Category Archives: Family

Back in the swing of things

Thanks to a work training and a quick trip to visit my family, I’ve spent one night in my own bed in the past week. This morning it felt SO GOOD to wake up and get back to my normal routine. (Coffee. Blogs. Work. Exercise. Sleep. Repeat.) My training was held at a casino in Reno, so basically my nights from Tuesday-Friday looked like this: tumblr_lzpm6hmfkx1rpq0uwo1_500_zps8ebddcf2 Just kidding! I was in bed by 9 every night and the only thing I was grinding on was the world’s biggest piece of New York style cheesecake, which I discovered at one of the casino’s coffee shops:


That big boy lasted through three nights of Forensic Files marathoning. MUCH WILD. VERY PARTY.

We had a lot of downtime in the evenings, and one night I decided to go swimsuit shopping at a nearby mall. NOTE TO SELF: scrutinizing your thighs under fluorescent lighting after eating 5,000 calories worth of cheesecake is not a good idea. And speaking of scrutinizing thighs, I watched my brother compete in his first fitness competition on Saturday night:


Apparently that’s what 4% bodyfat looks like. I’m depressed, pass the cheesecake.

He competed in the physique division, and I’m not totally sure what that means aside from the fact that he got to wear board shorts. This was great news, since I can’t imagine anything more uncomfortable than sitting next to my parents and grandma while watching my little brother flex his muscles in a bedazzled scrote tote. I spent most of the bodybuilding portion worrying that somebody was either going to poop their pants and/or have an aneurysm from the sheer force of their flexing, and the highlight of the bikini competition was my grandma shouting, “How does she even stand up?” when a contestant with particularly large implants took the stage. my-reaction-when-I-get-into-an-argument-with-women-homer-simpson-hide-in-bush-disappears Anyway, I’m pretty much in awe of his dedication – he worked out six days a week and basically ate chicken, egg whites and vegetables for the last five months in order to look like that. I was starting to question whether we’re actually related, but when we met up after the show he said that all he wanted to do was drink a beer and eat a really big burger. We may have also driven to two grocery stores at midnight to find some ice cream. That sounds about right. The rest of the weekend was spent visiting with my parents, whom I haven’t seen since they moved to Hawaii back in March. It was awesome to spend some time with my mom on Mother’s Day, even though she’s a jerk and texts me pictures like this all the time while I’m at work: 11182185_10206379527706077_9014370125745713902_n Rude, right? It’s a good thing I love her, or I’d be irritated 🙂 HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY, MOM!

Holidays in Photos

Frost on fence

Happy first day of 2015! Mine is off to a fabulous, albeit freezing, start. I’m trying not to complain too much because we’ve had a relatively mild winter until last week, but still: starting your work mornings off by shivering in your 55-degree living room while trying to build a fire in your bath towel is just about as pleasant as it sounds. As I was braving frostbite to take that photo up there on the way to work one morning last week, I got a text from a friend complaining about how “cold” it was in Los Angeles – 37 degrees. I told her to suck it.

Anyway. I had a lot of fun celebrating Christmas and New Year’s Eve with family and friends, and since I’m still recovering from my annual post-holiday-eating stomach ache, I’m going to take the easy way out and just post some photos from the last week or so. I hope you had a wonderful holiday season, if you celebrate. I’m not one for resolutions, but I will say that I am looking forward to devoting a little more attention to this space in the coming year!

Stockings on Mantle

{Christmas Eve mantle}

Christmas Pajamas

{Matching Christmas pajamas}

Cascade Theater

{Ceiling detail inside Redding’s Cascade Theater}

Christmas Tree

{Can you spot the toddler?}

Baby cheeks

{Baby cheeks}

Happy 2015

{No NYE celebration is complete without fireworks}

P.S. – Sorry for the grainy shots – perhaps I should break my resolution boycott and vow to use my DSLR more often in 2015!

