May 12, 2009 at 8:49 pm | Posted in Family, Miscellaneous, Photography | 4 Comments

I haven’t been feeling particularly wordy lately.

I’ve been eagerly anticipating once again living with my favorite roommate, seriously bumming about saying goodbye to friends, family, and coworkers here, questioning what the future holds for me career-wise, and remaining hopeful that my grandma and uncle (who was recently diagnosed with leukemia) will be nursed back to health as quickly and painlessly as possible.

The weekend was spent in Milwaukee, where I got to see this guy:


Saturday, I spent time visiting with the fam, played cards with my grandma, mom, aunt, uncle, and cousin at the home my grandmother is recovering in, and went on a date with this guy (who looks significantly less scary behind a pint of beer):

On Sunday, we visited with my uncle, the godfather (because he really is my godfather), and had a nice Mother’s Day brunch with my mom.  I also enjoyed (taking pictures of) her garden, which is beginning to bloom, and Jason found a baby painted turtle in the yard.  Trevor was delighted!  Check it out:


welcoming another little someone to the family

April 29, 2009 at 7:59 pm | Posted in Family, Inspiration | 6 Comments

Jason’s sister, Bridget, and her Sean are expecting a new little bundle of joy to arrive sometime in September!  We couldn’t be more excited for them and we can’t wait to meet the little guy or gal!

So, in honor of them (and because Bridget asked), I’m going to share some of my very favorite nursery themes/ideas/images with all of you.  Yay!

For a boy:

I love this vintage rocket-themed room from Mike and McGee.  No, it’s not particularly baby-ish, but the theme would last at least through the little guy’s elementary years.

And I love the blue-green nursery created by The Stamford Wife.  I especially love the idea of using cards or pages from children’s books as nursery art – it’s cute AND super-affordable.

I love the bright and bold colors in this blue and orange nursery from Serena and Lilly.  So cute – and fun!  And, if you’re not-so-hot about the orange, you could definitely swap it out for yellow or even green instead.

I also love this adorable animal-themed nursery at Becoming-Home.  It’s adorable and nature-y without being too over-the-top.  I mean, check out that adorable monkey hanging from the tree!  Love him!  And, I totally think you could also pull this off if the babe is a boy OR a girl.

For a girl:

I love this pink and brown nursery found at Making it Lovely.  The neutral walls paired with brightly-colored bedding, curtains, and even a pink dresser make for a sophisticated – yet girly – nursery.

And this princessy-sweetness is seriously adorable.  I love the huge amounts of pink accented with white and just a bit of green.  (From Serena and Lily)

If you’re not into pink, how about this sweet blue floral scheme?  I love it’s non-pink girly-ness, and I love that the room is paired with a collection of things in varying pastel shades.  (Also from Serena and Lily)

I also love this not-quite-as-pink-but-still-girly room – a subtle blue on the walls paired with pinks, oranges, and yellows for a bright and modern nursery.  If nothing else, the adorable patterned butterflies on the wall are worth copying!  (From RateMySpace)  And, I think you could pull this look off with yellow walls, or green walls, or even pink walls.

Is it me, or are all baby rooms pretty darn adorable?  Between the tiny clothing and the toys, it would be really hard to go wrong.  Also difficult?  Choosing just one theme.

Alright, Bridget (and everyone else), I can’t wait to hear what your favorites are…  And I certainly can’t wait to find out whether the new one will be a niece or nephew!

the rest of the weekend

April 27, 2009 at 9:12 pm | Posted in Family, Michigan, Moving | 6 Comments

Barley and I skipped town Wednesday afternoon shortly before our home’s next owner arrived to show her family around.  This is worth mentioning because it marks the last time I’ll have to open my house to strangers.  No more making the bed with the 15 pillows my Realtor suggested were necessary to make it fluffy and fun!  No more hiding the unsightly dish rack under the sink!  No more stashing my toothbrush in the drawer before rushing off to work!  Yay!

We rolled into the Milwaukee area late Wednesday night, said hi to the fam, and hit the hay.  We were really tired.

