Happy Momma

This is my mom.


Isn't she so pretty?  She doesn't even wear much makeup or dye her hair.  She's just naturally lovely.

I am so thankful for her! She came down to see me last weekend and we went to the Christmas Festival in St. Charles, MO. Then we went to see Mannheim Steamroller at The Fabulous Fox Theatre. The festival was great, and The Fox was fabulous, but Mannheim was a little bit of a let-down. We had fun, as usual, though, and I loved seeing my momma laugh and smile.


One Year

Inspired by a blog friend, I decided it would be beneficial (for myself) to break down our year.

January:  We spent New Year's Eve at the Corson's house, and made brisket for friends on New Year's day.  I continued to nanny for the Horst chil'ins.  I began my last semester at SIU.  We completed our applications to law school and grad school.  The waiting game began.

Brisket, mashed taters, green beans, cornbread, oh my...

February: We celebrated my birthday and Valentine's Day (or Birthentine's, if you're nasty) by going to St. Louis for the weekend.  We stayed at the Cheshire Lodge, had a date at The Fountain on Locust with our newish friends, Josh and Kim, visited the art museum, and discovered Gioia's Deli.  I spent the month wondering where in the heck God was going to send us or if we would stay in Carbondale for a few more years.


March: I spent the first half of the month anxiously awaiting news from graduate schools.  I started feeling like we weren't going to be staying in Carbondale and treasuring our time there.  Over Spring Break, I got my first acceptance, and it was to SLU!  I was at my grandma and grandpa's house when I got the email on my phone.  We all screamed and smiled and cried and jumped around the kitchen.  It was a really special moment.


April:  After three acceptances and two rejections for me, we were feeling like St. Louis was the place God was calling us, though all the details weren't exactly in place yet.  Kyle still hadn't heard from SLU Law (and a few other schools), but planned on just getting a job in the STL area and re-applying because we were so sure we were supposed to be there.  We had a marathon day of apartment searching, signed a lease, and the next week Kyle got his acceptance to SLU.  Crazy lessons about stepping out in faith were learned.

(I took not a single picture in the month of April.)

May: A month of celebrations and new beginnings.  Had a great celebratory night with classmates meowing around Carondale.  Graduated and moved to St. Louis on the same day with the help of many friends and family.  Started attending August Gate, where we knew we should go even though we'd never set foot in the doors.  Started graduate school at the end of the month, and began a painful summer of living away from Kyle while he finished up his job in So Ill.

Kiss the graduate
June: A haze of school and loneliness and driving back and forth between STL and So Ill.  Oh, and threw a bridal shower for my soon-to-be sister-in-law, Hope.


July: A haze of school and loneliness and driving back and forth between STL and So Ill.  Oh, and threw a bridal shower for my dear friend, Ellen.  Then we both stood up with her and Bradley at the end of the month at their wedding.  It was our last hurrah in Carbondale.  Saying goodbye at the end of their reception left many of us in tears.

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August: Kyle came home to Saint Louis for good!  We celebrated the end of a long, hard, lonely summer.  We got a puppy!  Celebrated 4 years of marriage.  When we first began praying about going on with school together, we just prayed we'd be in the same city.  God went further.  He put us in the same city, at the same school, and our buildings right next door to one another.  Unbelievable goodness and grace. No accident there!

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September:  Traveled to Virginia to celebrate the wedding of our brother and sister, Kent and Hope.  It was fun to travel with family, and even more fun to gain a sister in the Bass family.  Went to school.

October: Really started making better friends at church and at school.  Praise God.  The summer was so lonely, even though friends at church reached out to me, I definitely was not myself then.  October finally clicked and I started feeling more like me.  School started getting harder on us, and it became very clear that our dog was really, really bad.  We knew he was our "Marley."  We hosted a Halloween party that seemed like a pretty big success, but we forgot to take pictures.

CSD friends
November: A haze of school and puppy-wrangling.  In John Mayer-fashion, I wonder if I am going to make it through to December.  I got to travel to Philadelphia for my first ASHA convention with classmates and faculty.  Spent Thanksgiving with Kyle's family in Anna.  Got to celebrate with Keith and Loni the night of their engagement.