Candy, Candy Canes, Candy Corns, and Syrup

Happy Tuesday! I’m over here trying to figure out where December went. I feel like I was just stuffing my word hole with mashed potatoes and turkey, and now it’s already time to start stuffing it with toffee and fudge.

And yes, my holiday excitement is 90% about food. My neighbor brought us over a tray of Christmas goodies on Saturday, and I was like, “Oh, I’ll just try one of each item and send the rest to work with Dave.” And then I bit into a Reese’s-stuffed peanut butter cookie and turned into Joey Tribbiani.


I’m guessing I consumed about a week’s worth of sugar over the weekend, and I am not even exaggerating. You know how some bloggers are all, “I ate cookies for breakfast, tee hee” because they crumbled up a chocolate chip cookie Quest bar on top of their gluten free overnight oats? This is not that. I ate a snickerdoodle cookie with a side of fudge for breakfast today. But I followed it up with a multivitamin and fish oil pills (and the fudge had walnuts in it), so I’m pretty sure that cancels it out.

Not helping the situation is the fact that I haven’t been working out as much as I like to. I’m still getting used to my longer commute, and even though I leave the office at the end of the day all pumped for my workout, by the time I get home I’m all

Homer gif

However, when I do buck up the energy to exercise, I’ve been loving the HIIT routines on FitnessBlender. They’re pretty tough (especially if you choose level 4 or 5), but you can get a killer workout in just 30 minutes. Two of my current faves are the Active/Static Bodyweight Bootcamp and the Butt/Abs Tabata. Doing these types of workouts just three times a week has somehow kept me from growing out of my pants over the last month, which is actually pretty impressive considering the amount of candy and seasonal beer/cider that I’ve crammed down my gullet.

Etna Brewery Taphouse

Via Instagram Again, I’m not exaggerating. But in my defense, a new taphouse just opened in town and I have to do my part to support the local economy.

Anyway. Tomorrow I head down to my parents’ house, where I’ll get to see my sister and adorable nephews and have fun enjoying all of our family Christmas traditions. I’m excited, but it will also be a bit bittersweet, as this will be the last Christmas in my childhood home. My parents are moving to Hawaii early next year, and my emotions have been ranging from slightly sad to YESSS FREE PLACE TO STAY IN HAWAII. Speaking of which, now’s the time to buy stock in Hawaiian Tropics, you guys – it’s going to take truckloads of tanning lotion to keep my pasty Irish skin from blinding the good people of Honolulu.

And on that note, it’s time to wrap this up. The chocolate chip cookies in the kitchen aren’t going to eat themselves.

Hello From The Other Side

After that last totally depressing post, I figured I should probably check in and let you know that I survived turning 30. And it actually didn’t suck.

Probably because I did a lot of this.

Perhaps because I did a lot of this.

On the morning of my birthday Dave made me breakfast in bed, which I ate while watching Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. If that doesn’t say, “I’m ready to be a responsible adult,” then WHAT DOES?


That’s a maple sausage/egg/cheese/potato breakfast burrito. Wrapped in an Ancient Grains tortilla because HEALTH.

He also surprised me with the best gift ever – he blew up two photos he took of a butterfly on a flower on our front lawn and had them printed on canvas:


They’re still sitting on these bookcases, almost a week later. I was going to hang them in the hallway, but I accidentally watched three seasons of “Disappeared” on Netflix instead.

I got a lot of other neat stuff, too. My parents bought me this watch, which I love so much that I’m posting a picture of my veiny hand to show it to you:


How do fashion bloggers take close-ups of their hands without them looking like alien claws? TELL ME YOUR SECRETS.

Dave’s cousin got me adult onset diabetes 30 Milky Way Midnights, which was hilarious and also the reason that you will find a surprise candy bar in your purse when you get home if you visit my house in the next year.

All that to say: My birthday was super fun, and I’m done freaking out about my 30s. For now.

