Sunday, December 20, 2009

Ben was on Santa's "NICE" list....

While nothing can quite compare to the Christmas gift Ben already received this week.....I didn't know at that time we'd have a new set of wheels in the garage. As Santa's helper - I pride myself on being observant to what Ben has mentioned he "needs, wants, or likes" over the past few months and put my "shopping skills" to the test. My shopping was done a few weeks ago and once the final packaged arrived in the mail - I was ready to give them to Ben. It's an unfortunate disease but it's one I'll never treat - I love giving great gifts!

If you know me, I love to give gifts WAY MORE than I like to receive them. So for me, the ultimate joy of the holiday is to see smiles on the faces of those who get gifts from us. The smile I'm talking about is exactly like the one pictured below here with Ben.

Ben's stocking stuffers included the peg game (featured at any not-s0-local Cracker Barrel), some Goo-Goo's (milk chocolate and peanut butter covered pecans) and cinnamon flavored hard candies all from the Old-Timers Candy Shop at the Cracker Barrel. Like I stated in the previous post - there weren't as many gifts under the tree with Ben's name on them, but you'll quickly understand why.
Our friend Emilie turned me onto prints by an artist named Amanda Rathiel who resides in Falls City, Nebraska. She does some great prints focused on the cattle industry and this is one of our favorites, entitled "One Man's Opinion."

It is most appropriate since a good portion of Ben's career is focused on this exact thing. I absolutely love this print - and although I am quite sure he knew it was coming - I think it'll be a staple in his office for years to come!

While Ben would never actually need a watch - he's rarely in a situation where he could/would be late - he has mentioned in the last six months (once the watch he received as a groomsmen gift in Stephen Linneburs' wedding went kaput) that he could really use a new one. This gift was probably the hardest for me to pick out since a) I had to go to the Buckle (and I'm not a huge fan of this st0re and b) had to pick it from one out of about thirty different models.
It turned out great, just a little big - we'll get a link or two taken out. But none-the-less, he's got a little "BLING" for himself. These last two are of the two new shirts he got from me. When in doubt, ladies - your man could always use more nice shirts. These two are in a new hue for Ben - RED.!! We have traditionally shy'ed away from red - its likeness to his hair color have made it a hard sell - but the older Ben gets, the more brown his hair turns and thus - the more red he is able to wear!
I told him, "Now you've got a few things to wear over Christmas break." This would be a typical response from a women, because Ben's pretty good about conserving new items for special occasions, but he shocked me by saying, "Yeah, if I can refrain from wearing them before."
I had to give myself a little pat on the back and a little "Whoot Whoot!" for good measure.
I think we had a successful Christmas, hopefully Santa is as good to you as he has been to us this year. Most importantly - we hope you get to spend time with the people who make you feel warm and fuzzy on the inside during this holiday season!
To our families - see you soon! We'll be there as soon as we can!

Santa comes sooner when you live this close to the North Pole!

Post ONE of TWO.

Since we travel over Christmas - and prior experience has taught us to share this moment alone - we celebrate our holiday a few days before the trip. My husband the ultimate procrastinator spent the afternoon (we observe a law in North Dakota that prohits any store - other than grocery or convenient stores and eating estalishments from opening before 12:00 p.m.) shopping and texting periodically things like "Pain, Pure Pain" and "What's the score of the football games?"

We opened gifts after I slaved over the stove for what seemed like the entire time he was gone. RIGHT - we passed over a smorgesbord of goodies at a holiday party to eat one of my favorites - chicken strips, cottage cheese and mac-n-cheese. YUM!

It took all my will-power to get through supper without having Ben open his gift - they have been under the tree for nearly 2 weeks at this point. However, there was quite a discrepancy between the number of packages with mine name and Ben's name on them under our tree.

These pictures are a sampling of the goodies I received from Ben this Christmas. In my stocking I got some Reese's PB cups (my absolute favorite), some Hot Cocoa flavored bath accessories and the cutest Coke bottle (shaped as a Christmas ornament). I AM A COKE KID!

Also, it is a tradition to receive some "skivvies" from the hubby for Christmas, this is just one of many!

