Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Menu Planning Tuesday!

Life is good!  It's been extremely busy lately, which explains the lack of posts.  However, I'm going to make a concerted effort to start posting regularly again.  Heck, I can always squeeze in a knitting post or two!  Speaking of, I'm almost done with my Gan Gan's Christmas shawl!

Other than that, Thanksgiving has come and gone.  It's strange to me that we're already at the end of November 2011.  Normally, we head to the hill country for Thanksgiving, but not this year.  I had some doctor appointments to sort out, so we stayed in town.  That's not to say we didn't still have a wonderful Thanksgiving!  We celebrated with Bryan's Papa and Mimi, and Aunt Kris and the kiddos, on Wednesday night, and then we spent all day Thursday with Bouncer and Alicia and his parents!  It was a wonderful day and--thanks to Alicia--a wonderful meal!  The Aggie football game could have had a happier ending, but it was a wonderful holiday overall.

Oh, and Bryan finished painting the living room!  Now, we just have to touch up the stairwell, and paint our bedroom and bath!

Anyway, that's a brief update--on to the menu plan this week!

Breakfast:  some combination of egg, toast, fruit and/or yogurt with cottage cheese with milk
Lunch:  turkey and cheese sandwich or PBJ for me, leftovers or buying for Bryan
MONDAY:  We went out to eat.
TUESDAY: Grilled Shrimp Tostadas.
WEDNESDAY: Gan Gan's Meatloaf
FRIDAY:  Salad with Pan-fried Lime Chicken
SATURDAY:  Bryan has a ride, so I may or may not be on my own.  If I am--sushi!  If not, out to eat!
SUNDAY: Spaghetti with Meatballs and Garlic Bread

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Knitting Up A Storm: Baby Booties!

No, they're not for me.

I have several amazing friends who have either just popped out a baby or who are about to!  I am so happy for them and their hubbies, and for the little ones who are about to enter into some pretty amazing, loving families.  To celebrate their arrival to this crazy party we call life, I bought a great knitting pattern book called Blankets, Booties and Bears by Debbie Bliss and picked out several booty patterns to attempt.

These projects were not without their challenges, especially because they were all knit on size 2 needles.  Talk about tiny knitting needles!  Also, these were my first attempts at baby booties, and as such, incorporated my first attempts at several knitting techniques.  But it was so much fun to watch these projects grow and come together!

The first set was a pair of purple and pink booties for Kaz and Ron's Eva, who should make her appearance towards the very end of the year!

 The second pair of booties were little blue boots for Arena and James's Andrew, who arrived a bit ahead of schedule.  He's growing and getting stronger every day and sure is a cutie!

The second set of booties was actually two pairs of cute little boots!  Melissa and Dustin are welcoming twin girls this coming January!  I didn't want to make anything "matchy matchy", so I reversed the colors instead!

If the babies get their daddies' feet, then these will fit right away!  If not, they might have to grow into them.  But either way, these booties will keep their little toes all nice and cozy!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Menu Planning Wednesday!

Hello y'all! I promise there are posts in the works that have nothing to do with menu planning. There's a knitting project post and a life update post and a friends post and a faith post. But all of that has to wait until I can actually type on a keyboard again instead of playing hunt-and-peck on the IPad's touchscreen. Yes, the RA is still that bad. But things could still be worse! And let me just say I am so grateful for the blessing that is my wonderful husband. Anyway, here's this week's menu plan.
Breakfast: eggs w/ toast, yogurt w/ fruit
Lunch: Ham and Cheese Sandwich or leftovers
Wednesday: Feta and Basil Stuffed Chicken
Thursday: Fettuccine w/ Alfredo Sauce and Immitation Crab Meat
Friday: Big Salad w/ Lime Chicken Tenders
Saturday: Leftovers or out to eat
Sunday: Spaghetti and Meatballs w/ Garlic Bread

Monday, October 24, 2011

Menu Planning Monday!!!

