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The open house photos are finally off my camera and uploaded.  I think it was my need to do something distracting immediately after the depressing loss in the Avs game that got me up and working despite total exhaustion.  I hate to say it, but I think the Avs are toast.  I'd like to see them avoid a sweep, but I think defeat is inevitable either way.  Too many injuries, not enough jump.  Siiiggghhhh.

So, photo recap:

Blog_the_strawberriesFirst, we (meaning mom, her friends, and what little I did after I got there) did all of the decorating and catering this time.  Mom had someone make the cakes, cheesecakes and cupcakes and then we did fruit.  I dipped two giant tubs of Costco strawberries in chocolate and then added the drizzles.  They were the hit of the night!

Carol, a friend of the family, did a lot of the table arrangements and also set up the food.  I have learned over the years that she's the queen of table decorating.  She can work the levels.

Here's a shot of the food tables:


And then there was the room (and if this looks familiar to anyone, I think it's because we rented the exact same tableclothes and chair ties for Rick and Erin's wedding.  lol).  I spent a lot of time on the floor with a squirt bottle and a steamer trying to get the table clothes and chair covers looking good... er... less wrinkled.  My big accomplishment for the day?   I learned to tie the bows for the chairs.  Simple, you say?  Oh no.  There's a certain technique that makes them look good instead of floppy and amateurish.  It was harder for me being a lefty (yes, there's definitely a right-handed way to tie bows)... I'm sure if I'd thought my way through I could have come up with the left-handed version, but I decided that was more work than doing it the way Carol taught us :)


My other contribution was, again, the bouquet.  This time we did the flowers in silks.  Nicole was grateful.  I think it weighed about 30 pounds less than the real one I did in San Diego... lol.


One of the fun parts of the night for me was seeing a lot of people I haven't seen in a while.  Most everyone there was someone I had known growing up.  There were a few newer friends that I really enjoyed seeing as well, though. 

Like Amber and Kate!


Also, some of Nicole's co-workers dropped by which was really great of them.  I don't think she expected them at all.  It was also fun for me since Jacob (far right) and Gulcin (the left) were friends that I met in Johannesburg last year.  John was the other one who came... he and Gulcin had been with Nicole in London during February and Gulcin was also with her in Turkey last month (I'm soooooo jealous.  Still.)


The rest of the pictures are in the main wedding album... this includes many more shots of the food and d├ęcor since my mom likes lots of pictures of the parts that cost the most.  lol.

And now I can finally start getting back into the groove.  No more travel for a few months.  That's good, though, since I really need to learn the ropes in my new position before my boss goes on maternity leave in 6 weeks... lol.  Time to get to work!

The upstairs of my house smells like mojo criollo marinade.

So I got back from the airport last night and started unpacking (I'm kind of anal that way... I always unpack immediately).  I did the duffel bag first and realized that some friendly baggage handler must have left it out in the rain in DC or New York.  Everything on the bottom was wet.  Sigh.  Then when I opened my suitcase it took me a minute to figure out where the scattered piles of brown grainy stuff came from.  Did my box of loose powder explode?  It doesn't look like powder.  Oh.  The smell.  It was the marinade.  I bought 3 large bottles of Mojo Criollo to bring back (I can't find it here to save my life) but I didn't do my usual superb padding and packing job on them.  I'm lucky only one of them broke.  lol.  (I'm also lucky the instant polenta and israeli couscous were in the other bag.)  So I pulled out everything and rinsed and laundered and wiped out the suitcase.  At that point I was too exhausted to do anything else so no photos yet.  The open house was beautiful, though, and it was fun hanging out with my family and doing all the party-prep stuff.  I'll try and get them off my camera tonight but it's the Avs / Wings game 3 (I'm hoping we can actually manage to win a few... have a chance in this series), so I might not get to it.  We'll see.  One thing for sure, though.  A big old bottle of Febreeze is now #1 on my shopping list.

Drive-by layout posting.

I should have some great pictures later tonight from the Open House in VA - hopefully I can get them up tomorrow.  I love being back home... family, humidity, Wegman's... lol.

