Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The hottest 2 weeks of my summer

It's hard to believe summer is already coming to an end!  With all of the rain and lack of 90+ degree weather we had it almost feels like summer is just beginning.  But football is back and stores are full of Halloween stuff, so summer is definitely on its way out and I'm ok with that.

We had a nice time in Myrtle Beach with my family and enjoyed perfectly hot beach weather while we were there. Besides a few jelly fish stings and shark sightings everything went just fine.  And shout out to Scott , who I'm told liked my last blog entry, for surviving the whole week at Myrtle meeting about 20 of our relatives all at once!  Here are a few random pics from the trip I found on my phone...including my first time on a roller coaster (possibly a ride?) WITH Rob!  

My second beach trip this summer was to Isle of Palms, SC for soon-to-be sister-in-law Linnea's bachelorette party- the wedding is less than 2 weeks away woo-hoo! We rented a fabulous beach house, partied downtown Charleston and even went to a drag show.  Now, I've been to quite a few drag shows, but I will say it definitely feels a little more like a normal activity going to a show in Provincetown, MA than it does in Charleston, SC.  We all had a fun weekend and it was great to meet all of Linnea's super sweet and fun friends.

Now let me tell you about how the AC in my car decided to die on the drive to the bachelorette party.  Rob was driving me to Isle of palms to drop me off at the beach house for the weekend and then he was going to stay with my parents until we both went home together on Tuesday.  About an hour away from IOP the windshield got very foggy and the defrost wasn't helping at all.  Then it started to get hotter inside the car and I was like these vents do not feel like they are blowing real cold air like usual.  But it was pretty hot and humid outside even at 11:30pm and so I didn't really think too much about it.

Fast forward to the car ride home Tuesday, I was napping while Rob drove and woke up sweating.  The AC was already on high on the coldest setting and that's when I remembered my AC might be broken.  With work and everything I had a limited amount of time I could take the car in since they told me it'd take 1-2 hrs to diagnose the problem, but I finally did the following week.  That's when they told me the compressor needed to be replaced, and that they don't make the exact compressor my car has anymore because they changed the whole model the year after my car was made.  This meant the new part along with a special install kit was going to have to be ordered and it was going to cost at least twice as much as normal.  About $1600.  I began to weigh just how much I actually needed the AC, but who am I kidding, I live in Atlanta and get hot very easily.  This is where my husband and father-in-law step in and help save the day, or at least some money.

Rob talked to his dad, who is a lawyer for GM and knows a lot about cars, and said basically the compressor in my car should not fail after 60,000 miles and told Rob it couldn't hurt to call GM customer service and see what they could do to help us out.  Rob gave them the spiel, which is very true, about how he and his family have always had GM vehicles, he had an influence on me getting this GM vehicle and from the beginning I've had issues with it (like when it had a faulty seal and the floors were soaking wet for a week), and that if GM didn't step up and do something now this would probably be my last GM vehicle.  Many phone calls later GM did agree to cover the part and the dealership lowered their labor rate a little, so in total I will be paying under $500, which is still a lot but not nearly as bad as it was going to be.  So after two hot weeks of driving with all 4 windows down, with my arm hanging out the window- not to look cool but to try to get cool, and dreading every red light I had to sit at because there was no breeze, today is the day my AC gets fixed!  Big big thank you to my father-in-law Ron for his help and insight and to Rob for making all the necessary calls.

Friday, July 19, 2013

The 2 month wrap up

It's been exactly 2 months since I last posted anything.  I suppose it's time for an update.  I will warn you there isn't too much to update you on though, and at this point it's more out of guilt that I've abandoned the blog for so long that I'm even writing a post.  Side note..Rob just walked in and asked what I was working on, I shake my head because there really is nothing I could possibly be working on, he asks if it's the blog, I say yes, and he says, "I knew it, that's the only time you use your computer."  Valid...that is partially because I store my pretty old laptop in the built-in cabinet in the family room and I usually forget about it.

