Saturday, January 4, 2014

Happy New Year!

2013 ended well for us. Since our last post, it has really turned cold up here in Chicago! Fall was very very cold and winter is not giving us any warmth! Ha.

Early in the Fall season, Preston and I got away to a small cabin in the woods in Michigan. The family gets a good laugh about it because there was no electricity, the toilet we used was a waterless one...interesting huh?  Aside from that, the cabin was so wonderful and the area was beautiful.
(for some reason I am not getting all the photos uploaded from that trip. this is all that is coming through)

Went hiking up a hill overlooking lake. 

We got to "drive"/ ride a two seated - side by side -  bicycle.  It kind of looked like a go-kart with pedals.
The area was a stopping point for Sandhill Cranes during their migration southward. We went to one of the Cranes Sanctuary to get as close to them as possible. They are larger birds, at 3-4 feet tall and having a wingspan of 5 feet.  Pretty cool looking.

Random photo of me eating yummy sandwich from Jason's Deli! And a photo of Preston's little "reunion" with the people/ladies that worked with him in the Internship year.

Preston, Tracy, Casey, Keelah, and Frances  (Jojee taking picture)
Looking over Blue Prints
My parents came up to Chicago for a weekend. My father loves designing things.  Here is a photo of him sharing the blueprints that he developed for the new house they are building on a beautiful piece of property in rural, farmland Kentucky.

While they were here, we went to the Art Museum and, of course, ate some more deep dish pizza.

In front of Art Museum. 
Everyone pitching in 
We spent Thanksgiving with my family in Kentucky.

The big project while we were there was working on refinishing a table from my grandparents' home.

My parents are currently living in a rental home while building the house.

The finished look 
Thanksgiving was nice, and yes, we always go shopping. This year we did go out very very early...8:00pm Thursday night. haha

With my new Ipad Air. My early Christmas gift from Preston. ☺ Yay
But, the week before Thanksgiving, my boss quit! He just walked out. That left our company in a real bind, needing a replacement....which ended up being me. :-/  My official start date as project manager was December 2nd. The transition has been...a bit hectic.  But there are a lot of positives too.

My role is to manage our Illinois staff, which consist of 10 people based in our Chicago office, and 8 people in other areas around Illinois. Our advocates work for hospitals, so each hospital is technically a client, and I am responsible for the client relationships. Making sure they are happy! Which means a lot of reporting and meetings with them.

This job was so unexpected.  It's strange to be a boss. I'm looking forward to seeing what The Lord has in store this year with this new position.

My new office. It now looks more organized than this. Even though I have to put my face against the window, I can see the Sears Tower (Willis) from my window. haha
Enough about that....Derek landed the lead role (as George Baily!) in "It's a Wonderful Life" at the Johnson County Community Theatre.  Here's a link to a rave review of the performance:

Preston was able to travel down to TN to watch the play with everyone on Saturday, December 7th. It sounds like the rave review was correct!

Preston with leading man Derek
Andy and his lovely new gal Lindsay...they were messing with Preston's camera.
Preston also got to spend time with Andy Moser and his family. Andy, Lindsay, and Preston drove down from Roanoke to TN to watch Derek's play.

Then came Christmas. It was a short trip for us, but we did get to see Preston's family for a few days and spend a couple of days with the ever growing family. It's always a delight to see them.

Visser courtesy Martina Visser.  Shay Xin made it to this year's shot.
One thing we did not take a picture of was Derek, Meagan, Preston and I going to see the new Hobbit movie. We went to the first hobbit movie last year, so to keep with tradition, we went to see the second part this year....and hope to go next December to see the third and final part!

Preston, Derek and Joe 
Preston also got to go skiing at Sugar Mountain with Eryn, Joe and Derek!
Eryn, Preston, Derek, and Joe

Preston wanted me to add this photo of me wearing the ski goggles...he says that it reminds him of the photo of me wearing safety glasses during the trip that we met each other in 2005 (we need to find the photo somewhere).

We then spent the rest of Christmas time with my family in Kentucky. Always fun to be with them. We celebrated Christmas and got to see the progress of their new and beautiful home they are building.

Photo from the road

Large and lovely front porch 

You can see the stone fire place and of course the newly painted rafters in living room. 

Preston and my Father went for a walk on the property and found this "mutated" tree. Shaped like an elephant, or duck maybe?

And, as always, my father and I made our annual chocolate candy! This year we added pecans. Mmm Mmm good (so Preston and Father say)!

The chocolate 
Back to Chicago we came! It was a nice sunny day when we got back on Dec. 30th, but by Jan 1st we already have 4 inches of snow...and snow just kept coming.

SNOW! (okay, the falling snowflakes are a photo effect)
Just in the short time we were in grocery store, the car got covered with snow. :)
Happy New Year!
Preston and I did go to the church's New Years Eve Party/Celebration.

It was a fun night of worship, baptisms, food, and dancing around! A great way to bring in 2014.

The weather had been incredible. Lots of snow and below freezing temps for last week.

Even the snowman wants inside
We are supposed to get a little snow and highs in the negative degree temperatures in this next week.  (and a wind chill of minus 30 degrees tomorrow night!).

Something that I really like about this weather, is seeing how people just keep going. People endure the freezing wind chills and snow covered roads. Everyone is still out, going to work and school. It's kind of neat.

We are looking forward to 2014's road....even if it is covered in snow and ice. haha

Preston and Krystal

P.S. Mello....He survives. He does not realize how fortunate he his to be in this warm house all the time, while we see many alley cats that are not so fortunate.

Peaceful Mello
And one last photo...Preston enjoying his new Keurig (that Brooklyn gave him for Christmas) early in the morning.