30 May 2014

{The day we moved into our townhouse.}

What makes a house a home? Lately I've been looking at a lot of home renovation websites after Noah and I decided that we'd buy a home this summer. Since I'm going back to school we're living off of just Noah's salary for the next four years. It's a huge commitment. As a result, I'm trying to look at lots of DIY videos (on a budget) that can help you fix up your home.

When we were in college and hosted game nights all of our friends would come over and say how much our place felt like a home instead of like a college apartment. I think there were two things that made it feel this way. 1) Our group was cohesive. Instead of the common area being a blank, industrial canvas with people sticking in their rooms, the main area felt lived in. 2) The decorations reminded them of their childhood homes - pictures had frames for God's sake. There were no posters tacked up with push pins in our place.

Now, as we are becoming the nucleus of our families - the middle ground - for lots of groups of people I want our home to feel as welcoming to them as our college apartment did to our friends.

So, here's to a productive summer! When pharmacy school starts in the fall I'm hoping to be a central hub for lots of people and that means I've got to get my butt in gear this summer.

Dog Days of Summer

29 May 2014

I had the best afternoon with Odin yesterday. We took him to the lake house, which I've been aching to do forever, since the lake is finally warm enough for swimming.

I didn't even know if Odin knew how to swim or if he instinctually could. After wading out to my waist Odin could no longer stand in the water and he doggie paddled out to me. It was the cutest thing I've ever seen.

After wading through the water gushing over his cuteness we ended up getting the canoe out to see if he would get in with us. He got in! Not only did he get in, but he stayed with us as we canoed around a bit of the lake. It is a little uncomfortable to have him moving around in the boat as you attempt to paddle, but it's so much fun to have a pup with you that you can ignore the movements for the most part.

On top of all of these great adventures, he never had his leash on. This is the first time he's been truly off of his leash in an open place and he stayed right with us. It was a great day and a growing experience for Odin and me.

Happy 25th

28 May 2014

I am 25. It feels a little bit surreal in a way that a birthday hasn't felt since I was probably 16 or 17. 25 is a pretty big one and I feel like my age finally caught up with how old I've felt for a few years.

The day started with chocolate chip and chocolate batter waffles that Noah made, followed by an appointment at a hair salon, then a trip to Skyline Caverns. We stopped for my free birthday Starbucks drink and had dinner at Sona, an Indian restaurant in the city. It was a truly spectacular birthday. 

I think the only way to top it next year is to get me an animal with a little bow on top. (Just joking honey! ... kinda.)

Hope you can enjoy these pictures from the caverns. It was a little difficult to capture the colors and not shake the camera, so hope it worked well enough. This was my fourth tour of a set of caverns in the Shenandoah Valley and was my first private tour - on my birthday no less. Noah and I happened to get there at a time when no one else arrived so we had our own tour guide. It made it a lot of fun!

Memorial Day

27 May 2014

Noah's family met at the river in West Virginia to have a cookout and catch up. We cooked hot dogs (and veggie burgers) and ate plates with chips, salads, and watermelon. The only thing missing was smores (!!).

Aunt Karen and I took a walk around the property and got our fitbits to 10,000 steps. We had a really good talk as we roamed around and it was much needed.

Noah and I brought our new JMU cornhole game boards to play. 

I also got to meet Daisy, a sweet border collie who went on a good long walk and had lots of fun chasing squirrels. 

It was a fantastic Memorial Day spent in the country. Exactly as it should be. 

Skyline Drive: Sneads Farm

26 May 2014

On Wednesday my friend Ashley and I went up to Skyline Drive to hike. It was her first time visiting the Drive. 

After stopping at Dickey Ridge Visitor's Center we decided upon Snead Farm as our trail. I'll be honest and say Snead Farm isn't my favorite hike mostly because I love panoramic views and waterfalls, but it's nice to see homes of families who used to live in the park at the turn of the last century. 

Odin went on the hike with us and I learned afterwards that this was a mistake. He's gone on hikes with me before with essentially no problem, and I guess this hike wasn't an issue for him either. However, after getting home I found 23+ ticks on him. I kind of lost count at that point. There was a lot of grass and now that it's a summer month the parasite problem was just too severe. He had a great time though and he kept up really well on the hike! In the lead the whole time. 

Above: The grass that I believe is the main tick resort on Skyline Drive.

Ashley and I did a 3 mile loop from the parking spaces near a campground up to the farm house then did a long uphill trail to the view seen below before doing a quick, steepish trail back to the beginning. 

The views were actually a nice surprise for me because I usually just hike to the farm house and back. 

Right at the end of our hiking adventure, as we were walking back to the car, Ashely discovered this guy just off the main road. I was just grateful that Odin didn't see him; I am not sure yet how Odin would respond to a snake! Cool to see a little more wildlife as mostly what we saw were birds. We did get to see one lonesome deer though on our way into the hike. 

All in all it was a great pre-birthday hike followed by pizza from the Melting Pot in Front Royal. I'm glad Ashley and I got to share the time in the wilderness together! 

The Color Run

23 May 2014

I did my first Color Run this weekend with my friends and family and I've already signed up for the one in September.

In the beginning of the 5k everyone has their pristine white shirts on and are ready to go.

Three of the people in our group also had fitbits and we were ready to record our steps for the day. These are a lot of fun for recording your exercise.

The Color Run is such a great adventure and it's a great way to step into the world of races and marathons. Check out the website and see if there's one for you. 

Band Trip: Kings Dominion

19 May 2014

This weekend may be one of the busiest of my life and I'm okay with that. On Friday I had a meet and greet for pharmacy school and got to meet some of my future classmates. Then on Saturday Noah and I went on a trip to Kings Dominion for a band festival and to enjoy a day in the amusement park with students. It all culminated with a Color Run yesterday morning. So many experiences jam-packed into a few days. Well, here's a start to covering these fun events.

The band got on the bus at 6:45 (a little later than planned) and got to the high school we were performing at around 9:20 - minutes into their scheduled warm up time. We booked it off the bus and headed in to warm up for fifteen minutes and then run onto the stage to perform. After the jazz band played we got back on the bus and headed to the park!

After getting into the park we met my sister who lives in Richmond. We had a great time exploring the park and riding a few coasters.

After spending six hours wandering through the park Noah and I took a little break to sit like the adults that we are. ;)

At 6pm we had the awards ceremony where all the bands and choirs come to see how they ranked. Noah is actually on the stage in this photo (hint: find the tallest man).

There were quite a few bands and choirs and guess what??? Noah's school got first place and their division AND best overall jazz band! It was amazing and I'm so proud of him and his students.

We left the parks and got on our bus to arrive at the school around 11:30pm. We spent 20 hours on Saturday on the band trip and it went wonderfully all in all. Although I'm grateful two days later to have finally caught up on sleep!

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