This is ladies night.

Friday was ladies night.  What a night it was! Lots of fun, laughter, food, and getting to know some of the ladies of August Gate a little bit better.  Nights like Friday tend to bring out my extroverted-ness and I have to remind myself to shut up and listen.

A couple of my new friends really stand out as good listeners - Kim, who I love so much but I did not snap a single picture of all night, and Celeste, who makes me feel warm.  Does that sound creepy?  Sorry, Celeste.  You just do.  Can I have a hug?

Celeste's Smile

Then there's Juliette, who I could talk to for hours. We have very similar tastes in just about everything, I think!  She and I connected quickly and now we've bonded over our love for Twilight. Judge away.  We don't care.  Juliette is a beautiful soul with a great laugh.

Juliette's Laugh

This is Emily and Amy.

Belly shot!

Emily is my favorite story-teller. She always has something great to share and it seems like she's lived a lot of life.  She makes everyone laugh and feel happy.  I just like being around her.  When you're with her you feel the love of Jesus pouring through her.

Amy is so smart and cute.  Just look at that baby belly!  I love her style, her sweetness, her energy, and her dogs.  Watson loves her dogs, too.  There's a lot I want to learn from her.  She and her husband, Jacob, made us feel really welcome.

Jenille is so funny and queen of the random one-liners.   She also has great stories and makes the most random jokes I've ever heard.  I think what makes her so funny is that she delivers them with a straight face like Tina Fey.  Just get her some thick-rimmed glasses and call Lorne Michaels.

Janelle's One-Liners

We ate a lot of really great food and had a great time.  It was really nice to just throw on some sweat pants and have some laughs.

Girl food

Of course, there were a lot of other girls there who I love, but did not get great pictures of due to my lack of camera skills in low-lighting. So, here's my shout-out to Kim, Heather, Kat, Jamie, and Brei! Thanks for a great night!


School days. School daze.

For once, the start of the semester does not make me feel so bad.  I'm not in a daze.  I'm actually quite excited for the upcoming semester, though I'm told it's the "make-you-or-break-you" semester of my program.  I've got a little confidence, not in myself, but in Jesus who is big enough to get me through this. 

Can I tell you how nice it is to walk across campus with Kyle? It's really great. Such an improvement from the loneliness of summer.

I still cannot believe that we're here together.  It seemed like such an impossible thing that we would even get into schools in the same city, let alone the same school!  To boot, our buildings are right next to each other.  Have I told you that before?  I can't remember.  Yeah.  It's awesome.

The SLU campus is beautiful.  I'd grown used to the drab architecture and dull landscape of SIUC.

Cupples House and Art Museum - SLU

The John Cook School of Business

Sure, the hills and trees are nice down there, but there's a serious lack of style and color.  SLU is quite the opposite.  I mainly attribute the differences to the fact that Southern is a poor state school, and SLU is an affluent private school.  They can't help it, really.

Samuel Couples House

The landscaping here is immaculate.  There are grounds employees everywhere.  They keep the weeds pulled, the sidewalks clean, the hedges trimmed.



There are flowers everywhere.



There are statues, fountains, streams, coy ponds, and clock towers.  It's a place you want to be.



This lovely change in scenery has done a great deal to lift my spirits lately. More than I could have imagined.


Now there are some drawbacks to being a private school girl.  The tuition, for one, would make you cough your morning coffee through your nose.  I won't go into the others here. 

One more really great thing about SLU is that students just seems happy here.  Kyle is nothing but impressed with the law school and the instructors (despite the fact that the backpack he now has to carry is bigger than him).

Big Backpack

In general, you don't here people complaining about the university as a whole.  You rarely hear someone badmouth instructors.  You don't hear students making fun of the school or the programs. 

I am totally impressed with the instructors in my department.  They're all doing interesting research.  They're constantly traveling around the country, around the world, making presentations on important topics.  Just in the few months I've been here, I've had teachers travel to Washington D.C., San Diego, Holland, Greece, and Australia.

In short, we love being Billikens!



There's this dog.  He's sort of taken over our lives.  Don't let that sad face fool you.  He can be a little monster.

Sad Face

Oh, but he's a little monster we can't stop kissing and squeezing and snuggling.

Floppy Ears

He can't stop chewing and pooping and peeing.  All over.  All the time. 


Nah, not all the time.  He's actually really good...

Puppy Dog Eyes

...when he's sleeping.


Yin and Yang

He's the Yang to my Yin. 


He's wine and I'm beer.

He's tea and I'm coffee.

He's "realistic" and I'm "optimistic."

He's salad and I'm fried chicken.

He's the details and I'm the big picture.

He's poetic and I'm artistic.

He's dark chocolate and I'm milk chocolate.

He's slow to speak and I'm hard of hearing.

He's rubber and I'm glue.

He's a trolley and I'm a rollercoaster.

You get it. We're different.  Somehow it works, and I love him.


Hellloooo, goigeous.

My new favorite shoes:

Shoe love.

I think they'll be perfect for Kent (Kyle's middle brother) and Hope's upcoming nuptials.


Soulard Farmers Market

We went down to the Soulard Farmers Market on Saturday morning.  What a great day it was to be there.  We'd already been to the Tower Grove Farmers Market in our neighborhood, so we thought we'd make the 1.5 mile jog over to Soulard and see theirs.


It was glorious.  It was packed.  It was HUGE.  This is just one wing.


You could find just about anything there, everything from handmade jewelry to alligator meat.  The real star of the show, however, is the abundance of beautiful, inexpensive produce. 



