Monday, December 10, 2007

Allie's Winter Workout

Minnesota winters can be pretty harsh. Long periods of time pass without being able to get the dog out for a little exercise. When we took Allie in for her spring check-up this year we discovered that she'd gained a whopping 5 pounds in only one year. So, we've been more intentional at trying to get Allie walked regularly and have switched to feeding her bites of apple instead of the normal dog treat.

A few days ago we tried something new. We'd seen Ceasar Millan do this on "The Dog Whisperer", so we thought we'd give it a shot. We had Allie walk on the treadmill. It took some bribery. She needed some motivation to walk towards. But she's been putting in about 1/2 mile each time she does it. Not quite as much as our normal outdoor walk, but better than nothing!

Enjoy the video!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Family Photo Shoot

It was VERY cold, but we managed to get some pretty great family pictures taken. Wish we had Mike, Jen, and the kids there so the family could have been complete!

Liddick Thankmas 2007

We had the privilege of hosting the Liddick family Thanksgiving/Christmas celebration this year. Unfortunately due to the massive number of miles between Minnesota and Arizona we were short one branch of the family tree (missing older brother, Mike and family), but the six remaining members of the family had a great time together. Mom and Dad and Matt and Brianne all arrived (separately) on Wednesday just moments (literally) after David delivered and set up a king sized bed that had been given to us. (Mom and Dad were grateful because it meant no sofa-bed). Dad instantly took to the Nintendo Wii and was a bowling/golfing fool all weekend. Thursday morning Matt, Brianne, and David went to play in our church's anual "Turkey Bowl" while mom and I started cooking the feast. We had a slight problem with the digital timer telling us the turkey was done an hour early, but we just tied it back up, threw it back in the oven for a while, and it turned out absolutely delicious.

Hours of fun with the Wii was had by all.

Allie was pretty worn out from all the excitement. She sat still for an amazing amount of time while "Aunt Brianne" played with her new camera.

We did a little bit of shopping on Friday (no door busters) and went to see "August Rush" in the afternoon. It was a great movie, but definitely a tear-jerker. Saturday was spent packing, playing Wii, a tour of my school, and the Saturday service at church and then the family hit the road for their very long drives back to New York and Kentucky.

It was a great weekend together. Thanks Mom, Dad, Matt, and Brianne for making the trip!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Elementary graffiti

I found this written on one of my classroom walls when I was cleaning up the other day. I don't know whether to be flattered or offended that I then had to clean it up. David said I should be flatterfended. I'm just glad it was written in pencil and not something more permanent. I can think of a lot worse things to find written on my wall. I know this kind of behavior is nothing to encourage, but it did make me smile a little.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Happy Birthday, David!

Today is David's birthday! He was fortunate enough to be able to schedule himself off this weekend at church, which freed us up to be able to spend more time together than usual and do some things that we've never done before and others that we always enjoy. It's been a 2-day celebration. Saturday morning we took Allie for a walk to enjoy a beautiful fall morning.

After that we went out for lunch. Since we've been eating healthy lately, trying to avoid all the fattening things we enjoy so much, we decided to do a "taste of" kind of lunch. We made a stop at Pei Wei to split the lettuce wraps appetizer...

And then we continued on to Zantigo's to enjoy the hot chillitos. Yum!

After that, we drove to Minneapolis where we found the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. We'd never been before, but have heard that it's a great place to take pictures. So, we actually planned ahead and brought the tripod. Did I mention how beautiful of a day it was?

Birthday continued...

Following our photo shoot, we headed down to the Mall of America for a little shopping (that turned into more than a little shopping). We enjoyed composing Christmas lists as we meandered the mall. We finished up with dinner at David's favorite (fast food) Mexican restaurant, Q'doba. We used to have one just down the road from us when we lived in Michigan, but now that we live in Minnesota we've had to drive to the west side of the cities to get to one. David was thrilled when the Mall of America gave him a Q'doba for his birthday present!

Later on when we got home, we cooked up some s'mores on the grill (since we never got down to the campfire Friday night). We discovered that if you put the chocolate on the graham cracker on the grill while you toast the marshmallows, the chocolate gets all melty by the time the marshmallows are ready. It's really messy that way, but delicious!

Today has just been a relaxing day. It's kind of rainy and overcast, so just a good day to stay in and curl up in fleece pants and a blankie and watch football. We went to Famous Dave's for lunch to redeem David's birthday certificate for a free desert. FYI the Khalua Brownie Sundae was much more than we could handle.

