Friday, January 29, 2010

New Projects

Friends and family,

Another week has FLOOOWWWN by..... and here I sit on my grandparents old navy blue leather couch with Scott's quilt wrapped around my flannel-pajama-covered legs, my hair tossed into some sort of horrid nest, mascara flecks under my eyes, glasses on, and friends--I am LOVIN' it! I was supposed to go into work today at 11:30, but my boss texted me at 9:30 saying that he meant for me to open the shop, but forgot to tell me, so I could have the day off "if I wanted to". If I wanted to???? Of course I will take the day off! I have been productive in every sense of the word except for keeping up my hygiene. Eh, hygiene will come later. Maybe before Scott comes home? Maybe?

So, what have we been up to this week? Scott made me a DELICIOUS breakfast in bed last Saturday morning!

Le Chef!

We woke up at 8:30 and Scott went ahead and got up. I, on the other hand, said, "Nah, just 30 more minutes of sleep." Ended up waking at 10:00 to a made-from-scratch breakfast presented on a beautiful tray given to me by dear-ol'-mom! Wow, was it good!

Scott had to work on Sunday until 12:00, but I went up there to visit him and he took me on a tour of his building. Can I just say I felt like I was Angelina Jolie sneaking around the halls of some mad-scientists lab, gun clutched in my hands, in a black leather body suit, with Tom Cruise just ahead of me solving his Mission Impossible 4! The theme music from Mission Impossible was playing in my head as we walked into the building, through the elevators, into the research labs, onto the roof--"DA-DA-DADA-DA-DA-DADA-DA-DA....BEE-NO-WAH-NAH, BEE-NO-WAH NAH...." (my attempt at spelling out the MI theme song....) This building is something straight out of a sci-fi film! Scott's company is building a cancer research center for UT Medical Center, which explains all of the gas valves, metal cubicles shut off with glass, radiation waste shooters, vessels in which to transport microbials through by means of putting your hands through thick rubber gloves attached to glass.... it was wild. I wish I had pictures because my descriptions do no justice to the amount of COOL that I saw in Scott's build! I was impressed. I told him, "Babe, you know in 10 or 15 years when we come back to Houston with our kids we will drive by here and tell them 'your daddy helped build that'!"

I had my first week of seeing clients this week, which went very well. I have no complaints. On Wednesdays I am part of a diagnostic team, meaning that we conduct a series of tests on different people who have been referred to us by hospitals, parents, schools, etc. Our first one was a woman from Paraguay who wanted to see if she was eligible for accent reduction therapy. Next week we are seeing a little boy from Turkey who is having trouble with his language. I see a client on my own on Thursday mornings; she is a very sweet woman and works really hard! My classes are going well, definitely manageable.

Big news in the land of S&H Key! Last night, WE PAID OFF SCOTT'S SCHOOL LOANS!!!! All of them! In 10 months! YAHOO! Man, it feels good to be debt-free! That is, until I get out of graduate school..... oh well, we can bask in this debt-free bit of our lives for the next year and a half.

We entered in how much to withdraw from our bank (everything we owed).

Pressed "Submit"

And we were debt free at 7:47 pm!

So today, on my glorious day off, I woke up at 6:00 and made bagels for Scott and I's breakfast, caught up on my blog reading, crocheted for a while.....

May I present to you..... the world's SMALLEST crochet hook! It measures approximately 1 1/2 inches in length after suffering a traumatic snapping-in-half-on-accident by its user.

..., made my mom's birthday present!!, and now I am about to start on a window project. Scott and I found some old windows being thrown away in someone's yard! We scrounged about 8 of them and I am taking two large ones, cleaning them, then painting an aspen grove on the glass. I really think it will be lovely. Pictures will be posted as soon as I am finished.

I have talked enough, I think! Have a great weekend--enjoy some of your hobbies--go outside--read a book--something!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

CHICAGO!!! first week of class (not as cool.)

Friends and family!

Wow, so good to be back home but what a great trip! And the perfect finish to my month long winter break (oh, how I wish it was longer still!)

