Monday, November 30, 2009

Invitation Envelopes- WR

I guess you can call me a tradition-hater. Not really, just on some traditions. Like wedding envelopes. I didn't realize this until I got into reading wedding magazines and websites, but it is tradition and most-formal to use two envelopes to address someone on a wedding invitation. If you're addressing your grandparents, lets say, the first "outer" envelope says something like, Mr. and Mrs. John Doe. And the "inner" envelope says, John and Jane Doe. Or something along those lines.

I just don't. get. it.

For those green people out there- isn't that a huge waste of paper and trees? For those penny-pinchers out there (ME!)- isn't that a waste of money? And for the rest of you- don't you just end up throwing both envelopes away?

I just couldn't bring myself to have an inner and outer envelope. Call me a tradition-breaker, informal-piece-of-crap, or the most ridiculous person you've ever met. I didn't do it. Instead I addressed the outer envelope as formally as possible and then attempted to emboss the back flap to "seal" it. Well because I had a bow on my invitations, it made the back flap not want to lay flat. Thus creating a crafting-disaster. So much for wanting them to look great. I got "rave reviews" on the embossing and the look of the envelope, but I wasn't too happy with them. Once I got done doing 90 envelopes, however, I was over it. I really could have cared less what people thought once they opened the envelope. Just come to my wedding dangit. If I could have sent an e-mail invitation, or created a facebook event, I would have.

Those invitations were super annoying.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Photography- WR

Besides the way I looked on the day of my wedding (I wanted to look like a princess!), the photographer was the most important thing to me. I could care less about the paper invitations that everyone would throw away, I could care less about the cake that would be eaten, I could care less whether or not someone was eating on china or plastic. I just wanted good pictures taken, so I would have memories that last for forever.

When I was a Junior in high school, one of my BFFs died in a car wreck. When she was gone, I realized that a lot of our memories were gone too. I didn't have a ton of pictures from the times we spent together. I never captured what kind of person she was in photograph to help me remember her fun personality so well. I didn't have pictures of us in the best times of our lives. I was pretty upset by that and after she died, I became a photograph-fanatic. I take pictures of everything and everyone. It is important to me to be able to look back at good times and have those memories. I don't print out all of the pictures and store them away in books, but I do like to sit at the computer and scroll back through them, reminiscing.

Because of this, I wanted an awesome photographer. I also wanted one that was affordable and one that would be able to fit within the budget. I didn't even have to look or do any sort of research. I wanted my sister's wedding photographer. I remembered Eddie Stokes as being a very nice guy that did awesome work. He did my sister's wedding in Charlotte and I barely remember him being there. He was like a fly on the wall. We didn't know he was there, and he caught the essence of the wedding and good times. I had to look no further.


I figured he'd be located in Charlotte and we'd have to pay for his lodging here in town. (I have no clue how my sister came across his work!) But it turns out he actually lives 5 miles down the road from me!!! It turned out to be perfect!

Eddie met RNH and I at our home one evening in November to do our Engagement Pictures. I was pretty stoked about these because I felt that we have the perfect areas at our home to be a great backdrop for the pictures. The leaves were perfect colors and Eddie came as the sun was starting to set. He took a million pictures of us at the tobacco barn, on the trails in the woods, at the pond, and in RNH's grandfather's boat. They were really special pictures that had a lot of meaning and significance in them.

When we received the pictures I was beyond ecstatic to have them. They turned out perfectly. I couldn't wait for the wedding!!! And of course, as you will be able to see in future posts- he is an excellent photographer!!! I highly recommend Eddie for anyone that is looking for a professional photographer. He also gives you the rights to his photos which is great!!!
We ended up using the photograph at the pond as our Save the Date. We uploaded the picture onto Magnet Street and created a magnet for people's refrigerator. I love getting STD's (NO not STDS!!! Save-The-Dates!!!) like these. I keep them on my fridge for forever. I still have people coming up to me and telling me that I'm still on their fridge. I love that! The STDs cost about $80 for 100, I think. They were worth every penny! I put them in Christmas cards that we sent out to everyone to tell them to save our wedding date!!! I have the 4 that were left over on our fridge still!

Dough- WR

Maybe I should have mentioned this from the beginning? I didn't pay for my wedding. I am spoiled rotten and blessed beyond belief to have parents that thought ahead and felt it necessary to pay for their daughter's weddings. I'm not sure when they started saving for my wedding, but they did. And because of them I was able to have a fantasy wedding.

My mom gave me a budget and I tried my hardest to stick within the lines. It was pretty difficult, especially when my mom would end up buying extra things with non-budgeted money (just because she's awesome and really wanted certain things for the wedding!) I also ended up spending a lot of my own money as well. I'm not sure how much of my own money I spent, but it came out of my day-to-day spending which made money tight elsewhere.

Just so that everyone understands, when I say "I bought my dress, yaddi yaddi yadda," it really wasn't me buying it. If the wedding expenses had been left up to me, we would have been married in our backyard. And yes, I would have borrowed my sister's wedding dress for sure (I know Skinny, I know you're eye balls are popping out of your head again! HAHA!)

So yes, I'm blessed beyond belief. And I know it. And hopefully I let my mom know how appreciative I was of everything she gave me for that big day, and for everything she did. She is my .hero. Without her, it wouldn't have been a fairy tale!!!

Invitations- WR

I wanted to do a lot of DIY-stuff for our wedding. I read how much wedding invitations would cost, and then found a simple template on how to do it myself and save a TON of money. I was sold.

