Friday, April 30, 2010

It's Coming! Soon!

Alright, just got the photos...but don't have time right now.  Little taste.  Random boys celebrating one of their 26th birthday that we met up with.  And...I honestly don't know which one.  Or any of their names.  Even if we hung out with them for many hours.  Ha!  Oops.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The more things change...

Sorry, still no pictures from Cathy. But I just ran across a great old photo. This is from...wait. I named it 2004 girls, but this was Junior Parents Weekend. Wow. 2002. What babies!!! Just missing everyone, and reminded when Kelle told me this weekend that it was "So great to see (me) having fun". Kind of made me think that perhaps I've turned into a bore? Anyway, it's Quynh (MoH), me, Jen, and Kelle. We all lived in Ireland together the first semester of that year. Quynh and Jen are both married now. And I'm about to be. We've got to live vicariously through you, Kelle! (And, preview, she did a good job this past weekend! :P )

Monday, April 26, 2010

Chris's Bachelor Party

Obviously, this will be picture-free, and very lacking in detail, but I can't post how the girls spent their weekend, because I don't have the pictures from Cathy yet.  :) 

Chris and 4 friends went to the Penn State Blue & White game this past weekend.  They left Friday around lunch, and got home Sunday around lunch.  There was drinking, football watching, food,  No, not cruising the malls.  Rather, cruising the shops downtown that sell Penn State gear.  Chris brought home a bandanna for the dog, and yet ANOTHER jersey.  Sheesh.  At least he didn't buy the Nittany Lion shrine he's been eying forever.  I know one day I'll pull in to the driveway and our front yard will be filled with lion.  Little paranoid of when it will happen, actually.

They tailgated 3 rows from the stadium, and landed some amazing seats once inside.  I did get text messages with those pictures.  They amazingly did not stay for the whole game because it was starting to rain.  I frankly believe that Chris must be a pod person, because I can't imagine him missing a second of football.  After the game, they went to dinner, where they ran into a couple players that are incoming freshmen next year, and Chris apparently spent quite awhile talking to one of their parents.  This seemingly made his weekend. 

I must say, the guys did an awesome job putting together a weekend that really fit Chris.  He's far from the type that would enjoy the stereotypical Vegas weekend or something like that, so this was perfect.  Glad you all had a great time!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Valley Forge Park

About twice a week or so we go to Valley Forge Park to walk or run.  About twice a week I forget to bring my camera.  In fact, this is the first time I ever remembered it.  And the first time that it ever died from not having its battery charged.  Doh!  Here are a couple of quick pictures before the lights went out.

One of these days I'll have to do it more justice.  For now, this is all I've got.  Still beautiful!

Thursday, April 22, 2010


This may look like nothing because of the quality of the phone on my camera, but I'm dying.  REALLY.  Ok, exaggeration.  I am covered in a bumpy red rash right now though.  Took some Benadryl.  Got woozy.  It's spread EVERYWHERE.  Between my fingers is particularly annoying.  Doctor friends diagnose poison ivy or oak from description, which means...I just have to suffer.  Blah.  I'll stop my whining.  And sit here and itch.  AHHHHH. 

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Wedding Planning

Once upon a time, a year and a half ago, when we first got engaged I was organized and gung-ho.  I made story boards.  Now, I reflect on exactly how different the wedding has turned out, as we are 1 MONTH away.  Yes, be scared.

Alright, I have no idea why I had to change the picture format, but they're low quality.  Sorry. 

Well, what's changed?  What's the same?
-  The colors are largely the same.  Pink is now the focus, rather than orange, but close enough.
-  My bouquet is *supposed* to be similar to the 1st photo.  We'll see.
-  Cake and bridesmaids dresses?  Nope.  Nothing like that.
-  Got that exact Kitchen-aid mixer at a shower!  Rock on!
-  My dress is similar to the pictured dress.  Not exactly.  Ok, not really at all, but I see the elements.  (Sorry, not gonna elaborate since Chris reads.)
-  And...all those little details?  Yeah, not so much.  Most has changed.  It was a nice idea, though.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Mission Patio: Complete

We had a LONG weekend once Chris got home from his test.  Friday night, I drove over to where we used to live to get his favorite Chinese food, and we watched Hurt Locker.  Both were great.  But that's about as much energy as he had left.  That and the ability to enjoy the beer that his work had given to him.  (Thanks guys!)

