Saturday, December 17, 2011

Where did December go?

Can you tell it is December?  I feel like every night has been booked since Thanksgiving and we are just coming up for air.  Does anyone else feel that way?

Well, Marty finished his last exam yesterday...yipee!  He has been working day and night for the past two weeks on final preparation, papers and group projects.  He feels confident that although the tests were hard, he passed them all.  We will see when grades are posted.

Last night we finished our Christmas shopping, wrapped everything and enjoyed some time reconnecting at Bread Co. (Panera here in STL) thanks to teacher gift cards.  We have a wedding tonight to celebrate the marriage of a seminary friend, and then we are on the road bright and early heading for PA.

I had the sweetest moment with a child yesterday that I want to share with you, even though it is mostly so I remember.  One of the students I work with everyday on reading is named David.  He provides me with daily laughter because of his cute comments and sweet spirit.  He came to find me yesterday as I was doing carpool at the end of the day.  He gave me this big bag of baked goods, and I proceeded to tell him thank you and to have a Merry Christmas.  Then he looked at me with his first grade voice and big brown eyes and said, " Mrs. Cates, I have really enjoyed reading with you this year.  Thank you so much for teaching me how to read.  I can't wait to come back to school and read with you more."  I teared up like a big baby and so did all the teachers around me :).  God is so good to give us these brief moments and glimpses of affirmation, to know that  He has planned this job for me, when I didn't want to move out the STL, to help David and kids like him.  He knew I would love this job and see other options for me to still teach, yet not be overwhelmed by an entire classroom of students. God is good, all the time!



Friday, November 25, 2011

Giving Thanks

Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon His name;
make known His deeds among the peoples!
1 Chronicles 16:8 

Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
for his steadfast love endures forever!
1 Chronicles 16:34

I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart;
I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.
Psalms 9:1

God is good!  We have been so very blessed this year.  We had a wonderful Thanksgiving lunch with a family from church who have boys in our youth group.  Then we had dinner with our dear friends that we knew from Norfolk, that just finished up seminary and are working locally.  Tonight, we are getting together with a bunch of friends to have a Thanksgiving let the festivities continue!  

God has been so good to give us such a rich community of friends here in St Louis while we are so far from home.  Today I am looking forward to some more baking and cooking for tonight, setting up our Willow Tree Nativity set, ordering Christmas cards and trying to talk Marty into setting up our little artificial tree.  We may even squeeze a Christmas movie in there as well :)  I hope y'all are enjoying the long weekend off with family and/or friends! 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Gobble Gobble

I wish my table looked like this, all white and beautiful! 
We are super excited for Thanksgiving this year.  We are staying in Missouri for the second year in a row and are looking forward to the three dinners we have planned :)  Here are some of the dishes I am trying this year... 
Honey Glazed Carrots 

Bacon Braised Green Beans 

Sweet Potato Biscuits
 We have missed country ham ever since moving to Missouri.  Marty's Mother so graciously sent us some in the about exciting!!!  We are going to make these sweet potato biscuits with the country ham and some peach preserves.  Delicious!
Paula Deen's Crunch Top Apple Pie

Peanut Butter Pie

These are just some of the new things I am trying this year.  What are you doing for Thanksgiving?  What new dishes sparked your interest this year?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Christmas wish list

This year more than ever, I had felt strange about making a Christmas with list. I know it is very helpful to people who want to know things that we want to receive. I understand all the logistics behind the with list, yet this year it seems harder than most years to find anything to put on the list. I find myself wishing for things that cannot be put on a wish list. They are things that cannot be bought at a store. So here is my wish list, until I can think of a real one... 
  •  a sleepover with my college roomies filled with late night chats, freshly baked cookies, arrested development episodes and a Starbucks run in the morning
  •  a family game night with my family which includes the game Clue and refried beans and lime chips
  • snuggling with my dear friends new little ones LK, Caleb, Luke, and little Baby Hill ( when she arrives) 
  • an outdoor shopping trip in Richmond with the Cates and an Olive Garden lunch 
  • a crazy Christmas dinner with my HHS girls filled with life updates and the Greed game 
 That is my 27 year old wish list until I can come up with some real "things" to ask for :)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


