Monday, September 1, 2014

Etsy Shop!

Friends, I finally did it. 

I opened an etsy shop!! It's true. You should be able to see it to the right of my entries here, or you can visit the page directly.

I started out making receiving blankets and burp cloths a little while back after looking at some good tutorials for both. Having fiddled around with methods, I now make them in my own way and I am very excited to try my hand at selling them. If you or anyone you know is in the market for handmade baby items, give my shop a look-see. Eventually, I'd like to include some other types of products (maybe infinity scarves? maybe bags?) and see where this can go.

I'm feeling optimistic.

Monthly Book Roundup: August

First of all, how in the world is it already Labor Day?! WHERE DID SUMMER GO?????

Secondly, I don't know if I've ever discussed this before, but I have been keeping track of every book that I've read since the summer of 2004. That does not include books I read for classes in either college or graduate school. My number as of this very moment? 445. Honestly, that doesn't seem like a lot to me, but if you break that number down, we have 44 per year or three per month which is a pretty fair average. Wouldn't you agree? I'm not sure. Does anyone else do this kind of thing?

Finally, it would seem that all of the books I read in August were by female authors. I'm pretty impressed by this because it really seems like my lists are dominated by male authors more frequently. Without further ado, I will tell you that, in August, I read:

The Secret Rescue by Cate Lineberry
Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham (book club selection)
The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen
Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
Flirts by Lisa Scott

All of these were fairly wonderful. Lauren Graham's book is cute and funny and I could easily imagine her (as I know her from Gilmore Girls) as the main character. I'd recommend it. The Flirts book, was something I had picked up for free on my kindle and it was a nice, light read. Five romantic, funny short stories that didn't drag out for ages and ages. I liked it pretty well. I think I read The Sugar Queen at least once every six months or so. That is, honestly, not often enough. I really love that book. Husband told me I should just buy it if I read it that much, and he's right, but I just keep checking it out from the library. Maybe someday I'll get around to purchasing it.

What did you read in August? Anything great? Anything terrible?

Sunday, August 17, 2014


How much can you remember from when you a small child (like under the age of four)? Husband remembers a LOT of stuff from when he was tiny and it always amazes me. I don't know if I remember that much, but I suppose if I sat and pondered it, I might remember something. 

I do have one memory that sticks with me. I can't even be sure of how old I was, but since it has to do with my great grandmother and she died several months before my sixth birthday, I know I was younger than that. If I had to guess, I would say that I was three or four. Anyway, I remember going over to my great grandmother's apartment with my grandpa one day. I believe he was there to fix her air conditioner. While he worked, she made me scrambled eggs and gave me orange juice (with pulp! the nerve!). I remember sitting on the floor in front of her television, but I don't remember what I was watching. I do recall that she let me hold her precious stuffed Kermit the Frog while I was there, though.

Even though that memory isn't really that significant, it is one that I treasure. I've always been close with my grandpa and I think it's nice that I got to go with him to visit his mother. 

Speaking of my grandpa, he just celebrated his 79th birthday yesterday! Huzzah! He told me he wasn't having birthdays anymore, but I called him to say happy birthday anyway. He and my grandma were having dinner at Olive Garden. Cute times.

Happy Sunday!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Little Booper

I have wanted to write about this for a bit, but I wasn't able to do it until now (and I still might cry while I write it, but what can you do).

As you know, Booper was constantly plagued by asthma and sneezing. Toward the beginning of this year, he stopped responding to the steroids and antibiotics that the vet was giving him every couple of months. This meant that we switched over to an oral antihistamine only. On June 3rd, I came home from work and noticed a bump between his eyes. I emailed a picture to the doctor the following morning and he said he would be over on Thursday. He also said that it looked pretty serious and I should prepare myself for potential bad news. 

Bad news.

Dr. Ruble wasn't here very long that Thursday before he told us that the mystery bump was probably cancer. I had cried on the phone when the doctor had told me it was probably something serious. I cried again when he told us that it was probably cancer. He gave Booper the steroids and antibiotics he had been getting in the past, took a sample to examine under the microscope to be sure and we talked about what might happen. He estimated that Booper had anywhere from one month to three (at most) and told us that we would have to make the difficult decision to put him to sleep.

The tumor grew quickly. Very, very quickly. I took pictures nearly every day and the progression is ridiculous to watch. It began to push against his eyes, making them water all of the time, and he started having bloody noses just about every day. He also started to look more tired than usual. We could tell that he wasn't himself, despite little bursts of energy when he'd play with us or his brother cats. Finally, at the beginning of July, we had to call the vet to have him come over for a final visit. I made the call while I was at work but I made sure to have Husband be on the line as well because I wasn't convinced I could talk to the receptionist without sobbing. I'm glad I did. 

Dr. Ruble came over on July 3rd. As soon as he walked in, he told us that it was definitely the right thing to be doing. He said that the tumor was likely giving Booper headaches and that it was starting to deform his bones. I won't go in to details about the procedure, but I will tell you that it was very peaceful. Husband held him and we sat on the couch all together. When he was gone, we brought Bandit and Kit Kat downstairs to see him so they would know what had happened (the vet said that they likely knew already because of the change in scents in the house, though). We eventually said our goodbyes. We got his remains back about a week later. It made me feel so much better to have him back with us, even if it was in a completely different way. 

