Sunday, July 31, 2011


Two years ago I married my best friend.

I've been racking my brain all weekend, trying to think about why this day - our anniversary - is special. It's a day to remember the moment we promised to be together forever. It's a day to remember how we committed to taking this journey called life by each other's side, hand in hand.

For the life of me though, I couldn't drum up that special feeling I wanted to exude. And then it hit me: every day with my husband is special, just like our wedding day. It doesn't have to be July 31 to make me remember how lucky I am to be married to this guy.

He is my soul mate. My sounding board. My compass in life. I would seriously wander aimlessly without his strong hand, yet compassionate voice leading me through each day. He knows me better than anyone in this entire world. He knows my thoughts before I even say them and more often than not, we do this creepy thing where sentences form in unison and it's in those moments I realize how lucky I am to have married the man I did. God knew all along Andi was the man of my dreams.


It's an unusual day for us to celebrate our anniversary. In this nine month pregnant body of mine, I feel limited in the ways we can celebrate. Can't travel to someone new and interesting, the way we'd normally find enjoyment in ringing in a new year together. Hard to snuggle and be close with a big ol' belly in between us. I find myself feeling twitchy as we call it an easy weekend and celebrate by doing things around our new house, making dinner together, taking the dog for a walk - things we do on any given day.

But then, isn't that what a great marriage is all about? It feels cozy to celebrate our day just as we always do. Together in the comforts of our home, with Chloe pup trotting by our side.


This morning, we woke up around 7:00am and decided to exchange anniversary gifts. The second wedding anniversary dictates cotton, and Andi encouraged me to open mine first. Wrapped in pretty brown paper with a white ribbon were four beautiful handmade Christmas stockings, each embroidered with the names - Mom, Dad, Tory and Chloe. The simple gift took my breath away. It's like our future of family, holidays and traditions laid out before me. I'm holding back tears as I look at them; one of the most precious gifts I've ever received. My gift of a gazillion-count monogrammed cotton sheets hardly holds a candle to his sweet stockings but I know Andi seemed happy. He's a sucker for nice sheets, I know that much about him.

After presents, we headed over to Noerenberg Gardens - the place we said our wedding vows. Funny how walking up to the flowery gardens makes me feel just like I did on that day. A little bit nervous, mostly excited and full of love for my husband.

Two years

Next we went to breakfast at a nearby restaurant called Sunsets, then came back home to relax. The rest of our anniversary day is ahead of us and we've got little planned. We'll spend it like we always do - walking the dog, making dinner, hanging out - together like a married couple who's love grows for each other more everyday.

Wedding Day
July 31, 2009

Thursday, July 28, 2011

A heartbreaking rite of passage

I'm completely bias when it comes to the awesome beauty of my niece, Brooke. Wouldn't you agree, she's the cutest little four-year-old you've ever seen?

So, when my sister emailed me this photo late Tuesday night I almost cried:

Guess someone decided it was time for a shorter look...
Luckily, my sister is a former cosmetologist and shaped Brookie's hair into a cute little bob.

At least she seems to like it ...
As heartbreaking as this is, wouldn't you say it's a rite of passage for every little girl? I remember my sister doing the same thing to her own hair (and mine!) around this age. My sister took a scissors to the back of my head while I was sleeping when I was in the 3th grade which resulted in me cutting off my beautiful long brown hair for a cute shoulder-length bob. At the same time, she took the scissors to her own bangs. I'm sure it's hard for my sister to find comfort in that story about now.

Anyone else remember cutting their own hair when you were a kid? 

The good news is, it's only hair. And it'll grow back again. What an ornery little thing ....

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

One Lucky Girl

It's week two in our new house and we're LOVING our new place. I think Andi and I have mentioned about 20 times in passing how glad we are to be there. And surprisingly, I don't miss my old house one bit. As much as I thought I would (and as much as I loved it the five years we lived there), having air conditioning a convenient laundry room, more than one bathroom, closets and storage, GLORIOUS STORAGE!, far outweigh the old house's city charm. Andi said the other day, "I can really see Tory growing up here" and I couldn't agree more. It was definitely the right move for our budding family.

As I've been nesting around the house with little organizational projects here and there, my husband has morphed into ultra-management mode and tackled big-time projects left and right. Somewhere between working full-time, planning/hosting a bachelor party last weekend and doting on me, he's managed to accomplish painting the garage interior, staining the back deck, hiring a locksmith and setting plans for our landscaping. Last night, there were truly five different workers deployed on various household projects outside while we hosted a birthday party for Andi's mom. The way he manages all that chaos truly amazes me, and I'm so thankful. I haven't felt stressed about the move or organizing our new digs once, and it's all because of him.

