Friday, December 11, 2009

Aida Roadruck | A Dog Named Christmas

I entered a pic of Aida in a photo contest for Hallmark and she needs your votes! We only have until the 15th of this month to vote! Tell everyone you know to vote for Aida!

Sorry for the late notice. :)

Aida Roadruck A Dog Named Christmas

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Thursday, December 03, 2009

Meet Riley....

Ben and I have gotten a foster dog. His name was Roy, but we renamed him Riley which means "Valiant Warrior" in Irish. He's had a bit of a rough start. He was found locked up and tied down in a shed on the edge of someone's property. The owners of the property had just purchased the house and heard a dog barking and thought it was a neighbors dog. About two weeks later the owner was taking a walk and heard the barking again. He followed the bark to a shed where he had to break through the lock and found a dog tied down inside. The dog (Roy) couldn't even stand up because he was so weak. They figure he was locked in there for at least two weeks, probably longer.

Despite his rough start, this 80 pound, 1 year old dog doesn't have a mean bone in his body. He is just one big lovable goof. Although we named him Riley (for now) we have called him many other names since we picked him up 6 hours ago including, "Shit for Brains", "Damnit!", "Gomer Pyle," and the list goes on. Riley has claimed a specific wall....twice, as well as trying to claim our poor innocent Aida. He's still in tact....that will be corrected right quick and in a hurry.

All he wants to do is play. He can jump up in the air 6+ feet to catch a ball. He is absolutely skin and bones and once he gains some weight should be at least 100 pounds. But he is a lovable guy. Hopefully he'll be adopted soon and have a new start in life. :)

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Vote Today!

Right now there is a site called "The Animal Rescue Site" that is having a contest to award $20,000 in grants to your favorite animal shelter/organization. All you have to do is go to the site and vote every day for your shelter/organization of choice. Since Ben and I have become involved with the Virginia German Shepherd Rescue I would like to ask you to vote for them, however if you have another rescue organization you are involved with please vote for them.

Just visit:

Then go to the side tab labeled "Shelter Challenge" and cast your vote. You don't have to register or even enter your email address, but the limit is one vote per computer per day. If voting for VGSR (Virginia German Shepherd Rescue) simply type in the name where prompted.

Please help us out in trying to move up in the rankings. Right now VGSR is ranked number 139 in the US. Thanks!

*I should be posting Thanksgiving pics later today! :)*

Monday, November 16, 2009

A Welcome Visitor

This little (actually he was quite big) guy was on our sidewalk when Aida and I got back from our walk. I ran inside and grabbed my camera. It has been so long since I've seen a praying mantis. I then had to go outside and rescue him as he was still on our sidewalk and the kids from the neighborhood were out playing basketball in the culdesac and they usually end up running thru our yard and i didn't want him to get smashed.

My good deed for the day. :)

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Oink Oink!/O-H-I-O!

So these past weeks have been interesting.

We went back Ohio for our good friend's wedding reception several weeks ago. We had a great time and were so happy to be able to attend. Here are the pics from the wedding:

After the weekend was over we headed back to Virginia with Dad. We asked him to come spend the week with us as we were going to head back to Ohio, yet again, the following weekend for Daniel's Homecoming game at Ohio State. That week Dad cracked the whip. He was our resident handyman, landscaper and dog whisperer....let me explain. He wanted to help out around the house by organizing our garage and fixing a hole where he and Ben had previously turned a gas pipe around to hook up our grill. One of the days he went all "Edward Scissorhands" on our landscaping. Five yard bags, a cut extension cord and several scrapes later, we had finished trimming the front yard. And now for my favorite descriptor, "dog whisperer." One night I made pot roast. Ben and Dad were in and out working on the lawn mower (the handyman was tweaking it). Dad wanted to test it out and opened our double gate to the backyard and walked up to the garage to get the mower. Once he got to the mower it wasn't working quite right so he went back to the basement. All the while I was in the kitchen working on dinner. I called them both up for dinner. Ben came up, but Dad was still in the basement working on something. I got the thinking, "Where is Aida?" She hadn't been hovering around in the kitchen like usual. I called down and asked Dad if she was in the basement with him. He replied, "Isn't she up there with you?..." "No." Dad says, "OH S*%#!!!!!!!" It turns out, while Ben and Dad were in and out, they let the dog out, forgot she was out, and also forgot that the gate was open. So she had feasibly been "out on the town" for an hour. So we all went out into the dark yelling for Aida (who wasn't wearing a collar). After about 2 minutes I see a shadow come running towards me from around the pond. It was a smelly, soaking wet, Aida. She had apparently taken a dip in the pond chasing the geese no doubt. Dinner was put on hold while we gave Aida a bath. It was quite the eventful night.

Back to Ohio we went to see Daniel on Homecoming Court. We had a great time. It was my first Ohio State game and we had the best seats. It was a little cold, but we were so happy to be there for Daniel. Although he didn't win King, we are still so proud of him and think that it is amazing that he was on the court. Here are the pics from the Homecoming weekend. I also have another album on my web albums that are pics from the camera Daniel had so make sure to check it out.

