Wednesday, December 19, 2007

JOY to the world

This month is flying by and it's hard to believe that Christmas is less than a week away. Jim is finishing up his last couple days of school before he begins his 4 week break. Today is my third day off in a row, to which I am grateful. I was able to do some Christmas shopping, cleaning, and...catch up on some much needed sleep! Work is going really well, and I just finished my 9th week on L&D. Sunday was my first day off orientation, which was slightly nerve-wrecking... but, the day proved to be uneventful and quite enjoyable. Prayers are appreciated though as I continue to get accustomed to labor and delivery without my side-kick (aka, my preceptor!)

We're beginning to dream of a white Christmas, yes...even ME! Just for a day
[particularly Dec. 25] it would be nice to see some snow. However, I'm sure I'll get my fixing when we go to Ohio at the end of this month for Jim's dad's wedding...and when we return to GR in January. [we hope to be home Jan. 10-15...and would love to see as many of you as possible!]

Here a two pics to leave you with. Crazy how life can change in a mere 12 months. These pictures were taken almost exactly a year apart...

Dec. 3, 2006:Michigan. A blustery Sunday, looking for that "perfect" Christmas tree. An annual Hapner tradition. Great memories made...

Dec. 1, 2007: North Carolina. Tennis in December, and I never would have imagined 9 days later temperatures would be in mid 70's-80's.

....what a crazy journey we're on....

love to all,

em

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Oh Little Child of....Uganda?!?

Today we "adopted" Griffin, a 4 year-old boy from Uganda! We are sponsoring him through World Vision and are quite ecstatic about it.

That is Griffin... isn't he a cutie (says Emily)... she can't wait to go visit him someday.... but those plans are not yet in the works.

Life otherwise has been quite busy for us. Emily is continuing in her 12 hours work days which seem even longer when she leaves before me and gets home after me. Teaching is going alright, actually teaching is going good... it is all the grades and writing all the present levels of performance for all of my students and trying to schedule and hold IEP meetings before the holiday break that is only going alright. That is another thing I am not used to, the "Holiday Break." It has always been Christmas break until this year, my first in a public school. It is interesting to see and hear just how many different holidays are observed in the school but it is weird that we can't have Christmas parties or wish the students a Merry Christmas... unless you include the other holidays as well.

Now for some other updates of what we have been up to these past few weeks.

Basically we are just working, hanging out and searching for churches. And I think I speak for both Emily and myself when I say we are sick of "church shopping." I really didn't think it would be a big deal when we came out here to find a new church, but it has proven to be one of the most difficult things for us to do.

The weather out here has been quite unusual for us. Yesterday was 81... yes 81 degress. Today was 76 and tomorrow is supposed to be 80 degrees. Emily and I have dusted off the tennis rackets and played a few matches (last night being the most recent match). The kids and a couple teachers at school have brought the shorts back out... and everyone seems to be enjoying the weather (which is unusual for them as well, it is usually only about 50-60 degrees at this time of the year).

This past Sunday Emily and I went to a play "The Christmas Story" (yes this was based on the movie with Ralphie and his Red Ryder BB gun.... You'll shoot your eye out!). It was put on by the Cary Players Theater and they did a great job. It was interesting to compare the play to the movie... and I was pointing things out left and right to Emily b/c I have seen the movie so many times as I'm sure many of you have as well.

We also now have our Christmas tree up and decorated... To give you a little background on the tree situation down here...........................the trees are absolutely pathetic and unbelievably expensive. We went to a Christmas tree farm to cut down our tree... but the trees were $75 or more for a tree that looked like a larger version of Charlie Brown's Christmas tree. We went to 4 different farms and discovered the same nonsense at every one. We finally bought our tree from Lowes for a similar price that we would have payed to get a great tree (that we could cut down ourselves) from Hearts Christmas Tree Farm in Rockford. So for all of you non-NC people... you can chalk one up for Michigan in the area of Christmas trees (and then subtract 5 points for snowy weather right now).