Back to Weight Watchers tomorrow, but it's been a fun and yummy birthday weekend!

Worship Arts Fall Party

We had a Fall party for the Worship Arts department on Friday night. We did grilled pizzas for everyone. Here's a math problem for you: David made 8 batches of dough. We made 5 pizzas per batch. Melissa made two more batches of dough at the last minute, giving us 5 more pizzas each. How many people were at our party? A LOT! Our grill got quite the workout and was chugging out pizzas 9 at a time until after 8:00. But we had so much fun. We had a fire in the back yard to make s'mores, there was a crockpot of caramel to dip apples, several people got together to play games, and others enjoyed a few rounds of bowling on the Nintendo Wii. It was a great night together and a good opportunity to get to know some of our new volunteers and their families.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Another one...

Ok, I think we have a "write a letter to the teacher" thing starting up, here. I just got another one from a different girl and apparently I "make the stars shine at night and make every day exciting!" I don't know about that... I didn't realize I had any effect at all on the stars.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Something that made me smile

I got this letter from one of my students today:

Dear Mrs. Gafford,
Thank-you for being my teacher! You are the best teacher in the world! Thank-you for being calm when the class is out of hand. I love your curly hair. You always have a beautiful outfit on. I love you.
Your student,

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Probably time for an update

I'm looking at our blog and getting kind of tired of seeing my classroom pictures posted there. (Perhaps it's because I see that view every day). So I'm thinking it's time for another post. I'm not entirely sure what I'll post about; we'll just see where the keyboard takes me.

School continues to go well. I am enjoying 3rd grade as I knew I probably would. And I'm pleased to share that I'm finally feeling on top of my game now. I can see my desk and though I have about 10-12 different sets of papers still waiting to be graded, I'm feeling pretty well caught up and productive at work this week. I think I'm to the point where I can start going home a little earlier and not work so many 11 hour days. (Although it's those evening hours grading papers at home that can really add up!) Today was a good day for getting ahead a little. My kids had Computers for 1/2 hour and Art for 45 min. this afternoon so I was able to get all of next weeks plans written. That's always a good feeling to have that done before Friday.

Church is going well. We kicked off our new campus in Hudson, WI two weeks ago (a video venue meeting in a school). David and I were able to attend last week since he didn't have to lead worship and there must have been 150 or so people there. It's pretty exciting.

Another exciting thing is how many new volunteers David has had for worship arts lately. He held auditions about a month or so ago and brought on I think 8 new people (both instrumental and vocal) and since then has met enough new people that are interested that he will be holding auditions again this coming week. This has all been a real answer to prayer since opening the new campus in Hudson. We now are in need of twice the volunteers every week to staff both campuses.

And in weather news, I guess there was a tornado or two here in Woodbury this evening. All I know is that on my way driving to church for worship practice, I heard the sirens and suddenly it was down to about zero visibility due to the horizontal rain. I was hit by several random pieces of hail and eventually made it the additional 1/2 mile to the church. A little while later some of the band members joined us and mentioned that they'd heard about (and one had even seen) a funnel cloud in the very area that I'd just driven through. I'm glad I made it without any harm done and I was also relieved when I got back home to find our house and all accompanying trees still standing.

Well, for not having anything significant to blog about, I certainly did manage to ramble on, didn't I?

Sunday, September 09, 2007

One week down...

Well, I survived my first week in third grade (for the second time I guess, since I spent a year in third grade back in good old 1986-1987). It was a pretty good week. I have a very small class of only 15 students and being the first week of school, they were all angels. Check back with me in December and we'll see how that changes.... :-)

The following pictures are primarily for my mom who wants to see my new classroom. I had the option of switching rooms, and even though my new room is smaller and has less storage space, it's in a newer part of the building and therefore does not have the musty basement/stale air smell that my previous room had. So far I don't regret my decision one bit. And the high school teachers that are currently using my old room for only an hour at a time don't blame me one bit for wanting to move. So here are a few views of where I spend my days:

Thursday, August 16, 2007

The long awaited Test Track Picture

You've all been waiting, and we finally figured out how to capture this picture and share it with you! If you missed the story behind this, scroll down and read "Disney Memory #2.

(Note the perfect stranger holding on to my husband for dear life...)

Monday, August 13, 2007

Trying to have a good attitude...

