Happy 2014!

Today is New Year’s Day 2014. Can you believe it? I noticed this week that our blog has been virtually static for the past year *gasp* and I have decided it is time to fix that.  It is not a resolution, but I would like to be posting more on here this year – I have a feeling this year is going to be a wild one :)

Sam and I spent our first Christmas together ever this year. Typically we take the week before and after Christmas to go visit our families – separately. This has always been difficult for us (ok, maybe difficult for me) but it was an easy time to get time off from work and go see the fam. This year, we decided early on that we would stay put and start our own family traditions. I won’t lie, I definitely had a few moments of sadness thinking about what we were missing back east, but then Sam reminded me what we have here and that we can go back and visit anytime. So we started some traditions :)

We joined some very dear friends in their tradition of going to Red Feather Lakes and cutting down a Christmas tree. I have NEVER had a real Christmas tree, let alone one that I helped to cut down. Colorado has a program with State Parks that allows residents to pay for a permit, drive into a section of the forest, find a tree and cut it down. These areas of the forest are marked for clearance; the trees that we were allowed to cut (trunks less than 6 inches in diameter) will clear out the forest floor, reduce the risk of forest fires, and help the overall health of the forest. I’m in!  We loaded up the 4×4 trucks and off we went.

The drive up was gorgeous. Sam was in his bearded glory driving on dirt roads and hit every bump possible in the truck.

Sam the Bearded Wonder.

Sam the Bearded Wonder.

As the trusted co-pilot, I was in charge of Radio, and bad Selfies.

A trusted Pilot and his very important Co-Pilot.

A trusted Pilot and his very important Co-Pilot.

 

We found the perfect tree for us – it is a pine and about 6 feet tall. When we saw it in the trees, it had a ray of light coming down onto it – talk about an omen, right?  Sam and his sidekick “E” took charge and got it down for us.

 

Sam and "E" assessing the tree situation.

Sam and “E” assessing the tree situation.

 Luckily the tree was small enough that it fit nicely in the back of the truck without much fuss at all.

Sam was able to carry the tree one handed. He is a superman!

Sam was able to carry the tree one handed. He is a superman!

Easy Beasy!

Easy Beasy!

We were pretty proud of ourselves – a lumberjack and his lady….

Mission Accomplished.

Mission Accomplished.

We got it home, put it into the tree stand, and VOILA! Our tree was ready for decorating. What a difference picking a tree out of a forest versus a JCPenney Catalog ;) Growing up, the tree skirt in my family was handmade and amazing. I couldn’t imagine having our tree without a handmade Tree Skirt. About 2 weeks before we went for the tree, I decided to crochet one for us. At first it looked like a banner for a pizza restaurant, but once it was placed under the tree, it looked just right.

Decorated and ready for our traditions to begin.

Decorated and ready for our traditions to begin.

My mom sent out my box of ornaments this year. Mom has been saving ornaments for me each year since I was born. Most of the ornaments were gifts from family members over the years. She mailed them out to me a week before the tree expedition. I made Sam sit in the living room with me as I opened each one and tried my hardest to remember when I got it, the person who gifted it to me, and the last time I remembered seeing it. Some I could remember, some not so much. But it was amazing go through these boxes of treasures. I was super surprised to find that Mom had sent out the 2 ornaments that I thought I would never have in my own possession.

The Bear Ornament Susi made in Preschool.

The Bear Ornament Susi made in Preschool.

First Grade Doily Ornament

First Grade Doily Ornament

Now that I have my awesome little-kid-Susi pictures up here, it is time to sign off for today.  Happy New Year to all of our Family and Friends!! Here’s to a super exciting year full of surprises, wonder, new experiences, and lots and lots of laughter!

Happy Moop Day!

So after about 4 months of drooling over a bag on the amazing Moop website, I finally emailed the owner Wendy a bunch of questions and made the decision to go ahead and treat myself to it! I ordered it last Tuesday and today it arrived. I love that the bag showed up hand wrapped in pretty brown paper.

Brown Paper Packaging... a few of my favorite things... get it?

Brown Paper Packaging… a few of my favorite things… get it?

I love even more that the Moop team wrote me a cute note on the outside of the package!

 

The cute note from the awesome crew at Moop!

The cute note from the awesome crew at Moop!

But most of all, I love my new Moop Letter Bag :) I think I initially found Moop via a knitting blog somewhere and the love affair with this adorable company in Pennsylvania began.

The Letter Bag from Moop! Waxed Canvas Happiness!

The Letter Bag from Moop! Waxed Canvas Happiness!

I am so excited to own one of these gorgeous bags! I am also excited that I am supporting a small business. I don’t do it 100% of the time – Target calls my names you know – but Sam and I do make a pretty decent attempt at shopping at and supporting small businesses in the Colorado area where we live. When we planned our wedding just over a year ago, we did almost everything via small businesss – the flowers, the cake, the ceremony, the dress, photographers, coordinators, DJ, seriously  just about everything.  I think it is pretty awesome that we can support small businesses in other areas of the country as well. Yay internet! haha.  So yeah, Happy Moop Day!!!!

 

So much snow!

We woke up this morning to the first real snow storm of the season! Here it is so far….
image

Probably close to 5 inches but it is still falling. I heard 6-10″ is possible!  Snow day and snowed in…. not too bad really ;)

Five Star Books | 2012

5 Star Books

Whether you read a book a week or a few a year, it’s always helpful to get a recommendation. I thought I’d pass along a few of the best books I came across in 2012.

