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Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year...

Al and I had a fantastic New Year's Eve, though I was feeling somewhat sick-ish. :/ This year is all about fiscal responsibility for us, so we did dinner on the cheap. Because of my amazing future brother-in-law, Joey's awesome Christmas gift, we had an Outback gift card burning a hole in my pocket.

We had a few (alcoholic) drinks...

Side note: Al hates it when I say that I'm going out for 'drinks'. He thinks I need to be more specific, so I have tried to start specifying when we are consuming alcoholic beverages. ;)

Afterwards, we headed out to Jeff and Carrie Gaede's house for a NYE party. We had a great time hanging with friends and consuming more alcoholic beverages.

As you can imagine, I started my year off by sleeping till about noon. Awesome! :)

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Love

Al and I were so lucky to be surrounded by so much love at Christmas this year. As usual, we started off our Christmas celebration at my Grandma Michelle and Grandpa Don's house on the afternoon of Christmas Eve.

I have to take a moment and announce just how grateful I am to be part of such a loving, supportive family. I have the most amazing family members around whom I can be totally myself. Also, I have to say, they crack me up too! There is always so much laughter and joy at celebrations like these. In addition, I feel like I got extra lucky because I'm actually marrying into a family perhaps as amazing as mine! :)

This year, we opened presents after having some appetizers and drinks when we arrived. I am always amazed by the incredible generosity my grandparents have and this Christmas was no different.

Al and I received some great gifts, including a few items from our wedding registry. John and Jean got us the wine glasses I loved at Crate & Barrel. As you can see, we began enjoying them immediately...

However, Al took interest in some of Jack's new toys as well...

After gift-giving, we all headed upstairs for perhaps my favorite part of the evening: pigs in blankets! This is actually one of my favorite Panovich Christmas traditions. My grandparents also made country burgers...delicious...and had a complete spread of amazing sides and desserts to go with it. Needless to say, I was feeling a bit round-ish after this part of the evening.

Right after dinner, we made our charity presentations about what we each did with the $200 my grandparents gave us. This year, Al and I donated ours to Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Champaign County. It was so awesome to hear all the different charities everyone chose and how far they were able to make their money go. This is a great tradition and I look forward to it every year.

The next morning, we work up to the sight of a beautiful tree decorated by my fam and enjoyed my mom's sausage bread for breakfast (yet another food-related thing that I love about Christmas)! We opened presents and were all super happy with what we got. For Al and I, Katy and Tyler got a beautiful vase we registered for at Crate & Barrel. Ty and Katy each got books...

and Katy even got an iPhone! Now we can FaceTime chat...woot woot!

That evening, we headed to Al's mom and dad, Mary and Ed's house in Rantoul to celebrate Christmas with his family. I received some awesome gifts from his mom, sis, and bro! (They all know me so well; thus, there was chocolate, Sephora, and steak involved in those gifts-three of my most favorite things, but not necessarily in that order.) Per usual for me, I once again stuffed my face until I couldn't eat anymore. ;)

All in all, it was a pretty awesome Christmas...I have to keep reminding myself that next Christmas, I'll be sending out cards signed by Lisa Nuku! :)

Thursday, December 23, 2010


At work, we call our boss, Darin, the "taskmaster". Over the last few months of wedding planning, I have been striving to get as much done as possible before the spring craziness of teaching at a high school (and being a yearbook advisor at publication time-OY!) kicks in. Thus, I feel that I have begun to take on a similar "taskmaster" attitude. Though this attitude often makes me a little skittish, I am really liking that Al and I are checking so much off of our list.

Also, can I please be bragadocious for a moment? We have managed, thus far, to plan our entire wedding credit-free! This will be such a relief come June! :) Go Monteer-Nuku Super Team!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Hangin' with Coco!

Now that I'm off from school for Christmas Break, I can finally sit back and relax! Of course, I have plenty of yearbook, classroom, and wedding planning to take care of, but I feel much more prepared for my break this year! I got all of my grading done early and can fully relax and can begin 2011 fresh and rejuvenated!

One of my favorite things about days off from school is setting aside time to hang out with one of my best friends, Colleen, and her son Andrew. Today, we met up at her house first and when we were trying to decide on lunch, we found that we were both dreaming of Monical's! We ventured out into the frightful weather, and fulfilled our mutual craving, with Andrew there to make us laugh along the way.