Most of you know I'm a a) big Twilight fan, b) love to cook, c) live in what I call the tundra and d)love love love Socks. So, my husband (being a savvy, quick and efficient shopper) gave me this apron.........................VERY VERY VERY CUTE! He found it in a booth at Louisville! What a great find! P.S. This is probably the best picture of our Christmas tree which was festivally lit while the "NOW THAT'S WHAT I CALL CHRISTMAS - COUNTRY EDITION" was playing in the background. I will confess the TV wasn't off - the Steelers/Packers game was a close one in the 4th quarter so it was muted, but still on!

Also, he found me a beautiful turquoise scarf (you'll just have to see it in person) and brown leather glooves to go with my new red pea coat I got for my birthday/graduation gift.
I also am the proud new owner of ECLIPSE (the 3rd Twilight installment) a new pair of Maurices jeans, an very cute NDSU Animal Science pullover sweatshirt, a black Columbia full-zip fleece jacket and some more Eddie Bauer wool socks (my favorite wool sock brand).

The last of my Christmas gifts from Ben included some new PJ pants (which I found out is extremely hard to find in a "LONG" length) and a pair of turquoise slipper socks. NOTE: PLEASE DISREGARD THE VULGARITY OF MY T-SHIRT, I SHOULD REALLY STOP WEARING THIS HOT MESS. I've had my eye on a pair of slipper socks for awhile and Ben found the perfect pair with two jingle bells on each sock. I have two regrets regarding these slipper socks though, a) I didn't model the awesomeness of the jingle bells and b) I didn't own a pair of these sooner!
All in all - I'd say "I SCORED" this Christmas - you'll get to see my showcasing my many treasures over the next two weeks! THANKS BEN for a wonderful Christmas! Please keep reading - up next are the goodies Ben got from this elf on his first Norweigan Christmas!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Goodbye Goldylocks! It's been a SWEET RIDE....

I haven't seen my husband with a smile that will not go away since - - - well, since our wedding. We've been trying to find him a new "RIDE" since October when our mechanic diagnosed Goldylocks with a potentially fatal disease - a bad fuel pump. Having replaced the fuel pump twice in the old 'stang - we knew what a hit to the pocketbook we would take if we were to replace it. Plus, getting around the North Pole in the little Sonoma is quite scary - she doens't handle snow, ice or a strong wind gust very well. However, Goldylocks has seniority over me as the "Lady" of the house - being with Ben since 2003 whereas I've only been around since 2005 - so we spent several months agonizing over how we were going to "Break it to her gently."

She's been a good 'ole gal for Ben - making multiple treks from Kansas to Indiana. She even came back kicking for another couple of years after a bad run-in with a small Grand Am back in Dec. of 2006. Never-the-less, she needed to retire to the back pasture and hopefully she'll provide a nice young high school student many miles of freedom.

Here are a couple snap shots of Ben one last time with her - we had to go for one more visit (I forgot my memory card at work during the first actual drop off). It gave a chance to scout her out in the lot. We actually had to look awhile - they truly did put her in the back pasture. Stacked among the other trade-ins, she was sitting - tattooed with her new identification of "12/17" in orange chalk across the windshield.

Ben never realized until this picture just how much he dwarfed 'ole Goldylocks. But that 6'3'' frame squeezed in many miles over the last 7 years!
The new pickup, pictured below is quite the upgrade. She's a real looker, especially if you ask Ben. We'll post more pictures of the rest of the vehicle soon - but we wanted to give everyone a sneak peek!

She doesn't have a name yet - haven't figured out her personality. She is however (for all you motorheads out there) a V8, 5.3 L, charcoal colored, extended cab, Chevy Silverado. But, most importantly - she's already equipped with a block heater (as is my Equinox) so we're officially geared up for the long winter.
The first thing Ben did once he finally got behind the wheel and all the paperwork was complete was lean back and do the Tim Allen (Tim -the-Tool-Man-Taylor) "Who-ho-ho" growl. I just IMAGINE - he does it everytime I try to get him to do something a little more feminine than he's comfortable with (which is usually accompanied by "Corineah, I'm a MAN!").
Our only concern it "Will both fit in the garage." The answer - we'll find out tonight. Luckily I'll be home first - so my car will already be in the garage and everyone knows - "Once she's in the pj's - she's not leaving the house."

