Saturday, December 18, 2010

A Christmas Poem

‘Twas one week before Christmas, when all through the house
The pets were running crazy, Henry chasing a fake mouse.
The stockings were hung over the TV with care,
The Christmas tree was shining, the bottom half bare.

The pets were wreaking havoc, hardly lying in their new Christmas bed,
They were too busy knocking off ornaments, and tearing wrapping paper to shreds.
And me in my PJs and Ross in his biking cap,
Had just parted way to get our final Christmas presents wrapped.

When deep in my head there arose such a clatter,
I hustled around the house cleaning, to see what was the matter.
Away to the closet I flew like a flash.
Tore through my old blue jeans and grabbed my new sash.

My shoes were all neatly arranged, ready for sun, rain or snow
And my sweaters and t-shirts were stacked all below.
For what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But my giant packing list, I had no reason to fear!

With the coffee jitters I was so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment, blue berry muffins would be my breakfast fix.
More rapid than eagles to the cupboard I sprang,
And whistled and shouted and called out the ingredients by name!

“Now blueberries! Now flour! Now water and Salt!
Now turn on the oven! Oh my! That’s hot!
Eisley stop barking! Henry don’t lick the plate!
Now get back to the closet to get my suitcase straight!”

As rain drops fall from the Portland sky,
I dashed around the house to be sure I was ready to fly.
Because the very next day I would be on a plane,
After security checked all my luggage and confirmed my ticket and name.

So I scurried and packed and got my Christmas list checked
And cleaned up the kitchen and bedroom so they wouldn’t look so wrecked.
As I finally calmed now, and was turning around,
I saw Henry knock down four shiny ornaments in one single bound!

So I placed them up higher and straightened the tree,
And lit up the wreath that my Nana made just for me.
I threw all my presents in suitcase number two,
And sighed at the long list of things I still had to do.

For I was leaving the next day to go to NC for a break,
And as my flight was leaving so early, I had to be sure I wouldn’t be late!
I had fears of my layover and that in Chicago my plane wouldn’t be able to go,
Because the temperature was supposed to be 20 and they were calling for snow!

But I tried not to worry as I washed my face and brushed my teeth,
And took one last look at my Christmas tree and wreath.
My stress made me laugh and shake like a bowl full of jelly,
Or maybe that was a growling coming from my belly?

My plans were all laid out for the week ahead,
I knew deep inside I had nothing to dread.
I would see friends and family, we would all eat and drink!
I would come back to Portland bigger, or maybe my pants would just shrink?

I double-checked my planner and went back to work,
I had to make time to see everyone, so no one would think I was a jerk!
I closed down my laptop and packed it up tight,
And put in my carry on, so I would have if for the flight.

I plopped on the couch and let out a deep breathe,
I got everything done, I could finally rest.
Time to relax and watch movies and tonight open some presents too!
Merry Christmas to all my friends and family, I can’t wait to see you!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving has come and gone and we missed you all! We hate we couldn't be in North Carolina to celebrate and stuff our faces with you, but Christmas is quickly approaching and we will have lots of time together!

Fall in Portland is very hit or miss with the weather. It is much cooler here than I expected, but we are obviously used to that from living in Boone for five years. We saw our first little spot of snow about a week ago (only 1/2 an inch) but it was exciting to see none the less. Despite the fact that the majority of the trees out here are evergreens, we are seeing a good bit of color change and Eisley loves the leaves as usual!

We are coping with the rain pretty well- Ross still gets out and peddles through the mud, and I stay inside and cook yummy soups. If you have any vegetarian recipes that I need to try, send them my way! You will be super impressed with Ross and my baking... he has perfected the art of homemade biscuits (my Grandma J would be impressed) and I have worked out an AMAZING apple pie recipe (that's right... from scratch! Crust and all!). I think the "person" taking the rain the hardest is Eisley. She doesn't get to go to the dog park or play in the big field as much any more, because now they are covered in giant puddles and mud. We do manage to get out at least once a week (see below picture of soaked pup).

This is a picture of us in Hood River, a super cute little town on the Columbia River about an hour east of us. The area is famous for its outdoor sports, quaint small town feel, and famous brewery (Full Sail). The town reminded us of a really outdoorsy Blowing Rock.

