Sunday, April 29, 2012

National Geographic in My Backyard

You guys. Seriously. You are probably not going to believe what I am getting ready to share with you. It's complete insanity.

You may or may not know that there is a house in my neighborhood that has been foreclosed. It has been like that for just about two years - the whole time that we have lived here. The little girls that live next door to it call it "The Creepy House," which is totally understandable, because it is kind of creepy.

Anyway, the last few months we have seen a fox here or there in our neighborhood. No big deal, you say? Well, we live in a very urban area, so it has been rather surprising. The fox appearances kept coming and us neighbors started speculating on the origin of the foxes. We finally used our detective skillz to figure out that they were coming and going from the backyard of the foreclosed house.

Upon further investigation, we realized that it wasn't just one or two foxes. There is an entire fox family. Like we're talking FIVE BABY FOXES and three adults. They have built a huge tunnel system under the in ground pool with at least three entrances.

Do you see that cuteness? Look at those babies! And they run around like little puppies and play, play, play. It's unbelievable.

Here are two of the adults:

Yes. That is a pool. That is the backyard of a house in an urban city. Unreal.

So, the hubster and I have been making an almost daily habit of walking over and checking out the yard to see if the foxes are out. We run over there like crazy people with our kitchen table stools to stand on so we can see over the fence and our iPhones. 

They are like our new pets. Except they are apparently still wild animals, and could technically eat at least one or two of my dogs. They go out every night and hunt, apparently mostly mice and rabbits, squirrels, etc. One adult fox did growl at us the other day, and that was kind of scary, but I'm pretty sure it was growling at the three dogs we had with us. I have a feeling the foxes would be pretty pleased if they got a little toy poodle. YIKES! 

So, anyway, tonight we went to check on the foxes again, and there were all five babies playing and running around, one adult supervising, and a new edition to our personal zoo exhibit. In the nasty pool that has about a foot of gross standing water in it swam two ducks. I promise. There were two ducks swimming in the pool. I'm like okay, first of all, how did they get in there without getting eaten by the foxes? And second of all, what the heck is going on in that backyard? It's like National Geographic. I can't even handle it.

Can you see the two ducks? 

I have a two minute video on youtube (excuse my dorky comments) if you want to see some fox action from a week or two ago. Anyway, this whole thing is crazy, so I had to share it with you all!

"We'll be friends forever, Todd."


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Family Photos and A Winner

(Well, the winner of the curling wand is "soccermom1." generated the number 42, and soccermom1 was commenter number 42. So, congratulations! And thanks everyone for participating! Hopefully I can do another giveaway soon!)

Now. Are you ready for this? Mark and Karlie and I took family photos with the fabulous Kelly Stocksen over Easter weekend. And let me tell ya, I have been on pins and needles waiting to get them back. If you follow me on twitter, you are well aware of that fact. (-: Mark and I took pictures back when we were engaged and before he lost weight, and we haven't had pictures taken since Karlie became part of our family a year and a half ago! It was high time we got some new photos around the house.

So, without further adieu, here are a few of our favorites:

Just so you know, October 30th of 2010 is the day Karlie moved into our home. She very quickly changed from "the teenager that lives with us" to a forever member of our family.

My friend Jane had her engagement pictures done in a vintage picnic theme, and so she was my inspiration. (-:

I kind of have a Crush on him... (-:

We had so much fun taking our pictures, and I love how Kelly captured such cool moments.

Karlie insisted on doing a "daddy daughter picture" so she could have one for her wedding one day, and just because she wanted one. They turned out so sweet.

I got a couple pictures with Karlie myself, which I LOVE:

And there you have a peek at our photos. I hope you loved them. We are pretty ecstatic! 

Happy Tuesday!


Sunday, April 22, 2012

A Sigh of Relief

Well, everyone, I officially completed my first year of graduate work in seminary. Honestly, I didn't know if I could do it when I started. I wasn't sure if I had it in me. There were lots of "what if's?" but they were all put aside as I focused on completing my task one day at a time. It feels really good to be 40% done with my degree work. I am so thankful that I have been able to further my education, and I am really enjoying it. Don't get me wrong - it's hard. But, the good kind of hard. The kind of hard that makes you want to do well and learn, and makes you want to do your best. I like that.

