Saturday, July 18, 2009

The local watering hole

When Darren put bleach in our backyard fountain (i.e. the local watering hole for all things furry & winged) to clean it out, This squirrel got resourceful!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Family Update

As much as I've been putting it off, I felt I should write to update everyone on what's going on with Darren and I. First off, If you have not heard, Darren's mother Donna passed away unexpectedly April 7th. She drown in Hawaii while on vacation. It was a terrible shock and still unbelievable at times. She was an amazing woman, the most generous and selfless woman I've ever met. She was loved by many, a fact that was evidenced by the sheer number of people present at the memorial service/wake. Four days after Donna's death, my mom suffered a heart attack. Again, shocking and made even scarier by the fact that we had just lost a mother. Thankfully, there was no permanent damage done to her heart so as long as she improves her lifestyle she could easily go on to live a long and healthy life.

Unfortunately since then we have also lost two of our four legged companions. Peppy, Darren's childhood dog we put down a couple weeks after mom's death. He was old and suffering and mom was going to do it when she got back from Hawaii. And on Friday we had to put down our kitty Hiro. He has had feline lukemia since birth and we found he had a large tumorous mass in his chest cavity which was pushing on his lungs preventing him from breathing. Darren and I were both very upset as Hiro was not yet 2 years old. But his quality of life was deteriorating and he had stopped eating/drinking during his last few days.

On the upside, we all feel very blessed and fortunate to have such a wonderful and supportive network around us. Our family and friends have been very thoughful and helpful during these difficult times. We appreciate all of your cards, calls and kind gestures. Times like these help to reinforce the bonds we have with those around us.

Darren is still in school, in the midst of his toughest semester yet! He is working nights (5-10ish) at the golf course down the road cooking for their patrons. I am still looking for a job. I have expanded my job search as my unemployment expired a couple weeks ago. I am now considering non-teaching jobs in our area. We are considering the idea of buying mom's house if we can find good employment in the area. Either way we have to go through the house, clean it up and get it in order in case the kids do decide to sell it. We have moved into Donna's house for the time being and I am busy cleaning, sorting and organizing.

I hope you are all well, happy and healthy. Give your loved ones a hug & tell them the things you never get around to saying. You never know what will happen tomorrow. We love you all and take care.

Ashley & Darren

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Valentine's Getaway

We went up to Traverse City over Valentines weekend to get away & hang with our friends Kate & Gregg. We had a blast sledding, shooting guns & playing games! We've now been up there once last summer & once this winter and have decided it's one of our favorite places to go! Oh and uncle Jeff, the truck pic is for you, we saw it on 75 on the way up!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Come out and Play

I drug Darren outside to build a snowman sometime in early February but the snow was too cold & wouldn't pack. Instead we used chunks of snow left from Alex plowing & a gutter-cicle to make a snow sculpture. And we wrestled with Marley in the snow.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Places Hiro likes to be

I see you!

Hiro hates pink

but he loves boxes!

and bags!

And apparently dad's jammies

Sometimes he thinks he's a gift

or laundry

he likes mommy & daddy's bed

and sinks?

Darren and I have caught Hiro in many a humorous place. So I thought I'd chronicle them here!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Bruce's 50th Bday

We went to Darren's uncle's 50th birthday party last weekend and had a blast with Darren's family. I filled up on Randy's (with goofy glasses) sushi & other appetizers before we even made it to dinner.

So, I'm behind again. Happy (late) New Year 09' everyone!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Candy Anyone?

My friend Coot came for a visit from Chicago after Christmas & we went to see a "life size" gingerbread house at a hotel in Rochester.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Perfect Cup of Coffee

Me, Darren, Kelly, Anthony and Jon were at my mother-in-laws playing cards after Christmas and enjoying some coffee when disaster struck. We ran out of Coffeemate creamer. Now, if you know me, I mean REALLY know me, you know I'm a bit of a coffee snob. I mean, I don't need $6 lattes from Starbucks or anything. In fact, I prefer to brew my own. But I HAVE to have a tasty creamer to go in it. Well, Donna normally has a steady supply of Coffeemate creamer both in regular flavors and sugar free, but I don't like sugar free. And that's all there was. So I had to figure out a way to doctor up my coffee so I could drink it. I found a bunch of random ingredients hiding in my mother-in-law's fridge & cupboards and ended up having the tastiest cup of coffee ever. Here's what I used, should you decide to recreate my masterpiece.

any kind of coffee will probably work because all the other ingredients will surely mask the taste anyway.

1 shot of Baileys
splash of chocolate milk
splash of sugar free Original Coffeemate
1 packet each of splenda mocha & french vanilla coffee flavoring
dash of sugar

whipped cream
chocolate syrup
Cookies n' Cream sprinkles

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Xmas Fun!

Darren and I went bowling with some friends December 23rd. One of our friends had a pair of fake sideburns that she got out of a "bubble gum" machine at the grocery store. I know! What kind of weird stuff are they giving away for prizes these days. Oh by the way, I've seen all kinds of odd stuff in there like "mini homies" which are little African American figurines dressed in pimp outfits, gold chains & all kinds of get ups. There was even a physically impaired homie in a wheelchair, very "pc" of the homie manufactures. Anyway, so they wanted to put these chops on someone and Darren's always up to making a fool of himself so voila! And a match made in heaven I might add, the color matched his hair almost perfectly! They actually looked quite good on him & the moment I saw them I told him he had to grow in his own. Unfortunately genetics disagreed, he just can't seem to get that hair to grow in. Darn. Darren liked them too, so much so that he wore them around for a couple days for shits & giggles until the glue wore out.

Oh! And I had to show this picture of my brother-in-law Mr. Clean, oh I mean Scott!

Catchin Up

Of course, after Thanksgiving came Christmas! And let me tell you, I was spoiled this Christmas. Among a ton of other awesome gifts, my honey got me a bomb diggity new digital camera AND a white gold chain that I love! This year was a perfect set up, I think. We did Christmas Eve at Darren's mom's, Christmas Morning with my family at home, Christmas Day with Darren's family & the day after Christmas with the Costantini side in Kzoo. I thought It was perfect because we didn't have to leave town Christmas day like we do sometimes and we got to see both of our immediate families with no rushing.

I didn't get many Christmas pictures but I did get a few of Hiro kitty in a cute little t-shirt I bought him from Target. Unfortunately, without him there to compare, I grossly underestimated the size of my cat and got him a too small t-shirt. The first thing I thought of was Tiger from An American Tail with Feivel the mouse, I know gram & gramps will appreciate this one. Remember? Fat cat in a little shirt? If you don't remember, just google "an american tale tiger". I was laughing so hard my belly ached! I put it on him, with a little difficulty, and he gave me the most evil look. It's as if he was so angry at me for causing him such humiliation that he was trying to stare me to death! Then I put him on the floor & he WOULD NOT MOVE! He wouldn't walk, he wouldn't run, he wouldn't even breathe...I'm guessing it was lack of mobility. Eventually he got used to it and I might even venture to say he was strutting it proudly. But I took it off before the rest of the guests arrived so as not to scar him for life. Isn't he a cutie!