Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas 2010

This Christmas was an especially great one. It was a Christmas of firsts, Rob and I got to spend part of the holiday weekend with both of our families, Santa was very good to us, and it even snowed.

Christmas Eve morning was spent with Ann, John and Tom at Rob's mom's house. We exchanged gifts and had a nice brunch. That afternoon we drove to my parent's house in Summerville, SC, which was about a 4 1/2 hour trip. We arrived a little after 6pm, and had our traditional Christmas Eve dinner of party food and appetizers, took pictures by the tree and opened 1 gift.

Christmas morning we all slept in until 9am (even Miss Roxanne who usually gets up at 6/7am!), took our time exchanging gifts, and had a later breakfast afterwards. The rest of the day was spent playing Bananagrams, playing ball in the back yard with Roxanne, and just hanging out with each other. My Mom made a delish dinner of beef tenderloin with a cranberry sauce, and our traditional napa cabbage salad and cheesy potatoes. And we all ate more cookies/mini cheesecakes than we care to remember.

It meant a lot to Rob and I to finally spend our first Christmas together. Waking up with him and opening our stockings and gifts on Christmas morning and eating Christmas dinner together was much better than a "Merry Christmas, Babe" phone call.

It was also Roxanne's first Christmas, so of course we took a lot of pictures, gave her more treats than she should have had, and video taped her 'opening' her stocking. Rob and I both agree she is one of the best things that has happened to us this year. She is such a cute, smart and funny dog, and of course now we can't picture our lives without her!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Thanks Mother Nature

While Rob might be thinking..."What the heck is this? I thought we moved to Atlanta for warmer weather?!" I like to think of the recent snow in Georgia/South Carolina as a Christmas gift from Mother Nature, because unlike Rob, I like snow. Last year around this time, my flight home to SC was cancelled and my trip was pushed back a day because of the large amount of snow we got in Boston. So to go from a foot of snow one year to no snow the next would have been a little too much for me to handle. So again I say "thanks" to Mother Nature for making my transition to the South a little easier. And Roxanne wants to say thanks too, because she loves eating the snow!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010



This weekend middle sister Lisa graduated from college. It feels like I just graduated from college, how time flies. I had a nice weekend with my family and our good family friends Ted and Wendy in State College, PA, celebrating her achievement. Now she will move on to the next chapter...moving south to South Carolina and searching for a full time middle/high school teaching position.

Lisa attending PSU was really our last tie to PA, so it is bittersweet that she is now an alum and no longer a resident of Happy Valley. But maybe a better way to look at it is that now finally all of our family members are in the same part of the country once again. After all, you can still cheer for the Nittany Lions from the South!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Christmas cookies and peppermint bark

Rob and I have eaten more than enough cookies this past week, but since it's December and Christmas only comes once a year we're not going to feel guilty about it. In fact, we're going to keep eating cookies because right now there are about 50 more cut out cookies in our refrigerator.

Cookie week started out last Saturday at Rob's mom's house, where I experienced my first Smith women cookie baking weekend. Rob's grandma and grandpa, great aunt Sara, and aunt Maureen drove down from Michigan, and Rob's mom's home basically turned into a bakery with cookies taking up all available table space. I was introduced to many cookies that I had never made before, including one of my new favorites- Kiffels- squares of pastry dough folded into a log shape with a nut filling and sprinkled with sugar (the white cookies pictured below on the left).

Every year I say I want to make peppermint bark, because it looks so good in the stores but it's expensive considering it's just chocolate and peppermint candy. Well, my first attempt didn't go as planned, because when I went to break the sheet of chocolate into pieces the dark and white layers of chocolate completely separated from each other. Pretty disappointing after how long it takes to slowly melt the chocolates and then let each layer set. I think the problem was that I didn't let the dark chocolate layer sit out in room temperature long enough before I poured the white chocolate on top. It had been in the refrigerator so long hardening, that when I took it out it was pretty cold, which didn't allow it to melt enough to bind with the white chocolate. Anyway, of course the first thing I did was tell my mom about my problem, and she told me to melt the dark chocolate and drizzle it over the white peppermint pieces. That is what I ended up doing, and it turned out pretty good.

One thing we missed out on at cookie weekend were the cut out cookies, because they made these Sunday night after we had left. So I used my wonderful cinnamon red kitchen aid mixer to mix up enough dough to make at least 6 dozen cut outs. I made snowmen, stockings, candy canes, holly leaves, gingerbread men and stars. Thursday night after puppy class Rob and I decorated 4 of the 6 shapes. Don't get me wrong, I am so happy I have a husband that actually enjoys decorating cookies with me, but we definitely had different takes on the decorating. I wanted the cookies to be "pretty" and he wanted the cookies to be "fun with a lot of stuff on them." Rob knew as soon as I brought out my camera that these pictures were going on the blog, so here they are.

Rob's cookies


I keep telling Rob he has to bring a tray of these into work to share before we eat all of them ourselves. I hope they don't all disappear this weekend!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

I'll be in Cleopatra's Needle

I just ordered my scopoderm patches from a New Zealand pharmacy discounter online. This can only mean one thing...our cruise is right around the corner!! 24 days away to be exact.

