Monday, August 31, 2009

Our New Couch

I'm pleased to report that Chad and I finally purchased a couch for the basement this weekend, and we managed to do so without any further arguments or issues! We recently came to the conclusion that we should go with some combination of a couch/loveseat/chairs, so on Saturday I went to Topeka (since we had a wedding to go there that night anyway) and had brunch with an old friend before spending a few hours hitting all of the same furniture stores that we'd previously been to when we were looking specifically for a table/chairs and sectionals. Each time I would see a sofa with potential, I would take a picture and email it to Chad to get his opinion. By the end of the day we had narrowed it down to two sofa sets at two different stores.

On Sunday, Chad was all excited to drive back to Topeka to BUY one of these sets because he was so sick of looking, so we headed back over and went to look at the one I liked the most first, only to find out that it was a closeout and all they had was the floor model sofa, without any loveseats at all! ACK! Thankfully, there was another couch around the corner that I hadn't previous considered because I didn't like its feet. Once we realized the feet were easy to remove and replace, we tried it out and it moved rapidly to the top of the list! We did go back to the second store just to rule out the other set on our list, but it wasn't nearly as comfortable and the quality wasn't nearly as good. The only thing that set had going for it was the chair and 1/2, which I totally love. I think now our plan is to find a separate chair and 1/2 or two-person chaise to compliment our sofa and loveseat. That will be a search for a different day though!

So here's a picture of what might be our new sofa. It's the correct brand (Natuzzi) and it has the funky feet we want to change, and it's very similar, but I'm not 100% sure this is the exact model. You get the idea though.

We ended up buying the set from Slumberland Furniture in Topeka, and we really can't say enough good things about this store. We encountered SO MANY overbearing and downright frightening furniture salespeople during these last few weeks, and the people in this store were such a breath of fresh air. They were very helpful and knowledgeable, but they didn't hover over us or try to mislead us or follow us around the store asking questions or saying "it can get kind of crazy!!" like other salespeople at other stores. In the end, I was so glad we found what we wanted at that store, so that we could reward the sales staff we appreciated so much!

Unfortunately, our new furniture won't get here for 4-6 weeks, so for the time being we're going to hook up the TV and watch movies while laying on the floor! :)

Friday, August 28, 2009

Sad Irony

Life is so ironic sometimes. For some reason, it seems to be especially ironic when it comes to our sweet little girl Hope. You might remember that early in 2008 I discovered Hope's second tumor by complete accident when going to visit her surgeon, who was actually supposed to be examining Celtic. Though not quite as timely, last night we discovered yet another tumor on our little girl's backside. On Saturday I was honoring our special puppy for being a cancer survivor on her birthday, and just 6 days later we're trying to face the fact that she has cancer yet again.

While we're obviously extremely upset with this discovery, we're trying not to panic yet. We've already made the appointment to see Dr. Layton at VSEC, and we're hopeful that she can perform a miracle like she did with Hope's first two "inoperable" tumors. Thankfully, this tumor isn't nearly as big, and its location doesn't seem quite as "delicate" as the first two. We're anxious to see the doctor and hear her prognosis.

Part of me actually isn't surprised about this, as much as I had hoped that Hope would stay cancer-free. First of all, Dr. Layton told us that Hope would probably get another tumor. Since the risk of mast cell tumors increase with their frequency, and since surgery wasn't able to get large margins around her previous tumors, Hope is very high-risk. It wasn't just because of that though. It was because everything else in our life has been going so well lately. We've been blessed with so much and everything has been falling into place so perfectly, something in our life was just bound to go awry.

I don't want to imply that I think Hope's cancer is some sort of punishment by some mysterious higher power. Quite the contrary, actually. I think when things go perfectly and wonderfully it's easy for us to live our lives as though we don't need God. Trials just teach us that we do.

So after a period of peace, we're in the midst of a trial, and you can bet that we'll be relying on God during these next few weeks as Hope's cancer battle continues.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

My New Toy

Did anyone happen to notice the lovely picture of our girl Hope from my post on her birthday? Does that picture seem especially fabulous to anyone besides me? If you have a very keen eye and you did notice it was incredibly beautiful, I assure you it doesn't have anything to do with my talent as a photographer. It does, however, have to do with a new toy that I got late last week--a new 50 mm lens!! I'm totally in love with this thing!!