We leave for a trip to the Southern Oregon coast tomorrow morning, which I’m really excited about because it’s been over 100 degrees every day for the past week here. I plan to do nothing but eat, drink, and marvel at the fact I don’t have sweat dripping down my back and into my underwear. It’s going to be great.

High Five for Friday

1. After months of whining, SOMEBODY finally got his damn hot dog cooker. So now this wtfery is happening on our kitchen counter:

Hot Dog Cooker

Direct quote from Dave: “I like how the rotisserie creates a layer of sweat on the outside.”

I hate to admit it, but we cooked angus dogs on this thing last night and they were kind of excellent.

2. I’ve re-discovered my love of Cream of Wheat.

Cream of Wheat

Dave’s mom brought by a bunch of grocery coupons last weekend, and when I saw one for Cream of Wheat I remembered how much I loved that stuff as a kid, and added it to our  shopping list. Turns out it’s as delicious as I remembered, even without the six tablespoons of butter and softball-sized ball of brown sugar I’d top it with when I was younger. (I carefully cut out the coupon and then forgot it on the kitchen table, standard.)


Sure, there’s a big hole in our front yard and our entire driveway/sidewalk is caked in mud, but I can fall asleep without wondering if the crawl space under our house is slowly filling up with water.

4. One of my oldest friends, Joanna, is getting married tomorrow, and I’m so excited to celebrate with her. Fun fact: We met as kids at church, where we sat in the back row together and bonded over our mutual hatred of songs with dumb hand motions. Here we are with some friends on my 16th birthday:

Birthday Trip

She is the cute one on the bottom right. I am the one who looks like she cut her bangs with a Flowbee.

5. My sister is due to deliver her second son any day now! She has cute kids (evidence below), so we’re pretty excited.

Heather and Josh
Although I would like to note that I’m kind of pissed that they didn’t consider my name suggestion of “National,” since their last name is Parks. There’s still time to change your mind, guys.

Have a good weekend!

 photo H54Fbutton-1_zpsa7aaa665.png

Twenty Thirteen

I’ll be honest: 2013 ended way better than it started for me.

I began the year living alone in a little apartment, having just gone through a sort-of breakup with Dave. I spent most evenings in January drinking red wine and channeling Bridget Jones.

(Long story short: We got back together in February).

Since I had some free time and an abundance of nervous energy on my hands early in the year, I started running for the first time in my life. I realized that I kind of liked it, so I slowly built up my mileage and started training for a half marathon.

Post-10 miles

Icing my knees after my first 10-mile run.

In February, I took a little mini-vacation and flew out to Colorado for some quality time with my nephew (and my sister and brother-in-law).

zooA couple months later in May, I took an awesome trip to Chicago. It was technically a work trip, but I had a few days free to hang out and explore the city. I love Chicago so much, and can’t wait to go back.

ChicagoShortly after I returned from Chicago, Dave and I said goodbye to our discretionary income and started house hunting.

Despite the slow torture that is house hunting, the month of June was awesome – I ran my first half marathon, and Dave and I took a trip to the San Diego Zoo, where I became obsessed with red pandas.

red-pandaRight before we left on our trip we made an offer on a house, and right when we got back the bank discovered that some dude stole my social security number in 2007 and used it to lease an apartment in Minnesota. Because of course he did.

We finally worked everything out with the bank, and got the keys to our first home at the end of July.

08-01-13-keyAt first we were all, “woo we’re homeowners” and then we found mold under the kitchen floor and the toilet overflowed every time it flushed and the wiring was all messed up in the kitchen and we were like, “OH MY GOD WE ARE IDIOTS.”

08-05-13-outside-2The house needed a lot of cosmetic work, and we’ve spent the last four months turning it into a place that we love.

In October I traveled to Phoenix (again, for work), where I spent almost as much time lounging poolside as I did working. In my defense, would you be able to work with this right outside your room?

