Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Eisley

As many of you know, Eisley is special. A bit awkward. A whole lot emotional. But always loving. When we go out of town we have a house sitter come stay with her... always the same house sitter so she understands that it is normal for this "stranger" to be in her home. Her house sitter is the intern at my office- a super sweet college student who loves animals. She has fallen in love with Eisley a little bit and has learned how to deal with her oddities (well, not all of them).

Today Molly (the dog sitter) shared a blog post with me that made me laugh so hard I almost peed myself. That would have been embarassing since I was at work when I read it. Instead I sat at my desk and silently convulsed from trying to stifle my laughter. If you want a good chuckle, take a read:

http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/2010/11/dogs-dont-understand-basic-concepts.html

Let all the cartoons load... the pictures are truly the best part of the post!

P.S. We have decided that Eisley is an unfortunate combination of both dogs. Poor thing.

Whispers the Elf

Growing up I was always a huge fan of Christmas. Every year we HAD to get our Christmas tree the weekend after Thanksgiving. That tree had to have LOTS of lights. And then we had to put DOZENS of ornaments up and I remember commenting on each one as it found it’s place on the tree. I would say how much I love the handmade ornaments made by my great grandmother which are now a cherished addition to my collection. I would comment on where I got a certain ornament or why I was putting it where I was. And of course I would mention my favorite childhood ornament… my 101 Dalmations ornament that Whispers brought me when I was 7 years old (approximately).

Whispers the Elf is a tradition in my family. Every year for as long as I can remember, Whispers brought Joseph and I our first gift of Christmas the night that our Christmas tree went up. We would find our little present in our stockings, or under the tree, or even on the porch of our babysitter’s house when we were away from home during his visit. Whispers followed us from Georgia to Greensboro to Wilkesboro. Whispers followed me to college when I put up decoration in my dorm room or apartments. And of course, Whispers followed me to Portland. And this year, his timing was impeccable.

As tradition follows, Whispers arrived in Wilkesboro to deliver my present the night that the Christmas tree went up in my mom’s house. But when he found out I wasn’t there, he had the kind mail man forward my present to Portland. And as expected, the present arrived to Portland the night we bought our tree and showed up for delivery the next morning. Talk about good timing!

This year, thanks to Whispers, the Bowden family will be sporting epically amazing Christmas pajamas throughout the holidays…



… As long as I convince Eisley that the reindeer footies are not moving play things for her!

P.S. Thanks Mom!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

It's beginning to smell a lot like Christmas

I haven't been as much in the Christmas spirit this year as I usually am 5 days after Thanksgiving, so I have been immersing myself in holiday cheer the past 24 hours. Christmas tunes non-stop at the office, coffee with Peppermint Mocha creamer, and thoughts of presents and stocking stuffing! So far, it's starting to help!

Yesterday was a long day at the office and my sweet husband surprised me with an evening of excitement once I got home. First on the agenda was a delicious dinner (black bean burritos… YUM!) followed by a quick trip to our neighborhood Christmas tree lot. A lot of our neighbors already have outdoor Christmas lights up, so Ross, Eisley, and I rode the scenic route for the 2-mile drive to the tree lot. We were planning to get a Charlie Brown Christmas Tree (aka an awkward, ugly tree), but we decided if it had big gaps in it Henry may be more tempted to climb it. So without further ado, presenting our first married Christmas tree!!!




Our little tree has to live in the garage for a while because it was out in the Portland rain for a bit too long, but at least our garage smells like Christmas!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving

Well Thanksgiving has come and gone and we survived (I mean loved) our first holiday as a married couple! We really enjoyed traveling around to three different houses for Thanksgiving dinner and sharing in delicious holiday foods. Unlike last year (when he was a sweetheart and was forced to eat vegetarian with me), Ross got turkey this year! Woo hoo! And I got loads of carbs and delicious side dishes. YUM! As my contribution we took pumpkin chocolate chip muffins and carrot cake/cream cheese cupcakes. These were a huge hit! Made from scratch carrot cake with cream cheese in the middle and cream cheese icing on top. The inside was savory, the outside was sweet, and the whole thing was DELICIOUS! I baked and Ross took artsy pictures of my creations….




The rest of the weekend we were able to relax and work on some projects around the house. The weather was surprisingly calm, so we got to get out on bikes and go for walks most days as well.

I meant to post on Thanksgiving day, but since I was so busy baking all day, I will take a minute to tell you what I am most thankful for this year:

A healthy and happy family who loves me unconditionally
A handsome husband who makes me laugh every day
Loyal friends who stay in touch even though we live thousands of miles apart
A cute little house in a really neat city
A puppy who is a bit too emotionally attached to me and a cat who ignores me
Dedicated blog readers (no matter how few, I appreciate you!)

