Thursday, October 28, 2010

Pre-Weekend Crafting

This weekend, we are heading to Helen to celebrate my Ma & Pa's 30th Wedding Anniversary!  It has been a long time since our family has done any kind of vacation all together (there's always one or more of us missing), so we are so excited to meet up and celebrate with our parents.  My sister has been the main planner for this event, and has dubbed it Celebration 30-Year Love Birds.  The weekend just so happens to fall during Oktoberfest AND Halloween, so we are sure to be in for some crazy times.

I wanted to do something crafty for the weekend... and if you know the Lallas, you also know a copious amount of beer is consumed during our get-togethers.  (Hey, we have to support our Pa... he's a long-time Anheuser-Busch employee!)  So, because of this fact, my brainstorming default was koozies.  Everyone will be getting a personalized Love Bird/Halloween koozie to use for the weekend.  (I couldn't find the right material, so these koozies probably won't last longer than the weekend!)

(All photos taken with cell phones, sorry for the crap quality!)

Love Bird Koozies, 10-27-10

We're also planning to take advantage of everyone being in the same place by taking some family photos.  I made some signs for a few of our goofier pictures to commemorate the weekend.  And we also plan to take a "Thank You" photo for the cabin owner, my brother-in-law's co-worker's wife (say that 3 times fast).  Vicki is allowing us to stay at the cabin for FREE and we are so incredibly thankful for it.

Love Bird Signage, 10-27-10

And of course, after I took the above photo and sent it to my sis, I decided the Love Bird poster needed some bling.  Helloooooo Martha Stewart glitter-that-I-got-on-clearance-a-year-ago-and-still-have-never-used.

Bling Birds, 10-27-10

Another way we plan to customize the weekend is by surprising Ma & Pa with a replica of their wedding cake.  Allie, my brother Jake's wife, has taken several cake decorating courses and has become our special occasion baker!  We've loved all of her cakes... she has a blog called allieCakes.  Check it out!  Particularly check out THIS post... the Mich Ultra cake she made for my Ma's birthday earlier this year.
Ma & Pa's wedding cake, 10-25-1980
Allie is planning to make a more modern version of their wedding cake, with three tiers and small pops of color.  Here is a sneak peak at one of the tiers:
Allie's Anniversary Cake in progress, 10-28-10
We are so excited to spend the weekend celebrating our sweet parents.  Can't wait to share more!

Meet Penny Baby

(Here is the second of four family introduction posts.  Read Copper's post here.)

Meet Penny Baby Ray.  Or Penny Babs Ray.  (Depends on the day.)

Copper and Penny with their adopted Momma, March 2009

 If you read Copper's introduction post, you'll know that it was love at first sight for these two pups.  Penny was just one of a large litter of pups (9 total in the crate when we got there), and we had no idea how in the world we were going to pick just one of those little things.  But she made it easy for us: when we opened that crate door, she made a beeline to Copper while the other 8 pups either ran to us, or away from the crate in general.  Her hyperactive leaps and bounds turned Copper into a new puppy, and we fell in love with her right away.

First Day Home, March 2009

It was crazy how instant Penny & Copper's connection was.  If it wasn't for the fact that they look nothing alike, I would think that they came from the same litter.  These two are inseparable.

Penny also connected with Andrew right away.  Ever since, she has been a Daddy's Girl (as you can see by the pictures below).  She just gives him this face that she doesn't show anyone else.  She loves him. 
First Day Home, March 2009
Snuggling after a swim, July 2009

Penny is very hyperactive.  I could hardly get a still picture of her as a pup.  Sometimes even now, she runs straight for the camera rather than sitting still or ignoring it.  She also still runs and leaps at our faces for smooches when she's really excited.  She smooches ALL THE TIME.  Even if you just barely pat her back, she has to smooch you.  Bedtime?  Smooch.  Breakfast?  Smooch.  Wave from across the room?  Smooch.