After returning from Ohio, I came down with it....the dreaded H1N1...the Swine Flu! I must say, i wouldn't want to get the pig flu again, but it certainly wasn't the gloom and doom the media has portrayed it to be. Ben called off work one day to take care of me (he's so sweet) and as long as I routinely took Tylenol or Advil I was able to keep my fever down. But i'm better now and hopefully we won't have to deal with the oink flu again!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Under the Knife (again)

It has been a year now since Ben's infamous accident at work. And although he has been able to be back at work, full duty, since April this past year, he has been in a lot of pain. So after his one year checkup with his surgeon a third surgery has been scheduled. Come December 14, 2009, Ben will bid ado to his plate and nine screws that have taken up residence in his right wrist since his surgery last year. The surgery brings hope that he will regain more mobility and less pain in the future.

He will be out of work for 2 to 3 months letting his "swiss-cheese" of a bone heal. And with any luck, this will be the very last surgery having to do with his wrists. So stay tuned for some more pics of his surgery battle wounds after December 14th.... :)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Well S@#*!

It finally happened. Our beloved "boob-tube" of a television has called it quits. Unfortunately, Ben and I cannot afford a new television at this point (way too many more important things to spend our money on I suppose).

Ever since we got the TV (a hand-me-down from Ben's parents) about a year and a half ago it has been warning us that it wasn't going to last by randomly turning itself off. In order to get the damn thing to turn back on we had to unplug it and wait a minute or two and then plug it back in and push the power button. Sometimes it would take several attempts, but usually after two or three tries we would get it back on. Yesterday, however, the TV threw a fit. It turned off while Ben was watching something and so he went through the process of unplugging, etc. After about five attempts, several cursings, and a slamming of the cabinet door, Ben gave up. Then he was off to work. I left the TV alone for a few hours and tried it again. It turned on, SUCCESS!...then it shut off. I tried again and again to no avail. So I unplugged it and let it be for the night.

I came home from church (I was being a good little Catholic girl :) ) and hoped that the TV would work while I ate my lunch. It doesn't even show a picture anymore before it shuts off. Oh well. Back to the stone age of no television (in the living room) we go.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Our Wonderful Visit

Ben and I recently had the pleasure of having Mom, Dad, Aunt Martha and Uncle Larry come to our home and stay for the weekend. We had a blast. I can't remember the last time we've laughed so hard. We visited wineries, local restaurants, Skyline Drive, the State Arboretum, and just hung out around the house. We played several rounds of Cranium which brought out the acting and humming talents of everyone...i never knew we had such a talented family. Uncle Larry's rendition of Bill Cosby moved me to tears...literally...I laughed so hard i cried. Mom nailed an impression of Robert Deniro. It was good time had by all. We can't wait for everyone to come back and visit.

Other than the visit there have been a few other happenings. I visited the ER at the local hospital the morning before we had our visitors. Nothing serious, I just had Vertigo. Wouldn't recommend that to sucks. But I am all better now. Ben is going in for surgery number 3 probably in December (it's not scheduled yet). His doctor felt that the plate and screws that are still in his right wrist were impeding his range of motion and causing him some discomfort and pain. Therefor the plate and nine screws are going to be removed and he'll be out of work for 2-3 months.

That's about all the updates for now. Hope you all enjoy the pictures!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Update Time!!!!!

It has been awhile since I have updated our blog. So here are several updates all in one post...

First, Ben's 24th Birthday (July 17)...

Next, Daniel and Sara came to visit us one weekend and we hit up a couple wineries...

On our brief trip home in early August we met Connor McGuiness...he was adorable!...

And for the final update, our trip to North Carolina...

I didn't put any of the pics from the wedding in this album because there are so many. But if you are interested they are in an album on my web albums page...

I think that's all the updates for now. Sorry it's so pictorial, but a picture's worth a thousand words...

Monday, July 13, 2009

Missing our Houseguests...

I left off with Thursday in my last post. So Friday was our last day with Mom and Dad. So we decided to take Aida up to Sherando Park. We walked around the lake and the park for a little while, but the bugs were definitely out to get us so we headed back to the house. Mom and Dad had planned on working on some projects with us while they were here, but with Ben getting sick our projects were put on hold. But Mom and Dad did get a bunch of little things done like trimming our bushes and staking a tree so it stood up correctly. Ben and Dad fixed our shower light (it kept turning off after 10 minutes or so because it turned out to have the wrong watt bulbs) and fixed some of the recessed lights that weren't flush to the ceiling.

So after all the the little fixes, I made Peppermint Penguin Drinks (we were out of Kahlua, so no Dirty Bananas). Peppermint Penguins have Oreos, Mint Chocolate Baileys, Creme De Menthe, ice and milk. They are delicious. Then Mom and I challenged Dad and Ben in air hockey...they won. So Mom and Dad said their goodbyes to Ben since he was working on Saturday and we all headed to bed.

Saturday, Dad got all the suitcases packed and by the front door. But with a little sweet talking, Dad and Mom decided to stay a couple extra days. Ben and I were very excited. So while Ben worked on Saturday, Mom, Dad and I headed into DC to visit with Daniel. We went to Capitol City Brewery right next to Union Station. Dad was so hungry he ordered a bowl of chili as an appetizer, a black bean burger with cilantro rice and red cabbage (you can do the math on the sounds of evening from Dad after that lunch....) Along with that monster lunch, we had onion rings as an appetizer and were given complimentary soft pretzels. After lunch we walked around the Capitol building and then headed back to Daniel's townhouse where he packed up to spend the night at our house.

