Monday, December 21, 2009

An "Official" Blog

I am officially done with school. December 12th was graduation, but I wasn't there. Instead, I was coaching at an AAU tournament in Tri-Cities. I really wasn't sure how we'd do seeing as we were down to 5 girls thanks to traveling families and illness. So we picked up two girls from a nearby town I hadn't met until the night before our first game. They were good, and they helped our girls perform well too. Our first game they won by 20+ points. The second we didn't play as well, but they won by 6 or 8. Sunday, they won a really close game by 2 while we were at church. Then we got there just after their last game started Sunday afternoon and they won by 40+. So the girls won out and were divisional champs. I was so proud!

Anyway, back to school. My last final was December 17th and I am so glad to be done! Steve and I were also surprised and grateful that my parents got us a computer for my graduation present so that I can begin working on posters when we get back.

I was also excited and grateful to the UI College of Natural Resources. Not only have they given me scholarships and worked with me so I could finish my degree, but they also shipped me my honors cords from graduation since I wasn't there to pick them up and thanked me for being a good student. I'm so grateful to the UI, especially CNR for the great experiences and financial and social support I received there.

But I won't have as much time to work on them when we get back as I had planned because I am also officially employed. I am the second coach for the Mabton Middle School girls' basketball teams. Hooray for finally contributing and having a job!

So, I am officially done with everything undergrad and employed, and Steve and I are officially excited.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Averting old age by playing dress up

So many of you know that in 2 short months I turn 30 and thus begin the irreversible decline into the pit of old age. Ugh. Time for drastic measures, time to unleash my inner and outer child and have some pretend play to try and save some of my youth.

Behold Sam Fisher, one of the most badass videogame characters ever drawn. The Splinter Cell Chaos Theory is one of my all time favorite games. No matter what guys say, we only play video games because we can't actually do the stuff in the sneaking up and taking out a terrorist.

Ok so I have a gun instead of a knife, I'm wearing mainly blue instead of all black, and these days I'm not sure I could sneak up on a marching band but I AM wearing the headlight so its still close right? Maybe I'm trying for the wrong character......

Jack Bauer!! YEAH!!! Saves the USA from nuclear attack, biological attack, chemical attack, Presidential assassinations, you name it. No tact needed here, maybe I'm more of a Jack Bauer type. I need to make a decision I AM RUNNING OUT OF TIME TO COMPLETE THIS BLOG!

Gun? Check. Badass look of "I just wanna shoot bad guys"? Check. Jack Bauer magic bag that carries half an armored brigade? Well I put a belt over my shoulder to look like I am carrying Jack Bauer's magic bag containing half an armored brigade........Damn pwned again.

So what brought on all this silliness? Well making Nicolle laugh by doing random stupid stuff just never gets old. But beyond that, that headlight has a story to it. So lets play a game, its called "Where's the car starter."

So...could you find the starter in this picture? Yeah nether could I. Couple of days ago we were in Tri-Cities when the solenoid stuck on our car. To fix it, I needed to find the starter and hit it to try and unjam the solenoid. Problem was, it was night, pitch black, and we were in a parking lot. Our good fortune was that we happened to have car troubles in the parking lot of a Lowes, so all the tools I needed were just a debit card swipe away. Part of the purchases was the headlight so I could see WHAT THE BLOODY HELL I WAS DOING.

Yeah, thats where some GENIUS engineer decided to hide the starter, it would be less cruel to give a "Where's Waldo" book to Stevie Wonder. All it all it cost me $15 in new tools, and three layers of skin off of my fingers. But we got the car going and got back to Prosser. After this experience, well maybe I wasn't thinking of shooting a bad guy in this pose but shooting the engineer who designed our freaking car.

Holidays past and upcoming

Well, we're not very exciting now that the weather has gotten colder, and as such we haven't had as many adventures to tell you about as of late. However, we did spend a fun (and oh so tasty) Thanksgiving with Steve's family. I was lame, and totally forgot to take pictures. But here were some of the highlights:

We were able to go to our nephew Tyler's Eagle Scout Court of Honor. We are so proud of him and you could feel the family beaming all around. It was a great night.

