About Me

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I am a daughter, sister, wife, mom to three cats and one dog (each with their own personalities), working woman, renovator, landlord and friend. I love to laugh, read a good book, enjoy spending time with family and friends and hanging with the Zoo! This blog is keep track of the comings and going our house and this great adventure called life. Enjoy!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve

Merry Christmas Eve everyone!  I went to my Mom's for brunch this morning and had a wonderful time, just the four of us...Mom, Dad, Dustin and I.

After opening presents, I found myself telling the story of previous friends who didn't treat their numerous animals well and ultimately how we came to have Little Miss.  In retelling the story, I realized that we are incredibly lucky to have our wonderful animals.  They are always so happy to see us - each in their own way - and it would be crushing to lose one of them in any way.  Chase and Mason were from the Fairfax SPCA in 2005, Hunter from Lost Dog and Cat Foundation in 2008 and Parker from friends when she was just three days old in 2008.

I received an email from LDCF looking back on the previous 2010 year.  Within it, there is the below video link...it's fabulous to see all those animals gain loving homes.  Just to warn you, it made me cry!

As I sit here, our zoo is hanging out with me in the office with Parker on top of the entertainment center, Chase the cat in my lap, Mason sitting with Jim Morrison in a chair and Hunter fast asleep in my orange chair.  I love each and every one of them immensely!

In addition to my current zoo, I will never forget these two...

These are my dogs growing up...Moe and Ashen.  They came home as a surprise from Daddio, so tiny and cute!  They didn't stay little for long, this is a picture of them at nine months old!!!  Brother and sister, Moe was more Rottweiler and Ashen was more Doberman Pincher.  They were wonderful dogs with their own quirks and lived a long life. They made our days brighter!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

To Do List

Okay, so we are officially counting down the days until Christmas is upon us...  I can't believe it's in less than a week!

Jay and I are hosting his parents this year and with the Big Day being on a Saturday, my husband doesn't have to work the actual day which is a rare occurrence in this neck of the woods.  So of course, down comes PA to join in the festivities.  Jay's other sister, Karen and her husband are staying with Kathy and Dennis, while Jay's 'rents are staying with us.  Originally there was going to be a lot of back and forth between our house and Herndon (K&D's house) but logistically it just doesn't make sense.  The in-laws and I will head to Herndon in the wee hours of the morning to see the girls open their presents and after a few hours, Jay will come join us (so Hunter isn't home alone all day long!)  After an early dinner, Jay and I will skip over to my aunt's house to see one side of my fam then back home to the zoo.

So that is the plan, which wasn't the point of this post!  In preparation for the arrival of PA, I have a 'To Do' list.  For those of you who know me well, you are not surprised by this - not even close to surprised.  I love lists.  They make me feel accomplished.  I love making a list and writing something on that list that I know 100% certain that I won't forget to do, but put it there just so I have at least one item to cross off.  Because crossing something off the list is the best part!

I'm rambling... Here's my To Do by Friday AM list: (in the order I wrote it down late last night :))

  • Clip cat's nails -- Done, with some growling involved but treats afterward :)
  • Vacuum -- Done on Friday
  • Dust -- Done on Friday
  • Wrap presents -- Will do tonight
  • Make sure guest room is ready/towels stocked/shampoo and conditioner -- Done on Friday
  • Hang wreaths -- might not happen - Nope, sure didn't
  • Paint hallway -- a long stretch - Wasn't even a thought to do
  • Buy stamps -- Done on lunch break Thursday
  • One more laundry run -- Done
  • Make rice krispies -- Done on Friday
  • Call Joy -- Done and as always fabulous talking to her and hearing Mr. Owen
  • Visit Heidi/Call Eric -- Jay and I visited her day after Christmas
  • Three more presents
  • More wood -- Being delivered tomorrow AM and then need to stack it by Friday
  • See the Madre and Bro -- tentatively scheduled for either Friday or Jan 2nd depending on this list -- Done, see post here
  • See Daddio -- tentative on schedules, hoping to catch dinner one evening -- Done, see post here
  • Mail out Christmas cards (possibly after Christmas, but whatever) -- Done Monday after Christmas
  • Sew something :)
That's a hefty list but manageable with Friday off work and possibly Thursday too.

Here's to hoping you all have a fabulously wonderful Christmas and have time to relax with loved ones!


Monday, December 20, 2010


I walked thru the dining room and kitchen this morning on my way to work (my typical route thru the house) and fell in love with both rooms all over again! 