December:  Completed our semesters by the grace of Jesus.  When the semester ended, we mostly spent our days at home wrangling our bad, bad dog, cooking, watching all the TV we missed during the semester, and enjoying each others' company.  Christmas in Springfield with my family.  As things slow down, the pain of infertility creeps back in as it always does when I'm not insanely busy.  As always, I'm ready for a new year and thankful for a God who is faithful and isn't done with us yet.



Chocolate Pie

I've always been a fan of French Silk pies from Perkins and Baker's Square, but I must say that this recipe for chocolate pie is as good as any I've had from a restaurant.  You simply must try it.  I promise it isn't that difficult.

Start with a pie crust of your choice.  I used my Grandma Johnson's crust recipe because I am personally conflicted about using a frozen crust.  You would be, too, if you had her crust.  I won't judge you, though.  Using a frozen crust would make things a whole lot easier, it's just that once you get that perfect homemade crust, it ruins you.

Now, this is where my trouble began... I 've never pre-baked a crust from scratch.  I feel like I must be missing some secret step because this is what happened to my beautiful, perfect crust.  It got bubbly and fell in on itself.  Is there some secret to pre-baking a crust?  In the grand scheme of things it doesn't matter because it tasted wonderful, and when the pie is complete you cannot teven see the lumpy crust.  As Julia says, make no apologies, no excuses!  It doesn't have to be perfect.


After you've pre-baked your crust, get ready to do some mixin'!  If you have a stand mixer, go kiss the feet of whomever purchased it for you.  Unless you purchased it for yourself... I wouldn't want you to strain anything... You start with mixing the butter and sugar, and then add in the chocolate and vanilla. (Use Watkins vanilla if you know what's good for you. We call it Liquid Crack in the Bass abode.)


Now, this is when the mixing gets really crazy.  You add in one egg every 5 minutes for 20 minutes (that's four eggs).  Be patient.  It's worth it to get that perfectly whipped texture.  If you have a stand mixer, just throw an egg in and forget about it for 5 minutes.  You can use that time to do your foot-kissing.


When it's whipped into submission, smooth it into the pie crust and chill it in the fridge for at least 2 hours.


I chilled it for about 5 hours.


I was feeling sassy, so I added some Cool Whip and made some chocolate curls for the topping.


Try not to lick the plate when you're done.  If you must, at least wait until no one can see you.  Not that I would know anything about that...


Hello? (tap tap) Is this thing on?

Heeyyy-o! Do I really need to explain why I haven't posted in over a month?  Yes?  Remember that little thing I'm doing called "graduate school?"  Well, it got the best of me, but now I've conquered another semester by the grace of God, and I'm on to a brighter future... at least for a month until it starts all over again.

Anyway, a lot happened in the last month.  The most exciting to me is that my little brother (in-law) got ENGAGED over Thanksgiving!  Yeah, I am pretty thrilled about this.  Not only am I just generally excited about having another girl (we picked up Hope earlier this year) in the Bass family, but it just so happens that I am CRAZY for Keith's bride-to-be, Loni.



I had the privilege of being there the night they got engaged.  Kyle and I parked our car at a distance and hid until Keith gave us the "all clear."  It was a damp, soggy night, and our sweet Loni managed to cry off every ounce of makeup, but she still looked incredible!  It was such a happy time, and now we have another family wedding to plan!


Also in the last month I have been to Philadelphia and back.  I went to my very first professional conference, the annual ASHA convention, with dear classmates and a few faculty members.  We had a blast there and I learned so much.  Some of the topics were way over my head, but others were very useful, particularly for my thesis.  We got to meet a lot of famous-to-us people, including Barbara Hodson (!!!), which I'm still freaking out about.

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It was really fun to be surrounded by thousands of SLPs and audiologists.  We got tons of free stuff and there were companies with booths set up who were hiring left and right.  It's nice to know that I'm in demand and that I'm going to have a job when I finish!


Philly became one of my favorite cities.  It was so big, and so much more city-like than St. Louis.  This is not a knock to my small city, but it just had a totally different feel.  I can't really explain it except to say that it was fun and I liked it.  One of my favorite parts (a favorite for all of us who went, I think) was the Reading Terminal Market.  I've never seen anything like it.  It was an old train station converted into a market place with tons of vendors.  You could find everything from baked goods, to fresh fish, to ice cream. We ate there nearly every meal since it was right across from the convention center.


