Thankful for Traditions

This is our fourth Christmas in our house (which is hard to believe), and when I think about our Christmas Traditions it’s usually in the context of, “When we have a family, every Christmas we should…”

What I fail to realize when I look to the future instead of focusing on the present, is that organically over the past four years we’ve started some family traditions of our own. Like how at the end of every year we SWEAR we’re going to get rid of our worn out, dog attacked artificial tree and get a new one. But every year that tree ends up back in storage only to make another appearance next Christmas. And every year we put it up, decorate the hell out of it, and sit on our couch to proudly admire our handy work proclaiming that, “Ya know, that tree isn’t so bad after all.”

And when it comes to our outside lights, well that’s a whole other production. Every year it seems our tradition involves Joey picking the coldest night of the season to date, and heading out to the shed in an outfit that’s entirely inappropriate for the weather and/or yard work to rummage around for last year’s lights only to determine that several strands don’t work anymore. What follows is a late night trip to Ace Hardware, a dinner that will need to be reheated later, and me laughing as I sit on the couch watching girly tv shows while the dogs run from the downstairs windows to the upstairs ones desperately trying to figure out what Daddy’s doing outside. A couple of hours later, Joey comes in with a proud look on his face, I fake annoyance at having to bundle up for a trip outside when I’m perfectly content (and warm) inside, and then I get walked borderline execution style down our front path to the street where I count to three before turning around for a Clark Griswald style reveal.

Naturally, our outdoor lights end up looking awesomely ridiculous, we declare ourselves the unofficial blue ribbon winners of the non-existent neighborhood light competition, and then we call it a night.

I do love our little traditions.

Belly Laughs

Can we all just agree that one of the best feelings in the world is laughing so hard it hurts? I’m not just talking about a good laugh, I’m talking about the can’t-catch-your-breath, tears-coming-out-of-your-eyes, abdominal-and-cheek-muscles-hurt kind of laugh.

I spent the afternoon in Baltimore finalllly catching up with Kacie, and I can’t think of a better way to spend a cold winter’s Saturday than lunch, shopping, ice cream and non-stop chatting with an amazing friend. I finally got to see Kacie’s pictures from her honeymoon in Antiqua, and the photos and video of their zip lining excursion had us both on the floor laughing.

Lets just say we figured out how to view the video of Kacie’s zip line attempt frame-by-frame. And lets just say Kacie may have had the most ungraceful landing in zip lining history.

Exhibit A.

Wait for it…..

Waaaaiiiittttt for ittttt…..



I swear that screenshot gets more amazing everytime I see it. In case you’re wondering how it ends, the force of the landing bounced her halfway back up the zip line, and then she gracefully hand-over-hand pulled herself back in with a smile on her face the entire time. There’s totally a metaphor for life in there, I’m just too tired to pull it out.

Hope your weekend if full of laughter. The hurts so good kind.

Memory Lane

I’m on a kick of trying to put things back in their place this week. You know, like the scarf hanging over the chair that you walk past 5 times 10 times for two weeks before finally putting it away in the closet. But when I grabbed a stack of books off a kitchen stool to put them away on the bookshelves upstairs, I got a little sidetracked when I realized one of them was Joey’s high school senior yearbook. 1999-2000. The year we met. Time for a trip down memory lane.

I flipped through the pages, cracked up over Joey’s “Best Eyes” superlative picture, and nearly fell off my chair when I came across the message I had written. It was a FULL PAGE in length and sprinkled with puppy-love sentiments (along with typos – “your graduating” and “salade” oy!) like “I’m going to miss you soooo much when you’re at senior week” and “The last 7 months have been the best of my life.” Gosh Mom, didn’t you teach me about playing hard to get??

The thing about memory lane is that on some levels it feels like you’re reading the story of someone else’s life. I hardly remember the girl who wrote those words, in fact she makes me cringe a little. But at the same time, I can close my eyes and remember, like it was yesterday, the feeling of sitting in the passenger seat of Joey’s car, we’re listening to Limp Bizkit and driving faster than we should so I’d be home before curfew. My goodness we were cool.

While I would never want to go back and do it all over again, memory lane reminds us of where we came from, where certain life stories started, and just how far we’ve come. It’s good to take a trip there every now and then.

Even if the trip looks like this…

Joey’s senior prom. I’m pretty sure I had cornrows if you look close.

God Made Yellow Labs Cute For a Reason

Labs are notorious chewers. And now that I have experience raising two yellow lab puppies, I’m convinced that the reason they are so darn cute is because their survival depends on it.

Ever since I posted this you all have been asking, “What did Riggo do???”  I’ll start by saying that it’s definitely the proverbial “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me,” scenario. You all remember what happened to the wooden arms of our chair when we first started leaving Riggo out of his crate (find a reminder here). Well after that incident it was back to the crate. Then as time went on, we thought we’d give it another go around.

Everything was going great. He spent all week out of the crate, and the worst thing we came home to was a moved chair and some blankets from his crate chewed up on the floor (no doubt from a game of tug-o-war). We thought we were in the clear.

Famous last thought.

