Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Is it the New Year already?

*I found this post in my archives . . . I though it would be good to go over my resolutions from next year and see how I did, especially before I write my resolutions for this year!!
New Year, Same Resolutions

We've had a wonderful few weeks of celebrating Christmas with both our families, although that always involves a bit of travel. I'm winding down and looking forward to a few weeks with nothing big planned, and a chance to really think about my goals for the new year. Here are a few that I've come up with so far:

1. Resolved to stay in touch with my siblings more often - even if just through Facebook.
(side note to Erik and Kevin - the phone connection works both ways!)

Okay, I did keep in touch with them through Facebook more, but I need to work on this again this year!

2. Resolved to read through the Bible in one year - Dan helped me with this resolution by suggesting we do it together. I don't know if that will make it easier or more difficult. We see each other (awake, that is) only a few hours a day.
Well, this did not happen. We were doing so good and then got sidetracked when summer came and we've been hit and miss since then. This year we hope to finish where we left off, and focus on that time together in the Word, instead of frantically trying to check off the day's reading on the calendar.

3. Resolved to sew for fun, but to not let it take over my life and finances! Along with that resolution comes mine and Dan's desire to add a bit more color into our lives.
I definitely got this one! I only sewed one custom quilt, and mostly sewed only when I wanted to, taking major breaks during the warm weather. And I'm glad to say I did not go hog wild on fabric, although Dan is probably more glad about that feat than I am!

4. And the biggest resolution I have made is to strive to find the balance between serving in the body of Christ and knowing when to step back before I get so stressed that I have heart palpitations! That's an on-going struggle that I don't expect to fully solve - it's going to be a constant battle, but one that I'm hopefully more prepared for.
This one is still a struggle for me, although Dan and I are taking significant strides in making this true. We have come to the conclusion that our family is our first priority, even though church needs are important, too, we have failed to consider our family's needs when we try to be Superman for everyone around us. God is not honored when we try to "work" for Him in our own strength. A good friend reminded me that Scripture says that His yoke is easy and His burden light. And if I'm stressing out, it's because I'm doing more than He's called me to do, or I'm doing it in my own strength. Either way, I need to work on being a Mary instead of my usual Martha. Does all this even make sense?!?!

Well, that's my list so far. I'm sure I should add exercise and less sugar consumption, but I'm afraid if I write it down, someone will actually keep me accountable for it.

Stay tuned for my last installment of "Handmade Christmas" and some of my favorites of 2008!
Happy New Year Everyone!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Family Blog

FYI - We have a new blog, just for pictures, in case you are interested. This new blog is run by Dan, so you'll notice a lack of commentary I know you enjoy so much here! Basically it is for our families to keep up with all the pictures we take of the kids, but right now we have uploaded videos from Christmas morning. Stop on by if you are interested!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Dinner with the Pioneer Woman

Thanks to the tasty new cookbook from my favorite blogger on earth, Christmas Eve dinner is going to be a tasty affair.

Here's the menu:

Beef Brisket (prepared in my new Nesco!)
7 Layer Salad (that's for my honey - it's his favorite) and

Dessert is being brought by friends - I'm sure it will be scrumptious!

I'm salivating already. Now off to the store!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Christmas Quilting

This is the advent calendar that I made for the kids this year. Finished it on December 1st - just in time to fill the pockets with candy and then let the kids take out Day 1's stash!
This is a stained glass nativity quilt. Although I love the finished look, I really struggled quilting it with a double needle. There are also 2 more patterns that hang on the side of the wisemen and the shepards, but I think I'll just be content with this one piece. I'm ready to start working on a traditional quilt again!
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Monday, November 30, 2009

Perspective on Trials

Wow, how did almost 2 weeks go by without me posting again?!? I guess it is silent commentary on how busy we have been lately.

On our way home from a long Thanksgiving weekend, Dan and I listened to a sermon on trials by Mark Driscoll. It seemed an appropriate subject since many of our closest friends are experiencing great trials. But the preacher reminded us that all believers experience trials, some are trials of blessing and abundance, and others are trials of loss and want. Either way, trials are to be expected in life.

