Thursday, March 26, 2009

Thankful Thursday...

This week I'm thankful for long-time friends, babies and airplanes. Melissa and I are flying to Chicago tomorrow to meet Jack, Erin's 2-month old. From the photos I've seen, Jack looks little and precious. Erin tells me that he wants to be held all the time -- which is great news for Melissa and I as we've been patiently waiting since January to hold him!

Melissa, Erin and I have been friends since high school. They are among my closest friends. We've supported one another through some pretty difficult times...and celebrated good times too. I'm excited to visit Erin and am looking forward to really joining her on this new journey in her life. As much fun it is to see photos and get updates on Facebook, it's not quite the same as being there in-person to experience this new baby crying and smiling and doing whatever else little 2-months olds do -- I guess poop and sleep and eat.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A humongous accomplishment (in my book anyway)

Last night, Dave and I took a big leap of faith. We gave both dogs the run of the whole house last night when we were out.

Cooper Joe didn't cause any problems.

When we're gone for short periods of time, we'll usually let him stay out. We keep the dogs in the downstairs only. But Cooper tends to still have accidents when we're not home. He tends to grab paper off the table. He tends to open closets (with the help of Gracie) and pull out shoes, and chew them.

So he spends almost 8 hours every weekday in his kennel. Since we've had him for the last 1 1/2 years, we haven't minded too much locking him up each day because Cooper Joe loves his kennel. We say "kennel time" and he runs up the stairs and into his kennel. Still, the guilt creeps in. It just doesn't seem fair when his older brother, Otis, gets free run of the house most of the day.

Then I got to thinking...maybe part of the reason why he gets into trouble when we're not home is partly because he has no access to his kennel at all, because it's upstairs. He doesn't have access to his space and that gives him anxiety.

So today, Dave calls me on his way to school. "Yeah, I decided to let Cooper stay out of his kennel again."

"What!?!?!" I'm thinking to myself. "This is unchartered territory! He's going to be free in the house for 6 hours!"

Dave explains that today is as good as day as any to see if he'll behave. And he assured me everything was picked up, so the dogs couldn't get into any mischief.

This afternoon when I got home, I carefully inspected every room. Not a single mess anywhere!! Hooray!!! Yeah!!! Yahoo!!! Woo Woo!!!

Now let's just hope that my theory about Cooper needing access to his kennel is right and today wasn't just a fluke.

Guess we'll find out tomorrow....

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

6 signs I'm an adult...

6. It seems that 99.9% of my paycheck goes towards bills, gas, bills and food. And bills.

5. On a Friday night, I'd rather stay home and watch a movie than go out and drink.

4. I shop in the misses section, since clothes from the juniors section don't really fit me anymore....and I get weird looks from girls when I shop in the juniors section.

3. Kids I used to baby-sit are now in college, drinking, and going on spring break trips. Some are even graduating college!

2. I find myself changing the radio to NPR from a music-playing station while I'm driving.

1. My nieces call me a parent.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Thankful Thursday...

Today I'm thankful that it's Thursday and the weekend is almost here! It's been a pretty busy week and I've got some stuff that I'm looking forward to this weekend like Comedy Sportz (an improv show that my friend Katy is in) and my niece Emily's b-day. She's turning eight on Sunday. Wow!

I'm also thankful for spring!! Although it's a little cooler today, spring is definitely starting to make it's way to Minnesota. When birds start showing up, you know the cold and snow will soon be disappearing. The dogs and I have gone on walks everyday this week. I love being able to open my windows and get some fresh air in the house! I'm still waiting for green grass, leaves on trees and flower blossoms...but I'm definitely thankful for what spring has delivered so far.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A is for Auntie...

And that's what I'm going to B.

My sister- and brother-in-law found out this week that their son Edwin is going to be a big brother! Diana's posted the news on her blog and on Facebook, so I figure it's safe for me to post about it.

I love being an Aunt, so I'm excited to add a new kid to my collection of nieces and nephews. Right now I have two of each, so this one is going to tip the scales in terms of gender distribution.

