Category: Family

We finished seminary!

At approximately 3:00 AM last Friday, Ben and I finished seminary. Here are our 3 AM faces:

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The final week was total madness. When both people in the household are working and finishing grad school at the same time, it’s pretty much guaranteed to be Crazytown USA! Make that the semi-annual Crazy Parade in Crazytown USA. Every day we would go to class and/or go to work, finish up at work around 5 pm, come home, slam some dinner, and start studying. About 10 PM we would take a break to get Starbucks coffee, which would keep us going until anywhere between 2 and 4 AM. I don’t know what it is about Starbucks iced coffee with milk, but if I drank that at 11 or so, I wouldn’t feel sleepy AT ALL until 4:00 in the morning. Insanity. Delicious, caffeinated insanity.

After waking up Friday morning we pretty much rolled out of bed, did laundry, packed our suitcases and headed to Williamsburg. Thank goodness we had had the foresight to book a weekend getaway there about a month earlier. We stayed in the always fabulous Powhatan Resort and just chilled out. We took a LOT of naps, had amazing breakfasts on our outdoor patio, went shopping at an outlet mall, went swimming, took walks, and hung out in the historic downtown area (my favorite place!).

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It was beyond awesome. Kind of felt like another (short) honeymoon. It was so nice to be able to focus on each other instead of on our darn, darn laptops. Or any screen, for that matter.

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It was great to be able to recharge and reconnect with our weekend in Williamsburg. Since then we’ve been struggling a little to get back on a schedule that feels normal — having a couple of weeks where we habitually drank coffee at midnight and stayed up til 2 or 3, followed by a weekend where we slept whenever we wanted, kind of confused the heck out of our poor bodies. Plus there’s always some residual crankiness to deal with. But things have been improving every day, and I think we’re almost back to normal … whatever that is.

Today we got some of our grades back, and it looks like all A’s for both of us this semester! We’re happy, and grateful to finish strong.

This weekend is graduation. And by “this weekend” I mean “this weekend”! The whole weekend is pretty much one big event. Friday night is our baccalaureate service, which we’re both speaking at (gulp). Saturday morning we have a practice and an open-house party at the seminary president’s house. Sunday is the actual graduation day and after that we’ll be going out to dinner with Ben’s family. My family can’t be here, but as a graduation present they bought Ben a new suit and me a new dress, so we will be proudly rocking our new sponsored outfits! :-) I’ll be sure to take lots of pictures … for this, my very-last-ever graduation. I think. ;-)

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Spring Break 2013

Sorry about the vanishing act last week, but it was my spring break and I threw all responsibilities to the wind because my twin sister Anna came for a visit! It seemed like it had been forever since we had had time to really catch up. It was amazing to see her and do fun stuff, all while fielding the constant stream of “Are you guys twins?!” comments. Seriously … we get so much of that.

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It has been unseasonably cool here, which was too bad since it would have been fun to do more warm-weather activities. But of course we didn’t let the chilly breezes keep us from visiting the beach — one of Anna’s favorite places to see when she’s here. We huddled under blankets the whole time, listened to Eric Clapton, and munched on Trader Joe’s snacks. Hey, I’m not complaining!

 

Another fun highlight of the week was watching Ben and his volleyball team win the city championship. They won last year as well, so he was CRAZY psyched for the tournament, and honestly I was relieved to get the game started so he could work off all the energy and hyped-up-ness! Our apartment is just too small for all the pre-game pacing, planning, fidgeting, chest-thumping, etc.) Whew.

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It was a lot of fun to watch him and his team playing together. Everything came together for the tournament and they played so smoothly and well. Ben also had some great plays and did a fantastic job scoring points as well as preventing the other team from scoring too many. :) He’s a great volleyball player — I never get tired of watching his sexy serve (um … sorry. but he does have a great serve!) Ben plays with a ton of heart and intensity that brings a lot to his team. And everyone else on the team is just fantastic as well — I’m so glad Ben has been able to be part of this group for the last few years.

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We had been planning for a long time that this trip would include a great sushi experience. Our favorite all-you-can-eat sushi place did not disappoint! As you can tell, Buddha himself presided over the event … haha. No seriously, we greatly enjoyed stuffing our faces with all the sushi we could hold. Yeah, the whole “eating healthy” thing took a break that week.

