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.

BEP Wedding1

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!

Sad Watson

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.

IMG_6808 copy

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.