Wednesday, December 30, 2009

christmas adventure

Upon completing my first semester as a full time grad student, I decided to take 2 weeks off from work for a break from stress, and to visit friends and family. Of course the weekend I decided to head north, there was a giant blizzard in VA. Luckily Billy helped me clear and dig out my car from the snow so I could begin my trip north to CT.

It only took me 6.5 hours to get to Aunt Laura's in Bristol, CT. Which is a personal record. Usually it takes at least that long to get to NYC! Everyone had to work the next day, but I was excited to get to hang out a bit before everyone went to bed. Brother and I woke up relatively early (yes, before noon) to have lunch with my aunt and gramps. My mom had mailed Christmas presents for me and brother to my aunt's house, so we opened our presents before we went out for lunch. Aunt Laura took many pictures to send to my mom, since she couldn't be with us. Brother and I had to do some last minute Christmas shopping before heading to NH the next day, and got some pretty great presents for dad. December 21st was Jill's 21st birthday! And she had decided to head to Foxwoods for the night to celebrate. Brother and I went with Dave, Steve and bang and their friend - to help Jill celebrate and gamble! I didn't play at any of the tables, I was content to play slots. In the end I broke even, but had a lot of fun running around with everyone. Brother won over $300 at poker, as usual. And I think Steven lost the most. Steve, Dave and I headed out just before 11pm since they had to be up early for work and I didn't want to be tired for the early drive to NH.

After much coaxing, I got brother up and ready, and we packed our cars and headed North to Portsmouth, NH. I think it took about 3-3.5 hours, would have gone faster but according to brother, I drive slowly. I'm pretty sure 10-15 mph over the limit during a holiday week is plenty fast. It was my first time seeing my dads new house, and it's absolutely gorgeous. It's still in the remodel phase, with rooms that need painting and stripping of wall paper, but its a perfect colonial house. That day we explored the town and went shopping to prepare for Christmas. It was entirely too cold compared to what I was used to in VA. My dad built a fire in the family room and made it toasty warm. (I also had warm and cozy thoughts to keep me warm :) Wednesday was our big shopping day. For Christmas, we decided to spend the day shopping at the mall in Burlington, MA. Dad bought Chris his first official suit, a nice deep blue Hugo Boss. He looks pretty sharp. And a bunch of other clothes. Dad bought me a bunch of clothes and shoes for me as my Christmas present. We spent the entire day shopping and by the time we had dinner we were all beat. Christmas Eve we mostly spent getting the house ready for fambly to arrive. That night we walked around Market Square. It was chilly and snowy. It's a cute little northeastern town. Christmas day we opened presents with Dad before Uncle David, Beth arrived with their pup Roxy and later that night Uncle Kelly stopped by for dinner, before heading back to pick up our cousin Andrew. We played games and watched movies, opened presents and enjoyed the warmth from the fire. By this point I had managed to catch a slight cold and tended to nap unwillingly thanks to the cold meds. But hey, I was also on vacation. I do believe that napping is allowed! We spent the rest of the weekend hanging out, and trying to keep warm since the furnace was being replaced which meant, no heat! Sunday was just me, brother and dad, and it was decided that we would celebrate my upcoming birthday before I headed out early the next morning to meet up with my ladies in Schenectady, NY. We had dinner at the Library, a very fancy restaurant in a building that used to be, a library! It's comparable to Ray's the Steaks here in Arlington, delicious steaks and sides, and top it off with wine, delicious! The waiter asked if we were celebrating my 21st birthday, bless his heart. After dinner we went to see Avatar in 3D. It's a very long movie, but well worth watching. I'm not sure if it would be as good not in 3D, the storyline is predictable but the visual is well worth watching and experiencing in the theater. We woke up relatively early the next day to pack up my car so I could head West to visit with my bestests. I was wicked sad to leave my dad and brother, but it helped to know I was going to see more people I love.

Of course on my way to Schenectady there was a massive snow storm in the Berkshires. This slightly delayed my arrival time, but it's good to know upstate NY will never fail me when I'm looking for snow. Nora, Dave and Gregory were patiently waiting at the Davidson's and shortly after I arrived, Amy, Mike, James and Claire drove up to the house. We hung around the house, opened presents (look at the cute little bows I got for Claire! All colors), played with the kiddos and discussed plans for the evening. Secretly, Amy and I (although primarily Amy and Mrs. Davidson) planned a graduation party for Nora. After much work and effort, Nora has graduated with her Bachelors! After checking into the hotel, we headed to the church for the party. Nora was completely surprised, and of course angry with us. She doesn't like being the center of attention, at all. But we made her :) There was a delicious Italian meal and cake for everyone. Amy and I are going to plan a spa day to celebrate Nora's graduation once she and her family officially moves to Boston! After dinner we went to the Adamek's to hang out and eat delicious ice cream and baked pears. We also watched 7 Brides for 7 Brothers, one of our favorite movies of all time. It was late once the movie was finished, but we had to get the wee ones to bed and rest for more fun. Tuesday was around 7 degrees and just freeeezing! I wasn't prepared for such temperatures. We had breakfast and ventured to see Elmo! at the Albany museum. There were a few new exhibits at the museum since the last time Nora and I went, but unfortunately the fire alarm kept going off, so we had to leave the museum. I had made plans to head back to VA that night and unwillingly left my little nephews begging me to stay longer. It's always so difficult to leave my ladies, but I was so glad I was able to spend time with them during the holiday.

The drive home was mostly uneventful. I did see a shooting star just past Baltimore :) and it only took me about 6.5 hours from Albany back to VA. I was received back home with a very warm welcome, and despite missing my friends and family, I was glad to have been able to safely travel to so many places and spend time with them all.

View all the pictures from my Christmas adventure :)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

semester complete.

I successfully completed my first semester as a full time grad student. I'm slightly disappointed in my grades, but found that trying to balance work, school, health and a social life is a lot of work. I hope that I am now better prepared for Spring semester. I've already received 2 of 3 syllabi, and the work load is intense! But at the same time, I'm also looking forward to it. Grades from this past semester were:

Museum Studies: A-
American Music Persp..this class sucked: B+
18th Century Atlantic Revolutions: B+

Overall, not bad. I have just under 2 more weeks before class starts up again, and I'm doing everything I can to take advantage of the free time! (Despite needing to update my resume and searching for an internship, research, reeeading... responsibilities can eat it.)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

have finals

The final for my museum studies class was an in class presentation about the exhibit we had been working on all semester. Instead of using powerpoint I decided to make a web page. It has images and silly commercials from the 1940s-50s. Credit goes to Brie for suggestion of wallpaper behind television screen!