Playing in the sunroom, April 2009
Jumping for joy, Summer 2009

 It didn't take long for us to learn that Penny LOVES the water.  Her first trip to Shmimi & PePaw's (my parents) house, I thought she was going to jump in the pool- even though it was March!  When it was warm enough to swim and we were all in the pool, she would pace by the steps and dip her nose in, but she just wasn't sure what to do.  Finally, one afternoon when several of us were swimming and calling out her name, she just closed her eyes and leaped from the steps!  It didn't take long, by that July she was an expert swimmer.

Penny swimming, Summer 2009
Penny swimming, Summer 2010

It seems Penny has a thing for her boys.  She loves her Copper.  She loves her Daddy.  And she LOVES her PePaw!  Especially when her lets her on the couch for a snuggle.  PePaw gives the best belly rubs.
Penny and PePaw, Christmas 2009
And, oh boy, is she a snuggler!  She will snuggle up almost anywhere.  I swear, she could find a cozy spot on a bed of nails.
Penny snuggling with Momma, March 2009
Penny snuggling in the wrapping paper, Christmas 2009

Penny snuggling in Maddie & Cherokee's garden, February 2010

Penny snuggling in her corner on our deck, Spring 2010

Penny snuggling by the fence, October 2010

Penny is a good snuggler, a good sleeper and a LOUD snorer.  She will fall dead asleep with her mouth hanging wide open and snore like there's no tomorrow.  I joke that she "gets it from her Daddy".

Penny passed out, Fall 2009

Penny passed out, Early Spring 2010
Penny loves her boys, loves to sleep, loves to eat, loves to win, loves to rub her nose on trees, loves to smooch, loves to kick Copper out of the doghouse, and above all LOVES to snuggle.

But she hates snow.  She really hates snow.

Penny not letting her butt touch the cold snow, 2010

And as much as she hates the snow, she loves a good fire.  She will snuggle up so close to the fire and get so hot that Andrew and I can barely stand to put our hand on her.

Penny by the fire, Snow Day 2010

Penny always has to "give" us something.  Every morning when I get up to let them out, she has to give me a toy.  She picks up whatever is nearby and just wiggles and wags her tail and holds that toy up to me in her mouth.  She does the same thing when we go to get her out of the pen, even if all she has to pick up is a piece of hay or a leaf.  Recently, I've started taking the object and saying, "Thank you, Penny Baby!"  And she gets even more excited and wiggly.  She is just the cutest darn thing.

Penny has this look she gives us (usually she gives this look to her Daddy).  When she wants a snuggle or a treat or a spot up on the couch, this is the look we get:
Penny in the car, Summer 2010
 It took me well over a year to capture this expression, and even this photo was on accident!  Here she is in Buttons (my car), just gazing at Andrew as he was driving.  The way she completes the look is by resting her chin on a soft surface... just picture this on the edge of the couch, the armrest of the chair, the edge of the bed, etc.  It's as if she's saying, "Daddy, please.  I'm just a baby!"

And how did Penny get her middle name?  Well, for a while her name was Penny Just-a-Baby!  She's the smallest pup in our entire family, and sometimes she gets overwhelmed with all the big kids running around at our family get-togethers.  So she'll run and hide between my legs if I'm standing or curl up in my lap if I'm sitting, and I'll cradle her and say to the other pups, "She's just a baby!"  It's caught on... now whenever my Ma finds something tiny, she cups it in her hand and says, "It's just a baby!"

And when Penny is in one of her sassy moods and just has to take whatever Copper has, or steal his spot, or beat him up, she goes from Penny Baby to Penny Babs.  'Cause it's just more sassy that way.

We love this little nugget to the moon.  She has weaseled her way into ALL of our hearts.  Even Kitty Bug's.  They chat every single day.  Girl talk.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Happy Anniversary, Pa & Ma!

Happy 30th Anniversary to my Pa & Ma!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Friday, I'm in love...

Just a few of the things that caught my eye and made me smile this week...