Sunday, we all headed out early to Skyline Drive. We drove about 25 miles into the park stopping at every overlook. Once we finished with our outing we went to lunch at Glory Days grill, shopping at Costco and back to the house for some Wii. Then Mom and Dad drove Daniel back into DC. Our visit was over.

Mom and Dad left this morning. Ben and I were both sad to see them leave. Although they were worried about "over staying their welcome" Ben and I would have happily had them stay even longer. A little over a week and we still didn't get to do everything we wanted. But we look forward to the next visit. :)

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Our Fun Visit...

Our visit with Mom and Dad has been absolutely wonderful. Ben and I have been having so much fun. Sadly, our visit is almost done. But here is a recap of the past week:
Friday- Ben picked Daniel up from the metro station on his way home from work Friday morning. Mom and Dad showed up about noon or so. So we all made a trip to Costco (a must of course!) and picked up a pizza from there for lunch....they have really good pizza. That evening we made these huge sirloin steaks on the grill, which made everyone very happy.
Saturday- Ben had to work, but I took Daniel, Mom and Dad out for a little drive around Stephens City to show them the park and other little places. Then we headed over to Ben and my friend Julie's house for a cookout/pool party. That evening we came back to the house and watched the fireworks from the upstairs window. It was great because we could see the big fireworks display from the house and didn't have to worry about bugs or traffic. :)
Sunday- We went to breakfast at Cracker Barrel, took Daniel shopping for clothes and groceries, and took him back to DC. We had dinner at Bertucci's (a great little Italian place) and we were quite the noisy group. We weren't really all that bad, but we laughed a lot. :)
Monday-Ben worked again. Dad's poison ivy (from the last time they visited, two weeks prior) was still really bad so we decided to take a trip to the walk in clinic. 3 hours later, Dad was diagnosed as still having poison ivy, and was put on some meds. So then Mom, Dad and I went up to Costco where I found the most perfect kitchen table. We were in the Camry so I couldn't buy it just yet, so instead we headed to a gardening store where they had everything on sale. I needed to get some insecticide for our dogwoods and I bought Sparkler Roses for around our mailbox. I decided I definitely wanted to get the table from Costco to surprise Ben the next day, so we went back up to Costco, bought the table and tried to fit it into the highlander and didn't fit completely so we had to call in reinforcements (our friend Julie).
Tuesday- We planned to go canoeing on Tuesday. However, Ben came home from work really sick. He barely even noticed/mentioned the new table and went straight upstairs. He ended up having some pretty classic food poisoning symptoms (vomiting, etc). But then he started having some abnormal chest pains. After awhile, we were on our way to the ER. After about 6 hours, 2 IV fluid bags, and a shot of Dilaudid, the diagnoses was a "jolted" esophagus and a strained muscle from vomiting. And the doctor wasn't sure if it was food poisoning or a gastrointestinal virus. My money was on the food poisoning. He was sent home with two scripts. The one was Zofran, a med to calm the stomach and prevent vomiting. However, after taking this particular med his temperature shot up to 102.6 and he was having horrible headaches. Turns out that these are side-effects of Zofran. He hasn't taken anymore Zofran.
Wednesday-Ben was still not feeling super well (who could blame him!) so we took it easy. We took a drive to Middleburg. Middleburg is this cute little town in the middle of horse country. We went to Wylie Wagg to order Aida a new address tag and then to lunch at the Red Horse Tavern. On the drive back we stopped in the Virginia State Arboretum. Ben slept in the car while Mom, Dad and I walked around. It was beautiful. The building on the property was the old slave quarters which has been converted into dormitories for visiting students and scientists. Once we got back home, Ben took another nap and we filled Aida's pool and let her go "swimming." She ended up drinking so much water that she peed on the floor and even did a happy dance to go outside again (she stood at the door shifting her weight from one back leg to the other).
Thursday- Since Ben was feeling much better, we went canoeing (we took a raft instead of a canoe so we could all go together). We had a great time. We decided to go on a 7 mile trip. As soon as we got in the water we saw a deer and a crane. We saw several cranes throughout the trip, and some turtles, fish and even a beaver! The trip was a blast. Mom and Ben got a little sunburnt, but we would all like to go again sometime! I think Mom would even be up for a few more rapids!

So that is the update so far. We aren't sure what our plans are for tomorrow. But we are looking forward to another fun day. Here are some pics from the week:

Friday, June 26, 2009

How cute is my Cousin?!

Here is a YouTube video of my adorable cousin Sebastian...

Makes you want to drink lots of tea. :)

Thursday, June 04, 2009

The Greenest Thumb

Ben and I have finished another item on our "to-do" list. We finally have planted our vegetable garden. And believe me, it was no easy task! To start off, the area we used for the garden was absolutely infested with weeds. I'm talking about 1 to 2 foot tall joke. Not to mention the irritating weeds that are like vines that subsequently strangled out all the real plants that were initially growing in that area. But after the long grueling hours of weeding we were able to begin work on our garden.