The entire message was excellent, but the phrase I've been mulling over all day is when he said (loose quotation here) "As a believer, this life of trials is the closest you will ever come to hell." It's making me think a lot about Christ's sacrifice, which is an appropriate meditation around Christmas, don't you think?

The sermon can be found here and you can get the other sermons in the series at

Let me know if you listen and what you think of it.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Cozy Corner

The first book we read aloud at the start of our school year was The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner.I admit, I was a bit skeptical at first. This book has 13 chapters, 154 pages, with only a few, small, black and white pictures in each chapter. Up until this point we had read only picture books, or short stories that didn't have pictures, but were quick to read. I didn't think either of the kids would like this book.

But since I bought the book, and the curriculum told me to read it to my kindergartner, then I felt I had no choice but to try. We started reading, and although Elijah balked at first, he really did start to enjoy the story of 3 homeless, orphaned children who live in an abandoned boxcar. They survive using some ingenious ideas to meet their daily needs and rely on each other to help make their life fulfilling.

What helped make this book age appropriate for my 5.5 year old is the simple language used. Written in 1942 (yes, Elijah, older than Grandpa!) the sentences are not complex, and made it easier for Elijah to follow along. There were very few words I had to define for him to understand what happened in each chapter. And as always, after we finished reading, I would ask him comprehension questions and was always surprised by how much he understood and retained. We even talked through some of the "why's" of the children's behavior.

Apparently this is a series, but I think we'll stop while we are ahead, and maybe read some more of the Boxcar Children this summer.

Verdict: read this to your kids and be prepared for them to play "Boxcar Children" for weeks to come.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Cozy Corner

I have been homeschooling for exactly 12 weeks now. So, as you can assume, I am officially an expert on the subject. And since I know you are dying to hear my intellectual arguments for why we do what we do in our little academy, I decided to start a series on this blog to highlight the books we read and my little genius' reaction to them all.

Okay, now that I have successfully caused you to lose your lunch, let me explain what I'm really doing:

I am 12 weeks into an educational experiment with my children, specifically my 5.75 year old. Now I know all those die-hard home school moms out there are screaming after they read that sentence, but hear me out. In no way do I think homeschooling is any less desirable than public or private instruction, nor do I think it ranks as the "only" way to teach your children. All I'm saying is that I'm 12 weeks in to this and I have no idea if it's the right way or not. I think it depends a lot on the individual child, even more on the desire and ability of the parents and truthfully, I really don't think there is a "right" or "wrong" way to educate a child. It is just the option we have chosen for our family for this moment in time.

Whew. Glad that's out of the way.

Now, let's get to the real reason for this post. After 12 weeks of reading aloud a lot of books to my kindergartner (and his 3.5 year old sister, when she decides she will sit still) I decided it might be fun and maybe even a little helpful if I blogged about the books we are reading and how the kids have responded to them. I'm no expert book reviewer, but I know which books my kids love and respond to and which ones have them snoring on the couch as I drone on. I'm calling this series "The Cozy Corner" because even when the books are boring, we all enjoy cuddling on the couch or bed while I read.

So stay tuned over the coming weeks to read my personal reviews of the books we read, specifically the books from our schooling curriculum, Sonlight. It should be interesting, and maybe it will even cause me to update this blog more regularly!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Happy Halloween (a few days late)

Our family, which consists of a baseball player, bee, cat and clone trooper hope you all had a sugar-filled Halloween!
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Sunday, November 01, 2009

Custon Quilt

Me and my sis-in-law, Noelle, have tossed around the idea of a custom quilt for her for almost a year now. So I was super pumped this last September when she came for a visit completely prepared to pick out fabric and finalize the details for her queen sized quilt. We visited my favorite quilt store and had a blast picking fabrics and deciding what color scheme best suited her.