Our plan for the week is to find a new purpose for our beautiful pumpkins (because I can't stand the thought of throwing them out) and put up our CHRISTMAS DECORATION!!!!!!!! Here is a sneak peak at what he have done so far.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Rain!!

Over the weekend Ross and I both had a pretty rough cold, so we spent most of the time relaxing and taking medicine. On Sunday we said goodbye to the last of the beautiful Fall weather. Sunday was cold (in the 40’s and low 50’s) but the sun was shining. Eisley and I went on a walk to look at the pretty fall leaves and Ross went on a nice long bike ride. Monday morning we woke up to rain.

Today is what the meteorologist called a “soaker day.” I didn’t quite understand what that meant until I was on my morning 10 block walk from my car to the office. I was wearing rain boots, a rain jacket, and an umbrella, yet somehow I still managed to be (yes you guessed it!) soaked when I got to work. There were puddles almost knee high that I had to maneuver my way around. There were rain bursts that came tearing down sideways. And of course the wind that threatened to turn my umbrella inside out and rip it from my hands. Every two steps of my walk to work I thought to myself, “why would someone CHOOSE to live somewhere like this?!?!” Needless to say, I wasn’t in the best of moods when I got to work this morning. (And yes I am completely aware that I in fact did choose to live here. Most days, it’s not so bad.)

So what are your big plans for Thanksgiving? Ross and I are planning to take it a bit calm (big surprise there!). We are planning a big breakfast, just the four of us (yes, I did just include the two fur kids in our headcount) followed by a relaxing day of cooking and hanging out at home. We have plans to spend Thanksgiving dinner at two different houses (appetizers and early dinner with one and later dinner and dessert with another). I think I am going to make Carrot and Cream Cheese cupcakes for one our contributions, but I am not sure what else quite yet. I will let you know what we decide!

We both have Friday off as well, so I think we are planning to go see a movie this weekend (the fourth Twilight movie… YAY!!!!!!!!). I have been very careful not to skip Thanksgiving this year by jumping into the Christmas spirit, but you had better believe that the second the clock strikes midnight on Friday morning, it is official Christmas season! Saturday I have plans to put up all of our decoration and even wrap a few presents (ok, so I didn’t skip Thanksgiving, but I did take advantage of some good deals to take care of some early shopping!)

And so you can see what the kids have been up to, here is a glimpse at their day to day activities:

(Henry sniffing the fresh baked goods)


Upon closer inspection, he was in fact licking the baked goods)


(His and hers sides of the bed)

Have a great Tuesday!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Eisley and Henry

We have been working with Eisley to stay off of the couch. She is starting to shed really bad and leaves a trail of black and grey fuzz everywhere she sits. I find myself "swiffering" the couch every day just to keep up with her fur balls. While we are becoming pretty successful at keeping her off when we are at home, we come in from work every day to see the cushions flopped down and hair everywhere. It's her favorite place to nap and watch the world go by while we are away.

Henry's favorite spot to hang out is on the back of the chair, cuddled down in the cushion and blanket. Especially if Ross is sitting in the chair. He doesn't shed too bad, so it's really not too much of an issue. Plus, have you ever tried teaching a cat to sit? It doesn't work.

So last night Henry and Ross were in their usual spot in the chair while I was cleaning up from dinner. I look into the living room and see Eisley trying to sneak up on the couch. I told her to get on her bed (which we have in the living room)and she defeatedly climbed down. Right when I turned around we heard a loud "thump" as Eisley leaped 3 feet in the air and landed on the back of our chair. Like Henry.


I thought we had a dog, but do we have two cats??

Monday, November 14, 2011

Apple tree

In our backyard there lives an apple tree. It is a straggly little tree with awkward branches and weird-colored leaves. When we first moved into our house I had dreams of a bountiful harvest of apples. Our tree gave us about 11 apples. The squirrels and birds ate five, Eisley thought two were balls and threw them around the yard. I got four.

And all four had spots. And Ross refused to eat them.

But I was determined.

Last night I gently cut up our 3 remaining apples (one was yucky when I got into it) and sliced them into thin pieces. I added 3 granny smith apples from the store. I made a homemade pie crust. From scratch. With oil.



I added my apples with cinnamon and sugar. I made a crumb topping with flour (and more sugar). And LOTS of butter.


Bake it for 45 minutes. Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream.


Not a great picture, but YUM! My Grandma Lillian would be proud!

Thank you backyard tree!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

How well do you know yourself?