Over the past couple months we have had a lot of fun weekends with visitors.  There was Rob's dad and Kimberly over Memorial Day weekend in which a birthday was celebrated with margaritas...

Rob's bff Hayes came for a long weekend in June, and we enjoyed an awesome Gwinnett Braves game where they came from behind and went into extra innings for the win...

My mom, dad and Michelle came to visit over Father's Day weekend.  We went out for tapas, did some shopping, and went to a great, almost perfect, Braves game...

Oh yeah...Roxanne had a couple of dog visitors too...here she is with little Mill...

Other than that, Rob has been busy with his Saturday class he has for the summer semester.  He should be done in a couple of weeks though, and then just 1 more semester until he graduates- YAY!!  As excited as I am for him, I know he is 100x more excited.  I really don't know how he has managed working full time and taking up to 3 classes per semester, but I know all his hard work is going to pay off. 

My new job at Dr Lee Chiropractic is going very well and I'm really happy with it.  I've been there for just over 3 months, which means I am out of the probation period now and got a raise.  My bosses took me out to a very nice dinner the other night to celebrate the 3 month mark and I really couldn't ask for better people to work for!  Along with regular office hours we have been working at a lot of races and local events which are fun, and it's always good to get out and spread our name in the community.

Our family room is finally almost done, which means our front office/den/sports room is almost done as well.  We bought a new coffee table and side table, colorful couch pillows, and filled the walls next to the TV with framed line print aerial maps of Boston and circa 1900 antique tin ceiling tiles I've been admiring for years. We also finally get to use our beautiful handmade tray from Mrs. Copp (Hayes's mom) that she gave us for our wedding.  Because we got new tables we were able to move one of our old side tables into the front room for our new 2nd TV to go on.  I have been lobbying for a 2nd TV for a while now...like ever since we got married...and we finally have one hooked up and ready to go!  I'm sure it will come in handy the next Sunday morning Rob is watching a long formula 1 race/Meet The Press.

I'm really looking forward to our big family vacation in Myrtle Beach round 2 coming up next month!  I miss the beach, can't wait to truly relax and have fun with my relatives, am looking forward to meeting Lisa's bf Scott for the first time, and am hoping by then this crazy non-stop chance of rain forecast will have passed and we will have some hot sunny weather.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The story of the baby birds

Spring might be my new favorite season.  When I lived in PA and Boston I leaned more towards Fall and Winter, but now that we're in Atlanta the Falls feel more like Spring and the Winters can be cold & dreary, but without the beautiful, fun snow.  Especially now that we have a house we are noticing how much of a difference it makes having all the trees, bushes and flowers in bloom in our yard and the neighborhood.   So much nicer!  Along with Spring and new plant life comes baby birds...and baby birds we got.  On April 11th, after I got home from my first day at my new job, I went outside on our back deck and found this mess along with a perfect little nest in my flowers.

The way the nest was built the opening faced the side of the house, so for me to actually look inside the nest I had to carefully turn the planter.  Within about a week there were was an egg!  I eventually counted up to 4 eggs in that tiny nest.

About 2 1/2 weeks later I checked the nest and saw at least 1 baby bird head looking back at me.  It was so exciting to watch the progress inside the nest right outside our door.  

Since Rob really isn't a fan of birds I didn't know if I should tell him about the baby birds on the way, but I couldn't help myself so first I made him promise he wouldn't freak out or do anything about what I was about to tell him.  As it turned out, whether I told Rob or not he would have found out pretty quickly, because Roxanne became obsessed with the birds in the nest.  She loves being out on the deck as it is, and with the birds chirping she loved being out there even more.  Sometimes she would just sit and stare at the nest when she heard the chirping.

Sometimes she would lay on the deck and carefully watch all sides of the deck so she wouldn't miss the parent birds' frequent trips to and from of the nest with food.

