorite parts of being a coach is getting to know my players off the field. I have a team full of amazing girls and I feel so blessed to be a part of GoCoWoSo. Anyways - afterwards it was back home to cook (butternut squash soup and a chocolate cake that was supposed to be a layer cake that turned into a trifle because it did not want to come out of the pan...) and get ready because we had tickets for the Bruins last night!!

It was a pretty good game..until four seconds left in OT. The Bruins made a HORRIBLE giveaway in the Flyers zone and the Flyers intercepted a bad pass and took it up the ice on a 3 on 1 break and beat Thomas to the near post. Sigh. It was pretty funny after the Flyers scored - it was just so anticlimactic and everyone just got up and left. It was a fun way to spend a Saturday night with Ry, though.

And then today! A nice service at church. It feels so warm and cozy at church with everyone around for Christmastime. We had to get right home, though, because Jaq and Dodd came over for games!! We haven't seen Dodd in a year since she has been in Alabama for her AIA work. We had Buffalo chicken dip (compliments of Jaq) while we played Phase 10:

And butternut squash soup after we played Bananagrams:

That soup is delish and you can find the recipe here: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Butternut-and-Apple-Harvest-Soup/Detail.aspx?prop31=6

It was so fun seeing those two. We love playing games with them and just enjoy their company.

So...another wonderful weekend in the books. Next weekend seems quiet as of right now - we're hoping to have some time to actually spend time at the apartment...but who knows if that'll happen!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

new furniture, a dog park and fifty pounds of potatoes...

So the first weekend off of soccer we headed to VT for the weekend. It was a quick, but nice visit. We got to go see Ashley and Devin's new house and hang out with them for a bit, which was really nice! The point of this chitter chatter about VT is to tell you what happened when we returned home from Vermont...new furniture:

I am VERY excited about this new furniture...because, not only did we get new furniture, I also convinced Ryan to pull up the gray carpet (that conveniently matched the old wallpaper on the wall). The pulling up of carpet was quite an ordeal, because once rolled, the thing weighed a million pounds. We ended up having to put it through the window to get it out to the garage. BUT, once that all happened and we got the furniture situated...the living room feels about 100 times better and cozier. I'm hoping to get an area rug in here sooner rather than later, I just have to find one i like.

Okay, time to switch gears completely. Last weekend was our first weekend at home together since mid-August. What a nice treat!! we treasure our Saturday's together since they only exist in the months of Mid-April to Mid-August, November and December. Well last weekend we wanted to make sure we spent a ton of time with our little Beaners because as the weather has been changing and darkness comes at 4:30, it's hard to let him run around like he needs to during the week, so we brought him to Singing Beach. WOW! it was AWESOME. It's like a doggie playground during the off-season. Everyone congregates with their dogs and the dogs chase each other and get tired out and have so much fun. What a wonderful, wonderful place to bring a hyper puppy...so you can then relax while the puppy promptly takes a nap upon arrival home. I took Beans there yesterday for a quick walk - there weren't a ton of dogs, but it was a gorgeous day:

And finally...switching gears again. It's that time of year again when Thanksgiving festivities are plentiful! We went to one last weekend (which I mentioned in my last post), and we have one again today (which I am not at...I'm actually home sick on the couch...boring). This one, though, is a 90 person Thanksgiving at our church, so we had to prep yesterday morning. Ry and I were in charge of potatoes. Fifty pounds of them, to be exact. So we showed up at church at 9...and by 11:30 there were fifty pounds of mashed potatoes packaged and ready to be heated for today's lunch:

I'm super bummed that I am sitting on my couch blogging and not at church today, but I have absolutely no voice and I'm wiped out and have been sick since Wednesday since I've refused to let my body rest...and now my body is making me rest. So rest I will, for I must be healthy for Wednesday's Lembo family ravioli making and Thursday's Lembo family Thanksgiving... there will always be a wonderful Pigeon Cove Chapel Thanksgiving next year!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Tasty Treats

life is "calming down" apparently. And by "calming down," I mean we have time to be running around seeing friends and getting everything done that didn't get done during soccer season...most importantly, trying new recipes and having people over for dinner!!!