Saturday, up early, I walked Harper about 3.5 miles while Chris and Matt got rolling on moving the gravel into the pit we had dug last weekend.  As soon as I got back, I started helping...and making coffee, and picking up bagels, and various other ways to spoil those breaking their backs.  Don't get me wrong, I certainly transported a lot of gravel, and tamped a lot down!  Along with tamping my big toe...that HURT.  We then went to obedience class, Matt went home, I got my first facial EVER (Erin at Antoinette is WONDERFUL for anyone interested), and then it was back to work.  Well, after I stopped at TJ Maxx to get a pair of jeans that actually FIT.  Guess jeans for $30 that look amazing.  SCORE.  I now do not have to fear that Chris is going to de-pants me in public.  He was finding it way too tempting with the jeans hanging off my rear like a plumber. 

Back to work.  That night, even though it was FREEZING and getting dark, we cut the 4x4's to surround the patio.  Incorrectly.  But we didn't know that at the time.

Sunday.  We laid the sand, the brick, re-cut the 4x4's, fixed the brick, swept the sand between the bricks to stabalize, and VOILA!  Patio.  Chris is STILL barely moving because he's so sore.  I, on the other hand, ran 7 miles yesterday and lifted.  Ok, I RAN 3.5 and walked the dog.  Still.  We're pretty pleased with how it turned out.  Though, of course it could be a bit more level, and if there's a next time we'd do a few things differently.  Proof of our labor:

Thursday, April 15, 2010



Yes, fear should be struck in the hearts of all men.  Chris is taking the Professional Engineering exam tomorrow, so he is home studying before he drives to Delaware for the test.  And by studying, I probably mean working on the patio and cleaning.  The man is an unstoppable force of nature.

I should not be floored by how much work he's put in.  I did take the bar a few times (in a couple states) and can feel the pain.  Actually, much of our courtship was spent in libraries studying for the FE/EIT (engineer in training) exam and the PA bar together.  This time, he's been on his own.  And...I've been a single doggy-mommy.  He studies a minimum of a couple hours a night and pretty solidly on weekends.  We don't go out much at all.  I was requested to limit my activities, even, so that he wouldn't be left alone with crazy dog-lady.

Needless to say, I think he's ready.  He's a smart cookie, has worked hard, and deserves to pass with flying colors.  Good luck!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Sick Puppy

We have the most energetic, happy, "sick" dog that you'll ever see.  For about a week, Harper had been very congested, sluggish, and puking at random intervals.  Last night, after cleaning up the family room floor, I was fed up.  We suspected it was just allergies, but decided to go visit the vet.  The vet pretty much agreed that it was allergies or a virus, but also that she may have developed an ulcer from the "stress" of the drastic weather change.  My 6 month old has an ULCER.  Ridiculous.  How stressful can the life of a dog be?

*Flashback photo*

Long and short of it is that she's on antacids and is to be fed "GI friendly" foods.  Meaning chicken and rice made in low-sodium chicken broth.  You'd think this dog had died and gone to heaven.  She went from not eating to WOLFING the food down.  How we're ever going to get her back on kibble is to be seen.  She is SUCH a fan of chicken and rice, that she is now scavenging the counters at all times.  And even managed to score herself a loaf of freshly baked bread.  GRR.  This morning, the dog was BEYOND energetic and happy.  Apparently, her stomach really was upset.  However, I might prefer puppy with a tummy ache to the bread-stealing mad woman we now have!  ;)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

What is Exercise?

I can't even convey how upset I was when I injured my left knee.  And then my right knee.  And I saw my dreams of 125 pounds at my wedding and a 10 mile race on May 2nd go up in smoke.  And then an amazing thing happened.  I just realized that these goals are not impossible to reach.

In my head, I had taken a month off from exercise.  March 9th-April 9th.  Nothing.  Nada.  Zilch.  In my mind, I saw the pounds piling back on, and my newly toned muscles withering away.  I continued to eat rationally, and maintained my love affair with     And....the weight continued to come off.  Probably 8 pounds since "I haven't exercised."  But the reality is, I have.