It could be a lot worse.

At least I still have a job.

I'm sure I'll still enjoy my year.

I'm just disappointed.

I just found out I'll be teaching 3rd grade instead of 4th next year. Any of you who are teachers know what a pain it is to change grade levels. And now my coming experience in 3rd grade will complete my elementary repertoire. I will have officially taught every elementary grade 1-5. The thing is, I know that I'm capable of being a fantastic teacher if I could just have the opportunity to actually build on a grade level for once. That first year is spent just trying to stay two steps ahead of the kids. The ability to enhance and dress up my lessons will only come with either working 12-14 hours a day or a little experience. I want my students to be able to have the great teacher that they deserve. It's just so disappointing that everything that I worked so hard to create and develop last year is now wasted and I'm right back where I was a year ago. I'm trying to have a good attitude and look at the bright side; I'm just disappointed and frustrated that it's going to be so much work. The irony is that when I decided that I wanted to be a teacher (when I was in 3rd grade), it was 3rd grade that I always wanted to teach and it's the only grade left for me to experience. If I had any kind of assurance that this would be the last time I have to change grades for a while, I think it would make this a little easier. Unfortunately, that is not very likely.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Fun with Dangie!

We spent Sunday evening with Dan and Angie. We took Allie over to socialize with Maestro and Mini (I think Maestro has a bit of a crush...) and we adults had a nice dinner of shrimp and crab legs (YUM!) Afterwards we dragged Angie to the bowling alley and bowled a couple of games. They have a really nice new bowling alley in Blaine that is complete with a rather large arcade area that we played in for a while on our way out. It was a fun evening, as always, with the Leverences!

Dan and Angie are picking out their prizes for our ski-ball winnings!

Sunday, August 05, 2007


When you're at Disney World, you can get almost any autograph that you want, but we were impressed at how God and Jesus decided to handle it. They decided to use a much bigger piece of paper!

More Disney Thoughts

There were a few new additions to the Disney parks since our last visit over 5 years ago. I think we both decided our favorite was the new roller coaster at Animal Kingdom called Expedition Everest. It was an awesome ride and unique from any other coaster I’ve ridden before. I’m just thankful for the Fast Pass system that allowed us to ride it without the 90-minute wait.

Another great addition to the Disney parks is called “Lights, Motors, Action!” at MGM. It’s a live stunt show featuring a variety of different “movie” stunts with cars, motorcycles, and jet skis. It was incredibly impressive and very enlightening. We’ll never watch a movie car chase scene the same way after learning some of the tricks of the trade.

We also enjoyed the new “Finding Nemo” musical at Animal Kingdom. It replaced the Tarzan show that we’d enjoyed so much the last time, but it was really good. Unfortunately we had to be there an hour early in order to have seats. It’s a good thing we made a habit of carrying the Gameboy and iPod to help pass the time. I know, so romantic, huh? But in that heat and humidity you’ve got to have something to take your mind off of your “suffering.” J

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Happy Anniversary to us!

Six years ago today we were married:-) It's been a fun 6 years!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

In case you're wondering...

We've gotten a few calls today from people wondering if we are ok (after the bridge collapse in Minneapolis yesterday). Rest assured, we're just fine. We're pretty sure we've never even crossed that bridge since it's north out of Minneapolis and we're east of St. Paul. So far we've not heard of anyone that we know that was involved... Hopefully it stays that way. The whole twin cities area is pretty heavily affected by this disaster. It's weird to actually live where something like this happened. Normally I'm just watching it happen somewhere else in the country. Praise God that though we were close to the event, we weren't involved in any way. I just wanted to put you at ease if you were worrying about us:-) (As I'm sure you ALL were...)

Disney Memory #2:

(This is out of sequence because I was hoping to post a picture with it, but I'm not having any luck. I may have to just add it later if I ever get access to the picture.)

It seemed as though Disney was bombarded with tour groups from South America this past week. Everywhere we turned there was another tour group all wearing the same color, following someone carrying a little flag. We didn’t usually mind until a group of 80 got in line just as we were approaching the ride. Many of them often got into the “single rider” line to try to speed up their wait. During our second time riding Test Track a young girl from Brazil (maybe 10 or 11) ended up sitting on the other side of David in our car (because she was a single rider). He tried to make small talk with her before the ride started but she didn’t speak English. However as soon as the ride began and our car climbed a bit of a hill, this poor little girl grabbed David’s arm with both of her arms and held on to him for dear life through the entire ride. I laughed so hard; poor David didn’t know what to do! He just kept trying to cheer for her and say encouraging things to her (even though she didn’t seem to speak English). The greatest part is that Test Track is one of those rides where they take your picture, so we have documentation of David with a different girl on his arm!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Disney memory #3:

(Yes, I realize I skipped #2. I'll have to come back to it; I'm still working on the picture to go along with it...)