Noelle has an awesome, funky, colorful style, and we wanted to choose fabrics that really reflected an eclectic look. She picked out all the fabric, and I just helped group and get rid of or add a few others. I think she did a fantastic job!

We decided on a vertical stripe quilt pattern. We didn't want anything too traditional, and the vertical stripes really helped the fabric pop.

Mounted on the frame, ready to quilt. Noelle specifically asked for pictures of the process.

It's finished being quilted here. Now I have to trim the edges and sew on the binding.

All done! I finished in time to bring it on our last visit a few weeks ago. I think she loved it!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Quilt for a Friend

This is one of my latest quilting adventures, finished recently and just gifted to my friend who moved away.

Stay tuned for pics of my first custom quilt order!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sometimes I need a break

I figure if I give him a friend to play with, and throw a pet rabbit in the mix, it should keep him busy for a few hours so I can have some peace and quiet.

Now to await my mother of the year award. I think I hear them knocking on the front door. Oh wait, that may not be the award committee . . .
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Monday, September 28, 2009

Pretty Pretty Picture

Alli has found her inner artist. She has begun coloring, and coloring, and coloring. She colors as soon as she gets up in the morning, she colors as I sit and teach Elijah every day (it's my school, she says), and she colors before and after supper and would color in bed at night if we allowed it.

Don't misunderstand me, I love that she is so fond of this exercise. It has helped her learn more names of colors (like pwurpish-pink) and it keeps her occupied quietly for hours. The problem occurs when I must keep every picture she finishes. There are hundreds now, maybe thousands. And anyone who knows me at all knows my OCD nature and my severe allergic reaction to clutter.

So all this background information leads me to the exchange I had with my sweet daughter the other night after dinner:

I was cleaning up and wiping off the island and I picked up a half-sheet coloring sheet and absent-mindedly threw it in the garbage right in front of my daughter. She instantly opened the garbage can, peered inside and said (in her sweet 3 year old voice),
"Why you frow away my pretty piture?"

And I'm not exaggerating when I say she had tears in her eyes. So of course I quickly rescued it from the trash heap and promptly displayed it on the refrigerator. And all malice was forgotten.

I guess I'm going to have to learn to deal with the piles of her art. And she'll have ample reason to suffer later in life when she is starving for her craft and she remembers that her Mom used to throw her masterpieces in the garbage.

Monday, September 21, 2009

90 Years and Counting

Is it any indication how busy our life has been when I am just now getting around to blogging pictures of events at the beginning of August?

Anyhoo, my mom and my great aunt Imo both celebrated their birthdays on the same day at the beginning of August. Imo is my grandmother's sister, and since my grandmother died while I was still very young, and Imo never married, she became like a grandmother to me. She lived 85 years of her life in Kentucky, and moved to Illinois 5 years ago to be closer to her family, my mom and my uncle.

Imo celebrated her 90th birthday last month, which calls for a party like it's 1999.
Doesn't she look beautiful? I hope I'm this gorgeous at 90, although I don't expect to live that long.
My mom is gorgeous, too. She turned 60, but the poor woman's birthday has always been overshadowed by Imo's. There is no love lost, though, because my mom dislikes the spotlight. She would rather enjoy a quiet dinner with her family, which she got.

My dad and I matched, even without planning it. He looks so handsome when he smiles, I only wish he was a bit more in focus in this picture.

This is Imo's "what you talkin' 'bout, Willis?" face. I'm not sure what my Mom said to deserve that look!
My great aunt has always been a magnificent seamstress and quilter. She is awfully proud that I have taken up the mantle. I made this table runner for her, hoping her eyesight keeps her from being able to pick out all the mistakes.

Imo desperately wanted a picture of Allison in her lap with this doll nearly as old as herself. She has a similar picture of me and the doll when I was a bit older than Alli. This doll is better dressed than your average doll. Imo has made all of her clothes and changes her dresses monthly. She sits posed on her bed during the day and it is one of the things Alli always goes running for when we visit.
It was so nice to be able to celebrate Imo's birthday with her. She was proud to have made it to 90, but gave strict instructions not to say or sing, "and many more." I guess you can say that when you get to that age. Either way, I secretly hope she's around for many more celebrations!