Have presentation, if you're bored!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

car love

After delaying and ignoring issues with my car for months (since I think June/July), I decided it was time to bite the bullet and take my car to get fixed. In a few weeks, once finals are over and done with (can't waaaait) I will be driving up North for the holidays and figure since it's many miles it would be good to know my car is all set and hopefully will keep me safe.

Since 2 of the 3 issues were specific to my Saturn, I decided to take it to a dealership in Fairfax, just a few miles from campus. I spoke with a dude named HOOK, who was really friendly and told me they'd take care of my car. (FYI - He did not have a hook for a hand, and I was very disappointed) First, my brakes have been clicking every time I press them. I figured it was the ABS engaging and not a big deal, since I tested my brakes - in the rain - and was able to stop successfully and the ABS worked as they should. Found out, it wasn't really that big a deal. Part of my left front axle cracked in half, completely, which left the sensor for my ABS confused. It couldn't tell how fast my left tire was rotating in comparison to the right, so it was always panicking and engaging, click click click! For you lucky people who have experienced this, it's fixed! The dealership picked up parts from an outside vendor so it cost me about $250 less than it should have. Still cost about $400 total, JUST for that (not counting labor, good times)

Also, the bracket for my muffler rusted and broke, not off entirely, just loosely so that my muffler rattled and it wasn't dragging on the ground, I'm not that trashy. As a precautionary measure I used a wire hanger to secure my muffler in place, until I got around to getting it fixed (read 5 months later..) They easily replaced the bracket costing around $125 for parts and labor.

Third and final issue, my sunroof likes to leak into the trunk of my car. Found out it's as simple as replacing the drainage into the hose, the mechanic explained it to me and showed me how I can fix it myself, should it happen again (which it will because this was time #4 it was leaking). This luckily didn't cost me a thing! Which is good, because I have a feeling the last time I brought it in to get fixed and they charged me $300 was BULLSHIT, especially because it was probably just the damn hose again, which I can fix myself, so take that craptastic dealership in Alexandria.

Finally, after many months, my car is in working order and happy. It only cost me $711.28 to get it there, but hey, it's the price you pay for a sweet 3 door black cherry Saturn <3 (and mobility)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

wwe bobby shields

As I mentioned previously, my friend Bob was offered a chance to wrastle on the WWE. Well he was able to actually wrestle in front of a giant audience and have it televised! This past Tuesday December 1st at 10PM on Syfy, Bob made his debut! I am so incredibly proud of Bobby Shields and all that he has achieved. We've been friends for at least 6 years and he's always talked about wrastling and wanting to be on WWE. Although he was used to help others progress, he did a fantastic job losing! (As weird as that sounds.) It's one small step and a start that was a really great experience, he is incredibly excited about. Congrats Bob!!

Check out the clip!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

a clark thanksgiving

This year was the first year I stayed in VA for Thanksgiving. Typically, I head up to CT to be with my Aunt and cousins and grandparents. I think that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday to celebrate with my family. They make the most amazing food, and with all the people running around (probably more of napping), football, video games, phase 10 - it's never ending maddness and an amazing time. Since I had one final the following Wednesday and a ton of reading and other homework to do, I didn't think it would be smart to head up to CT and risk not getting any of my work done.

Jonna, Evan and their very sweet parents invited me to celebrate Thanksgiving with them at Evan's new condo in DC. Jonna picked me up around 2pm and we didn't leave until almost midnight. The only bad thing was that I had to work on black friday, so I had to get up at my usual 5:15am time. Evan's condo is absolutely gorgeous. He has an amazing view from his condo, he's on the 3rd floor and has a complete large roof top deck. You can see the Washington Monument and other historical landmarks. It will be perfect for seeing fireworks on the 4th of July! Slowly but surely he will get settled into his new condo, and I'll have better pictures.The rain had finally stopped for a while, and we took advantage of that moment. Jonna, Evan, Laurie and I went on a guided tour (compliments of Evan) around his new neighborhood. He lives near H St and Florida in NE, DC. The area isn't the safest at the moment, but there are a lot of changes in the works. They're working on building a trolly system, that will run up and down H St, and we noticed there were at least 6 new bars/restaurants opening within the next few months. It will be exciting to explore a new part of DC.

Before dinner we played Clue, where John tried everything possible to cheat, but Evan won the first round and I won the second. Everything about Thanksgiving dinner was delicious, except for maybe the mashed potatoes. There may have been too much milk added, and they were rather frothy. Once we finished dinner we lazed around and played Apples to Apples. Jonna won that game with ease. There were 3 dessert options, and I had all 3, of course. When Jonna makes dessert, you have to eat them all! There was her famous frozen cheesecake with fresh strawberries, a banana cake with cream cheese frosting and chocolate and a home made pumpkin pie (made by Laurie!) that I think was THE best pumpkin pie I've ever had in my entire life, seriously. The flavors were amazing, all the spices were complimented perfectly.

Jonna and I cabbed back to Arlington to pass out in a food coma. For not being able to be with my family in CT, I was really happy and had the best time celebrating with the Clark's <3

Monday, November 23, 2009

primal conflict part III

Last year, Anthony, Nick and I went to see Primal Conflict Wrestling II, in West VA - which is a spectacular amateur wrestling event. It was my first time seeing True Talent Bobby Shields (Bob!) wrastle, and he told me that they were hosting the event again.

I meant to invite a bunch of people to check out the Primal Conflict Wrestling III, but forgot with school being so demanding. Last minute I convinced Jen to come along for the hour and thirty minute drive up to WV to watch Bob wrastle. We made it just in time to catch Bob's match! I took a few pictures, but they came out a little dark. Bob won his match! and it was very exciting. All kinds of jumping, throwing, slamming and slapping around. Jen and I left just after intermission - as the drive back was long and I had to keep working on my paper. The goal was to finish my paper by Sunday afternoon so I could enjoy my evening before getting back into the busy routine of the week.

He's also been working really hard since last year to gain more weight (muscle) and he's been very successful. I hadn't seen him wrastle since a year before, and I noticed a significant difference. All that hard work, and many hours of eating and working out has been worth it. Bob also told me that he finally heard back from the WWE and over Thanksgiving weekend he was asked to come to a taping. He didn't know whether he'd just be helping out or would get a chance to wrastle, but either way I'm excited for him! He's been wanting a shot at the WWE for a while, and I hope that it goes well!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

have spring class

Its apparently become pretty difficult to sign up for the classes that you want at George Mason, at least for the history students. A lot of my classmates were concerned about getting the classes they wanted. I had a lot of problems getting into the three I have this semester, but I was only a little worried. Registration started at 3pm on November 3rd and I knew I'd be home and ready to sign up for the classes I wanted at the exact time! As predicted each class filled really quickly, at least one of them managed to fill in less than 15 minutes! But, I successfully signed up for all three classes that I chose for the spring!

