Monday, October 18, 2010


So, I must admit that it has been pretty exciting around the McLaughlin estate lately. There are a few pictures here, just because I wanted to share! Come along with me. :)

Remember when I told you we picked apples a few weeks ago? Well, like I said, it was tons of fun! We've still got lots of apples left, so if anyone is interested, you are welcome to come and enjoy one with me! My favorite snack lately is a sliced apple with peanut butter. Yum! I've also made an apple pie (which Grandpa finished off when he came! More on that in a minute). Here's the bounty when we first arrived home from the farm.

The next exciting event was the arrival of part of my family! Steven, Grandma, and Grandpa flew in for the weekend. We had lots of fun at Medieval Times, the Renaissance Fair, eating delicious seafood, and just hanging out! It was much needed time for me. :)

And now . . .
[cue NFL music . . . buh, buh-buh-buh, buh, bah, bah, buh, bum, bum, bum, bum, bum, ba-da-da-dum!]

Brent and I took a ride on the Metro down to FedEx Field in DC where we watched the Colts-Redskins game, and it was a BLAST! Brent got me tickets for my birthday in June and, believe me, I have been looking forward to this day ever since! It was the late game last night and we had so much fun that I can't even describe it to you! Let me just say, though, that it's a bit of a strange feeling to walk onto a crowded Metro car and be one of the few dressed in blue, not burgundy and gold. :) No worries, though, I wore my colors proudly!

It was definitely amazing to see my team for real! Peyton Manning, Joseph Addai, Reggie Wayne, and the list goes on . . . yep, I saw them in person! Funny thing, though, the others sitting around us weren't quite as appreciative about the fact that they were in the presence of such incredible football players! What? Ha. I guess it's been awhile since I was at an away game, because it was so strange (yet, so very, very satisfying) to be standing and cheering like a crazy person when the majority of the stadium was silent. If you haven't had the pleasure of experiencing this sensation, you should consider doing it. It's loads of fun. :) The first of these photos is a panoramic that Brent took, very impressive. The second is just us preparing to watch the dominance of the Colts! ;)

For now, I am headed to bed and trying to mentally prepare myself for our first field trip of the year tomorrow! We are headed to the National Building Museum (who even knows what that is? I don't. haha.) and it is sure to be an eventful day. I'm sure I'll have updates on that next time!

Thanking God for his many, many, many blessings to us! We love you all.


Saturday, October 16, 2010

For Mom.

Today is my mom's 50th birthday (she won't mind that I shared that, I think . . . ).

I hope that you have the privilege to know my mom. If not, you are missing out on knowing a pretty special lady. I would also say that, if you know me at all, you know my mom, too. We are a lot alike. I like walking into a store or somewhere, and people say "Oh, this must be your daughter!" We do look alike (and like my beautiful grandmother as well), and as I get older, I realize that I act like her as well. Some things that I love about my mom:

     1. She cares about people. She works at Cancer Treatment Centers of America, where she works 
         with cancer patients and their families every single day. I've seen her interact with patients and
         the people with whom she works, and she is loved for her attitude, love, and care that she gives. It
         takes a special person to take care of these hurting people, but she does her job so well. Her
         coworkers and nurses celebrated her birthday accordingly today . . . decorating her office with a
         grim reaper, balloons, and a cake! I'm glad they're taking care of the big day since I wasn't there
         to do it! :) She also cares so much for our family. And the friends of our family. I love seeing how
         she not only interacts with us, but she also treats our friends like her own. I love that. Anyone is
         welcome in our home and Mom takes that seriously.

     2. She is always ready to listen. This has become even more clear to me since I've moved away
         from home, and I love knowing that I can call home and get a listening ear about my long day at
         school or my personal triumph of the week. I spoke to my dear friend, Kye, this week about how
         moms are the best for that listening ear. It's true, and my mom's the best at that!

    3. She is an awesome cook. I have made so many recipes from her already. This week's recipe from
        her was egg casserole for our Lifegroup. It was a hit! Brent also loves (seriously adores) her
        meatloaf, which came from Grandma. Yum! Thanks Mom! (Brent thanks you, too!) And I almost
        forgot the most important one--turkey and cheese sandwich with ketchup = the best!

     4. I have definitely acquired (and embraced) her taste for decorating. This is largely made up of
        antique (or antique-looking) furniture and other things to hang on the wall or sit on the shelf. My
        dear friend, Mrs. Brown, states that eloquently as well. Needless to say, I will be happy to inherit
        any decor she gets tired of, including Granny's old cabinet and kitchen bowls!

     5. Most importantly, my mom gave me the foundation for my faith in Jesus Christ. She is a constant
         example of how to love others, even when it's hard, and how to trust that God has a plan, even
         when we may not see it. She is able to see the amazing work of God even in an environment
         where there is so much sadness and hopelessness. She helps lead worship at church on Sundays
         and helps lead her family by setting that Christian example as well, no matter the circumstances.

Things that I do not love about my mom:
     1. She lives in Oklahoma. I live in Maryland. That is a problem.

In conclusion (did I just write an essay?), I just wanted you to know that I think my mom's pretty much the best ever. I credit her for who I am today, and I know she has many many beautiful years ahead of her! Happy Birthday, Mom!

Love ya,


Ain't she pretty?


Saturday, October 9, 2010

This beautiful month.

Oh, how I love this month. October is simply beautiful.

Maryland is really a very pretty place. It has actually felt like fall here lately (super cold earlier this week), and the leaves are starting to change. We had our Fall Festival at school today. We spent all day hanging outside at the park. That also means jeans day. Awesome. :)

Another fun fall thing . . . we got to go apple-picking last weekend! It was fun, and we have lots of delicious apples that we hand-picked ourselves! So cool. Bonus: Brent was able to reach higher in the trees where most people can't reach . . . where the apples are bigger, more ripe, and more abundant! We even had people make a few comments about the advantage he had, haha. I was lucky to pick a few now and then, because at the height of lots of the kids that come through. :) Oh well, it was fun. And we picked out pumpkins! Pictures so soon of our lovely fall apartment. We had some delicious homemade apple pie too!

However, my favorite part of October so far? Part of my family is here! My grandparents and brother, Steven, are here right now! They flew in last night, hung out with me at the park for awhile today, and now we have the weekend to enjoy! We kicked off the weekend with dinner at "Medieval Times," which Brent has been to but I have not. Tons of fun! We cheered for the blue knight (Colts color? Yes, indeed). It has been so great to see family and show them our apartment, town, etc. I'll share more later!

Another quick update: Brent and I joined a lifegroup at church this week! We met some great people and are looking forward to getting to know them and grow in our faith. We're going through a series called Faith, Hope, and Luck by Andy Stanley. It's about moving our faith away from being "circumstantial" and into a solid, unwavering faith, no matter what our circumstances. I am really looking forward to this time to take a serious look at my faith and how much I really trust God, no matter my circumstances. For sure, a place I can grow. I'll keep you updated. :)

For now, I am planted on the couch watching the OSU game on ESPN! This is 2 weeks in a row that I've seen the OSU game since they have been on "off" nights. Fantastic! Makes me so proud to be an OSU alum. My husband was generous enough to give up Halo for awhile to let me watch the game. He's the best. :)

Well, I'm off to cheer for the Pokes! I'll leave you with the focus verse from our bible study, Hebrews 4:14: Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.

Keep in mind that as Christians, we have something unique from everyone else: we have a living God who conquered death and gives us a living and constant hope to cling to and trust. I'm trying to let that change my perspective of my daily circumstances this week.

Have a fabulous weekend, everyone! Love and miss ya'll (speaking of "ya'll," remind me to tell you a story next time).