Thursday, brother Trevor and I met my mom at the hospital and visited with my grandma for a little while.  She’s doing as well as someone who has been in the hospital for the past 2 months could do… we joked a little, talked about family/my move/Jason’s job, and decided what she should eat (and if anyone can tell me what lasagna rolls are or why a hospital would think that hospital-style Mahi Mahi would be an appealing choice, you get 10,000 points).  Anyways, it seems like everything with my grandma’s health is back and forth – forward 2 steps, back 1.  So, if you wanted to keep her in your prayers for a while longer, that would be sweet.  And, if you wanted to say a few words for my mom and aunt who have been staying with my Grandma, and for the rest of my family, that would be nice too.

My next stop was Kalamazoo, Michigan.  Jason took me to dinner at Fandago, where we had really good Tapas, and then we headed over to the Wine Loft for a drink.  Both places were quite swanky and delicious.  One of Jason’s colleagues plays in a jazz trio Thursday nights at the Wine Loft, and it was fantastic.  My favorite was the jazz version of Vanilla Ice’s Ice, Ice Baby.  So cool.  Also cool was that the Wine Loft is smoke-free.  (So far, my biggest complaint about Kalamazoo is that smoking is not banned from restaurants/bars).  After an hour or so at the Wine Loft, we headed over to the 411 Club to harass Jason’s boss watch Jason’s boss play jazz piano.  Somehow, shots were ordered and I spent most of the day Friday paying for that decision.  Ouch.  (who do I think I am? I am clearly not in college anymore, and you would have thought I learned that lesson 2 weeks ago.)

I spent Friday with our MI Realtor, looking at a whole bunch of houses that I will not be purchasing.  Friday evening, we caved and bought a TV for Jason’s apartment.  I was particularly excited that the friendly Best Buy salesman gave me a 10% discount when I asked for one – no coupon or anything!  I am insanely proud of myself, and will be using this technique for all major future purchases.  Jason was only slightly embarrassed.

We ate at the Hangar Bar & Grill, an airplane-themed bar with a mean pizza and great fries.  Then, back to the apartment to watch movies on the new TV.

Saturday was more house-hunting, tv-watching, and generally just being lazy.  We picked up soccer cleats and shinguards for Jason, who will be playing in his employer’s soccer league this spring.  I love that he’s working for a company that sponsors such cool events for its employees.  It’s so interesting to see how different things are when one is employed by a large company compared with a small company.  I’m not sure whether any of Jason’s previous employers could have fielded ONE soccer team, let alone an entire LEAGUE of teams.

Saturday night was eat-in night with more tv-watching.  Sunday was more of the same – lazy, lazy, lazy.  And then, it was time to start the long drive back.

I left early enough to have dinner with my parents and brother Trevor – the last 2 times I visited, I was only around for a few wakeful hours, so I thought it would be nice to have dinner and real conversations with them.

I made my return trip to MN this morning – tired of driving, sad about missing my husband, and totally anxious about missing work and quitting my job.  But!  We’re here safe and sound, and that is something to be thankful for.

a solution

April 16, 2009 at 8:35 pm | Posted in Family, Moving | 6 Comments

We managed to reach a compromise re: selling the house.  The paperwork will go through tomorrow and the buyer will be able to have an inspection; however, if we fail to get rid of the mold, the contract is void.

My advice to anyone selling their home through a relocation company is DOCUMENT EVERYTHING.  I went through our inspection report and noted which items were fixed, the day they were fixed, and who approved the fix.  Then, I noted which items did not need to be fixed per the relocation company.  I had about 4 items left, and listed who would be fixing them and the date and time of the appointment to fix them.

Jason wrote a little email to HR at his new company, and attached my documentation of everything, as well as emails/invoices confirming appointments made for repairs.  Then, something magical happened and I received a call from the relocation company that everything could move forward with the sale.

So, my other advice to anyone dealing with relocation companies is that IF YOU CAN’T GET ANYWHERE WITH THE RELOCATION COMPANY, ASK YOUR EMPLOYER TO HELP.

I’m certain that our ability to get this done is a function of our precise documentation of the situation and the email pushed up to the highest ranks of HR.

What a relief!  To celebrate, I had a huge scoop of ice cream for dinner.  Yay!

