Sunday, February 12, 2012


Joe's Christmas present:
A labradoodle named Chewbacca. 

Joe has been itching for a puppy for a long time. Since-his-dog-died-while-he-was-on-his-mission-ten-years-ago long time. One time while we were walking around Ikea he even picked out a stuffed dog and carried it around the entire store in his arms, (when he thought I wasn't looking) periodically petting it. He even bought it and kept it on the couch with him while he was watching TV, petting it. It just about broke my heart. That is how bad Joe wanted a puppy.

My conditions were that it needed to be a designer puppy that didn't shed*, that was extremely calm, and would never weigh more than me.

We settled on a labradoodle in August. And my idea to give the best Christmas present Joe could ever dream of was born. But just getting Joe a puppy wasn't enough. It also needed to be a surprise!

So I began telling Joe that I thought we should wait a bit longer for a leasat another year. We'll talk about it once we've been married for a year. I wasn't ready yada, yada, yada. Non of this came as a shock to Joe as I'd been telling him the same thing since we were dating seriously enough to be talking about theoretical dogs in future homes. But behind the scenes I was making arrangements with a breeder in Yakima.

Fast forward to December 24th when Joe and I are driving out to my parents and I make the turn to Yakima. I didn't say a word to Joe other than we were going to get a Christmas surprise. He asked if it was a puppy. I told him he would be extremely disappointed if he thought he was getting a puppy and to set his sights a little lower. He settled on buffalo steaks (what I got him for Christmas last year) and that we were going to a buffalo farm. So you can imagine his surprise when we walk inside the breeders house and a fluffy puppy was put in his arms.


Chewie has become quite the good little companion. I'm surprised how much we love and enjoy him. (Seriously, who thought I would ever be saying I love a dog?!)

A few facts you might enjoy knowing about Chewie:
  • If he hears a rustling bag he assumes it is the sound of treats for him and immediately sits and waits for you to recognize how deserving he is.
  • He is a big fan of socks. 
  • If Chewie finds something he likes, but knows he shouldn't have, (ie socks, shoes, incredibly large and dirty sticks from outside, hairbands, one of Levin's toys) he makes a mad dash to his bed in the living room. He thinks you don't see him or hear him if he goes really, really fast. Unfortunately for him the opposite is true. If you walk up to him when he has said restricted items, he lays on them quickly so you can't see them and pretends like nothing is going on.
  • He knows the difference between his right paw and his left paw. It is his favorite trick.
  • We almost named him Tatanka
  • Dad came up with the name Chewbacca.
  • He loves Joe and gets so excited when he hears him coming home at night.
  • He loves to take naps with on me.

I was extremely skeptical about getting a dog, but knew Joe would love it. Joe kept saying it was the best Christmas present he'd ever had. And you know, Joe might be on to something. Because there are few things better than coming home and seeing a wagging tail.

*True story: Chewbacca sheds less than Joe's beard.


I can no longer say I've never had anything won at a carnival for me before!

Unfortunately the frog didn't make it home. I didn't inherit many of my mother's "throw it out if I can't use it" genes, but I did inherit enough not to keep around carnival prizes...especially when they smell like cigarette smoke.

Friday, February 10, 2012



While Joe and I were dating he once turned to me after doing something he found particularly funny and said, "I learned that trick in 'Nam!"

I think that inspired our honeymoon. 

Joe was in charge of our destination and true to his form, he chose something totally unexpected--Vietnam.

We went to Hanoi:

We found a really cool organization that offers free tours of the city to tourists given by students from the local university that want to improve their English. Win win.

We went  to a village outside of Hanoi that is famous for it's pottery. We tried our hands at making it, but decided that the stuff from the pros was much more worthy of lugging around for the rest of our trip and bringing home. 

We went to Halong Bay:

This is how Joe felt about our boat ride to and around Halong Bay.

Halong Bay is host to fishing villages made up of house boats selling fish still flapping. We  discovered that your ship chef will happily cook up your flapping purchase for you, making the most
delicious grilled fish and fish-head soup. Or so the couple who shared a dining table on our boat would tell you. We didn't know about this feature of the trip...but the couple was nice enough to share their fish with us--after we had already tried some on accident.

We took kayaks out around the bay. It was a major highlight of the trip.

I include this picture for a few reasons. 1. See how windy it is? We didn't even bring jackets to Vietnam. I frooooooze at Halong Bay. 2. I look hammered. A wedding and a 16 hour time difference (and forgetting your make-up at home) will do that to a girl. Joe looks awesome.

We went to Hoi An:

Joe found the most amazing spa for us to stay at on the beach in Hoi An. Like Ah-Mazing. All services were included in the base price, so we went crazy. We maybe spent an entire day getting massages, manicures, pedicures, and more massages. We took breaks from getting rubbed in most desirable (and totally appropriate) ways by walking 20 feet to the beach. It was unseasonably cold and this was the closest we got to being in the the water. And by we, I mean I. Joe stayed safely dry taking pictures (which is why he is rarely in any pictures). Joe said I reminded him of a little girl. I objected. He then showed me a collection of shells in his pocket that I had periodically run back from the waves to give him.

We went to Da Nang:

This woman gave us a boat ride around a lake. She was old and the boat and oar were heavy. Joe even took his hand at rowing for a bit and said it was hard work. We love going new places and meeting people like this woman, who have lives so clearly different from ours, yet is just another human being trying to do their best.

Da Nang is famous for their lanterns. I had to climb up some very rickety scaffolding to get this picture. That's why it's included.

Overall...if you get a chance, go learn some tricks in 'Nam.