Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I'm an aunt!

Well okay - I'm not an aunt by blood but one of my best friends just had her baby and I am so excited! And naturally, I'll be there to watch the baby growing up so he will call me Aunt Pamela his whole life anyway since we are practically family as it is! 

My friend that I threw the baby shower for back in October gave birth to a healthy 8 lb, 14 ounce baby boy on Monday, December 13th. After a bit of a stressful labor Elijah French joined us and he is simply adorable.  He has sprinkling of light blonde hair across his tiny little head and he looks just like his daddy. We went to visit him in the hospital and to check in on the mommy about 16 hours after he was born.  He is the youngest little baby I have ever held but he just fit right into my arms.  Drew was very excited to meet him and I think he'll be spending more time over at their house when I go visit just so he can see the baby!  We also offered our babysitting services when mommy and daddy finally need a date night. :-D 

This past weekend was my mom's birthday. Her birthday is one day before Elijah's.  We were hoping the baby would come on Sunday but he waited 3 hours too long!  My parents and brother came up for the weekend and we went shopping, to see the National Tree in DC, and out to dinner at Sakura.  It was a really great weekend and I know my mom had a good time. 

I booked my ticket to Orlando in January.  My cousin is having a pretty rough time (she lost both parents in 2 months as I previously blogged about) so my mom and I are going with her for a 4 day girls only trip to Orlando.  Neither my mom nor my cousin have been to Harry Potter World so we are doing the Harry Potter package where we get to go in an hour early, eat breakfast at the 3 Broomsticks and get two day park admission. I haven't done this type of package yet so I'm pretty stoked.

It is almost Christmas time - 9 more days. Andrew and I are almost finished with all of our Christmas shopping. I am going on Friday after work to finish up Andrew's presents and then I will be all done.  Saturday is our work Christmas party in DC so that should be fun.  We all get to dress up in pretty dresses and enjoy a relaxing night with an open bar! On Monday our offices move to their new location in Herndon.  We've spent the last 2 weeks here at work packing everything up. I'm happy to say I only have 4 boxes of "crap" to take with me to the new place.  They didn't tell us where we are sitting so it will kind of be like the first day of kindergarten when we all show up and look for our desks.  I'm excited for a new building but not so much the commute! Hopefully we will finally make a decision on if we want to move or not. 

Here are some pictures of baby Elijah. He is simply precious! Can't wait until it's our turn (give us a least a year though haha!). 
And here are a couple pictures of my mom's birthday.

Monday, November 22, 2010

We got a new car!

Last Wednesday Andrew and I purchased a new car! We started looking about 3-4 months ago - we both knew we wanted an SUV and that we were going to trade in Andrew's RX8 to get it.  The big question was which one do we want? We decided on an SUV because we knew we had to get rid of Drew's car since it was causing us so many problems so why waste 2-3 years on a car that isn't family friendly?  We wanted a car we could grow into, especially with the thought of kids on the horizon. We test drove about 6 different SUVs, from the Acura to the Mazda to the Infiniti to the Ford to the Audi. After all of this test driving we had narrowed it down to two cars. The Infiniti FX35 and the Audi Q5. I liked the Audi and Drew really liked the Infiniti but he also liked the Audi, just not as much. I personally didn't like the look or feel of the Infiniti but I gave it a try. 

Last Monday we went and test drove the Infiniti again. On Wednesday we drove the Audi. After a bunch of negotiating and forcing them to their bottom dollar, Audi offered us an amazing price that we couldn't pass up and one we knew Infiniti couldn't match.  So we signed the papers, traded in Drew's car and waited for our brand new Audi to arrive. 

Friday night we got the call that said our car came in and we could pick it up on Saturday. When we arrived to pick it up it only had 6 miles on it! Not bad for coming all the way from Germany eh? ;-) I have to say - I love our new car!! Below are some pictures that I took on my phone the day we picked it up!

