An Extensive Outline of Weekend Highlights

I. Mom’s 50th birthday. (Oops, am I allowed to say that on the Internet, Mom? By “50th” – I really mean “40th… again.”)
A. Family
the radiant birthday girl!

watching a movie

me & my bro

B. Dad’s Cake: Lemon cake with layers of lemon pudding and lemon truffle. My dad is superhuman with his baking.

C. Seeing the dining room and “toy room” in progress…

D. Finally giving Mom the gifts I finished for her in January!
a hand-painted framed cross-stitch

homemade apple coasters

homemade fabric & felt heart garland

II. Victoria & Jeremy’s!
A. Seeing the new house for the first time!

B. Game night
Jeremy explains a Taboo clue while Doug prays that they'll be able to win... ha!

C. Sewing, as usual.

TOMORROW – Doug leaves for Florida again.
Poll: How long after Doug’s departure will it be before
Rachel locks herself out of the apartment or car?
Vote, via your comment!


he is risen indeed!

In the hubbub of creating a birthday blog and writing about our latest key incident, I realized that I haven't written about our Easter yet!

I love Easter - the focus of our pastor's Easter sermon was "Resurrection Wonder" - basically, reviving the lost wonder of our faith. I felt bad, because after church, I rushed Doug out the door before we really had a chance to chat with anyone so I could attend to preparing Easter dinner.

As nervous as I was about preparing my first holiday dinner all by myself - it was a success!

Doug pronounced it, "definitely the sweetest holiday meal I've ever had!" Welcome to the Bannister family, bud. We like it sweet.

-Ham (with orange glaze)
-Green bean casserole
-Sweet Potato Mounds
-3-layer Jello
-Sweet Rolls (sadly, not homemade... maybe next year!)

and dessert - Strawberry Vanilla Trifle. Yum.

table setting

Don't let the brief glimpse of domesticity fool you - notice I'm not posting pictures of what the apartment looked like after our guests left!


we just can't win...

The universe is conspiring against us.

How else do you explain the fact that, when Doug was preparing to start the car this morning, THIS happened?

Guess what? That’s the only key I have for Bessie.

Simultaneously comical and annoying... seems to be the story of my life lately!

twenty-six in pics

Victoria is Latin for "victory."
I looked up "victory" in the dictionary, and found this picture...

with the following definition: "the ultimate and decisive superiority in any contest."

Elizabeth means "consecrated to God" :

as evidenced by an interpretive dance to "Hold Me, Jesus".

and BANNISTER means "one who exhibits brains, brawn and beauty, similar to that of a Bannister Babe" -

So I looked up some synonyms to "victorious," "consecrated," and "babe-alicious" - and this is what I found...










"profitable" :)










All that & more - best of the best.

Happy birthday, Victoria. I love you!


operation: easter egg

Doug & I decorated Easter eggs today...


ready to go.

Doug dying his first egg...

Applying wax dots...

My two favorites. :)
Happy Easter!


lock, stock, and two girls

Disclaimer: Typically, I wouldn’t update my blog while I’m at work, but since it’s Good Friday and I wasn’t given the day off and half our company took the day off anyway, I decided it’s okay!

So, it’s been just over a week since I locked myself out of our apartment. I’m seriously the queen of locking myself out of places. I locked myself out of my car/my parents’ cars countless times – a source of endless frustration to my parents. At the grocery store, at church, at East High School the morning before I started student teaching… then there was the time that my lock was FROZEN at Spring Arbor. Pretty sure Joel Skene was on security that night, and he came and saved me. Additionally, with college dorms that are locked every night, I’ve been locked out more times than I care to share – even as an RA - the person who is responsible for locking the doors! Honestly, knowing my tendencies, they may have been a little more hesitant to give me that job. I even had to crawl in through a lobby window once.