My camera broke, yes my absolute favorite "thing" in life. I'm sad about it, but haven't gotten up the courage to spend $600 to replace it. This just means no photos in the blog, unless I remember to take them with my phone...

Anyways - I saw this recipe for butternut squash lasagna in a Martha Stewart email. I wish I had time to be more Martha Stewart-y. I love wandering around her website looking at all the cool things she does...but who has time to do that? Well, anyways, I decided to try this recipe:


butternut squash and sage lasagna. I would have taken a picture, but it didn't 'look all that impressive in the pan. but oh man...it was AMAZING. I served it with homemade applesauce and a salad. It sounds so bizarre...but you NEED to try it if you are as much of a butternut squash enthusiast as I am. I love the stuff.

Anyways - the next new recipe I tried was a Chocolate-Cinnamon Bundt Cake:


We were going to a Thanksgiving party that our friends throw every year...and I had not planned what I was making until the last minute, so I had to find a recipe that had all pantry staples and this is what I found. I'm always skeptical to use the bundt pan, because without fail it ALWAYS sticks. This time was no different...so although the final product wasn't the most pretty (not to mention I pulled it out of the oven ten minutes before leaving and had to serve it on a cooling rack instead of a pretty serving plate), it was DELISH. It was nice and airy and the cinnamon and chocolate, with the subtle coffee flavor were delish!! A definite easy, tasty treat!!

YUM! I love having time to make new recipes :)

A life update coming after tomorrow...I promise. :)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

just call me slacker.

whoops. i think it's been about two months since I updated...and that last picture of Beans is rather outdated. In fact, since I last posted, Beans has gained 25 pounds (I know, what a fatty), as well as turned a COMPLETELY different color. He is now a beautiful sandy brown...and precious as ever:

So Beans is growing and life keeps going. Quickly. Soccer season has come and almost gone - one more regular season game and then we hit play-offs. It's crazy how quickly the season has gone. It has been a little crazy trying to fit in life and sleeping and all those fun things, but it has been fun.

Ry is starting to look at grad schools and trying to figure out what route he is going to take...more on that later when decisions have been made.

Let's see, what else...

Last night we had the privilege of seeing two of our favorite people get married. It was a beautiful wedding and it was so excited to see Chris and Allison FINALLY get married :)

Life has been so busy lately, that I'm not even sure what to update...so for now, I'll leave it at that. I guess I was just feeling like a slacker, so I needed to write something on here...perhaps after the season ends, I'll update more..

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

things we've been learning.

So since beans became part of our family we've learned a lot about ourselves and being "parents"

1. We no longer come first. so the funniest thing about getting beans has been going from Ryan&Nicole to Beans, Ryan & Nicole. We've been referred to as the Beans family, mama beans and papa beans, our roommate has been told..."you live with beans!" Also, when walking into social gatherings with beans, most everyone acknowledges beans before they say hi to us. We are 100% fine with this...we actually love that most everyone adores Beans. We're so glad we have a loveable little pup and are so proud to have him be a part of our family.

2. We no longer determine our sleeping schedule. Since beans is a growing boy, his bladder can't quite hold as much piddle as we would like it to on the weekends. The latest we've gotten up in the past month is 7 am. It's a darn good thing Beans is so cute, this wouldn't be worth it otherwise ;)

3. We have so many more friends. Okay, maybe not friends, but we now know so many more of our neighbors than we did prior to beans. We know Julia and her pup Chloe. We've gotten to know our neighbors and their dog Guiness more now. Our next door neighbors have Teddy and Annie and they've become friends. I've since learned that their owner is a Gordon grad and their son is going to Gordon in the fall. The lady down the street with the cocker spaniel loves how quickly Beans is growing and the people with the yellow lab are so friendly. She's so shy, that yellow lab, so she doesn't try to be friends with Beans. Then there is the bike riding man with the cute black lab who is oh so skittish. It's so fun walking Beans and getting to know the people in our neighborhood...it only took a year!

4. Having a puppy is such hard work. Now we knew that Beans was going to be hard work...but we did not understand how much work it would be. Training this little guy takes constant attention. We have to have eyes on him all the time...or he will swallow a sock whole like he did last night (we're waiting for poop that out...otherwise it's going to be a very expensive sock). He's constantly into something, but he is learning. He no longer chews on cords and has stopped chewing the boxes holding our bakeware in the kitchen. He's learning but we know he still has a long way to go.

