Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving & a milestone...

Last week Kyle & set off for our annual Thanksgiving week in Virginia. We were especially excited this year since
last year we weren't able to be with our families.

On Thanksgiving morning, we both participated in the annual Alumni Fun Run. It is alumni from all the high schools in Chesterfield County (my old hood!). There is usually a pretty good turnout and it is a good way to get the blood pumping for consuming large amounts of marshmallows with a wee bit of sweet potato underneath! At least that is MY favorite thanksgiving dish!

Since living in Texas, I have discovered a new delicacy- cake balls. I never really put two and two together that this could possibly be a strange name for a tasty treat- but they were the butt of many good humored jokes at the Thanksgiving table. Aside from the funny name, they were quite yummy! Here we are posing with our infamous cake balls- or as Kyle dubbed them "cakesticles".

My brothers & Sister-in-law

Needless to say, we had a great week and were sad to leave. We got back Saturday afternoon and spent the weekend decorating for Christmas and celebrating Kyle's b'day! Not just any birthday either- the big one (for the next 10 years at least) 30! For those of you who know us well, we kept with our annual birthday tradition and celebrated with nachos, junk food and our favorite movie of all time- Wedding Crashers! Always a good time. Today is officially Kyle's birthday- so wish him a happy birthday!

Happy Birthday Kyle!!


Friday, November 20, 2009

First Visitor

This week we had our first visitor! My dad was in town for work, so we got to see him for a few days. It was really fun to have a visitor, especially family. We enjoyed showing him around our new place and the dogs always love having someone else around to pay extra attention to them.

Another added bonus to having company is going out to eat. One of my favorite things to do is eat, which is only enhanced by eating out. What could be better than eating and not having to make it or clean it up? We of course had our favorite- TexMex. But we also got to try a new place on our list- The Salt Lick- home to classic Texas BBQ.

The infamous Salt Lick meat!

The Salt Lick was featured on an episode of 'Man vs. Food' which is where we first learned of it's notoriety. As usual, we were not disappointed. Potato salad, pork ribs, cole slaw and a few bowls of honey BBQ sauce later we were pleased to say that maybe Texas can do BBQ like the true South.

Tomorrow we are headed for Virginia to spend Thanksgiving week with my family! It will be so nice to have a whole week away and to be with family. Last Thanksgiving we were not able to be with either of our families, so we are especially thankful to be with them this year! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, more next week as we get REALLY close to the big 30 for Kyle (insert Jaws music here)...


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Found It!

Growing up in the Pacific Northwest I'm accustomed to fall foliage. Not to be excluded, Stacie has fond memories of witnessing seasonal change in the Blue Ridge of Virginia. Heck, even in Edinburgh we found parks adorned with a canopy of red, green, yellow and brown leaves. So how do we scratch the autumnal itch here in Texas? Watching college football helps me get in the fall mood but each week I notice the scenery changing within my TV and not outside my window (in HD none-the-less thanks to Costco & Vizio!).

Stacie gets into the fall mindset with a handful of Candy Corn and a good Charlie Brown Halloween rerun but that can only get you so far. We need cool air on our faces and turning leaves but where to look? Luckily we found Lost Maples Natural Area. Stacie and I stumbled across this Texas gem thanks to extensive research skills, namely Google. We loaded up the dogs and our camping gear and hit the road at 6AM on Saturday for the 3 hour drive. Here's a few pictures from our fall camping extravaganza.

The men leading the charge

The Lost Maples area was interesting because it is surrounded by small mountain ridges that enclose a peaceful valley. We hiked up and into the ridges to camp but the valley was picturesque, we both like the long field grass (the dogs found it tasty as well).

Family picture at the campsite

I'm glad we found Lost Maples. Stacie and I both love the outdoors and hiking/camping in a scenic fall setting is unbeatable. Neither of us thought Texas could provide the landscape we witnessed this weekend. Texas, we underestimated you. However, I challenge the notion that 'everything is bigger in Texas' after hiking to the top of 2200 feet mountains. My house was almost at 2000 feet in Seattle and the Cascades and Olympics boast peaks over 10,000 feet...just saying.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Ode to Mercedes the "left behind"

Even though Mercedes was left behind when we went to Scotland last year, that doesn't mean we don't love her. Since we've all been reunited as a family she has been showing herself to be the sweet boxer we had missed for the past year. Sweet and a bit unique. Here are a few of my favorite Mercedes photos:

She's fearless- here's her 140 lb. snugglebuddy

She likes to be held

She's a cuddler

She was actually sleeping like this...

She even lets me paint her nails! Who can resist?

Having dogs can be annoying when you go out of town or when you worked a long day and don't 'feel' like taking them on a walk. But most of the time, it is an awesome experience to be a dog owner. They do funny things to make you laugh when you least expect it and they follow you around everywhere you go making you feel loved and appreciated. I can't imagine our life without our furry friends!


Monday, November 2, 2009

New Edition

This past weekend Stacie and I jumped a flight for Spokane, Washington to meet the newest member of the family, our nephew Marek Isaiah Carlson. Little Marek was born Oct. 6th and we couldn't wait to meet him. Anyone who's followed our old blog knows that Stacie loves Halloween. It's hard to say what was sweeter, all the candy we dished out or Marek in his pumpkin outfit... judge for yourselves.

Heather and Marek

All snuggled in!

I usually get pretty nervous holding babies, something about holding the most precious and valuable possession anyone can own tenses me up a bit. This time however, when it was my own nephew, it just came easy!

Supporting the head!

Stacie had the skills to keep him happy

It goes without saying that the weekend was too short but a ton of fun. We had a great time visiting my family and were sad to have to put Marek down. The countdown is on for Christmas!