Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Molly's First Christmas

Seeing as how this is Molly's first Christmas, I've gone all out with buying her things, personalizing her stocking, and taking photos of her in Christmas-related situations.  She doesn't always like it.

Case in point:

This is Molly's "Mom are you done taking silly photos of me wrapped in Christmas lights yet?" face.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

(I couldn't choose just one!!)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Duck Hunting

We recently took Josh's sister Amy duck hunting for the first time, and it was such a neat experience for us all!  Also in attendance was Jack, Josh's cousin, and Jason, Jack's dad and Josh's uncle.  We were out at the duck blind before sunrise, setting decoys.  Here are Jack, Amy, and Jason sitting in the blind.  Notice Amy all bundled up?

This photo came out very grainy, oddly colored, and out of focus, but oddly, I love it!
Josh was fixing a jerk-line that broke.  This is also when a flock of ducks decide to fly over.
The kids stayed the night with us the previous night, hence the yawns from Jack.

Josh shooting at a mallard drake (which he got!)

Amy and the rest of the party had a great time, and she's already looking forward to coming out again during winter break! When I get time, I have some hilarious video from the hunt as well!

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Month Without a Dryer

As most of you know, Josh and I just started out this year living on our own. We both lived with our parents previously, and so this has all been a very next and eye-opening experience.

We each are responsible for certain bills related to the house, and each have our own bills too, such as his Sea-Doo payment and my student loans.  The way it works out, I normally pay the electric bill.  It comes every two other month, and normally hovers around the same amount, varying by $30-$40.

To save on electricity, we are attempting to not use our heat pump at all this winter.  We keep it set to 45 degrees during the warmer months, and have it set to 50 currently (to prevent the house from getting so cold pipes start freezing/breaking).  We have a wood stove, and burn a fire every single day.  We start one after work in the evening, and it goes out during the night.  The days one of us is home, we start one in the morning and keep it going all day.  Its nothing for our house to get over 80 degrees, and its normally comfortable in there.  There are times in the morning when it gets chilly, but I'm used to just throwing a sweatshirt on and moving around or grabbing a blanket.  Josh is almost never cold, so he doesn't mind it.  I'm not sure how much money we are saving by doing this, as we haven't yet had a winter where we did use the heat pump all season.  But, I'm imaging its quite a bit of money!

We both also try to ensure lights are turned off when we're not in the room.  We frequently only use one lamp in the living room in the evening, along with the ceiling fan to circulate the warm air into the rest of the house.  We try to not leave cell phone chargers plugged in, and since Josh spends much of his time outside on his days off (which are opposite of my days off), not much electricity is used when he's home.

To add to the savings, I'm attempting to not use our clothes dryer during the month of December.  I'll still need to use it occasionally, mostly during last-minute situations.  ("Hey babe - my jacket's wet and I'm leaving for duck hunting in half an hour!  Can you dry it?")  But for the most part, I'm simply air-drying everything.  I have one drying rack already, but want to buy one more for when I do large loads or multiple loads in one evening.  Since the living room is the warmest room in the house and our living room is quite large, I'm placing the racks in there (when company is coming over, I'll move the racks to another room).  I did this often during the summer, and loved the savings.

I'll post a comparison in January, when the next electricity bill arrives.  I'm extremely interested to see the difference in kilowatts and cost!  Have you ever tried this?  What were your savings like?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Seasons Greetings!

Seeing as how this is Josh and I's first Christmas living together, and our first Christmas with Molly, I wanted to go all out and do a family Christmas card this year. Josh was less than thrilled.

I planned a date for us to shoot our photos (with me taking them using a tripod and remote), and Josh grudgingly came along.

We came away with three card-quality photos, and I am extremely happy to have photos of us from our first Christmas!

I've had a hard time choosing which card I like best from Shutterfly.  Here are my requirements:
  • Fits a vertical photo
  • Holds only one photo
  • Doesn't have anything blocking the bottom part of the photo, as that's where Molly is in the photo.
As far as style goes, its a tough decision.  Josh likes more traditional styles, while I prefer more modern.  Here are our top four:

I won't say which card we chose, because I want it to be a surprise to our family and friends when it arrives!

All of Shutterfly's Christmas Photo cards can be found here!

