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Friday, December 30, 2011

Fill in the Blank Friday

The last Friday of 2011!  Time to fill in some New Year blanks with Lauren.


[1] New Years is refreshing.  A new year, with new resolutions to keep (or try!), and new things to look forward to.

[2] One of my New Year's resolutions will be to walk the dogs more consistently.  At least four times a week.

[3] A New Year's resolution that I've made in the past was to order water instead of soda when dining out.  It didn't work out all that well.  I'll try again this year!

[4] The most time consuming resolution I ever made was obediently following Tony Horton and the P90x workout.  I hate you, Tony.

[5] This year I will be spending New Year's Eve with my favorite Hubby, and our friends Matt and Jessica.  Gonna get all gussied up, have dinner and then play some games.  We're wiiiild.

[6] If I could wish one thing for the new year it would be to make the most of each day.

[7] 2012 is going to be the end of my internship, another year closer to graduate school graduation, and full of other (hopefully) great things!!

Happy (almost) New Year, everyone!!

Take Luck,
LP 

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Oh, What a Year!

I clearly remember this time last year when I kept thinking to myself, "I cannot believe it's almost 2011.  2011!!"

And now, here we are.  And it's almost 2012.  Where does the time go?

When creeping on all the blogs I follow, it seems popular to wrap up a years worth of blogging with a recap of sorts.  So here goes nothing.

As far as you are concerned, I (or this blog, rather) didn't exist in January.  Here's what you missed!... Or I failed to share.  Either way - we had flown to St. Louis to be with Ryan's family for Christmas and rang in the New Year there, too.

Bring it on, 2011!
January brought on starting a new semester and my first work-trip of the year to Port Hueneme, California. Our nephew, Riley James turned 1, and we learned the most exciting news of all - Ryan's sister, Cara and her Hubby were expecting and due in October!

Riley's First Birthday
February was a boring month.  I started this blog and we started attending services at newlife.

March started with a bang.  My dearest Hubby turned 27, we bought some new furniture, and took a little over-night trip to Great Wolf Lodge with some friends.

April was another uneventful month.  My parent's celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary, and I took my another work-trip to Norfolk, Virginia.  It was during this month that we both got to commence drinking our caffeinated and alcoholic beverages at the completion of Lent.

I think April was slow to allow us to charge our batteries for the coming months.  In May, my semester ended (whoop whoop!).  We headed back to the Midwest for my dear friend Clare Bear's wedding where I got to catch up with some of my best gal pals, and we surprised Ryan's Mom for Mother's Day.  We finally found a food regimen that would help Brock's allergies and also found out that the Cara and her Hubby would be welcoming a baby BOY!!

Brock is a happy boy!
June.  Another uneventful month.  It was certainly highlighted by Ryan's parents visiting from St. Louis and by me tour-guiding, losing my keys, and convincing my in-laws that 33 years of marriage was worth jumping for.

July. July, July, July.  A bird flew in our house, causing my Mom to have to come rescue me.  And the bird.  I took two more work-trips - one to Fort Huachuca, Arizona where I got chased by a roadrunner, and the other to D.C. where I got to see my cousin Kristen, and get an amazing tour of our nation's capitol.  Our house transformed from pink to blue, and we celebrated our one-year anniversary in Portland.

August was hands-down the craziest month of the year.  But in a good way, of course!  We celebrated our actual anniversary on August 1st, and soon after I took off on yet another work-trip to Groton, Connecticut where I got sick as a dog.  My best friend, Tiffanie and her Hubby visited us and we toured the hell outta this place.  It seemed like as soon as they left, we were preparing for the arrival of Ryan's Aunt Debbie, Uncle David, and Sonny's sister, Izzy!  Oh, wait - that actually was the case.  Our friends found out they are expecting their first child in April.  I was put on a no dairy diet and also started a new semester.  Joy of joys, people!