Henry has continued to grow... and eat. He is a really funny little critter... in one picture he can look like a normal 6 month old kitten, but in the next he looks like a giant MAN CAT! Someone told him that ancient royalty used to regard obesity as a sign of wealth and power and he took it to heart. All hail King Henry Gaylord!

As most of you know, the second Thanksgiving is over, it is officially Christmas for me! We have been decorating for a couple of days now and are hoping to finish up the tree tonight (because obviously you have to decorate at night when you can turn the lights on!). Thanks to Nana and Papa I had a good head start on my decorations, as they sent us two big boxes of decorations a couple of weeks ago. We have garland, a wreath, and ornaments galore! The only things we are lacking now are stocking for the four of us and more presents under the tree!

Eisley and Henry are loving the decorations and are using them as an excuse to terrorize the house. Henry loves lights....

and garland....

and of course the wreath!

We are considering moving the tree into a place where he can't get to it but I doubt that will actually help.

So now the countdown begins.... 21 days until I will be in North Carolina. Get excited!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Old stuff, new stuff, and a superstitious pup

I am going to try my best to get back to updating more frequently. In the beginning I was updating several times a week and now you all are lucky if I get in a couple of posts a month! I am not sure if my life got less interesting, if I have a lot less free time on my hands with Ross and I both working, or if I have become a lazy blogger... whatever the reason, I am going to work really hard to give you exciting new updates weekly (if not more!)

First of all, meet Jackson and Amelia. You all have probably heard me mention them in a previous post, but they are fellow North Carolinians who transplanted to Portland. We met them randomly, they live two miles from us, and we are all pretty much regulars at the local yogurt shop that is half way between our two apartments. It is awesome- come to Portland, and I will take you there!

I felt like you should meet them should they come up in later conversation. Anyway...

Henry has gotten SO HUGE! In less than two months he has more than doubled his weight and gained a little man tummy. He is more mischievous than ever (see the previous post on his kitchen counter jumping behavior) but also just as cuddly. We were a little concerned that as he grew up he would lose the desire to be "our little man." Well we are happy to report that he still loves lap naps, being held like a baby, and lots of attention from his Mommy and Daddy.

Any one who has ever had the pleasure of spending more than a few minutes with Eisley Boone knows that she is FULL of energy (and this too has NOT changed with age). We were a little disappointed when we first moved to Portland because although our new city is ranked the number one dog friendly city in America, because of its dog-welcoming parks, restaurants, etc., we were not able to enjoy it with Eisley because of her TERRIBLE leash behavior. No matter how many tricks we trained her, from catching a frisbee to playing dead, she could not figure out how to walk correctly on a leash. We watched countless episodes of dog training television shows, but nothing helped. Finally, we went to the pet store and got a new harness- the kind that a lot of Portlanders use. It is called a Gentle Walker, and if you ever own a pup that pulls hard on the leash, this is the thing to get! It goes around her chest and when she pulls forward, the harness restricts her leg movement and makes her body turn back towards us. It is pretty much AMAZING! She now walks very calmly next to us and she is a joy to take out running. She even got to go to the bike race this past Sunday! So with her new leash-loving skills, she gets to go on evening jogs with her Mama. While I love her company and the fact that she no longer draaaaaags me along the sidewalk, I have noticed a very unusual new behavior. Eisley is superstitious. Yes, you read correctly, our pup is superstitious. When jogging nicely down the sidewalk right at my heel, when she sees an upcoming drain or large break in the sidewalk, she panics and veers off into the grass or off the curb into on-coming traffic to avoid crossing it. It was funny the first few times it happened. Now it is obnoxious! Imagine running at a nice speed and have to swerve every time there is a drain or metal plate on the sidewalk (and there are A LOT in our neighborhood!).

As I mentioned in my most recent post, cyclocross season is going great for Ross, and we are enjoying all of the sights, sounds, and feelings of each individual race. This past weekend (on Halloween) every racer wore costumes. Unfortunately I didn't take the camera to this race (I didn't think I could juggle a pup and a camera), however Eisley was featured in her costume on a local cycling website. YAY Eisley is famous!

And speaking of famous.... Ross is a Portland star! During one of the most recent cyclocross races, filled with tremendous amounts of mud and goop, Ross' picture was snagged by a local photographer. It was such a good shot that it was made the home page of the Cyclocross Cross Crusade website! Check out the picture here....