If anyone is interested, these are the classes I've registered for (and am excited to take!):

HIST 615/001: Storm-Cradled Nation: The Confederate Experience 1860-1865
Even before the Civil War’s last shot was fired in the spring of 1865 the history of the Southern Confederacy was already being shrouded in myth and legend. In the following decades ‘Lost Cause’ advocates blended fact with fiction to romanticize Confederate history leaving it to modern scholars to ask hard questions as to why mid-nineteenth century southern leaders believed that creating a slave holding republic was not only viable, but desirable. This seminar takes a critical approach in examining how national political disputes morphed into a ‘conservative revolution’ that was intended to protect southern society, but instead unleashed America’s bloodiest war resulting in the ruin of the Old South. The course will examine the rise of southern nationalism and views on slavery, critique southern military and political leaders, review the Confederacy’s war effort and home front problems, and explore southern Unionism and dissent. Arguments that the South ‘lost the war but won the peace’ will also be addressed to explain how growing post-war legends warped the historical record and tinted public perceptions about the Confederacy for over a century after Appomattox.

HIST 615/004: Problems in US History: Politics & Entertainment in the 20th Century
In this course we will explore ways in which the worlds of American politics and entertainment have impacted each other throughout the twentieth century in order to arrive at a deeper understanding of both. Specific areas we may examine include the influence Hollywood has had on the political process and conversely, ways that politics have affected the motion picture industry; the role of actresses and female variety entertainers in creating a modern feminist identity during the first decades of the century; the rise of politically-oriented popular theater during the Great Depression; the adoption of jazz and American dance for cultural diplomacy purposes during the Cold War; the mainstreaming of political satire and the folksong revival during the Kennedy era; how rock music of the Vietnam War era attempted to affect social change; and recent blurring of the lines between the two worlds as television became a dominant force in political campaigns, advertising techniques infused the creation of political images, and entertainers ran for high public office.

HIST 690/001: Administration of Archives
This course is an introduction to the principles and practices in the administration of archival and manuscript repositories and an orientation to the place of archives in society. This course is designed for students considering employment as archivists or manuscript curators, as well as for those who desire a broader understanding of the role archives play in shaping a collective memory of the past. Emphasis will be placed on examining core archival functions – selection, preservation, and access – in conjunction with professional ethics of stewardship and use of primary source material. The course will also explore issues of archival advocacy, public outreach, program development, and the challenges and opportunities of new technology

Thursday, October 29, 2009

no more monkeys

When I'm doing research, I make an organized mess. I was on my bed with laptop, and at least 4 or 5 books open with notes and papers strewn about. Yang was stopping by to pick up his jacket and he knocked on the door. Now instead of moving things aside, or calmly walking around my bed I decide instead it's a good idea to stand up and jump off my bed, over my books and things, to answer the door. It seemed like a good idea until upon landing I slammed my hand into my nightstand. (To which my brother asked me - why were your arms moving? Apparently when I jump, I still move my arms like I did back in cheerleading. It's the only explanation I have for why I would need to swing my arms up and then down) So now I'm in great pain, fingers swell up and bruise immediately and I have to let Yang in, and ask him to give me a minute while I writhe in pain. Frozen spinach and Ibu later, I'm no longer doing research as I can't write or turn pages with my right hand. I didn't break anything (other than my nails) luckily, but they were sore for a good 4 days.

You'd think I had learned my lesson about jumping off my bed. A few years ago I was on the phone and jumped off my bed but when I landed I rolled my ankle and watched myself fall in my full length mirror, and sprained my foot. (At first I laughed really hard because seriously, watching yourself fall is hilarious, and then came the pain/swelling/bruising) But nope, here I am years later still jumping off my bed. It seems that I have a greater success rate though!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

have field trip

I didn't know that in Grad school, it was still possible to have field trips! For my Museum Studies class, we were lucky enough to get after hours access to the Udvar-Hazy Center in Dulles, VA. Basically it's an extension of the National Air and Space Museum on the mall. It's large enough to hold thousands of aviation and space artifacts that are too large to be exhibited in the city.

We were discussing the Enola Gay and the controversy around the plane and an exhibition that failed and was inevitably canceled in 1994. For those of you that don't know, this B-29 was used to drop the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima. The curator wanted to focus on various aspects surrounding the war, the plane and the atomic bomb at the 50th anniversary of the end of WWII. The AFA and Veterans were not pleased with the planned exhibit and since they couldn't come to a compromise, it was canceled and a simplistic display was featured in the Air and Space Museum for a few months before the plane was finally transfered to the Udvar-Hazy Center.

We were able to walk around the Center and see various planes, and were given a private tour by Tom Crouch, who was a part of the original controversy surrounding the Enola Gay. We were given a first hand account of the events surrounding the exhibition and the history surrounding the plane. I felt like a little kid on a class field trip, and most of the class were running around. I took a few pictures and the trip was fun, but overall disappointing. It's really disappointing to see how the Enola Gay has been limited to be featured as only a B-29 and not for the role its had to ending the war. Regardless, it was a lot of fun to get a different class experience.

For more pictures, click here!

Friday, October 2, 2009

gleeeeeee

A few weeks ago I came home from my Thursday class and Jason sent me link for a show that he had just watched, and couldn't help but tell me all about one of the main characters. He has a crush on the red head, I clicked the link and heard it running in the background but didn't pay much attention to it. Until, I heard music. Starting the link over again I fell IN LOVE with this show, Glee.

Of course I have class when the show is on, so as soon as I get home from work Wednesdays I pull up hulu and watch the latest episode. I also like that Amy and I get to watch it together, even though she's in VT and I'm here in VA. I highly recommend this show, the music is amazing and exciting. (I definitely have a crush on the male lead, Finn) I think when it comes to music, it takes a lot of passion to perform and I completely melt!

Many of their songs you can download on iTunes, but also can find on youtube. Seriously, what can't you find on youtube. Here are some of my favorite songs!







Monday, September 28, 2009

zach and lynn's wedding

I was very excited to be invited by my coworker Zach to his wedding. It was fun to get the grooms perspective as he and Lynn made plans for their wedding day. He would share stories with me, and all the exciting planning and joys that come along with it.