So, what to tell, what to tell... Let's just narrate this story through pictures, shall we?

The weekend began when we arrived at the Midway airport in Chicago, IL at 9:30pm on Friday night. Our original intent for this trip was to see all of Scott's buddies from his study abroad experience in Costa Rica, so one of those boys picked us up from the airport (name, Joel). We walked outside to meet him in the pick-up area and the weather in Chicago is significantly different (now I sound like I am teaching statistics) than in Houston. Weather in Houston on Friday: Partly cloudy, highs in the mid-50s, lows in the low-40s. Weather in Chicago on Friday: Mostly cloudy, highs in the mid-30s, lows in the low-20s....... YIKES!

Anyway, Friday night and most of Saturday we hung out with Scott's friends from the study abroad experience. They were a very nice crew of people and, since I was the only unfamiliar face, I was greeted with, "Oh! You must be Scott's wife!" Indeed, I am. Name's Hannah. We stayed at one of the guy's homes and his mother cooked us all of our delicious meals!

Well, Saturday night we met up with Scott's friend from JBU who now lives in Chicago, Molly. She was our host for the remainder of the weekend, letting us sleep in her twin-size bed (tight quarters, but we were warm!), telling us which buses to take to get where, providing us with a map of downtown, and feeding us breakfast. We went out to eat with her on Saturday night at a Cuban restaurant

then went to go see BLUE MAN GROUP!!! Wow! If you have never seen Blue Man Group, it is an absolute MUST. I'll give you the gist: three men, painted COMPLETELY blue, never speak, amazing at percussion, hilarious, and have a love of paint and marshmallows. I can't even describe to you how awesome the show was! It was very interactive; they picked audience members to help out with several of their acts. And by "picked", I mean they creepily walked up and down the aisles with their eyes bugged, stopping occasionally to stare down one person, moving on, more staring, then they just grabbed your wrist and off you went! Scary!!! I was stared down at least 3 times and my thought process went something like this: "Dear God, PLEASE don't let him grab me. Amen." Prayers were answered. I was never grabbed. Whew.

Imagine being stared at by him!

Sunday morning, ready for a big day!

So.... Sunday morning, we hopped a train to Michigan Ave.--the hot-spot for tourism and shopping!

Waiting at the train stop by Molly's apt.

We saw the "Bean", which for all I can tell is big, shiny, metal, kidney bean in the middle of Millennium Park (it has a history, but I can't remember the details...)

The Bean! (Not to be confused with the cafeteria at ACU, mind you.)

You see us?? Reflection in the Bean.

I think I might just take this bean....

Or I'll just give it a hug!

Scott conquered Millennium Park.

We meandered further down to the bridge to see the frozen-over river!


I kept having visions of falling in.... brrr.... After the bridge begins "The Magnificent Mile", a mile-long strip of Michigan Ave. that has all of the high-end retail stores you can possibly imagine! Such names included: SAKS 5th Ave., Louis Vuitton, Tiffany & Co., Burberry, the list goes on! Seeing as how we are newly weds and all, and the fact that I did not want to spend our entire travel budget on a wallet, we just walked the "Mag Mile" rather than shopped the Mag Mile. Along the Mag Mile, we saw such things as a GIGANTIC rendition of "American Gothic",

They were SO BIG!

a welded moose made of car parts (with HUGE male parts... gross...)


and Sears Tower!

SOOO tall!

We stopped and got a free hug.

We stopped for lunch at a famous deep-dish pizza joint, Gino's East and ordered a small, supreme, deep-dish pizza! 4 inch thickness of cheese, sausage, veggies, and crust--YUM!

Yummy, yummy, pizza.

We then traveled on to the Art Institute of Chicago!

The Art Institute of Chicago

Because, you all know, I have a slight obsession with art. Oh man, it was fabulous! I saw REAL paintings from Monet, Renoir, VAN GOGH,

One of my favorite painting by Van Gogh. I love the colors.