I'm posting this from my hubby's IPad! Why? Well, I am SUPER-flared today and can't type on an actual keyboard. Heck, even this touchscreen is really hard because of my silly elbows. Gah. However, it is Monday and that means I need to menu plan! After all, I can't slack off only a week after determining to get back in the swing of things! Now, I have to admit that we ended up going out to eat several times last week with friends who were in from out of town, which means I will recycle most of my plan from last week. Also, this is going to be a pretty short post...I really don't know how long I can make my hands cooperate. On that note, here's the plan! Breakfast:  I have finally discovered Greek yogurt! I live the Chiobani in particular. That's breakfast, along with some fresh fruit! Lunch:  sometimes sushi, sometimes sandwich, sometimes a wrap Dinner: MONDAY:  Salad with Pan-fried Lime Chicken (we didn't have it last week) TUESDAY: Feta and Basil Stuffed Chicken WEDNESDAY: Rigatoni with Tomato, Basil and Olive Sauce THURSDAY:  Grilled Shrimp Tostadas FRIDAY:  Macaroni and Cheese with Carmalized Onions and (maybe) Ham Chunks SATURDAY:  Leftovers SUNDAY:  Spaghetti and Meatballs with Garlic Bread

Monday, October 17, 2011

Menu Planning Monday! Getting Back To It!

My Aggie Football Menu Planning post aside, I've really been slacking on my menu planning.
Bad stay-at-home wife, bad!  Lol.
Honestly, I've been suffering from cooking burnout--and since we don't have a kiddo yet, I just decided to take a hiatus.  We've been eating out quite a bit.  However, it's time to get back up on the cooking horse.

Well, my wonderful hubby has informed me that he misses my cooking!  I didn't realize that my cooking was good enough to miss!  Add that to the fact that I've been watching our food budget slowly creep up the past couple of months...yeah, it's definitely time to start menu planning and cooking once again!

I'm actually writing this post this past Friday (hello future self!), mostly because I've got plenty of time today to really look at recipes and try to liven up my routine dinner choices.  So, anyway, on to the menu plan for this week!

Breakfast:  some combination of egg, toast, fruit and/or yogurt with cottage cheese with milk
Lunch:  turkey and cheese sandwich or PBJ for me, leftovers or buying for Bryan
MONDAY:  Chicken with Creamy Mushrooms and Peas
TUESDAY: Sit and Stitch!  I'll pick something up on the way.
WEDNESDAY: Rigatoni with Tomato, Basil and Olive Sauce
THURSDAY:  Grilled Shrimp Tostadas
FRIDAY:  Salad with Pan-fried Lime Chicken
SATURDAY:  Bryan has a ride, so I may or may not be on my own.  If I am--sushi!  If not, out to eat!
SUNDAY:  Macaroni and Cheese with Carmalized Onions and (maybe) Ham Chunks

Friday, October 14, 2011

Small Rant: That Would Have Been Good to Know

Let me start off by saying life is fantastic!
My husband is wonderful and supportive, my pups are (pretty) good dogs, and I've got amazing friends.
We might not be pregnant yet, but we still have three more months to try (including this one), and I've been feeling very positive about the whole thing the past couple of days.

OK, now onto the rant.  As I mentioned in my Sharing The Journey post, there have been several surprises on this whole ride towards (hopefully) parenthood.  And they're starting to kinda piss me off.  

So, here's my list of things it would have been good to know:

1) Long-term methotrexate use can lead to hormonal issues and infertility.  Which IS listed in the side effects roll call, but apparently this is NOT one of the side effects that reverse after MTX is out of your system.
That would have been good to know.

2) Long-term NSAID use has a high correlation with LUFS.  This supposedly self-corrects once the NSAIDS are out of your system, but you have to KNOW to stop taking them.
That would have been good to know.

3) Texas does not legally require insurance companies to cover IVF--so they don't.  At all.  Even when the same insurance company offers a policy that DOES cover IVF in another state.
That would have been good to know.

4) My insurance only actually covered Clomid treatment and monitoring until the dose made me ovulate.  This is referred to as the "testing" period.  Now, we're on our own.
That would have been good to know.

5) OK, so I already knew this from dealing with my RA meds, but it bears repeating:  ALWAYS check the list of covered medications and check which ones need prior approval BEFORE going to the pharmacy to fill the prescription. 