And, since I had some time to mess around with photos tonight, I thought I’d introduce you to this guy.  This is my little brother, and, judging from the old school Camaro in the background, I’d say he has claimed the coveted favorite child position in our family.

Seriously. What 11-year old has a Camaro?!?!  (I should mention that it might take him a few years to fix it up.  What a cool project!).

I am definitely going to need a solid plan of attack to reclaim my status as favorite child.

Kicked out

April 6, 2009 at 7:42 pm | Posted in Family, Miscellaneous, Moving, Uncategorized | 5 Comments

We spent much of our weekend kicked out of the house.  This is a good thing – we had 6 showings and a successful open house.  This is also a not-good thing – I am exhausted and want nothing more than to sit on the couch and watch TV, maybe craft a little bit, hang out with Jason and the doggy, and just generally ignore the fact that life as I know it is about to {temporarily} change in ways that might be less than fun.

Instead, though, we went out.

Saturday we celebrated 6 months of marriage.  I bought Jason a Tangy Taffy, and he didn’t complain too much when I pilfered some of the McDonalds Fries he ordered for lunch.  Because we are healthy and romantic like that.

Since we were unexpectedly kicked out of the house at 10:30 Saturday morning, I got the opportunity to prove that I can indeed shower, scream commands at my husband, and wash floors, dust, vacuum, and make the bed in 25 min or less.  That is what I like to call “multitasking” but I’m sure Jason has other names for the insanity that is his crazy, rushed, and stressed-out wife.  Happy Anniversary, honey! {ha, ha, you are stuck with me!}

We drove to Northfield to watch brother Robby’s LaCrosse game, arriving early enough to walk around the town for a bit, taking pictures, and reliving my college years.  Northfield is pretty much the cutest little town ever, and I wish I had taken better pictures to convince you all of that, but you’ll just have to believe me.

Mmm, yes.  We considered stopping in the Rueb and grabbing a beer, but it was still kind of early in the day.  I don’t think I’ve been in here since the week before college graduation, and I wonder what it would be like to go back.  I mean, I may or may not have used someone else’s ID to get in here and sing karaoke on the weekends.  Maybe. And this is one of those times that I am quite happy that digital photography and facebook came about AFTER I graduated.  Because you will NEVER see those pictures, and that is something we can all be very, very happy about.

Anyways.  We also took a few pictures of us and the dog, mostly because we were still killing time at that point, and also because there was a somewhat picture-esque sidewalk along the Canon River.  Barley was loving staring at the ducks.  Did he want to play?  Or eat?  We will never know.

And, Jason snapped a good one of me!  Even if Barley is still staring at the ducks.

We then headed over to the game, which happened to be the longest game in the history of sports, with the exception of that one recent basketball game involving Syracuse that went into like 6 overtimes.  You can tell how closely I follow this stuff.  Are you amazed and impressed that I am winning my March Madness pool?  By a lot?  {high-fives self.}

The game lasted 2 hours.  Do these things usually last this long?  I had no clue what was going on 99% of the time, and it was cold and overcast.  We saw Rob out on the field a few times, and his team won, so that was awesome.  Barley made a puppy friend, and spent the rest of the game either ignoring or trying to play with the little guy.

Jason found doggy treats in his pocket.  

We headed back to Minneapolis, made a quick stop at the Mall of America, and then celebrated our 6 months of marriage with pizza at Black Sheep Pizza.  Yummy!  (If you’re local and you haven’t been yet, you should go.  Or at least order pizza takeout, since the wait for a table can be long on the weekends.)

We spent Sunday afternoon running errands.  Sunday evening we went out to dinner with friends and then claimed some much-needed time with our couch and TV. 

Of course I have more pictures of dogs.

March 11, 2009 at 7:07 pm | Posted in Family, Photography | 7 Comments

Why!  Thank you for asking.  You missed the dog photos yesterday?  Great, because they’re back in full force today.

I *heart* Barley, but I really hope we do something that involves me taking pictures without dogs in them soon.  Because all of this lack-of-home-improving is really turning me into that crazy dog lady.  And that is not good for any of us, especially not the three of you still reading this.

Umm… at least today’s doggy pictures are mostly someone else’s dog?

This is Comet – he is the cutest little mini-barley puggle ever!