This weekend's our second wedding anniversary and after tossing ideas back and forth, we've decided to stay close to home and celebrate. There's no where we'd rather honor two years together than in our new home.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Closing Time

Last Friday's house closing was quite the experience. It's the first time I'd ever bought a house (our other houses were purchased by Andi before we were married) and we wanted to buy this one exclusively under my name. At 30 years old, I'm embarrassed to admit I know nothing about owning a house. I mean, I've been responsible for years now, but I never paid much attention to Andi when dealing with all the things home owners do. And since Andi's the one who generally takes care of these things for us, so the entire experience was a bit foreign to me. Compounding this, I really REALLY hate gathering financial data and calling on services. Typically, I beg, barter and plead for Andi to take care of this stuff. But this was something I had to do on my own and so, I pulled on my big girl pants and drove to the closing by myself on Friday.

As I drove to the closing, I crossed the city in a torrential downpour. My realtor met me at my car with an umbrella (Of course I don't own one. Why would you want to possess something that shields you from being drenched before an important meeting?) Thank goodness my realtor was a gentleman and thought of me, but even with the umbrella, we were both soaked by the time we crossed the parking lot. I was so embarrassed when I walked into the meeting, drenched like a wet dog.

Little did I know, I didn't need to worry about MY appearance. The closer, my realtor and I waited for a few minutes for the sellers and their realtor to arrive. We waited a few more minutes, then finally decided to get started on my paperwork while we waited for them to show. Forty minutes later, the sellers and their realtor arrived, looking like they hadn't showered in weeks. Dirty clothes, wet hair and caked-on makeup - they were quite the trio.

To make matters worse, the sellers acted like 10-year-old boys. They giggled while signing the paperwork, one claimed he was probably signing his internal organs away and their realtor did nothing but send texts the entire meeting. I sat there and watched (almost embarrassed for them) as they finished their paperwork. When it came time to hand over the keys, they fumbled and finally dug out three keys from their pocket. One of the sellers said the black skull key didn't work very good; I said I didn't plan to use a skull key anyway.

At the end of it all, I bought a house. My first one. And I was proud. I met Andi over at the new house to  take a quick walk-thru before jetting off to Nebraska for my weekend baby shower. I told him about my experience and imagined those boys living in my new place. I couldn't envision it, which I guess was a good thing.

And now for your viewing pleasure, more house photos. Because it's so pretty and fun to look at!

Upstairs Livingroom

Tory's Nursery

Tory's Nursery

Three Season Porch


Downstairs Living Room


Master Bedroom

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


And breathe ...

Two big pieces of news to report:

1) Baby Tory listened to mama and didn't grace us with her presence this weekend. THANK GOODNESS she stayed put when we needed her to!

2) We moved into our new house!

Friday after the closing (which is another story I'll write about later), I met Andi over at the new house and we walked through the house together. It was a surreal feeling; the house was big and empty and OURS. I let out a sigh of relief and said to Andi, "I'm so glad this is over." He smirked at me and asked me what I meant. The fun was just beginning for him.

While I jumped into the car in route to Nebraska for my third and final baby shower (click over to Baby In The Bubble for details), Andi started a whirlwind weekend orchestrating movers and painters and cleaners.

Check out this time lapse video of the Big Move:

When I arrived home on Sunday night, I was in completely awe of the beauty of our new house. Andi, my MIL and FIL as well as the movers and a few of Andi's friends worked their tails off this weekend and I couldn't be more appreciative! All that's left for me is a little light organizing (oh, and FINDING my stuff!) which is a piece of cake. I'm feeling very blessed with our good fortune.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Ready, GO!

Last night, I met our realtor over at the new suburb house for the final walk-through. I found myself anxious to get over there all day. Since I'm leaving town today for a baby shower in Nebraska, it's up to Andi to pack, move and arrange everything in the new house. Not that I won't be available by phone for last-minute questions, but I wanted to be sure I left directions on where things go, etc.

Once I got to the house, I was excited, and pleasantly surprised, at how well our inspection requests had been met. Overall, the house looks great! It's always interesting to see the house sitting empty - some rooms looked GIANT compared to my memories and others were shaped completely different. I had hoped to draw diagrams or at least post Post It Notes on cabinets in the kitchen, bedrooms and bathrooms so I could dictate where I wanted things to go, but the owners were still in the house when I arrived making a last-ditch cleaning sweep. Instead, I took a ton of photos and plan to print them and write directions on each for  the Hubs and my mother-in-law to follow.

Today's the house closing at Noon - the first by myself and I sort of nervous. My realtor has been great and I trust him not to lead me astray, but STILL! I really have no idea what I'm signing my life away to today. Afterwards I plan to meet Andi over at the new house for a quick walk-thru, then hop in the car to pick up Chloe and my sister-in-law Lindsay at the old house and jump on the road to Nebraska.

