Thursday, September 30, 2010

Showered with More Love

After the hair trial and after Joe got off work on Saturday, we drove down to Portland, where Joe's family threw us a wedding shower!

The shower took place at Joe's parents' house, and Joe's sister and niece helped host. They are so creative and covered these chairs with white tulle so Joe and I would have 'bridal seating' when we opened gifts. So sweet! Of course, Ava thought that since they were so pretty, they MUST be for her:

Over 25 people showed up to celebrate with us - we were shocked! The family provided gobs of awesome food (Joe's mom made these veggie meatballs that were sooo yummy) and it really seemed like everyone had a great time.

We played a few simple games that were really fun - the funniest being a game called "Draw the Bride-to-Be". Let me tell you - Joe's family and friends are NOT artists! They were hilarious! I will be posting pictures of some of these drawings - they are too good not to share. Joe got to pick the winner. He picked his neice, Sam, whose drawing was very sweet and one of the only ones that didn't make me look like a goblin or zombie. hehe

There was also a jar full of gold rings and everyone had to guess how many rings were in the jar. I wasn't surprised at all when Joe won that game. He is really good with numbers. I was over 200 rings off.

Everyone was very generous, and we received a lot of wonderful gifts - some off our registry, some homemade, some gift cards and money. Joe's parents definitely broke the ice with their gift to me, which had everyone laughing and me with bright red cheeks. I'll just leave it at that.

Anyway, it was a great day and we are very thankful for everyone who came.

Ava kept a close eye on her grandpa.

Samantha, Shane, Joe

Zach, Annette, Ryan

Joe, Bryan (best man), Alena, Ryan

Our cake - it matches our invites!

(More pictures to come. I didn't have time to take many with my own camera, so will have to get more from Joe's sister.)

Thanks again for a great day, Kalinowskis and friends!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Hair Trial - Check!

Saturday I had my hair trial! I didn't really know what to expect, but I really had such a great time. The person who will be doing my hair for the wedding is Heidi's mother-in-law, Pat. She has been in the industry for over 20 years, and really knows her stuff. I was so honored when she agreed to participate in our big day.

The trial was such a fun experience. When I got in the chair, I showed Pat the photos I had brought along with me, showing what I thought I might want to do. I wanted an up-do, but a little 'messy' and not so sleek and formal. We chatted a bit about my pictures, and then she got to work.

When she looked at my hair, I think a heard her squeak a little in despair. "When was the last time you got your hair cut?" she asked. "Well, my mom trimmed it about 6 months ago," I said. She laughed a little nervously, and said, "Yes... you need a cut. I'm cutting it. Is that okay?"

Of course that was okay! I got a fabulous cut along with my trial, and my hair now feels healthy and awesome.

Anyway, while she was playing with my hair, her daughter showed up with her new week-old daughter, who was so tiny and sweet! Heidi showed up as well (she was getting her hair trial after me) and all four of us had such a fun time chatting. Girly girl time is always fun.

And when Pat was done, I was so happy. I loved how it turned out and I felt so beautiful. Here are some pictures I took when I got home:

Super close-up of the back.

Jack - "Hi mom, hi, hi, hi, mom? mom?"

What do you think? I'm so excited!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Weekend Plans

This is going to be a crazy weekend. Tomorrow, Saturday, I'm heading up to Mountlake Terrace to play with hair styles for my wedding. Hope I find one that I love! Then, once Joe gets off work, we will be heading down to Canby, Oregon. On Sunday, Joe's parents are throwing us a wedding shower for his friends and relatives - we can't wait! It will be so fun to see so many people we haven't seen in a long time. Then, after the shower, we hop back in the car and drive home. It's going to be a quick weekend!

Stay tuned for all the pictures!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

New Toy

One of my coworkers won a trip to a Dog Blogging conference in Denver called BlogPaws last week. While she was there, she met the owner of a company that sells dog toys. Stacy, my coworker, mentioned we had a blog and would love to do a review if the person was interested. Well, this week a HUGE box of toys arrived at work!

I was given "Sally the Beaver" to test with Jackson. (We ended up calling it Justin Beiber the Beaver and it was so funny to hear Joe call out to Jackson - "Where's Justin Beiber? Go get Justin Beiber!" haha) Little did we know that both Jackson AND Ava would love it!