Card stock is sold pretty cheap and I made a few trips to Michael's and AC Moore to get the paper. I wish I had kept track of how much paper I bought, how many invitations it made, and how many times I messed up, but I didn't. I do know, however, that I saved a ton of money by doing it myself. There were quite a few headaches along the way- such as running out of ink, running out of paper, running out of ribbon, etc etc. Living in the boondocks and not having these stores just down the street from us made a lot of things about wedding planning quite annoying! I also got a phone call that said "Oh, I forgot to add about 15 people to the guest list. Can you send the following people invitations?" Yes, this was after the invitations had been made, and after I had run out of all supplies. Grrrr. Oh the joys of making everyone in the family happy!

I was pleased with the way the invitations came out. They were bright and vibrant, just the way I wanted them. I purchased matching RSVP envelopes to stick in, along with an RSVP card that I DIYed. The whole thing turned out pretty well. I took a deep breath and threw them into the nearest blue mailbox. I was terrified. Terrified that the stamps weren't enough and they'd send all of the envelopes back with a huge stamp across them. I had to take the invitations to two different post offices because they were "right on the line" of needing another stamp. I was told that each post office's scale might be calibrated differently. Grrr. They got mailed out, perfectly. Everyone was excited to get them.


And then I had a huge problem.

The woman in charge of our wedding venue (which I'll eventually dive into at some point- as you may be able to tell- I had a multitude of prob ems with them!), she told me that she gave me the wrong address for the wedding venue. And laughed. So of course I freak out. The address she gave me was about a mile off. Not too bad, but anyone following a GPS or even a map would be lost. This place wasn't off the beaten path, but it doesn't really jump out at you either.

After several furious phone calls to my mom and sister (my backbones through this whole planning process!) we finally figured out a plan. I would have to mail out "address correction" notifications to everyone. I got more envelopes from Swoozies and made new cards that matched the original invitation. It worded something like this "Dear Friends and Family, Due to C.H. being a new venue, the original address given was incorrect. The correct address is ___. We look forward to celebrating our big day with you!" Blah blah blah. How embarrassing. Oh wait, and did I even mention the fact that because of this lady's mess-up, it cost me a ton more time and energy? More card stock, more envelopes, more stamps??? I tried to tell as many of my close friends as possible to save me back-breaking work. It was things like this, that made me hate wedding-planning. And of course, hate my venue. (More on that later!)

I had some douche bag come up to me at the wedding and tell me that I should have given him a better address because he couldn't find the place. Get out of my face douchebag.

He later decided to tell me that the music I was playing was inappropriate because it was talking about smoking marijuana and drinking moonshine. And I was line-dancing to it. He was appalled. Please douchebag, you were born in the Seventies, I'm sure you did this stuff. And all I'm doing is dancing. "Copperhead Road" was my one requested song. I love it. Love. it. And he ruined it. Needless to say, he wasn't a close friend or family member, he was a guest of a friend. I wish I could remember what I came back with, but I promptly turned around and left him standing there. Oh, and the DJ played it for me again! Douchebag. Tried to ruin my wedding!

Missing Holidays

In our line of work, RNH and I rarely get to celebrate a holiday the way everyone else does. It can be quite a bummer, however holiday pay sure is nice!!! This year's Halloween (although I don't consider it a real holiday, especially because its mostly Satan-related!), I was working. I actually got called in. Boo. However, since we got called in, I got holiday pay! It wasn't too bad of a work-night and I got to see a lot of interesting costumes. The previous Halloweens have been spent at a friend's Halloween party. Its usually a big deal and she didn't have it this year, so I didn't miss out at all!

Thanksgiving was a mess. I slept most of Thanksgiving day and when I woke up I decided to celebrate by having a bowl of Chocolate ice cream. I had to work that night, meaning I ate dinner around 10pm with Skinny. We had a lot to decide on for dinner- Chinese or McDonalds. Ugh. We chose a Chinese place that is probably the nastiest Chinese place I've ever eaten at. When you walk in, it smells like the bathroom, and the food might as well have come from the toilet. So much for a Thanksgiving meal.

Thanksgiving is actually my most favorite meal. I usually load up my plate pretty good. I even bought us a turkey this year. If I spent $35 at Food Lion, I could purchase a $5 turkey. I couldn't pass up on that deal! I did the same thing last year. I guess RNH and I were working last Thanksgiving too because we didn't cook our turkey until Easter. I'm thinking we'll cook it for Christmas this year, since we're actually OFF!

Because we've been so fortunate to work all of the holidays so far this year, I found that I neglected a fall tradition of pumpkin-carving. Our pumpkin has been sitting on our front stoop for several weeks now, and I figured I better use it before it rots.

Today I spent several hours digging out pumpkin seeds, pureeing pumpkin and making pumpkin bread. The end result was some yummy roasted seeds, 3 loaves of pumpkin bread, and about 10 cups worth of pumpkin puree. I might do something a bit nontraditional this year and make a pumpkin pie for Christmas since we missed out on one at Thanksgiving. I love to make pumpkin stuff from scratch, meaning no canned-pumpkin. It is WAY better!

I'm looking forward to Christmas this year. It will be our first Christmas as a married couple, and our first time being able to celebrate the holiday, on the holiday, in three years.

New Years Eve I'm actually off, but will have to work the next day at 7am. A 12 hour shift, means you've GOT to go to bed early. Great, I won't get to see the ball drop. Last year I worked NYE, and at least got to watch everyone else celebrate. This year I don't even get to see the festivities! I might DVR the ball dropping and watch it first thing when I wake up in the morning. We'll see.

That also means I should be coming up with some New Years Resolutions. I usually don't do them but I think I will make a few this year. We'll see!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Dress- WR

Maybe I should have mentioned this at the beginning, or maybe you have already figured this out: I am a penny-pincher. I love saving money. Like I'm obsessed with it. For these, and other reasons, I wanted to borrow my sister's wedding dress.

