Friday, May 25, 2012

It's Friday

In case you didn't remember. Not that anyone could forget it's Friday, especially since it's the beginning of a three day weekend.

Nothing big is going on around here lately, just life in general. Here's a run down of my week:

I wrote my midterm paper for Literary Theory on Wednesday (stayed up until 2 a.m. to get that puppy finished!), and we only have two more class days! This has been an intense few weeks, but in class yesterday I feel like we finally completed the loop that links everything we've been learning about to real life. Don't get me wrong, theory is fascinating all on its own but being able to actually understand how the theorists were able to come up with these crazy ideas makes it so much better.

My oldest younger brother (all my brothers are younger than I am, but he's the oldest of the three, mkay?) is graduating from high school this evening. Holy. cow. Where did time go? I still remember how we used to play so well together when we were little kids. He'll be attending the University of Texas in Austin in the fall and I am so proud of all he's accomplished. Seriously, he is such a smart kid and has grown up so much in the past few years. His graduation gift has some stipulations that come with it, on being that he has to come visit Will and me for a weekend in the fall or he has to give it back. Muahaha, I know, I am so evil.

Tomorrow I am going on the hunt for some some throw pillows for our house. There are several places we could use some, so I'm pretty open to anything right now. As weird as this is, I just really want to be working on something for our house, and pillows are something I can do from 11 hours away. Bonus point if I find some fabric to make some, because that keeps me doubly busy and I have to go to my mom's house to use her sewing machine (which she loves). And THEN I am going to have dinner with my BFF since 2nd grade. I don't think we've seen each other since last August when she got married and I am so excited to see her. She is expecting her first baby in August and I CANNOT WAIT! Even though we're not technically related, I feel like this is my first niece. Plus, we are "Secret Sisters" (our code name so we could write epic 3-page notes to each other in junior high and not get caught), so I am totally calling this baby my "Secret Niece."

I've made it to the gym four days in a row this week and I feel awesome! I've stuck to running on the indoor track (best invention every for Texas summers!) and doing the elliptical. I'm going to add in weight lifting next week, so I'm trying to prepare myself for the insane soreness I get because of DOMS.

Awkward/nasty picture from the locker room. You're welcome.
Running is pretty frustrating for me right now. Back in February when we ran the 5k, I could run 4 miles pretty easily. Now, I made it just past 1/2 a mile before I had to take a walking break. How is it possible to lose so much endurance in just three months? Actually, don't answer that question because I know the answer. Working out would be so much easier if I would stop quitting and having to build my endurance back up.

I've also been really concentrating on eating a much healthier diet this week. Most of my evening meals consist of things like this:

Roasted sweet potato and asparagus

I also usually add some broccoli and a slice of bread (you know, so I don't start feeling deprived and go crazy and pig out on carbs). For some reason, the idea of eating a "veggie plate" never dawned on me until I saw it on another blog the other day. I mean, I've been a vegetarian for almost a year now, so the modern American standard of having a hunk of meat with a few sides hasn't applied to me for a while, but I guess I had turned that into "must have an entree of carbs with side of protein and vegetables." Obviously, that was not helping anything. These meals have been really satisfying and keep me full until the next morning.

For breakfast I've been drinking a fruit and protein smoothie.

Generally I use:

V8/Orange juice/ almond milk
Greek yogurt
Chia seeds
Vanilla protein powder

It makes a ton, so I drink half for breakfast and half for part of lunch or as an afternoon snack. Other snacks include almonds and baby carrots. Eating healthier is always hard at first, but man is it so much easier when your spouse isn't around. I'm not saying it's his fault we ate like crap all year, but it is so much easier to feed off each other's cravings or to give in to fast food when you're both tired. My goal is to help Will become much more of a veggie eater when I go to Houston. He's always hated veggies (his favorite "veggie" is the white potato, gah!) and tries to avoid them like the plague, but that is just going to have to change.

Last night I had a little extra time and made myself some black bean patties to go with my sweet potato. It was delicious.

The caramelized onion on top really made it special, though.

What is your best advice for high school grads?
Do  you have any fun plans for the weekend?