After going up to New Jersey for the afternoon for my cousin’s graduation party, we came home only to find pieces of leather sofa scattered about the room. That’s right. Leather. Sofa. Lets survey the damage…

Every time I tell the story, the first question is, “How do you know it wasn’t Moose?” Well, for one, Moose has never ever, in all his chewing escapades (shoes, tupperware, books, pot holders), gone after furniture. And two, definitive confirmation came as Riggo pooped leather couch for the next couple of days. Honestly, I am fully aware of how lucky we are that we haven’t had to spend $5k on emergency surgery for either of these dogs. (Yes, I just knocked on wood, rubbed a rabbit’s foot and stuck a horseshoe in my pocket.)

The culprit and the crime scene…

Needless to say, Riggo won himself a one-way ticket back to crateland. Which is fine because, like Moose, he really does love and feel safe in his crate. We’ll try again when he turns one. And because we know that there are still no promises that when we try again, it won’t happen again, we’ve opted to cover this multitude of sins with the good ‘ol Redskins blanket…

Why do I feel like WE are the ones in the dog house?

Strangers in the Night

No, this isn’t some romantic Frank Sinatra song but rather a ridiculous story of the incident that happened last night in our bathroom. Stay with me, I promise it gets better…actually, this may end up being one of those ‘you had to be there’ stories, but my blog, my story.

In the spirit of trying not to get all TMI on you, the story starts with me waking up a 3am and having to pee. So, if you’re like me, when you have to get up for a middle of the night potty break, you know the last thing you want to do is turn on the lights. I half-sleep walk across the dark room, carefully avoiding sleeping puppies, and proceed into the dark bathroom.

Well about 10 seconds later, me in a compromising position, a dark figure appears in the dark doorway. Of course it’s Joey – who else would it be – but in my half-slumber state, and his nyquil-induced delerium, neither of us were expecting to run into anyone else in the bathroom at 3am. The soundtrack went a little something like this…



Me: AHHHHHHHHHHH, HOLY…what are you doing?!?!

J:  Oh my god…what the heck…WHY ARE YOU IN THE DARK?!?!

I’m surprised our neighbors didn’t call the cops! We scared the crap out of each other (pun intended). Fast forward all of a minute, and once we got back into bed we couldn’t stop laughing. Like tears coming out of your eyes kind of laughter.

Moral of the story…well, I don’t really think there is one. But the last thing Joey said before we went back to sleep was, “Now that’s something you have to post on your blog.” Posted.

The Incredible Switch of Good Dog, Bad Dog

I haven’t written much about what a good puppy Riggo has been in the 3 months we’ve had him, so to sum it up he’s pretty mellow, never whines, he isn’t nippy, he isn’t destructive, he took to his crate right away and picked up potty training in record time. basically, he immediately became the Jekyll to Moose’s sock-eating, shoe-chewing, whiny, hyper Hyde. And now that you have the back story, I give you the tale of the incredible switch of Good Dog, Bad Dog.

Since Riggo has been such a good dog he has been enjoying some early perks, such as when we leave the house for short periods of time we let little Rigs out of his crate to enjoy first-floor freedom with his big brother. He seemed to be enjoying the new privilege, but last night the 5-month-old little stinker let us know in very clear terms that our move was premature.

What? Is his cuteness distracting you? The little “look at my cute flipped-ear” move throwing you off? He’s a clever one! Let me give you a closer look…

And one more just to drive this puppy home…

O yes, Riggo decided to make a snack out of the chair arms.  If the dog hair didn’t tip off our vistors, this chair now definitely screams “A YELLOW LAB LIVES HERE.”

Moose was destructive in his own way, grabbing things off the table, out of closets and off of counters. But never once, never ONCE, did he ever bother with our furniture. It should also be noted that Moose, at 2+ years old, has *mostly* outgrown his “while the parents are away, the dog will play” mentality. He finally learned that chewing random objects doesn’t lead to anything good.

So while of course I’m upset over a destroyed chair, it also makes me laugh to imagine Riggo just going to town on those wooden arms and Moose sitting back thinking, “Duuuude, you’re gonna get in sooooo much trouble.”

Moose = Good Dog. Riggo = Bad Dog. It’s a funny, mixed up world we live in.

Trip to Black Ankle Vineyards

Awesome friends: Check. Good wine: Check. Good food: Check. Good times: check, check, check.

Had a wonderful afternoon with a group of great friends at Black Ankle Vineyards in Mt. Airy, Maryland. The vineyard was beautiful and the wine was delicious (albeit a little on the expensive side, but definitely worth it). The only thing that would have made this day better was a little bit of sunshine, but hey, what are you gonna do?

I leave you now with the rarest of all jumping pictures, the never before seen quint-unison-jump!


Now for the outtake reel:

The “Jumped the Gun” Jump Shot

The "Just a Smidge Too Early" Jump Shot

The "Not Too Shabby but We Can Do Better" Jump Shot

The "So Diana Thinks She Can Dance" Jump Shot

The "My Friends are Amazing For Jumping One Last Time" Jump Shot

Thank you so much to Joey, Kat, Chris, Sara, Emily B., Kacie, Bill, Emily E. and Mike for coming out to Black Ankle for the afternoon for a little day-drinking to celebrate my birthday! You all are the best! xoxoxo