So, I locked myself out of my car last night. My friend Sara and I were spending an evening together, since her husband had a small group and my husband had his last class. Sara and I had decided to take a quick trip to the mall – I wanted to get a cardigan for Easter and she wanted to return a shirt - and then head to my place to decorate Easter eggs. Since Sara typically drives, I offered to drive. First mistake. We completed our various missions in the mall, and as we were walking back to the car, I had a sinking feeling in my gut: I didn’t remember putting my keys in my purse. I casually felt around my purse, hoping and praying to hear the familiar jingle as my fingers brushed the metal teeth that would provide entrance to my vehicle. No such luck. In a faltering voice, I looked at my companion, one hand still lingering in my purse, and said, “Um, Sara…” – at which point she fully understood the meaning behind those timid words and responded, “Are you kidding me?”

I hadn’t realized how subconscious my routine of getting out of a car had become. I always turn of the car, turn off the i-pod, slip my keys into my coat pocket, and get out. In this case, I had done just that – but then I had taken my coat off, not wanting to wear it in the mall.

Thankfully, all this happened about 15 minutes before her husband’s small group started, so he was able to pick us up. Since Doug usually doesn’t get home from class before 9:30, Sara and I decided to get dinner and go to her parents’ house to decorate the eggs (since my house keys were conveniently on the same ring as my car keys! And there is no way we were staying at her place while a dozen bodies of teenage testosterone were running rampant). So, Sara ended up driving, yet again.

Also, adding to the simultaneous humor and frustration of the situation is the fact that Doug and I have one cell phone between the two of us, which I had – so there was no way to get a hold of Doug, so we’d just have to hang out until we were sure he’d be home – around 10:00. But here’s the kicker – Doug had shown up to his last class, only to discover an empty classroom, save for the professor, who announced he was canceling the last class. Oh, sweet irony.

I’m seriously debating between two options: never locking anything ever again or wearing every key I own around my neck at all times.


dreams and doors.

Dreams I've had recently:

-Jeanette & I go to visit the Dooce. She is much older in person than one would expect from her pictures. She thinks Jeanette & I are awesome (duh), and proceeds to invite us to coffee.

-I'm being chased by a child-abductor. I am trying to scream, but my throat is dry, and I can't. I eventually make some sort of noise, and wake up suddenly, and immediately seek the comfort of my husband. "Did I scream?" "No, you just sort of yelped."

-Doug & I take some of the freshman boys on a small group trip to Chicago. We're at a stop sign, when suddenly one of the boys jumps from the vehicle and starts running, and we have to chase him down in the car.

-Doug is gone and I've locked myself out of our apartment. No, wait, that really happened.

Okay, here is the long-awaited story:

As I've mentioned, Doug was living la vida sunshine in Florida last week. I was actually pretty excited about a night to myself - I had the whole night planned out. I was going to go grocery shopping, rent a movie, come home, make pancakes for dinner, and watch the movie while making ornaments. I set about to accomplish that mission - put on my jacket, grabbed my purse, locked the door, closed the door... and looked through the window to see my keys sitting on the counter. I managed to stay relatively calm and called our landlady, who conveniently didn't answer. I left a message, then called my beloved husband to inform him of what happens when he leaves me alone for too long (literally half a day at this point).

After I got off the phone with Doug, I called the landlady again and there was still no answer. I proceeded to call the landlady every 5 minutes from that point forward. In between my calls, I completed the following:
-I brought the garbage and recycling bins back up to the house.
-I got the mail, and sweet bliss - my Country Living magazine had come! I sat down in the enclosed entryway to our apartment, grabbed one of Doug's big coats and put it over my legs and flipped through Country Living.
-I went to Taco Bell and grabbed something to eat. I brought my food back to the entryway, because there's no way I was going to sit in a restaurant by myself to eat. My pride had not fallen that far yet.
-I called my friend Sara to see what she was up to. She didn't answer, so I left a message, just saying that I was wondering if she wanted to hang out - not telling her that I've locked myself out of my apartment, I'm freezing and can she please rescue me.