Monday, May 21, 2012

A Wedding and Moving

Happy Monday!

I had hoped I would sleep well last night since I had the bed to myself for the first time in a while, but alas, sleep was fitful again. I've been sleeping particularly badly since the week of finals, and I am really ready to have a few good nights in a row.

Due to my lack of a restful night, coffee was required to make it through my Literary Criticism class. I was doing okay in the first half of the class using my usual concoction of a ton of water, mint gum, and taking a quick break in the middle, but by the time we took our class break at 10:30 I knew coffee was necessary. I have a love/hate relationship with coffee- love because it always works to perk me up instantly, but hate because it tastes so bad and I'm afraid to get addicted. I stopped drinking all cokes in junior when I started playing tennis, and only have a few a year now, so I am really sensitive to caffeine. Usually when I need a little help waking up I drink some Tazo Awake tea, but it just doesn't work quite as well as coffee. I only take it when I know I won't be able to be respectfully awake for something because I know I can and will become addicted quickly, and then the effect will wear off.

But enough about coffee, let's talk about the gorgeous wedding we attended on Saturday! Two of our friends got married in a beautiful ceremony that took place in one of their friend's backyards, and it was honestly the most perfect wedding I've attended. I went to brunch in Amarillo with the bridal party , and since Will was a groomsman and I knew the bride well enough to hang out and do the last-minute running around for her, we both went out to the ranch around 1 pm. The ceremony was supposed to start at 6 pm, but the groom's grandmother got a little lost so it was delayed for about thirty minutes, but that was the only thing that went "wrong." An outdoor wedding in the Panhandle in May is such a risk because of the 10,398 things that could go wrong (including but not limited to: hurricane-force winds, rain, snow, tornadoes, 105 degree heat, flash floods, etc.), but God must have smiled down upon the happy couple because the weather could not have been more perfect. It rained last week at the perfect time to help the grass green up and fill the pond, and the everything just came together.

Afterwards, the reception was held at a place called Starlight Canyon, and it too was beautiful. The food was actually really good and the DJ did a great job. Will and I enjoyed hanging out and seeing some old friends from high school that had come back to town for the summer. We stuck around until the very end and enjoyed one last dance to Coldplay's "Yellow," and then sent the bride and groom off.

Sunday dawned early when I woke up at 6:05 sweating up a storm (seriously, how can I be cold one night and dying of heat the next?), which was actually lucky because Will's alarm was supposed to go off at 6.

We finished packing the car and he took a quick shower, then he was off with all our fur babies.

Just add dogs:

The other side

Still had to add his bike.

 See ya in 27 days!

Freska's carrier went up front on top of the pillow.

They were gone before 7 a.m. and made it home (it feels weird calling our house in Houston "home") around 6. Will said they all did pretty well on the drive, but Boomer freaked out when they drove off and realized I wasn't with them. The pups took turns riding in Will's lap and in the kennel. Will unzipped Freska's carrier but she chose to stay put :)

Even though we've done the long-distance thing many times now, it feels so different this time around. Knowing that Will is at our home without me feels very strange, especially because he took all the pets. Usually they stayed with me (I guess I kind of know how he felt, but I think it's always different to be the one who gets to "go" and the one who has to "stay").

Hearing him talk about how Freska was hiding behind the couch and how the dogs were running laps around the living room made me feel homesick and lonely. I'm trying to concentrate on things like getting back into the gym (something that definitely fell to the back burner this semester, and it shows!) and reading some books on my Kindle, a luxury that I don't have during the semesters with all my reading for literature classes. Oh, and then there's my Literary Criticism course to read for. It's really interesting, but man is it dense!

Only 26 more days until I get to go down there and spend a few weeks!

Friday, May 18, 2012


Today started off a little later than normal, but not quite as late as I had hoped. Miss Scarlett is generally pretty good in her kennel until we let her out, but she heard some neighborhood cats fighting outside and she wanted to join them.

