Friday, July 31, 2009

New blog spotlight: Matt

You all know Matt. He is one of David's best friends and he always hangs out with us.

Well, Matt is going on an adventure to Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates. He will be there for two years, teaching young kids for a living, and luckily for us, he started a blog!

Since he has been such a great friend to us over the years, please do not hesitate to give him some blogger love and click on over. He already has two very interesting posts up about how he got his new job.

Click here to go to Matt's Blog!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Currently reading: Atlas Shrugged

I'm currently reading Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. My husband listened to it on a book on tape and loved it, and challenged me to read the book. Let's just say that there are a TON of pages and the font size is very, very small. I've heard that it is a magnificent book, but so far I'm having trouble getting into the story. It isn't really the size of the book (Anna Karenina is one of my favorite books), but the story so far. It seems so...industrial. However, I am already excited about the famous question: "Who is John Galt?" I have a few guesses already.

Have any of you ever read this book, and does it take a while to get into it?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Ready for Breakfast

The Many Birthdays of David

I know his birthday was two weeks ago, but I thought I'd share pictures from the three (yes, three) birthday celebrations we had for David. Birthdays are a huge deal in our little family. I love my birthday and enjoy making David's birthday special. I tell David that our kids will have the best birthday parties. Above is a picture of David's joint birthday BBQ with our friend Matt, who is leaving the country for two years! We went on a float trip the weekend before his birthday with Matt and our two brothers, so I bought a little cake for the occasion.

After that, I had a surprise birthday dinner with David's family. His grandparents and parents came to join in on the fun. I found it especially funny that David thought that my excessive cleaning and cooking were normal enough that he never suspected that we would have guests that Sunday evening!
And finally, we had a small family birthday party together on his actual birthday. I served the rest of the ice cream cake, but unfortunately I dropped it while I was holding Thorina and singing "Happy Birthday". (Thorina decided to make a leap mid-song and the cake was off center and very shaky.)
Icing was everywhere...including Thorina:
That resulted in our having to give her a bath. She screamed worse screams than I've ever heard while she was in the tub. She got away once and then we scooped her back up and got her in the tub again, where she looked so scared and tried to climb the wall of the shower. So we took her out and decided to give her a little bath by hand on top of a towel, during which she was so terrified that she went to the bathroom. Talk about a great birthday party!

The evening ended well after we scraped off the bits that hit the floor.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


This weekend I was in my friend Jessi's wedding. It was really beautiful and a fun time.
The bridal party--Justine, me, and her little daughter Hazel.
All three of us!
Me and Hazel. I am pretty sure I had to bribe her to sit on my lap, but it worked. Isn't she cute?

Monday, July 27, 2009

Menu Monday and a Happy Birthday and a Happy Anniversary!

It was my parents' wedding anniversary yesterday. They have been married for 29 years, I believe. That is nuts! Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad!

Secondly, today is a very special day because it is Paco's Birthday! He is 7 years old. Happy Birthday little guy! We really could not ask for a better dog. He has the most happy and perfect temperament and he is incredibly loyal. He is the perfect loving dog. This picture is from last fall. Please ignore the laundry.

Finally, we have Menu Monday!!

Monday: chicken with zucchini
Tuesday: Basil and tomato pasta
Wednesday: Salad
Thursday: leftovers
Friday: I may dig something out of my freezer. We are working on cleaning it out before we buy more meat.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday to my wonderful mom today!!! We are going to a pool after I get home from work and then enjoying birthday pasta and cake!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Man, I was going to write a post about how I had a crown put on one of my teeth along with four sealants, an eye exam, and a bit of yeast injected into my year-old warts to attempt to remove them annnndd how I think my lymph nodes are now swelling as a result of the injection....

but then I looked around and realized how lucky I am to have a warm home, a wonderful husband who does the dishes while I study (and ahem, write blog posts), three loving pets, clothes on my back, a full belly, and all of the other many blessings I have received from God, and I decided not to complain.

Arizona, Part 4: A day in Phoenix

We decided to take it easy for our last day of our Arizona trip. In the morning we headed to the botanical gardens in Phoenix, which was full of cacti:

The entire group:After that we enjoyed the delicious ice cream at The Sugar Bowl, one of the cutest diners in the world:

How fun! After that we took it easy by the pool. The next morning we had a flight to catch home!

I had such a wonderful trip with my cousins, aunts, and mom. Hopefully we can go on another vacation soon!!!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Menu Monday

Okay, okay, it looks like I was wrong about the dough. I surrender! I surrender! It turns out that David is in the majority who actually use their hands to mix dough.

Here is menu Monday!!!!!

Monday: Frozen pizza. Yes, I still love this stuff and we haven't had it for a few weeks. Mmmmm...
Tuesday: Chicken and a salad
Wednesday: Red Pepper and Eggplant pasta
Thursday: Happy Hour with friends
Friday: I'm in a wedding this weekend so I will be at the rehearsal dinner with my hubby!