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One day we took a fun little day trip up to Williamsburg. I used to think there wasn’t much in Williamsburg — just Busch Gardens and a few other theme parks. But over the past year or two I’ve discovered a lot of other fun things in Williamsburg and it’s now one of my favorite places to get away to for a day — it’s only about an hour to an hour and a half away, so it’s easy to get there! My favorite spot there has to be Aromas Café on Prince George St in the historic downtown area. It has a wonderful cozy vibe and they have a big menu with all kinds of tasty lunches, desserts, and of course coffee.

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We spent most of our day in Williamsburg at the outlet mall. We had a blast hitting all of the stores, especially the Gap and Banana Republic outlets. I bought some sweatpants at Banana Republic that have simultaneously redefined the meaning of the word “comfortable” while ruining all of my other clothes for me. I love them so much, I even broke my firmly enforced “No sweatpants in public” rule over the weekend and wore them to a late-night movie! I KNOW. I guess I figured that Banana Republic sweatpants were classy enough??! I must be losing my mind … that’s what sweatpants will do to a person.

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Haha, Anna is going to kill me for posting this picture of us in a shopping frenzy.

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On another day, of course we had to spend a few hours strolling around downtown Norfolk, especially the harbor, where we went on the requisite ferry ride.

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What better way to spend a lazy morning than snuggled up in a sun-baked window seat at the eclectic Café Stella? (If you haven’t figured it out yet, coffee shops figured prominently into this week)

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On the final evening of Anna’s visit we had a memorable experience at Abbey Road Pub & Restaurant, which is down at the beachfront on 22nd. Anna loves to go hear live music, and after a rather unfortunate attempt to catch a live band earlier in the week (which was a lame, overpriced, and eardrum-shattering experience I’d rather forget about), Ben did some research and found that a singer named Mike Proffit was going to be performing at Abbey Road. He was playing covers of classics by the Eagles, John Denver, and others, and he has a wonderful voice and sound. Since it was midweek, there weren’t a lot of people there, so we got a lot of attention — they took requests and even played a song about Minnesota just for us. It was so fun — we stayed there for three hours, just relaxing and listening while eating um, A LOT of really good appetizers and desserts. :)

 

 

Life gets better.

Hello friends,

If you were single on Valentine’s Day yesterday, don’t feel bad about it. I’m here to tell you that love may be just around the corner. Life gets better. You want proof? I have proof. My love life has gotten significantly better since 2006, as the following pictures demonstrate.

2006
Kissed by a … seal?!

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2013
Kissed by my wonderful husband of almost 4 (!!) years

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Yep, in 2006 the only love I was getting was from slimy sea creatures.

That picture was taken in Taiwan, at an aquarium that I was spending the day at with some friends. One of the friends with me that day was Ben — oh you know, just the guy I would marry three years later, in June of 2009.

At the time that I was getting smooched by that wet, whiskery seal, I liked Ben a lot but was pretty much in despair that anything would ever work out between us. Now, seven years later, I guess things did work out, because I’m happily married to Ben and I much prefer kisses from him to kisses from that seal.

So there, you have witnessed proof that life does get better. I hope it cheered you up, cause man that first photo is embarrassing, and this had better be for a good cause. :-)

XOXO

Bethany

Christmas 2012

Hello! And happy 2013!

I haven’t been seen around here in a very long time due to the insanity of work, but fortunately Christmas break brought an end to all that, and just in time — I think I would have gone crazy if forced to keep the kind of pace I was keeping for much longer. The weekend before Christmas I was finally able to stop working constantly and start doing the Christmasy things that I love. Like going to see the Messiah, and getting together with Ben’s siblings to make gingerbread houses dripping with candy.

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Ben and I even carved out a few moments to spend just by ourselves in our own little place, opening presents.

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We didn’t have a whole lot of time to ourselves, but we never do anyway, and besides, Christmas is for family. I am deeply grateful for the time we were able to spend with our families this year. After spending almost the entire weekend before Christmas with Ben’s family, we flew up to Minnesota on Christmas Eve to be with mine.

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I love being in Minnesota for Christmas, and this year the thick coating of snow everywhere made it feel especially festive. We spent over a week there, just hanging out as a family. Including, of course, opening presents. With ten people in the family, there are lots!