I didn't have to work today since our building was closed for an active shooter training for the police, so we were able to mow our yards before lunch. We took Scarlett with us to Amarillo when we went to McAllisters (I can't get enough of their spinach artichoke dip!) and ate on the patio. It was such a beautiful day- not too hot or too windy. After lunch we took Scarlett by the vet to check out a couple of concerns we've had that we wanted to have checked out before Will takes them to Houston on Sunday.

Here's what we learned:
  • Scarlett most like has allergies, and we should wait until we get to Houston to see if her crazy night panting goes away. If it doesn't, we should give her some Benadril to see if that helps. 
  • We should put meat tenderizer on her food to make her poo less appealing. Oh yes, she is such a little lady and indulges her "wild side" by eating her poo (and cat poo) if we don't pay super close attention to her. Disgusting. 
  • She does have a little liver stress, so we got some medication that should put back in the right levels within the next thirty days. We need to have her bloodwork done again in June. 
It's a good thing we love this dog so much, because she is quickly becoming as expensive as Freska (who had to have leg surgery a few months after we got her.)

But how could you not love this face?

When we finally got home from the vet, we went to Seth and Jordan's wedding rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. They asked me to take some pictures throughout the evening.

They are getting married in some friends' backyard. How gorgeous is it?

I am so excited about this wedding tomorrow. Seth and Jordan have been such great friends to us- I am  happy they will finally be amongst us "married people."

Seth's parents hosted the rehearsal dinner afterwards, and they did such a great job decorating!

The lights and flags were my favorite part.

Will and his dad.

After the dinner we came home and finished packing Will's car. I can't believe he's leaving in two days!
And with that, we're off to get some rest before another full day tomorrow.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

And Then He Was a College Grad

Will graduated last Saturday with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering!

Four long years of late night studying, frustration with group members on group projects, hours and hours of homework, and an immense amount of dedication have all led up to this.

I don't have the pictures from the actual ceremony (I used my MIL's camera, which is in Costa Rica with her for the week), but here I did manage to snap some pictures during the weekend with my camera.

Someone took some epic naps. But hey, I say everyone deserves some down time in the days following the completion of a college degree :)

I had a some-what specific look I was going for: classy maroon and white. Will had one request: "none of that Congrats/ 2012 stuff." Works for me- I happen to think it's kind of tacky (at least for college graduations). I made these tissue paper pom poms for above the table, flanking the sides of the "Congrats" banner (I decided it didn't count as the tacky stuff since it was homemade), and hanging in front of the entryway.

All finished.

From the other side.

I hung the "Congrats" banner from the pendent lights above the bar where we put the desserts and used mini clothes pins to attach the letters to some plain craft ribbon. I bought the letters and scrapbook paper from Hobby Lobby and painted the letters black.

The entryway made the perfect place to put the table for drinks. My in-laws have curtains hung over the entryway to provide some privacy since there are windows on each side of the glass door, and to help with glare on the TV (AND it helps with heating/cooling), so my sister in law suggested I hang some pom poms from the curtain rod. I was really happy she suggested it- it really tied the whole look together.

We had tea and lemonade, and Will's aunt arranged these pretty grocery store flowers beautifully! The custom Scentsy was a gift from one of Will's former bosses from his on-campus job. She decorated the Scentsy with WT logos and our mascot.

Back to dessert bar- I wanted to make sure Will had everything he wanted for his weekend, and he requested no-bake cookies, sock-it-to-me cake, and buffalo cookies from our school caterer. We actually ended up making three batches of no-bake cookies because someone doesn't think recipes are important and/or just can't follow them (even though he is a literal rocket scientist... oh yeah, he's starting work for NASA in June), and he didn't boil the cookies for the required one minute. The first two batches didn't set, which ended up being fine because I scooped it all into a bowel to put in the fridge and I ate on it for several days. The third batch was a little dry, but at least they set.

These buffalo cookies are served at almost every campus event (and since Will and I were/are student workers we attend a lot of campus events), and Will absolutely loves them. They're not bad, but they're not anything to write home about either. But will really wanted them, so his mom graciously ordered three dozen to have at his party.

Family picture time!

His aunt and grandmother, who came down for the weekend. They were awesome with helping us get everything pulled together!

