Colorado: Backyard grilling and water pong

Friday night, Andrew and I got back from Avery Brewery around 6:30p or so. Kevin was ready for some backyard grilling, some water pong and just hanging out at home. Kevin has a few housemates that live in the main level of the house, and all the guys are pretty good friends and they share the backyard.

We had some chicken sausages perfect for grilling over the fire. And it was a gorgeous night to just hang out in the backyard, around the fire, playing water pong.

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“Water pong” is basically beer pong with water. And less getting drunk. Kevin and his housemates just keep a standing game going and play regularly.

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I did pretty ok for my first time. Sam still beat me, though.

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One of Kevin’s housemates came out and grilled himself a burger too. I tried to get some ghost stories going as it got darker. I love ghost stories. :)

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After dinner, once it was too dark to see each other and kinda late, we went back down into Kevin’s apartment and watched… something. What did we watch that night? Maybe The Hobbit :)

Next week: Maybe the longest hike I’ve ever been on in my life!


Colorado: dinner at home with Sam

Wednesday night – our first day in Colorado – Kevin’s girlfriend Sam invited us over for dinner at home. So sweet of her, since she hadn’t met us yet and apparently usually makes herself pasta (which Kevin told her I don’t eat). So, after we went hiking in Boulder, we drove south to Denver where Sam lives.

But first a stop at the grocery and liquor stores (ice cream and beer) where I noticed the back of Kevin’s car:

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Sam is living in this house in Denver that she is helping fix up in exchange for rent/space. But her roommate/landlord/boss was out of town so we had the house to ourselves. It’s in this cute old neighborhood in Denver ….

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Just us and NINE animals : 3 chickens, Kevin’s dog Muppet, Sam’s dog ‘Mo (Guillerrmo), 2 birds (parakeets?) and her roommates 2 dogs.CO4  003

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We like Sam. She’s super cute and sweet and really interesting :)

Although I felt ENORMOUS the entire week we were hanging out ….. she’s about HALF my size.

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For our dinner at home Sam made:

  • roasted chicken
  • steamed asparagus
  • roasted potatoes
  • green salad

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We tried to eat outside, but there were WAY too many flies (probably attracted there by the chicken coop).

Too bad, because it was gorgeous there.

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After dinner – right around sunset – we walked a mile or so over to a local dog park with Muppet and Mo. Gorgeous night, those dogs are both so sweet.

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Fun night in – it was really nice getting to meet Sam in such a low-key way.

Tomorrow: Andrew’s first time at Rocky Mountain National Park


Wisconsin: A morning of travel

Since I’ve been blogging here so irregularly, I forget what I have told you and what I have not.

So let’s start WAY at the beginning.

Our friend Liz got engaged late last year, and Andrew was so excited to go to the wedding! He and Liz worked together in Phoenix and she has since moved (back) to Wisconsin. She came out to visit us last summer, but other than that we never get to see her. So we made plans to travel to Wisconsin the last weekend in June….

…. and then we decided that I would quit my job, so I deliberately did NOT request that Friday off work so I would be sure to have quit by then (!!). So my last day at the day job was June 21, and the following Friday we were up at 3am to leave the house at 4am to get to LAX in time for our 6am flight.

I was easing into my new schedule, but it wasn’t terrible to get up that early. I probably fell asleep at 9p the night before. Andrew, on the other hand…. He apparently doesn’t need sleep. Or doesn’t do time well. He got home just a couple hours before he had to get up. Maniac.

We don’t fly out of LAX all that often, so we’ll call it an adventure. We parked at The Spot and took a shuttle and that was far more manageable than having to worry about someone picking up/dropping us off. LAX is kind of the worst.

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We had a few hours to Denver airport, and then another hour or so to Madison.

I started this book … which led me to start making crazy notes for this site that was just an idea then. (Now it’s barely more than an idea, but at least it exists).

Great book. Highly recommended.

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Andrew slept. The whole way.

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We got to Denver …. 10a or so? Hard to say with the time changes, but definitely in time for lunch for us. Since we had been up since 3a.

Here’s the problem with lunch: I like real food. And it’s hard to find real food, fast, at an airport. Especially since I’m trying to eat gluten-free-ish.

BUT! Miracle of miracles! Quizno’s has wraps. Basically salad in a tortilla. And they’re not half bad. I was so pleasantly surprised (and Andrew got to try some fancy hot sandwich. Seriously so pleased to have found something that genuinely resembled food I would make for myself at home.

