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Yes, I think we need to go ahead and admit it, my family has a sick obsession with our dogs.  We are one of those crazy families whose life revolves around our furry friends.  We love the dogs just as much as we love the humans in the family (ok, maybe that’s a bit extreme, but it’s pretty close).  I know for me, when I get a chance to come home, I get pretty darn excited about seeing those dogs.  Half of Kirby’s Facebook albums are made up of only pictures of the dogs.  They have started making regular appearances in the famous Williamson family Christmas card.  My dad tried desperately to convince Michael and I to use the older two dogs as our ring bearer and flower girl in our wedding.  So, what is it about dogs, and these two three dogs in particular, that are just so loveable?  Allow me to introduce you to Tucker, Dexter, and Polo!

Tucker

We had a black lab named Buck growing up as kids.  We got him when Trey and I were very young and he was our family’s protector, the kids’ playmate, and Dad’s best friend until he died in 2002.  For the next six years, we begged and pleaded with our parents for a new puppy all the time.  Every Christmas, we all hoped to wake up to find a little black puppy with a big red bow around his neck under the tree (or maybe that was just me?!?).  Mom and Dad finally caved in (or should I say just Mom caved) in 2008 and, on a complete whim, came home with little Tucker.

sweet baby Tucker!

The family fell in love instantly, especially Dad.  Tucker is a very sweet, smart, and calm dog.  He’s the one you go to to cuddle with.  And he LOVES his papa and running.   Since getting the other two pups, Tucker has turned into a bit of a old man grouch at times, but we still love him so much!  He is easily annoyed by the other pups’ antics/stupidity.

Dexter

We got Dexter about a year after Tucker as a surprise birthday present for Dad.  There’s only one word to describe Dexter: dumb.  Bless his heart, he’s just so stupid.  But, we love him for it.  He never really learned all the tricks like Tucker and most of the time when you look at him he’s just got a stupid blank stare on his face.  Seems like he never really knows what’s going on.  But he’s really the sweetest, most loving dog.  He gets really excited about anything that Tucker does. He also loves his papa very much and running and swimming.  You can throw a stick out in the water for days and he’ll go get it every time. 

Sweet stupid pup

blank stare...there's nothing inside that pretty little head!

 

Polo 

Polo is the newest addition to the Williamson family.  Sadly, I haven’t gotten to know Polo too well.  He came home just before Christmas in 2012.  He’s a beautiful little chocolate baby, and is growing up way too fast.   Somehow the family thought that letting Dexter reproduce was a good idea.  Polo is a result of that, but so far he seems to have turned out alright.  We’ll see…it may be too early to tell.  For now, he’s just a crazy, playful pup wreaking havoc on the Williamson house.

little baby Polo!

Kirby made this...I think it perfectly describes how we feel about these dogs!

Maybe (hopefully) soon Michael and I will get a dog to “make our lives whole”…am I right, Michael?!?!  😉

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It’s been quite a while, and you’ve missed out on a lot of fun things we’ve done this year.  Here’s a brief recap!

We began the New Year celebrating with the Aguilars in Park City, Utah on the annual Aguilar/Eudsen ski trip!  Due to the not-so-great ski conditions at Park City the first two days, we ventured to Alta for some nice fluffy snow!  No snowboarders are allowed at Alta, so this put Michael on skis for the first time in 12 years!  He picked it back up quickly and we had a blast for the next few days! 

Michael learning to ski...again!

Shortly after getting back to real life after our extra long vacation, Stephanie came to visit in New Orleans!  This was a great mid-week treat for me, as I headed down to NOLA as soon as I could after work on Thursday and rescued Steph from her “stroke” conference!  It was great to hang out with Steph and all her doctor friends for the night, and it was my first experience down on Frenchman Street in New Orleans.  This is the less touristy (but still very cool) area of the French Quarter where all the bars have live jazz music every night.  So much fun!  Sadly, I don’t have any pictures from the night!  Stephanie’s visit also means that all 3 of my college roommates have been to visit us in Louisiana since we moved just over 2 years ago.  I think this means that I have the best roommates everrrr.  Come on boys…where are you?!? 

In late February this year, we got a chance to celebrate Mardi Gras big time!  The South Carolina frisbee crew rolled into town (all 17 of them!) for the annual tournament and Mardi Gras celebrations.  We spent most of the weekend hot-tubbing, parading, collecting beads, Bourbon Street-ing and eating good food.  Due to the weather, not much time was spent playing frisbee, which left so much time for partying!