20131021-143439November and December were kind of a blur, and I can’t believe that a new year begins tomorrow. I’m looking forward to completing a lot of house projects in 2014 (installing a kitchen backsplash, building a bar into our dining room alcove, landscaping the front and back yards, hopefully painting the exterior, I am getting hives as I type this list) as well as some possible international travel for work. Oh, and I’ll also continue to blog here. WordPress just informed me that in 2013 I wrote 220 posts, uploaded 848 photos, and that my visitors for the year would fill 7 sold-out performances at the Sydney Opera House. Which is weird, because I totally woke up this morning wondering how many performances it would take to host all my readers at the Sydney Opera House. (No I didn’t.)

ANYWAY, thanks for enduring all my posts about cheese and beer and shirtless Chris Hemsworth this year, and I hope you have a fabulous 2014.

Christmas 2013

I totally meant to post something earlier this week, but it turns out if I have to choose between blogging and eating peanut butter balls until I feel sick, I will choose the peanut butter balls. Anyway, we had a pretty fantastic Christmas. I mean, as fantastic as it can be when you’re crammed into a room with 20 other people opening a mountain of gifts one at a time and you’re not even drinking.
TreeThe five-hour present extravaganza was totally worth it though, because I came away from it with this amazing gift from my parents:

MixerAs well as this handmade picture from my sister:

Cross StitchI also received this beautiful coat from my grandma, an Orla Kiely makeup bag set, pretty stacking rings from Etsy, and a bunch of other great stuff. Including a hot pink gym bag, which I desperately need to put to good use on account of I looked a lot like this when I got dressed this morning:

Seriously. It’s bad.

Finish the Sentence With Jake and Holly

Holly (who blogs hilariously here) periodically hosts “finish the sentence” linkups, so I figured I’d finally stop lurking and start participating. The person with the best answers gets a $20 Target card! If you want to participate, click this button:


1. My favorite Christmas was….the year I got a Betsy Wetsy doll.

2. The worst Christmas I had…was the year I got a Betsy Wetsy doll. Watching your cousins gleefully play with their Bop Its while mopping up plastic doll piss from the carpet is NOT FUN.

3. That one gift that made me scratch my head and say, “Hmmmm” was…used earrings. “Did you sterilize this after pulling it out of your body?” is not something you should have to ask when receiving a present.

4. One year I….lit a table on fire with some rum-soaked sugar cubes while performing in a holiday dinner theater production. Just call me BURNadette Peters. I can’t believe I just typed that.

5. I think the worst gift to give is….live plants. Thanks for giving me the gift of another household chore, asshole.

6. At Christmastime I typically….have some sort of cheesy 90s Christmas music playing at all times — Mariah Carey, Home Alone Soundtrack, Amy Grant, etc.

7. Typically, family Christmas….turns me into Bill Murray in “What About Bob.” Baby steps to the liquor cabinet.

8. If I could change one thing about the Holiday season….I would mandate that the toy section of all major retailers be housed in separate buildings so I can buy my vodka and hot dogs without witnessing Vesuvius-level meltdowns about Bubble Guppies. THEY’RE CREEPY PLASTIC MERPEOPLE  KIDS, GET A GRIP.

9. It is so hard to buy for….rich people. “Merry Christmas, I hope this $10 Bath and Body Works candle classes up your $5,000 coffee table.”

10. My favorite Christmas tradition is…eating a shit ton of toast for breakfast on Christmas morning, because carbs covered in butter is the greatest gift of all, amen.

11. Santa, baby, bring me a ….Hemsworth. Either one will do. (But try to get Chris first.)

Thanksgiving Weekend in Pictures

I can’t believe my four-day weekend is almost over! I had such a relaxing Thanksgiving, which is pretty incredible considering we had about 20 family members over for dinner. If I can manage to get my ass of the couch, I plan to spend the rest of today taking down my fall decor and putting up my Christmas stuff. In the meantime, here are some photos of my Thanksgiving weekend:

Thanksgiving Wine

My mom and me pre-gaming with some wine. Just like the pilgrims did.

Thanksgiving Plate

My Thanksgiving plate. Fact: Squanto cries up in Heaven if you don’t go back for seconds on stuffing.


Helping my parents unpack their Christmas stuff. I should note that these are just the living room decorations, and that there were more bins in the kitchen and dining room.

Living Room

The living room six hours and several beers later.

Mt Shasta

On Saturday, we headed up toward my house to cut my parents a Christmas tree. Too bad it’s so ugly where I live.

Me and Mom

I can tell that this was taken at the beginning of the trek, because we are still smiling. My mom is the pickiest person ALIVE when it comes to Christmas trees. Here are a few reasons she rejected perfectly good candidates: “Not full enough.” “Too full.” “Too close to other trees.” “The trunk is a weird color.” “A squirrel looked at it funny.”


I finally gave up trying to find a tree good enough for my mom and took pictures of some branches and my new favorite boots instead.



Other weekend highlights: Hanging out with my friend Michelle (we stayed home and drank hard cider on the couch because we’re 29 going on 80 and the thought of interacting with people in a loud bar was making us ragey), walking with Dave’s office’s float in our town’s holiday parade on Saturday night, and learning to make bows out of ribbon with my grandma. However, I was given a harsh push back into reality last night when I put on a pair of non-stretch jeans to run to the grocery store and had to wear a baggy sweatshirt to cover my considerable muffin top. Now I’m trying to decide which sounds worse: Dedicating my life to the treadmill for the next several weeks or just giving in and buying bigger pants.

I think I’ve decided.

Thanksgiving Traditions

Back when I worked for a newspaper, I never got to take any time off for the holidays. Technically I’d get the actual holiday off, but I’d still have to come in late in the evening and put together the paper for the next day. And answer calls on Black Friday from people who got to stay home from work, and therefore had nothing better to do than call and gripe about the paper being late. Oh, you had to read the paper 20 minutes later than usual on your paid day off? Please accept this formal invitation to suck it.

I’m still getting used to having time off around Thanksgiving and Christmas. My family has a lot of holiday traditions, and this year I’m looking forward to being around for them. Especially the “drink booze while cooking” tradition.

Thanksgiving Drinking

Thanksgiving 2010. Meme would want me to note that her glass is filled with Jesus-approved cranberry juice and not the nectar of the heathens.

We always barbecue our turkey to free up oven space, but also because it makes the skin extra delicious and crispy. I have a personal tradition of hanging around during the carving process and stealing all the extra crispy pieces of skin out of the pan before they make it to the platter:

Barbecued Turkey

This year, I’m thankful for volatile hydrocarbons and saturated fat.

Every year, my parents put up the Christmas decorations the day after Thanksgiving. And I should note that we’re not talking about a couple of strings of garland and a few wreaths. No, this is a two-day process that involves rummaging in the garage to locate the 20 plastic bins stuffed with Christmas decor, accusations of missing boxes, and the weeping and gnashing of teeth when broken knick-knacks are discovered, all set to a background of chipper holiday music. Hallelujah! Christ is born! Why are there goddamn stocking holders in the box marked “Precious Moments nativity set?”

Christmas Decor

Oh and sometimes we take a break and photograph my dad almost falling off the house to put up lights.

Perhaps my favorite Thanksgiving tradition is when we all gather around after dinner for our annual viewing of “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles.”


If this gif means nothing to you, please stream this movie on Netflix tomorrow.

This year my goal is to make it through the whole thing without falling asleep.

Anyway, I hope you have a happy Thanksgiving however you choose to celebrate (or just a happy random Thursday if you’re not in the U.S.). Also, please tell me some of your family’s traditions in the comments so I don’t feel as weird when I put out the Popsicle stick napkin holder my 27-year-old brother made when he was in first grade because IT’S A TRADITION.

NaBloPoMo November 2013