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We arrived in Madison, Wisconsin at about 1p or so. Wisconsin time. Picked up our rental car ….

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…. and it was raining.

Not exactly the way you want to start a wedding weekend, but the weather was certainly gorgeous. Only partially cloudy sky with a bit of sprinkles? LOVE.

And the scenery? Even barely leaving the airport was gorgeous and green all around (compare that to leaving LAX? Yea.).

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Our friend Liz offered us the guest room in her fiancee’s house (her new home)…. SO generous. Especially since we hadn’t yet met Dave.

His house is in a suburb of Madison, in a neighborhood 10-years-old or so. With a lovely big field at the end of his street (which I assume will one day be more houses).

The view from our room …

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And then we went to work.

Liz and Dave were hosting their rehearsal dinner at their house that night and still had a long long list of things to do.

So we dug in. You know, to pay for our room and board for the weekend.

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Andrew’s brother Daniel and his girlfriend Sophie live in Chicago, only about 3 hours away, so they came up for a part of the weekend to see us.

They slept in Daniel’s truck parked outside Liz and Dave’s house.

So fun to see them and at least know *someone* that weekend since we literally knew no one but Liz.

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Liz left about 4p to go to the rehearsal, and we stayed at the house to finish prepping some food ….

… and checking out the rest of the house.

The living room was full of wedding stuff – centerpieces and favors and all.

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Dave and Liz’s house is the one on the left. The front faces this community front yard, the back/garage face a small road.

It’s a NICE neighborhood :)

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We had time for a little more exploring before everyone came for dinner.

That post is tomorrow.

Have you ever been to Wisconsin?

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Our sweet nephew baby Joey turned 1 over the weekend!!!

Remember when he was born?

He LOVES Mickey Mouse, so Kaitlin had no trouble picking a theme for the party …

We got there late-ish (traffic. Boo) …. When the party was in full swing and Joey was reaching the end of his rope.

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Among the AMAZING details Katie put together for the party was the goodies:

Tasty cupcakes

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And Mickey-ear oreos

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He wasn’t really in the mood to wear his Mickey ears:

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Grandpa Paul distracted Joey with his iPhone

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Joey didn’t really smash his cake … it took him a little while to even figure out that the frosting was tasty :)

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Grandma Julie took him home for a nap not long after the cake, but we stuck around to visit with Chris and Kahla and Uncle Mark and Aunt Pam who had come into town for the weekend because Chris graduated from college (!!)

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Big family photos!

It always cracks me up when I stand around holding my big fancy camera, but people ask Andrew to take their group photo. Am I too intimidating? So funny :)

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P.S. That’s another little LaRiccia baby! Coming November!!

Happy Birthday, nephew Joey!!


My friend-boss Maggie has spent the last year taking regular portraits of my favorite little 1-yr-old.

I love the idea of doing a collection of Baby’s First Year – especially in Maggie’s style.

Here are the highlights, but be sure you click through (the subheaders or the images) for the full blog posts and images of this little cutie.

Intimate Maternity portraits:


Newborn portraits:








And we’re scheduled to take his 1-year portraits in a couple weeks!

SUCH a cutie!

love this kid :)

(and be sure you hit up Maggie for your own first year baby collection)



Visiting Grandma in Phoenix

As I told you the other day …. in mid-February we stopped by Zack and Jamie’s new house in San Diego on our way to Phoenix.

Why the spur of the moment trip to Phoenix?

My grandmother has just been diagnosed with brain cancer so we decided to come visit her.

Her diagnosis and symptoms and treatment is a post all on its own.

For now, I’ll just tell you we got to my parents’ house late Saturday night, went right to bed, and spent all of Sunday just lounging around the house with my grandmother and other family members that came by.

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Because of the brain cancer and related symptoms, grandma doesn’t want to do a ton beyond just watch TV, but there was a Suns game on that Sunday! I don’t really watch TV at all, but I haven’t seen a Suns game in … years??

It’s amazing that I can know literally nothing about the team or who is on it, but I still can love watching a game and cheering them on!

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My grandma has 4 sons (+ associated grandkids, nieces/nephews, etc) that live in the Phoenix area, and a BUNCH of them came over at one point or another during the day on Sunday.

My aunt Dorina brought food.

She cooks as a hobby, more or less, and she spent DAYS making tomato sauce from scratch and building this ENORMOUS lasagna.

This was one of 2 she made – her and my uncle had a whole ‘nother one at home.

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(Dorina brought fresh bread from the bakery where she works and homemade roasted peppers and broccoli soup too)

My grandma’s dog Walter has been staying with one of my other uncles …. and he brought the pup over to see Grandma!

Grandma lived alone with Walter for several years before this diagnosis … they’re best friends, obviously :)  She was so happy to see that sweet dog!

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My uncle Tim brought over a couple of his own dogs too …. :)

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Later in the evening my cousin Matthew and his girlfriend (and her dog) came by …. Fortunately, because without Matthew who knows if we would have been able to eat all that lasagna!

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We only stayed for the day and left early early early Monday morning … but we got to hang out with my sweet grandma so it was totally worth it.

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Zack and Jamie’s housewarming

In February we drove down to Zack and Jamie’s new house!!

They bought it in the fall and have been doing a TON of work on it in the preceding months. Mid-Feb was the *perfect* weather in San Diego for a housewarming party.

Their house was built in the early 1960s, and the lot is basically in the middle of a hill on top of a ton of rocks …. And *somehow* it got gated in with a much (much) newer gated community. You turn on to their street, go through a gate … and Zack and Jamie’s house is at the top top top of a steep driveway to your right, with a bunch of new cookie-cutter houses on the street to the left and ahead.

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They’ve retained a lot of mid-century style in the house, while still making it up to date.

I LOVE their house :)

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Giant Jenga!

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One of the sides of their house …. because of where the house is on the lot, and where the doors are, they kind of have 2 BIG side yards? I guess?

This particular side looks out over the side of the hill and gives them a lovely view.

Those french doors on the right lead to the master bedroom, the doors on the left lead to the living room.

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same yard as described above … with a little more of their view …

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said view, with the gate in sight. That’s our white Corolla at the very foot of the hill.

Their HOA takes care of the vegetation down the hill, which I’m sure is nice for Z&J :)

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Jamie’s brother Michael came out from AZ for the housewarming party too (with his fiancee Kelly). I love Michael :)

They taught me how to play cornhole.

I am NOT good at this kind of game :)

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Another view of the house from below:

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We didn’t stay long …. still had plans to drive to Phoenix that night!

Seriously LOVE Zack and Jamie’s house! Can’t wait to go back!


Saturday family day with Daniel

Andrew’s brother Daniel was in town for a week. … and during that time ALL the Schuberts were able to get together Saturday night.

Just for laughs, and dinner, and hanging out

And photos, of course ….

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Joey’s teething:

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And *kind of* walking

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Fun fun :)


Daniel visiting from Chicago!

Daniel has lived in Chicago since January 2011 … and has only been able to come home to visit a couple times. And NEVER since Joey was born!

Bad uncle.

But he came home in January (2013) for a week!

Andrew was so happy :)

I mean all of the family was happy, but Andrew and Daniel have a special bond :)


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Daniel was in town for about a week and stayed at our house most of that time. A couple mornings he was barely awake by the time I left for work at 1:30p

And one other morning he started doing yardwork in our backyard. Because it was a “nice day”


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On the Sunday D was in town, he and Andrew went hiking with Jenae and several of their friends…

Again with the “nice day”

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Mostly, Andrew just was goofily happy all week … until Daniel left.

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DANIEL: Come back from Chicago so Andrew can be happy again!!


Christmas with the Schuberts (Tuesday)

Christmas Day!!

I’m so glad we did our Christmas at home – our first year in this house and our first year with the girls. I mean. Cats. I love my cats. What?

We had a slow morning…. My parents left around noon to drive back home, so before then we just relaxed.

Both Andrew and I actually went back to bed for little naps at various times throughout the morning. Christmas nap!

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We had plans to go over to Andrew’s parents’ house in the afternoon – and a Schubert family tradition is Mexican food on Christmas day!

I contributed my (fantastic) chicken enchilada dish, so spent the later Christmas morning putting together enchiladas…

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We headed over the the Schuberts’ house across town in the early afternoon – timed about the time that Joe and Kaitlin came up.

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NEPHEW!!! Joey’s first Christmas!

love him.

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Such a cutie…

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We ALSO did no-gifts-just-stocking-stuffers with Andrew’s family. Except for Joey, of course.

We just slowly opened gifts throughout the afternoon, played with Joey, ate Mexican food.

SUPER relaxing.

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Kaitlin and Joe made Andrew this clock using one of the records he put out – it’s currently hanging in our guest room.

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Lazy Christmas.



Christmas with the Hanns (Monday)

Christmas EVE!!

