Thursday, December 31, 2009

Doggie Tales...

Yesterday morning I was running around the house unpacking things and putting stuff away, when I turned around and saw Franklin dreaming about his farm dog days. From October until last week, Franklin had been able to go outside whenever he wanted and run on a nine acre farm with two other farm dogs and a farm cat.  He was in heaven as he bounded up the hills with his ears flapping in the wind and his nose in the air smelling all of the new and different smells. The snow didn't hurt his enthusiasm for country living either.

When I saw him staring out the window yesterday, I know he was wanting someone to let him out so he could freely run, smell and pee on everything he could find. I know adjusting to city life again will take some time for him, so in the mean time my goal is to take him to the dog park more often and to take him on more walks. I think this is the least I can do since he has been such a trooper over the hardest months of our lives.

During our most trying times, he was a protector, a comforter, a snuggler, an entertainer, and just a really great dog. So here is to more walks and more trips to the dog park in 2010. I hope everyone has a great New Year and has someone, even if it's a dog, who is all of these things to you.  Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Putting life back together

Two days ago, I walked into my home for the first time in almost 11 weeks. As I drove through my neighborhood I was amazed how surreal everything looked. I had thought about this moment for weeks and wondered how I would feel as I walked back into my life. Physically speaking very little had changed in our neighborhood. But, as I sat in my car in the garage I teared up. I was thankful to be home but also nervous about what the future holds.

As I sat there, I thought about how much my husband and I have both grown and matured. Really, I think even our dog has matured. He went from a city dog to a farm dog. Although I know he loved being a farm dog, he reverted back to his city dog roots and come inside when it got cold or rainy or was anything less than abundantly sunny.

Going back to human growth in unfortunate husband and I don't have kids, and besides our super-fantastic dog, we haven't really had anything to take care so when it became apparent that we were going to be the main care takers for my husband's mom as she struggled with and eventually succumbed to lung cancer it forced us both to grow up. It forced us to really put other people first and be more patient and understanding people. For me, this experience has made me a more empathetic and compassionate person and with the new year coming up my goal is to continue these traits.

I would also like to remember everyday to be thankful. Not everyday will be perfect and in fact, some will be downright hard but there is always something to be thankful for.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Thankful for...

Happiness is the only good. The time to be happy is now. The place to be happy is here. The way to be happy is to make others so. 

-Robert Green Ingersoll

It's been a while since I've posted and a lot has changed in my life. My family and I have lost an important member of our family, a main pillar really. And while we are still searching for meaning in all of this and trying to develop a new sense of normal, it's also still  important for all of us to remember what we are thankful for. Today, I am thankful for family. 

My husband and I have a great family who has pulled together to help us care for his Mom while she was battling Stage 4 metastatic lung cancer. With the help of hospice we were able to care for her at home and make her as comfortable as possible, but that didn't make the situation easier.  Since my mother-in-law passed away our family has remained strong and supportive of one another. 

As we prepare to travel home after the holidays, the memories I hope take with me from the past few months is how our families have supported us and when we were weak they were strong and vice versa. I also hope that we always remember that although this has been a difficult time, we are blessed to have one another.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

My World Cup Dream...

Ever since I was a little girl I've loved soccer. I remember the first World Cup games I watched in 1994. I was in eighth grade and it made me want to go for a run and get into shape so I could try out for the high school soccer team. Unfortunately though, that enthusiasm faded and I never tried out for high school soccer. 

I haven't kept up on my soccer as much in recent years, but when I heard the World Cup in 2010 is going to be in South Africa - somewhere I really to go - I started making plans. But, my husband and my mom were not as excited as I was about going to South Africa. So, after some comprises and a promise that for my 30th birthday we will go to Paris, I have now accepted that my World Cup experience will occur in front of the T.V. instead.

Last month, I was watching the news when I heard that the last World Cup qualifier game for the USA team was going to be at RFK Stadium in Washington, DC. I immediately told my husband that I had to go. I was so excited about it that my wonderful husband bought me tickets the next day. 

So, on a cold and dreary October evening I got a little piece of my World Cup dream.  The energy and excitement was amazing. In a city where political affiliations can determine your friendships, last night, everyone, except for the Costa Rica fans, was a part of Team U.S.A.   

After a hard fought first half, Team U.S.A was down 2-0. But, late in the second half, Team U.S.A was reenergized by scoring one goal around the 71st minute and in the final moments of the game the U.S team scored again, tying the score at 2-2.  

