Happy New Year! Nate works until midnight so I'm hanging out at the West End Starbucks. I started working on a rough draft comic strip retelling the story of how we met. I'm still in [very, very] rough draft mode. I'll spend more time on clean lines once I have it sketched out. I think it would be fun to draw up something of semi-respectable quality and print it. This is a phone camera shot and I don't have a steady hand, but you get the gist of it. Click the photo for a larger view.

Starbucks is surprisingly slow for all the things happening downtown tonight. The city is hosting a New Year's Eve Bash on Broadway for free and the Hard Rock Cafe will be dropping a giant guitar and setting off fireworks at midnight. Nate and I will celebrate like we live in Colorado; hopefully he'll get off work early though. I get Monday off as a holiday, and Nate happens to be off too. We're taking Miles to the vet and picking Samne up from the airport.

I got a slow cooker and a cookbook for Christmas so I'm pretty excited about cooking this next year. Tomorrow morning I'll plan this month's meals and then go to the store. Aldi and Dollar General have become my go-to stores for saving lots of money. I'm maybe a little obsessive about planning/saving. Nate probably thinks I'm crazy when I show him receipts and point out how much I save. (By the way, Aldi has Ranch-flavored tortilla chips for 99 cents that taste exactly like Doritos!)

I finished a book tonight! It was Scandalous: The Cross and Resurrection of Jesus by D.A. Carson. I slacked on my book reading this year, only finishing nine books. Maybe I'll do better in 2011, but I think I'll be pretty busy next year too, so ... maybe not. :)

Happy New Year!

2010 review.

It's been a good year. For the second year in a row, I kept a "Make My Day" list: three or more things I enjoyed or things that made my day. It's fun to look back and remember little things that happened that I probably would have forgotten had I not written them down.

Here are some month-by-month highlights from 2010.

I adopted Miles on January 2, 2010.

I adopted Miles. :)
I turned 22 on February 12, 2010.

My siblings and I turned 22 this year.
I watched Cornell make it to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA tournament on March 21, 2010. That's my brother in the center (#15).

Cornell beat Wisconsin to advance to the Sweet 16.
I visited Shoff in Philly on April 23-25, 2010. On April 26, my blog was the Blog of Note.

Shoff waiting for the El.
I survived the Nashville floods on May 1-3, 2010. On May 6, I got a copy of one of the books I worked very hard to complete.

Nashville flooded

Me and the Super Duper Fun & Exciting, Absolutely Thought-Igniting Bible Activities for Kids book.
I went back to Kansas for Evan and Jenn's wedding on June 5, 2010 and met Nate in the airport on June 6. :)
This is a re-enactment. Nate and I didn't get that close when we first met. :)
Also on June 5, Sam and Anne got married. Then they moved to Nashville and we love them.
We have fun with Sam and Anne (we call them Samne, pronounced like salmon) at least once a week.
Nate and I flew back to KC to visit Evan and Jenn. On July 24, 2010, Nate held my hand for the first time.
Me and Nate in Kansas City
I traveled with a team from LW to Newfoundland for a missions trip July 31–August 9.

Me on Water Street in St. John's, NL
Nate moved to Nashville on September 3, 2010 and I began learning to cook! On September 11, 2010, I was in a wreck and my car was totaled. (I wasn't at fault.) Nate kept me sane while I dealt with insurance and then he helped me pick out my 08 Nissan Versa.

Nate eats dinner.
My car :(
On October 25, 2010, I drank my first (and so far only) cup of coffee.
Starbucks' Caramel VIA
Nate and I flew home for an early Thanksgiving. On November 20, 2010, I met his family for the first time.
Nate's family
Nate and I made a 1,500+ miles, 26-hour round-trip to Kansas to spend Christmas with our families.

Road trip.
What a year. Nate has to work tonight from 8 p.m. – Midnight. (Really lame, Starbucks. You should close early on New Year's Eve.) But I'm going to go hang out at the store. :) God is good. I'm looking forward to 2011.


final stretch.