We got to have a couple of family dinners and movie nights with family members who don't usually get to see which was really exciting!The Bennett women (3 generations - not including myself) made an amazing Thanksgiving dinner that we thoroughly enjoyed!

This was this year's annual desecration of Reva's Thanksgiving pilgrim figurines. That dastardly turkey is always up to something, and this year was no different. Poor pilgrim girl is only moments away from being launched. Steve and Ray spent much of the night before and Thanksgiving morning working on a tinker-toys trebuchet. And then we put it to good use. Brilliant Kathy, brilliant. I wish I'd thought to get a picture or video of Reva's response. So much fun!
We also spent some time letting Amanda play with pets. She is never sure if she likes the gliders on her or not, but we did get one good picture of her with a glider. Kathy also brought Sunshine and Confetti, Amanda's two parakeets which are some of our birds' chicks.
We had a great time visiting family and felt better leaving knowing that we'll be back in a month rather than 6+ months.

When we got back, it was officially time to decorate for Christmas! Steve is a firm believer that decorations don't come out until after Thanksgiving and was especially firm in this belief as our local stores began selling Christmas decorations in EARLY OCTOBER!

We haven't had time to put up outside lights yet as that will take both of us, a little warmer weather, and some daylight. But here's what we have so far. I did put a few lights up in our only street-facing window, which happens to be the animal room. It looks much cooler here with the reflection of the lights and the lights themselves. From outside it looks pretty sad...This is a Christmas present from Ray and Reva that I love.Another decoration I love which Steve and I gave ourselves. I love the gentle and loving feeling of Willow Tree nativities, and how human and personal they make the birth of Christ.Our Christmas tree! Our tree with all of our fun family-provided ornaments on our tiny tree from my parents. Maybe next year if we have more room we'll have a larger tree, but for now this one is fun and still provides a healthy dose of the Christmas spirit to our living room.And our nativity my parents got us. I love having a reminder in our home of the real meaning and purpose of the Christmas season.
Our last bit of news is that both of our cars are becoming quite temperamental. As a result, we will be needing the garage for some auto maintenance soon which finally prompted me to clean it. Really, it doesn't seem so impressive as it's still a major storage area for our extra stuff and still contains some packed boxes, but you should have seen what it looked like before. On second thought, you really shouldn't have. It was completely trashed after building two animal cages, searching through boxes for random packed items, and throwing all of our recycling out loose in the garage. But, no more! And now each time I go out into our storage facility called the garage it makes me smile, so I figured I'd share. It's the little things in life isn't it?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

What We've Been Up To

So, just a few fun things that we've been up to as of late. This blog jumps around a bit, but just to catch up...

First, a couple at church invited us to come decorate holiday cookies the day after Halloween with them and their 3 year old. These are a few of the cookies we decorated. Their son's cookies had MUCH more candy on them... It was a lot of fun and he was pretty hilarious!

Next, I've been doing a lot more sewing. I made the gliders new bags after we got the boys.
And then had to make new, bigger bags so that they could all fit in the bags when we tried to introduce them to each other. I also made the net that covers the top of their cage, but am not ready to put the effort into pulling it out so I can take a picture... yet.Then we got all the gliders into the same cage! There was a bit of fighting at first, but now everyone is doing well. Here is Ajax after drowsily leaving the nest box they all sleep in during the day.
Here is our latest adventure. Today we drove to Auburn and back, all in time to make mutual! There was a good reason for this drive though. We got 4 Lady Gouldian finches for Steve's classroom! The lady gave us a great deal since they are for educational purposes. So we have one adult male, and 3 adolescents who are not fully colored yet so we can't sex them. Guess which one is the adolescent!
But before long they will all be as beautiful as the male. And he is GORGEOUS! We can't wait for these amazing to blow Steve's students' minds. Once the rest of the budget comes through, a few more finches to come!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Hey look, more heavy stuff to move!

Moving sucks, a fact that is more obvious than the fact that the sun comes up in the east or that the "public option" is a really, really bad idea. Furthermore, the more heavy stuff you have; the more the move will suck. Since we just moved 3 months ago, and we might be moving again in a couple of months, you would think we would be avoiding heavy stuff......well you would be wrong.