She was beautiful. I mean, magnificent. The dress made her a fairy-tale bride. I loved it on her, so I thought maybe I would love it on me too? And maybe, just maybe, I could be a pretty as she was on her big day!
Everyone thought I was crazy, but aren't you supposed to have something borrowed?

My mom and sister suggested against it, and in hind-sight, I'm glad I had my own. I loved it, and it was perfect and special for my big day!

I knew pretty much exactly what I wanted. I wanted a dress very similar to my sister's, but also different. Her dress was ivory and I wanted white. I also wanted a tad bit more sparkle than hers. I knew where I would get my dress from- the same place she did- Group USA in Concord Mills Mall. My mom, sister and I all went dress shopping. This is the only store we went to for dresses. When I walked in, I knew the dress was "it" when I saw it. I put it on, and of course it made my mom cry. So that told me right then and there, that was it! I tried on a few others, but was sold. I think we bought the dress that day. (I had over a year-long engagement, it wasn't like we were in any sort of rush!) The final cost of my dress: $480. Nice.

I thought the dress fit pretty well, but was talked into getting alterations. I didn't really feel that they were needed, but they have an alterations lady at Group USA. She is very familiar with the dresses there because they are the only wedding dresses she does. She came in and looked at the dress and made suggestions. Boob cups (I wanted them to make it more filled out of course!), a bussel (duh!- not sure if I spelled that right!), and she suggested taking up the dress a tad to make it look like I was "floating" as well as taking it in at the waist to give me more of a figure (which is always nice!) I'm glad I was talked into the alterations thing, it really made the dress what it was. The final damage on the alterations: $220. O.u.c.h. However, shocker! coming from me, I think it was money well spent!

As you can probably already tell, I'm a pretty big tom-boy. However on my wedding day, I wanted to be exactly the opposite. I wanted to be a princess, for the first time in my life. So, I had to have a tiara! And again, the money was totally worth it- I think it was around $60. I also got a veil to tuck in the back of my hair. I didn't want one that went over my face. I think it was elbow-length, and cost about $50. It added elegance to my total look. Each of these items we bought at Group USA because they worked very well with the dress, and I could everything on at the same time in the store! (By the way- they have the BEST customer service back in the wedding dress section!)
Something that helped save money- I took out a Group USA credit card and saved about 15% on the dress. Then they sent a 15% off coupon that I used to purchase the veil and tiara.

And this the help I got on the big day, putting the dang thing on!

I love love LOVE my dress! I felt like a princess because of it. It wasn't too hot that night, and I didn't feel weighed-down by its puffiness. I ended up taking off the crinoline (which was my something borrowed from my sister!) because it was just too hot! My dress is now sitting in my closet. I don't want it to go in a box. I'd like to do something neat with it. Any suggestions?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Hills Have Bimbos

I just finished watching the latest episode of The Hills. It made me want to hurl. Seriously??? I remember watching all of these girls in the Laguna Beach days thinking, these girls are only 2 to 3 years younger than me- I'll see if their lives are anything like mine! Well obviously the fame and fortune has got to them I guess... When I was 23 (only 3 years ago) I was not making out with girls at strip clubs. I know Heidi is being a bit baby-crazy, but at least she's got a goal she's working toward! I mean exactly what does Kristin Cavallari do???
Here is what I learned while watching the last episode... and they say shows like these make your brain deteriorate faster... Ha!
Kristin Cavallari: S.L.U.T. Not only a man-whore, but a girl-whore too. I guess I already knew about the man-whore thing, but now she's moved onto girls? Jeez louise. Totally classy.


Justin Bobby: he probably doesn't shower, I wonder if he brushes his teeth?
Stacy: a wanna-be-famous slut that is following Kristin around like a lost puppy dog. I wonder how many STDs she picked up in Vegas, and if she can tell the difference between Cali and Vegas STDs.
Audrina: at least her rabbit teeth are white. JB needs her to show him how to groom.
Someone please tell me where the only two semi-level-headed girls have gone, LC and Lo. Yes, they were a bit drama-filled, but at least they attempted to keep everything classy. Sheesh. Oh wait, I bet they gave up the reality(fake)-tv shows because they've got bigger and better goals in life. (Hopefully at least!)
Sorry, this was probably boring and stupid, I was just utterly shocked at tonight's episode. If I ever have a kid, its not going to be able to watch MTV. My parents didn't let me watch it and I turned out just fine!
On another MTV note, I'm pretty excited about Teen Mom coming out. I mean, I can't wait to see what baby Bently and his trashy mommy are doing these days! Maybe she's keeping her legs shut???

The Engagement and The Ring- WR

"WR" stands for Wedding Related. If you see this, and don't care about wedding stuff, move on from here on out!

RNH and I actually talked about getting married before he actually proposed. He told me in the kitchen at my apartment, while making dinner one night, that I was the love of his life and he could never be without me. He told me he wanted to marry me, and I told him the same. He said obviously he didn't have ring to give me, but he hoped that he would soon. So with all the mumble-jumble, lovey-dovey stuff being said, we figured out when we wanted to get married. I started planning a wedding, sans ring, but that didn't matter. We also began planning for our married life and soon-ending apartment rents, and ended up buying a home together!


RNH was given my Great-Aunt Rosie's ring, who I was named after. I have no clue the "specs" on it, but its a simple round diamond in 14k white gold that I love. I love the history behind it- she was married to one man her entire 98 years of life. He took me to dinner for my birthday and got down on one knee afterwards while I was getting into his truck. He said a ton of sweet things that I only wish I could remember and gave me the ring on bended knee.

