Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Stuart's Birthday Celebration

On Saturday, Joe and I helped Stuart celebrate his 27th birthday. (His birthday was actually Monday, but we celebrated during the weekend.) We went to his place, ate Chinese takeout, drank Red Bull and Jager, and killed Nazi zombies on his XBox. It was definitely a Stuart-esque night. :-)

I am sort of proud of the fact that I killed more Nazi zombies than anyone else. Not sure why I feel so good about that accomplishment, considering I am usually such a pacifist, but they were Nazis and zombies after all...

Unfortunately, the pie we made completely melted the candles, so basically Stuart blew out a pie engulfed in flames, and then we proceeded to eat pie that was mixed with wax, but it was the thought that counted.

Afterward, we went to this karaoke bar downtown and met up with a few of Stuart's friends. Joe and I headed home around midnight and left the now 27-year-old to his own deviant devices. Last we saw, he was making out with part of a bridal party, so I guess he had a good night.

Happy Birthday Stuart! Now you are as old as me!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Kimmy and South and Our Trip to Baltimore

One of Joe's friends from chiropractic school, Kim Mullen, is dating a very cool guy who grew up in Baltimore. His name is South. Kim and South flew out here from Portland to visit his family for the holidays and we were able to meet up with them yesterday.

It was our first time in the Baltimore area and South took us on a great little tour. We walked through the historical district, got a beer at a very cool little Irish pub, walked along the waterfront, and drove through the city where Joe got to see Camden Yards.

Don't mind the fact that I look completely pregnant in the above picture. It was cold and I had on a lot of layers. Ugh.

We spent some time at South's parents' house, too. His parents are great and quizzed Joe and I about how our parents felt about us up and moving clear across the country. (They were not happy with all three of their children did the exact same thing - all moving to Oregon one day.)

It was nice to see Joe in the company of a schoolmate again. They get so excited and engrossed talking about chiropractic stuff - what they've learned, what they've seen/experienced since graduation, new techniques they've heard about, new equipment they've used... they are so passionate about the practice it's really fun to see them together. I try to be as good of a sounding board for Joe as I can, but since most of that stuff is either so far over my head I can't understand it OR so disgusting I can't hear it (I mean cow tongue sutures and year-old cadavers are NOT my thing), I'm usually not much help.

South and I just sat and watched TV while Kim had Joe on the ground showing him a new way to adjust someone's neck. ("Try it on Heather," she said. Ummm, no thanks!!)

Anyway, it was a great day, especially after hearing that Joe passed his boards!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Board Scores!

We just found out that Joe passed his fourth (and final) set of boards! We are so excited and I really couldn't be prouder of him. All he has to do now is order his license, which will take about 8 weeks. I knew you would all want to know. It's a great day!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

It's Christmas 2008, Can You Believe It?

At 7:15 this morning Joe and I got up and ran out to the livingroom to open the presents we've been staring at for weeks. We were like two kids. We looked outside hoping we could at least say we got a skiff of snow on Christmas Day, but no go. It was actually the warmest it's been in weeks. Ended up getting to about 60 degrees today. Yep, no snow for us.... ever, it seems.

Anyway, we opened stockings first. Joe got "The Fully Monty" DVD, candy, a notepad, and a mind-tester metal puzzle. (This puzzle had him more frustrated than entertained for the first two hours he had it. I was starting to think it was the worst gift ever until he finally figured it out and felt very proud of himself.) 

I got cozy socks, Starbucks candy (mmmmm), spa gloves, a loofa, and a Kung Fu Panda Pez. Anything cozy is gold to me, so I put the socks on right away.

Look at all our presents! We are so well loved!! All four of us! The dogs seriously got as many or more presents than we did. :-)

We lets the pups open their gifts first. We seriously treat these dogs like our kids, but I just can't help it. They looked so cute sniffing at the gifts and tearing at the paper.

Joe got Ava an adorable little Santa outfit. It fit her perfectly and it looked SO cute on her! Of course, she hated it, because she hates all clothes, but we loved it on her and that's all that matters. 

We took her and Jack for a walk around the lake this afternoon and I made her wear it. She got lots of attention from the other walkers!

Joe's mom had a snuggle sack made for her, which is basically like a mini sleeping bag. She absolutely loves to burrow into covers, so it's really perfect for her. You can see she obviously loves it!

I got her a cute new collar from K9 Closet! Any of you dog people out there, I recommend them. They have very cute collars.