I guess since I'm being all reflective I should look back at how the year went.  I don't know if it was just the school that made everything else harder, or if it was just tougher than usual. Last semester we had some unusual relationship stressers that were somewhat all consuming and still lingering, and this semester I experienced arthritis 2012, which really made things physically and mentally difficult. But Mark was supportive, and Karlie and I even got to do homework together at a coffee shop, so I never really felt like I was alone in my efforts. Scholastically, once I got back in a routine of schoolwork it has been much more manageable. Although, I will say, there are days when I'm like, "Man wouldn't it be nice if I didn't have to go to work and could just focus on my schoolwork?" Ha. Yes. In dream land. (-:

And then I look back and I think "What did I do with all my free time before school?!" Seriously! I'm sure parents with new babies say the same thing. I think I will quickly answer that as I fill up my summer with my list of things I want to accomplish: books I want to read, things I want to clean out, fun crafty things I might learn, blog more (WOO!), and projects around the house. Oh, and I also plan to get ripped to shreds. hehe.

In addition to fun things, I'm really looking forward to and planning on somewhat of a spiritual retreat and time of growth. I have a devotional I'm excited to start and have some things I really want to focus on working through and growing in. It seems like when you are worn thin, those habits and character flaws (and I only have like a million), really start to surface. I've let my tongue get a little too loose, and those things that I could usually just shake off have given me a bit of an attitude problem at times. These are things I need to surrender to the Holy Spirit and allow him to shape me a bit. And I'm ready. I need it. You know when you just want to like chill with Jesus? I'm there. I'm really craving some Jesus.

How were my grades? Well, overall I'm doing pretty well. I haven't gotten back my grade for Old Testament, but overall I'm sitting at around a 3.4. Which, considering the fact that you have to get a 96% in a class to get a 4.0, is pretty good in my book. (-: Here is some feedback I got for my paper. I was pretty stoked (especially considering I did pretty poorly on the exam!):

So, I guess that's all for now. I'm one year down. Woo! Tomorrow is the last day to register for the giveaway, so you better enter soon if you want to win!


Monday, April 16, 2012


You guys. I am SOOO excited to do a giveaway! I haven't done one in soooo long and I'm giving something away that is super duper awesome. So you all need to enter. What is this fantastic giveaway, you ask? Check out this beaut:

What is it, you ask? Well, it's a Jose Eber 19 mm curling wand. And, as an added bonus, it's hot pink. It doesn't get any more legit than this.

For Christmas this year, my mom gave us girls curling wands. And I fell in love. Why? Well, you see, I have completely lame hair. It's super fine, doesn't have much body, grows at a turtle's pace, and is just overall not that awesome. I'm just keeping it real. So, naturally, my hair doesn't hold curl. I remember when I was little, my mom would put my hair in hot rollers and then put a half can of hairspray on my hair. And my hair looked awesome as soon as she took out the roller. For like fifteen minutes. And then all the curl fell out. Talk about depressing.

So my mom gave me this Jose Eber curling wand. It's basically like a curling iron but without the clip to hold your hair in place. It comes with a glove so that you don't burn your hand. Anyway, I curled my hair with this wand, and I was like... Hold. The. Phone. You guys. Check this out:

See the rain jacket below? That's because it was a RAINY DAY. Miracle.

Those are some awesome curls. And they don't fall out. Apparently pigs can fly. I mean, I can actually take a shower and blow dry my hair and curl it before I go to bed, and it's curly the next day. Insanity. I have voice lessons after work once a week, and at my voice lesson, after curling my hair the night before, my teacher was commenting on how different my hair looked. No other time had my curl ever held until 5:30! ha. It's really remarkable. I get lots of compliments. And my hair doesn't usually get that many compliments. ha.

Of course you can make the curls tighter or looser based on how much hair you wrap and how tightly you wrap, etc. So, basically, it's super awesome. And they are in fun colors. I also have a Jose Eber flat iron, and it's a zebra print. Super cute. Also, plug for the company, they offer a lifetime warrantee as long as you purchase directly from Jose Eber. You can check out their site: - they have TONS of things to choose from, and lots of fun designs. They also have a pretty cool infrared blow dryer that I just received from them to try out, and so far, it's definitely the most awesome blow dryer I have ever used. I'll let you know more about it once I've used it more. (-:

Do you want a curling wand? (duh!) Well, I am giving three different ways to enter (basically you could enter three times if you do all of them):

1. Leave a comment telling me you want to win! (-:
2. Like the "Jose Eber Hair" Facebook page OR check out their website, and let me know what your favorite item is.
3. Repost this giveaway to any of your social media outlets (Facebook, Twitter, your blog, etc)

Make sure you leave a comment for each of those things, and if you don't leave your contact info, make sure your profile will let me email you back in case you win, or check back to see if you are the winner.

