Sunday, August 30, 2009

A Visit From My Mom & Wine Tasting

My mom drove out to visit on Saturday from Portland, Oregon. She has a pet nanny job lined up in Annapolis starting today and so she decided to stop by our place to see us for a night before heading down to Maryland. It was so great to see her! I loved showing her the condo and catching up, even though she was only able to stay literally 14 hours.

After she left on Sunday, Joe and I were just hanging around staring at the walls wondering what to do with ourselves. So, we decided to head to another of the local wineries. It was about an hour drive, but it was worth it.

The winery was called Chamard Vineyards and is located in Clinton, CT. We came prepared this time with a picnic lunch - pasta salad, cheese & crackers, pistachios & peanuts, and an apple. We tasted their great wines and then bought a glass of their Merlot. We sat out by a little pond, ate our lunch, drank our wine, and played cards for a couple hours. They even had this guy playing guitar for entertainment. We loved it!

I love the look of wine barrels. So cool.

Very pretty place.

Pond with tons of lily pads. Tried looking for frogs, but they all hid from me.

They have this Connecticut Wine Passport, where if you get stamps from all 14 wineries you get entered into a drawing for a 13-night stay in Spain! We're going to try to do it. It's a great way to get out and see the state, as well as just something fun to do together.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Ava's New Hang-Out Spot

Ava would like to thank her Aunt Christi for providing her a great new hang-out spot while mom is working!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Happy Birthday Ava Bean!

Ava's birthday was actually August 22 - she turned 3! But because we had company during that time, and she is already under a bit of stress as it is, we decided to wait to celebrate until it was just the family. So we celebrated last night!

The pups got the same yummy birthday treat as they got for Jackson's birthday, and Joe and I got mini cupcakes! Then, since it was her birthday, she was allowed to skip the evening walk (she hates going out, but usually I make her so she gets some exercise) and she napped on her mom's lap until we went to bed.

Ava hasn't been feeling that great lately, but over the last few days, she's been getting a little of her old spark back, so it was definitely a fun night.

I love this girl! Happy birthday, Ava - here's to many, many more years together!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Fun With Friends

Stuart and two of my girlfriends from work, Claudia and Laura, came up from D.C. to visit this weekend. We had a great time hanging out and catching up.

We went to a local winery for a wine tasting. It was a very unique little winery. They allowed you to bring in any type or amount of food you wanted, as long as you purchased all beverages from them. People were bringing in everything from 4-course meals complete with silverware and placemats to pizza boxes and Chinese takeout.

We wished we would have known that was the case. We would have brought lunch. But instead we bought a bottle of wine to drink and just hung out playing games. They had a band that came in for entertainment as well.

Jackson completely fell madly in love with both Claudia and Laura. He followed them around, gave them kisses, cuddled with them on their beds.... it was pretty cute. I'm pretty sure he's going to be depressed for the next couple of days without them. He got LOTS of attention that he loved!

We stayed in a lot making food, playing games, and chatting. Laura made this awesome basil/artichoke pasta one night and left leftovers for us. YUM.

More pictures to come. Waiting for them from the girls. But it was a great weekend. Glad everyone came up!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Update on Dr. Joe

Today marks the end of Joe's second week at the office, so I thought I'd give an update.... Everything is going great! He has been thrown right into the mix and started treating patients his second day on the job. One of the people he treated came back in this week and actually requested to be treated by Joe again!

He also got to see his first baby get adjusted. The baby was weeks old and both parents have been going to Dr. Grant for a couple years. The baby was having neck problems, so Dr. Grant did a few very gentle moves and got very positive results. The parents were very happy, and it was a great experience for Joe.

He got his letterhead and business cards yesterday, too, which was great. He is officially the "Associate Director" of Grant Chiropractic.

So, definitely a great first two weeks!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Our little brown bear

Jackson is struggling with the heat and humidity. Seriously struggling. He's always hot and panting. And because we have to take him outside to go potty, he's out in the heat much more than I would prefer. And it's been hot here - like in the 90s with 80% humidity. A killer.

So, I found a coupon for $10 off grooming and I thought - he needs this! I had them totally shave him to give him as much of a chance as possibly of cooling down.

How cute is this boy?!? We call him our little brown bear, or little bear cub when he looks like this.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Trip to Mystic

Joe and I took a day trip to Mystic yesterday. It was such a nice trip. It's only about an hour away and it's such a cute little seaside town! I think it will be a popular day trip for us.

The point overlooking the sound in Stonington.

Such a cute pair!

Jackson, Joe and I were dying in the heat, trying to find as much shade as possible. Ava, of course, took herself out of the shade into the sun and laid in the grass soaking it up. She is such a sun goddess!

Me and my kiddos.

Downtown Mystic. So many cute shops and...

Mystic Pizza! The setting of the Julia Roberts movie!

Friday, August 14, 2009


So, there is this heron that hangs around our neighborhood. He is tall and so regal looking and Joe and I love it when we see him. When Joe's family was here, we kept telling them, keep a lookout - there is this cool heron that hangs around. For the entire week they watched for him and never saw him. Of course, two days after they left, we saw him at the little pond by our house. Isn't that the luck?

Well, just now I was upstairs organizing the spare bedroom and Jackson went ballistic downstairs. Barking and growling and making so much noise! I yelled at him to be quiet, thinking it was just a dog walking by. Neither he nor Ava bark very much and when they do, they usually quiet down when we tell them to. Well, this time, he just kept barking and barking.