I am so grateful for the care that Dr. Ruble gave to Booper throughout his entire life. It was such a good thing to find his practice when we were considering switching vets several years ago. It was so much nicer to have him come over to our home to see the cats rather than take them out to an office. It was also really amazing that we could all be home together on Booper's last day and that he could feel safe and calm.

We did our best to make sure Booper felt loved and pampered during the last month of his life. We gave him all of the best food and treats, we had friends stop over to visit him, we even took him outside a couple times (you know, so that he would be able to get the best smells). He spent a great deal of time sitting near the open window in the kitchen, sniffing the air and sleeping in the sunlight. On his last day, we gave him a feast of delicious lunchmeats as well as a scallop (didn't care for it), cool whip (looooved it, as usual), and dog ice cream (not interested). We cuddled him, let him sit by the window and just spent time near him.

Booper turned nine shortly after we discovered the tumor. I am so grateful that I was able to have him in my life for the nearly six years that I did. He was so wonderful.

Pictures above and below were both taken during our outings to the yard and porch.

After we found out about the tumor, I began crying pretty much constantly. After he had been gone for two weeks, I was finally able to get through a work day without bursting in to tears. I know that we did the right thing and that he was suffering, but I don't think I'll ever stop missing him.

Bandit and Kit Kat seem to be doing okay as a twosome rather than a threesome. I think they were both missing him right after he was gone, but they seem to be keeping it together now as well. Funnily enough, they have changed some of their habits. Bandit has been meowing more frequently, Kit Kat has been more lovey dovey. It's interesting to note the changes and realize that, unbeknownst to us, Booper may have been the alpha cat (do cats have alphas? I don't know). We are all adjusting to life without him, but it will never be the same.

Rest in Peace, my little Booper doo. You were just the best.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Monthly Book Roundup: May, June & July

Are you ready for yet another book recap? I know that you are. It's okay to admit it. Here we go (and I think a few of these may have been repeats, because sometimes you just need to re-read things, you know?):

May 2014

Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella
In My Hands by Irene Gut Opdyke
Thunderstruck by Erik Larson
Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen
The Collector by Nora Roberts
Rita Hayworth & Shawshank Redemption from Different Seasons by Stephen King (book club selection)

June 2014

Vanished by Wil S. Hylton
Dark Witch by Nora Roberts
Ember Island by Kimberley Freeman
Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen
Mariana by Susanna Kearsley
The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen
Crazy in Love by Lani Diane Rich

July 2014

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery (book club selection)
Priscilla by Nicholas Shakespeare
Suddenly Royal by Nichole Chase
Lawful Escort by Tina Folsom
Goodnight June by Sarah Jio

If I had to tell you which was these I would recommend first, I would say Rita Hayworth & Shawshank Redemption and... hmm... probably Goodnight June. They were both pretty great. Not that the other books were not, of course. I enjoyed all of the books I read.

What have you read lately? Anything good? Anything amazing?

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Once Upon a Time...

...I got married! 

Yep, it's true! Boyfriend and I tied the knot!

And... I guess that makes him Husband now, rather than Boyfriend. Hmm. I can dig that. 

Anyway, you are probably thinking any number of the following things:

-"Wow! I didn't know you were planning a wedding."
-"You didn't invite me and I'm sad."
-"It's about time!"
-"Wait- you got married? Were you even engaged?"
-"Cool! Way to go!"

Let me explain:

About two and a half years ago, Husband and I decided that we wanted to get married. We also agreed that we didn't want to shout it from the rooftops until we knew how everything would go in terms of the kind of wedding we wanted and such. About six weeks before Thanksgiving, we were talking about how excited we were to have my parents come up from North Carolina to spend the holiday with us and we were like, "hey what if we just get married at Thanksgiving?" We both really liked this plan right away. In order to make this plan work out the way we wanted, we had to do a couple of things. The first: steal Thanksgiving dinner away from Jamie and Jason so we could be married in our home (which meant we had to tell them what we were up to). The second: get Holly and Alex to travel from Michigan. I ended up having to tell Holly what was going on as well (followed immediately by her crying, haha) so she could ask off from work. I also tried to get my grandparents to come, but my grandma was not well enough to travel. Also on the guest list were our dear friends and neighbors Elisa & Chantry who moved to Pittsburgh from Utah and thus didn't really have any family to spend the holiday with. We also told them so we could hide champagne at their house.

We didn't want a huge thing. I've been a bridesmaid four times in the last four years and I have seen the huge amount of work and stress that can go into a larger, more traditional affair. I was 100% not interested in that. I just wanted Husband and I to be married. That's really all (and if you know him, you know that he is definitely not a big to-do type of person, so that worked out well). We started researching our options and learned that, in Pennsylvania, you can choose to do a self-uniting license (This means that you marry yourselves. There is not allowed to be an officiant if you choose this option, just two witnesses). It's incredibly easy. We went through the same process as anyone else applying for a marriage license, but when we went to the City County building here in Pittsburgh to finish applying, we just checked an extra box. That's all. Seriously.