More recently, the end of the semester brought much celebration, both at home with my man, and out on the town with my classmates.  This past Friday night, my classmates had a fantastic night out together.  These things tend to bring out my more extroverted self and I am caught on friends' cameras looking ridiculous, but having fun!

SLP Bar crawl
(Photo courtesy of the lovely, Martina)

SLP Bar crawl
(Photo courtesy of hot mama, Jamie)

I am so, so happy to be making better friends in my program.  We spend every day together, but nights like Friday are what really bring out the bonding.

Our plans for the next month are to enjoy being school-free, visiting as many friends and family as possible, and getting some unfinished projects done around home.  Kyle is already halfway through a thick novel, and I have editing pictures, baking, and piddling.  It's going to be a great month!

Hopefully you'll hear from me again very soon.


Fruit Roll-Ups

I used to love fruit roll-ups when I was a kid.  What kid didn't?  Relatively recently I said to Kyle, "Man, I wish I could get some fruit roll-ups.  Those things were so good.  Why don't they make an adult version?"

On my last trip to Target, I found these puppies.  No sugar added.  Just 50 calories of fruity deliciousness.

Grown-up Fruit Roll-ups!

Wish granted!


View from our balcony

We never go out on our front balcony.  We're guessing there used to be a door to go out there, but now the only way out is through the window.  Recently I crawled out there to get a closer shot of the glorious tree in our front yard.  The view from up there was great.


This is our view of Saint Francis de Sales Catholic Church down the street.  The building is spectacular, and is undergoing major renovation.  It boasts the tallest steeple in the city, and is the second largest church building, second to the Cathedral Basilica on the central west end.  It was built by German immigrants living in our neighborhood in the early 1900s.  It is a jewel in our city to be sure.

Saint Louis is nicknamed the "Rome of the West" because of its deeply Catholic heritage.  This carries over into today.  I marvel at the architecture of my own neighborhood and think often about the immigrant families who lived here.  Most of the houses around me are between 100-150 years old, and were built by friends and relatives who immigrated here together after the civil war in Germany.  Let me tell you, they just don't build them like this anymore, but oh, how I wish they did!

From my balcony, I got a better view of some of the architectural details of our building.  I am amazed by the craftsmanship, and I cannot fathom how they built such places without our modern technologies. 


I often wonder about the families who lived here originally.  Who were they?  Where did they come from?  Why did they come here? What did it look like back then?

I love old homes.  I believe in restoration.  I hope I always get to live somewhere that has such deep roots and such a rich history.  


Random Conversational Excerpt

Me: Oh my gosh! Google Streetview is just so cool.  I'm looking at the hotel I stayed at in Paris!

Kyle: That's cool. Today I was looking at the Dixie Barbecue in Jonesboro.

Me: *hysterical laughter followed by typing*

Kyle: You're tweeting about this aren't you?

Me: Blogging.

He knows me.  He makes me smile.

Rams Game

Be a friend.

My Poppy shared this poem with me a long time ago.  It really stuck with me and I think about it often.  Such a good reminder when I start to turn into a "Me Monster."
I went outside to find a friend
But could not find one there;
I went outside to be a friend,
And friends were everywhere!


Eight Halloweens

We here in the Bass household are big fans of Halloween.  Over the years, we've had a lot of fun making our own costumes and going to parties with friends.  Here's a quick rundown of our past costumes.

Year 1:

Year 1

We were supposed to be hippies, but I don't think it worked out very well. On a brighter note, this was the first picture we ever took together. We had been dating for approximately 10 days. We have now been together for over 7 years, that's approximately 2,500+ days.

Year 2:

Year 2

A little more creative this year, and far more time to plan. We were the Crocodile Hunter and a crocodile. This picture is awful, but it's the only one I have. It doesn't do the costumes justice. I also wish you could hear Kyle's Aussie accent and hear my croc roar. I slithered on the ground. He narrated. We were so cool.

