Thursday, December 27, 2007

We Have a Visitor

Finlay has a visitor for the next few days. Her name is Rocket Rinehart, and she is the baby of one of Lindsay's co-workers. Her parents are in Colorado, the luck dogs! We mentioned Rocket for the first time a few days ago (she was the pup who came to play the day that Tiny Fin hurt his leg, which is all better now by the way). They have been playing and having fun all day, and even though Rocket is a native Ohioan, she has been helping us cheer on the Texas Longhorns!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Merry Christmas Video

We think this speaks for itself. Enjoy, and make sure to turn on your speakers!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Day

Merry Christmas everyone! We are currently working on a video montage of our Christmas festivities. It should be up tonight or early tomorrow. Check back soon!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve in Pictures

We wished you all could have been here to share Christmas Eve with us, but since you weren't here are a few pictures of our day.

We saw The Golden Compass. It was great, and we can't wait to see the next one. We'd definitely recommend it. It was our first Christmas Eve movie together, ever!!

Lindsay cooked the big Christmas meal, with some key help form Nick of course. We had ham with cherry glaze, cheese grits, twice baked potatoes with blue cheese and thyme, green bean casserole, rolls, peanut blossoms, and cut-out cookies!

We set the table with our fine china, flatware, and crystal (for the first time!) and of course our advent wreath. Since we don't have a proper dining room, we set it up in the living room.

Nick thoroughly enjoyed the meal, and to be honest, Finlay did too.

The Christmas Eve church service ended outside, in front of a live manger scene. Cool...and very cold, but we did get to sing Silent Night while holding little white candles so it felt somewhat complete.

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone! We're sad we can't be with any or all of you today and tomorrow, but we are planning our own little Christmas here in Columbia. We thought it might be fun to give you a running blog today and tomorrow so that you can kind of experience these days with us! Oh, and we will try to post a video tomorrow for your enjoyment.

Today the plan is to cook, go see the Golden Compass, cook some more, eat dinner, got to a 9 p.m. Christmas Eve service, and then get ready for Santa to come!

We should mention that instead of Tiny Tim this year, we have Tiny Fin. He's been limping since last night when his friend Rocket came over to play. Nothing seems broken, and he can bear weight on the leg so we think it will get better over time.

Well, check back in later for an update! Oh, and for those of you on my side of the family who have not yet been gotten, CHRISTMAS EVE GIFT!!!

We are currently in the midst of the cooking for our big Christmas dinner, which we will eat tonight, per the Hall family tradition. I've made the twice-baked potatoes and the grits are just about to go in. We still have the green bean casserole to cook, the ham and the rolls to warm, and the sauce to make, but so far so good. Sorry about the burned pumpkin pie, Mom!

We saw The Golden Compass earlier, for our Christmas Eve movie, and we really liked it! We can't wait for the sequel!! The Reitmeiers will have to let us know about Charlie Wilson's War. Well, I'm off to do more baking. We'll update again soon.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Heeeeey Sic'Em Bears!!!

Last night Nick and I attended the Baylor vs. South Carolina basketball game here in Columbia, courtesy of Steve, my U-101 co-instructor. Thanks Steve! We had a blast! Steve was good enough to give us his season tickets, which put us right in the middle of gamecock country. Possibly, this was not good. We got a few dirty looks, and once someone tried to kick us out of our seats (they didn't believe that we really had the tickets). We made it through the first half unscathed, probably because the Bears were not doing so hot. We were very classy fans, only clapping a few times whenever Baylor did something good.

At halftime we met up with the Killens. For those of you who don't know, Robin Killen is originally from Waco, grew up in Woodway, and graduated from Midway High. For any ex-Panthers out there, her mom is Mrs. Beck, who teaches geometry at the high school. She took me in and helped us a lot when we moved to Sumter (which is where the Killens live). I also have spent some time hanging out with her kids (pictured below) and I was excited to get to see them again!
Rebekah, Robin, Mary Kate, Ruthie, and I

In the end, the Bears pulled out the win, and Nick and I were so proud!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

It's Cool to Comment!

So, we need to have a bit of a blog intervention. Not because of something that you do, but because of something you don't do! You have stopped commenting! It's kind of sad to think that I am sending this out into the universe and am getting no feedback. I really enjoy seeing what you all have to say about our posts and it encourages me to keep blogging. So please, the next time you take a peek at Texas Ex-Pats, leave a comment!

Oh, and if you could just leave your name after your comment, that would be great. Lots of people read us every day so sometimes it's hard to know who said what!

In other news, I got a hair-cut today. I took a picture with me. It was a bit daring, with some layering and sidebangs. However, I think my hair stylist took me a little too literally about the bangs. So...there will be a photo of the haircut, but not until I can get these bangs to calm down and behave!

Tomorrow Nick and I will be cheering on our Baylor Bears when they play the Gamecocks here in Columbia. Look for us on TV! We will bring back a report on Thursday.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Bellsnickle and Other Tales

On Friday, something very exciting happened at our house - Bellsnickle paid us a visit! Although Bellsnickle never visited me as a child, I guess I inherited him as a memeber of the Hall family. He made a brand new basket in which to leave his special treats (I hear the folks at Hobby Lobby were very helpful in his endeavor). I think he even brought us a few things from Lauri's house (thanks Bellsnickle!). Here are a few pictures of the whole set-up.