The walls and mounds of fruit and vegetables seemed to go on for miles.  It is a sight that will make you proud to be in the Midwest, where we have access to such a bountiful harvest.  At the same time, it will make you feel guilty to think about other parts of the world where people don't even have a concept of a place like this.  It made me wonder just what happens to all the produce that isn't sold.

It is inspiring in so many ways.  Just look at those colors...



Those textures...



It was beautiful. Does anyone else get this excited about produce?

We brought home some peaches, cherries, and a couple Mexican mangoes. Kyle sampled goat cheese, which was supposedly delicious, but kind of pricey.


We also shared a sample 6-pack of hot, fresh mini-donuts from Smitty's. We were told we simply must get them.


They were good, but we both later concluded that we'd rather spend the calories on some really good bread.

There were lots of interesting characters, and no shortage of musicians about the market. My favorites were Raven Wolf, a jazz musician, and this group of guys playing a sweet, soft, bluegrass lullaby.


All in all, the market was incredible. If you come visit us, we'll take you there!


Watson and Quacker

Watson has quite a few toys already.  He likes to chase a tennis ball, romp and play with his bouncy Kong, and chew for hours on a raw hide bone.  But there is one toy that trumps every other toy.

Meet Quacker.


Watson has become... attached... nay, fixated on Quacker.   See, Quacker is a duck.  He quacks.


Watson is a spaniel.  Spaniels are bred to be gun dogs.  They have long noses and long, floppy ears that help sweep the scent up from the ground as they track fallen fowl.  They can flush out game and retrieve birds (especially quail and woodcock, hence Cocker Spaniels) with a gentle mouth.  Watson... well, he's working on the gentle.   Retrieving Quacker, though... he's a natural at that.  


We had a GREAT fourth anniversary.  Kyle was done with his school stuff at noon, so we had the chance to have lunch at one of our favorite places, Square One Brewery (don't be fooled by the low-quality website). They have killer pub burgers, and different specialty burger every week. *I highly recommend the bison burger if available.*


Since we ended up eating a long, late lunch, we decided later to just skip dinner and go straight for dessert.  We went to my favorite place for dessert, Baileys' Chocolate Bar.


I ordered the Bailey's brownie and an Irish coffee, while Kyle indulged in the crepes with strawberries and warm Nutella drizzled over them.  It was all fabulous!


After we did a little walk around Lafayette Square.


The fountain at the center created some nice ambiance for a romantic stroll. 


I attempted to take our picture using the self timer, but getting the camera to focus properly while steadying it on a park bench was a rather difficult challenge. Sorry for the blur.


It was a great night out, followed by a great night at home playing with Watson and his new favorite toy.  More on that next time.


This guy.

This guy, this man, has been my husband for four years today.


One thing is sure: by the grace of our Lord, Jesus, I love him more today than I did on August 12, 2006.  We've weathered a few storms together and we have grown in our confidence of God's faithfulness to us. Again and again, we have been humbled and brought to our knees by our inability to do any good thing apart from Jesus.  We've seen miracles happen.  We've seen grief.  Still, we say, "God, you alone are good.  You alone are all we need."

Happy accident

I am so grateful for the many blessings I have been given in Kyle.  As we prayed together a few nights ago, he prayed, "Thank you for Chelsea and the blessing she is to me every day that I've known her." While I often feel more like a curse than a blessing, I am grateful for a man who would see me that way.  I am grateful for a husband who works hard, who isn't afraid to try new things, who is always slow to anger and quick to forgive, and who loves me with an unfailing love.

Sweet face. Sexy hair.

I love you, Bryant Kyle Bass.  I hope we are blessed with many more years together.  Happy 4th anniversary!


Small group gets large

All summer I've been attending a small group Bible study with some people from our new church, August Gate.  The thing is, the small group has turned into a pretty large group.


Last night we had a potluck to celebrate what God has done in our summer study, Vintage Jesus.  It was also a night to talk about what comes next for our group.


We're splitting. We're done-zo.  Over.


Okay, not really.  We're just forming a new group in a new neighborhood, the fourth group for AG.  Our good friends Josh and Kim will be leading.  Kyle and I are going to be part of the new group.  It is exciting to see how God is growing this church which has not yet existed for one year.


I will definitely miss seeing everyone, but I am excited to see what will happen with our new group.  God has already blessed us so much through studying his word with these people!



Tourist Weekend

We entertained my Uncle Andy, Aunt Callie, and little cousins Noah and Hannah this weekend.  We really had a blast with them!  Saturday we acted like tourists exploring The Gateway Arch and Laclede's Landing


We got the Lockhart family cheesin' and made them take lots of pictures.


Unfortunately, the kids grew tired of the pictures so they started to turn out like this.


Of course, I had to snap a few of my beloved.


At The Arch, we explored the Westward Expansion museum underneath. I want to go back again with Kyle so we can read all the placards. I've always been interested in the history of the western states. You may well remember that my favorite childhood books were those of Laura Ingalls Wilder, my favorite game, Oregon Trail. I used to dress up in a prairie skirt, run around barefoot on the family farm, and pretend I was a pioneer girl.  I'm still that girl inside. 

Anywho, the kids enjoyed the museum, I think.



Also under The Arch is a little baseball museum.  There were a lot of great facts on the history of the game, and on the history of its popularity in St. Louis.  This is, more than any other sport, a baseball city.  They had some pretty cool artifacts, like this old manual for the "recently invented game of base ball."


And this advertisement:


Someone should send it to the Cubs.

That's right.  I'm officially a St. Louisan now.  I diss the Flubs.