5. The hard work is worth it. Despite the amount of work Beans can be. And despite how annoying the alarm going off at 6am every morning is getting. And despite the chewed up cardboard boxes in the kitchen...Beans is totally worth it. He's such a precious little pup when he is first waking up. He immediately flops on his back to get a belly scratch when we open his crate. Too cute. And I find so much joy in bringing Beans outside and watching Ry call to him and watching Beans little furry bum bound to Ry so excitedly. We are having so much fun with Beans and we're so glad he is a part of our little family.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

a quick update!

Hi readers :)

Clearly I never finished blogging Guatemala...sorry about that. In short our return trip from Guatemala included an erupting volcano, a tropical storm, a four hour trek to el salvador and a 24 hour return trip to get back to Boston via LA. sounds roundabout? it was. it was nice to be finally home.

and since then life just TOOK OFF.

within a week of being home I had the opportunity interview at Gordon in the development office. I was offered the job that and was able to give my two weeks notice and finish up at Vinfen on July 6th. Saying that this job opportunity was a huge answer to prayer is an understatement. I was commuting 50 to 60 minutes each way to Vinfen...and once I got there I would be on the road seeing clients all day. I felt like I lived in my car. I quickly realized that this job was not for me shortly after starting in January...so to finally get a job, and at GORDON was just so exciting.

So since I was ending my job at Vinfen and starting a job 5 miles from home...we decided to start our family :) And don't worry, I mean starting our family with a puppy, not a child. We looked in MA and VT for breeders and could not find a single one that had affordable labradoodles or goldendoodles. I then decided to look in Rochester...and the first breeder I found was a winner! So we set up a pick up date for our little guy and were able to pick him up July 4th weekend....which was prefect because all of our family was in town and we got to see everyone!

so we got beanies and came back home to settle in with him. I had the week off and started at Gordon on July 12th. It's WONDERFUL being back at Gordon. I love it there. I loved it as a student and I love it as an employee. What a HUGE blessing it is to be back.

So life has been crazy. We celebrated our one year anniversary. Celebrated my birthday with a week long celebration. and we are continually learning to live life with beans.

i promise, i'll try to be more consistent with blogging...but who knows what the next few weeks are going to bring!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Guatemala: Day 1

I've been debating how I should blog Guatemala. There are so many stories from beginning until the very end. I'm sure most of you heard about the adventures coming back, so I'll save those for a later blog so you forget about them and can re-live the experience later :)

So it was May 21st and we set off to the airport, driven by the one and only Abby Ytzen. She dropped us off and sent us on our way. Our flight was on time and not cancelled...Guatemala wanted us to come, it just didn't want us to leave later in the adventure. So anyways, we pit-stopped in Miami for a couple of hours and caught our second flight which was delayed about a 1/2 hour. We landed in Guate and breezed through customs. It was MUCH easier than US customs usually are, so we were extremely thankful for that.

We wandered out of the airport and were greeted by a flock of people. It was like we were rock stars. okay, lies, but there was a big group of people...most of them holding up signs for everyone walking out of the airport for transportation purposes. It took us awhile to spot our ride, but we eventually found us and he told us that he would be going to get the car and to stay put. Only he said it in Spanish and had to use motions to make sure we understood - we hadn't gotten our Spanish feet underneath us yet. So up he pulled and in we hopped and off we went.

We didn't even make it out of the city before the nauseousness hit both of us. There was a lot of traffic, but we both took it in stride and were greatful to finally make it outside of the city limits and be on our way to Panajachel. Little did we know the adventure we were about to be taken on...

Picture this: you know those roads in movies in which you look like you're about to fall off the side of a mountain? Yep, that was the type of road we were on FOR TWO HOURS. take driving over smugglers notch and multiply it by about 50. and then add this to the equation: Guatemalan driving (worse than driving in Massachusetts, shocking, I know). There are no rules. Well there are, and the rules include passing as you whip around corners going way too fast. I literally prayed THE WHOLE TIME we were driving...in between waves of nausea and sitting there laughing at how funny this scenario was and taking in the absolutely GORGEOUS place we were in. Driving through the mountains was simply beautiful. I wish I could put into words how beautiful, but I could never do it justice, so I won't try.