As the Husband and I were saying last night, the brown in the dining room puts the emphasis on the fireplace - where it should be! - now being the focal point of the room. 

I must admit wasn't too hot for the blue color we chose originally for the kitchen, but it looks fabulous.  I also have a weakness for kitchens...  I'm not a big cook (probably because it can become so messy or disorganized in there) but I need a clean and orderly kitchen.  In college, I would constantly pull everything out of the community fridge (six people sharing) and reorganize it - it would drive me crazy.  I've done this a few times in my own fridge, especially on grocery shopping day.  Anyways, enough about the Kitchen OCD...

Point is, the house is coming together and that thrills me to no end!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Paint changes everything - Part 2

We finished painting the dining room today and were on a roll so added some color to our newly redesigned kitchen... It's a bit nautical and looks fabulous!  WE LOVE IT! 


From just the right angle it could be in a magazine :)  Don't you think??


Kitchen redo

Over the last month, we have changed this house around ALOT!  Painting, rearranging, tearing apart the basement multiple times...one more big change to the kitchen and we might be taking a break for a while...

We did some demo upstairs this time :)  The kitchen overlooks the dining room I guess you'd say with the stove top, range hood and upper cabinets backing into the dining room.  Yes, that's a more accurate description.  We wanted a more open space, so Turkey Day weekend we tore some cabinets down and gave them a new home. 

Jay was ready to jump in (we aren't very patient people) when he came home from work Thursday evening at 11pm.  We had decided to take down the cabinets above the stove top in order to open up the space to the dining room.  About ten minutes after he was home, we tore into those cabinets and were able to take them down in one piece strategically.  The range hood came down too (nasty, dirty thing) which vented through the cabinets out of the side roof eave.  Once everything was down, we felt accomplished and exhausted so decided to get some sleep.  Given that our kitchen looked like a bomb blew up in it, I gave in to the fact that it would be more clean tomorrow and called it a night. 

Taking down the cabinet fronts (notice the dining room isn't done yet (post timing issue)

We both had Friday off work (yay!) and we jumped right in where we left off the evening before.  Maybe you're wondering where these cabinets now call home??  Our newly white/old ugly blue sponge wall is the perfect place!  Jay measured and created a 'third hand', I'm not sure what it's truly called, but was a 2x4 screwed into the wall to set the cabinets on.  While he did that, my kitchen OCD kicked in and I was cleaning behind us, straightening tools and throwing away scrap materials - hahaha!  I helped hold the cabinets up with all my might while he screwed them into the wall until they were secure enough for my tired arms to take a break.  It truly looks like the cabinets belong on that wall.  It gives the kitchen a more open feel and is such a better utilization of the space it's ridiculous!

Unfortunately during this project, the Husband didn't feel so hot and decided to lay down now that the cabinets were up and in place.  He was burning up but felt cold, turns out he had a temperature of 100.5!!  Poor guy was fighting something nasty, so he grabbed a sweatshirt and I wrapped him in blankets for a much needed nap with Hunter curled up beside him (love that!)  While my boys were resting up, I was in heaven rearranging and organizing our new kitchen cabinets!!  Everything now makes much more sense on the walls - with coffee cups by the maker, not over the stove; the plates, bowls, cups and glasses all in one large cabinet; the cooking items by the oven and over the baking items.  It's fabulous!  In the 'new' cabinets I was able to fit all my wine glasses, which don't get used often yet I feel they need to be in reach (plus they are beautiful and I have a collection going); Hunter's treats; extra set of bowls; Magic Bullet and accessories.  I screwed the cabinet doors back on and wiped down the counters, OCD'ed myself into oblivion within my kitchen space.  It was such a relief to put it all back together.  The Husband woke up to not knowing where I single item in the kitchen was :) but feeling better than earlier.  We ordered Chinese in and relaxed for the rest of the evening, climbing into bed early. 

We still had the range hood to figure out, which Jay did excellent handyman work one morning while I was at work.  He was able to use leftover materials from other projects and hang the hood by chains over the stove top and created the duct work also!  I must admit, I was a bit apprehensive when he told me about the chains, but it turned out great.  He is so much better at seeing the picture in his head, whereas I have to literally see it in person (this is our largest difference and biggest challenge probably, but I trust his instincts).  Our last piece of the project is to add a counter under the 'new' cabinets.  We originally were going to use an old door from the basement, but it's hollow core so won't work very well.  My Dad might have some leftover Corian at his shop to help us out, but for now it's still open and Hunter's crate is using the space up nicely. 