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I'm starting to feel homesick....can Christmas hurry up?

I wanted to share with you a little bit about my ACTUAL hometown. While there is a great deal of pride associated with the town I (and my siblings, cousins, etc.) attend (ed) high school - there is a greater sense of attachment to my hometown of Gaylord.

Its the town where my dad was raised, my family still lives and my heart will forever call "Home." Its particularly heart-warming this year to see this video as we haven't been there since September and will spend a few days there at Christmastime.

The TV station in Nebraska has a segment entitled "The Road Less Traveled" which spotlights little towns across Nebraska and Kansas and episode #220 was about Gaylord.

You'll notice Grandma Godsey right smack in the front - she will always be (even if she's the only one) an advocate of our small town (particularly of its watermelon day celebration - which she is shamelessly promoting even on this video). While we give her a hard time about it - we know her hearts in the right place. You won't see Grandpa in the video, he's more of the "Behind the Scenes" type - right Grandpa?

When you get a little further into the video you'll notice a group of 5 or 6 individuals standing and waving infront of a small grain elevator office - you'll notice my dad right in the middle. He's a little embarrassed and laughing - which is pretty typical of dad. The elevator is just one of a handful of businesses still open in Gaylord and my family has been fortunate enough to be a part of the Frieling Grain family for more than 15 years.

I wanted to share with you this video and express my elation towards the upcoming holiday season and our return to my hometown - even if it is for only a few short days!

I'm very excited to see all the people in my life that have meant so much to me!

So if you care too, this link will take you to the NTV Road Less Traveled Section, scroll down until you find Town #220 which is Gaylord, KS (Smith County).

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Letting our Northern hang out.

We engaged in a "Northern-like" activity last night - hockey. It was quite an adventure for us since we had a) never been to a hockey game, b) knew the rules of hockey or c) even seen hockey played in any venue other than Mighty Ducks I through X.

An announcement was sent through the wire about free tickets to the Fargo Force Hockey team (from what we could gather it is a regional hockey league filled with 18-20 yr. old testosterone enraged boys hoping to play in college or the NHL in the future). An employee of NDSU, family of NDSU employees, friends of NDSU employees or person who likes NDSU could get an unlimited number of free tickets.

So we hurried home, stopped by the rink to pick up 2 free tickets (the rink is right next to our apartment complex) and the back home to bundle up. What for you ask - well, in case you forgot - WE LIVE IN THE ARTRIC TUNDRA! These days we're lucky to escape temps in the negative numbers, and well - I had to dress for the "getting there" and "leaving there" more than the actual game (I think that's the right word).

So we trudged off, wearing (me) long johns, wool socks, 2 layers of long sleeves, gloves, my scarf and winter coat to experience hockey.
Since we did get free tickets, we decided to splurge on a few "adult beverages" to enjoy during the match-up. It was just a few because at roughly $6.00/each - you know. Our other alternative was to join the $20 Busch Light Party Pit, but even then you'd have to drink ALOT of Busch Light to justify that cost.

Now, just when you think - wow, I've finally found a sporting event where I'm not distracted by scantily clad women prancing around shouting "GO TEAM" - you get blindsided by 7 of them cheering for the players to "Poke their Eyes out" and other such nonsense. Can you believe even hockey has cheerleaders?
We sat in total awe - watching those guys warm up all the while hoping people don't look at us funny because we're a) not from North Dakota and b) not avid hockey fans. I think we did a good job faking it - except for the few times Ben leaned over and not so quietly said "I hope they do the flying V" or "They should really do the flying V".
It really took me awhile to warm up to this idea of our potential kids playing hockey in the distant future. I sat through the entire first period cringing and saying "Oh my" everytime a kid got slammed into the wall or had his feet taken out from under him. I couldn't believe that some kids actually go for the jugular rather than the puck.
It slowly evolved over the course of the 2nd and 3rd period to "Poke their eyes out" and "Kill 'em" just like all the other fans. I actually found the most entertaining part of the game when the referees had to fly across the rink to break up a fight. It was all the more entertaining when gloves and sticks starting flying.