Just posting a recent layout.  I finally got around to doing a few of my birthday pictures from last year. 


Doesn't Target have the cutest cupcakes?  I don't know what I'd do without my Super Target here in Utah.  Sigh.   

Okay, so I think this is what they call Spring Fever.

Two wishing for warm weather posts in a matter of days!  I'm not usually one to long for the heat, but after this last winter I'm more than ready.

I haven't really done much from our trip to Costa Rica in May '06 so I thought maybe a title page would be a good start :D  This is all pictures Nicole and I took from the airplane as we were flying in.


I'd love to go back... that was such an awesome trip.  I miss the nights sitting out on the terrace listening to the geckos and howler monkeys or the men who would sing at a club down the hill.  So beautiful. 

Still waiting for the sun...

At least it's not snowing.  Because it's done that a few times in the last little while.  I'm just waiting for the sun so I can bust out the flip flops full time :D  So in the meantime, a layout from Mexico last spring.  It was a year ago almost to the day!


Boy time really flies, huh?

P.S.  You know what I hate?  When you print an entire sheet of photos and only realize at the very end that even though you aren't low on ink the cartridges need to be shaken up so that everyone's lips (not to mention flowers) don't come out green.  Because that's not attractive.  If it was, green lipstick would be huge.

P.S.S.  GO AVS!!!

It may be time to re-start the rivalry.

So after the last round 1 playoff game last night, we now know that the Avs are going to play Detroit in the 2nd round.  For hard core hockey fans this is an awesome match up with lots of playoff history.  For me, I might as well just cut my fingernails off now and be done with it.  Seriously.  This one is going to be tough.  Game 1 is Thursday night.  Can't wait!

And now, in honor of procrastinating all of the birthday and Mother's Day projects I had planned on working on this week, and also in honor of the bride and groom, of course, here's a quick layout using one of their engagement pictures.


Yes, I do realize that technically Brian's name should go first, but since Nicole's my sister habit overrides etiquette.  lol. 

Yesterday's training was, in fact, about a centimeter short of excruciatingly painful.  It was certainly horribly boring.  The only thing I wasn't already pretty familiar with was Finance but when someone stands up and starts writing formulas on the whiteboard my eyes start to roll back so I honestly didn't get too much out of it...  lol (I'm glad they gave us reference manuals for later).  Today will probably be about the same since it's all training and presentations from the group I've worked in for the last 18 months.  lol.  Thank goodness for laptops with wireless internet!

Training Day

Today will be much less exciting than the movie, however.  Today is day 1 of our big marketing training event.  All of the people from our remote offices are in town and we get to learn all kinds of things about how our company works / how to get stuff done.  As exciting as that sounds, it's mainly geared towards those who are newer to the company or who haven't worked with other teams.  In other words, while I'm sure a lot of it will be uplifting and beneficial to me on multiple levels, there's probably going to be a lot more that will bore me to tears.  I'm seriously contemplating sitting in the back row and editing / uploading pictures of the wedding to have printed.  I'm giving day 1 a chance before I resort to extremes, however ;)

In the meantime, another layout.  This one is fairly recent... pictures are from a few summers ago when Steph and I went down to the Folk Life Festival on the Mall.  We learned about Oman, mostly, and ate these amazing alfajores from the concession stand.  It was also blistering hot, but we had a blast.


I'm really excited to go back to DC for the open house... I just wish I was going to be able to stay longer.  Bets on whether or not I can squeeze in a trip to Wegman's?  lol.

Lucy, I'm hoooome!

I have no idea where the "I love Lucy" reference came from.  But I'm home!  The wedding was beautiful and it was wonderful to be there and spend time with my family.  I have such an amazing family, seriously.  So just a quick run-down (with pictures, of course!)

We arrived Tuesday night.  I got there first and spent a few hours in the airport waiting as my family trickled in on their flights.  Then I ended up at my Aunt Pam's where I was staying with my sister.  Wednesday was the first of some serious work days to get ready.  The first thing was to go to the wholesale flower market to pick up the flowers for the wedding.  We were going to do all of the flowers ourselves.  The market was amazing!  The flowers were unbelievable and it smelled like heaven.  We dropped everything at Brian's family's house and then ran errands and all that.  For dinner, my family went with my Aunt Pam and Uncle Merrill to a diner my dad had seen on the Food Network.  The Studio Diner... it was delicious!

