Smalls Sunday: Backyard Adventures

Smalls loves playing in the yard and helping Ben torment the neighbor dogs. Here she is giving the neighbor puppy the stink eye for being naked. (You’d think for as much as this puppy escapes his yard, the neighbors would put a collar and tag on him.)

You may have to click on the picture to see it bigger in order to fully appreciate Smalls’s priceless expression.

And here she is playing with some balls, one in a more manageable size than the other.

Smalls is a pro at fetch, unlike Ben who took 3 years to learn the basic concept and still only kind of brings the ball back occasionally. Smalls, on the other hand, seems to have been born with the retrieval instinct, which makes sense considering our recent discovery of the likelihood that she’s got some golden retriever heritage. I can’t wait to take her up to the reservoir this summer and see how well she swims.

Be sure to check in with Kaya, Rufus, Ben, Ted, Gus, and Zapp.

The Leftover Nazi

Isabel recently told me that she doesn’t eat leftovers. She doesn’t know why; she just can’t bring herself to eat them. Now, I know everyone has their own set of beliefs and everything, but there is something about the idea of not eating leftovers that I’m having a very hard time coming to terms with.

You see, I live for leftovers. I will intentionally stop eating halfway through my dinner so that I can have the second half for lunch the next day. I look forward to leftovers. I dream about them, plan when and how I’m going to eat them, whether I’m going to do anything crazy like cover them in pepperjack cheese when I heat them up, plan if they’ll be best heated up in the microwave, toaster oven, or on the Foreman. Leftovers, to me, are the stuff dreams are made of.

In high school and college, I used to be a bit of a leftover nazi. I’ve calmed down a bit since then, but I still feel that it is very important that leftovers be divided evenly and fairly. (If there are 4 burritos’ worth of chicken left in the crock pot, for example, I would very much prefer that Tim and I each get to eat 2 more chicken burritos.) Even though I’m not as bad as I used to be, sometimes my inner leftover nazi does rear her ugly head to lecture Tim about the importance of not eating something that I’m really looking forward to. This is rare, though, and is nothing compared to what it used to be.

It used to be that my parents and I would go out to El Burrito, the best Mexican restaurant in Ft. Collins, for dinner, and I would bring half of my burrito home in a cute, burrito-sized styrofoam box. The next day, I’d daydream through my classes about how good that leftover burrito half was going to taste as an after-school snack. I’d imagine the gooey cheese, melted into extra ooey-gooey goodness in the microwave, the extra green chile I’d scrape out of the bottom of the box, savoring every last bite, and that last bite — oooh, the last bite. I always saved the best bite for last. All day, my excitement would build up for 3:00 and the after-school burrito. And then 3:00 would come, I’d get home, open the fridge . . . and discover that my dad had decided to have a breakfast burrito that morning. Yes, that burrito. My burrito. The one I had been looking forward to all day. The one I now would never get to enjoy. For a high school student who was perhaps a bit too attached to her leftovers, this was truly devastating.

Whenever this happened, the next time we went to El Burrito I would write “Audrey’s Burrito! Not for Dad!” all over the styrofoam box. I was such a sweet daughter.

Oh, but it gets even better. In college, before moving into a house with Lauren and some other roommates, I actually lectured my future housemates on how important it was that they not eat my leftovers. That’s right, my future housemates. I had this little chat with them before we even moved in together. Before they’d had a chance to so much as think about eating something in a styrofoam box that did not belong to them. Let me just say this one more time so it’s clear to you how bad my leftover obsession was: I preemptively told my college roommates not to go near my leftovers. Oh, y’all. It was ugly.

I eventually learned to lighten up, thank goodness. I no longer feel more than a small twinge of disappointment if I open the fridge in search of leftovers and find they’ve already been eaten. I no longer consider turning the car around when I realize an hour into the two-hour drive from my parents’ house to my own that I forgot to grab my leftover burrito before hitting the road. (It should be known that I never actually turned around and went back for the burrito.) I often–very generously I might add–invite Tim to help himself to more than half of the leftovers from some dinners. (Granted, I usually only extend this invitation when I didn’t like the dinner all that much to begin with, but even the smallest improvement is better than none at all.) I don’t remember the last time I wrote my name on a styrofoam box before hiding it in the back corner of the fridge.

My inner leftover nazi is fading more and more every day. And that, my friends, is something to celebrate. In fact, maybe we could celebrate over a pitcher of margaritas at El Burrito. What do you say? You, me, some chips and salsa, delicious burritos, and a sopapilla to share for dessert? I promise it’ll be a great time . . . as long as you don’t go anywhere near my leftover burrito the next day.

Quarter of a Century

My birthday is coming up, and lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the fact that I’m about to turn 25.

Twenty-five.

That so weird, isn’t it? It’s weird to me, anyway. Weird that I’m going to have to start checking the next box over on forms with 19-24 and 25-30 age brackets. Weird that this is the last of the “Now I’m old enough to legally __________!” birthdays. (And this year the activity that fills the blank isn’t even anything exciting like driving or drinking or voting. Three weeks from tomorrow I’ll be old enough to legally rent a car! All by myself! What a thrill!)

I can’t quite put my finger on it, but something about turning 25 freaks me out a little. Now, I’m not having some quarter-life crisis or anything; I just think 25 is such a grown-up type age, and I guess I don’t feel all that grown up.

