Sunday, December 26, 2010

Toboggan Time!

This Christmas, Adam and I decided to split our time betwixt two households as such: pre-Christmas and Christmas with my family in Indiana and then post-Christmas and New Year's celebrations with his family in Alabama. We're already having so much fun, but I thought I'd share one of our early adventures.

My sister and her husband were generous enough to let us steal my nephew for a few days, so my dad, my nephew Ethan, Adam, and I went tobogganing a few days ago. My husband, having grown up in areas of the world that did not consistently have snow, always called a "toboggan" what I would call a "hat." Although he knew the other meaning of the word, I was excited to show him the TRUE meaning of a toboggan!! :)

Pre-toboggan picture by the Christmas tree! We're all bundled up and ready to brave the cold.

Here we are waiting in line. I didn't take any pictures of the actual toboggan ride, but it's basically a giant sled (seen below) that slides down a pre-iced track. You go rather fast, of course, which makes it fun!

Here we are on the sled, about ready to be slid onto the track. I look silly, but everyone else looks good. It was my turn to ride in back (and fight off any goblins that may impede our speed, as I told Ethan).

We went 30 mph the first run, 36 mph on the 2nd and 3rd runs, and a whopping 37 mph on our last run! Lots of fun!! :) I highly recommend the toboggan run at Pokagon State Park anytime!!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Much-delayed CHRISTMAS post!

Wow. It has been a hectic semester! And, as of 11:16 a.m. this morning, I am officially DONE with said semester! To celebrate, here are some of the Christmas decorations we've put up in our townhouse. I'm so excited to finally have the time (and energy) to enjoy the holiday break!!! Yee-haw!

Outside lights! Yay for colorful lights and snow!!

Our Christmas tree!

A few extra Christmas lights on our topiary trees.
I ADORE Christmas lights!! (in case you couldn't tell!)

And some family pictures with Oliver!

Stockings, hung with care by the...uh, wine butler! Yeah, that's indicative of us, I suppose! See the A and C for Adam and Cathy, of course. There weren't any O's (the horror, the horror!)so Oliver got a snowflake emblem.

I might post some pictures of ornaments, etc later on...but I'm going to go enjoy my break now! :) Also, facebook message me or contact me if you think I don't have your address and want one of our fabulous Christmas cards! PLEASE contact me because I LOVE sending out Christmas cards!!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A-C-O Photoshoot!

Laura Copeland does fantastic work, but Adam and Oliver are pretty charming models, if I do say so myself. :) These pictures were taken in Adam's parents' backyard--lovely fall leaves all around!

Also, Oliver doesn't really smile in pictures. He's more noble than that, I suppose. However, I do like to think that he's enjoying just can't see it as easily. What a frustratingly wonderful little man!

smiling amidst leaves

Oliver stoically standing

I'm pretending to ride Oliver

Up-close shot of the cutest little man ever!!!

Cute family

I like myself in the sunshine here, even though Adam looks like he's about to sneeze

a little sugar from my honey

Oliver licking his lips while we kiss him--i love this picture!!

Oliver has scampered ahead...but I really like how my jeans look! :)

I like the three of us strolling through the woods.

a little Daddy-Oliver playtime!

uh-oh, Daddy's rushing Oliver and me!

I love it when my men fight over me! ;)

I'm so happy that we have some quality family photos...I grew out my hair just to get some "I have long hair, a husband, and a dog" pictures. Though I curled it in the pics, usually it's just straight and long. What do you think? Should I cut it or keep growing it?? Or only wear it curled?

In the next few days, I'll put up Copeland clan pictures (also taken by Laura, but featuring Adam's parents, all his siblings and siblings-in-law). I guarantee that you'll laugh at the "restless, angry in-law" picture. What can I say? Craig, Laura, and I are hilarious! :)

Hope you enjoyed these A-C-O pictures!

Thanksgiving Recap

Adam and I both brought our cameras along for our holiday trip, but we forgot to take pictures! Eek! Luckily, in the next post, I'll share pictures that my fantastic sister-in-law took of the whole Copeland clan and of Adam, me, and Oliver. :)

Anyway, we had initially decided to stay at home for Thanksgiving, but my parents decided to come to Nashville to visit my aunt and, since Florence (Adam's hometown) is only 2.5 hours from Nash-vegas, we realized we could see both sets of families and have a bunch of fun. It was a LOT of driving, but I'm ever-so-glad that we went "down south" for Thanksgiving. It's so wonderful to spend time with both of our families! And I feel so lucky to have such cheerful and welcoming in-laws. :) I hope Adam feels the same way about my wacky family! ;)

So, on Tuesday, Adam, Oliver, and I piled in the car....and off we went! Adam drove for the majority of time so that I could grade and also because it was pouring rain around Knoxville. We detoured to The Apple Barn (south of Knoxville), so that we could pick up some Thanksgiving and Christmas gifts, but we reached Nashville in good time. We unpacked a bit, let Oliver stretch his legs (and be re-introduced to his cousin Harvey), and then went to a sub place for dinner with Aunt Carol and my cousin Kevin. Afterward, Adam and I went to Luke (Adam's brother) and Laura (our beautiful sister-in-law)'s place. They have a gorgeous home, and I know that Adam craved Laura's super-huge Mac screen just as much as I adored their balcony. Sad for Adam, Laura actually needs a reason for her Mac--she's a photographer and graphics designer--so, until Adam comes up with a compelling reason, he'll have to survive with his Mac, my Mac, and our iPod. :) We played CatchPhrase (Laura and I lost to a rigged game, we're sure) and just chatted and caught up. A fun ending--with ONE MAJOR PROBLEM: Luke and Laura love sushi, and they talked it up so much that I've been on a sushi-craving bender! Ate it two nights ago, and I'm eating it as I type this post. Uh-oh!

On Wednesday, Adam and I went shopping. We had decided to get each other watches for Christmas (we might get them engraved...), and we both found watches we loved at Fossil. (My current watch is from there and has lasted for 12 years, so I'm a fan of Fossil. :) In the afternoon, I was supposed to help my aunt make pies, but I took a nap instead. Alas. But maybe it was for the best, because Aunt Carol's pies looked and tasted fabulous, and I might have messed it up. ;) My other cousins, Martin and Matt, arrived straight from Notre Dame, so we had a delicious jumbalya to celebrate their safe journey. My parents got in around 10:30pm (they had to work all day and then drove 7 hours), so after a bit of catching-up, they crashed.

Thanksgiving was fabulous. Football-watching, massive amounts of food, game-playing, Christmas was relaxed and wonderful. :) I even managed to get in a little bit of grading! I was very thankful to be surrounded by family and love and happiness. :)

On Friday, Adam, Oliver, and I packed up and left (much to Oliver's sadness--he hates traveling). It was a short 2.5-h jaunt down to Florence, and it had to be quick because the Alabama-Auburn game was coming on at 1:30pm. We were already in our Bama gear, of course, and when we got to Adam's parents' home, Thanksgiving lunch was all ready to go. All of Adam's siblings, their spouses, and 2 sets of their cousins and cousins' children ate a veritable feast--and Adam's parents did a heck of a job serving everyone. Then. Oh, it happened. The Alabama-Auburn game. We were so amazing early, but the rest of the game happened. I have to say, though, I really dislike Cam Newton and I'm sorry if that's mean. Regardless of the NCAA violation allegations, he just seems to be in it for the glory, fame, and money. I suppose that's an understandable attribute, but I just like sweet, humble Mark Ingram more. Oh well--congrats to the War Eagles; they did play the better game. I just wish it wasn't so. Next year, next year.

Post-game on Friday, we played games, ate left-overs, etc. On Saturday, we had a bit of a photoshoot! Adam and I want to send out photo Christmas cards this year with some pictures of our wedding. However, we don't have any wedding photos with Oliver (since he wasn't there--sob, sob), so we (and by "we" I mean "I") decided to have a Copeland (Virginia-based) family picture taken. We asked Laura if she could lend her expertise, and she agreed! Yay! The pictures look FANTASTIC! I love, love, LOVE them! Post-our photo shoot, the whole Copeland clan went to Univ of North Alabama campus to have a family photo taken. It was a lot of fun; they're such a good-looking family, I feel like a bit of an odd duck. :) Some of those pics will shortly be up too! After that, we played more games and watched Home Alone 2; it was so relaxing and fun (and I graded even more!).

On Sunday, Adam, Oliver, and I drove home. Sigh. It wasn't too bad until we hit Virginia, where traffic slowed us considerably. We arrived home about 3 hours later than expected and picked up a pizza on our way off the interstate. We came home, consumed pizza, and crashed--both of us had to work bright-n-early in the morning.

I, for one, can't wait for more family time (and free time) over Christmas break. However, the semester is wrapping up, we have to put up our decorations and make cookies and send out Christmas cards, so I have a lot to keep me occupied and/or happy! Happy holidays indeed!!

And, now, back to more sushi.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

We've been a bit sickly...