The vacation plan is as follows...
-Friday Dec. 31st (New Years Eve) make the 7 hour drive from Atlanta to Orlando, FL. We'll meet my parents and sisters at the hotel and celebrate NYE together, starting with dinner at the Irish pub so we can also celebrate their new year at 7pm.

-Saturday Jan. 1st (New Years Day) the troops are splitting up. My mom and Michelle are going to spend the day at the Disney parks. I love Disney World, but I also love football. So, I'll be going with my dad and Lisa to the Outback Bowl in Tampa, where Penn State will take on the Florida Gators. Rob was originally going to go to the PSU game with us, until it was announced that his team was also going to be in a Florida bowl game. It's Michigan vs Miss State in the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, and Rob and his bro Tom will be there cheering on Michigan.

-Sunday Jan. 2nd we drive to Port Canaveral and board Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas! We'll stop in the Bahamas, St. Thomas and St. Maarten, maybe do some sort of snorkeling excursion, go to the beach, hopefully enjoy hot weather, too much good food at all hours of the day/night, fun drinks, shows, maybe Dad will do karaoke, maybe Rob will lose his shirt off of the top deck, maybe Lisa will use a coupon to do a free shot of tequila in a jewelry store, shopping and relaxing, I can't wait!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Growing up, I never liked meatloaf. Nothing against my mom's meatloaf, which my Dad and sister Lisa love, but I think there were a few reasons I wasn't a fan of meatloaf night. First, the idea of all that unknown meat (it was probably just ground beef, but at the time I didn't know that) shaped into a loaf did not look appealing. Second, it was always served with gravy instead of the sweet tomato/ketchup topping. I'm not a big gravy fan either. I don't think I have ever made it or eaten it besides on Thanksgiving. And third, I didn't know how many variations of meatloaf recipes there are and that all meatloaf isn't the same.

Once I left for college I was able to avoid meatloaf altogether. Then I started working with the ladies at the group home who loved meatloaf, and I learned how to make one for them. Short on time, spices and interest in the meal, I took the short cut with the McCormick spice pack mixed with ground beef or turkey and some breadcrumbs. It turned out ok, but I still wasn't eating it myself. Then last year after Rob and I moved in together, he asked if we could have meatloaf for dinner some night- one of his favorite meals. Of course I said sure, and that is when I discovered how many different kinds of meatloaf you could make.

Many meatloaf recipes later, I have found another one that I will defintely be keeping in our meatloaf dinner rotation. My brother-in-law's girlfriend, Linnea, gave me the Mary Mac's Tea Room cookbook for my birthday. I have never eaten at the Southern cooking Atlanta restaurant, but Linnea says it is one of her favorites. The first recipe I tried was the Italian Turkey and Vegetable Meatloaf. They also call it the Holiday Meatloaf because of the green and red colors in it.

I will say it was the biggest meatloaf I have ever made, which is why I decided to omit the bag of chopped spinach the recipe called for. Maybe next time I will suck it up and add it to make an even bigger loaf. The picture to the left is only half of the final product. Basically you mix together 1 lb turkey, 1 lb sausage, 1 green & 1 red bell pepper, 1 sweet onion, 1 cup oatmeal, 8 cloves garlic, egg, olive oil, dried basil, dried parsley and oregano, salt and pepper. Bake for an hour at 350 degrees. One of the best parts of this was the tomato sauce topping. Over medium-low heat melt tablespoon of butter, add in 1 cup canned tomato sauce, 1/4 cup light brown sugar, and 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce and cook for 10 minutes. Rob and I both give it two thumbs up, which says something coming from a once meatloaf-hater.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Rob's rebuttal

After being told my last blog entry wasn't very nice towards my new hubby, I decided to keep things fair. While Rob is not about to write a blog entry about his pet peeves or things I do that get on his nerves, I can take a guess at what those things might be.

I would say my driving skills might be his number one pet peeve, but then again I have issues with his driving as well. So while he would probably get a higher score on a drivers ed/road test than I would, I still refuse to tell you I am a horrible driver, and I think he would agree with that statement.

Rob most likely noticed his number one pet peeve with me once we moved in together, or he noticed it before then but it didn't affect him and his living space so he didn't say anything about it. What I didn't realize I have a problem with, until he told me, is that I never close things. The pantry door, closet door, and especially my dresser drawers, are always left partially to completely open. I guess I do this because I am lazy and it is easier to leave things open and easily accessible for the next time. But he is right in that leaving my drawers open just makes the bedroom look unnecessarily messy, so I should work on that.

What else...he doesn't like the scraping sound I sometimes make with my fork in my salad bowl, "the tuck" I do every night before bed with the sheets and comforter instead of just pulling them straight up, how I use a kleenex multiple times before throwing it out and getting a new one, when I leave the shower curtain bunched up after showering, the slightly disturbing murder mystery 48 hour specials I insist on watching, or my obsession with using dryer balls when doing laundry even though they significantly increase the noise level of the dryer. I'm sure there are more, but what couple doesn't have a list of pet peeves or complain about their partner's quirks now and then? I hope I'm still complaining about the way Rob eats his ice cream 50 years from now.

Friday, December 3, 2010

The ice cream is too cold

I have a pet peeve, a pet peeve I didn't even know existed until Rob. It is one thing when people occasionally chew with their mouth open. It's annoying, yes, but it normally doesn't last long and I can get over it. What drives me nuts is how my husband eats his ice cream- chewing it with his mouth open.