Other than that, life has not been too exciting for us. We both apologize for the lack of writing in the blog... but it gets put on the back burner sometimes. We will continue to try being more faithful updaters...

I hope you all have been doing well, take care and stay healthy in the cold weather!

Jim

Oh and most importantly.... the Detroit Tigers. WOW. I am excited for the upcoming season, that's all I'll say. However, I am a little disappointed that I will not be able to head out to Comerica Park to watch Mr. Cabrera and Mr. Willis join forces with the now strongest team in the AL Central... if not the AL... if not the MLB. GO TIGS!!




Monday, December 3, 2007

Tis the Season...

Thank you for all the birthday wishes/phone calls/cards and emails! Here are a few pictures from the big day...

Anxiously waiting to open the very large box...


...trying to find my gift amongst all the plastic bags...clever disguise
My new fleece!

Jim getting out my door, because he [accidentally] roped his door shut when tying down the tree, opps.

..the most wonderful time of the year


Our dessert at the Melting Pot: a little piece of heaven on earth, especially when dipped into chocolate and caramel....

Thanks again for making this a memorable 24th birthday. Love to all, em








Sunday, December 2, 2007

Site Currently Under Construction

Hello Everyone,

It has come to our attention that many people are disgusted at us about the lack of posting. To this we apologize and take full responsibility. We have become quite busy in the last few weeks which has led to the unintentional neglect of an important aspect of who we are (in our readers' eyes).

If you can remain a faithful audience... we will post an extravagant summary of our lives in an upcoming blog entry.



thanks for sticking with us,

Jim

Monday, November 12, 2007

FALLing back to our childhood!

A picture is worth a thousand words...so, here's a glimpse into our day!





Sunday, November 11, 2007

Its beginning to look a lot like.... Autumn

Well the fall weather is finally upon here in NC. The past few days have been in the low to mid 50s. I know it isn't as cold as in Michigan... and of course we haven't gotten any snow nor is any in the forecast. It is actually supposed to be back in the mid 70s this week.

This past week was one of limited excitement. I worked every day and had a meeting with parents Friday morning who hate the school system... and to make matters worse, they're Penn State fans. An unbelievable combination. However, the meeting went better than expected... but I'm still not quite used to representing the school system in front of parents who have children struggling in the school.

I have actually started a push-in model for a couple hours a day in the fifth grade classroom. I am really enjoying that, because I think it is great for the students to stay in the general education classroom if at all possible. The students are doing good in the general ed. classroom, and it also gives me more interaction with different students (not to mention the planning I don't have to do).

Emily has been working as well, and continues to enjoy her job. Although I'm pretty sure she'll never be a morning person.

Yesterday, we went to a Premium Outlet Mall in Smithfield, NC. I bet you can guess who planned that trip (and just so you know Alan... it was Emily!). It was a pretty good outlet mall, although I only came away with a pair of pants. Emily did a better job of shopping than me... and the bags can prove it. We ended our time at the mall with the redemption of a buy one get one free Dairy Queen Blizzard. It was almost the perfect end to the trip.. but that perfection was yet to come. Once we got back into Raleigh we needed some SUNCH (the meal between lunch and supper... yes I know most of you may call it LUPER, but I think SUNCH sounds cooler), we stopped at Olive Garden for the soup, salad, and breadsticks (seriously.. that salad is amazing!) And that my friends, was the perfect end to the trip!

Today, Emily is working and I'm sick. I guess all the little kids have gotten to me with their open mouth coughs and no covering... gotta love it. So basically I'm just sitting at home sneezing and sniffling... watching football and trying to do school work. Which, takes me to the excitement of tomorrow. I don't have school! Emily doesn't have nursing! Together we have nothing tomorrow! However, I think plans are going to be made... but you'll have to read about those later I guess.

I hope you all are doing well, and we are looking forward to seeing everyone again around the Thanksgiving Holiday.

Jim

Monday, November 5, 2007

Yes, we know we're slacking...

Hello everyone.

Here is the latest update from our lives. We are aren't exciting people, so we worked, ate food, slept, watched movies, went shopping and watched football.





