Now THAT is some mud!

With the upcoming rainy season, I was a little worried I would be bored to pieces stuck inside all the time. So I started researching projects... now I am obsessed. Antique furniture and vintage fabrics are my new LOVE! I have decided that the vintage/shabby chic is totally my style (a little to Ross' dismay). My first project was a fall pumpkin made from a vintage pillow case. Ross continues to believe it is a pin cushion, but I don't think he understands the concept of "sit around decoration." Just wait until Christmas... he will see holiday decor in a whole new light! I get a lot of my inspiration for crafts and furniture (including this pumpkin craft) from a friend's blog. Bonnie is married to a good cycling buddy of Ross and her blog is a true work of art. She crafts and refurbishes like a pro... check her out at

As any good eco-responsible and budget-concious girl would do, I have been visiting the local thrift stores. Amelia and I were out bargain hunting one Saturday (I told you she would come up again!) and we fell in love with this beautiful antique dresser. The problem is we BOTH fell in love with it. So we did the mature thing... we had Jackson flip a coin. ha! As luck would have it, I won the toss. Sounds great huh? Except I felt guilty that she didn't win (although I would have been totally bummed if I hadn't won... double edged sword dilemma). So I have vowed to help her find an awesome piece of furniture and our hunt continues. Here is the before shot. I am going to take a while working on this redo, so the after may be a while (it is my Christmas present to myself... shhh don't tell!)

I love the little details like the claw feet, intricate flower designs, and worn-in look. Don't you!?

My next BIG project is going to be to make a handmade quilt. I started one a long time ago (it was a mini-disaster), so I am starting a new, hopefully with a little more experience and a more promising goal. I am hoping to get a sewing machine over the next couple of months so I can complete it like a pro! It will look wonderful in the little farm house we want to buy (one day... a long time in the future... somewhere on the eastern half of the country. Don't get too excited... we are talking LONG TERM!). Here are some fabrics I am collecting...

Don't you just love the country/vintage charm? It looks like the little country girl is still in me!

So that's what has been going on in our lives. I promise my future posts will be shorter (maybe) and more frequent (hopefully).

Happy Fall!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Falling into Fall in Portland

Cross Crusades has officially gotten underway and every Sunday is full of mud, bikes, and lots of fun! Take a look at the pics below for a glimpse of the season's highlights thus far!

Henry and Eisley are getting along BEAUTIFULLY! They are officially the best of friends and scheme up wild adventures together daily. They play fight ALL the time, running wildly through the house chasing each other... and no it's not just Eisley who does the chasing!

And yes... this continues for hours on end. And for those of you who are worried (cough cough, Mom), no that is NOT Henry hissing at Eisley... it is EIsley sneezing at Henry!!!

Several times a day Henry will jump up on the kitchen counter, knock something off to the ground for Eisley, then watch as Eisley eats it. (It is at this time that I would like to make the note that we both swore that Henry would NEVER be allowed on the kitchen counter... he has other plans and has decided that the kitchen counter is in fact his FAVORITE place.) So, with the help of Henry, Eisley has learned new things as treats, including flower seeds, plant leaves, and napkins.

Henry and EIsley have also learned a new game very similar to piggy back rides. Eisley chases Henry into the back bedroom then convinces him to lay in her doggy bed. Eisley then drags the bed around the apartment, with Henry in it, before eventually flipping it over in the living room where Henry lays there for several minutes like a dead opossum. But what Eisley didn't realize in all of her fun is that now Henry thinks that the doggy bed is in fact an oversized cat bed.

And in case you haven't heard... ROSS GOT A JOB!! He is now a Operations Analyst and really enjoys his job. His boss is a cyclist too, and all over it is a pretty cool work environment. And what's even better is that his job is in Milwaukie, only two miles from where I work, which means we get to commute together! But the downside is... our commute is still 45 minutes to an hour every day and not improving. At least now we get to spend that time together!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

A Homecoming away from Home

I have felt a little nostalgic lately- I think the quickly approaching fall has made me a little homesick. Fall was always my favorite season in Boone and the changing leaves have left me reminiscing on past memories of cool days on the porch at Mellow Mushroom, trail runs through the fall slush, and calm drives through the bright leaves on the parkway with the windows down and heat on (add a good mixed cd and you have my ideal driving situation).