This was the closest I got to finding the Flying V for Ben to see.

This final picture is of one of oh, 100 fights that occurred during the roughly 2 hours of play. We began to pick out the "fighters" on each team and wait in anticipation for the turn on the ice.
All in all - we'd probably go back. Especially if we find some more cheap or FREE tickets. And who knows, maybe we'll become fans - after all there's not alot of options during the winter up here!

A little more to share about the Redmen

I have been struggling with blog content, as it is too darn cold to do much up here. But I did come across this video about the SC Redmen football team.

Our state representative, Jerry Moran - most of you know I think he's the bomb-diggity, gave a speech in Congress recently commerating the Smith Center community. It aired on C-SPAN and the link is available on good ole' You Tube.

Take a peak!

P.S. Last one about the Redmen for awhile - we went to a hockey game last night and we took the camera along! More to come!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Who would have thought.......

In the office we get the weekly Cass Co. Newspaper, published in Casselton, North Dakota (about 20 miles directly west of Fargo). For my family, it is very similar to the Smith County Pioneer or the Oskaloosa Herald.

The extension office has a weekly column and every few weeks I am charged with submitting an article (its a daunting task and completely stresses me out for the 7 days prior to submission). The copy makes the rounds to each office and eventually is tossed on mine - where I read it thoroughly to learn all I can about our new home.

This week, I was delightly and extremely proud to open up the "B" section of the paper, browse across the articles and find on from the Director of the Parks and Rec Director, Stephen Bartholomay. Low-and-behold, during his weekly commentary - which typically details upcoming events in the rural communities - he ventured from the norm and described the similarities between a small Kansas community and sport program and how it parallels to that of his small North Dakota Community.

Which school you say? Well of course, Smith Center. He recently received the book as a gift from his wife during a vacation in Florida, read it (of which he proclaimed - the best book he'd read in a LONG time) and was inspired to write his column in the books' and communitys' honor.

Feel free to read the article for yourself. Select Section B (Dec. 9th edition) and scroll to page 3 (article entitled OUT OF BOUNDS, Stephen Bartholomay).

I felt it my duty to call Stephen up this morning, introduce myself and thank him for such a nice sentiment - its what anyone would do! He was a delight to visit with and wished the best of both the team and the community warm thoughts and blessings after recently finding out the team was defeated in the championship game.

While many of the people who read this blog probably think - "Who cares? Its just football, its just a book." Its about more than that, its families, schools and communities who stand behind their kids, support them and have goals, hopes and dreams for those kids way beyond football.

I'm glad others in the country (including those way up here in North Dakota) can find comfort in the moral of the story rather than the actual record and championship trophies shelved in the halls of Smith Center High School.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Get a new swing in your step.

Over the thanksgiving break Ben's sister Amanda commented on the music featured in my blogs. She really appreciated, much like me, Lori McKenna's music. After hearing some of the songs she went out and scooped up a copy (that's the great thing about living in Nashville - you can find anything!).

I decided that I'd share a new song I recently heard, via the last episode of Jon & Kate Plus 8.

It's entitled "Its Your Life" by Francesca Battistelli. If you remember, she also sings another song which I LOVE....."Free to Be Me."

Hope you enjoy!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Come on, Vogue.

What started out as a simple family picture before Thanksgiving on the Williams side slowly became the side show in a low-budget circus. No joke. We (Ben and I) have been anticipating this mini-photo session to get material for our Christmas card this year, but in the mean time we decided to get a few more pictures (courtesy of Amanda's facebook page since I am forever camera-less).

Grandpa Owens served as the photographer for this picture, he did a good job getting us all in, but the angle was just off giving the illusion that Ben and I are nearly twice the size as Craig and Regina, which does wonders for my self-image.

We were able to sneak in a good picture before the mutts jumped in and out of the frame. But that didn't detour them from getting in a few of the other pictures and totally distracting everyone.
Craig and Regina posed for a photo with the "grand-kids". Lucy (on the left) was much more inclined to having her picture taken than Macy (on Regina's lap). Frankly, she wanted nothing to do with these shanninigans.
If I do say so myself, I think the picture of Ben and his sister was probably the best of the bunch. They take such a nice picture together (can you feel the slight sense of jealousy?).