The kitchen/dining room space has changed immensely in the last month!  It's fitting into our lifestyle and our wants...slowly but surely, it's coming together.


Paint changes everything

It is true, paint changes the entire feel of a room or a piece of furniture! 

We have been stuck unable to agree on a color for the dining room.  I wanted a rich brown color but was afraid it would either be too dark or clash with whatever color we chose for the kitchen (since they are so open to each other now).  Jay wanted a maroon color to help with the fireplace and he's always liked the idea of a maroon dining room.  He is fabulous in truly letting me chose the colors for the house, even though I ask his opinion every time wanting him to enjoy the room too.  In the end, we were both in agreement that the peachy-pink color had to go!  My friend Virginia put it nicely when she said 'If they put that color in a paint can, it'd be called Old Lady'. HAHAHA!  So incredibly true.

How it looked when we bought the house
Gotta love the Old Lady walls and those dreadful curtain/drapes

With the snow that came this past week and my dentist appointment in town, I decided painting is how I would spend my free afternoon.  So I grabbed a gallon of beautiful brown, called Scented Clove, on the way home.  I taped off the edges, did the up and down trim work on the edges, ceiling and floor boards.  I accomplished painting the two main walls flanking the fireplace that evening.  At first I felt it was too contrast to the orange-ish brick and the thick cherry wood mantle, but the more I turned the corner or walked through the room, the more I loved it! 

Today Jay and I finished the room - yes, my Husband helped me paint :)  We two-teamed it...Jay trimmed and I rolled.  The entire room was done in less than two hours!  It is a gorgeous room now, very welcoming.  It gives the brick a darker, more brown coloring and warms up the room completely!  It feels lived in.  It feels relaxing. 

We've rearranged the room over the last week making it more functional.  Previously, the dining room table was the focal point of the room - making a fabulous dumping ground for anything and everything!  Plus, together we maybe sit at the dining room once or twice a week with our opposite schedules.  In rearranging, we created a little bistro by the large windows, it's intimate and still functional, along with not taking up the entire room's quirky space.  We added a throw rug in the middle of the space to settle everything.  Beside the kitchen, we have Heidi & Eric's papasan chair with a table and lamp - this is where I'm sitting now, yet the cats claim this space often.  We hung pictures up and curtains too (bought the rods yesterday and more of the old office curtains - we are just switching rooms with the curtains).  Sidenote:  Chase the Cat just curled up with me in the chair and Hunter the Dog is laying on the carpet chewing on his bone.  This scene makes me incredibly happy. 

I know you guys want to see pictures, so here you go...


Our little Bistro all lit up

 You will have to come over for dinner sometime soon! 

Home Sweet Home

Our house if finally becoming our home in the truest sense of the word... 

The office is painted - finished Turkey Day weekend - and it turned out to be a beautiful color called Mushroom Bisque.  I would work in the evenings jamming out to Dave and painting around the furniture Jay would have moved for me earlier in the day.  I took a good week to get the whole room done.  I was rooting around for rollers in our basement 'paint section' and found a Blue Tape Applicator Tool...LOVE IT!  It is a fabulous invention and made painting go a lot faster than with the newspaper I had taped to the ceiling originally (hahaha!)  After the painting was done last Friday, Jay and I rearranged the room again on Saturday. 

Here is what it looked like before...

And now...

The color gives such a soft, warm feel to the room.  We moved the living room curtains to the office, which goes well.  I like how the window and door way pop with the white trim.  It's our first complete room in the house with paint, curtains and decorating... 


Saturday, December 18, 2010

No longer battling...

...with my sewing machine :)

I was able to sew a present together for a certain someone which was supposed to be an August birthday present but now will be a Christmas present.  I am thrilled with the results and the fact that I did it with my own two hands (and the machine)!  If I must say so myself, it was pretty ambitious for a first sew job...

I can't wait to make pillows and quilts and purses and skirts...WAHOO!

Mom's hand-me-down machine

The zipper took a while to figure out... Mom and I both learned on this one!
I even embroidered the heart on :)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Got Time?

Busy...that is such a 'cop-out' word at times - used when you can't collectively list out what you've been up to - yet usually is a true statement.  Maybe you've been so busy, you can't remember all the little things you've done or it'd take too long to recount it all.

I can fully confirm that we have been BUSY here on Cooks Court.  Ever since the day after Thanksgiving, surprisingly.  Where to begin (I feel I always start posts this way lately)...

After I painted the lovely blue sponged wall a classy white in the kitchen - still looks nice, yet more changes have happened there too.  I'll get to that later.  Anyways, I had a nice long five-day mini-vacation.