Homecoming at Appalachian is next weekend and I must say I am very sad I won't be in attendance this year (if for no other reason I will miss Mom and Larry swing dancing at the alumni dance). Homecoming at ASU has always been one of my favorite weekends of the school year, and Ambassadors was a big part of that. Hearing former Ambassadors tweet and facebook about catching up, hanging out, and loving ASU at the football events makes me remember why Ambassadors and ASU as a whole was so important to me. Two years ago (senior year in college) at this time, I was making frantic and somewhat crazy last minute preparations for the float, alumni dinner, and other Ambassador Homecoming festivities- I think I even earned Homecoming Nazi title (and this is NOT a compliment). And while it was stressful, crazy and very time-consuming, I miss Ambassador Homecoming, and I definitely miss Boone.

I received a piece of mail today that definitely sped up my walk down memory lane. My papa has been very adamant about my adding some new pictures to my photo wall, preferably ones of him. Now what he doesn't know is that I have a separate photo wall (one I look at every day) that is a giant cluster of pictures and on this wall he appears not only once, but twice (ranking up there with Eisley!). But today I received a new picture, and Papa, I can guarantee this one will make it on the wall!

But with the change in seasons, it is very exciting to see how Portland celebrates fall. We are enjoying our little porch and the cool breeze that passes our way. The leaves are starting to change here as well and Forest Park provides plenty of hiking opportunities when I am missing the parkway. There are lots of exciting festivals and events in the fall and we are taking the chance to attend as many of those as possible... especially CYCLOCROSS!!!! Cross Crusades is a massive schedule of cyclocross races in the Portland area and we are learning that mud, crazy competition, beer gardens, and even wasps are all part of the festivities. More details to come on this after Sunday (first race of Cross Crusades). Stay tuned!

(No that's not Ross, but it gives you an idea of what cyclocross is really like!)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The best and the worst

Mom and Larry made their big trip to Portland and from what Larry tells me, they are lucky to have made it! After a delayed flight leaving Charlotte, the two adventurers had to sprint through the Minneapolis airport to make their connector flight to Portland. All the while I am at work, stressing that they won't make it on schedule. Needless to say, my boss saw me super excited in the morning, stressed and freaking out at lunch, and jumping for joy at 3pm when I called it quits for the week and went to the plane to pick up my visitors.

Upon arrival, I soon learned that I wasn't the only one who had a stressful day. Apparently Mom was being obnoxious on the plane. Larry describes her incessant chatter in such a way: "First she poked me. The she told me what she was going to tell me. Then she repeated it. Then she asked if I heard what she had said. Then she turned to her other neighbor and interrupted his reading to talk to him." Mom made so called "best friends" with her aisle seat neighbor on the plane, asking endless questions and sharing her flying anxieties. Apparently she started their conversation by interrupting his novel with "So, are you going to Portland?" Keep in mind this was on a flight to Portland and there were no connections to a further point except Alaska... odds are, he was going to Portland. Larry says he could tell that the man was planning a way to hang himself from the oxygen mask tubing by the end of the flight.

I imagine the scenario looking something like this... Mom as the child and Larry the Mother.

After the drama of the flight we enjoyed a relaxing weekend full of sunshine, porch chats, local beer, and scattered meals. The usual day consisted of getting up at 6ish and going to bed around 9, but hey, that's not much of change from my every day life.

Mom's favorite part of the trip was Saturday market at the water front, aka the best people watching location in the city. She insisted that I take pictures of every pack of runners and every cute dog, but I was conveniently a little slow to get my camera out. I did consent to one picture of the sun-goddesses on the nasty steps of the Portland waterfront.

After trying all the local favorites, Widmer beer, NW 23rd happy hour, and pictures in the gorge, we said our good-byes for now. See you at Christmas Mom and Larry!

In other news, Eisley has relapsed with meningitis. This will be the fourth time she has had to go on prednisone (aka steroids) to treat her mysterious illness. We are hoping for a speedy recovery so she can go back to eating Henry.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A finished project, Baby Henry, and our first visitors from the east

I woke up early every morning for a week to sand. I labored over all of the crooks and crannies of the large pine block until it was as smooth as glass. By the end of the week my garage was covered in wood dust and I was exhausted, but the first stage of the piece was complete. And I... was a hero. Oh wait, Ross did all of that not me! I just watched!

