Friday, September 30, 2011

Froufrou Fridays

Ahh!  Friday is finally here.  Some Fridays are just welcomed with a bit more gusto than other Fridays and today is one of those gusto welcoming Fridays!  This week was extra trying for me between husband being gone, folders left at school, reteaching times tables, classes, exams (which I rocked, I think), cleaning, food shopping with coupons and kiddo in toe, lonely nights...you get the picture.  To top it all off, I've been in a very impatient mood.  (Sorry to all those impacted.)

Solutions to my nasty mood:

Date Night.

Sand Castles.
Yes, yes indeed, seeing sand castles (hopefully this weekend with husband, kiddo and some friends) will make me giddy!  I hope it's a picture perfect day so that I can have fun taking pictures, dip my tootsies in the ocean, run like a kid and feel carefree! 

Crafts.
Today I am crafting...I can't post a picture because it is a present!  It's simple, but thoughtful and I think I might make a few for myself if I have time this weekend!

Browsing the Internet...
Led me to this wonderful site and in particular to this freakin awesome idea for a plant holder, Apartment Therapy!
magopener081808.jpg
Umm...yes, those are magazines which I have a ton of!  From reading blogs about different people trying it, I think the optimal amount of magazines to use is about 10 and the stronger the spine the better!  Luckily, I tend to hoard magazines because there might be something I'll want to refer back to one day...Hello Sarah, that's what the internet is for.  :)  So, this weekend, I am going to put those magazines to use and make some stands!  I don't know that I will use them for plants since my house isn't optimal for plants that need a good amount of sunlight and those are generally the plants I tend toward, but I will definitely use it for something - picture holder...decoration on a bookshelf that needs a little pizazz...who knows?!?!

Spook.
Meet Mr. Ghost #1.  There are ton's of Mr. Ghosts in our front tree and most look like they are float away and no longer hang in suspension.  October is right around the corner!  I feel like I September just started.  Eek!  Where is time going? 

Happy Friday!

Much love.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Garden Ridge

I'm in love!  If you think Homegoods is a wonderful place, love options and get a rush when you think about decorating for the holidays, then you will fall head over heels in love with Garden Ridge.  Aisles of Halloween spooks, fall festivities for doors, mantles, gardens and everything in between, and yes, Christmas decorations galore!  Have a burning desire for a pink Christmas tree?!  Well, they have it, in three sizes!!! Aside from holiday decor, there are aisles of decorative pillows, colorful pots, wall art, fabrics, couches, frames, bedding and the oh so loved As Seen on TV section! 


Today was my first trip and I assure you, it will not be my last!  I could have purchased hundred or dollars worth of items today, but refrained myself and only got the things I really needed!  I have been on the hunt for mantle stocking hangers and I found them!  Pictures to come when they are properly displayed with stockings this Christmas!  In a nutshell, Ryan and I have 5" silver Christmas tree shaped hangers with crystal and pearl rock on them (they are really pretty)!  Jared's is an ice skating snowboy with his feet in the air!  I wanted Ryan and I to each have matching stocking hangers and then each child we have will have their own unique stocking hanger!  Originally I wanted a buck and doe for Ryan and I and fawns for our kiddos, but then I realized I am more of the tacky (which isn't possible at Christmas) kind of Christmas decorator!  I love trees that are completely over the top with tinsel, a mismatch of ornaments, bubble lights and kid crafts! 

Here are some of the amazing aisles of Christmasness!



Since it's fall, the most wonderful time of the year, and I don't have the proper amount of festive decorations, I expanded my collection a bit!  Not too much, but a bit!  My nose was drawn to a cinnamon broom which now adorns my front door with a few branches and ribbons for an added element of personality.  This wonderful bronze pumpkin was a great find of mine!  I added the burnt orange candle that I received at my bridal shower, some branches from my yard and some festive ribbons for an added splash of color.

Another mission of mine was to get some cool and colorful vases for my mint and basil that would fit on my kitchen windowsill.  My home is very dark and not opportune for live plants, but my kitchen windowsill seems to get just enough sunlight to fuel my plants!  Now I will have the aroma of sweet mint and sweet basil dancing in my nose all winter long!

On a side note, Ryan made three amazing salsas and stayed home with Jared and his buddy while I ventured out to Garden Ridge with Mel!  Thanks for making this lovely little trip possible darling! 