Monday, August 31, 2009

First Day of School

Elijah in Kindergarten
With his proud papa

And his teacher

And his little sister, intent on getting in on the action.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Alli's Homemade Birthday

I'm taking advantage of making all the homemade gifts I can while my kids still treasure anything I make them. Alli's 3rd birthday (almost 2 months ago!) was no exception.

I made her this paper dolls quilt from a kit. It includes prints of old-fashioned paper dolls that I fussy cut to frame and then made the border from a smaller print of the same dolls.

The kit also included yardage of clothes to dress the dolls, onto which I fused fleece onto the back, thus making them like flannel graph, and Alli gets to dress each doll in a variety of dresses, hats and shoes. She loves it! I also crafted a kid's purse for all her girly accessories. It's so much fun to have a girl!

Monday, August 17, 2009

10 years later

What a chaotic summer we've had here, so it was a pleasant surprise to learn that Dan would be whisking me away for a night to celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary. We had a perfect 24 hours together, including dinner at my favorite restaurant, seeing Phantom live and just enjoying time together. It got us reminiscing about our wedding day, specifically,

1. I remember seeing Dan and his groomsman Brian walking in the church parking lot while I was getting ready. I remember my heart did a little flip-flop and then wondering if the bride seeing the groom before the ceremony was bad luck.

2. I remember shaving my legs the morning of the wedding and on a whim deciding that my toes should be hair-free, too, and knicking the heck out of them and wondering if I would faint from all the lost blood.

3. I remember how nervous I was waiting in the tiny room while guests were ushered in, and then how much more nervous I became when my bridesmaids walked down the aisle and I was left alone in the room.

4. I remember not wanting to look at my dad before he walked me down the aisle because I was afraid he was sobbing and I knew I would to. (he wasn't, so I didn't have to worry)

5. We both fondly remember that Dan answered "I do" and I answered "I will" after my pastor had told Dan it didn't matter which he said because I would just follow his lead. Oops! Mark one lesson in submission before the ceremony was even over!

6. I remember Dan walking into the nursury with his eyes closed to give me my bouquet before our pictures.

7. I remember crying while he recited his vows to me and choking up again while I said mine.

8. I remember my feet finally started to hurt at our reception, and wondering how I had survived so long in 3 inch heels.

9. I remember our reception seeming really short and feeling sorry that it ended so quickly.

10. I remember trying valiently to remember every detail and savor every moment, and ultimately only focusing on how happy we both were (and still are today!)

Thanks for a beautiful decade together, honey. Think how much we've grown and changed in the last 10 years. I hope we have many more decades together, to grow closer together and to change more into His likeness.

I love you.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I have many fears; but this is my meditation

Psalm 62:5-8
5For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence,
for my hope is from him.
6 He only is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
7On God rests my salvation and my glory;
my mighty rock, my refuge is God.
8 Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him;
God is a refuge for us.
These are the verses I'm working on memorizing right now. Especially for those moments of fear when my soul is anything but quiet. God is my refuge - not safety in this life! Hope this passage is a blessing to you today.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

I'm in the Minority . . .

. . . at least in my circle of friends.

Why? you ask?

Because I can almost guarantee that none of my girlfriends care a lick that Prince Fielder won the Home Run Derby last night.

I can hear you asking, "Who is Prince Fielder?"

And that's why I'm in the minority.

It all started so innocently last year. My hubby started showing some interest in the Milwaukee Brewers. Now, sure, we had gone to a game here and there for the past 9+ years of living in Wisconsin, but we had never followed them. Until Dan started working with an avid fan (I mean you, Jose) and all of a sudden Dan was watching the Brewers every night. And talking about the Brewers, and trying to get free tickets by filling our cars at only BP stations with exactly 8 gallons of gas to maximize the amount of free tickets we could get. And before I knew it, I was recognizing almost all of the Brewers players. And I even found myself rooting for them by name and remembering who played where and occasionally knowing their batting averages.