I love being an Aunt. The best part is definitely the love. There's nothing better than having kids run at the door and jumping into my arms when I visit. Or that they always have to give me a hug before you leave. I love wrestling and tickling and making them laugh until they can hardly breath. I love watching a movie and they come over and want to sit on my lap. I love that they always ask to sleep over at my house every time I see them. I love taking them to special places like Monkey Joes or Playworks. And I love having to make special seating arrangements because they all want to sit by their Auntie.

I remember being in the delivery room when my niece Amanda was born. Besides the doctors, it was just Becky, Steven, me and Amanda. I got to hold her when she was minutes, if not seconds, old. It still ranks among the top of my best life experiences.

Really, the only bad part is that I can't be in two places at once. My sister's kids live here in Minneapolis. Dave sisters' kids live in North Carolina, so I only get to see them a couple of times a year. But through blogs, email and phone, we make the most of what we got. And those times that we get to see them are always special times.

I can't wait to meet this little guy (yes, I think it's a boy b/c that's how I keep referring to it). He's so lucky to have the best Aunt and Uncle in the world!!!!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Six Years of Togetherness

Depending on whose point of view you’re referring to – either today’s Dave and mine 6 year anniversary of being together, or yesterday was our 6 year anniversary of being together. We don’t have any photographs or anything to really document that day. No romantic date. No big kiss. Just our memories. And I will never forget that day.

See when Dave and I made that decision – to be boyfriend and girlfriend – I was here in Minnesota. Dave was 12 hours away in Kuwait, just days of being among the first to invade Iraq.

March 15 was the first time I spoke with him after he left for the Middle East just over two weeks earlier. There were some things I left unsaid before he left. He knew I liked him (I’m pretty sure). I definitely knew he liked me. But I didn’t want to make his deployment any harder for him than it had to be…so I didn’t elaborate on my feelings. Plus, I was scared about those feelings. How could I like someone so much who I’d only met in person twice!?

All I remember of getting off the phone that last time before he deployed was that I felt my walls crash. All the emotion and fear and love just erupted out of me and I cried. And I cried. My little sister even came into see if I was ok. I was the person in my family who never cried. But I cried. I felt like I lost Dave forever. I was certain that he wouldn’t call me once he deployed. After all, why would he call a friend? He has lots of friends. I figured he’d call his mom, who would then be able to send out an update to all his family and friends.

He definitely wouldn’t call the girl who said, “No.”

I figured that when he returned home from Iraq, his feelings about me wouldn’t be the same. Too much time and distance. He’d be hurt that I had continued to tell him the timing wasn’t right for us to be together. He’d be ready to move on. So I spent those two weeks mourning over the lost opportunity of Dave and what we could have been. And I was dreadfully worried about his safety and his life. I was a wreck and hardly slept.

So imagine my surprise when he called me the afternoon of March 15! At work. At a number he didn’t have. When it was past midnight his time. He actually had called my cell phone, and then tried me at my apartment where my sister Rachel answered. After Dave told her, “I just really want to hear her voice,” Rachel called my mom and they thought I was at work and she gave him that number.

When I heard his voice I started shaking and crying. My heart was pounding so hard, I thought it was going to explode. I was nervous. I was excited. I was joyful. I told him that I saw him on TV. With a big rifle. I knew I was getting something that I never thought I’d get – a second chance. A chance to say those things I wanted to say the last time we talked:

“Can I still be your girlfriend?”

“Would you?”


And though there have been ups and downs along the way, we’ve been together ever since. Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about this moment in time when we got the second chance for our fairy tale. And I thank God Dave just wanted to hear my voice.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Thankful Thursday...

Guess I've been caught as a blog slacker...given that my last post was a week ago Thursday. Dave and I went out of town for a couple of days, so that's my excuse!! I have some fun stuff to blog about our trip, so stay tuned and I'll write those posts and upload those pics quickly. In the mean time, here's what I'm thankful for this week.