I really wanted a good "family" picture, but these two were not cooperating. I made Scarlett a little bow and Boomer a bow tie from some maroon ribbon. We put Scarlett in the back yard after these pictures and when she came in again her bow was in one long string behind behind her. Oh well.

Will's sister was also there, but she was inside talking to some friends she hadn't seen since Christmas. I didn't realize until after she left that we didn't get any pictures with her.

My family. P.S. Isn't my brother a giant compared to all of us? I think he's officially the tallest in our family, except for my cousin's husband (but he married into the family, so his height doesn't count).

These two have been friends for years and years. They used to have a lawn-mowing company together.

And these two are getting married on Saturday. Aren't they adorable?

My granddad

Thanks for the awkward hand placement, mom :)

And finally, it's present time! Will had told me back before Christmas about a watch he wanted (well, before that he told me he wanted a watch by Movato. After seeing the price, I told him we might talk about it for when he graduates with his Ph.D. but there was no way he would get it for his undergrad). So the second watch he told me about was half the price and I really wanted to get it for him. The only problem was, there was no way I could have bought it without him know, and I really wanted it to be a surprise. He takes care of all our banking throughout the year for the trade-off of me doing taxes (I don't think he's figured out how easy taxes are haha), so I knew he would notice if I bought the watch. So starting in January, I starting taking $20, $30, sometimes $50 out of every paycheck we got. Sometimes he noticed and sometimes he didn't, but if he did I just told him not to worry about it. I gave the cash to his mom, who kept it hidden for me until I was ready to buy the watch. I was sure he would realize what I was doing, but he said he was truly surprised. He was convinced that I was getting him some stuff for his bike.

Surprise! I even took the watch out of it's box and wrapped in some tissue paper and put that in a big box with a heavy book to keep the surprise until the last moment.

A very serious discussion of how when we were going to get it fit to his wrist.

Overall, it was a great weekend. We were surrounded by friends and family, and hubs is officially done with his undergrad. We're still waiting to hear back to see if he got accepted into grad school for the fall, but we're not too worried about it right now. Will is leaving on Sunday to go to Houston permanently (holy cow, where did time go?), and I'm 1/3 of the way finished with my May Intercession course. Everything is moving along, but I still cannot wait to have a few weeks off and go to Houston.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Dawson Rides a Bike

Since Will and I have a limited number of days until we leave (he'll be gone in four days!), we've been trying to make the most of the time we have left with our families. Will's parents will most likely be following us within a few years, so we're not too worried about the short time we'll be living eleven hours away from them, but my family is a different story. Even though we've talked about the possibility of my mom moving down south within the next ten years or so, that's still a long time away, and I've never been that far from my family.

Anyway, a few weeks ago Dawson had a sleep-over with us and Will taught him how to ride his bike without training wheels. Dawson was  a little apprehensive at first, but he was doing pretty well in no time. Apparently, he's become quite the peddler since then!

Look at those missing teeth!

I still can't believe this kid is such a boy now. I still remember when he was born!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A House: The Saga, Part 2

It's picture over-load time!

We were able to take several photos before we moved into the house, which is really nice because we can look back and see how much we've already done. Let's begin:

First up, the house itself. We love the porch and the fact that there are some good bushes in front already. However, you can tell a bachelor was living here- there are no flowers, no color, nothing that makes it stand out. We're not planting anything this summer since I won't be there to help take care of everything, but I can't wait to get my hands dirty next spring!

This is facing the front door. Garage is on the left and dining room is on the right. I love that light fixture (except for the green glass). All the men who've come through the house have hated it, though, so we'll see if it stays for the long haul.

If you continue on past the entry and garage door, this is to your left.

This is looking into the dining room from the kitchen. Those windows face the front yard.

The kitchen from the dining room. Pantry is to the right, there.

The master bedroom from the master bath.

Master from the other corner.

This is the other bedroom off the same hallway as the master bedroom. Someday it will be a nursery, but it will serve as an office/craftroom for now.

Off the office is a little vanity nook ("Jill" side), which connects to the Jack-and-Jill bathroom that really isn't a Jack-and-Jill bathroom, because the other side opens up to the other hallway where the laundry room and the other two bedrooms are.

