Sunday, December 30, 2007

Fun in the Sun, for Christmas

Texas is the best place to be for Christmas, especially when you live in a dark and dreary wasteland like Illinois. There was sun, and nice weather, and leaves on trees. It was perfect. It was so nice, in fact, that we took a road trip our second day there to see some quaint old towns. We stopped by Bandera, TX and Fredericksburg, TX. We sat by a beautiful river, laughed at the utterly Texan nativities, and ate some scrumptious German food.

Living in Illinois reminded me how un-flat Texas is. They do call it the Texas Hill Country for a good reason. Being as such, I recommended we take a quick drive from Fredericksburg to Enchanted Rock. It was our 'mountain' growing up. It's not really a mountain, but more of a really huge granite dome that is fun to climb. So we did. It was so beautiful and we saw a tarantula. It was quite a perfect closing to our road trip.

The rest of the Christmas holiday was enjoyable as well. We ate delicious food at home, opened a few gifts, bought some fun books. We went to the Riverwalk again, and ate at Casa Rios. It has the best Mexican food ever! It was also very fun to see Megan, Kyle and Hallee again. Brooklyn played in the bathtub with Hallee and of course we snapped a couple pics. All in all it was a fantastic 9 days in comfortable San Antonio!
View the pics

Saturday, December 15, 2007


I'm done with finals and one more semester. I feel like I've learned so much! Especially about State Space Representation and Control. Too bad my final exam experience didn't make me feel that way! Goo, that was one hard final.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Tis the Season

So I hate to post too many things right in a row, especially when it involves pictures of my cute kid. I don't want anyone to miss out on those. So if you haven't yet seen the "Apple a Day..." post, go read it first.

Ok. Back again? Great. Tis the season to celebrate cold weather, final exams, and Christmas! These past two weeks we have been hit with a sharp cold front and the temperature has dropped a lot. It finally snowed a couple times. Hurray for first snow! However, the snow isn't the bad part about Illinois weather. It's the wind and ice that come later. Despite my bitter resentment for the hated Illinois winter, I was put in awe this afternoon after church. I pulled into the neighborhood, on the way home, and was delighted by the leafy trees welcoming me home. Leafy trees? Wait a second...they all fell off weeks ago! Check it out. The prettiest leaves of the season:

Well, aside from the freakish weather, I only have one week left of the term: Finals week! Luckily I only have one test to worry about. Too bad it's a big one. :( That's ok. It isn't until the very last day of finals week, Sat. 15. It sounds revolting, I know, but I'm actually glad. I have to proctor a final and then grade it and that will consume a lot of the early part of the week. So I have plenty of time left to study, study, study. And besides, I'm not going anywhere. Or am I?

Yes we're leaving town! We're totally excited about our Christmas travel plans this year. We are spending about 9 days in TX for Christmas, and then spending 3 or so days in Colorado for New Years, then it's off to Costa Rica for a week! So it'll be a blast. We get some time alone with the Baillio Grandparents, and we get to meet a new McDonald, and live it up with lots of Barrands. We will soak up the experiences because we won't get another opportunity like it for a while. Not only because it's not every day you go to Costa Rica, but also because I can't take off so much time for Christmas break anymore. Technically I'm overdoing it this season, but that was a major oversight on my part. Grad students are like regular working stiffs, with only 2-3 weeks vacation for a whole year. Silly me. I booked 3 weeks for Christmas alone! I'll make it up somehow.

Well the next two weeks can't come fast enough for us. It's been a long 6 months away from family and loved ones. And we can't wait to show off Brooklyn!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Apple A Day Keeps The Doctor Away

Brooklyn making moves on a neighbor boy

Friday, November 30, 2007

Small Accomplishments

I feel the need to only blog when something important happens. If that were so, there is good reason why we haven't blogged in awhile. So instead let me share some small accomplishments I've achieved over the past two weeks.

I made cinnamon rolls with YEAST! Yeast you say??? Yes, yeast!!!! It's the first time ever I got the yeast to rise. I was very proud and even though Brad only ate one, my friends gobbled them down. And I ate like 6, so I think they turned out.

I painted this for Brooklyn's room. Don't notice that the middle bunny's ears are coming out of the side of it's head.

I made this wreath for only 4 dollars!!! Go festive thrifty me!

I've read a couple more books.

I'm preparing for St. Joesph's High Schools Production of School House Rock Live. I know, I know, I promised myself I would do anymore choreography gigs, but I guess they seemed pretty desperate. And hey who doesn't want "Conjunction Junction" and "Lolly, Lolly, Lolly get your Adverbs Here" in their head all day long?

Also, this isn't a accomplishment, but something I'm REALLY excited about!! We are going to Costa Rica in month!!! Beaches, Seafood, Canopy Tours, Snorkeling,and Monkeys. Brooklyn will be eating alot of sand, but she'll be getting her minerals.

Pictures for fun!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

November Lull

So the last few weeks have been mostly uneventful. It's that November lull, when things quiet down right before the storm of the Holiday Season. Now that it is Fall Break at the University, things will start to ramp up in intensity. Thanksgiving is right around the corner, then two weeks of school, final papers, last homework assignments, and then final exams. And I'll be done with another semester. And then begins the craziness of Christmas. So, maybe it's a good thing that we're in a lull. Time to enjoy the relaxation of nothing going on.