Only 6 miles on the car!
The color is called Meteor Gray.
That is one sexy looking SUV!
 The Audi symbol. 
Navigation and Sirus Radio
The center console. This lights up all red at night!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Caught in a whirlwind

 First I must say - to get into the spirit of the holidays (I LOVE CHRISTMAS) go check out this give away by The Undomestic Mamma for some pretty awesome holiday cards!
It has been a crazy two months. Very stressful and emotional.  As my last blog stated, my aunt passed away a couple of weeks ago and my uncle just a month earlier. Last week my grandfather also passed away and it has been very hard. The funeral was today in Louisiana - my mom is doing really well dealing with everything. I am sending my love and hugs and thoughts her way - I feel horrible. I am just hoping it is all over now. I know bad things come in 3s so it better be over for a long time!

On a happier note, Andrew and I are now officially scuba certified! Very exciting for us. It was a bit nerve wracking at first, but I did well not to panic (it was close the first time under water and my mask kept leaking) but after I got comfortable all was well! We spent last week in Ft Lauderdale for Drew's birthday and so we could get certified in open water exams. Of course, that mean I insisted on driving 3 hours north to Orlando so I could got to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter just one more time. It was very crowded but I had a great time and I got pictures of a lot of things I missed.  Here are a few of my favorite shots from the trip.

I realized that I never posted pictures of the dogs in their Halloween costumes nor gave updates about the Harry Potter Halloween party my best friend through, so that will be my new blog for tomorrow!! 

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

With you in your dreams....

My last blog, that I posted on Monday morning, was about cancer and those that were battling it and trying to overcome it. A few hours after I posted that blog, my aunt that I spoke about lost her battle with cancer. She left us here and went on to be with her husband who passed away two months ago. I wasn't sure if I believed in soul mates and true love until now. My aunt spent 8 years taking care of my uncle after he got sick. Taking care of him through numerous surgeries, including heart bypass.  When he passed away, her will to live and her will to fight was gone. The love of her life, of 50 years, was gone, and she wanted nothing more than to be with him. Unfortunately, her death was unexpected and sudden for her three children. My cousins have lost both of their parents in two months.  Two months. I have no idea what to say to them. I'm heartbroken for them and the pain they are going through right now. My father lost his sister. My grandmother has to bury her child. No mother ever thinks they will live long enough to bury their own child. I don't know how she will get through this. 

My aunt's death scares me. I spent a lot of my childhood with my Aunt Shirley...growing up she was my family's personal hair cutter. We saw her every month - one of us always needed a trim. We went over for holidays and spent weekends there when my parents were away. Her death scares me. Are my parents really at the age where I have to think of this as a possibility?  Did my aunt and uncle really live out their full time?  Did they really live as long as they should have? My parents are in their 50's and I am expecting them to live at least another 20 years. But my aunt only made it to her 60's. I don't want to even think about my parents passing away. But is it a reality I need to come to terms with? 

I was thinking the other day about how final death is. One day, we will wake up and those around us will no longer be here. One day, we will no longer exist.  That scares me. The first 26 years of my life flew by. Will the next 25 fly by as well? Why can't we all live forever? 

I don't know what I'm going to say when I see my family tomorrow. I can only stress to them that my heart goes out to them and how much I care about them. I don't know what else to do. We all feel so helpless... 

If I'm gone when you wake up
Please don't cry 
And if I'm gone when you wake up
Please don't sigh
Don't look back at this time as a time
Of heartbreak and distress
Remember me, remember me
'Cause I'll be with you in your dreams 

Monday, October 25, 2010

Cancer is a B*tch I'd like to slap

When I was 13 years old I was told my mom had breast cancer. It was the last day of 7th grade, I headed home happy and excited for summer vacation. Instead, I came home to find my mom and dad sitting with my brother in the living room. This was very unusual as my dad always worked during the week and my mom was never home before 5 pm. Here it was 12 pm and both my parents were home. They asked me to sit down with my brother and from there they told me my mom had cancer.

When I was much younger, I remember visiting my grandmother (my dad's mom) in the hospital. She had just had surgery to remove one of her breasts because her cancer was back. Later I found that my aunt, my dad's sister, had breast cancer as well. I didn't understand fully what it was. I was told that they were going to get better and the world would keep spinning.