There are a few more pictures that aren't published and for good reason. I launched a full-blown tirade to get the "perfect" picture but my thoughts were as well executed as I had anticipated. I sat Ben down, in an uncomfortably crouching position no-less, and scooted in between his legs for a "posed" picture only to look like a giant hanging all over a decapitated knee. Maybe next time we'll get it right!
We're in desperate need of a quality Christmas picture for the card, I'm soliciting the help of just about anyone to get the job done. If all else fails I'll include the first snow-angel of the season from sunny North Dakota.

A little bit of Christmas to share.

Now that Thanksgiving is officially over - I can share the gifts I made for each of Ben's sisters as birthday gifts. They each had birthday's earlier in the fall, but we were waiting on a) 2 paychecks and b) closer to Christmas, since they are technically Christmas decorations.

The project was meant to keep me busy during Ben's frequent travels for work, but I think they permentantly raised my blood pressure a notch or two - but I enjoyed myself to say the least. My strategy was mostly as follows, I kept an eye out on the ad's at Hobby Lobby for items that had been marked 50% off during the pre-holiday season, worked on weekends and evenings when I was home alone, and consulted Ben as frequently as possible on edits and other suggestions.

Each is a 27" inch wreath purchased bare and I collected and added all the decorations to fit the theme I selected for each wreath.
I have to say, this wreath is my favorite. Anna (the red head for my side of the family who can remember the girls by their hair color), got this wreath. Inside the wreath is a 6" gold snowflake and all the ornaments have gold designs on them (they are shatter proof, my favorite part of the modern Christmas decorations). There are also jingle bells around the wreath, in case she wants to put it on a door.
This cowboy country wreath was made with Amanda (the blonde) in mind. There are also large bronze jingle bells in the center and a cowboy snowmen on the outside. I used rustic inspired decorations and rust red ribbon to frame this wreath!

The whimsical wreath was given to Lyndsey (the brunette) in mind. I loved this ribbon and was glad to find the mittens had the same design as the ribbon. I tell you what, I am very excited about my developing bow making skills, courtesy of the DIY instruction manual I picked up for FREE at Hobby Lobby in the wedding section! I knew Lyndsey already had an indoor wreath and I think with these materials, she can put it on the back door and it'll brave the elements just fine.

This wreath was the last one I made, just in case. I ended up keeping this wreath, partially because I couldn't decide whether I liked it or not (I reworked this wreath several times before this final product) and then I couldn't decide who would like this one. It matches the bulbs on my Christmas tree and I like the warm, dark bronzey colors. So now its hanging above our couch!
I know I'm opening up myself for a big can of worms with my side of the family. But if you talk nice, I might be able to make one for you!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Let's get political

While I've always veered towards the "Free Speech" state of mind, I understand that mentality comes with a price. The intent of the free speech movement and the perception it conveys to audiences are in most cases, very different. The same could be said with my personal lifestyle.

My personal political views differ substantially from my mostly conservative upbringing - let's face it as far as I'm concerned my opinions are just that "my opinions". So while I hold a special place in my heart for politics, I've kept "mum" on most of my views.

I read recently in an article that Sarah Palin has upset a subset of vegetarians. WAY TO GO SARAH! There is an exerpt from her new book, Going Rogue discussing her personal choice to be a meat eater. While I'm not necessarily supportive of Mrs. Palin as a potential candidate of the United States, I am supportive of her in her role as a professional women, mother, daughter and wife.

Regardless of someone's affiliation, I will think we should at least consider their point of view. Regardless of what view, industry or organization someone represents - I hope that whatever form of free speech that is conducted is done with a)integrity and b) passion.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Christmas with the Williams

If my photography skills were more on point to say, those of my college friends - I would have very elaborate and beautiful pictures of our Christmas tree. However, like I've mentioned before - a good "crash-course" in photography would make a world of difference.

Like I mentioned earlier, we purchased our Christmas tree at a thrift store here in Fargo (I'm beginning to really dig this bargin hunting business). Sunday afternoon Ben and I ventured down to Walmart (like the entire population of Fargo also did, man it's a busy place) and wandered up and down the Christmas aisles.