Whew.  I feel better now.  Thanks for listening.
And now it's time to clean this place up and figure out dinner for tonight--Bouncer and Alicia are coming over!  Yay!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Wedding Week 2011!

I confess that I think of my husband and his two best friends from growing up as the Three Amigos.  Bryan and Andy and Mark all met in the fifth grade.  In the years that followed, their group was joined by others, and the whole crew has stayed close all the way until present-day.  But the Three Amigos were the first core unit.

Bryan and I got married back in May 2008.

Mark and Alicia got married back in April of 2010.

And last week, October 2011, Andy and Iman had a beautiful backyard fall wedding here in Texas!
I don't have a wedding picture for them yet, so here's the beautiful couple on their last trip to Texas.

The wedding was so much fun, and so were the days leading up to it!
Originally, the wedding was going to be at a local venue, but as the day got closer, Andy and Iman realized that what they truly wanted for their wedding day was an intimate backyard wedding.  So, with that change of plans, we all got to work as soon as they got in town!

Iman and I ran errands Monday morning.  We picked up her wedding dress and I got to see her try it on!  It was the perfect dress for her--absolutely beautiful, classy and fun!  Then we picked Emily up from the airport and headed to Andy's parents' house.  The wedding was to be in their backyard (which is a couple of acres), so we made a game plan for decorating.  Then the girls and I made a Hobby Lobby run and finally met up with Andy and Bryan for dinner.

Tuesday it was back to the house to work on decorations.  The boys ran their own errands and went to pick up Andy's suit.  The rest of us has our own tasks.
Emily was painting signs for parking and the bride and groom table:

Iman started on the centerpieces:

Tori (Andy's sister) was working on the pumpkin photo-holders for each table:

And I was decorating the prayers/blessings/advice tree:

Towards the end of the day, the four of us combined our powers to knock out the centerpieces!

Tuesday night, Bryan, Mark and Brandon threw Andy a bachelor's party here at our house, so we girls took ourselves to Iman's hotel!  We mixed up some drinks and spent a relaxing evening watching My Big Fat Greek Wedding--after all, it was a topical movie!

Wednesday, the boys were focused on getting the pretty lights strung over where the dance floor would be assembled, so we girls plus Andy's mom headed to a girls' lunch and then to the nail salon!  Iman had NEVER had a manicure or pedicure, and I decided it was a necessary experience for the day before her wedding.  Emily and Tori emphatically agreed!  I took them to the salon by my house--it's the best place ever--and Iman loved it!

Wednesday was the rehearsal dinner, where we also got to meet Iman's family and friends PJ and Jerilyn, who stayed at our house.  We all headed to our respective sleeping spots and were back up early Thursday morning--The Wedding Day!!!  Emily and I worked frantically to assemble the programs, with help from Jerilyn and Tori once the backyard was decorated.

Bryan left early to go pick up our surprise for Andy and Iman--a rented white Ford Mustang convertible getaway car!  They thought they were going to use my Santa Fe...yeah, that wasn't going to happen.  I love my car but it is in NO WAY a suitable getaway car for such an amazing couple!

I jetted home with just enough time to spare to change into my dress and jump into the convertible.  Thanks to two stalled vehicles and a wreck, Bryan and I pulled in JUST in time!  I borrowed a hairbrush and Bryan ran up to get the instructions on playing the ceremony music.  Then the wedding started!  It was beautiful, and the weather cooperated perfectly, aside from a little wind.

I wish I had pictures to share of the wedding and reception!  Iman looked gorgeous and Andy looked so happy!  The wrote their own vows, which were heartfelt and very touching.  The reception was a blast--plenty of dancing and laughing and celebrating.  We sat with Mark and Alicia, Brandon, Ruth, Diamante and Jerilyn at the "Pasadena, CA" table.  It was a wonderful time, and then we blew bubbles as the couple left in the Mustang!