We planted: Tomatoes, zucchini, squash, green beans, romaine lettuce, carrots, and cucumbers. I'm hoping we have "green thumbs" and that all our hard work will pay off in the end. I will keep the blog updated as to the progress of our garden...wish us luck! :)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Memorial Day 2009

Our friend's Matt and Cat came to visit us for Memorial Day weekend. We had a really good time and were already making plans for their next visit before they even left! The first day we took a walk around the complex, went to the Stephens City/Newtown Festival, and had a cookout. The next day we headed out to the Shenandoah River State Park. It was beautiful. We went on about 3 miles of trails and got about 3 dozen bug bites! That night we went to dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, Glory Days Grill, to celebrate Matt and Cat's birthdays. Of course in between all our fun, we got in a few games on the Wii.

Overall it was a wonderful visit and we definitely look forward to another visit! :)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Alright you Bird Lovers....

Does anyone know what kind of bird this is? It was sitting on our fence yesterday morning and both Ben and I are puzzled as to what kind of bird it is....

It took all of 10 minutes, but Aunt Martha figured out the bird mystery. It is a Green Heron. Pretty cool I think. It seems that it was not quite full grown (a little smaller than a crow). Hopefully I will see it again this summer! :) Thanks Aunt Martha!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Before and progress

Ben and I have been busy getting the house unpacked and trying to make the house feel like our home. So I thought it would be nice to take some "after" pictures to compare to the pictures I took a couple of months back. We are still in the process of fixing up a few things here and there, so as we complete our never-ending project list I will post more pictures...or you could just come see for yourselves :).

Monday, May 11, 2009

I'm so Proud....

Ben and I were very excited to be able to join Mom, Dad and Nathan to surprise Daniel at Ohio State for the Sphinx Senior Honorary induction last Friday. Mom and Dad received a notification back in early April stating that Daniel was to be inducted into the 103rd class of the Sphinx Senior Honorary. The induction was to be a surprise for Daniel as he was going to be "ambushed" by the current members and taken to the ceremony where his family would be there to see him.

It turns out that they got a key to his room and yanked him out of bed at 7:00am for the induction. He is then "linked" with a current member who turned out to be one of the very first friends he made at Ohio State. I can't remember her name, but she was very nice.

Daniel was completely shocked to see the family already there. And I must say, I have never seen Daniel smile as much as he did that day. He was absolutely beaming all day, as he should have been. We were all so proud of him. It was a really big deal that he was inducted into this honorary society. Only up to 24 students out of the entire Ohio State Senior Class are chosen, based on scholarship, leadership and their contribution to the school.

Daniel deserved it. I think the Sphinx are lucky to have him. I am so proud of my brother.

Friday, April 17, 2009


Meet Cheddar. He's my new mouse pet.....Not really. But we caught him/her, FINALLY! And he is now enjoying his new home in Sherando Park (a little over a mile away). Although he won't have minty-fresh pillows and a shmorgous-board of food at his disposal, he at least didn't have his end in a snap mouse trap.
We came home from dinner and Ben was outside with his parents and I was in the living room when I saw it out of the corner of my eye. I called Ben in and slowly backed over to the flashlight on the counter. Without thinking it through, Ben lifted the love seat and I laid on the ground with the flashlight. The mouse came out from under the couch like a bat out of hell right towards me. He took one look at my eager "I'm-a going to catch you!" face and made a quick turn to the right and headed into the dining room. He hid underneath the dry sink and so Ben and I ended up pulling the dry sink out at an angle and barricaded the exit with the bucket that I had originally set up in the kitchen.
So there you have it. We have successfully caught ourselves a mouse. We hope/pray that Cheddar was our only "house guest."

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Mouse Hunt

The last several days have been frustrating. We seem to have mice taking up residence in our walls. We have remedied the bird in the vent situation. Turns out Ben's handy work with the hardware cloth covering the vent outside has indeed done the trick. The bird tried to get back in the next day, but the cover Ben made stopped it.

So back to the last few days. Last night we heard the mouse again. He/she is chewing on something around the outlet behind the stove (confirmed by Ben and his stethoscope). So Ben and I positioned ourselves on either side of the outlet and as Ben unscrewed the outlet, I stood with gloved hands and a flashlight ready to catch the little bugger. But to no avail, the mouse was not there. We both stood there waiting and eventually I did see the mouse crawl up and later, back down the insulation. Cute little thing. But a pain in the ass nonetheless.

So we set up our traps and went to bed. Today I checked out the trap to find that the mouse did in fact find his way into the trap and defecated all over the place in it. It seemed as though the mouse was in there quite awhile, but was able to eventually get out. So I went to the store, bought more traps, and a plug-in for the wall that transmits waves through the electrical wires and apparently mice can't take the high pitched sound. The other day Ben and I bought some of the same type of wall plug-ins at Costco (bulk pack) but they don't transmit the sound waves through the wires or through walls. But I am still trying them in other rooms.

Now for the picture above. Those are all the "tools" I am using for my mouse hunt: Traps, food, electronic sound things and moth balls. I have also fashioned two homemade traps. I've used a bucket and a trash can and made a ramp up to each with cardboard. I then put peanut butter on a graham cracker, and some cereal and sunflower seeds in the bucket and trash can. I am hoping the little critter(s) will make their way up the ramp and will be in the "trap" in the morning. I told Mom that I think God and Grandma are having a good ol' time watching me try and trap these pests like a crazy woman. I still have a sense of humor about the situation, but I am really wanting to rid our house of mice for good.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Things that Scurry in the Night....