Picasso, and Georgia O'Keefe! I was in art history heaven. The highlight of the trip was when we were in the Modern European Art wing, about to leave because my feet were KILLING me (wearing boots with heels when you plan on walking for 5 miles in one day is not a good idea), and I said to Scott, "Man, I really wish that they had Picasso's 'The Old Guitarist' here, I love that painting!" And, would you believe it???? We turned the corner and it was RIGHT BEFORE MY EYES!!! Yahoo!

There he is!

That night, we were very cold so we hopped into the Hershey's chocolate store and grabbed some hot cocoa,

This is Scott's famous "creepy face".

then went to a really neat bar with Molly called "The Map Room".

If my grandmother, Mema, would like a bar it would be this one. Let me explain. The walls were painted with a huge mural of a map of the world, they had atlases sitting here and there on the small tables, and there were STACKS of National Geographic magazines all along the side wall! It was a very sophisticated place. Not loud or crazy with blaring TVs. We each ordered a drink and had a great chat that lasted until about midnight.

Monday, our last day, we woke up and had breakfast at an adorable cafe called "Milk and Honey". Now, tell me you would not want to gorge yourself with french toast, syrup, and orange juice at a cafe called Milk and Honey!

My french toast--it was HUGE!

Scott got out the borrowed map and planned our route for our day of souvenir shopping.

The map was torn into about 10 different pieces.... not too helpful, but we figured it out.

Lots of trains and buses later, we made it to a cute antique store called "P.O.S.H.", a paper store called "Greer", and two hot dog stands to satisfy our need for a Chicago-style hot dog!

Hot dog

Oh yeah, and we saw Lake Michigan!

The Lake

We arrived at the air port 2 hours before our flight, only to find out that our plane had been delayed for 3 hours. We spent a long night at the airport and made it back to Houston at 2am, just in time for Scott to wake up at 5:30 for work and for me to wake up at 8:00 for my first day back at school! Needless to say, we are still recovering.

At the airport. This is around 10:30pm.

It was a wonderful, memorable, and fun trip that we will certainly remember for years to come.

Scott wants to go for a run now. Not sure how excited I am about that...

Love you all!

Monday, January 11, 2010

A Few New Links...

Please notice:

On the right, I have added links for "Recipes", "Crafts", "Paintings", and "A Day In the Life" where I will keep my posts about those listed things. Right now, only the "Crafts" and "A Day In the Life" tabs are showing because those are the only ones I have something listed under right now.

These posts will show up on my regular blog, but I will archive them to these tabs.

Thanks for looking!

Applique Pillow Project

Christmas Vacation Project #1 has been completed as of 6:00pm today! It was very simple and I think the results are quite cute!

*Fabric of choice (enough to cover the pillow)
*Matching thread
*Felt (enough for your applique detail)
*18"X18" pre-stuffed pillow
*Fabric scissors
*Sewing machine (or you can hand-stitch, if you dare!)

1. Take the pillow out of the package!
2. Cut fabric of choice into 2, 19"X19" squares (leaves room for a 1/2" seam allowance)

3. Pin fabric pieces, right sides together

4. Sew pieces together, leaving one side open for stuffing, and turn right-side-out

5. Draw and cut out a pattern for your desired applique piece from a sheet of scrap paper. Place pattern on a piece of felt and trace. Cut out.
6. Pin the applique decal to the front of the pillow where desired. Sew on applique using the blanket stitch technique

7. Sew on a button for the eye (if using a bird applique)
8. Stuff the pillow and stitch up the open end! (I used a slip stitch to do this so the stitches didn't show)


One week left of vacation

Hello to all! Well, I have finally (sorrowfully) approached my last week of Christmas vacation before a new semester begins at the University of Houston. Scott did not have any vacation days, so he does not feel my pain, nor sympathize...