What is that not good enough for you?? Fine, then heres the highlights from the wonderful weekend of sports. The weekend began with a fantastic win by the University of Michigan Wolverines against some no name team also from Michigan. Then the Lions won yet another game... giving the fans a sense of hope. The Patriots were also victorious in their battle with the Colts lead by the Michigan alumni Tom Brady. The Pistons ended the first week of the season at 3-0 and are promising another successful season. The Red Wings are now 11-2 and are dominating the league. Oh and the Tigers... they signed Edgar Renteria for the 2008 season. Sad news though, closer Joel Zumaya is out until mid-season as he injured his shoulder moving stuff out of his home in California due to the fires.... ( or at least thats the rumor going around on how he hurt himself... others say it was something else). You can research more if you like.

However, not everything in sports is looking up. My fantasy football team is staggering. I have a laughable record of 3-4 and I'm on the verge of losing again this week. I did, however, just draft my NBA fantasy team and I am excited to see what comes of the boys on "Tacoby Bellsbury."

Back to real life... I hope you are all doing well and enjoying the snowy weather. It sounds nice... but highly unlikely out here in NC with the 65 degree weather. But hey, I guess we can't have it all.

Well I should go now, but I just wanted to give you an update.... even if it wasn't about us at all.


Thanks for stopping by

I'm sure you already know who wrote this one!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Free Taco Day!

Well it was a brisk morning with a touch of frost on the windshield.

I spent the day at a seminar for first year special education teachers... which was a pretty overwhelming day. There was a lot of information handed out, and not nearly as much explanation for it. I go back tomorrow all day for even more information. I sat between a girl from Wisconsin and a girl from Lansing, MI. It seems as though none of the teachers in this area are from NC.

Emily is still at work but she should be home soon.

The highlight of the day... Free taco from Taco Bell. Today from 2-5 pm Taco Bell was giving everyone who came in (and asked for a free taco) a free taco because there was a stolen base in the world series. The promotion was for a free taco if any player in the World Series stole a base. Well Mr. Jacoby Ellsburg did just that in Game 2. There are rumors going around that his new nickname is Tacoby Bellsbury. Funny??? I think so!


I hope you all took advantage of this wonderful promotion as I know Alan and I did.

Have a good one.

jim

Monday, October 29, 2007

Happy Birthday Gram!

HAPPY 75TH BIRTHDAY GRANDMA! lOVE YOU!

The weekend flew by...and it's hard it is Monday once again! We've enjoyed the relaxation of the past few days. Yesterday we visited another new church and met up with a teacher Jim works with and her husband for bagels and coffee afterwards
. Jim played football with some of the guys yesterday afternoon, as I enjoyed a Sunday nap. The weather has been great... 60-70's during the day and down in the 40's at night. That's about it...life is beginning to become a little more routine.
We'll write more later (hopefully something exciting will happen between now and then!) thanks for checking in. em

Friday, October 26, 2007

rain, rain stay & play, sun come out another day


Rain, at last! The sky is gray, the air is cool, and finally...it is raining. It's beginning to feel a little more like the weather that we are accustomed to. Some of the leaves have started to change as well. It has been a quiet week, and we really don't have anything to report on...but, I just wanted to pop in to say hello...have a good weekend. em

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

gobble.

We're coming home for THANKSGIVING! ...and we're quite excited about it. Just wanted to spread the word. Work has been quite hectic lately...babies are popping out everywhere (there was a LOT of good will towards men during the winter holidays down here!) But, it's been a lot of fun. Jim's back to work and life is taking on a new "norm". All is well and life is good!

e.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

The place they call Little Pee Dee

Change of plans...again
The ban on campfires in North Carolina continues and now Virginia has joined the band-wagon. So, we didn't go camping in the mountains as originally planned, OR in Virginia...but all is well because we had a magnificent campfire in South Carolina!