On Thanksgiving day, we were both so nervous that I am sure everyone knew something was going on. First of all, deciding to host Thanksgiving dinner is already a pretty big deal (we'd done it before, so we totally knew that going in). Throw in the whole getting married part and you've got an interesting thing happening. Neither of us even changed into our dinner/getting hitched clothes until RIGHT BEFORE we served dinner. It was bananas.

Anyway, we sat down to dinner and neither of us could eat at all. My father in law looked at me across the room and asked why Husband wasn't eating. Haha. Eventually, we stood up and Husband thanked everyone for coming, saying how nice it was to have our families all together for the holiday, blah, blah, etc. The rest of it went something like this:

Husband: ...and we want to tell you that we're getting married...
*cue gasping mothers here*
Me: Right now.
*cue crying mothers here*

So Husband whipped the document out of his pocket (Jamie and Holly served as our witnesses and had signed it before dinner), he signed it, I signed it and we put rings on our fingers and TA DA!!!!!!! Married. 

We finished up dinner, answered questions from our families, had a first dance, cut a carrot cake and just generally had an excellent time. We made some phone calls to let others know about our exciting news as well.

As of Monday, we've been married now for eight months (!!!!!!!!) and it has been just wonderful. We are both so, so happy to be married and are looking forward to many long and happy years together.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Monthly Book Roundup: November-April

Clearly, you want to know what I've been reading over the past several months. Don't deny it. Here you go (and buckle up, because there are a lot):

November 2013

High Fidelity by Nick Hornby (book club selection)
The Monuments Men by Robert M. Edsel

December 2013
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (book club selection)
Shadowy Horses by Susanna Kearsley
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

January 2014
The Unseen by Katherine Webb
Attempting Elizabeth by Jessica Grey
The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett (book club selection)
Tuscan Rose by Belinda Alexander
The Fortune Quilt by Lani Diane Rich
The House at Tyneford by Natasha Solomons

February 2014
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell (book club selection)
Daughter of Empire by Lady Pamela Hicks
The Lavender Garden by Lucinda Riley
A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams

March 2014
Empty Mansions by Bill Dedman & Paul Clark Newell, Jr.
The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen
The Truth About Ever After by Rachel Schurig
The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen
The Plum Tree by Ellen Marie Wiseman
The Movement of Stars by Amy Brill
The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
Labor Day by Joyce Maynard (book club selection)
The Bungalow by Sarah Jio

April 2014
The Secret Rooms by Catherine Bailey
Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley
A Half Forgotten Song by Katherine Webb
The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley
Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (book club selection)
Lovestruck in London by Rachel Schurig
The Light in the Ruins by Chris Bohjalian

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Garden Experiments

The last time I planted a garden was two years ago. Last year, I never got around to it and, if you must know, that makes me feel really silly. Anyway, you may know that I used the Square Foot Gardening method for our first garden and that worked out pretty well.
This year, I began thinking about the garden pretty early on. I had read a bit about companion planting online and so checked out a few library books on the subject including Great Garden Companions by Sally Jean Cunningham. I really liked it, and picked up a copy on Amazon.
I decided that I would try a garden that used bits and pieces of both methods. Who knows if this will be a success or not, but I went for it. I got everything planted on Sunday afternoon after sitting down at my picnic table with both books, my notebook, and a crapload of seeds. I mean, a bunch. AND I think I have more seeds somewhere, because I know I didn't use all of them last time so they must exist somewhere in my basement. Someday, I will find them. Anyway, here is what I planted:
-cucumbers ("picklebush" variety which means I may not be contending with a ton of vines and the cukes will be small)
-roma tomatoes
-sugar snap peas
-Serrano peppers
-sweet banana peppers
-bell peppers
-carrots ("little finger" variety, so they'll be pretty small like the cucumbers)
I think that's all of it. I'm pretty excited to start seeing things coming up, maybe as soon as next week for some things. I know that peas move along pretty quickly.
Are you planting a garden this year? What will you grow?

Monday, May 5, 2014

Weekend Recap

This past weekend was a good one. A nice mix of fun, productivity and relaxation. I:

- watched hockey;
- read;
- did laundry;
- ran errands;
- went to a concert;
- did some sewing;
- took a nap;
- planted my garden.

Stay tuned for more about the sewing and the gardening as well as that all important life update I promised. 

Happy Monday!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Annnnnd... I'm back!

Oh, hello.

It has been a while. I mean, dang. A long time.

I just haven't felt like writing. Do you know what I mean? Occasionally, I'll come up with something I want to write about, but then I just don't feel like actually sitting down at the computer. I can always come up with something better, more productive or more exciting to do. It is springtime, though, so here I am. Perhaps I am coming out of a hibernation state like all of the plants around here. Could be.

I have a LOT to catch you up on, life-wise. I'm not even sure what direction I'll be taking this blog in the future, but I'm hoping to write more frequently.

For now, I will say... Happy Earth Day! Go hug a tree.