Wow, I just realized I didn't get any pictures of Jack. I'm such a bad mom. Jackson had a lovely Christmas as well - he got lots of yummy treats and new toys. My parents got both dogs the cutest ornaments. Ava's is a picture of an Italian Greyhound painted on a glass ornament. It looks exactly like her, it's crazy. Jackson's was a blue ball with a cute puppy (which looked exactly like what we picture Jackson to have looked like as a puppy) sitting on top. :-)

Then it was time for Joe and I to open our gifts. Joe's sister's family gave us sweatshirts with their company name on them. They are great sweatshirts and I'm wearing mine right now as I type this. You know how I love to be comfy, and it is definitely comfy.

I also got some beautiful jewelry, mugs, coffee and a gift card from Starbucks, a personalized drink coaster, and a green camisole. I really felt like I made out like a bandit!

Joe got an Oregon State golf pullover and long-sleeved shirt (Oregon State is the college he went to and the college his niece Samantha was just accepted into - Go Beavs!), a year subscription to Men's Health, and chocolates. He was thrilled! 

Oh, and I got Joe this shadow box, which I filled with memories of Buddha, Joe's wonderful dog who crossed to the bridge two years ago. Joe has this clay mold of Buddha's paw print that he has been wanting to display in some way for a long time. So, I included that, as well as a photo of the two of them, and Buddha's collar and tag. I totally surprised him and he really loved it.
We really felt so loved once we had everything opened. The dogs were happily playing with their new toys and chewing on their bones, we were kicked back on the couch drinking our coffee and reveling in the fact that we are so lucky to have such wonderful families.

Even though we couldn't be with you, we love you all and miss you on this special day. Hope you all feel as loved and happy as we do!

Have a wonderful Christmas!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas Eve!

Wow, I can't believe it's Christmas Eve! It really doesn't feel much like Christmas Eve, since we still are the only part of the country that doesn't have snow. It's definitely not going to be a white Christmas for us. I mean, it's crazy. We leave the Pacific Northwest the year before they get the biggest winter ever recorded for the East Coast where they are having the mildest winter ever recorded. It's a bummer.

I'm also at work, too, so I guess it really won't feel like Christmas until I actually get to go home and start the festivities. I'm taking Monday off, so I get a five-day weekend! (And, I'm one of about 5 people who actually came to work this morning, so I'm slacking off and blogging instead of working. Terrible, I know, I know. I'm going to get coal from Santa, I just know it.)

Fun news though! On Monday, Joe made his decision between the three chiropractic offices he was considering. He will be working as an independent contractor at Advanced Spine and Laser Center in Fairfax, Virginia! He will meet with the doc after the holidays to go over all the paperwork, and then will start at the office as soon as he gets his license. Very exciting!! So if anyone knows anyone in the D.C. Metro area who needs a chiropractor, you now know where to send them!

Well, I guess that's all the news I have. Just wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas Eve! So, now I will brag on my dogs, because let's be honest, they are the kick-assest dogs in the whole world!

How cute is Ava helping Joe on the computer?? She was actually laying ON the computer right before I took this picture. She loves to cuddle so much, that no matter what we are doing, she jumps up, turns around, and plops down right next to us. Love that girl!

Jackson loves his toys so much, that sometimes he just can't choose which one he wants to play with. He will take all the toys out of the toybox and then go from one to the other, playing. He likes to hoard them, too. Like Ava could care less about dirty old dog toys. haha. Seriously, though, this dog is so cute sometimes I just can't stand it. We certainly got lucky with our puppy picks!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christmas in Hershey

Today Joe and I took a drive up to Hershey, Pennsylvania to experience their famous "Christmas in Hershey." We were actually expecting the city of Hershey to be the main attraction, but it turns out it's actually a Hershey theme park. We were a little disappointed, because it was basically an amusement park for kids (guess we should have figured that out when we were walking inside as the ONLY kid-less couple). But we of course made the most of it because that's what we do. :-)

This is a statue of Milton Hershey. Apparently, he and his wife couldn't have kids so they dedicated themselves to helping orphans (well, that and making chocolate....) and there is still a school across the street from the park that serves underprivileged children. Pretty cool.

Okay, I admit, I'm easily amused, and it was actually pretty fun to see all the chocolate-themed things in the park. You could find everything you could possibly want (clothes, pillows, ornaments, lip gloss) marked with different Hershey brands - Kisses, Reeces, Jolly Ranchers, York... They had a "Kissmas Tree" set up in the middle of the park with a giant kiss on top:

I tried to make Joe go on the carousel with me, but no go. He saw another poor sap on there that was drug up by his girlfriend and decided not to be "that guy". haha. So we left. Then, across the parking lot, we discovered the real reason for going to Hershey - Chocolate World! In Chocolate World you can personalize chocolate bars, make your own cupcakes, package your own box of kisses straight off of a conveyer belt, and buy ANY kind of Hershey's chocolate under the sun.