Sad to say, but I have succumbed to illness already this winter season. Last week, my throat started hurting, I had laryngitis for a day, then the sniffles and sinus pressure slowly built. I just tried to deal with it and do all my work (luckily, my students had their presentations these past couple of weeks, so that helped!). On Tuesday, Adam started to feel a tickle in his throat and, by Wednesday, he was so sick tat he couldn't go in to work. (And he was smart enough to realize that if I gave it to him, he must be contagious too....I feel like a Typhoid Mary.) I took a half-day off work yesterday, too, and we both rested. I think we're on the upswing, and Harry Potter tonight should help immensely! :)

My weirdest symptom, though, has been dizziness. The sinus pressure went away a few days ago, but I still get dizzy spells and some nausea. (No, I'm not pregnant.) If anyone has a suggestion on how to get rid of the dizziness, let me know. More sleep is what I'm banking on!


Saturday, November 6, 2010

Why Oh Why....

Sometimes, I'm just amazed by what I care about and how it impacts my life.

Take football:

In high school, I had a crush on the kicker, but that never went anywhere (I was in the band, was a geek, and was way too thin and shy). At games, when not playing my clarinet when we scored or desperately trying not to be too anti-social, I read. Yep, I had a book (sometimes two), in the stands and read. Ah, 'twas fun.

In college, Saturdays were devoted to relaxing, doing sorority activities, or studying. Did I ever watch College football? Um, negative on that one, ghostrider. I went to one Hanover College football game (we were Division III, I think), and that was just because my friends were going.

While getting my Masters and while in Baltimore, I didn't pay any attention to football. Occasionally, friends would mention a Terrapins game or my family would discuss the Purdue--Indiana rivalry or the Wabash--Depauw rivalry.

When I moved to Alabama for my doctoral program, though, everything changed. When I got accepted, my dad joked that I was going to be teaching a lazy football player who would get kicked off the team due to grades, and then I would be the most-hated teacher on campus. That never happened, fyi. But I found myself drawn in by the crowds (and the wins...I like bandwagons a bunch) and the excitement. I knew the game (I knew that a long, LONG time ago--you can still understand basic rules whilst reading a book--and I'm good at multi-tasking). However, for the first time, I WANTED wins. And I WANTED to know more, and feel more, for Bama.

Although I met my husband at some friends' party, I got to know him better at football games. And I love that he knows so much about football and is so eager to share tidbits of information, if I so choose to want them. I love that football can energize me. After my first attempt at comps, when nothing could console me, Alabama beat Florida in the SEC Championship....and I LOVED it. And I LOVED seeing Tebow cry. It didn't make the comps news any better, but having my football team win made everything seem a bit easier to handle. Before my second attempt at comps, I watched the highlight + inspirational music for the football team; I figured it could help propel me to the level that I wanted to be at. Unbeknowest to me, I was already at that level. That said, though, football was a motivating factor that I never thought I'd ever use. Crazy stuff, eh?

And so I wonder...I wonder as I wander through life...and I wonder where I'll wander and what will be wending my way through. Why I wander, though, what will I care about and how will I care. In my silly teenage years, I never would have imagined a husband like Adam (he was a JOCK, for goodness sake! and I was a band geek! and a regular geek!!). Nor would I have imagined a dog like Mr. Oliver (he's so freaking cute and crazy). And I'm so happy, so motivated, so delightfully amazed with how much I care about them. It's wonderful and spectacular, and I'm so glad that I never knew how excellent it could be to have them as my family.

I can't wait to find out what else I will care about in the future. So, thanks, football, for making me understand just how crazy the possibilities might be. And, even though Bama lost tonight, they didn't lose my love. Adam and Oliver, too, could never lose my love. So I can't wait to find out what else will never lose my love. :)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Rally for Sanity/Fear

On 10/30/10, Adam and I went over to D.C. for the Jon Stewart/Stephen Colbert Rally for Sanity and/or Fear. Wow, it was so much fun! I have definite political views, yes, but the thing I dislike most about politics is how darn negative and critical people can be. I know that I'm not alone in disliking the negativity in political campaigns or the ludicrous statements sometimes made by politicians, BUT it was SO WONDERFUL to be surrounded by 214,999 (approx.) people who felt the same way that I do about the current political landscape. "Just relax and be happy you're alive" was, I think, the general sentiment of the day. And it suited me quite well!! :)

So, here's how the day happened. Adam and I got up, left the house a bit after 8 a.m. and drove to DC. We made great time (I say "we," but Adam did the driving while I did the slumbering) until we reached the outskirts of DC. We had planned to park at the metro stop of West Falls Church (one of the last stops on the orange lines, and a place where Adam had parked before). About 10 miles before our exit for West Falls, traffic slowed considerably and we realized that there was a massive traffic jam in the Vienna/Fairfax exit area. We passed that jam, and then started to realize exactly how massive this rally was going to be. The Vienna/Fairfax metro stop is where the orange line begins...and all of those people would be crowding into the metro. When the metro reached later stops (like West Fells), there might not be any room! Yikes! But we persevered! Onward, Copeland soldiers!