My mom also had a birds nest in her yard and she told me her birds flew away about a week or so ago, so I knew my birds would be leaving the nest soon.  I checked on them yesterday and I still saw at least 2 little bird heads looking back at me.  So today I was cleaning the kitchen and I had the door to the deck open to let some cooler air in.  I heard a loud chirping and went out and saw a bird latched on to the side of my brown patio rocking chair in the picture above.  I knew it was either an unsure baby bird or an injured adult bird, but soon enough it flew away and I figured it must have been a baby leaving the nest.  So I turned the planter to look and see if the nest was empty.  Surprisingly I still saw birds inside looking back at me and when I went to turn the planter back two babies flew out right at me and I screamed like a crazy person.  One landed on the deck behind my plant stand and one went and grasped onto the side of the patio chair like I saw the other one doing earlier.  I felt so bad that I may have scared the birds right out of their nest, I was just hoping that they really could fly now that they were out.  I went out into the yard and watched from a distance so that they wouldn't be scared to do whatever they needed to do.  I saw one slowly hop across the deck and eventually fly into the rose bush nearby, and then the other flew from our door to window ledge to window ledge and eventually into a tree.  Then one more bird came out of the nest and slowly made its way across the deck and into the yard.  I later found that all of them had pooped on my deck or chair as soon as they got out of the nest, maybe from shock or maybe they just really had to go.  And then the saddest thing was seeing the mom bird fly to the nest only to quickly discover all her babies were gone.  She sat there near the nest for a minute just chirping really loudly.  I know this cycle happens all the time and all works out just fine as it should, but when you are standing there in your yard watching it happen it just becomes much more real and dramatic haha.

As if it wasn't hard enough to feel guilty for scaring birds right out of their nest and seeing the mom come back to an empty nest, I still had to break the news to Roxanne that her little friends were gone for good.  I brought her outside and she immediately went over to the nest to smell it and then she smelled like crazy all over the deck and looked a little confused.  I told her they were all gone and she still wanted to lay at the door and keep watch just in case they came back.

I'm sure Roxanne will get over it soon, but it really was cute watching her become so intrigued with the birds.  Maybe next year a new bird couple will make their nest in another one of our plants.  Roxanne can only hope!  (and Rob can hope not)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Boston Marathon

I haven't read many articles or stories on what happened yesterday at the Boston marathon. I wouldn't have even known what had happened if it weren't for rob texting me. I told him my cousin was stopping through Atlanta and we were going to meet up. He responded wow that's cool, and in the same response said two bombs went off at the Boston marathon finish line. My first thought was no way. Literally I thought no way that happened, it must be an accident or a small mishap at the race that got exaggerated into bombs via social networking sites. I just couldn't and still can't believe it.

My heart and thoughts go out to those who were killed and injured. To the racers who worked so hard to qualify and spent the last many months training for what was supposed to be and had the potential to be one of the greatest events they would get to experience. To the city of Boston that I will always love and miss so much. And to the event that is The Boston Marathon. As a BU alum, as someone who spent many marathon mondays at BU watching and cheering on my now father-in-law run the race, as a wife of a marathon runner- a Boston Marathon runner, as someone who lived in Boston post college, as someone who still gets excited about marathon Monday even though I'm 1,000 miles away - I just can't stop thinking about how this loved event will be forever changed. I know the race and the tradition will go on, I know Bostonians will recover from this stronger than ever, I know next year might be the best running of the Boston marathon to date....but still, the magical, fun, race of all races, seemingly exclusive Boston holiday will never be the same, and that makes me so sad.

I want to thank everyone who sent texts and messages to me yesterday, making sure I was not with rob at the marathon this year, making sure all of our friends in Boston were ok, and just letting me know they were thinking of us since Boston is so close to our hearts. I thought and told so many how I am just so thankful that Rob wasn't running this year and that we weren't in Boston. But when I told that to rob, whom also received many texts from people saying how they bet he was glad he wasn't running this year, he said, "No, I absolutely wish I had had the opportunity to run the Boston marathon this year. Running that race again would be awesome. Bombs should not be going off at the marathon, that's just not something that should be happening. That's how I feel about it."