My sweet hairdresser did a great job yesterday.  I decided to get some of the length cut off and do some long layers.  Nothing is better than someone else washing and styling your it!  I discovered that the last time I was there was February, and if that didn't feel like a long enough time, my hair dresser was 7 months pregnant and I didn't even know she was expecting until arriving :)  Here are the results of the not so dramatic hair cut...  
Still long, but touched up and layered 

Thanks for caring :)

Monday, November 14, 2011


I am getting a hair cut tomorrow.  I am in a "I can't stand my extremely long hair anymore" mood.  The last time I went to a hairdresser in this mood, I cut all my hair off in this awful bob, and cried the entire way home ( dramatic, I know).
Awful bob, posing with a Disney princess ball.  This is one of the only pictures I have of the bob which says lots about my true feelings for the bob :)

 I can't decide if I should go for a conservative trim, or a more dramatic style. These lovely ladies are sporting some hair styles I like, yet am not sure that I can pull off.  They are also blond and I am pretty sure do not have naturally wavy, uncontrollable hair.  We will see what tomorrow holds :)

Friday, November 11, 2011


Well Hello November!  Where has this Fall gone?

This is what we have been up to...

We took our middle school and high school kids on a Fall retreat.  We had a dance party on Saturday night which was a decades theme.  I always love a good excuse to dress up in 80s work out gear.

Most of the girls were 80s, because that is what is "in" right now.  We had a few 50s and 70s girls as well.

Field games at the retreat

Marty dresses up most Wednesday nights for youth group in some kind of silly skit costume.  Christmas card pic?

Couch-A-Rama in STL...awesome.  We carried a couch under the arch, and were kindly asked to promptly leave after taking our picture by the nice Cop.

Happy Weekend!  This weekend, we are raking leaves for the elderly, attending a chili dinner and a 30th birthday bash.  Enjoy your weekend!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

The past few weeks, most of our evenings have been spent cheering on these guys...
It has been so fun to live in St. Louis during this exciting time. Missouri does not feel like the South, yet the past few weeks people stop and talk about the Cards at the grocery store, library, mall, etc. It is neat when a city comes together for a common cause, even one as trivial as a baseball team. We are super proud of our underdogs and may have been transformed into life long Cardinals fans :)

Anyway, today is Halloween. I hope you are enjoying some good ole Charlie Brown and his great pumpkin.
Marty found this article about Halloween that has made us think about how we view this day.
Through this article, the author is encouraging Christians to be a part of their community and to embrace this holiday as a way of loving their neighbor, instead of having an event at Church. By dressing up and opening our homes to children excited about filling their candy buckets, we are getting to know those around us. At what other time of the year can you see every one of your neighbors? Here is a paragraph of the authors thoughts:

"Jesus said there are two commands that matter: love God and love your neighbour. The Easter holiday is all about the first command. Halloween is all about the second.

What other day of the year can you put on funny clothes and be welcomed at your neighbour’s house? In my neighbourhood Halloween is the only day of the year that that people actually get out of their houses and chat with the neighbours that they don’t know. It is a night of celebrating community."

Click Here to read the whole article- Just some thoughts to mull over while you are enjoying yummy chocolates tonight.

Tonight, we enjoyed the costume parade on campus and got to know some of our new first year neighbors. The best costumes I saw were: Pebbles and BamBam ( 3 year old twins), and a newborn baby dressed as a puffy St Louis Cardinals baseball. After the parade, the kids ran around the 6 apartment buildings and collected as much candy as possible :)

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Go Cards!