The house is all straightened up, school lunch is made, little boy is clean and sleeping soundly; husband is watching football, drinking a beer and doing some MBA homework; I'm blogging, nibbling on an apple and ready for little light reading.  There's a tossup between Pride and Prejudice, a Parents Magazine, and Urban Economics... Maybe I'll dabble in all three while I enjoy the last few hours of my weekend...

Much love.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Froufrou Fridays

Happy Friday and FIRST DAY OF FALLWoop Woop!  My favorite season is here!!!!

The only reason I was able to get out of bed today and get Jared ready for school was the fact that it was finally Friday and Thursday was OVER.  My Thursdays are pretty crazy...school from 9am - 10pm with a little break to run home, help the kiddo with homework, make dinner, and then run back out the door to a lovely 3 hour course of Econometrics III.  And to think, I used to spend my Thursday nights having a few drinks and laughing with friends...  I still laugh with friends, but it's not quite the same.

Thank the Lord I didn't walk right into this bad boy this morning because it was blocking my way.  I guess my eyes were open just enough to dodge it and then run back into my house to get my camera!


Every time I look down at my toes, I smile!

Orange toenails!  I rarely paint my nails and I never do crazy colors. I always said that it wasn't my thing. Well baby, it's my thing now!  I am absolutely gaga over this orange color (NYC at walmart) that I gave my little sister for her birthday!  As you can see, I quickly borrowed it like a good older sister! 

I am an avid reader of Kelle Hampton's Blog "Enjoying the Small Things" and recently she wrote the following and I thoughtWOW!  Women are amazing!   

This is what women talk about over coffee. Like, "God, all I ever do is drive. To soccer practice, to pick them up at friends, to dance, to lacrosse, to cheerleading." And women nod their heads in agreement and then someone starts with how their baby doesn't sleep and how "Seriously, how do you have time to cook meals every night, Teresa?" And then Teresa says, "I haven't been out of these yoga pants in three days; how do you manage to put lipstick on, Sheila?" And Sheila suddenly feels the need to defend her lipstick by talking about how much time she spends with her kids and then looks over to April who runs six miles five days a week, so April's really going to get it. "I wish I had time to run," Sheila says. Poor April.

To be a wonderful wife, mother, daughter, friend and person is not an easy feat.  Make sure you take time for yourself.  I know I am at fault for taking my stresses out on my husband and family which I feel absolutely horrible about.  I have to remind myself that I am human, not superwoman sadly, and that I need to be a little selfish and take time for myself.  The happier and calmer I am, the smoother my family runs.  Just as a car needs new tires, its oil changed, filters cleaned, and battery charged, I need an extra long shower, a foot massage, time to read a good book, a glass or two of wine...to rejuvenate my body.  (N.B. This is true for everyone, men, women, children, we all need some "us" time to nourish our bodies)

A huge Congratulations to my friend, her husband and their two boys on the addition of a beautiful baby girl to their family!!!  God Bless!

A long To Do List is sitting next to me...Have a wonderful weekend!

Much love.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Got 'Em!

Ladies and Gentlemen, well mostly ladies because I don't know of any Gentlemen that read this blog,

As of thirty-three minutes past the one o'clock hour this afternoon, I am officially eligible to graduate in December with my Masters in Economics because I PASSED MY COMPREHENSIVE EXAMS!!  Jeez, I am happy!  The suspense is over and it feels glorious!  If you weren't aware, the month of August and the first two weeks in September were consumed with studying for Advanced Macroeconomics, Advanced Microeconomics, Econometrics I and Econometrics II.  It was a grueling six plus weeks, but totally worth it now.  The feat of passing Econometrics III, Urban Economics (which I love),  and my research project i.e. mini thesis, is all stands in between me and a stunning graduation cap and gown! 

To celebrate, I will be drinking wine and running regressions.  Oh joy!