All 19 of us packed into the hot tub

Southdowns Parade Friday night in Baton Rouge

Following this awesome weekend, Michael enjoyed Spring Break Pt. 1 (yes, that’s right…he gets 2!)  And the very next weekend, we traveled our separate ways.  Michael took his ultimate boys and coached them to a B-bracket championship at Deep Freeze Youth Ultimate Tournament in Chattanooga, TN, while I flew to NC with Tyler to surprise the family and join them on the annual Williamson ski trip!  One of the best parts of the trip for me:  Kirby’s face as Tyler and I walked into Wendy’s to surprise them after flying into Charlotte.  Her face was priceless, and I wish we had been able to capture the moment on camera. 

The crew getting ready for day 1 of skiing!

Sisters on top...ready for the black diamond!

my favorite picture of the weekend…goofy faces!

The first weekend in March, Tyler, Carissa and I ran the Rock ‘N Roll Mardi Gras Half Marathon in New Orleans.  This was Tyler’s first half marathon and number 2 for Carissa and me.  Michael came to support us for the weekend, and we had a blast…even during the race!  On Friday night, we went to the Darius Rucker and Lady Antebellum concert, and we spent Saturday touring around the city and checking out the National WWII Museum (so cool and recommended for anyone visiting New Orleans!).  Sunday was the big day and we all did great!  Tyler finished in 1:36, Carissa finished in 1:55, and I finished in 1:52!  Carissa and I were excited to crush our previous times, and Tyler was excited to just dominate in general.  Thanks for Michael for coming out to support us!

So happy to be done!

And that leads me to where I am now…working nights for turnaround for two weeks! Michael has been busy with end of the quarter grades and being super-husband, and I’ve just been here…working…all. the. time.  But, trying to keep a positive attitude…only 3 or 4 more nights!!!  🙂

 

Whew…so much going on.  Hey, who knows…maybe we’ll settle down one day and have a nice quiet weekend…

 

But, probably not.

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Ya know that feeling that always hits you on Sunday evening after a great weekend – one you have been looking forward to and counting down to for several weeks?  Well, it hit me kinda early this Sunday.  It is actually coming from the end of a couple weeks of awesome.  It all started Labor Day weekend.  I got to spend a weekend in Charleston, SC with some of the most awesome girls I know, celebrating Silvia’s bachelorette weekend.  We had an awesome time…soaking up the sun all day on Folly Beach…

…desserts and coffee at Kaminsky’s – YUM…drinking good wine and eating delicious food at High Cotton (finally – SC shrimp and grits for me!)…drinks on the rooftop bar overlooking the beautiful city…and dancing the night away.

So, not only was that an awesome long weekend…but it led to an extra short work week.  It’s so nice to have Monday off work, and it’s even nicer to have Monday off work and to know that your family is coming to visit on Thursday night.  It basically cuts your short work week down from 4 days to about 2…maybe 2 1/2 if you’re lucky.  All you get is Tuesday and Wednesday.  On Thursday you’re too excited thinking about your visitors and texting non-stop to see where they are on the road trip to think about work.  And Friday is obviously shot because now all you can think about is getting home, where the rest of your family is hanging out WITHOUT you.

So, Michael and I finally made it through work on Friday and then had an awesome weekend with Mom, Dad, Tyler, Tanner, and Kirby.  We hung out by the pool all afternoon, took em out to a nice casual Baton Rouge restaurant for dinner, played some board games, went out for a nice 4 mile run around the LSU lakes on Saturday morning, and then it was time to prepare for the game!  Mom and I spent several hours preparing a delicious spread of food for the afternoon USC-UGA game.

After an exciting (and happy-ending) football game, we just got some time to chill around the house.  And now they’re all gone…except Tyler…who we’re stuck with for a while.  They got up bright and early to get started on the drive, and after we gave hugs and sent them on their way, we climbed back in bed.  This is how it felt when we woke up for the second time…as described by Tyler…

…except for without all the mean family and all the excitement at the end.  Basically just that our family had disappeared.

Well, I could be sad and just think about everything I was looking forward to that has come and gone, OR I could think about all the awesome and exciting things we have to look forward to now.  So, here goes…a quick rundown of our upcoming weekends…

Sept. 16-18:

A muddy 3 mile trail run race for Kendall and Ultimate Frisbee Sectionals for Michael in Tupelo, MS.

Sept. 30-Oct. 1

Michael’s birthday weekend!  Nothing planned yet, but it will obviously be a great time!

Oct. 7-9

Kendall’s 1/2 Marathon (ahhh…not quite ready!) and Michael’s Ultimate Frisbee Regionals in Little Rock, AR.

Oct. 14-16

Road trip to Starkville, MS to see the Gamecocks play!  We’ll be meeting up with Karli and her crew and maybe Gopal!  Woohoo!

Oct. 21-23

Silvia and John’s get MARRIED in Columbia!  We are so excited about getting to celebrate with them and being back in Columbia with all our best college friends!  It’s going to be epic!  (Check out the website linked above and MAKE SURE you sign the guest book…it’s very very important and will make John and Silvia very happy).