I will select the winner on Monday, April 23rd, which just happens to be the day before my birthday. (-:

Ready, set, GO!


Sunday, April 8, 2012

An Easter Tradition

Happy Easter, Everyone! I hope you have a great day, filled with celebration of the resurrected Savior, some egg dyeing and hunting, an Easter basket with all your favorites, and lots of yummy food and wonderful time with family.

This weekend has been perfect. Karlie has been home, and so we had lots of fun family time. On Friday, we slept in, Mark made a yummy breakfast, we went shopping at a fun shop, went to the gym, and then we hurried home to get ready for our family picture photo shoot we had Friday night. We are SO excited to get our photos back. We should have them in about two weeks. I'm excited/anxious/nervous to see them! We tried to be creative in our props, and hopefully they turned out great. Don't worry, you will see them soon. (-: To top off our photo shoot, we had dinner at a local Mexican dive and ate a lot of queso. Yum. On Saturday, we all camped out at a local coffee shop for several hours and worked on... homework. Blah. But we were productive. We also had a yummy lunch at Whole Foods and went to the gym again. Doesn't get much better than that.

Here we are driving around after family photos:

We had a very eventful Easter day. It started off with a wonderful celebration at church - and we were packed to the brim with people. Of course, the Easter bunny stopped by overnight and Karlie got an Easter basket, which had in it an Easter egg dyeing kit. Well, apparently the eggs weren't quite exciting enough for Karlie - she had her own ideas.

Need I say more? Bella is her own Easter egg. (-: She is now fully dry, and fully pink, purple, and blue. She kind of looks like cotton candy.

A really neat tradition that my family has done for... we think around 17 years now... is the Passover Seder. We don't usually do it on Easter Sunday, but it just worked out this way this year. Here is my plate from our Seder:

The stuff on the left is called charoset, and is apples and pecans and I believe honey and cinnamon - it represents the mortar the Israelites used when making the bricks when they were enslaved. You also see some dots of grape juice - one for each of the ten plagues. The egg is dipped in salt water to represent the bitterness of the slavery (I believe), and the horseradish is obviously bitter enough as well! We had already eaten the parsley dipped in salt water to represent the tears of the Israelites.

Here is a picture of the Seder in action:

In this picture, Mark and Karlie are reading a question answer section together and my mom and Doc are looking on. The Seder is always fun, always funny, and always meaningful. You should think about doing it too - we do a simplified version and it's great!

And now we are all relaxing before the crazy week starts back again. I am very thankful for holidays. 

Do you have any special Easter traditions?


Monday, April 2, 2012

Happy April!

Well, hello friends. First of all, I want to give people an update on my joints - some of you have asked how I am doing since I reacted terribly to my antibiotic. I am doing okay. Not great - not terrible. I had a bit of a relapse this past Thursday and am still having joint pain/fatigue. It travels to random joints - today it was hip, shoulder, jaw, knees, and feet - not severe, and not all at the same time. Yesterday my hands hurt pretty badly. At this point I'm more depressed than anything. The pain would be more bearable if I knew when it would go away and if I knew why I was hurting. I haven't gone to the doctor yet but will if I am still having problems in a couple of weeks. Meanwhile, I have been doing a lot of antibiotic research (which I am going to have to stop, because it's not giving me a lot of hope - yikes!) and it's amazing how many people have major problems with so many different kinds of antibiotics. PLEASE be careful when taking medications. Ask for smaller dosages and safer drugs.

This month is my favorite other than December. Why, you ask? Well, my birthday is this month and I am excited, as always. Can you believe I will be twenty-seven years old? I can't. Ha. But I'm thankful for every day in those almost twenty-seven years.

This weekend a sweet friend and I got to lead worship at a women's retreat. We had a great time, were well received, and left refreshed. It was awesome. Here are a couple pics:

Is anyone planting a garden? We have ours planted! This year, we have two different tomato varieties, a couple jalapeƱos, bell peppers, kale, broccoli (Karlie's pick), mint, and basil. We are very excited. Someone has been eating the kale though - I think it's Bella - through the fence. I'm not very happy about that, obviously.

Our rose bush is growing in the front yard! I am so excited! I planted this a  year ago, and last year we got one measly rose after the original ones fell off. This year the bush seems to be thriving, with one rose today and more coming in. I'm very excited. (-:

I guess that's all for now - I am doing a giveaway soon. So stay tuned. (-:

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