The thing has 12 squeakers in it's body and then this honking sound for it's tail. The dogs loved it. Total toy test win. :)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Fun with Friends and Twins

On Sunday, Joe and I headed over to our friends' house for dinner. We haven't seen Ed and Jessica since we moved back, and the last time I saw them was back in March, when my friend Heidi flew me home and hosted a wedding shower for me. At that time, they had just had their twins, and boy, have those girls grown up in the last 6 months!

We had such a nice visit and had SO much fun with the girls.

The pictures speak for themselves, don't they? I especially love this last one of them both sitting up on the couch, happily playing. They are SUCH good babies, hardly cried at all, and were smiling and giggling and playing the whole time we were there.

We look forward to many more visits with this awesome family. :)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

My New Favorite Music Video

For all my fellow dog lovers out there. OK Go has a new video!

Come on, you can't tell me you don't love that!

Monday, September 20, 2010

New Vet

Ava needed her prescription refilled, so we were finally forced to find a new vet here in Seattle. I hate looking for a new vet, I stress so much about it. I have had some bad experiences, and with a 'special' dog like Ava, I have to be certain that if something flares up due to her condition, the vet will do all he or she can to help her. I had that in Cheshire (I told you about crying, yes crying, when I left my vet there, right? Embarrassing, but true.)

Anyway, usually I visit half a dozen vets in the area, tour their facilities, the whole nine yards before making a decision. Well, I didn't give myself enough time to do that, because Ava needed her meds. So, last Thursday, Joe took both dogs into Elliott Bay Animal Hospital, which was recommended to us by some people I work with.

Joe took them because it was his day off and I had to work. But he said that he was very impressed with the amount of time the doctor spent with Ava, looking her over and asking a ton of questions about her condition.

She spent about an hour with Ava, then checked Jackson over in about ten minutes. Ah, I love my mutt!

Two nervous dogs.

I hope this vet works out. I may go ahead and check out a few others, just to make sure.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Out at the Bar with Ava

On Friday at about 4:00 p.m., my coworkers and I were at work, discussing how it was such a gloomy day and that the office was just so *down* today. We needed something to pep us up! So, we decided to skip out of work early, and head out for happy hour.

"But," I said, "I have Ava. I can't go out today."

I forgot. This is SEATTLE.

You can take your dogs to bars in SEATTLE!! *woot woot!*

Akvile, no longer gloomy!

Martyn and Akvile's dog, Batman, bellied up to the table.

Me and Ava, sharing a refreshing Heffy!


It's official. I love Seattle!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Dedicated to all the Shelter Dogs

You all might be aware of the fact that I'm a bit of an animal advocate. And you might also know that I have a thing for shelter dogs. So, when I found out that Pedigree's new campaign was called "Write a Post, Help a Dog", I knew I'd be involved! Because, you know, #dogsrule.

Did you know more than 4 million dogs wind up homeless every year. It actually pains me to type that. Because not only is that a huge number, but it's also a number that I know can't be matched by adoptive families. Which means that there are too many dogs and not enough adopters, which leads to good dogs being euthanized for no good reason.

Both Jackson and Ava are rescues. Ava came from an independent breed-specific rescue, so is probably not considered a 'shelter dog'. But Jackson certainly is - we adopted him from a shelter in Portland. And many of you know about my first Italian Greyhound, Sophie, who DID come from a shelter. (Yes, you can find purebred dogs at the shelters!) I've visited many, many shelters on the West Coast and East Coast and there is one common factor - there are AMAZING dogs all over the country just waiting for their forever home.

Many people I talk to say they won't go to a shelter because they don't want a mix. Well, I've already dispelled that rumor. You absolutely can find purebred dogs at shelters, and if not, there are breed-specific rescues all over the country that you can adopt from.

The other thing I hear a lot: "There are only adult dogs in shelters, and I want a puppy!" Also not true! Pregnant dogs are brought into shelters every day, who give birth to puppies that also need to be adopted. Plus, puppies are difficult and many people get in over their heads and drop their puppy off at the shelter because it is 'just too much work'. (Don't get me started on the escuses I've heard - OMG.)