Looks like a pretty good line up.  I guess the end of a good weekend is not so sad after all.

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Banana Bread

Bananas and I have kind of a love-hate relationship.  Most of the time, I love to eat bananas.  But, what frustrates me about bananas is that I haven’t figured out how to buy enough for Michael and I to eat without them going bad and without me going to the grocery store every other day.  Needless to say, Michael and I end up throwing out a lot of bananas that look like this…

Since the day Michael and I started dating, I was told that we could not get married until I proved my ability to make his mom’s banana bread.  Well, the wedding came and went before I ever even attempted the recipe.  But last week, I finally got tired of throwing out bananas and got Mama A to send over the recipe.  And here was the result…

…and I don’t think Michael could have been happier.  The bread was gone within 2 days, so for today’s batch, I had saved up a few more bananas.

YUM!  NO more wasted bananas in this house!!!  🙂

TYLER IS MOVING TO BATON ROUGE!

Congrats to my little bro, who got the job with Marathon!  Proud of you and excited to have you down here soon!

Tanner is Officially a Gamecock!

My youngest brother Tanner finally can call himself a true Gamecock.  He moved into his freshman dorm, Bates House, last weekend and started classes on Thursday.  It’s been great hearing about his college adventures so far…sure brings Michael and I back to the good ole days of freshman year in Maxcy.

Painting Lessons

A group of girls and I all bought Groupons to a painting class here in Baton Rouge and recently tested out our artistic abilities.

Proud girls with our finished products!

And the final product on the wall in the living room!

First day pics!

Michael started school last week and we never shared the necessary “first day pic”, so here ya go.

Such a handsome young English teacher!

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Tonight was one of the most stressful nights I’ve had in a while.  As many of you know, Michael starts his first day of work tomorrow.  A great surprise we got earlier this week was that Tyler landed an interview with Marathon (in the SAME department as me!).  His interview is also tomorrow.  So, he got into town on Friday and the three of us have been having a great time, as Michael and I were trying very hard to sell Tyler on Louisiana livin’ (sorry Mom, I know you probably don’t want to send another one down here).  Tyler got in late Friday night, so we slept in on Saturday, made a huge breakfast and then hung out around the pool most of the day.  We took Tyler to the most “Baton Rouge-y” restaurant we could think of and ordered him blackened alligator.  On Sunday, we drove him all around Baton Rouge showing him our lives down here…church, the high school were Michael student taught, LSU’s campus, and Michael’s new school.  Tyler and I went on a run around the beautiful LSU lakes and then I made them a nice homemade dinner (chicken cordon bleu, asparagus, and squash).  It was a perfect day and a perfect weekend…up until about an hour and a half ago.

I got my first taste of mommy-hood tonight, and I must say, I give a big hats off to all those moms out there that get kids ready for school every night.  Wow.  Typically, Michael and I are in bed around 10 pm on work/school nights.  At 9, I jumped in the shower as I notice that Michael is hard at work on his school computer with their summer reading book in hand…last minute homework, anyone?  As soon as I got out, I found out we had clothes to iron for Michael.  As he is trying to decide what to wear, he starts trying on pants that I bought him for his student teaching.  32X34…what he has worn probably since high school.  Well, apparently not anymore.  All this working out he has been doing, has made those 32 waists a bit snug on him.  Luckily, I had seen this coming and bought him a 33X34 pair last week with an Old Navy Groupon I had bought and couldn’t find anything else to buy with the $20 that was expiring.  In the middle of all this, Tyler is asking what kind of things he should ask about on his interview tomorrow and telling me he needs a printer to print out some resumes.  Then Michael says, oh dang Kendall, you didn’t give me a haircut yesterday.  He was definitely looking a little scruffy, so I sent Tyler out to give him a trim, and I got to ironing.  When Tyler comes back in, he hands me a shirt and says, hey…can you get this while you’re at it?!?!  Yeah…no problem…I love ironing.  Then we still had lunches to make for Michael and me and dinner dishes to clean up.  Whoa.

But, not to worry…I think we’ve made it.  Only an hour later than I was hoping for, we’re in bed.    Please everyone, pray for us in the morning, as I’m sure there will be some more scrambling while three of us are up at 6 am trying to get ready.  And please be thinking about those two jokers tomorrow..although I’m sure they’ll both be great…especially with how well we prepared them tonight and how awesome they both are 🙂

P.S.  Really, Catholic High???  A shirt and tie everyday?  I hate ironing already.

