Friday, July 31, 2009

Moving On East ...Again


This is our big moving weekend. Mike finished up school and work last Friday and it feels like we have been organizing, cleaning, packing and tying up loose ends every day sense then. Moving is no joke, it's a lot of work.

Our plan is to get a Uhaul Sunday and hit the road Monday morning. We plan on staying in Chicago for 3 years at minimum. Mike was accepted at Loyola University, a really great school where he can complete an accelerated masters in social work program. We are hoping all the financials come through otherwise he will be attending North Eastern University. Cross your fingers everything comes through for Loyola!!!

Mike also said goodbye to his co-workers at the Vet Center here in Moline this week. I have to say, people LOVE my husband. I was reading through the cards he got for his birthday, good luck, and good-bye and they said so many nice things about him and are hoping he returns in a couple years to be a part of the staff. They even celebrated with an ice cream cake. YUM! AND the Evanston Vet Center is really excited that he will be returning. I have forgotten what it feels like to be valued at your job, so inspiring to me!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Bix Weekend

This past weekend was our last real weekend in Iowa before we move back to Chicago. We said goodbye on the biggest summer weekend in Davenport, Bix. The Bix fest celebrates the late, great jazz musician Bix Beiderbecke who grew up in Davenport, Iowa. During his short life, just 28 years, Bix was one of the leading names in jazz in the 1920's. Bix is actually buried around the block from where we currently live at Oakdale Cemetary.

One of my favorite songs by Bix, and of all time is "I'll Be A Friend With Pleasure" have a listen!



We had a great time enjoying all the street food and live music in downtown Davenport!

Almost One Year!

It's hard to believe that Mike and I have almost been married for one year. About this time last year I was blogging about our engagement session in Chicago. I still can't believe how fast everything came and went. It all hit me again this morning as I was running.

If I had to pick my favorite aspect of our wedding, besides the groom, I'd pick my flowers. I swear, I will be thinking of these flowers until the day I die. Damien, the florist I was lucky enough to work with from Milan Florist, went above and beyond my expectations. I could sense that he had it in him during our meetings but his diggs are very modest, so there was still a little bit of uncertainty.

One of my memories of picking my flowers was showing Damien pictures of what I liked. I tolf him I really wanted a garden themed bouquet, with lots of green and white and some purple accents. One of the flowers I chose was Queen Annes Lace. My Mom made a joke that it was a weed and for a moment I second guessed my choice but decided, I liked it, weed or not.

This morning while running on the bike trail I noticed all the Queen Annes Lace blooming. I sighed to myself and started replaying our wedding in my head and, thanks to technology, songs from our wedding playlist on my ipod. I finished up my run thinking how glad I was that I chose Queen Annes Lace because from now on and forever at this time of year, right around our anniversary, August 2, 2008, I'll look at the blooms and be reminded of my great day.

Friday, July 24, 2009

I Finally Got A Glimpse On Film!

Many of you have heard the unbelievable stories of our ginormous dog Finn. Finn has many insecurities and issues including his fear of water, rain, and thunder. Tonight we had warning that a storm would be hitting in the next 20 minutes. Mike quickly took Finn for a walk to get all the waste out of his body so it did not end up in our house. Once the storm hit our strategy was to just go along with our business and ignore Finn the best that we could. We've spent hours researching techniques to curb his fear of storms and the best thing to do is to just act normal and be playful with him and never, never, baby or cuddle him. Luckily tonight was a pretty calm display of his anxiety, but I managed to take a quick video on my camera. Check it out, it's funny and a little sad all in one. I say fear or no fear he's still a good lookin dawg. O, and Dixie makes a cameo too.
video

12 gifts that keep on giving...



Need I say more? Jeff and Mel sure know how to get a smile and a jaw drop out of Mike! They bought Mike a variety of specialty beers for his birthday. I must say this also put a smile on my face, followed by an ecstatic, "What the hell?" when I saw a few Abita brews included in the mix. Abita is one of my favorite breweries based in Louisiana. I actually called around a few months back to all the area liquor stores looking for Abita and no one stocked them. Apparently this is a strange coincidence or HyVee Grocery in Rock Island, IL really does listen to their customers! I sure do love those helpful smiles :) I even ordered Mike and Abita shirt for his bday that he's wanted since our trip to NOLA in May. Mike and I decided to test this gift out earlier this evening. Our first picks are below. YUM!



