Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 in One Photo

Ok, so it's a photo of a photo-taken with an iphone, so not the greatest quality.

My brother's girlfriend snapped this at my cousin's wedding in September then gave it to me framed for a Christmas present this year.
It was an outdoor wedding where rain came down most of the evening but didn't stop the guests from dancing.

Our 2013 was a lot like this photo.

2012 was a big and exciting year.  
We got married.
Traveled to Chicago, San Francisco, Napa, Sonoma, Portland, Seattle, Vancouver, Philadelphia, Houston, Tybee Island and Savannah and rarely sat still.
It was exhilarating and wonderful, but it wasn't real.  Not long-term real, anyway.

2013 was that year for us.
We grew up, we matured.
We bought a house and all of a sudden we looked forward to weekends and time off work not for jet-setting and exploring but for making a home.
Our home.

We faced battles and we lost loved ones.
And through it all we loved.

We held hands through this year and went wide-eyed into the real world, together.
We've danced in the rain.

(Linking up with Jena from Recently Roached)


Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmas Photo Recap

Our Christmas holiday was filled with to and fro (and hohoho).
We spent a ton of time on the road and were so busy soaking up family time I've majorly neglected recapping those happy memories to blogland, so it's come to this-a true photodump.

We started out Christmas celebrations with a trip to Philadelphia to see Dan's family.
We went to my aunt and uncle's annual Christmas party.

I enjoyed our annual Christmas PJ party with my mom and sister.

Dan and I started our own traditions of riding around with hot chocolate to look at Christmas lights and baking cookies and decorating our tree/wrapping presents.  We also had Dan's family over for lasagna the night before Christmas Eve, something we hope to make a tradition.

Then saw far superior lights at Lights on the Neuse, a hayride through a farm to enjoy light displays.

We had our annual gingerbread house competition-with the same placings as usual-Amber 1st, me last. Which of these do you think should be the winner?  I usually like my sister's the best but Amber is undefeated.  
We had a great time with family at our annual Christmas Eve Party.
Opened presents and had breakfast Christmas morning at my parent's house-complete with 2 rambunctious dog cousins becoming fast friends.
And finally, we enjoyed not one-but 2 Christmas dinners on Christmas day.  
Once in Chocowinity with Dan's family, then back to Wilson with my family.

Merry Christmas, indeed.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Five on Friday

The past few weeks have been particularly stressful, so I've been especially thankful for some of our recent purchases that relieve little stressors from everyday life.  It's the little things, people.

Before ever getting Lucy I'd read the book Marley & Me.  If you kept yourself from reading the end- as I sometimes wish I did- you missed that Marley suffers from a condition where his stomach flips.  Although the causes are somewhat unclear, it's more common in large chested dogs (such as labs), and one of the contributing factors has been said to be eating too quickly.  Lucy absolutely gulps down her food.  We'd had it on our to-do list to get her a special food bowl that would slow her eating down, but kept forgetting about it until this same condition happened to the dog of a friend of ours.  It's a scary situation, and is many times fatal (thankfully her dog pulled through).  That weekend we went to get her new dish and it is amazing how much it slows down her eating.  The first few times she used it she kept pausing to give us evil looks and complain a little, but she's adjusted to it now and that's one less thing we have to worry about.
In keeping with the pet theme a few months ago our cat, Linus, began urinating blood quite frequently.  At first we were told it was a urinary track infection for which he took an antibiotic and pain pills.  When his symptoms didn't go away they thought it might be stress and Dan even fell for some sort of wall plug in that supposedly releases soothing scents only cats can pick up (seriously still can't believe he fell for that-to the price of $50).  Eventually the vet decided he must have an unspecified urinary condition and recommended a water fountain and wet food for treatment.  Linus wouldn't touch the wet food and was scared of the water fountain.  After weeks of watching him all the time, prolonged prescriptions of pain meds (for him) and no small amount of frustration (for us) they finally did an ultrasound that revealed the poor guy had been suffering from a bladder stone the whole time.  In trying to prevent further stones he's now on a prescription food (dry food) and we've managed to get him over his fear of the fountain so he always has access to fresh, clean water.  This fountain doesn't work for Lucy, who has a tendency to drink it dry which messes with the motor, but placing it upstairs in Linus' own little spot has been good for us, and we don't worry about Lucy hogging all the water anymore.

 It drives me crazy to no end to have things rolling around in drawers and I kept finding myself in a cycle of giving up on keeping drawers neat until they got so out of control I'd go on a clean sweep of all the drawers and become obsessive over them.  Finally tired of this cycle, I bought some of the cheap shadow box like picture frames at Michael's and some pretty card stock-cut the card tock to fit the picture frame, turned it upside down, placed the card stock in the bottom and voila!  Things feel so much more organized now.

We have a ton of glasses and not a ton of cabinet space.  To remedy this we took a big bookshelf type piece of furniture we already had and bought wine glass racks from Pier One to screw in underneath the tops of shelves so we could hang our wine/martini glasses upside down from the shelves.  Then, the shelves themselves were also free to place bar glasses on, while the cabinet underneath holds coozies, liquor and napkins.  Add a few decorative items and now we've got ourselves a little bar and some extra space in our kitchen cabinets.

Scentsy products are really popular around the schools I work in, but the whole buy things from people you know deal really kind of freaks me out-mainly because it tends to get a little out of control when you feel like you have to go back and continue buying things.  Roaming around Target one day I found a little oil warmer that was so cute and matched the theme I'm going for in our bonus room.  I love it because although the brand has blocks of wax to melt they sell there's really no need to commit to that brand as any little block of smell good wax will do.  It fills a large amount of space with great holiday scents and our house feels so much more cozy and welcoming now.