Much love.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Weekends Together

Weekends spent with loved ones are perfect! There is never a dull moment with cousins running around, grandmothers cooking, football games, tons of girl talk and lots of rushing!  We are always rushing no matter how planned our trips are. 
This trip I enjoyed some girl time for the first time in a what seems like an eternity and it was glorious!  Friday night, Mo, my mom and I ate apple crisp, drank tea and talked about anything and everything! Mo and I have an apple tradition in that every fall we bake something with apples, drink tea or wine now that we are of age, and talk!  Since I wasn't home in time to actually bake, she did the baking and we did the eating, talking and drinking together!  Thanks MBYB!
Saturday was another girl date!  Jamie and I went to a winery, had a lovely free tasting (free tastings are the best kind)! and then we bought a bottle, drove home and immediately drank it for good measure!  We talked, cried and had a very nice and much needed rainy day inside.  
I am lucky to have the most amazing friends in the world!  Each one understands me in their own way, they all fill a part of me and together my friends (family included) complete me!  You know who you are and you are the best!
What's a fall weekend without a little football and crazy kinds!?!?  Nothing I say, nothing! 
Crazy kids. 
Boys will be boys!  I know this photo is out of focus, but I absolutely love it!  Jared and Aaron love each other and had a blast playing in the bleachers! 
Go #50! That's my little brother whom just happens to be the tallest in the family...sigh.  He is in the green and gold closest to us.
 He's a cutie.
LC lost an alum in the September 11th attacks.  He was a football player, an father-to-be and a loving husband.  We honored is life and his legacy at the Saturday evening football game.  God bless him and his family.
Miss Casey loves her grandma and loves to ask Who are you? to everyone!  It's a toss up as to whether she likes hearing your answer or answering who she is better!  She is in the prime of the questioning phase and cute as a button! 
After the ball game which was a terrible loss Ryan, Jamie and I headed out for a drink!  Ryan is loving the Octoberfest by Sam Adams and I am loving anything blueberry!  MmmMmmMmm!! 
Note to self: Saturday vigil Mass is amazing because it allows for this on Sunday morning!
Nothing like a bed full of boys and a doggie in the morning! Sleeping in is a lost art.  6am comes much to early in the morning when you saw the AM hours before going to bed.  Waking up to the sun shining in the window is glorious!
Before the frost takes over and kills my daddy's beautiful flowers, I had to take a few moments to capture their beauty!



My Dad's flowers instantly put a smile on my face!  It's like seeing the stocking hung on the mantle at Christmas! 
Puppies play hard!  The big dog, Bella, is actually less than a year and the little black dog, Lira, is over 2 years old!  Bella loves to play and Lira isn't too down with it, but obliges sometimes!
Oh and my sister has chickens!!  She ordered 8 hens, but got 7 hens and a ROOSTER!
My dad said that he will be Thanksgiving dinner, but my sister will not allow that to happen.  She holds him every single day to make him nice and loves him dearly.  My dad is joking...kinda.   He has a soft spot for his baby girl, so I doubt he will follow through with his statement.  Although, if the rooster is mean, he will be going bye bye. 
That's a really sad note to end on, so I am going to continue typing...
We went on a two hour hike in the woods, saw lots of deer and got dirty!  Yay!  Hiking is my personal version of a spa treatment!  It clears my mind, calms me and brings me back to reality.  I am a better person after a good hike. 
Much love.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Froufrou Fridays

Fridays should be celebrated and what better way to start my day than with a goofy, random and completely off the cuff blog post!  As a way to bring some fun and lightheartedness into my weekend, I've decided to start Froufrou Friday posts!  Froufrou just sounds funny, puts a smile on my face and reminds me of a huge purple toule skirt my grade school best friend and I use to play dress up in and have tea!  
Damn, we sure were cute! 
(Photo of a photo...not the best quality) 
Please note the matching yellow, green, pink and super shiny plastic heals!  They were my first pair and ruined my for life...I love shoes! (I had an entire collage of shoe pictures, but my computer decided to freeze and I lost it *tear*)
While I'm on the topic of shoes, I am totally in love with Hunter boots! 
The tall ones are a must, but what color?!?!  I am thinking either cream, grey or navy, but I really don't know.  I want to be able to wear them with brown and black and I don't want to stand out...yellow would be fun, but I think a bit much for grad school... The super cool thing that I love about them is that the liners are removable!  They are perfect rain boots because we all know how much it rains in VA and how lovely it is to sit through hours of class with wet jeans...nasty & cold.  And they are perfect for winter because they are competely waterproof and have easy to add fleece liners to keep your tootsies cozy!!  I remember the days of putting my boots near the fireplace with hopes that my new and improved angle of approach would help them dry quick enough for my next adventure out in the snow!  Goodbye strategic angles, hello 15 minutes in the dryer!   

