Archive for July, 2008

Engagement Photos

I have yet to blog about our fantastic photographer, Jessica Kaminski. She does all sorts of photography, from food to fashion to weddings to goofballs like JT and I. I LOVE how her colors “pop” and J and I both really loved her photography style. Not to mention, she is so unbelievably cool! We really had a blast talking with her at the engagement session, and we can’t wait for her to photograph the wedding.

So, naturally, I was *thrilled* when our engagement photos arrived today! So I thought I’d share a few with all of you so that you can see what an amazing job Jessica did (especially amazing when you see what little she had to work with… remember our first engagement session?).

Without further ado, our pictures. (all pictures below were taken by JKaminski Photography and should be credited appropriately).

Let’s vote: which one is your favorite? (some of you may be seeing these again…)


July 28, 2008 at 9:25 pm 3 comments


Hello blog friends! Sorry to go MIA for the past week. I suspect that my posts will be a little less frequent for the next few weeks/months, and just wanted to warn you in advance, so that you aren’t too concerned that I was eaten by our pit bull or anything similarly ridiculous.

We’ve now hit the point in wedding planning (t-minus 10 weeks to go), where we’ve got a million little details to tie up. I’ve also been given new projects at work, big projects, projects that could eventually help me get a faculty position.

So, naturally, all of these things require time and energy, and blogging must get left by the wayside!

Jason and I have also made a big effort this week to get out and do fun and relaxing things – Tuesday, we had margaritas with our fabulous coworkers, Tinen and Katie. Thursday was Tinen’s 25th birthday celebration at her parent’s house. It was an especially happy birthday because when she was 9, Tinen’s doctors said she’d be dead by 25 due to some health issues. Fortunately for us, she is in extremely good health and very fun to hang out with! The food at her party was delish – Tinen’s dad is a meat guy and made great steaks, and her mom is an *excellent* baker – she even made a cake with fondant on it!

Friday night, our friends Dan and Cheryl took us out – it was a great evening. We ate at a little cafe in Excelsior where their adorable daughter, Courtney, works, and listened to live music. And then, last night, we went out with Jeff and Andrea, and again, a fabulous time was had. Andrea offered to help with wedding stuff, which is fantastic, since it appears that help is needed around these parts!

Other than that, we cleaned the house a bit yesterday and will likely do a little more this evening. You know, the usual. Some days, usually when I’m cleaning, I think this house is just way too big for us! But we’re going to clean out the extra room and get everything ready for our new Swedish roommate, who will be arriving in just 3 short weeks! We can’t wait to meet her!!

July 27, 2008 at 5:08 pm Leave a comment

Up North!

I visited one of Minnesota’s 10,000 lakes over the weekend, and stayed at my aunt and uncle’s fabulous cabin.

They have delicious donuts here.

The food was delish! The entertainment was fascinating! The accommodations were luxurious! And the price was certainly right!

I hope they’ll invite me back!

Friday, my cousins, Barley, and I headed up to the lake house after work. We met my parents and brothers who had been camping up on the North Shore (of Lake Superior) last week, and my aunt and uncle who were already up at the cabin. We didn’t get to the cabin until late, and ended up sitting around a campfire for a while, roasting marshmallows and whatnot. Then, the kids (myself included) and Barley retired to the bunk house for some much-needed sleep (at least, I needed it… I can’t speak for anyone else).

Saturday was a bit cold and rainy in the morning, but cleared up enough for us to go tubing in the afternoon! Tubing wars were a blast (tubing wars means there’s 2 tubes dragged behind the boat and you have to knock the other person off of their tube)!! Even if I lost to cousin Catherine, she proved to be a fierce opponent!!

Look how tough Catherine is (she’s on the green tube)!

Robby takes on Catherine (this time she’s on the blue tube).

Saturday night, we went mini-golfing. I’m not that good, but I can talk a big game. And! I got a hole in one on the “secret hole” and won a free round of mini golf (guess I’ll have to visit again to claim it…).

Jennifer and Trevor get hungry on the mini-golf course.

Sunday morning was more of the same – rain and cold. A thunderstorm came through early in the morning, and wimp dog was freaking out. So he crawled under the bed (I still cannot figure out how such a big dog squeezed into such a tiny spot!).

Barley hides under the bed in the bunkhouse.