Although this has been a hard week for Team U.S.A, with the absence of teammate Charlie Davies after he was involved in a very serious car accident early Tuesday morning in D.C. They played a great game and I am so grateful that I got to be a part of the excitement. I look forward to watching Team U.S.A win in South Africa next Summer. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Food, Friends and Family...

Last weekend, my husband and I traveled to Missouri to see our families, and throw an anniversary party for my parents. We spent most of the weekend cooking and eating, but it was a wonderful time and a great fall weekend.  

When we landed the temperature was a brisk 46 degrees, a stark contrast to the 80 degrees it was suppose to be in Northern VA that day. Our first stop in Missouri was lunch at Sonic, my favorite fast-food place. The closest one to us in VA is 45 minutes away and it's definitely something I miss from home.
After lunch, we spent the next hour helping my brother with his chemistry homework. I didn't so much as help as watch TV while my husband and my brother discussed chemistry equations and formulas.

For the anniversary party, I decided on a Fall theme. The weather in Missouri has been fall-like for several weeks now so it was perfect. I put together a menu full of fall dishes like butternut squash soup, harvest vegetables, honey glazed carrots, creamy spinach, baked mac-n-cheese and steaks, pork loin and hamburgers.

The best part, though, was the cake we had for dessert. About a month ago, I asked my brother to find a picture of my parents and their wedding cake. I thought it would be fun to have a replica made for the party. My brother found the perfect picture and I contacted Sonja of Celebrations by Sonja. She did the cake for my wedding and my family and I have been looking for an excuse to get another one. The cake was vanilla with a strawberry cream filling like my wedding cake. It was a beautiful cake and it tasted even better than I remembered.

The party was a great success. It was an evening full of laughing, looking at old pictures and catching up. Our families had a great time and I know my parents were so excited to see everyone. We look forward to seeing everyone at the next party.

Cake by Celebrations by Sonja

Friday, October 9, 2009

Friday Fall Finds...

The end of another week is upon us.  This week was full of abundant sunshine and wonderfully cool weather. When the weather began to cool down a few weeks ago, I started looking for a cute pair of wrist warmers or fingerless gloves. I really like fingerless gloves and wrist warmers because they make doggie duty so much easier, but they still keep my forever cold hands warm. I found the perfect pair from NataJane who sells these adorable wrist warmers at her Etsy shop. These are adorable and will definitely not work for doggie duty. 
wrist gloves- purple

Photos credits: NataJane

Thursday, October 8, 2009

My book-love...

"Everything in the world exists in order to end up as a book." 
Stephan MallarmeFrench poet, 1842-189

I love books, all types of books. I love walking into a bookstore or the public library and looking at books.  When I'm flipping through a book, I imagine all of the hard work, the worry, and the sleepless nights that each author put into each word and idea of a book.  I use to spend hours scouring the New York Times Bestsellers list and the Barnes & Noble Bestsellers list in search of my next great read.  I don't have the time now to hunt for my next book and I think this is actually a good thing because I think in my obsession to find great books, I missed a lot of really good books that would've meant a lot to me.  

   Last weekend, my favorite radio show, This American Life discussed "The Book that Changed My Life".  This program got me thinking about the books I've read and if any of them had changed my life.  I finally decided that there are a lot of books that have had an impact on my life.  But, I'm not sure if there is one that has drastically changed it. My current book-love is A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg.

I love this book because it is a heart-warming walk through the important moments in Molly's life as told through food. These are experiences that most of us have had (although I have yet to go to Paris) but what I really loved about the book was being able to catch a glimpse of another person's important moments. Also, Molly's descriptions of her father's love for Paris touched my heart and made me want to hop on a plane and go straight to a cafe for a pain au chocolat and a croissant. This book is warm and lovely and if you're looking for a book to snuggle up with at the end of a long day, this is your book.    

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

My blue suede shoes...

Yesterday, I took a trip to DSW to search for a pair of boots.  I've been in search of stylish kitten heel, pointy toe boots for the past three years. But, I can't find any to fit my large calves and as I found out yesterday even the extended calf boots don't fit me.  So instead of walking out with boots, I found a lovely pair of blue suede shoes by Kelly & Katie. I am so excited about them.

I have many pairs of shoes that make me happy by just looking at them and these are no exception. What shoes make you happy just by putting them on?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Here's to thirty years of love, laughter and happiness...