Every shelter dog deserves a good home, so please consider them when you are looking to bring a pet into your family. If any of you have met Jackson, Ava, or my first iggy Sophie, you must realize that they are worth it!

Friday, September 17, 2010

One Year Ago...

I just realized that Ava was diagnosed with her auto-immune disorder a year ago this month. A YEAR ago! I cannot believe that. It seems like last week I was taking her into the vet every other day, up with her crying and screaming all hours of the night, whisking her up to Massachusetts for appointments with specialists, and just feeling hopeless and scared and oh-so-sad.

I was convinced back then she wouldn't make it through Christmas 2009. And now, here it is, a whole year later, and Ava is back to being her cuddly self, happily jumping around and burrowing under covers, and most importantly, she is still here. Still with us. Still able to annoy us with all her coffee-mug-breaking, counter-surfing, leftover-smuggling, food-begging, bed-hogging antics.

And as much as I complain about all of that, I would miss it terribly if she wasn't here.

We went from this:

In her 'Hannibal Lector' mask at the specialist's office.

To this:

Sitting pretty at my work.

And true, she isn't 100%. Probably never will be. She still has those awful sores on her ears, she is on medication that makes her fat (or swollen, as my mom says), has new sores that aren't really healing, and is on a very restrictive diet. But we look past all of that because it's all manageable.

So, I just wanted to send a quick 'thank you' out into the universe for this year. I hope for many more to come.


Joe hasn't been feeling that great (headaches, mostly) and he was mentioning that at work the other day. One of the therapists there who practices Chinese medicine recommended cupping. Apparently, they put these glass cups on your back, suck out all the air, and leave them there for a while. It's supposed to suck the toxins out of your body and make you feel better.

This is what happens, though:

That is Joe's back! When Joe showed me, I totally freaked out. It looks sooooo creepy and a little scary, like something is seriously wrong with him. But he assures me this is what it's supposed to look like.

The morning after, Joe woke up with an upset stomach. He thinks the cupping is releasing toxins, which is making him feel sick. But that is actually a good thing, because once he flushes the toxins, he'll be better.

Interesting, no?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Men at Play

While the girls were getting all dressed up for a photo shoot, the boys were heading to the golf course. Joe was able to golf with my family for the first time, and he said he had a great time (and 'didn't even make a fool out of himself' - his words!).

Pete, Brent, Joe, and Gary

Manly men doing manly things.

I love it when Joe gets to go golfing. Since we have been together, he really hasn't been able to hit the course as much as he would like (school, then finances got in the way). And he gets so incredibly happy when he gets to go - I can tell it's in his blood.

Hopefully these four will get to golf a lot more together now that we are back on the West Coast.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Surprise Birthday Party for my Aunt

As I've mentioned, we went to Wenatchee this weekend. We had a lot to do while we were there, but everything was fun, fun, fun!

That Friday night, when we rolled into town, we headed straight to the Country Club. My cousin Christi, the same one who threw Joe and I a shower Saturday afternoon, had planned a HUGE surprise 60th birthday party for my aunt Bonnie (her mom). She literally had been planning this thing for a year, and it was a huge success. (I'm telling you, Christi should be a professional party planner. She is that good.)

The party started at six and even though Joe and I left work early to head down there, we still didn't make it until 8:30 p.m., a half hour before the party ended (damn Seattle traffic!). But the party was still going pretty strong and we were able to see the birthday girl and my family.

This was before we got there - the moment of the 'surprise'.

She looks like she is trying to eat me, but she was just excited that I made it. :)

Chatting with my brother and sister-in-law.

The party planner and the guest of honor. :)

My brother and sister-in-law.

Me and my mom.

Okay, so the surprise party was awesome. But then, on Saturday, after the bridal shower, we had to continue celebrating my aunt turning the big 6-0. We decided to head up to Leavenworth to take an 'old time' picture of all the girls! It was sooooo much fun. We had a blast! (Mostly because my family is crazy and hilarious and can make ANYTHING fun!)

All dressed up!

The shot!

After the photo shoot we headed out for drinks and dinner.

My crazy family.


Dinner at Visconti's.

What a fun night! And the best part was that my aunt was completely surprised and kept saying it was the best birthday she had ever had. I would call that a success!