Marty and I went to Busch Stadium to see the Cards play the Cubs a few weeks ago because two of our good friends were given tickets and invited us. It was such a beautiful afternoon to sit at a ball game. We have our favorite food stand outside of the stadium where we grabbed hot dogs for $2.00 and packed the rest of our snacks in the cooler- all of which you can bring into the stadium. When we found our seats, we were 4 rows from the ball field next to third base- awesome seats! I felt like I was in the game the whole time! It was a close game until the 9th inning. Cards were up in the bottom of the 9th, and were down by 1. At 2 outs, a player ran home and scored a run to tie the game. Then they stole home to win the game! What a fun and exiting game :)

Our friend won the opportunity to buy tickets to a playoff game against the Phillies this past week while they were playing in St Louis. He invited Marty to go on Tuesday night, which was the night they lost to the Phillies, yet Marty had a great time and even brought home a rally towel :). Last night we went to a local pizza place to watch the Phillies-Cards face-off and cheered with the rest of St Louis to the Cardinals victory.

To say the least, we have jumped on the Cardinals bandwagon and are excited to cheer them on however far they make it :) The past two Fridays, we have had Cardinals days- which means teachers and students can wear jeans and Cardinals attire. This alone makes me a Cardinals fan as we never ever have jean Fridays :) This whole city is so excited, and it has been so fun to be a part of it here with them!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

What we've been up to...

  • Marty is continually singing the Hebrew alphabet, learning to read backwards and practicing the Hebrew dialect which sounds like he is coughing up a lung

  • We celebrated our good friend's wedding over Labor day weekend in Charlottesville, VA. We rented a house with a bunch of friends and family, and caught up with our dear friends from college and Norfolk. It was a whirlwind weekend, with a 12 hour drive there and back, yet worth every minute!

  • We have been busy with the youth group at church Here are two videos of what we have been up to with the youth :) Just click on the titles: Gladiators and Gospel (Marty made the tennis ball gun that you see been shot at the end. After many hours of putting together PVC piping, it worked and he was super excited) and Pantyhosers
  • I have been busy at work teaching the little ones to read and write. Here is my classroom in a bag :) Thanks Brenda for the great thirty-one bag, the individual compartments are great!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Second Year has started

My second year of seminary has officially started.  You might be thinking right now, wow Marty is alive.  I apologize for my long absence form posting or sending a newsletter out.  This summer has been terribly busy for me with my internship and travels.

The school year has begun though and that means back to the grind of class and assignments.  This semester I am taking a full load of class, 14 hrs to be exact.  I've listed my classes below with a little one liner that gives some kind of idea about them.  I've also included a link to what I am currently listening to morning, noon and night.

Second Year Fall Semester
Hebrew-Im in beginning Hebrew meaning im learning grammar.  Im bad at English grammar, supposedly Hebrew is easier.  This is still doubtful.
Church History- I will be learning about the historical Church I think its early to medieval though Im not completely sure.  I like history and the Church so this should be good.
Christ and Salvation-This is a systematics/biblical theology class where we learn the specifics of what is taught regarding Christ's role in Salvation.
Christ Centered Preaching- This is where we practice making sure our preaching and thought process about preaching are all GRACE centered.  As we learned today all text has a redemptive context.
Educational Ministry Foundations-We learn how to teach, evaluate, and design curriculum.  I think we learn other things as well but im not totally sure.

Here is a link to what I am currently listening to. Listen to me 


Wednesday, August 24, 2011


I recently went with a friend to see The Help.  (It was a wonderful movie, it made me laugh and cry and feel every emotion in between.  It is definitely worth the 2 hours) I went to see the movie at a local movie theater that has been running for 88 years, called the Hi Pointe Theater.  It was so charming!  They have one theater, show new movies and most movies are $5.00,   Take a look...   

Cute concession stand with candy, popcorn, beer, wine and St Louis' famous Ted Drews custard.

It felt like I was traveling back in time to go to the movies.  There was even a candy bowl at the entrance with wrapped caramels and those strawberry candies (the ones with a wrapper that looks like a strawberry). Sure, the seats didn't recline or have headrests, yet it was such a fun time!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Date Night

School is back in session, and I wish I could post pictures of all the little cutie pies in kindergarten this year. These kids are just adorable- big bows, smocked dresses, happy smiles, and they are ready to learn, well as ready as five year olds can be :)

The past two weeks, Marty and I found a great new date night spot. We have never been very good at "date night" as a couple, mostly because I like to save money and, well, Marty isn't a very "scheduled" person, and time just slips away. I think we have found the perfect combination to help with both of our flaws concerning date night...