Okay, so we're huge dorks and took their free tour they were offering where you took a ride through a "faux factory" and they explained all the steps it took to make their chocolates. They had singing dairy cows and everything. And afterward they gave you a free candy bar and tried to sell us a picture of us on the trolley thing. Yeah, we didn't buy it, although we looked pretty damn cute.

When we were done, we had to restrain ourselves from buying hundreds of dollars worth of candy. They had this five-pound chocolate bar on sale for $30 that we started salivating over and Joe wanted this kiss (seriously the size of his head) so bad he had to have me take a picture of it. But we ended up getting a half-pound kiss and some multi-colored twizzlers instead. :-)

Overall, it was a pretty fun experience. It was interesting to learn about the guy that started it all, back in 1900 when the first milk chocolate bar was produced. I wonder if he knew then that it would turn into such a successful enterprise.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Friends From Home

I have been extremely lucky that since I have moved, I have been able to see many of my friends from home. First, Stuart moved to D.C. a few months after we did. I get to see him every week. Then Heidi was relocated here from Seattle for a couple months, so I was able to spend some quality time with her. Now, Ed (the only person I have kept in contact with from high school and my old Columbia Cinema colleague) was flown to Connecticut for job training and came down to visit before he flew home!

We had a rushed but fun weekend. Friday Joe and I took him out for drinks and appetizers at a local sports bar. Saturday we went into D.C. and saw the White House, Lincoln Memorial, National Mall, and Washington Monument. We also got to see the National Christmas Tree all lit up, which was something Joe and I wanted to do anyway - it was SO pretty!

Ed is a really great photographer and I thought this picture he took of the Washington Monument at sunset was really pretty:

This picture I also thought was so cool. I would have never thought to take a picture like this, but it turned out great - very artistic and a "new take" on the Lincoln Memorial:

We also went to Chinatown for dinner, which was a really cool part of town - we really need to go back there sometime when we have more time.

On Sunday we helped Ed return his rental car (a kick-ass Marquise that he was SO embarrassed to be driving around, haha), toured the Rockville Mansion (a random discovery that was pretty cool) and accompanied him on the Metro to the airport so he could fly home. It was great to see him.

Also on Saturday, we went to the Italian Greyhound Holiday Party. Ava had a great time! She was being so social, playing with the other dogs and got so excited to see the dogs that she now recognizes. It's so wonderful to watch her continue to improve... seeing her that day, you would never have believed that she was such a terrified, meek little girl who had never seen the big wide world!

My camera has apparently quit on me, so I only have pictures that others took at the party. Honestly, she did get down and play. Of course, the only pictures I found are ones of Joe and I holding her... but really, she was very social!!

Jackson was an iggy-wannabe during the party. He did fabulous with all the little dogs, and was the only non-iggy invited. :-) He really is so great with Ava and her little friends!

The IG Rescue organization I'm a part of took in 16 dogs last weekend. 16!! That is an incredibly big number, and no one thought we were going to make it work. But, I am proud to say that the Rescue Representative, Serena, worked her butt off and was able to find foster homes for ALL 16 (!!) and not only that, but she PLACED ALL BUT 4!! That is incredible, and I just have to give a shout-out to all the people who helped out. Because of them, 16 dogs are going to have much better lives.

Also, I wanted to say that Joe had another job interview today, with another chiropractor in Virginia. He said it went really well. He has met with three doctors now and Joe has liked them all. He will be making a decision this week and will then hopefully have a plan in place once he gets his license.

P.S. - Janet, if you read this, I told Joe that if you came to visit that would complete my "friends from home" loop. Come visit!! Pleeeeeaase?? I miss you!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Getting Colder

Well, Jackson was extremely happy that he got his edible card on Monday. He would not put it down after we gave it to him. His was a bit thicker than Ava's and he absolutely loved it! I finally took it away from him around 10:00 p.m. when we went to bed and there was almost nothing left. :-) Thanks again Grandma Connie!

It's starting to get colder here and poor Ava just HATES going outside. It's like torture for her. She sleeps in our bed, lays on my lap when I eat or work on the computer (or basically anything), gets fed organic food and lots of treats, gets hugs and kisses every day, yet when I pull out a coat and leash and she knows she's going outside, she hides and looks at me like I'm the WORST parent ever.