We arrived at Little Pee Dee State Park after driving through cotton fields and a poor, poor area (we began to think this was going to be an interesting camping trip). The fields however finally subsided and we were in a very nice wooded area, which was in the middle of nowhere.
We found the perfect campsite (Emily said) and so we went to the ranger's office and registered for a couple of nights. We set up camp and then relaxed until dinner time. We roasted hotdogs and marshmallows over the fire, which were amazing.

Saturday was a relaxing day. It started off with hot apple cider and honey-nut cheerios. We spent the majority of the afternoon reading. We also took a walk around the park and Lake Horton in the afternoon. We stopped to admire the lake a little too close to some red ant hills, and we both figured it out at about the same time. We escaped the monsters with only a few bites, but I think they got the best of us (although I wrecked the next red ant hill I saw with a stick).
(OK, Emily is taking over from here...)
We had hobo pies for supper (pizza AND grilled cheese) and indulged in the marshmallows once more. We reminisced/laughed/cried...around the campfire for hours before turning in for the night. The air was crisp and it was perfect sleeping weather.

We woke up this morning and enjoyed another campfire and a cup of coffee. All is well when you're sitting beneath a canopy of trees watching the sun rise, with a fire before you, your best friend beside you, and a cup of coffee in your hand. For those split seconds the world seems so right.

We left SC around noon and drove back. The 2 1/2 hour drive went by fast and now we're back home, our gear is packed away and we're ready for the week that lies ahead. We hope you had a relaxing weekend as well. Take care, Jim and Em

Here are a few of our favorite pictures from this weekend...enjoy!

ONLY if you're from the north do you carry 2 heavy duty snow scrapers in your car AT ALL TIMES. and, ONLY in the south do you use them as a multi-purpose tools instead! (We didn't have a broom...but we made do)
our MUCH anticipated campFIRE!
It doesn't quite feel like fall yet...
this was all Jim's idea...i just happened to have the camera

our campsite

Jim's artistic angle we were in the middle of nowhere
Lake Horton
if this picture doesn't look familar, scroll back to an earlier blog entry...:)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

a fair kind of day

Today we went to the state fair, (a special thanks to Rex hospital for the free tickets!)...it was slightly chaotic, but all in all a good time. We spent the majority of our time looking at the animals and attending the cow and goat shows. What a crazy event! They also had the "State Fair Ark" which consisted of a variety of farm animals (pictures below).

a donkey...

The champion steer, which was bought by Harris Teeter (a local grocery store) for $25,000The champion turkey, which was sold for $5,000
the goats...playing king of the hill

We also finished gathering up some much needed items for our camping excursion this weekend. We've have changed our destination...we're going camping in Virginia instead of North Carolina because NC has a state ban on campfires...and camping just isn't the same without a fire & s'mores.

Jim is going in to school tomorrow to prepare for the next 9 weeks, which begins on Monday. I'm working tomorrow, which is my last shift for the week...and then thankfully, its the weekend!

Hope all is well with you, our faithful readers! Thanks for checking in. Love, Em

Monday, October 15, 2007

just another day in... morrisville

Well, another day on L & D is over and my love for my job continues...It's crazy how Jim and I have switched roles.. I came home tonight to a freshly dusted and vacuumed apartment AND dinner on the table...simply amazing! After working 12 hours, it was heavenly...just what I needed.
videoI was just going through some pictures online and came across this video that we took of the goose we met exactly one month ago...hopefully it will make you laugh too. I tried to feed it the cheese off my pizza....it just didn't go down too well, but it kept us laughing....

have a good night. love, em

Sunday, October 14, 2007

being conTENT.

We're off to the mountains next weekend...
(if anyone is interested in joining us, just let me know. have a good week. much love, em)

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Bocce Ball... and call outs

Well hello all,

First and foremost... today the 13th of October is the birthday of our faithful reader and friend Mr. Alan Musch. So you should all call him, email him, or facebook him a special message. Have a good one Al.

I'm (Jim) writing to you all today because Emily has this new goal in life to be a better blogger... and somehow I fit into that as well.


Well, let me say that I'm not quite as nice as Emily is when she write on here, and that being the case, I am going to make a couple call outs right now.