Then the Brewers secured CC Sabathia (now a Yankee) about half-way through the season last year and we actually had a chance of making the post season. And it got really exciting and I found myself listening to the games on the radio! Now that is what I call deranged.

Well, label me such because now I am a full-fledged Brewers fan, with tshirts to wear to the games, checking on a regular basis, and gladly filling my car with exactly 8 gallons of gas so we can make it to another game this year. And all of this after I first made the comment that my idea of a nightmare was extra innings.

My only problem is that I don't know many women who follow the Brewers, much less any baseball at all, so if you see me talking with all the guys, you'll understand why I am in the minority . . .

Friday, July 10, 2009

Links I've Liked Lately

Baked Lemon Pasta - There are not enough adjectives in the world to describe how much I love this dish. I think I could eat it every night. And if your family doesn't go for vegetarian meals, it would be super simple to add chicken, and just as good.

What if Starbucks Marketed like a Church? This made me laugh. Favorite line: "I know a bean's been planted."

Perpetuum Jazzile - Listen to the first few seconds of the simulated thunderstorm. And then stick around because the song is amazing, too.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Spring Sewing

More completed projects, which seems to be more and more rare as the days warm up! Summer sewing might just be an oxymoron. I decided the leftover material from this project would make a fun, spring-y purse. This was the first time I constructed a purse without any sort of pattern and I found that it is the perfect size (for me, at least!) There may be more of these down the line.
This is the quilt I made from a class at my local quilt shop. It was a beginner class, and focused on constructing different, classic blocks to join into a sampler quilt. I chose some more modern fabric, which makes for an updated look on a classic pattern. It took me a few months to get the whole thing pieced, and then I waited to quilt it until I felt brave enough to do it on my new toy . . .
my Pfaff Hobby Grand Quilter on the Next Generation frame. I understand that means nothing to all of you non-quilters out there, but basically it is an industrial sewing machine that sets on a frame where you roll your quilt layers (top, batting, backing) and you move the sewing machine around to "draw" on the quilt top and secure those 3 layers together. I'll have to post pictures of it soon. It was a dream of mine to own one, and everything fell into place for a speedy, affordable purchase, which I share with my quilting friend, Debbie.
Here is an up-close of the quilting. It's sort of a loop d' loop.
That's all for now. Stay tuned for pics of Alli's homemade birthday presents!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

My 3 year old

Happy Birthday, Allison!!! (even though I'm a few days late)
I cannot even begin to express how much fun we are having with you. You are a constant joy and life wouldn't be the same without your bright smile! I love the way you kiss and hug so willingly, and how you wake up every morning (and afternoon after naptime) with a smile on your face and a desire to cuddle. I love the way you idolize your big brother - and what a good big brother he is! - and try to copy everything he does and says. Not that you need to copy him - you have some pretty good ideas yourself! You are awfully independent, but occasionally remember that you need mommy and daddy around.

Here are some things I always want to remember about you at 3 years old:
1. You eat almost anything I put in front of you, willingly, even green things.
2. You love to play house.
3. You love to have your hair done.
4. You learned to ride your tricycle with the big kids.
5. You are brave - more brave than Elijah and me!!! You don't seem scared of heights. I don't know if that is a good thing or not.
6. You are officially potty-trained. Whew. Glad that's over.
7. You giggle constantly. Never stop that.
8. You love the Brewers and say that Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder are your favorite players.
9. You make up silly songs all the time and then ask me, "Is dat funny, mommy?"
10. You still sleep all night long (since 4 weeks old!) and cheerfully go to bed.