Tuesday night we were standing along Mainstreet U.S.A. in the Magic Kingdom waiting for the light parade. It was the second parade of the night (post fireworks). I was watching David watch something on my iPod when I heard a little girl speaking to me. I looked down and saw a little 4 or 5 year old version of Cinderella (courtesy of the Bibbidy-Bobbidy Boutique) asking me if I’d seen a mom or a grandma. I kneeled down to her and asked her if she’d lost her mommy and she said yes. I just kept calmly asking her questions to try to keep her from freaking out with fear. She was very brave. She explained that they had been taking pictures at Cinderella’s castle and now she can’t find her. She was able to tell me mommy’s hair color and the color of her shirt. I took her hand and told her I would help her find Mommy and Grandma. David was able to track down a Disney employee who was able to take little Gabby and connect her with her mom again. I was very relieved when we spotted them together in the distance. Afterwards David was just so baffled and perplexed how she just happened to pick me out of that crowd. That even though I hadn’t even noticed her standing there, she found me and immediately trusted me to hold her hand and help her. I don’t know what she sensed in me, but I’m glad she did; I’m glad I had the opportunity to help her remain calm in a scary situation like getting lost in a huge crowd of people in the dark at Disney World.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Disney memory #1:

On Monday we spent the day at Epcot Center. We’d remembered from our last trip that GM’s Test Track was a very fun ride so that was where we started our day. Almost as soon as we joined the line, a family from behind us asked if we’d ever been on it and was wondering if it would be too scary/intense for them. They were a family of three from Liverpool, England and mom and 13-year-old daughter weren’t very ambitious when it came to the rides. David and I talked them into riding and enjoyed the next 20 minutes or so in line visiting and getting to know them. I got such a kick out of their favorite American products (Oreos, Krispy Kreme’s, endless varieties of Cheerios…). The thing that amazed me the most was that they LOVED our American accents. The mom kept saying that she thought their accent was so boring and wished she had an American accent. I never imagined that anyone from England would feel that way! Fortunately they ended up agreeing with our ride review and loved it so much we all went right back through the line together to ride it a second time. It was fun to meet such a friendly family; it made the time waiting in line go a lot faster!

Friday, July 27, 2007

A Little Vacation Appetizer

David and I just returned from a 6 day trip down to Florida to relive our honeymoon at Walt Disney World (stay tuned for many future posts about that). But prior to leaving last weekend we took a little mini trip with David's parents up to Duluth to see what everyone's always talking about. It was a great getaway and a first for all four of us to see Lake Superior. We enjoyed gorgeous weather while we were there.

We stayed at The Edge indoor waterpark and enjoyed many laps around the lazy river as well as a few trips down the two waterslides. David was a bigger fan of the "waterpark" in the bathroom as the shower had about 8 different showerheads that could spray simultaneously. His 20 minute showers turned into 30 plus in no time.

Duluth's Aerial Lift Bridge

Leif Erikson Rose Garden

Duluth Light House

Two Harbors Light House

Split Rock Light House

Gooseberry Falls State Park

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

When will it end???

There are 14 geese in my back yard right now. I am not amused...

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Saddleback Arts Conference Day 2

The day started off with a worship event with a group that I have never heard before called “Generation Unleashed.” If I close my eyes, I could swear that I hear Darlene Zschech and the Hillsong worship team. What a great resource for youth music leaders today. (Jason, you might want to check these guys out. Very engaging with the young folks in the crowd.)

The opening speaker was Erwin McManus with the “Scribble’ team from Mosaic Church in L.A. I had the chance to see them at the Willow Arts Conference a few weeks ago, but still amazing! If only my midwestern mind could understand the “Urban Poetry” of the Scribble team. It’s so outside of my norm that it’s taken me until the second time to fully get it. It’s a good thing they came back to help me understand... What a great team! I can definitely relate with their stage manager throughout the performance. He’s my kind of guy! “Scribble That!”