Although I haven't learned nearly enough about SLR photography in the 1+ year that I've had my camera, I did learn relatively quickly that I couldn't get the shots I really wanted without a faster lens that allows more light in with a wider aperture. I actually found the lens I wanted in March, but it wasn't available anywhere online, so I ordered it from Nebraska Furniture Mart, of all places. Unfortunately, it never came in because it was on back order. I pretty much forgot about it during the move, but after we got into the new house I followed up and found they had pushed the delivery date back yet again. Since an vendor claimed to have it in stock, I canceled the NFM order and ordered on Amazon last Monday, and by Thursday it had arrived!!!

I opened my new toy Friday evening after dinner and took a few shots inside, with absolutely no natural light and even very little artificial light, and the pictures were still amazing. My second photo session was the next morning outside, and the pictures were even more incredible. I love this lens so much!! It makes me feel like I could someday be a real photographer!

I know my blog has been a little heavy on the slideshows lately, but you have to see the terrific pictures from my new toy!!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Search Continues...

On Saturday we made yet another trip to KC to search for a sectional, but unfortunately we once again came home empty-handed. It was a frustrating day not only because we didn't purchase the furniture we went in search of, but also because we managed to get into an argument about said sectional during our shopping trip! I won't go into the details, but I was frustrated with Chad because I thought he'd quit looking seriously because his mind was already made up, while he was frustrated with me because I wouldn't make up my mind!!

After our all-around frustrating trip to 3 new furniture stores and one we'd already been to, we headed back to Nebraska Furniture Mart to take a second look at the sectional Chad was hoping to get. Strangely enough, although I couldn't find a picture of it the other day when I created my poll, now for some reason it's on their website. So here is the actual sectional we were considering, but without the cup holder section:

Thanks to everyone's input on that last post, I'd finally come to grips with the idea of our sectional having a recliner. After all, it was incredibly comfortable, and that should be the most important thing for us and our guests. What kept me from buying into this particular piece was actually my worries about its quality. One thing Nebraska Furniture Mart is not good about it disclosing all of the information about their furniture. The manufacturers tags are rarely still on the items, and the salespeople are often misleading about the type of leather or wood. We've come to realize that pieces which are advertised as a type of leather aren't really leather at all, and I was slightly worried that this was the case with our sectional above. I'd also started to have some reservations about the idea of a sectional in general, since it would a) limit us in how we could arrange the furniture in the basement, and b) force all of our friends to sit "together" on the same piece of furniture when we're entertaining large groups of people. I've started to think that maybe a separate couch/loveseat/chaise would be a more versatile option. Let me know your thoughts on this one if you're good at decorating!!

So going forward, the search plan will include me going to KC/Topeka to shop for furniture, and taking pictures to send back to Chad to get his approval! He's just going to trust me to make a judgment on the comfort! Anyone want to help me furniture shop next Saturday???

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Eat Your Veggies

This has absolutely nothing to do with anything at all, but I saw the end of this commercial a couple of times last week and it make me laugh out loud. As I was telling Chad about it, I Googled it to see if I could find it online, and it just so happened I found it on someone else's blog. Apparently I wasn't the only one who thought it was funny and worth sharing!

The look on that mom's face totally cracks me up.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Barking Birthday Girl

I mentioned the other day that the Bark for Life event in Eudora was tailor-made for our cancer survivor Hope. What I forgot to mention (and honestly forgot all about until we were actually at the event) is that today was the fourth anniversary of the day we brought her home, which means that it's the day we celebrate her birthday!! How sweet is that! We're celebrating Hope's 9th today, even though we really have no idea how old she is. Some days she seems like a 9 year old, and some days she acts like she's two!

The event tonight was small but cute. There were probably 40 or so dogs there, with a few booths and a food vendor and a few dog activities. We walked the track in the park a few times and socialized with the other doggies, but mostly we just stood around and talked to my friend JoAnna, who I hadn't seen forever. JoAnna was kind enough to take a good family picture of us to celebrate the occasion.

Hopefully our middle munchkin enjoyed her birthday evening out with the family and had fun meeting a few doggy friends. I know she definitely enjoyed the special treat of cheese curls that Chad gave her from his dinner. It certainly doesn't seem like an adequate gift for the very special girl who has been bringing us so much joy for the last four years. We are so very thankful for her!!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Laughing At Myself

The day after we moved into our new home our wonderful friends Jake and Amber sent us this beautiful arrangement of flowers, complete with a "congratulations on your new home" balloon.