Trevor loves his puppy.  And, he is very lucky to even have a puppy… my sister, (other) brother, and I used to nag my mom for a dog when we were little, but would she let us have one?  No.  And then sweet little Trevor comes along, asks for a dog, and suddenly, there’s a puppy under the tree Christmas morning.  I bet you can guess who is the favorite child in our family! (although, I hope to still be in contention for the title.  T’s still got some sort of pre-teen angst issues to go through, and I did do a million loads of laundry last time I visited the ‘rents.)

I kind of love this shot of the matching dogs at the window.  I am certain I shouldn’t let them up on the window like that, but it’s too cute.

On Saturday, after my family left, we picked up our new Highlander!  It was super-exciting – our first new car!  And, I was so excited that I broke one of the levers to fold down the seats, so we have to take it back in for service.  Oops.  At least we’re still under warranty!

Jason and I spent the rest of the afternoon running errands (because we wanted an excuse to ride in the car).  We left the house with 6 boxes of books and other things, and came home with 2 small boxes and $30.  (We bought the rest of our dinnerware from Crate and Barrel with giftcards from the wedding, and now I’m excited to use them.  Only, I won’t be able to use them until after the move to Michigan because there’s no room to unpack/store them in our tiny kitchen.  So, future Michigan friends, I will be inviting you over for a dinner party with matching dinnerware and silverware.)

Anyways, you don’t care about dishes, and I really can’t blame you for that.  I didn’t care about them much until I got a new, pretty, matching set.  I’m sure the novelty will wear off once I realize that I have to actually COOK to enjoy my plates.  So, pictures of our new beast:

Barley was so excited about the car that he escaped from the house and tried to get a ride in it!  We took him for a ride later that night – I covered the back seat with a blanket, and Jason carried Barley out to the car so that he wouldn’t get muddy paws all over it.  It was ridiculous.

The leather seats that I insisted on.  I think they look smashing.  Love them.

Here she (he?) is again.  So pretty!  Yay!

The Game

March 10, 2009 at 8:08 pm | Posted in Family, Photography | 4 Comments

As I mentioned yesterday, my parents and brother Trevor drove up to see brother Robby’s hockey game on Friday.

The (St. Olaf) oles were en fuego on the ice – the best they’ve been yet – but they still managed to lose a very close game to their cross-town rivals, Carleton College.  We did get to sing the St. Olaf fight song twice, which delighted Jason to no end.  He loves it when herds of Scandinavian descendants pump their fists in the air yelling, “um ya ya” over and over.  Almost pre-teen Trevor was totally un-amused the entire time.  That is, until a group of drunk college girls started falling all over (almost on) him.  Then, he threatened to kick them (to me.  He certainly would NOT talk to them about it.).

Jason was also completely unamused by the lack of creative cheering by both sides, especially so since by the time graduation rolls around, these kids will all have spent over a million dollars on their college education.  Where’s the creativity?  And the brain power to come up with good cheers for your Division 3 sports teams?

Anyways, he did smirk when the Carleton fans yelled “What’s an Ole?” and he most certainly loved that the Olaf crowd yelled back “Ugly Chi-icks” to the Carleton fans (it is rumored that St. Olaf has more attractive girls than Carleton.  I think it’s true, but then again, I might be a little biased.).  I think, though, that his favorite part of the night was when a dude in a cordoroy jacket and paisely tie tried to pick a fight with another guy, and the guy just responded, “Seriously?  You’re wearing a dinner jacket.”  Trevor thought a full-out fight was going to happen right then and there, but I assured him that kids who attend either Olaf or Carleton should be smart enough to know that they’re not going to be good at fist-fighting.

Oh yes!  And there was a hockey game, too.  Did I mention that? The reason we were in the bleachers watching all of these crazy people in the first place was because Robby was playing hockey.  See?

the team (vintage-style)

the fans (that’s my blurry dad in the background)

Robby is #11

He got sent to the penalty box.  For slashing!  Naughty, naughty.

Robby got in a fight!  Only, he was just kind of standing there, and everyone else was fighting.  He would never get in a fight.  Excuse the head in the middle of the photo, but I had to share this fight shot.