When I was first told my mom had cancer the seriousness of the situation was unknown to me. My parents told us over and over again that after her surgery mom would be okay. At 13 I was still young and naive enough to believe my parents when they told me everything would be okay. 

I was 17 when I lost my grandmother (my mom's mother) to colon cancer. This time I was old enough to really grasp the situation. We drove to Louisiana for the funeral and getting ready that morning our hotel room was filled with sobs and tears. There was no more "everything will be okay." 

It wasn't until 2005 though when cancer came around and really slapped me in the face. It was a Tuesday, September 13th. I had broken up with my college boyfriend of 3 years just two days earlier. I was getting ready for class, it was about 5 pm. I put a Hot Pocket in the microwave for dinner and went upstairs to gather my things. My phone rang and it was my brother - my brother always seemed to call with bad news. I picked up the phone, dread already setting in my heart. "You need to come home now. Mom has cancer." I lost it. I broke down and started sobbing. All I could think about was that there was something evil inside my mother and it was killing her.  I ran down the stairs, threw my dinner in the trash and immediately went back upstairs, carelessly throwing whatever clothes I could find into a bag. I was out of the house and in my car on the way home less than 10 minutes after my brother called. It was the longest car ride home I've ever had. My mom had colon cancer, just like her mother before her. She had to have surgery and a colostomy bag for many months. She endured rounds of chemo and right before I was set to graduate from college she took her last treatment. My college graduation was a stepping stone in my life, but it also holds such a cherished memory in my heart. Both of my parents were there to see my graduate and my mother was in remission. It has been four years since that day and thankfully my mom is still in remission and the cancer is gone. I couldn't be more thankful.

But it didn't end there. Earlier this year my aunt's breast cancer came back. We learned last week that it had spread to her liver, lungs, pelvis and lymph nodes. She wasn't strong enough for chemo and when her liver failed a few days later, there was nothing the family could do except try to make her last days comfortable. The world will lose another amazing person to cancer.  

Cancer.  Such a dirty word. It rolls off my tongue and it leaves a horrid taste in my mouth. Sometimes it doesn't even give you a fighting chance, it sneaks up on you and there is nothing left to do. It fights unfair and it is unrelenting. I wish I could just get a hold of it and just beat it down. Slap it around a bit and let it know it can't take over our lives. But we are the weak ones. Given time, or for some, given no time, most of us will fail. So again I say, Cancer is one bitch I'd like to slap. It is the worst thing "God" could ever have created and pushed onto the human race because there really is no way to prevent it. He didn't give us all chance to fight back. And that's a bitch. 

I light a candle in honor of those cancer survivors and the ones we've lost. You will forever be in our hearts.
For my family ~~~Grandma Dalton - My amazing mother - Grandma Hay - Aunt Shirley~~~ <3

Monday, October 11, 2010

Babies new and babies due!!

This past weekend I had the pleasure of hosting a baby shower for one of my best friends as well as meeting new baby Daxton, the son of one of Drew's best friends.

I started the planning process for the baby shower back in July sometime - I was waiting for the sex of the baby and the name. I had two themes picked out, one for a boy and one for a girl.  Once we found out the baby was going to be a boy I went with my boy theme "One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish" from the book by Dr Seuss. I planned on using a blue, red and yellow color scheme with fish incorporated throughout. In September my best friend came over and helped me design the invites. Since the theme was a surprise from the baby momma, I had to wait until now to post the invite pictures.
 The invites were all handmade. This is the outside of the card. We used a template to build the shell then I went in and added the patterned cardstock and the squares for the center. I diecut the word Baby Shower out using my Cricut machine and hand punched the fish. 
The card pulls up from the top to reveal the information for the party. The front of the card folds in on itself. I didn't take a picture but I added blue and red fish to the blank patterned paper spot so it looked as though they were swimming in a colorful fish bowl. 
Becca then stamped the "You're Invited" and the rest of the information onto the yellow pull out card. We recruited Jonar, Becca's boyfriend to hand write the information. He has THE BEST handwriting ever!