I ran downstairs, expecting him to be by the front door watching the dogs, and he was at the back door. I looked outside and the heron was walking around our backyard!! It was so cool - man, he's tall! I ran upstairs to get the phone and by the time I got back downstairs he was headed toward the trees.

Not sure if you can see anything in this video, but thought I'd try to share, anyway. It was just so cool! (he's right in the middle, among the trees. sorry about the barking dogs in the background)

We actually have a lot of wildlife around our area. Deer, chipmunks, frogs, squirrels, and lots of cool-looking birds. It's so nice!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Happy Birthday Jackson!

Yesterday was Jackson's birthday! He turned 4! I really wanted to throw a big bash, but with moving and everything, it didn't happen. But we did celebrate!

Jackson and Ava got a special treat, and Joe and I did as well. The pups got grated chicken, Joe and I got lemon pie.

We all sat on the floor and had our treats together... as a family. :-)

Yesterday also marks the second anniversary of adopting Jackson, since Joe actually adopted him on his 2nd birthday! So, there was a lot to celebrate! And even though it wasn't a big celebration, it was still nice and I think Jackson had a good time.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A Good Week with Family

Joe's family just left and now I'm all alone with the dogs in the big apartment. It's pretty weird. We've been so busy since we moved in here that this place seems very quiet and big with just me, Ava, and Jackson in it.

But we had a really great time with Joe's mom, dad, and nephew. Although we didn't do a lot of what we had planned, like going to Boston and the train museum, it was still a packed trip!

Lots of dinners out...

The arcade at the Mohegan Sun Casino.

Lots of sun... too much, maybe.

Although Ava can never have too much sun.

Ava cuddled with her grandpa a lot...

The family.

Monday, August 10, 2009

My Last Day at Work & Joe's First Day

Oh My God! For those of you who know me.... REALLY know me, this is going to come as a complete shock. But... I actually DROVE into New York City Saturday night!!! It was the COOLEST experience ever! Driving with all the taxis, people honking, pedestrians all over the road, one-way streets, utter chaos! I actually think I was meant to drive in NYC because everyone is a bad driver there - I fit right in!!

Aww.. NYC!

I was there because of the Affiliate Summit - a conference I was supposed to attend with my boss before I put in my resignation. Well, luckily, they still wanted me to attend, even though my last official day was Friday, July 31st.

So, I drove in on Saturday night and met up with my boss in our motel - the Hilton in Manhattan!

Our hotel room. I LOVED the framed picture on the wall!

When I got there, we walked around the city for a while and finally had lunch at this little neighborhood Italian eatery. So cool!

My lovely dinner companion (and former boss), Nicole.

The next day we spent all day at the conference. I spent eight hours screaming over our booth's table at affiliates who were asking questions about our products and our affiliate program. I think I repeated the same information about a thousand times and I was screaming because it was SO loud in the conference room. A completely crazy experience. But totally fun!

Our booth.

We had the brightest and most fun booth at the whole conference!

The conference ended around 6, and then we packed up and went out to dinner. I didn't get out of NYC until around 8:00 p.m., and finally got home around 11:00 p.m. What an experience, though. So fun!

So, that was my last official work day. Sad, but what a way to go out!

Today happens to be Joe's FIRST official work day! He went in to work dressed in black pants, a red shirt, and a power tie. Very nice! He had a busy day getting situated and getting to know everyone, but it worked out great, I guess! He loves it at his new office and already has his first patient - a police officer who has a sports injury. Joe's new boss is billing him as the sports specialist - the one thing he has always wanted to do! We knew this was going to be a great opportunity, but after today, I think we both realized HOW perfect it will be.

Such a handsome doctor. :-)

What a whirlwind few days!

Joe's parents leave for home tomorrow. It's been so nice having them here and has kept me really busy. I guess after they leave, I'll really have to get busy finding a job!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Meeting Long Lost Kalinowskis

Joe's dad, Joe Sr., is one of 10 kids, and many of his siblings live on the East Coast. As it happens, his youngest brother, Mike, lives in Shrewsbury, Mass., which is about 2 hours away from where we now live. So yesterday, all seven of us (Joe's parents, Joe's nephew, me, Joe, and the dogs) drove up to visit!

We had a great time getting to know everyone. Everyone is super nice and they have the kick-assest accents. We spent all day at their place, which is right on a lake. We went out on a pontoon boat (took the dogs!) and it was so relaxing. It really seemed like everyone was happy to get to know these relatives they hadn't seen in 20 years.

It really reminded me of how nice it was to get to know my Dutch relatives once we finally made the trip overseas to visit. Once we got to know them and realized how great they were, we vowed to stay in touch - and we did!

We're going to try to stay connected with Joe's uncle and cousins and maybe catch a Red Sox game or three together during the year. Hopefully it won't be another 20 years before everyone sees each other again!

Cousin Michelle, Aunt Kathy, Cousin Jessica

Ava actually acted like a real dog and laid in the grass!

Joe Sr. and Uncle Mike

Joe, Jackson, & Zachery (Joe's nephew)

Zach and Jackson

Jackson absolutely LOVED the boat! I think he was a sailor in a previous life.

Michelle, me, & Ava
(Ava didn't care one way or the other about the boat. She stayed cuddled on my lap most of the day. Shocking, I know.)

Zach, Connie, & Joe