Sunday, January 07, 2007


Ok, folks. It's over. I tried, but now it's officially over.

I am no longer going to keep this blog. This is my final post.

I started this blog with the intent of tracking new things that I'd done in the Twin Cities. My initial New Year's resolution for 2006 was to do one new thing in the Twin Cities every week, and then blog about that new thing. By March, I quickly realized that goal wasn't going to be realized.

No matter what, life tends to take over and take the lead from you. I realized that I just didn't have the time to devote to doing one new thing every week, not to mention the money. Not that I'm complaining at all; I had a phenomenal 2006. I shared in so much joy this year - three friends got married, my sister graduated from college, my mom celebrated a milestone birthday, I GOT ENGAGED! It was a great year. But with all of these big life changes, small trips to the local museum or nights out at a new restaurant got lost.

After my realization that the "new things" part of my resolution was a lost cause, I still had the devotion to writing about life in general. I thought that it was such an amazing thing, this blogging world. A world where a person can write about any and everything they want, and no one can stop them. I found myself perusing other blogs and reading about other people, and becoming fascinated with the world out there.

As time went on, though, I began to lose my enthusiasm for blogging. As I stated a few weeks ago, I started to dread blogging. I would go do something so fun, and then be a bit irritated that I "had" to blog about it. So, I stopped blogging altogether for a while. And for the most part, I didn't miss it at all.

And then, for some reason, one day in December, I really wanted to blog. I wanted to again share my life and my stories with the people out there in the world. I regained my excitement about blogging.

For about two weeks.

Now, I'm back to where I was in October, back to not wanting to write in this format, back to not caring to share my life with others in this manner. I realized that, for the most part, the people who read my blog are my friends and family who already know all about my life. They don't need to read about it on some blog.

And, if I want to write about something, I should be writing it down in my own personal books, for myself and no one else. I shouldn't be writing superficially about things, being careful not to delve into raw emotion because I know that, for example, my mom is reading. I should be writing for my own self. Twenty years from now, I won't have a silly blog to reflect upon; I'll have books filled with my thoughts and emotions and memories of a certain day.

Now, please don't get me wrong and think that I'm saying that blogging is silly or stupid. I don't think that's the case at all. In fact, there are many, many blogs that I read consistently and I love reading them. (Shameless plug: I think that for some blogging is a great way to share part of yourself with the world. But, I am saying that I had wrong intentions with this blog, and that for me, blogging is not the way in which I should chose to express myself or to spend my own time.

That being said, I have enjoyed this blog for the most part. At times, it was very fun to post about big life events and to hear what others out in the world had to say about it.

So, thanks to all who have read throughout the past year. I appreciate the reading and the commenting. It's been great to share this particular pop culture experience with you.



Thursday, December 28, 2006

And so this is Christmas...

Every year, Mark and I have an extended Christmas holiday due to having two families in two different cities. We always celebrate with both families, but for obvious travel reasons can only celebrate with one family on Christmas Day. This year, we celebrated with Mark's fam on the 17th, spent Christmas weekend and day with my fam, and then had our own Christmas celebration on the 26th.

Christmas Mark's parent's house was great. We spent Saturday afternoon and evening hanging out, eating a fantastic meal, and opening gifts.

Mark playing Santa

Mark and Carol

John and Lucy opening gifts

Mark opening his big gift of a case of wine, which lead to...

An overwhelming collection!

Spending Christmas weekend with my family was great, as always. We spent Saturday night celebrating Mark's birthday with dinner at B.J. Wentker's in Burlington. We had fabulous food - I had a Drunken Ribeye that I'm sure to dream about for weeks to come.

Christmas Eve was spent with extended family. We started the night by attending a live nativity scene with Nikki and her family. It was really cute - little kids played all the parts of the nativity, and it was held in a barn with live animals. The audience was encouraged to join in at times of song. It was a great alternative to Christmas Mass. Later that night, we took part in a round robin with mom's family. We started the night at my parent's house, where my mom served light appetizers of stuffed mushrooms and cheese, sausage and crackers. Aunt Nancy and Uncle Jim hosted us for dinner, and it was amazing - prime rib cooked to perfection, with twice baked potatoes and salad. We nearly had to be rolled out of the place. After a few games of darts and foosball, we headed over to Aunt Bonnie's for a dessert of Banana Split Torte. It was a very relaxing, low-key way to see family and enjoy Christmas Eve.

Christmas morning at my parent's house is always so much fun - but also a little crazy! Nikki, Pete and the kids came over at 10:00, and after a breakfast of baked-apple french toast and breakfast pizza, we dove into gift opening. Mark was in charge of photos for the morning, and he got some great shots.