Year 3:

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I swear I had a picture of this, but I cannot find one. That year we were The Lion (played by our friend), The Witch (me), and the Wardrobe (Kyle). We made costumes and made the wardrobe out of a cardboard box, painted and complete with opening doors.

Year 4:

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We were newlyweds. Okay, that's not a costume. The truth is, we were new to Carbondale and no one that we knew of had a Halloween party, so we didn't dress up. I was sad, to say the least. I do seem to remember, however, that we went to Steak n' Shake that night with Team Abner and Team Billingsley. They are always a good time.

Year 5:

Year 5

The Corpse Bride and her groom from Tim Burton's "The Corpse Bride." We thought it was cute, but no one knew who we were supposed to be, with the exception of Team Abner.  Unfortunately, it took me approximately four days to wash all that blue hairspray out of my hair.  Sometimes if I look down, I still think I see a little blue.

Year 6:

Year 6

One of the most fun. Mario and Luigi. We threw fireballs and jumped around all night with fake Italian accents.  What's more fun than a fake mustache and some homemade hats? I don't know.

Year 7:

my better half

The title of our costume that year was "My Better Half." We tore our clothes apart and sewed them back together. Kyle wore makeup and leggings. Need I say more?

Year 7.2

In year 7, Halloween also coincided with Kyle's aunt's wedding, in which he was part of the wedding party. As the wedding party entered the reception they all wore masks and danced to Werewolves of London. That mask was sexy, what can I say?

Year 8:


This year, as always, we are keeping it a secret. It's nothing too fancy (read= grad school prevents elaborate costume work) but it should still be fun!

What will YOU be for Halloween? I hope it's a happy one for you!


Life lessons from Head Start

I've now been in my clinical placement at a Head Start on the north side of the city for seven weeks.  On a daily basis I work with anywhere between 25-50 kids doing language-centered learning in the classroom, and another 4-5 children individually for speech and language therapy.  I've learned so much in such a short time and I could reflect on about 100 professional ways I've grown.  What I really want to reflect on, though, is a life lesson I've learned from these little people.

Children aged 3-5 are so much fun.  They're cute.  They say hilarious things.  They rarely pronounce my name correctly (I get called everything from Ms. Sexy to Ms. Chunky, no kidding).  They have good days and bad days.  They all have strengths and challenges. 

Most intriguing to me is this - they say what they mean and they mean what they say.  If they don't like you or don't trust you, you know it.  If they do, they show you.  They smile at you.  They hold your hand.  They stick to your side like Velcro.  They may even try to give you hugs and kisses (which is not allowed at Head Start, but I sometimes wish it were since some of them seem so starved for affection).  Most importantly, they tell you.  They tell you exactly how much they like you and if they think you're fun or boring.  I love this about them.

As one who is inclined to always assume that most people do not like me, I find it so refreshing.  It has inspired me to be more honest with the people I care about, to tell them just how I feel.  I suppose that many think I'm a little strange for saying what I think and feel, but maybe, like me, they like it.

I've been trying to not only tell those I like that I like them, but what I like about them.  This is a difficult thing to do because you risk being rejected.  You risk being ridiculed and thought of as strange.  I've learned from these kids, though, that I just don't care.  I'm going to keep on telling people that I love them and why I love them and hope that it will make a difference in their lives.  It certainly has in mine.

(Video via Abraham Piper)


Yeah, I'm that lady.

I'm the kind of lady who likes to put her animals in ridiculous costumes and take their pictures.  Why? Because it's FUNNY.  Sorry if you think it's stupid.  But seriously, how could you not like this?

Watson is Sherlock Holmes

Too bad Watson doesn't think it's quite as funny. He makes a brilliant Sherlock Holmes.

Not funny.


No class!

In celebration of our normal Thursday afternoon class being cancelled, and Abby and Melanie's birthdays, several of my classmates went to Eckert's farm in Belleville yesterday, followed by dinner at The Fountain on Locust.

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Teamwork in action!

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Representing the ECLC.

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The always lovely Hannah, who has the world's most soothing voice.

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World's cutest apple:

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Beautiful Briana, whose hair I covet.

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Stacy with eyes that sparkle. (photo taken by birthday girl, Abby)

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