Turkey Day was fabulous!  It's by far my MOST FAVORITE holiday - good food, great people, good food, lots of laughs.  It's better than Christmas; I don't need any presents, just time with the fam.  Growing up, Thanksgiving has always been with my Mom's side of the family, so Hunter and I went to the Madre's house to enjoy the day.  Uncles, Aunts, Cousins, Brother, Mom, Gran and a couple dogs - it was a full house!  We had delicious dinner and dessert.  Hunter had a playmate in Otis (Jackie and Greg's dog), along with Abby and Sophie (not the best play partners, but good girls).  We stayed late and headed home that evening with Hunter fast asleep before we hit the interstate.

Thanksgiving Hockey is a tradition - Go Uncle Marty!

What a handsome boy!

Happy Thanksgiving

The basement project is still coming along.  Just to recap, we have taken down the drywall, paneling, studs, drop ceiling, cork closet, dividing wall and doorway.  Wow, at times I still can't believe it used to be a liveable space because now it's not even close :)  We have big plans for this basement...slowly but surely it will be put back together!  Over the Turkey Day weekend, Jay and I rented a tile stripper from Theros - yep, not a tile scraper, but a tile stripper (the Husband enjoyed that one).  We picked it up Saturday afternoon and had it until Monday morning for $75 total.  It was a walk behind machine with a blade on the front and an internal mechanism constantly vibrating it against the floor.  Initially the rental place put the blade in backwards, so we thought this process was going to take forever but played with it and we were in business.  The Husband did most of the scraping - major workout for your legs and arms.  It took us half days on Saturday and Sunday - needing a break.  Eventually we hit a routine - he'd scrape and I'd sweep the remnants out of the way.  We filled up about five or six big black leaf trash bags!  So now the floor is a bit tacky but void of that ugly laminate tile.  I never thought I'd see the day...

Tile Stripper :)

Lots more to share - office is painted and complete (our first room), kitchen and dining room layout has changed, there is Christmas inside and outside our lovely home - details and pictures to come but am exhausted...time for bed with my electric blanket - thank you Husband :)


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Blue Sponge Paint

Do you like dark blue?  Yeah?  Me too! 
Do you like light blue?   Not pastel baby blue, but sky blue...sure.
Do you like white?  Same here.
Do you like peachy/pink?  No?  Me neither!

What about all four together?

Yeah, that was our kitchen about four hours ago... AND NOW....

WOW!  I kind of can't believe it used to be bright blue and sponge painted.  It's definitely WHITE and now a blank slate to better help us decide what color to paint the kitchen moving forward.  So incredibly glad this is done - finally

I was going to work on getting my dag-gone sewing machine to work, but changing the kitchen felt more accomplishing since I don't know what's wrong with the sewing machine (I don't seem to have the best patience for it right now).  I might bring it with me to the Mom's tomorrow to see if she can help since it used to be hers...

And if I don't jump on tomorrow...HAPPY TURKEY DAY TO EVERYONE!!


Sunday, November 21, 2010


I finally met the little guy yesterday!  Oh man, he is one handsome fella...  I have been secretly pining to meet the newly arrived Mr. Owen Charles or Baby A as I lovingly call him, with his tiny fingers and toes. 

I called Joy on the way home from a birthday party to see how their weekend was panning out.  She said the coast was clear and we could come out any time we wanted.  I was thrilled!  Told Jay when I got home, but unfortunately he wasn't feeling good (fighting something in his chest), so thought it best to not give a cold to the tiny person and stay home.  I was completely bummed out - one of our two days to see each other and we weren't going to spend it together! - but not meeting Owen would have crushed me more, so I said my goodbyes (maybe with a tear or two - I'm going to be screwed with kids) and hit the road. 

A quick stop at Home Depot for Kev's requested kitchen sprayer and a plant for Owen to grow with him, a pit stop to fuel up and now I'm on my way.  It was a gorgeous drive, said my hellos to Heidi as I passed by and marveled at the sun setting on my left with the moon high on my right.  I forgot how much I love that drive! 

