Monday, June 27, 2011

We're Moving!

I guess it's time to officially announce that we are moving. This last week was a complete whirlwind of uncertainty that started on Monday with a pretty clear sign that we should move. Before that, we had planned on staying in our little studio until after our trip to Greece and Italy in August. There had been little indicators of things that made it tougher and tougher to hang around, but after Monday evening it was clear that we should start looking for a new place. We put in our 30-day notice on Tuesday and I spent the entire day calling apartment complexes and arranging viewings. All in all, I made 35 phone calls and scheduled five viewings.

Jake and I spent the next few days visiting leasing offices, writing pro and con lists and crunching numbers. It was a lot like Goldilocks and The Three Bears at times... "this one is too hot"... "this one is too cold". Except for us it was "this one is too far" or "this one is too expensive". After a few viewings though, we knew immediately when one was just right.

On Thursday we visited Foxchase Apartments and by the end of the visit we were following the leasing agent back to the office and silently motioning to each other behind her back... "This is it! Let's do it!" We filled out an application and waited for a credit check before we left and then all that was remaining was a couple days of waiting nervously while they called our current landlord and verified our income. On Saturday, we signed our new lease. Moving Day is July 19th and we absolutely cannot wait.

I have to say though, we are so extremely grateful for our current place. It allowed us to be SUPER close to school and to spend very little on housing so that we could save for our trip in August and a lot of other fun stuff we got to do. It was exactly where we were supposed to be for the first year of our marriage and it will always be our first home.

We realized during our viewings, though, that we are pretty easily excited by the "standard" amenities since our current apartment doesn't have ANY of them. Our new apartment is so luxurious in comparison. It is a one bedroom apartment on the third floor and more than twice the square footage of our current place. Even though three flights of stairs are never fun (especially on Moving Day), we chose the third floor for the awesome vaulted ceilings and the extra privacy. It has a newly remodeled kitchen with beautiful cabinets, tons of counter space, and a dishwasher. The bathroom has a shower AND a bathtub. The complex has two big pools and we have a cute little patio with extra storage so we can finally get a little grill. The thing I love most about our new apartment is that it has a washer and dryer. This excites me to no end because I HATE going to the laundromat... with a passion. Our new apartment is VERY close to Jake's work as well as a lot of our favorite places such as Target, In N Out, Whole Foods, Chipotle, Chili's, Chevy's, Costco, Trader Joes, and HomeGoods... and I mean walking distance. Obviously, the new apartment is quite a bit more expensive than our current place, so finances will be challenging for a little while and the idea of moving out of Downtown is making us a little sad. As frustrating, loud and unsafe as it can be at times... a lot of our very best friends and favorite hang outs are only blocks away.

There is so much to do in the next three weeks. As much as it feels like an eternity from now, I know it will sneak up on us quickly. So many of our amazing friends and family members have volunteered to help us move, so I need to make sure that we are prepared for all the help. Between the 4th of July weekend and going to Alpha Xi Delta's National Convention on the 6th, I need to decide what will stay and what will go and pack up everything we own. I am really excited about decorating a new place, but I also know that will probably have to happen rather slowly. There is so much to plan and think about and do, but we feel confident that God is leading us and providing for us through all of this.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Laundry Night Meets Date Night

Last night was a little adventure that reminded us why we love living downtown as much as we hate it and how we never want our love to get old enough that it doesn't crave an occasional detour. We had bags and bags of laundry that we had been avoiding, since trips to the laundry mat are annoying and time consuming. The laundry mat is only a few blocks away and so is one of our favorite restaurants, The Garage. So, to sweeten a sour chore, we hatched a plan to throw in our whites, lights, colors and towels and then sneak away to The Garage for dinner. They have a great patio that allows us to bring the pup and is so nice on summer nights. A folk band called Wild Reeds was playing on the patio. They were quite good. We feasted on maple lacquered chicken, peppercorn crusted tri tip, roasted spring veggies and sweet potato fries. What could be better than a warm and delicious summer date where the laundry gets done?

Monday, June 13, 2011

Puppy Love

We've had our new puppy for a few weeks now and I thought it was about time to share some facts/milestones/stories/etc. about him. Here are some questions that people have been asking us about the newest addition to our family.

How did you get a puppy?
I have been begging and bargaining for a puppy for a LONG time now and Jake has been holding his ground pretty well for at least a year. His reasons were totally valid, but they still didn't satisfy my craving for something cuddly. In fact, every time things got hard with school or work, I would find myself on looking at adoptable pets and coming up with names for my future dog. Then I would email the links to Jake and wait for the inevitable dinner conversation about how it really wasn't a good idea at the moment. A lot of it had to do with being in school full time and not having the extra time to train or play with a new puppy. Each discussion ended in me being disappointed, even though I knew he was right.