So up we went. And down we went. And around we went. And back up. And back down. And back up. and through some small towns. And up. And down. As I prayed that we didn't fall off the side of the mountain, I simultaneously prayed that my lunch stayed in my stomach so I didn't have to puke over the side of the mountain and accidently tumble down.

So as we're about two hours into our drive we come up to this:


If you think this means "take care for your life," you're right. And why was there this sign? Because we were about to drive over a canyon being held up by what looked like two boards. Aye. I was laughing at this point.

So we kept driving and FINALLY I saw a sign that said Panajachel: 8km. WE WERE IN THE CLEAR!!!!!! except...the driver hit the gas and FLEW up and down one more mountain until we hit the cobblestone of Panajachel. As we drive into Pana my legs and hands go tingly and I tell Ryan. He asks the driver to pull over using his Spanish (still not sure what he said...) and the guy asks if I'm going to be sick. I tell him no and that I think I'm only going to faint. So I sit back and then all of a sudden, out of nowhere, I lurch forward. Ryan, being the wonderful and amazing man he is, whips open the door just in time for my Hawaiian Pizza (complete with full pineapple chunks) to come out ALL OVER the street in Panajachel. Whoops. Not a great first impression, huh?

So I finished my puking and off we went to a hotel to see if there were rooms available. Our first stop: Hotel Posada de Don Rodrigo. Fail. They only had one night. So we walked a block with our luggage (no easy feat with rolling luggage on cobblestone streets, but again, I have a wonderful husband). We checked out where Ryan stayed with his Gordon trip and weren't thrilled so we tried a THIRD hotel...Jardines de Lago. We peeked in at a room, they offered us a price we could not resist...and then we resisted. We felt SO awful that all we wanted was comfort...okay, all I wanted was comfort...so off to the Porta we went. Ryan ate a quick meal and we were back up in our room passed out by 8pm...

So that was day one, truly an adventure and we wouldn't have it any other way!! more adventures to come, I promise. :)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

the siphon.

i've been meaning to write about this wonderful invention for quite some time, but it's been a little busy around here. okay it hasn't, we've just been thoroughly enjoying our time that we get to spend together now that ryan is not working all the time. Anyways...Ryan decided at some point during tax season that we should buy a siphon so we could have the best tasting coffee that one can drink. It's an all glass coffee maker and it apparently makes the purest coffee because it only touches glass. I just think it's really cool because it's fun to watch...in fact we started to document everyone watching it...

the poshak's and the quack's gather round the siphon.

big o LOVES it.

clearly jaq is having fun.

I mean...just look at the joy and awe on the faces of these wonderful friends. so the way it works is it heats up the water using the flame and then you put the top piece on witht he grounds and the water defies gravity and gets sucked up a tube to brew. then you extinguish the flame and the coffee filters down and then you drink and enjoy! it's just oh so wonderful!

so that's the siphon...clearly a good investment :)

Monday, March 22, 2010

what we do Thursday night's at 9pm...

Okay, I'm going to blame this sequence of events on good weather and cancelling cable.

Last Sunday we cancelled our cable...both as an attempt to save money and as an attempt spend our time in a more productive manner. I can say I'm really enjoying not having cable, even though it is the middle of March Madness (thank you cbssports.com for broadcasting EVERY game).

so last Thursday night we grilled our dinner because it was oooohhhhh 65 degrees in the middle of March...so why wouldn't we grill our dinner and enjoy it out on our porch?! It was such a delightful start to our evening when we decided that an adventure was in store as opposed to settling in and watching tv because that was no longer a possibility...

So off to Home Depot we went (who doesn't go on their adventures to Home Depot?!) to find a house plant to liven up our gray wall papered and gray carpeted lame living room. So we are wandering around the store picking out our plant and the pot when we think to ourselves..."let's paint the kitchen!" So I promptly call Ed (the best landlord I've ever encountered) and ask him if we can paint the kitchen. He responds, "as long as it's not purple!" He even told us we didn't have to paint it back if it was a neutral color!!