But it cleared up in time for us to go waterskiing. Jim and Uncle Doug barefooted, Trevor showed off his waterskiing (he is REALLY good), Jennifer wakeboarded, and I tried slalom (one ski) skiing. It was tricky! I think I’ve only been waterskiing once before, so I fell quite a few times…

Jim waterskiing sans skis.

Trevor shows off his waterskiing skillz. He was even zooming back and forth, in and out of the wake!

Jennifer is super-awesome at wakeboarding… much better than my unsuccessful attempt in Kentucky!

Check it out – don’t I look like I know what I’m doing!?! (ignore the ugly face I’m making… not sure what that’s all about…)

30 seconds later… crash!

Then, Sunday night, we had to head back to the city. But not before we talked the land dog into trying his hand at water. He’d only go in until his belly touched the water…

He’s a water dog now!

The rest of my pics from the weekend can be found here:

Woman Lake

July 21, 2008 at 9:57 pm 2 comments

cow shoes

Let’s be honest: this week was tough!

I’ve got a huge to-do list at work that doesn’t seem to be shrinking by itself. The truth is, many of the things on the to-do list are things that I’ve needed to do since I left Kentucky — 9 months ago. But papers take time to write, new experiments at my current job have been started, and I’ve taken on a little lot more than I can handle.

Not to mention, there is this little event called MY WEDDING that is taking place in exactly 11 weeks and 2 days. When it was 3 months away, it sounded like I had a whole bunch of time. But 11 weeks does not sound like a whole lot of time to put together the biggest party I’ll ever throw. Panic ensued. Only, I’m not sure why, because in all honesty, I think I am pretty on top of most things wedding-related. Our next task will be putting together and sending out invites. We’ve made the parts of the invites that we needed to make (I only have a little cutting to do – we printed 4 sets of directions/sheet and need to cut them apart). It’s not going to be an easy task – there’s about 150 to send out, and in an ideal world, I’d like the time to do calligraphy on each one. But still, I think we are on top of things – we’ve still got at least 2 weeks before they need to be sent out.

And I think that having the house in Kentucky is really starting to wear on me. I mean, I am trying to be patient since I really have no control over the situation, but let’s be honest: I am not always very patient. I just wish it would go away so that we can move on with our life here.

Jeez. Now that I list all that out, it doesn’t seem that bad. We should talk more often, blog friends.

But, these things have kind of worn me ragged this week and I’ve been cranky and generally no fun to hang out with.

But then! These showed up with the mail:

The note reads: Hi Jen! Thought these were fun and would brighten your day.  Love, Mom

I have the BEST. MOM. EVER.

July 17, 2008 at 10:09 pm 2 comments

Barley’s choice test

Two posts today! I must be feeling guilty for leaving you stranded.

Anyways, I just wanted to announce that we will no longer be purchasing doggy toys for our dog. First, he is absolutely terrified of anything that makes a noise – squeak one of those squeaky toys while he is in the room, and he runs away with his tail between his legs. Honestly, I am a little grateful for this – all that squeak-squeak-squeaking would drive me insane. However, it makes buying doggy toys really difficult since almost all of them squeak.

Jason happened to stop by a PetSmart last week, though, and picked up this awesome fleece-fringed ball. You know those fleece blankets that are tied together and have little fleece fringe all around them? Well, this ball is just one big fleece fringe ball. It’s super-awesome and we thought the dog would love it (plus, for $3, we could hardly go wrong).

However, a choice test suggests otherwise.

Let me just interrupt here to let you all know that my research deals heavily with choice – I give subjects the choice between a small reward and a large reward. The tricky part is that the large reward is given after a delay and the small reward is given immediately. So it’s kind of like if I asked you if you wanted $1 now or $5 tomorrow. Basically, I’m assessing the relative value of the two rewards – which reward do you think is better?  (This is related to drug abuse, gambling, binge eating, and other potentially harmful behaviors because people who engage in those behaviors tend not to pick the delayed reward, even though it is obviously more advantageous in the long run to do so).

In Barley’s choice test, he was given the choice between his awesome new fleece ball and a cardboard box that I brought home from work. (FYI – I didn’t blog last night because I had brought supplies home that I needed to craft… basically, I had to shove a bunch of wire into a bunch of plastic tubes. Like 80 to be exact.)

And here’s his choice:

So from now on, we’re just going to give the dog cardboard to play with. Because it’s cheap and easy and he prefers it anyways.  And, if we want to really add some excitement, we throw a treat in there and let him dig it out!  It’s like how he’d forage for food in the wild… or something.