A couple weeks before my graduation, my family started sending me picture messages of my brother's new dog. I was really upset for a few reasons. 1) My brother Logan is 20, his living situation is changing constantly and he already has a huge black pitbull named Bagheera. 2) This was the cutest dog and the most perfect breed ever. 3) This dog had just fallen into his lap! 4) I was way jealous.

I tried to be "cool" about it by mentioning to my brother that if he didn't want another dog, I would be happy to take it off his hands and give it a good home. I did a bunch of research about the breed and convinced Jake that it was ideal for us... and guess what... I got his APPROVAL! It was so perfect, but my brother said no! He said he wanted to keep the dog, then texted me two days later and said he had given it away to another friend. I was mad and I let him know it.

What I didn't know is that I was being tricked... big time. Jake and Logan had already talked on the phone and Logan had decided to give me the puppy as a graduation present. They were planning on waiting until my party down south, but because I was so upset with Logan, they sped things up and brought him to my graduation in San Jose.

I was so surprised! In fact, I just repeated things like "are you for real?" and "oh my gosh is this really happening?". It was a little overwhelming and it made me late for graduation, but it was the best gift ever. Thanks bro... and Jake for saying yes.

Where did he come from?
His origins are a little mysterious. What we know is that he was originally sold by himself on Craigslist to a friend of my brother's girlfriend. They couldn't keep him, so they gave him to my brother. Unfortunately, during that time, he got very little training and no shots. Needless to say, he was in need of a steady home.

What's his name?
My brother's girlfriend's friend called him Tucker. My brother and my family called him a lot of names, including Tucker, Kilo and Tom Collins. Once we got him, we had to pick a name. I had always planned on naming a future dog Smudge, but he definitely was not a Smudge. I spent a good chunk of my graduation ceremony on my iPhone looking up names that reflected the origin of his breed. We decided on Axel.

How old is he?
Based on his teeth, he is about 4 1/2 months old. He is starting to teethe! Fun!

What kind of dog is he?
Axel is mostly Vizsla, a Hungarian sporting breed. They are known as bird hunting dogs and very good family companions. They are affectionate and sensitive and at the same time fearless and protective. They are lean with short reddish-coats and red noses. We know that Axel is not a full Vizsla because he has a black nose. Other than that, he is completely true to every characteristic you can read about a Vizsla. He has very sensitive hearing and a great sense of smell, he loves to run and retrieve (kinda) and he is a total cuddle bug.

What it is like living with a Velcro Dog?
They call Vizslas "velcro dogs" because they are VERY attached to their owners. Axel is no exception to this. Our apartment is only 310 square feet, but if we walk to the bathroom, closet, kitchen or the other side of the living room, he will follow us. If Jake and I are both doing different things, he will find a good spot right between us. He hates being alone and I don't blame him.

This is what it is like sitting on the couch with a Velcro Dog...

This is what it is like surfing the web with a Velcro Dog...

This is what it is like going to sleep with a Velcro Dog...

This is what it is like waking up with a Velcro Dog...

This is what it is like doing dishes with a Velcro Dog...

This is what it is like writing this post RIGHT NOW with a Velcro Dog...

In fact, the only thing that can make Axel move away from me is his fear of the blow dryer.

Is he trained?
We're working on it. Axel is a very very good dog and he really wants to make us happy. At the same time, he is a puppy and he hasn't had any consistency in his whole life. He is mostly potty trained. At our house, he hardly ever has an accident. He is an excellent traveler. He has been on long drives with us a few times already and can easily sleep through them. He knows his name now and he knows the commands for "sit", "stay", "quiet", "up" and "off". He will do them all of time for me, most of the time for Jake and some of the time for friends and strangers. In the apartment, he is the perfect gentleman, but when we go outside for walks he can be easily distracted or hyper from all the smells and sounds.

One big challenge we are having is crate training. It is impossible to take a dog everywhere and there are some times when we need to leave Axel at home alone. He has intense separation anxiety and will bark and cry for hours if left alone in his crate. We've been working on it everyday. We've gotten to the point where he likes his crate, will go in it on his own to play, and can go it in quietly for a couple hours at a time when we are home with him. Now all we have to do is get to the point where we can leave the house. It won't be long, but boy has it been hard to go anywhere lately. Thank goodness all our friends love puppy sitting.

We love that Axel will never be satisfied being just our dog... he demands to be part of the family. Since we've gotten him, we spend a lot more time taking walks and little adventures and much less time in front of the TV. It's really great to feel our little family growing. He is the perfect dog for us.