By this time, I've been locked out for 2 hours and none of my calls to the landlady have been returned. So, I called Doug and told him I was going to punch through the window and open the door. Doug, shockingly, did not like this idea and decided to call a local locksmith and have him open the door. All in all, I ended up paying to get into my own house. I am good for the locksmith business.The landlady called me the next day to apologize - she had left her cell phone in her car overnight. If only there was a way I could blame her for the whole incident, then I could justify being annoyed with her...


post #100

It's true - this is my 100th post in this particular blog. In honor of this momentous occasion, I've compiled a list of 100 random things about myself. What can I say? I'm as egocentric as they come. I actually didn't start this list with my 100th post in mind, but when I realized this post was approaching, I thought it only fitting to include said list. I'm slightly embarrassed to admit how long it took me to come up with all these (over 2 weeks). I can't believe I'm putting this information out there for the whole world/my mother to read.

Anyway, without further ado, I give you...

100 Random Facts/Braggings/Embarrassing Confessions About Me!
or, everything you wanted to know about yours truly... and then some.

1. I always use this interesting tidbit whenever I’m in a group of people and have to introduce myself with an interesting or embarrassing fact about myself: In 2nd grade I ate an Oreo off the cafeteria floor. It was not mine.
2. I have an irrational fear of sharks.
3. The Challenger space shuttle blew up on my 1st birthday.
4. My favorite flowers are Johnny Jump-Ups.
5. I do not particularly enjoy going to see movies in the theaters. I’d rather rent a movie (cheaper, more comfortable and cleaner!).
6. I have been to 6 other countries (and Puerto Rico) besides the United States, but I’ve driven through Canada so many times it doesn’t feel like another country.
7. No matter how many times I go to Niagara Falls, I never get sick of it/them.
8. My perfect vacation would be camping in the woods near a beach, with a small town full of boutiques within driving distance.
9. I want to co-own a boutique someday.
10. I’m a registered Republican.
11. I like chocolate chip cookie dough more than the actual cookies.
12. Growing up, I always wanted to marry a rancher in Montana. What I meant was a businessman in Detroit.
13. Growing up, I always wanted to be a teacher, a writer and a figure skater.
14. My drink of choice is ice water, although I did get addicted to Mountain Dew my freshman year of college.
15. I have been playing piano since I was 6 years old, and I actually miss taking lessons.
16. I have not played my oboe (beyond checking Jayne’s reeds at home to make sure they work) since the end of my sophomore year of college. I haven’t decided if I miss it.
17. I love Amy Grant Christmas music, and I am not ashamed of this.
18. My first kiss was the summer before I started 8th grade, and it was a dare. Little sisters, in the words of Dooce - be ye not so stupid.
19. I think I want to write a book someday. Or co-author a collection of essays or something.
20. In high school, I kissed a boy while I was dating someone else.
21. I have difficulty refraining from constantly comparing myself to others.
22. I do not remember the first cd I bought with my own money.
23. I don’t like the word “niche.”
24. The best concert I have ever been to in my life was the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra with Doc Severinsen.
25. I love the sound of people typing on computer keyboards.
26. My favorite poets are Robert Frost and ee cummings.
27. I am obsessed with the way books smell, especially old books.
28. I cannot count on both hands how many pets I have had die since I was in kindergarten.
29. I have a bad habit of rubbing my lips when they’re chapped.
30. My favorite articles of clothing are jeans and shoes.
31. I hate malls, although I do like stores. I guess I more hate the mall “scene.”
32. Although I love being around people, I would consider myself an introvert.
33. I am a procrastinator.
34. I love taking pictures.
35. My first sentence as a child was, “I like coffee.”
36. I do not, in fact, like coffee, although I love flavored espresso drinks.