Yesterday was 92 degrees in my car and today....it is in the 60's!!!  Oh yea baby, bring on the sweaters, the cute hats and the boots!!!  I will be sporting this lovely new hat that dear Allison made for my while standed in my house during Irene! 

Cute, eh?!?!
I can get used to wearing hats again!  Yay!  As for the sweater and boots pictures, they will have to wait because today is a day of cleaning, homework, packing, lots of coffee, and then last but certainly not least, showering (can't wait)

Random Plug:
Needing dinner ideas?  I know I always do.   I came across this great site that has well explained, super creative and a wide variety of kitchen creations!  Everything from desserts, to soups, brat sliders, breads, jams, etc. can be found here... Cooking with Cristine!  I made the Brat Slider and the Pumpkin Soup!  Both were divine!  Where do you get your dinner ideas?  I seem to get into funks and repeat dinners often...

Lira had an extra skip in her step this morning and I hope you do too!  Happy Froufrou Friday!!!
Much love.
P.S. If you want to join in on Froufrou Fridays, just link up!  I think it could be fun, completely random and the best part, no rules (maybe suggested topics in the future, but nothing mandatory).

Monday, September 12, 2011

My Best Friend Joined the Cool Club...She's a Mrs!

Sarah's wedding festivities started with a traditional High Tea Bridal Luncheon!

At high noon on the 18th of August 2011,
Adorned with derby hats, whimsical sundresses,
And an abundance of excitement for our bride-to-be,
Miss Sarah Ashley
You are cordially invited to a British Style High Tea,
At the Sweet Afton Tea Room,
In the quaint town of Plymouth Michigan,
And an afternoon of showering our bride
With love & laughter,
For she has found the only gift a girl truly needs,
Her one true love.

Sarah was showered with love and mugs by her mother, mother inlaw, sisters, and best friends!  We all bought a tea cup that reminded us of Sarah in lieu of gifts!  Some funny ones were Proud to be a Paulus, Bischoff with the family name shield, Yo! Philadelphia, an adorable Owl mug,  and several others!  The basket had tons of tea, the mugs, and a beautiful family recipe scrapbook made by the mother of the bride!  It was an absolutely beautiful afternoon with an abundance of tea, mini sandwiches, scones, and great sweets!   
Here is the beautiful bride with her bridal party!  We had a wonderful time with putting her basket together, decorating Sarah's hat, getting dolled up in dresses and hats, planning a luncheon and celebrating Sarah's love for Carl!! 

And what are prewedding celebrations without a bachelorette party?!?! 
Sarah rocked a white dress with a Bride-to-Be sash, headband and pin!  All the bridesmaids wore black dresses, yellow flowers and yellow bracelets!  It all started with a little wine in the hotel room, then dinner at a Mongolian restaurant, and then drinks, drinks, drinks!  We basically stayed at an Irish Bar the entire time, danced to swing music, and had a great time! 
The next day was a little rough, but it was totally worth it because Sarah was beaming on her wedding day!
Congratulations to the new Mr. & Mrs. Carl Paulus!
Sarah wore my wedding dress and looked dynamite!  Her smile said it all!  She was absolutely beaming the entire day and it was glorious!!
In honor of LaSalle and Michigan, the wedding colors were Navy and Gold!  The gerbera daisies popped against the navy blue bridesmaid dresses and looked absolutely divine! 
 I was honored to be her chosen Matron of Honor!  Love you Bischy!!
In general, Father-Daughter dances are absolutely perfect and this one was not an exception.  Sarah's father beamed with pride and looked at her in such a "Daddy's little girl" way and Sarah was beyond giddy and smiling from ear to ear!
 The LaSalle Honors Program crew and our respective spouses! 
All this and brains too! :)

To end on a lovely note: 
 Now that is one good-looking couple!  Love them!
Congratulations Sarah & Carl!  I wish you all the love and happiness the world has to offer!  xoxoxo

Much love.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Walks

Walks are a twice, sometimes thrice, daily activities for us.  We used to walk and bike around the neighborhood, but we have discovered that crossing the semi-busy road to the lake is a much better option.  Jared can ride his bike like a mad man, Lira can sprint randomly since that is her new habit and jump in the lake whenever her little heart desires, and I can enjoy the view, take photos and not constantly worry about other dogs.  It's quite enjoyable! 