Well, on top of our bird in the vent we have some other visitors.

I'll start with my day yesterday. I was sitting on the couch when I heard the bumping/scratching/chirping in the wall again. That meant that although Ben sealed up the vent from the outside, the bird was still on the inside. Damn. So I called the pest guy and he said he'd be out between 2 and 4. I got a call from him at 12:30 asking if he could come now. So of course i agreed. I was in the middle of straightening up and as I was wiping down the counter tops, I looked at the paper towel that I used and was shocked to see small brown mouse droppings. Damn again. So when the pest guy showed up, he confirmed what I already knew, those were in fact mouse turds.

Being that I am an animal lover, the thought of buying those horrible snap traps made me sick. The pest guy said that they bait for mice with a poison that dries them from the inside out. Sounds like a good time. He also mentioned that we may find the dried carcasses around and it is ok if the dog eats them because there is not a secondary poison. It may be ok for him to let his dog eat mouse carcass, but it is not ok with me. Not to mention, once I researched this method of extermination I read about the awful smell of the rotting mice carcasses in the walls. I think i'll pass.

I don't want my house infested with mice, so I decided to research some humane ways to rid us of our unwelcome visitors. I read all about the Havahart traps (but they're expensive) and I also read that mice can't take the smell of peppermint. So the site recommended putting peppermint oil on cotton balls and placing them in areas where you've seen evidence of mice. So I thought, what a great, easy, and safe way to get rid of the rodents! So I set several cotton balls soaked in peppermint around the areas I found the mouse poop.

This morning, I discovered that this method DOES NOT WORK. I believe I may have given the little critters some nesting materials with a fresh peppermint scent. A few of the cotton balls have been commandeered by our newest house guests.

We are going to buy some traps today. They are humane live traps that we can catch and release the mice (a couple miles away of course). I know it is probably not the method that most people would implement, but I am really hoping it works for us.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Things that go Bump in the Walls...

The last few days Ben and I have been frantically trying to get work done around the house. Although one would think that taking one task at a time would be the way to go, we have implemented the ADD method. Every day we come up with a plan of action-i.e. Today we are going to finish putting up the closet organizer. Simple enough. But then we get side tracked and instead go up to Home Depot and buy peg board for Ben's work room area only after we meet our friend Julie (our realtor) and her family for lunch at the annual Kiwanis Pancake Luncheon. And after we buy the peg board and eat pancakes, we sweep up the garage and put books in the book case in the office. That was our day on Saturday.
So today (Monday) we both said, we are going to work on the closet and get it completely finished so we don't have to live out of boxes anymore. I guess you could say our ADD set in, but for good reason. Let me explain. I was in the living room eating breakfast when I heard a noise in the kitchen. Thinking it was Ben rustling around in the pantry I asked him what he was doing. He replied he was working on the computer in the office. So then I got a bit freaked. Could it be mice? A rat? A Raccoon? Or maybe it was just my imagination. Then I heard it again. So I called Ben into the room. Of course by the time he came in, the noise had stopped.
So a little later the noise started again and this time it was a bit louder. It sounded like thumping and rodent nails on a hard surface. Ben heard the noise this time and started opening cabinets and pulling out the oven....all the while my wussy self was standing on the couch. Yes, that's right, the girl who once had rats as pets was standing on the couch like the stereotypical girl hiding from a mouse. But I must defend my actions. The sound was far too heavy for a mere mouse or rat.
We called the pest service and the soonest they could come out for an inspection was Tuesday. So we settled back down until we heard the noise again. So Ben ran outside to the side of the house where the noise was coming from and discovered a very large black bird flying out of our microwave hood vent. It wasn't as big as a crow but it was big enough.
So instead of working on the the closet today we ended up going up to our new favorite store Home Depot to buy some hardware fabric to cover the vent. And of course Ben needed a ladder, so we had to go purchase one of those too. I almost think Ben trained that blasted bird to fly into our vents so he could have an excuse to buy the ladder he had been coveting at Costco. :)
After we were finished with blocking the bird vent i walked around the yard and took some pictures of the flowers that are blooming. I know what some of them are, but I am still unsure about a lot of them.
I know Dad would call this whole experience the "joys of home-ownership" but I would hardly call it a joy. It's more like one of the "pains in the ass of home-ownership." :)

Sunday, March 29, 2009


I have finally found my card reader so I was able to put some pictures on the blog. I am hoping to be able to take some pictures of the house and do some before and after pics, but first we have to get all the boxes unpacked; So stay tuned for those pics in about a year! :)
We are officially getting our internet hooked up on Tuesday, so for now we are "borrowing" someone else's unsecured network. For now I am trying to limit the amount of time spent online. But I wanted to make sure I put some pictures up, so here they are.
I will blog soon!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Home Sweet Home

I will keep this post brief, as both Ben and I are exhausted! But, we are officially moved into our new home! I still wake up every morning thinking I am at our apartment and am startled to open my eyes to such a large bedroom. Aida has had no problems adjusting to the new place. She loves running in the backyard and throughout the house and I think she is finally getting to burn off some of that excess energy she's been building up.