37. I pretend to have a Long Island accent with my mother. With the accompanying persona.
38. My favorite musicals are West Side Story and Oklahoma!
39. I know all the lyrics to every song in The Little Mermaid… and most Disney songs, for that matter.
40. I would rather have cds than an I-pod, even though we have an I-pod.
41. I know how to change my own oil.
42. I actually love doing laundry, but not as much right now because our washer broke, and we have to go to the Laundromat.
43. My least favorite household chore is dusting.
44. I think I like Taco Bell tacos more than homemade tacos.
45. The only bones I have ever broken are a toe and my ring finger.
46. I broke my toe doing a cartwheel in the kitchen.
47. Doug broke my ring finger while we were playing catch with a football when we first started dating. I like to say he was just staking his claim on that finger.
48. I adore kittens, but I do not like cats.
49. If I could go on shopping sprees at any four stores, they would be (without a second thought) Michael’s, J. Crew, The Haven and Barnes & Noble. I tried to narrow it down to three stores, but I couldn’t part with any of those.
50. I made a kid throw up in 3rd grade by punching him in the stomach. Come on, he put mayonnaise in my hair! Sorry, Steve.
51. I made the same kid throw up in 3rd grade a few weeks later by waving an egg-salad sandwich under his nose. I didn’t know he hated them that much! Sorry, Steve.
52. I’m pretty sure I have developed road rage. I am amazed at the amount of anger that boils up inside me when someone passes on the right at an intersection just to cut off everyone who stayed in the left lane. SO annoying! It’s astounding how normal people turn into complete jerks during rush hour traffic. News flash: we’re ALL trying to get somewhere on time.
53. I absolutely love thin-point Sharpie markers.
54. Whenever I send letters, I always put stickers on the envelope.
55. Up until I was about 16 years old, I didn’t know that Uncle Tuner’s real name was Robert. I thought it was Tunerville.
56. Sometimes I secretly hate technology, especially cell phones.
57. My first memory is Robert pulling my hair in what used to be the toy room. Isn’t that supposed to speak volumes about my personality?
58. I once choked on one of those round, swirly after-dinner peppermints and was being rushed to the hospital by my dad when I swallowed it. So we turned around and got ice cream instead.
59. I have never been able to decide on one favorite book. I used to just say “Catcher in the Rye,” but I there are books I like more.
60. When I first met Doug, I didn’t want to date him, but I wanted him to have a crush on me. So weird!
61. The first concert I ever went to was the Newsboys at Roberts Wesleyan (Mar & Mand – pretty sure you guys were there!). I went with my dad.
62. I hate reality TV, except the Amazing Race. And I’ve watched the odd episode of America’s Next Top Model, although I am infinitely terrified of Tyra Banks and her creepy eyes. Okay, and I enjoy the occasional episode of American Idol, but only when they’re still weeding out all the crazy singers.
63. I helped row a gondola in Venice.
64. I think I’ve been to NYC 5 times, and I still haven’t seen someone famous. I DID meet Steve Tasker at Roberts Wesleyan, though.
65. I have been on 4 roller coasters my whole life so far. Kind of pathetic, now that I think about it.
66. I loathe raw tomatoes. I love spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce, salsa, and even tomato soup, but I cannot stand the suckers in their pure form. I even hate the smell of them, and how it clings to your hands no matter how hard you wash them. True story: my mother once sent me out to the garden to pick tomatoes, and, foreseeing a night of nausea whenever I smelled my hands, I donned her dish-washing gloves… and also tied a bandana around my nose before I was brave enough to go out.
67. My favorite food is ice cream. Then steak.
68. I used to love the name Aden. I thought I made it up, until I realized everyone and their mother was naming their son Aden.
69. I carried the xylophone in marching band, and I’m pretty sure my shoulders are screwed up as a result.