No matter what time of day it is, there is sometime beautiful to look at.  Being outside is good for my soul, even when it is in the 90's with 80% humidity.  It's not the most enjoyable weather, but when a breeze comes along I remember how amazing nature is.  The skies have been awesome lately and while I haven't been great at capturing their beauty, I am determined to master it.  Practice makes perfect.  
Oh and good old civilization has to step in and ruin the natural beauty.  At least this sign is old, rusty and makes for a great picture!  While it is a private lake I guess, Lira could care less.  If she wants to go for a swim, she jumps in.  Sadly she never gets far because she is on a leash...a leash we are in the process of making much longer i.e. buying a new one. 
Weeds are pretty too!
The little hunter!  She is a completely different dog from two months ago.  The Lira we picked up at the airport slept, ate, and slept her life away.  The new Lira sprints, loves walks, jumps in lakes, chases birds, barks, knows how to beg like a champ and still lover her sleepy time, but tends to want to play a bit more!  She was hilarious hunting in the bank of the lake. Notice the pink tongue!
While the title is Walks it is really bike rides for Jared!  When he visited his grandma in July, he got his bike back and has been on it every single day since!  Ryan raised the seat, we got him an awesome helmet and little Jared was ready to rock-n-roll! 
Every now and then he has a mishap, but for the most part he shows us tricks, races Lira and drives in circles, lots of circles!  He sure is a cute face!
On a special family walk this weekend, we were privileged to see a few older gentlemen sailing their model ships!  The sailboat was my favorite, but the boys like the battleships the best...typical boys!  It reminded me of my grandpop; he was always building model Navy ships, no ones with motors, but model US Navy ships nonetheless.  I can totally see Ryan and Jared doing that together someday in the near future.

For a little laughter, here is our wet and very happy puppy!!!

Happy Walking. Much love.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

4th Grade

Jared's in the 4th grade!  He has one teacher for Math, Social Studies and Science and another teacher (in another room) for Spelling, Grammar and Reading i.e. Language Arts.  Switching teachers and classrooms is a big deal to little kids!  He is officially a big kid and getting close to the end of his years in elementary school..CRAZY!!!

I'd like to personally thank Jared for letting me take these photos this morning!  I was really exited and hopeful that he would go along with me and he did!  The more I let him play with my camera, the more he lets me use him as a subject in my photos for practice and for special moments like this! 

A morning isn't complete without a good stretch according to Dr. Lira! :)  She's a cutie and makes Jared super happy!  I'm glad he has her to play with and love on. 
He picked out his own outfit and looks pretty handsome if I do say so myself!  His under armor shirt, plaid shorts, black socks, brand new LA Gear sneakers (just like his dad had when he was a kid), and new haircut made the perfect mixture for a super handsome 9 year old boy!!!

If your aren't smiling from ear to ear and thinking Damn, that's a handsome boy then you are crazy!  Just my opinion!  C'mon, he's cute! 

And this one is one of my favorites...

The way Lira is looking up to him like he is the best thing since sliced bread and the contrasts in the colors just draw me to this photo.

The first day was a success! He rode the bus for the first time in his life (and loved it!) and didn't miss his stop.  His teachers were super nice, the kids were great and his day started with P.E.!  Starting the day off with gym is aways wonderful! 

Oh and another father at the bus stop asked me if I was Jared's high school sister.  I politely chuckled and said, "No, I'm his stepmom, but thanks for the compliment!"  Jared just looked at me with a goofy grin on his face and shrugged his shoulders. Oh what a great start to the day.  I quickly went home, made myself look as old as I possibly could and headed off to school for my Teaching Assistant (TA) class, Urban Economics graduate class and two comprehensive exams.  I'll be thankful when I'm 55 and I look 45!!  Let's hope my current track record holds for my lifetime!

All in all, today was a successful day for Jared and I!  First day of school jitters gone and comps completed...I think that calls for a big bowl of ice cream celebration!!  Bring on the mint brownie chip! Woop Woop!

Much love.