 No matter how old I get, I will always always always love polka-dot dishes.
Martha Stewart

Another adorable felt flower tutorial... this time for a bouquet!
Creative Jewish Mom

 Amazing Shadow Art by Fred Eerdekens

My sweet pups spooning during a movie
Taken with my phone, 10-18-10

And oh happy day!  Andrew is HOME!!!
Looking forward to a fun weekend with my little family :)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Buddversation

Even though Andrew is currently in another state, the Buddversations continue via text messaging.  Here is a Buddversation from this morning.

(Side note: thank goodness Andrew doesn't read this blog and it doesn't have many followers, this is one of those things he would not be too happy about me sharing.)

A: mama, tell penny to stop kyckin meee

C: Budd, be nice to your sister.  She's just a baby!

A: no, i tell daddy on you mama... i want my own jails.

C: Just because Penny kicked you out of the doghouse for barking in her ear does not mean you can be mean to me, Copper Budd Ray!

A: I did not barks in her ear!

A: I barks at her feets.

C: It sure looked like your mouth was in her ear, Budd.  Her sore ear.  She wasn't happy.  Did you say sorry, Budd?

A: ok... i did... sowwy pennys

C:  Good boy, Budd!  Momma will have extra snuggles for you tonight... and then you can play your new Keepaway Yip Yip game with me.  We must practice for Daddy!

A: ya mama ya! 

From blue to ...

Tomorrow, Andrew will have been out of town for a week.  Taking advantage of the free reign, I've been cleaning the house room by room, working on little projects, and not cooking any extravagant meals (ok, so what if tacos are an extravagant meal in the Ray house?).  Anyway, while the house has been way too lonely, it has been nice to see things STAY clean for once. 

But, just because Andrew has been gone for days, that doesn't mean I've stopped cleaning up after him.  Sunday, I cleaned our bathroom.  And when I came back into the house after taking the trashcan outside to empty it, I noticed a lovely little trail of beard hair.  ANDREW's beard hair (although, I guess I really don't have to specify that- right?).  This lovely trail went from our bathroom, through our already-clean bedroom, through the already-cleaned-and-shined-hardwood-floors living room, through the already-clean kitchen and out the door.  (I'm ignoring you, black-hole-of-crazy-project-mess garage.  Buttons misses her parking spot.)

In the midst of stomping behind the vacuum cleaner and shaking my fist at the empty couch, I realized that for a split second, I didn't miss Andrew.  It didn't feel like I hadn't seen him in 5 days.

So, thanks honey, for helping me feel something other than blue over missing you.

Even if that feeling was EXTREMELY ANNOYED.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Friday, I'm in love...

Just a few things that made me smile this week...

A fireplace full of pumpkins... and the painted brick!  I love everything about this image.  This is exactly what I want our fireplace to look like.
Lavendar & Lillies

Framed objects... so clever. 

 The gallery wall photo that inspired me to do something similar in our living room... currently a work in progress.
Sawdust & Paper Scraps

 Absolutely in love with this tea towel! 
I want to buy one for every Lalla family member.
Our Workshop-Shop

 Cute and simple flower pin... trying this out sometime soon.
Jones Design Company Tutorial
If you never questioned my sanity before, you will now. 
It's a fun way to cheer yourself up. 
Today feels like a fu manchu day.
Taken with my phone, 10.7.10

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Lonely Mrs.

Last night:

I ate popcorn and pixy stix for dinner.

I watered every single flower/bush that survived my neglect "care" this year.  And possibly even some pretty weeds.

I sang and danced to Sara Bareilles with the pups, but we got too tired to break out some Lady Gaga.

I watched 3 hours straight of America's Funniest Home Videos, and laughed more at the pups' interest in the television screen than what was actually playing on the screen.  (Penny loves the animal montages.)

I slept with a light on in the kitchen, living room, bathroom, and on the back deck.

I woke up to every single little noise... even if it was just the pups rolling over in the kitchen.

I dreamed that stupid big scary dinosaurs came to our house and smashed our pumpkins, but Andrew and Penny scared them away with the water hose (while Copper and I hid in the closet).