Thursday, April 11, 2013

My new job

Today was the first day at my new job and it went pretty well!  I'm now working as a front desk/assistant at a chiropractor's office.  It is a growing practice with two doctors, everyone is super friendly and welcoming, the office is less than 15 minutes from my house, and they are very active in the community sponsoring many local races and events (they specialize in sports injuries/ART).  It was difficult to leave my job as a caregiver, just like it was hard to leave my job working with the ladies at the group home.  When you work that closely with people you develop great bonds with them and it becomes personal, much different than leaving a 'typical' job, but I am really looking forward to this new opportunity and know it was the best career choice for me.  Cheers to a good first day, and here's to hoping tomorrow goes even better!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Michelle+Free Concerts=Great Weekend

April is off to a great start!  I had such a fun weekend I'm sad it had to come to an end.  Michelle came to visit on Friday and stayed through Sunday.  There were lots of free concerts downtown in Centennial Park for the NCAA Final Four tournament, so we went down to see My Morning Jacket and Zac Brown Band Friday night.  Michelle and I had a great time, but I felt really bad for Rob.  He was really looking forward to seeing MMJ play, but unfortunately he was stuck at work until 8:30pm (MMJ played at 7pm).  He has never had to work that late, at least not since Boston, and so of all the nights for that to happen to him I couldn't believe it was that one.  He did make it down to see some of the Zac Brown Band, but with the really bad cell phone service we weren't able to meet up with him until after the show.  

As excited as I was to spend time with my sister, Roxanne was even MORE excited to see her.  Roxanne loves Michelle.  She doesn't see her very often, but every time she does her tail won't stop wagging, butt won't stop shaking, and the kisses are never-ending, it is too funny.  Roxanne even slept with Michelle while she was here.  Saturday it was so nice out we decided to have a picnic in Piedmont Park.  We brought Roxanne with us and took her to the dog park there.  

That night we went out to dinner at Noche, an awesome tapas restaurant not too far from us, followed by frozen yogurt and watching the NCAA tournament.  Luckily Michigan won, and Rob is actually at the final game right now as I type this!  Go Blue!

Sunday, Rob and I went down to the final day of the concert series- Grace Potter, Sting and Dave Matthews Band.  It was much more packed than it was Friday night, but we ended up getting a pretty good spot and had a fun time.  It was so nice to see DMB outside (the last few times I've seen them have been inside), for FREE, right downtown.  There aren't any summer tour stops near ATL this year, so it was great to have this chance to see them.  

Sunday, March 24, 2013

March Update

It has been a few weeks, so figured it was time for an update before I start getting the "time to update your blog" texts.  Not too much going on, but maybe that's a good thing.  Rob has been busy with class projects and studying, but luckily he only has 5 more weeks left in the semester.  Then he'll get a break in May, have to take a summer class in June/July, and have one more semester in the fall before graduating in December.  He hasn't been able to run for a while now because of a long-standing foot/ankle injury.  He has been seeing multiple doctors, a chiropractor and recently got an MRI, so hopefully someone can give him some encouraging information or solutions soon so that he can get back to running, which I know he is missing.  Rob has also been doing random odds and ends around the house, like inspecting the crawl space, fixing the front door knob and sealing up some cracks.  A couple months ago he painted the doors to the deck and garage and trim in the kitchen eating area.  It really brightened up the space.



Roxanne is doing good, besides her recent poodle-like haircut she got at Petsmart.  She really seems like a totally different dog to us looking like this, but at least she is cooler now without all that fur.  She is looking forward to seeing her boyfriend Bailey tonight when we go to Ann and John's for dinner.