His wedding was the very first morning wedding I have ever been to. I can't even imagine what time Lynn had to wake up to get ready for the day, as the ceremony started at 10:30am. And not only that, full Catholic mass. Zach and Lynn are very, very lucky that I like them a lot.

The church they chose to be married in was historical and built during late 18th Century in Forest Glen, MD. It had amazing stone structure and stained glass windows. The ceremony was very beautiful, but not as beautiful as Lynn. She had a very classic dress and a cathedral style veil. I have never seen a veil like hers, and it was gorgeous. They were both wearing gigantic smiles as they exchanged vows and wedding rings.

The reception was just across the street from the church, which made for a very easy commute. I enjoyed delicious foods and company. Also, Lynn had prepared a slide show of pictures of Zach and Lynn as kids and then pictures of them together, which was very sweet. I only stayed until 3pm where I unfortunately had to leave to do homework. But the wedding was a lot of fun, and I'm selfishly excited that he will be back at work on Monday :)

To see more pictures from Mr and Mrs Topel's wedding, click here!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

have IT superhero

Jason decided to take a road trip home to his dad's in the Buffalo, NY region. Which is awesome for me because I'm en route! And now that I work part time, I was available to have lunch with Jason on his way up to Buffalo and dinner with him on his way back down to Durham.

On Wednesday September 16th, Jason showed up around 1:30pm and I decided that we were going to Earl's for lunch. Earl's is THE best place for sandwiches and I hadn't been in a long time. I had my usual, The Louie - which is fresh roasted turkey with lettuce, tomato, and a pesto mayo sauce, slightly grilled and delicious, with a side of fries. Jason had the bbq pork sandwich, which I've never had, because I always get the same thing. I know other people have had it, my brother who inhaled it in I think 3 bites, and loved it. The weather was mild and sunny so we ate outside and chatted. I hadn't seen him since my trip in May, so I was very excited to get some quality time! Once we were finished Jason went on his way, and I headed to campus for homeworks and class (less fun).

And then, on Tuesday September 22nd, Jason showed up around 5:30pm and I was in the process of cooking a delicious dinner for us to enjoy. I made a pork tenderloin that had been marinaded in balsamic vinegar and some herbies of choice, broccoli and garlic pasta shells. It was delicious! We also enjoyed home made brownies (amy's recipe) and I sent Jason on his way home with some freshly made banana bread. Yay for visits, even if they're short, I'll take seeing my friend and getting hugs any day I can!!

Friday, September 18, 2009

weight +15

So since June I have gained about 15 lbs. This. Is. Awesome!!!

Since apparently my weight has decided to continue to increase (lately I've been +16/17), I've had to adjust my work out routine to include running - which I HATE. So, I'm thinking maybe instead I will try the elliptical or biking. Besides, I've been told running is bad for females anyway. (and boring)

Also, since gaining weight, besides finding that my clothes now fit me significantly better than ever before, I've been feeling really good! My crohn's has been behaving, and I've been doing really well on my medication. Its been about 2-3 weeks since I've had ANY pain or significant problems (knock on wood). Oh and amazing, I just realized!! I didn't see my doctor AT ALL the entire month of September! This is the first month in over a year I haven't had to see my doctor. This makes me incredibly happy :)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

peanut turns two

James is now 2 years old. I can't believe that he's already a terrible-two! Amy tells me stories every day about how smart and cute he is. He's recently become incredibly talkative too, using real words and constructing sentences. At his 2 year doctor appointment the doctor said he is very advanced for his age - what a smartie pants! I wish that I could be in VT to celebrate his birthday with them. He requested an Elmo cake for his birthday, so Amy created a giant Elmo head complete with red red frosting - I bet it was delicious!

My favorite James story that Amy told me, is how James knows that his mommy talks to me on the computer. And so he gives the laptop hugs, as hugs for Aunt Heather :) I miss the peanut and the entire Niggel family <3


(it was also my dad's birthday - happy birthday dadds!)

Friday, September 11, 2009

evan is lolephant

Since Evan didn't start work until late September, he decided to take advantage of this free time and visit Noreen in Germany. He had a great time, but more importantly, he drank - a lot. I had just gotten home from class and popped onto facebook and I see Evan has posted a status update. Well, Evan doesn't post status updates, but not only that, it said something ridiculous. It said something like : "Evan >>>>>>>>>> Noreen." And something about how she was going to be mad in 180 minutes. So I asked him, what did he do? And he responds via gchat. And this was our conversation - enjoy!!

ps. lolephant is what Evan becomes when he is very drunk: loud, obnoxious, messy, hungry, hilarious! (and I realize this might only be funny to people who know the back story - but it made my night!)

Evan: i didn't do anything i just iz drunk
me: hahaha
lolphant
Evan: yep
it took great concentration to read that word
me: what did you have
you are typing very well
Evan: many things
nothing else to do but make sure i spell correctly
me: well stop that
Evan: wouldn't want her thinking she got pwned that badly
me: less fun
is she passed out?
i dont understand!
Evan: 'member that night that i got woke up, but i knew they were coming for me
(SHHHH HE WON'T HEAR US)
me: yes
hahaha
are you en route?
it IS rather late there (note in Germany it was about 4:30AM)
Sent at 10:36 PM on Thursday
Evan: REVENGE (it would be more dramatic but i can't find the damn font options)
Sent at 10:37 PM on Thursday
me: * *
REVENGE
Evan: r
e
v
e
n
g
e
me: hahaha i cant wait
Evan: ugh
me: make sure youre LOUD
what
long trip?
Evan: nope
justt drunk and not tired
me: get LOUD
Evan: trust me already did
brought an extra person to do that job
me: ahahaha
new friend?
Evan: kinda
how was wedding
me: it was good
wedding. you know
cake, drinks, dancing
wedding.
Evan: oooh and part time or no job
me: part time!
starting monday
Evan: golf clap
me: haha thanks evan esq
seriously, nice job with the typing
Evan: win <----
Sent at 10:43 PM on Thursday
me: you will have all sorts of win tonight
Evan: nope
in bed
as we speak
l(slightly over the line)
me: youre in bed ?
Evan: yep
me: what happened to revenge
Evan: done
me: lol that was fast
and
!!
Evan: oh it happened before i started talking about it
me: ohhhh
is it time to pass out? or do you need pasta to spill on yourself
Sent at 10:47 PM on Thursday
Evan: if only both could happen. oh wait her fridge is in my room
me: ooOoo
Evan: more pwn
me: hahaha
Evan: yuck i hate that word
pwn
me: it's true tho
Evan: simple and effective
me: omnomnom
Evan: that is the problem
ok
first i give you this link
(pause for link searching)
me: hahaha
only send it once
is it the one in your status?
Evan: nope
though that is awesome
and the email bacf/forth is with real people
me: oh it is gone
Evan: back*
me: give it back
Sent at 10:52 PM on Thursday
me: hah
free bird.
Evan: '?
me: the first link
Evan: ahahaha
Sent at 10:55 PM on Thursday
Evan: amber >>>> me
Sent at 10:56 PM on Thursday
me: lol you are mad
give me your cats
you are amber?
Evan: no
me: i dont understnad the >>>>
Evan: motr *awesomer
***more
get it?
me: amber is more awesomer than you
Evan: yep
"
me: who is amber
Evan: no idea
me: evil CATS
then why did you say she is more awesomer
Evan: look at may 30
10:30
response
copy/pasate not working
paste
me: to help you with noreen?
Evan: ?
no this is just comedy
me: im so confused
stop it
lol
that email is awesome
Evan: keep reading th echain
until you get--at least--to 10:30 may 30
damned cntl-c/v not working
10:28 to be exact
me: OH
Evan: and 10:28 is just the beginning
great website
offshoot of failblog
Sent at 11:06 PM on Thursday
Evan: annnd sleep
me: lol gnite
Sent at 11:08 PM on Thursday