I let Kitty Bug sleep right on my neck, and every time she woke me up, I pet her instead of kicking her off and rolling over.

If you guessed that Andrew is out of town, you are correct.
I miss him.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Meet Da Budd

(Since I'm easing back into the swing of all things bloggy, here is the first of four family member introduction posts.)

Meet Copper Budd Ray.

Copper Ray, first day home, March 2009

One chilly day in March 2009, Andrew finally gave in to my whining and begging and we went to PetSmart Adoption Day to look for two little Ray pups to call our own.  Our intention was to try to find something along the lines of a female Border Collie and a male German Shepherd (see this post I wrote back in the day).  Andrew and I both agreed on adopting rather than purchasing from a breeder for many reasons (tender-heartedness, cost, dog temperments, etc.), and that particular weekend I'd heard that they had a litter of German Shepherd mix puppies.  When we got to PetSmart, we talked to a lady about what we were looking for, and she told us they had a male Australian Shepherd mix puppy, the last one of a small litter who had been by himself for a couple of weeks since his siblings were adopted.  She said that Australian Shepherds are similar to Border Collies in looks and temperament, so we decided to meet the pup. 

When we got to the cage, shoved in the very back corner, was a very depressed looking puppy.  Andrew pulled him out and placed him in my arms, and he didn't move.  He didn't wag his tail.  He just sat there, looking depressed.  I remember saying, "Andrew, I don't want this dog! He's giving me the stink eye. He hates me."  But Andrew told me he was just lonely, and he thought he was a perfectly cute puppy who just needed some cheering up.  He convinced me to let us walk around with him for a bit and see what would happen.  So we walked him around for a bit and took turns holding him.  After a little while, I realized he was snuggling with me.  He hadn't quite warmed up, but was beginning to seek a little attention from us.  We decided to see how he was with other dogs, so we brought him over to the cage of German Shepherd pups.  There were 9 puppies in this crate, which automatically stressed me out.  How could we pick just one out of all those homeless pups?  We decided to set the Australian Shepherd down, stand next to him, and open the cage to see if any pups stood out to any of us.  Well, when we opened the cage, 8 puppies ran to Andrew and me, and one little thing ran straight to the pathetic puppy... who then turned into the happiest, most boisterous puppy in the whole store!  From day one, it was meant to be- we had found our Copper & Penny.

Snuggling with Aunt Shannon and learning sweet wisdom from Maddie, March 2009

Copper and Penny adjusted to being siblings better than I could have ever dreamed.  Copper may be the oldest (and biggest), but he has been a pushover from the beginning.  He lets Penny boss him around, and maintains the most laid-back attitude ever.  (Last night, I draped a long beach towel down his back and turned him into 'Bridal Budd'.  He walked around the house with me holding his train and didn't care one bit.  Penny was his flower girl... she was holding a toy.)

Copper, post-surgery, Spring 2009

Copper wasn't the brightest puppy.  He seemed to have a lot of balance issues and made the silliest faces.  In their first few months at home, we started seeing previews for the movie Up.  The dog in the preview that says, "Hi there," and "I just met you, but I love you," reminded us so much of Copper, that we turned that into his voice.  We have Budd-versations all the time.  Most commonly, he says, "Momma, shut up. I sleepin."

July 2009, Shmimi and PePaw's pool

 It didn't take long for us to realize that Copper LOVED other dogs (particularly his cousin, Wilbur Curtis Cander a.k.a my sister's pup-son).  People, not so much.  He had picked his 2 people he was loyal to (Andrew and me), but for the first few months, he still didn't trust us very much.  He was (sometimes still is) terrified of men with deep voices.  And when he got in trouble with Andrew, it would take him hours to approach him again.  It took about 3 months before I thought he even liked me. 

Budd in the snow, February 2010

In the first year, we learned that Copper hates water, but absolutely loves snow.  We had a snow day earlier this year, and Copper went nuts playing and hopping and diving around.  I remember the next day when the snow had melted, there was only a small strip left next to the fence and he ran full speed and dove right into it!