We got to West Fells and saw a huge line stretching out of the metro. After we parked the car, I stood in the back of the line, while Adam went to investigate the situation. The line wasn't to get onto the metro; it was to purchase metro passes. Adam kind of joined a line closer to the front (interpret that as you will), and texted me to let me know that I could come up and wait for him. Yay for less waiting! more action! crowd confusion!

The crowd waiting for metro tickets: The line stretched through the tunnel and was just getting longer and longer....
I tried to take a picture of Adam (my metro ticket hero!), but the crowd moved. :)
After Adam purchased our metro day-passes, we headed to the metro, and it wasn't too crowded (yet) on the waiting platform. It was a bit people-heavy, but we were near the front, and everyone was jovially chit-chatting; twas pleasant. Then...the first metro came! As it pulled into the station, there seemed to be people squished into every nook and cranny. Yes, the metro was packed in Vienna and there seemed to be no room. But we were determined to squeeze onto the train. The metro stopped, the doors opened, and there was a nice old man in a motorized scooter in the metro. Adam, bless his heart, froze. And a few people scrambled around us and squeezed into the few openings left in that metro car. The doors shut, and I told Adam that we just had to jump on the next one and not be fazed by anything. (I can be grumpy sometimes.) He agreed with me, but our back-up plan was to take the metro going to other way, get on the metro at Vienna and then we'd be in prime position to get to DC. But, we decided to wait for one more metro car. When it pulled up, we crammed ourselves in there! Thank goodness that we're fairly fit people because we were jammed in there like electrons in an inert gas. (Haha! The periodic table wins again!)

I couldn't take any pictures on the metro, but many amusing things happened--and many, many more people managed to cram onto the car. (One girl even squatted in the teeny tiny space between the legs of some random man!) However, everyone was super-nice and very excited for the Rally, so that was just lovely.

We were going to meet a few friends before the Rally, but the crowds slowed us considerably, so we decided to meet up later. Adam and I exited the metro at about 11:56 a.m. (the rally was noon to 3 p.m.), and we joined the massive crowd right around 7th street. We pushed through the crowds a bit (with no real idea where we were going) until we just decided to sit down in the middle of 7th and enjoy the music (the Roots!).

the rallying couple

An ambulance came through, though, so we left our impromptu spot and went near the Air&Space Museum for the rest of the rally. We did show off our cute signs:

My inspiration: Zoolander, the best movie ever!
Adam's inspiration: Gameday signs

The Rally was amazing, though we did have difficulty hearing some of the acts. (Our friends filled us in on the whole action later, and Comedy Central's feed and clips are pretty fun to watch.) We really enjoyed hearing the Colbert/Stewart "America" song, and Stewart's heartfelt words at the end were just great. However, what we loved most was the SIGNS! The crazy, wacky, hilarious, random SIGNS (and the funny costumed people). It was just an extraordinary atmosphere, so here are some of our favorite signs (in no particular order):

Keep Fear Alive stormtrooper
the I Could Be Wrong guy
What do we want? Moderation! (in a reasonable timeframe...)
This says Palin/Voldemort 2012 (heeheehee)
is this the line for Justin Bieber tickets?
FYI: (according to this person) the three @$$e$ of evil are Palin, Beck, and the Tea Party
self-explanatory (and self-referential)
We saw Judas on the metro later on...but here's Jesus!
self-explanatory (and good)
it's nice to be important, but it's more important to be nice....SO TRUE!
Muggles for Sanity!
Muggles for Tolerance!
Our favorite LOST sign!

Post-Rally, we saw a van with Assif Mandi and John Oliver (of "The Daily Show").

Also, post-Rally, we enjoyed an excellent dinner with friends! Overall, it was a fantastic day...and we got back to Harrisonburg before 9 p.m.--but it felt like midnight. We're old! But we're glad to be alive and sane and fearful (when necessary)! :)

a picture of the crowd with a rainbow!!
and one American flag for inspiration...