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!