I wish I was more patient with this habit of his, but I'm not. I can't remember if he always ate his ice cream like this, like back in the day in Warren Towers when we'd get pints of Ben and Jerry's at Late Nite and eat them for a snack (embarrassing). He probably did, but when you are starting out in a relationship you don't tend to notice the little potentially annoying things when you are head over heels for the person. Even if you do notice something, the last thing you are going to do is tell them about it. More than likely you will just push it out of your mind and concentrate on something else. But we've been together for almost 7 years now, and while we might be newlyweds, this is still a different time than when we were 1st year love birds.

This is typically what happens maybe once every month or two: We'll be on the couch some evening watching TV and one of us will dish out the ice cream. Ice cream is not a staple in our freezer, so that is why this is happening occasionally and not every week. I usually finish mine first, and then all I hear is Rob continuing to eat his. I stare at him for a while, before he asks "What?" I say " are eating your ice cream loud, it's bothering me." He replies with the all too clever, "I know but the ice cream is too cold, I can't eat it with my mouth shut." Ahh! Not true, I eat mine with my mouth shut. I say, "I tell you this every time, you know it drives me nuts." "I know but it's cold." And he eats about 2 bites in silence, before it gets loud all over again. This may be one habit I will never be able to break him of, so I guess I just have to get over it already. But, if he goes back for seconds, I will have to leave the room.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Holiday Season

First, happy late Thanksgiving to everyone! We had quite a full week, with the first of our visitors arriving last Monday evening (sister Michelle) and the last of them leaving yesterday (Mom and sister Lisa). It was fun extending the holiday throughout a whole week, instead of just celebrating one day. Rob and I felt very fortunate to have all of the ones we love the most together for Thanksgiving. My Mom drove in from South Carolina, Michelle from Clemson, Dad from Alabama and Lisa flew from PA. Rob's Dad, step-mom Kimberly and Grandma Porter flew in from Detroit, John's son Justin and his wife Hilary drove up from Florida, Tom made the 15 minute drive from Atlanta to Norcross and his girlfriend Linnea was in town too. And my Mother-in-law and John graciously hosted everyone for the big Thanksgiving feast at their new home. Family, delicious food, much to be grateful for...what more could we ask for on our 1st Thanksgiving as newlyweds?

And now we're gearing up for the next big holiday. The apartment is decorated, and tonight we went over to Ann and John's to help them decorate their tree...which was especially nice since ours is a mini. It's going to be an extra special one for us, because not only is it our first Christmas as a married couple, it will be our first Christmas spent together period! We have always exchanged gifts early (last year on Dec. 15th), gone to our respective homes for Christmas, and shared the post-Christmas morning "Merry Christmas" phone call around 11am. It is somewhat humorous that the first year we will actually be together on Christmas morning we have decided not to buy each other gifts, but regardless, it will be so nice just to be able to share the day with him. And of course we are also excited for Roxanne's first Christmas :) Lets hope she doesn't destroy my parents' tree.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Crazy little bride for a day

Yesterday I had a mission: Track down and purchase as much Flourish in Robin's Egg Blue Wedgwood china as I could. This required me driving to 3 different Macy's stores, being referred to as a "little bride" multiple times by a sales associate, and inspecting multiple plates and cups and saucers for imperfections. It took me back to last June, feeling like a crazy bride again where only 1 thing mattered. Back then it was searching for tiny picture frames for the table numbers, or the perfect color ribbon to tie together the flip flops. This time I was in search of more of my beautiful china place settings, because sadly my pattern has been DISCONTINUED.

I have to say, Macy's you frustrate me. I first realized something was up with my china in September when I looked up my Macy's wedding registry and the china was no longer available for purchase online. When I called Macy's to ask them about it, they weren't totally sure why it wasn't online anymore, sometimes things go on and off the website, but that it was still available in the stores. I went to a few Macy's stores and yes it was still on display, so I stopped worrying about it.

Fast forward to 2 days ago when Rob's grandma emails us about a situation with our china. She ordered us a nice serving piece for our wedding gift back in July, and Macy's told her and us that it was on back order and we wouldn't get the dish until January. That seemed like a long time to wait, but no big deal. Well, Grandma got a letter from Macy's last week saying that the china pattern was discontinued so we would not be getting the serving piece at all. Luckily she is a determined, strong woman and wasn't going to let Macy's win this one, so she went to 4 different Macy's and somehow tracked down the serving piece. Woo hoo! After she informed us of this, I decided I needed to track down more place settings and accent plates asap. I'm happy to report that I found the last available place settings in the Atlanta area, and we are now all stocked up in the china department.

Rob and I had to stop and laugh, because to be honest, all of the china we got as wedding gifts is still boxed up and sitting in our dining room buffet table. Essentially it is untouched...besides the occasional time I take a piece out to say how pretty it is. And here I was freaking out that I didn't have enough of the so far untouched china. But I knew my freaking out wasn't unfounded, because my mom and the older Macy's sales woman reassured me that I was right to be tracking this stuff down now before it is harder to come by, more expensive and before one of my pieces inevitably breaks and I wish I had a replacement.