Walking in the door, Skylar greeted me with a welcoming hello making me wish I had brought Hunter for her to play with.  I passed along the plant and scooped up Mr. Owen for our formal introductions on his 13th day in this world.  Meredyth and Ryan were there during an impromptu stop, so I was able to visit with them also for a while before they headed towards their original destination.  She just couldn't pass up an opportunity to see the little man.  I stuck around for almost three hours...held Owen for a good chunk of that with his radiating heat, Joy and Kevin fed me (thank you!), took some pictures of the adorable tiny person and Joy granted me a mini photo-shoot of Owen and I - hahaha!  I was also able to see their new kitchen (my Dad did the corian - looks great! and I love the painted cabinets), Owen's room (great job Kev on the built in and closet organizer), new paint throughout - love the soft grey color, new floors and updated door handles.  They went to town re-doing everything before Owen came - very smart! - and the finished product is gorgeous!  Enough about their house, which is intriguing to me and probably me alone, here are some pictures of the little guy in all his glory...

Thank you to Family A in the woods of Harpers Ferry.  I had a wonderful time hanging out, meeting your little guy and spreading some love your way!  I hope to see you soon, until then I will have to control my withdrawls :) 

Resting his head on his hands, fast asleep...

Love the tiny toes!
Matching in our stripes

Accomplished Sunday

I did not sleep well last night, so Jay let me sleep in until 9am this morning (lets me catch some extra Zs now since I won't get to when kiddos come)...just Hunter and I snoozing away.  I was awoken with a kiss and a 'Good Morning Sunshine' (best way to wake up!)  We chatted and made the bed then folded the laundry and put it away.  The Husband headed towards the living room...

I have been meaning to pack away my summer shirts and pull out the winter ones, so decided I should do it now while up and moving.  I always find I put away clothes that I don't wear that often, but never want to cut anything so just pack it up, telling myself I'll deal with it next season - which I never do.  My friend Melissa has a good trick that I have begun to utilize - turn all your hangers backwards and when you wear something and hang it back up, turn the hanger around the right way - make sense?  At the end of the season, any hangers that are still backwards are clothes you never wore, so toss them instead of packing them up again!  Easy peasy and makes sense.  I was able to get rid of twelve shirts!!  Very motivating.  I hung up my winter shirts and yelled to the Husband about my accomplishment.  He was very glad - always stating I have too many clothes, mentioned I could probably get rid of other clothes in my closet.  The challenge was on :)  I asked him if he'd help me...sure, I know what you have and haven't worn (with a smile on his face).  I pulled out my casual wear t-shirts on hangers (33 of them) - kept maybe one third of them!  Next were my folded t-shirts (picture five piles of 10 shirts each on an upper shelft) - kept maybe half of them!  Lastly were my dresses - fancy dresses, bridesmaid dresses and college slutty dresses (maybe 15 total), I tossed half of them and kept only the ones I'll wear.  I reorganized my scarves/belts/purses trading places and incorporating a new hook Jay screwed up for me.  We cut through his clothes too - his hanging shirts were cut in half easy!  After it was all said and done, we opened up half his closet, which now houses winter jackets and my dresses. 

From our bedroom, we ventured into the guest room - duh, duh duhhh - this is a catch all for anything and everything!  The closet was stuffed to the gills...we pulled out about ten pillows, two comforters, a never opened blanket, decorations, more clothes (most were tossed) and winter jackets (now housed in our bedroom closet).  We re-arranged things - the dresser had four empty drawers, so we filled it with pillowcases and extra sheets; moved the games from the upper shelf to the floor of the closet (easier for kids); pillows galore up top now; moved a small dresser (used to house pillow cases) into closet and filled it with my crafting fabric and topped it with comforters.  The room opens up now with a piece of furniture in the closet now. 

Moving to the living room (first time I left the bedrooms all morning!), we vacuumed.  I LOVE a vacuumed house!!  Jay connected the computer to the tv to see how that looks.  We are probably going to kill DirectTV and watch tv from our computer (hulu.com here we come!)  It's $80 to get the internet and another $80 for DirectTV - RIP OFF!  We are now watching the Raiders/Steelers game from the computer - not too shabby!  It's all about who you are able to stream from...aka Napster for TV.

Talk about an accomplished Sunday!

Friday, November 19, 2010


My husband is trying his hardest to teach me to relax...to fully and completely, no thoughts in your head...relax.  I have a very hard time with relaxing given there's never enough time in the day and always too mcuh to do!  I am learning today.  I have a massage today.  A selfish, gifted, Happy Anniversary massage at the spa in town.  I can't wait!  Thank you Husband for this gift...you are amazing!  Who knows, maybe you'll get one this weekend (wink wink)!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Hump Day - Version Two

(Written last night)

Another quiet drive home... Lots on my mind due to this week's events - won't bore you with those and don't have the energy to type it all right now. 