Blog_gathering_sea_foamThursday was flower day.  I think we put in a good 8 hours arranging flowers and making the bouquets, corsages and buttoniers.  It was hard work but a lot of fun.  Here's a shot of me after scavanging several arms ful of Sea Foam from my aunt's front yard.  From there, we went to Brian's house where we set up a flower shop in their garage.  Brian's aunt Marjean helped us a ton.  Rick was funny... he was having a serious creative conflict over using orchids in the corsages.  He wanted lots of "stuff" but it wasn't working with the orchids.  Too funny.  I did Nicole's bouquet first and then my own bouquet.  I helped with a few centerpieces, did a few corsages and then did the topper for the cake which is what I'm working on in this picture.


We ran a few more errands and then crashed after getting as ready as possible for the big day.

Friday was the wedding.  Jen and Nat drove down and did Nicole's hair and I got ready early so that I could get the bride to the temple on time :)  Here we are getting ready to take off...


We made it on time and the sealing was beautiful.  Then, of course, it was time for pictures.  LOTS of pictures.


After that, Pam and Merrill hosted a beautiful luncheon at their home where we had a chance to relax a bit and chat with family.  From there we jumped in the car and battled Friday rush-hour traffic to get to the El Camino Country Club so that we could finish the decorating and get ready for the reception.  I had my shoes for the official times, but as you can see, I carried a pair of flip flops in my purse.  lol.  They saved my feet!


Blog_the_cakeI helped out by finishing up the flowers on the cake.  Isn't this just gorgeous?  I LOVE the chocolate curls (good call Brian!).  The bottom layer was white cake with strawberry and cream filling.  The middle was mango with some kind of fruit filling (delicious!) and the top, for Nicole and Brian, was half chocolate, half strawberry.

Finally, this is my favorite picture from the ones I took.  Erin suggested that we do this pose and I think it turned out wonderfully!


The whole thing was just beautiful.  All of the pictures I took are here.

And... GO AVS!!!  It's like they saved their best games for while I wasn't watching.  I had decided not to set the tivo because I was coming home to watch game 6.  Now I'm mad I didn't do it.  It sounds like they were amazing.  I got off the plane last night and went to hang out with Melody, Vic, Dustin, Tim and Al for sports night.  The guys watched the Jazz in the playoffs on one TV and Mel and I watched the Avs knock out Minnisota on the other one.  Have I mentioned that I love playoff hockey?  lol.

And now, back to the grind.  Serious training at work this week :-P

Today's the big day!

Woohoo!  It's going to be a crazy day, but so fun.  In honor of the big event, a wedding layout.  This is one I did about two years ago from Rick and Erin's wedding but I don't think I ever posted it.


See Mel?  I can use the "special" words on layouts.  lol.  Possibly a little overkill on the doodling, however.

Congratulations to Nicole and Brian! 

The Louvre is really cool.

I can and have spent hours in this museum and I haven't even come close to seeing everything.  This last trip to Paris, though, we spent a good 5-6 hours there and I saw more than I've seen on previous trips.  It's just so amazing.  I love this place.


I'm kind of "eh" about this layout and yet at the same time I like it.  I tried too hard to get a lot of stamping into it, I think.  Fun memories.   

Melody, this one is for you.

Because I know that you, of all people, will totally appreciate how much I love and adore this rubon set that came in a package I got in the mail.  lol.


I cherish them.  Truly.  lol.  They're actually pretty cool but I'm guessing there's at least one word on here that I probably won't use.  heh.  The rest of my box of treats is making me itch to play :)  But not until the wedding is over.  Here are a few more Ben layouts for my mom's mini album, though.  I'm pretty much done with these until I get the last batch of photos.


These pictures from the Space Center are too cute.  I think they'll be making their way onto a 12x12 for me here soon.

