Ok....deep breath. It has been a LONG time since I've posted so this may be a long one. We've been having a lot of trouble with our internet at home, which makes it almost impossible to upload any pictures. So the last couple times I've gone to the school to post, but I haven't had that opportunity in a while. Anyway, I'll try to get some up today, but I'm not making any promises!
About 3-4 weeks ago, we went down to my parents for the opening of deer season and Derek got his first deer! It was an 11-point buck, about 210 lbs field-dressed- impressive! I'm not much of a hunting-advocate (just for sport, anyway) but I was proud of Derek for processing the meat himself and even saving me some tallow (fat) for soap-making. :) I'm getting him a dehydrator for Christmas (shhhh, don't tell! No, I think he knows anyway) so he can make lots of super yummy jerky! I don't love venison, but it does make good jerky. Annabel was pretty excited about the whole hunting experience, too. She went out while Derek was sighting in his gun (with proper ear protection, of course) and kept laughing and yelling "boom!" Then when he brought in his deer she was very excited about that, too. On the way home, we passed one of those deer mannequins in someone's yard and she yelled, "look, daddy- boom!"
The tenderloins, ready to be cooked up the next day! Sorry if this grosses anyone out...
The next week Derek went to Peoria to the National Missionary Convention and left me all alone for 4 days :( Boooo. I stayed 2 of the nights with my friend Angie and we stayed up way too late each night talking, watching movies and doing pedicures :)
Being silly at Miss Angie's house!
And talking on a calculator... very hi-tech!
Putting a diaper on her baby:)
I just thought this was so cute!
Shortly after, it was Thanksgiving, so off for more travel. I joined my family on Thanksgiving day, then drove down to Bowling Green that night to meet up with Derek and his family. We had a wonderful time, ate lots of prime rib and filet and did some black Friday shopping:) I tried to get some $15 jeans at Old Navy but quickly decided it wasn't worth the 2-hour wait in line. The weather was absolutely wonderful- 60's both days- so we played outside on the farm and went to an outdoor craft fair/petting zoo.
"Holding" her baby cousin Deacon. I love how this picture looks like a cheesy Sears portrait :) Actually they're just sitting on a couch with a blanket behind them. Annabel loves holding babies so much.
Hugging another cousin, Jacob, goodbye. She had so much fun with all her little boy cousins!
Later than night in Kentucky. Here she is snacking on "fries." Bull fries, that is. Rocky mountain oysters. Bull nuts. Yes, it is what it sounds like. She loved them :) I thought they tasted like a mild version of liver- not bad, but not my favorite!
Playing outside with the puppies and Grandma Sue. She's sporting the hat and scarf I made her!
Making grandpa read stories to her!
Aunt Sandy has a great big jar of antique marbles, which you can imagine are fascinating to a 2-year-old!
And the best part of the long trip home:
(and yes, for all you car-seat freaks, I realize the chest buckle is riding about an inch too low here...)
On our way home we stopped at Justin and Holly's (derek's brother and SIL) for dinner. When I look at this picture I can hardly tell the girls apart- except for the eyes! They are so similar in their facial expressions and the sound of their voices!
The day we got back from Thanksgiving, we started packing for our vacation to Las Vegas the next day! We left Annabel with my parents' and flew out on Tuesday. I think it was harder leaving her this time because she was able to talk on the phone more and say "I miss you mommydaddy." Awww! I think she had a good time with Grammy and Papaw, though. She keeps talking about her cousin Bonnie, and holding the kitties, so I think that's a good thing! As for Derek and I, we had an amazing time in Vegas. Amazingly, I don't think I actually lost any money, and I played a lot of blackjack. There was one day I lost $130, and I went to bed soooo mad at myself. But then the next day I won over $150, so it worked out. Some of the guys we went with, though, they would be up or down hundreds or thousands at any given time. Craziness. I think one of the guys finished up $3500 ahead... I just can't imagine. Oh well- play big to win big, I guess :) Derek and I finished up our Christmas shopping for Annabel at FAO Schwartz, went to a Cirque du Soleil show - KA - it was amazing, I got a massage at the spa, and we ate the best food I've ever tasted in my life, so yeah, it was a good trip. Very relaxing and much needed. It was a little bittersweet, because it will probably be the last time Derek and i get away on our own for quite awhile. Next year our new baby will be about 6 months, and I am not willing to leave a child that young. And then who knows what will happen after that.
A picture of the whole group of us, having a great time at Hooters! This is where I won all my money! :)
Most of the nights there we ate with the group, mostly at steak houses (they are all cattle ranchers/farmers!). One night, however, Derek and I snuck off to a fancy Japanese restaurant at MGM. I have never at anywhere so high-class in all my life- seriously! It was like a restaurant you would read about in a Danielle Steel novel :)
My third course was beef tenderloin with a black truffle oil ponzu (dipping sauce) and a variety of Japanese mushrooms.
Derek got lobster and scallops in an uni butter sauce (I don't actually know what this stuff is, I just eat it!)
Dessert was a trio of Japanese fruits prepared in different ways- I couldn't remember what they were if I tried.
We may not be able to afford to eat for the rest of the month, but it was worth it!
So anyway, its very good to be home. I'm just trying to get caught up on housework, grocery shopping and laundry before all the crazy Christmas traveling begins. Which is next weekend for me- I'm meeting 5 or 6 of my girlfriends from high school in Nashville on Friday! Yikes! It should be fun, though- some of them I haven't really seen much in the past 10 years!