When we were back in GR we received some comments about why we don't update our blog!?!? Well let me tell you, when we write on the blog we are doing it to update those who care about what is going on in our lives. However, we had no idea so many people were actually reading it. How could we possibly not know, you might ask? It is quite simple you see...... at the end of every blog there is a link that says COMMENT (this is where our readers can leave us a comment like "Hey, I just read the blog, I think it is great that you are doing a blog and it sounds like things are going well). So when we look at those comments we think we are getting a pretty clear estimation of the amount of people reading our blog.


Those people are to be commended for their valiant effort in letting us know they are faithful readers of our blog. Heres to you!

We have received comments from the following people:

Grandma D
Aunt Mickey
Kristin
Dad
The Sikma family
Alan
Some anonymous person that thinks Val and Alan are really cool people
Sarah... because she has actually helped in composing a blog update
Becky Winkle - she figured out the duck mystery (thanks again buddy)

Those people have left actual written comments regarding our blog which makes it clear to us that they are reading up on us.

To the rest of you, shame on you!!

You expect us to continually write what is going on in our lives but we can't even get a simple one sentence response from you--- this blogging relationship is not a one way street.

Now I hope you know I was laughing while writing all of the above, but hopefully it will increase the number of comments we receive (because that is our excitement in the whole blogging experience).


NOW, on to the happening of yesterday.

Emily had class all day for new nurses, and I stayed at home did some laundry and I also did some school work trying to get ahead of the game so I don't get flooded when I walk back into school (and a couple of very intense sessions on AsoBrain took some time from my day).

However, we were able to spend the evening together (after a short nap by Emily to restore her energy). We took off for Lake Crabtree with the Bocce Ball set in hand (and by "in hand" I mean in the back seat of Emily's car).

For those of you who know about our Bocce Ball games..... you know that Emily is a fierce competitor and I have yet to beat her (or her and Sarah on the same team), but there was a new wind blowing last night.

I took off to an amazing 6-0 lead (playing to 15 of course) and I was feeling pretty good, but Emily wanted to quit. She decided there was no way she was going to win when I was almost halfway to winning without her having one point. Then the wind changed direction. The next I knew, the score was 9-7 with me barely holding onto that 2 point lead. But alas... the wind changed once again and I rolled out a big 15-9 victory. Now Emily is still a little bitter about the loss, but she is a great sport and congratulated me on the victory. She would never go on an online blog and brag about a victory like I do, but hey thats her! I have included some pictures at the end of this blog from our Bocce Ball game at the park.


After Bocce Ball we decided to go looking at tents because we are hoping to go camping next weekend. We were hoping to find a good deal because it is very late in the camping season, while we did find a couple of good deals, they were on tents we didn't really want. We left Dick's Sporting Goods a little disappointed and even more excited for camping (not a good combination).

Today Emily is working and I went out on a search for great deals on tents (tents that we actually wanted), and lo and behold I think I found it!! (at another Dick's Sporting Goods location). I put it on hold though because I want to make sure that is a tent that Emily, too, will like. Perhaps tomorrow you will hear about our amazing new tent.

Alright well I'm gonna go, here are those pictures!


Emily and I having a picturesque moment before the competition.


What you are seeing here is the form of the previous Bocce champ!
With the sun at my back I score another 2 points.
This is when Emily scored two points and started her frightening comeback. I was not too happy.

Emily still had it in her heart to give me a kiss on the check (for a shadow picture that didn't really turn out that great) after it was all said and done.


The sun setting on another beautiful evening in the park.
Mucho Amor!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Sunny Side Up

Yesterdays highlights:

...the farmer's market...and their amazing pumpkins (pictured below)
...free samples at Costco for lunch!
...grocery shopping at Trader Joe's...and good deals at Walmart
...watching The Office with Brit & Steve (our friends from GR) at UNC



Today I had 8 hours of class at Rex, but I'm home now...the sun is shining and we're headed out to enjoy the weather. Hope all is well y'all and you're staying warm in the north! Love from the sunny south...em

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Loving L&D!

