Saturday, February 27, 2010

Lots to catch up on!

Okay folks, it's been a busy week for the Key family! I will try to not let this post last forever, but no promises.

FIRST-An update on my friend, Sarah. Thank you SO much for your prayers. I believe that God is watching over Sarah and holding her through this whole process. Her MRI results came back on Thursday with a GOOD prognosis! They believe that she has a VERY rare form of Ewing's Sarcoma, a cancer that typically only infects children. However, she is missing the typical "chromosome switching" that occurs to form this cancer, so the diagnosis is still not nailed down. BUT... the cancer is LOCALIZED in her arm (meaning that they found no other cancer in any other part of her body!!!) and it has NOT invaded her bone tissue, making her prognosis very good--PRAISE THE LORD!! She will start treatments at M.D. Anderson Cancer Facility here in Houston in the coming weeks. Keep her in your prayers DAILY. God has been so merciful to her body and we know that he will continue to take care of her.

This is Sarah :-)

Okay. So to catch you up on last week..... Last weekend, Scott and I drove 4 1/2 hours to Rowlett, TX to visit our dear friends from John Brown University! Katie's parents were so nice to let us stay at their house for the weekend while they were out of town on vacation. Scott usually does the driving on our travels (because if I drive longer than an hour, I fall asleep!) and we typically take his car, which gets considerably better gas mileage than my SUV. But, his car was in the shop, so the Highlander we took! We left with just over a quarter tank and our goal was to make it to Buc-ee's gas station, a HUGE gas station that Scott really likes, to refill on gas and pick up some snacks. WELL..... Buc-ee's in an hour and a half away and a quarter tank in my car gets used up VERY quickly! We were about half an hour from Buc-ee's when the gas tank looked like this:

That's right. Past empty. No sign of a gas station ANYWHERE. Dear Lord, get us to Buc-ee's, please get us to Buc-ee's!! We climbed a hill..... (keep moving little Toyota, keep moving)..... and r-o-l-l-e-d downhill to find our SAVIOR--BUC-EE'S!! Just in the nick of time! Whew!

I don't think I've ever been more excited to see an over-lit mass of concrete.

We made it to Dallas pretty late, but enjoyed the embraces of our friends when we arrived. The next morning, the girls made a delicious breakfast of French toast, eggs, and bacon. After breakfast, the John-Brown-boys loaded up their bikes and went on a very muddy mountain bike ride while the John-Brown-boys-wives went shopping. We came home, shopping bags in hand, to find our boys COVERED in mud! It was caked on their hands, legs, and the bikes!

Jared, Brock, and Scott--The John Brown Boys

It sounds like they had a great time, though. No major injuries. We had leftovers for lunch and just hung around playing Wii until dinner. Before dinner, we went to The Pier and enjoyed some tasty cocktails on the lakeside.

Katie and Jared

Audrey and Ben (Ben is also from JBU). They couldn't join us for the whole weekend, but met up with us for cocktails :-) Glad we got to see them!

Around 8:30, we headed back to the house to start cooking dinner-FAJITAS!! The boys put on the grill and cooked up some delicious medium-rare chopped steak and (fully-cooked) chicken with grilled peppers and onions! The girls stayed inside and made guacamole and margaritas. Sarah and I squeezed three HUGE bags of limes for the margaritas.

Me and Sarah squeezing limes!

Needless to say, our hands were on fire by the end of it! Who knew my hands had so many tiny cuts for the acid to seep into and burn! Ouch! But, the margaritas were very tasty! And the fajitas? Wow! So, so GOOD! Personally, I think they were better than Jalisco's fajitas (gasp!)

Sarah eating up! See how tasty those fajitas look....

Soon after clean-up, we all got into our PJs and played "Catch-Phrase", a fun group game kind of like charades, but with words.

We played boys v. girls, which means you have to sit boy-girl-boy-girl. The girls kicked major tail! I think the guys may have won one round....

Sunday morning included eating a left-over breakfast, packing, and saying our goodbyes. Such great friends and wonderful fellowship!