A few key occurances in the last few weeks...
Brooklyn upgraded to the bathtub! She loves it so much. :)

Brad got Guitar Hero III, and Super Mario Galaxy.
He loves it so much. :)

Celeste got sick. She hated it so much. :(

Sunday, November 04, 2007


I once heard this somewhere: "If you want something done, ask a busy man to do it." Well, that's how I feel, because I was already busy, and now I've been asked to teach early morning seminary. And it will definitely get done. I've taught twice already, and it is a great experience. It is fun to be teaching the gospel again, and especially the Old Testament. I think we loose its significance among the "begats" and the cryptic symbolism. Anyways, I am both apprehensive, and psyched for the opportunity. Luckily I am team teaching with another guy in the ward, so we are splitting up the weeks. This takes the stress off.

There are 18 students in the class, which is a lot, but it's no different than my TA class. So I feel pretty comfortable up there teaching. It is great to be studying the scriptures again instead of just reading. Exodus is an amazing book, and an amazing story. I shared with the students on Thursday that the children of Israel were delivered through so many amazing miracles to prove to them, and to the Egyptians, without doubt that they were delivered by the power of God. It is also very significant for us in these days. We know that Moses lived. We know that water turned to blood, fireballs rained from heaven, and the Red Sea parted. These things did in fact occur. And the same God who worked those miracles and cared about the Israelites loves me and you. He cares about us just as much, and is working just as hard to "deliver" us. That is a sobering, and uplifting thought.

Saturday, October 27, 2007


We had some fun times today celebrating Halloween. The pictures say it all.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Book Review

So I have a lot of extra time while nursing Brooklyn,so I thought I'd share my thoughts on some excellent and crappy books I've read. Please let me know if there is any good books you've read- because I always looking for more!!!

Scoring System
****** What are you waiting for? Go get it today!
**** Recommended
*** OK
** Could be missed
* Don't even bother wasting time to read the title!

****Fablehaven- Rise of the Evening Star
2nd book in the series- better then the first. Juv. Fiction. Kids stubble into a world of Fairies and Magical Creatures- very fun and short.

***** Thirteenth Tale
One of the best books I've read for a long time. Amazing, Go get it today.

**** Other Side of Heaven
Re-read this. Enjoyed as much as the first time. Memoirs of Elder Grogberg's mission to Tonga. It's makes you feel all spiritual and stuff.

****The Bartimus Triolgy
Only read first two. Harry Potter meets Aladdin. Juv Fic. Very Fun.

***Shopaholic meets Manhattan
Chick Lit, (Book version of Chick Flick). It's "Devil wears Prada" meets "Bridget Jones Diary". Not for boys.

***** Glass Castle
Wow! Memoir of a White Trash Family. Couldn't stop thinking about it for days.

**** Teacher Man
By same guy who wrote Angela's Ashes. Memoir of him teaching high school in New York. Really Funny! Anyone who has ever taught teenagers at one time or another, it's a must read.

**Peace like a River
Too Sad

*Widow of the South
Boring!!!!! Couldn't actually get past the first 30 pages.

***** Twilight/New Moon/Eclipse
LOOOOOved it!!! For all you ladies out there, Go get these books right now! If you haven't heard about the Vampire craze, you are missing out. I know it sounds silly, but you won't regret it. Please I'm begging you, it's for your own good.

**Mutant Down Under
Lady takes a walk with Aborigines. Makes you grateful for food.

****A Great and Terrible Beauty
A Victorian Girl School with Mystical things going on.

******Harry Potter 7
Don't need to say anything.

****For One More Day
Touching story about a suicidal son remembering his mother. For anyone with a mother.

** The Keep
Erie castle story with too many F words.

**** Persuasion
Typical Jane Austen book, not as good as others but still romantic.

*** Memory Keeper's Daughter
About a Father who gives away his down syndrome daughter after birth without the mother knowing.

**** Water for Elephants
Interesting Circus Love story with a twist and an awesome elephant. Watch out,there are some dirty parts.

Brads Book Reviews. (Notice how he is a much more detail oriented person then I am.)

**** The Club Dumas
A thriller where a book hunter finds himself in the middle of a novel by Dumas. Meanwhile, people around him are dying. What is the link between Dumas and the occult? Read this book to find out.

**** His Majesty's Dragon
Are you tired of the Eragon syndrome of most dragon novels? Fantastic realms, magic and the like? Welcome to Britain in the nineteenth century. Napoleon wages war with all of Europe. Only the British Navy and the Aerial Corps can stand against him. In this fantasy series, the author introduces a fantastical element to regular British history. Along with the uncanny excellence of the British Navy, lies the Corps: an air force division made up of dragons and their crew. This book takes a new look at the concept of dragons that you will enjoy. I particularly enjoyed it after watching Horatio Hornblower. You really get a feel for the Naval life in that era.

** 1421: The Year China Discovered America
This book is one man's hypothesis at rewriting history. It is a very interesting read if you enjoy non-fiction. His theory is quite compelling, although it is widely controversial.

Again, always looking for more suggestions.