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The holiday felt especially slow-paced this year thanks to a very, very bad cold that made its nasty way around to almost every family member that week. Succumbing to the bug brought with it a deep sluggishness and desire to do nothing much more than laze in front of a fire and play board games.

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As exhausted as I already was from an extremely hectic month, it wasn’t so bad being sick. Honestly, the slow pace was a relief. We played a TON of games like Scrabble and Ticket to Ride. Watched old movies. Built roaring fires in the fireplace almost every night.

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But we didn’t just sit around ALL the time. There was an epic ski trip, which I opted out of due to my bad cold — instead spending time with my sisters checking out my twin’s new apartment and shopping it up at the Mall of America.

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We also did a lot of skating — where these pictures were taken.

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Perhaps I should have toned down a little of that hockey-novice enthusiasm. Minutes later I fell — hard — and sprained my wrist. Exciting stuff for me; I have never been very accident-prone and don’t often get injured. (Of course that is partly due to my nerdy nature and indoor, bookish lifestyle.) I’m now proudly rocking a brace on my left arm. Glad to report that the initial pain and weakness have greatly improved and I’m now just resting it and waiting for the swelling to go down and the tendons to fully heal.

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One of the last things we did before Ben and I had to go home was to make gingerbread men, or as we call them in our tradition, ginger laddies. Grandma always used to make them for Christmas and she always called them ginger laddies for some reason, so now we do too!

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Our ginger laddies are a little strange and twisted compared to Grandma’s, though. Grandma used chocolate chips, raisins, and redhots to give her ginger laddies faces, buttons, hands and feet. We make plenty of them like Grandma’s, but we also make demon ginger laddies. Mystical rainbow people. Ninjas. And the like. Whatever comes to mind, really.

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Perhaps most epic of all was Caleb’s cannibal cyclops laddie. Which I ate yesterday on the plane coming home. Eating a one-eyed ginger laddie with sparkly sugar blood running down his chest was way more comforting than I ever thought it would be.

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My family is so weird and unique, and I love them all so much. The first couple of days back after visiting them are always hard, but I’m doing OK. Thinking back on all the fun memories, missing them, and looking forward to the next time I get to see them.

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I even miss your dumb photobombing, Dan.

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These are all taken at our favorite coffee shop, Moxie Java … a must if you’re ever in Fargo-Moorhead!

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That’s all of us! Thanks for making my Christmas awesome, kids.

 

Happy Thanksgiving! (and the day after)

I’m taking a couple of days off from my CRAZY life for Thanksgiving break. Just in time because I really needed a break — life has been nuts. Well played Mr. Turkey. I needed this.

My family is all gathered together in Minnesota, and of course I’m not there — which is a little sad, but okay, because I will be there for Christmas in one month! And one of my favorite things about being a Jacob is Ben’s family’s tradition of celebrating Thanksgiving. It’s not just one powerful meal on a Thursday afternoon. They make a big deal out of it. They rent a beach house in Virginia Beach and the whole family hangs out there for much of Thanksgiving week. It’s a lot of fun and you end up spending a lot more quality time together when you’re all together in one house for a few days. :)

It’s lovely to be at the beach. The past few days have been overcast, but today is sunny. No matter what the weather, though, it’s fun to watch the huge waves crashing on the shore.

Yesterday (on Thanksgiving Day) of course most of the day was spent making the huge meal. After that we always watch Elf. Best movie ever.

I think I might like the day after Thanksgiving even better than Thanksgiving itself. And no, not because it’s Black Friday. I don’t usually go shopping, and if I do, it’s in the afternoon once all the crazies have gone back home. ;-) I love how relaxing Thanksgiving is, and I don’t want to spoil it with a hectic and potentially dangerous trample-fest. Okay, maybe it’s not that bad — I wouldn’t know — but I’m just not interested.

What AM I interested in, then? One word: baking. During the week we have been at the beach house I have made cookies, homemade pretzels, pumpkin pie, apple pie bars, and just this morning, caramel rolls. Among other things. I don’t know what it is, but anytime I have a minute these days I just want to bake something delicious and feed it to appreciative people. Which the Jacobs are. The caramel rolls this morning turned out delicious … even though I used refrigerated dough because I was out of flour.