Hummers rock!

So I got home from work yesterday and found a box on my porch... a flower box.  I was totally shocked.  Who would send me flowers?  So I opened it up and it was from the '05 Hummers... you ladies are the absolute best!  Thank you!!!  All of your support for me and my family these last few weeks has meant so much and then to receive these gorgeous flowers on top of that was amazing.  They're still opening up, but they already look so beautiful in my living room.


Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Now the Avs on the other hand... sigh.  What's up with blowing 3rd period leads and then having to go into overtime with a 2-2 tie?  It's like the Groundhog Day of the NHL playoffs.  The cycle won't break until they learn their lesson or lose 2 more games, whichever comes first.  I'm hoping there's a short learning curve personally.

I did manage to get my laundry done.  Check the worst task off the list :)  I also whipped up a batch of table cards with the schedule for Nicole's reception.  We'll put these with the centerpieces.  They're simple, but I like them.


3 days and counting!

We're down to days now... the countdown to my sister's wedding.  It's this week!  I'm really excited.  And not just because I get to take off work and go to California... lol.  I've got fresh camera batteries and my bridesmaid dress, it's just time to do the rest of the stuff I need to do to get ready like setting the tivo for the playoff games I'm going to miss (argh!) and laundry.  And packing.  Bleh.  But I still have time.

So in the spirit of procrastinating all things laundry, I did a layout... for me this time.  This actually started out with me wanting to try something with my supplies and then picking a photo to go with it.  It probably doesn't come as a surprise, though, that I picked one of Ben.  This is actually Ben and I (his first self-portrait!) in Idaho for his first Thanksgiving.  He was almost 6 months in this picture.  It's one of my absolute favorites.


The goal for tonight?  Watch the Avs win game three.  Oh, I mean laundry.  Yeah.  lol.

Yes it *IS* 7am on Sunday morning.

The sad part is that I've been up since about 1:41am.  Insomnia sucks.  I finally gave up trying to sleep around 5:30 and figured that while I was up I might as well get something done, right?  So here I am, playing in my scrapbook room :)

First, I kind of called the Avs / Wild game on Friday night.  Avs lost 2-3 in OT.  But that's okay.  They split the first two and now they're going back to Denver.  As long as they play well at home I think they have a good shot.  Montreal is up 2-0 on Boston and the Caps are up 1-0.  I think this is the first time all 3 of my teams have been in the playoffs.  Sweet!

I mentioned that yesterday Melody and I were going to take a scrapbook class.  I'm going to have to start taking more classes, I think.  It was fun to just get away and do something new and meet new people and the project we did was really fun.  We made a mini-album where we wove cardstock for the covers to make a basket look (I love putting those first grade skills to work... lol).  I haven't done the insides yet since I'm waiting to see what I'm going to use it for.  I love it so far, though.


So now I think I'll play a bit longer and then see if I can get a few hours of sleep before church :)

Random Friday stuff.

Fold_a_candidateI found this on another blog yesterday.  Print and fold your own US Presidential Candidate!  As shown, these could also be adapted to make a set of finger puppets for hours of Friday afternoon entertainment at the office.

Game 2:  Avs at the Wild tonight.  All I need is some pizza and Dew and it's like the ultimate Friday night.  Or something.  lol.  In all honesty I'll be surprised if the Avs can take two games in a row in Minnesota, but we'll see.

Layouts:  I did a few more mini-layouts last night...


Melody and I are taking a class tomorrow at the scrapbook store... I'm excited!  We're doing a cool little mini-album and it should be fun.

And just to make you drool... I found a recipe for Coconut Macaroon Pancakes. These sound delicious, decadant and way too easy to make for my peace of mind.  It's a good thing I don't have any coconut in the house and I'm too lazy to go to the grocery store ;)

Happy Friday :)

Dodged a snowball :D

I'm probably jinxing myself by mentioning it, but thank goodness the weatherman was wrong!  Or at least, we didn't get dumped on here.  I was seriously dreading having to break out the snow shovel in April.

