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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

52 Weeks of 2014 - Week 40

Kissing ball.

This week was special because we got to attend the wedding of Mark's cousin Lindsey. I think it's been something like ten years since we've been to a wedding, so it was fun to see all of the new traditions that had developed over the last decade along side all the old ones. Lauren had the honor of being the flower girl. She was reluctant about her duties (Especially the part about getting dressed up), but she handled it like a champ (Like we knew that she would!).

Flower girl.

The bride had told me that she didn't really have a preference in terms of Lauren's attire, but of course I wanted her to match the bridesmaids as much as possible. We found this cute navy blue dress on Amazon (I honestly don't know how I lived without Amazon Prime.). Lauren picked out the sandals. There was a silver pair that I liked better, but she insisted on the black. Well, it turns out that the bridesmaids wore black shoes too. So once again, Lauren knows best. After I saw how the bridesmaids were dressed, I was thrilled at our choices. She completely coordinated with them!

Here are a few photos from the church.


The bride and her family.

The couple with the bride's family.

Wedding party.

The wedding party.


 The reception was held at the very trendy Jay Verno Studios. Everything was gorgeous - they even projected the bride and groom's name on the wall of the reception hall.

 Table setting.

The entire hall was decorated with white pumpkins. Our name cards with our table assignments were made from the mini pumpkins.

Wedding cake.

 Bride and groom cookies.

Listening to the best man's toast.

Dancing with the Pitt Panther.

During her college years, Lindsey was a member of the Pitt dance team. So she invited the Pitt Panther to share a dance. I shared a dance with Mark to Michael Jackson's "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough," but I don't have any pictures of that.

Me and him.

But I do have the selfie that I've been begging Mark to take of us.

Photo booth mad cap hilarity.

Last but certainly not least, there was a photo booth running during the entire reception. People in the photo booth were displayed on screens throughout the hall. At first, Lauren was hesitant to try it out, so Mark and I went in first. After she saw what it was all about, she said that she would do it, but only with her dad. As the night went on, she came to me and told me she wanted us to do it together. Then during dinner, she leaned over to me and said that if the photo booth was still running after we ate, she wanted all three of us to do it together. When we went over for our fourth appearance, the guy running the booth said to Lauren, "You? Again?!"

Sunday, September 28, 2014

54 Weeks of 2014 - Week 39

Vintage finds.

This weekend, we headed to Burton to attend the Great Geauga Antiques Market. We've been going there since before we married, so it's been over twelve years. During that time, there's been a lot of changes to the antique fair as well as the town of Burton, but it's usually worth the trip. For the first time in a while, I had a lot of great finds yesterday, including this guitar, braided rug and die-cast, turquoise VW Beetle. I also got an original smiley face button, a large Pyrex blossom green casserole dish with lid and a frog planter. Since Belle's American Grille (the place with the best chicken salad in the world) closed a couple of years ago, we ate at Tom and Jerry's diner and had some really tasty burgers. That will likely be our go-to place until the newly opened Subway puts them out of business.

Unfortunately, I also have some sad news to share. After Mark fixed the pond for a second time this year, it started to leak again. Since it's been so dry during the last month, the water level was low enough that racoons came and took our larger fish. When Lauren and I came home on Friday, we found fish scales scattered all over the patio. Not only did we lose both koi, but we lost our oldest fish, Big Mama, who we worked so hard to save after she had gotten sick during the hard winter. We are consoled by the fact that Big Mama had lived a long life. We moved here eight years ago, so we figure that she had to be at least twelve, which is pretty aged for a fish of her type. Once again today, Mark was hard at work patching the pond, so hopefully three times is a charm!

52 Weeks of 2014 - Week 38


This week, we had a house guest. This is Dobby, my in-laws Labrador Retriever.

Ready for action.

As you can see, Dobby fits right in with the rest of our canine family. In fact, instead of sleeping in our room like he usually does, Marcus chose to bunk with Dobby during his stay.

Opposites attract.

Maybe during his next stay, I can get all three of them to pose together, but I don't think Kitty Coconut would be much interested in taking part in a portrait session.