We're back in North Carolina...and part of us feels like we never left. The last week and a half was amazing. It was so refreshing to catch up with family and friends in Michigan. I know there are some people we didn't see, and to that I apologize...we could have used an extra week to reunite with everyone we wanted to...but, unfortunately time was not on our side! Hopefully we'll be back in GR soon (maybe Thanksgiving?...and/or around the end of the year). But, now its back to life here....

I started my new job yesterday, bright and early and it was an incredible day! We induced our patient around 10 am. By 4 I was holding her hand and coaching her through pushing and at 5:22 her baby girl was born! I almost cried tears of joy right along with my patient, her husband and the grandmas! I've never been so giddy at work...what a refreshing feeling, especially after the last year.

Jim still has another week off from teaching and he could finally empathize with me about how boring it is to stay at home....alone! Hopefully during the next 3 week break in January he will be able to substitute teach the days I work.

We both have today off...so we're heading to the Farmer's market to stock up on some fresh produce. The sun is shining here and its suppose to a high of 75....perfect "fall" weather! I'll post some pictures later...it's my personal goal to keep this blog updated more frequently...since we realized people DO read this and weren't too happy that we were slacking with the updates. A personal apology to all those affected (particularly BEN, and RACHAEL). Love to all!

Em

Monday, October 8, 2007

Back in GR!

So we're back in Grand Rapids, but our time here is just about over. Crazy, how time flies and all good things must come to an end! We depart from Detroit tomorrow at 1 and bright and early Wednesday morning I begin as a labor and delivery nurse...ah! I'll keep you posted...
I promise to write again soon...with more details of our time here, but...it's now off to reunite with more friends. Love to all. Em



Here are a few pics from this past weekend...

The girl cousins at the family get together... love them! Beautiful! fall flowers from Val & Alan's wedding....(more to come!)





Monday, September 17, 2007

Duck, Duck... Goose?

Since the last update, life has been pretty "normal" around here. Emily did start her official training at Pregnancy Support Services which has kept her occupied for the last two Thursday and Friday nights and also all day on Saturday for the past two weekends.

I have finished my 7th week of school already, time has been flying by! I spent my last Saturday at a beginning teacher induction seminar. I'd hate to say the seminar seemed repetitive from the other first year teacher seminars I have been to since being hired, but it seemed like another refresher course in the subject of Wake County Public Schools.

After we both were done with our trainings/seminars this past Saturday, we decided to go out and enjoy the amazing weather the weekend presented. We bought a pizza from a local Italian restaurant and took it took to Lake Johnson Nature Park for a little picnic by the water. We had never been to the park before, but it was an amazing park with lots and lots of ducks!! Personally I love ducks... so I was having a wonderful time. Emily tried to intimidate a duck/goose (we're really not sure what it was) and was hissed at... which was good for a solid 2 minutes of laughter. There are some pictures below from the park and also one of our mysterious duck friend (if you have any insight to what it might be, we would greatly appreciate it... Alan, I'm sure you'll do some research on it for us.)

On Sunday we went back to Hope Community Church. After visiting a church with a more traditional feel the past couple of weeks, we are wondering if Hope is really where we are supposed to be. It seems as though we are back to step one wondering where exactly we are supposed to be on Sunday mornings.

After church we headed to downtown Raleigh for the 9/11 traveling tribute. It was a powerful exhibit which included pictures, quotes, artifacts, and video featuring first hand accounts of fire fighters, police officers and survivors of the 9/11 attack. At the end of the exhibit we signed a steel beam that will be used in building the 9/11 memorial.

well, heres to another week!



Here is the view of Lake Johnson from where we ate our dinner.


Okay, here is the mysterious duck/bird that I mentioned earlier.We had a couple different people offer to take our picture while we were standing on the wooden bridge that spanned the lake.... what nice people around here.


Wow... is that a senior picture or something?
Here is a picture of the beam that we signed for the 9/11 memorial.


VIVA!