When I told Rob that I needed to get the appropriate storage materials from the Container Store to finally un-box and store the china in the buffet table he couldn't believe I was going to un-box it all. He pointed out that we would be moving again in the next few years, and how much easier it would be to move the china if it was still in the box. I told him he had a point, but that life is too short, we are using the good china now and then, especially after yesterday's adventures. "You're going to use it for a regular Tuesday night dinner, just the 2 of us?" I told him yes, that's exactly what I'm going to do.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Christmas ornaments

Had to share this with all my Delta readers out there. My sister Michelle gave me my first Tri Delta Christmas ornament for my birthday, isn't it super cute?

My Christmas ornament collection has really grown over the past couple of years...we have Hawaii honeymoon ornaments (3), a banana leaf angel ornament from Bermuda, a wood carved ornament from Burlington, VT, one from the Kennedy Space Center, a SanFran cable car, a BU hockey ornament, a cruise ship ornament, etc etc etc. This was supposed to be the first year Rob and I got a real tree, as there was just literally no space in our last apartment for a real tree. It finally hit me a few weeks ago that no, there will be no real tree in our apartment this Christmas. Pine needles are one of Roxanne's favorite things to find outside...specifically pulling the needles off of the branches. Not good for her, and not good for our ornament collection. I'm pretty confident she would find a way to destroy a fake tree as well. Oh well, another year with a tiny table top tree!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Marathon medal number 4

The hubs did it again! Another great marathon under his belt. Even I was a tad bit nervous about how this race was going to go. Mostly because of how Rob spoke about it in the weeks leading up to the marathon, but also because of his foot bothering him, how the hills and heat of Atlanta made training more of a challenge than he was used to, and add grad school and a puppy to the mix- he wasn't getting as much sleep as he should have.

Well, you never would have known any of those things were a concern on race day. He did an outstanding job, finishing and finishing well, in 3hours 15 minutes. Kimberly had an iphone app that allowed us to watch live footage of the elite runners in the marathon, and also track Rob along the course so we always knew what mile he was at and what his pace was. We saw him at mile 17 on 1st Avenue and again at mile 24 in Central Park. All I can say is thank goodness we saw him and he saw us. That is always the best and most nerve-wracking part of any marathon for me- being on the look out for Rob, heart skipping a beat with every green shirt runner I see wondering if it's him, holding my camera in position ready to get the action shot, wondering if I somehow missed him go by, and then seeing him run by- doing what he loves and works so hard for throughout the year. The next best part is seeing him after the race and giving him a big hug. He makes me such a proud wife.

What a great experience it was going to the NYC marathon (more so for Rob obviously). The fun thing about marathons is that they all have a different vibe to them. Whereas the Boston marathon was our home town race, and the Burlington, VT marathon was more of the small town race, the NYC marathon was definitely the big city race. One downfall of the big city race is my second favorite part of the marathon- trying to meet up with your runner after the race. It took us nearly 2 hours to get from our look out spot at mile 24 to Rob. That meant he finished around 1pm, and we didn't get to congratulate him until 2:30pm (much different from the Burlington race where I was hugging him within minutes of him crossing the finish line). I am so glad I was with my Father-in-law. The number of subway lines and blocks we had to walk to get to Rob, I don't know if I ever would have found him on my own.

What's up next? Back to our home town race baby...Boston in April!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Goodbye Roxanne, Hello NYC

First, I'm happy to say Roxanne is doing great. She is back to her old self, and hasn't had any more vomiting episodes. She is on soft canned food for a couple more days, along with a medication for upset stomach. Rob managed to avoid feeding her yesterday and today, and lucky for him we'll be away this weekend so there are no more chances of him encountering the "absolutely disgusting" canned stuff. Darn.

This afternoon I'm dropping Roxanne off at Grandma and Grandpa Pekarek's house. We have told her many times to please behave, or they will never watch you again and you'll be in the kennel. They have an 85 lb labradoodle, Bailey, who I'm sure she will have fun chasing around, even though she can't keep up with him. I'm not sure how thrilled he will be to share his house with her though! On Sunday my parents are going to pick up Roxanne from the Pekarek's house, and take her back to our apartment to watch her for the day. So basically it's a weekend with the grandparents for Roxanne.

And Rob and I are off to NYC! Rob and I have been to NYC many times, but never together. I can't tell you how many times I tried to talk him into taking the sketchy Fung Wah bus with me from Boston to NYC, but it never happened, which was probably for the best. It will be a short trip, but a great weekend of marathon excitement and seeing family (Rob's Dad and Kimberly) and friends who live in the city. I am so proud of Rob for taking on another marathon, especially one of the top marathon races in the country. It will be challenging, given the complications he has had with his foot over the past month or so, but I just hope he can enjoy the race and feel satisfied he gave it all he had at the end of the day. Good luck babe!!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Our first crisis as puppy parents

Right before dinner last night my Mom called. She asked what all the background noise was and I told her I was putting ice into the Margaritaville machine. Taco nights are even more fun now that we have a margarita maker. She said "Ohh margarita maker, sounds like a party!" Well, she couldn't have been more off. Taco night did not go as planned.