We picked up this huge container of red, green and brown bulbs. Of course, my handmade ornaments were included, with some minor editing. I used ribbon as garland (I don't particularly care for the regular garland you can purchase) and then the jingle bells were left over from a recent craft project (check back after thanksgiving for this big reveal) and purchased at hobby lobby!

The only portion I am not completely satisifed with is the tree topper, after finishing the decorations I realized that it doesn't really fit with the overall "concept" of the tree. Plus Ben makes fun of it all the time. I think I'd like to have something a little more "shiny". I'll keep looking.

Although it's hard to tell, the lights are on in this picture. I think next year I'll add at least one more strand, but as most of you know - when decorating a tree, the lights go on first. There is no way I'm taking all this back off just to do it again (in the same year). Moreover, I personally like a little bit of raz-a-ma-taz so I'm making mental notes on how to "glam" it up a little more for next year.
Regardless, we do have a fabulous tree up and are thoroughly enjoying it for the next month-and-a-half to come.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Gearing up for the holidays.

Christmas time is quickly approaching, if you don't believe me - watch the television ads that are trying to entice shoppers out by offering "BLACK FRIDAY" specials every Friday up until the actual day after Thanksgiving.

In that spirit, I began the hunt for my Christmas tree. Remember from a week or so ago when I mentioned that I made some Christmas ornaments? I found and purchased that 7 1/2 foot Christmas tree from the thrift store last Friday.

It took all the restraint I have in me to wait until yesterday to decorate it! Pictures to come!

In lieu of the Christmas holiday, a little early (I have been well informed from family, friends, co-workers and facebook friends) - I wanted to share a little treat from my sister, Kait.

She submitted this picture to the HPJ (High Plains Journal) Christmas Coloring Contest. She had to submit this back in the first part of October to be eligible to compete against all the other 7 to 10 yr. olds who also drew Christmas inspired pictures.

I think she did a marvelous job, she's only 7 remember (a 2nd grader).

This is the link to the website and the rest of the pictures entered in this year's competition.

Good Luck Kait!

Friday, November 6, 2009

We might just be North Dakotans yet!

Disclaimer: Much of the information presented in the pictures is found from simple Google searches. What I am sharing is merely a glimpse of our new home intended for our family and friends only - not for historical use.

Since many of our family and friends have not been to North Dakota for any length of time, I thought I'd share a few highlights of Fargo, Cass County and ND (all places we call home)!

North Dakota, population 638,000
Cass County, population 137,000
Fargo/West Fargo, population 113,680

State Nickname: Peace Garden/Flickertail State
State Bird: Meadowlark (KS, right?)
State Tree: American Elm; Flower: Wild Praire Rose

Settled as Dakota Territory (with S. Dakota) : 1861 but admitted to the union in 1889
# Counties: 53
# Miles across state from East to West: 335 miles

ND is largely an agriculturally based state, relying on crops/livestock to maintain the livelihood of its residents.

Compared to the rest of the country, ND agriculture ranks as follows:
Wheat, all 1. Kansas 2. North Dakota 3. South Dakota
Barley 1. North Dakota 2. Idaho 3. Montana
Sunflower, all 1. North Dakota 2. South Dakota 3. Kansas
Canola 1. North Dakota 2. Minnesota 3. Montana
Dry Edible Beans 1. North Dakota 2. Michigan 3. Nebraska
Sugarbeets 1. Minnesota 2. North Dakota 3. Michigan
(From the ND Department of Agriculture)

As you can see, primarily cropping systems are the largest contributor to ND impact on US agriculture. However, ND does produce approximately +930,000 head of beef cows/calves and +181,000 hogs and pigs. No estimate was given for sheep, but there are a substantial number of sheep producers in the western portion of the state.

In Cass Co. particularly the livestock industry is a very small piece of ND animal agriculture. As of Jan. 1, 2009 there were approximately 5,000 hd. of beef cows; 1,800 hd. of sheep/lambs and 6,400 hd. of hogs and pigs.