We had so much fun with Mom, Dad, Daniel, Nathan and Liz over the weekend and were very grateful for their help in moving and getting (somewhat) settled. We both tried our best to convince them to stay another day, but it didn't work. :(

I did take a few pictures and will be posting them as soon as I can find my SD card reader amongst the many boxes that still lay unpacked. Ben goes back to work tomorrow (he called off Friday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday) and he will finally be returning to full duty on Sunday!!!!

I am off to bed. I will try my best to post promises. :)

Monday, March 16, 2009

Teach An Old Dog New Tricks

Just thought this was funny. Every once in awhile, as many dog owners can attest to, a dog pukes just because. This morning was one of those moments. I heard Aida get up and walk around a little bit before the unmistakable gagging sound began. So I jumped out of bed to find her standing by the bathroom door. This was a really good sign.

You see, every time Aida begins her about-to-puke warning sounds, I rush her into the bathroom and have her put her head over the toilet where she then proceeds to spew into the toilet bowl. Brilliant! I have to say if you can teach a dog to puke into a toilet, that would save your carpet and one's gag reflex from the bile and nasty stuff that comes out.

So back to this morning; After I opened the bathroom door, Aida went directly over to the toilet (Score!). Needless to say, I did not have any cleaning up to do. :)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Best Laid Plans....

Our apartment looks like chaos. I bet if you looked up the word "chaos" in the dictionary, there would be a picture of our apartment. There are boxes everywhere along with tape guns, bubble wrap, permanent markers and random possessions. I can't wait to move it all out of the apartment and in turn make the house the new poster child of chaos. :)

Today Ben and I attempted to rid our apartment of some of the many boxes. We loaded up the Highlander and headed out to the storage unit. After unloading the boxes, we headed over to the house to commence cleaning day # 2. We had everything figured out; We were going to clean the rest of the kitchen (the upper cabinets, the appliances, and the floor), paint the pantry shelves and touch up the carpet with the handheld steam cleaner. I was thinking, "this won't take long..." I was wrong.

We arrived at the house at about 11:00am. I forgot to bring a sponge to clean the refrigerator parts, etc, so we ran up to CVS (right around the corner). After CVS we swung over to Subway to get something to eat. So we really didn't start cleaning until Noon. Long story short, we finished at 7:30pm.....and I didn't get the kitchen floor or upper cabinets cleaned. It took me a couple hours to clean the refrigerator alone! Cleaning by ourselves definitely made us appreciate even more having Mom and Dad there to help us last weekend!

But we are very excited to get into the house. Ben said that he likes the house more every time we go into it. And I feel more like it's really OUR house each time we go. We have less than a week to go until moving day, I can't wait!

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Happy Birthday and Happy Cleaning!

Our visit with Mom and Dad has come to an end, but we are looking forward to seeing them in less than two weeks for the big move!

The visit started off with a surprise, as Mom and Dad weren't supposed to be arriving until 1:30ish on Thursday afternoon. I had planned on vacuuming that morning and then heading up to the store to pick up a few things (coffee, drinks, etc). I got up, showered, vacuumed and got sucked into watching Fried Green Tomatoes on HBO (I had never seen it before!) . So there I sat, in my robe and pajamas and my hair in a towel. I figured, "I have plenty of time!" Somewhere around 11:30, mom called and said they were a couple hours away and asked if they should stop to eat lunch or wait until they got in. She also said she would be calling when they were about 15 minutes away so I could turn the oven on for the roast. After I got off the phone I thought to myself, the movie should be over soon and then I will get up, do my hair, get dressed and run up to the store. I barely finished my thought before my phone started ringing, it was Mom....they were 15 minutes away! Completely took me by surprise! Luckily I was able to get myself presentable before they actually arrived. :)

Ben and I got our first housewarming presents from Mom and Dad. I got a bird feeder and a big bag of bird seed. Ben got a hose, a cool nozzle for the hose (it looks like a firehose nozzle), a stud finder and a laser level. We are very excited to put all our new "toys" to good use at the new house!

So on my birthday Mom and I went shopping while Dad wandered around places like Sears, Home Depot's Expo center (where he had bought a new granite counter top and sink for their half bath on Thursday) and Lowes. Mom and I found lots of good deals and I was so excited to wear a new shirt out to dinner that night. After Ben got off work we went out to eat at Bertucci's an Italian Restaurant in Herndon, VA. It was very good. The pics below are from the restaurant.

On Saturday we left the apartment around 9:30am and headed out to the new house where we put Mom and Dad to work cleaning, after we gave them a tour of course! I, unfortunately, did not take any pictures while we were at the house because we were so busy cleaning. Dad and Ben cleaned all the carpets (except the basement) and fixed a few things here and there. Mom and I had the joy of cleaning the bathrooms (yuck!) and part of the kitchen. We got a late start cleaning(2:30ish) and headed back to the apartment around 8:00pm. We picked up Five Guys for dinner, good as usual. By the time we got back to the apartment Aida had been left alone for 12 hours! But she is a very good dog and didn't have any accidents.
So Mom and Dad headed out this afternoon after Ben made them his homemade cinnamon biscuits. :) Like I said, we are looking forward to yet another visit in just a little over a week. It'll be nice to have both Daniel and Nathan here too!
Overall, I had a very nice birthday and after cleaning the house, it is finally starting to feel like our house!

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Let the Moving Begin!