Abe Laboriel, Shiela E, and a cast of a few other ‘A list’ musicians were on hand for the late morning worship concert, and I know that my good bud Larry Whitcomb wishes he was here. He’s the guy who introduced me to Abe and his music, and what a talent. Larry was right to be amazed. Anyone who can play chords on a 6 string bass while dancing around the stage is ok in my book! We were treated to about a 1 hour concert just before lunch, and as a nod to my sister Julie who is a drummer, female drummers rock! Shiela E was fabulous!

Following lunch at the hot spot of “In-n-Out” burger, and my introduction to the world of animal fries, we headed back to campus for our breakout sessions. Today i was treated to sessions on “singing to your full potential” and “writing chord charts.” Both were exceptional, and there were alot of things that could be implemented at Five Oaks. I had planned on going to a guitar course that was on the idea of unleashing the power of the fretboard, but upon arrival the class was completely filled and a sign on the door posted that we should take off for another class. This allowed me to attend the vocal class, which I was torn to not be able to attend. Good stuff. (I’m going to have to buy the DVD of the guy who was teaching the unlocking the fretboard class though...)

Following the breakouts, we grabbed a quick bite of dinner and ran back as soon as we could to get in line to find seats at the front of the center section for the Lincoln Brewster worship concert. Henry and I waited in line for about 10 minutes, and it was worth it! We ended up in the second row behind two seats that were reserved and ended up being empty for most of the concert. It was like being front row center! The three acts were Human Zero, Vicky Beeching, and Lincoln Brewster. Human Zero really forced my brain into overdrive in one song where the drums played in 4/4 meter and the rest of the band played in 3/4 or 6/8. That was what I call concentration!

Vicky Beeching has a wonderful gift, and what a personable leader she is. Her passion exuded from every ounce of her being throughout the concert. I’m going to have to get Melissa that CD so we can play it around the house.

Lincoln Brewster was all that we hoped for and more. As many of you are aware, we do quite a few of his songs at Five Oaks, and there’s nothing like hearing the songs performed by the original artist. What a gifted leader, singer, and guitar player. I think the thing that he taught me the most tonight is how to lead and live in the contradiction. I’ll have to write more on that later...

We finished the evening with a drive down to Laguna beach and a visit to the “hammer man.” What an interesting individual. We walked up and down the beach for awhile in the pitch black and ran into another couple of conference attenders who were soaking wet from head to toe. Two young guys were so excited about seeing the beach that they just couldn’t contain themselves and just ran into the water. They told us that they were from Kansas, which makes it a little more understood, but I couldn’t help but wonder when the last time I was so excited about something that I just couldn’t contain myself and just ran to it with complete abandon of thought and future consequence.

I think that’s what God wants from us each and every day, but it’s so easy to over rationalize and over-think all of the decisions that we have to make many times each day. I can’t help but wonder how many times God is simply holding out his hands and waiting for us to run into his arms with abandon every day, and we miss it.

The great thing is, He never stops holding out his hands...

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Saddleback Arts Conference Day 1

Wow! What’s not to say about this conference!? Great general sessions, meaningful and engaging worship, and well planned breakout groups have made the whole trip worth it. It probably doesn’t hurt that we’re in arguably the greatest city in the world when it comes to weather and temperature, but even that aside it is great to be here.

The day started with possibly the most challenging main session that I have ever been a part of. Rick Warren challenged us all in so many ways as things got started. I agree with a fellow blogger from the conference that if I get nothing else out of this conference, I will be changed. (That won't be an issue though, because there were many other portions of the day that "brought it") We followed the first main session up with an hour long worship session with Tim Hughes, author of a little known song titled, “Here I Am To Worship.”

During the lunch break, we had the opportunity to sit outside and listen to David Pack, who many of you might know from the 80’s with hits like, “Biggest Part of Me.” It was strange to see Henry (my senior pastor) standing up holding a lighter during the visit to the 80's portion of the concert, but I just smiled and realized that some day I will be the one standing up and holding a lighter while somebody sings, "Lord I Lift Your Name On High..." Oh glory!

We came back from lunch and ran up to our breakout sessions. I was able to attend two great breakouts on recruiting worship leaders and leading worship. Many challenges there to cross in time, and many different ideas to apply to my life. Very meaningful.