Yesterday I got an email from one of the owners of my company. The subject line was “Fun Thing…” and attached was a questionnaire that contained questions about yourself. It was sent out to everyone in the company (only 15 of us total in both offices) and we were asked to fill it out and return it. I have no idea what it is for, but it did tell me something very interesting… I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about my favorites. Everyone has automated responses prepared for interviews, first introductions, and party mixers, but how often do we use those? And how accurate are the answers we have “prepared?”

Some questions were easy: name, birthday, school affiliation. I got all of those knocked out really quick. Shoe size. Hmm…. Usually I am a 7, but in cowgirl boots I am a 6.5 and in some tennis shoes I am a 7.5. Ok, I went with a 7. What did you want to be when you were a kid? Automatic answer: a veterinarian... another easy one. Favorite color, favorite candy, favorite TV show, favorite band, favorite drink (both alcoholic and not). These were all tricky for me. For every answer I wanted to put “depends on my mood.” So, I wrote down multiple answers (is that fair?).

Then came the really hard ones. If you were an animal what you be? (I cheated and took a quiz on the WWF website that chose for me). What are you most proud of? If you could take one person to lunch, dead or alive, who would it be? (I kept thinking hopefully the dead people wouldn’t be zombies) If you could learn to do anything what would it be? I found myself trying to think of what I should say versus the truth. I had a little panic attack (just a mini one) wondering if my coworkers would think I was some weirdo tree-hugger from the South. Then I realized, they already know that. And they still like me.

I did some soul searching at work yesterday. It made me realize my priorities, some insecurities, and most importantly, that I need to spend more time getting to know Katie (because I hear she is pretty cool.) I sent my answers to Ross to have him assess the accuracy and see what I left out. He said I did pretty darn well.

So here are some fun facts that I learned about Katie Henderson Bowden today (I am not inserting the whole list, because it’s a bit long):

If you were an animal you would be a….. African Wild Dog (the quiz told me that) or a monkey
If you could learn how to do anything what would it be? Fluency in another language or if someone were to pay for me to go back to school I would study biology/zoology/vet science
Favorite Color? Blue, green, charcoal… do I have to pick one?!?! Probably dark royal blue
Coffee? Tea? And what? Brazilian coffee (fair trade, organic!) with a little bit of honey and cream
Drink (non alcoholic)? Sweet tea
Drink (alcoholic)? Light, cheap beer (how is that for classy?) or champagne
Cuisine? Vegetarian burrito
Chocolate? YES PLEASE! Dark chocolate or anything with chocolate and peanut butter
Candy? Cherry Twizzlers Pull ‘N’ Peel or Peanut M&Ms
Movie? You’re Got Mail
Hobby? Reading in the sunshine and refinishing furniture
Vacation Spot? Somewhere I have been: Hawaii Somewhere I want to go: Greece
Sport? Cycling or football
Logo? World Wildlife Fund
Store to Shop (online or brick and mortar)? JCrew

How well would you do on a pop quiz about yourself?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Darkness

A bit late, but here is a picture of the new hair! Woo Hoo!


It’s probably going to fade a little bit, so I may have to color it one more time to maintain the darkness until it grows out, but we will see. I am hoping I am finally done coloring my hair for a while! The salon I went to was really neat – it was in a little bungalow house and all of the furnishings were vintage converted for a new salon purpose. To top it off, all of the products the salon uses and recommends are a premium line from Italy that contain all natural ingredients and biodegradable packaging. Some packaging is even considered “food safe” which means that after I use up the product I can rinse it out and use the container for storage. How neat is that?! I decided to buy some of their conditioner to alternate in with the Yes to Cucumbers brand I previously mentioned. While the Yes to Cucumbers is mostly natural, it isn’t quite as high quality as the premium Italian line I found at the salon, so for color treated hair it is best to use both to keep the color alive. So just for now, I will be using both.

Yesterday was a long and frustrating day at work, so to shed some of the frustration (and the few extra calories I have been consuming daily by way of Halloween candy), Ross and I went for a bike ride after work. Keep in mind, it gets dark here at 4:45, so by the time I got home after 6, it was pitch black. And drizzling. But Ross convinced me it would be fun, so we bundled up and pedaled downtown for a tour around the waterfront park. Here are a few pictures:


(The cityscape.... a bit blurry from the drizzle)


(I decided to wear my warmest and BRIGHTEST colors to stay toasty and visible. I look like I am still wearing my clown costume from Halloween)



(Sweet headlamp Dude!)

Monday, November 7, 2011

What Daylight Savings Means to Me

1. I got an extra hour of sleep on Sunday.
2. I experienced a very rare phenomenon today - I wasn’t miserable when I woke up on a Monday morning.
3. At 5:30 last night I was ready for bed. Why? Because it was pitch black dark outside.
4. The sun now sets at 4:45 in the afternoon (because it isn’t “evening” until 5pm in my book)
5. At 11am this morning I was ready to eat my arm. I had lunch at 11:40 because I couldn’t wait any longer. It is now 3:15. Is it dinner time yet?

