Saturday, May 8, 2010

Our belated honeymoon

Ben and I took our belated honeymoon to Chicago in early April, and we had a terrific time! We went to the Sears Tower the first day there and experienced their SkyDeck. Ariel, our friend from high school, was kind enough to pick us up from the airport and really helped us out during our trip. We truly owe some sanity to him! Some of the other things we did? Well ... the Museum of Science & Industry, true Chicago-style pizza from Lou Malnati's, the Field Museum, the Shedd Aquarium, a terrific show at Second City, candies from Fannie Mae, the Navy Pier, and the Art Institute of Chicago. We stayed at a terrific hotel in the River North portion of the city. We were both so happy to be able to travel together for no good reason other than our enjoyment. Let's see where we get to go next!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Oops, left out a video

I didn't let the last video fully load. Here it is:

A fall/winter to remember

Since our last post, we've celebrated Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's. For Thanksgiving, our families were awesome enough to join us in Houston, and Ben was fortunate enough to not have to work Thanksgiving day. That night, my mom, Mrs. Miller, Jennifer and I went to watch New Moon. Three of us REALLY liked it. My mom is not a believer. :)

Ben had to work on Christmas but we were eager to go home for New Year's. We left New Year's Eve and arrived back in Houston the following Wednesday afternoon. It was great to see everyone again, and not just for a weekend. Smokey had a great time in the Valley, but Bandit had to stay behind. He was boarded at our vet's office because we KNEW he'd meow the whole 6.5 hours to the RGV. When I went to pick him up, it was clear that he was one popular cat around that office. The vet even brought her sons over the weekend to play with him!

Anyway, here are some pictures and videos to illustrate the last few months:

Bandit was super friendly over Thanksgiving, even though he had to share the house with four dogs! Smokey is getting better about sharing the licking privileges with Bandit. Every now and then we let them lick the remnants of meals off plates or the bottoms of pans used for cooking. During Thanksgiving, the guys spent some time working on our grill/pit outside. My mom gave us a beautiful Christmas tree skirt for our first big Christmas tree in our first home. When we went home for New Years, we got to celebrate the Millers' 30th wedding anniversary at The Longhorn. That's Mr. Miller's reaction to their gift - a Wii!

Ben and Josh love to play Call of Duty together on the PS3. Ben and I love to get Smokey kisses any time, but it's a special treat to get them during a road trip.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Ben and Bandit are so happy!

Today Ben decided that he and some "helpers" would tackle the seemingly-unending job of clearing our property. They made terrific progress, despite the fact that Ben had a slip-up with his chainsaw and hurt his leg. It's definitely going to be fine, and if I could classify a chainsaw wound as "minor," then this would qualify. Ben describes the worst past of the wound as "hamburger meat." Ew. By the end of the day, Ben and I are very impressed by the progress.

On to Bandit. We are convinced that this cat is really a dog reincarnated. He tries to eat from the trash can, he ALWAYS acts hungry, and he refuses to use his scratch post. Everyone I know who has had a cat said to leave empty boxes out for Bandit to play in. Nope - he wouldn't go near them. Another cat I knew loved things that rolled, like a ball of aluminum foil, etc. Nope - he couldn't care less. I decided to buy one of those cat toys that's like a little bird or mouse on the end of a string. I introduced him to it today, and I began to worry. At first he just stared at it as I bounced it around his head and body. Then, after about a minute of me harassing him with the thing, he PLAYED with it. I didn't anticipate that he would clamp down on the thing so hard that I wouldn't be able to get it back! Observe (and note the moment of panic when I say "Oh crap!" and run like hell:

So then he caught up to me and won again:

Yay for a cat being a cat!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Bringing down the vine

The people who have visited our house know that one of the biggest eyesores on our property is a big pine tree that has a massive nest of vines on it. Over July Fourth weekend, the guys cut the base of the vine and removed the roots from the ground (which were huge!). So slowly, but surely, the vines have died and dried up. Now Ben and I have begun trying to pull the vines down. It's kind of a therapeutic process for me because I've hated those vines since the very beginning. On some parts of the tree, the vines had been so tight and large that they had left imprints in the trunk!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Bandit got attacked! And so did our pocketbook...

On Monday, Sept. 29, I had just changed into a t-shirt and shorts after work in our master bathroom when I heard Ben scream and a loud sound. At first I thought he was being silly with Smokey, but then the subsequent silence confused me. I asked him what he was doing, to which he replied from our side porch, "Bandit just got attacked by two dogs!" Of course I ran outside with Ben and discovered that as soon as Ben had screamed and run outside, the two neighborhood stray dogs had run away and so had Bandit. Despite the rain, the two of us along with Smokey went searching all over our property for our precious Bandit.

About an hour later, we didn't have a single idea of where he might be. It had gotten dark by that point, so we decided to come inside and hope for the best. About an hour or so later, I stepped outside with a flashlight and scanned our yard from the patio since it was still drizzling. About 25 feet away, I saw a little patch of black and white fur moving around slowly and screamed for Ben to come help me. As Ben cradled Bandit in his arms on our kitchen floor, we examined him for major injuries. We found bite marks on his neck and open wounds on his right back leg. That's when Ben said, "That's it. We're taking him to the emergency vet."

Apparently, this is what Ben saw when he caught the attack. One dog had Bandit's head-end in his mouth and the other had Bandit's back end in his mouth. They were basically playing a rough version of tug-of-war with our cat! So about two and a half hours later, we're still at the emergency vet and they've given us an itemized bill of what our cat would need. Because he was a stray and not registered, they had to do a feline AIDS test, to which he tested negative. I'm not going to specify how much the bill was ... but it was ridiculous! After a WHOLE lot of thought, we decided to pay what it took to make our cat better.

So now he's in our upstairs bathroom with a cone on so he won't rip out his sutures. And Ben and I have decided that he needs to be an inside cat now since we can't trust that those dogs won't come back.

Here's a video too. Bandito LOVES getting all the attention now and purrs like crazy.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

No-Picture Update ... better than nothing

This is a long-overdue update on our lives, but an update nonetheless. Our cat's name is Bandit, and yes, he is officially OUR cat in our minds. We also have welcomed Smokey back into our arms as we have enough room to keep him comfortable. We know it's been a difficult transition for the Millers to be without Smokey recently, but he's definitely having a great time being a country dog. Smokey couldn't have a better grandmother, grandfather and uncle than Mr. and Mrs. Miller and Josh! So, some of you might have already made the connection, but I'll spell it out anyway. We now have our Smokey and the Bandit! Although for some reason we keep calling our cat Bandito.

Our master bedroom is mostly finished. We had a painter come out and help us remove the underlayer of wallpaper border, retexture that part of the wall and prime. We did the rest. He also helped us out with a portion of the dining area and our kitchen. We have yet to tackle our master bathroom or upstairs. But just those changes make a huge difference. I also realized how bland our color tastes our. Listen to these color names: Mother of Pearl (trim), Almond Paste (master bedroom), and Chalkware (living area/kitchen).

Ben is still hard at work on the land. The Millers and Dan offered a huge help during Fourth of July weekend when we had a dumptruck at the property! Ben was super excited about that - except he accidentally burned his hand on the exhaust.

All in all, it's still a work in progress, but it's coming along nicely. I'll try to post photos soon.