Reminder for those of you who realize it’s the END OF MARCH, Christmas was on a Tuesday in 2012, so Christmas Eve was on a Monday, and my parents and brother came into town the Saturday and Sunday before that.

First Christmas at our new house!

I don’t always get Christmas Eve off work, but I just happened to this year. Andrew had to go in for a few hours, but not all day.

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Turns out he LIED TO MY FACE and did NOT go to work.

Instead he went over to his mom’s house to borrow some of her craft supplies and make me a Christmas gift.

He always does this. We decide NO GIFTS for birthdays/Christmas so we can save our money for vacations and furniture and things …. and then he goes and comes up with this fantastic surprise.

Love him.

PLUS – Andrew even took photos so I had some for Project Life.


And wait til you see the gift :)

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Kevin had to finish some of his Christmas shopping, so went out for a couple hours in the afternoon – Muppet was excited to see him when he got home :)

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Also Monday afternoon while Andrew was “at work” my dad got out his guitar and harmonica to practice a song he was playing in the next week….. and the cats just thought it was the strangest sound.

Yes, we have music on all the time here, but a record and a live harmonica are 2 very different things.

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They relaxed a little bit around the strangers – now that they had been here 3 days.

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The girls also spent a lot of time destroying their rat.

Kevin gave it to them on Saturday afternoon and by Sunday they had chewed off the face, and half of the tail and one of the ears.

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Andrew got home in the early evening and we did “Christmas morning”!!

Even though we had all decided NO GIFTS – just stocking stuffers – it obviously did not work out that way….

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This was my Christmas gift from Andrew …. He had FOUND 2 wooden cat ornaments and painted them to look like OUR cats!


AND – just like Khaleesi and Fang – one of the ornaments was smaller with a squat neck (K) and the other was slightly larger (F).

I love love them :) Andrew is the best.

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As per tradition …. Kevin wrote ridiculous “From” labels. Always trying to be clever, that one. It’s funny to try to guess what is in the package just from the From

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The girls were left out of the festivities. They weren’t brave enough to come down, so they hung out on the landing watching everything…. SO funny :)

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We did give them a little catnip for Christmas, though. Fang was a little manic and tried to grab this container with both paws.

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Later Monday night – Hann family tradition of Shanghai (love that card game)

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Merry Christmas!

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Christmas with the Hanns (Sunday)

The Sunday before Christmas my house was even MORE full of family….

I basically spent most of the morning cooking, and then worked on the computer the rest of the day (until cooking again at dinner).

Aside from my parents and brother and Andrew, we also had Ted and Kristi, Courtney and Trace, Spencer and Sara and Lucas over for brunch on Sunday morning (Grandma stayed home so she wouldn’t catch Kevin’s cold). How many people is that? 12?

Turns out I don’t own 12 forks….. so that was fun :)

My mom (and Andrew) helped prep brunch, and once the food was all done, it was actually a pretty relaxing morning with everyone just hanging out.

Well, for us. Khaleesi wouldn’t come down stairs and Fang was being super brave:

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I got muffins and danishes from Costco, put out stuff for toast, oranges, grapes, chicken sausages and roasted bell peppers stuffed with (homemade) mashed potatoes with all kinds of yummy toppings.

SERIOUSLY delicious, if I do say so myself.

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There’s no way we could all eat together, but there were seats throughout our bottom floor to fit everyone.

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Fang was cracking me up. She would come down and watch Muppet, as long as Muppet stayed mostly still. As soon as Muppet spotted her and tried to play, Fang would get spooked and run upstairs again.

Of course, Muppet thought Fang wanted to play be chased, so that always worked out :)

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Ted had to go to work around 1p and Courtney, Trace and Lucas left not long after that, but Spencer and Sara stayed through the day and played cards….

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Kevin taught them poker…

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The girls spent a lot of time on this landing …. just watching what everyone was doing since it was far too scary to come all the way down to where the dog was.

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Eventually they moved on to the classic Hann-family game: Shang-hai. My dad and I just read/worked on our computers the bulk of the day…. A lovely relaxing Sunday (my favorite kind)

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Christmas with the Hanns (Saturday)

Aaaand …. we’re back!

Maybe not entirely – I’m still way behind on a BUNCH of stuff – but let’s start the Christmas posts now.

Since moving into Schubert HQ early in 2012, Andrew and I decided we wanted to spend our first Christmas in our house, actually IN OUR HOUSE and not go anywhere. PLUS I had to work on the day after Christmas and Andrew had to work the Saturday before, so it would have been a very short trip anyway.