Last weekend we had some really nice weather, as opposed to this rainy, chilly weekend.  Sunday we had Ann, John, Tom, Linnea and her parents, Lorrie and Pekka, over for dinner.  It was great being able to grill- a marinated pork tenderloin was on the menu- and have drinks on the deck.  Lorrie and Pekka have had us over to their home for many wonderful dinners over the past few years so it was nice to be able to have them over to our house for a meal.  The only other time we used the dining room table for a large group we had a hodgepodge of place mats and paper napkins, so I figured it was time to get a new set of 8 place mats and cloth napkins.

This week I went to the gym 3 times.  This is huge considering I haven't been to the gym in about a month.  Rob and I joined Planet Fitness back in early December and I was going somewhat regularly for a while, until I got sick with a bad cold and cough last month and I avoided the gym ever since.  I hate going to the gym, and the Chick-fil-a that I can see from the elliptical that taunts me, and having to shower twice in one day if I decide to go to the gym after work, and having to leave Roxanne at home stuck inside while I go do the treadmill when I would rather be taking her for a walk instead but knowing walks with her are never very productive with all the stopping and smelling she does.  But from past experience I know that I will like the gym more the more I go, so I'm really going to try harder to make that happen.

Last week and this week the goal is to eat out of the pantry/freezer and go to the grocery store as little as possible.  We are now on a monthly budget, trying to save more money each month, and with it being the end of the month I'm really trying to stay within the March budget.  So far I've been doing a pretty good job of using random things up from the pantry to make dinners and lunches.  This has included a 1/2 box of orzo, some slivered almonds,  1/2 bag of craisins, chicken broth, box of hamburger helper, pasta and sauce, a couple bags of Lipton side dishes, sun dried tomatoes, jar of olives, rice pilaf, bag of mushroom chowder soup mix and some pecans.  Not sure if the meals this week will be as good as last week, but at least I'm cleaning things out of the pantry that otherwise might not get eaten.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Family Room Facelift

Our family room recently got a facelift with new couches and a wall of framed pictures!  We had been wanting new couches ever since we moved to Atlanta, so it's pretty exciting that we were finally able to get them.  It did take a week or two to get used to them though, because it was such a big change from the blue leather couch and chair.  These couches feel so much bigger and really fill up the room.  Plus it took some time for the cushions to get broken in and feel as comfortable as they did in the store.  Roxanne isn't as happy with the couches as we are, which may be because she gets static shocked whenever she jumps on or off of them, but she still has the old furniture she loves to lay on in the front office room.  Next on the shopping list is a new coffee table, lamp and colorful pillows for the couches.

I'm very happy with how our wall of pictures came out.  Each frame is filled with our favorite pictures from our Spain/Italy/France trip last May.  It took a while for us to go through all of our pictures and decide which should go where, but we did know right away that the picture from Cinque Terre would fill the large frame in the middle- such a unique and beautiful place. 


And this cute pup just got a good brushing and bath today, so thought I'd take her picture as well :)

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Grandpa Gene

My grandpa Gene was quite the character.  He was such a funny guy, and you never knew what he was going to say or do, or how appropriate it was going to be, but you always enjoyed being around him because of it.  I remember when I was a kid and we were visiting Gene and my grandma Doris at their home in Saint Charles, Ill., we were eating a meal at the kitchen table and Gene fed one of his much loved black labs the food off of his plate from his own fork.  Of course my grandma was used to it, my mom was close to horrified, and me and my sisters laughed and talked about it for a long time to come.  He was a veteran, wore suspenders like no one else could, loved twizzlers and bingo and giving my grandma a hard time, enjoyed spending time at their camp site and fishing.  