In addition to a Christmas card, I also want to create a calendar featuring photos of Josh, Molly, and I throughout the year.  Since January is quickly approaching, I need to get on this!  I have already started designing one, and am just waiting for Christmas to arrive and be over with so I can include photos from our holiday celebrations in the calendar.  What I love most about these calendars is that you can add birthdays, anniversaries, and other special occasions while you're creating the calendar!  Check out Shutterfly's Photo Calendars here!

I'm full of new traditions this year, and one I definitely want to continue is creating customized birthday cards for family and friends.  With Shutterfly, you can choose a design, add photos, create your own message, and send it of!  What would be neater than receiving a birthday card in the mail, knowing someone put thought, effort, time, and attention into creating a special card just for you?!  I have already started creating some for birthdays (and birth days!) I know are coming up soon, and plan on making many, many more.  Here is the huge selection of birthday cards!

There you have it!  Lots of neat ideas for Christmas cards, photo calendars, and birthday cards.  But that's not all!  Shutterfly has photo books, photo gifts, prints, and lots more available on their website.  Check them out!

Why I Love Winter

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Molly's First Snow

Last week's snowfall was a first for Molly. The first time I let her out into it, she stood on the porch and gaveme this look:
... like, "Mom, what IS this stuff?!  It's cold on my little princess paws!!".

She then ventured out into it some more...
... and decided it wasn't all that horrible.

I then took her over to my parents' house, and she played for three days with Callee and Roxee in it, and is now a HUGE fan of the snow!

And the last photo is of Callee, who for some unknown reason, loves to bury her face in the snow.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

We traveled to my aunt and uncle's house for Thanksgiving this year, and most of the family was in attendance. It was cozy, relaxing, and a great time.  I didn't take many photos of the people that were there; I was more focused on the animals!  Here are a few quick photos:

 These deer come right up to their porch!  Probably because they get fed apples every day!
 Otis showing off his ability to sit like a person.
 Grandma Alice!
And Otis the Reindeer.

Hope you all had a wonderfully festive, filling, and fun Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

My Personal Bodyguard

Miss Molly, our wonderful 8 month old Golden Retriever/Labrador Retriever mix, has stepped up to be my own personal bodyguard while Josh is away.

It always amazes me just how perceptive and aware animals are to us humans.  When I'm happy, Molly knows it.  When I'm sad, she can tell.  And when I'm scared, she protects me.

I have a hatred for being home alone at night, and so when Josh is away, I let Molly sleep on our bed instead of in her crate.  It makes me feel safer having her warm little body next to me.  Molly, however, has a hatred for snuggling.  She likes to lay on my feet, or on the floor next to the bed.  But she isn't one to spoon.  That all changes when Josh is gone, though.  She sleeps right up against my side or stomach, depending on which position I'm in.  And she won't leave her place until I get out of bed.  Even after I get up, she's glued to my side.  Like my little furry shadow.  If I go outside, she goes outside.  But instead of running off to play, she walks patiently alongside me to wherever I'm going, and then goes back in when I do.  She doesn't even go to the door to go play outside for very long when I'm inside.  She'll go out to go to the bathroom, and then wants right back in.  It's like she can tell I don't like being alone, and so she wants me to feel safe.

Now, this could all be a major coincidence that she acts this way while Josh is away.  But you know what?  I don't care!  It makes me feel better, and we get some major bonding time.  Plus, see this face?

How could this sleepy, droopy face not make you feel better?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


In case you didn't know, Josh is currently in Idaho on a hunting trip.  He left early Thursday morning, and will be home sometime Wednesday.  This is a yearly trip for him, his uncle, and his cousin, and they wait all year for it. 

This is the first time Josh has been gone for more than one night since we started living together.  We live out in the sticks, and don't really know any of our neighbors.  And I hate being home alone.

The first night he was gone, my 16 year old brother stayed with me.  And the following night, we had Girls Night at our house, so I wasn't alone again. 

Having Josh away really makes me appreciate how much I love having him home.  Its not just the practical stuff I like having him around for; its the emotional aspect as well.  I honestly can't imagine having to be the guy in a relationship; they are responsible for so much!

First and foremost, he is my protector.  He is very chivalrous, and (almost) always a gentleman.  He sleeps closest to the door, always checks outside for me if I hear a strange noise, kills the spiders, and does whatever he can to take care of me.  He makes me feel safe, and I sleep peacefully with him around.  When he's gone, I hardly sleep.  I take naps during the daytime, and then stay away for most of the night.  I get scared easily, and have a hard time in the dark alone.