Yesterday, Nick and I had another first. We baby-sat! Most of you who read this blog know that I have traditionally not had an affinity for children, but, dare I say that in the past few months my feelings have begun to change. Don't anyone go getting excited, now. We are still not planning on starting our own family for a while, but we figured there was no harm in hanging out with some cute kids every once in a while either, just to get our toes wet.

We hung out with my boss, Ang's, precious three year old twins, Emma and Jehu. We got to play with toys, chat about Santa, play outside, and watch Nemo. We even survived naptime! Although it took every ounce of self-restraint in me to not go in and hold them when they were crying out for their Mommy! I stood by everything I've heard about parenting that told me to just wait and they'd calm down. And you know what? They did. I asked Ang to please let us come back again soon.

In somewhat less thrilling news, we lost power at our house today in the early morning, and it did not return until 7:15 p.m.! This made for an afternoon of chilly reading, followed by an early evening of candlelight. We are just glad that it's back since the low tonight should be in the twenties!

We hope everyone had a great weekend!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Lights Before Christmas

Last night Nick and I, along with three other couples went to The Lights Before Christmas, at the Columbia Riverbanks Zoo. It was really cool, with the whole place lit up with twinkle lights! There was even a really fancy lights and music show by the sea lions. Here are a few pictures.

You can barely see us!

Alicia, Tara, Rachel, and I

Nick with the penguins

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Halfway Done!

I'm taking this break in studying for my Legal final to let everyone know that as of today I am halfway finished with my M. Ed. degree! I've had a blast and learned a lot so far, but I am definitely feeling the itch to get a real job. Here's to being halfway done.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Holiday fun

With Nicholas back home the holiday celebration has truly begun at our house. One of my favorite Christmas traditions is the advent wreath. We always had one at my house growing up, and I plan to always have one in my home. Nick and I are sharing the tradition for the first time this year, and it has been exciting to share the symbolism behind the wreath as well as the special time of devotion as the candles are lit. If you don't have an advent wreath, I'd definitely recommend it.

Speaking of advent, Nick and I went back to Shandon UMC yesterday, and we really enjoyed the service. The church was decorated as if for a wedding, with candles on stands at each pew, poinsettias and ivy everywhere, and of course, the advent wreath. It truly felt like an advent celebration! We are going to be visiting this church exclusively for a while so for those of you concerned about whether or not we would find a church home, I'd say we're about halfway there.

Below, you can find some pictures of the SPAliday party we attended on Saturday night. Enjoy!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Nick is home!

Nick is finally home after a 2 week trip to Nebraska! He had a great time, considering he was there for work. Perhaps the highlight was getting to spend a bit of time in the snow. Finlay and I were very jealous.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

The Lean-to

A minute ago I told you that nothing of note had happened in a while. Well, I forgot something. Nick and I live in a neighborhood with lots of old houses, and lots of those old houses are occupied by old people. One particularly cranky old man lives at the end of my street; actually he just moved in a few months ago.

The first thing he did when he moved in was to put up a carport. Now, I'm not the biggest carport fan to begin with, but this one only even qualifies under the loosest of definitions. It is made of pvc piping and a few mismatched tarps. Unacceptable. When this went up Nick and I were more than a little miffed. However, since we rent our house we didn't really know who to complain to so we let it ride.

Then came the lean-to. Yes, I said lean-to. This guy actually put up steps, railing, and a deck (maybe 3x3 feet) and then proceeded to box it all in with unfinished, unpainted particle board, a crooked window, and a door that leaned over at a distinct angle. We weren't even sure how it would work. This was the tackiest, sickest thing you have ever seen. Seriously. I mean, this whole thing was clearly not well-engineered, could never have been up to code, and was apparently assembled from junk yard scraps.

So you may be able to imagine my utter elation when, while out walking with Rebecca on Friday, we discovered that the lean-to was being torn down. Half of it was already on the ground, and the ornery old man who built it was sitting in what appeared to be an over-taxed wicker chair, griping to someone on the phone about how he was having to take down his porch.

When we checked back on Saturday the entire abomination had come down and was lying in a heap on the curb. Victory is mine!

Long time, no see

It has been way to long since we blogged, yes, we know. Other than Rebecca's visit, covered below, there has not been much inspirational going on. Fin and I have been hanging out while Nick has been busy at job training. Not much excitement.

However, we did get a visit from Fin's " Aunt Rebecca" last weekend! It was her first visit to South Carolina, and we were so excited to show her around our home. She arrived late Thursday night, and on Friday we took her to see the sights on campus. We had a tasty southern lunch at Mr. Friendly's, did the requisite campus tour, and she even got to work with me for a bit. Friday night we had dinner at the Mellow Mushroom in the Vista. Saturday we spent the day shopping, and discovered the most previous pet store! Three Dog Bakery, in Five Points, actually bakes fresh pet treats in-store. They also have a great selection of pet accessories. I will definitely be going back! Saturday night Bec got to meet some of my friends here at USC when we had dinner at Rockaway's and went bowling. We were so sad to see her leave on Sunday, but all good things must come to an end. We miss you already, Bec! Come back to visit us soon!