So, I had this long list of projects that I was going to complete over my 4 week break and I will give you a guess as to how many of those I actually completed before today.... anyone..... ZERO. But! I am going to take FULL advantage of my last week and tackle as many of these projects as I can AND you will get to see the results! Aren't you so lucky? I will share the pictures from today's completed project in the next post.
The list includes:
*Make a decorative pillow for the guest bedroom bed
*Finish Scott and I's wedding scrapbook (it's been almost 8 months, it's high time this gets done)
*Finish the "Wall de Photos" in our living room
*Make artwork for the guest bedroom walls using old windows
*Make dust ruffle for bed in guest bedroom
*Paint something for the huge empty wall in the dining room
*Organize the festered nest of miscellaneous cords that is taking over the bottom drawer of our organizing bin

It will get done, just maybe not all this week....

Besides this, Scott and I went to our friends Tim and Sarah's wedding reception at the Haven Center on Saturday night! It was so nice to be able to see Tim and Sarah on their wedding day! I gave Sarah a hard time for changing our of her wedding dress before I got to see it, but I'm sure I will see pictures soon enough :-)

Me with the Bride! She changed out of her dress.... grrr..... at least this one was pretty too!

Friday night, Scott and I decided to hang out with just the two of us. We went out to eat at Little Bigs and had some sliders and fries, then went to Half Price Books where Scott was able to buy 7 books for 12 dollars! And! We found a $1.00 VHS copy of the old Disney movie "Homeward Bound" that neither one us could pass up. We went to Kroger, picked up a bag of Oreos, came home, changed into our PJs, popped in Homeward Bound, and ate Oreos dunked in milk. The perfect ending to our Friday night. Truly glorious!

Saturday morning, I woke up with an Oreos and milk hangover and needed a healthy breakfast to feel good about myself, ha. We ate oatmeal and cut up fruit--just what I needed!

That night we made salami, cheese, and roasted red bell pepper sandwiches with a cream cheese/horseradish dip eaten with cucumbers (both recipes courtesy of Real Simple magazine)! Everything was so tasty!

Scott's ready to eat!

Sunday morning we went to church at 11:00 to help out with communion. Scott and I along with 4 others served communion and I was so touched to be able to do this. Our church does communion by way of "intinction", which simply means that volunteers stand at the front, two holding bread and four holding either wine or grape juice, and the people of the church come up to the front, tear off a piece of bread, and dunk it in the wine. The job of the volunteers is not only to hold the bread/wine, but to say "the body of Christ, broken for you" or "the blood of Christ, shed for you" when each person comes. I was just overwhelmed by how incredible it is that Christ died for ALL of these people and so many more. I must have said "the blood of Christ, shed for you" over 30 times and I started to cry about half-way through. It was beautiful.

Before I go, I want to share with you all that Scott and I will be traveling to CHICAGO this weekend! Yay!! As you may know, the north has been getting some pretty heavy snow and we ask that you pray for our safety as we fly and travel this weekend. No snow is predicted, but you just never know... We are due back on Monday night at 11:00pm, the night before I start classes. I REALLY hope that we don't get delayed!

Blessings and love.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Lots of Catching Up To Do!

Friends and family,

Wow! So much has happened since my birthday! I suppose that's what I get for having a mid-December birthday... Christmas follows 13 days after and New Years a week after that. Busy, busy! But so much fun.

The week after my birthday was the wedding of one of my good college friends, Elizabeth. I was part of the house party and was in charge of helping decorate for the reception and cutting the bride's cake. The wedding was a beautiful winter wonderland! It felt like Narnia. It was magical.

The house party: Hannah Key, Melissa Barnett, and Hannah Anderson

We were blessed with the opportunity to see nearly ALL of our family over the Christmas holiday. It was quite a crew, but Christmas tends to bring out the best in us so we enjoyed every moment. A few of the highlights included (but are not limited to):

1) Our first married Christmas together!

2) Sleeping in every morning! Which, unfortunately for us, means about 8:30am these days...

3) Too much delicious food:
*Apricot French toast casserole goodness from heaven--made by my mother, who else
*Schnitzel and spaetzel with carrots, mushrooms, and parsnips--a German feast hand-crafted by Barbara Key
*Curry!--a MUST at every Huddleston family gathering and it NEVER gets old!
*Pecan pie, sour cream apple pie, cookies, divinity, fudge, and these peanut-butter things covered in chocolate that I cannot remember the name of...all of these made by my grandmother, Mema, who makes my desire to NOT gain 20 lbs over Christmas that much more difficult because each of these treats is cooked to perfection and displayed on a large white counter top just within finger-reach every time you pass through the kitchen
*And an assorted pot-luck dinner at the Key Family Christmas.