As we sat down to eat we noticed Roxanne over near the couch eating or chewing on something, and when Rob investigated he discovered she had thrown up. It mostly looked like a big pile of food and treats, so we weren't super concerned at first. Maybe she just ate too fast or too many treats upset her stomach or something. So we put her in the kitchen where at least she couldn't go back to the vomit spot with cleaner on it, and if she got sick again she wouldn't be on the carpet. From the kitchen table we could still see her through the gate, so we did get to enjoy our taco and guac feast, but once dinner was over it was really over.

We started clearing our plates and let Roxanne out of the kitchen, and within minutes she was behind the couch throwing up again...2 big piles. As I started to clean that up, Rob put her near the front door and she threw up liquid...2 times. Back to the kitchen she went, so we could clean up the mess by the front door. Five minutes later she was throwing up in the kitchen...4 or 5 more times (I lost count). It was unreal. It was messy. But mostly we just felt so bad for our little girl.

I will say I fell even more in love with Rob tonight. He handled the barf-fest very well- and if you know anything about him and his reactions to certain bodily functions you would have been impressed. This gives me hope for the future when he encounters his first diaper change. He loves Roxanne so much, I think he might do anything for her. At first I was optimistic, telling myself I'm sure she's OK, but then when the vomiting wouldn't stop I began to get upset. Rob called the emergency animal clinic and decided we should take Roxanne in, so he figured out the directions, drove us there and checked us in.

Wouldn't you know, and knowing her I was not surprised, that once we walked into the waiting room Roxanne was walking around, wagging her tail, checking people out, and of all things trying to eat the leaves off the plant near the door. We felt like the stereotypical 1st time parents who freak out over things that end up being nothing at all. I even commented to a woman in the waiting room that she was not acting this OK 15 minutes ago...she said "It always is that way, isn't it?"

The doctor checked her out and said things seemed normal from what he could tell, but was concerned about dehydration so they gave her a shot of fluids and an antacid to settle her stomach. Since she is up to date on her vaccinations he wasn't too concerned about it being something serious, but said that if the vomiting continued we should definitely take her to the vet.

I was confident she was going to be fine, but then at 11pm she started gaging again. I ended up sleeping on the floor with her by the front door in case she got sick again. Sure enough, at 1am and 4:30am she got sick. I just felt awful. Back to the vet we went after I dropped Rob off at work this morning.

She's been there all day, and we're picking her up around 6pm. The vet gave me a couple of updates, saying the anti-nausea meds are working well, she is keeping food down, and in one of the x-rays they think they saw a piece of something that could have been plastic, a sliver of wood, or a sewing needle. The needle is out, I don't sew. But the wood or plastic are definite possibilities, she chews on and tries to eat anything she can outside. Since whatever they saw disappeared in a second x-ray, they think she will be able to pass it fine. So now she'll be on a bland diet and stomach meds for the next few days. It sure is quiet without her around the apartment today! Hopefully she has a fast recovery, especially since the grandparents will be watching her this weekend since Rob and I will be in NYC for the marathon. Get better little monster!

Can't forget the guac!

In my post-Naples blog entry I forgot to mention what I know my mom and Kate would say was quite a perk of the trip...a huge avocado tree right next to the pool at our condo! And the Florida avocados are huge, nothing like the Hass avocados I usually buy at the store.

Good thing my uncle told my mom about the tree, or we might have missed it altogether since the avocados are pretty well hidden high up in the branches. I'm not sure how often the senior citizens are out there avocado picking, but we were out there standing on pool chairs to reach the things. Kate and I each took one home, and both of us made the best thing you can make with an avocado, guacamole!

All of that guac from one free avocado. How do I like mine? With garlic, red onion, tomato, Tabasco sauce, salt and lime juice. Tonight we're having tacos for dinner, so this will be a nice addition to the meal.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Our little pumpkin

We had a great first Halloween weekend in Georgia. First of all, we had really nice weather. Can't complain when you can still wear capris and short sleeves at the end of October. I wonder if I will ever have to give up the flip flops for something warmer? Knowing me, probably not.

Not only was it Halloween weekend, but it was the big football rivalry weekend in our household, Michigan vs PSU. PSU hasn't had the best season so far, and I hate to say it, but that on top of hearing everyone on ESPN pick Michigan to win the game and knowing we were without our starting QB, I had prepared myself for the worst. In case you haven't heard, PSU won 41-31! And since I didn't want to rub it in at home, I'll say it here on my blog, woo hoo!!

Saturday was also Linnea's birthday (bro-in-law's gf, who is from the Atlanta area and happens to be attending law school at PSU), and she was in town visiting this weekend. Her parents threw her a really nice birthday dinner party which we got to go to, and we had a really fun time. Her parents are super sweet, and the food was delish.

Since it was Roxanne's first Halloween, and I am one of those dog parents that loves little dog outfits now and then, I got her a costume at Petsmart despite Rob's protests. She was the cutest little pumpkin I've ever seen, and as long as she was eating treats or playing, she really didn't mind the costume. Eventually she would try to bite it off, so we only did the costume in small doses. But for $3.75 I think the costume was worth it for the pictures :)

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Naples is the new Cape Cod

Though we'll always love the Cape and nothing can replace it, after a super nice Girls Weekend in Florida we just might have to make Naples an annual thing, like Kate visiting the Cape used to be.