One of the biggest things on my mind right now is m-o-n-e-y and I hate how much hold over me that word has.  It stresses me out A LOT!  Are we saving enough?  Are we making enough?  Are we living paycheck to rent check to paycheck?  What if life happens, are we prepared?  There's so much that we want to be done with the house - are we focusing on the 'need' items and not the 'want' items?  How do you appropriately prioritize everything?  The basement-want that done, but not necessary; a new vehicle-need but truck still running today; extra bedroom and hall bath-need closet in bedroom and rework bath before little ones come; paint the house-not needed, I need to get over it; kitchen redo-it works as is now; new flooring-not needed but will soon; new roof and gutters-need items; What's going to happen come next August?  Are we doing something wrong to feel so strapped (or is that just me?)?  Gives me a headache and exhausts me just thinking about it all!!

Speaking of the fam, Daddio called tonight when I was moments from the house asking if I wanted to catch a movie.  It always puts a smile on my face when he asks that...I enjoy spending time with him - even if it is just sitting quietly in the dark (is that strange?)  I struggled with wanting to go, but already being home and seeing Hunter's wiggle butt excitement, it was too daunting to think of leaving him again for more than an hour's stretch.  Do others have an internal conflict similar to this?  I struggle with him most (the cats are more independent with the ability to entertain themselves outside) - wondering if I'm playing with him enough, if I'm giving him enough love, if I leave him alone too much.  But then he climbs in the chair with me and licks my tears away which makes me laugh and smile, knowing his is unconditional love too.  It's my own struggle within and I need to get a handle on it - all of it.

Thanks for listening...

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Time for a bath...

Chase the Cat is laying beside me giving himself a bath.  He's cleaning his face and paws - I LOVE watching them do this! :)  Speaking of which, I need to unwind...going to take my own bath...

Update:  A bath was not taken...felt too lazy of an action...needed to get stuff done.  Be productive.  I spray painted a metal basket black (needs one more coat), hoping it can be a catch all in the foyer or living room possibly; putty filled the holes in the hallway, now need to sand them down; filled and ran the dishwasher; straighted up the dining room; devoured a few chocolate chip cookies and watched four of the five Office episodes.  All was more productive than a bath :)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Marietta, PA

Our friends Nate and Holly & Gus and Deanna live in this quaint little town in Pennsylvania called Marietta.  Jay used to work with Nate years ago and they have remained close in friendships.

Marietta is a tiny town - two blocks by four blocks or something crazy like that! - which has a railroad running thru it and a river beside it!  It's a tiny place where you know everyone and everyone knows you.  They have an old main street with shops/businesses and many of the homes have the 'old charm' of yesteryears.

We went to visit for the first time last summer - it was Marietta Day.  Just the sound of that is fabulous - it wouldn't work in Warrenton, but it does in Marietta.  All the townspeople set up shop down the main drag selling their most prized possessions - it's essentially a town yard sale :)  We got a late start and missed most of the fun -- we had even talked Jacqui and her roomie to meet us up there; they never turn down a yard sale so went but left before we arrived.  We stayed the night and hung out at Shank's Tavern after a race in the pouring rain!  Anyways...it was a fabulous time with Nate, Holly, Maya, Rowan and Sylvie being our gracious hostess.

For the wedding, we received a gift certificate to The Railroad House Inn for one night's stay.  We kept never finding the right time to go and it was expiring the end of the year.  We decided on Halloween weekend, hoping to see the kiddos all dressed up for some trick or treating.  Headed up after Jay got off work on Friday (with Hunter in tow) and the drive took longer than we originally planned, not arriving until close to 2am.  Poor Holly was literally writing us a note saying she couldn't stay awake any longer and to make ourselves at home!  We said our goodnights and crashed pretty quickly ourselves.

The next morning, Rowan had a soccer tournament -- let me say, these people are avid soccer players -- we made it to game two and Jay took numerous pictures of the team playing with Nate on the sidelines as Coach.  Rowan scored his first goal and wanted to see the pictures over and over again - so excited!  After the game, we ventured for some yummy lunch at Mexitaly, owned by Greg and his wife (more PA friends, close with the gang).  They make delicious burritos - of course I got Mexican!!  After lunch, we ventured to a birthday party with the kids and Hunter...hung outside, ate some cupcakes and took Hunter for a nice long walk down to the Railroad House Inn.  We passed some gorgeous homes along the way - all on the river and railroad tracks.  We checked into the hotel and walked back to Nate and Holly's to drop Hunter off (they watched him for us Saturday night) and grab our luggage.  At the hotel, we took a nap and then had dinner in the restaurant downstairs - great, delicious food by the fire!!  Afterwards, we went back to Nate and Holly's to hang out for a bit -- the place was jumping...the kitchen was packed!  It's pretty much a 'anyone is welcome as long as the door is open' situation.  They were playing music and having multiple conversations; the kids were running in and out, up and down.  Rowan asked me how many teeth I had; he thought he had 40 teeth in his mouth, which cracked me up.  I told him probably not with his small seven year old mouth and then I told him to 'open wide' and counted all twenty of his teeth :)  He was thrilled to know how many he had...very inquisitive guy!  Things died down around 2am when we ventured back to our room...knowing this Saturday night was no different than most - just that we were a part of it this week.