Copper posing, January 2010

The first year, we also learned that Copper loves to chew, dig, and eat things he's not supposed to.  We learned from the neighbor that Copper would dig a hole under the fence, crawl out and then hold the fence up so Penny could get through.  He's nothing if not dedicated to that sister of his.

Copper and his pink toy, January 2010

Copper's favorite color is pink.  My sister brought matching baby blue and pink puppy kongs when she first met them.  Copper never let Penny touch the pink one and it lasted over a year before they finally ate it!  Recently, I found a pink camo stuffed toy and it was his baby before he gave in and ate it.  He always picks one favorite toy, and while he is in the house, it never leaves his side.  Right now it is a squeaky hot dog toy from the Dollar Tree.  The other day, Andrew was trying to pick up and every time he put the hot dog in the toy basket, Copper would sneak behind him and get it back out!

Copper and Penny, 2009
Every night, Copper snuggles up on his bed in the kitchen.  But by morning, he is usually sprawled out in the middle of the kitchen floor ("I hot, Momma.").

Copper playing, Summer 2010

Copper goes through some hysterical hyper spurts.  He'll plop the front part of his body down and stick his butt up in the air and yip yip like a girl.  He particularly likes it when I creep up to him with Wicked Witch of the West hands.  He runs these crazy figure eights that take up the entire backyard.  But my most favorite thing he does is the Grand Budd Leap.  We have 2 doors that lead out to the backyard on either side of the sunroom.  The one on the left goes out to the deck, and the one on the right goes out to the yard and is on the same side as their pen.  Every morning, I go out the door on the right to feed the pups, but Copper waits at the door on the left.  As soon as I open the other door, he runs and takes a Grand Budd Leap off the deck and down to the yard.  Picture an airborn Copper, arms and legs straight out, head held high, ears flopped up, tongue hanging out, and a happy smile on his face.  It is to DIE for!  (I always picture him saying, "I am Da Buuuuuuuuuudd!" as he leaps.)

Copper hogs both beds, Summer 2010

Copper looooves to stretch out.  Every day when he comes in, he stretches himself out on the cool hardwood floor.  When he climbs out of bed, he lets his legs hang behind.  Every time he gets off the couch (shh, don't tell Andrew), he stands for a minute with his front legs on the ground, and his legs stretched out behind him.  ("Dat feels nice.")

Copper leaping the fence, August 2010

I was chatting with a customer one day and we discovered that we both had Australian Shepherd mixes.  He started talking about how that dog knew about 200 ways to get out of a fence.  Apparently, Australian Shepherds will do anything to get to the person they are loyal to.  So far, Copper has dug under the fence about 200 times, climbed the chainlink like a ladder countless times, chewed through the chicken wire on the top of his pen a few times ("Get me out of da jail!"), and lately he has preferred to make a clean leap OVER the fence.  Where does he go each time he gets out?  To the kitchen door in the garage.  I can't tell you how many times I've been cooking dinner, and seen him pop up in the window. ("Momma, let me IN.")  Penny doesn't even bother getting out with him anymore.  Just the other day when I got home from work, Andrew was out back with the pups, so I went straight into the bedroom to change and then start getting dinner ready rather than go get the pups.  Well, apparently that pissed Budd off pretty good because leaped the fence TWICE to come and yell at me for not saying hi to him and Penny.  Buddhead.

Copper's School Picture, Special Ed 2010

Copper will ham it up for a photo.  I love setting my camera to continuous shoot to see what kind of faces I can capture.  See the above photo.  That alone shows just how "special" he is.

Momma and Budd, October 2010
I don't know how Andrew and I got so lucky with the two pups we took a chance on.  Sometimes, I wonder what would have happened if we only got Copper, or if we didn't get him at all.  He has turned out to be the most loving dog ever.  And no matter what kind of day I've had, he and special Budd hugs and goofy smile get me laughing every time.