Also of note this week, Lauren started bowling club. When she told me that she wanted to join, I was a bit skeptical. After all, you don't hear much about bowling scholarships. Also, I'm not much of a bowler myself. I was determined to go through life without ever bowling. In fact, I used to wear it like a badge of honor, and I'd proudly tell people that I've never been bowling. Then about four years ago, Mel C forced me to go bowling and ruined my chance at notoriety as The Woman Who Never Bowled.

When I picked up Lauren at the alley for the first time, I finally understood the lure of bowling. There she was, surrounded by her friends and scarfing chicken fries from the snack bar. It might as well have been the croquet or the bocce club, as long as there were friends and chicken fries to be had.

Lastly, this was the week that I achieved one of the goals that I had set for myself this year. I got accepted as a photographer for Stocksy. Stocksy is a start up stock photography agency that launched during March 2013. One of their unique features is that the photographers are all considered co-owners. Also, the collection is very tightly curated with just stunning imagery. When they opened for new applicants in June, I started to have second thoughts about applying this year and was going to wait until my photography evolved a bit more. Then in August, I convinced myself that I should at least try because nothing ventured, nothing gained, right? I probably spent a month agonizing about the images to include in my application before I finally clicked the send button. About three weeks later, on a Saturday night no less, I got the email informing me that my application had been accepted. A week later, I'm still in disbelief about it. Since we have a lot of real life stuff going on right now, I haven't had a chance to set up shop over there yet, but I'm really excited to get started!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

52 Weeks of 2014 - Week 37

Sit a spell.

Cookie turned 2 years old this week! This changes nothing since she could be ten years old and still look and act like a puppy. In fact, the photo that I envisioned for this was the view I get multiple times a day when she's jumping on me. I was trying to get her to do it for the camera, but of course, she refused. Then she just sat down beside me, and I thought, "Even better!" So the credit goes to the dog for this one. It does show that Cookie is never far from us. Actually, being close by isn't good enough. For her to be happy, she has to be touching you. In fact, as I type this she's sitting under my chair and leaning against my foot.

Always under my feet.

Mark and I always talk about how she's not really the brightest dog around, but I think she's getting smarter in her old age. She throws her dog dish around to let us know when she's thirsty, and she understands the word "ball." She still can't catch cereal in mid air like big brother Marcus (and like Daisy before her, who was the champ at catching food). It just bounces off her little head.

Sunny spot

And life as a little dog is just as exhausting at two years old as it was when she was one.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

52 Weeks of 2014 - Week 36

If pumpkins took family portraits.

Is it too early for pumpkins? Mark grew these, and they ripened earlier than expected. Usually, we only get one, maybe two, but we have a bumper crop of five this year. We're still waiting for one last pumpkin to ripen on the vine, so he was camera shy for the family portrait.

Bathtime for Marcus.

Look who got a bath this week! Marcus is notorious for his stink. Airedales are supposed to be scent free, but we ended up with a rare stinky one.

Shake it off.

It happens every time. Within a a day of getting a bath, Marcus will inevitably throw up in the middle of the night (Specifically, around midnight last night - right on schedule), making himself all stinky once again. I guess it's his way of putting things to right. Marcus wouldn't be Marcus without his trademark stink.

52 Weeks of 2014 - Week 35

Something fishy is going on here.

For the second time this summer, Mark had to empty the pond this week so that he could patch a leak. The pond liner compound takes a couple of days to fully dry, and unfortunately, during that timeframe we lost 2 koi and one of our large goldfish. Since he never turned up, we think that an animal took one of the koi, but the other two fish were found dead on our patio. They could have committed suicide by jumping out of their containers. Anyway, we found ourselves in desperate need of some replacements, and luckily, Mark found a place not far from us called Aqua World that, as you can see, had a huge selection of fish. So we have two new residents in our pond. Hopefully they'll make it through the winter!

 First day of 4th grade and elementary school!