Tear-down went quickly, and we got home and tumbled into bed.  The next morning, we had breakfast with the families and the happy couple and got to wish them a wonderful honeymoon.  It was a busy, crazy week, but SO MUCH FUN!!!  And it was such an honor to be able to be a part of Andy and Iman's big day!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sharing the Journey

It's been quite some time since I posted anything about our trying to add a little one to our family.  Really, there just hasn't been much to share, other than my mounting impatience and raging baby fever lol.  And I think I've shared that enough.

I'd love to say that something big has changed--but it hasn't.  We're still trying, I'm still trying to fight impatience off with a stick, and am still way too prone to playing peek-a-boo with random kiddos in restaurants.  And bookstores.  And the grocery store.  And basically anywhere I go lol.

It's been about six months since we really started trying, and about ten months since I went off my RA meds.  I'm now flared pretty badly--I haven't knitted in a WHOLE WEEK--and am back on 10 mg of prednisone a day.  Prednisone is one of the very few RA drugs that is considered safe during pregnancy, so I finally gave in and got back on it while we're trying.  My rheumatologist wasn't all that happy at my July appointment when I still wasn't pregnant.  We decided it was time to go to my OBGyn and make sure that everything was working properly.

Well, it wasn't.
Apparently, even though I've had a regular period every month since February, I have not been ovulating.
At all.

Honestly, I was relieved to find that out.  I mean, I still wasn't pregnant after 5 months of trying and I was starting to worry that something might be wrong.  And as anyone who has ever had to deal with wondering about something medical knows--it's always better to know for sure what's going on.

At my OB's recommendation, I made an appointment with Dr. W--the reproductive endocrinologist that she works closely with.  Once again, I find myself so thankful for my amazing doctors--not only are they incredible in and of themselves, but they send my to the best of the best when I need to go elsewhere.
Dr. W ran the blood work and did ultrasounds and all sorts of tests.  He even took time out of one of his days at the office down here to go over to the hospital and perform my HSG (a test to check if your tubes are open).  The results of all of this were: a) my blood work looked good, b) my uterine lining looked fantastic, c) my follicles also looked fantastic and d) my tubes are open.

Which of course left me wondering, what the hell?  If everything looks good to go, why am I not ovulating???

Dr. W and I sat down and talked about all the meds that I've been taking for my RA.  When I told him that I had been on methotrexate for about 4 years before going off everything, he had an "aha!" look on his face.  Apparently, apart from being a bitch of a drug all by itself, taking methotrexate long-term can also seriously mess with fertility.  It can actually cause damage to your follicles, and thus hurt your egg count and quality.  I didn't really have a choice about going on methotrexate, but still--that would have been nice to know.

Luckily for me, all the tests we had run showed that the latter hadn't happened--my follicles and eggs were healthy and plentiful.  However, Dr. W concluded that the methotrexate probably did mess with my hormone levels and production enough to stop ovulation.

The solution?
Or rather, the generic--clomiphene citrate.  It's a fertility drug used to trigger ovulation--in other words, it will hopefully make me lay eggs like a chicken!  So far, everything is looking promising, and we think the drug is working...which means we finally have an actual shot at getting pregnant!  So exciting!!!

Of course, there's no timeline guarantee, or guarantee period.  One of the most annoying and frustrating things in this whole process has been people telling me to be patient.  A close second is the whole God's timing/plan comment.  A close third is that it--pregnancy--will happen when we stop trying/least expect it.

If you know me, you know I have big issues with comments about God's plan and God's timing.
I do agree that timing is a incredibly important factor in life; however, it seems to me those comments are mostly made in an unthinking attempt to help people feel better about life not happening on their schedule or about things not happening in the manner they want.
As for the other comments, I guess it's just that most people don't really understand our situation--even if I've already explained it to them.  In response to "be patient":  we have a deadline for getting to try--it's this coming January.  At that point, the amount of joint damage and disease progression will reach a point where I will have to get back on my meds.  This brings me to the "when we stop trying/least expect it":  if/when the point comes when I have to get back on my meds, I CANNOT get pregnant...and if I do I will have to abort.  The drugs I take are catastrophic for babies.  So, if we're not pregnant by January, I'm getting an IUD put in.  Because of all of this, telling me to be patient or telling me that after we've stopped trying is when we'll get pregnant is very, very aggravating, even though I know those saying it mean well.