I Was Told There’d Be Cake and How Did You Get this Number

I Was Told There'd Be Cake Book Cover How Did You Get This Number Book Cover

Both books from Sloane Crosley are the kind of treat you might save for a flight or a long wait at the DMV. Her wit and storytelling ability make everyday experiences come to life. Crosley draws her reader into the odd situations in which she finds herself. It’s refreshing to read essays from a talented writer who makes you smile, makes you think, and makes you realize most of us have a few quirks which would get a chuckle out of a reader if we were brave enough to write about them.

Papillon

Papillon Book Cover

The world remembers him as Papillon, but the autobiography of the world famous prisoner and escape artist is penned under his given name, Henri Charriere. The name comes from his prominent butterfly tattoo, and Papillon couldn’t have chosen a more poetic name. Like reading the selectively cleaned up memoir of a Mafioso, Charriere’s life before prison can be described as “colorful” to say the least, but regardless of what stories he has to tell about life in France, the real adventure takes place in French Guiana, the Caribbean, and the jungles of the Amazon. His life has the suspense of a jailbreak story, the excitement of the unknown, and a lead character you can’t help but root for, even though he’s no angel. Papillon reads like a memoir crossed with an episode of Law and Order and I’d read it again in a heartbeat.

Emily, Alone

Emily Alone Book Cover

I’m behind the curve on discovering Stewart O’Nan, who is well loved among readers and I’m looking forward to catching up on the O’Nan collection. The cover art caught my attention first, but I lucked into a story which is both realistic and charming. An older main character living alone in Pittsburgh and a plot with no sex, no drugs and no shocking twist at the end isn’t a formula for selling books these days, but Emily struggles with the type of things many of us have. She misses loved ones she has lost, struggles with the shortcomings of friends and family, and worries about living alone. Throughout the story, Emily pulls the reader in and O’Nan pulls off a difficult trick: he writes an older woman beautifully, doesn’t make her a caricature, and had me rooting for small joy and large victories for Emily all the way through the novel.

Assassination Vacation

Assassination Vacation Book CoverSarah Vowell has written a half a dozen books to date, and not every one of them has captured my interest like Assassination Vacation. For anyone who enjoys Vowell’s contributions to This American Life, you’ll recognize the voice in her books, and although not every book has content which made it onto the radio, all of them have the charm and unashamed nerdiness of Vowell’s interest in history. Unlike the dry textbook material we all choked down in high school, Vowell tells the story of three presidential assassinations (and a fourth attempt) with the enthusiasm one might get from a friend. It’s an amazing corner of history, where three presidents in the span of one lifetime were killed. Although Lincoln will forever be the giant of the era, it’s shocking to remember that Abraham Lincoln’s son, Robert Todd Lincoln was not only alive during all three assassinations, but was intimately affected by all three. Books like this one and authors like Vowell keep readers who may not love reading history engaged. A book like Assassination Vacation will keep me coming back for more as long as Vowell’s writing.

In a Sunburned Country

In a Sunburned Country Book CoverI’m not the first person to sing the praises of Bill Bryson and I won’t be the last. However, I’m not such a fan that I can’t pick favorites. I enjoy reading every Bryson book I’ve picked up, but in some cases, it’s like you’re getting a quick slideshow of a trip where some of the details are lost. In Bryson’s book about Australia, he describes a country so vast and uncharted that he could go on forever and still have amusing material to share. Whether it’s the peculiar history of the country or odd little anecdotes about his travels there, Bryson is in perfect form and certainly makes me want to explore Australia myself if I should have a few years to spare. After all, it’s possible that the world’s rarest life form or largest gold nugget is still waiting to be discovered in the outback.

Happy Birthday to Susi!!

I had an amazing birthday this year :) I seriously got spoiled rotten. I woke up to the CUTEST banner on the floor….

Banner

Got a “Happy Birthday Aunt Susan” text message one of my 3 nephews….

Baby Face!

At work, we had Red Velvet and White Chocolate Cookies. Oh My Word were they delicious! New favorite? Maybe. To top that off, our newest Project Manager in my office is a professional Opera Singer…. so guess who had Happy Birthday Sung to her in beautiful Baritone??? THIS GIRL! I think my knees melted a little bit, not gonna lie. Then my coworker took my for Pizza for lunch…. awesomeness.

Came home after picking up Sam from his office and it was present time!!

My parents sent along a new bead for my bracelet :)  It is a sparkly cupcake… super cute!! My mother sent me a BEAUTIFUL handmade cowl to add to my collection…..

Cowl

Sam got me a new mixer for the kitchen…. this girl has been learning to cook! Then he surprised me with new stuff from one of my favorite bands in the universe!!! A new t-shirt and tote from Hotels & Highways!

hotels&Highway SWAG

Hotels & Highway Shirt

I thought I had been spoiled enough, but Mr. Sam had one more, very amazing, trick up his sleeve….. he arranged to have a custom coffee table made for me! But here is the kicker!! He made it! Yup! With the kind and skillful help of our friends Hank and Justin I now have the coffee table of my dreams!! The top is “rescued” solid oak and the legs and frame are from Modern Legs. Ever since I saw the hairpin table legs that Modern Legs sells, I have wanted one. I seriously cried when I saw it! Take a look ;)

Modern Legs Table 1

Modern Legs Table 3

Modern Legs Table 2

Oh and we capped off the night with dinner at The Rio and dessert at Salt!

SALT Dessert

 

It was such a great day :) I don’t think 32 is going to be such a bad year after all ;)