I knew I was set. For life.

That my friends, is the short and sweet of it.

When it came to purchasing wedding bands, RNH had the hook.up. Fo'sho! RNH's godfather died several years ago, and he was a very important person in RNH's life. He would have been in the wedding if he had survived prostate cancer. He may not have been there in person, but he definitely helped us out along the start of our lives together. He was a personal friend of Mr. Hayes, of Haye's Diamonds. A.K.A., the "Diamond King of the East Coast!" We made a trip down to Lexington, NC to see him. While there, I picked out exactly what I wanted- a $5700 wrap to go around my great-aunt's diamond. RNH picked out a simple $300 silver band. The wrap cost $1800 and the band, $100. Holy hookup.

That, my friends, is the story of the rings.

Thank God for friends, otherwise I wouldn't have got exactly what I wanted!!!

(Side note: you'll noticed a "hole" in between the wrap and my main diamond. My aunt's ring is over 90 years old and the prongs are brittle. I'm going to have to get it re-set in order to make sure I don't loose the diamond. When I get that done, the jeweler will make the setting fit perfectly into the wrap and take the hole away!)

Wedding Refreshment

No, I'm not talking about wine or iced tea. I'm talking about relief!

We got married this year on May 2nd. It was a ton of fun and the best day of my life. Seriously. I had the wedding of my dreams and couldn't have asked for anything better. But the big day didn't go exactly as planned. There were bumps in the road, but I didn't care or got over it quickly! No time for being mad, I was marrying Mr. Right! Anyways- throughout the wedding-planning process I got sick, very sick. Not physically, but just sick and tired of brides-to-be. I can't really explain how I felt, but there are things in a wedding that I just don't feel are quite as important as everyone else does. I understand tradition, but sometimes there are those of us that don't have the money to carry out tradition, or we just don't feel its worth the money. But don't tell a lot of brides-to-be that, they'd kill you.

So the point of this post: my friend is getting marred next year, September 18th to her Mr. Right. (And he is totally that!!!) I am beyond excited for her! We met freshman year of college and I really just admire the mess out of this girl! She is one of the most giving people I've ever met! So to hear her be so incredibly happy makes me so incredibly happy for her! She deserves it!

We recently caught up over dinner and we went over a few wedding details. Let me tell you, it was refreshing to hear someone share the same views about weddings as I do!!! We talked about the cake, the dress, the invites, the bridesmaid dresses, and so much more. She shared a lot of the same feelings on what was important and what was not. What things should have more money put into them, and which things could be skimped on.

With all of this being said, I'm excited for her and got in the "wedding-mood" again. Not to plan, not to have another one, but to share on the details of my planning process. So here we go folks, I'm going to finally blog about my wedding. I'll make sure to put something wedding-related in the post title, so if you don't care, you don't have to read! It was a long and tedious journey and one that I never care to go on, ever again. Thank God I will never have to!

Saving Money on Pups

I felt the need to post this because I had no idea this was a possibility. Call me stupid, but maybe I'll help someone else out too!

We just got our first lab puppy from a breeder about 2 weeks ago. On the way out the door with the new pup, the breeder casually informs me that she had used a dewormer and some vaccination on the dogs already, if I wanted to use the same brand that she had. Uhhhh what?

"Yeah, just go to Southern States and you'll see it there."

Oh... okay...

I had already called ahead to the vet to see how much the puppy's first visit would be. $75 would include the wellness check, fecal check, all vaccinations required at the puppy's age, and dewormer. I would then need to bring the puppy in for another visit for another dewormer. Then again if another dewormer was necessary and eventually for a rabies shot. $75 was just the beginning.

So I asked the breeder a bit more about the DIY-puppy thing. The conclusion: No Biggie!

I took Drake for his first vet visit to be an ultra-good mommy. I wanted someone who knew what they were talking about, to give me their opinion on him. He was given a clean bill of health after they checked out his eyes, ears, listened to his heart, and a few other things. That gave me a peace of mind and cost me $30. What happened to the $75??? Oh yeah, I didn't have to pay for his vaccinations and deworming.

So today I went to Southern States to pick up everything I need for the end of the week. Drake's vaccinations were written on the family calendar to make sure I kept up with it! Southern States had Nemex, a dewormer. $14.99 for 60mL, and you only give your dog 5mL for each 10 pounds of body weight. He's almost 10lbs, so I have a feeling that this bottle is going to last me a while! Southern States also had Solo-Jec's 7 Plus Canine Vaccine. I actually bought the 5 Plus dose because he is still a puppy. One dose costs $5.49 and protects against diseases caused by Canine Distemper, Adeonvirus 1 and 2, Parainfluenza, both Lepto viruses, and both Parvo viruses. This is the same exact thing that the vet would have given him.

So I left Southern States $20 poorer, but that is a LOT less than what it would have cost me at the vet. And that was only for the first visit. I will have to continue to give Drake his dewormers and vaccinations on a strict schedule (hence the reason he is on the family calendar!) and I should be able to keep up with it, no problem. He'll go back at 12 weeks for his rabies shot, and any other treatment that is needed.

I was pretty excited after buying Drake's first round (given by me at least) of vaccinations and once in RNH's truck, he said "You are going to give him his shots????" Um DUH! YES! He didn't think I'd be able to do it! I used to give my mother intra-muscular shots for her Multiple Sclerosis every week! And he doesn't think I'll be able to give a dog a tiny shot in the scruff? Puh-lease!!! I'll have to have RNH help hold onto him, but it should not be a problem. I'll keep you updated!