We had perfect weather pretty much the whole time we were there, besides the 10 minute downpour that hit as we were sippin sangria on the beach, with temps in the high 80s/low 90s. The beach is about a 4 minute walk across the street from the condo, so we spent every day at the beach relaxing, swimming, dolphin-watching, taking walks to the beach bar, and getting tans.

I have to share and explain this picture I took at the beach, because it is too wild not to. Dolphins would regularly swim up close to the shore and so it was fun to watch them and try to take pictures of them. One time Kate was in the water while dolphins were swimming by so I had my camera out taking pictures of her with the dolphin fins in the background. Then there was a big splash and I took a picture of what I at first thought was a dolphin's tail splashing the water. But then someone else on the beach yelled sting ray, and I realized it was a sting ray flying out of the water right near the dolphins! We had seen sting rays swimming up and down the shore in the shallow water all week, so it wasn't shocking that there was a sting ray out there, just crazy that it flew out of the water like that and I happened to get a picture of it.

In the evenings we would go to 5th Avenue (Naple's mainstreet), 3rd Street (Naple's old/historic downtown- picture at top of the 3 of us was taken there at the Old Naples Pub), Tin City (small shops and places to eat near the water), or Venitian Village (outdoor mall/some restaurants- picture above of me and Mom was taken when we went out to dinner there at an Italian restaurant on the water). My mom treated us to nice dinners each night which was really sweet of her, and much appreciated.

One of the more memorable nights from the trip was when we went to McCabe's Irish Pub on 5th Avenue. We were just looking for a place to have a drink after dinner, but once we went inside and saw the guy playing singing/playing guitar and taking requests we ended up staying until it closed. The guy was a little crazy, but he pretty much played everything we requested and we had fun singing/dancing along. And Kate and I ordered mai tais since she had never had one before, and it definitely reminded me of happy hour in Maui since I hadn't had one since the honeymoon. Overall a wonderful vacation that we will have to do again sometime!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Big Wedding Post

The wedding photos are finally here, and as Rob and I looked at them together it just made us wish we could do it all over again! I don't think I ever really took the time to write about our big day, between the honeymoon and moving to Atlanta, not to mention most of the people who read this blog were probably there to experience it for themselves. But what everyone who is married says is true, it was truly the best day of our lives thus far.

I have to say the location made the wedding what it was. Getting married in Boston, where we met and where our relationship grew, was very special and meaningful for us. Having the ceremony at Marsh Chapel at BU made perfect sense, and was really the only place I could have imagined it. There was just something funny and special about getting out of the limo in my wedding dress in front of Marsh Chapel before the ceremony,
looking up and down Comm Ave, seeing Warren Towers where we met and spent 2 years of our lives, the Chinese restaurant across the street where we had one of our first dates, and the T driver waving and honking the T horn for me as it passed through the BU Central stop. Being able to share that part of Boston, for some their 1st time & others their 100th time, with all of our friends and family was great.

The reception was classy, gorgeous and fun- all the things I wanted it to be. Walking into the ballroom for the first time before the reception was an amazing feeling. Seeing all of my planning pay off like that made it all worth it. I loved the flowers, and considering I only met with my florist 2 times in person and emailed her a handful of times, she did a very nice job understanding what I wanted and setting the scene without much help from me.

And the lighting- if there was one thing I would have originally called a splurge it was the lighting, but after seeing the room lit up in purples and blues, it was worth every penny for sure. The food was delish- if only I had a bigger appetite that night to enjoy more of it. And the Winiker Band, well I had my reservations about them at first, and Bo telling me he liked to think of himself as the Tom Brady of music- calling the plays as he sees fit- did not give me the reassurance I was looking for. But in the end I was very happy we went with a band, because it added an element of fun and liveliness you don't quite get with a DJ. Everyone was dancing until the very end, which is exactly what I hoped would happen.

There are so many other parts of the wedding weekend and details that made it wonderful and memorable. The emotionally heartfelt rehearsal (aka mini-emotional breakdown as Rob and I practiced our vows ;), rehearsal dinner at the Castle and the special slide-show my mom put together for us, getting to see all of our friends at White Horse the night before the wedding, the very cool rooftop cocktail hour overlooking the city, the touching toasts given by the dads, my sisters and Hayes, the fun candy bar and flip flop baskets we put much work into turning out to be a hit, our impromptu last dance with everyone surrounding us, and so much more. But the absolute best part of the weekend was having everyone we love there supporting and celebrating with us. We are so grateful for the time, money and travel everyone put in to making it out to Boston for our wedding. Having so many wonderful people around you that you love all at once does not happen many times in life, maybe only once, so we especially want to say thank you to all of our guests!

The morning after our wedding, Rob and I somehow woke up at 5am. We were still so excited about everything that had happened the day before, we couldn't wait to talk about it. So we got up and sat on the floor of our massive suite at the Colonnade that over-looked Huntington Ave and the Prudential Center, and ate our slices of wedding cake that were delivered to our room the night before. As we sat there eating our cake, looking out the window, Rob just looks at me and says, "Wow, we just had a dream wedding in Boston, how crazy is that?" We are very fortunate that we were able to have such a beautiful wedding day, and to my parents we say thank you, thank you, thank you.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

One week down

We brought Roxanne home one week ago today, and already I kind of forget what it was like without her. Well I don't know if I forget, more like I just can't imagine going back to living without her. It was calmer, more relaxed, and I got more sleep, but I'm pretty sure I am laughing a lot more now throughout the day than I was before she came.