Playoff hockey = awesome.  Game 1 of the Avs vs. the Wild was a great game.  Of course, the Avs won so it had to be great, right?  We'll see how the rest of the series goes but it was a good start, I thought.

I did manage to get a few more layouts done for my mom's album after I watched the game.  I love doing mini albums.  I feel so productive... lol.  Here's round 3 :)


I thought it would be hard to do these layouts, but for some reason it isn't.  I'll be doing something completely unrelated and think of Ben, though, and that still hits me hard.  Is that weird?  I don't know, probably.  I do get a little choked up looking at them after the fact, however.  Such a sweetheart that Ben.  Sigh.

Look what the Amazon Fairy brought!

Blog_amazon_fairy_brings_museMy abiding love for Muse has not diminished... and, to make me totally happy, they just released a CD/DVD combo from their live shows at Wembly last June.  I ripped open the box as soon as I got home last night and watched the DVD.  Have I mentioned that Matt Bellamy is insanely talented?  I'm pretty sure I have, but it bears repeating.  Although I talked to someone yesterday who actually heckled Muse at a show about 5 years ago where they were opening for some other bands.  My reply?  "You heckled Matt Bellamy?!?!?"  Can you feel my incredulity?  Sigh.

Oh, and I was thrilled last night while watching today's forecast on the news to hear that I should be expecting 8-15 INCHES of SNOW by the end of the day today.  My thoughts of moving someplace where fluffy white stuff is fairly unknown have only increased in frequency.  This winter has been brutal.  Please tell me why it isn't over yet... someone?  Please?

And in parting, another group of layouts from the mini album about Ben I'm finishing for my family.


I'd like to get some more done tonight, but the NHL playoffs are starting so we'll see what happens.  Priorities, you know ;)  Go Avs!!!

Capturing the moments

Not to get all sentimental or anything, but this is the time when I feel grateful for my scrapbooking and justified in taking hundreds of pictures of the people and places that matter to me.  I'm so glad that Erin captured all of these moments of Benjamin... they're so precious. 

One of the projects that I started this last weekend was a final volume in the Grandma's Brag Book I've been continually making for my mom. (Right now I really hate that word; final. Ouch.)  Once I finish up this last set I'm going to take the scans of all the pages and get some extra copies made on Blurb or someplace for Erin and her mom (and maybe one for me too).  I thought I'd share some of the layouts... here's the first batch:


More to come :)

Random Monday morning thoughts...

Today is the official first day in my new position as a Website Marketing Manager after being in the Product Management group for the last 17 months.  I'm looking forward to seeing where this goes... hopefully it's going to include travel to our new San Francisco office. :)

Yesterday Melody and I spent at least 5 hours scrapbooking... and we also ate really good chicken enchiladas for dinner (I need that recipe Mel!) and cherry brownies for dessert.  Back on the treadmill this morning!  Here are a few layouts I finished up during our little scrap-a-thon this weekend (in between dinosaurs, conference and food, that is).

First, from my last trip to Italy with Nicole and my buddy Jim in March 2005:


This is one of Ben - picture from Erin's blog.  I read about so many people who have found that scrapbooking is a kind of therapy for them so I'm giving it a try.  So far so good.  This picture was just so precious that I had to start with it...


The Avs beat Minnesota yesterday afternoon to take 6th in the West (Forsberg had 3 assists.  Seriously.  He's awesome.)... considering how many man games they lost to injury this year, that's quite an accomplishment!  They're going to play Minnesota in the first round which should be interesting.  Playoffs start Wednesday... can't wait!  Go Avs! (And Habs!  and Caps!... lol)

Flashback to the Cretaceous

Disclaimer:  Nothing that we did yesterday had anything to do with either Melody's or my desire to use any particular dinosaur stamps that we happen to have.  Nothing whatsoever.  Really.

That being said, we decided that while we still had weekends to play before Melody's family heads off to New Mexico, we wanted to go to the dinosaur park up in Ogden.  So off we went!  It was actually pretty cool.  The robotic dinosaur exhibit of Tricerotops defending her babies from T-Rex (albeit a very small T-Rex) was my favorite, I think, and that had nothing to do with the look of pure fear when Angelina first saw it.  lol.  It took a LOT of convincing to get her to believe that they weren't actually real dinosaurs.  From there we went through the exibits of skeletons, etc... and then headed out to walk the park and look at all the models.  Here are a few pictures from the day:


More dinosaur park photos here.

