Thursday, April 18, 2013

Back Blogging

Tonight I start the process of back-blogging.  I know, I could just start today and catch up over time.  But I'm a stickler for keeping things chronologically accurate!  So take some time over the next few weeks and check out previous posts to get caught up with life in Cheek home!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

25 Weeks

How far along? 25 Weeks
Trimester: Second
Maternity clothes? Mostly maternity at this point - love my cute sweaters & shirts from my cousin Jennifer and my co-worker Chris!
Sleep: getting comfortable is starting to be more difficult, but overall not too horrible
Best moment this week: A fabulous anniversary in Intercourse, PA with my handsome knight
Miss Anything? Sleeping on my tummy
Movement: Tons - I feel like my baby is having parties & not inviting me!
Food cravings: Apparently bacon for a few days - coming from the girl who doesn't eat pork
Anything making you queasy or sick: The sight or talk of food when I'm full
Labor Signs: nope
Symptoms: potty breaks, pregnancy carpel tunnel, pregnancy rhinitis - this stuff is not for the faint of heart!  I have so much more respect for mothers!
Belly Button in or out? in
Wedding rings on or off? on, but getting tight
Looking forward to: A normal week

Saturday, November 17, 2012

24 Weeks

How far along? 24 Weeks
Trimester: Second
Maternity clothes? Mostly maternity - I can still wear some regular t-shirts, lounge pants, and dresses
Sleep: Good once I get comfortable
Best moment this week: Getting to see Patti!!!
Miss Anything? not really
Movement: Baby Cheek was kicking so much Thursday night that you could see my tummy moving!
Food cravings: different each day
Anything making you queasy or sick: just first thing in the morning
Labor Signs: nope
Symptoms: Braxton Hicks, carpal tunnel, congestion, difficulty breathing
Belly Button in or out? in
Wedding rings on or off? on
Looking forward to: Spending this week in NY with my knight & best friend

We haven't taken any pictures in weeks!  Between moving & working, it has been difficult to line up our schedules to take them.  Plus, I just feel fat, so the last thing I want is to have pictures taken of me!   Maybe soon...

Sunday, November 11, 2012

23 Weeks

How far along? 23 Weeks
Trimester: Second
Maternity clothes? More each day
Sleep: difficult
Best moment this week: Dinner with our dear friends, the Mathews
Miss Anything? Being able to go more than 1 hour between potty breaks
Movement: lots - more with sugar
Food cravings: Pumpkin milkshake!
Anything making you queasy or sick: not really
Labor Signs: nope
Symptoms: my ankles are the size of my calves after work each day!
Belly Button in or out? in
Wedding rings on or off? on
Looking forward to: Going out of town on vacation next week - hallelujah!

Sunday, November 04, 2012

22 Weeks

How far along? 22 Weeks
Trimester: Second
Maternity clothes? Still trying to make it work with the dresses I own!
Sleep: varied, but we got a pregnancy wedge this week to try to help with that
Best moments this week: Getting to see our little one on an ultrasound & seeing lots of family on a trip to Atlanta
Miss Anything? Being able to stay up late - well, late for me!
Movement: lots of kicking and punching
Food cravings: muffins
Anything making you queasy or sick: not really
Labor Signs: nope
Symptoms: Braxton Hicks contractions have started
Belly Button in or out? in
Wedding rings on or off? on
Looking forward to: Getting unpacked & settled in at mom's

Saturday, October 20, 2012

20 Weeks

How far along? 20 Weeks
Trimester: Second
Maternity clothes? Maternity jeans
Sleep: way too many interruptions!
Best moment this week: Being able to clean & move stuff around at mom's so we will have room to move in
Miss Anything? Being able to run up & down our stairs at the apartment
Movement: lots of kicks
Food cravings: not really
Anything making you queasy or sick: brushing my teeth still
Labor Signs: nope
Symptoms: I guess weight gain is a symptom!
Belly Button in or out? in
Wedding rings on or off? on
Looking forward to: Our ultrasound on Wednesday!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

