Monday, September 28, 2009

Random Monday Smiles

Have a case of the Monday's? Here are a couple of things to make you smile...

Birds on the Wires from Jarbas Agnelli on Vimeo.

UPDATE: I'm adding this video (10:00AM) my mother sent me this morning. It's not funny, or smiley, but a true representation of a) ignorant theatre goers - come on people, turn your damn cell phones off! and b) really good acting...

Have a video you'd like to share? I'll be spending most of my day in the office and online working on homework and some things for Carol's Ferals and Opera Affiliates. E-mail me the link ( and I'll add it.

Have a great Monday!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

End of Summer Shin Dig!

We invited friends and family over to our house this weekend for a little get together to celebrate the end of summer and beginning of fall. It was a cool, dry day and we were able to spend the majority of the day outdoors.

The afternoon started with a little football. Bella was dressed up and ready to support MSU while the boys watched the game downstairs in "the man room"

Then it was time to get the grill fired up! I snapped a couple of photos inside the house before guests arrived - just for fun. We got a new rug and I am kind of in love with it!

Once the party got started there was much socializing...

Food to be eaten...


Did I mention eating?

And time with the little ones...

It was a wonderful afternoon and evening! Thanks to everyone who came over and spent the day with us - we love you!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

An Afternoon with the Boys!

I had the pleasure of babysitting my friend Cindy's 1 year old son, Caleb, this afternoon. Me and the boys had a quiet afternoon filled with graham crackers and musical toys!

Here's Caleb double fisting some crackers and peanut butter. Atta boy!

And here's Jud (or maybe Judd? I don't know if there is one d or two!) Jud was the first dog love of my life. I didn't grow up with dogs and was scared of big ones. Jud is a pitt-bull lab mix and is a big boy but a total softie. Love!

Our third little guy was PoiPu (I KNOW I didn't spell that right... if I recall he's named after an island in Hawaii... anyways...) who is a WONDER DOG! Poor guy was hit by a car a few weeks ago and even though he is teeny tiny he survived and is (almost) back to 100%!

So there you have it... an afternoon with me and the boys! Hope everyone had a great Thursday - it's almost the weekend! : )

PS) If you're following my kitten blog - head over there to read some WONDERFUL news!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Wedding Weekend

I can't believe it's been a week and a half since my last post! What a horrible blogger I have been! I'll save the excuses, and get right to it! I have lots of posts planned for this week filled with updates, but thought I'd start with the most recent.

This weekend we celebrated the wedding of our friends Kristen and Justin. Travis and Justin are college friends and lived together for several years. The rehearsal dinner took place at McFaddens downtown, the wedding ceremony on the campus of Kuyper College and the reception was held at Centennial Country Club - all in Grand Rapids.

It was nice to have a wedding close to home, and to not have to travel. Our dear friends Jeff and Kelley, and Tim (and our new friend, his girlfriend) Terri stayed with us at our house and it was so lovely to have them all in our home. You know how I love to host!

Here are a few shots from the rehearsal dinner...

Kelley and I

The Groomsmen with their gifts from Justin

Jeff and Travis

Travis with the Groom


And just a few snaps from the wedding...

Brian (best man), and Travis are so helpful!

The Bride with the Bride and Groom's son, Landon

Kristen and Justin

Tim, Terri, Me, and Travis

Travis and Tim

Me, Tim and Travis

It was a fun, but exhausting weekend (as all wedding weekends tend to be!) and it's grey and rainy here in Grand Rapids today, which makes for a tough morning to get motivated! BUT - I have lots to do so wish me luck - and I hope that your week and mine starts out wonderfully!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Status Quo

It's been awhile since I've posted. Know why? There's not a lot to report!

Last weekend with grilled and played some cards over at the Hill's. Heather made delicious kebobs...

(this was taken BEFORE they went on the grill...)

and Lily was cute as always...

On Sunday, Trav and I tried a new recipe... beer and cheese soup! Not bad - but needs a little refining. We made homemade croutons, too!

I've been spending some QT with my big cats during the day... they are the least neediest of all the animals in my house right now and sometimes don't get all the attention they deserve.

School is... going. To say I'm not in the swing of things yet is a bit of an understatement!

And I've been struggling with mad allergies and foot problems (I sound like an old lady!) over the past few days so I've been a bit down in the dumps.

This week has been a bit of a wash really. I wish I could start it over! I have lots to do in the next few days - our friends Justin & Kristen are getting married this weekend and we'll have a house full of overnight guests. It will be a busy weekend, that's for sure!

I promise to be a better blogger - expect another update from me before the weekend for sure!

Happy Hump Day!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The semester has begun!

Classes started this week and I'm already looking forward to having a bit more routine in my life. I will have two classes a week this semester, one each on Monday and Tuesday nights from 6-9pm. I started my Tuesday night class this week and will start the Monday one next week (no classes on Monday of this week due to Labor Day)

Only trouble is... my Tuesday night class is a STATISTICS class. It's official title is Analytical Methods, but here's the book... YIKES! It's a core class for my program, so there's no getting out of it!