September was filled with yelling at idiots, celebrating Mom's birthday with a surprise dinner - (where Kennedy showed us all what it means to be a fashionista), taking yet another work-trip to San Diego (and getting sick on that trip, too!), and attending the wedding of my best friend growing up, Kristi.  I also fell in love with plum crisp and participated in Sar's [life of love]: 15 day blog challenge.  Congratulations, you now know now more about me than you ever wanted to!

Some of the surprise-birthday-dinner group!
Oh, October.  We had been looking forward to this month all year.  We went back to St. Louis to attend the wedding of one of Ryan's best friends and hoped that we might catch the birth of one Baby Webb.  We missed the birth, but I did receive the best birthday gift ever when a week later - Liam Daniel Webb made his debut on my 26th birthday.  Oh, and as usual - I tortured Brock and Sonny on Halloween.

Silly, wedding photo-booth fun!
November.  Another slow month that included my first vlog, a slumber party with our newly-11-year-old niece, Jaiden, a day I would like to re-do and a day I will likely become more familiar with in the coming years.  I caught a craft bug.  And oh, yeah.  We ate a lot on Thanksgiving.

December is shaping up to be my favorite month of the year - the anticipation of Christmas and the holiday season was magical.  We bought lots of presents, our Christmas tree, put lights up, and jammed to our favorite Christmas tunes.  I finished yet another semester of grad school, had one last (eventful) work-trip to Bonita Springs, Florida, was wonderfully entertained by my favorite three-year old, and had some wild dog-walking adventures.  We also had a wonderful Christmas at home this year.

Whew. 

I am tired.  I'm tired after typing it, let alone just thinking about our year as a whole.

But the truth is - I cannot wait for 2012, and all it has in store for us.

Happy New Year!

Take Luck,
LP

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Bonita Beach

A few weeks ago, I ventured to Bonita Springs, Florida for my final work-related trip of the year.

The trip itself was nowhere near magical, but the weather and photo opportunities kinda-sorta made up for the shenanigans that I will discuss in a different post.

The highlight of the trip was that my dear friend, Abby was attending the same conference.  She flew down from Washington, DC and I flew in from Seattle.

After the conference wrapped up and we practically ran out of the hotel, we found our way to Bonita Beach.

It was lovely, and provided some excellent photo opportunities.

The sad part was that I liked the photos I took with my iPhone more than the ones I took with my DSLR.  Isn't it supposed to be the other way around?









Take Luck,
LP

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Walking Brock

I'm sure that by now you are all familiar with the big boy in our little family, Brock.


Brock and Sonny are both frequent topics of discussion on this blog, photos on instagram, and in my everyday conversations.  They are our babies!

I have to admit that although we shower both of our dogs with love and attention, and even feed Brock people food - there is one area of their lives that has a tendency to lack.

Walking.

Don't get me wrong - they run around this house like the crazy animals they are, and play like no other pups.

But.  It seems like taking them on actual walks gets put on the back burner and doesn't happen nearly as often as it should.

Since I was off all last week and am off this week - I decided to make a dedicated and conscience effort to take them down to a local park and walk them everyday.  I had no reason not to!

So, as you can imagine - little Sonny is a piece of pie to walk.  She only weighs 12 pounds and is very easy to control.  Her favorite thing is to smell everything, romp around, and bark at the innocent other walkers/runners.  

On the other hand, Mister Brock is majorly not fun to walk.  He weighs anywhere between 70-75 pounds and at times (when he wants to be) can be very hard to control - even with his harness.  His favorite thing is to pee on every bush and blade of grass, romp around, whimper and pull at all the innocent other walkers/runners, and generally pull my ass around the loop.

Last week, each day was eventful for the three of us.  The days have now blurred together but I can give some of the highlights.

- Brock literally pulled me across the grass trying to chase after another runner and his dog.  He does weigh more than half my weight.  It took everything I had to stay on my feet.

- Brock got tangled around a tree/bush and when I tried to pull him back the way he came, he spazzed out, wriggled completely free from his harness and took off toward the beach... Leaving Sonny and I standing there like a-holes.