19 Weeks

How far along? 19 Weeks
Trimester: Second
Maternity clothes? Just jeans, but I didn't like them...I'm not showing enough to look pregnant - just fat!
Sleep: Sometimes
Best moment this week: I felt baby Cheek move for the first time Friday night and he/she hasn't stopped since!
Miss Anything? I packed up all my pre-maternity clothes yesterday and found things I haven't worn in quite a while - unfortunately I won't be able to wear them for a lot longer!
Movement: it feels like little muscle twitches - so exciting!
Food cravings: Swedish fish again - what?
Anything making you queasy or sick: brushing my teeth still makes me gag
Labor Signs: nope
Symptoms: still have to pee every 45 minutes, but now I get to feel baby move - so it's kinda worth it
Belly Button in or out? in
Wedding rings on or off? on
Looking forward to: Our next/last ultrasound - it's been a long time since I've seen my sweet pea!

We missed last week since we were out of town, so it kinda threw off the every 2 week thing.  I'd like to start taking pics every week now that I'm showing, but we'll see what we have time for!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

17 Weeks

How far along? 17 Weeks
Trimester: Second
Maternity clothes? will be switching to maternity jeans soon!
Sleep: not too bad - but I definitely have to be in bed early to get enough rest
Best moment this week: 3 times this week I was able to get up and start getting ready for the day before I ate anything - and I didn't get sick!
Miss Anything? being able to go 3 or 4 hours without having to pee!!!
Movement: still can't feel it yet
Food cravings: Muffins
Anything making you queasy or sick: the thought of food when I'm full
Labor Signs: nope
Symptoms: still having bladder issues - baby must be sitting right on it!
Belly Button in or out? in
Wedding rings on or off? on
Looking forward to: a getaway next weekend with my sweet knight for a wedding in Lynchburg

Saturday, September 22, 2012

16 Weeks

How far along? 16 Weeks
Trimester: Second
Maternity clothes? not yet
Sleep: good for the most part
Best moment this week: I got a stomach bug - ok that part wasn't the best - but I spent the day at home on the couch since I was so sick and ended up getting a lot done on the computer!  I got the ball rolling on having our wedding album made and our wedding film fixed - something I've been putting off for way too long
Miss Anything? not really
Movement: not yet
Food cravings: Ice Breakers Sours
Anything making you queasy or sick: mornings still...
Labor Signs: nope
Symptoms: bladder issues!
Belly Button in or out? in
Wedding rings on or off? on
Looking forward to: making an appointment at my new birthing center!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A different plan for delivery

Since I'm home sick today with a lingering stomach bug, I thought I'd use some of my time on the couch to update the blog.  I have been going to the same doctor for the past several years as I have dealt with endometriosis and other woman issues - he is actually a lifelong family friend who I trust entirely.  However, he is not an obstetrician, so I knew I would not be able to continue to see him during my pregnancy - plus, he had the nerve to retire in June!  J/K - I wish him the best!  Anyway, we went to our first 2 doctor's appointments with a different MD at the same office and everything looked completely normal except for the Rh factor thing.  Given the low risk, we decided to take a tour of the Women's Birth & Wellness Center in Chapel Hill to consider a natural delivery in a home-like environment.  I really liked it there & have decided to transfer care from my doctor to this facility with nurses and midwives.  It's a bit different than a hospital delivery - no epidurals, only 2 pain medications (& I'm allergic to one of them!), a bathtub in every room for the option of a water birth, the opportunity to eat throughout the whole process to maintain energy, a living room & kitchenette area for family members to hang out, and you go home about 4 hours after delivery!  Don't worry, they do home visits to check on you - it's not like they leave you high & dry after the baby is born.  And UNC hospital is only a couple miles up the road if there are any emergencies.

Why this decision, you ask?  Maybe I've spent too much time online reading about the drastic decrease in natural births in hospitals in America. Or maybe it was the documentaries on Netflix demonstrating the standard cookie cutter deliveries in our hospitals - labor is taking too long, lay on the pitocin, the contractions come on stronger & harder so you need an epidural, the epidural slows down the labor, so you'll need more pitocin, then before you know it the pitocin is putting the baby under so much stress you need an emergency C-section.  I'm not saying that happens to everybody, but the statistics are enough to raise some concern.  I want to give my baby every opportunity to come into this world in his or her own time and I believe this place to be the best place to make that happen.  Please pray with us for renewed health for me & continued health for the baby!