In case you were wondering, the rain IS in fact here. 10 day forecast for Portland:


(At least there are a couple of sunshine days on there!)

And, yes, I really like my new hair color. I will post a picture tomorrow!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Let me set the record straight....

In yesterday's post I mentioned that doctor's recommend that pregnant women should not dye their hair. I in NO WAY was insinuating that I am pregnant. I repeat I AM NOT PREGNANT. My best friend is pregnant, and one of my coworkers is pregnant, so I know a lot about pregnant people right now. All I was saying is that if pregnant people shouldn't do something, it is probably not all that healthy for anyone. Thank you Papa for pointing that out to me.

In other news... I got an Oregon driver's license today! WOO HOO! Yes, yes I know you are supposed to get those within like 30 days of moving (blah blah blah), but I had a lot going on. So now I am a legal Oregon driver with my new name. WOO HOO!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

All Natural

Over the past couple of years I have greatly increased my efforts to live a more natural life style. I became a vegetarian. I buy local/organic food when possible. Ross and I are moving away from processed foods (more homemade bread!). And most recently, I am moving to more natural beauty products, including make up, shampoo, soap, and deoderant. Of course this isn't an immediate transformation - I am using up all of my current products, and as I run out, I replace them with a greener alternative. I recently got new shampoo and conditioner (Yes to Cucumbers is the brand) and after 3 uses, I can tell a huge difference in how my hair feels... it must be the organic fruits and veggies!

Along the same lines, I have decided it is time that I take a break from coloring my hair. For as long as I can remember (probably since middle school), I have been getting highlights to make me a blonde. (I needed an excuse for my air-headed actions! And hey, they say blondes have more fun!) I made a drastic change 2 years ago and dyed my hair super dark brown (big mistake), but besides those 2 months, I have always been a blonde. It's time to let my natural color shine through!

While my hair looks great blonde (sorry, that sounded a bit vain), I have realized there are some definite cons to highlights. First off all, there is the maintenance. Because my hair is so long, and grows so fast, I need to get highlights about every 8 - 10 weeks to keep it looking fresh, and every time I go, it's around $150 (big city prices!). With 52 weeks in a year, that's 7 visits per year, or a total of over $1050 for highlights! That amount doesn't include the extra shampoo I have to buy for color treated hair, which is usually a bit more expensive than every day shampoo for normal hair.

So time and money aside, there are the negative consequences on the environment and my hair's health. Even if using eco friendly highlighting chemicals, highlights still require a chemical (re: not natural). So by not getting highlights, I am eliminating the need for one more chemical treatment... which in turn is healthier for the earth. Doctors often recommend that pregnant women not get their hair colored... why? Because it's not good for you. It's a chemical. On your head. That seeps into your hair folicles. And permanently dyes your hair. Ummm.... yea that doesn't sound too healthy. Not to mention, I have felt my hair getting tangled and knotted a long lately, and not because I have been whipping my head around with crazy awesome dance moves... nope not this time! It's because the ends of my hair are damaged from too much coloring.

So tomorrow is the big day. I am going to the hair salon to have my hair dyed (one last time) to a light brown... my natural color.... so that my hair can grow out and fade back to it's natural, light brown, kinda mousy, not that cute, but healthy color. I'm a bit nervous - wish me luck!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Don't Forget Your Sleeping Bag

Friday night was the Jack’s Mannequin concert. It was nothing short of amazing and Ross says he has “a new appreciation” for my favorite band. Woo hoo!


Saturday morning we woke up before the sun (6am on a Saturday just doesn’t seem right), and packed up tents, costumes, and bikes and set out for Bend.


There was a 3 day bike festival in Bend - a smaller town in central Oregon. It is BEAUTIFUL there and it was a nice to see mountains and fall leaves. Ross had an intense and very dusty race.


And Eisley sported her pumpkin t-shirt and got a lot of compliments.


Not long after we got to Bend we realized that we (cough cough Ross) forgot our sleeping bags. The low for the night was expected to be 27degrees, so we went to the store and bought a cheap sleeping bag to hold us over through the night. We set up camp around the race course and settled in for the night.


Later that night there was a costume bike race and a Halloween warehouse party. Ross dressed up Steven Tyler (Aerosmith)…


… and I was a CLOWN! (Not the best pictures... they were taken on my cell phone).


In other news… Henry now takes showers in the kitchen sink.


And we didn't get a SINGLE trick or treater. Dang.