I just thought I'd share with people who didn't know. I am all for saving money, and this is definitely going to cut on the expected costs of raising a pup! Now I can buy him more chew toys!!!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Drake's First Boat Ride

RNH and I were supposed to go back out after a morning hunt. But I just wasn't feeling it. I was exhausted and it was insanely warm. I knew the birds wouldn't be flying much. We had left the boat and the decoys on the river and I decided to take Drake down to the river to get the boat and bring it back to where we usually keep it. Since I'm not the smartest person in the world, I didn't bring waders. I was just wearing boots. Drake and I made it to the boat pretty successfully. Although at one point I had to pick him up and cross a fallen tree. It was like walking across a balance beam and if I fell off, there was at least 3 feet of water on either side. I had to plan to fall, so that if I fell my first reaction would be to save the dog and not myself. He's still too young to swim.

Earlier he jumped into a deep part of water and his head went under. He got his first taste of swamp water, that's for sure! He was a lot more careful after that!

Once we made it to the boat, Drake acted as if he had already done this. "No biggie" he seemed to say. I placed him in it and we drifted down river together, sharing a seat.

At one point it began to rain pretty steady and I took off my jacket to hide my camera. Drake tried to get under it too!

Our goal of this boat outing was to get the boat, pick up the decoys from another part of the swamp, and then take the boat to its usual spot. Well, I didn't think things through all the way. As we were almost to the decoys, I realize that in order to pick up the decoys, we're going to have to get through the reeds. Usually to get through them, the water is shallow so I simply get out of the boat and push the boat through them. This time I didn't have waders on. Oops.
With the rain and everything going on, I decide to try our luck. I shove the boat full tilt into the reeds. It stops. I have to stand up in the boat and use both paddles to push from the back of the boat. I even tried to get out of the boat a few times, each time soaking my boots. I push us to a tree and I swing up onto the tree, and kick at the boat, getting it to nudge along. All of this is happening while Drake is in the boat. "Mommy, WHAT are you doing???" I don't think he was too fond of my James Bond/Indiana Jones impersonations. After several minutes of rigorous boat pushing, we broke free into the open swamp water.

We picked up the decoys and eventually RNH walks over in his waders. He had been hunting nearby but didn't know we had been in such distress! He told me the ducks weren't flying and he was ready to go in. At least this time I made him push us through any mucky parts!


Needless to say, Drake's first boat ride was quite and adventure but he really seemed to enjoy it!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Guest Post: Chloe

Please welcome my first guest post!!! Her name is Chloe and she is the queen kitty of our household. She is a 2 year old grey and black Tabby cat. A native to Harnett County, NC she enjoys taking long naps, watching the autistic lady across the street watch her, playing with her toys, scratching up the furniture, dreaming of laser pointers, and laying on her mom and dad's shoulder's while they type at the computer. Please welcome her!


Hey y'all. As my mommy said, my name is Chloe. She did get the Queen part right, but I'm not feeling that way much anymore. My days used to be lovely. I did whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. I wasn't bothered, I wasn't bugged. Yes, some may say I lived a life of boredom, but it was exactly what I wanted.

One day my mom came home with a huge fluffy pillow. My mom hasn't bought me anything really special in a long while, other than my corner litter box, and I just knew this was way too big to be for me. I also noticed a huge bag of food that smelled nothing like anything I'd ever want.

The next day, my mom comes home with this huge furball in her arms. She sets him down and then I realize, to my greatest fears, that my parents have brought home a dog. A real-live d.o.g.
Now my days are filled with hiding. I can't sit on the couch in the sun light and wave at the autistic lady across the street. Oh how I miss her. I rarely sleep on my my mom's lap and watch Housewives of Orange County anymore- I mean how do I know what crazy thing Vicki is up to now? I don't even know who has survived The Ruins, and I terribly miss Michael Scott and Stewie. My life is in ruins. I can't even sit on the floor and dine on my dinner anymore. I have to sit on the bar table.
When I least expect it, when I'm minding my own business, forgetting that there is a new terror in the house, that little rascal runs around the corner and pins me down... WITH HIS TEETH! I hate him. Oh the misery. He wants to eat me!!! Not only that but the dang thing can't figure out where to use the bathroom, and he pulls on my mom and dad's clothes. I think the worst part about it, is that they spend all of their time with him now. They take him outside and love on him. They give him praises when he comes in from outside and they buy him all sorts of new things.

I'm just not sure what is going on anymore. My life has been turned upside down!!! Hopefully y'all will find me in better spirits next time I appear on my mommy's blog.
With love and whiskers,
Chloe

Puppy Adventures

I'm trying to get Drake used to a lot of new things. It just seems like there are so many things for him to get used to, I'm not sure how he'll do it.

He loves being outside and I love taking him down into the woods. But I need to get him used to having a collar on. The collar we have right now is too big. But I put it on him anyways. He runs behind me in the woods with the collar in his mouth half the time, but its adorable. I take it off when we get inside so that he won't hang himself with it or anything. And of course the collar is camouflage!

I also tried to get him used to being in a boat. The boat is metal and makes a lot of noises, which don't seem to bother him. I turned the boat right-side-up and let him hang out in it while it was on dry land. He loved it! He tried jumping in and out of it, which didn't work out too well for him! I couldn't wait to take him out on the water!
I also have tried to get him used to gunfire. While he's outside in his pen, he can hear the shotgun blasts all around us. It doesn't even phase him. We'll see how he does with it being right over his head! We know that we have to be very careful not to make him gun shy, but I'm impressed with his bravery so far!
I also took him to the vet for his first visit. They gave him a clean bill of health. Afterwards I decided to treat him with a walk down Main Street in our small town. The speed limit is only 20mph and the traffic is pretty heavy, so I figured it would get him used to the cars. He seemed a bit scared of the loud ones, but otherwise it was a good walk. I also used this time to get him used to being on a leash. While we were walking, the owner of our favorite restaurant in town crossed the street and talked to Drake. Drake was ecstatic! A few blocks further and a mother/daughter couple walked out of the Orthodontist's office. They oo'd and awww'd over him! Drake was ecstatic! On the way back to the truck we saw the men in their heavy equipment putting up the Christmas wreaths and snowflakes onto the town's light poles. Even they stopped to pet Drake. And again- Drake was ecstatic!