We broke for dinner and headed to Henry’s favorite Mexican restaurant here in the city for some seafood stew, and what a great find it was. I’m trying to convince him to go back tomorrow, but to many of you who know me, you know it’s never hard to get me to go to a mexican restaurant...

Following dinner, we headed back to the campus for a concert with Tommy Walker, Jonathan Butler, and the Saddleback High School worship team. Jonathan Butler was a great surprise in that I'd never been exposed to him while he worked in the Jazz circuit, but what a talent and worshipping heart. We've got to learn to sing a little like that in the church! I’ve also sung Tommy Walker songs for years now, and I was very excited to see him live, but the high school worship team stole the show. I was watching the worship being offered up from those young hearts and it touched me. It really gave me a better picture of what it is to have a childlike faith and being able to worship to the point of being undignified.

I’ve heard the song by the same title what seems like hundreds of times, but tonight it struck a chord. I could have stood there and watched that high school drummer worship all night. He was a great model for even the most seasoned veteran to experience. Sometimes we can get so used to what we do that we can almost dial it in on command, but he was in it for one reason only, the worship of Jesus. What a testimony while simply playing on the team.

How many of us can say that we’ve had that kind of impact on someone lately because of what we do on Saturday and Sunday? Is there a lesson for all of us that we can learn from a 16 year old about what it’s like to worship with abandon? I know I learned today from him, and I hope it’s contagious!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Saddleback Arts Conference...

To those of you out in blog world who keep up with us through the internet, many of you are probably thinking I live at conferences at the moment. You are partially right, but for the first time in my life I am able to attend worship conferences around the nation. What a great opportunity! I'll post more later about the first day here in California, but what a great opening session! Powerful!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Arts Conference Day 2...

Yet another day at the Willow Creek Arts Conference! Today was the day that we had 4 breakout sessions all over the Willow complex. I started the morning with "Conducting an Effective Technical Rehearsal" and "Spiritually Preparing for Leading Worship." The technical rehearsal breakout was taught by Willow's programming director and their production director. It was quite interesting to see the interaction that these two had in their daily jobs and how different each of their responsibilities were. The latter class was taught by Rory Noland of "Heart of the Artist" authorship. It was great to be able to sit under some great thinkers today. Rory just came out with a book on Spiritual preparation for worship leaders, and today we got to hear about many of the principles in this new work. Some of the other guys sat in breakouts on creativity, intelligent lighting, front of house sound, drama ministry, and a few others.

We learned that the Willow complex is vast and multi-tiered in trying to find each session. I found that it is easiest to completely exit the Willow building to get from one side to the other. The cans of pop and Rice Krispie bars made the trip quite joyful between sessions. It is quite difficult to find others in your group in the midst of 7,000 people wandering around, but thank goodness for texting on cell phones.

Following our Roast Beef sub sandwiches that were provided, we all headed off to the second half of the breakouts. My third class was probably the best for me on the topic of "Continuity Of Design." We basically spent the 90 minutes talking about how to integrate our designs for each message series into all of our communications. Not just making the website match the series, but the entire building and all communicative materials. Definitely something to ponder as time goes by.

The final breakout that we almost all attended was titled, "A Weekend At Grainger." For those of you who don't spend massive amounts of time researching current church practices and who is effective reaching what types of people, Grainger targets their weekend services to 35-55 year old males and is quite successful. You can visit more of what they do by visiting Check out the media player on their site. There is some great stuff there to watch.

We finished our breakout sessions and made our way back to the hotel. After about an hour, we took off towards Giordanno's Chicago Deep Dish Pizzeria to immerse ourselves in the culture of the Windy City. What a great dinner!

We brought back leftovers, but now we're trying to give it away. We are stuffed!

Following dinner, we have continued the tradition of gathering all of the guys in the lobby and working together on creative names for portions of the Five Oaks Worship Arts website and blog. Right now, we just learned that a synonym for information is "hot poop" according to Seriously, check it out for yourself. Unbelievable. Just so you know, I don't think we'll be using that one.

Tomorrow we prepare for the 6 hour drive home, and we look forward to visiting the pink elephant once again. I realized that I didn't explain it earlier in yesterday's post, but when we stopped in Wisconsin to top off the gas tank we found a 12 ft. tall pink elephant next to the pump. Jonathan and Joel took turns posing next to the elephant while we snapped photos, and i'm pretty sure that we are going to hold these pictures over Jonathan's head for quite a while to come. Good times!Have a great weekend everyone!