- While on a straight-away, and on the park side of a house with two small and yippy dogs, Brock broke out into a sprint, causing me to drop his leash and took off running.

- One morning we were immediately greeted by a stray dog.  I was initially really worried because Brock is very protective and playful, and I am always afraid that he will come off as aggressive to other pooches.  After the hieny-sniffing was over, this stray dog followed us the whole way.  For two and a half miles.  The whole way.  Two different little old ladies asked me in their little old lady voices, "Well, why doesn't he have a leash?" (referring to the stray that was following us).  And I just had to laugh and calmly reply, "Because he isn't my dog!"

- I think it was on the third day of walking that both Brock and Sonny finally noticed the water, shore/beach, and the flocks of seagulls that were perched on the shore.  When we were on the water side of the loop, they were going bizerk-o trying to figure out what those funny looking dogs were, and how they were able to fly away from them so fast!

- I am nearly 100% convinced that other walkers/runners must think that Brock has some sort of rabies or strange mental disorder because of how slobbery and frothy he gets.  The slobber that is all over his jowls and face paired with his sometimes erratic behavior is a little frightening. 

- At least one walker/runner a day would look at me pitifully (including a little side-head-tilt) and ask, "OK, so who's walking who?"


Needless to say - Brock is full of energy, and loves to go on walks.

But maybe now it's easy to see why walks get put on the back burner?

Eh, not a good excuse.

I know that I (ahem, we!) need to be better about walking them more consistently - and that is one my many New Year's Resolutions... As it was last year!

We'll see how it goes.

Take Luck,
LP

Monday, December 26, 2011

Gingerbread Houses

I have been in somewhat of a blogging rut lately.

I've been participating in my weekly little link-ups which is all fine and dandy, but I just couldn't muster up any good writing material. Not saying that my previous entries have been good... But it was at least stuff that I felt was worth writing about.

I digress.

My brother and his family recently came back to the mainland from a four-month temporary duty at Pearl Harbor (jerks!). Josh and his lovely wife were going to a Christmas party on Friday night and asked if my little sister, Rachel and I would watch the kiddos while they enjoyed some adult time.

Duh.

When we arrived, the kids were doing what they do best.

Dancing to YouTube videos.

Both Kennedy and Riley love to sing and dance.  Riley can shake his booty like no other toddler I've seen.

Kennedy kept insisting on Lady Gaga videos, and after some deliberation - we decided that we could play the songs but would minimize the screen since most of her videos are weird and inappropriate for little tykes.  

I found Willow Smith's music video of "Whip My Hair" and Kennedy was not having it.  She kept saying, "I don't like this song."

So, Aunt Rachel and Aunt Lauren put their pony tails on the very top of their heads and began to "whip it."
Kenny started to like it more.  And then insisted that like her aunts, she wanted a high pony tail and to whip it too.

So we gave her one and she did.  But the pony didn't last long.

The music video ended and I bet you can guess what little miss was singing and bopping to.

video

Haley had bought two gingerbread house making kits - one for Mia and the other for (mostly) Kennedy. Riley could help but we knew his interest in the activity would fade fast. I don't know any almost-two year old who is any different. 

The last (and only) time that I decorated a gingerbread house was in 7th grade.  And I distinctly remember hating the experience because trying to put the house together was a seriously frustrating challenge, and then when trying to decorate it - the house would just fall apart again and I would have to start over.  Now (by the grace of God, I'm sure!), they have prefabricated gingerbread houses that are stur-dy and supply you with all the goodies necessary for decorating. 

So, after the dancing, we commenced the gingerbread house decorating.

I thought Kenny should wear a little apron since we were going to be playing with frosting and other sticky things, and she was happy to oblige.


She was so excited to get to decorate her house with the help of her Aunties.



Riley was eager to help.  And add to the mess and madness.

I had to keep scolding Kennedy and Riley for putting the candy in their mouths and not on the gingerbread house.  We certainly did not want to deal with the aftermath of a sugar rush.



The girls were really happy with the outcome of their houses - and Rachy and I were impressed.