It was a lot of fun and I think it's safe to say that Melody and I will both be doing dinosaur scrapbook pages in the near future :D

Speaking of scrapbooking, it's time for me to sign off and head over to Mel's for a day of scrapping and conference :)

P.S.  The Avs are playing the Wild for the last game of the season this afternoon.  Go Avs!

P.S.S.  Can I just mention how excited I am that the Caps managed to clinch their division and are going to the playoffs for the first time in 5 years?  I think Steph and I are going to get t-shirts or something proclaiming that we were there to see Ovechkin play his first game when the arena was half empty.  No fairweather fans here!  Go Caps!  at least until they have to play Montreal.  Divided loyalties there.


I'm really glad this week is almost over.  This weekend should be fun... in fact, all of the weekends in April should be really fun.  Two weeks from today is my sister's wedding... so exciting!  And since this weekend is Conference Weekend, it also means serious scrapbooking time for Melody and I.  I still need to get stuff together so that I'll be ready to go tomorrow.  In anticipation, here's another recent layout... this from our trip to Paris when we went up to Normandy for the day.


Now, back to packing up my desk for my move over to the other building.  I start my job as Website Marketing Manager on Monday :)

Have I mentioned that Peter Forsberg is amazing?

Because he is.  I just got back from Florida this evening and first order of business (okay, second.  I really had to put in some laundry) was to watch the hockey game I tivo'd last night while I was away at the funeral.  Colorado clinched a playoff spot last night (and so did Montreal, and thanks to the Outstanding Ovechkin the Caps are tied for their division lead).  Suh-weet. Oh yeah.  And Forsberg's breakaway goal last night was awesome.  Serious highlight-reel material.

Now, a little trip re-cap.  To quote Dickens, "it was the best of times, it was the worst of times."  It was beautiful... it was healing... it was a celebration.  It was also hard... tearful and heart-wrenching.  But it's okay.  It's going to be better than okay but it's one of those memories full of images and emotions that will stick with me (with all of us) forever.

I didn't take very many pictures, obviously, but I'll have to explain how these came about.  See, Ben loved Nemo.  LOVED Nemo.  Or as he will forever be known, Nemo fishy.  Rick and Erin had been at the mall with Ben and they have a Disney store.  I guess Ben saw the stuffed Nemo offerings available at the store and had really wanted a Nemo fishy of his own.  "Next time" was the promise.  So to fulfill that promise, all of us piled into cars and drove into Orlando to the Mall of Florida so that they could get a Nemo fishy for Ben.  It just so happens that right there by the Disney store is M&M World.  So we all wandered through on our way back out to the cars and Nicole and I couldn't resist the lure of the giant M&Ms.


We spent a lot of time together as family and it was wonderful.  Nicole and I both had early flights out this morning, though.  Speaking of which I'd like to thank Nicole for booking my tickets and doing an awesome job getting them for miles.  I'd also like to thank her for booking me that window seat on the flight from Atlanta to SLC that actually turned out to be a middle seat where I was stuck between two large men; neither of whom seemed to have issues about invading my personal space... lol.  The one on my right continued to try and make conversation for four hours, despite my pointed efforts to read, and the one on the left appeared to be steadily getting drunk.  lol.  But I survived and I'm home.  Too bad I have to go back to work tomorrow :-P

Comfort food

I have a lot of comfort foods and peanut butter is definitely one of them.  The problem is, everything with pb in it is so bad for you!  Weight Watchers used to have this great frozen dessert... Peanut butter Pie.  I could only ever find it at Wegman's and I recently noticed that it isn't even on the WW website in their product listing.  So, as I mentioned the other day, I had an idea kicking around in my head to re-create something similar.  My version has about 60 more calories, but it's also about twice as big :D

Here are the directions:


Now I'm hungry :D