Mark and Max, displaying the wooden turtle that Max made and painted for Mark

Me and Lexi, displaying the beautiful scarf that she crocheted for me

Eric opening his gift from the family

Mom opening her red iPod

Mark displaying the amazing cribbage board that Pete handmade for him

My Favre jersey

As always, we also took family pictures in front of the Christmas tree.

Nikki's family

My parents

The whole family

After the long drive back to MN on Tuesday, we settled in for a great new Christmas tradition. Mark and I have decided that because Christmas Eve and Day are always taken by extended family, we would find a day close to Christmas to have our own celebration, by fixing a fabulous meal, having a great bottle of wine, opening gifts, and just relaxing. This was the first year we did it, and it was wonderful to have our own time during this crazy holiday season.

Mark cooking our fabulous meal

We dined like kings on bacon-wrapped filet over a bed of julien carrots, with Death Row Potatoes. (They are called Death Row Potatoes because if I were on death row, I would request these potatoes for my last meal. They are THAT GOOD.)

Two Hands Brave Faces Shiraz - quite tasty!

Mark opening gift #4

Me opening gift #5 - I'm really excited because I'm pretty sure that this would be...

My sewing machine!

In front of the Christmas tree

Overall, it was a great Christmas spent with family and loved ones. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas time as well!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Oh, Christmas Tree

Mark and I finally pulled the Christmas decorations out of storage, put together our artificial tree, and decorated the house for the holidays.

When we first decided to decorate on Saturday, I must admit that I wasn't really in the mood. Work and life in general have been so crazy lately that I haven't even had time to get excited for the holiday. But as soon as I opened up my big Rubbermaid container of Christmas decorations and ornaments, the excitement just flooded right back into me. I couldn't wait to get the tree up and decorate so that our house would feel like a home at Christmastime.

Here's some pics of the tree. Sadly, we can't have a real tree yet because we are still in an apartment. And, we don't really have the necessary amount of lights. But, we decorated the heck out of that tree with ornaments collected through the years and a whole bucket of love.

We also spent some time in the kitchen and made Haystack Cookies, something I'm sure we'll do year after year. That is one great thing about getting older and having your own sort of life - you get to start your own set of holiday traditions. Mark got the recipe for a no-bake cookie from a friend at work, so we decided to try it out. They are SO GOOD! We were pretty proud of our no-bake abilities.

I hope you are into the holiday season! Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Life Update

It's hard to sum up two months in a little blog post. So, instead of trying to recap every detail, here are a three of the highlights of the past months.

I went home to WI for Thanksgiving to spend time with family and friends. A 6:00am flight on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving gave my four full days to hang out and enjoy some relaxation. My mom had Thanksgiving at her house, so it was a little crazy getting everything ready. I was pretty proud of myself though; I made my very first Thanksgiving Day pie, and it was awesome. On Friday, my mom, my sister and I partook in our favorite tradition of the year - Christmas shopping on Black Friday. I got all of my shopping done in one day. I had lunch with Erin and her mom in Lake Geneva, did a little shopping with my dad, and just enjoyed the holiday. Thanksgiving is one of those holidays that I didn't like much as a kid, but the older I get, the more I really enjoy it. It isn't just about eating until you burst and watching football until you are fast asleep on the couch. It's about getting together with family and friends, and truly realizing that you have so much to be thankful for. It's a kick start to the entire holiday season of sharing and giving and enjoyment.

The Whittens came up for a visit. It was a very relaxing weekend. We hung out, went to The Electric Fetus (the best music store around really), visited the Sculpture Garden in Minneapolis, did a little swimming, and just had a good time catching up with friends.

I saved the largest event for last, as it was truly the highlight of my fall. On October 28th, Erin and Dave got married, and I was honored to be a part of the event. Erin had planned everything out so perfectly; not a thing went wrong! The chapel was beautiful, the ceremony was heartfelt, the reception hall was amazing. The whole day was very romantic and whimsical. And, most importantly, it was so fun. From the moment we woke up in the morning, Erin was so much fun to be around. She was a fabulous bride - excited, nervous, filled with emotions of all kinds. And she smiled all day long. It gave the day a wonderful feeling right from the start. And that feeling just continued on through every moment of the day - waiting in the chapel for guests to arrive, standing up there watching them get married, taking pictures at the fabulous chapel, watching the first dance and the cake cutting, eating a delicious meal, and dancing the night away - it was all so fun to be part of. I unfortunately don't have many photos of the day - I was a little busy! But, here are a few of the day, and you should definitely scoot on over to Erin's blog to see a whole host of photos - they really are beautiful photos. (Note: go back to November 6th on her blog to see them!)