In the meantime, the movers will be at our current house packing up our things, Andi will be coordinating the movers, painters and cleaners at the new house (we hired some because, well, you always have to re-clean everything the sellers did).

It's going to be a CRAZY, BUSY day. Lots of prayers for us this weekend. Hope Baby Tory stays safe inside (PLEASE DON'T BE BORN THIS WEEKEND; PLEASE DON'T BE BORN THIS WEEKEND). Ready, GO!

Friday, July 8, 2011

CSA Update

We're on Week 5 of our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) and I have to say, I'm still really enjoying the fresh, local, organic produce each week. That said, I find our weekly box much more functional when I do some menu pre-planning beforehand. Unfortunately, with the Fourth of July holiday at the cabin and our move to the new house next week, I just haven't been meal planning / buying groceries.

Last week's CSA box:

The early part of the season yields an abundance of greens - Chinese napa cabbage, spinach, mixed greens, Swiss chard as well as kohlrabi, broccoli, strawberries, radishes, and garlic scapes. I'll be the first to admit, I'm getting tired of (and running out of ideas) for spinach. There are so many strawberry spinach salads you can consume before they become very boring. I do know, however, this is probably the last week of it so I should enjoy it while we have it.

My new favorite ingredient is garlic scapes. I'd never used these before (or really heard of them, for that matter) but they're essentially a green part that grows off the garlic bulb. Removing them from the garlic plant while it's growing diverts more energy to the bulb to grow. You can chop up the garlic scapes and use them in any recipe, in replacement of garlic. Last weekend, I added them into my popular Avocado Salsa recipe and it was a hit!

Here are a few recipes I made for Fourth of July using my veggies and a few I'm planning to make this weekend:

Made at the cabin last weekend; husband loved it as did the rest of the cabin guests. Not too spicy and can be paired with crackers or veggies

Using up some strawberries and rhubarb from a plant at the cabin this weekend

Made at the cabin last weekend; went fast! Easy to throw together for a quick side salad

Planning to make this weekend with my Chinese Napa Cabbage

Planning to try this recipes suggested by fellow blogger Kate Bee

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Fourth of July Cabin Fun!

Back from an extended Fourth of July holiday at the cabin. We had an amazing weekend with friends, but it's an understatement to say I'm exhausted from the festivities.

On Thursday, Andi and I loaded up the car after work and headed East to Pipe Lake. So happy we decided to leave when we did as we missed all the holiday traffic and were able to spend a quiet night just the two of us before all the craziness set in for the weekend.

Friday, I slept in while Andi got up and worked for a few hours. The weather was gorgeous for most of the weekend, but Friday was a hot and sticky 95 degrees. Almost too hot to be outside. We spent the afternoon in town picking up last minute groceries, a keg and ice for the weekend and by dinnertime Ellie and her girlfriends Anna and Danielle arrived at the cabin. We made dinner reservations at Hilltop, a towny bar/restaurant literally in the middle of farm fields but just as we were leaving for dinner, the clouds darkened and a huge storm blew in. By the time we arrived, the restaurant had lost power and it literally looked like mini tornadoes were ready to drop out of the sky. We decided to leave and drove back to the cabin to see what we could scrounge up for dinner ourselves.

Our cabin's power was out too, so our night was pretty much shot when the rain started to pour. We made hot dogs on the grill, sat around and talked for a while and called it a night.

Saturday morning, the rest of our crew rolled in. We had 19 people at the cabin in all, including a bunch of guys from San Diego who our friend Joe brought along, our friends Mason and Ericka, Brian and Melissa, and my friend Kristin and her sister Kylie. Saturday was the Pipe Lake Boat Parade and we planned to throw a big White Trash Party. Last year we hosted a similar Fourth of July party at our old cabin and it was so much fun we decided to do it again. This time though, we went for a "White Trash - Proud To Be An American" theme and oh, man did we rock it out.

Best white trash couple around

Boat Parade

My charming husband

The only bad part, no one really "got" what our boat theme was. Did we fit in too much? I guess it doesn't matter, we didn't win the boat parade but we had fun. The crew spent the rest of the day lounging around on floaties, playing yard games and boating on the water.

Ellie lounging

Danielle and Ellie

Sunday was more of the same ... boating, tubing and laying out in the sun....

Melissa and Brian

Ellie and Anna

Andi wakeboarding

Derrick and some of the boys put on an amazing fireworks show on Sunday night. There were close to 50 people gathered in our backyard for the show.

Killer fireworks show

On Monday, almost everyone left the cabin early in the morning sans Andi and I, Ellie and Derrick and Danielle. The five us us were exhausted from the weekend. We spent most of the afternoon laying in hammocks or out in the sun, reading books and relaxing. 

We had an amazing Fourth of July holiday! Can't wait until next year!