Well, it's official. We pulled up to the house today (to start our radon tests) and the for sale sign no longer says "for sale" says "SOLD"!!!! We were pretty excited.
We rented a storage unit in Stephens City right up the road from the house. We packed up the SUV with as much stuff as we could, filled a friend's truck with a bunch of stuff and headed out to Stephens City this morning to start filling up our 5ft x 10ft storage unit. We figure over the next couple of weeks we will be able to move a good amount of our stuff so that on moving day we will only be left with the big furniture but we shall see if that all works out.
After packing up the storage unit, we headed over to the house to start the radon tests we had bought. The tests will collect a reading over the next few days before we have to send them back to the lab. After that was all set up we headed out for lunch. We decided to try out "IJ Cannes" an American Grille restaurant in Stephens City/Winchester. The food was pretty good, I had a burger and Ben had a BBQ beef sandwich. Shenandoah Chocolate shop sits close by the restaurant so we walked over to check it out. Yummy.
The people at the restaurant and the chocolate shop were so nice. The owners of the chocolate shop talked with us and gave us information about the area and even told us about some spot in Washington National Park that only the locals know about. We are both very happy to be moving out that way. It seems like the people are a lot friendlier and that there is more of a neighborhood-like feeling.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Second Big Purchase....

This past weekend we had "purchased" our home inspection! Whoo hoo! Having a home inspection is not necessary, but highly recommended. We thought that an inspection was very important when making such a big purchase and would highly suggest anyone buying a home have an inspection as well. The inspector was very nice and very thorough. He checked every single outlet and every nook and cranny of the house.

Luckily the house "passed" the inspection. There isn't any big problems that need fixing, just a lot of little things. When the old owners were foreclosed on, they took just about all of the lighting fixtures and left the wires hanging out of the ceiling. So, we have to either cap off the hole or install a lighting fixture. They left wires hanging out of the back outside wall that went to a hot tub or sauna, so those will also need to be covered. In order to pass FHA assessment we have to fix these minor issues before closing.

Lately, Ben and I have been watching nothing but HGTV and TLC to get ideas for the house. We are very excited to move in and start to personalize our very first home! We have picked out paint samples and looked at lighting fixtures, but we aren't buying anything yet. We have our list of things we need and things we want. Although those two lists sometimes intertwine, we have our priorities in check....i think. :)

I just posted this entry not but 1 hour ago and I received a phone call from our realtor with the good news that the appraiser from FHA went through the home today and gave no restrictions for passing FHA regulations! So that means that, although we are going to cover the lighting fixture holes, we do not have any time constraints in which to complete that task.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

First Big Purchase....other than the house....

Yesterday evening Ben and I made our first big purchase for the house. A Washer and Dryer....I know, we're livin' on the edge. We purchased a Maytag Bravos set after much research and debate. I decided from the beginning that I did not want a front load washer based on the reviews and reports I read on them. Coincidentally, LG front load washers now have a warning on them stating that they are not intended for use on a second or third floor. The vibrations are so bad that they need to be set on a concrete (basement) floor. I also read that front load washers are increasingly having issues with mold. And supposedly retailers are supposed to warn you of this problem and suggest that you wipe out your machine after every use.....definitely not for me. Besides, the laundry room at the house is not in the basement so that pretty much determined my decision from the beginning.
So we decided on the Maytag set you see in the picture above (but we went with the white color because it costs less than the colored washers and dryers...go figure). The washer is HE and both the washer and the dryer are Energy Star qualified. We are very excited and hope that we like them. Unfortunately there really isn't one washer out there that people/reviews agree on being the best bet. So we are hoping that we will have a good review of the washer. The idea is pretty neat with this washing machine. It doesn't have a central agitator thus giving it more room (4.7 cu ft!).
Along with our purchase, we got 3 years of Tide for free (something like $250 worth), a $100 mastercard gift card, and a rebate for free delivery. Plus the appliances were all 10% off. So good deal.
The set is due to be delivered on our closing date (March 20th). I will post my review after I get to use them!!!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

House Photos

Here are some pictures I have taken at the new house! We are very excited and can't wait to move in! Yesterday we met with our mortgage broker and locked in a rate of 4.5% fixed so we are very happy.
Mom and Dad are coming to visit in a couple of weeks and we are anxious to show them the house. We plan on putting them to work helping us start to clean it. :)
We have our home inspection this weekend. Hopefully everything will be up to code and in good condition. We have our fingers crossed. And of course I will let everyone know how it goes.
That's it for now. :)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

WELCOME HOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am so excited right now I can't type long but......Ben and I put an offer on a house and it was just accepted today after a month and a half wait!!!!! So anyone who wants to come visit after March 20th (our close date) we will have plenty of room!
Our first home. Now come the babies...just kidding. :)
Details to follow soon.

Monday, February 09, 2009

As Seen on TV

Ben and I went and got ourselves sucked into the vortex of what some may call a gimmicky product. We bought a Peticure. The Peticure is a nail file for your pet. It claims that instead of using a typical nail trimmer, that causes pressure and breaking of the nail, the Peticure gently files the nail down.

The store we buy Aida's food at (Wylie Wagg) just had gotten them back in stock and were almost out again so we decided to pick one up. They said that the peticure works really well so we figured we'd give it a shot.