Waiting at the Chapel

At the Chapel

Erin, Mimi, Mom, Me

The Happy Couple

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Yes, I'm still alive

So, it's been two months since I posted, and I decided it was time that I came back on here and gave a little update.

I haven't been posting in the past two months for a couple of reasons. First, I was freakin busy! I was doing all sorts of fun things, but I didn't have the time to post about them. Second, I found that I was dreading the blog. Mark and I would go do something fun, and instead of coming home thinking "That was fun; I should really blog about this!" I would come home thinking, "That was fun; now I have to blog about it." The fun of blogging was being sucked out.

But I woke up this morning and though, hey I should really blog. I'm thinking that maybe I'm back to that stage where blogging is fun again.

So, I shall start blogging again. I'm very curious to see who's going to come and visit since I've been gone for two whole months. Have I lost everyone, and it really doesn't matter if I blog or not? I guess we'll see.

As for all of the things that happened in the last two months, I'll do a quick life update in the next few days to get caught up.

Until then....

Sunday, October 08, 2006

A Day in the Country

One of my favorite fall activities is getting out into the crisp air and heading to our favorite apple orchard, Afton Apple. We put away the busyness and craziness of the city, and head south just far enough to enter into the countryside. Mark and I were planning to go a couple of weeks from now, when the air would be a bit cooler and the weather would be a bit more fall-like. But then, earlier this week I had heard the weatherman say that the fall colors were peaking right now in my area. He stated, "If you want to get out there and do fall activities, do them this weekend. After that, it'll be too late to enjoy the fall." I took his words to heart, and so yesterday, we made the drive to Afton Apple to have a day in the country.

The weather was gorgeous. I do not think there could have been a better day in October. The air was warm, up around 75 degrees, and the sun the shining high. A small part of me wished that it would have been a bit cooler and crisper out, but I realized that this might be the last day of sun and warmth for quite a few months. So I embraced it, and prepared for a warm day outdoors.

We got to Afton Apple around noon, and it was perfect timing. The early crowd had gone home, and the afternoon crowd didn't start showing up until about 2:00 or so. We started at the apple sampling station, but Mark was more excited than the little kids and wanted to just run through the orchard, trying each type off of the tree. So blindly we entered the orchard, not quite sure what we were looking for. Luckily, the orchard labels every row so you know what you're picking.

We ran through the first few sections, trying each type of apple but not finding many types that we wanted to pick and take home. After a while, we realized that there were more apples on the ground, rotten through to the core, than there had been in the trees to pick.

And, of those that were still on the trees, many were rotten and wormed. We don't really know what the deal is. Did they have a bad crop this year? Did we come later than we had in past year, and missed the prime of apple time? We didn't really find out, but we became a little bummed that we had been running around and eating apples for quite some time, but we didn't have much in our bag.

But, being the eternal optimist that I am, I brought our spirits right up and suggested that we take the hayride over to another section of the orchard where the Honey Gold, my favorite apple, and the Sweet 16 are grown.

About halfway down one of the endless rows of Honey Golds, we hit the jackpot. We found the Tree of Fruitfulness, and were able to pick enough apples to fill our entire bag. Mark had to crawl in, up, and under a tree to get to them, but once he was in, there was no stopping the flow of apples. And, he escaped with only a few minor scratches.

After the Honey Gold experience, we headed back into the main area of the orchard where there is a cider demonstration, petting zoo, face painting, a large jungle gym, and a store where all things apple may be purchased. We stopped for a moment at the cider demonstration, tasting freely cored and pressed apple cider. It was delicious - so fruity and light instead of harsh and tart as some ciders can be. We took our small cups over to the petting zoo area, where we spent a good deal of time watching animals interacting with children, some eating it all up and some too cool to be bothered by small children. They had the usual petting zoo animals: cows, pigs, goats, a donkey, and, the coolest animal there, a llama. At one point, the llama came over to Mark and me and just stuck his big head in our faces, as if to say, "What are you looking at?!" I can't lie; we giggled like school kids.

At that point, it had gotten quite busy at the orchard, and we were pretty exhausted. We made our way into the store, where we purchased our pickings from the day as well as a sure-to-be-delicious frozen apple pie. Mmmmmmm....might have to make that for football today.

I think that we're still going to try to get out in a couple of weekends and do pumpkin picking and carving as well as a corn maze. I'm so glad that we went out yesterday though. It really was a fun-filled, and much-needed, day in the country.