Want to make some? You’ll need 2 cans refrigerated breadstick dough, lots of butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, and heavy cream.

Grease 2 round pans and preheat the oven to 375.

To make really easy homemade caramel sauce: In a saucepan, combine 1 stick butter, 1 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup heavy cream, and a pinch of salt. Heat over medium heat to boiling, watching and stirring it so it doesn’t stick or boil over. Remove from heat. Pour about 1/3 of the caramel sauce into one of the greased pans, another 1/3 into the other greased pan, and reserve the last 1/3 for drizzling on the rolls after they are done.

Open up the 2 cans of dough. For each can of dough, spread the whole piece out on the counter without separating it into pieces. Drizzle melted butter all over the dough and sprinkle with brown sugar and plenty of cinnamon. Roll up from the short end to make a log. Then use a knife (or dental floss) to cut into six rolls. Once you do this with both cans of dough you’ll have 12 rolls.

Put the rolls into the caramel-sauce-coated pans and stick those babies in the oven. Bake about 15 minutes — rolls will be browned and caramel sauce will be bubbly. Remove and let them sit for about 5 minutes to let the sauce thicken a bit. Then invert them onto a plate and drizzle with the rest of the caramel sauce. Serve to your grateful family. :-)

Happy Thanksgiving!

All photos taken by my talented brother-in-law Jonathan Jacob.

The best cookies!

My younger sister Naomie came to visit me during my fall break last week, and we had a lot of fun hanging out together.

One of the most fun things we did was make these cookies just like my grandma used to make.

They’re not like other cookies. They’re BETTER than other cookies. They’re SO GOOD. Seriously. Could I be any more passionate here? :-P

They’re easy to make too .. you just need these ingredients: Ritz crackers, peanut butter, chocolate, and round rainbow sprinkles.

For the chocolate, my grandma always used almond bark, but the grocery store didn’t have any, so we used Baker’s Semi-Sweet chocolate and it was just as good, maybe even better.

First you make a bunch of Ritz-cracker-and-peanut-butter sandwiches.

Then, you heat water in a double boiler (or a jerry-rigged bowl-and-pot apparatus works just fine too!) and melt the chocolate. You don’t need to add anything to it … just the chocolate, baby!

Then line a pan with wax paper, and start coating the peanut butter crackers in the chocolate and setting them on the wax paper.

Dip dip dip …. coat coat coat …

While the chocolate is still soft and melty, shake the sprinkles on top. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP. YOU MUST HAVE SPRINKLES!!! It’s the law.

Yum!! Good grief, these look so good. By the way, Naomie took all these pictures — she did a way better job than I ever would have. I would hire her to take all my pictures, if I could.

Stick the cookies in the fridge to harden before you try to remove them from the pan.

Once the chocolate is firm, carefully remove them from the wax paper and store them in an airtight container. (I used the same one my grandma used to put cookies in, which makes me happy!)

They’re the perfect combination of salty & sweet, chocolate & peanut butter, melty and crunchy … and the sprinkles make them cute.

I ate the last one yesterday, so they’re all gone now. *sigh* But I think I might make them for Christmas, with red and green sprinkles on top! Want some? You know you do. :)

Vacation in Michigan

Hi folks, I’m back from my crazy summer of camp! I took a few weeks off after that to chill, SLEEP A LOT, and go on vacation.

Ben and I took a weekend and went to Williamsburg where we pretty much just rested and relaxed. About a week after that, we went to Michigan for a week. My extended family had a reunion there, in Saugatuck/Douglas on the shores of Lake Michigan.

It was amazing. Here are some photos.

We went sailing almost every day on my uncle Ben’s boat.

Playin’ some kemps on the beach.

The hubs tries his hand at being Skipper.

We saw some incredible sunsets. Lots of them, actually — every day was clear & bright, not a drop of rain or a storm the entire week.

Of course I have lots more pictures than that – hopefully I will get a chance to upload some more.

For the moment, I have to get back to work. Yup, I’m back in school for the year! Not sure how I feel about it. I’m full-time this semester, taking Hermeneutics, Missions, and Greek Exegetical Methods I. Crazy to think that I’ll be graduating in the spring with my 2nd master’s!

But that’s only if I actually do the work. :) So excuse me while I go flip some flashcards.