If anyone has either given birth with a midwife or attended a birth with a midwife, I would love to hear your feedback!

Monday, September 17, 2012

15 Weeks

How far along? 15 Weeks
Trimester: Second
Maternity clothes? no, but I did get some clothes down from the top of my closet that used to be too big - they fit perfectly now :)
Sleep: comes and goes
Best moment this week: On Friday night we went on our 2 year anniversary date of the day we met - we started at Carrabba's (of course!) for appetizers, then to Richland Creek for some pizza and fellowship, and then to my cousins' house to meet their newest addition to the family & their new house!
Miss Anything? eating anything with tomatoes - for some reason during the first trimester I could eat all the Italian I wanted! But now it's back to normal - no tomatoes for me!
Movement: still can't feel it yet
Food cravings: Swedish Fish... I don't even know!  I blame it on my co-worker :)
Anything making you queasy or sick: mornings still...
Labor Signs: nope
Symptoms: baby brain!
Belly Button in or out? in
Wedding rings on or off? on
Looking forward to: Seeing a baby bump instead of feeling just plain fat :(

Saturday, September 15, 2012

30 before 30 List

I really wanted to put things like...go white water rafting, run a 1/2 marathon, or travel to *insert exotic place here*, but then I remembered that I only have about 245 days left and I'm pregnant.  Oops.  So here it is folks!

1. Finish my Bible reading plan - in 1 year like it's supposed to be done! *working on it
2. Read Systematic Theology *working on it
3. Create a new family tradition
4. Get a canvas print from our wedding day
5. Have our wedding album made! *working on it
6. Have our wedding video fixed *working on it
7. Sell my unused wedding gown
8. Clean out my music therapy stuff & sell some instruments
9. Clean out my bedroom at mom's house
10. Go on a vacation with mom
11. Re-develop calluses on my fingers from the amount of time I spend playing guitar
12. Go dancing with my knight!
13. Complete a 30x30 closet remix *November
14. Learn to sew & make something for baby
15. Learn how to can something
16. Learn how to make candles
17. Paint a piece of pottery
18. Make a front door wreath for every season
19. Give at least 5 homemade gifts
20. Refinish a piece of furniture
21. Hang curtains in at least 2 rooms
22. Bake a cheesecake
23. Cook dinner for at least 4 families in need
24. Take a photography class
25. Learn to use photoshop
26. Finish one of my old scrapbooks
27. Consolidate all mission trip pictures
28. See a show at Sight & Sound Theater *November
29. Write a letter to my 29 year old self
30. Have a baby :) *March!

Monday, September 10, 2012

14 Weeks

How far along? 14 Weeks
Trimester: Second!
Maternity clothes? not yet
Sleep: insomnia is setting in
Best moment this week: several moments! 5 sweet families brought us dinner this week after my knight had knee surgery and I had a procedure done on my foot that required me to keep it elevated for several days
Miss Anything? not really
Movement: still can't feel it yet
Food cravings: nothing weird
Anything making you queasy or sick: mornings :)
Labor Signs: nope
Symptoms: 3 or 4 episodes a day of 1 or 2 hiccups... very weird
Belly Button in or out? in
Wedding rings on or off? on
Looking forward to: Tomorrow we are going on a tour of the Women's Birth and Wellness Center to see if I want to transfer care - I'm excited!

Saturday, September 08, 2012

30 before 30 ideas

I am creating a list of 30 things to do before I turn 30, but I need some help!  I have 3 open spots left and I can't think of anything to fill them.  I need your suggestions!  Keep in mind - time & budget are of utmost priority here :)

Thursday, September 06, 2012

13 Weeks

How far along? 13 Weeks
Trimester: Last week of the first
Maternity clothes? not yet
Sleep: still varies
Best moment this week: My mom bought some adorable maternity clothes that I can't wait to start wearing!  I got inspired by all the 30x30 blogs going around where women are trying to make 30 completely different outfits out of 30 pieces of clothing/accessories.  I have decided to do 30x30 Preggo style!  Watch out for that in November :)
Miss Anything?  Being able to get out of bed & head straight to the shower - right now it's straight to the kitchen to make something to eat - and fast!
Movement: can't feel it yet
Food cravings: Honey Roasted Peanuts
Anything making you queasy or sick: when people talk about food when I'm not hungry or in the mood for that particular food item
Labor Signs: nope
Symptoms: same
Belly Button in or out? in
Wedding rings on or off? on
Looking forward to: still hoping to feel better in that second trimester - can't wait to start exercising again!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