I'm also a bit late with the first day of school photo. By this writing, we're already two weeks into the year! Fourth grade is a big year of change. In our district, there are five primary schools, but once the kids get to fourth everyone goes to one elementary school. So not only is there a big new building to navigate, there's a huge number of kids to get to know. Lauren's class has 31 students, and there are seventeen fourth grade classes total! Luckily, Lauren ended up having classes (This the first year where the kids have schedules and do a little bit of switching classes during the day) with some of her friends, so that's made the transition much easier. This is also the first year that Lauren will be in the GATE program, and of course she'll be taking extra music classes so she can play trombone in the band. So far, she seems to really like everything, but by far her favorite part of elementary school is the cafeteria. She came home on the first day raving about how the chocolate milk tastes like a milkshake and how the chicken sandwiches come wrapped in colorful checked paper. So now we know what to look for when it comes time to college search - good cafeteria food!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

52 Weeks of 2014 - Week 34

Meet you at the bottom.

Here we are at the close of the last week before school starts. We were off the whole week so that we could spend time together, prepare for back to school, go to appointments and do some things around the house. It was a busy week to say the least. I'm starting off a little backwards as this photo was taken on Friday when we went to Kennywood. Lauren took a friend this year and was her usual daredevil self, fearlessly riding everything in sight. There were virtually no crowds, so they kept going on the same ride over and over again. They went on the Pittsburgh Plunge 5 times in a row!

Pirates vs Braves 8/18/2014

Monday night we went to PNC Park with Mark's mom and dad to see the Pirates play the Braves. Unfortunately, the Braves scored two consecutive home runs with the first two pitches, and the Pirates never recovered.

Let sleeping pigs lie.

We also visited the Westmoreland County Fair. Mark and I went to the fair twenty years ago on one of our first dates and have been going off and on through the years. We hadn't gone for awhile, but it pretty much hasn't changed.


Of course, we saw all the competing livestock on display.


This is Jasmine. She has blue eyes! I had never seen a horse with blue eyes before. She was very sweet and curious about everyone who visited her stall.


Lauren and I thought she was the horse version of Kitty Coconut because they both had similar coloring.

 Meet you at the top.

And there were rides, which Lauren insisted that we partake in.

 Learning to drive.

Here's what it will look like when Mark teaches Lauren how to drive.

 Lauren and I getting ready to YOYO.

YOLO on the YOYO.

Riding the blue chicken is the hightlight of the fair.

Last but not least, riding the blue chicken is always the highlight of the fair.

52 Weeks of 2014 - Week 33

 Engagement ring cookies.

Mark's cousin Lindsey is getting married in October. Her bridal shower was this past weekend, so I thought I'd share a few photos from the event.

 One hundred bottles of wine on the wall.

The shower was held at Narcissi Winery, which is nearby to where we live. I had never been there but had heard good things about it. So I was excited to go!

Wedding dress cake.

Lindsey's cake was shaped like her wedding dress. When sliced, it looked just like regular cake and had a yummy raspberry filling.

Place setting.

These really cute chalkboard glasses did double duty as place markers and favors.

 The bride and groom.

And here's the bride and groom - Lindsey and her fiancé, Tysen. He gave her the crayon bank because she always wanted one. It's my favorite color - maybe I should ask Mark for one? On second thought, Lauren would probably take it for herself.


Speaking of Mark, here's another bride and groom, although we've logged quite a few years from our wedding day.

52 Weeks of 2014 - Week 32


Once again, I'm working to catch up the blog. I took these a couple of weeks ago, but I was too lazy to post them. Anyway, this little terrarium came from Longwood Gardens. Lauren begged us to get her one. It's certainly better than yet another stuffed animal.

Dormer desk.

As part of the never ending re-do, Mark built this desk into one of the dormer's in Lauren's room. It's typically covered with more random trinkets, so I staged it for the photo.

Here comes the sun.

Lastly, here's a bonus photo of the sunflowers that Lauren grew. Remember how they started out?

Sunday, August 3, 2014

52 Weeks of 2014 - Week 31

Black and white.

It took me all day, but I'm finally caught up. A few weeks ago, we got a new cover for our couch, and I've been wanting to take Cookie's photo on it because it's actually not white like the rest of our furniture. The fact that Lauren had put her zebra blanket on the couch was a lucky coincidence.

Sunday nap.

And as usual when I take her portrait, I bored Cookie to sleep!