Friends of ours came over to the house for a puppy play-date. The couple has two grown adult dogs, both mixes of Pitt, Lab, and a dingo dog! Drake loved every minute they were here. He loved sharing his swamp with them. They all got along great but Drake was sad that he couldn't run as fast and keep up with the big dogs as much.

He has gotten to experience a lot lately and I just hope its not too much for him to handle!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Shelton Vineyards- Salem Fork Blush

Shelton Vineyards makes this Salem Fork Blush wine that is a lighter, sweet red table wine from the Yadkin Valley Region. The wine is derived from Merlot yet has a full bodied cherry flavor with a delcious after-taste. I recommend for a warm summer day with Eastern style BBQ!

Friday, November 20, 2009

My Wiener Has A First Name...

... its D-R-A-K-E!!!

*Warning, this post may be a bit graphic (but not really) and it may gross you out!*

Okay, here's the deal. I have not been around a lot of boy dogs in my life. Ever, really. My family only owned a female beagle mutt, and any other interaction I've had with a dog, would be if it belongs to a friend of mine. That means I don't have to care for it or be concerned about its bowel movements.
Wellllll.... Drake is a different story. We are working on potty training, and let me say this, it is a long... and slow... and annoying process! But we're working on it. But every once in a while, I have to snatch the dog up and throw him outside so he can continue peeing. I also have to take him up and down stairs right now because he's too little to get up or down them. (No, I'm not babying him, it is physically impossible for him right now!)

So Drake goes out into the grass, does his business like a good boy, and then I have to pick him up to take him up the deck stairs. And that's when it happens.

His wiener hair touches me. And its wet with pee.

EWWWWWWWWWWWW!!! I HATE WIENER HAIR, WIENERS FOR THAT MATTER, AND PEE!!!!!!!!

So yes, this is what I'm having to deal with right now. I want Drake to hurry up and grow up so bad I can hardly stand it. I am so sick of wiener hair and the pee that it is soaked in.

Please God, please let Drake grow up quick. Puppy is cute and all, but I need some sanity here...
Just thought I'd share! :)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Having Your Ducks In A Row

RNH and I have had two days of hunting. Two days, meaning waking up at 5:30 to be heading into the woods by 6am. We walk in the dark through the woods into the murky waters of the swamp where the boat awaits. Paddle on out to our spot, park the boat, sit, and wait. And wait. Daybreak begins and the ducks begin to fly!

The first morning out, I don't even want to talk about it. We're setting the decoys out and getting the boat hidden under the trees when we hear the duck's wings twittering overhead. We saw at least 30 ducks fly over while we were getting situated. We also didn't know what time it was. We can shoot 30 minutes before sunrise, but if you don't know when sunrise is, you can't shoot. We heard a shot off in the distance and knew that we could join in on the hunt. Oops. We made sure not to forget a watch the next day! The rest of the morning was spent paddling around the swamp trying to jump the ducks. I kind of think if we had been patient and sat in our spot, we might have seen a few more fly. We jump a total of 3 ducks. One before the secret pond, and 2 at the pond. Boooo. It was pretty warm and it seemed like nothing was flying. Around 10am, I called it quits. RNH followed and we headed in for the morning.

That afternoon we were supposed to go back out. When I realized how warm it was, I decided against it and took Drake on his first boat ride. More on that later!
Today, however, much more successful. But before you get too excited for me- nope, no kills. So if you're not interested, you can skip this post! We got out perfectly on time, knew what time it was, and was set up waiting. Then they began to fly. And fly. And fly. It was awesome. We pretty much already knew that the ducks were coming off the secret pond (south from our spot) and heading north towards some unknown body of water. (We looked at Google Earth and apparently there are tons of bodies of water around us. Who knew?!) Our spot is an area in the middle of the swamp that has few trees. It is actually the largest "clearing" from the secret pond to the south of us, until the river, about a half mile north. It is about the size of a football field. The ducks don't seem to land on the river if they're coming from the secret pond, so I guess we were hoping they'd be interested in the clearing we're standing in. Well of course they're not! The clearing is anywhere from shin to thigh-deep, has a ton of reeds, that are mostly washed down to the ground, and a few trees that don't provide much shelter. I think that a duck would like to hang out there, but of course I'm not a duck. I pull up a bunch of reeds out of the water creating a blind for myself and hang out. The ducks are flying, pretty low, over my head, heading north from the secret pond. They are flying though. Like fast flying! After taking several shots (8!) and several frustrating minutes trying to line the bead up with the ducks, I realize that this is never going to work.

(Please remember, I'm new to this!) I realize that these ducks are on a mission. They're going somewhere, and they're going fast. Wherever they're going, they could care less about the clearing in the swamp that I think is so nice. They are moving out. I have a nice decoy spread set out, but these dang ducks are flying so fast, I doubt they even notice the decoys. I'm pretty sure half of the ducks that flew over, never saw me. Even if I was shooting at them!