All in all, a pretty good game (nicely done, Rob!).  I am amazed by the clarity of these pictures, since I was a million rows back, hiding behind 5,000 drunk college kids.  Also, most of the shots aren’t as blurry as you’d expect given that the players are constantly moving on the ice.  I love my camera.

Weekend Pictures

February 18, 2009 at 8:32 pm | Posted in Family, Photography | 2 Comments
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Jason somehow figured out how to get my laptop to start up.  Yay!  Here are some pictures of our weekend in Milwaukee…

This is my brother’s dog, Comet (held by my dad).  He is so little and adorable, but he has entirely too much energy.  He’s still puppy-ish, so we’re hoping he’ll grow out of it and calm down a bit.

Sometimes, the dogs love to play.  Other times, my lazy big dogg gets too tired to keep up with the little dog.

At some point in the weekend, we finally got the two dogs to calm down enough when around each other to take naps.  It was awesome.  And so adorable.

It only lasted about 20 minutes.

Then, they were back at it – playing with each other.

I like the sun flares on this one.

Technical Difficulties and Taco Soup

February 17, 2009 at 1:46 pm | Posted in Family, Food | 3 Comments
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My trusty 6-year old laptop died over the weekend.  As in, it won’t start up.  At all.  Grr…  I hate problems like these because I don’t know how to fix them myself, so I’m hoping that my awesome computer-saavy coworker will be able to fix it tomorrow.  Because you know I’ve got stuff on there that hasn’t been backed up.  Like, say, all of the pictures from our wedding and honeymoon, and an entire year’s worth of work.  So, friends, let this be a reminder to you to go back up your files.  Right now.

I kicked off the weekend with a manic cleaning and laundry spree Friday night (Jason was out of town on business until late Friday night).  Early Saturday morning, we hit the road and headed to Milwaukee for the weekend to help my mom out and visit my grandma (keep sending your prayers her way… she’s fighting hard, but things still aren’t working as they’re supposed to).  We made a whole bunch of meals to freeze so that they’d have dinners on nights that my mom is at the hospital, we cleaned my family’s house, and did their laundry.  And we helped little brother Trevor make a wig for his school’s colonial days.  It was a whirlwind of a weekend.  Sigh. I’m tired just thinking about it.

I did manage to crank out an awesome dinner last night.  I made this taco soup recipe.  Delish!  Jason even gave it kudos, which is amazing since he hates soup.  Also, I think this soup makes enough to feed 40, so I’ll be eating leftovers until the end of time (because he also hates leftovers).

No laptop = no pictures of my culinary success.  (So you’ll have to take my word for it).  Basically, I pulled out the shiny new crockpot and threw in: 2 cans kidney beans (rinsed/drained), 2 cans pinto beans (rinsed/drained), 2 cans corn, 1 large can diced tomatoes, 1 can tomatoes and chiles, 1 packet taco seasoning, 1 packet ranch dressing mix, 1 lb browned ground turkey (could also use hamburger/chicken, but we had turkey in the fridge).  Cook on Low 8-10 hrs, or high 4-5.  We ate the soup with a side of tostitos, and Jason topped his with insane amounts of hot sauce – I opted for cheese on mine instead (Jason also hates cheese.  Someday, I might rename this blog “food items hated by Jason” because it seems to be a recurring theme.  At least he’s progressed from his only-lettuce-eating days…).

My Gramma is sick!

February 11, 2009 at 7:06 am | Posted in Family | 4 Comments
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It’s been a hard week to live far away from family… (and hard to keep the blog upbeat, with heavy things weighing on my mind).

My baking gramma is sick!  The kind of sick that involves seizures and kidney failure.  I don’t know much about the specifics, but what I do know is that she could use all of your prayers and well-wishes in the upcoming weeks.

My baking gramma and I at one of my bridal showers last fall… isn’t the cake she made amazing?

My gramma is one tough cookie – she raised 6 kids all by herself after my grandpa passed away, has fought cancer, and survived heart surgery. Through everything, she keeps a good sense of humor and an even better sense of faith.  Her condition appears to be improving, but it looks like it will be a long and tough recovery period.  So… if you feel moved to do so, my family and I would really appreciate any prayers and positive thoughts you can send our way!

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