I don't currently have the internet at my apartment; money is tight and it seemed like a good way to save costs. In actuality, it just makes me depressed when I get home because I feel cut off from the world :) But I have a few minutes before my next class starts, and I thought I'd try and give you some updates.
It's been a crazy semester. Over Spring Break I elected not to go home and instead drove to Champaign, Illinois, for the Big Ten Wrestling Championships. What a trip! Matt won first, and Penn State walked away with the team title.
I got home from Illinois and immediately started a new job at a local civil litigation firm. I can't say enough good things about that place. I feel wanted, appreciated, and (perhaps most importantly) challenged. I've started working every morning before my first class. That's only ten hours a week, but I sure feel the addition to my already-full schedule. Nevertheless, I'm grateful for the new path my career has taken.
After Spring Break, Law School Jen and I got to work on the 2L trial competition. Preparation for this overlapped with grading the 1L Law Review submissions. Again, things were crazy, but they were also great. Our second round was on a Wednesday night--March 20. That happened to be the night my parents flew into Omaha (flights to Des Moines were a bit pricey). I was go grateful they were able to attend our round and watch me flounder through figuring out this whole trial thing. Dad gave me a lot of good feedback to apply to future rounds.
The next day began the experience of a lifetime: attending NCAA Wrestling Nationals. I drove to Des Moines early in the morning and picked up Lauren from the airport. After three days of quality wrestling, I was fortunate enough to see Matt compete in the 174 lb championship match and to see Penn State win its third straight national title.
Matt was also honored with the Elite 89 award. I've been proud of Matt for a lot of things he's accomplished, but this might have topped the list. I know my siblings were sad to miss the tournament, and I feel very lucky that NCAAs were so close. (Des Moines is only about two hours from me.)
I got back from Nationals and jumped right back into the trial competition. Round-by-round, we advanced, and I found myself enjoying what I was doing quite a bit.
A second break from the competition came in the form of Easter Break. I drove home for Abby's baptism. It was a short but fun-filled weekend. We topped things off with Easter dinner and an Easter egg hunt for the nieces and nephews.
Last Tuesday Law School Jen and I competed in the final round of the trial competition and came in second. It was a tough loss, but I'm grateful we made it as far as we did.
Just two days later, we left for Kansas City for the UMKC Show Me Challenge, a national voir dire competition. We hadn't prepared for the competition as much as we would have liked (at all, really), but we were told by our coach to scope things out and get a feel for the tournament so we could decide if we should spend some time on it and go back next year. We were pleasantly surprised when we advanced to the semi-final round. We lost to Texas Tech by a 9-6 decision, so we left relatively pleased with our performance.
So, now I'm back in Omaha with no traveling plans in the near future. Finals start in a week and a half, and I can't believe how the semester has flown by.
I hope you all are doing well! Life is crazy, but as always, life is good.
Monday, February 4, 2013
I've always had a slight obsession with surprise parties. I think it started with my favorite children's book--Panda Bear's Secret--where Panda plans a surprise party for his Grandma. (I also credit that book for my love of Panda bears, so I guess be careful what books your kids read; apparently they'll be influenced for life.)
So when Kate's bf told me he wanted to do a surprise party for Kate's birthday, I kind of freaked out. I'm sure my ideas and
orders suggestions got to be a bit much at times, but he was a trooper. He suggested a Mexican theme, because Kate likes Mexican food. I came up with so many ideas--too many really--from a few quick online searches. I really loved this collection of ideas from Martha Stewart. I even had alcoholic drinks planned! But Oliver vetoed me on most things, apparently wanting to keep it simple.
He did, however, let me get streamers featuring sombreros, chilis, and maracas.
He also let me do a very basic version of this paper tissue wall hang found on Hostess with the Mostess.
I couldn't find a tutorial, so I made it up as I went. It took some time, but it was relatively easy. I mean, I did it. And I'm the least crafty person on the planet :) In case you're interested, I took pictures to walk you through the process.
What you'll need:
Tissue paper (I used 10 sheets of each color)
String of some sort (Curling ribbon worked fine for me)
Stapler and staples
Tape (Sticky enough to hang on the wall, not so sticky it will damage the wall)
1. Take the tissue paper out of its package and fold in half. It's probably already done for you, just crease the fold.
2. Cut the paper into a fringe, leaving a two inch margin at the top, by the fold.
3. Repeat with all colors, obviously
4. Separate the sheets of paper, laying one on top of another.
5. Measure a length of string the width of the area of wall you'll be using. Decide how many rows of paper you'll be using, and cut that many lengths of string.
6. Loop the string through the fold. Leave enough string at the left end to attach to the wall.
7. I used a stapler to make sure the paper stayed spaced correctly on the string. I'm still not sure if this was necessary, but better safe than sorry.
8. When I placed the second sheet of paper, I originally lined it up right next to the first. This caused a weird gap, so I fixed it with a staple and some tape. But for the rest, I overlapped sheets of paper by about one inch.
9. When you get to the end of your string, hang it up, starting with the bottom row.
And voila! The finished project:
The other must-have decoration for me was the "Sleeping Mexican," as spotted on Top Party Ideas.
Oliver took the lead on this one, stuffing his clothes with newspaper.
We didn't want to spend the money to buy a poncho, so we took an old sheet, measured to Oliver, and cut.
We named our friend Miguel.
The day of the party led to an always-scary experience: cooking.
But I also found a recipe for stuffed jalapenos that looked good and easy enough for me to make.
More decorations the day of the party:
Waiting for Kate to arrive...
The surprise was a success!
Happy Birthday, Kate!
at 12:35 PM
Sunday, February 3, 2013
This weekend I had the incredible opportunity to travel to Iowa City, Iowa. I don't mean to indicate that simply being in Iowa City was incredible, because that would be very far from the truth. This does a fantastic job at illustrating my time there:
The city and its people were cold, bitter, and inhospitable.
A slight caveat: I know that good things come from Iowa. I just didn't encounter any of those things this weekend.
Anyway. On Thursday I drove to Des Moines, where I picked my mom up from the airport. Together we drove to Iowa City.
Here's the hotel restaurant where we ate our first night when we finally found it. (Wouldn't you think an in-house restaurant would be easy to find? Yeah. You would think...)
Mom and I got to Carver Hawkeye Arena a little before 6pm. Eventually we found the entrance for people getting tickets from wrestlers and made our way inside.
The arena was very impressive.
As was the sight of more than 15,000 wrestling fans filling it.
I've never really been a fan of cheerleaders at wrestling meets (although I loved cheering at them), but these squads provided some entertainment during the frequent commercial breaks taken for the Big Ten Network broadcast.
at 11:24 PM