4) Somehow managing to come away from all of that deliciousness and temptation without gaining a single pound! WAHOO!

5) A little shopping trip with my #1 cousin--ASHTON REELY!

6) The giving of gifts, but best of all, the faces of the recipients

7) My Papa Huddleston's sense of humor--he gets funnier as the months progress!

8) Stockings--I dare say I enjoy the tiny gems inside my stocking more so than the gifts.... it's a close call

9) Christmas Day trip to the movie theater with the Keys--a long-time tradition of the Key family. This year's flick: Up In the Air with George Clooney (totally worth it just to see him)

10) An evening of four-part harmony singing accompanied by Jim and Levi at the guitar on Christmas night. It was beautiful. A new tradition, I hope.

Jim on the guitar

11) The sense of "home"--family members coming together; my brothers and daddy's laugh; my mom's ability to turn any space into an inviting and warm haven, complete with Lavender Mist Febreeze that she fervently sprays into the atmosphere ;-) ; oh so many dogs that bark at the slightest stir, leave hair clinging to my sweaters, and make my eyes itch, while simultaneously making me laugh at their clumsiness and feel loved by their welcoming tail-wags and kisses; in-laws that are in fact very normal, fun, loving, and hospitable (how did I get so lucky?); and, of course, the reason for the season and who I owe all of my thanks for giving me "home": Jesus Christ.

One of those laughs I was telling you about

New Years was fantastic as well! We drove up to Dallas to visit Scott's sister and her husband and a few friends joined in the mix as well. Stefanie's friend, Kevan, and Kevan's daughter of 4 named Aubrey came up New Years Eve night and stayed through the weekend. Aubrey is quite a little bundle of energy and joy! She developed a crush on Scott and relentlessly clung to him like, well, dog hair to a sweater, the whole weekend. She would hop in his lap at every opportunity, start pillow fights in the middle of his reading, and attempt to kiss him on several occasions.

Aubrey and Scott, after a long attempt at her trying to steal a kiss. (She fell and and got a hole in her pantyhose--her solution: shipping tape.)

I thought she was hilarious (mostly because she was leaving me alone) and could not have been cuter! Stefanie gave us a wonderful New Years Day meal, sure to bring us all kinds of luck this year with the black-eyed peas and sauerkraut, glazed pork, and garlic mashed potatoes--YUM.

Scott's ready to eat some grub!

The feast!

We took a trip to the Dallas Aquarium as well and saw a variety of aquatic as well as land life.

Scott's sister, Stefanie walking with Aubrey to the Aquarium

The scariest part (well, to me anyway) was the shark aquarium. If you know me, you know that not only am I terrified of deep water and its creatures, but sharks in particular give the eebie-geebies.... This tank, though, was very unique in that it felt like you were actually swimming with the sharks. Allow me to explain: you walk into a tunnel that is surround on all sides (including the roof) by very thick clear plexiglass and water. The sharks are free to swim around the entire tunnel, including above your head.

This picture of me is what my face looked like the entire time we were in there; that face was NOT staged.

They had a little sloth climbing on some limbs; the display was not behind glass or a fence! You could walk right up to the sloth! It was really neat. Parrots were flying everywhere and the aquarium had a set-up that was like the layers of the rainforest. It was four stories high and had a walking path that took you through all four levels. The very bottom level was a large pool that held two HUGE manatees! They were SO cute! One of them was playing with a floating log, hugging it and rolling around on it's surface.

The Wyly theater designed by a famous architect: Joshua Prince Ramus
Dallas Art District

So, that was our life for the past 2 1/2 weeks! Now that I am all caught up, there should be a post once a week :-)

Much love and blessings as we start this new year: WELCOME 2010!