Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Monday, August 22, 2011

I may have left out a bit of the excitement from Brian's parents' party on Saturday.  In the middle of all the birthday celebrations, their amazing friends surprised us with a little wedding shower.  Holy Unexpected, Batman.

I was so incredibly humbled by their love and generosity.  One of the wonderful gifts we received was a handcrafted box that was made around our invitation.  I doubt that Jerome and Linda had any idea how hard I had worked on that invitation or how much that could have meant to me to have a way to remember it and display it and suddenly turn it into a keepsake.  Wow.

I am so blessed.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Yeah, so did I mention that we were in Minnesota?  

I'm sure someday, Minnesota will be synonymous in my mind with my wedding, but for now, when I think Minnesota, I think family...and nieces.  

On second thought, I kind of like that that's what comes to mind when I think about Minnesota.  Maybe I'll just keep it that way.   

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Brian and I had the opportunity to fly to Minnesota over the weekend to help celebrate both of his parents' birthdays.  I tell you what: this family knows how to party!  They themed the evening around a Casino night.  There were blackjack dealers and even a craps table.  I'm not gonna lie, it totally put every party I've thrown to shame.  

We had a blast.:)  

Thursday, August 18, 2011

One of the perks of being a part of a team based in the west coast is the amazing destinations that we have for meetings.  We unanimously decided this week that we were going to attempt to hold all of our meeting near National Parks if at all possible.  The whole point of meeting this week in the middle of nowhere in California was so that we could spend some time in Yosemite.  I didn't bring my camera along for the day.  (There were a lot of reasons why, but I won't get into that here)  I did snap a couple of shots on my faithful Blackberry, though.  These two were taken on the Mist Trail up to Vernal Falls.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011 meetings.  You never know what you're going to get when you bring together the crazy HPS team from the west.  Our meeting was held in Merced, California.  Unfortunately, we all had to fly into Sacramento - almost 2 hours away.  To keep us all entertained on the way down to the hotel, we were sent on a mad photo scavenger hunt through central California.  One of the items was to document a team member with a mouthful of wasabi.....

Among the 100 or so items, we also had to document a Blackberry being used in a way in which it was not intended.  My boss was more than willing to oblige.  (Note his red fingernail - getting a manicure happened to be another one of the challenges.)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Monday, August 15, 2011

Things to be thankful for today:

1. My job does not require me to drive around in a vehicle that looks like this:

(At least, I think that's something to be thankful for.  Part of me kind of wishes my job did require a sweet ride just like this one)

2.  I don't have any part of life where I regularly encounter signs that look like this and they're expected to be taken seriously:

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Brian and I got up early this morning to hit the trails with some friends of ours.  Although we've spent a lot of time with these guys, we've never been out in the woods with them.  Brian found a moderate trail, close to home and that's how we spent our morning.  I didn't take a ton of pictures, but I did snap a couple because, hey, it was a great way to spend the morning. :)  The trail was a lot of this kind of rock:

Here's a shot of Brian looking pensive...

And Daijo...without his eyes.  Don't judge us.  Apparently, we're bad parents because we haven't cut his hair.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Monday, August 8, 2011

The absolute best thing about traveling with coworkers is having an excuse to visit the best restaurants in town.  For example, going to Spokane and taking my colleagues to The White House in Post Falls.  This is a little slice of heaven where the garlic flows in much so that there are literally mouthwash dispensers in the bathrooms.


And it's worth every single bite.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Brian and I had the chance to take our boys out on their first overnighter this weekend.  It's kind of hard to imagine that we have waited over a year to bring our pups into this part of our world, but, well, sometimes life happens, right?

We went out to Esmeralda Basin over by Cle Elum on a trail we hadn't seen before.  We opted for something shorter, just one night, so that we wouldn't be stuck in the middle of nowhere with our crazy mutts if we needed to escape.  The trail was lovely, especially as the sun started to set....

We grabbed a couple of packs for the boys so they could carry all their own gear, and we were pleasantly surprised that they didn't seem to notice or care that they were wearing them.