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

tomtoes

A few weeks ago, before I was sick and before school started and stole every second of my free time.. Jonna and I baked stuffed tomatoes!! We had been getting tons of tomatoes each week from our CSA and decided to try some new recipes. And of course, we are running behind on the veggies and have mountains of them in the fridge. Jonna also made homemade tomato soup, and not being a fan of tomato soup I have to say, it was really really good. So now, the only time I will eat tomato soup is if Jonna makes it!

For the stuffed tomatoes, we used ground chicken, rice, pieces of the tomato we hallowed out, peas, onion and garlic as the stuffing. And on top of the tomatoes we put breadcrumbs, olive oil and cheese. It was deliciously amazing!! I'm having a lot of fun trying new recipes, they have all been incredibly delicious.

Monday, August 31, 2009

everything changes

I decided a few weeks ago it was time to make some changes. I've kept it quiet, and have been working diligently on a plan. Finally, it's time to reveal my plan! I have decided to go to school full time. This requires a lot of time, money, patience and many other things, and I should be done just over a year from now. I was approved for loans and signed up for 2 more classes, making it 3. Monday I approached my boss and informed him of my plan. I told him that I'd like to continue working part time if they'd have me, otherwise my last day would be September 11th. This morning I was told, part time was approved! Having that extra cash will be a huge help.

My schedule for most of the next year will be ridiculous. I'm excited, nervous and slightly overwhelmed. I can't believe I pulled it off! Please be patient with me while I figure out a schedule and way of life. Include me in anything and everything as I'll always be around and do my best to come out to play - all work and no fun makes for a dull me. And then I could also become Zuul, which would also be interesting and terrifying all at once. Thank you to the peoples who have supported me and helped me the past few weeks <3

I are full-time grad student :D

Friday, August 28, 2009

have sicky

I wasn't feeling the best the day after the winery visit. I figured it was due to my being outside in the rain and rested all day Sunday hoping it would pass. Susan and I watched, many many many movies and relaxed. Monday I still felt under the weather, but trudged on. Tuesday, my throat felt like it was on fire and by the evening my head had joined in the pain. I decided, while awake at 4am having yet to fall asleep thanks to my sore throat and congested ears that I wasn't going to work the next day. I thought, I can beat this! Just give me one day to rest. I rest, take drugs and attempt to nap and by 8pm Wednesday night, I had a fever of 100.7. This is a big deal because my normal temperature is lower than 98.6, typically I fall between 96 and 97. It might explain why I'm always cold, who knows. So I tell Zach to cover my early shift and make an appointment with the doctor. By the time morning rolls around, I now also have an infection in both my eyes. The doctor tells me, I have an ear infection, sinus infection, eye infection and I'm very contagious. But, my throat at least looked alright, even despite the continued pain. Antibiotics and some eye drops later, I watch a movie with Susan and nap. (It's a theme, me and Susan watching movies). I wake up about 3 hours later, and I can't see. WHY - oh because I'm allergic to the eye drops. I looked like I had been beat up and my eyes were incredibly swollen. I should have taken a picture, but I couldn't really see anything so I didn't want to move. Varun came to my rescue and stopped by with some Benadryl, and it took until Saturday afternoon before my eyes looked normal.

I'm finally feeling better. I'm about 90%. Not quite 100%, but definitely on the way. I hate antibiotics because they also irritate my crohns so it's a mess for my entire body for at least the next few weeks. Despite all that, I do feel pretty good though. I'm on the mend :) The only thing that really sucked, besides missing 3 days of work for nothing enjoyable at all, was I didn't get to enjoy my last week of freedom before class started. An abrupt end to summer fun.

Friday, August 21, 2009

have new roommate

After over a month of searching, I finally have found someone to replace Evan. It worked out well, since Evan had the bar exam late in July and I was in CT the beginning of August for my cousins wedding, we both weren't ready for any form of moving at the apartment. Susan is a law student (replacing one for another!). She transfered from Case Western in Ohio to George Washington. She had to move in by August 15th, from Ohio and through multiple emails back and forth we worked it all out and she moved in. We'd never met before which is a little nerve wracking, not to mention I haven't lived with another female in about 3 years, but I've been incredibly lucky!

Susan and I get along really well, and she even loves my demonic kitten. We've already watched multiple movies together and had chatting sessions and I couldn't be happier. Since the school year has started we've both been incredibly busy but I'm hoping everyone will get to meet Susan soon and like her as much as I do!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

little big planet

Little Big Planet is a video game available on PS3 that most people have played, or at least have heard of. It's filled with many levels and puzzles to solve, characters to transform and levels to create and publish. Soon Sony will be releasing a new edition called Little Big Planet Game of the Year Edition. (This is an article about the details and release) It's always exciting to await a new game release, especially one as fun and entertaining as this game is. What's even more exciting, and brag worthy is what will be included in this edition.