I always say that walking my dog doesn't count as exercise.  This might be true if I had a purse dog (no offense to those of you that do) that only required a traipse around the yard.  But the "non-exercise" of walking my dog is about 4 miles a day.  What else didn't I count?  Home renovations.  We're not talking about sewing some pillows or slapping up a coat of paint, either.  (Both of which I really enjoy doing, but didn't happen this month.)  I dug foundations.  Moved dirt.  Planted flowers and a garden.  Dug up fence posts.  Lots of HEAVY lifting.

Throw in that I was still even doing an occasional aerobics class or yoga video, and you realize that I was completely deluding myself.  I might not have been getting my miles in on the treadmill, but I was EXERCISING.  This morning I went to the gym for my first "serious" run, and ran a 5k in pretty decent time, without much pain.  So now the challenge I still try and train for the 10 mile race?  Chris votes that I don't.  He thinks my knees won't hold up, and I'll be limping at the wedding.  A friend that is an avid runner thinks I can do it, as long as I get in 2 long runs before then, and just plan on walking when necessary.

The question is:  When is it too much of a challenge? 

Monday, April 12, 2010

Renovations with Animals

Ah, the satisfaction of putting in a hard day of manual labor.  Seeing the visible progress of your work.  Anticipating that after being dead tired...the animals will still need baths. 

Monster was never terrible when we were doing interior renovations.  For the most part, he stayed out of the way.  He might come in to check out what was going on, but was never impeding to the process. 

As I type that, I am hearing Harper running up the stairs to investigate something.  I question the cliche "curiosity killed the cat", because in our house?  He's not the one at risk.  This weekend was productive, but did involve both a cat and a dog that were very eager to "help".

Since we have so much free time, we have many outdoor projects started.  No, of course we're not consumed by getting married in 40 days, and of course Chris is just fine working full time, then immediately coming home to study for his PE exam on Friday.  But just to keep ourselves entertained, we've surveyed for a fence, started the garden, are continually planting more flowers, and then the biggies: building a patio, levelling the yard and re-seeding, and building a brick liner around the flower beds. 

Goal #1 for the weekend was to dig out the base for the patio and lay the didn't happen.  We finished digging, but Chris and I are both barely mobile at this point.  It's hard work!  We used the dirt to level the front, and to build up an area in the back which, ultimately, will be another raised bed, with a retaining wall.  Monster and Harper?  They enjoyed helping with digging and moving the dirt...  Oh the mess.


Friday, April 9, 2010

The Great Hair Debate

With the wedding coming up, opinions have been expressed on my hair.  Not in terms of the style.  Color.  Hadn't really considered that this was a decision that needed to be made, but so be it. 

I am a chameleon.  My hair color has changed FREQUENTLY throughout the years.  It has been hot pink in high school, my natural mid-brown, dark brown, red, and, most often, blonde.  My mother VASTLY prefers me as a blonde.  My fiance, while he generally likes brunettes, and hates red hair, has been approving of both blonde and a dark auburn.  The question I stick with the natural brown or change it up?  Here I am in various states:  (some of these are really horrible pictures...bear with me)

Brown, current, natural color (ouch...before I lost weight)

Very blonde.  Believe this is my mother's choice.

Fairly red (sorry Hannah looks crazy)

Strawberry blonde

Love this middle ground...but so hard to get right!  (this is my sister-in-law's bridal luncheon)

I can't decide.  Help!

"Katy" Food

Chris and I do not share a palate.  In my dream world, I would eat a largely vegetarian diet, heavy on the veggies, admittedly heavy in salt content, and few sweets.  Chris's ideal menu would have lots of meat, sweets, and a mix of traditional Americana, with some Slovene food thrown in.  It's a little bizarre, actually.  He's changing a bit but was never an adventurous eater.  Meat and potatoes...or, since his family immigrated within the past couple generations, stuffed cabbage and peppers, keilbasa, and a few other less commonly consumed foods HERE, but he thinks of as entirely normal. 

Here's a typical breakfast that I eat, but Chris finds pretty disgusting.  Typically, I'd try and use 1 egg white, and 1 egg, but I was starving after my exercise class this morning and went crazy with 2 whole eggs.  Scramble them with a lot of chopped broccoli (or sometimes asparagus or spinach), and throw in about an ounce of feta cheese.  I think this tastes incredible.  Chris...I would have to bribe him heavily to even try it.