On a side note, to all the True Blood fans out there, next time you are watching, notice all the Abita merch at Merlotte's!

Birthday Boy Gets 31 Spankings

Last night we celebrated Mike's 31st birthday. I think 31 is a pretty big deal because it proves that life does not stop at 30 which is both good and bad.

We decided to try Hibachi for dinner at our favorite sushi restaurant Osaka. The sushi at Osaka is so great that we usually pass over the Hibachi without giving it much thought. Feeling adventurous and wanting to try something different we decided to go for it and the rest of the fam was down for it too.

For those of you who don't know what Hibachi is, it's when a chef prepares an array of steak, chicken, seafood, tofu and veggies along side some fried rice all your table on a flat top grill.



Our Hibachi guru's name was Tai Mai Shu, hahah get it? He was very skilled with his knife throwing skills, torching flames and sneaky tricks. I appreciated all of these except for the egg catching game. Tai Mai Shu went around the table and made everyone catch fried egg with their mouth straight off the flat top! I should add that I have a huge phobia of burning my mouth, and also a huge phobia of other people burning their mouths. I usually start of every meal with an obligatory, "Don't burn your mouth!" So I caught the egg with my hand, and asked everyone else who attempted to catch the egg if they burnt their mouth. I am happy to say no injuries were reported.



The dinner was great, and aside from the sodium, it leaned towards the side of healthy.



If you who live in the Quad Cites area the Osaka in Moline, IL has an awesome special Sun - Thursday. Steak or chicken Hibachi are 2 for $22. What a deal! The meal is also served with soup and salad.

Earlier in the day I stopped at a new bakery in downtown Davenport called Cupcakes, Muffins and More. I picked up a half dozen of these tasty treats. They were delicious and an insane bargain. One cupcake is only .75 cents! I was expecting them to be more in the $2-$3 range. A half dozen was only $3.99 and a dozen, $6.99, what a steal! We all managed to squeeze one of these in, more or less.




All in all we had a fun time celebrating my hubs birthday. Happy birthday sweetie! XOXO

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Chucky Cheese

Lucky for me my lil sis had a old digital camera she is no longer using thus, I inherited a lovely Cannon PowerShot A510. This will hold me over until I have some steady income again, other than my unemployment. Although I am still sad for the lost pictures, this helps soften the blow a little.


This past week my sis-in-law Brooke, and my niece and nephew Reese and Eli were visiting from Arizona. It was a funfilled week that led us to Chucky Cheese last night for some pizza and games. It's been years since I have been to a Chucky Cheese, in fact, when I was a kid it was Showbiz, way cooler if you ask me but Chucky was still a lot of fun.






MIA

I had a rough couple of days last week. First off, my laptop has had a dead pixel for some time. I paid a crap load for the Geek Squad warranty at Best Buy and figured, even though a dead pixel is just slightly annoying, I might as well take it in. Plus, how bad would I be kicking myself if that dead pixel turned into more after the warranty was up. At ant rate, I my beloved laptop is now in the hand of the Geek Squad until an estimated August 14. Bloggin on my desktop is just a nuisance, it's slower and I am secluded in the office aka not as inspired.

Then, over the weekend my digital camera was stolen. All of my recent pics that I was planning to blog about are gone foreva! Luckily I upload regularly so I didn't lose too many, but there were some great pics of a night out on the town with my sis in law who was visiting from Arizona.

To make matter worse, upon leaving the bar where my camera was stolen Saturday night, my car was dead. After a tow to the dealer it turns out it just needed a new battery, but still...no fun!

That's enough of my whining for now, but see, I have not been blogging for many reasons.

Monday, July 13, 2009

day tripper



Today I woke up at 6:30 am after getting about 4 hours of sleep. It was another torturous night of laying awake talking to the hubs until 3am trying to figure out our possible, pending move. Anyways, this is the third night in a row I have not really slept and I was really feeling it this morning. I knew that I needed to do something to distract myself. So, around 11:30 my sis and I took a little roadtrip up to Galena, IL.

We'd both been there before but I still did a quick search before leaving and found a few lunch options along with a winery to check out.

Upon arriving we decided to stop for lunch right away. We walked past a couple places to One Eleven Main, one of my online pics.

We started off by ordering a couple sangrias, although this was a tough choice because they had an amazing drink selection including blackberry or raspberry mojitos.