Well, hello. After a semi-long trip back to Kansas (5 whole days + 2 days of driving) I am back in Nashville. Nate and I drove 12 hours on Tuesday and when I woke up Wednesday morning, I decided I was too tired to go to work so I took another vacation day. It's nice having a week off, but when I spend the entire time away from home, I feel like I need time at home to get things together. I'm back in the office for two days before a three-day weekend to start off 2011.

Last night Nate and I went on a date to Cheesecake Factory in Green Hills. We had a gift card and a card for a free slice of Cheesecake, so we splurged and got a volcano shrimp appetizer and two entrees and dessert and paid less than $10 for dinner. I think eating out only with coupons/gift cards is a good rule. I couldn't stand eating out for $45 knowing that could feed us for a week if I cook at home. We were so full that we didn't have room for our cheesecake. So we got strawberry cheesecake to go. We'll eat it tonight after I make cheesy potato soup.

I've gotten into two new games in the last week. The first is an app on Nate's Android phone; it's called Angry Birds. It's really fun and really addicting because there are a million levels and basically you slingshot birds at pigs and try to smash them. Nate and I played during our wait to be seated at Cheesecake Factory last night.

Nate's parents got me Bananagrams for Christmas. If you've ever played Speed Scrabble, it's kind of like that. I love word games like Scrabble and we played it a lot with Nate's family. There's a lot of strategy involved because no letter is worth more than another. (I dump my Qs and Zs as fast as I can!) Nate's mom is really good at it.

Yesterday afternoon I had an appointment scheduled to donate blood at the Red Cross downtown. When I was running errands in the morning, I saw there was a blood drive going on at the Nashville Zoo. I live so close to the zoo, so I went there instead. I got a free ticket to the zoo (even though I'm a member; now I can take two guests for free). The wait time was horrible (I was there an hour and a half) and then the phlebotomist wanted to use my center vein instead of the one on the side and I said, "No! You have to use the side one. I always use it and even though the middle one looks good right now, it wimps out as soon as you stick the needle in. The last time they used the middle vein, I couldn't finish."

So finally she decided to try to side vein and she missed the first time (she stuck me and said, "Missed it," and stuck me again) so I have a nice bruise. As soon as she got the needle in the second time, I started getting really dizzy so they laid me down for the rest of the time and propped my feet up. It wasn't the best blood donating experience, but it was worth it because blood donors save lives and only 3% of people who can donate actually do. I got a 1 gallon pin because it was my 8th time donating with this South region Red Cross (I'm probably up to 2 gallons at least in my lifetime). Plus you get to eat Nutter Butters afterward, which is really the only incentive I need. :)

My real estate agent got me the best one-year homeowner anniversary gift: a housecleaning! I'm generally a very clean person, but I am very excited to have someone do a really great job and then hopefully I can do okay maintaining it. I really like my house even though I have a long list of things I'd like to do to make it more like home. I wonder if there is a sweepstakes for a first-time homeowner home makeover. I'd like to win that.

I scheduled an appointment with the vet to take Miles in for shots on Monday. I adopted him on January 2, 2010 and took him to the vet January 4. He was so happy to be adopted that he purred the entire time. I think the car ride will be much more interesting this time. Also, I found the paperwork from last year and he weighed just 4.3 pounds. I'm pretty sure he ate his weight in cat food while we were in Kansas (even though he puked twice in my living room while we were gone) and I'm taking guesses for his current weight. Nate and I are guessing he's around 10 pounds. I think he needs to go on a diet.

I don't like that New Year's Day is on a Saturday because I'd like more time to plan things for 2011. I'm working on my budget and some meal plans. My, how things have changed in the last year. But I'll post more on that later.



We are back in Nashville after an exciting week with family in Kansas. We left Maize, KS, at 5 a.m. this morning to start our 12-hour trek and I am too tired to update my blog. Later this week! Ciao.


hot. cold.

Another small victory in homeownership tonight. Last winter I noticed my shower wasn't very warm. It was fine during the summer, but each winter it has been so cold that I've dreaded showers, cut my shower times short, and even opted for baths with added hot water from the sink because my showers were so miserable. I had even given up on taking showers in the morning because it seemed especially cold. Evenings were the lesser of two awfuls. Tonight I decided I had to do something. I couldn't stand one more cold shower.