I think what it boils down to is that I had certain expectations for where I’d be in life by the time I reached the “grown-up” age of 25. And, to be fair, quite a few of these expectations have been met: I’m happily married, I’m a homeowner, I’m working in my chosen career field, I’m the proud parent of two snuggly dogs, and the thought of maybe having kids in the next few years doesn’t send me running for the hills the way it used to.

But there are still quite a few expectations that remain unmet. At the age of 25, for example, I did not think:

  • That I would still be so lazy about keeping my house clean. I guess I kinda hoped that I’d hit a certain age and straightening and vacuuming and dusting would magically not be such a huge pain in the ass anymore. So far, this hasn’t happened. (But, hey, my birthday is still 3 weeks away. Maybe starting three weeks from tomorrow I will magically be the queen of maintaining a tidy house.)
  • That I’d still be battling constant breakouts. Because, really. Wasn’t that supposed to be a puberty thing? Not a puberty, late-teens, early-twenties, and mid-twenties thing? (And, if I may, I’d like to take a minute to say: Pilosophy? Your Makeup Optional Kit? The one that has been praised all over the internet? The one for which I saved up 3 holidays’ worth of Sephora gift cards over a period of 12 months just so I could afford to try it out? Has. Not. Helped. I’m very disappointed in you, Philosophy.)
  • That I’d still be one of the clumsiest people I know. And yet, in the past month I have:
    • Dropped an entire plate of delicious chicken marsala leftovers all over the office break room floor and then had to run to Chipotle so as not to go hungry.
    • Gotten all manner of food and drink on my shirt, pants, hair, etc. simply because I fail at successfully transferring it from plate/cup/fork to mouth about 20% of the time.
    • Dropped an entire package of bratwurst in the trash while unwrapping it and then had to send Tim to Wal-Mart to quickly buy more brats (preferably those that had not be in contact with garbage) so that we could have the delicious grilled brat dinner I’d been looking forward to. And then got mustard on my shirt while enjoying said dinner.
    • Acquired several bruises due to my inability to move without bumping into things constantly. Why is it that I cannot accurately judge the opening of a doorway in comparison to the location of my shoulder? Or ride a recumbent bike without knocking my knees on the bar between the pedals every few minutes? Or step over a puppy gate without subsequently stumbling and smashing my shin into the corner of the coffee table? Really, it’s a wonder I’ve survived 25 years with all limbs intact.

Do you guys know how I feel? Have you ever reached a certain age and felt like things weren’t yet where they should be in relation to your age? Do tell!

But first, may I make a small request? Would it be okay if none of you left “You’re only turning 25? You’re such a baby!” comments? Please? Because, really, what am I even supposed to say to that? “Oh, yeah, you’re right! Thank god I’m not as old as you yet!” Not that I would even think that, let alone say it, but still. If there is a good response to the “You’re such a baby!” comments, I don’t know what it is, and I’m too lazy (see: house, messy) to find out. Thanks.

Wednesday-Bensday! Special Sandlot Analogy Edition

“When we got to your Aunt Suzy’s house last week, we watched The Sandlot. Everything makes a lot more sense now.”

“Really, Dad? How so?”

“Well, you’ve got Smalls, the new kid in town. And you’ve got Benny, who teaches Smalls how to play. And together they take on and tame a big, grumpy dog.”

“Wow, yeah. I guess that’s true. But, honestly, we never thought about it on so many levels. I didn’t even remember that there was someone named Benny in the movie. Really we just wanted an excuse to say ‘You’re killing me, Smalls!’* more often.”

Tasha (my parents’ “big, grumpy” dog who would never admit how much fun she has playing with Ben and Smalls) would like to remind you to visit Kaya, Rufus, Ted, Gus, and Zapp this week.

*Thanks for the link, Stephen!

All the Cuteness with None of the Responsibility? Count Me In!

A few weeks ago I got some news that I have been dying to share with you. Out of respect for the wishes of involved parties, though, I have had to keep it to myself.

On Saturday, my parents, Tim, and I had dinner with my brother and his wife to celebrate. Yesterday, the extended family got the news. Today, I can finally gush to all of you my excitement over the fact that, come October, I’m going to be an aunt!

That’s right, my brother and his wife are having a baby! Tim and I are going to be Uncle Tim and Aunt Audrey! I’m gonna have a little niece or nephew to spoil rotten (and then hand back to his or her parents when he or she starts crying or pooping)! I’m so excited!

The spoiling of this baby, by the way, has already begun. As soon as Saturday’s celebratory dinner was planned, I searched Isabel’s archives for a specific post, sneakily found out some of my sister-in-law’s favorite things, nearly died of the cuteness in Target’s baby section, and enlisted Tim for design help. Then I gathered my materials and set to work.

The result: (Annotated version on flickr)

My brother and his wife are awfully geeky (in a good way!), so the QTpi and the Mythbusters onesies were must-makes. We also threw in a logo from one of my sister-in-law’s favorite web comics and a couple of movie-themed designs for my film-buff brother. I’m particularly proud of the one featuring an Oscar silhouette with accompanying “Best Baby in a Leading Role” text.

If I may say so, I think this baby’s first present from his or her aunt and uncle turned out completely awesome.

Also: I’m going to be an aunt!!! I’m so excited!!

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