12 Weeks

How far along? 12 Weeks
Trimester: First
Maternity Clothes? not yet
Sleep: varies - still waking up for those potty breaks
Best moment this week: Getting to see my precious baby waving at me!
Miss anything? One of my friends went to an amusement park this past week and I was so jealous - I miss roller coasters!
Food cravings: I've been eating a lot of popcorn this week - strange for the girl that doesn't eat anything related to corn
Movement: I can't feel it yet, but he/she was jumping and spinning like crazy at yesterday's doctor's appt.
Anything making you queasy or sick: certain smells - or smelling dinner for 3 hours after it's been cooked & eaten
Labor signs: nope
Symptoms: same
Belly Button in or out? in
Wedding Rings on or off? on
Looking forward to: That second trimester energy that everyone keeps talking about!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Rh Factor

What the heck is that?  I had never heard of it until my most recent MD appt. for the baby.  Well apparently, I have O- blood.  I never knew that before, but it's kinda cool because IF I could actually stand needles and give blood, I'm a universal donor.  The only thing that stinks is that O- is the only kind of blood I can receive if I ever need it.  Another problem is that Travis is B+.  If we only had blood tests before we got married, all of this could have been prevented!  Totally kidding.  Anyway, normally blood type wouldn't matter, but the fact that I am Rh negative and he is Rh positive apparently causes issues when we procreate.  If my baby happens to be Rh positive and any of its blood cells enter into my bloodstream, I become sensitized.  When I become sensitized, antibodies will form to try to fight the Rh positive blood cells - in other words, my body will start attacking my baby possibly causing serious illness, brain damage, or even death.  Because this is our first pregnancy, we hopefully will not run into any serious problems.  They will give me a shot of Rhogam at 28 weeks that is supposed to help me to not become sensitized.  However, with each delivery there are more and more chances of the baby's blood getting mixed with mine and therefore more likelihood that I will become sensitized and develop those antibodies (only if the baby's blood is Rh positive - but the best way of figuring that out is finding out the blood type once the baby is born - not helpful).  Therefore, any future pregnancies will put the babies at increasing risks.  I've been joking the whole first trimester that I may never do this again just because I'm having such a difficult time, but now we seriously do need to consider the risks.  We may end up with a large family of adopted children, and that would make my heart happy.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

11 weeks

I got this idea off of another blog and thought it would be such a great way for me to remember fun details.  Not to mention I seriously can't put thoughts together to write a full blog post at this point!

How far along?  11 Weeks
Trimester: First
Maternity clothes? not yet
Sleep: varies by day - usually I wake up a million times to pee or just for no apparent reason
Best moment this week: I cooked dinner 3 times this week!
Miss Anything? eating healthy - I used to LOVE veggies & fruit and now it's next to impossible to get me to eat them
Food cravings: McDonald's breakfasts & peanut butter (so strange for the girl that does not eat peanuts)
Movement: not yet
Anything making you queasy or sick: bananas, almond butter, turkey burgers, basically anything I used to eat on an almost daily basis
Labor Signs: no
Symptoms: hiccups, frequent trips to the potty acne, fatigue, my hair & nails are growing like weeds!
Belly Button in or out? in
Wedding Rings on or off? on
Looking forward to: My doctor's appt next Friday where I get to see my little one again!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

I'm done reminiscing, you are caught up!