So, she definitely wasn't happy when I pulled out her four-legged jammies. It's so cold that she needs the extra coverage but this is the coat she hates the most. Look how cute she is though! She waddles around in this thing and looks so miserable, but I can't help but giggle at her because it's just so damn cute. (Okay, maybe that does make me a bit of a torturer...)

In other news, Joe finished his classes for his Bachelors, so as soon as he completes his thesis, he will officially have his Bachelor's Degree! (He always jokes that he's the only person who got his doctorate before his undergraduate.) He has also gone on two interviews with chiropractors in the Fairfax, Virginia area. They are both great opportunities and he is seriously considering them. He has a few other opportunities that he wants to look into first, then he will make a decision. Wish him luck!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Weekend Review

My parents flew back home on Thursday morning - they left the apartment around 4:30 a.m. It was sad to see them go, but we had such a nice time visiting with them. They had a great little trip around our portion of the East Coast, visiting Atlantic City, the Philadelphia Mint, and Amish Country. They brought back a shoefly pie to share, but that ended up getting knocked off the table and eaten by our dogs while we were out to dinner Wednesday night. Jack and Ava are turning into terrors when it comes to getting food off the counters and table. grrr.

This weekend was much more quiet. Friday we did some more Christmas shopping and went out to dinner at this great little Italian Grill near our apartment. When we got home, Ava had received a special holiday card in the mail from her Grandma Connie! It was an edible Christmas card made out of rawhide. It was the COOLEST thing I've seen. And she loved it. Apparently, Jackson has one coming too, but she felt pretty special that she got hers first. :-)

On Saturday Joe and I decided to head into downtown Gaithersburg for their little community holiday event. There was some music and free hot cider and we watched them light a Christmas tree. It was.. okay. :-) But it was snowing, and that made it pretty great. It was the first real snow of the year and although that made the roads pretty crazy (cars slipping and sliding, especially on the bridges) it was so beautiful. We listened to Christmas carols on the radio and basked in the Christmas season.

Sunday we met Stuart downtown, did a little shopping, had a great vegan lunch, and played some video games on his brand new 46" TV. I would have taken pictures, but I forgot my camera. Next time.

Hope everyone else had a great weekend too! Now back to the work week!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Parents Here, Busy Weekend


Joe and I met my parents at the airport on Monday night (the 23rd). It was so nice to see them! We had a busy evening, getting them settled into their rental car, having dinner, and finding their hotel. 

On Tuesday, I had to work, so they took the Metro into D.C. and spent the day touring around. Tuesday night all three of them came to pick me up at work and we had dinner and then went back to our apartment - where they were going to stay for the rest of their time here. Ava went ballistic seeing her Gramma and Grampa!!

I took Wednesday off and we had a busy day preparing for Thanksgiving - lots of shopping and cooking. We also went to see the movie Four Christmases, which was pretty funny.

The next day was Thanksgiving, which meant more cooking and LOTS of eating! We also played lots of dominos. Even though we had to eat on the couch (because we didn't have a dining room table) and it was just the four of us, it really felt like a traditional Thanksgiving and it was SO nice.

Friday I got everyone up at 5 a.m. and we did the whole Black Friday shopping experience. I made them shop till everyone dropped! We were done and back home napping by 11:30. 

We had an early Christmas that night and exchanged presents. My parents bought Joe and I a brand new dining room table that we absolutely LOVE, so the boys set that up while I decorated the house in Christmas decorations. 

Then we went to opening night of "Winter Lights" in Germantown - a park that you drive through and see hundreds of light displays. VERY cool and a great way to kick off Christmas.

Saturday, Stuart came over and we visited with him for a little bit. Then my parents, Joe and I went to St. Michael's, MD. It's right on the beach and wow - was it beautiful. Lots of cute little shops and restaurants. We did some more shopping and ate really expensive meals and realized how much we needed to come back in the summer! It was such a fun little getaway.

Sunday, we split with my parents - Joe and I went back home and my mom and dad continued their trip, next stop Atlantic City. They will then visit Philadelphia and some other little towns my mom wanted to see and be back at our apartment on Wednesday. They leave early, early Thursday morning.
The whole five-day weekend almost seems like a blur now. We did so much and had so much fun, but it went by awfully fast. I wish Joe and I could have stayed with my parents as they continued their journey, but I had to go back to work. And I'll hardly see them at all when they come back because they have to leave so early, but I am so happy they made the trip.

Things I am thankful for this holiday season:
1. Having a family that loves and supports me.
2. Being in a loving, committed, happy, and fun relationship.
3. Owning two wonderful, albeit crazy, dogs.
4. Having friends who are like family.
5. Being able to explore new places and experience new things.

Happy holidays!