She has made good progress in one week. She is doing better and better with house training. The past 3 days she has averaged 1 accident a day. This usually happens in the evening, making it even more of a bummer that we didn't quite reach the exciting "1 full day without an accident" mark. Maybe today will be the day?

Roxanne went to the vet 2 times this week, and she did great. Once was just for a regular check-up, and then yesterday she got her second round of shots. We found out she now weighs 9 lbs. There was one big, loud, sorta scary dog in the waiting room yesterday, who really wanted to greet Roxanne when we came in the door, but we weren't sure if the "greeting" would have been a playful hello or more of an attack. The owner had a pretty strong grip on his leash so we took that as a warning. Roxanne was hesitant for a minute or so, but soon relaxed and didn't mind the other loud dog. Shortly after we walked in the lady at the front desk said "code yellow" over the loud speaker. We were like 'what is that, do they think there is going to be a dog fight or something?' Nope, we realized that code yellow is what it sounds (looks) like...the other dog had an accident in the waiting room that needed to be cleaned up!

One of the most exciting achievements for Roxanne is that she now sleeps through the night without crying! Given how the first few nights went, I didn't know if it was possible so soon, but she's finally ok sleeping in her cage in the living room by herself. Now, she still wakes up at 6am to go outside, and hopefully soon we can stretch that to 7am, but for now I am just glad to be sleeping in my own bed again.

She is also doing well with meeting other dogs and people, which is so important. She even met her new friend/cousin/boy friend/we haven't decided what we want them to be yet Bailey- my mother-in-law and John's 80 lb labradoodle. The size difference was hilarious, but they got along well and will have many more play sessions together soon since Ann and John are moving to Atlanta this week.

So, what do we need to work on? Her play biting. She grabs onto my pant legs and shakes them up like no other. We are trying to give her toys in place of the pants when she does this, say 'off' and if necessary, remove ourselves from the situation by going to another room and shutting the door. She is so darn cute, but her teeth are sharp as nails! I did think it was possible I was over-doing it with the toys we bought at Petsmart last week, but not anymore...we need all of the play options we can get for Roxanne to keep her interested in anything besides our hands, feet and pants!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Meet Roxanne

She is my precious little rascal and I love her :)

She did such a great job on the 3 hour car ride home yesterday, mostly sleeping in my lap. She was so calm and relaxed, but I think she was just saving her shenanigans for at home.

She likes trying to chew the rug in the living room, she parades around the apartment with her puppy pee pads like they are toys, she loves biting my hair, and rolling around and laying in the ferns where she is supposed to be doing her business.

But she is a sweetie, and no matter what she does you just want to give her a big hug and kiss. After 1 day she is about 50/50 with the house could be worse. And when she does the right thing I'm just so proud of her - I didn't know I could be this proud of peeing and pooping outside. With some encouragement she now does the stairs without much hesitation, and she got over her fear of curbs. She met 2 dogs in our complex so far, both much bigger than her, and she handled it very well. She loves all of her toys and carries on, going from one toy to the next, being very cute. And when she sticks our her little tongue and wags her fluffy tail it's the best.

I will try to keep all of these good things in mind tonight when she wakes me up every hour, on the hour, to go to the bathroom 60% of the times we go outside. Oh Roxanne, your Dad is lucky he is a very sound sleeper...and you are lucky I am not.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Puppy preparation

Today I went to Barnes and Noble and bought a book called The Perfect Puppy, which I am going to read by Sunday so I have some idea of what I need to do to properly socialize and train her. Rob and I made a list of puppy things we are going to need and have a date to Petsmart Friday night. I've also scoped out possible Halloween costumes for her, and have been checking out vet websites and reviews online. One of the vet websites had this advice to offer new puppy parents...

How to Prepare for a New Puppy
■Pour cold apple juice on the carpet in several places, and walk around barefoot in the dark.
■Wear a sock to work that has had the toes shredded by a blender.
■Immediately upon waking, stand outside in the rain and dark saying, “Be a good puppy, go potty now – hurry up – come on, lets go!”
■Cover all your best suits with dog hair. Dark suits must use white hair, and light suits must use dark hair. Also float some hair in your first cup of coffee in the morning.
■Play “catch” with a wet tennis ball.
■Run out in the snow in your bare feet to close the gate
■Tip over a basket of clean laundry, scatter clothing all over the floor.
■Leave your underwear on the living room floor, because that’s where the dog will drag it anyway. (Especially when you have company.)
■Jump out of your chair shortly before the end of your favorite TV program and run to the door shouting, “No no! Do that OUTSIDE!” Miss the end of the program.
■Put chocolate pudding on the carpet in the morning, and don’t try to clean it up until you return from work that evening.
■Gouge the leg of the dinning room table several times with a screwdriver — it’s going to get chewed on anyway
■Take a warm and cuddly blanket out of the dryer and immediately wrap it around yourself. This is the feeling you will get when your puppy falls asleep on your lap.
– Author Unknown

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Over-the-top excitement

The Porter household is in for a big change. If everything goes as planned, Rob and I will be proud puppy parents this Sunday! If there is one thing I go crazy over, it is dogs. They are all cute in their own way, even the ones that Rob says aren't. Rob has heard the 'aww I want a dog' line from me more times than we can count over the past few years, but there was never the right opportunity or time to get one, until now.