Gingerbread house decorating took us right up to bedtime.

I am not afraid to admit that I used the Santa-card on Kennedy to get her to go to bed.  The conversation went something like this:

Aunt Lauren: OK, Kenny.  It's time to get in bed! Say goodnight to Aunt Rachy.
Kennedy: I don't want to go to bed.
Aunt Lauren: I know, kiddo but if you don't - you know who can't come see you in two nights!!
(Kennedy turns and looks at Aunt Rachel)
Kennedy: Goodnight.

She scooted her little booty into her bedroom, grabbed a book, was read said book, and we didn't see her for the rest of the night.

Mia only had to be told 23 times to get her jammers on and get into bed.  

Riley was fighting sleep like a mad-man but finally succumbed to the sandman when he and I got all snuggly on the couch together.  He even put his chubby little hand on mine just before falling asleep.

Serious heart melting.

Take Luck,
LP

Friday, December 23, 2011

Fill in the Blank Friday

Since I didn't work a single day this week, I had to be reminded by my Hubby that today is Friday.
Time to fill in some blanks with Lauren!


[1] The best way to spread Christmas cheer is "... by singing loud for all to hear!"  Duh.  Buddy the Elf, what's your favorite color??  I could go on and on. 

[2] The thing I love most about Christmas is Christmas trees, Christmas lights, and giving gifts.

 [3] The holiday season is time for love, family, sharing, celebrating, and thinking of others. 

[4] My favorite thing to eat at the holidays is Grammy's salad and puppy chow. 

[5] I will be spending Christmas with my Hubby and family.  Christmas Eve will be at my aunt and uncle's, then Ryan, Brock, Sonny and I will be having a slumber party at my parents' so we are ready for stockings and gifts on Christmas morning! 

[6] Tis better to (give or receive?) Give.  I love trying to find special gifts for our family (sometimes too much), and I usually have a hard time keeping my secrets... Secrets. 

[7] I'm dreaming of a white Christmas.  Not likely. 

Wishing everyone a very Happy Christmas, or whatever holiday you may celebrate.  

Take Luck,
LP

Monday, December 19, 2011

Dear Monday

Another Monday, and another day closer to Christmas!

Linking up with Megan for Dear Monday.


Dear Monday, You have started out to be my favorite Monday in awhile.  Why?  Because I am at home, and not at work. 

Dear Comp. and Travel Comp. Time, Thank you for accumulating so I am able to take two weeks off of work.  A much needed two weeks.

Dear Dexter, Your season finale surprisingly lacked the intensity that I was hoping for.  Until the last 30 seconds or so.

Dear Christmas Tree, I have decided that I want to leave you up all year round so I can enjoy your sweet smell and twinkling lights.

Dear Christmas, I cannot believe you are only 6 days away.  Incredible!

Dear Hubby, You like to help me do things around the house.  The funny thing is - the help seems to come just as I'm about to be finished doing whatever, or right as I'm finished.  I'm not sure if this is coincidence, or are you scheming a little something-something in that noggin of yours?  I still love you.

Wishing everyone a wonderful week!

Take Luck,
LP

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Kitchen Flubs

Kitchen flubs are one of my pet peeves.

It is so frustrating to put the money and time into planning for and preparing a meal for Ryan and I, and then be disappointed in the results.

I have told Ryan from Day 1 (OK, maybe Day 10 when I first cooked for him) that I would much rather he be honest with me if he doesn't like something that I make - because ultimately he would be the one who suffered and have to continue to eat it.

Unfortunately, kitchen flubs have happened more than once this past week.

A few nights ago, I went out of my cooking-comfort-zone and put chicken enchiladas on the menu. 

The recipe was pretty simile, although long.

The end result wasn't bad, but I was disappointed and mostly ate the innards (chicken, tomato, corn, onion and chilies) after discarding the tortilla.  For those of you who know me - you know that this behavior isn't too uncommon... But still.

Chicken enchilada fail.