July 16, 2008 at 10:27 pm Leave a comment

Dry Laundry

Yes, I am going to mark my 2-day absence from blogging with a post about laundry. So exciting!

Our dryer broke last week. It tumbles, but doesn’t heat. Being the cheap thrifty resourceful little internet hunter that I am, I immediately thought, “we can fix this! I’ll just consult the internet.” And so, I borrowed the multimeter from work and we took apart the dryer based on the suggestion that we could most certainly fix it ourselves for MUCH cheaper than calling someone.

Jason at work.

Barley helps.

Yet, a week later, the dryer is still tipped over and taken apart. Guess we’re not going to fix it. Time to call someone, I guess…

Not even 20 minutes after we discovered the broken dryer, I was vacuuming and the vacuum just shut down.  I took it as a sign that I was not destined to clean the house that day, and sat down in front of the TV instead (with my laptop, designing paper goods for our wedding).

Here I am, fixing the vacuum the following day.  I just wanted to prove that I also can fix things.  The vacuum is back in action.  This is a. good because I can have a nice clean house, and b. bad because I’m the one who has to clean it.

In related news, I had recently subscribed to some personal finance blogs because I decided that I needed to learn more about personal finance strategies, etc. And, one of last week’s money-saving strategies was to hang laundry outside instead of using the dryer. Excellent timing! It’s like they read my mind.

Our neighbors even commented that they liked our outdoor laundry line.  Excellent!  It looks like we are being so earth-friendly!  ha ha!

July 16, 2008 at 10:09 pm 3 comments

gardening and more yard work

I know that the title of this post has you on the edge of your seats. Much excitement here to start off the work week right. Yes.

Anyways, while I was busy posting about every wedding I’ve ever been to, and you were busy snoozing on your computer because it was terribly boring, nothing much happened.

And now I am going to tell you about it.

First, our garden. It’s growing. See? Here is a shot of the garden from last weekend:

And here is one from today:

Notice how the pumpkins are ready to take over our entire property. Crazy pumpkins. Yes, you were right, should NOT have planted them in our 4-square-foot garden. I still maintain that I am shocked anything grew, and if you’ve witnessed my track record with house plants, you would know why.

In addition to giganto pumpkin plants, it looks like we’ve got some promising tomatoes and peppers growing. Which is exciting, because I’ve got a million leaves of lettuce (picked out of the garden, of course) and could definitely use something to put on them.

Second, we did some more yard work last weekend, and finished up one of the planting beds near the new brick patio that we built. This was actually quite entertaining, as part of our gardening experience included visiting coworker and friend, Dan, and his awesome wife, Cheryl. Really, we went over to their house to help pull some perennials out of their perennial garden so that we could plant them in our own. (We have to be frugal with our plant spending since we blew the budget on the brick pavers). We ended up staying and hanging out on their deck for the afternoon, drinking iced tea with mint and beer, just relaxing. It was excellent… their house overlooks a lake, and the back yard was designed for privacy, and also to attract all sorts of wildlife. We saw a bunch of birds and whatnot while just chillin’ on the deck. Very nice and peaceful.

So that was last Saturday. We then spent much of Sunday finishing up the brickwork on the planting beds and then planting said beds. But I think it looks much better now, even if the plants look like they’re dying in the photos.

This is what it looked like last time I shared pictures:

And now:  (much better, no?)

And here is a view of the back yard from our side door.  Please ignore how horrible our grass is.  Jason assures me that we will fertilize and seed in fall and everything will be better next year.

View from the North, looking South.  That big ugly firepit was left here by the previous owners.  I would love to put it on the patio, right smack dab in the middle there, but it’s all rusty and will ruin our new pavers every time it rains.  So, instead, we will let it kill the grass weeds until we get a new one.

During our trip to Milwaukee 2 weeks ago, we managed to score some free lilac plants from my mom and grandma.  I was particularly excited to plant the ones from my grandma – they were off-shoots from her lilac bush, which she transplanted from my great-grandmother’s farm before the farm was sold.  Isn’t that amazing?  You should all know by now what an obsession I have with all things old and heirloom-y, so I am just pleased as punch to have these little guys growing in my yard.  Now let’s just hope JT can keep them alive.

July 13, 2008 at 11:17 pm 3 comments

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