  • Before the turn of the century there was a very well developed livestock market in West Fargo (the adjoining town to Fargo). The above picture is from 1938 looking over the stockyards. Hereford cattle are scattered in the background amidst the heavy snowfall and flat lands all around.
  • Below is a picture one of the most historic and core parts of Fargo, Broadway St. from the 1880's. If you visit, we'll most likely explore the shops and eating joints the historic Broadway has to offer.

Most of you are well aware of our fears of spring time flooding up here in the Red River Valley. Although the city/state and U.S. Army Corp of Engineers are working to help reduce the risk of flooding in the future my building multi-million dollar dykes and diversion - it wasn't in place this past spring. I included a few photos of the flooding in and around Fargo.

Have no fear - we have been assured that unlike other areas that experience massive and wide-spread flooding, the people of ND and Cass Co. really rally around one another in these situations. NDSU students were released from school but many stayed to help the residents sand-bag for 2 weeks to divert water from damaging more homes.
The hardest search is finding pictures of Fargo in present day. This is an aerial view that overlooks Fargo. This is what we see on a daily basis, and we're enjoying it up here!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Our very own "devil dog"

The third member of our family has been on an extended vacation at "Grandpa and Grandma Godsey's" since well, forever. My mom and dad graciously allowed Gage to stay at their house until we were settled in. This morning, during our bi-weekly chat, mom informs me that our sweet little puppy is quickly growing into a large, unruly monster. Unlucky them.

We have carried on conversations that focus on the Gage's "sire" but have continued to come up just short of a clear-cut answer. Most recently Mom has suggested a rather "large" male dog who is owned by a frequent visitor of Gaylord. This dog has a) no name; b) no identifiable breed; and c) is a monster in size.
These photos were taken during September on my last trip home. You can see he does have long legs and gigantic paws. These traits have only seemed to become accentuated with age. He was fortunate enough to be blessed with his momma's good looks (Zoey, not me).
While my Mom suggests that he's a WILD THING, when I visit he's quite the opposite. I've suggested that they spend sometime "LOVING-ON-HIM", as he's a big fan of tummy rubs and car rides.
Since Pudgy is the only dog typically allowed inside, I had to make a plea with mom to allow him limited access to the living room. Hence the blanket. While I didn't include the picture of him torturing the family cat, he did spend a good deal of time getting "man-handled" by her cat-nip toy. The poor thing was in pain, or so Gage thought. Each time he tried to clobber it and the thing squeaked he came running and whimpering in my direction.

Hopefully we can get him up here (I know I say that alot) but I think he's about to the age that we'll have some really bad habits to break (barking, jumping, pooping where you sleep) if we don't get started soon. Craig and Regina may have a houseful of dogs at Christmas time!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A new look, a new attitude.

As most of you know, for almost my entire natural born life I've been a blonde. UNTIL NOW. With a new career, I thought "what the heck" lets do something different.

Three days before I started my new job I happened to meet a stylist up here who has a real skill! So, I went for it. She also gave me a killer haircut, which I might even like more than the color (which I have falled completely in LOVE with!). We had to re-dye it only a week later, those "silky smooth blonde strands" (as my stylist would say) didn't quite take during the first attempt. However, during the second a darker "CHESNUT" color was used, leaving me with a more reddish appearing mane. It'll blend nicely, I've been assured!

Ben snapped a couple of pictures on the morning of my first day of work, in my 4-day a week garb, "Business Casual". We exercise this quite stringently here - which is nice. It gave me a chance to exercise my shopping bone. ENTER BURLINGTON COAT FACTORY.

Some people do not care for this store, I am aware. But in leau of a TJ MAXX (not a fan), I found 4 pairs of nice (brand name no less) dress pants for $14.99 EACH! Needless to say, its my new favorite discount store! Anyway, my shopping was temporarily halted due to the increasing proximity to Christmas - but I'm always on the lookout for a "SALE" item. I think I got that from my Mom.

My staff can't believe that I was blonde (I apparently wasn't very memorable during my interview, just kidding). But I'm sure they'll get a feel for my true nature on those oh-so-rare occasions I forget that "brain-to-mouth" filter that is synonomous with us blondes.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Our humble abode!