Another problem with today's hunt was the fog. It was terrible. I had no idea there were ducks flying until they were right in front of me. I would set the bead on a duck in a flock right in front of me, and next thing I knew, I was having to pull the trigger while looking straight up over my head. This is not going to work. I need to start being a hunter, and think about things like this. After going through half a box of #2 shot, I decided that we needed a better set up. A better blind, a stool to get us out of the water, and we needed to be off to the side of the clearing, not in the middle. This clearing is basically the duck's "fatal funnel." And if I sit off to the side, I'll be able to swing my gun with the flight of the duck, instead of trying to bend over backwards (literally) to get a shot off. DUH! I'm almost embarrassed that it took me half the morning to figure this out.


It was surprisingly warm today, but it made me happy to see as many ducks as I did. I'm heading to Charlotte in a few weeks and will hit up Bass Pro Shops to see if I can get a triangular stool to sit on while I'm out there. My rear end got soaking wet while I was trying to get down in the blind. When the weather gets cooler, that will not fly!

Overall I am pleased with today. Every time I go out and learn a way to hunt better, I'm all for it! Even if I didn't get anything. This year is MY year though. I'm determined!

Duplin Vineyards- Scuppernong Jelly

As I'm sure you're well aware, I am obsessed with anything Scuppernong. The grapes themselves are delicious, and the wine makes the fruit even better. It tastes like candy and gets you drunk! Wow!

But maybe you don't like wine? Maybe wine is to girly for you boys to drink. Maybe the wine is too pricey. Maybe you have small children and can't drink often. Maybe you don't want to make it a habit like me? Well, I've got a solution. You too can enjoy the goodness of scuppernongs in Duplin's Scuppernong Jelly!!!
It is absolutely fabulous! I made some buttery farm biscuits this morning, while RNH made hashbrowns from scratch. Then topped the biscuits off with Duplin's jelly and we were set!
I think a jar is about $4 and you can order it online. Several other vineyards also sell their own jellies. Check them out and try them! You too can enjoy scuppernongs! :)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Bringing Home the Baby...

...makes me not want to have a real baby!!!

Nah, not really, its not that bad! Its fun! RNH and I picked up our bundle of joy on Friday afternoon. We practically ran in some stranger's home, grabbed the pup, handed her a check, and peaced-out. We were so excited to have the dang thing. All this worrying and debating over names, and 2 minutes in the car with a zonked out puppy, we name it. Drake. Its typical, yes. But adorable as well. And hopefully it will be a fitting name... only time will tell!

We are in the car for about 5 minutes when I realize, wait... I just stripped a mother of its child. I'm devastated. I feel like a baby-napper. I just ripped a baby from its bayonet in the hospital, and ran through the double doors without anyone ever knowing. I am terrible. I didn't even let the mother say goodbye to her son. Or let Drake say goodbye to his brothers and sisters. They were all he had, all he's ever known. Okay. Get over it.

We take him home and try to introduce him to his new home. Small and humble, yet a chewy-toy world for a young pup. We get pretty bored with the house and whisk him away out to the great outdoors. Down to the pond.

RNH wants to see if the fish are biting. Its a pretty decently warm November day and the tropical storm monsoon that we just had is passed. Its our first day to get back out, and we've got a pup to share the world with!




RNH and I walk down the trail with Drake nipping at our heels. I don't think of it much, but we're going downhill towards the water. Suddenly I stop before going too far, and Drake, of course doesn't know what is going on and can't stop in time. He immediately tumbles and rolls down the hill, falling into the pond water. Instead of freaking out and whimpering, he is immediately curious. Yes! We've got a water dog from Day 1! He loved it, but it was cold so he didn't stay in too long.


He also enjoyed checking out Dad's tackle box
and chewing on any small trees in the area.

He left the chickens alone, probably because they're bigger than him. And he didn't really pay any mind to Chloe the kitty. She, of course, detests him and automatically feels that we've replaced her. Hopefully she'll get over that- quick.

Everything was going fine-and-dandy until bed time. RNH and I had an early morning, so we called it quits around 9:30pm. We sectioned Drake off in a corner of the kitchen so that any accidents would easily be cleaned up. After putting him to bed, and laying down myself, I begin to hear whimpers, barks, and yelps. He will quit, I think to myself. Ohhhh but he doesn't. Eventually I walk into the kitchen, sit down next to him, not really paying him attention, but lay my hand on his side. His breathing slows, he quiets and eventually falls asleep. Success! Ohhhh but the night was young.

I woke up on the hour, every hour with a yelping pup. Each time he had taken a poo or pee on the floor. Which means I have to clean up. I'm groggy, yet gagging on the smell of puppy poo. Awesome.

As the night progresses, I finally learn that his noises mean he's waking up because he has to potty. Duh. I learned that if I jump out of bed at the slightest noise, I can intercept him before he does his business in the house. But, of course, I realize this at sun-up. Great.

Six o'clock in the morning, I just decide to stay up with him. Its opening day of Duck Season and since I can't partake in the festivities, I can at least be out there listening to the other lucky hunters enjoying themselves. It also gets Drake used to hearing gun fire. It was actually a very enjoyable walk in the brisk morning, listening to gunfire and ducks flying overhead, all while a puppy is plodding along your side. Not bad. I decided I have to have many more mornings like this!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

It's Official

We're missing the Opening Day of Duck Season. This happened last year. This also happened for Dove Season this year. Talk about .disappointment.

We signed up to work an extra event at work. We're excited because it means we get to watch our favorite team (NCSU Wolfpack!) play Clemson, and we get to make money doing it, but not something we'd really like to do with our day off. And to top it all off, we're missing Opening Day.

The good thing is that I took a week off to spend time with the puppy and get him acclimated to his new surroundings. That means that I'll have free time to hunt as well. But guess what- I won't do it.