The next morning, we had complimentary breakfast downstairs and then checked out after a good chat with the owners.  They have a dog - evidenced by the kong in the hallway and leash at the backdoor :)  Next time, we are allowed to bring Hunter, but he can't stay unattended in the room.  That morning was Market - this is the real reason I'm writing this post, so I can remember how wonderful Market is in Marietta!  The town puts on a farmer's market during the warm months, selling everything from fresh bread to plants to hand-made clothing.  We were lucky enough to catch the last weekend I believe and had a great time, wishing we lived closer or in a town that was so tightly woven.  People brought their instruments - Nate hauled multiple guitars/mandolins in a stroller - hahaha!  There were about eight or so people in a circle just jamming off each other and singing.  It was amazingly beautiful!  We walked back 'home' then Maya had a soccer game later in the day with Nate coaching the sidelines again.  She's ten but crazy mature - almost like you are talking to an adult mature - plus she's tall and lanky for her few ten years.  She played well and towered over most of the other girls with a mean kick.  The Bengals played the Dolphins that day (or read: Jay's team played Nate's team that day) so we taped the game during soccer and watched it later with most everyone, except Jay and Rowan falling asleep on the couch/chairs.  Once the game was done, we started packing things up and headed home with Hunter exhausted, curled up in the backseat fast asleep before we got thru town.

It was a great time seeing friends and a nice break from the routine!  Here are some pics from the trip...

Maya with her yellow shoes and a mean kick!

Music Circle


Emptying the thoughts...

Free your mind and the rest will follow...  -En Vogue

I drove home tonight with the radio off.  I do this often - more often than I'd like to admit honestly.  It's my way to unwind from work, from the conversations, from the noise.  It is when I have too many thoughts in my head, ping-ponging all over the place in there.  I can't concentrate on anything the radio says, just everything inside my head.  So, here it goes...I'm unloading, emptying it out...in no particular order...
  • To do when I get home...fold laundry, move load from washer to dryer, cook food - make lunch for tomorrow, feed the zoo (first and foremost), pee (second on the list), MyMoney, play with sewing machine, paint hallway, vaccuum...
  • Obviously there's not enough time to get all that done, so I have no choice other than to be okay with that, but deep down I'm not.  
  • I'm procrastinating on this computer.  See a few thoughts down - this new/(old) all mine computer :)
  •  I looked like a Target employee today - red shirt, khakis and dark shoes.  Didn't notice this until I walked by the restroom mirror at the end of the day - hahaha!
  • On a happy note, my pants are loose - they haven't been this loose for almost two years!!
  • My electronic-saavy Husband reconfigured my old dent and scratcher AND his laptop for under $500...this is where I'm typing from now.  It's great to have it back and it's all mine :)  
  • Mason the Cat is sleeping in Hunter's dog bed at night.  We aren't sure if Mason kicks Hunter out, which leads Hunter onto our bed; when we tell him to get down and in his bed, he's back up moments later, at which point we find Mason curled up in Hunter's bed.  Need I remind you all that we call him Mason the Dog at times.  Anywho, we bought a cheapo $5 cat bed at PetCo this weekend in the hopes that Mason will use that, but no such luck yet...Hunter just thinks it's a new toy for him.
  • Money feels like a corset at times - no more explanation needed.
  • Meeting Mr. Owen is postponed until this weekend sometime...
  • Sallie and the kiddos are in town this weekend - I need to see them while here and meet the littlest addition...
  • Olivia's bday party is on Saturday...
  • The cats just brought a mouse inside...the rest of the thoughts will have to wait!
UPDATE:  Laying in bed re-emptying my head...seeing what I got accomplished...trying to sleep soon...
  • What did I get done tonight?  I cut up a shite-ton of vegetables.  I browned up two pounds of turkey meat.  I added it all together with some taco seasoning in the crock pot.  I originally bought squash and zuchini for a remake of a pork tenderloin dish I made a few weeks ago, but realized in rummaging thru the freezer that we don't have any pork tenderloin (too expensive and wasn't on sale, so we didn't buy any).  Anyways, so this is what's in the crock pot and I'm hoping it makes a great dish to eat with tortillas and some cheese.  
    • 2lbs ground turkey
    • taco seasoning galore - you can never have too much of it!
    • Veggies:  2 yellow squash, 2 zucchinis, 1.5 tomatoes, green beans, can of corn and a can of beans
    • Some chicken broth stock to add liquid and possibly flavor
    • Cut up garlic
  • Mason was laying with me in bed and has now proceeded to curl up in Hunter's dog bed! (See above items)
  • Chase the Cat did bring a small mouse into the house, but I was able to put it outside hardly any effort.  This has become routine to a degree - especially when the weather is changing.
  • I was able to fold the dried clothes and place the washed ones in the dryer - love when that task is done.
  • I need to post about Chase the Cat (I didn't forget about you my love)
  • Need to post about Coleman Elem 5k run
  • Need to post about Marietta PA
  • Need to post about wedding and anniversary
  • Need to update on HD craziness and how I'm not sure if we'll do the window route from them again
  • Hunter is roaming the house somewhere, Mason is passed out in his bed, Chase is sitting on the bench and I'm sure Parker is trying to find some crumbs by Hunter's crate!