70. I think the sky is prettiest on summer afternoons when it is a murderous shade of gray, but the sun is still shining & illuminating the green leaves of trees against the darkness.
71. I do not think Brad Pitt is hot. Honest.
72. Things I think it’s awesome to be into, but feel people talk too much about: obscure music, politics, going green. Have I been guilty of this? Oh yes.
73. My favorite animals are horses.
74. I hate, hate, hate, hate, HATE snakes.
75. I once memorized the Tigers lineup AND the Pistons starters to impress Doug.
76. I used to collect football cards. My prized possession was a Bruce Smith rookie card.
77. I won a spelling bee in 7th grade.
78. I was in a spelling bee in 5th grade and misspelled “raspberry.” Really, why is there even a ‘p’ in that word?!
79. I really, really want a puppy. But I’m holding off because I’m not ready to devote all that time to training it. And I think that’s kind of important when you have a dog. Also, the fact that our lease clearly states “No pets” may have something to do with it.
80. Top 5 places I want to travel (at least today): Costa Rica, Egypt, Spain, Australia & Zambia.
81. I have only been to 5 funerals my whole life. I am very, very blessed.
82. I bought a Gucci purse in Italy. For 10 euro. Obviously, it is not real.
83. I always made my dad cut my steak for me… even at my wedding. Now I make Doug do it.
84. I think corporal punishment in educational institutions should be legal. At the very least, smacking knuckles with rulers. As this is illegal, potential employers, please know that I have never engaged in any such activities. Except with younger siblings, in which case, they had it coming.
85. I love singing harmony.
86. I do not like running, but I ran cross-country my senior year of high school. Why?
87. My favorite sports are figure skating, soccer and baseball.
88. When I was little and played for the AYSO co-ed soccer teams, I seemed to always be on pretty good teams, so whenever I was in goal, I would get bored and subsequently get in trouble for doing cartwheels and just not paying attention in general.
89. One time I tore a ligament in my foot having a competition with Robert to see who could jump to the bottom of the stairs from a higher step. I won. Another time I strained that same ligament in my foot… getting off the bus.
90. I don’t really have a favorite singer or band. I love pretty much all music (including country & rap!), except for really heavy stuff.
91. I absolutely love living in a place where I get to experience all 4 seasons… I just wish winter didn’t last so long. Although, I’m pretty sure it makes me appreciate the warm months that much more.
92. I’m about 5’4”. I’ve always thought 5’7” would be the perfect height, but I’ve recently come to terms with the fact that, guess what? I’m done growing (vertically, that is).
93. Other foods I do not like: mushrooms, olives, liver… and thanks to the meal that Doug chose off the menu at a restaurant we visited recently, I now know that I do not particularly enjoy duckling.
94. The weirdest food I have ever eaten is probably cow tongue. Also, calamari looks really strange too, but man, that is some tasty stuff!
95. I always used to say that my favorite color was blue, until recently I decided that I absolutely love green.
96. The last time I threw up was after I had my wisdom teeth out (May 2007). Before that, I can’t even remember the last time I threw up. I’m pretty sure it was 8th grade.
97. Knock on wood – I have never had a cavity.
98. While we’re on the topic of teeth, I hate the dentist. I hate that stupid scrapey thing, I hate how violent they are with their dental floss (don’t act surprised that my gums are bleeding when you’re lacerating them!), I hate the gloves, I hate the cardboard they stuff in your mouth for x-rays, I hate the electric brush and the extra gritty toothpaste, and how they always ask you questions while their fingers are in your mouth.
99. My three greatest weaknesses are insecurity, worrying, and a lack of consistency with my devotions.
100. So much pressure – I feel like I should end with a really awesome one. Um, one time when Robert and I got in a fight, he tried to choke me and I pretended to die. I am a terrible sister. I have since apologized and promised to pay any psychological fees incurred as a result. I hope one day he will forgive me.