The Peticure claims that you have to first introduce the product to your dog over a several day period. You need to have "positive treats" ready so your dog associates the peticure with good things. We are currently in that "introduction" period and will hopefully be able to successfully file Aida's nails soon.

We will give an update as to whether our purchase was in fact worth it soon! :)

Thursday, February 05, 2009

"911, What's Your Emergency?"

I am going to try and make a very long story short....Here it goes:

Last night around 7 pm, I walked into the kitchen to do the dishes and noticed a smell. It smelled like a gas burner on the stove top had been left on without the flame lit. So obviously concerned, I called Ben in. He agreed that there was definitely a smell, but wasn't convinced it was from the stove top.

Ben pulled the stove out, turned off the gas, opened the window and turned on the exhaust fan. I did the dishes and then headed into the bedroom where the smell about knocked me down. Confused as to where the smell was actually coming from, Ben and I walked around sniffing everywhere as if we suddenly joined the canine species. Surprisingly, our master bathroom smelled the strongest. So we opened the windows and turned on the fan. Mind you it is in the low 20s outside.

We called the emergency maintenance number. We didn't want to call 911 because we weren't sure that it was gas from the stove. The maintenance guy came in and was like, "Whoa! It really does smell in here!" Duh. So after he searched around he found a garage that had a car that really really smelled strongly of gasoline. The strange thing was, the garages are not directly below our apartment and moreover, the car was not leaking. After going back and forth, the maintenance guy could not determine the owner of the vehicle and so he called 911.

With sirens blazing the firetruck showed up along with the shift commander. It was hilarious to see the people "rubber-necking" out of their windows and driving by very slowly. One woman was on the 3rd floor across the way and had her blinds pulled all the way up and her window open so she could hear what was going on!

They checked out our apartment, as well as the other apartments in our building. They broke into one garage to check another car, and somehow got inside the stinky car. They could not find a leak but were pretty sure that that car was the culprit. So the Sheriffs Department was called to determine the ownership of the vehicle to have it moved and further investigate the stench. They couldn't figure it out. The plates were from California so I don't know if that was part of the problem.

So the firefighters said they were going to leave the garage door open and if the smell got worse in our apartment, we were to call them back and they would tow the vehicle. Luckily, the smell seemed to dissipate and there was only a slight hint of the smell this morning. So hopefully, they will find the owner today and get the situation resolved. Otherwise we may be calling our good ol' friends at the fire department again this evening.

Other than my splitting headache this morning, everyone is doing fine. :)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A Round of Applause...

My title of this particular post refers to the great state of Virginia's road crew. And believe me, i am being very sarcastic.

I woke up this morning to the sounds of snow blowers outside my window. While that may not sound very odd to those who live in Ohio or Wisconsin, note that there are no sidewalks outside my bedroom window. Instead they were literally snow-blowing the parking lot. I remembered this from last year but thought perhaps they would have learned their lesson from before.

So I turned on the TV to find out that just about every school within a 25-50 mile radius of here was closed, including colleges and Universities. And you would expect to see several feet of snow, as this was what was required to shut down schools back in Ohio, but Nooooo. The snow doesn't even cover the grass which is peaking out everywhere. Virginians are pansies.

This evening Ben and I headed out to grocery store to pick up the usual eggs and milk. I figured that the snow had long since stopped so I assumed (you know what they say when you assume) that the roads would be crystal clear. Holy crap! The main road outside of our apartment complex looked like they never touched it; it was completely covered with absolutely no visible lines. Luckily the expressway was relatively cleared. Even Wegman's (the grocery store) parking lot was better cleared than that of the main roads. I suppose we'd be better off if the Wegman's maintenance team took over the city's road maintenance. Perhaps it is a lack of salt, lack of manpower or just the state's choice of sub-standard sand (yes, sand) to make the snow "melt," but anyway you look at it, the roads suck.

That's right, I am geezing. Uncle Larry can geez about politics, so I can geez about the weather and those damn roads. To be fair, this is the first snow that has stuck all winter...Even so, I do miss Ohio for their road crews, they were usually on top of things.

I have always maintained that all Virginians should be required to spend at least one winter in Ohio to learn how to drive.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Murder Mystery

Over the Holiday break, Sara hosted a Murder Mystery dinner at Aunt Debbi & Uncle Jim's house. It was a lot of fun. Here are some pics from the dinner.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Christmas 2008

Here are some pictures from Christmas. We were both so happy to be able to come home for Christmas this year. It was really nice to see everyone and to spend so much time visiting. It has been sad to come back to our apartment without any of our family here, but it is certainly fun to go through the photos. I plan to have the rest of my pics up on the blog, like i said, by the weekend.
This weekend we are heading back out to Stephens City to look at a few more properties. One of the houses we are looking at is a foreclosure and would need a little work according to the realtor. But we figured with Dad being retired we are going to steal him to help us out when we find a place. :) And come spring I am going to steal (or borrow) Mom and Aunt Martha to help with landscaping. They know all about flowers and shrubberies and such. :)
I will post updates and photos as I get them. Love to all.
We miss you all.

Here come the Updates!

Only a little over a month behind, here are some pictures of the little Lima Beans (Caleb and Owen) at Thanksgiving. I am still working on Christmas, New Years and Dad's Retirement Party Pics but I hope to have them all uploaded by the end of the weekend....we shall see!