I should explain that I am not a math person in any way, shape, or form. I struggled with math in high school and the (very) little I had to take in my undergrad. I DID take AP Statistics in high school, you know, ten years ago. I think I scraped by with a B. I remember nothing.

Now my professor seems very nice. He says he understands that we're not mathematicians and that we're not all going to apply this to our jobs. He claims that the emphasis will be on the process and application rather than the numbers themselves. We'll see!

Wish me luck! My first semester back just may be my toughest one yet!

PS) You'll be proud to hear that I'm heading to a coffee shop sans computer later this afternoon to get a couple hours of un-distracted studying in. How's that for focus? Oh, and I bought my calculator yesterday so I'm all ready to get started! I think the truth of it that my love of shopping motivated me to buy the calculator rather than my willingness to get studying - but let's keep that between you and I! : )

PPS) Happy Thursday! Hurrah for short weeks!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

What I Love About Fall...

Labor Day weekend has come to a close, leaves are already starting to turn here in Michigan and the air is just a little crisper. I start my fall semester of classes today, and kids in my neighborhood and all over the country are back in school. Fall is well on its way!

I can never pick a favorite season. We're lucky to be in a true four-season state here in Michigan and each one brings certain beauties (and hassles... Michigan winters anyone?) so it's hard to choose which is the best.

As the years go on though, I'm finding that I really love fall. For so many reasons! Here are just a few...

1) Halloween!

As obvious as this may be - Halloween is such a fun part of fall! I love decorating my home for Halloween, and putting together small Halloween gifts for the little ones in my life. Now that I'm getting the hang of sewing - I may even try my hand at some simple costume making this year! I love seeing the little ones trick or treating around town - and have spent many a Halloween staffing parties, festivals, and game nights in honor of the "holiday." Who doesn't love a little spooky fun?

2) Caramel Apples & Caramel Apple Pops

Oh man, I love me some caramel apples - in any form! The traditional, of course, are delicious. It's fun to make them from scratch - but of course I wind up with a huge sticky mess afterwards. A small sacrifice for a delicious outcome, right? And then I also can't get enough of these...

Seriously! The best Halloween candy EVER! We already have a bag of them in our house!

3) Leaves

This is totally cliche, but it IS awesome to hear the crunch of leaves under your feet while you walk. And not only that, but it's fun to just LOOK for pretty leaves while you are out and about. I always seem to find beautiful looking leaves right after rainfall, I pick them up and rush home with them only to find they've lost their beauty once dry. This year I'll be sure to capture their glistening colors by camera.

4) Mums

These beautiful and hardy plants in lovely pinks, oranges, and yellow are quintessentially fall. I love to see them pop up on people's doorsteps and give them as gifts at this time of year.

5) Soups & Stews

I often have a hard time cooking in the summer (let's face it... I have a hard time cooking most of the year!) because it's so hot. Fall brings a wealth of crock pot soups and stews that are easy to make and utilize great local produce. Sure, I may need to spend some extra time at the gym due to the heavier food (or... ANY time at the gym?!) but it's so worth it!

What do YOU love about Fall?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Total Relaxation

Travis got me a spa gift certificate for my birthday to the Vasio Spa at the JW Marriott hotel in downtown Grand Rapids. The hotel is relatively new, I'd guess about a year and a half old.

What I love about swanky hotels is that even if they're in your own city, you can walk through them and feel like you're on vacation. Everything is so fancy and the staff wants to cater to your every need. I love that!

I headed to the spa today for a massage and (my first ever) facial. It.was.wonderful. Talk about a great way to spend an afternoon!

This is the view from the room where I got my treatments. That's the Grand River.

On the lobby level there's a restaurant and cocktail lounge that I really want to visit sometime soon.

There are these cool things in the stairwell that remind me of those hippy-ish beaded curtains to go over doorways, except that these are fiberoptic and glow blue.

The decor is bright and colorful. It's all very "hip" looking.

And this is the hotel from the outside...

Incidentally, Travis and I had a few of our engagement photos taken at this same hotel...

Hope you enjoyed my little tour of the Marriott - and I hope your weekend is even half as relaxing and joyful and my afternoon at the spa. Thanks, Travis! : )

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

WMU Adventures...

Did you miss me?

I can't believe it's been a week since I posted! I've been so on the ball in recent weeks/months about posting regularly. To be honest... there just hasn't been much going on lately!

Anyhoo - I am back now, and that's all that matters!

Yesterday I headed off to Kalamazoo to do some running around on campus and get set for the start of my grad classes next week. My niece and nephew Mariah and Anthony wanted to come for a tour of campus, so I brought them along with me. We had a great time!

Here they are at the fountain by Miller Auditorium... what a great shot of them!

We wandered around my old "home away from home" - the Dalton Center

Checked out all the WMU merchandise in the bookstore...

I got a student ID (I can get free drinks at QDOBA with this!) and was excited about it!

The kids posed by the WMU seal...

We took a look at Waldo Stadium...

And wrapped up our trip with lunch (at Bilbos Pizza - a Kalamazoo staple) , and some photos by the big WMU sign...

(check out all those brown eyed Susans - they're the official WMU flower you know!)

It was a super fun morning - and I'm more energized than ever to get back to classes!