Now that you are completely caught up on the last two years, you are ready for our news!  We are now the proud parents of...
a Kumquat!  Or at least that what the internet tells us about the size of our baby!  Yes, ladies and gentlemen, we have...
a bun in the oven!  Wow that cinnamon bun looks good - where is my knight when I need him?  Maybe I could get him to stop at Dunkin Donuts on the way home... Ok, I'm done.  In all seriousness, I am 10 weeks pregnant today and have been experiencing all the emotions you would imagine.... excitement, fear, joy, anxiety, nausea - oh wait, that's not an emotion.  But yeah, it's rough.  I had no idea what I was getting into.  I am seriously thankful that it is not any worse than it is, but I must be a wimp because I do not feel like I am cut out for this!  Not only that, I was certainly not ready for the flexibility that would be required of me.  I can no longer meal plan in any way, shape, or form because I have no idea what this stomach will be able to handle at any given minute.  Oh and forget making plans with friends because at any given moment, I can be found sleeping on the couch!  People say things will get better in the second trimester, so I'm hopeful!  The only good thing about the nausea is that I know this baby is alive & growing.  For that, I am so thankful.  I must go and feed this little one, so I'll leave you with a pic from our first MD appt last week-
Ok, so that's not really ours, but it sure looks a whole lot like ours!  I can't figure out how to get our pic on here, so this will have to do!

Saturday, August 04, 2012 day!

Here are the highlights from that beautiful Fall day when we committed our lives to one another.  The weather was gorgeous, we were surrounded by most of our closest friends and family, and the food at 1705 Prime was oh so good!  We wish we had stayed at the reception just a little longer, but all in all it was a great day!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Reading List 2012

Since I've been gone from the blog so long, I never did get to post my reading list for 2012.  Here it goes:

The Five Love Languages (Chapman) - done
For Women Only (Feldhahn) - done
For Men Only (Feldhahn) - done
Taking Charge of Your Fertility (Weschler) - done
When Sinners Say "I Do" (Harvey) - done
So Much More Than Sexy (Attebery) - done
Still Alice (Genova) - done
Work Matters (Nelson) - done
Heaven is For Real (Burpo) - done
What to Expect When You're Expecting (Murkoff) - reading
The Power of a Praying Wife (Omartian) - reading
The Life and Diary of David Brainerd
Systematic Theology (Grudem) - reading

Saturday, July 28, 2012 planning

Before I met my sweet knight, I had a lifelong dream of a Fall wedding.  Once we met, I found out he did too!  With our engagement happening in September, we either had to wait an entire year to get married, or throw together a wedding in 2 months.  We knew we couldn't wait that long, so with most of the vendors in place (I have some AMAZINGLY talented friends who happen to do photography, wedding cakes, cookies, & music) I hired a planner.  At first I thought it was great... that was, until I received a copy of our invitations.  By then it was too late, they were already mailed out.  Oh how I hated them.  I still hate them.  Every time a wedding invitation comes in the mail for another friend of mine, I still get sad.  One day I guess I'll need to move past that!  Anyway, that was wedding blunder #1!  Then I saw the return address on the back... the two of us at my address. Oh great, let's make everyone think that we live together.  Wedding blunder #2.  That's all it took, my wedding planner was fired.  I was an emotional basket case when I called Gina from La Cosa Bella Events at 8:30pm on a Wednesday night 17 days before our wedding.  To my relief, she answered the phone!  I will never forget how she calmed me down and made me feel completely at ease about taking over our wedding plans.  We met the next night for 3 hours and then the next night for another 3 hours.  After that, she pretty much took over everything and pulled off a beautiful wedding in only 16 days.  I'm still amazed at her work!  I can't urge you enough to hire this gem for your wedding!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Meal Planning

I know many of you will be shocked to hear that I am not some great chef *chuckle* after posting several brilliant recipes *LOL* over the past couple weeks.  Most nights I do not sit around and come up with dinner on my own.  Nope.  I do all my meal planning usually on Saturday mornings and then run to the grocery store right after to try to beat the Saturday crowds.  Let me introduce you to Emeals.  It has been my lifesaver for about a year now, well, maybe not as much lately, but I still love it.  For only $5 a month (watch out for the Groupon that gets you a full year for only $29 to save even more money!), you can get recipes for every night of the week.  You can choose the number of people you need to feed as well as what type of menu you would like - low-fat, low-carb, gluten-free, etc.  (And you can change this once a month)  Not only do you get recipes, but you get a grocery list as well!  And what happens when you do not want one of the recipes on the menu?  You simply find the number of the meal (2 for example) and cross off all the items on your grocery list with the number 2 next to them so you know not to buy those ingredients.  It's a wonderful tool and I highly recommend it!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Pasta & Veggies