I turned to Google. Search: shower not hot enough. I quickly came across a couple of forums in which people described the same problem I was having. (The shower was cold; the sinks were piping hot.) And someone posted a link to a helpful site by the company that manufactured the faucet I have.

After a couple minutes reading up on instructions, I was back in the bathroom with a set of hex wrenches, screwdrivers, and pliers, working away at disassembling the faucet. Apparently they have these things set up so the water doesn't get too hot and burn someone and then the company gets sued. That makes sense. Maybe this setting is common knowledge, but no one ever told me. I bumped it up a few notches and now this winter I will enjoy hot showers! I am also glad because I have friends coming in January and I would have hated to have a lukewarm/cold shower for them.

I'm pretty proud of myself.
Hurray for hot showers!


Today Metro Water Services rolled out online bill pay. It's about time. I dropped a check in the mail just this morning to pay my latest bill. I can finally pay all of my bills online. Woo hoo.

In other news, the office this morning is extremely quiet. This week, most people are out of the office on vacation. The silence is incredible and ideal for productivity. We should instate Quiet Hours from 9–11 and 1–3 each day. I'm only taking one vacation day next Tuesday, but we get a free 4-day weekend thanks to Christmas falling on a Saturday.

Speaking of the office, last year I was a part of a department meeting skit in which we parodied The Office to educate our coworkers about some basic office etiquette. Well, we feel it's about time for a refresher course, so I'm crossing my fingers that our managers will ask us to write another script in the near future.

I think a lot of office environments have numerous similarities. That's probably why shows like The Office are so popular. Our biggest current problem (besides obtrusive noise) is unnecessary e-mails. Fortunately, someone has developed an educational solution for which I am incredibly grateful.

Let Me Google That For You

1. A co-worker e-mails the entire department and says, "Does anybody know to fold an origami crane? My nephew showed me last week, but I totally forgot."

2. Reply with this link: http://tinyurl.com/2wxfjs7

Pure genius.



Nate and Oliver
This morning Nate and I volunteered to help out in the nursery at church. Fortunately it was a slow week and we only had five kids. There was still a lot of crying and yelling and hitting, but when it was over, no one was bleeding. We survived.

Snack Time



Well, winter has come to Nashville. It doesn't officially start until next Tuesday, but early this week we saw multiple inches of snow and ice. People are buying up milk and bread like crazy. Last night was predicted to be very icy, but fortunately after midnight things got a little warmer and it just rained. The roads to the office this morning were fine.

Editing like crazy today. Things are staying busy now that my team is working on three products. Sometimes our writers make me happy, and sometimes I wish they would have sent cash or chocolate with their assignments to keep me happy as I fix them. I grew up with the impression that editors were grumpy people, and now I kind of get it. We do have excellent writers, but sometimes they don't read the instructions.

Sometimes editing is hard because my office is at a very loud corner of the office. Sometimes people like to stand outside my door and talk. Sometimes they talk loudly on their phones without closing the door. Sometimes they play loud music from their computers without using headphones or let their phones ring and ring and ring. There's an empty window office across the hall from me now, but I hear someone else is moving into it. I'm pretty low on the totem pole, but I think I'd be happier and maybe even more productive with windows. Some people with windows close their blinds all day. What a waste.

Sometimes I hear some funny things from my office. Here was today's highlight:
"I love shredding things. It's like raking leaves, only easier."

Nate has today off. I'm making chicken pot pie for dinner even though we had it recently, but I'm slacking on my meal planning and way overspending my grocery budget. I will probably spend the rest of this month getting my act together so I can start fresh in January. I like new years. Today feels like yesterday, but January 1 feels new. Why is that?


underwear dance.

I'm not really sure I can imagine what it was like for my parents having triplets, but I will say I think we were pretty stinkin' cute. Here's a video of me (pink shirt), Erica (yellow shirt), and Geoff (black shirt) dancing in our underwear when we 22 months old.

Well, I'm not sure my dancing skills have improved at all in the past 20 years!
Oh well. :)


Saturday night, Nate and I made the drive up to Louisville to visit some of his friends. It was raining on the way there but Nate drove and I fell asleep. With the time change, we got there around 10:30. Nate and I stopped at his Starbucks store and got hot chocolates.

