Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Basement Potty Training

Spring has just begun, and Jersey is already in record rain fall for the season. Christian and I are lucky enough that we haven't had a major issue with flooding (Knock on wood) but yesterday I came home to a quiet house and heard a strange sound coming from the basement. An oddly relaxing and soothing sound of lightly trickling water. This is what I found in the basement. (Press the play button.)
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Yes, that is our basement wall "peeing" all over the floor. *sigh* Needless to say we'll be plugging the hole once everything dries up down there. Oh well, one of the many perks of home ownership.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Homeward Bound!

Last week during my spring break from classes I flew home to Oregon to visit my family. While I was there I was able to cram in several fun events, visits with friends, and lots of beautiful scenic Oregonian views.

My best girlfriend, since the fourth grade, Lauren drove down from Portland for the weekend so we could play catch up. I adore her for making the trip. It's a six hour drive, and the day she drove down chains were required on the mountain passes. She's a brave cookie, always has been, and it was truly wonderful to see her!
Above is Lauren and her youngest brother Michael playing on the trampoline in their back yard. This is a new addition to the Penka house. I can only imagine the trouble, not to mention injuries that would have occurred had this been here while we were kids!

Below is my cousin Ryan, who's really more like a brother to me because we grew up basically in the same house together. In the photo with us are my super cute niece and nephew Chloe and Daniel. It's only been eight months since I last saw them, but my goodness have they become little grown ups already! Slow down!!!
I was lucky enough to be in town for Ryan's birthday. I can't even tell you when the last time I actually got to celebrate his birthday with him. I think we were still in high school to be honest. So it was super great to be there for our traditional Cooley style birthday party topped off with a carrot cake. Our favorite!
Growing up in a small town there really wasn't much in the way of entertainment. You either made your own fun, or on a dud-of-a-day you relied on the local movie theatre to entertain you for a few hours. Lauren and I lived at the theatre, or so it felt on some rainy days, so of course we had to relive our youth and catch a movie together at our old hang out spot.
We saw Alice in Wonderland in 3D. This was Lauren's first time watching a movie in 3D. I'm happy to say that I was there for such a momentous occasion.
Oh yeah, and Dad was there too. *wink*

While in Oregon I was able to sneak in a holiday with the family. St. Patties Day. Nana and I made corned beef, cabbage, carrots, and potatoes. My sister drove down from central Oregon, a three hour drive, and spent the holiday with the family. The bonus with her visit was that the day before was her birthday, so score one more for perfect timing. I spent the entire day with her just hanging out, having sister-sister talk, and enjoying the time together.

Do you think we're proud to be Irish?
Nana, Dad and I drove to a near by town for one reason and one reason alone. Chocolate Malts!!! There is this tiny little shack of a burger joint in a "don't blink or you'll miss it" of a town that ever since I was a really little kid has been the reining champions when it comes to the best milkshakes and malts! It takes about 25 minutes in the car to get there, but once you're there, the drive is sooooo worth it!

Upper Klamath Lake with a view of Mount McLoughlin. Just outside of the city limits on our way to the Valley for the day.
Driving over the mountain pass is always an adventure, and during the middle of winter there are times when it's simply not possible due to the amount of snow. Oregon has special snowplows that not only push the snow in front of the plow but it also cuts into the side of the snow creating a wall of snow. It's the only way to really clear the path from all the snow.

Dad has found a new scenic spot that is his hidden little gem. I had never been there before, so on our way to the Valley we stopped for a beautiful little leg stretch.
Once in the Valley we stopped at a local creamery that makes it's own cheeses. We're talking TONS of cheese! I tried Oregonzola Cheese, Crater Lake Blue Cheese, and a cheese that was flavored with lavender. All yummy in my tummy! We also stopped at grocery store that has an amazing bulk section. I got to see Nana's hot-rod skills with the electric shopping carts. Let me tell you, she's fast on that thing! She drove it all the way to the car in the parking lot, so I got to try my hand at the handle bars as I drove it back into the store to plug it in.
I love my home state of Oregon, and it was so great spending such quality time with Nana, Dad , my sister and my cousin. It's a small family that I have, but we're not small on the love that we share!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

February was cold! Brrr!!

We had several back to back snow storms this past month that really packed a wallop of a punch. Towns shut down for a day or two several weeks in a row, and Christian closed his office more than once, due to the snow. Here is a look at the two bigger snow storms and our first experience being home owners in a blizzard like event.

Christian (In the black jacket) is talking with our neighbor Paul who, although you can't really see it, has a "roof rake" and is pulling the snow off the top of his roof. Because Christian and I still have many things packed away in boxes we couldn't find his snow gloves so Paul let Christian barrow a pair of mittens, and his shovel so we could try and clear our 70 foot long driveway. I may look like I'm working, but honestly, Christian wouldn't let me lift a finger (Even though I love shoveling.) He didn't want me to re-injure my shoulder from my last surgery. Golly I love him!So while Christian was breaking his back shoveling, I was running around the house making snow tracks, pretending to be a cross country skier, and of course no fresh snow fall would be complete without a beautiful snow angel.Here's a photo of our back yard. It looked so pretty with all the fresh snow falling.This is part of our front yard. You can't even see the pathway or the steps up to our house. This was the first real snow fall of the year.About a week later we were hit with an even bigger storm. This one certainly was a doozy! It snowed for two days straight, and unlike the storm we had the week before where the snow was fluffy and soft, this was a very heavy, wet snow. (Perfect snowman snow.) So all our bushes and smaller trees were weighed down by the sheer amount of snow on their branches.Christian was not about to attempt to shovel our driveway by hand for a second time. We were lucky enough that his Dad picked up this snowblower and our contractor brought it up to our house and played with the motor to get it running the day before the big storm. Its not the most glamorous snowblower in the world, but heck, it worked like a charm!
The amount of snow you see is after Christian had already cleared the driveway the night before with the snow blower. So this was just what fell as we slept.By the time all was said and done we had about 18" of snow. It was fun to drink some hot chocolate and stay inside with my best buddy in the whole world, my hubs! But don't get me wrong, I'm very pleased that spring is right around the corner and soon I'll be blogging about all the pretty flowers popping up around my house!
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(Press the play button to see my back yard)