I found a recipe blog that I just love and you should totally check it out!  It's called Skinnytaste and everything on it looks good!  This recipe is a combination of two of her recipes because they both looked good when I was preparing to cook dinner and I wanted them both :)


1/2 lb asparagus, cut into 2" pieces
16 oz uncooked brown rice spagetti pasta
1 Tablespoon olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, diced
salt & pepper
crushed red pepper flakes to taste
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese


1. In a large pot boil 4 cups water with salt.  When boiling, add asparagus and cook 3-5 minutes, until tender crisp.  Drain asparagus in colander reserving 1 cup liquid before draining.

2. Fill pot with salted water and cook pasta according to instructions.

3. While pasta is cooking, in a large saute pan, heat oil on medium-high heat.  Add onion and garlic to the pan and saute about 2 minutes.  Add zucchini and asparagus and season with salt & pepper.  Cook about 3 minutes.

4. In a small bowl, combine egg yolk, Parmesan cheese, 1/2 cup reserved asparagus liquid, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.  Mix well.  After pasta is drained return to pot and mix with egg mixture.  Cook on medium-low about 3 minutes, until sauce thickens and sticks to pasta.  Toss in asparagus, zucchini, and onions, and mix well.  Adjust salt and pepper to taste.  If pasta seems too dry, add more reserved liquid a Tablespoon at a time.

Serve with additional grated cheese.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

A few of our faves...

Rebecca Mill (The Indie Image) took our engagement pics and our wedding pics.  Definitely check her out!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Beef & Potato Casserole

I came with this when it was the end of the month and I had the following ingredients in my pantry/freezer:


1 lb ground beef
1 onion, chopped
3 Yukon Gold potatoes, cubed
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
2 Tablespoons rice flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried mustard
1 1/2 cups milk (lactose free for us)
1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 bag of frozen peas


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Coat 8x8 baking dish with cooking spray.

3. Boil potatoes in a medium saucepan for about 10 minutes and drain. While the potatoes are boiling, brown ground beef and onions.  Set aside.

4. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan.  Add flour, salt, pepper, and mustard and cook 2-3 minutes until bubbly and foamy.  Slowly whisk in the milk and cook until thickened.  Stir in the shredded cheese.

5. Place the beef, potatoes, and peas in the baking dish.  Pour sauce over the top and mix until combined.

6. Bake uncovered for about 30 minutes.  Top with a little extra shredded cheese 3 minutes before it's done to melt the topping.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

My Ring

Travis designed this ring from jewelry given to us by both of our mothers.  The center stone is from Kate's mom, the marquis cut diamond on the right is from Travis' mom, Travis bought the one on the left to match his mom's, and then the 6 diamonds on the sides of the ring are from Kate's grandmother's engagement ring.  It is so sentimental, and he did an amazing job!

Saturday, July 14, 2012


As told by my sweet knight....

I picked up the ring Thursday and planned to propose on Friday. You should know that I never plan anything, but this was special, so I put forth some effort. :) I decided the best place to propose would be at her house. So with the help of her roommate, I hatched a plan to decorate the living room with candles and flowers. The only thing left was to get her out of the house. Then I found out that "Finding Nemo" was playing that night in one of the local parks. Things were coming together really well! And then it happened.

As I was setting up at Kate's house, she texted me saying that she had had a terrible day and only wanted to go home to bed. "Oh no," I thought, "she's going to ruin everything," I ran out of the house, drove to a nearby parking lot, and called her. But, she couldn't be persuaded and said that she was going to rest and that she would see me the next day. I had hidden the ring at her house. I had bought flowers and candles. There was a slide show. There was "Finding Nemo" playing in the park! This proposal was going to happen tonight. 