Isn't it lovely? Look at the lemons in the midst of the flowers--how cool! Jake and Amber are obviously awesome friends--thanks guys!

I'm blogging about the flowers a full month after the fact because last night Chad looked over in the corner of our kitchen and said, "Can we please throw that balloon away?" Yes, the balloon had been floating around in our house for an entire month. However, since I'm not one to throw away perfectly good helium, I insisted on putting the gas to good use.

I'll spare you from the three additional short videos of me saying other silly things, since I usually didn't succeed in completing a sentence because I started laughing so hard. Clearly, I crack myself up. I'll admit I was just a tad light-headed after sucking helium for several minutes, but hopefully I didn't kill too many brain cells in the process. It was worth it to be able to laugh at myself a little! :)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Great Couch Search of 2009

Today we went furniture shopping in KC for the third time since we moved 4 weeks ago. Our poor TV room downstairs is still sitting empty, and unfortunately, even after another day of shopping we are no closer to having it furnished. We're looking for something kind of specific for that space, and so far, that specific piece has completely eluded us. We feel like the space lends itself to a big, comfy sectional, and we decided that for the first time we'd like to try leather, so as to make cleaning off the dog hair a little bit easier. I also really want a chaise on one side. Unfortunately, all of the leather sectionals we've looked at so far (at about 10 different stores in KC) have been too formal, too uncomfortable, too fake (pleather or vinyl) or too trashy, tacky and tricked out. The search has been incredibly frustrating!

We did actually find one sectional at Nebraska Furniture Mart that Chad would buy if I would agree to it. I will admit it is extremely comfortable, and it's plenty large for seating lots of friends, but one section is a recliner, which just feels a little too WT for my tastes. Here's a really similar one from NFM, only in a lighter color leather. We also would NOT be getting the little console/cupholder piece, just FYI!

What do you think? Too tacky? I love that the chaise is wide enough for us both to lay in it and snuggle, and it is incredibly comfy, but I just can't quite commit! It's certainly casual, but maybe just a little too casual? I just don't know! I'm terrible at decorating!

How about you, my lovely readers, help me decide? Maybe you can give me your opinion on the above piece of furniture? You won't even have to leave a comment--you can just vote in the poll below and let me know what you think!! That way you won't even have to hurt my feelings by telling me I have horrible taste! :)

Even though we didn't decide on any furniture, the trip to KC wasn't a total bust because we stopped to eat at Oklahoma Joe's, which of course I love. We hadn't ever eaten at the second one (Olathe), but since we were in that neck of the woods it seemed like our destiny! We thought it was as delicious as the original, and the ambiance was definitely better! We stopped at the BBQ store next door on our way out, and we bought some of their famous BBQ sauce and also their special set of rubs and spices (which they use on their fries, by the way). The box of spices is so cute and colorful, and on the way home as I was reading all of the funny stories/sayings/recipes all over it I saw this:

That made me laugh so hard!! They are super tasty spices in addition to being entertaining!! This is what the whole cute box of spices looks like, just in case you want some for yourself! :)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Bark For Life

Normally I would forget to blog about an exciting upcoming event until the day before or something, thereby failing to inform or encourage my local friends to join us or participate. Tonight as I was writing out our registration check for an upcoming American Cancer Society event, I realized I should blog about it now so that I can easily pass along the info to my friends!

This particular event, which happens to be the first of its kind in Kansas, feels like it was tailor made for Hope and me. It's called Bark for Life and is a Relay for Life for dogs! I mean seriously, could it be more perfect for me? Dogs and cancer fundraising all together--how sweet is that!!

So next Saturday night, Chad and I and the three dogs will trek to Eudora, where we'll participate in the dog-centered cancer walk, where our wonderful little cancer-survivor will be honored along with other dogs and people who have battled cancer. I hope you'll consider joining us!!

For more information on the event, check out the Lawrence Journal-World article here, where you can also find out how to register. Come Bark for Life with us! :)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


I know I'm a complete sap, but I watched this video last night and it totally brought a tear to my eye, so I of course had to share. I can't take credit for finding it--a friend posted it on their Facebook page yesterday. Although the video is apparently from the start of school last fall, it just seems appropriate this week, since so many teachers are headed back to school right now.

Isn't he just great?

