Thursday, January 28, 2010

mmm, muffins

It seems like we have more food in this house for the new doggie than we do for us. Last night I made an impromptu French bread-type pizza for us humans. Then I had seen a recipe for French Breakfast Muffins over at Suburban Bliss so I made those for dessert last night/breakfast for this morning. "French" Night, it is. I even took pictures but, sadly, they weren't as good with my real camera as Melissa's were with her camera phone. Sigh... The muffins were pretty tasty last night, even better with coffee this morning. I think they'd be a great basic muffin recipe for you to add some mix-ins to as well. If you like Snickerdoodles (and you know you do), then try the recipe as written.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

wedding wednesday: strike a pose

After the ladies were all dolled up, we headed outside for some pictures. We had to be careful to avoid the men and early bird guests. So here's your first shot of the color of the ladies' dresses. I wanted to go with something fairly neutral so that the flowers would pop. Please also note that I think having each girl wear a different dress turned out fabulously. I think it helped everyone feel more comfortable and look great. (These two pics were actually taken post-ceremony.)


One of the things in the bridesmaids' gift bags were parasols. I thought they'd make for fun pictures and also keep the sun off of us (anything to help with the August heat). I think they're pretty awesome:


And then I got to pose (in my one, standard position) while each of the ladies took a turn. This is my Matron o' Honor (there's a baby in there!):

This baby, in fact:


And my Maid o' Honor (who has already re-worn her dress--woohoo!):


My best bud from college/college roommate (isn't her little bow cute?):


My SIL (we are apparently very entertained with one another):

My oldest friend (we've known each other an awful long time):

And her daughter, our lovely flower girl:

Honestly, I think they all looked fabulous. I love that they got to show their own personalities with their dresses, shoes, hairstyles, and make-up. And, again, how great did they do making their own bouquets?!

(All pics brought to us by the super talented Monique Montoya.)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

life list: own a dog again

Check.

We adopted this little Boxer girl yesterday. This was her ad on the rescue website:

HI...my name is FLO...I am a 1 1/2 year old female Boxer. They named me FLO because I am so sweet and I just roll with the flow where ever I go. Everyone who meets me says that I am just the sweetest little girl! You see, I was lost...and I got picked up by the county animal control. They put me in a large cage with lots of other dogs...but, that did not bother me...I just waited there because I knew that someone would come and see how sweet I am and get me out. Sure enough, one day a nice lady showed up and got me out of there. She put me in her car and I had a lovely ride to the vet. I am all healthy and now they are feeding me so that I can gain a little weight. However, I must admit that I am on the small side at about 45 pounds.

And here's her picture from when they first brought her in a few weeks ago:

And after some nice foster folks looked after her for a bit (she's actually still thinner than these pictures would have you believe):

And in the kitchen, chillin' after we all had breakfast:


There will be more pictures to come. I just didn't want to bother her. She is a small boxer but it does look like she could grow just a bit more. From what the foster mom could tell, she guessed she had been someone's pet. I would think so, too. She's very mild-mannered, she can walk on a leash, she knows that going outside means you should potty, she walked right into the crate after I put it together, she slept in the crate last night (with no accidents or whining). So far, so good!

Oh, and we're not sure of her name yet. Right now, it's Dog. Seeing as she was only in foster a few weeks, I'm betting she doesn't even know she was named Flo.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

weather realization

So it's beautiful today. Sunny, cloudless, high of 73. And I realized that with nice weather comes a complete unwillingness to work on job-related tasks. I would LOVE to be working in the yard. Everything is such a mess from the freeze and the cold and wet weather we've been having lately that has kept us indoors (you know, when we're actually home). I can't work in the yard, you say? Then could I just read this Dan Brown book? No, he's not the world's best writer but he sure lures me in. Sigh...

Yeah, perhaps living up north would do wonders for my productivity on the job but boy would I be miserable. So I'll sit here at the computer staring longingly out the window.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

wedding wednesday: getting beautified

Now what you've all been waiting for--wedding recaps!

