Friday, November 20, 2009

Sissy is Coming to Visit!

I am SO excited. I just booked Abby's flight from New Orleans to Indianapolis. She's going to come spend two days up here with me, one of which we're going to go and check out Zeta Tau Alpha's International Office in Indianapolis. She'll get to check out the cold weather, the campus, the house, meet the girls... we'll have a nice meal or two... and then we'll hit the road. I'm thrilled to get to have some quality time with Abby, and I'm really looking forward to the company on the road home.

We'll get back to Dallas on a Friday night, and if Ellyson comes as planned, Abby will get to meet the newest addition to the Newell family before catching a flight back to New Orleans on Saturday afternoon.

Thanks so much for making plans to come and visit Sissy, and thank you Doody for letting me have her for a few days. I can't wait!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Illinois State University

So I was lucky enough this weekend to check out another university in the Midwest. Kieth took some time on Saturday morning to give us a tour of Bloomington/Normal, and Illinois State University. ISU is where Layne's cousin Chad and his wife Monica went to college. It was really nice to get to see the town where they had their college experience, and get to know the town as well.

One thing that blew my mind was Watterson Towers, one of the residence halls on campus. It's a twenty-eight story twin tower complex, and is one of the largest college dorms in the world. It houses 2,200 students every year. Can you imagine what move in day must be like?
Of course, I made Keith drive by several of the Greek houses at ISU. We have a Zeta chapter there. Chad was a Sigma Chi, and Monica was a Tri Delta. Below is a picture of her sorority house. I was so glad to get to check it out!

Quality Time With the Illinois Ramsey Clan

This past weekend was absolutely amazing... because I got to spend it with my husband, because I got to see our friends, and because we had some really amazing quality time with our family. Layne's Aunt Paula, cousin Keith, his fiance' Casse, and their kids Kylie, Jackson and Logan live in Bloomington/Normal, Illinois, which is about a half an hour drive from Peoria where our friends Hannah and Bobby got married on Saturday night. The weekend ended up working out perfectly. Layne took off on Friday, flew into Indianapolis, and we got on the road. Aunt Pauly really spoiled us. For dinner on Friday, we had steaks, baked potatoes, the infamous Anderson yeast rolls, and a delicious apple pie. Afterwards, Casse's dad took the kids and the five of us were able to head over to Windjammers, and local bar, and relax.It was nice to have some quality time to relax without the kids and enjoy each others company. We threw several rounds of darts, had a few drinks, and called it a night.
Keith and Casse came back over to Aunt Pauly's house on Saturday morning so we could spend some more time together. Kylie is 3 years old, and I think she is incredibly smart. She communicates so clearly, has a solid vocabulary, is great with colors, and numbers... Layne and I had a blast interacting with the kids and playing with them. At first, I think she was a little intimidated by "Uncle Layne's" size, but as you can see, she warmed up eventually.
The twins, Logan and Jackson, are one years old. Can I say adorable? They aren't talking yet, but they understand everything you say to them. I still can't tell them apart other than by the clothes they are wearing, but Kylie has them down. Aunt Pauly is great with the kids. I enjoyed seeing her interact with them, and seeing how much they adore her in return.
Keith and Casse are going to be married at the end of the summer, so we're already looking forward to our next trip back to Illinois together.
On a side note: Keith's brother Chad, his wife Monica, and their two kids Braden and Vivian are in the process of relocating from Washington to Houston, Texas. We're thrilled that we're going to get to see so much more of the Ramsey family in 2010.

I - L - L - I - N - I !

Along the road to Aunt Paula's house in Illinois, Layne and I made a pit stop in Urbana/Champagne to fill our tank with gas and check out the University of Illinois. One of Layne's best friends, Ben Newell, went to school here. I love checking out college campuses as it is, and even more when I have friends or family who attended that school.

So here are some interesting facts I've learned about the University of Illinois since I've moved up to the Midwest: It's really hard to get into the University of Illinois. The school has the 10th largest undergraduate enrollment in US, and is known for one of the top five engineering programs in the country. Several of the girl who are from the Chicago area come to Indiana because they couldn't get into U of I. (You rock Ben!)

I'll be honest, it doesn't make my 10 top "Most Beautiful Campuses" list, but that may very well be because the leaves have fallen and fall has passed us by. It's not a far drive from where I am now, and I would love to be able to make it back for a basketball game before I head home.

When I was a freshman at LSU, we played the University of Illinois in the Sugar Bowl. Ben and his friends were actually in New Orleans for the game, lighting up the town. I'm glad I was able to experience a piece of his past. And while I never dreamt I'd proclaim it...
I - L - L - I - N - I!
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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Taking a Few Days Off!