He also does most of the physical stuff around the house.  Bringing in firewood, cutting kindling, cleaning Molly's outdoor dog kennel, etc.  Since he's been gone, I've had to do all of that.  Its not that I'm not capable, or that I feel as if its his "job"; he just does that stuff.

And, its nice to have a helping hand.  Whether its taking care of Molly, doing the dishes, or running errands, having someone to help you accomplish things is nice. 

Most of all, however, I miss my best friend.  The one who makes me laugh, the one who melts my heart, and the one I rush home to see.  I miss the love of my life, and waking up next to his sleepy face each morning (even if it is at 5 AM!). 

So Wednesday, when Josh rolls back into town (which also happens to be the day of our anniversary!), you can know with certainty than I will be wrapping my arms around his strong neck, giving him a big kiss, and telling him thank you.  For coming home safely, for coming to my rescue, and for just being Josh.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Dear God

Dear God,

I know its been a while since we've really spoken.  I haven't even been to Your "house" in a very long time.  My Bible still sits next to my bed, along with my Bible study book for the book of Esther.  But neither have been opened in months.  My rosary sits tucked in its silk bag.  But I haven't held its cold, round beads in my fingers in I don't know how long.

Ever since the end of last year, it has been very hard for me to completely trust in you again.  My heart broke when I lost the baby I conceived, when I so badly wanted it.  I had suffered through one miscarriage already.  I felt entitled to this baby.  And those dreams were crushed, despite my never-ending prayers to You to keep my baby safe.

After all this time, I still don't feel 100% trusting.  I feel so guilty saying that though, or even thinking it.  When I was baptised and confirmed, I vowed to trust in you, God.  To believe Your have a plan for me.  But that is easier said than done in some cases.

Why is it, God, that we must go through so much hurt in order to realize Your plan? Isn't there a simpler way? A way with less heartache, less sorrow? I think of the pain I have continued to go through, and I still don't understand it. And I think of my friend Leah, and her sorrow over her failed IVF cycles. Of all the other infertile women I know; Keely, Allison, Megan. You see us struggling, Lord. You see us trying to realize dreams of ours, and praying to You for Your help. Why must we be burden with this load? Why us? Why can't we be granted this one prayer?

I feel angry, God.  Let down.  Broken, and disappointed.  By You.  My heart hurts when I think of placing the blame on You, but that is exactly how I feel.  Intellectually, I know You didn't take my babies away from me to hurt me.  I know that in my head.  But my emotions and heart tell me differently.  Those feelings outweigh the logical parts. 

And that is where I am struggling right now.  To overcome those feelings, and to reunite myself with You and Your word.  To let your Spirit overtake me once more, and clear from my heart those feelings of blame and anger.  I am in turmoil right now in so many ways, and I need Your Light to shine through to me.

Whenever I set foot inside the Abbey, I am overwhelmed with a sense of quiet.  Not just in that the building is silent; lacking noise.  Of course, there is a lot of that going on too, but its more than that.  Like all of the thoughts in my head are quieted.  My fears, anger, negativity.  All of it goes away.  The Abbey is a calming place for me, even when Mass is not in session.  Simply being there completely changes my mood.  But getting myself there has been the struggle.  I know once I am there, it will feel right.  I will know that's where I need to be, where I belong.  But I can't bring myself to drive into that parking lot, let alone walk through those carved, wooden doors.

I need that quiet right now.  I need my anxiety to be swept away, for this burden of anger to be lifted from my shoulders.  I need calmness.  I need to see a light at the end of this tunnel I seem to be stuck in.  I need You, Lord.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Josh & I

Just a quick few shots of Josh and I....

 PS- Isn't he handsome?!


I've never been someone who has a lot of girlfriends.  I usually hang out with the guys, and always tended to find girls annoying, catty, competitive, and just downright mean.  I had a few select girls that I counted on, but that was a very small list.

Over the last year, that has all changed!  I don't know if its because I've opened myself up more to the girls in my life, or if these incredibly amazing women have just come at the right time!

From the women of my walking group for the Susan G. Komen 3 Day for the Cure (Hi Rebekah, Jessica, and Maqui!), to the girlfriend of a friend of ours (Howdy Laura!), to the lovely ladies I met last Friday (more on that below), I'm loving having a long list of girls I can call friends!!