hubby's home!

Reasons it's good that Doug goes on business trips to Florida for 3 days:
-I can have pancakes for dinner every night if I want.
-I can make ornaments ALL NIGHT.
-I can watch re-runs of Friends and not worry about someone changing the channel.
-I can hog the WHOLE BED!
-I can wear thick socks with shorts around the house if I want.

Reasons it's bad that Doug goes on business trips to Florida for 3 days:
-No one is around to confirm, yes, Rachel, you do make the best pancakes in the world.
-When I lock myself out of the apartment, no one is around with the spare key. (I may write a post about this later...)
-He comes back all cutely sun-kissed, and I feel whiter than ever.
-When I don't make the bed in the morning, it's still unmade when I come home.
-I had to bring the trashcan and recycling bin up to the house myself!
-It's scary when it's dark.
-I have to make my own lunch in the morning.
-No one is there to give me back tickles at night.
-No one is there to warm up the bed before I get in at night.
-No one is around to snuggle with.

I'm glad you're home, babe.


wonderful weekend

Victoria & Jeremy came to visit!! We had such a fun weekend...

Victoria & I didn't waste any time jumping to our ornaments - I believe this photo was taken a mere 10-15 minutes after their arrival:

Saturday morning, the Mario Kart competition was fierce!

I love the varying degrees of intensity displayed here!

In the final second, Jeremy surged ahead of Doug for victory. (Please note Jeremy's fist pump in the back!)

What could be more perfect?
We love you guys - thanks so much for driving all the way out here to visit us! :)


book report

I'm doing pretty well with my New Year's Resolution to read a new book every month. Although, I suppose it's considerably more easy now that I'm not teaching. Anyway, I thought I'd just give a short book report on each of the books that I've read during the new year.

The Abolition of Man - C. S. Lewis.
The subtitle of the book is "Reflections on education with special reference to the teaching of English in the upper forms of schools." I mentioned reading this book in a previous blog entry, and summed it up by saying it was dense & intense. I hold that opinion. It's basically a defense of natural law and value.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. It'd be a 5 out of 5 if I was smarter and could keep up with Clive.

Love in the Time of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez (or, as I like to call him, GG Marks)
I read 100 Years of Solitude by GG and loved it, so I figured LTC would be equally engaging. I was not disappointed, although it was a little more sexually explicit than I had anticipated. I will admit that I did look with disdain upon the glaring "Oprah's Book Club!" sticker on the cover.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

Sex God - Rob Bell
Shares some very poignant thoughts about the integration of sexuality and spirituality. Rob writes the way he talks, which is great for making difficult concepts clear, but it's hard for me to stay focused with that style (even though I write the way I talk in most of my blogs! ha). Kind of cool sidenote - I'm going to be helping my friend Sara with her small group and she told me that the girls are about to start reading this book! So I'm glad I've got it under my belt already - hopefully I'll have more to contribute to conversations.
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.

For March, I'm reading Teacher Man, by Frank McCourt. Kind of fitting for St. Patrick's day. I should also read Angela's Ashes, which I'm embarrassed to admit - as an English major and former English teacher - that I've never read. So many books, so little time.


top 10 reasons i have the best husband ever

Top 10 Reasons I have the Best Husband... Ever

1. When we’re driving home from date night through a blizzard and we hit a huge pot hole and get a flat tire, he gets understandably ticked, then calms down right away and changes the tire. Did I mention this was in the middle of a blizzard??

2. He starts my car and wipes off the snow every morning. Every morning.

3. He rubs my arm every night. Every night.

4. He makes the bed after I leave for work in the morning.

5. He puts my lunch together every morning… and slips a note inside too.

6. He lets me call him funny little nicknames and talk in weird voices.

7. He supports my ornament making & crafty endeavors.

8. He always smells amazing.

9. He’s so stinking smart.

10. He’s the funniest person in the world.

If ever two were one, then surely we.
If ever man were loved by wife, then thee;
If ever wife was happy in a man,
Compare with me ye women if you can.
I prize thy love more than whole mines of gold,
Or all the riches that the East doth hold.
My love is such that rivers cannot quench,
Nor ought but love from thee give recompense.
Thy love is such I can no way repay;
The heavens reward thee manifold, I pray.
Then while we live, in love let’s so persevere,
That when we live no more we may live ever.
-anne bradstreet