Next I died and went to heaven when I saw they had a cheese board. It was a combination of three types of cheese from another local shop, Galena River Wine and Cheese, along side of some almonds, dried cherries from Door County, a few accent sauces an some apple. My favorite was the brie with apple and the brie with the dried cherries. Seriously, I died.



Next up, we debated on salads which sounded great but we REALLY want to try this amazing looking sandwich, the Croque Madame.



Shaved Usinger's smoked ham on toasted bread with melted Swiss and Dijon mustard topped with white sauce and a local farm fresh egg.

This was by far the best sandwich I have ever had, even beating out the turkey Reuben from The Bier Stube. Even the fries were phenomenal. I only wish I could have eaten the whole damn thing, but this is what I left.



After we were done we had a lot to walk off. I was hoping I would be able squeeze in some ice cream, but I was just too full, so next time.

My sis and I did a little shopping and even made our own soy candles. We both made beachy scented mixes from the Galena Candle and Bath Company.

This day was exactly what I needed to take my mind off all the stress and the xanax I stole from Finn, our dog, helped too ;)

Friday, July 10, 2009

Hunting and Planning


This has been a fun filled week of apartment hunting online. Can you hear the sarcasm? It's quite stressful trying to find a place in Chicago while being 3 hours away, especially when we are looking at moving August 1. Crazy! Tomorrow Mike and I will be leaving at a bright and early 6am to go see some places we have lined up. We are looking at a total of 4 apartments, one every hour from 9-12. Like I mentioned, this whole move is bittersweet, but for the best in the long run since there are more careers in my field in Chicago. Wish us luck!

Mike and I are also planning an extended roadtrip out east! We will be leaving sometime early August and plan to be gone for a couple of weeks. So far we are going to go stay one night in Niagara, Mike has never seen the falls, plus it's on the way to Mike's Dads in Maine. Next, we'll stay in Maine for a few days. We'll stop in Portland, Maine and Boston before we head down to Rhode Island to stay with Mike's Mom and Step-Dad. The big county fair will be taking place which Mike tries to go to every year. I am also super excited because while in Rhode Island we will be staying at the Winnapaug Inn on Misquamicut Beach for a night. Last year after we got married Mike's mom got us a room there and it was so much fun! We also ate at one of my favorite restaurants ever last year, Shelter Harbor, the food, wine, and coffee were amazing and the place was so quaint. I am really looking forward to this trip!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Is there a such thing as free money?



I received my first unemployment check today. They sure make it easy these days. They said it would be in my bank account July 2, and it was. Although the amount I am getting is a sizable pay cut for me, it is enough to live on fairly comfortably thanks to some extra incentives that get thrown in since Mike is a student and by Obama. Also, the fact that I was able to apply in Illinois which is better than Iowa increases my amount some.

This money will keep me and my babies from living on the streets, but is there really such a thing as free money? Each one of these checks will be a constant reminder of how I took a chance, and it failed me. I gave up a good paying, secure job in the city I called home for almost 10 years. This entire experience has opened my eyes to a lot. First lesson learned was don't assume all benefits are created equal. When starting my job in Iowa I was shocked to learn that many of my benefits I took for granted were stripped away, this was hard for me at first. I also realized how bad is SUCKS going from 25 paid days off per year plus company paid holidays, to 3 and company paid holidays. Another thing, after 10 years, I had to punch a time clock again! That was a huge blow and took A LOT of getting used to. I mean seriously? A time clock for a salaried employee?

My point is I gave up a lot of freedoms to take a chance in my hometown and with a new company. Each unemployment check will sting a little. It's a constant reminder of what I had, what I gave up, and what was taken away from me.

On the other hand, it allows me to explore my options for up to a year, which isn't THAT bad.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

let's get our taco on!


Tonight Mike, Mel and I headed over to El Mariachi Restaurant at 1317 15th St, Moline, IL. A former co-worker of mine had suggested this place for authentic Mexican food. After months of searching, since we moved to Iowa, I am happy to say I found a place that serves avocado tostadas!! I also ordered and avocado taco and beans and rice. My dinner was delicious, fresh and REALLY hit the spot. Mel liked her dinner too and my Mike had the taco bar!

This is going on my normal rotation of places to dine out at, and if we move we will be coming back here on our visits for sure!! They also have a bar, next time I'll try a margarita!