Say hello to 300 lbs of new heavy stuff that we will have to move, our new gun safe. A gun safe was something we knew we wanted to buy, but that was one of those down the road things. That all changed with one trip to Ranch and Home store in the Tri-Cities. We came across this safe on a $250 off sale and jumped on it.

It's only a 14 gun safe, but as you can see its more than big enough for us.........for now. I do wonder how they got 14 rifles into this safe, were they BB guns? Toy guns? The arsenal of the munchkin army?

But you know what, we absolutely love it. This safe is far more than what we thought we could afford. Thank goodness for great sales, and parents who pitch in as their Christmas present to us.
So 300 lbs of new stuff, have we learned our lesson yet? Um, that would be a no.

Here's another 150 lbs of heavy stuff, we finally got around to building the new sugar glider cage. 6 feet tall, 3 feet wide, and 30 inches deep. The idea was to make a cage that could fit through the 31 inch doorway to the pet room. Well......the best laid plans of mice and men.

So I built the glider cage to be 30 inches deep, thinking that that would give me an inch of clearance to go through the 31 inch door. Great plan, till I added the door latches. Now the cage is almost exactly 31 inches and won't fit through the door. Experience is a great teacher, but experience charges one hell of a bill. Oh well, this screw up is minor compared to some of the mistakes I made with the chin cage.

So that's the top half of the cage.

And that's the bottom half. We are still rearranging the perches and climbing toys. So far it seems that the gliders really like their new home, especially the nesting box and the big blue rope. They also like the fleece net Nicolle made.

So at the end of the day, we got some really cool stuff; but we also have 450 lbs more we have to move the next time we move. Is it too early to start stockpiling pain pills?

Monday, November 2, 2009

The Last of the Wedding Pictures

So I got these from my cousin Tammy, and many have had the beautiful background cropped out so that you can see us a little better, because as always, Steve's expressions in pictures are priceless!

So this is how Steve spent some of the post-wedding/pre-reception time. Hanging out on the dock and taking random photos of people.
He may be devilishly tricky, but this next picture is more the reason why I absolutely love him. He really is a great guy.By the way, if it looks like there was something else in that picture, there was - me. But I looked really awkward, so you just get to see the best part of that one - Steve!

And then back to our gun fight. Fingers vs guns.... I obviously win.
Which is why Steve chose to take himself out instead of losing in epic fashion. You have to look closely, but it is his hand around mine holding it to his head. I would never do such a thing because I need him around to kill spiders and open jars and stuff... And I think my own father would arrest me. Yeah, there's that too.

Luckily, even after Steve got "the look" for holding my hand to his head in the last picture, we were still friends. We had a blast being silly while everyone else was much more serious and wedding-like.
Just one of the many ways of showing you all why life as Steve Bennett's wife is full of fun and laughter!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

As Promised

So, I know that these are almost 2 full months late as I misplaced the CD Dad gave me and only recently found it after tearing our place apart... I still need to see if I can get pictures from my cousin. Here are a couple of my favorites of Steve and I being - us- at my cousin's wedding back on Labor Day.

This is why Dad talked about Steve being an exhibitionist at the wedding. That is not the best part of this picture though, the best part is Jennifer's expression as we consistently gross her out.
This is what happened when we found some of the kids' toys when everyone else was doing wedding-ish things. Steve thinks his gangster-ness makes him triumphant here, but considering he's down a gun and says I'm decent with a pistol to begin with, you decide who won here. I certainly have.

Steve's New Calling

So, Steve got called on Wednesday night to come meet with the Bishop. And I laughed and danced about him getting a new calling. Mostly, I'm just nosy and wanted to know what it would be. We both thought he was probably being called into the Young Men's organization as we had heard they were shy a couple of leaders. Well, we were right. Sort of. Steve has been called as the First Counselor in the Young Men's Organization. So, he teaches the 14-16 year old young men on Sundays. He is also temporarily in charge of kicking them in the butt when it comes to Scouts as they are just about to call an Advisor for the Teachers (14-16 year old boys).

I know what you're all thinking, probably what we were thinking - doesn't Steve get enough of high school boys during the week? Apparently not! I guess Steve is just so great that the Lord thinks that the Prosser young men shouldn't miss our just because Steve teaches in Mabton!