The wildflowers along the trail were absolutely wonderful and they were everywhere.

The tent was a big topic over the weekend.  We just weren't sure how the boys were going to react to it, let alone how they were going to sleep in it with us.  Would their nails destroy it?  Would there be enough room?  There was no way to know unless we tried and forged ahead.  The tent in question:

Here's the thing:  I love this tent.  This tent and I have history.  10 years ago, I was living in Ohio when this tent first came on the market.  I fell in love with it and coveted it from afar. At the time, I was sharing a house with a couple of my girlfriends and I'm sure they got to spend a fair amount of time listening to me extoll about the brimming qualities of this silly thing that I couldn't afford.  One day, I came home form work, and this tent, this "big ticket item" that I was saving up my spare change for was set up just like this, in all its glory in the middle of our dining room.  I was heartbroken.  Obviously, I had rambled on too much about this tent, and one of my housemates, Erin had gone out and gotten it for herself.  There aren't words for how much I deflated.

Then, Erin came bounding down the hall to tell me that she had indeed purchased the tent...for me.  Whoa.  But then again, that's Erin's heart.  That's how she sees things.  So, for me, being inside of this tent is like being surrounded in love.

Of course, it's a 2-person backpacking tent.  Built for 2 people...barely.

Add to the mix: two 60+ lb labradoodle pups, and it takes the idea of "being surrounded in love" to a whole new level.

 So, these pictures aren't the best, but honestly, there wasn't even room for me to get the big girl camera out of its case in there.

Because Daijo chose to sleep snuggled up against my side, it left even less room for Brian.  You can see Venn's chosen spot for the evening.  Movement wasn't exactly easy.  But the cuddling with all of us was so worth it.  Other than the farting and snoring, both boys behaved beautifully all night.  We were amazed.  If we're willing to be in the close quarters, it looks like this tent might actually be able to handle a few more rounds with us :)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Sunday was wonderful.  We spent the day climbing up and down the trail.

There was an unexpected rainier-view once we hit the ridgeline...

Go figure.  The joys of living out here are overwhelming sometimes.

The sun was at its peak, so it was a little hard to get our traditional "trail shot."  I was squinting like crazy in all of them.  Once I got under Brian's hat, I disappeared in the shade, but I think it's still cute.

And the boys were adorable.  Completely.  Especially once they hit the top :)

Friday, August 5, 2011

Friday, August 5, 2011

The sun is not out yet today, and that's kind of bumming me out.  I was really enjoying the glimpse of summer that we have had this week.  I'm sure I'll take some other pictures later on today, but for now, here is today's moment of zen:


Thursday, August 4, 2011

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Sometimes, all I need is a little self portrait with my boys to cheer me right up.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

I had to say goodbye to my sister today.  It was a ridiculously long drive to Vancouver and back (though, thankfully, I was still able to get a lot of work done).  It's odd having family that lives so far away.  I miss so much when I only see them once a year or so.  I've been living over 2,000 miles away from them for over 10 years now, but it's not something that you really ever get used to.

Oh well.

Have fun in Canada, Annalisa!  Don't let Claudia forget her first trip out here.  :)

The upside to this day was getting to see my favorite little man, though.   (Who by the way just gets cuter and cuter)

And I'm totally allergic to cats, but it was pretty funny how one of their kitties kept watch over me as I attacked the baby with my camera.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

You know what's better than remembering that you have Copper River Salmon in the freezer and then grilling it up for dinner?  


Saturday, July 30, 2011

Saturday was a day full of wedding prep.  I had the first fitting for the wedding dress in the morning. I think that went well - I mean, she hasn't exactly started any of the work yet, so I guess it's hard to say.  I'll have a better idea after fitting number 2.  
From there, we went to a trial run of the wedding day hair.  Three hours and 90 bobby pins later, I think we found the right style for me.

Did I mention the 90 bobby pins?  Yeah.  That wasn't an exaggeration.  We counted.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Guess whose sister came to Seattle for a visit?  :)