Classy, I know. Every Monday and Tuesday night, El Indio offers great $1.00 tacos. This helps el cheapo (ME) and el noscheduledano (Marty), to have a regular night out to catch up during both of our busy school years. Just another little blessing to be thankful for...Praise the Lord for good, cheap taco nights :)

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The little things...

Summer is my very most favorite time of the year. Last week, I went back to school for in-service training, and will welcome new students this week on Thursday. It is always sad to see the free days of summer go away. Here are some little things that I loved about this summer...

BLT with fresh tomatoes from our garden, fresh fruit and sweet tea

Time for crafts and projects, like this picture frame menu board. The dry erase marker writes well on glass and wipes off with a paper towel. I used some left over scrap book letters to put on the word "menu" and the days of the week. I am excited to use this for our meal planning this year.

Time to watch instant streaming Netflix TV shows such as Friday Night Lights and Mad Men

Time for trips to the library for new books and magazines

Time to travel and relax in the sun.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Summer catch-up... July

July started off with a great week long trip to the beach. We drove from PA down to Corolla, North Carolina in the Outer Banks. Marty met us there, and we relaxed with my parents, sister, aunt, uncle, 2 cousins and grandparents. Marty played so hard that he got swimmers ear towards the end of the trip. Talk about one unhappy boy! Overall, very relaxing trip with great tanning weather :) The house came with tons and tons of magazines that I love- House Beautiful, Coastal Living, Rachel Ray, Real Simple- What a fun bonus! I didn't take any pictures except for one at the lovely Sanderling Inn, because a parent from school gave me a gift card to enjoy lunch their over my vacation, how sweet!
Next, Marty and I said goodbye to my family, and traveled to Norfolk. We spent a fun-filled packed 3 days in the beautiful city. We were so loved, welcomed and served by so many sweet friends. Marty and I have never eaten as well as we did those 3 days. After Norfolk, we traveled to Colonial Heights to visit with Marty's family. We enjoyed lots of shopping, visiting, and eating well (again). We tried a new frozen yogurt place that was to die for called Sweet Frogs. If you have one nearby, give it a try! On Thursday, our good friends in Norfolk had their first baby, and we were thrilled! They invited us to come and see the little one on Friday morning, yet made us wait the whole drive back to Norfolk to discover the sex and the name! The wait killed us, yet we were so happy to find out when we arrived, it made it all worth it!

Ally looked great and is a total natural
On Friday night, I traveled into Richmond to visit with my college roomies, Stacy and Erin, to celebrate Erin's little boy who is arriving at the end of September. We went to a classy, grown-up southern spot for dinner called Julep's. If you are ever in the area, try it, you won't be disappointed. It serves upscale southern cuisine, huge portions, has great service and is a great place to celebrate something special.
So cute!
Erin, Stacy and I loving baby D
We had a great time visiting with everyone we got to see on the East coast. It is hard to come back to Missouri, yet exciting that Marty will begin his second year of seminary next month. We are 1/3 of the way done, and I couldn't be more proud of the work Marty is doing at school at in his internship! Happy Monday!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Summer catch up- June

Wow, I have been gone pretty much all summer until now. School starts back on August 10, so I still have a few weeks at home before the back to school blues begin.

I traveled to Pennsylvania to visit with my parents for three weeks in June. The first weekend I was there, my cousin Kirsten graduated from high school. We celebrated together at my Aunt and Uncle's house with a fun Penn State themed party!

The next weekend, another one of my cousins, Emma, graduated from high school. Her graduation was in Harrisburg and we celebrated with a fun dinner out! Here is Emma as a new high school graduate!

After two weekends of high school graduations, I spent the next weekend with my own high school girlfriends. From Thursday night to Sunday we had sleepovers, great conversations, lots of laughs, lounged by the pool and threw a baby shower for our second Mama to be in our group. Overall, it was a refreshing weekend to be with friends who knew me when I was young, silly and nieve about the world and still love me dearly.