Sunday, August 09, 2009

It's My Birthday and I'll Be Tired If I Want To

I've had an eventful birthday today and it has been lovely, but I'll admit that I'm incredibly tired. After hanging out with our friends Robyn and Dan last night while watching the UFC fights, we didn't get to bed until about 12:30 a.m. At 4:30 a.m., Celtic woke me up because he was nervous about a beeping noise coming from the kitchen (don't ask). I didn't go back to sleep because the alarm was set for 5 a.m.

Why in the world would we get up at 5 a.m. on a Sunday on my birthday, you ask? Well, this morning was the Kansas City Race for the Cure, and my wonderful husband agreed to drive to KC this morning to participate in the very popular 5K that raises money for Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Someone from my office put together a team, and since I hadn't participated since 2007, I thought it would be a fun birthday event! The race just gets bigger and bigger every year--this year there were over 28,000 people registered! Even though I can't run because of my back and Chad can't run because of his knee, we still had a fun time as we power walked our 14.5 minute miles. Here are a few pictures from the morning!

Chad followed up the 5K with two softball games, so he's probably way more tired than I am, but sitting out in the heat watching him was exhausting too! A few of our softball friends came over after his games to grill and hang out, and it was great having people over to the new house since it's so much closer to the softball fields! Everyone left at about 6:30 or so, at which time I promptly fell asleep while watching Tiger play golf on our DVR. I woke up just a few minutes ago, just in time to finish this blog, get ready for bed, and go back to sleep! I'm pooped!

Friday, August 07, 2009

I'm In Love

While I'm obviously still madly in love with my husband, I have to admit that I fell in love with something else today too. Yes--it's a "thing." Before I tell you what it is, I first must tell you the story of how we met.

Today Chad had a meeting in Lawrence, so at about 11:00 a.m. he called and asked me to meet him at home for an early lunch. A few seconds after I walked in the door, Chad excused himself to use the facilities. A few seconds after that, I heard a strange ringtone that didn't sound familiar at all. I started looking for the source, thinking that Chad had changed the ringtone on his Blackberry. The ring was coming from the charging station in our kitchen, but his phone wasn't even on the charging station, so I was completely confused. After another ring, I realized there was something behind the charging station making the noise. When I pulled it out to look, I saw this:

I knew immediately (after a split second thought of "who's iPhone is this?" that Chad bought it for me, because I'd already asked him for an iphone for Christmas, since that's when my Verizon contract was supposed to run out!

Isn't in beautiful? Here's another shot, just for good measure.

I almost took a picture of me kissing it, but I thought that might be a little much. :)

The point is, this thing is freaking amazing and I love it. I've been mesmerized pretty much all day long. Our evening was spent with Chad strumming the guitar while I downloaded applications and took pictures and videos. Here's one of the videos, which I uploaded to Youtube straight from my fantastic phone!!

How awesome is that, and how cute is my little Celtic? Chad thought the video was a little long, but I think that little guy is just precious!

Thanks to my wonderful husband for the terrific early birthday surprise today! I love you, best friend!

Thursday, August 06, 2009

The Moon

I've been a terrible blogger this week. We've had stuff going on almost every night, and by the time I've gotten into bed in the evenings (my normal blogging time) I've been pretty incoherent. I'm working on some vacation stories, but until they are finished I thought I'd share some pictures of the lovely moon. It's been beautiful the last few nights/mornings and I've tried to capture that beauty to no avail. If I'd actually used a tripod, these probably would have turned out better, but even then I'm not really very good at low light photography!

The moon from our back deck early this morning.

The moon from our front porch this evening.

A fuzzier picture, just so you can see more of what I was seeing.

This was actually the only cool picture of the bunch--the church across the street from our front porch.

Maybe someday I'll learn to take better moonlight pictures!

Sunday, August 02, 2009

The Tour

We had a pretty productive weekend--emptying a few more boxes, hanging a few pictures, and generally getting just a little more settled. We had some new furniture arrive on Friday, and while we still have several things we still need to buy, the house is certainly looking a little more complete. Most of the walls are still a little bare, but other than that it's starting to look like a real home.

Since several people have requested pictures, today I also took the time to put together a little tour, for all of you who can't come to visit us in person! Of course we'd much rather give you the real tour instead of the virtual tour, but for now this will have to do!

Now that the home transition is complete, I can finally get back to blogging about regular life. Tune in for some non-house related posts soon!