Things Axel Loves:
-Digging holes at the beach
-His rope toy, Kong, soccer ball and tennis ball
-Chasing birds and squirrels
-Being near us

Things Axel Hates:
-Singing, humming, or whistling
-The "off" command
-Squirt bottles
-Hair blow dryers

Things I Never Thought I Would Do:
-Let a dog sleep in my bed
-Have a lot of cutesy nick names for a dog (Baby, Vizsla Baby, Axe, Axe Man, Pup-eroni Pizza, Hound Dog, Shark Attack)
-Write a post this long about a dog

Things I Still Won't Do:
-Call Axel my "fur baby"

Here is a video of Axel "playing fetch", which really just means enjoying the grass and sometimes bringing the ball back. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

First Anniversary

This last weekend, Jake and I celebrated our first anniversary. Neither of us can believe how fast the last year went! We feel so blessed to be married to our best friend and for what an amazing year it has been for us. I still remember every single moment of that day, but I love Jake even more now than I did then...

To celebrate our anniversary, we spent the weekend at our friends' vacation home in Truckee. It was a relaxing weekend away in a beautiful place. We honestly tried not to do anything. In the mornings we made pancakes and drank mimosas, then watched movies or home improvement shows while snuggled up on the couch. It was cold and rainy, which made the jacuzzi and sleeping in even better. We couldn't have asked for a better anniversary. Here are some pictures of the house in Truckee... we can't wait to visit again!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Summer Kick Off Road Trip

My parents wanted to throw me a graduation party for all the family and friends who weren't able to make it to the graduation in San Jose, so the day after my commencement, we loaded up the car and headed down to Orange County for the long weekend. Eight friends from San Jose ended up coming down with us, including three in our car. It was a busy weekend, but here's (mostly) what happened...

Friday night, we all drove down from San Jose. There were different cars leaving at different times and the latest of us got in at 6am! For the most part, we stayed at my parents' house in Lake Forest.

On Saturday morning we all got up and got ready for the graduation party. Jorgen picked up food for the party, Jake took the dog for his shots and us girls ran some secret errands for a classified project. In the afternoon, we drove up to my aunt and uncles house for the party. My family did a beautiful job of pulling together an awesome event. The theme was fortune cookies... adorable!

Delicious Mai Tais

Candy Sushi

Wishes & Fortunes from Family & Friends

Chocolate Dipped Fortune Cookie Station

The best part of the day was visiting with family and friends. My whole family was there, the Curtises drove down, high school friends came by and I got to meet my brand new little cousin, Nolan.

That day was also my parent's 22nd anniversary, so as a surprise gift to them, I serenaded them at the party. One of my best friends, Mark played guitar and I sang Shania Twain's "Still The One".

When the party started to wrap up, we got this idea to do a picture of all the girls wearing dresses standing in the pool. That idea turned into a picture of us jumping into the pool in our dresses. It was a fun and silly way to say "hello" to the summer.

After the long drive and the party, we were all pretty exhausted but we managed to make it out to the Irvine Spectrum for Wahoo's and The Hangover II (way too far in my opinion).

On Sunday, we had a BBQ with everyone in the afternoon. That evening, we went to the Spectrum again. It was a blast. We had dinner and drinks at Javier's, one of my favorite Mexican food places of all time and more drinks at The Yard House. It was one of those nights that ended in a lot of laughs and some new inside jokes.

Some of us had summer checklists to complete, so after our night out we went on a secret mission. Not to incriminate ourselves too much, but it involved climbing a certain fence into a certain school to swim in a certain pool in the middle of the night. Mission accomplished.

Monday was Memorial Day and we had a long drive ahead of us, but before we left, we spent a couple of hours down at Laguna Beach. All of us appreciated some time in the sun and Axel LOVED digging in the sand!

It was a terrific weekend and the perfect way to kick off the summer. Thanks to my family for a great graduation party and my friends who joined us to make it a wonderful long weekend!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Graduation Recap

It happened! I'm finally graduated! I wore the gown, walked the stage and flipped the tassel... the whole deal. It feels great, although it hasn't totally set in yet. It was a huge, exciting, and completely overwhelming day.

My family traveled the whole 7 hours to attend the ceremony and they brought my graduation present... A PUPPY! They handed me this completely adorable pup about 10 minutes before I had to leave for graduation... needless to say I ended up being a little late! I has completely surprised, ecstatic and overwhelmed. I promise to write a whole post about this new family addition soon!

The Journalism and Mass Communications graduation took place on the campus' historic Tower Lawn, one of the most beautiful places on the campus. Jake's family and a couple of my good friend also joined us at the graduation. It felt amazing walking out on the lawn and seeing all of the people I love cheering me on.

Afterwards, the Curtises bought everyone dinner at our favorite downtown restaurant, The Loft. It was such a memorable evening and a great way to celebrate five years of hard work.

A huge thank you to my family and my friends who got me through my college years. From my parents who paid the bills for four years and demanded success to my friends who were with me from Freshman Orientation to the end of my senior year. Thank you to my Alpha Phi Omega brothers and my Alpha Xi Delta sisters. Thank you to my husband Jake for being my biggest support since sophomore year. I love each and every one of you and appreciate your encouragement and support.