Venting done, I am trying to be patient and at peace about the whole thing.  If we're going to get pregnant, it will happen sometime in the next few months.  At this point, there's nothing more I can do than what I'm already doing.  If we're not pregnant by January, we're done--we can't afford IVF.  I'll be crushed for awhile, I'm sure, but then I'll buy us some plane tickets to go see my friend in Japan, hit Hawaii on the way back, and be doing much better by the time I get home.  That said, in that scenario, maybe in another several years we can look into adoption--if my health is stable enough.  And if not, then I can spoil the hell out of all my nieces and nephews from friends and family!

Anyway, that's the update on our particular journey to being parents.  I'm very optimistic about our chances--especially since the Clomid seems to be working so well.  That said, any good thoughts, prayers, or vibes y'all want to send our way would be much appreciated!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Menu Planning Monday: Aggie Football Season is here!!!

I'm so excited to get back to regular menu planning!  Bryan was gone for 10 days for work, and it's nice to get back to normal...and to make progress on our home projects that were put on hold while he was gone.  Specifically, we're making progress on painting the interior of the house!

The dining room is now done, and the kitchen will be finished tonight!  I wish I could say I was a big help, but it's really been all my wonderful hubby.  My hands have been a wreck, so my contribution has been cleaning out the roller and paint brush after he's done painting, and helping pick all the paint stuff up.  

Other than that, Aggie football is FINALLY back!!!  WHOOP!!!

Bryan's Papa and Mimi invited us to go to the Idaho game this last Saturday, and we had a blast!  We got to see my cousin Morgan and his girlfriend Ariana and Bryan's cousin Brooke--all Class of 2015!  

We spent some time before the game tailgating with Bryan's Uncle David and Aunt Amy (both Aggies as well) and Brooke and Claire (a future Aggie!), and then headed to the Fan Zone outside of Kyle Field to meet up with Morgan and Ariana for a bit.  At the game, we also got to see my cousin Joseph--Class of 2004--and wife Jill!

The game itself was a blow-out!  The final score was Aggies 37, Idaho 7.  That said, our boys were a bit sloppy, especially on offense.  Hopefully they tighten up their game by this coming Saturday for the Oklahoma State game.  I love getting to go to Aggie football games with Bryan's Papa and Mimi--they're such amazing people and it's so wonderful to get to spend time with them!  I'm super-excited that we get to go with them next week too!  I love Aggie football season!

On that note, here's our menu plan for the next week!
Breakfast:  some combination of egg, toast, fruit and/or yogurt with cottage cheese with milk
Lunch:  turkey and cheese sandwich or PBJ for me, leftovers or buying for Bryan
MONDAY: Crab Meat Salad w/ fresh fruit and a roll.
TUESDAY: Sit and Stitch!  I'll pick something up on the way.
WEDNESDAY:  Spaghetti and garlic bread!
THURSDAY: Salad with Pan-Fried Chicken Strips
FRIDAY:  Pita Pizzas
SUNDAY:  Gan Gan's Meatloaf 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Where Were You? 9.11.2001

We will never forget.

I can't believe it's been 10 years.

I remember the morning of September 11th, 2001 very clearly.
It was a beautiful morning, and I was a junior at Klein High School.  First period was theater with Ms. Frost.  I loved that class.  I don't remember exactly what we were doing in there that day...probably rehearsing some duet piece or monologue.  I heard some of my classmates talking about a plane crash--a plane somewhere had hit a building.  We didn't know the details, but the general attitude was one of "What was that pilot doing, anyway?"  We all assumed it was some sort of horrible accident due to negligence.

The bell ending first period rang, and I headed from the theater classroom in the auditorium through the common area and down the hall of the main building.  Our high school was overcrowded, so walking down the hall always felt like swimming against a river current.  I made it to my second period class--AP Biology with Mrs. Ishee.  Class was held in a lab, and as I took my seat at the second lab table back, one of my classmates asked "Did you hear?"  I said something about hearing about a plane crashing into a building and my classmate just stared at me.

"Two planes hit the World Trade Center in New York."

I though, "Two?!  How could that happen?"