Sunday after church, we had lunch with the Warmbiers. Erin made pad thai for lunch (I'm pretty sure pad thai is now my favorite food). Nate and Aiven played "hockey."

Aiven and Nate
After lunch we played Lord of the Rings Monopoly. Ezra watched. Nate won.

Nate and Ezra
Last night the snow started to come down as we left Louisville. The drive back to Nash was insane. Nate drove carefully and I felt safe enough to fall asleep for awhile. Just north of Nashville, a big semi was in the ditch and traffic was backed up. We finally made it home and Nate and I bundled up and walked/slid around the block. The streets were like ice rinks. I tried to drive home but got stuck on an icy uphill where about eight other cars had been abandoned on the side and I had to wait until morning.




Tuesday nights we take turns cooking dinner with Sam and Anne. This Tuesday didn't work out, so they came over tonight. I made three-cheese manicotti. After dinner we played Monopoly.

Sam and Anne strategizing
Nate and me
Anne won! She built hotels on half of the board. Nate, Sam, and I were trying to bail each other out but she kept taking all our money. Fun times.


Today I had the honor of speaking to Mr. David Crowder himself. It was a quick, 10-minute phone interview, but he was fun to talk to.

My final question was courtesy of Nate. I don't think I'll include it in my article, so here it is:

Would you rather wake up every morning and eat a bowl of leaves, or have a flock of squirrels follow you everywhere you go?

Click here to listen to David's answer.

Live from Nashville,



This is fun. I have a chance to doodle a cover for one of our upcoming preteen devotional magazine. Here's an unfinished sneak peak:

The final drawing has a lot less white space. Our graphic designer is going to color it and decide if he likes it.
Tomorrow I'm interviewing David Crowder for Bible Express.

Just another day in the 'Way.


well, hello.

Six months ago today (not that I'm counting), I met Nate. Supposedly it wasn't our first time meeting, but I don't really remember meeting him when he says I did. And we had lots of mutual friends (I went to Kansas State and Nate went to the University of Kansas) so we kind of knew of each other before June 6. We followed each other on Twitter and read each other's blogs. Nate was living in Louisville and I in Nashville. And here's the story of how it all started.

On June 5, Evan (Nate's best friend) and Jenn (my best friend) got married in Kansas City. I flew back for the wedding. Nate was in the wedding. I saw him there, but didn't talk to him because I really didn't know him. The next day, I got to Kansas City International Airport to fly back to Nashville. The flight was completely full. I was one of the last to board, and I picked a middle seat near the front. Just as we were about to close the door and push back from the terminal, one of the flight attendants came on the speaker: "Folks, we have a full flight. We are looking for a volunteer to take a later flight so we can accommodate another traveler ... "

I didn't have to wait for him to finish explaining. I know that Southwest hooks you up when you volunteer to take a later flight (and I am kind of crazy about saving money). I was flying alone, so I'd only need to tell my roommate who was picking me up to come later. I hesitated, just knowing someone else would jump at the chance, but they didn't. And I reached up and pressed my call button to indicate I was willing and I got up, gathered my bags, and got off the plane. On the way out, I passed a woman with two babies who was very grateful to have my seat on the plane. Southwest gave me a voucher for the cost of my flight + $100 (enough to fly to Kansas again round-trip for free), plus they got me a seat on a flight four hours later and gave me $12 for dinner. All $12 bought me in the airport was a Caesar salad and a diet Coke.

I finished up my dinner and was sitting far from my gate because I had so much time to kill. I pulled out some sudokus and started working them when I heard, "Alyssa!" I looked up to see Nate. He forgot to check when his flight to Louisville was leaving, so he got to the airport really early. He sat next to me and we talked for two hours. Conversation was easy.

Two weeks later, Nate came and visited me in Nashville. He wrote me a letter and we started hanging out when we could and video chatting when we couldn't. We flew back to Kansas City together at the end of July, and in September, Nate found a place to live and a job, and he moved here. About two weeks ago, we traveled back to Kansas so Nate could meet my family and I could meet his.
So glad I got off that plane.

And here we are. :)
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