So my family decided to come to us. My parents drove out the Friday night before (got in late) and met Fang and Khaleesi for the first time. The girls were wary but not totally reticent…..

Until Kevin got there with his dog Muppet.

Muppet is very sweet and very mellow, but the cats didn’t know that.

They arrived (from Colorado) around 3a. Khaleesi was near the stairs when they walked in and she just bolted when she saw Muppet. Fang was near the back door so more or less got cornered.

Not that Muppet paid any attention to her whatsoever, but Fang didn’t have anywhere to run if she wanted to.

She happened to be playing in a box when Muppet came in, so she was at least afforded that little protection.

Since it was so so late, Kevin just went to bed (Muppet slept with him in the guest room) and the cats both went upstairs with Andrew and I …. Deal with whatever that big shaggy thing was in the morning, I guess.

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In anticipation of Kevin staying here with Muppet for several days, we moved the cats’ food bowls upstairs and early Saturday morning Andrew went and got a baby gate to put at the bottom of the stairs.

This way, at least, the girls could stay upstairs and feel safe away from the dog if they wanted…. but they could also easily go through the bars of the stair rails and come downstairs if they wanted.

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I don’t know if Khaleesi even left our bedroom. She was petrified of the dog.

Everyone woke up, ate, relaxed, and Kevin had not yet met the cats…..

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He got them this HUGE stuffed rat that actually has a pocket to put catnip inside it… So we all went upstairs to watch him give them their Christmas present.

But, of course, having strangers up there scared them too, so they both stayed under the bed until everyone left …. Once the cats felt more comfortable, I got some fun shots of them checking out their new toy:

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The rest of Saturday was pretty low-key.

Andrew got home from work… Grandma came over (she was staying with Ted and Kristi) and Spencer stopped by as well.

Khaleesi was a baby, but Fang was brave enough to come down and check things out.

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I hadn’t really made any plans for everyone except dinner.

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Brussel Sprouts with bacon, quinoa with butter and green onion, and pork roast….

I think it turned out pretty well…

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super sweet dog…

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After dinner, Andrew was really hoping Khaleesi would be more social (we hadn’t seen her all day), so he tried to calm her down by making her smell catnip….. It didn’t really work :)

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Grandma went back to Ted and Kristi’s after dinner, but Spencer (and then Sara) stayed to hang out and play Mario Kart.

I love that my dad plays video games with everyone :)

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I went to bed relatively early on this Saturday night …. since I was going to be making brunch for something like 17 people the next morning.

But that’s a future post…


The Hobbit at midnight

We only go to the movies once every year and a half. It’s so much money that we really only spend money on seeing movies in the theater that we already know we’re going to love.

We love going to midnight movie premieres – everyone in the theater REALLY wants to be there, is quiet during the dramatic parts, cheers when appropriate. SO much fun.

The last movie we went to was the last Harry Potter midnight show.

Then we more or less made plans immediately to see the midnight show of The Hobbit.

It came out on a Thursday night …. and because of driving time, it was just easier for me to take the whole day off. I’m not complaining.

We went and got our Christmas tree that day, then went home to relax, take a little nap and head out to the theater for the midnight show.

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We went to a theater in Sherman Oaks with assigned seats so we didn’t have to worry about waiting in line for hours ahead of time.

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The movie was about 3 hours long… which means we got home around 4a. And both had to get up in a few hours to get to work.

SO fun – and totally worth it.

I mean, yes, it was totally self-indulgent and ridiculous for a 3-hour movie to be made out of a third of a children’s book. But Peter Jackson chose to make more of a Lord of the Rings pre-quel than a Hobbit movie.

But we still like it :)

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Joey – almost 7 months old

Here is a post full of gratuitous photos of our nephew. 2nd week of December – he was almost 7 months old.

Joe and Kaitlin stopped by the house on a Saturday afternoon …. Joey got to show us his new teeth and pet the kitties (since their cat isn’t really up for that kind of baby interaction).

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He scoots toward iPhones (good training) and had *kind of* started to “walk” with a lot of help.

And he gets this “OMG this is so exciting!” look on his face when he “walks”


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Upstairs to the carpeted floor to show us how he can crawl (backwards only)

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And then a quick little photoshoot in front of my chalkboard wall:

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That was the same night we got all dressed up to go to Andrew’s work holiday party … soo … family photo!

The girls love when we do this :)

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You can see more photos of Joey’s little photo shoot here