On the morning of August 8th I woke up before the alarm. As I was going to bed the night before I thought of a million and one things I still needed to do. I jotted those items down as I thought of them and started marking things off that list when I woke up the next morning. Bridesmaid K had spent the night so we ate a little breakfast, threw all our stuff in the car, and headed off to get our hair did. We met Bridesmaid A and SIL there. I wasn't a Nazi (hear that, people who left "literature" in my front yard?!) regarding hair so the ladies got to pick their styles. I wanted something slightly different from my bridals and am so happy with how it turned out.

Once we were finished with hair, we broke for lunch at a little tea room. Nothing like dining with fabulous hair and no make-up. Rest assured, we did not walk down the aisle with bare faces. Make-up followed lunch and then we all headed up to town.

SIL and I stopped by the reception site first. I must say, things had come together in my absence (but you'll see more of that much later). Then off to the ceremony site. Once we got there, it was impossible to find the alleged conference room we were supposed to get dressed in. Yeah, after some frustration, we ended up finding it. A classroom. Not exactly picturesque. Sigh...

I'd like to tell you that all the wedding planning stress fell away on my wedding day. It didn't. I can't lie. But you know what? The pictures can.

As soon as my photographer got there, she stole my dress and shoes and they had a little photoshoot of their own.



Not pictured? The soles. My something blue was there. Rhinestones that spelled out "c + w" on one shoe and "08.08.09" on the other. Those shoes had such a good time that a few of my little gems fell right off.

What was I doing while my clothes were being photographed without me? Transferring music to my iPod. Music that was FOR THE CEREMONY. Oops. And quickly writing down one of our readings because my fancy printed copy was at home along with one of my readers (sick).

Moving on... There was a sneaky shot of the flower girl's pail (when in doubt, throw ribbon and a butterfly on it and call it decorated!):


And while we're talking flowers, here's my bouquet. I made it (and forced all the girls to make their own, too). See the butterflies? Yea! What else is in it? Green spider mums, green and orange hypericum berries, orange dahlias, cream and peach roses, and my lovely, lovely orange ranunculus.

It was time to hurriedly put on the fanciest dress I've ever owned:


I loved the back. Loved the beading. Loved the lace. Loved the cut. According to the David's Bridal website, it's an "allover beaded lace trumpet gown with empire waist and cap sleeves." It has a chapel-length train and the ivory lace really stands out against the champagne background.

And we all primped (and helped each other primp). See? Isn't the room beautiful?







And somewhere in there the best man came over with my gift from The Fiance. Remember how he proposed? Well, he put my gift in the base of another snowglobe. It was a diamond tennis bracelet, bezel set (setting is similar to this bigger, super expensive one). Since I wanted a gift that could be worn by our future daughter (or daughter-in-law...fingers crossed), we picked it out together. I love it. Different enough without losing it's timelessness.



And we were ready to go!


Up next? Formals for the ladies (where we reveal their dress color apparently).
(All pics brought to us by the lovely Monique Montoya.)

Monday, January 18, 2010

well, that's a first

I got home this morning and there was an envelope-sized plastic bag in the driveway. Inside it was a folded piece of paper and a rock (presumably to hold it down). The paper? Information about the KKK. Not at all what I was expecting.

+++++

Also? I'm thinking Facebook isn't good for me sometimes. The things people say make me nuts. I know we should be tolerant of other's opinions and I could just ignore what they have to say. In fact, it's probably good to be aware of other people's views. But geez oh man.

The first one was a link to an article about big pharmaceutical companies killing yet another star (after Brittany Murphey died). I can't even elaborate on that one or I'll get all riled up again.

Then yesterday, "Looks like the media has most of your sympathy when they show Haiti. Before you start dishing out the dollars and begging for the leftover orphans that Brangelina doesn't get.. check out the history of this place first."

My very reeled in response? "Yep, I do feel bad for tens of thousands of dead people and their families. I feel bad for children who are left without parents. Doesn't matter to me what happened in their past. Human suffering gets my sympathy."