Ryan assured me that he enjoyed it - and within the next few days the pan of enchiladas.

After consulting our menu for the week and the groceries we bought today, I decided to make tuna casserole.

Easy.  Fast.  Yum factor = High.

I fixed Ryan his plate and while I was in the kitchen fixing myself a plate, Ryan said, "Have you tried yours yet?"

Translation: This is bad and you don't want to try this.

Awesome.

Tuna casserole fail.

The worst part was that after trying to dish for myself and concurring with Ryan's assessment of the dish - neither of us could figure out what the problem was or why it tasted "weird."

Ryan also mentioned more than once, "I hope we don't get food poisoning."

So, needless to say that I am feeling more that inadequate in the cooking department this evening.

Normally, I do just fine and can whip up some good meals.  Certainly not a master chef by any means, but I satisfy us and keep our tummies full.

Have you had any cooking or baking fails lately?

Did your husband or boyfriend fear that you were poisoning him?

I would love to hear I'm not alone.

Take Luck,
LP

Friday, December 16, 2011

Fill in the Blank Friday

It feels like I was just filling in last weeks blanks.

Oh, well!  It's Friday and time to fill in some more with Lauren!


[1] My most favorite "little thing" is when my niece, Kennedy, and nephew, Riley run and give me hugs.  Heart melting - engaged.

[2] I give anything to get a back rub from Hubby.

[3] I can't believe that it's only 9 days until Christmas.  Where does the time go?

[4] The one thing I'd like to achieve today is watch the Netflix movie (Lincoln Lawyer) that's been sitting on our TV stand for the last few days.

[5] The last thing I want to do today is think about work.  Or school.  Oh, wait.  I just did.  Darnit!
[6] If I were writing my own blank today, it would say: I am most looking forward to giving my sister-in-law his/her gift because it is special, sentimental, and something I hope she likes half as much as I hope she will.

[7] My favorite candle scent is the tangerine-orange-lemongrass I recently bought from Pike Place Market.  Heavenly.

Wishing everyone a fantastic weekend!!

Take Luck,
LP

Monday, December 12, 2011

Dear Monday

Another Monday is here.  Time for Dear Monday with Megan.


Dear Monday, Does it seem counter-productive that I write this at the end of the day... Instead of at the beginning?  Nah.

Dear Presentation, Please pass smoothly and quickly tomorrow, and with no questions asked.

Dear Exercise, Even though I feel more motivated to partake in you when I am otherwise indisposed (ahem, at work), I am always happy when we've finished our time together.

Dear Sonny, This morning I was convinced that you were on crack.  Tearing through the house at 4:00am is not cool.

Dear Christmas Music, You brighten any mood.

Dear 11/22/63, I am hooked on you.  I am even dragging out my reading so I can keep reading your goodness!  Well done, Stephen King.  Well done.

Dear Hubby, Last night I opened our "junk" drawer to find that you had unwrapped a new pack of gum.  How did I know this?  Because you left the empty wrapper in the drawer.  When I pointed this out to you, you tried to blame it on Brock and said that he has bad breath and needed a piece of gum.  You are so silly.  And unbelievable.

Take Luck,
LP

Friday, December 9, 2011

Fill in the Blank Friday

This has been an extremely long week and I am so happy that it's Friday!  Time to Fill in the Blanks with Lauren.


[1] Love is wonderful.  Especially when you find the perfect person to share it with.

[2] Being in love feels like magic.  The most magical moments being the little ones that make your relationship yours.

[3] My favorite quote about love is "Love is friendship set on fire." 

[4] The most important thing in a relationship is communication, flexibility and understanding.  That's more than one thing.  But the success of a relationship can't be defined by one element.

[5] A "deal breaker" for me in a relationship is someone unwilling to put in the effort when its due.

[6] The way I show love in my relationship is by doing the little things.  I leave notes in Ryan's lunches and separate his clean laundry into piles so they are easier for him to put away.  I sit with him and watch endless hours of ESPN.  I give him big hugs, even if he's just leaving the room.