I went to Chick-Fil-A and waited for what seemed like forever. Eventually, she texted saying that she couldn't sleep. This was my chance so, without waiting for an invite, I told her I'd be right over. After I got there, we talked a bit and then she started cooking. Yes, she had to cook her own "proposal dinner." In all this planning, I never really made plans for supper, so she cooked and then we drove down to the park. Still (although she would tell you differently) she had no clue as to what would happen when we got home.
Kate & Kasey

While we were at the movie, her roommate decorated the living room with the candles and fresh flowers. As we walked into the living room, Kate stopped, stared, and the waterworks began. The place looked amazing! We made our way over to the couch to watch a slide show I had put together. Unfortunately, I couldn't get the slide show onto the TV so we just watched it on my laptop. With Geoff Moore singing "If You Could See What I See" in the background, I pulled out the ring and asked her to marry me. Silence. More tears. And finally, "of course I will."

Cohorts celebrating with Klondikes!

Calling the fam!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Baked Black Beans & Rice

Just ask my husband, there are 2 things I absolutely cannot cook - rice & omelets.  Until now!  I found a great baked brown rice recipe by Alton Brown from The Food Network and began to make the perfect brown rice every time!  I decided to start experimenting and I came up with a great recipe for black beans & rice.  I have a severe iron deficiency, so I'm always trying to get in iron wherever I can in my food.  The Vitamin C in the red pepper helps bodies absorb the iron in the rice & black beans... combined with the energy from brown rice, this meal makes for a great 'bagged' lunch for work!  I didn't exactly measure everything, but it's pretty close!  And it could probably use more black beans, but I'm not sure an 8x8 pan would hold it.


1 1/2 cups uncooked brown rice
1 16oz can of black beans, drained & rinsed
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon unsalted butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 onion, chopped
1 1/2 to 2 red peppers, chopped
2 1/2 cups water


1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

2. Place the rice and black beans in an 8-inch square glass baking dish sprayed with cooking spray.

3. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, heat the oil and butter.  Add the garlic and all of the seasonings and let it bubble a minute.  Then add the onion and pepper and saute for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the water, cover, and bring just to a boil.

4. Once the water boils, pour over the rice, stir to combine, and cover the dish tightly with heavy-duty aluminum foil.  Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 1 hour.

5. After 1 hour, remove cover and fluff the rice with a fork.  Enjoy!

Saturday, July 07, 2012 it all started

It's time to fill in the blanks from the past year and a half, starting with how we met!  It all started in January of 2010 when my good friend Hannah got shipped off to Central Asia as a part of a semester-abroad program.  She ended up in a small town helping a guy named Travis with an ESL program.  He had been there about a year and still had one year left of his term overseas.  She emailed me within the first week she was there and told me about this boy named Travis who would be perfect for me.  My thoughts, she's crazy.  He still had one year left of his term and he lived about 6300 miles away (9 hour time difference).  Nevertheless, she continued to keep me updated monthly on what this guy was up to.

She arrived home in June and by July she had it worked out how we would meet.  On July 3, I was over at her place as she skyped with Travis.  Leaving the conversation to bake some cookies, she left me at the computer to carry on the conversation.  At this point, it was merely instant messaging, no video skype for me.  We became friends on Facebook soon after and began writing back and forth on each other's walls.  Then private messages commenced.  And then we met up again on skype.  Again, only a typed conversation.  The first conversation was about 3 1/2 hours and we decided to do it again the next day!

We did that for a couple weekends and then his grandfather passed away.  He came home for one week for the funeral and we decided to meet in Greensboro for dinner so we could meet face to face.  Hannah came with me and his friend John with him.  I'll have to tell you the details of that special night another time!  It went well and he ended up flying back to Central Asia at the end of the week.  After about 2 weeks, he made the difficult decision to cut off communication with me.  The terms of his job required him to remain single and at this point he still had 3 1/2 months left.

So that was that.  Relationship over.  Or was it?  I still felt like God had placed this man in my life for the long-haul, but I had to respect his decision and trust God with all of it.  So for 3 months I continued to pray for Travis and post on my blog since I knew he kept up with it (thank you Blogger statistics!).  He came home at the end of his term on Dec. 21, 2010 and called me 2 days later on the 23rd (I don't remember much of that conversation given that I was heavily drugged from a minor surgery I had that day).  But I knew he was coming to see me soon!  On the 27th, he battled snow and ice and showed up at my house.  Then on the 28th, I went out to H-ville to visit him and got to meet ALL of his family and even some of his extended family!

After about 8 1/2 months of courtship, he popped the question :)