While at lunch, I approached Colleen with a special wedding surprise. Wedding plans are not always set in stone, so, due to some recent changes in our wedding, I had an opportunity to ask Colleen to be a bridesmaid! I can only say that I wish I had asked her a long time ago. She's been there as an amazing friend over the past several years, and I am very thankful to have her in my life. I so hope that she can make it to Mexico and can stand up there with me on my and Al's wedding day!

I think Kim, Colleen, and I make a pretty adorable trio, if I do say so myself! Add in Katy and Becky, and I think we've got a pretty dang cute bridal party! Woot woot!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Ava's First Day of School!

Today, Kristin brought in an unexpected surprise at the end of finals...

I wish this little cutie could come to school with her every day!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


I'm always missing my best friend, Becky, now that she's relocated to New Jersey. Sometimes, certain things happen that will remind me of just how much I love her, and how much I wish she was here to laugh with me!

One such instance would be any time that I hear the word 'inevitable'. Even if nobody else understands, Becky and I hear this word completely differently from anyone else. It all stems from Becky's preparation for a college speech, a horrible (but hilarious) cartoon movie, and a long walk to class with each of us doubling over in laughter.

Oh, how I miss my Becky Head!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Caden's First Year!

Today, I celebrated a very special day with the Melby family-Caden Luke's first birthday. Unfortunately, Al was in Chicago for the Bears game...

Note the many layers necessary for this December game! I attended this Cookie-Monster themed event solo.

I always look forward to parties thrown by Jeff and Holly, as there is always such consideration for the guests involved. Case in point: the fantastic cookie arrangement Holly put out downstairs with about 10 different kinds of the delectable treat! Of course, it's always just nice to be around these two and their two cuties, as you can sense such a strong bond of familial love between the four of them, which they openly share with others. It makes me so excited for the days (soon) when Al and I will begin a family of our own!

Caden's entrance into the world a year ago was full of joy. He is the first boy to be born to any of Al's siblings, thus making him my soon-to-be very first nephew-YAY! I was in love with him from the very first moment I held him...

And now, "Baby Caden" seems to no longer be a tiny baby, but instead has grown into a very sweet little boy. I really enjoyed getting to spend this special day with Caden and fam...and the cookies didn't hurt either!

Happy birthday baby little boy Caden!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Christmas Spirit

I have been notorious over the past few years for being somewhat resistant (not on purpose) to the Christmas spirit. Somehow, with wrapping up the semester, administering and grading finals, and getting caught up on everything else at school, things just always seem to pass by without me noticing.

However, this year, I have made a conscious effort to improve my Christmas-y-ness. (I'm an English teacher, so I'm allowed to make up words.) :)

December 4th provided the perfect opportunity to get Christmasfied! First, it snowed a TON the night before, so I woke up to a glorious winter wonderland. Then, my friend, Coco invited me over to make cookies with Kim and Baby Andrew. Though I was worried about passing my flu virus on and just watched the cookie-making, I was still getting filled with cheer. Mostly because of this little baker...

More sprinkles, ladies!
Then, I headed over to Krannert to meet up with Holly, and her friend and neighbor, Sara to see The Nutcracker. Naturally, I was excited to see this, as I've never been to a ballet before, let alone a classic. 

It was a fantastic day, filled with some of my favorite people and a truly lovely atmosphere of Christmas spirit. Go me! Thanks for the help, ladies! :) 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Al and I reached an entirely new level of romance (Holly's beautiful way of looking at my unfortunate situation) when I became sick on Wednesday. I actually threw up for the first time in front of my fiance, which would have been traumatic, if I didn't have the best fiance in the entire world. He was so sweet and took wonderful care of me, jumping to fulfill each of my saucy demands. Prime examples are as follows:

1. "Can you pick up some applesauce? ...the natural kind though, I don't think I can eat anything else."
2. "While you're up, can you get me some lotion? I think I'm dehydrated, and it's hurting my skin. Can you get my face lotion, too?" [followed by an interesting back and forth over which one was the 'face lotion']

I think it's safe to say that I lucked out with Mr. Nuku... :)