After eighteen days of working and being on call 24/7, I am finally taking a few days off. That's right! Tomorrow I'll be picking up my husband at Indianapolis International Airport and heading to Bloomington, Illinois. We'll be spending the weekend with Layne's Aunt Pauli, cousin Keith, and his three beautiful kids. On Saturday night, we'll be meeting Ben, Jessica, and Erol in Peoria, Illinois to see our friend Hannah Hessing marry her fiance' Bobby. Hannah and Jessica were both Tri Delta's at Missouri, and we have developed a friendship with her over the years. Hannah and Bobby were with us on our special day, and we're looking forward to celebrating with them as well.

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend! I'll be sure to post pictures of our weekend together soon!

For All My Zeta Ladies...

Check out what I found painted on the baseboard in the dining room! I cracked up laughing when I saw the bunny!
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Girls Night Out

I know the picture quality sucks, but I had to blog about my girls night out. Last Saturday, my friend from college Heather Matthews was in Bloomington, Indiana for a bridal shower, and she stayed in town for a girls dinner. For those of you who haven't met "H-Matt," she was a Zeta at LSU and is a year older than me. She was McQ's Maid of Honor, and McQ is her Matron of Honor at her wedding next week.

The town was packed since it was parents weekend, so we decided to grab seats at the bar at Gratzie! an Italian Eatery. The food was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! I had Shrimp Pesto, and it was out of this world. Delicious large shrimp, roasted garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, asparagus... I loved it. There was someone playing piano in the background, the hum of conversation around us, and a great time with the girls. What more could I ask for?

If someone would have told me when I graduated from college that I would be having dinner with Heather in Indiana 3 years down the road, I never would have believed it. It was a wonderful night, and a great reminder of all the adventures that life holds. I had a blast, and look forward to seeing her again soon when she gets back from her honeymoon.

Thanks for bringing me to Indiana Heather, and congratulations and best wishes on your upcoming nuptials. I couldn't be happier for you!
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Saturday, November 7, 2009


A view from the inside...

Hoosier Momma

That's right... I'm officially a Hoosier Mom these days, so I went out to tailgate and represent the Indiana pride that I have. Below in white is Taryn, a Traveling Leadership Consultant with Zeta Tau Alpha who is staying with us at the Alpha Xi house until Tuesday. She and I headed out this morning to hit the campus, and bumped into some of our seniors along the way.
No- this isn't a picture of the home side before the game started. Attendance is just that poor. I knew IU football is struggling, but I was really surprised by this. I can't imagine the last football game I went to where the stadium was so empty- even McNeese filled up better than this. Especially since its a Big Ten conference game, Indiana vs. Wisconsin. When was the last SEC matchup you saw that was this deserted?
One really awesome thing about the stadium that I loved is the miniature football field that runs along side the end zone for all of the kids to play on. They were out there all game throwing the football, and it looks like they had a blast. They even had benches on one side of the field with Gatorade set out for the kids. It really was too cute.
IU's Marching 100 were a blast to watch play. Similar to the Golden Band from Tigerland, there is a lot of movement and a lot of dancing done by the band. And yes, all of the seats above them really were deserted.
I love me a good marching band, and IU was fun to watch. When members weren't playing their instrument, they were dancing along in sync with each other... in step with the rest of the band. It reminded me of St. Aug's band, without the soul.
It was a close game, much closer than the stats said it should have been. Indiana held on tight, but ended up losing to #21 Wisconsin 31-28. Taryn and I enjoyed the experience, and then headed up for the matchup of the weekend, LSU vs. Alabama. I enjoyed my first Big 10 experience. I'm thrilled to knock another stadium off the list. But now it's time to get back to the big boys... my boys. GEAUX TIGERS!

A Mystery Revealed

All my life, I've never understood why there aren't more college football games at night. I mean, come on, we all understand how powerful Louisiana Saturday nights are. You have a longer time to tailgate, the anticipation for kickoff has time to build up... I mean, who really wants to be watching a football game before their coffee has had time to kick in? Not me.

But after my first Big 10 football game (more to come soon), I finally understand why they aren't more night games.... the weather. Today was a perfect Saturday for college football. Indiana took on Wisconsin with the sun shining and the weather in the mid-60's. But what if it was a 6pm kickoff, after the sun had set? The weather would be in the mid-30s, and who would want to put up with that? For LSU vs. Florida, or LSU vs. Bama... yeah, I'd put up with whatever extreme the Lord threw our way... but not in the Big Ten. Not in the Big East. Not when you can barely feel your fingers and your toes. There are limits to the madness when football isn't what sustains a way of life. I'm in basketball country, and it shows.

So after 26 years, I get it. Football is important up north, but its not worth putting yourself through hell for it. So kickoff is during the day, so you can get back to the heaters by nightfall. And while I understand the beauty of a 7pm kickoff, I don't blame them for it. Two weeks of this weather, and I understand.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

My Address

I love receiving snail mail... so please, keep the USPS in business and send some love my way.

Zeta Tau Alpha House
Attn: Mitzi Court
1020 North Jordan
Bloomington, Indiana 47406

P.S.- I've officially finished my first week in Indiana.
I miss Layne.
The countdown till our weekend in Illinois has begun: 12 days!