So we picked out our color (without bringing samples home first...), got our supplies and headed back home around 9 pm to clean out the kitchen and start painting! hmmm....it was a GREAT idea at home depot...but at 1:30 am we were a little tired, but still glad we did it while we sat in bed eating a bag of chips and salsa because we were starving from working so hard!

a VERY white kitchen complete with white floors,
white cabinets, white counters and white walls:

and AFTER...a happy yellow kitchen:

so that was our Thursday night...we're THRILLED with our yellow kitchen and it makes it feel so much more homey in our little apartment! It's quite wonderful what a gallon of paint will do for a room and a home :) Good thing we cancelled cable, huh?!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Since December 20, 2009

Wow - it's been a while since I've updated. You see, life's been...well, crazy. Since December 20, 2009 we...

Saw AMY DODD!!!!! Our dear friend Amy has been stranded in Alabama since August. Okay, I shouldn't say stranded...she decided to go down there with Athletes in Action (a Christian organization that works with athletes - so cool, i know!) Anyways, she was up for a few days so we squeaked in a game night with her and Jaq!!! the only bad thing about this was that they beat us in pictionary...on our home turf. It was only because we let them since Amy was up for such a short time and we wanted her to feel good about herself. Don't worry, it won't happen again...

We then celebrated our own Christmas by ourselves the weekend before Christmas. We thought it'd be fun to have a "Christmas morning" and wake up and make cinnoman rolls and exchange gifts in our pjs. We had a GREAT time!! We even bought ourselves one of the same presents:

We then hopped in the car the next weekend to head to good ole VT to celebrate Christmas with Ry's family. It was a crazy weekend since Ry and I had to work half days on Christmas Eve and then drive back on Sunday - I think we had three days there...but we managed to squeak in some snowshoeing:

And some rifle practice, of course....

So we returned to Massachusetts for approximately 3 1/2 days and then decided it be a wonderful idea to surprise my father for his birthday on New Years Eve!! The drive was quick and easy after a 1/2 day of work for both me and Ry...

My father was so confused when he opened the door! The look on his face was PRICELESS (this is a reenactment because, although I had my camera when he opened the door...I sort of forgot to take a picture):

So we got to see my father, pat-ricia, ricky, jill, the grams and the pops, AC, UM, cousin and boy and everyone else celebrating my father!! I hadn't missed my father's birthday in my whole life, so it was great to be able to be home for that!! AND on top of it all Aaron and Erin came by (probably for the italian cream cake mostly):

We had a great visit in NY and saw a wonderful show with my mom and mike...and we also got to go to the market...an obvious to-do when in Rochester. However, the entire NINE AND A HALF HOUR drive back to NY looked like this...so we do not think we'll be doing a winter trip to NY any time soon....

So it was back to MA for a crazy January which saw me start a new job 50 minutes away from where we live. DMH shut our office down in Danvers (that's the VERY SHORT story) and so my company moved me to the Haverhill office...but as an outreach worker instead of admin...so I'm actually using my social work degree!!! I work a kind of interesting schedule. It's a four day week with 12 hour days on Wednesday and Thursday...and then I have to work every fifth weekend. But I get the Monday before and after off when I work a weekend...so sometimes I only have three day weeks! Anyways - we had a few weekends to ourself before tax season started and we did things like go snowshoeing:

And then we also got to go to New Hampshire on a church retreat that we didn't think we would be able to go on!! It was a great time in which we got to act like little kids and have snowball fights and play capture the flag, along with learn more about our awesome God. We learned a lot and did some growing and just had an overall good time:

Aaaaaaand then it was back to MA again! This time to start tax season and a crazy schedule for Ry. All of February he was back and forth to the Cape, to Maine and all around Massachusetts. His travel time has started to quiet down and now it's just long hours at the office for him. There is a light at the end of the tunnel...his halfway point is tomorrow! Only six more weeks. Oh and most important to note (though I have no photo evidence), is the tax season beard he has grown. I will get some evidence soon, I promise.

So that's life (mostly...) since December 20th. It's been a crazy couple of months...I'll try and update more frequently...but between Ry's crazy hours and my oddball schedule - we try and spend all the time we are awake and alert (which is not that many hours during the week...) having some quality time...and we're even going on a date tomorrow (thanks to my mother and PF Changs!)

Anyways...until next time...