Here is my lunch from yesterday.  Again, Chris's response was "ew", and I enjoyed it a lot.  It was inspired by a post Jaden of Steamy Kitchen did on Tasty Kitchen.  When it went up yesterday, I immediately craved it...but only had ham and strawberries out of their lengthy list of ingredients.  So, I improvised.  Still a melty, delicious sandwich I made in a sandwich maker.  My ingredients:

Wheat bread
Swiss Cheese
Zesty Honey Mustard

I know.  Sounds a little weird, but I sure enjoyed it.  And...of course a picture.    

Now, of course, the dog is wanting to go out before I leave for work.  Gotta hurry up.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Our New Favorite Game

That title is an absolute mis-nomer.  Chris's favorite game has ALWAYS been football.  He has delayed taking portions of his engineering certification in the fall so that he doesn't miss a single second of a single game.  This is not an exaggeration.  Thursday through Saturday, the television is on, and Chris is watching the game, whether it is a relevant team like Penn State, Ohio State or Notre Dame (our alma maters), or some team I personally wouldn't choose to follow.  So be it.  I knew what I was getting into. 

What IS new is the dog's love of football.  She first discovered a deflated ball at the dog park one day.  It was flat, disgusting, and covered in mud and slober.  Regardless, it became her new obsession.  And the obsession of a few other dogs (hi, Bruno the Boxer!).  I would happily run around with my nutty little team, and get coated in filth. 

We decided that it was time to give Harper a football of her own.  The problem is that we don't feel comfortable throwing the football in the house.  There would be too many accidents.  A television might be sacrificed in the process.  (Not that Chris would mind this.  He's been campaigning for a bigger, better model for awhile.) 

Harper is good about knowing that she is only allowed in our back yard when she is off leash.  It still scares me, though.  We're installing a fence soon, and already had the yard surveyed for it, but right now?  She could escape if she so chose.  Consequently, the pictures are bittersweet.  Ok, they're darn cute, but I worry.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Grilled Pizzas

Ok, here is where I become a giant hypocrit and after saying I try not not use preprocessed foods...I get lazy.  This is about PROCESS ok?  ;)  My ingredients:

Notice my Wegman's pizza dough and cheese, and Don Pepino's pizza sauce.  Sigh.  Can't all be perfect.  The funky looking container in the back is frozen  pesto I made from my crop of basil last year.

First, roll out some dough.  Or if you're more talented than me, toss it.  This is NOT a skill I have.  You're looking for just about as thin as you can get it.  1/4" or less.

Put them on a floured or corn-mealed sheet for transport.

Throw them on an oiled, heated grill.  Chris had to remind me not to spray oil on a lit grill.  That would've been cute.  Let them go until they puff up and start to get some grill lines, and flip them.  They don't have to fully cook at this point, but you want some stability, and they won't be on super long after getting toppings, so, at least a few minutes a side.

This is a pesto and tomato pizza per the recommendation of Kat at Living Like the Kings and based on a Pioneer Woman recipe.  She didn't grill hers, but there's my twist.

Couple of "boring" cheese pizzas per the recommendation of Chris. personal favorite...and potentially what I could live off of the rest of my life...Hawaiian Pizza using leftover ham and pineapple from our Easter dinner.

Throw them back on the grill until all the toppings are heated and the cheese is melted.  Here's the final products:

Gotta say that I REALLY love grilled pizzas, and, not surprisingly, preferred the Hawaiian.  The pesto one...was alright, but wasn't FLOORED or anything.  I actually didn't try the cheese because, well, sorry Chris, BORING.  :)  Highly recommend it to any of the rest of you dying for pizza, but not wanting to turn on the oven in NINETY DEGREE HEAT.  And yes, we're supposed to hit 90 today.  On April 7.  WTF?

On a related note, we've had to move the dog crate down to the basement because we don't want her to die.  We don't use air conditioning often.  At all.  Especially not in April.  But...UGH!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

How My Garden Grows...I Hope

We do NOT have a large yard.  In fact, we have 0.16 acre.  So sacrificing an 8x10 patch is a little painful.  This is the wave of the future, though, right?  Urban gardening?  We can only hope.  Chris and I both have a bit of an environmental/hippie bent so we feel pretty passionately that people should look into reducing their impact as much as possible.  For us?  That means walking to the grocery store and farmer's market, trying to buy local whenever we can to reduce the fuel spent on transport, reusing and recycling whatever we can, and getting as little pre-processed food as possible.  (my adventures in bread baking will have to be a post for another day)  We've spent too much money on renovations this year, but we intend to get a rain barrell and a composter some time soon. 

