Monday, January 30, 2012

New Hobbies...

So while we are making a list of things we want to have done in our house in 2012, somehow Jimmy and I have found a few other new activities to entertain ourselves.  They actually make me laugh.

First is playing this game on our Wii with the old school controller:

The funny part about it is that I play and Jimmy watches.  Now, as much as I complain to him about when he plays NCAA football and that war game on PS3 it might seem hypocritical to say that it's ok to play this.  However, apparently he thinks it is super fun to watch me play.  Because I have this weird memory where I can remember weird things from when I played like 15 years ago (like "oh yeah, here is a secret passage...").  We have now made it to Bowser's castle and he really wants to watch me beat it.

Next up is this game:

We used to play this all the time at my friend Lauren's house when we were growing up.  I loved it, but wasn't so good since I didn't have my own to practice with. At some point along the way, I bought it for myself.  And now we have it downloaded on the Wii to play.  So fun....but I get really stressed out when I play this one.  I scream and Jimmy gets stressed out.  I couldn't beat this barrel level and literally played it like 14 times and I thought Jimmy was going to lose it.

So that's what we do for fun.  We're super cool, right?

Now for the TV obsession.  We got Showtime for free somehow, which means we have the capability to watch the show Homeland on Showtime onDemand.  We are like 4 episodes in and I literally want to watch it 24/7 it is so good.  I got so mad at Claire Danes last night and then I had dreams about war.  Creepy.  But it's such a good show - I highly recommend it.

Pretty much this post is to let you know that our productivity in January of 2012 is not very high.  However, we are having fun.  

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Round and Round...

Isn't it funny how once you have been in your house for awhile you start changing rooms that you already changed like 4 times before?  We have one particular room like that in our house.  It started as the original "man cave", complete with dark wood paneling.  It looked like this:

Then we slowly started to make progress and made the fireplace a little more "homey" feeling by adding a mantle and taking down the 70s looking mirror in December of 2009.

Right around the corner in January of 2010, I convinced Jimmy to let me paint the fireplace and replace the gold fireplace cover.  It did make quite the difference, don't you think??

Painted with old cover

Painted with the new "updated" cover

FINALLY in August of 2010, the inevitable happened.  Jimmy caved in and let me paint the wood paneling.  Oh my gosh.  I was absolutely thrilled.  And I'm pretty sure that our 1970s wood paneling man cave/family room was upgraded to the current decade.

The first paint stroke!! 
And the finished product... 
The other side
So then from August 2010 until around March...other rooms were in focus.  Mainly making the "true" man cave in the basement, as this family room.  But then some creativity sparked again in March of 2011 and this room had a little addition.  We built a hallway....

...painted the new hallway teal...which was a bit out of my comfort zone.

Added a valance that I made and built a console table and a matching bench in the hallway.

And now we have more changes happening.  Yep.  It's never ending.  We ordered new carpet for this room because the current carpet is gross, not comfortable to walk or sit on (there is no pad) and there are lots of spills on it (including some polyurethane...) and the new stuff should be in next week!  YEAH!  When I told Jimmy about the new carpet, I said we were going to have to move all of the furniture out (including the TV and all the wires).  So that gave us the idea to just bite the bullet and hang the TV above the fireplace.  The catch?  We had to figure out a way to hide the wires.  Enter my wonderful dad.  He came over on Sunday and he and Jimmy worked to figure out how to hang it up and where to put he wires, which entailed taking down the mantle that we put up too.  Oh the irony.  Don't worry, it will go back up and hide the wires.

Not the best pic (from my phone)
As always, it's a work in progress.  Mainly because we didn't have a cord to the Wii that was long enough and you know we need that Wii!  Anyways...isn't it amazing how much this room has changed??!!  I'm still loving it.  Yep, and decorating the house is a circular process and goes round and round.

Anyone else working on house projects lately?? I'm working on our 2012 list of things we want to accomplish and will have it up next week!!!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

"Our house is a jail": a Willy update

Whew, these have been a few traumatic weeks in the Carter house.  I apologize for my blog absence!!  I posted something on facebook about Willy and needing some prayers for him and I'm so thankful for everyone's concerns and prayers!!!  To the story..

We got back from LA on Friday night and our pups were getting some awesome babysitting treatment from my dad at our house all week.  We were so excited to see the dogs again, so we did our normal, immediately throw everything down and just love all the dogs and they were jumping al over us.  I was holding Milly and then looked down and there was blood everywhere.  Totally freaked me out - like who the heck was bleeding??  So then I look at Milly and it's coming from her claw.  Her dew claw (the one that's like a person's thumb) had pretty much ripped off.  And it was just hanging there.  So painful, for her, and then wouldn't stop bleeding...which was not good for us or our house (carpet, sheets, couches, etc.).  So around midnight, after arriving home from a 5 day trip, there we are cutting up an old t-shirt and trying to duck tape it to her claw so it will stop bleeding and we can all go to sleep.  It was unsuccessful...but it stopped bleeding eventually.  So that's good.

The next day was New Year's Eve and we were planning on going over to Ben and Julia's house and they always say that Milly and Willy are invited and since Milly had a rough day before and we thought Willy was acting a little we took them over to help us ring in the new year.  There was a HUGE pit bull over there that was such a sweetheart that Willy didn't take too well to, but he seemed to be doing ok.  About 11:30PM, Milly was sleeping on the couch and Willy was next to him so I took a seat down right next to them.  And then Jimmy came over and kind of just grabbed Willy to say "hi" and he lost it.  An awful crying/whining sound that went on for like 2 minutes straight.  There were 4 other dogs there and they all immediately came to the couch to see what was happening.  So sad!!  That was it for me...I took the dogs home and let everyone else ring in the new year.  I was perfectly happy snuggling with my pups, hurt and all.

So of course all day Sunday, I wanted to take Willy to the emergency vet because he was just SO tense and having trouble walking.  It was so sad.  But since it was Sunday AND a holiday, and it wasn't an emergency, so we didn't go.  And it was hard.  Monday rolled around and even though it was a federal holiday, Hallmark still had to work (weird I know).  So Jimmy and I went back to work and tried to call our vet and they weren't open.  My mom suggested calling their vet and luckily they were open and I left work and took him in for an 11AM appointment.  We were pretty worried it was a slipped disc in his back and that would lead to the "surgery decision".  Which was one I literally couldn't think about because it was so much money and for a dog that just turned 10 years old....ahh.  Don't want to talk about it.  So at that appointment, the vet said she was guessing it was a pinched nerve in his neck and gave him 2 types of drugs and said if he wasn't feeling better in 48 hours to call her back and then we can do an x-ray.  The days rolled by and Wednesday afternoon rolled around.  I had come home early and was working from home.  Jimmy walked in the door around 4:30PM and that's when Willy lost it again.  We thought he was doing so much better and then he laid under the table completely motionless and every time he moved....he cried.  It was terrible.  I immediately called the vet we went to and said we needed to come in ASAP.  Luckily they were open until 7PM that night so we headed over to a 5:30PM appointment.

This time we talked to a "wiener dog" expert vet and she was wonderful.  She took at a look at him and asked a lot of questions and we were pretty concerned.  At first they were both concerned about giving him any steroids because he is already kind of overweight.  So she gave us another type of muscle relaxer and pain killer to help him and said let us know if he's feeling worse in a few days.

Few days come and go and Thursday night, he was still have "episodes".  We finally got it on video.  I won't post it because it's so sad.  But just in case the vet wanted to hear it, we had it.  And then we realized that we had to take him back in.  Tried to make an appointment for Saturday, but the vet we had been seeing wasn't in, so my mom was very nice and said she would take him in on Friday afternoon.  They did an x-ray and confirmed that he didn't have a slipped disc in his back (which was an amazing thing and meant no need for a "surgery decision").  Then they finally gave him some steroids and more pain pills and we started those on Saturday with strict orders to make sure Willy relaxed.  No stairs, no running around, little excitement and elevated food bowls.  Now anyone who has had a hurt dog (think cone) know that it's pretty hard to keep a dog sedentary, especially when you have 2 other ones running around!!!  But we tried our best.  And attempted to make our side by side split house just one level.  Hence the comment "our house is a jail".

Gate so Willy cannot go down to the family room
Our attempt to block him from going up the stairs....

Willy on the dog bed with a space heater.  Our attempt to "relax" him    
He's so cute!!!  Poor guy

We did OK with that and surprisingly, the combo of pills did start to make him feel better.  Mid week, he was starting to be his normal self again, which was making me SO happy.  That is probably what I was most upset about in thinking if he would ever go back to the "normal" funny and cute dog he was.  He was a little slower, but he was excited to see us when we got home and started eating again (hello, when this dog doesn't eat, there is a problem).  We are now to the point that the medicine is all almost out and we called the vet over the weekend to see if we needed to get some refills and they said if he's feeling better and acting better, then no.  So we are giving it a try and now all that is left is the remaining steroids, which he gets every other day.  

Poor guy!!!  I know I was super dramatic about poor Willy, but literally it was breaking my heart to see him like that and hear him cry non-stop with NO idea what was wrong with him.  What the heck are we going to do when we have kids?!?!?  Jeez - what a mess I was!!  

But thank you for your concerns and thoughts - it was so sweet to get emails and text messages about him!  All you dog people completely understand!!!

Let's pray for some good health, dogs and people, in 2012!!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

LA - famous people everywhere!

OK, this is part 2 of the vacation.  We left Vegas after quit the debacle over my husband's one and only big win there....we were OFF and driving through the desert in our wonderful rental car. 

Here is what I looked at for about 3.5 hours.  While Jimmy was nice and drove the car the whole way.  And really I slept several times.


oh hey Jimmy....
While on the way, Jimmy was set on stopping at In and Out burger for lunch.  Unfortunately, I didn't know that was his plan, so when he pulled off the road and we walked into a Jack and the Box, I thought he just wanted to stop and eat there.  I have never eaten there, so I went with it.  Well, when we passed an In and Out burger about 10 miles from the Jack and the Box, Jimmy was pretty upset.  Oops.

One interesting thing on our drive was the California inspection.  Very interesting and we were in line for actually a while.  Still no clue what it was for and what they were looking for.  But we went with it...

Eventually, we arrived in Manhattan Beach and boy was it worth the drive.  Oh my goodness, look at this view from the street.  Amazing!! 

We checked into our hotel and then were off to the "beaches".  Redondo Beach was the first stop.  This was a big moment for us folks.  It was Mr. Carter's first time to see the pacific ocean in the flesh!  Wahoo!  Now he has been to the Pacific, the Atlantic and the Gulf.  Way to go Jim!!

We walked around the Redondo Beach Pier and it was nothing like I remember it.  I still cannot remember where these shops that I kept thinking that were there are.  Weird.

And then when the sun was going to set, we headed back to Manhattan Beach and took a stroll along the water.  And what a walk it was.  Oh my goodness.  Check out these houses.  INSANE.  One was for rent for $6600/month.  Wowsa.....

After seeing lots of houses and walking through a beach party, we decided that this one was our favorite and would be our beach house.  Haha, yeah right.  We can only dream, but really, how sweet is this!?

And here we are!  Happy to be on the beach watching the sunset, wishing we got to do this together every night!!  We also saw people biking with their dogs and we were even more obsessed. 

Yeah, that's a view I think anyone could get used to!

We decided to stick close to Manhattan Beach that night and tried out this delicious restaurant that was just down the street called Fishbar.  But before we left, I made Jimmy take some pictures.  He was NOT cooperating.

But this folks, yep, this is the best one of the whole trip.  Are you kidding me?  JIMMY!!!

But really quick, I must brag on this Fishbar place we went.  It was SO good!  When we finally got a table we had bread waiting for us and got an appetizer of the King Crab legs for like $8 (so cheap!) and then we tried some clam chowder.  Both completely delicious!  Then we tried the special that was a smoked artichoke, which made me think of my friend Carly, that was just as good and then I got a side of broccoli.  I ate like one bite of it, but it made me feel better about my horrible eating the past few days.  If you are in that area, I highly recommend it.  We were so stuffed with just the delicious things we tried we actually didn't even get entrees....but I'm sure they were delicious too!!!

Day 2 in LA, we were up early (well I was up early) and enjoyed some breakfast at our hotel before I made Jimmy wake up and get started on our day (apparently I'm a vacation slave driver).  Note to self: next vacation go to the east you aren't 2 hours earlier than everything.

The morning was filled with touristy things.  Like Rodeo Drive.  Where we went to Starbucks.  While we couldn't afford anything in the shops there...they were all closed.   Yep, that is a trend as well because it was too early.  Surprise, surprise.  However, the coffee was good.

See, I liked my coffee!

While on our way to Chinatown (which was stupid and we just drove through)...we passed this sign.  Hey Vanessa!  Check it out!!

I talked to Ashley when we got to China town and she confirmed my thoughts that it was stupid, but that we have to go to Hollywood Boulevard.  Off we went!

Jimmy wanted a picture of the Capitol Records building
And here he is.  We made it to Hollywood Boulevard

And the famous sign.....

Famous Roosevelt hotel
There were SO many people everywhere walking down the street.  Actually it wasn't as bad as Vegas, but still very touristy.  But just something we had to do, right?  When we got down in front of the Chinese theater, there were characters everywhere to take pictures with.  I snapped a picture of the Star Wars trooper and Darth Vader for our nephew, Ben, but now he's pretty into Indiana Jones, so I'm not sure if he would think this was cool!!

We saw all the stars!  They were everywhere!
There were lots of tours they were trying to sell on buses to take you to see famous people's houses and hot spots in LA.  If we didn't have plans later in the day, I might possibly have dragged Jimmy to one of those.  One guy almost had me sold on it.  However, instead I just googled some places myself and made Jimmy drive by.  He was thrilled.  Haha.  And now my sick obsession with Real Housewives of Beverly Hills is revealed.  I knew that Lisa from the show had a restaurant nearby, so I made him drive by in hopes that maybe she would be outside with Ken and Jiggy.  Or even Pandora.  No such luck, but hey, we did drive by Sur.  And here is the bad picture of it!

This picture sufficed for my RHOBH and my 90210 obsessions 

And guess what we picked up on Hollywood Boulevard?  Some super trendy Cali glasses.  Jimmy's for KU and mine for K-State.  Not going to lie, I did feel a little silly in them, but don't worry, I'll bust them out every once and a while.

That afternoon we headed to Ashley's place to see her and meet Milton (her dog) and her roommate Mandy.  It was Ashley's birthday (and Courtney's and Emily!), so it was perfect timing.  We picked up her boyfriend and he drove us to Malibu to a fun restaurant on the beach.  Literally on the beach.  And the weather was FABULOUS.  75-80 degrees on December 29.  It was pretty amazing!!!!

I mean...this is late December.  Why don't we all live here and enjoy this weather!?!?
After a fabulous lunch and no Matthew McConaughey sitings (apparently he frequents that beach), we headed back to the city and then we were all back to change and relax before we went out for Ashley's birthday dinner.  We headed to Venice beach (one of the few beach towns we hadn't hit up the day before) for a wonderful tapas style dinner!  It was delicious food, an extensive wine list and even better company!!

And we got some dessert and candle for the birthday girl!!!


Jimmy and I

Ashley and BJ

Group shot of the table!!!  So fun!
And then we realized that we are old and were all tired and went home and to bed.  Yep, we are that cool.  Ashley and BJ were headed to Big Sur bright and early the next morning (check out her great blog post on that trip here) and we were beat.  However, it was a great birthday celebration and thank you Ashley, BJ and Mandy for letting us crash some of your time in LA!  It was so fun!!!

The next day we were headed to the airport, but our flight wasn't until 4, so we had some time to kill.  In the morning we got packed up, checked out of the hotel and headed to the Santa Monica Pier for our final beach destination.

Check out the fog/ocean layer.  It was crazy!!

On the pier
Since it was still kind of early (like I said...this is a trend of this vacation), there wasn't too many things open...but the arcade was.  So being the competitive married couple we are, we cashed in $5 and began the competition in terms of basketball pop a shot and a skee ball game.  I lost at both.  But still, I think it was unfair because (1) Jimmy got to watch me before and (2) No practice shots....oh well.

Jimmy beating me in this game, bad.

Our final game was a Pirates of the Caribbean shooting game and we were a team.  Let's just say you don't want me on your team if you life depends on me shooting people and shooting the correct people. I'll leave it at that.

The last obligatory picture on the pier I made Jimmy take.  He was thrilled if you cannot tell.
So before we were off to the airport (which was CRAZY by the way), we had one more stop to make around lunch time.  It was in-n-out burger.  Since on our drive from Vegas this is what Jimmy thought he was eating and was disappointed he was at Jack in the Box...we googled it and headed there.  And quite the experience it was.  I will say, I was surprised at their limited menu, but I guess if you got a good thing going, why ruin it or dilute the menu?  Because there were PLENTY of people there just loving it!!

We each got a burger, fries and a drink.  I had heard about doing something to the fries (monster something?) where they put thousand island dressing on it, but I passed on that.  So here we are trying these for the first time.  PS The photos of me are incriminating, I realize that.

This was an action shot.  I know I look gross.  However, I was surprised that there was the thousand island dressing on the burger.  And now you realize why my face looks like this.

However, I actually did really like it.  So that was good!!  Overall, it was pretty freaking good.

So there you have it.  After that lunch, we headed to the airport, finally got our bags checked and made it through security (after they closed a lane down....) and sat in the busy airport at a bar watching college football games and I read my book.  We didn't have a direct flight and had to connect in Denver, which the Denver to KC might have been the worst flight of my life (which is saying a lot since I traveled one planes two times a week for a year at least when I was a consultant), but with a constantly hacking lady next to me and a SUPER loud and drunk man talker right behind us and then poor screaming babies at the end due to a drop in pressure - yeah, we were ready to be on the ground in KC and pack up our suitcases for a while.  We were pumped to see our dogs too, which turned into another story....of course!

So until the next vacation!!!

PS Sorry if I tricked you in the title of this post.   We didn't actually see any famous people.  Bummer.  But hopefully you enjoyed it!