If you've been keeping up with my blog, then you know all about Christopher the terrier mix we visited at the SPCA not long ago. He was a cutie, and his name still comes up on a daily basis, but I can now say that I don't think we were meant to be Christopher's parents. For whatever reason, maybe the daunting task of training him or his fuzzy history or excessively energetic personality, we just felt too much hesitation when it came to actually adopting him. Part of me, and Rob, wanted to, but part of us just couldn't commit. However, I am thankful for meeting Christopher when I did, because he really sparked my interest in getting serious about searching for the right 1st dog for us.

Rob and I have always wanted a goldendoodle (cross between a golden retriever and a poodle). We both love golden retrievers, but with Rob's allergies and how much they shed, it would never work out. Goldendoodles are the next and even better option for us, because they don't shed very much and they have a little curl to their coats which makes them simply adorable. The down side to doodles? The price. Many of the breeders I came across charge over $1,000 for a pup, some over $2,000.

While searching for goldendoodles online Sunday night, I just happen to come across a site that said their goldendoodle had a liter of 12 puppies on August 15th, and they would be ready for their 'forever homes' on 10/10/10...this coming Sunday! Not to mention the price was by far the lowest I had seen. After looking at all of the cute puppy pictures and videos, and finding out there were still 6 females available, we jumped at the opportunity and sent in our deposit check which will hold this adorable little girl for us :)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Girls weekend is on!

Dates are set, airline tickets have been purchased, and Girls Weekend is on! Well actually, for my mom it's more like a month, for me a week, and for Katie 4 days...but I'm going to refer to the time we are all going to be there together as Girls Weekend. By 'there' I mean Naples Florida :)

Our beach...

Last time Mom and I were in Naples together...

Katie had been planning to fly down from PA to visit us in Atlanta this Fall, when I thought maybe we could make more of a vacation out of it. My mom had already told me I was welcome to join her at the condo in Naples (once my Grandpa's place) since she would be there the month of October, so I extended that invitation to Katie, and now in about 3 weeks we'll all be relaxing on the beach (as long as no hurricanes come our way).

For as long as I've been friends with Katie (since 9th grade), she has always come to Cape Cod in the summers to spend a week with me and my family. She fell in love with the Cape and the house and the beach, like many do, and I always appreciated all of the times she made the trip up from PA to MA. The past 2 summers she wasn't able to make it to the Cape (getting older sadly equals not being able to take week vacations whenever you want), so our trip to Naples is going to make up for it! Hey, think they have a Lost Dog Pub down there? ;)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Weekend Update

Friday night Rob suggested we have dinner at California Pizza Kitchen and watch a movie at home. It had been forever since I ate at CPK, so it was a nice treat. I forgot how much I love that place. I got the buffalo chicken pizza (I love anything with buffalo sauce on it, and Rob doesn't, so I get my buffalo fixes when we go out, rather than at home) and Rob got the California club pizza (he's on an avocado kick, so that pizza fit the bill). For our movie, we watched The Informant...started out strong, but the story dragged after a while. Love Matt Damon, juat not big fans of this movie.

Saturday I asked Rob if we could go to the event at the SPCA, of course he said sure, but really I never should have suggested we go. The back story to this outing, is that earlier in the week while looking for jobs I checked out the animal shelter websites. After finding no career opportunities on their websites, I looked at their dogs available for adoption and fell in love with Christopher, a terrier mix. So we were really going to the SPCA event to see Christopher in person. He was an adorable, really playful, really energetic, somewhat vocal pup, who is probably in need of some serious training. Then again, he's only 5 months old, what do you expect? As much as we liked him, and as much as I wanted to adopt a dog right then and there (you should have seen/heard how sad and jealous all the other shelter dogs were when we took Christopher out of his cage to go outside, breaks your heart), we left the way we came, just the 2 of us. I was probably a little too emotional on the car ride home, poor Rob having to deal with me and my crazy love of dogs, but I did realize it just wasn't the right time and we would have been rushing into something that requires a little more planning and preparation.

Sunday=football. Now that we have Direct TV NFL Sunday Ticket, we can watch my Steelers and Rob's Lions every week. Today was the first Steelers game I have seen in a long time that didn't come down to the last minute. It was pretty great having a game I could feel somewhat relaxed watching, since they were up by 18 at half time. I like that we have so many quarterback options, and I love Rashard Mendenhall. And coach Tomlin's sweet shades...

Tonight for dinner=Hungarian goulash. The slow cooker is back! I got my amazing slow cooker, that can also fry, bake, roast or steam, last year for my birthday and I have gotten a lot of use out of it. But summer time just doesn't scream slow cooker time, so it hasn't been out of the cabinet much lately. Today I thought I'd try a new recipe, so found this one in the slow cooker cookbook Lisa gave me last year. It's basically a couple pounds of cubed beef chuck and sliced onions in the pot, with a mixture of beef broth, tomato paste, worcestershire sauce, paprika, chopped garlic, salt and pepper on top. I took out the caraway seeds, because I'm not really a fan. The last 30 min. of cooking you add sliced bell pepper, and a water&flour mixture. Served over noodles, it's delicious!