Turns out (I think) that he has a problem with our government using tax payers' money to help them (without tax payers' permission). That makes me a little less angry and slightly less aghast. Still, I don't believe we have a say in how every dollar of our tax money gets spent. Isn't that why we elect officials? So they represent us?

I don't know, people. I've just been getting frustrated lately.

+++++

We've been deemed a fit home for a rescue dog. Good news. Then we find out that our first choice (by far) has been adopted. Good for her, sad for me. Regardless, we may have a new family member at the end of the week.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

wedding wednesday

Who doesn't enjoy a catchy title? Weekly wedding recaps seem like a better idea than just trudging through with nothing to break it up. Unfortunately, I didn't bring photos with me on the road this week. So stay tuned... For now, I'll just have to share this pic from the California wedding that was a few weeks after ours where The Hubby returned the favor for one of his groomsmen.


See that? It's the glee that comes from enjoying a wedding without having to plan it.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

holy moly, people

So, yeah, we did some volunteering yesterday...

When I went back to work after New Years I found out that Extreme Makeover was coming to our area. Rumor had it that the family lived in the adjacent town. Last Thursday the family and exact location was revealed. Yep, they live nearby. Crazy. They seem like great, deserving people. You'll have to tune in sometime in March for the details.

Rewind, oh, 7 seasons ago. The show was new. The host was from one of The Brother's and my favorite shows. Seemed like an interesting idea. Find some deserving folks with a virtually (or actually) unlivable home, tear it down, rebuild better, change a family. All in a week. A week. We loved the show. The Brother and I would watch in our separate homes, in our separate towns and call each other. We'd cry. Every week. The crying fathers on the show get to me every time. Sigh... These families help you feel so grateful. The community pulling together makes you feel proud (even when you're not a part of it).

Then The Boyfriend (at the time) came along. I forced him to watch the show and it warmed his little heart, too. I'll be honest, we don't catch every episode but--years later--I still cry. It's just with a different (or additional) man now. Throughout the years we've mentioned how cool it would be to help out on the show. We even mentioned it earlier this season.

So, yeah, we did some volunteering. We completed the online forms last Monday but never heard back. The internet information was mixed. People were saying they just showed up to volunteer and were accepted. Some said they were rejected since they hadn't personally received an email stating they were chosen to volunteer. We received a few emails asking for professional volunteers (framers, people who put up siding, etc.). Then we got one that said those spots were filled. Then yet another that listed some tasks that needed to be done but didn't specifically mention "professionals."

I was doubtful they'd let us go since the email didn't say "cjm, please help us." Wearing LOTS of layers in the near freezing weather, we showed up at the volunteer tent at about 5:30 yesterday morning. They let us right on the bus (after giving us the famous blue t-shirt and loaning us hardhats). My pink tool belt (made popular by one of the show's designers) made an appearance on site.

A few minutes later, we were there. The site was pretty quiet, not too many folks around. I worked on cleaning up for about 3 hours--sweeping (probably about 4000 sq ft of house) and picking up trash and scrap materials. We also moved pressboard and plywood and roofing materials and roof trusses. While we didn't get to literally "build that house," it felt good to be a part of it. It was amazing to watch the things that go into building a house so quickly. It was amazing to see the professionals work so efficiently. It was amazing to see how many people wanted to help out (over 3,000 applied to volunteer).

I never thought I'd be able to do this so it never made the Life List. Funny, how I thought meeting the Dalai Lama would be more attainable. Seriously, it was awesome and I can't wait for the show to air.

Side note? On Sunday night I was thinking that I wouldn't be able to go because I'd have to miss work and I have such a busy week this week (and next). I was feeling resentful and jealous that The Hubby was going to go without me. But after stewing in it for awhile, I realized that that was stupid. Work shouldn't keep you from living, especially when you have semi-flexible work hours. And, you know, turning in one thing late isn't going to kill you (but I'll probably end up getting it in right on the deadline anyway). So I told Hubby that I was going to go with him. He told me a story about when he chose a life experience over work. He told me that no one will ever look back and wish they worked more. I know this and I know he isn't the first person to say that but still...he's fantastic and I love him for it. Thanks, Hubby. Your support is lovely.