Thirty years ago today, my parents got married. Twenty-eight years later, I married my wonderful husband on the same date. Both weddings were lovely. They were full of love and laughter, friends and family.  

My mom has told me the story of the night before her wedding many times. It didn't consist of people running around trying to take care of last minute details or frantic break downs, no, it was my mom, my dad and all of their friends and family sitting around the table at my Grandparent's house playing cards. I feel incredibly blessed to have grown-up with the same people sitting at that table being a part of my life and showing me the true meaning of love and family.   

Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad! Thank you for sharing your wedding date, your wisdom and your love. And to my husband, thank you for being patient, kind and always encouraging. I couldn't ask for more. Happy Anniversary.

Photos by Preston Dial Photography.  Cake by Celebrations by Sonja.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Happy Friday!

Happy Friday! I hope everyone has a great weekend full of joyful moments. The cool weather this week reminded me of the time I spent in London two years ago. It was October, the air was cool and crisp and the leaves were just beginning to change colors. It was the perfect time to be a tourist and to enjoy the beauty of London, which is my favorite city in the whole world.

Fall is definitely my favorite season. I love the smell of the air first thing in the morning during Fall. I love watching the slow transition of the leaves changing colors. I love the rich smells like nutmeg and cinnamon, and the yummy foods of Fall. But, what I really love is being able to wear jeans and sweaters. I love feeling cozy and warm without having to bundle up in coats and scarves. No matter where you are for Fall, I hope you take a moment to enjoy the sights and sounds of the changing of the seasons.   

Thursday, October 1, 2009

An evening with U2...

Tuesday night, my husband and and I went to see U2 at FedEx Field in Landover, MD.  This has been a dream of my husbands for as long as I can remember, so we wanted to be as close as possible.  We decided the field level tickets were the best way to go. We were so close to the band and had such a great view that the pain from the hours of standing went away as soon as they took the stage.

My favorite song was City of Blinding Lights, but One was also great. U2 paid tribute to Aung San Suu Kyi, the Burmese pro-democracy leader who has been under house arrest for the last 21 years with Walk On.  They also thanked and honored Senator Ted Kennedy for his contributions to society with New Year's Day, and all of the wonderful accomplishments of Eunice Kennedy Shriver and Tim Shriver with Beautiful Day.  
It was a great night and we met a lot of fun people.  We took tons of pictures and I wanted to share a few of my favorites.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Dancing through life...

My husband and I at Fall Freestyles 2009

A little over two years ago my husband and I were in the midst of planning our wedding.  One of the preparations that I was very concerned with was our first dance.  We wanted to do more than sway to our favorite song so we enlisted the help of a local dance studio, Arthur Murray.  We started with a six lesson block which quickly turned into eight when I decided we needed more help.  Two years later we are still dancing because my husband enjoyed it so much and he convinced me to keep dancing.  

We have met a lot of really wonderful people at the dance studio and we have learned valuable communication lessons through dancing.  Last weekend, we competed in our fourth dance competition.  During the preparation for these events, we have learned many lessons but I think the most important lesson I've learned is how to be a team player.  Things in dance, much like life, don't always go how you think they will go.  There will be a missed signal and you'll turn the wrong way or as you're moving around the floor you and everyone else will converge on the same corner at the same time causing a traffic jam.  When these things happen it's easy to get frustrated with your partner, especially if you're the lady and it is your job to follow wherever your he goes.  But, it's important to remember that you're both doing the best you can and to remember that some days your on your game and some days you're not. It's during those off-times that you need your partner to be supportive and maybe pull more weight.  I know in life I sometimes forget these lessons, so it's good for me to be reminded of these lessons and how to be a good team player. 

Although I continue to have a love-hate relationship with dance, it has made my life better because it allows for quality time with my husband and has improved our communication skills.  I would definitely recommend trying it. You will meet a lot of fun people and maybe find a hidden talent.    

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Brave New World

Hi everyone! This is my first blog post... ever.  I'm excited and nervous about embarking on this type of public adventure.  I look forward to growing and changing my blog as I learn more about blogging, and as I continue to grow and change.  For now, though, welcome to my lovely little adventures.  This is my effort to learn new things like making baked goods without help from Duncan Hines or Pillsbury,  and continue to grow in other things, like learning to finally like dancing the triple swing (not going to happen).  I hope you come along for the adventures, we'll have a good time and if nothing else we'll probably laugh a lot. 



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