What a gift you are to us, Allison Keona. Happy Birthday. We love you.
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Wednesday, June 03, 2009

It's My New Favorite Summertime Drink

Cold Brewed Iced Coffee

Mix 8 T of ground coffee with enough cold water to make 8 cups of coffee in a french press (or a mason jar).
Let the mixture sit for 12-24 hours.
Press down the grounds (or strain through a coffee filter) and then add an equal amount of water to the brewed coffee.
Store a pitcher in the refrigerator and serve over ice . . . or . . . add a can of sweetened condensed milk for a frappucino-type drink.

So delicious, even my non-coffee-drinking husband asked for a second glass.

You can read here why cold brewing makes a significant difference in the taste.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Boston, Day 3

It was Friday morning. Our last day in Boston. With no business meetings to attend and no schedules to keep, we arranged for a late check out from our hotel and ventured off into the city to do some more sight-seeing. But first I had to eat.

Ever since we arrived in Boston, Dan and I kept noticing Dunkin Donuts on every corner. Walk up the stairs from the T and invariably there was one on the corner. They were more abundant than Starbucks, and that's saying something. But wouldn't you guess it, the morning I'm looking for a quick breakfast that travels, we couldn't locate one anywhere. So we headed back to the hotel before I fainted from hunger and caffeine withdrawal and went to Starbucks.

Okay, then we were off again. First stop: Fenway Park Dan assured me that Fenway is historical, so that's the only reason I agreed to this outing. As we walked around the perimeter of the field, I felt like we were actively betraying our Milwaukee Brewers. And then Dan mentioned the unthinkable - he wanted to buy a Red Socks t-shirt. He explained to me that Boston is not a division rival to Milwaukee, so it was okay to root for them. I couldn't handle it. I was just about ready to make a teary call to Miller Park just to offer my apologies, when Dan saw the prices of the t-shirts and decided against the betrayal. It was a close call.

Next stop: Boston Common, America's oldest public park. We had started off here on our first day, as this is where the freedom trail begins, but we didn't spend any amount of time exploring the park, so we came back to enjoy the scenery and do some serious people watching.
This is a picture of a monument. I'm sure it's historical.

I parked myself along the edge of the pond in the middle of the park. People were feeding ducks and I just sat in the shade and enjoyed the rest. All this walking was wearing me out. Dan wandered around and took some more pictures, including this one of the famous swan boats.
And what is a day in the park without grabbing a hot dog from a street vendor? Dan likes to take pictures of me eating. He's strange, I understand that now.
Stop #3: The Boston Public Library. This was actually just across the street from our hotel, so we decided to stop there after we checked out of the hotel. I checked my email and we wandered a bit.
This giant lion reminds me of our local library. What? You mean your local library doesn't have stories-tall paintings on the walls surrounded by gargantuan lion sculptures resting on marble blocks? Too bad.

This area reminds me of our children's library. Rows and rows of dust-free tables, not a whisper audible, with people absorbed in reading books or working on their laptops. What's that you say? Your children's library is loud and has tables strewn with books and puzzles? I feel sorry for you.
The Boston Public Library has a courtyard in the middle with cafe tables and a fountain, just like my public library. Actually, now that I think about it, the Boston Public Library is almost identical to our local, small-town library. I'm not even sure why we took pictures of it.

We ended the evening walking along the wharf and Dan rested while I took another picture to prove he came along on the trip. Apparently wearing a "Boston" t-shirt signaled to many that we were tourists. We were asked where we are from a few times. But only in the nicest ways. The locals are friendly.We ate dinner at the Cheers Restaurant, a duplicate of the television show. Apparently the bar that inspired the show is tiny and only a watering hole, so we skipped that on our tours and stopped here to eat.
And whatd'ya know? We got a picture of us together!
We returned to the hotel and collapsed, with a 4AM wake-up call scheduled. It was an enormously fun trip, and I would suggest it to any couple looking for a fun get-away. Although we'll wait a few years before we go back with the kids.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Boston, Day 2

Our second day began with breakfast and the business meeting that brought us to Boston and then a guided tour set up by the company. We chose the tour of Harvard, because the Fenway tour and the whale watching tour were already booked full. But it was in no way a third rate tour, despite it being our third choice.

The tour started at John Harvard's Brew House, a historic restaurant (is everything here historic?) and brewery just down the street from "Harvard yard." (That's what the fancy Eastern intellectuals call the campus, except they pronounce it "Hahvahd yahd") I scarfed down my chicken sandwich and fries, forgetting that dessert was included, so by the time I waddled out of the restaurant, I was ready for a walking tour. This is Harvard's main gate, which we learned was bad luck to walk through, unless entering as a freshman and then the only other time you should walk through is as a graduating senior. Since we accidentally walked through it ourselves, I guess that means we are in for a spell of bad luck. I hate when that happens.
Our tour was "unofficial" led by 2 students, a freshman girl and sophomore guy, who gave us the inside scoop on famous pranks between Harvard and MIT, freshman hi jinks and the ongoing feud between Harvard and the town of Cambridge. Oh, and they gave us some historical information, of course, but I really only remember the funny stories.

This is one of the dorms for freshman. Apparently people like John Adams and other famous historical figures lived here. Like I said, I only remember the funny stories. Like when our tour guide Collin said that he lived here as a freshman and saw a limo pull up and the Dali Lama got out. And then a few weeks later he saw 3 limos and a Lincoln Town Car pull up and wondered who was more important than the Dali Lama and saw Oprah get out.

This is Memorial Hall, dedicated to honor the students who fought in the Civil War - but only for the North. A few died in service to the Confederacy, but they aren't honored here. I guess we can figure out which side Harvard was on.

The inside was like a church. Beautiful stained glass windows and archways, but it was built as a completely secular memorial. The freshman eat here and their dining room was the inspiration for the great hall in Harry Potter. What other claim to fame does one need?

The grounds were being prepared for graduation, which was happening in 2 days. Harvard boasts some pretty big names as graduation speakers, people like Bill Clinton and Bill Gates, who is the only man to have dropped out of Harvard and later given an Honorary Diploma. Of course, it doesn't compare to some of the big-wigs Maranatha gets for graduation . . . wait, I can't even remember who spoke at my graduation.

This is the statue of John Harvard, which reads: John Harvard, Founder, 1638. It's known as the statue of the 3 lies, because John Harvard didn't found the college, he just bequeathed a bunch of money to it, and it was founded in 1636, and there are no surviving images of John Harvard, so it's pretty safe to say he didn't look like this. Anyway, it's historical (do you sense a theme here?) so we had to take a picture.
After we got back to the hotel, we collapsed for about an hour and then met up with some new friends for dinner. I was still digesting lunch and didn't plan on eating, so when the group decided on seafood, we were good-natured and agreed, even though neither Dan nor I like seafood. We were encouraged that every seafood place has other choices, so Dan was satisfied.
We ended up going to the Union Oyster House, the oldest restaurant in America. The building is over 250 years old and boasts housing Revolutionaries. We sat down to order, our entire group (save Dan) ready to eat lobster or oysters. Dan opened the menu and realized there was nothing but seafood available.

Don't be mistaken, this is not battered fish he is eating. Never deterred, he saw a small menu for children 12 and younger which included chicken fingers. He asked the waitress if he passed for 12 and she obliged his squeamish appetite.

This was the most expensive children's menu platter of chicken fingers he has ever eaten.

Tim, our new friend from Iowa, enjoyed the lobster. I had to take a picture to prove to Elijah that people actually do eat those creepy things that swim in the tank at Walmart.
After dinner, we wandered the cobblestone streets and learned that if Paul Revere were alive today, he would still recognize these parts of Boston. Coming from Wisconsin, where the most historic landmark we have is Lambeau Field, that impressed me.
We ended the day in a picture-perfect moment. Window shopping around Faneuil Hall, music pouring out of pubs and restaurants mixed with the chatter and laughter of people enjoying their evenings, walking hand in hand with the man of my dreams in beautifully perfect weather and still revelling in the fact that Kris Allen beat Adam Lambert on American Idol. What more can you ask for?