    Happy Birthday Mom! 

    I see you in me all the time.  Not just in the mirror :) but in the way I react to a situation, the way I respond to a question, my mannerisms and my love.  At times, I'm caught off guard by it and a split second later think, Woah, that was totally Mom!  Then find myself laughing realizing that I am you and you are Granny.  It's inevitable, unavoidable and fabulous. 

    Thank you for everything that you do for Dustin and I...we couldn't get thru this life without you by our side.  I love you and hope you are having a fabulous day!

    Friday, November 12, 2010

    Boys and Girls Club 5k Run

    I need goals, milestones, small accomplishments.  Make it to the mailbox.  Good job.  Okay, now make it to the telephone pole far ahead.  You can do this, just watch your breathing.  I'm good with goals.

    I've been wanting to get back into running road races for some time now, not really wanting to go it alone, but unable to find someone to 'run' with - and by 'run' I mean, go thru the motions with me because I can't talk or keep another's pace while running, so it's not for the companionship just the motivation. :)  I ran a few races in my day around four years ago!  The two (out of three) I remember are:

    1)  March 2006 - St. Patty's Day 8k with Julie and Mike, took approx 50 mins (not too shabby); I enjoyed this course since it would bend upon itself (essentially, the persons ahead of you would pull a you-ie and run against you, which gave me motivation to keep going - if they can do it, so can I).

    2)  April 2007 - Fodderstack 10k with the bro (a smoker and a drinker, still beat me!), don't even remember my time, very long hard course that didn't bend upon itself at all! with hills too; one hill so bad, there was an ambulance at the top to help people.  I walked part of that race, but did finish the last mile running.

    Fast forward three and a half years...

    3)  Oct 2010 - Boys and Girls 5k, time: 38:54.  I am happy with that time seeing as I haven't played soccer in three years and haven't been working out hardcore to prepare for the race.  Here's some pictures...
    Crack of Dawn, Sun Oct 24th - Before the race (time stamp is wrong)
    Don't I look tired??  Oh man I was but also jazzed up/nervous for the run!  I actually received the leggings as a 'favorite gift' from my friend Jodi the evening before (the pretty one in blue in the attached post on Joy's blog; Jodi is a hardcore runner so I thought it was perfect)  :)  Jay came with me to the race and would sneak up at one of the hills or corners when I least expected him - a pleasant surprise pushing me to give it my all as to not dissapoint him or myself.  This course was full of HILLS as it wound thru downtown Warrenton. 

    I made it though...near the back end and I definitely walked a chunk of it, but I finished it while running still!  I got done and cried.  I always do after a road race - the overwhelming feeling of accomplishment, knowing my two legs took me the whole way, I didn't give up, the relief of it being over - all those emotions run through me and I always cry! :) I'm silly that way...

    I ate an orange and a banana, had some water and stayed until the last runner came thru for the 10k (basically you run the course twice) cheering them on.  I didn't place or receive a medal, but I got this snazzy t-shirt. 

    My next race is a 5k race tomorrow in Marshall at the Coleman Elementary School.  I'll be huffing it alone since Home Depot is coming out again but I know The Husband is there in spirit cheering me on!  Will let you know how it goes...