This past Friday evening, I had the chance to spend a few hours with 5 wonderful ladies, all battling different levels of infertility.  We met because S.I.F. had 2 frozen embryos transferred in Seattle (she's from Alaska), and had some free time to kill.  We talked about everything from how her transfer went, to our own personal stories and struggles, to Facebook stalking, and more.  It was so relaxing to just chat about whatever came up, and to feel free to say whatever.  These women all have a story, and if you would, check them out and give them some support!  Keely is "ranch-wife in the making" and former radio DJ, plus she loves photography too!.  Alissa is also into photography and her and her husband are busy trying to make a wee one!  Megan calls herself "Infertile Myrtle", and her and her husband have been battling infertility for over 9 years.  Thank you ladies, for the amazing girl time!!

I'm thoroughly looking forward to some more girl time coming up, including a Girls Night In this Friday night with Josh's family, to a Christmas bazaar Saturday with Josh's family and some of mine, and Rebekah's birthday party Saturday night.  As much as I love being "one of the guys", its a great feeling to know I have girls that have my back!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Quick 3 Day Update

Just a quick update to let everyone know how much I'm loving my 3 Day experience!!  44.2 miles down, 15.8 to go.  Can't wait to see my family at Closing Ceremonies tomorrow!!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A Susan G. Komen 3 Day for the Cure Walker in SERIOUS NEED!!!!


I have taken on an incredible challenge. On September 24th - 26th, I will be walking 60 miles over the course of three days, camping out at night with thousands of other women and men taking this journey with me.

It's for an event called the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure. Net proceeds from the Komen 3-Day for the Cure are invested in community-based breast health programs and breast cancer research. The research funded focuses on decreasing breast cancer incidence and mortality in the next decade. Susan G. Komen for the Cure works hard to build a future without breast cancer, and I need to raise $2,300 to help bring us closer to that goal. I am also an official Training Walk Leader, so I can help other women prepare for this journey. We walk together several times a week, logging countless miles.

I've been spending the past few weeks preparing for the event and have really made a lot of progress. So far I've raised $1400 - only $900 to go! My training is also going well. I've walked over 100 miles in the last 24 weeks. I can hardly wait to hit the road with the thousands of other women and men who are joining together for this common cause.

Please consider making a donation. If you can't give all at once, you can spread it out over four months, using the payment plan option, if you donate online at Please also ask your employer if they will double your donation with a matching gift.

Here is my link to my personal page to donate:

Unfortunately, breast cancer has become an all too common occurrence among women and men throughout the world. Now is the time to take action to help end this disease. Without a cure, one person will die of breast cancer every 13 minutes in the United States. I hope that you'll share this incredible adventure with me - by supporting me in my fundraising efforts. Donate for your mother, your wife, your sisters, your daughters. Donate so that none of these women have to fight the uphill battle a diagnosis of breast cancer brings. One in eight women in the U.S. will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. That's why I'm walking in the 3-Day for the Cure. To do something bold about breast cancer - because everyone deserves a lifetime.

Thank you in advance for your generosity!


Molly Gets Stuck

After our ER trip the other day, we went to my parents' house for dinner.  When we're there, we let Molly run around outside with their dogs.  In case you didn't know, my parents also have cows.

At our house, we have a shallow watering trough that we keep filled with water in the backyard.  Molly plays in it, and sinks her toys in it, and drinks out of it.  It's only about 2 feet tall.
At my parents', they have the same trough, but its a lot deeper, for t heir cows to drink out of.
Can you see where this story is going?

While sitting around in the kitchen chatting, I decide to peek outside and check on Molly.  I don't see her, so I start calling her name.  She was nowhere in site.  Then, I could faintly hear her crying.  But I had no idea where she could be stuck.  I happened to glance into the cow pasture, and see her little blonde head poking up out of the watering trough.  I ran as fast as I could out there, not knowing just how much water was in there/if she could touch the bottom.  Luckily, there was only about a foot of water in the trough, so her legs were covered and her belly was wet, but she wasn't drowning.  She just didn't know how to get out!  She obviously thought this trough was just like hers.  I had to lift her wet little petite rather heavy body out while she squirmed around.  Behind me, back at the house, I could hear everyone else dying of laughter.

Looking back, it was quite hilarious seeing her in there.  At the time though, it scared me half to death!

This, people, is why I do not have kids!!!!