Sony selected 18 fans from around the globe to create a level that will be published in the release of this game. One of those 18 fans happens to be my best friend Amy's husband, Mike Niggel. He had been working on a secret project for I think the first 5-6 months of this year, but Amy and Mike couldn't share the details. All we knew was that they were both very excited! Finally, finally they were able to tell about the project and Mike's contribution to Little Big Planet. Sony approached him because they liked the 2 levels he had created and shared on his own time. I'm proud and excited to brag about Mike and the level he created for the world to explore and play on a licensed product. :)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

have strasburg

News that I am excited about NATIONALS (click that)

The Nationals have successfully signed Stephen Strasburg for gobs of money for 4 years. Maybe there is a bright future for this pitcher and for the Nationals!! (Adam Dunn is still my favorite however - and he better stay on the Nats too)

"At 6-foot-4, 220 pounds, and with a fastball that can reach 100 mph, Strasburg is projected to be precisely the sort of ace the Nationals have lacked since moving from Montreal to the nation's capital before the 2005 season.

He went 13-1 last season, leading Division I pitchers in ERA (1.35) and strikeouts (195 in 109 innings), and won the Golden Spikes award for the top U.S. amateur baseball player."

Strasburg, tip your hat!!

Monday, August 17, 2009

have brother

My dad sent me an email this morning titled Mr Useful. It had an attached picture, which I downloaded and saw this.
















Apparently my brother had gone to Boston and partied hard with his bestest Everett all weekend. He came home just in time to help my dad with more repairs on the house.. or have nap in the middle of construction. That works too.

Love you dear brother!!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

claire update

Great news! Claire's tests all came back wonderfully :) She is healthy and we are all very happy! Thank you for your prayers <3

Thursday, August 13, 2009

prayer request

Last week one of my bestest friends, Amy, had to take her tiny little daughter to the hospital for a high fever. Unfortunately they had to admit Claire and she was there from late Sunday to Wednesday. She has been doing much better since then but has to return tomorrow for a few more blood tests to make sure she is on track and healthy. Please keep Claire in your prayers (she is my favorite little niece!!) <3

Friday, August 7, 2009

return to pottery

I took a two week hiatus from pottery, mostly due to life! I had a few people stop by to see the apartment one week and then the week after I was in CT for the wedding. The week and Saturday session preceeding I was having a bit of a difficult time throwing and manipulating the clay. My hands weren't doing what I wanted them to do, and everything was falling apart. I tried to watch others and figure out the techniques I was missing. I was a little frustrated, but still determined to practice and have fun!

The last session of pottery finally turned around for me! There are a few new students in our class, and this new lady (can't remember her name) was watching me and suggested I try using a different tool for pulling. I was trying to make some sort of planter, but it was too thick and the outside was ribbed and uneven. I don't like using my fingers to pull because it ends up being very uneven, and I usually make one part too thin and it falls apart in a gooey clay mess! I've been trying to use a little sponge with my fingers to pull instead, which was working a little better. It was still ribbed and uneven, but it was starting to look a little more like I was envisioning. So the lady was watching me and suggested I try using this flat silver thin metal to pull. I immediately liked using this way better, and I was able to successfully throw 2 pots! One I hope will be a planter, and the other is a plate. A plate that looks like a frisbee! I'm very very excited for the plate, and I hope it turns out ok.

Everyone was teasing me and asking where these sudden skills came from - I have no idea - but I hope I continue to improve! I will probably be trimming a lot tonight and not throwing anything new, but I'm excited!

Monday, August 3, 2009

rob and mary's wedding

After 2 years of preparations, it was finally time for Rob and Mary's wedding! I left VA Wednesday after work, with the idea that I would arrive a few days early to help everyone get settled and maybe help keep my aunt and Mary calm. The few weeks before, Mary had gotten sick with pnemonia - and it was very important that she rest and not do anything. I'm glad I decided to fly up early! The weather for my flight to CT wasn't cooperative and I ended up arriving about 3 hours later than I was supposed to, but at least I'd finally made it.

On Thursday I helped my aunt run some last minute errands for Mary and got to visit with my cousins and grandma. It was also the day that more people from our family were arriving. My aunt trisha was flying in from a work trip in Arizona, while my mom flew in from Tampa with Roger and the bratty kids. No huge delays, lucky for them. After a few naps we decided to head to WestFarms for some last minute shopping. Grandma took mom to stay at the hotel, so that left me and Laura home with the boys.

Friday meant one more day until the wedding! My cousin Paul flew in from FSU and my brother drove down from Portsmouth, NH. They were the last two to arrive, and our family reunion was complete. The weather Friday was miserable. It poured all day, intense thunderstorms with tornado warnings and the temperature was in the low 60s. At least it wasn't the day of! We spent the day getting ready for company and the rehearsal dinner. Rob had bought large glasses and a case of beer for each groomsman, and we packed each up to bring. All the boys picked up their tuxs and everyone was ready for the night to begin. The wedding rehearsal was standard, only difficulty was the 18 member bridal party - not including the 2 flower girls, 1 junior bridesmaid and of course the bride and groom. It was amazing we managed to fit everyone by the altar. Dinner was at Oasis - a pizza place in Bristol. We had unlimited pizza, beer and wine, and I think we ate about that much. After the rehearsal, Mary went home and we took Rob out for $2 beers. It was all the groomsman, and me! (The benefit of being the only female cousin for 17 years) We didn't stay out too late, Rob didn't want to be hungover or tired. Once home the boys played video games, Joe tried to talk Rob out of getting married, Brother, Paul and Bang played Risk and watched Step Brothers while I slept on the couch. I didn't hear them and managed to sleep for at least a few hours, but they did play the "Sweet Child Of Mine" scene at least a dozen times before I woke up and asked them to make the singing stop!

It is time! Laura and I had to wake up early, being girls this means we had a lot of preparations before the wedding. First we had pedicure appointments with Jen and Christine. While we were off getting pampered, Uncle Dan made a giant breakfast, which I enjoyed afterrwards with my manicured toes. Then we headed to WestFarms to meet up with my mom and get our makeup done at Mac. They did a really great job, and it was fun to get pampered even more. Laura and I headed back to Bristol to finish getting ready and head over to the hotel. Rachel styled my hair, and it was perfect! I received many compliments, and I couldn't be more proud of my cousin. I told everyone that she had done it for me, and they were all impressed. After packing a bag, and snacks, Rachie and I headed over to the hotel to check in and start getting ready. It was a lot of work keeping the boys in one room (214!!) and keeping Mary in hers (226). I spent most of my time with the boys, I helped them with their tuxs and ties and afterwards pinned on the boutineers. Mary had her sisters and family, and I knew my cousins, and the other boys, needed my help more! Once they were finally settled and ready, they hopped on the shuttle from the hotel to the Aqua Turf. Shortly after the limo bus for the bridal party was supposed to arrive, but it never did. Once the shuttle arrived we kicked everyone off and jumped on to head to the chapel. Luckily we had a giant bottle of champagne for the ride. The wedding started a little bit later than it was supposed to, due to the arrival delay. We had to wait for the shuttle to return with the remaining guests we kicked off the shuttle so that we could be almost on time for the ceremony. Finally, everyone was there and ready for the bride! We all lined up and walked down the aisle to Somewhere Over the Rainbow (not the Judy Garland version, the acoustic version) and then Mary walked down with her father to Canon in D. After the cermony there were many pictures taken and then we were allowed into the reception. The food was actually pretty good, and the open bar even better. Once the dancing started it didn't stop until it was time to leave. We even had a giant group on the dance floor perform thriller. Brother and I ended up running into the other wedding that happened just before Rob and Mary's, and it happened to be a childhood friend of mine, Bruno! We chatted with him and his brother, which was very random, and fun. The after party was held in room 214 - except it didn't last long because people complained about the loud noise. We moved the party to - the hotel lobby! (not even kidding) and that lasted until about 4am.