Monday, January 11, 2010

we're nothing if not well-rounded

Saturday? Mardi Gras Ball.

Today? Hardhats. More on this later (but EXTREME MAKEOVER: HOME EDITION!!!)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

married into royalty

Last night was my first Mardi Gras Ball. It was a good time. There were drinks and food and dancing and entertainment and finery and an appropriate level of Mardi Gras gaudiness. There was one wardrobe malfunction (a middle-aged, strapless-dress-wearing lady). Oh, yeah. And my FIL was the king:


Isn't he cute? I wish you could see his gold shoes better. At one point, the song that my husband and MIL danced to at our wedding came on. Dear Hubby was out of the room so his parents danced with each other. He made it back in time for us to switch partners. So, yeah, I danced with the king.

While the rest of us weren't official royalty, we certainly could have passed for it:


We had a real (prom-type) picture taken of the five of us so hopefully my dress will show up better there. I really like it but this is probably the worst angle to have viewed me in it. My hair was pulled off to the side away from the camera, my dress' bling is just barely peaking out (again, away from the camera), and you can't see my favorite features of it--the front's asymmetrical neckline and the back. Oh, well. But don't my SIL and MIL look fabulous? And how about the hubby? First time I've seen him in a tux. His jacket was his dad's, circa 1960.

After the party was, of course, the after party. It was hosted by the king and queen. We helped set up for it, and my husband had the great idea to make a trio of brownies. All were tasty and one type was especially cute. Props to him because he had only minimal supervision and advice from me. I will take credit for arranging them neatly on pretty trays. The ones on the outside of the first tray are a brownie/oatmeal cookie combo. The swirly ones are brownies with walnuts inside and white and milk chocolate swirled on top. And the super cute ones down below are brownies made in mini muffin pans with the centers pushed down so that you can fill them with an awesome cream cheese/white chocolate cream. And top with a raspberry, of course.



Edit: Better dress pics from my SIL (I mean, really, how often are we fancy? Gotta show it off!):

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

instead of resolutions

Sure, there are things I need to work on. Many of them are the same things I've needed to work on for years. And maybe I'll focus on some of them this year but to change things up a bit I think I'm going to focus on some Life List items. Like maybe these:

  • Go to at least one new ballpark.
  • And at least one new state.
  • Maybe work on the beginnings of having that first child.
  • Wouldn't hurt to have that 6-figure job I enjoy but no promises there...
  • If we both decide and can find one (or two) we like--own a dog (or two).
  • Continue the mac and cheese recipe hunt.
  • And maybe throw in the coconut cream pie while I'm at it.
  • Run again.
  • Take dance lessons with The Hubby.

I think that will keep me busy... How 'bout you? Any goals for 2010?

Also? I'd like to add to the 2010 list: "Blog about the wedding." Look out.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

it's a new dawn, it's a new day, it's a new life

It was a good holiday season. So good that I guess I was busy living in it instead of writing. Still trying to get down the rest of the Christmas decorations. The inside is done (except we have a nudie, dead tree in the corner) but the outside remains...

Seems like work got busier in December. You know, right when you'd like for things to ease up so you can enjoy other parts of life. But I realized that it felt good to do these work trips. I was being productive in a measurable way, something I've been missing (at least to the usual degree) in the past few months.

Between traveling for work and for the holidays, I was ready to just be at home. Don't get me wrong, I love traveling and enjoyed our numerous trips from last year but sometimes you just need to veg. That's what we did on New Year's Eve. We rented movies and ate at home and just hung out. We've since spent our days with a nice blend of hanging out with family and with each other, seeing movies and playing video games, sleeping in and taking naps. It's been exactly what I needed. It's felt so luxurious to be able to have one more day of it. And, what's this? Yet another day before going back to work? Awesome. So I'm off to enjoy.

A gift for you? I am enjoying The Avett Brothers and this song in particular. The Hubby is lucky I hadn't heard it before choosing a date.