After Ross spent hours sanding down our new piece of kitchen furniture we set up lamps and newspaper all over the garage to start the staining process. We had original intentions of finishing the piece in a dark brown/black stain, but as the process aged we realized that the natural knots and grains provided a wonderful antique finish with only a couple of coats of stain. Our vision quickly changed, and we set out to make a Pottery Barn look-alike piece. The combination of Laura's electric sander and love for all things crafty, Ross' handy-man skills and Tim the Tool Man appeal, and my love for Pottery Barn and paintbrushes and aversion to sand paper (I am not sure how those help, but I am convinced I played some role in the completion of the piece), the finished project was a huge success.

Laura and I also completed our antique picture frames. What started out as old, chipping, white picture frames turned into an over the couch accent for our living room.

One of Ross' other projects was a cat tree (the wood and carpet structures for cats to lounge on in the sunshine). What started with scraps of carpet and free wood from Home Depot turned into a kitten's heaven.

But wait, why would we need a cat tree if we have a dog?

Oh yea, we got a kitten. Meet Sir Henry Gaylord Bowden, aka Baby PurrMonster (by me) or Little Man/Little Hens (Ross). He has his mother's fiesty attitude, his father's love for the toilet, and his big sister's selective hearing.

Henry and Eisley are getting along wonderfully (as much as a kitten and a pup can get along in a small apartment), and we have high hopes for the future filming of Milo and Otis 2 to be filmed in our household soon.

Our first visitors (Ross' parents) came to visit over the past two weekends. We enjoyed Portland's finest offerings (beer, wine, coffee, organic produce, and vast scenery) as well as showing off our new pad with all of our projects. One day we attended BiketoBeerFest, a local bicycle and beer festival in SE Portland (an area know for being a little bohemian and a lot awesome). We enjoyed good music, great beer, and company from our favorite people on each coast!

Next on the list of visitors: Jan and Larry!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Changes far and wide

It has been a month since my last post- I apologize for keeping you in suspense for so long! Ross and I have been very busy learning Portland, riding bicycles, and taking on projects galore! We have been feeling very crafty and creative lately, so I decided to give the blog a new look- I hope you like it!

We have become huge fans of the Goodwill store near our apartment- because it is so close to several prime Portland neighborhoods, donations come pouring from the trunks of Porsche, Mercedes, and Lexus SUVS (no joke- we see them all the time there!) and Ross and I are there to grab up their goods! A few weeks ago we got a small bookshelf for our computer stuff; most of the picture frames for our photo wall and our baskets and containers galore all come from the shelves of the local Goodwill... and we have high hopes for many more great finds as well!

Our most recent trip to Goodwill (Thursday) revealed a true diamond in the rough for us. We found a light wood kitchen bar/island with a full cutting board top. For a mere $39, we acquired an excellent piece of furniture, and have big plans to sand, re-stain, and polish it for a wonderful addition to our kitchen/dining area. Pictures of the process are on the way!

This week we finished our first big project for the apartment (which is what gave us the urge to start a new one!). While out shopping with Laura (a wonderful friend I have met while out here... AND her and her husband live in our neighborhood!) we found a wall clock on extreme clearance at Marshalls. The frame was completely scratched, the back drop looked cheap and costume-ish, the motor was broken, and it was missing its hands. As you can imagine, it was marked down from $70 to $13. Despite its dilapidated appearance and missing parks, Laura and I saw potential, and brought the clock home to Ross. After a little bit of creativity, a can of crackle spray paint, new clock parts, and several mailbox numbers, it looks like a completely new piece- and it matches Ross' pirate trunk!



About two weeks ago I received a large package in the mail. Like all good kids, I was SO excited to tear into the box and throw the packaging peanuts all around the apartment (with a little help from Eisley of course!). Once inside the box I found two matching custom frames, holding my diplomas from both undergrad and grad school- what a wonderful surprise! We decided that one entire wall in my bedroom would be the "accomplishments wall"- already hanging is my two diplomas and Ross' shadow box that I made for him showcasing his 2009 Collegiate Cyclocross Nationals jersey and medal. THANK YOU Mom, LV, and Dad for the beautiful frames- I am so proud of them!

If you have any ideas of other projects we could take on, comments on our current crafts, or anything you would like to see us attempt, shoot me an email at!