Most of you already know that Ben and I took a huge chance on an apartment when we moved to Fargo back in August. The following were the things we knew for certain about the apartment

a) 2 bedrooms, split by the living room on the 3rd floor of a secured building
b) heat and a 2-car garage were paid
c) 6-mth leases are available for the same price
d) pets are not allowed

We had no pictures, no website or any general idea of what we were getting ourselves into, but we did know that we had to move up north in less than 10 days and we were running out of options. We got REALLY lucky, by far not the worst we've lived in.

I've had pictures of our apartments stored on my computer since September. Can't you tell from the watermelon on our table, my gift from mom and dad at Gaylord Watermelon Day!

First off, the ever important kitchen. If you've been friends with us for awhile you'll notice the same kitchen table that Ben's had since junior college (like Stephen Linnebur noticed right away). Also, you'll notice that I'm a big fan of the "Stuff on the Fridge" - we have family and friends pictures, announcements and invitations all over the place!
Nextly (is that a real word) we have the living room with the balcony exit. Notice again (with the exception of the coffee and end tables) that we haven't upgraded to the big kid furniture yet. Maybe soon!

This is the lonely guest bedroom. Maybe someday we'll have visitors! This rooms also doubles as storage, but that's been stragetically hidden from view!

Finally, our bedroom. Not much to say, other than notice the stack of Ben's clothes on the left-hand side. This is a daily struggle - I fold, he puts up. We absolutely love our king-sized bed - its a struggle when we travel now though, we're definitely used to our own space.
I didn't include pictures of the bathrooms (yes, we did score 2 bathrooms - so no more sharing (Corineah likes)), laundry room (which could double as a third bedroom, that's how big it is) or any of the storage space (like closets).
I need to create a little mystery for those of you thinking about packing up for a visit north! We haven't truly moved in - we hope to settle in somewhere (buy a home possibly?), which is when buying the new furniture will come in!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

In honor of the American Royal I will miss

Although I am very grateful for my new job, I do have one major complaint.....not one of the very serious nature, but rather I have to act like an adult and stay home and work while Ben gets to travel to one of my favorite pastimes - livestock shows.

While I'm spending the next three days in "New Staff Orientation" - Ben will get to catch up with our friends in KC at the American Royal, spend time with Craig and Regina, roam around the expo center and....oh yeah, see some great livestock in the meantime. I'm sure that my displeasure won't last once I get that nice paycheck and the security of one for many month (and hopefully years) to come.

In honor of my absense, I'll pay tribute to one of our most favorite pasttimes. In September I did hop in the NDSU judging van for a trip south to Kansas. Who in their right mind would pass up a trip to a) Kansas, b) see your family or c) see good livestock? Certainly not me. During this trip my cousin Shelby competed in her final (I think) Kansas Junior Livestock Show.

The wether show was held on Saturday - concurrent with the collegiate livestock judging contest - leaving Ben able to spend time with me and my family and watch 2 Diamond W Club Lambs compete. Below is a few pictures from the weekend.

This lamb is out of their "Skunk" buck (clink for a link to his picture listed on their website). If I had been thinking - I could have saved interim pictures we took over the course of the spring/summer to show this lambs progress. Dad, Dena and Shelby came to Indiana and purchased lambs, 2 or 3 of which were out of this buck. To say the least (as noted by the next picture) - we were all very pleased with the lambs from this buck.

This lamb won an intermediate weight natural class, and although my pictures do not do this lamb justice - he was in his prime. The lamb had a good touch and a good big hip. I could very well be mistaken, but I think this lamb was near the 125 lb. mark at the KJLS show.
The next two pictures are from the second wether lamb in Shelby's lineup. I am uncertain of his pedigree - but this lamb was an early pleaser. He peaked earlier in the season and didn't quite have enough lower leg to compete with the big boys. However, like I said - all were pleased with how they performed.

We've yet to hear final word on whether Shelby will compete one more year in 4-H (since she is a freshman at Hutchinson Community College) but we still have the two young'ins to think about. I'm certain that the Williams' will have many Kansas' lambs over the next 12 years!
So I shall say - good luck to all those competing this weekend AND hello to all those I won't get to catch up with this time! We'll see you in January!