After the invites were mailed I had to work on the food menu and the decorations. All of the food was made by Becca and myself, most from scratch. The decorations were all put together by hand by me and I even made the banner using my Cricut machine. Below are some pictures from the party. 
 The centerpieces which had a little fish in between the flowers. The vases were filled with either blue or red glass rocks.
 The name cards showing where everyone should sit.
 The table set up with placemats that were handmade by Candice. We spent almost two hours in Joann's trying to decide what fabric to use and how we wanted them to look!
Veggie Crudites. Thanks to Mrs. In Training for the wonderful idea of putting them in glasses!
Assorted Goldfish crackers to go with the fish theme!
Made from scratch- mini ham and cheese quiche and Mediterranean Cucumber Cups!
Mmmm Meatballs!
Cheese platter
My favorite food item - the blue and red cupcakes with white chocolate fish candies on the top. We melted white chocolate and filled fish ice trays to make the molds. They came out so cute!
The full set-up
Instead of a normal bar I had a alcohol free Baby Bar. The Cran-Apple punch was a huge hit!
A close up shot of the cupcakes and fish candy. 
 The hand made Baby Shower banner which was hung using baby safety pins.
The two preggos! The shorter one is the one the shower was for. 
After the shower Andrew and I had the pleasure of meeting baby Daxton for the first time. Daxton was born about a month ago to one of Andrew's best friends. He is so sweet and adorable. I got to feed him and burp him. Andrew thought it was great practice for the future even though I've had plenty of experience with babies in the past! Silly boy.  Here are some cute shots of Daxton!
 So precious!

 This is the first time we've had a baby in the house and the dogs had no idea what to make of it!
 Proud father holding his baby.
 Feeding Daxton with Parker jumping at my feet.
Can't wait to have one of our own! :-D

Friday, October 8, 2010

Life is good...

Life is good right now. 
Andrew and I are coming up on our 6 month anniversary. I can't believe it has been six months already. My preggo friend is 2 months away from having her first child! It's a boy and she's decided to name it Elijah French. Adorable if you ask me. I don't know any Elijah's so he will be the first one I've met in 26+ years of life. I'm looking forward to meeting him and seeing how JC and her husband take to parenthood. It should be interesting to hear how much their lives change and the funny poop stories that I'm sure are to come. 
I am hosting her baby shower tomorrow - the theme has been kept a surprise and that is why I haven't posted any photos of the progress.  I'm very happy with how things are turning out and I especially love the theme I choose. My neighbor is due at the end of January with a baby girl they are naming Corynn.  The middle name isn't decided but they are leaning towards Olivia. I'm hoping she will want me to throw her baby shower after coming to tomorrow's! I have the perfect theme for a baby girl!
I'm very happy with the point I am at in my life. I can't believe I'm closing in on 27 years old.  Andrew and I have developed our time line for the next 15 months and I'm hoping everything works out. ;-) That is all I'm going to say about that. 
I have a pretty great set of friends in my life and have been able to get rid of those that are no good. Pretty amazing to see how much people change over the years but the important friends are always going to be in my life, no matter what anyone tries to say to them and for that I'm very appreciative. 
I've got a great set of work buddies that I really enjoy spending time with. Lauren and Brody are just too cute.  Brody is Lauren's 6 month baby boy and he's the cutest thing ever.  When we plan Girl's Nights Brody is usually involved because we all love him. I hope my kid is as cute as he is! Work in general is work. Our offices move Dec 17th so Andrew and I have to make a decision quick on what we plan to do with the house. We are still planning to move but who knows if it will be before the office move date. All I know is I'm ready to kill the commute! We looked at moving to Charleston, SC a bit earlier than our original plans but the job market is really slow down there, especially for the jobs we are looking for.  Marketing management and education management aren't big time jobs down there - and the ones available aren't right for us. So we'll continue on with our normal plans and if the opportunity presents itself we'll make the jump to get out of here.  The only good things about VA is my family lives here so it is easy to take a weekend trip to visit them.  Oh and my best friend is here - finally back from Spain and I love having her so close!
That's about it for the update on life. I find it sad but I miss Orlando - and I really want to go back to Harry Potter World. It was so awesome. Andrew and I tried making our own butterbeer.  We haven't quite gotten it down but we are close! Unfortunately I think I have about 4 years before we'll be in Orlando again.  We both are planning to take a trip back when our first kid is about 3 years old - we'll be bringing grandma and grandpa with us then of course! :-D
That's all for now! I'll post pictures from the baby shower after its over tomorrow!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Dementors, Butterbeer and Wands - Oh My!