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So, its been a while…but our Christmas vacation was just too awesome not to blog about.  After working a few hours the morning of my birthday, Michael picked me up and we were on our way to Atlanta!  The 8 hour drive went by very quickly (I’m sure the fact that my loving husband drove the whole way and let me take a 3 hour nap helped with this).  Also, because Michael is so impatient and child-like when it comes to present-giving, he had already given me my birthday/Christmas present 3 weeks earlier: an IPAD!!!  So, the five hours of the drive that I was awake, Michael and I passed the time playing Family Feud and listening to an audiobook, A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson on the iPad.  Such a wonderful present from him…we’ll just leave it at that and not talk about the presents I gave him.

Our Time in Atlanta

When we arrived to the Aguilar home that night, we were greeted by Michael’s entire family, Grandma and Grandad Aguilar, Mom and Dad Aguilar, James, Sie Deen and John.  We were able to spend some time catching up with everyone over a delicious salmon dinner and some birthday cookies.  We then headed off to meet up with the Rimboyz and crew at DAVE AND BUSTERS!  Although Michael and I did not do very well in the “winning tickets” department, we still had a great time with great friends.  And I was able to get a jumbo pixie stick with tickets donated by Hace and Sally for my birthday!  Here is some of the crew duking it out in Daytona Speed Race.

The next morning was Christmas Eve!  We woke up and had an awesome french toast breakfast cooked by Sie Deen and Mama Aguilar, and then Michael headed to the MARTA station to pick up Gopal, who we had talked into spending Christmas weekend with us only 2 days earlier!  We spent most of the day relaxing around the house and just enjoying time with everyone.  Sie Deen and I even learned how to make pan dulce, which is a wonderful sweet bread that Grandma Aguilar makes.  I have not yet tested out my skills on my own, but I hope to soon!   Before heading off to church, Aunt Kathy and Uncle Neil joined us for a delicious lasagna dinner that Mama Aguilar coached Sie Deen and I through.  That night was very special for me because it was the first Christmas Eve candelight church service that I had ever been to.  It was such an incredible experience to be worshiping with family that I love on such a special night

Christmas!!!

Yay!  It was finally Christmas!  Since we had so many places to be that day, it started off very early…as all Christmas mornings should.  We had some pan dulce for breakfast and played with all the toys in our stockings while waiting on the “master of ceremonies”, Dad Aguilar and the santa hat to begin with the real fun!  We opened presents all morning long and really racked up on some great stuff!  Here we are very excited with Dad and the santa hat in the background deciding which gift should be next.

After all the excitement was over at the Aguilar house, we stuffed the car with presents, bags, and Gopal and hit the road for South Carolina.  We drove 3 hours to Lugoff, where my entire family was waiting.  Everyone was there…Grandma and Grandpa, aunts, uncles and cousins, Mom and Dad, and all the brothers and sisters…it was a packed house!  We ate a delicious lunch prepared by Grandma while attempting to catch up with everyone there…this was quite a task!  We even had a mini delayed birthday celebration for me with my mom’s most amazing cheesecake.  Then, of course, it was presents time again!  We spent the rest of the afternoon playing with new presents, catching up with family, and playing knock out!  After we were sufficiently worn out, we jumped back in the car for the hour and a half ride to Aiken, where MORE presents were waiting on us.  Of course, Santa had known that Michael and I would be coming back to Aiken and our pile was still perfectly set up in the living room, as always.  It had even survived the tornado that had some through the living room earlier that morning!

A White Day After Christmas!

The next morning, Michael ran around the house waking everyone up to see the SNOW!  After playing around with the dogs in the backyard, a few of us cool kids…ahem Karli and Kirby…suited up and headed out to find the perfect sledding spot.

 

After getting kicked off of our first hill by some grouchy old neighbors, we picked up Karli and Kirby and found an even better hill!  After sledding some more and terrorizing the dogs by forcing them onto the sled, we built the dirtiest, ugliest snowman that ever lived.  We then headed home for some hot chocolate and fire place sittin’. 

 

More Aiken Fun

We spent the next couple days in Aiken, spending time with my family, eating delicious dinners made by mom, catching up with old friends, and playing with new toys.  As a tradition, my family has been going out for breakfast on my birthday since I can remember.  Since Michael and I were not in town for my birthday, we pushed it back a couple days and still made it out to IHOP for breakfast…yum!  We were able to see lots of old friends while in town, as well.  Brandon, who was a good friend of mine all through high school, came over for dinner one night.  We met up with Grayson, a mutual friend of ours from college, at Teresa’s for some large margaritas and pitchers of beer.  And after he headed home to sleep for work, we continued on to the Aiken Brew Pub to meet up with Kathryn, a really good friend of mine from college, and a few other friends from high school and college.  It was a really great night and it was so fun to catch up with so many friends that we have been missing.  Here’s Michael and Grayson showing lots of love.

We had such a great time in Aiken, but after a few days, we were off on the next adventure. 

Up next…Michael and I ring in the New Year with skiing and college friends!

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