We're off to the pool!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

I don't know whether I should laugh or cry

I just asked David to make pizza dough from one of those really easy pizza dough boxes that only require a half of a cup of water so that it could rise in time for dinner. He asked me if he needed to roll it out so it could rise or if he could just use a bowl. That should have been my first clue.

He just walked into the room with dough up to his elbows. I shrieked and asked him what he was doing. Apparently, instead of using a utensil to stir the dough, he thought that it was more normal to use his hands because he thought you had to use your hands to make dough.

Internet world, do you use your hands to mix up dough or do you use a utensil? This poor dude probably has never made any sort of dough in his life, but I'm interested to find out whether anybody actually does use their hands.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Oh no

This week we watched another puppy and he was acting a little irate. I don't believe that the doggie is up on his vaccinations so I thought to myself (and later told David), "That's why Paco is so peaceful and this doggie is so nutty. Paco has had his distemper shot." I told my friend Rach about the incident and about my solution and she almost passed out laughing.

Apparently distemper is really a disease and not just a shot to keep your dog in a good mood. It isn't that crazy to think that---I mean..."dis" means not or without, and "temper" means you have an anger problem, so I don't think my idea was that nutty. Come on, I can't be the only person who had this mixed up, can I?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday to my wonderful husband, David!

Today I'm making his favorite meal, rice pilaf! I will definitely post the recipe later!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Menu Monday

Monday: I'm going out to eat with some friends, so David is on his own!
Tuesday: Leftover hamburgers
Wednesday: Rice and chicken pilaf...David's birthday!
Thursday: Vegetable Soup
Friday: Enjoying leftovers

It is so hard for me to believe that it is already the middle of July. Crazy!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Arizona: Grand Canyon: 1.5 miles

After enjoying the views of the Grand Canyon, we decided to take a trail and hike 1.5 miles into the Canyon. The views were simply amazing and the trail was a little harder than I anticipated, but we all made it! I was amazed that we walked 1.5 miles down into the canyon and I still did not see the Colorado River. I faintly saw the Indian Garden camp, where many people camp for a night on their way down to the bottom of the canyon, and even the tops of the trees there looked like tiny specks.
Hiking with my water!
Me and my mom at the 1.5 mile mark in the Canyon. That isn't our backpack. The owner offered to move it for us but my mom said that if he didn't we could act like it was ours, but now you know the truth:
Finally back at the top!
After the Grand Canyon, we drove back to Phoenix were we met my aunt and cousin and took nice long showers. Then we went to an Italian restaurant and went to bed. I was tired!!!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Fun Thing Friday!

Barefoot Pinot Grigio
Can I just say something here? Yum. YUMMMMMMMM...

I really enjoy white wine in the summer. It is just so tasty and refreshing after a long day at the office and outside in the hot sun. I tried this wine this week because it was on sale at my grocery store for something like $6.50. So, I know that in the entire grand scheme of wines this probably isn't the greatest but for a cheap white wine I like it.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

David and Abbie + 4

Tomorrow Paco's brother, Jose, will come to visit our house for a WEEK! That means that we will have two dogs and two cats for a while. We're not sure how we are going to work this arrangement because apparently Jose likes to tease kitties. Which means our cats will react by peeing on the carpet.

I keep telling David that Paco is going to want to buy a Batman sleeping bag, pizza, have scary ghost stories, and make a fort during his sleepover. David doesn't say much about that: I don't know whether he is more worried about paying for pizza for two dogs or the fact that I concoct an entire doggie sleepover scenario in my brain.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009


So I tried to take a screen shot of the 12:34: moment today with two other co-workers in my office. I had it all ready to go, and I took it! I said, "Guys, check it out! I got it! Yayyyyy!" and they both said, "ummmmm....Abbie?"

Two seconds early. I've been having some seriously ditzy moments lately.


Today at 12:34 p.m. and 56 seconds, the date (7-8-09) and time will officially read: 12:34:56:7:8:9, which only happens once in a millennium (and thus probably only once in our lifetime), so enjoy it!

Monday, July 06, 2009

Best Kids' Books Ever

This ran in the New York Times a few days ago. It got me thinking about my favorite kids' books ever. After I compiled my little list, I realized that they are very much skewed to Books for Little Girls. Ah well. Here are what I think are my top five, in descending order:

10. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
I love this book. It is so imaginative and creative and I love that it has poems, prose, and that most editions have beautiful pictures. Alice is a very imaginative character and I have always loved this book. I believe that I secured my own copy in high school with my baby-sitting money.

9. Ms. Piggle Wiggle Series by Betty MacDonald

Ms. Piggle Wiggle is a lady who lives in a neighborhood and helps desperate mothers find cures for the annoying behavior of their kids. For instance, when one little girl does not want to take a will just have to read this series to find out on your own. Again, another incredibly creative and imaginative series that I loved in my youth. My second grade teacher read these books to us, which made me obtain copies at Book Fairs.