As I asked myself that question, our principal--I don't remember if Mr. Grove was still there or if it was Mr. Huff--came over the speakers.  Mrs. Ishee told us to quiet down and listen, and a complete hush fell over the classroom as we heard that there had been a terrorist attack in NYC.  Planes had been flown into the World Trade Center towers and the South Tower had collapsed.  It was the quietest biology class we ever had.

Of course, Mrs. Ishee continued teaching.  We knew other teachers had their televisions on, watching the news as it happened, but we had to try to force ourselves to focus on biology.  About halfway through the period, we heard lots of yelling coming from other classrooms.  Mrs. Ishee let a student go find out what was happening, and that was how we found out the North Tower had collapsed as well.

The rest of the period is a blur.  Heck, the rest of the school day was a blur--we spent the day watching teachers' televisions and trying to make sense of what was happening.  I remember walking from 2nd period to 3rd period, along the hall of the main building, and thinking, "Right here.  The Main Building, Klein High School, 2nd period AP Biology with Mrs. Ishee.  This is where I was when I found out.  I will never forget."  I still remember where I was in that hall--the bricks and linoleum and the pictures of alumni--when I realized that this was my generation's equivalent of the Kennedy assassination, of the MLK assassination, of Pearl Harbour.  No one would ever forget where they were that day.

After I got home, I found out that my little brother--who was in 8th grade at the time--had watched the second plane hit the South Tower live on CNN before he left for school that morning.  I found out that the Pentagon had been hit as well, and found out about Flight 93 and the passengers' bravery that thwarted the hijackers aboard that plane.  

Later that night, we went to a prayer group with our youth group.  We prayed for everyone involved.  Everyone was scared and many were in tears.  I just kept seeing the images of the New York firefighters and police officers trying to save people and falling victim themselves.  My dad is a police officer, and he was called in as soon as everyone realized what was actually happening.  Houston--with it's oil refineries and plants and ship channel--was a plausible target.  The funny thing is, I don't remember being scared that evening.  I remember feeling helpless, but also being furious--almost a "Don't you DARE come here" mentality.  Looking back, that was probably a defense mechanism on my part, or maybe I had just exhausted my fear and sadness during the day. 

As the facts behind the attacks unfolded, I realized that the world was about to change, that America would not--and could not afford--to stay the same.  I remember watching in awe as the entire nation came together, and feeling the incredible sense of unity.  I remember driving in my S10 Chevy pickup and listening to Alan Jackson's "Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning", and being so thankful for faith, hope and love.  Today, I can still feel an echo of that unity and outpouring of love as I sit here, watching the memorials on TV and watching the footage being replayed from that day.  I'm sending up prayers for all those out there who have had to live without their loved ones for the past 10 years, and for America, that we may remember the lessons that were so costly to learn, and that we remember that, when it comes down to it, we are all in this together.

We will never forget.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Hello? Hello!

Howdy y'all!
So who's the bad blogger?  That would be me.  It's been a looong time since I neglected this thing for a whole month.  As with previous such occasions, it was mostly due to a) having a lot going on and b) having a lot on my mind.  This post is about part a). :-)

One of the absolute highlights of the last month was our trip to Messina Hof Winery, up in Bryan, TX.  On site at the winery there is a lovely little bed and breakfast with several rooms, each decorated in a particular romantic or wine-related theme.  For example, there are the Lancelot-and-Guinevere room and the Napoleon-and-Josephine rooms as well as the Messina room and the Hof room.  The foyer is gorgeous, with antique furniture and a beautiful chandelier.

We stayed in the Messina room!  
It had a wonderfully huge bathtub and an enchanting balcony/porch that looked off into the forest out back.  I loved getting to watch the birds and the squirrels in the morning!

Mark and Alicia went up the same weekend, and we had a blast together!  Each morning there was a "European" champagne brunch, where mimosas were offered and the food--from the fresh fruit to the freshly made crepes--was delicious.  We arrived Saturday evening, and relaxed in the foyer for a bit.