This past weekend one of my biggest dreams (of the last two years) finally came true...I made it to Harry Potter World!! The official name of this area within Islands of Adventure in Universal is The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Last Wednesday we boarded a plane to Orlando, Florida - we arrived early in the evening, picked up our rental car and checked into our room. We went to bed around 11pm after having dinner with my best friend and her boyfriend - I knew we had to get up early to make it to the park by 9 am for the opening! 

When we arrived at the park on Thursday I was like a kid getting ready to open presents on Christmas morning. I power walked through the parking lot, across City Walk and straight to the entrance. After a quick stop to pick up a fast pass for Becca, we headed off in the direction of Harry Potter World.  We bypassed Dr Seuss landing and cruised through The Lost Continent and then there it was...the entrance to Hogsmeade - the entrance to Harry Potter World.  As I about broke into a sprint (Drew, Becca and J were a good 10 ft behind me but caught up when I stopped to take pictures) a group of Chinese tourists yell out something in Chinese, squeal "HARRY POTTER!" and take of running. I break into a smile and think "at least I am not the only fanatic!" 
My first few photos look foggy because my camera lens was cold from being in an air conditioned room overnight - it was 90 degrees outside and the lens kept fogging up.  I was getting very upset and Drew finally took the camera from me to clean of the lens and take photos of me in front of everything. 
As I am walking through Hogmeade I have a serious case of sensory overload. I have no idea where to look - to my right there is the Hogwarts Express, to my left there is Zonkos and Honeydukes, and straight ahead I see Butterbeer and the Owlery. I want to run and do everything at once, to take pictures of everything at once. I finally catch my breath and make a plan of action. Everyone already came to the realization that we would be spending about 3 hours in Harry Potter World and they were fine with that. So we made our plan and began working our way through. The first stop, after taking initial pictures of Hogsmeade and Hogwarts was to head to the Forbidden Journey, an awesome new ride where you ride a broomstick and fly around avoiding spiders and dementors and follow Harry onto the Quidditch pitch. It was a great ride.  The best part was while you waited in line, you walked through about 5 rooms inside the castle, from the greenhouses, to the hall of portraits, to the Defense Against the Darks Arts Room, to Dumbledores office, to the Fat Lady, the Gryffindor common room and finally into the Great Hall to board the ride. I must have sounded like a little kid, squealing, laughing and shouting spells out as we rode. When the Dementors came Andrew and I both yelled "EXPECTO PATRONUM!" It was fabulous! After that ride, we hopped quickly onto Flight of the Hippogriff and then headed to the restrooms. The boys both came out saying that Moaning Myrtle came out of their toilets when they flushed - I wish I could have seen that!!! Also - Moaning Myrtle was in the girls bathroom, so I have no idea why she was appearing in the boys bathroom! Anyway - after eating an amazing lunch in The Three Broomsticks (I had Shepards Pie with a salad) where we all had our very first taste of butterbeer, we headed into the shops. I must side track here and make a statement: BUTTERBEER IS ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!!!! Seriously - it tastes like cream soda mixed with butterscotch and then covered with a butterscotch whipped cream topping. It was so freaking good. After browsing the shops we made a plan to come back an hour before closing to purchase all of our goodies so we would not have to carry them around all day. 

When we returned we rode the Forbidden Journey again and then went shopping! I got Harry Potters wand and a Hogwarts picture frame.  Becca purchased us Chocolate Frogs while Drew got a Trio coffee mug. For those non-Harry Potter fans, the trio is Harry, Ron and Hermione.  He also purchased the Slytherin tie that they were with their uniforms. Very cute! Below are pictures from my amazing experience! I will post about the rest if our trip later!