Everyone was pretty tired the next morning, but happy. We all drove back to my Aunt Laura's house, where we made a giant vat of pasta with meatballs and yummy bread. My flight home was supposed to leave at 5pm but was delayed until after 7pm so I was able to spend some more time with my family before we left. We watched The Haunting in Connecticut (only appropriate) and played Phase 10! I managed to bring my bouquet home with me, and everyone loved the flowers (and the flower in my hair!). One of the flight attendents took pictures of my flowers she thought they were so beautiful. I finalllly made it home before 11pm and absolutely crashed. I love being with my family :)

For more wedding pictures click here!

Friday, July 17, 2009

pottery returns

After a few weeks break, and a move from Union Station back to Eastern Market - Eastern Market Pottery was ready to open in the new studio for classes. Jonna and I carried our giant gray bins with really heavy clay on the metro and to the studio. It was very tiring and I managed to bruise my right arm, it was pretty uncomfortable, and it kind of made me look like a drug addict - classy. So it had been a few weeks since my last attempt and I was really out of practice and my throwing didn't go so well. The only thing I really managed to do was center my clay without much difficulty. Everything else, well I made a huge mess :) I know I'm still learning, and I'm not really frustrated. I was mostly tired that night and gave up shortly after 9pm. I think that we are going to sign up for another session so I will get more practice, but most importantly I'm having fun!

Other classmates have been more than willing to help me, which I really appreciate. What I'm mostly stuck with now is figuring out how to properly place my hands to create the movement and positions I need to make a decent pot (and not just these little random cup/bowl things). I have the basic idea down, I just need to feel it happen while I'm working on the wheel. Until then, I enjoy making a giant clay mess, and Jonna enjoys playing with the clay and marking my arms while I'm not paying attention. The metro ride home is always fun as we're covered in clay.

Monday, July 13, 2009

mark has bbq

Mark hosted a BBQ at his Dad's house in Potomac, MD. (Or his dad hosted and Mark took the credit!) This required me to drive up to MD and leave VA, again. I had never been to Potomac, MD and it was gorgeous. Very nice houses, and a lot of green! Sometimes I forget what suburbia is like. The weather was absolutely perfect and sunny - the pool was very warm and everyone spent most of the time swimming, playing, floating and splashing. Mark's pup Lance oddly doesn't like to swim, and would continually attempt to save us from the pool.

Mark's dad made beer can chicken on the BBQ, with corn, hot dogs, hamburgers, lo mein, etc - BBQ foods! Which was sooo delicious and eaten rather quickly by everyone. It's hard work sitting in the sun and swimming in a pool. I didn't stay too late as I had made plans to stop by Leigh's on my way home (to check out the decorations her and Colleen bought for Gwen's upcoming bachelorette party and chat!) but was given a giant cupcake! to take home with me. I shared the giant, delicious cupcake with Leigh and Nick. It was the most relaxing afternoon, and not a bad way to end a great weekend :D

Saturday, July 11, 2009

jonna is 25

Last Friday was Jonna's 25th birthday! After bugging her for a while, she finally decided that she wanted to go out bowling! Jill's birthday was yesterday, but celebrated on Friday, so in trying to see both my friends I went to the first part of Jill's celebration and the second part of Jonna's.

Brett threw Jill a pizza/ice skating party - but I only made it to the pizza part. Which may have been the best part, because pizza is delicious, as were the strawberries and cake! Afterwards I met Jonna, Michelle and Laurie at Kitty O'Sheas, where we waited for Leigh and Lizzy to arrive. Photo hunt and a creepy drunk guy later, we were on our way to Ft Myer. Leigh, Lizzy and I may have gotten a little confused in directions but finally made it on the base and to the bowling alley. It was very cheap - and pretty empty considering it was a Friday night. In total we bowled 3 games. After the second game Laurie had to leave, but Sarah arrived just in time to take her place. Some how I managed to kick and win every game! Considering the last time I bowled I don't think I got over 80, I was excited to bowl at my highest 148! I tried to take pictures and videos of us bowling and making our poses after tossing the ball down the lane, it's less cool because with the flash you lose the atmosphere but they're still decent pictures.

After bowling we decided to head to Carpool. Beers were had and shuffleboard was played. Everyone was pretty tired except for Jonna who got to sleep in until about noon :P I'm glad Jonna decided she wanted to go bowling, it had been about a year since I last went and it's easy to forget how much fun bowling can be!

More bowling pictures here!

Monday, July 6, 2009

veggies and csa

Still falling behind in our vegetable consumption, Jonna and I are working hard, finding and trying new recipes with all our fresh vegetables. Last week we combined our supply and made a type of pasta with our veggies. The pasta was flavored like various vegetables also - the only one I can remember is beets - but it didn't really taste like anything but standard pasta. While we boiled the pasta, during the last few minutes we added chopped chard and then drained the pasta. Once drained we added garbanzo beans and cheese. It was very cheesy and yummy. Not a bad last minute idea of fresh vegetables for dinner.

This past Monday we decided to cook a Turkey roast and also make squash casserole. The squash casserole was a recipe from my mom that I've seen her make many times, and is amazingly gooey and delicious. This was the first time I tried to make it myself, with the help of Jonna (of course!) Again we combined our squash, zucchini and hybrid squashes and cooked the rest of the ingredients. (Stuffing, carrots, yummy sour cream, cream of mushroom mixed sauce). Dinner was completely amazing, and there was so much squash casserole left over. I brought a bunch home to share, which Evan ate immediately. And I also was able to enjoy for lunch at work. Its been a lot of fun trying new recipes with all kinds of veggies. I'm excited that we have many more weeks to share!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

have fatty

After the many months of going to the gym, eating consistently and often - lots of yummy foods - I have finally gained weight! This past month I gained 10 lbs - to be exact !