Later, we went down to the wine bar where we each had a glass of wine and Bryan and I split and cheese and cracker tray.  On Sunday we went on the noon wine tour.  We learned a lot about the history of Messina Hof and, since it was the first winery in Texas, quite a bit about the history of wine making in our state.  We also got to try yummy wine, of course!  And we made repeated trips to the little lake to feed the turtles!

Sunday afternoon we attended a wine appreciation class covering the influences and impacts different barreling woods and techniques have on the taste and aging of wine.  And we got to try even more yummy wine!  We then went and enjoyed a splendid meal at the winery restaurant and sat in the room that looked out into the vineyard.

That evening we spent some more time at the wine bar, and then we played a great game of Settlers of Catan.  I lost, of course, but Alicia won even though the boys were trying to team up against her!  The next morning we had breakfast and then checked out, heading back to Spring to get the pups from my parents house and then go home.  It was a wonderful, relaxing, and super-fun weekend!

The other highlight of the past month was this past weekend.
Bryan flew out for this year's field test on Saturday, and not long afterwards I loaded the girls up in the car and headed for Fredericksburg!  Mom and Dad went up too for their wedding anniversary.  We had a wonderful Labor Day weekend with my Gan Gan and the family!  The only damper on it all was tracking the Bastrop fire and thinking about how many homes and lives were being destroyed.  I had driven through Bastrop on my way in on Sunday--I still can't believe it was in flames not 24 hours later.

Mom and Dad headed home on Monday, detouring around the Bastrop fire and having to detour again around the fire in Magnolia.  They made it home safely, and I stayed in Fredericksburg until Wednesday.  I wanted to spend time with my Gan Gan!  She and I talked and talked, went out for lunch, did a little shopping, and just hung out.  I love getting to spend time with my grandmother as an adult!  I also got to spend time with my cousins Brooke and Jenna Kay, which was wonderful and a ton of fun.

Haley and Annabelle LOVED Gan Gan's backyard, and loved having Penny and Dixie there to play with them for the weekend.  

After the other pups had left, my two still spent most of every day outside--the weather was beautiful and cool!  They sure did wear themselves out tho lol.  

Of course, I felt a bit bad for the pups--when we travel we only bring on kennel.  I'm so glad the girls know how to share!  It might have been a bit cozy, but they traveled like champs, and we made it home after enjoying a wonderful weekend.  That said, the fires still burning are a sobering tragedy.  There is so much smoke in the sky right now, even miles and miles away from the main fires, that the hills themselves were hazy as I was driving home on I-10--and no, it wasn't just my dirty windshield.

Now, I'm home.  I've been working on some knitting projects--baby booties to be precise.  No, they are NOT for me--I have two friends who are both due December-January, so these booties are for them.  They sure are fun!  Other than that, I'm watching movies and cleaning house--and updating my blog!--and counting down the days until Bryan gets home!  The pups are also waiting patiently lol.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

What I'm Loving Wednesday!

I haven't done a What I'm Loving Wednesday in about a month!  Crazy how time gets away from you.  Anyway, this week has been ok so far.  I made it back to water aerobics yesterday for the first time since June and went to Sit&Stitch last night.  Of course, today I'm pretty flared, so I'm taking it easy.  Here's hoping I get to go to water aerobics again tomorrow!  On Sunday, Bryan tried to fix the vent issue our dryer was having and ended up breaking the dryer in the process, so he's spent his evenings this week trying to fix both the vent issue and the dryer itself.  I hope he can fix it, but if not, that just means I get a shiny new dryer AND washer--gotta have the matching set, after all ;-).

Anyway, on to what I'm loving this Wednesday!  If you want to see what everyone else is loving or share what you're loving today, link up here!

1)  Murder, She Wrote!  This show has always been one of my favorites, and I rediscovered today that Netflix has just about the whole series on streaming!  So, while I'm taking it easy, I'm watching Jessica Fletcher solve various murders with intelligence, wit, grace and keen observations skills.

2)  Penguin cups!  These cups are holdovers from my hubby's college townhouse!  They make me happy just looking at them.

3)  Fruit smoothies!  For the past couple of days I've been using my Margaritaville mixer to make some yummy fresh fruit and ice smoothies.  I think today I'll run to the store and buy some frozen fruit to use--that way the ice is already in the fruit and it's a bit more cost-effective than buying fresh fruit every day.

