Friday, December 20, 2013

Christmas, Grogan-Style

It's that time of the year - Christmas time.  No two families celebrate the holidays the same way, and my family is no different.  We change our strategy per year depending on people's schedules.  It is never a surprise the decorations don't really start going up until I come home because I have the most flexibility around the holiday.  I'm also glad because as much as I complain about decorating, I love doing it!  I'm not too good at it (you can tell by my wrapping) but put on some Christmas tunes and I'll do it all!

This year I got home and my dad surprised me by asking if I wanted to go to a Christmas tree farm and chop down a tree.  I surprised him by saying yes.  He wouldn't let me live it down the entire Saturday.  We, of course, went tree hunting on the brink of a snow storm.  It is normal for us to pick the worst day to do outdoor decorating around the holidays.  It was just my dad and I who went out and we have now been banned from being alone to pick out our Christmas tree.  Take a look:
Getting ready to chop down the tree (no I didn't use the saw, my dad did)
The suburban comes in handy, our tree fit right inside!
It took two of the tree workers and my dad to put it through the netting.  We should have know something was going to be wrong at that point...

The guys carrying in our Christmas tree
Upright, it just fits.
(Don't mind the hand my brother just did the tightening of the stand)
It finally clicked something may be off when we realized we needed to buy a new stand because the trunk was too fat for the stand.

Yep, our tree just fits in the living room
Our tree just barely fit in the living room.  We had to move some furniture around so it would fit and people could still sit and enjoy the tree.  You just can't sit on opposite sides of the room because you won't see each other!!

I put 12 strands of lights up.  There are now 11 strands because one strand completely blew and I had to rework the strands after the ornaments were up so the lights would still come on.  Anyway here is the completed tree:

My aunt sent us a mini tree which we decorated and put up next to the big tree.  Now you can enjoy either a small tree or a large tree, depending on your preference.
The mini tree decorated, lights and all!
Take your pick:  large or small?
We also decorated the outside of our house right after a snow storm.  My dad braved the weather to hang the wreaths up on the front of the house.  I decorated the railings to look like candy canes and we put a big red bow up on our front tree.

We're getting there to being prepared for Christmas day, but never the less a disaster may occur.  Last year I ruined a pie pan, cookie sheet, and ice cream scoop before Christmas.  Cross my fingers that doesn't happen again.

Friday, December 13, 2013

A look back on an amazing semester!

A lot has happened and I can't believe the semester is over.  I only have one more semester left at St. Mike's before I start a completely new chapter in my life.  I have to say, no matter how stressed this semester was, how annoyed I got at things, or how fed up I was with college at points, I'm so glad I made it through because a lot of positives happened which definitely out weighed the bad.  Here's a look back on all the amazing things (and maybe not so amazing things):

  • I was reunited with my two besties at St. Mike's!  We hadn't seen each other since December 2012 when we split up for the holidays till we saw each other during move-in.  Katie and I both went abroad for the Spring.

  •  I got to be part of an AMAZING VITA team this year to help plan some AWESOME campus ministry events.

  •  Went on small hike/adventure with some friends before classes began.  Lake Champlain was beautiful!

  •  I broke so many kitchen utensils and began to learn the art of cooking.  I am thankful for my roommates through all of this because we were occasionally without something until I went shopping.  And for taking me to the ER when I sliced my finger for stitches (don't worry I'm alright, it was an accident and it only happened once!).

  •  My brother came to visit for the first time since I started St. Mike's.

  •  I got to go to a wedding for my AMAZING Family and Faith's son and new daughter.

  •  I got to play in a corn maze.

  •  Got to visit the Proctor Maple Center Weather Station during prime leaf peeping season.

  •  I dressed up as a mouse and Alex dressed up as a cat.  And then this happened:

(it was Halloween)
  • Put on a successful performance with Celtic Knights.  These girls and guy worked so hard for me and I appreciate them for all their hard work!

  • My brother graduated from McGill University with a degree in Mining Engineering.  So proud of his successes!!

  •  We baked over 70 pies to raise money to help out a family that is a huge part of the St. Mike's family.

  •  Got to meet Loni Love (and look good while doing so).

  • I dressed up as Santa and my best friend dressed as an elf for a Christmas party!

  •  I got to play in a river for one of my lab assignments!

Fall semester of 2013 is finally done and I'm thankful for all that it brought.  It gave me so many memories that I'm grateful for.  It is bitter sweet for it to end but I'm ready for Spring of 2014 - it is going to be a roller coaster of a ride!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

River Lab Science Experience

Friday marked the last day of classes for the semester.  It is a bitter-sweet moment since it means I only have one more semester at St. Michael's College and that makes me sad.  However, I am excited to go home for the holidays at the end of the week!

My very last class of the semester was my lab science.  I choose Physical Geography as my lab science because it was something different from what I have taken.  I've enjoyed this course a lot, especially the hands-on lab assignments.  And Friday's lab was definitely hands-on.

We went out to a branch of the Winooski River, about 15 minutes from campus, to learn about water movement.  Part of the assignment was to determine the speed of the current.  I can't tell you the exact speed because I was in the water conducting the tests!  Everyone on shore was measuring the time.  After class, I grabbed the data from my friend but I haven't had a chance to calculate and study the data myself.  I should have the answers for that day shortly.

Rubber Ducky Launching
I enjoyed playing in the river and it wasn't too cold.  We also talked about the type of landscape and which rocks were probably shaped by the river and which probably had been carried.  Also, we determined what type of glacier passed through based on the U-shaped look to the slopes surrounding the area.  Because the glacier can't follow all the twists and turns of a normal stream, it eventually erodes away the bends forming the U-shaped look. 

I love the hands-on experiences in the lab because I definitely gained a lot more understanding for this concept.

My class
The brave river experimenters!