8. Keep the Lights Burning, Abbie
Look at the title. Need we say more?

Seriously, this book is pretty cool. Abbie lives in a lighthouse with her family and has to operate the lights when her father gets sick. I like this book for little girls because it features a girl in a hero role. My mom gave me this book when I was young.

7. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. TaylorSource
I cry every time I read this book and loved it when we were required to read it in fifth grade. This story is about an African American family growing up in the 1960s. Discrimination is shown through the eyes of the children. I believe that someone gave me this book.

6. Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech

Again, I cry every time I read this book. Hard. The main character, Sal, moves from her old home with her father to a new town in Ohio and adventures ensue. Meanwhile, she recounts these stories to her grandparents as they travel to Idaho on a very special trip. Remember those old Scholastic book orders? I am pretty sure that I bought my copy of this book in one of those.

5. The American Girl Doll Books
Say what you want about how expensive these dolls and books are, but I can almost guarantee that I learned as much or more about American History from these fun books than in school (sorry teachers, but it is true). These books entwine wonderful stories (to which modern girls can relate) with history. For instance, Felicity is a girl growing up during the American Revolutionary War. Addy is a young escaped slave growing up in the times of the civil war. Molly grows up during WWII. I LOVED these books when I was growing up and will definitely buy them and read them to my little girls and boys. I received my first doll at my first communion and was SO delighted. After that various people, from my parents to my grandparents, gave me the books and I got another doll for Christmas. (Kirsten first and Felicity second, in case you were wondering.)

4. The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery WilliamsSource
This book is absolutely beautiful. The story and the illustrations are gorgeous. I've always had this book; someone must have given it to me when I was very small.

3. Over and Over by Charlotte ZolotowSource
This is another gorgeous book. The illustrations are beautiful and the story is so simple: the book simply takes the reader through a year in a girl's life, from her birthday to Valentine's Day to Christmas celebrations. Either my mom or my Aunt Georgia gave this to me.

2. A Little Princess

I really got into this book but never adored The Secret Garden as much for some reason. A Little Princess is about a young girl who goes from riches to rags and back again, making friends and being creative along the way. I got this book for being in a wedding as a guestbook attendant when I was maybe in fourth grade.

1. The Little House Series by Laura Ingalls WilderSource

This series has always been my favorite to read. My favorite book in the series is These Happy Golden Years, which is so tattered that the cover was lost long ago and my pages are ripped to shreds. But I still love it. I received these books for Christmas from my grandparents.

What are your favorite kids' books?

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Menu Monday

This is my first full week back to work, so I am trying to come up with a menu that is easy to make.

Monday: Leftover chili (I made it last night)
Tuesday: Chicken breast and sauteed zucchini
Wednesday: Meatloaf and broccoli
Thursday: I may go out to eat, so David will have leftovers
Friday: BBQ with our brothers and friend Matt

Every semester we buy a ton of meat from a meat locker near my hometown, and the chicken and the meatloaf are from there. We are trying to eat our remaining meat so we can make another trip before school starts for fresh supplies!

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Happy Independence Day!

We had a BBQ with some friends last night and played with some sparklers. We played a card game and reminisced about old cartoons from our childhood, which was fun. Today we are off to my parents' house!

Happy 4th of July! And for your reading pleasure, here is the text of our Declaration of Independence:


IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to
dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and
to assume, among the Powers of the earth, the separate and equal station
to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent
respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the
causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,
that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,
that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to
secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their
just powers from the consent of the governed,--That whenever any Form of
Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the
People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying
its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form,
as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should
not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all
experience hath shown, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while
evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to
which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and
usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to
reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty,
to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future
security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such
is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems
of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a
history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object
the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this,
let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary
for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and
pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his
Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly
neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large
districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right
of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them
and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual,
uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public
Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with
his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with
manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause
others to be elected; whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of
Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their
exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the
dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for
that purpose obstructing the Laws of Naturalization of Foreigners;
refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and
raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his
Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.
He has made judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of
their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of
Officers to harass our People, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the
Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior
to the Civil Power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign
to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his
Assent to their Acts of pretended legislation:
For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from Punishment for any
Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us, in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring
Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and
enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and
fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and
altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves
invested with Power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his
Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and
destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries
to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already
begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in
the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy of the Head of a
civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high
Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners
of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has
endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the
merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an
undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the
most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by
repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act
which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free People.

Nor have We been wanting in attention to our Brittish brethren. We have
warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend
an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the
circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to
their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the
ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would
inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have
been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must,
therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and
hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace

We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America, in
General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world
for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by the Authority
of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That
these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent
States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown,
and that all political connection between them and the State of Great
Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and
Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace,
contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and
Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of
this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the Protection of Divine
Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and
our sacred Honor.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

I look awesome.

I had to have a crown put into my tooth on Monday. Ouch. This is my best attempt at a smile after it was completed.