This year, we've expanded our operations.  Previously, we've grown tomatoes, peppers, basil, and pumpkins.  We've bought the plants for all but the pumpkins, though.  This year, I started everything from seed.  And...the tomatoes aren't looking so hot after the transfer.  We'll see how it goes.  However, if all goes well, this year's crop is tomato, pepper, basil, cucumber, carrot, lettuce, and beans.  Yum!  Wish us luck!  We'll need it!

In building the garden, we discovered that there was previously a fence in our yard. a little frustrating since we're looking at putting one in this summer.  One project at a time.  For now, we just had to dig out the concrete footers.  Actually wasn't terrible.  That was a little surprising.  They're pretty big!

I am VERY sunburnt after spending the day working in the yard.  I'll spare you the pictures, though.  Not much like me, right?  Usually you get every clutzy injury in full color.  Maybe I'm turning over a new leaf.  Maybe I just know I'll have a lot more sunburns later.  Ha! 

Monday, April 5, 2010

Happy Post-Easter

I hope everyone enjoyed their Easter!  It was quite quiet here.  Chris had to study, so we did not have any company.  Went to church, brunch, walked the dog, ran errands, and then built our vegetable garden.  Was a beautiful day celebrating rebirth in every sense. 

Also, this is post 101!  Didn't realize I had done 100.  I thought about doing a give-away, but it really would be silly.  It'd be approximately a 1 in 4 chance.  So...just know I appreciate all of you who read!

Here's an early shot of my flowers starting to grow.  This rabbit is a Jim Shore.  If you don't know who he is, PLEASE check out his website.  I find his creations some of the most adorable things out there.  My collection of Christmas ornaments is actually getting to the point that Chris thinks we need a display case.  They're a little heavy, and tend to bend the branches on the tree.  Still...LOVE.  

Saturday, April 3, 2010

How Things Change

Matron of Honor Quynh, Nikki, T, me (rare photo w/ girls)

Once upon a time, I may have been a social creature.  I truly enjoyed going out.  Frequently.  Honestly, I can't really imagine having the energy anymore!  Chris has never really known this side of me.  I moved to Philly, didn't know anyone, and started dating him almost right away.  He's a homebody.  He certainly has friends, but it's not the crowd that I used to hang out with.  Although, I must say, they are all successful professionals, many of whom are now married, and probably aren't the same people anymore, either.  Oh well.  Montage of days gone by:

Frank, me, Scott, Hannah (bridesmaid)

Matt, Joel, me (Joel & my 26th bday, NOT St. Pat's)

My "twin" Joel.  Same bday, known each other since we were 11, had the same class schedule through HS.  Again, this was our 26th birthday.  Was probably the most fun bday EVER.

With Adam.  So proud!  He just got cast as a "romantic vampire" in a feature film.  Think this was a Christmas party in '06?  Seem to like this pose...

My going away party when I moved away.  :(  Jeremy and Andy.

I miss everyone!  Hope you all remember me!  Ha!  I believe MOST of you will be at the wedding.  Better be!  Ah...good times.

Friday, April 2, 2010


Please excuse that I look like a hideous slug.  This is Harper's main method of cuddling.  She's not allowed on the couch, so she gets as much on your lap as possible.  Ridiculous.

On a more self-indulgent note...Supposedly I've lost 3 lbs in 3 days?  WTF.  I would love this to be true, but I don't get it.  Have I exercised?  Just 2-3 mile walks with the dog.  Have I eaten differently?  I've been good, but certainly not starving myself.  Kinda mystifies me.  Every day I jump on the scale thinking it was water weight and will go back up...and every day it goes down.  This puts me 2.5 lbs from having lost 20 lbs and hitting my wedding goal weight.  Huh.

This picture is actually from 5 lbs ago, demonstrating what previously were my "skinny" jeans:

Eh...I'll go back to cute pictures.  Harper and Monster: