Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Hallow's Eve

Until Thanksgiving, I'm beginning all my posts with gratefuls-- join in people!:
1) Music from Adele-- particularly "Hometown Glory" and "Chasing Pavements"-- what a voice
2) Learning what's best for me in the most unexpected places
3) Leggings (oh yes, you read that one right)
4) Friday nights with trick-or-treaters and a little wine before dinner
5) Time to read my very best girlfriends' emails and notes in the early mornings.
6) Will
7) "True Blood," my new HBO fav
8) Gracie's spirit
9) My mom

Tonight, Will is off doing a broadcast and I am loving a quiet night at home with G. I can't believe we got engaged Halloween five years ago. Time certainly flies. We had Will's BU five year reunion this past wknd and had a blast- even ran into our neighbor! The older we get, the smaller this world grows for sure. 

Plans for the ten year HS reunion are in full swing! We are so excited for the upcoming holidays, and can't wait to share them with our great families and friends. 

We are beginning a program soon with our East 91st Street friends (church peeps) from the "Overflow" series in which we move into our communities to offer aid to people in need (like single moms) in our community. Will and I both feel so blessed to be filled and overflowing with God's love, and can't help but steer that overflow toward people with a need. This love naturally flows into our peers, but channeling it elsewhere is so important.... Fixing their problems is not something we can do, but we can ease a heavy burden for an hour or so when we're welcome. Sometimes that hour can make a big difference.

I will never forget watching my mom, (as a single mom) particularly during my late teens and college years and beyond, work so hard for us and protect us. Although it took me until almost my adulthood to fully understand her sacrifice, I know now all that she gave up to make sure that Kate and I were always well taken care of. I give all the help she gave me back to her these days, but if I can lighten the load of someone in the throws of it all, I'd like to.

Let there be thanksgiving in your lives. It has made all the difference in ours.

PS-- if you haven't already, get out there and vote (for Obama) (oops...did I type that out loud?) :)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

White Trash Yard Work

So, what Mandy didn't bother to mention is that, after the great party my parents threw for us on Sunday, there was still work to be done around the house. It was a bit chilly out, we'd had a few beers and the Colts game was still on. But, darn it, the yard needed mowing. So, what did I do? I mowed the S.O.B..... wearing the greatest yard mowing outfit ever:

High-school white-gangsta hoodie; athletic shorts; black dress socks with slip-on Rockport shoes circa 2002. The yard didn't know what hit it!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

I'm grateful for_____

Will's parents were so kind to throw us a gathering tonight with our families that celebrated our anniversary and the gift of having eachother. We enjoyed the cool 57 degree breeze, a little birdwatching, a couple rounds of cornhole and some delicious food. The best part is that we got to do it together.

This time of year is always my very favorite-- not just because of the changing leaves and the chilly air (which I love), but because it brings a favorite holiday: Thanksgiving.

I, for one, have tons of thanks to be giving and tons more to be grateful for. And although I try each day to have mini celebrations of gratitude for people and for the meaning I find in the mundane, I love that we set aside a whole day to show the world thanks for all we've got, and to renew our vow of being grateful for whatever that is.

When Will and I first got married, I suggested the idea of keeping a gratitude journal. I'm sure I saw it on Oprah which illicited eye rolling from Will, but no less, we began one. I think we made it about a month actually writing things down, and then moved into verbal "gratefuls," which were less cumbersome and could be done with the lights and glasses off. Four years later, we don't remember every night, but most nights one of us does and a couple teeny things emerge that bring lovely images into our minds before we drift off to sleep. Cheese is usually one of my list-toppers, and who wouldn't want to dream about a hunk of gouda!? Seriously. :)

In fact, I'd like to challenge you to write down five things you're grateful for right now. Stick it on your fridge, next to your bathroom mirror or on a sign to wear around your neck. Either way, if you make this a daily affirmation, you'll find deep, profound gratitude for the most mundane things, which I believe will quickly change the eyes through which you see the world.

With the economy, natural disasters and a political hotbed breweing, never has there been a better time to "think small," as my Real Simple magazine often puts it. Remember to be thankful for the biggies (roof over your head, enduring relationships, your health, dog, etc.) but also let yourself be grateful for whatever you are feeling right at that moment.

Sometimes it's cheese.

And the best thing about a list focused on the small things, Real Simple points out, is that it seems like it could just be endless.

Five things I'm grateful for right now:
1) Time with Will and Grace around our fire-pit after sundown (and that great smokey smell it leaves on my clothes)
2) Finding warm/fuzzy/green boots in my winter storage that I forgot I had
3) Family cooking (anything made from a potato, grandma's deviled eggs, dad's steak and pies for days....)
4) Finding time to watch shows I've saved on my DVR
5) God's good work in my life

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Our Wacky World At Home

Mandy and I both spend our fair share of time outdoors with our house, especially since the new backyard fence has given us, and the dog, a lot more freedom to enjoy our yard. However, we've got some creatures and features around our house that make it interesting. We aren't anywhere near a pond or source of standing water, but the mosquitos in our backyard are INTENSE! If it is after 4:00, you can venture into the yard without a gallon of spray, mesh, swatter and the entire Banana Republic clothing line circa 1994.

I guess it has something to do with the fact that our land hasn't been disturbed (constructed on) in over 70 years. Plenty of soil and space for interesting bugs. But that's not the only crazy stuff. We have slugs the size of Buicks, not joking. Well, sort of joking. Mandy's posted pictures of them before on here. They will appear outside, on walls or in the basement and can be 4-6 inches in length, with spots, slime and a goatee.

We've got a groundhog living under our neighbors deck.

And, thanks to the infestation of insects that bite, our spider population has really taken off. Check out this guy:

Pretty intense, huh? I've gotten better about handling spiders, but I couldn't go near this guy. Very intimidating.

We think Grace has started to pick up on her instincts because of our wildlife reserve area too. She is always hunting the groundhog, which has teased her a couple of times. Now that she is almost a full adult dog, she really sniffs her territory. And, just recently, she's developed the habit of kicking after she goes about her "#2" business. We always made fun of other dogs that did it, and now Grace has the urge.

Speaking of urges, one thing we've never understood is her sexual urges, especially for her favorite blanket. She will get that thing and beat it around a room (dominating it) before perfectly wrapping it underneath her, throwing it up on the couch and giving it the good ol' fashion hump session. It is hysterical to watch. I've tried to capture the moment on video, but it is a little dark. We'll try to post a better video in the future:

Monday, October 13, 2008

Can I get a cookie?

Will and I had a great weekend sans any real plans. We walked to B-Ripple Friday night for a little pizza, and then strolled home listening to the crickets, leaves rustling beneath our feet and the PA from BR High School’s football stadium. We love our little neighborhood, and even though it’s...well... Urban, we couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. Saturday morning, Will ran in the Butler Phi Psi ACS 5K, and Grace and I strolled the grounds of Holcomb Gardens and the trails along the canal. When we got back to the finish line, Grace was greeted with the other runners, drank two cups of water from red Solo cups, found a shady spot and laid in the grass on her back panting like she hadn’t been outside all summer.
We spent the rest of the lazy day with football and yard work, and headed out to Rick’s Boatyard for some cocktails and appetizers on the water around dinner time, saw a movie and called it a night. Sunday brought church, more football and a trip to the gym....

I have almost finished my new fav book: At The End of the Game It All Goes Back in the Box. It’s not a long one, but somehow, between several other books, magazines and Sudoku games, I managed to stretch its goodness across the entire summer. The last couple chapters have been about playing the game (of life) with grace, and the trophies we collect throughout our lives. I have been praying about this a lot. We all want some recognition for the work we do; we like it when someone says, Great job, here's a cookie! :) Especially in front of people you’d like to impress. But these things don’t really make any difference in the grand scheme of living richly towards God.
When I work hard and with humility, when I serve as I am called to serve, when I show kindness and forgiveness, I have faith that my soul will get the reward I seek. I have been struggling with this so much in my new job. I really respect the great minds there, but would love to hear a little positive encouragement, and not so much, "Huh Uh." For three years, I was the resource for all things related to my client, and (not gonna lie) I learned to really love the thanks I received for my work. I’m reminded by this book, however, that whatever trophies I collect will eventually tarnish and be forgotten.
The real work I’m doing in my life requires no such praise from my peers. True as it may be, it’s not easy to wrap my heart around that idea. Winning and losing and playing the game must all be done with grace, even when you aren't getting the feedback you want or expect.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Weekly update

The windows are wide open this morning and I am loving the amazing fall breeze coming through! This will make me sound so lame, but I have learned to love really productive Friday nights (yep, old), but truly-- being able to pick up the dry cleaning, run to the bank, cook and get all the cleaning done makes Saturday and Sunday feel amazing! We can sleep in, make lattes, cook, walk and read all before Noon! It's the best gift I can give myself after a long week.

This week, I happily helped mom with a couple things for her big show that went off without a hitch, and was welcomed home yesterday to the sweetest surprise. She had loaded our front porch with mums, pumpkins and my favorite little cabbages for fall. What a blessing! I have been meaning to get my butt to our local farmers market to load up on these things and have been envisioning them in our garden and on our stoop for days this week, as I've noticed the leaves changing and drifting down the streets. Somehow she read my mind, and I am so grateful. Here's a quick pic.
Gracie is in the backyard right now hunting our groundhog, Gary, which is hilarious to watch. She has the most adorable playful puppy instincts so the moment that she starts to look serious, something makes her wild with excitement. :) And she completly looses whatever concentration she had. We can't believe she will be two in November! We love her so much, and she brings us such joy. We seriously can't imagine loving a baby more than her, although I'm sure we will someday. :)

Will has been on the road a bit this fall, and I get to take a turn this week. I'm headed to Wilmington to meet a few clients tomorrow and will be back Monday night. It feels odd to be traveling again, as the most travel I've done the past three years has been up to 86th street and back :) 

We got to visit our friends Kristi and Brian in Columbus last weekend and their adorable baby boy, Camden. We loved getting to share a couple days with them, just chatting and strolling and running around. We got to meet their great friends and have dinner together Saturday night. It was such a nice break, and reminded us that a short trip out of town to visit friends you don't get to see very much is so worth the time. Plus, they always let us bring Grace, who plays with their two Westies well, even though she looks like a small horse standing next to them. :)
Here's a shot of our "hunting dog."

Happy hunting to you all! Pumpkin hunting, that is.

Friday, October 3, 2008


Well, for two people as chatty and opionionated as me and my wife, we certainly haven't done our own fair share of blogging recently, have we? Actually, life in September was rather hectic, as you could tell from our occasional updates. Mandy started her new job, we had a bit of drama with Cindy's car accident (the bruises have healed!) and I was back on the road for a good chunk of it. But what road trip wouldn't be the same without some pictures and stories...

For instance, check out my hot rental set of golf clubs here...

That was from my trip to Sacramento to visit our group out there. We played this tiny little course and I didn't want to haul my sticks all the way out there, so I rented. Have you ever hit a stone with a frying pan, attached to a wet noodle? Well, if you have, that's what playing with those bad boys was like. It was a good time though!

After that trip, I had a weekend in Baltimore and Washington, D.C. for some events. The downtown aquarium in Baltimore was really cool. Here was the view from our reception room on the top floor...

Not a bad little view. Having never been there before, I can say that I was pleasantly surprised with the city, for the 3 hours total I spent in it!

And now here we are in October. Thanks to Mandy's new job, she gets to travel a little bit again (not thrilling to her) and I can reinvent the temporary man cave while she's gone. Don't worry, I'm not stupid enough to get the place dirty, but the copious amount of sports viewing would make any woman want to gouge her eyes out.

Speaking of sports viewing, Mandy and I both cringed in agony last night for our two "favorite" sporting events...
1) The Cubs - I think I honestly watched 140 of the 162 regular-season games this year. That is silly, stupid, dedication. And what does it get me? Nothing. The curse lives and it will continue to live.

Side story: Yesterday, I am driving home for lunch listening to the Jim Rome Show (sports talk) and he calls out Cubs fans, saying "I want to hear from you and your Big Ten educated, 3-series driving, golden retriever walking...etc." I almost swerved off the road in my 3-series (on my home to let the golden out) because of the irony that, yes, I am a stereotype.

2) The Presidential race - What, you don't think it's a sport? I do. This campaign has the makings of a marathon race mixed with a little sophisticated football. Let's see which candidate can stand up the longest in the most places while talking mad trash to the other side the entire time. It's become the ultimate reality TV show, and dumb, average Americans eat it up. The VP debate last night proved the point. Biden was ridiculously more knowledgeable and prepared than Palin, but he was too smooth. She threw in common phrases like "doggone it" and "Joe six-pack" to mask her relative ignorance on the issues and endear herself to the millions of people sitting at home who think that personality alone will bring change.

The wild card: One person cried last night during the debate, and it wasn't the mother from Alaska. That was a shock. Mandy and I actually joked that Palin was trying to force a tear during her closing statement, but the emotion might come too late and instead of crying when talking about her kids, she would cry when talking about the deregulation of health care. That would've been funny.

31 days can't pass quickly enough...

And now, as it has become tradition on our blog, a shameless cute picture of our baby, the wannabe lap dog: