Saturday, August 30, 2008

Pup or pig?

Cooper is having an identity crisis!

Today we went to the dog park and let the boys go swimming in the watering hole. Cooper runs in, dunks his head into the water, runs out, and collapses on the sand/dirt rubbing his back into the ground.

Just like a pig rolling around in the mud.


Then Cooper met the hose.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Breaking News!!

Watch out Obama and McCain! There's a new challenger in the Presidential race!

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Long weekend!

Last weekend of the summer = bummer
Long weekend = hooray

I'm looking forward to my long weekend! I don't have much planned yet, so I'm looking forward to relaxing. I'll most likely get to spend some quality time with my puppies and my husband, which is what I like to do best.

Anyone have any fun plans they're looking forward to??

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A Historic Night!

I just witnessed history.

I got home from work today as Dave was watching the states cast their votes to officially nominate the next DFL candidate for President of the United States.

And as I walked in to our living, Senator Amy Klobuchar and Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak were submitting the votes for the Minnesota delegation. If you've followed my blog for any length of time (since February), you know that I have supported Barack Obama for a while. And I tried to awfully hard to be elected as a delegate for the DFL National Convention. It was close, but I didn't win and therefore am watching the convention from my living room (bittersweet).

I got chills as I heard Klobuchar and Rybak announce Minnesota's votes, which was followed by the delegates at the convention cheering "Yes We Can!"

Then even better, Hillary moved to stop the roll call and to nominate Barack Obama by acclamation (a voice vote).

I am so excited for this moment that I've been hoping for all year. Dave and I spent many nights watching the results from each state's primary or caucus (yes, we're dorks). But we are so interested in the election this year because of the enormous impact the result will have on us and on our nation.

So I called my mom. I knew she and my dad were watching at their house too. Her voice was shaky. And I knew she was in tears with excitement and hope for the future.

Even though I was not there in person as a delegate, I was a piece of tonight's history. I participated in the caucuses and and went to my Congressional Convention and Minnesota's State Convention. I voted for the 2 delegates and 1 alternate from my Congressional district that was sent to Denver to vote for Barack. And today Barack Obama is the DFL candidate for President and in a couple of months, he will be elected the next President!!!

I can't wait to hear Barack's acceptance speech tomorrow night. I hope that people will look past the color of his skin and listen to what he has to say. The next couple of months are going to be so exciting as him and McCain try to sway voters.

Go Barack Obama!!!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Isn't it annoying that if you don't exercise for a week that the next time you go to the gym it feels as if you're completely out of shape and back at square one???

Yeah, that's what happened to me yesterday! It was such a struggle to run just two miles, and I was able to run 13.1 miles just two months ago!

How do you find time and the motivation to exercise everyday, so you don't have to deal with the feeling of being completely out of shape and can feel like you're actually getting in better shape?

Monday, August 25, 2008

Weekend Update

Another weekend has come and gone. Lately, the weeks seem to be flying by and the weekends seem to pass by even faster. It's unbelievable that Dave's fall semester started today, Anthony started Kindergarten and Labor Day weekend is this next weekend!

I didn't take any photos this weekend (the batteries in the camera need to be replaced). So let me tell you about it instead.

Friday night my nieces slept over at my house. They were so excited. I think everytime I see them, they ask if they can sleepover. Friday night we just hung out and watched a movie. It was kind of funny, because this was the first time they slept over where Dave didn't work at Home Depot -- meaning Dave was actually home and got to hang out with them too. They were a confused and kept asking Dave why he was home. Funny.

Saturday we took the girls to Playworks. They had new play structure, which I thought was more fun than the old one. This one is more grown-up friendly. You can actually stand up inside instead of crawling everywhere and killing your knees. We played there most of the morning, until the girls got hungry. Trying to score "favorite auntie" points, we took them to McDonald's. After lunch, we went swimming at the pool. Each time they swim in my pool they’re getting more comfortable in the deep end and better with their swimming. Amanda swam the whole length of the pool on her back (which is great b/c she and Emily tend to get scared about swimming where they can’t touch). Then I taught her how to swim down and touch the bottom with her hand (in the shallow end), and she was so excited about that b/c it’s one thing that Emily could do and she couldn’t.

After that the girls were wore out. We sat in the lounge chairs with towels wrapped around us at the pool for a little bit, so we could warm up. Wouldn't you know that Emily fell asleep right there! I had to carry her home. Then we all piled in the car to meet up with Rachel (they slept at her house Saturday night as Becky and Steven went out of town just the two of them). Apparently, it was Amanda's turn to take a nap. She fell asleep in the back seat while listening to Dave sing Rascal Flatts.

Saturday night, we got to meet up with some of my friends from high school (and some of their parents too). Hanging out with Erin, Melissa and Rachel is always one of my favorite times. I always look forward to it. We always have a good time. And afterwards, I can't wait until we see each other again. Rachel was having her annual golf tournament, and we met up for dinner and drinks afterwards. Erin and John were home from Chicago, so we got to see our favorite Expecting Parents. You still can't tell she's pregnant! We got to see pics from the ultrasound pic. Baby Luckey is so cute (yes, I could tell from the pic)! It's nice that John is a doctor, because then he can show what's what in the ultrasound pic. I can't wait to see Erin again when she's home next at Thanksgiving and we have her baby shower! I'll get to see Rachel and Melissa again on Wednesday for book club.

Good times.

Sunday wasn't really interesting. I slept in because I was having some serious sleeping issues with my seasonal allergies. Then I cleaned up around the house. Dave came home from work and we went to get him school supplies and went grocery shopping. Came home, made dinner and took the dogs for a walk. Finished the evening by reading my blizzard book and watching the Olympics closing ceremony. Part of me is glad the Olympics are done, because I'm tired of Dave making fun of me every time they show Shawn Johnson or Nastia Luikin and their gymnastics routines and I start crying.

More blogs to come! Take care!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Unsolved Mysteries

This is such a cool [true] story, I had to share it on my blog.

My grandfather, 1LT John D. Garvik, (my mom's dad) was killed-in-action shortly after the Normandy Invasion during WWII. Since my dad is a history buff (I think he owns just about every book ever written about D-Day and he's writing one) and b/c he's my mom's dad, it has become a hobby for my parents to find more details about where exactly he died in France, what tasks were assigned to him during this time -- basically anything that would give my mom (and the family) more knowledge of what he was doing when he died. Most of the information we have are the letters he wrote to my grandma during the war (but those don't contain a lot of details because of the sensitivity/confidentiality of the war) and some official army documents that were sent to my grandma after he died.

So anyway, my parents recently visited Normandy. While they were there, they came across this guy (Gary) who has done a lot of research on the 5th Rangers Infantry Battalion and he actually knows some of the surviving Veterans. My dad basically gave Gary all the information he's come across over the years about my grandfather around the time of the invasion and his death. Gary reached out to all of his Vet contacts, and one wrote a letter back!!

In the letter, this Vet (one of the 5th battalion officers) says he remembers my grandfather very well. Apparently, my grandfather was one of the original platoon leaders. Given that my grandfather died 64 years ago, you don't expect many of the people who served with him to be alive, and you certainly don't expect anyone to say that the remembered your grandfather well. Even in my own family, all of the people in my family who would have know my grandfather 'well' have passed away. My mom never even had a chance to meet him.

So far, my parents have only corresponded to officer who knew my grandpa through Gary. I really hope that in the near future my parents will have a chance to talk directly to the Vet and hopefully he can solve some of our family mystery. Even if he doesn't recall too much, or was fighting in a different area, it's still really cool to come across a guy who knew my grandpa from that time. I just can only imagine how excited my grandma would be to know about this!

The other really cool thing was that the Vet had a photo of all the 5th battalion officers taken at Fort Dix in December 1943. My grandfather is in the photo! Not only did my parents find someone who knew my grandfather well, they found someone who had a picture of him! The pictures of my grandfather have always been so important to us, because that's all we've ever had of him. This is a picture of a picture, so it's not the best quality, but you can certainly see my grandfather. Take a look -- he's in the back row, 7th from the left.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Not for me: Living in a sod house

All right, so I'm not not only fascinated by Native American culture, I am fascinated with the life of the American Pioneer. That's probably pretty evident as I've dragged just about every person in my family to Murphy's Landing! Remember my recent excursion with Katie, Mary and Anthony?

So I'm reading the book, The Children's Blizzard by David Laskin. It's about a huge blizzard in 1888 that hit the prairie so suddenly and so fiercely that it killed thousands of children as they walked home from school (and other people too).

I've only just started the book, but it honestly describes the hard live pioneers lived. Most of them were poor, they worked long hours farming land in a climate they didn't understand, they lived miles a part from one another, and often had to deal with disease and hunger. It wasn't the quaint picture I had in mind after years of watching TV shows like Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman and Little House on the Prairie that romanticized the Pioneer Life.

And then I read the paragraph about the sod houses pioneers lived in. Not only was it basically a hole dug into the ground, but gopher and snakes would sometimes pop through the walls when they were burrowing.


Sometimes you just have to be thankful for the modern conveniences like houses built with concrete, wood, and vinyl siding that keeps those creatures out of homes where they DO NOT BELONG!


Watch the slide show that Krissy sent me from Michelle's cabin. The second photo of me screaming is hilarious. I'm sure there's a way to embed the slideshow into my blog, but I'm at work and don't waste time to figure that out right now. So you'll just have to click the link below...

View slideshow

Otis and Cooper are Superstars!

In my last post, I mentioned that Dave took Otis and Cooper to get there photos taken a local photography studio. On Sunday, the photographer posted a recap of her dog days promo and a few photos from some of the pets that came in. Of the 23 pets that got their photos taken, only four were featured on her blog. And two of those four were my boys, Otis and Cooper. They are soooo handsome!

Check out my boys!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Catch up

I guess it's time for some catch up on my blog. I feel like I've been really busy. I guess adjusting to a new job takes a bit of time getting used to. For me, it's physically and psychologically draining to meet lots of new people, learn new tools and procedures, and all that goes along with being new to the job.

But I know it's definitely worthwhile.

Although I had a nice little test over the weekend to really make sure I made the right job decision.

There was one place that I really, really wanted to work out of all the places I applied and interviewed at in the last six months. I will call this place Diego. It is a public relations agency, a very well known one. It'd be great for my resume as most communication management positions desire or require agency experience. And I know that's a big hole in my resume right now.

So at the end of my first week at my new job, Diego calls me. They want to offer me the job that I've been trying to get for the last six months. They finally got the green light and they really wanted me to work for them.

A bit of a dilemma, huh? Albeit, a good dilemma.

So my first reaction was to say no. And I did say no. I apologized and told Diego that I just accepted a new job that I really liked so far. I didn't have any red flags about the job I just started, so I didn't think that the timing was right for me to switch.

And my gut was telling me that the job I just started may be just as good for my resume. I'll get more general marketing experience, and even more appealing is all the experience I'm getting with interactive marketing. I also knew that I need a mental health break from the stress of being in constant crisis mode and reactive media relations from my old job.

But my stomach was in knots for most of the afternoon over the fact that I just said no to the place I was dying to work for all spring and summer.

Then I received a five minute voicemail from the hiring manager. Pleading with me for an opportunity to talk. She was sure that once I was reminded of the opportunity with Diego, that I'd want to work there.

So I listened. And part of her was right. I did want to work there. But I wanted to work the other job too. Since I liked both jobs, I decided to go one step further and see how competitive the salary would be. Why not? I figured it'd help me figure out how much they really wanted me, and hopefully help make my decision easier.

Let me tell you. Now that this whole experience has sorted itself out, I am really thankful that I got the second chance to talk to Diego before making a final decision. I now know I made some pretty good decisions and that my gut feeling was right all along. 1) I knew my gut feeling (stay with the job I just started). 2) I listened to Diego and I now know how they are willing to compensate. 3) It confirmed the fact that I like my new job and that I am looking to what the job will entail in the weeks and months to come. 4) I don't have to wonder if I made the right decision when I first said no to Diego as I got a second chance gaining more knowledge of the Diego's position and more time to think it through.


Some other stuff I've been up to?

On Sunday, my sisters, nieces and my mom went to a Pow Wow at our local Indian Reservation. It was an interesting experience. More than 600 dancers from all over the U.S. Growing up in Minnesota, the Native American culture has always intrigued me. I think it's cool to see different cultures honor and display their traditions.

Saturday was a fun day too. Went to my yoga class. Then Dave and I took Otis and Cooper to a local photography studio. If you brought in a bag of food, you got a free photo session for your dog. The food gets donated to an animal shelter and you get a discount on prints. Otis did great. We finally had a real opportunity to show of his obedience skills. Cooper is not so well trained (it's hard to train one dog when there's a second one always begging for the attention). Anyway, we got photos of all the dogs and I'm excited to see how they turned out. After that, Dave and I went rollerblading and later the afternoon we took the dogs to the dog park. It was a pretty active day, but really enjoyable.

Oh, and tonight. Cooper chewed through his flex-leash. I am going to have to start a tally on this blog for each time a flex-leash is destroyed. Cooper doesn't really chew much. For some reason, he always seems to chew the flex-leashes. I think we've spent well over $100 on stupid leashes. I bathed the leashed and collars in bitter apple tonight. It's not happening again! I can and will outsmart the dog!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Completed: day 1 @ new job

At this time last night, I was getting pretty nervous. Today was my first day at a new job. Scary! This morning I was thinking about when you're a kid, every year you have a first day of school with a new teacher and a new class. Well, when you're an adult, you really don't have to deal with the first day jitters very often. It had been over four years since I had a first day, so it was a little nerve-racking for me.

It was raining when I woke up. I thought to myself...people say it's good luck when it rains on your wedding day (it rained on mine ;)); so maybe it's good luck to have rain on your first day of a new job.

At first, luck didn't seem to be working in my favor. I decided to get Caribou (to help me through the morning), but I didn't want to get my hair wet running from the car to the door (b/c of course, I wanted to make a good impression). On my way back to the car, I help out the door for the delivery man. Between balancing the door, my coffee and my umbrella, I lost the favorite part of my drink...the delicious chocolate dipped coffee bean. Then somehow when I drove out of the parking lot, the coffee spilt all over my front passenger seat. Grr!

But when I got to the office, things went a lot smoother. (Thank goodness!) I had several meetings, filled out HR forms, got logged into my computer -- all the usual first-day stuff. My new teammates seem really cool. They even took me out to lunch and picked out one of my favorite restaurants, Big Bowl. Spent the afternoon going to another meeting and completing some 'conflict of interest' training. Good stuff. lol.

But I made it through. It was a fairly pleasant experience. And I know there will be a learning curve as I learn more about the position, what I'm supposed to be doing, and get to know the people better. But I really know I made a great decision by changing jobs. And I'm looking forward to going back tomorrow for day 2. :)

Monday, August 11, 2008

pics from Anthony's visit to MN

Visit Katie's blog to see pics of their visit to Minnesota. And warning, the actual blog post is very long! But the photos are great. There are some great ones that she took of me and Dave and also of me in my wedding dress. Also, there are pics from Valleyfair and Murphy's Landing and the Duane Family Reunion. Good times!!!

weekend get-a-way

This last weekend, my friend Michelle invited me and Krissy to her family cabin for her birthday weekend. It was my first time ever at her cabin, so I was really excited to finally visit. Not to mention, I got to spend the weekend with two of my longest-lasting friends on this planet. We weren't the only people at the cabin. Also enjoying Michelle's birthday at the cabin was her parents; her sister, Mindy, who came from Las Vegas; her brother, Scott, who flew from Seattle; Scott's daughter, Kate; her aunt and uncle from New Jersey; and of course her daughter, Julia, the cutest 4-year-old in the world.

The weekend was a blast. We had some awesome weather, and I got to do some of my favorite 'up-north' activities -- reading and relaxing on the dock; having a campfire with s'mores; playing games (volleyball, Apples-to-Apples, Cranium); and shopping in small town gift shops. I worked on catching a fish (I still haven't succeeded!). And best of all, I finally succeeded at water skiing! only lasted for about 30 seconds....but it was long enough for me to fully stand and to yell "I did it!" at the top of my lungs before falling backwards and having water go in places where it's not supposed to go. lol. (sorry if TMI). But it made Julia laugh. And now I can check off #74 'learn to water ski' off my 101 in 1,001 list! Krissy got a pic as proof, and hopefully she'll email it to me so I can post it. But she's still up-north at her family's we're going to have to wait.

Here's some other pics of the weekend.

Mindy and Michelle

A tired and hungry Julia waits for her food.

The world famous muskee in Hayward, Wis. (This is as close as I got, b/c I didn't want to pay to go inside the Muskee Museum. lol.)

She's so cute!

Happy Birthday, Cooper Joe!

Cooper Joe enjoys his b-day present!
Today, my youngest baby turns 1-year-old! Coincidently, I took the day off work, so I'd have an extra day to relax before I start my new job tomorrow! So I relaxed with my boys and we celebrated Cooper's b-day by doing the things dogs like to do best.

We went to the dog park! I had to do a couple of errands before we went to the park, so we went to the Starbucks drive-thru (ok...I guess I didn't have to go there.) The Starbucks lady gave Otis and Cooper treats as I got my drink. Then we went to the drive-thru at the bank. And once again, the dogs got treats. As usual, the boys loved running around at the park. The weather was marvelous -- no clouds, upper 70's, low humidity. There were two different families that each had three Siberian Huskies, so that was fun to see a whole pack of Huskies.

Later today, I had to run some errands without the dogs. For some reason, Super Target doesn't let dogs go to the store. I got Cooper a b-day present (and of course, I got something for Otis to be fair). They're currently enjoying their pork rawhide rapped with duck. They're chewing as if it's their first rawhide ever. I guess this is their first one ever that's wrapped with duck. Luck boys.

On another note -- did you see the men's swim relay win gold last night? It was so exciting!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Anthony brings Katie and Mary to MN!!!

Forewarning: This blog post will probably end up being way too long, especially since you will probably get Katie's perspective on her blog. But in any event, here's my recollection of how the events occurred from Saturday, August 2 - Tuesday, August 5.

And before I begin, I just must say that I am lucky. I know some people who don't particularly get along with their in-laws and don't look forward for their visits....but I am not one of those people. I love Dave's family and am always excited for their visits (or my visits to their house). And of course, I love my own family too. I just think I'm very blessed to be part of such great families that love and cherish one another.

Ok. Here's my tale of Anthony bringing Katie and Mary to MN.

On Saturday morning, Dave and I had the Derby Days 5K. It is the annual 5K at Canterbury Downs where you get to start through the starting gates for the horses (see photos from last year). I ran with my friends Nicki and Donna, and they each had some friends too. Dave ended up working the water table. It was a hot morning for a run!

As soon as we were done with the 5K, Dave and I took off to River Falls for the Duane Family Reunion. The last name Duane is Dave's grandma's maiden name, and she's the only one remaining of that generation. So basically the reunion was Dave's mom's first-cousins and all their families. I think about 70 people were there. Lots of family that I never met, but of course there was family that I have seen many times in the last 5 years since my first 'encounter' at Anthony's baptism. Anyway, it was my first official family reunion. And I officially became part of the Duane family as I was presented with the official Duane family reunion button (I understand that buttons or t-shirts are standard for family reunions as I've seen my best friend Krissy plan the Kelly family reunion in years past). Anyway, we spent the majority of the day at the Country Inn and Suites hanging out with family. Then we went to mass and dinner at the local supper club. Then we went back to the hotel to say our goodbyes.

Sunday was even busier. Over the course of the day, we had a summer BBQ at our house with more than 40 people stopping by (completing #82 of 101 in 1,001). We spent the morning cleaning, preparing food, setting up tables, etc. Then spent the rest of the day hosting the event. My nieces got to see their ring boy Anthony. Anthony loved playing the Twist Game with them (aka Twister), and Anthony learned the difference between left and right and apparently learned how to read. After lunch was served, some of the cousins went swimming at the pool. When we got back to the house, Katie and I interrupted Anthony assisting Amanda with taking off the wet swim suit (oh, to be 5 years old and be full of innocence), but it was quite amusing to me and Katie. Anyway, it was another great day hanging out with friends and family.

Monday we spent the entire day at Valleyfair. The highlight was talking Dave into going down the speed slide at the waterpark. And Megan, Dave, Katie and I almost capsized the raft on slide in the waterpark that has the raft for 4. I thought we were going to die. I just closed my eyes as we went round the turns and feeling the raft go airborne with Katie directly above me screaming for her life. Anthony was very proud that he got to go on Thunder Canyon, which was the ride that he was growing tall enough so that he could ride. His favorite ride was the Flume. I think Dave's favorite was the foam ball factory. Katie and Mary loved the Wave. Megan and I loved the extreme swing. Anthony got his cotton candy. We all had an awesome time, although we were exhausted by the time we left.

We decided to 'relax' on the last day of the trip. That meant we spent a couple of hours at Murphy's Landing. Followed by a lunch at McDonald's and a visit to see Dave at work. Then we drove to Minneapolis, so Katie could take some pics of my nieces. We also drove by Lake Calhoun, because Mary and Katie (and T) had never seen it (which is hard for me to believe that they lived in MN and never went to that lake). Then we went home and got Dave and went to my parents' neighborhood to do some pics of me and Dave (completing #53 of 101 in 1,001). And me in my wedding dress. The area where we took the pics was pretty secluded and due to the shortage of time, I just changed into my dress right on the path. So of course it was also National Night Out...and all the kids were at the park. So out of the woods I came, (and according to the girls at the park), I was a princess that magically appeared. It was so funny, because they were just awestruck and came up to me just to look and to tell me I was beautiful and then they wanted photos with me. It was hilarious! We got a lot of awesome photos that I can't wait to see! Our photo session wrapped up as the sun went then we went to Dairy Queen for dinner (I changed out of the dress at my parents'). I think we made it home around 10 or so....just in time for Anthony to take charge of getting Mary and Katie packed and tucked in for the 2-3 hours of sleep they got before heading to the airport to go home.

All-in-all, we had a great, great time. Although with having Katie and Mary taking pics the whole time, I didn't snap one photo. Maybe Katie will post the picture version of the trip, since I just wrote enough for the both of us. Can't wait to hang out with the in-laws again!!!

New Glasses!

I found out that I had to use my flex spending account money before my last day at work (which is tomorrow!!!)...So last night I took a little trip to visit Bryan at Lens Crafters to pick out some new glasses. I definitely had the best customer service at Lens Crafters, so if anyone ever needs glasses go to there!!! (ok...I know that probably 95% of my blog readers are related to the Dobosenski family (and Reese family) in some way and would go to Lens Crafters for their eye-wear needs anyway, but I had to give Bryan a plug for helping me yesterday!).

I was just talking to my SIL Katie and she wanted to see a pic. So here it is. And yes, I took the photo while we were still talking. lol.

Don't forget Gracie!

The forgotten Balow! Gracie! It's probably been a year since I've last mentioned her in my blog, but she's still part of the Balow Bunch. I am actually very proud of what a great cat she's become in the last two years. She used to get so stressed when people came to our house. She would hiss and would stress until she puked. Especially when people she didn't males visited our house. In fact, this is the first time that I didn't take her to my parents house when Anthony has stayed at our house. But Gracie did awesome! No puking. Very little hissing. She let Anthony pet her and I never saw her hiss at him. On Sunday, we had 40 people at our house over the course of the day. Gracie hung out in our bedroom. She just chilled and did great.

She does seem a little confused about one thing now. She was kicked out of her room, because that's where Mary slept (we keep a baby gate in the doorway for Gracie's room, so she can get away from the dogs and have her own space). So yesterday, when I cam home she wasn't hanging out in her room like usual. She burrowed into one of the drawers in my dresser. It was cute so I grabbed a pic before she jumped out.