[7] I love making Ryan laugh.  And Ryan.

Wishing everyone a wonderful weekend!
Take Luck,
LP

Monday, December 5, 2011

Dear Monday

Monday, already?  It's time for a Dear Monday with Megan!





Dear Monday, It's amazing how fast you flew by today.  I like it.

Dear Christmas Tree, Your smell is filling the house.  I love it.

Dear Harry Potter Marathon on ABC Family, It doesn't matter how many times I've seen you.  I just can't take my eyes away.  And I'm still captivated.

Dear Weeds Season 7, Hubby and I watched you in your entirety this weekend.  It was lovely to be able to lounge on the couch and watch you without feeling the need to do something else.

Dear Kohls, After Christmas I am going to raid your clearanced-Holiday-decor.  Be ready for me.

Dear Friends Who Let me Oogle Their Babies, Thank you.  You are feeding a baby-feverish lady.

Dear Work, I lost count of the number of times my eyes glazed over at the thought of you today.  You irritate me.  A lot.

Dear Work Trip, You will be my seventh of the year, and the last of 2011.  Hallelujah.  At least you are allowing me to see a friend... And experience 80+ degree weather.

Dear Hubby, This weekend was filled with laziness and lounging.  It was magical.

Wishing everyone a fantastic week!

Take Luck,
LP

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Christmassy

This weekend was filled with lots Christmassy... Activities.

After procrastinating all last week, we put up Christmas lights on our house yesterday.


Ryan did the labor, while I supervised.  And held the ladder.



After church today we ventured out to the mall to finish (yes, I said finish) Christmas shopping for our families.

Other than waiting for certain items to be shipped to us - we are done, done, done!

Now, I just need to start wrapping!

On our way home from shopping we picked out our Christmas tree, and I am happy to report that I didn't cry in the process.  

The last two years we've driven out to Hansville with my parents to buy our tree from a family friend's tree farm.  After being somewhat disappointed with two years of non-odiferous trees - we decided to change things up and just stop at a local pre-cut tree display.

It didn't take long for us to find a winner.  We must have looked like idiots with both of our heads shoved into the branches and joyfully exclaiming to each other, "It's odiferous!!" 


We got the tree safely home, set up, and lit.


It's odiferousness permeated our home immediately.

I got out our tub of Christmas decorations... Realized we have practically zero Christmas decorations... And put our ornaments on our smelly tree.


I found a little surprise in our Christmas tub.


Apparently Sonny doesn't feel like connecting with her inner Frosty. 

I think she prefers Blitzen.

I can't help but wonder if the right antler is flipping me off on purpose... Or on accident?

You decide.

Mom says she looks like a deer in headlights.  Ha!

It has been a wonderfully Christmassy weekend.

Take Luck,
LP

Friday, December 2, 2011

Fill in the Blank Friday

Time for another Fill in the Blank Friday with Lauren.


[1] The holiday season is rapidly approaching!  I can't believe it's already December 2nd.

[2] Snow makes me happy, happy, happy.  I love snow - especially when freshly fallen.  Sans footprints or tire tracks.

[3] The best comfort food to eat when it's cold out is chicken noodle soup.  Preferably from Panera.

[4] Winter is the best time for crafts, fires in the fireplace, and snuggling up under warm piles of blankets.

[5] I can hardly wait for getting our tree, putting up lights, baking cookies with Mom and Rachel (hello, cookie dough!) and hearing what my sister-in-law thinks about one of her gifts.  It's probably the one I am most excited to give.

[6] When it comes to holiday gifts I prefer to give.  I love buying gifts for loved ones, and usually have a hard time keeping my surprises secrets.

[7] If I were to rate my excitement about the holiday season on a scale from 1-10, I would say I am at about a 8.  I am really excited about Christmas this year and I have no idea why.  My eyes even got misty the other day just thinking about cutting down our Christmas tree.  Geesh.

That is all.

Wishing everyone a fantastic weekend!!

Take Luck,
 LP
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