Congratulations Brother Bennett! I guess next Wednesday we will be going to Mutual together as I go hang out with my 12-13 year old girls and Steve hangs out with his 14-16 year old boys. No more "church vacation" at the Bennett Zoo!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Chinchilla Cage 2.0

So Nicolle has been after me for awhile to write some of the blog posts, she insists that my posts are funnier than her's are. So I'm going to try and bring humor back to our blog by writing a post about a chinchilla cage.......yeah that skepticism you have is not dissimilar to the skepticism my student's have when I tell them that C students end up holding cardboard signs next to overpasses.

This weekend's task was to remodel and rebuild the chinchilla cage. This is what the chin cage used to look like:

And this is what it looks like now (speaking of remodeling, I need to remodel myself back to what I looked like in that pic, sign #387 that I'm getting, scratch that, AM old):

Ok couple of disclaimers, in this pic the cage looks like Rosie O'Donnell sat on the right side of the cage and squished it. Before I get several gifts of combination squares, levels, and measuring tapes for Christmas presents, the cage looking so far out of being square is because this pic is actually two pics stitched together by Windows Live Photo Gallery (sorry, even I am not smug enough to be a Macintrash owner). WARNING GUY TALK AHEAD: diagonally the cage measures 100 top right to bottom left, and 100.5 top left to bottom right, you'd almost think I knew what I am doing.

A few notable additions, first off the cage is on wheels now.

This pic shows the two most important improvements. First off I added another set of doors which will make the cage MUCH, MUCH, MUCH easier to clean (translation, Nicolle can actually do it now so I won't have to clean it every time). Second, the wheels might make it so we can move the cage in one piece, please no more taking apart and putting this thing back together.

We embarked on our project at 1:30 pm Saturday and this was our attitude

We finally finished, after a trip to TruValue and to Home Depot in Tri-Cities, at around midnight and our attitude was more like this:

Nothing serious, just the usual testiness that occurs when two people have had a long day. But at the end of the day the chins are happy to be back in their big cage. Next up, building a cage for the sugar gliders.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Some Day Soon... We Hope!

So it's amazing how much easier (and more fun) it is to spend money that isn't yours! Steve and I are learning this when it comes to his classroom budget. Don't worry, most of the money is being spent on textbooks, machines for classroom experiments, etc. However, some of his budget was approved to buy a fish tank (pictures to come) and some of the budget is supposed to go towards finches! So the great part is that each of his classroom animals teaches a specific biology lesson. (And I love that I get to make posters using my CSS skills for them once I graduate and have more time)

So right now we're waiting on the district office to give us the purchase orders (which is driving us crazy!) So I just thought I would let you know what we're looking forward to spending Mabton's money on.

First, we have zebra finches, which have such great patterns and colors!

Next, we want to get some society finches.
And because you may think those are a little plain, we are ECSTATIC about finding a woman who will sell us a couple of GORGEOUS gouldian finches!
We are really excited about having these finches to supplement Steve's lessons about Darwin and his finches in the Galapagos Islands. Now come on with that money order please!

Visit Part IV: Ice Harbor Dam

The last day we had Ray and Reva here we went to church, and then headed to Sacajawea State Park. Because we already put pictures up from the park, I didn't take any pictures while we were there. Next we went to Ice Harbor Dam just a few miles away.

The dam and visitor center at Ice Harbor were closed for the season, so we only really got to visit a memorial set up above the dam. But everyone enjoyed the great view from the memorial!
I loved all the different rocks against the water and the blue sky.
I especially loved all of the curves at the memorial. It was really eye catching and visually interesting.

The large rock in the center of the memorial was lower down in the valley and was moved up on the hill when the rest of the valley was flooded. The valley was apparently a Native American burial ground, which is why the rock they brought up was covered by these amazing hieroglyphics.
So this is the last of the pictures we have from when Ray and Reva visited. I realized too late that I hardly got any pictures of family and forgot to take any when both sets of parents were here together on Saturday! I failed. Well, hopefully it won't be another two years before we get both of our parents in the same place again. Thanks again for visiting Ray and Reva! We loved our time with you and can't wait to see family again for the holidays!