Now to this week:
So, Scott and I have decided that we want to plant a vegetable garden for the summer (from seed!) This week, Scott bought the seeds and began the "germinating" phase, a two week process in which the seeds are kept very moist and warm and they sprout.

Very tedious work. Scott always pinches his lips real tight (as seen above) when he is concentrating. Focus, babe, focus.

The color-coding system: each color represents a plant. Scott' s idea!

The color code

Well, after only one week, our tomatoes and tomatillos have already sprouted! Yeah!!

They are now currently in a window absorbing as much sun as possible to encourage further growth. We are cheering on the bell peppers and jalapenos to do the same.

The week in work and school has been pretty typical. Lots of class and clinic for me and lots of work for Scott! We so enjoy coming home to each other, though, at the end of our long days. It truly is such a blessing to come home to him.

Last night, (in celebration of Sarah's good prognosis) we went to the Houston Rodeo Cook Out with Eric and Sarah!

Walking through the carnival to get to the food tents

Stopped in the carnival for a snap-shot!

Basically, it is a pre-rodeo weekend barbeque competition between TONS of companies in the Houston area. You can only get into the "tents" if you are invited and lucky for us, Scott had a co-worker that was working one of the tents! We each paid $10 and ate as much barbeque as we wanted! Yum-yum!

I had a rib, some sausage, cheesy nachos, potato salad, and some beans. Oh, and one beer.

We got to meet several of Scott's co-workers and each of them told me how Scott is "seriously the nicest guy you will ever meet". Well, I happen to agree :-) We stayed in the tent (out of the cold!) for several hours, talking, eating, more eating and decided to leave at 10:30.

Inside the tent: capacity-180 people!

The ribs were SO good!

Eric and Scott... silly boys.

Sarah and Scott had to potty and of course the only option in a huge parking lot full of tents is porta-potties.... yuck. Glad I didn't have to use the bathroom!

Sarah: "I wish that I was a boy sometimes!!"

Eric drove us back to Target to retrieve our car and..... well, where is our car?! That's right, towed. Our car was TOWED. An hour and $200 later, we had our car back and drove home. Would have been so much cheaper to just have Eric and Sarah pick us up at our apartment! Oh well, lesson learned!

Scott is at work today and I am at home "studying" for my Swallowing Disorders test on Monday night. It's more like: study for half an hour, do something else for an hour, repeat. I feel pretty good about it, though, so no worries here!

Alright, I will let you all get back to your life now that you have spent the last 10 min. reading about ours!

We love you.



Friday, February 19, 2010

My friend, Sarah.

Friends and family,

This post will be short. Please pray for my friend Sarah C. She had a cyst on her arm removed and the biopsy came back as a malignant tumor. Nothing else is known, yet. She goes in for an MRI on Monday to see if the tumor is only in her arm or if it has spread and what actions need to be taken. She is for sure going to have an additional surgery next week on her arm to remove more of the tumor. She is only 27. Pray also for her boyfriend, Eric, and her family. She and Eric have been such good people to Scott and I. They welcomed us into Houston and have been very close friends since we moved here.

Spread the word to pray for Sarah. Pray that the tumor has not spread. Pray that she will be healed.

Thanks and we love you.


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Valentine's weekend and such...

Friends and family,

Hello, hello! I am sorry I am a bit delayed in writing this blog! We were out of town this weekend, which meant school work was in the line-up once we returned! Man, what a fantastic weekend! We went home to Belton for my mom's _____ birthday! (I can't reveal how old she is without her permission.... hint, she looks MUCH younger than she is! Natural beauty. Hope I inherited it!)

So... what did we do, what did we do.... Well, I should start with Scott and I's Valentine's date on Thursday, Feb. 11th. It was too much fun! I got to dress up, he was in a suit, we ate AMAZING French food, and saw our friends perform in the Romeo and Juliet ballet, which was so stunning. Ty and Marissa are a married couple that live here in our complex and they dance for a ballet company here in Houston--Ty was Romeo and Marissa was Lady Capulet. They both performed wonderfully and it was so fun to watch them!

This is a necklace that my Daddy gave me for Valentine's Day when I was 9 years old. He always took me out on Valentine's dates and surprised me with a piece of jewelry every year :-) Love you, Daddy.