I haven't weighed over 100 lbs since I first started reeling from the effects of Crohn's in summer of 2003. This is a huge deal for me - and I'm really excited! I'm hoping to continue to gain 5 - 10 more lbs within the next few months, but this is a huge step for me. I'm around 106lbs and fluctuating to 107-08, so I know more gain is possible. Also, I have a new GI doctor who has been really helpful and I'm really happy that the meds I'm on now seem to be helping a lot!

ps. Thanks to everyone who has supported me and helped me reach this initial goal! (Jonna - I love your cooking and I will always eat your foods!) <3

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

mary's bridal shower

This weekend I flew up to CT for a quick trip for Mary's bridal shower. Being one of the bridesmaids, I just had to be there! My oldest cousin Rob is getting married in just 5 more weeks - and with her sisters and other bridesmaids, we threw a tropical shower for Mary.

Luckily my flight arrived in CT just after a horrible thunderstorm/tornado/hail storm hit. I had a minor delay due to weather, but otherwise didn't arrive too late. The tornado hit just near Westfarms mall, and by the house I grew up in. Luckily, my aunts house in Bristol was okay and we didn't lose power. Which is really good considering all the people that were staying at her house, and there were 30,000+ other people who were 2-3 days without power in CT.

Saturday was the big day and the ladies were up very very early. Grandma, mom, and aunt Laura were busy busy running around and getting ready for the day. Aunt Trisha and I watched Grandma's Boy with Jimmy. We were so helpful :) I did wrap all the presents, and decorated them with bows and colors, so I wasn't completely useless. We waited for Jen and Jill to arrive and we had the boys help us pack the cars and we were off to the shower in Enfield. Mary's sisters had set up most of the tent and tables before we arrived. There were leis for each guest, and many paper umbrellas and tropical flowers. Mary arrived just over an hour later and was extremely excited and nervous. The food we served were all of Marys favorites - Chinese food and BBQ pulled pork. With many tropical sides. Aunt Laura and mom made one of Mary's favorite drinks - Pimms. Once everyone had some food, it was time for Mary to start opening her presents. She had a lot, and it was going to take a while! But for entertainment - I handed out handmade bingo cards for everyone to play along as Mary opened her presents. Many guests had bingo and won prizes, and Mary's sisters handed out pieces of cake as she opened more and more. Once she was finally done opening presents, we had one more game to play! The 20 questions game. My aunt Laura helped me ask Rob a series of questions and Mary had to guess how Rob had answered them. For each one she got wrong, she had to chew a piece of gum. By the end, I think she got 7 wrong - and she had a giant wad of gum in her mouth! Always fun to torture the bride :)

The boys arrived to load all the presents into 2 trucks and took them home to Rob and Mary's apartment. The rest of the weekend we spent relaxing and enjoying the warm and sunny weather. I even got to have a quick breakfast with Kathy and her husband before I hopped a plane back to VA. Only 5 more weeks until I fly back up for the wedding!

More tropical bridal shower pictures here!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

girls weekend

I took a long weekend - woo no work - and went to Vermont to visit my bestest friend Amy. Just over 2 weeks ago she and her family welcomed Claire Grace to their family. We had planned for a girls weekend a few months ago, and it was finally time to meet the baby and have quality time with my bestests. My best friend Nora came up from Alabama with her son Gregory to visit as well, and when they arrive everything was perfect.

Since Amy had just had Claire, we did a lot of relaxing and playing with the kiddos. Nora and I also tried to help out around the house and with James as much as we could. We hoped that Amy would be able to rest, as much as is possible with a newborn demanding to be fed and coddled. I arrived Friday afternoon and Amy and I waited for Nora to arrive. We played with bubbles with the kids, ate some lunch and stayed up late late. We watched Waitress and ate delicious brownie sundaes. And it's true when I say Amy makes the best brownies ever - because they are homemade and amazing!

Saturday was going to be a long day because it was also the day of Claire's christening. There would be many people and a BBQ afterwards. Gregory and I had a DS party that morning - I played Zelda and he played Indiana Jones (lego version) - we had many DS parties the entire weekend. I think I'm a pretty fun aunt :) We had to run a few errands before the christening and then everyone got dressed. Claire behaved and was very quiet during the entire baptism, and even James was good! He did try to run around and escape, but I gave him some fruit snacks and was able to keep him still for almost the entire time. He mostly enjoyed stomping on the pews and listening to his voice echo in the church. Godparents Pat and Jillian hosted the BBQ at their house and we all ate immense amounts of food, and enjoyed some of the best beer that you can't find here in VA (unless you go to Total Wine) and beer that was Pink! (gotta love Magic Hat) There was also some Rock Band and cake with giant frosted flowers. We left the BBQ to get James settled for bed, and for some more girl time. We watched Sabrina - old 1954 movie with Audrey Hepburnand Humphrey Bogart - and chatted. Have I said how much I love being with Nora and Amy?

Sunday the sun popped out for a little bit before there was a thunderstorm. It was also father's day and Amy and Mike's family stopped by for breakfast and a celebration of dadds. Pat and Jillian had given James a bubble blowing machine, which we were able to watch James and Gregory play with until it started to rain.We spent the afternoon relaxing and eating a lot of leftover food from the BBQ. We played a few games, Apples to Apples - and James was so tuckered out he fell asleep in his highchair. It was fun to play with Gregory (who will be 7 in less than a month!) because he's young and doesn't know what all the words mean, who the people are, or historical events. So it was fun to see which option he would pick for each word. He did have a hard time picking between 'magic tricks' and 'halloween' - to decide which one was the best, hehe.

Monday was our final visiting day. We were a little slow to leave the hotel, but we decided to take a tour at the Vermont Teddy Bear factory. Gregory was very excited! James is a little too young, and wanted to play with the teddy bears on display. (and Claire slept for most of the tour) I brought my teddy that I had gotten during my last trip to VT to be repaired. I had managed to rip the back of the bear open, and he needed some stitches! After the tour Gregory picked out a light colored bear and dressed him up like Indiana Jones (his current obsession). Nora and Gregory drove back to Albany from the factory, and I spent the rest of the afternoon with Amy, James and Claire. James and I colored and caused trouble before it was time to head to the airport and come home to VA. I hope that our next group visit will be soon, it was one of the best weekends I've had so far this summer!

More pictures in my gallery here!