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

We Have a Problem

It was last night well past our bedtime that we began to realize we have a problem.
Specifically, it was as we giddily put Dan's glasses on our dog over and over trying to get the perfect picture (that we never really achieved).
{Lucy was not nearly as amused as we were}

We then settled into bed snuggled neatly between our dog and our cat and began talking about Lucy's recent accomplishments.
You know, typical stuff.

Lucy has gotten so good at hide and go seek that we play in the dark for an added challenge.
She's even graduated to seeking both of us, as she will now stay on command upstairs and wait as we find our hiding spots downstairs and only come to find us after we've shouted "where are mama and daddy?"
This accomplishment was immediately relayed to her proud grandmother (or as Lucy calls her, Vivi).

We were laying there telling her how smart she was and it hit us.
We play hide and go seek with our dog.
And often enough that she's improving and can play without an aide.

The first step is admitting you have a problem.

Hi, everyone, I'm Anna. 
And I'm clearly way too attached to my dog.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Five on Friday

Breast cancer awareness month just ended and this year my hometown sold pink trash cans to raise money for research.  Two years ago during the month of October Dan's mom was diagnosed with breast cancer, and this October my mom was diagnosed.  Mama had a double mastectomy a couple of weeks ago and today we find out what her next step is treatment wise. Something that's been very comforting is knowing how far we've come in research for breast cancer specifically.  I've always been so amazed by the fundraising efforts for this cause and I can't help but wonder what it would be like if the fundraising efforts were that intense for other forms of cancer, or if the funds were divided equally. 

How awesome were the CMAs this week?  I want so badly to dislike Taylor Swift but that acoustic version of Red with Vince Gill and Allison Krauss made me want to drive straight to Nashville for another trip to the Bluebird Cafe (read about that trip here, then book yourself a trip because it's an awesome experience).  I also really enjoyed the tribute to George Jones.  He Stopped Loving Her Today was my grandfather's favorite song and to me it will always be pancakes, bacon and lazy Saturday mornings after spending the night staying up late eating ice cream at my grandparents house.  

My parent's cockatiel died recently and we got his cage out when I was visiting them last night to get it cleaned for me to take back as a second cage for our bird.  As soon as my mom's dog saw that cage she went absolutely crazy, shaking all over and crying and desperately looking all inside the cage for her bird.  It's so amazing how attached our pets become to one another and so heartbreaking to not be able to explain to them where their friend has gone when one dies.  When our family dog died when I was in high school our cat went bald from the stress of missing her best friend.

I finished reading Perks of Being a Wallflower last night and I'm kicking myself for not having read it earlier in life.  I really related to the whole idea of making yourself participate in life, as I tend to withdraw and become a homebody.  For all those introverts out there if you haven't read it yet, I highly recommend it for your next book.  I went through looking at the quotes I highlighted to pick one to share in the post and I just couldn't decide because there were so many good lessons throughout the book.  Just read it yourself, pinky promise you won't regret it.  

My dad snapped this picture of Dan and I on the pier with Lucy and one of my parents dogs last weekend and it's since become my desktop background that I can't stop staring at and wishing I could spend all of my days at the beach.  One day... 


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Mallory's Storybook Baby Shower

My college roommate, Mallory, is about to be the first from our group to have a baby when she welcomes baby Sawyer to the world this December.
A few weeks ago we threw her a Storybook themed baby shower.
Each of the dishes had a book that went with them.
{Twinkle Twinkle Little Star punch-Blueberries for Sal Yum Yums-Three Little Pigs in a Blanket-If You Give a Mouse a Cookie cookies}
{Peter Rabbit Vegetables and Fruit-Humpty Dumpty Deviled Eggs-A Fish out of Water bottled water}
{Three Blind Mice Pimiento Cheese-Centerpiece}

For a shower game we played Gift Bingo, where everyone filled out a blank Bingo card with gifts they thought baby Sawyer would get and you marked off your spaces as she opened the gifts.
We also tried to make mommy-to-be's life a little easier by having guests address blank envelopes for thank you notes as they walked in the door.
It's so hard to believe this crazy group is going to welcome a baby into the club in just 2 short months!


Monday, October 28, 2013

Recent Shananigans

The past few weeks have been incredibly busy and I've failed every week at getting the weekend shenanigans posted.
So, I bring you several weekends in one photo-heavy post.

A few weeks ago we went to the ECU-Carolina game.
It was Military Appreciation Day and the paratroopers and team entrance were a bright spot in an incredibly not close game.

That same weekend I enjoyed fall conference with these ladies.

Conference was, as always, a healthy mix of fun and learning.
We also finally got to check out CowFish while in Raleigh.
This was the coolest restaurant I've been to in awhile.
The menu is a mixture of burgers and sushi, as well as Burger-Sushi and Sushi-Burger fusion dishes.
All of the decor is really neat as well, with funny artwork on the walls, a huge tank in the middle of the restaurant and a LED screen with your name on a fish that travels up the tank as your table becomes available. 
I enjoyed a girl's weekend in Raleigh with my college roommates as we went to a State football game, out to dinner and hit downtown Raleigh for a night of fun.

Finally, Dan and I also enjoyed a weekend at Raffaldini Vineyard for a beautiful wedding.
Not recapped (because it deserves its own post): a storybook baby shower we threw for one of our college roommates.
Already scheduled to post Wednesday, because I am on the ball this week.

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