Thursday, January 31, 2013

Christmas 2012, Part 2

Sorry it took us a while to post this. For whatever reason, we only took photos on our camera on one day while we were with Ed's family, and not everyone is in them. It may have had to do with the fact that other people were taking photos/videos most of the time, so we were waiting to get some of those before posting this.

Anyway, after we left my parents' house, we went to Ed's parents' house, and his grandmother and uncle were there. His brother lives nearby, so we got to see him, too. We went and got some photos taken together while we were there.
We got some more Clemson loot as gifts (we each got a travel cup and Ed got a Clemson Santa hat), which we always appreciate, because we can't get Clemson stuff in these parts.

One day, the guys and I went shooting on their friend's land out in the country. We shot mostly rifles, but we also shot some pistols and shotguns. Classic Southern entertainment.
See the shell flying out? Good shot (pun intended)!

Ed and I also had dinner with his college roommate, Doug, and his wife. We hadn't seen Doug in probably seven years, and we hadn't met his wife, so it was nice to finally catch up with him and meet her. (Sorry, didn't take photos.)

We headed back home after a few days and got some nice photos of the Smoky Mountains crossing from NC into Tennessee.

Ed said we HAD to eat lunch at Bojangles, so we stopped at the last one heading northwest through Tennessee.

We continued through Tennessee into Kentucky, where we started to see snow again. It was fluffy and looked pretty sitting on all of the trees.

And, of course, we saw lots of horses.

I thought the snow on top of the hay bales looked like frosted shredded wheat. I think I was getting hungry again.

We stopped in Louisville, KY for the night and left early the next morning to avoid getting stuck in bad weather. The sky looked neat in Indiana just before sunrise. I tried to get photos of it, but they all came out really blurry, so I'll leave it small. I guess I wasn't awake yet.

 It was a good Christmas, and it was nice to see family and to get a break from our usual routine (and from the cold!).

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

From One Extreme to Another

So, remember how it was really cold here last week?

Well, it got up to 61 degrees today. Almost all of the snow melted (there were a few small piles left here and there along the roads). It is still January, right?

Tomorrow the high is supposed to be 34 degrees. And look at Thursday and Friday. I wouldn't be surprised if we got sick with the weather changing this drastically and quickly.

Oh, and I stand corrected. I said in our first Christmas 2012 post that we wouldn't see grass here until maybe March-ish. Well, here are some photos I took in our back yard this afternoon. It was pretty cloudy and rainy most of the day, so I got out there at probably the brightest part of the day.

And it's even somewhat green. There are weeds, too.

Overall, I think this winter is even milder than last winter. Thankfully, almost every time we've had heavy precipitation this winter, it has been warm enough to just rain. In fact, we've really only had one heavy snowfall so far. We're not complaining, though! We'll see what February brings.

P.S. - I'm hoping to finally post the second and final Christmas 2012 post before February.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Baby, It's Cold Outside!

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), it's 2 degrees Fahrenheit here with a wind chill of -11 degrees. Now. And the sun is currently shining brightly.

According to the Weather Underground, it's 0 degrees F with a wind chill of -12 degrees.

The general consensus is: It's cold!

P.S. - The mailman just came by. Poor guy.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Christmas 2012, Part 1

Happy New Year! We're still catching up and getting back into our normal weekly routine after the holidays, but we do have several things to share on here over the next few weeks or so. I hope to post a bit more regularly this year, but I'm not going to call it a "resolution" just yet.

For Christmas, we drove down to South Carolina to see family. We spent a few days with my parents and grandmother (which this post covers), and then we spent a few days with Ed's family (will cover in our next post).

We had a nice trip. There wasn't much traffic, and we saw lots of farmland and mountains. We broke the trip up into two days, stopping for the night in Franklin, IN, since we didn't leave Rockford until mid-afternoon on the Friday before Christmas and it's about a 14- or 15-hour drive.

Somewhere in Indiana
Somewhere obviously not in Indiana (can't remember if it was KY, TN, or NC)

Once we arrived in SC, we watched a few movies, went to church, did a little shopping, and even did a few quick and easy craft projects. And thanks to a $10 gift card, my mom and I both ate lunch at Chick-fil-A for 44 cents total one day while we were out shopping!

Speaking of Chick-fil-A, the Clemson Tigers (our alma mater, in case you couldn't tell) played the LSU Tigers in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl on New Year's Eve, and Clemson won in the last few seconds of the game, in true Clemson form. You could say it was a real cat fight!

And speaking of Clemson, the Clemson Christmas tree ornament was cute this year. Thanks, Mom and Dad!

And speaking of Christmas trees, my parents totally got one for free this year. Sweet!

And speaking of sweet...just kidding. Is that getting funny or annoying? I'm kind of enjoying it. It's pretty much how my mind works all of the time. I'll stop for now.

Anyway, onto some photos from Christmas day. We made some jams, jellies, and a marmalade to give as gifts. We also made some lip balms. I'll post more details and photos of all of that later.

Bernadette holding up some blackberry jam we made
When Bernadette (my mom) opened the lip balms, she tried one on and asked Daniel (my dad) to see if he could smell it, so he kissed her to find out. It was cute. Ed managed to snap a photo, but it came out too blurry. Oh well. They probably didn't want a photo like that on the internet anyway. ;)

We were glad we got to see Joyce (my grandmother), since we hadn't seen her since before we moved to Illinois.
Joyce sitting with Buster (left) and Buddy
The pugs were adorable, as usual. Buddy enjoys opening Christmas presents, but evidently it's not Buster's thing. Buster pretty much just sat there and didn't want to be bothered with it until someone mostly unwrapped it for him. This from the dog who until recently chewed on everything. Obviously, Buddy just has more Christmas spirit and experience than Buster.

Buddy opening his Christmas present
Buster not opening his

We sort of developed this expectation while opening gifts that everyone needed to look really surprised, maybe even shocked, as they opened each gift. We think my dad gets the prize for that.

That second one makes me laugh so hard every time I look at it! Not sure what happened with the lighting, but I think the reddish tint kind of adds to the intensity. He really does like nuts that much, though (which is why he got them), so he may not have been trying too hard to act pleasantly surprised.

Well, we set out the next day for Ed's parents' house, but before we left town, Ed wanted to stop by Death Valley (the Clemson football stadium, aka Memorial Stadium) for a few photos. It was starting to rain and it was windy (the wind was puffing up his shirt in the first photo below--not extra pounds!).

We played in the marching band while we were there, so we spent a lot of time in this stadium.

And yes, the grass was green the day after Christmas. We won't even get to see grass again where we live until maybe March-ish.