4)  My new coffee/tea mug!  I bought it at Park Avenue Yarns last night after wistfully walking by it for about a month lol.  The little sheep makes me happy and it's green on the inside--my favorite color!

5)  My current knitting project--a nice dark green wool scarf for my friend Lindsay!  I'm using the basket-weave 3x3 pattern and it's turning out beautifully!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Menu Planning Monday

This last weekend was a good one, and, of course, I forgot a single picture!
It was my mama's birthday, and she, Dad, Aunt Candy, Gan Gan, Brooke and her friend Halley all headed down this way.  Austin came in from Austin (which always makes me giggle a bit) and the whole lot of us went down to the island for Mexican food and Italian ice and custard at Rita's.  Then we came back to the house and drank wine!  Well, mom and I did lol.  Everyone else watched a movie and Bryan and Austin went and hung out on the back porch.

Brooke and Halley were supposed to stay here with us until Tuesday.  We were going to go see a movie today and hang out, head to the beach tomorrow, and then on Tuesday we were going to go to the zoo on the way to my parents' house.  But just before the parental units left on Saturday, we figured out that Brooke was running a fever.  She was sick so she and Halley ended up going back with everyone and I believe back home yesterday.  I wish they could have stayed, but it's important that she get better soon...after all, her senior year is just around the corner!

So, Brooke, if you're reading this:  FEEL BETTER SOON!!!  :-D

The upside was that Austin did get to stay the weekend!  I love it when he and Diego come to visit!  We spent yesterday watching a documentary about the Dark Ages--or rather, I watched while Bryan and Austin napped.  Then Austin and I watched several episodes of Bleach and Bryan worked on building the first of our cedar end tables for the game room upstairs--it's not completely finished yet, but its already so pretty!!!  We're still deciding on whether we want two or three up there---we'll see how the first two look and decide from there.  I love my hubby so much!  He's so skillful at so many things...I'm so proud of him!

So, that was our weekend!  And here's the menu plan for this week:
Breakfast:  some combination of egg, toast, fruit and/or yogurt with cottage cheese with milk
Lunch:  turkey and cheese sandwich or PBJ for me, leftovers or buying for Bryan
MONDAY:  Garlicky Shrimp Bake--I didn't actually end up making this last week.
TUESDAY: Sit and Stitch!  I'll pick something up on the way.
WEDNESDAY:  Spaghetti and garlic bread!
THURSDAY:  Nice big salad with imitation crab meat and bread!
FRIDAY:  Pita Pizzas
SATURDAY:  Probably out to eat.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

I Won!!!


My friend Arena has one of the best blogs ever: The Nerd's Wife!  It's all about her marriage to "The Nerd"--who is also a friend of my hubby's from back in college.  They are both absolute sweethearts and such an amazing couple!  Along with all the nerdy things she's learned and experienced in her marriage, she also shares her passions for her family, reading, cooking, and photography.  Her blog was actually the reason I finally did something with this one lol.

Another super-fun aspect of her blog is her AWESOME giveaways!  A couple of weeks ago, she had a giveaway for an 8"x10"x.75" canvas print from Easy Canvas Prints.  The canvas that Arena had made was absolutely lovely, so I entered the giveaway thinking how wonderful it would be to have an 8"x10" canvas for the bedroom.

And I won!!!!!!

Now, the fun part!  We're painting the bedroom in a light blue, and going with a beachy feel and decor.  So, I've been going through Bryan and my pictures from our honeymoon in Aruba and our Costa Rica vacation.  I don't really want to use a picture with people in it, so I'm focusing on the scenic shots that we took.  I've narrowed it down to 3 main choices, with a few "runner up" choices.  When Bryan gets home today, we'll make our final choice!

Here's the main three:
 Aruba 2008

 Aruba 2008

Aruba 2008

And here are the runner-ups:
 Costa Rica 2010

 Costa Rica 2010

 Costa Rica 2010

 Aruba 2008

Aruba 2008

So what do y'all think?:-D


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