This is the other side of that bathroom, on the Jack side, we will say.

And here is the living room.

Other side of the living room, with the awesome teal accent wall (it has swirls on it!).

Next up are pictures from spring break. I managed to get some during the chaos of the actual unpacking, but most are after painting and getting stuff put away.

This is after a lot of the unpacking happened- I tried to put all the decoration stuff in the dining room so I knew where it all was. This was definitely easier than trying to put it in the room that it was in in our apartment, because I pretty much moved everything to different rooms in the house.

So overwhelmed, but so happy to finally be home.

Testing paint swatches.

Not gonna lie, I was a little nervous at this point...

The light blue is the primer, the dark blue is the actual color.

My beautiful mom, who painted and painted and gave advice all week. She braved her first trip to Houston just to come help us for the week.

Uh oh, you know what this means.

Ikea time!

The finished-for-now look. The baskets and that bookshelf behind the door are my SIL's since she was staying there for a few months to watch the house for us.

Our glorious king size bed. I cannot wait to sleep every night in it. We've got big plans for a headboard. And pictures. And everything else in this room, for that matter.

I hung up these $3 sheets form Ikea thinking they would make decent "for now" curtains, but they look pretty terrible. I like the linen-ish texture to them, though, so I might have to actually sew them into proper curtains with liners this summer.

Here is our master bathroom. It's the same color as the awesome accent wall in the living room. I cannot wait to paint this room, but it may be the hardest room in the house with all those crevices I'll have to reach. Oh, plus we'll have to use primer.

We didn't have time to do anything in here except add a few personal effects.

This is as far as we got in the office. To the left of this picture is a whole wall lined with more boxes that I didn't unpack.

And this is my Dirty Little Secret Closet. At the end of the week there was a lot of stuff I didn't know what to do with, so I stuck it in the office closet. There's plenty of time to deal with it later.

Here is one of the guest bedrooms. I didn't snap a picture of the other one, but it looks about the same.

Laundry room, with my beautiful new washer and dryer! I was set on front loaders, but we were worried about the price. We stumbled upon these babies, who happened to be cheaper on sale than traditional top loaders. They are like a dream. And they sing at me when they're done :)

Backing up, here is the entry way when we left. We painted all the walls from the front door all the way through to the back door (including the living room) a warm grey. The table in the entry is my SIL's, but we're getting one about that size this summer.

A nice landing spot for keys and purses.

Dining room, with our chair-less table, which is apparently not centered.
Let's take a moment to pause and look at that beautiful chandelier:

Isn't she gorgeous? What was once before a terribly offensive shade of brass is now a nice, contemporary black, thanks to the help of a wonderful friend and a few cans of spray paint.

Continuing on through to the kitchen. One of the things I LOVE about this house is the arched doorways.

Look, a new fridge!

I'm not sold on this arrangement of stuff. I like it, but I can't decide if it's too cluttered. But on the other hand, it looked kind of dumb with less stuff up there, and even more dumb with nothing. I can't exactly put something simple like greenery up there, either.

And moving along to the living room- I adore this grey color. Too bad my paint swatch got lost so I'll never know exactly what brand and color it is. Thankfully I still have the paint can lid with the barcode, so they can at least get the recipe for it (we had it color-matched to a non-VOC paint at the Home Depot).

I think these guys feel quite comfortable already.

Nap time! Painting is hard work.

And finally, the back porch. Can I just say that I'm super excited about this porch? I can just imagine the evenings that will be spent out there reading or cooking out with friends. Later our kids will be eating Popsicles back there. (Oh, can you see the tracks around the furniture that the dogs made? The yard is kinda swamp-like when it rains, and they get super muddy paws.)

So, that's the house as it stood when we left. Obviously, we have so much left to do. I don't think I'll ever be "done" with the house, as my style is ever changing. I'm itching to get started on some projects this summer while I'm done there, but for now making tons of pins on Pinterest will have to suffice :) We are so proud of all the work we were able to get done over spring break, and there's no way we could have done it without the help of all our family and friends that came down. We owe them all big time!
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