  • Sun! We went through many consecutive dreadful dreary days this week, which made me miss sunshine. While the temp during the week wasn't too bad, it gets depressing when you don't see the sun after surviving a long winter. Springs not here yet, but you can tell it's getting close when the sun appears. It's starting to feel so warm! It's melting the snow even when the temp isn't 32. And now that it's daylight savings time, it's still light outside when I get home!
  • Time off work. Well I guess this one is two-fold. I am thankful that I have a job! But it's so nice to get the opportunity to take a day off and spend that day with my husband. After surviving a crazy month at work, a day off was just what I needed to regroup and refresh myself. It's important to remember to value you're time off, b/c that's when most of the worthwhile living stuff takes place. Like getting served a 5-course breakfast at a bed & breakfast and then taking a nap once you finally get home.
  • Helping friends. It's gratifying knowing that you've helped a friend. Maybe it's as simple as emailing a link to some information that you know they'd find helpful. Or possibly connecting them to a great new opportunity. Or it could be something as serious as being there to help a friend stop something that they might regret later on.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Thankful Thursday...

I've seen a lot of other bloggers dedicate a weekly post to expressing their gratitude for things in their lives. I've done it once or twice. But I'm going to try and do it weekly now too.

This week I'm thankful for alone time with my husband. I'm guessing that once we have kids, we'll be wishing (sometimes) for the days where we could just come home and veg in front of the TV, cuddle and then go get some Dairy Queen. Besides two dogs that sometimes whine for our attention, our weeknights are usually quiet. We get to make dinner. Discuss how our days went. Gossip about people's Facebook statuses. Figure out weekend plans. Watch TV. Play Mariokart. Chill and relax. Chillax. And when summer comes, we add in bike rides and walks with the dogs into the mix.

Our evenings are generally the highlight of my days. And I'm thankful for this time that we have together.

Speaking of alone time with my husband, we figured out what we're going to do during his spring break. We're going to spend a night at a Bed and Breakfast in Lake City and hang out with frogs and bears. I've never spent the night at a B&B before, so I'm looking forward to it. And I'm looking forward to visiting Lake City and explore the town where Dave's dad grew up.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Conversations with a 7-almost-8-year-old

My soon-to-be 8-year-old niece Emily called me last night.

“Will you come to my birthday party on March 22?”

“Sure I’d love to come.”

“Good, because you make the best birthday cake!”

“Wait – you want me to make you a cake and bring it to your party??”

So we talk for a few more minutes. She tells me the names of everyone who’s coming. 12 people. But apparently her little sister got 20 people at her birthday (editor’s note: I was at Amanda’s b-day…there weren’t 20 people there).

Then I get a call from my sister Rachel (Emily’s other aunt) a couple of minutes later. Rachel tells me that Emily forgot to tell me the theme of her party and Emily wanted Rachel to call me and let her know. Rachel, being the awesome auntie she is, listened to Emily’s demands request and promptly called me. But as Rachel is talking to me, my call waiting breaks in and it’s Emily’s phone number. I tell Rachel I’ll call her back and I click-thru to Emily’s call.

“I forgot to tell you that the theme of my birthday party is dolls.”

“Yeah, Auntie Rachel just called me and was telling me that.”

“I forgot to tell you, so I asked Rachel to tell you. But then my mom and dad said it wasn’t Rachel’s responsibility to tell you and that I had to call you.”

Monday, March 2, 2009

What's Going On? -- March

Another month has come and gone! We're one month closer to spring. Wait, doesn't spring technically start in March? Not in Minnesota. March is typically the snowiest month here. But we are one month closer to spring...which means we're about a month or two away from green grass, blossoming trees and plants, bike rides and walks with the dogs, running outside, flip flops and shorts...being warm!!!

I can't wait. But until then, here's what the Balow Bunch is up to in March...

The exciting stuff:
  • Spring Break! Next week for Dave and it's right after our launch at work, so I'm planning on taking some time off too. Not sure what we're going to do yet. Stay tuned!
  • Nieces and nephews b-days: Anthony, Emily and Edwin!!
  • Meeting Jack!! Melissa and I are flying to Chicago for a weekend to hang out with Erin and her new little boy....and her husband too, I guess. :)
  • Official 6 year anniversary of Dave and I being an "item"
Not so exciting, but still fun stuff:
  • Bible study
  • Book Club/puppy playtime extravaganza
  • Hair cut/color (this might actually belong in the exciting category)
I guess that's all I can think of for now.

Gotta love dogs...

I saw this video posted on another blog and wanted to share it. It's funny. And it you have a dog that moves around in his sleep like he's dreaming of chasing a bunny in a field (my dogs do it), you'll enjoy this too. Actually, if you don't have dogs or your dogs don't move around in their'll still enjoy this.