It was POURING down rain!

Scott and I at Max and Julie's Brasserie--a nice, quaint, restaurant serving French cuisine!

My dinner--Pepper steak with pepper sauce, fried mashed potatoes, and grilled vegetables! Scott had the duck.

We ventured home the next afternoon, arriving in Belton after dinner. We were greeted by 2 dogs, my mom's parents, and of coarse, the family. They had already dug into my mom's birthday cake, which was a TO-DIE-FOR Strawberry Jello Cake with strawberry frosting! Wow, so good! It's been a favorite of mine for YEARS! My Gram makes it and it seems like she and my mom have tweaked the recipe so many times, I don't know who owns the right recipe. The next morning, Scott and I went for a run in 32 degree weather!! Ah! It was freezing and I was not aware that Belton had so many hills! We went 2 miles in just over 20 minutes--not too bad! My aunts and uncles came in shortly after and we had a day of Sunday School planning, recipe book making, jewelry making, Killer Bunny playing, Catan settling, Indian Chicken cooking, and good-byeing.

I helped my brothers make these really cute heart necklaces for their girlfriends. Of coarse, I got one, too! The pattern is on Martha Stewart's website. Very cute.

All of the cousins gathered for a game of "Killer Bunny", a pretty funny card game in which you are trying to kill your opponents bunnies so that they cannot receive the "Magic Carrot".

My parent's dogs, Danny and Phoebe. Phoebe is brand new to the family! She is a yellow Labradoodle. JoJo was put down on Friday because she was very sick.

"Playing" Settlers of Catan with my brothers. I think Jim and Levi did more texting on their iPhones than strategizing....

More Settlers of Catan--such a great game!

On Sunday, we went to Scott's parents' house and attended church with them, then came home for a really good lunch of grilled chicken and greens! Yum! It was so nice getting to talk with them and play with the dogs. David and Scott grilled the chicken outside and I'm pretty sure the temperature dropped a whole 10 degrees while they were out there! A cold front came through a few hours before we headed back to Houston. We also enjoyed a bowl of Blue Bell's Peppermint ice cream--good even after Christmas ;-)

It's a tradition for Scott and I to stop at good ol' Texas Burger on our way back to Houston! It's a tiny burger joint located in Cameron, TX that I have been going to as long as I can remember. We used to go to Mema and Papa's house (when they lived in Hearne, TX) very frequently as kids and we would meet them here for lunch/dinner before our parents would hand us over to them for the weekend/week. Texas Burger still as the same wallpaper up inside! It makes the memories that more alive :-)

As we headed back towards Houston, we stopped by Mema and Papa's house to say hello and chat for a while. It's such a blessing to be able to visit grandparents. As I have gotten older, I realize more and more the value of their wisdom and the importance of spending time with them. Mia, my grandmother's dog, was VERY excited to see us! She is the funniest dog; whenever someone comes over that she hasn't seen in a while, she starts this rapid wimpering, her eyes get HUGE, and she runs in circles around the living room! It's hilarious! She starts on the couch, runs across to the side table, slides across the side table, lands on the floor, jumps on the first of two chairs, hops over to the second chair, and REPEAT. It's too funny. We had a great conversation with them with the Olympics playing in the background and were treated to a bag of Mema's homemade chocolate chip cookies (the best in the world!) on our way out.

Well, I have three recipes to share, but I will do those in separate blogs so that this one doesn't last for all eternity!

Blessings to you all.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Welcome, February!

Geez, is it already the second month of 2010?? Have I really been in school for 3 weeks now?? Crazy, crazy. This past week has been RAINY and GLOOMY.... I learned in college that my mood can be very affected by the weather and rainy, cloudy, gloomy weather makes for a rainy, cloudy, and gloomy mood. I recently emailed my grandparents and told them that this blog is a good way for me to reflect on all of the good that happens in my life, because so many things are really wonderful. I have nothing to complain about :-)

So, let the reflecting begin!