There is something about waking up way earlier than you're supposed to on a day off, while its still pitch black out. The world is sleeping and you're putting on your long-johns and strapping a gun to your back. You head out in the blackness and feel your heart rate pick up with anxiousness. Entering into a silent world where the animals are still asleep, or getting ready to head in for day light, you feel alone yet not. Then as the day begins to break and the world around you begins to wake and become noisy, you're sitting in silence taking it all in. Waiting. Waiting for that perfect moment when you've got the perfect shot. The silence of the woods is filled with the noise of an animal and you're about to pull the trigger.

Yup, something about all of that, that makes me not want to be doing it alone. I've never hunted alone, and don't think I could wake up that early by myself without someone sharing the excitement. I also think I'd be devastated to get a kill and not be able to share the excitement with RNH. Plus I'd have trouble when it came to cleaning. Not sure I know everything I'm supposed to.

Anyways. I won't go out by myself. Plus if I ever have to encounter that Bobcat again, I'd rather have RNH, the better shot, by my side! He's hoping to be able to take the week off too. We'll see. Then we'll not worry about Opening Day quite so much. We'll have a week of fun ahead of us!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Suggestions???

We need a name for our new puppy. We get him Friday the 13th. Scary, I know. RNH says we have to wait to name him once we see what type of personality he has. I say psh. I've been thinking of several different names that I like. Now I need some suggestions or just plain old votes. Let me know what you think is a good name, based on the info I give you. I'll also list the names I'm thinking of so far...

It is a HE.
He is a pure bred, AKC registered Labrador.
He is "Fox Red," meaning that he has a reddish tint, but he is a Yellow Lab.
He will be 6 weeks old.
He will be trained for retrieving ducks.

This is about us as a couple, it may help you think of name ideas:
We love anything outdoors.
We hunt.
We love wine.
We love guns.
We love to cook.
We love football.
We love NC State University Wolfpack.
We love the Carolina Panthers.
We love the beach.
We love to travel.
We already have a Bearded Dragon (Crikey- named after Steve Irwin), a Kitty (Chloe), and six chickens (Roo and the girls).
We live in the country.
We love country and beach music.
I like to run and plan on making him my running partner.
We don't want to name it any normal human names, like Michael, Jim, or Steve.

Okay, all that being said, here are the names that I really like so far:
Bear
Moose
Tracker (would probably be a better name for a hound dog!)
Jethro
Digger
Deak
Red
Trigger
Charlie
Drake
General
Most of them are related to hunting. I almost wish we were getting a girl dog so I could name her "Benelli" and caller her Neli for short. That is just too cute.

Anyways- give me your ideas! I'd like something original, funny or cute. Help me out!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Getting Ready

Like I said earlier, Saturday is the opening day of Duck Season. We've got mixed feelings about it because we have to work that afternoon. Work, meaning standing up for several hours and becoming extremely exhausted. We're not sure we want to wake up at the crack of dawn to have a try. We're also very anxious about this year's attempt. Like I said, last year did not go well. At all. I really think we didn't know what we were doing or where to go. At the end of the season, RNH was finally successful with two kills. Yup, that it. Two. Dos. Deux.

Today we went down to the pond, excited to see if anything has touched the cracked corn we put out. Of course there is nothing. It would be so nice if the ducks would land in our pond. That way we could just go right down from the house, shoot our limit and call it a day. But no, they like to be stubborn. So instead we have to make the trek down to the swamp with all of our gear, making sure we don't forget anything, and have a go. Oh well!

After being disappointed by the pond, we decided to drag RNH's grandfather's boat, back to the swamp for the start of duck season. Last year he killed the ducks and we had to go get the boat to retrieve the ducks. It was a lot of work and we didn't think ahead. (Hopefully one day I'll have a good retrieving dog to do it for me!!!) Anyways. We dragged the boat down to the swamp, cleaned out a few duck boxes, and checked out the area. We also brought along the duck calls.

We could hear various bird noises. A lot of "tweetie" birds were flying around, doves and crows. No ducks. Yet.

We push the boat further out into the swamp, past a huge beaver dam. There! We could hear a wood duck! YES!!!!

We go further and spot duck feathers all over the water.

A little further and WHOOSH! About 10 ducks fly up. A little further.... SWIIIISH! More ducks.


We continued on through the swamp, every so many feet jumping more and more and MORE ducks! We were in heaven and SUPER excited!!!

Eventually we come across a pond that we like to call the "secret pond." Because it is surrounded by tons and tons of woods and we didn't know it existed until we lived in our house for quite some time. Its not our land, but we got a few shots off near the pond last year (didn't hit anything), but we're hoping to head that way again this year.

There were a ton of ducks at the pond.
On the way back we found a really easy and more direct route for getting to the secret pond. Maybe I should mention that we're having to navigate ourselves in a pretty wide john boat, through several small trees. The swamp water goes from being too shallow for the boat, to being too deep to wade in. It can be pretty difficult. The route we found back to our land was clear of trees and shallow water. At one point we came across a part where it was obvious that beaver had created a dam, but it was very old and we just knocked it down to be able to get the boat through. Now if we can only navigate through it in the pitch black....

I'm still debating on whether or not to go out on Saturday morning. I guess it will depend on what time we have to be at work. I don't want to shoot a bunch of ducks and then have to worry about getting them cleaned before going to work.
On another exciting note, RNH just bought himself a black-on-black Remington 11-87. He's pretty excited about it because it will be his first semi-automatic shot gun, perfect for duck season and just in time! I'm sure it will rub off on me and I'll have to buy one next! He has to wait for it to be shipped into the "Trading Post" here in town. It will get here Wednesday. I think he's taking off work early so he can go pick it up before they close! That's what a redneck would do!