I remember back in 2008 everyone from my Dad's side of the family went down to South Carolina for my Dad's surprise 50th birthday party.  Some people stayed at a hotel, but grandpa Gene and grandma Doris were staying at my parents' house, along with me, Rob and my sisters.  As funny and/or embarrassing as this may sound now, Gene and I had the same exact Verizon flip phone at the time.  One afternoon I could not find my phone anywhere.  I remember looking everywhere and asking everyone, including Gene, if they had seen it.  Finally I called my number from another phone and I see Gene pull out 'his' cell phone thinking he got a phone call.  I was like Gene!  That's my phone!  He still insisted it was his, and I had to go up into his bedroom and find his actual phone sitting on his night stand and bring it down to him.  I never really knew if he was pulling my leg or actually thought my cell phone was his.

Grandpa Gene passed away yesterday.  He had been ill for a few years now, so while it is always difficult to say goodbye and accept the loss of a loved one, I think everyone also feels a sense of peace knowing that he is now at peace and not suffering anymore.  More than anything I feel for my grandma.  The past few years have not been easy and she has been by his side every step of the way.  She visited him at the nursing home multiple times a day, every day.  They truly were a great pair.  

This weekend a lot of family members, including myself, will be traveling to St Charles, Ill. for the funeral service.  Even though we aren't getting together for a fun beach vacation, and funerals are never easy, it will still be nice having everyone together since it really doesn't happen very often anymore.  I'm even lucky enough to get to sit next to my sister Michelle on the plane from Charlotte to Chicago and back!

I promise it was a coincidence Gene is wearing the same Largemouth Lager fish sweatshirt in the picture from my Dad's 50th birthday party and the picture of him and Grandma Doris at dinner on the last night of our family trip to Mexico.  That was just his style, and he pulled it off well :)

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Mom and Dad come to visit

The past two weekends we got to spend time with my parents, which was great since I hadn't seen them since the weekend after Thanksgiving.  They came the first weekend in Feb. to a) visit with us b) give us financial/budgeting advice at our request c) have a fun super bowl party with us and d) bring us stuff like a ladder, wheelbarrow and new TV for our office/living room that they got on black Friday at Walmart.  We had some nice meals out at our favorite Tapas place and a restaurant with great vegan options for my Mom, did some shopping at the Forum outdoor shopping mall near our house, saw the movie Argo Sunday morning (since it was sold out Sat. evening) and were pleasantly surprised by the leather recliner chairs in the theater, and cooked up a storm for the super bowl.

Putting my feet up at the most comfortable movie theater I've ever been to

Roxanne watching the Puppy Bowl

On Tuesday morning my mom flew to Texas to visit her brother Willie for the week, and my dad flew to Chicago to see his mom.  On Saturday they both flew back to Atlanta and stayed with us for the night before driving to Clemson to see Michelle on Sunday.  Saturday night we went to my dad's favorite- the Buckhead Diner- for dinner.  Rob and I had never been, though we have driven past it many times, and my dad hadn't been there in years but he remembered he loved the meatloaf the last time he was there.  He and Rob got the meatloaf again and both loved it.  I would definitely go back.

 Enjoying drinks at the bar before dinner

This weekend I have been nothing but sick with a sore throat and head cold, and Rob has been doing nothing but homework and studying.  Today I did take Roxanne to the dog park though, where she proudly barked at kids half of the time she was there, and I made a new recipe out of Rob's Runner's World magazine for dinner tonight.  We (well, mostly Rob) are trying to eat healthier lately and cutting out carbs.  I know Rob is serious about this because our neighborhood girl scouts delievered our cookies today while I was at the dog park and Rob didn't and isn't planning on eating any of them.  This recipe fit into our diet pretty well and was easy to make, except the prep work took forever!  Basically you saute onion, garlic and ginger.  Then add cut up broccoli, green beans, red cabbage and mushrooms.  Then add cooked ground turkey, followed by lime juice, soy sauce and hot chili sauce.  Then you add in a bunch of chopped cilantro and scallions, and top it off with chopped peanuts.  It did have a kick to it, which was a little rough on Rob but I enjoyed, and the recipe made a ton so we have lots of left overs which is nice. 

The finished product!