Last weekend was a hobby weekend for Scott and I, which is always so fun! I started and finished my mom's birthday gift (pictures to come after this weekend! I can't reveal the secret, as she reads this blog.) For Valentine's Day, Scott and I have decided to give each other homemade gifts. Love has many attributes that make it work well and commitment is one of them! Creating a one-of-a-kind gift certainly takes some commitment, so what better way to demonstrate love? :-) Scott has long been promising me an easel for me to do my artwork on and he has decided to tackle that project for my Valentine's gift! We went to this really big, awesome lumber yard in a neighborhood called "The Heights" and picked out some beautiful White Oak for the easel. Scott's design is really neat; pictures will be posted along the way!

Scott has been commenting on how he needs more wool socks (he owns three pairs and wears them several times weekly) so, I decided to take on knitting him a new pair of wool socks for his gift. Now, I have never knitted a pair of socks and thus did not know that you need FIVE knitting needles used SIMULTANEOUSLY to do this! Ahhh!

I went to this very cute knitting store here in Montrose called "Knitting In the Loop" and three very sweet ladies helped me understand what materials I needed and offered some guidance. I am about 1/4 of the way through ONE sock..... they will get finished at some point..... 'til a very tedious task!

So, Scott and I along with about 6 friends come together on Sunday nights and eat soup and watch a documentary. We have dubbed the evening "Soup Group" and I'm pretty sure I've blogged about it before.... maybe? Well, we realized that we have hardly taken ANY pictures of this so here are few from last week:

This weekend, we FINALLY went and saw Avatar at the IMAX 3D! Wow, special effects were awesome! Story-line..... pretty average. It wasn't your typical 3D movie; nothing actually jumped out at you, it was more like you were in the atmosphere with the characters. Very nauseating for the first 30 min., but you get used to it.

Hmmm.... Does anyone look good in 3D glasses?? My Huddleston-inherited small head certainly does NOT.

After the movie, we went to our friend Christina's birthday party at a somewhat underground, you-only-know-its-there-if-you've-been-before, sophisticated bar called "Absinthe". I had a very tasty Godiva Chocolate Martini and Scott gulped up a beer.

Some of you may know that I try to not eat sweets until the weekend because my sweet tooth just cannot be tamed if I get it goin'! But, because of this, I tend to go a little sweets crazy on the weekends.... For example: I made some cupcakes that are a chocolate chip cookie on the bottom, cheesecake in the middle, and whipped cream on top with chocolate chip sprinkles. AS IF that wasn't enough, on Friday night I had one cupcake with a scoop of mint chocolate chip ice cream.... wow! SWEETS HEAVEN!! Good thing I don't do this every night....

Saturday morning, Scott and I went for a run and much to my dismay, it was only 34 degrees outside!!! BRRRR......!! And SO, SO windy!! Scott was determined to go, though, so I bundled up and made this face to get me prepped for beating the weather!

We went for about 20 min., which was all I could stand. It was FREEZING. I haven't run that slow in a while, but I was just too cold to go any faster!

For dinner on Saturday, I made some VERY YUMMY Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Pancakes! He and I were both craving pancakes and my recent obsession with oats pushed me to create these tasty-cakes! They were very filling, but so satisfying!

Here is the recipe:
-1 cup of whole wheat or plain pancake mix
-1/2 cup of rolled oats
-2 tsp. cinnamon
-1 egg
-1 tsp. vanilla extract
-1/2 to 3/4 cup of milk (depends on how runny you like your mix!)
-1 apple, chopped into bit-size piece

-Preheat a skillet on medium heat (not too hot or else the pancakes will cook faster on the outside and you will be left with gooey, nasty centers!)
-Whisk dry ingredients together in a large bowl
-Combine wet ingredients in a liquid measuring cup (or small bowl)
-Slowly add wet ingredients to the dry, stirring with a fork as you pour to avoid clumps
-Stir in apples
-Using a 1/3 c. measuring cup, scoop the batter and pour onto the skillet
-Cook the pancakes to partial doneness, flip, and finish cooking until centers are done
-Put a slab-o-butter on top, douse in maple syrup, and eat, eat, eat!

Let me know if you try these and tell me what you think!

Well, we are an hour late, but it is time to start watching the SUPER BOWL! Go SAINTS!!!

Much love.